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Re: [GZG] ground combat campaigns

From: John Tailby <john_tailby@x...>
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2009 19:43:35 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: [GZG] ground combat campaigns

Gzg-l mailing list I understand
it, the problem in WWI wasn't so much logistics as communications. You
attacked the enemy front lines and some of your assault units broke
through unfortunately these units could not signal the exploitation
forces to get them to the break through fast enough to exploit the
breakthrough. Many battles had the cavalry divisions sit back waiting
for the signal that they could ride through and exploit, because the
infantry had broken through. The signal never came in time and the
defenders could reinforce more easily than the attackers.
The classic logistics problem is the western desert in ww2. Both sides
had a supply base at opposite ends of the field of battle as the front
lines moved back and forwards it became easier for the defender to
resupply and harder for the attacker and so the pendulum swung back and
I think you also overlook the political dimension. Going to war isn't a
rational decision, it's often armed robbery at nation level, they have
something we want and we have the means to take it. Or the government
sees the way of externalising the problems of its own people by uniting
them against a common external enemy. Winning the peace and having a
vibrant economy with a happy population can simply make you the target
of those that don't have what you have. Many countries believe that they
are inherently superior to others and if they are not at the top of the
list then it is other countries that are holding them down. All these
kinds of ideas provide governments with the reasoning to go to war.
In one FT campaign my empire bordered another empire, my neighbour
wasn't particularly aggressive but had a larger economy so would out
produce me and would eventually be able to walk in with a much larger
fleet. I had a small opportunity to defeat my neighbours border forces
and entrench myself in the frontier. So I attacked with what I had. On
paper (approximate ship sizes I had the inferior forces) but my combat
cruisers were more efficiently designed that my opponents carrier
cruisers and I had the tools to beat off their attack and then kill
them. I also ambushed the reinforcing battleships (2 ships with no
escort) and annihilated them with what looked like an inferior force.
However I used a new technology combination and tactics which resulted
in the destruction of the two capital ships for the loss of 6 frigates.
These victories stunned my neighbour and forced him onto the defensive
to protect his core systems. It also elevated my threat level
 to all my other neighbours while they tried to work out new counters to
my technology trap.
In most of our FT campaigns, the main reasons battles are fought are
because there are resources that people want. Battles that are two one
sided usually has one fleet running pretty quickly unless they have to
stand and fight to protect an valuable installation or colony or some
other kind of strategic location. Otherwise it is because people want a
fight, they think that they can beat the enemy fleet either locally or
on a broad front and want to reduce the enemy fleet prior to invasion. I
have seen several games where the attacker thought they had the upper
hand and then got defeated because they lacked the doctrine to defeat
the tactical puzzle the enemy fleet presented.



From:Roger Burton West <>
Sent: Wed, 30 December, 2009 4:33:39 AM
Subject: Re: [GZG] ground combat campaigns

On Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 10:16:01AM -0500, Tom B wrote:

>The momentum problem RBW mentioned is also likely. I know Robert M
>says he likes battles at the board to determine outcomes, but
>realistically, this isn't the truth. Sun Tzu will tell you that you
>are supposed to arrive at the field of battle having already one. In
>the real world, production advantages, technological breakthroughs,
>etc. will inevitably give strategic advantage which will show up at
>any battle. "Hmmm... that blasted American showed up with USAF.... I
>guess we don't get to do much with our armour...".

Here's a thought. I'm not a great military theoretician but it makes
sense to me: in the real world, nobody deliberately goes into battle
without a force superiority (i.e. enough to be reasonably sure that he's
going to win). So battles are basically never going to be "fleet A and
fleet B, of equal point value, show up and shoot it out".

Battles that _do_ happen:

- ambushes of various sorts - one side is relying on surprise as a force

- one side thinks it has superior forces, but the other side has more

- one side has inferior mobility and simply can't get away.

- last stand, hold off the attackers until something else has been done.

- attacking a point target, basically the reverse of last stand -
attackers are out to destroy a single high-value asset and don't really
care about their own losses.

Probably more that I haven't thought of. Seems to me that a campaign
system ought to concentrate on generating (and scoring) lopsided
engagements of this sort.

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