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Subject: Odd combat factors for the German Panzer Divsions rss

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Ben Bosmans
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After reading the rules and first attempt at playing I stumbled upon a strange thing about this game.

Of the 10 Panzer Divisions 4 Div Germany fielded during this campaign had only one Panzer Regiment, not 2 like the others. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th were in this case.

Yet ALL Pz Divisions have the same combat strength... Also the 6th Pz Div consisted mainly of PzKpfw 35 which was clearly inferior to the usual PzIII.

I am in no way an expert, but after playing/converting the different battles of France40 to the scenarios of Panzer: Game Expansion Set, Nr4 – France 1940 with its excellent TO&E booklet it seems odd obvious hardware limits have no influence between these divisions in the game as such.

Is this commonly done in these 40-series, because this is a kind of bummer to see what actually drove the fighting...

It raises serious simulation questions...
 
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Doug DeMoss
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Hmm, I distinctly recall a couple of Panzer divisions being rated differently, and if you look at the counters closely, you'll see clearly that the designer is aware of the equipment differences. That said, do these differences matter at the level of the game? I very much doubt it, as they're fairly small differences even at the tactical level.

As Guderian said, the primary weapon of the tank is its engine. By and large, that's what matters here. It doesn't matter that the Pz 35 has a gun with a little lower muzzle velocity. The difference you'll find that IS important is Rommel's penchant for taking decisive action; the 7th Panzer has a higher movement rating in addition to his other benefits.
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Ben Bosmans
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All 10 Pz units have the same attack - defense - movement of 8-4-7, except the 7 Pz which has a movement factor of 8, probably because it represents Rommel.
The only other exception is the 9th Panzer Div with 8-3-7 factors but it does not explain the complete lack of a second Panzer Regiment in the 6, 7, 8 or 9th Divisions.

In my view the Panzer combat factors were used for play balance issues (getting bridge head tunings) and so correct OOB’s were ignored, hence why the 7Pz had even a better move but still lacked a Panzer Regt compared to the Pz Div 1,2,3,4,5 and 10...

I wonder if other designs in this 40 series show the same liberties. On the other hand it demonstrates a clear difference in research and implementation between these 2 games.





 
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Rob Frank
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Page 22 under Design Notes, Tank Forces...

"The strength of the Panzer brigades is because each brigade, except the 9th, had four tank battalions instead of the two they would have in 1941."

The counters are Brigades not Regiments.
X = Brigade
III = Regiment (only the 9th)

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Michael McCalpin
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Ben_Bos wrote:
All 10 Pz units have the same attack - defense - movement of 8-4-7, except the 7 Pz which has a movement factor of 8, probably because it represents Rommel.
The only other exception is the 9th Panzer Div with 8-3-7 factors but it does not explain the complete lack of a second Panzer Regiment in the 6, 7, 8 or 9th Divisions.

The 9th Pz armored unit is a 5-3-7 when at "full strength", smaller than the other German armored units. Not disagreeing with your overall thesis, but setting the record straight.
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Doug DeMoss
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Why do you think Panzer's notes are the definitive ones? Looking to a somewhat comparable game to France '40 (but significantly more detailed), Victory in the West: Plan Yellow, The French Campaign 1940, I see a LITTLE variation among the Panzer divisions. But again, that's a game that gets further into the weeds.

I don't see the problem here. If you want a more detailed game, go play a more detailed game.
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Ben Bosmans
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Legionary312AD wrote:
Page 22 under Design Notes, Tank Forces...

"The strength of the Panzer brigades is because each brigade, except the 9th, had four tank battalions instead of the two they would have in 1941."

The counters are Brigades not Regiments.
X = Brigade
III = Regiment (only the 9th)



That is the error btw.
The Pz Divisions WITHOUT the second Pz Regt did not even HAVE a Bde staff.

So the France40 game has it complete wrong indeed as the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th did not even have a Bde staff, but just contained one Pz Regiment.

A serious error probably caused by play testing as the game uses a very artificial algorythm to let the German Panzers succeed in crossing the Meuse at narrow odds.

Any tampering with the combat (attack) odds would have complicated things to demonstrate the narrow margin they had in successfully crossing the river.

I am not taking the side of Panzer designer, BUT I am very impressed with that game’s actual data both in structure and hardware but also by its impressive TO&E.

Sometimes this complete lack of decently researched TO&E bothers me much in many present day wargames.

Sadly it makes France40 less credible in my opinion as it ALSO cut out a lot of other parts of the actual front to demonstrate what happened.

But if that means tampering with 40% of the actual Pz forces (both in quantity as in quality), the game suddenly became broken as a correct analysis.

I think I have the right to be critical when it comes down to justifying purchases.
 
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Michael McCalpin
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Ben_Bos wrote:

Sadly it makes France40 less credible in my opinion as it ALSO cut out a lot of other parts of the actual front to demonstrate what happened.

Funny: I always thought that by focusing on this one section, the game allows the campaign to develop more or less historically without the “idiot rules” that are necessary in other games where the Allied player has complete control of all theatre assets. In other words, I think of the scope of the game as a feature, and not as a bug. That said, I just bought a copy of Case Yellow, 1940: The German Blitzkrieg in the West, so I’ll have a crack at the “idiot rules” and see how they go.
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Fred Thomas
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Look at the actual tank content of each division. 6th Panzer may have had Pz35's, but it had 118 of them. The most PzIII's anyone had was 58.

Not knowing how Mark rated the various tank types, I took Nigel Askey's strength values from his Barbarossa books and then cut the value of the PzI's and PzII's by 1/2 and bumped up Pz35's by 3/5 and Pz38's by 1/4. (The Czech tanks are still weaker than the PzIII's after the adjustments.) After normalizing I get 8 for everyone except 4th = 7 and 9th = 5. So Mark's values could have been arrived at by taking an accurate count of the tanks and then applying multipliers. You may disagree with the multipliers, but that's subjective. There is no objective way to prove that Mark got it wrong.
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Ben Bosmans
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fredthomas wrote:
Look at the actual tank content of each division. 6th Panzer may have had Pz35's, but it had 118 of them. The most PzIII's anyone had was 58.

Not knowing how Mark rated the various tank types, I took Nigel Askey's strength values from his Barbarossa books and then cut the value of the PzI's and PzII's by 1/2 and bumped up Pz35's by 3/5 and Pz38's by 1/4. (The Czech tanks are still weaker than the PzIII's after the adjustments.) After normalizing I get 8 for everyone except 4th = 7 and 9th = 5. So Mark's values could have been arrived at by taking an accurate count of the tanks and then applying multipliers. You may disagree with the multipliers, but that's subjective. There is no objective way to prove that Mark got it wrong.


The most logical reasoning would be that he simply copy pasted the values onto the 10 Pz Divisions and this seems to be the case in reading the design notes where he spoke of Tank Brigades where 40% of these Divisions did not even have a Bde staff.

It shows the liberties from a designer to balance things out.

This is not a problem in a generic wargame or a tactical wargame where only a portion of the acutal forces took part of an identity.

BUT I see the pitfalls this brings in designing operational simulations.
 
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Harry Bosch
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Ben_Bos wrote:
Of the 10 Panzer Divisions 4 Div Germany fielded during this campaign had only one Panzer Regiment, not 2 like the others. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th were in this case.

Yet ALL Pz Divisions have the same combat strength... Also the 6th Pz Div consisted mainly of PzKpfw 35 which was clearly inferior to the usual PzIII.


I think its a mistake to look at this level of detail in an operational game. The only time it makes a difference is when the unit behaved significantly different from other units (and as we can see with the 7th Panzer movement the designer did look at some differences).

I glanced through The Blitzkrieg Legend this morning as that book is the main source for this game. Karl-Heinz Frieser doesn’t rate the Pz III as a significant better Tank then the Pz 35 / Pz 38. He only looks at the gun and armor so a 3.7 cm and relatively light armor for all these models. When I use the strength numbers from Panzertruppen vol1 you get PzIII equipped Divisions with 40 to 58 battletanks. The 35/38 equipped Divisions have 91 to 118 of those tanks so even if you factor in that the tanks will break down more often there are significantly more of them.

Didn’t have time to look at what the book said about the operational use of the Pz Divs but if in the field the 1 regiment divisions performed the same roles as the larger divisions it could be a perfectly good reason to make them all brigades in the game.
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Fred Thomas
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Ben_Bos wrote:
The most logical reasoning would be that he simply copy pasted the values onto the 10 Pz Divisions and this seems to be the case in reading the design notes where he spoke of Tank Brigades where 40% of these Divisions did not even have a Bde staff.

It shows the liberties from a designer to balance things out.

6th, 7th, and 8th divs had a panzer regiment plus a panzer battalion. Would you have been happy if he had put a bracket around the x to show that they were brigade-sized units rather than actual brigades? Hardly anyone cares about details that are solely cosmetic. (But he did act on my suggestion to do that for Stalingrad '42: due to countersheet limitations he had to amalgamate the Italian CCNN brigades into a single division-sized unit. You can't see it on the image in the gallery - it came later after getting rid of the Mt. Elbrus chit freed up a green spot.)

Rather than assuming the worst about Mark, it's best to think of him as an intuitive genius. I had used Glantz's strengths from Endgame at Stalingrad for the Uranus scenario I submitted, but he insisted that the Stalingrad Front was playing too strong. Either I had to select some units to be reduced or he'd do it for me. So that provoked me to spend hours digging through Pamyat Naroda looking for strength returns, and it turned out that Mark was right. Glantz had the divisions of Stalingrad Front significantly too strong. They were actually so weak that in a normal army they'd have been pulled out of the line for rebuilding.
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Ben Bosmans
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I will close this discussion, but the Doc was pretty clear in the Panzer TO&E for the brand new 1940 France expansion.

6th, 7th, 8th and 9th fielded just a single Panzer Regiment. No Panzer Brigade Staff, NOR an extra Panzer Batallion. I have no idea where you got that extra Bn from.

The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 10th had 2 Panzer Regiments and hence a Bde Staff.

The new Panzer TO&E contains 24 pages of very detailed OOB, just for this 1940 FRANCE Campaign, with details going up to Platoon level.

It just surprised me that this difference was rather obvious between the 2 designers.


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Fred Thomas
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6th Pz had 11th rgt and 65th bn, 7th Pz had 25th rgt and 66th bn, and 8th Pz had 10th rgt and 67th bn (Jentz's Panzer Truppen). Does Panzer really give them only two battalions each?
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P Conkey
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"The Blitzkrieg Legend" has charts for the 1st and 7th divisions. The 1st had two panzer regiments, each with two battalions. The 7th had one panzer regiment with three battalions.

The 7th Panzer Division was formed from the 2nd Light Division including one panzer battalion, the 66th, on October, 18 1939 with the 25th Panzer Regiment (two battalions) joining the division in November. The 66th was bsorbed into 25th panzer regiment becoming III/25th Panzer. ("The Panzer Legions", Samuel W. Mitcham Jr)

The 6th, 8th and 9th were also formed from "Light Divisions" and additional tank regiments between the Polish and French campaigns, although the 9th seems only to have had two panzer battalions (see http://niehorster.org/011_germany/books_gwwii/vol_2-1__28-07...)

PS Also according to the charts in "The Blitzkrieg Legend" the 7th Panzer Division had 4 infantry battalions (organized in two regiments), versus the 3 infantry battalions (organized in a single regiment) in the 1st Panzer Division, although based on the unit symbols it would seem the infantry battalions in the 1st were motorized, whereas those in the 7th were not.
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