Troop Quality

Discussion around the Second World War.
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hammurabi70
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Troop Quality

Post by hammurabi70 »

Many rules, for all periods, tend to divide troops into three categories:
:arrow: Raw/Green
:arrow: Regular/Line
:arrow: Veteran/Elite

In Normandy both the Br 7th Armoured and Br 51st Highland Divisions were considered to have performed below expectations. This is normally blamed on fatigue and war weariness. Whatever the cause, it seems unlikely that they can readily fit in the three forms I have outlined. How would you recommend this is dealt with.
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Richard B.
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by Richard B. »

Downgrade them one level, so instead of Veteran they are just regular :geek:
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908
cartfc
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by cartfc »

I always thought that the Command Decision approach was good. Rating battlefield competence separately to morale. So 7th AD were rated veteran, but with low morale. Very flexible system and you could, for example, rate Russian Worker Battalions as Raw, but with high morale to reflect their enthusiasm, but lack of experience.

Cheers Fred.
dadlamassu
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by dadlamassu »

It all depends on whose "expectations" are considered and which "historian/commentator" is being given credence. We're the expectations realistic etc. Almost all German units and formations performed below expectations. 21st Panzer was expected to drive the British back into the sea - so downgrade them. The coastal divisions were expected to defeat the invasion - so downgrade them. The Canadians were expected to take Caen. The SS units were expected to defeat everything and they did not while suffering disproportionately high casualties - so downgrade them. Also you could allow those firing at SS infantry to hit more of them to reflect this.

Actually just downgrade everybody as few, if any, met the expectations of the planners and high command.

It is impossible to write a set of rules for a playable game that suits every variation of opinion. So do not use these artificial opinionated systems and rely on the dice to create the random aspects of battle.
UshCha
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by UshCha »

dadlamassu,
i got almost to the end thinking you got it right then you ruined it completely. Dice can only provide randomness, you canot in any way shape or form, model a systematic trend by a die score, to me that is one of the worst trates in wargaming and unfortunately all too prevalent, die rolling at low ods for what would be FDF fire is another example. Die rolling isnot a replacement any and everything is not a solution and to do so for me ruins the game by destroying its credibility.

Interestingly we do allow a fanatic type. They do allow fanatics to ignore suppressions (brave men who will stand when more sensible ones are hunkering down). In the right circumstances its anuseful attribute but it does mean they take casualties faster, so can be expended very quickly in an assult. They are a singularly difficult opponet when dug in as they take casulaties but are much harder to suppress.
What really are the traights of veteram low morale troops? I would hazard the following.

1) they don't ever bunch up in attack or even in defence, keeping your distance helps you survive.
2) they won't slack digging trenches as they know digging saves lives.
3) reluctant in attack, easily suppressed when doing so safely or very keen to cease attacking to take up a safe protected postion.
4) Conversesly thay may be better to realise that they need to get off the killing ground if in a difficult position.
5) if assulted they my be less keen to run knowing fighting off the enemy is the best survival strategy.

So questions on their behaviour

1) if you are war weary and well trained do you take the oppertunity to shoot less so as to lessen you exposure if there is no immeduiate threat of attack. as most of the time you are shooting to suppress does your fire to say, gain fire superiority look like lesser trained but more motivated troops more prepered to take risks so shoot more accuracy in such situations is not key..
2are they more willing to surrender than fight to the last man.

Now, I am no advocate of hidious numbers of rules but without the answeres to the above on what you think the definitions mean you have no hope of getting it even vaugely correct however may ryules you had.

It may be that folk don't even consider my list valid and have an entirely diffrent perception. That would again be interesting, even within limited paramaters we may not chose the same values.
dadlamassu
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by dadlamassu »

You missed the point about die rolling. You appear to be using the opinion of a favoured set of "historians" who pick out a few formations on one side at random but ignore the other formations in all armies. Choosing 2 British formations at random is no better than rolling a die to decide those who were below, meets, above or exceeds expectations.

You may like to research how to carry out the Measurements of Combat Power assessments.

There are numerous studies of troops in combat and the effects of battle on the individual, units, and formations. I would suggest visiting a good library and carrying out some research. There are some very deep ones carried out after Normandy, Battle of the Bulge etc. Regrettably the indoctrination of the Wehmacht meant that similar studies on Stalingrad, Kursk etc were not made to the same extent. The risk of death by firing squad for defeatism tended to reduce honesty. Anecdotal accounts and documents captured by the Russians indicate a very high rate of suicide and self inflicted wounds in The Heer in particular from late 1942 onwards. Unfortunately I have not been able get hold of similar Russian/Soviet reports that were done though I have seen them referred to.
Richard B.
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by Richard B. »

It seems to me the old adage holds true - there are old soldiers and bold soldiers but, no old, bold soldiers

The British divisions had, had enough - they were no longer the dynamic formations of the desert war (can you blame them)!

I`d reduce their movement, flexibility and restrict their firing in attack and also weaken their morale level (more ready to go to ground and call it a day)

In defence, they would be stronger morale wise, but less dynamic and flexible as other units in their classification (again more likely to hide than expose themselves to greater risk).
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908
UshCha
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Joined: 21 Sep 2016, 12:41

Re: Troop Quality

Post by UshCha »

Rchard from your description they almost behave as for lesser, poorly trained trained troops. Perhaps give thenm a small edge in defensive close quarter combat if you were desperate and would live with yet more rules. Looks like todays rules are close enough to get a representation of the behaviour but taking dadlamassu's point, it does meand you need a common agreed definition of the issue is to start with.

We always found that in writing our rules the hardes bit was not the rules, but clearly understanding the outcome you wanted, independent of how the rules got you to that point. Once you had that thre mechanisms are relatively easy to define.
Richard B.
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Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 06:54

Re: Troop Quality

Post by Richard B. »

From my reading they did behave with less aggression and less dynamically than expected - because they were tired, had been fighting for 4+ yrs (now all of course). you asked what i would do, I told you :D

The SS in Normandy particularly 12th seemed to fight with a fanatically ignorant knowledge of what battlefield weapons could do to them - hence the casualties - yes the blunted Allied attacks (which were clumsy and obvious), but in doing so weakened themselves, excellent morale but poor field drill, I would impose penalties on their defences (downgrading one level maybe?) - hardcover to softcover OR soft cover to light cover/exposed?

We don`t do minutia in our games, I tend to run historic based tabletop actions, the outcome is usually predicted by history (of course fuck-ups and "brilliance" :D sometimes occur).

The morale & fighting abilities of the combatants are written in as part of the game.
"“Sir with the compliments of my officer, your shooting was excellent – you killed four of our men”!
Un-named Traillieur to an artillery officer at R`Fakah, Morocco, Feb. 29th, 1908
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hammurabi70
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Re: Troop Quality

Post by hammurabi70 »

Many thanks for the comments.
Richard B. wrote: 13 Dec 2019, 18:32 Downgrade them one level, so instead of Veteran they are just regular :geek:
I think too blunt an approach.
cartfc wrote: 13 Dec 2019, 23:21 I always thought that the Command Decision approach was good. Rating battlefield competence separately to morale. So 7th AD were rated veteran, but with low morale. Very flexible system and you could, for example, rate Russian Worker Battalions as Raw, but with high morale to reflect their enthusiasm, but lack of experience.

Cheers Fred.
A more subtle approach and one I think that gets into the dilemma. Technically they are going to be very sound so will be, or should be, very good at defence at least. However, being old soldiers, or with a good leavening of them, are unlikely to be bold.
Richard B. wrote: 15 Dec 2019, 11:35 The SS in Normandy particularly 12th seemed to fight with a fanatically ignorant knowledge of what battlefield weapons could do to them - hence the casualties - yes the blunted Allied attacks (which were clumsy and obvious), but in doing so weakened themselves, excellent morale but poor field drill, I would impose penalties on their defences (downgrading one level maybe?) - hardcover to softcover OR soft cover to light cover/exposed?
Interestingly I have rated both SS, allied special forces and paratroops as 'fanatic' i.e. willing to take losses to achieve objectives. I do think technical competence and motivation should be distinct items. Thus I differentiate between green troops and trained troops, the former meaning their morale is fragile but with tried troops there is a greater capability. Fortress troops and Ostruppen are neither competent or motivated!
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