I expect the game during the next days.
Reading the forums though I spoted complaints of "weak" West both militarily and Industrialy. This compined with the historical ffact that in 1936 France was the military superpower of Europe and not the demilitarized Germany, had me wondering if the initial set up could be better off with maybe the addition of a 3-step armor unit in France (?). France had the largest armor force and the better tanks even in 1939.
My biggest issue is another thiing though. Assuming the West is in war with the Axis and USA is still neutral, and the Axis blocading the US seems to mechanicaly lowers the possibility of the US entering the war (fewest IND pts for West = fewer action cards -> lower possibility for a US card)
Maybe a variant where each year were an Axis blocade of the US resources to the UK would increase the West influence in USA would be both realistic and a sound implementation?
I admit I only played a couple of solo's in vassal, and it seemed that the balance between the 3 powers is closely tight. I also know the golden rule for RPG rule sets & board games: don't house rule unless you first play it over and over again. Its just that the West both seems weak and several people mention this.
The West does indeed start weak, because it was weak. But three-player games tend to balance themselves.
- France invested heavily in the Maginot Line which was superbly prepared to fight WWI again, stretching about half the distance that it needed to cover. Unfortunately, Belgium thought that strengthening their ties with France would provoke the Germans. They were wrong. Weakness provoked the Germans.
- French artillery was also superbly prepared for WWI, an excellent defense against suicidal frontal assaults, but not very good against blitzkrieg tactics.
- French tanks were mostly scattered among the infantry and were not trained to coordinate together. Instead, they were employed as mobile pillboxes. The armor divisions that France kept as a reserve amounted to about 2 CVs.
- The French Air Force was stronger than the Luffwaffe, except that in 1940, only about 25% of their planes were operational.
- The worst part of the French army were their timid generals. Read up on the Saar Offensive following Germany's invasion of Poland. France was supposed to react by invading Germany with 40 divisions. They sent 11 divisions against Germany's poorly defended western border, and they retreated as soon as they encountered any resistance.
- The population of the US was deeply opposed to entering another European war--up to 90% against according to the Gallup polls taken at that time. US entry was enabled by the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, and Hitler's subsequent declaration of war against the US. This is difficult to model because the Japanese could have decided not to attack the US. If you want a variant, roll a 6-sided dice in the Winter of 1941 and, if unsuccessful, again in Winter 1942 to see whether the Japanese attack. A result of 1-4 and they do. Otherwise, the US remains Neutral in WW2 and cannot become a Satellite unless attacked by the Axis or the Soviets.
As a WW2 geek I know - and agree - to the French army issues you raised. They had poor OOB organization, poor logistics, they were passive, their armor warfare dogma was that of "tanks support infantry", were German's had developed swerpunkt and massive armored spearheads.
But all that became a reality after the fall of Chechozlovakia.
The fact that in 1936 France had a vastly numerical superior army remains.
Now, if the game considers the initial setup armies to represent more than numerical units, but to also reflect the fact that France had poor commanders, obsolet warfare doctrine, low national morale, and the political inflexibility and nonexistant willpower to actualy use those armed forces, thats ok in my book.
Regarding the blockade thing, yes the American people where very reluctunt to join the war, but the U-boat warfare constantly pushed them to the other side. It just seems illogical that more and more blockades of US resources by the Axis brings US more to neutrality rather than the opposite.
- Last edited Tue Mar 7, 2017 4:55 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Mar 7, 2017 4:53 pm
Numerical superiority is deceptive. A small, mobile army can defeat a larger army through surprise and local superiority. Their logistics are much easier than trying to supply a large army. A good example in WW2 is the defeat of the Italian army in Libya by Gen. Richard O'Connor.
The Axis blockade against Great Britain was matched by the Allied blockade against the Axis (which annoyed and even infuriated Americans). The fall of France, however, pushed Americans to be more sympathetic to the Allied cause. But the real key by far was the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, which is not modeled in T&T. For your interest, here's some background information and a variant way for US entry into the war.
Historical Perspectives on the USA Entry into WWII
How was it possible that the US found itself at war with Japan and then Germany? Here's a compilation of what I found.
According to the Gallup, the American public was strongly against participating in “The European War.” In a poll taken in March 1940, 96% of Americans were against entering the war. In July 1941, 79% were against entering the war.
Japan had an expanding industrial economy that demanded large quantities of resources, which it hoped to obtain by establishing a chauvinistic colonial empire—as many European nations and the US had already done, including French Indochina, the Dutch East Indies, British Borneo, British Malaya, the American Philippines, and so on. Japan's colonies included Korea, Taiwan, and Manchuria. Japan's encroachments against China brought the countries into a three-way war in 1937, between the Chinese nationalists, Chinese communists, and the Japanese. This war eventually ground down into a gruesome stalemate by 1940.
In the 1930s, Japan imported about 80% of the oil it needed, most of its copper, and about 75% of its scrap iron from a single country—the USA. The Japanese knew this was risky and worked to reduce their dependence on American resources.
Beginning in January 1940, the US began limiting its exports to Japan. In May/June 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt moved the US Pacific Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor over the strong objections of the Navy. The admiral of the Pacific Fleet was relieved of command as a result.
On July 24, 1941, Japan occupied French Indochina at the “invitation” of the Vichy government. Two days later President Roosevelt had ordered all Japanese assets in the US frozen and all trade with Japan suspended, with Britain and the Dutch East Indies following suit. The non-negotiable US demand was that Japan withdraw from French Indochina and China. Japan had a three-year reserve of oil at this time.
On November 7, 1941, Japan attempted a last ditch negotiation with the US which was refused. A month later, Japan seized the European and American colonial possessions in southeast Asia, guaranteeing enough oil and other resources to continue their stalled war against China. A preemptive attack against Pearl Harbor destroyed the obsolescent part of the US fleet, resulting in the newly appointed admiral being relieved of command. Since then, there have been a lot of assertions that Japan's attack was provoked and anticipated by Roosevelt.
Note that two months later, Roosevelt authorized the exclusion of civilians from military installations, which was subsequently designated as the entire West Coast of the US. Americans of Japanese descent were shamefully transported and incarcerated in concentration camps, forfeiting all their property.
So the US was now at war on Japan as Roosevelt wanted. But what was behind Hitler's decision to declare war against the US? The Tripartite Pact did not stipulate the signatories to declare war in support of aggressive action, and the US entry into WWII was a pivotal event (for one thing, the US supplied 6 billion out of 7 billion tons of oil used by the Allies in the war).
So, I think I've finally found an explanation that makes sense of this apparent insanity.
In December 1941, German troops were stalled in front of Moscow, and Stalin launched his Winter Offensive. Hitler knew that his fate was sealed, unless something changed dramatically. In an act of desperation, Hitler tried to get Japan to reciprocate by declaring war on the Soviet Union, attack Vladivostok, and stop the Lend-Lease aid that was being shipped across the north Pacific. It might even draw off Soviet units.
About 50% of what the US sent to the Soviet Union used the Pacific route.
Certainly Japan was left with no choice but to attack the US, right? Maybe not. Had Japan avoided attacking the Philippines and Pearl Harbor, undoubtedly Roosevelt would have stepped up the restrictions and provocations against Japan. Roosevelt would have continued to find it impossible to get the US Congress to declare war on Japan since only European interests were lost, and I don't think that after moving the US fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, even Roosevelt would have been able to move the US Pacific Fleet to Manila.
If Hitler wasn't in dire straights and the war against the Soviet Union still seemed winnable, he would likely not have declared war on the US . In that case, Roosevelt would certainly have still begun Lend-Lease to the Soviets at the end of October 1941, but likely at an increased rate, perhaps as much as double overall.
Beginning with Winter 1941, there would be a probability of a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. An earlier attack would be risky due to the eastern Pacific hurricane season, which occurs between mid-May and the end of November each year, peaking around September 10th.
Fall 1941: Japan does not attack the US due to hurricane season
Winter 1941: 3, 4, 5, 6 Japan attacks the US, Hitler declares war against the US if Germany is at war with the Soviet Union, otherwise the US occupies itself with its parallel war with Japan.
Spring 1942: 3, 4, 5, 6 Japan attacks the US, Hitler declares war against the US if Germany is at war with the Soviet Union
Summer 1942: Japan does not attack the US due to hurricane season
Fall 1942: Japan does not attack the US due to hurricane season
Winter 1942 – 3, 4, 5, 6 Japan attacks the US, Hitler declares war against the US if Germany is at war with the Soviet Union
As long as the US is not at war, I would speculate that Lend-Lease might increase by 50% after Winter 1941.