The War Gamer
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Spurred on by reading official army, corps and division G-2 reports of the period, as well as post war documents and reports made by both sides pertaining to the specific area this game's campaign begins at, I was forced to slightly alter the American initial setup as well as add a short little exclusive rule to the game I hope becomes the campaign game standard due to its actual roots embedded in the historical record. As is indicated by the game rules, this game was not initially play tested before the American initial force setups and initial rules were established. Now despite the sentence you just read, this is NOT intended as a dig on the game's design by any means, as I think that given the resources and other limiting factors available at the time, the designer did a phenomenal job at putting this game together, and I wish to praise those efforts in every conceivable way. This is rather an attempt to simply fine tune the initial setup as well as enhance the game's exclusive rules with a minor addition.

In post war reports written by commanders involved in the area the campaign game shows, several intriguing facts come to light. First and foremost is the overall situation and condition of the American forces of the XIX and VII Corps for 12 September 1944. Seems as correctly indicated by the designers initial built in American limitations [Excl. rule 31.2.4], the units of the American First Army were in a poor state of Fatigue. This fatigue took its toll in three main ways; The first was in troop weariness, some having marched over sixty miles in just a few days to arrive at this setup location, and others by having recently fought in a major engagement just days prior to what you see displayed out before you on the game maps. Another was in vehicle breakdowns, and to a much lesser extent, combat losses. Most formations belonging to the First Army had a string of dilapidated vehicles going back as far as 350 miles in some cases, all in extreme physical decay and various degrees of mechanical malfunction, with none able to move further. The third indicator incorporated into the exclusive fatigue rule, is the orders handed down by First Army to the two corps in this area. Due to outrunning their supply lines, First Army issued orders for the two corps to Screen their fronts in order to keep contact with the enemy only, and not to heavily engage the enemy should they decide to put up a rigorous fight. This then is where players can see the designer did his homework, and kept the game to within historical parameters, and I for one was extremely pleased to discover this.

Unfortunately fatigue alone does not tell the whole story to the players whilst setting up the American forces because the Third Armor Division arrived the morning of 12 September in the area of Eupen, with only one-third of its total compliment of M4's still in service (the rest strewn all along roadways throughout France and the lowlands). This then would indicate to me at least, that each two and three step units in the division would at the very least have taken a step loss to reflect such incredible mechanical and to a lesser extent, combat losses. This as opposed to the meager three step losses players get to distribute among the division per the current initial setup of that division I therefore officially propose that the initial setup for the 12 September campaign game (and the 12 Sep Scenario setup), reflect that each Hybrid unit in the 3rd Arm Div be reduced one step. [Edit] I should add that it would be impossible to reduce just the M4 portion of a hybrid unit, because the last and final step of a hybrid unit is the M4 portion of the unit, but a step loss in game terms would have the same overall effect of reducing the capacity of those units having the desired historical impact.

Another piece of critical data obtained from command reports, was the fact that out of desperation, all the formations that begin the campaign game on map on 12 September '44, had sent their division motor pool allotment of trucks as far as 300 miles to the rear seeking out fuel and artillery ammo. It wasn't solely as the historical popularity would have you believe, that the Allies had simply outrun their supply lines, because if there were no losses of trucks on a massive scale, the distances across France would have only put a slight reduction in the deliveries. It was more attributed to the huge number of breakdowns all along roads in France and the lowlands of trucks and other logistical transport, that when added to the supply distance increases traveled, brought the First Army into a logistical nightmare. This then, the stripping of divisional truck transports, is why you as an American player are getting any supplies at all at this scale, and should then force a minimum three day suspension of the GOSS series rule governing Allied Divisional Assets [7.8.5].

As the American player assesses his or her initial options, it is important to be aware that the XIX Corps at this point can be stood down to provide an increase to the VII Corps Artillery Depletion Level. It is equally as important to realize that historically speaking, the only reason there is any activity along this portion of the front at this time is because the VII Corps General "Lightning Joe" Collins sold the idea to 1st Army to allow him to conduct a reconnaissance in force. As you can now see, Patton wasn't the only general playing that card. Be aware that due to the severe losses of M4's in the VII Corps and the limiting force recon orders they were under, any heavy resistance would halt further activity in that formation's sector that I think the exclusive fatigue rule and low number of strength points now available with this new reduction change, handles rather nicely.
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Kev.
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So what are the specific rules changes you would make?
 
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The War Gamer
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hipshot wrote:
So what are the specific rules changes you would make?


...highlighted in red for your convenience.
 
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Kev.
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Thank you.
 
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