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The more I get involved in this game system the more I begin to see how this can be played "realistically." In almost every wargame in history, opponents will move - countermove in a back and forth checkers or chess like playing style. This affords players the rare and unrealistic luxury of quickly reacting to what an opponent does and more importantly affords players the luxury of avoiding the arduous task of thinking, preplanning, executing those plans and then living with those decisions.

Real combat requires leaders and think tanks to plan and then execute said plans and observe them unfold. Few games have the mechanisms to allow players to play realistically by preplanning and then executing those plans like this one does. If you really want to understand, feel and grasp what real command and control is like in a wargame, start out small and plan an objective for a single regiment (just 3 Bn's). Either mentally or on paper (depending upon your memory) and after assigning that Regiment an objective, say the seizure of a village, then assign supporting arms like engineers, artillery, Armor, NGS and the lot. Once you have done this lock those assets and no matter what happens elsewhere, keep those assets available for your new mission. Please ensure that in your Operations Order (OPORD) you assign each battalion its individual mission to support the regiments efforts.

A regimental OPORD might look like this;

OPORD 1

Unit assigned: 8th Regiment, 4ID, VII Corps

Mission: Seize the crossroads at Les Forges (A5734).

Mission Details: The 2nd Battalion will seize the crossroads flanked along the St. Mere-Eglise - Carentan Highway to the north by the 1st battalion and to the south by the 3rd battalion.

Support:

1st Bn will be directly supported by Co A of the 70th Tk Bn.

2nd Bn will be directly supported by Co B of the 70th Tk Bn and C company of the 20th Eng Bn. [Note: the armor is assigned due to the main highway and the likely defense and/or counterattack]

3rd Bn will be directly supported by Co C of the 70th Tk Bn.

The whole of the 8th Regiment is supported by the 29th Artillery Battalion located in Boutteville (A6034), A Co of the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion held in reserve at that same location (in case of armored counterattack), and the entire 359th regiment of the 90th Infantry Division has graciously offered to provide Combat Reserve support (mainly because their PR's suck) to the glorious 8th Regiment in its efforts.

The 4th Division has supporting Naval and USAAF assets, that while supporting the entire division can be focused on the efforts of the 8th regiment if necessary at the expense of other efforts (ie, preassigned). The 65th SPA located at La Houssaye (A6333) is in divisional reserve if additional Artillery fire is needed.

End OPORD.

When making these orders bear in mind the nearby assets of your opponent that can be brought to bear as well as the likely action your opponent might take (is he or she aggressive or passive in that area). Also bear In mind the efforts of the rest of your division, corps and even the army group as you assign objectives and support. In this case make the OPORD prior to the Amphibious invasion beginning. Note that normally you would likely make the OPORD the GT prior to executing it so that any breakdown supporting companies can be in fact broken down and moved into position as well as any artillery or reserve forces moved to within required distances etc. Do not issue any new orders to that Regiment until it has accomplished its mission or it was rebuffed from doing so. It's real important to stay the course and do not shift their mission or assets no matter what.

Something important to bear in mind is that you know the 101st Airborne Division will likely secure the area and so you are tempted to never assign that mission, but what if things go poorly for the Screaming Eagles and all those "E" Status Drop Zones fail to re-group para units while your not securing the whole of the area things can and do go terribly wrong. Assume nothing!

Now try it for a whole division, assigning each regiment and in turn each battalion its objectives. Now do this for a Corps and then the Army Group and then for the entire force and you get the real sense of what it takes to play, "Realistically."

A good example of why this is so important and meaningful (not to mention realistic) is in a game I'm currently playing. I'm just outside of Bayeux with the 50ID when suddenly the 12SS diverts its efforts opening a giant whole in the line. Now I can knee jerk it and "Play" the game or I could stay true to my orders and assault the city of Bayeux.
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Darrell Pavitt
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Have you been playing TCS recently?
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Atlantic Wall: D-Day to Falaise (Decision Games)
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Are you referring to Dean Essig's Tactical Combat Series?
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Darrell Pavitt
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Indeed!

One thing in the TCS series is that once you have given a formation orders, they carry it out every turn until they complete their assignment of fail (as decided by the players) at which time they must wait for new orders.

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Doug Johnson

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Interesting write up.

One thing, don't forget for a CR to be able to support an attack or defense: 13.7.3 states, that the unit in CR must:

• Be subordinate to the same formation/independent BG as at least one of the attacking or defending units.
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Atlantic Wall: D-Day to Falaise (Decision Games)
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I know Dean looks for playability over everything else and there's nothing wrong with that as it can make for some really fun games but once I tasted the realistic effect Joe's designs provide, it has become a chore to look back.
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warguy wrote:
Interesting write up.

One thing, don't forget for a CR to be able to support an attack or defense: 13.7.3 states, that the unit in CR must:

• Be subordinate to the same formation/independent BG as at least one of the attacking or defending units.


Drats! Double Drats! thought I finally found something the 90ID was good at...
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Doug Johnson

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In the early going (trying to break thru at Carentan) I try and attach two btns of the 101st to the 90th and use them as my assault troops crossing the river. Of course that depends on the 101st being in good shape (glider regt works great for that).

By attaching 2 Btns of the 101st, you can also attach one artillery Btn from the 101st, along with a coy of eng, and a coy of AT.

That still leaves you room to attach a corps engineer Btn.

Of course you still can have the free Tk and AT/TD Btn attached to the 90th.

That way you can use the 101st para or glider units as your Lead PR unit, using CR units and the right combination of support units to get across the river and negate those pesky FW.

Also by having the one artillery Btn from the 101st attached that gives you 5 Btns of artillery available from the 90th, and then as much corps artillery as you can muster plus any other 101st art (using one for each mission).
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Douglas Brunton
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Joey or Gunny wrote:
I know Dean looks for playability over everything else and there's nothing wrong with that as it can make for some really fun games but once I tasted the realistic effect Joe's designs provide, it has become a chore to look back.


Two very different game design approaches but I see Dean as a design for effect rather than emphasizing playability over everything. Dean's still looking for historical accuracy but he's using some very elegant systems to cut down on complexity. I'd view Joe's design approach as trying to incorporate complex elements but ensuring that the complex elements work to punish and award players, in a historically accurate manner, based on how they employ those complex elements.

An example would be the new BCS system where support is abstracted in the form of a counter, an example being a tank destroyer company or battalion, that provides support to the various sub-formations unless that support is dropped due to enemy action or movement into impassable terrain for the support. In Joe's game you get the battalion of tank destroyers and can farm them out in company elements to sub-formations. Joe's got more counters to fiddle with an potentially more flexibility as well but I think both approaches get the appropriate results.

I've played a few games of the new BCS game from Dean (The Last Blitzkrieg) and have enjoyed it enormously. I'm greatly enjoying my initial foray into GOSS and at some point I hope to get Wacht Am Rhein and perhaps get a chance more directly to compare the two approaches to the Bulge.

Doug

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Joseph Youst
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I just finished playing part of the opening GT of Last Blitzkreig with a war-game buddy. Fun game, but some elements leave me cold. The real lack of defensive artillery missions etc is one. I had thought of doing something similar with support units in GOSS - especially for the quick play rules, but that would have to wait until basic GOSS is done and ironed out.
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Clay Stone
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Great stuff, Joey.

I always like the order system that locks my units into orders of objections. I'm going to use this in my Hurtgen scenario i'm playing out.


...
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Atlantic Wall: D-Day to Falaise (Decision Games)
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What I find the most enjoyable aspect of this game system is finally learning who is designed for what purpose and implementing that unit correctly in an almost flawless harmony of terrain, enemy capabilities and my counter punches to them. Btw, I have found if you play by your plans and avoid the pitfall of reacting to your opponent you'll almost always keep the initiative.

I love to assign an objective to a regiment, break it down to battalion assignments and then based on what is on that objective, trying to most accurately decide what are the best supporting elements that will accomplish the task. Take my example in the Operations Order you see above, and you find I assigned armor to each of the battalions of that mission to cut the main highway. I first carefully inspected my assets and the 4ID Armor support was the 70th Tank Battalion. With such a limited asset I needed to carefully inspect all three of my division's missions to place them in the most optimal locations to do the most good. I Assigned the lion's share of NGS to the coastal 22 Regiment as the WN's & StP's they will need to assault will need some softening up.

The 22nd Regiment was tasked with clearing the coastal road and with nothing but marsh to keep them company, armor was out of the question. Note that the defenders will avoid using armor in marsh as much as the attackers so I was relieved to see they will not be needing those assets anytime soon. The toss up then was between the 12th and 8th Regiments and of the two the 12th was in the hedgerows and while not terrible armor country it wasn't optimal either. This left the 8th Regiment and its goal of cutting the main highway through the area and I thought to myself, "now there is where armor is king." I decided to give each battalion an armored company because each was equal in its mission. In that area armor is rare so only a small company of TD's was held in reserve for that mission. Fact is it was my standing orders to assign a company of Tank Destroyers to each regiment to be held in reserve in the vicinity of the supporting artillery for that regiment. I assign each of my divisional artillery battalions to each of the regiments in the division. This was historically done to provide dedicated artillery support for each regiment. In game terms it provides a ZOC or halt mechanism for your front line.

After all my units and supporting elements have been assigned I kick off my amphibious invasion with confidence as I know where all my units are headed and that it's just a matter of getting them there. As it turned out the 101AB was in great shape and my orders were overkill but I was still very pleased with the results. I loved that I knew where all my units were going to be and that I knew ahead of time who was supporting whom and how. I was enamored with the realistic decisions of what to do when certain units fell short at the beach and I had to find an answer without compromising the missions. These then are the real knee jerk command responses as they put out fires and keep the missions progressing foreword.

In the Hurtgen I trust you will find things equally fun. I would assign massive engineer assets to the infantry as they look to special white circled artillery support to inflict casualties. In the Hurtgen I learned the value of including a recon unit in combat and that splitting up my armor and using it on the trails was valuable.
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Joseph Youst
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Joey, you hit the nail on the head system-wise. The key to fully utilizing the system in achieving objectives is to think in terms of Regiments/Brigades/KGs etc. Then build up from there to what a formation is doing and what the overall objective is. If you just move pieces around individually, you'll prove yourself not to be capable of higher command, LOL.
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Atlantic Wall: D-Day to Falaise (Decision Games)
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This system is about as close to the real command structure decision making process as I think a wargame can get. A good example is in the Hurtgen where General Cota fell short. He was accused of not utilizing his recon and armor assets and as it turned out, rightfully so. However I once understood his point of view as I looked at the dense wooded area and thought the armor and recon might as well stay home in this stuff, I have no need for it here. Turns out through trial and error (a luxury "ol Dutch Cota didn't have) I soon discovered General Collins was right to press that issue with Cota, the armor and recon was badly needed and effective in those dense wooded areas. In fact if General Cota had talked to the commander of the unit he was relieving, he would have been told that very thing; Use your Armor in small numbers spread throughout your infantry as it is more effective than you might realize in those dense woods. Fact is a lot of soldiers were cut down walking along fire breaks and in cleared ambush kill zones that just a few AFV's would have automatically neutralized. Shows this game system hits a sweet spot like few others.
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I'm using your command orders idea on my Hurtgen Forest gameplay...



Outside The city of MAAstricht I gave an order for my 30th Inf Div along with my 2nd Armor Div to clear out the town next to the city and the area around the town 3 hexes out and hold for new orders.








...
 
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Awesome! I love it. Now, when you issued Divisional Orders did you then assign missions to each of your regiments and then in turn to each of their battalions?
 
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Clay Stone
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Joey or Gunny wrote:
Awesome! I love it. Now, when you issued Divisional Orders did you then assign missions to each of your regiments and then to each of their battalions?


No, I didn't do that but i'm going to try that moving forward...

Adds so much to the gameplay.


...
 
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Welcome to Corps level command, General...

...need an aide-de-Camp?

its like anything as you get used to doing mental orders you'll get better at it until it is a motor reflex.
 
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If I may ask, what do you have in mind for each of your divisions? Here is how I think in terms of issuing my formations orders;

Attacking a city or town is perilous work for armor but Infantry with engineers take it all in stride. On the other hand, open terrain bothers the heck out of those grunts, but tankers love the maneuver room and ranged fire it affords.

From those thoughts I examine my map and my objectives and begin narrowing it down. 5th Regiment, you'll enter the city from the left. 16th Regiment I'm ramming you right down the middle, and 28th Regiment I'm sending you in from the right. 2nd Armored will support the assault with a pincer move so as to isolate the city to prevent any counter attacks and starve those bastards out. each infantry regiment will then be given support and each battalion given exact hexes to take etc...
 
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Clay Stone
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Hey Gunny,

I need to figure out our next move. Right now we knocked the Germans out of the city of MAAstricht and just have some left over Germans dug in on the towns and forest outside of the city i need to clear.

I just set orders for the 117 rgt of the 30th Inf Div (3 btn units) along with the CCA2 of the 2nd Armor Div to clear out a German co unit from the 275th Div who is sitting in the town in "IP". Support I'm bringing in (1) co engineer unit along with (2) Arty.


...
 
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So if I understand you correctly you are facing a single enemy infantry company in an IP?

What is to the enemy units left hex and his right hex?

got an aeriel photo?

Lets do some real war stuff...
 
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Clay Stone
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Joey or Gunny wrote:
So if I understand you correctly you are facing a single enemy infantry company in an IP?

What is to the enemy units left hex and his right hex?

got an areal photo?

Lets do some real war stuff...





As you can see from the photo the unit to the top right (East) in "IP" coverage is two-step btn fortress. The other unit to the top left is fatigue 2 is the 275th two-step unit. And the lonely 275th infantry in the town in "IP" Coverage.


...
 
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