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Subject: interesting youtube video on "units don't break in combat" rss

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Clay Stone
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Very interesting youtube video about "units don't break in combat"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFPTcUBuYR8


...

 
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Alan Richbourg
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Can someone summarize the argument presented? I don't have the patience to listen to it all.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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chargetheguns wrote:
Can someone summarize the argument presented?

Or even just a transcript. Hopefully there will be some discussion here in text--he may have interesting things to say, but after like the first 60 seconds, all I could focus on was figuring out what his next word would be before he did.
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J J
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What era?
 
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Francisco Gutierrez
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Wow... Even playing the video the 1.5 times speed, the pauses seem long.
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JP Laurio
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Whoah, this guy has a LOT of wargame videos in YouTube.
 
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marc lecours
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I tried to watch the video for a minute. I couldn't do it. I lasted about 30 seconds. I guess I am not as patient as I thought I was.

It reminded me of the following youtube:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oMbwWqceNw
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M St
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Starting out, this seems rather noncoherent to me on the face of it after listening to it for a couple of minutes. First, the notion of units breaking in combat (whatever that means, and this is the next point) is not an invention of wargame designers. It's a concept introduced by wargame designers because it occurs in battlefield accounts.

Second, what does "breaking" mean? I suspect that this is more a semantic quibble, as in "the unit was routed/bugged out/, it was not broken". (Indeed, around 13:00 we come to the admission that this is a "personal, visceral" decision.)

The argumentation here is based on personal experience, but it's essentially anecdotal. Also, I don't think a US unit fighting insurgents in an Iraqi city is a particularly good example of a unit in a situation where it would be driven to breaking point in combat. He may well have a point in that I would expect that a US unit in Iraq, given the nature of the conflict, the amount of resources available, and given the relative quality level of forces, may not break. But that doesn't generalise.

One interesting point that I've seen pointed out is that units will fight better if they feel they are affecting the enemy, this is why in particularly hard fought battles, losses may well exceed the usual level before units break. I don't think a US unit in Iraq would ever find itself in a situation where it would say "we can't do anything against this foe". In an even more extreme situation such as Mogadishu, it would be exactly the more extreme difference in the nature of forces that would keep a unit going. You may be outnumbered 100:1, but you can see that you are killing more of them than the other way. (*) (Whether that is a "victory" is another matter, but that's not the point.)

(*) Conversely, you may be outnumbering the enemy 100:1 and losing men at a higher rate, but if you can see them fall and know they are on the retreat, that would likely provide a morale boost.

I lasted till around 19:00. This seems the classic example of someone saying something he should have written down and thought about instead of posting as a "video".

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Jason Cawley
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Alan - "I don't like Squad Leader". "Why aren't my men fanatic?" "The winning side doesn't see squads run away screaming in terror throwing away their weapons and waving their arms."

You didn't care about the first, and the rest is wet straw.
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T. Dauphin
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M St wrote:

...
I lasted till around 19:00. This seems the classic example of someone saying something he should have written down and thought about instead of posting as a "video".


Agree.
Thanks. I thought I was patient. I got to about 3 min. and couldn't go any farther.

 
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Jason Kruse
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Have listened to this guy before and touched on the subject in my latest "podcast". From what i understand he has designed a game called Troops in Contact. I can't find this game anywhere so i assume he has designed but not published. The theme of "units don't break" is a common theme with this gentleman. He never really references any games but rather seems to be going off of personal experience in Iraq. Now, to his defense he does specify that units don't break in combat. According to him they can and do break after combat. He is a challenge to listen to because he is riffing as he goes, call it free association if you will.
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T. Dauphin
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Joey or Gunny wrote:
Let me just say it should be called an Audio NOT a video because there's nothing to see here folks, move along...


A ...s...l...o...w... audio.

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Joe R

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LOL. Or may be that should be L . . . O . . . L . . .

Just to keep in the theme. Which is a shame, because he appears to have some thoughts to make, but it is kind of hard to track as it moves so slowly and not linearly. For example, time scale and level of combat seem like legitimate factors to consider in evaluating what "break in combat" might mean in a particular game.

But on a larger level, to say that units at small level don't break in combat but only after combat seems to contradict many accounts I have read of various battles.

But then what does "break" mean? Most game designers seem to use and refer to "breaking" as a compilation of factors and events that render a particular unit combat ineffective. This kind of definition conflates getting wiped out (literally), huge casualties that shock the unit into immobility as well as a traditional morale break.

Period may also be a factor here as battalions in fact DID break in Napoleonic combat. They could be rallied and brought back for example.

But just because US units in Iraq may not have "broken" doesn't seem to prove his point for all time and at all levels.
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T. Dauphin
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Joey or Gunny wrote:
...you also must take into account an important factor that seems to get lost in time. A wise 'OL Vietnam veteran Gunnery Sargent who was training me as a young pup, told me once that this all volunteer army is nothing more than mercenaries and although they will have all the same issues as before it will be for entirely different reasons. No more looking at a stupid order and questioning it as that only occurs with drafted personnel, and while you won't have troops that give up under fire, they will give up if their expectations in non combat related areas arise (like pay, benefits or being forcibly extended - for example).


Well, that may have been the case in Vietnam, but it doesn't apply to all eras or nations. There were volunteers, for example, in the Spanish Civil War or either of the world wars that had strong ideological reasons for being there and put up with horrendous conditions. They may have been technically "mercenaries" but they weren't there for the money.

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