Rob L
United States
New York
flag msg tools
mb
I've been enjoying the Dropshot and other WW-3 simulations and have sought to determine how each side would've sought to battle the other. My interest is most keen for the period when both powers appeared to be on near equal terms conventionally, which translates to the mid to late 1980s peaking in 1987 before drawing down into the 1990s. In my reseach I came across a number of interesting peices from that period, but of particular interest I think, was a recent paper that drew from many of these sources into a unified analysis.

The thesis paper is titles: Factors Affecting the Feasibility of a Warsaw Pact Invasion of Western Europe by corbin Williamson and is a free pdf download at:

http://repository.tamu.edu/bitstream/handle/1969.1/6465/Corb...

Of particular interest to Dropshot players is the case against a Soviet first use of Nukes in the 1980s, to include the Soviet Tactical Nuclear Blitzkreig option which I understood was in the Soviet historic warplans from their development of tactical nukes through the mid to late 1970's. Soviet belief being that precision conventional weapons made the early use of nukes more hazardous for exchange and less necessary to offset the advantage in nukes NATO depended upon for deterence early on.

Another interesting chapter was a discussion of Warsaw Pact general startegy during this period for invading West Europe. The plan calls for 4 major front formations 1) Central (Soviet WGF) 2) Luxembough (Soviet WGF) 3) Bavarian (Czechs and CGF) 4) Coastal (Poles and NGF) with smaller roles for the East Germans to include clearing west Berlin and as a micro Jutland Front.

In an a conventional battlefield the mobilization, detection and counter mobilization timing is hugely important and is covered in its own chapter. The scenario envisioned in the paper assumes a D-14 Pact Mobilization and decision by NATO to counter-mobilize at D-10. This gives sufficent time for many ReForGer units to be in Europe and available in advance of D-Day and to fortify Norway with the AMF and other designated units.

Maybe I / we can work out a "historical" 1987 scenario varient based on the information in this paper?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Costello
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Hi Rob;

I could swear I posted a reply a few ago. Oh, well.

Dropshot was designed so players could decide for themselves whether or not to use nukes, the scale of conflict, etc. The 'tournament rules' were specifically added to add an additional dimension of political interaction between sides and thus add depth to the game.

I did not use hard-wired mobilization rules because, with as many scenarios as were incorporated in the game, this would have significantly added to rules 'bulk' (already high).

Thus I would encourage you in your interest to experiment and come up with a fleshed out scenario along the lines you propose. I suggest you keep well within existing rules and game materials - my experience is that this will not only save you time but add to the liklihood of employment in the game.

If you do that, and post here, I will if you like add the file to the CSW folder on the game as well as on Web Grognards. This will give your scenario maximum exposure and credit.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Best Regards;

BC
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob L
United States
New York
flag msg tools
mb
Tony / BC thank you for the feedback and encouragement.

If I understand your comments correctly, the best means of approaching these concepts would be for me to design a new DS-III scenario much like the 1948 Original Berlin Crisis added to DS-I? If so I have a few ideas that I'd like to ask your thoughts about. I understand the wisdom of making such a scenario fit within the existing DS-III ruleset. I think that there may be a case for tweaking a few aspects to reflect what is described in the linked paper above.

As an example, I was considering the pace of the Reforger deployment and conclude that waiting for any of these forces to reach West Germany until the second player phase is accurate if NATO had little or no notice of a PACT attack. If NATO had a sense that an attack was likely, I would think that NATO could make the equivalent of a scramble table roll. If NATO is surprised then leave the Reforger forces in the US / UK. If fully ready, NATO could fully deploy their Reforger, AMF, and RDF defined forces but not initiate combat (i.e. not to Iran or North Africa). If only partially ready, roll a d6 for the number of units able to forward deploy starting with:
1) the AMF,
then 2-3) the AMF + 1 or both US / POMCUS Reforger units,
and lastly 4-6) the RDF units if the roll were high enough?

I'm supposing that the UK Reforger unit would take longer to deploy than the POMCUS us units and maybe slower than the US Light Corp.

Another tweak might be while Northern Norway is a strategic map hex, to treat it as if it were Mountain terrain with the 2 column shifts for the defense?

Without either tweak, Norway would normally need to await a likely invasion by two motor rifle corps from the Leningrad military district with only a strength 1 garrison, which I take to be the Norway's own military. Adding a 2 column defense plus the AMF, and the possibility of the US Light Corp and Marine division would better reflect the challenge the Soviets faced in the Arctic Front I would think. Again, NATO being caught by surprise would void most or all of these advantages making the original start accurate.

A final question based on the paper would be how to treat Romanian forces. DS-III 21.6 starts with the Romanians as active PACT member with a possibility of unrest or revolt. I get the sense for the paper that Romania might have begun as a neutral like Yugoslavia with the possibility of joining NATO maybe influenced by Yugoslavia's decision.

I hope that I can PM you a few other aspects I was considering such as introductory text ideas and starting conditions if that is okay?

Respectfully,

Rob L.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Costello
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Hi Rob;

1. "If I understand your comments correctly, the best means of approaching these concepts would be for me to design a new DS-III scenario much like the 1948 Original Berlin Crisis added to DS-I?"

Think I may have gotten confused early and replied thinking you were talking about Dropshot 1 and the '48 scenario. As I couldn't find that post later (I having line trouble when I typed it), I assumed you did not get it. Please disregard (unless of course you are interested in a post-WWII scenario).

2. "As an example, I was considering the pace of the Reforger deployment and conclude that waiting for any of these forces to reach West Germany until the second player phase is accurate if NATO had little or no notice of a PACT attack. If NATO had a sense that an attack was likely, I would think that NATO could make the equivalent of a scramble table roll."

That sounds fine! And your probable 'late deployments' do not seem far off. Except perhaps the UK, which was much closer than the US and maintained 'Reforger' elements at pretty high levels of readiness.

U.S. sources might have said at the time that, given technical dominance of US means of intel, no way could the Sov achieve such a degree of surprise. But recall 1968 when means were also 'good', yet 22 Pact divisions surreptitiously and successfully mobilized and rolled into Prague one morning, all the the shocked surprise of the West.


"the AMF,"

A die roll whether, or where, to deploy AMF would be fine, though in my philosophy I tend to prefer giving players most of the command decisions for theater.



"Another tweak might be while Northern Norway is a strategic map hex, to treat it as if it were Mountain terrain with the 2 column shifts for the defense?"

That would also be fine, but my philosophy was to leave as much "off map" combat as simple as possible. In doing this I recognized that we did not provide units for, say, Norway or Sweden in the case you cite nor other combat elements (TAC air, for instance). So I roughly equated everything as being about 'equal', for simplicities sake.


"A final question based on the paper would be how to treat Romanian forces. DS-III 21.6 starts with the Romanians as active PACT member with a possibility of unrest or revolt. I get the sense for the paper that Romania might have begun as a neutral like Yugoslavia with the possibility of joining NATO maybe influenced by Yugoslavia's decision."

Feel free to experiment. Keep in mind though that even in 1987, the Romanians realized that until quite recently, Soviet plans had been to involve massive use of nuclear weapons. So, if one were a Romanian leader, how far might one wish to go to antagonize the Soviets? No gain if one's country is left a radioactive cinder!

* Please be aware that publisher Peter Schutze has crafted a 'Dropshot Expansion Kit' and is looking for playtesters. You may want to look into that.

Best;

-BC


1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob L
United States
New York
flag msg tools
mb
Quote:
Hi Rob;

1.
Quote:
"If I understand your comments correctly, the best means of approaching these concepts would be for me to design a new DS-III scenario much like the 1948 Original Berlin Crisis added to DS-I?"


Think I may have gotten confused early and replied thinking you were talking about Dropshot 1 and the '48 scenario. As I couldn't find that post later (I having line trouble when I typed it), I assumed you did not get it. Please disregard (unless of course you are interested in a post-WWII scenario).


I did indeed also write to you about developing a 1945 Dropshot 1 scenario a week or more ago. I figure that a timeframe would be soon after VJ-Day as that would remove the complications of playing Japan as an active Axis power likely in alliance with the Soviets. I understood from the prologue of the Book Dropshot that there was a tentative plan similar to Unthinkable if war with the USSR began weeks after VJ Day. I’m unclear as to what the US capability was to produce atomic weapons in 1945-47 were there a continuing need for them and could base this on the 1948 nuclear limitations with the exception that turn 1 would not have full values available. Maybe the War on Hitler collapse tables would be more realistic? I’ll continue the Dropshot 1945 discussion in the DS-1 folder and see if it sparks interest.

Quote:
2.
Quote:
"As an example, I was considering the pace of the Reforger deployment and conclude that waiting for any of these forces to reach West Germany until the second player phase is accurate if NATO had little or no notice of a PACT attack. If NATO had a sense that an attack was likely, I would think that NATO could make the equivalent of a scramble table roll."


That sounds fine! And your probable 'late deployments' do not seem far off. Except perhaps the UK, which was much closer than the US and maintained 'Reforger' elements at pretty high levels of readiness.


I was basing some of the deployment times on Frank Chadwicks’ / GDW’s old Third World War which gave the UK based forces a slower response time than the forward REFORGER ones due to the POMCUS equipment being pre-positioned in West Europe.

Quote:
U.S. sources might have said at the time that, given technical dominance of US means of intel, no way could the Sov achieve such a degree of surprise. But recall 1968 when means were also 'good', yet 22 Pact divisions surreptitiously and successfully mobilized and rolled into Prague one morning, all the shocked surprise of the West.


That is a good insight on 1968 intel. I wonder how the NATO Intel explain that one? On the flip side, it may have been coincidence, but my German based AH-64 unit made its first post Desert Storm alert scramble in what we learned later coincided with the coup against Gorbachev in August 1991. I don’t know if it was all of NATO that went to high alert, but it seems they can move quickly when there is an apparent need to. I thought the scramble table would vary the situation the PACT faces on the ground at the start and may influence their opening round strategy.

Quote:
A die roll whether, or where, to deploy AMF would be fine, though in my philosophy I tend to prefer giving players most of the command decisions for theater.


My intention was to use the die roll only to determine how many REFORGER and RDF were able to get into position prior to the PACTs opening attack. I agree that the players should determine where to send these. My guess is that for 1987 the AMF, US 2nd Marine DIV and US Light Corp were Norway bound, the REFORGER forces to North and Central Germany and the balance of the RDF to Saudi and the Gulf States.

Quote:
Quote:
"Another tweak might be while Northern Norway is a strategic map hex, to treat it as if it were Mountain terrain with the 2 column shifts for the defense?"


That would also be fine, but my philosophy was to leave as much "off map" combat as simple as possible. In doing this I recognized that we did not provide units for, say, Norway or Sweden in the case you cite nor other combat elements (TAC air, for instance). So I roughly equated everything as being about 'equal', for simplicities sake.


I figured that the two key regions off map to be featured in a 1987 scenario were the Turkish and Norwegian flanks of NATO. Turkey at least as I tend to play them focuses their forces on the defense of the Istanbul city hex to gain from the DRM and to block the Black Sea Fleet from reaching the Med for as long as possible. My though on Norway is that the ASW garrison strength of 1 likely reflect the Norwegian forces and should be a simple challenge for the two Soviet Armies in Leningrad. By making Norway a mountainous terrain region and with possibly the AMF or more defenders, it becomes much more like the challenge that is depicted in the linked analysis and simulations that focus on the area like TWW: Artic Front. Not a large defense force but a potentially one capable of delaying the Soviet forces until reinforcements can arrive. Otherwise I think the strategic map as is works well without need for changes.

Quote:
Quote:
"A final question based on the paper would be how to treat Romanian forces. DS-III 21.6 starts with the Romanians as active PACT member with a possibility of unrest or revolt. I get the sense for the paper that Romania might have begun as a neutral like Yugoslavia with the possibility of joining NATO maybe influenced by Yugoslavia's decision."


Feel free to experiment. Keep in mind though that even in 1987, the Romanians realized that until quite recently, Soviet plans had been to involve massive use of nuclear weapons. So, if one were a Romanian leader, how far might one wish to go to antagonize the Soviets? No gain if one's country is left a radioactive cinder!


I see the logic in your thinking. While Romania succeeded in keeping Soviet forces out of their territory, unlike Bulgaria there was no obvious reason for the Soviets to keep them there. I could see the Romanians fighting, hard enough to keep the Soviets from nuking them but not excessively in battle and could see them other declaring neutrality or if the opportunity presented itself revolt if war were to have occurred then. Upon further consideration, I’m thinking that the Collapse tables already reflect the likelihood of Romanian unease.

Quote:
* Please be aware that publisher Peter Schutze has crafted a 'Dropshot Expansion Kit' and is looking for playtesters. You may want to look into that.


I saw that he started this and was unsure that it was an active project. I’ll see if I can contact him and possibly be of any assistance.

Thank you again
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Corporal Dave
United States
Champaign
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Tony Coster wrote:
Dropshot was designed so players could decide for themselves whether or not to use nukes...

So you can have a full-on excellent game and never go nuclear? I did not realize that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bruce Costello
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Most of the history of the early period of the Cold War focused on heavy reliance of nukes by the United States.

As time went on and the USSR became better equipped, this strategy ("Massive Retaliation") turned into one called "Flexible Response", in which Nukes were not the first recourse.

That said, the game was designed such that players are never forced to go to Nukes, nor refrain from their use, so there are more possibilities of exploration of varied strategies than first seems obvious.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.