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SimpleSimon

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  1. Probably, but it's ironic that during the 1930s Britain assessed its stance against Italy with great pessimism. Unwarranted pessimism but nonetheless the British were really insecure about their dispositions in the Mediterranean. Malta and the Suez were not highlighted as assets but as vulnerabilities (the war would show both of them to be the former) but some of the depression in British military circles might also just have been British Generals pushing the government to spend more on them. I'm reading Fighters over the Fleet now and Friedman is inadvertently highlighting in the first chapter how poorly the British had assessed Italian capabilities. It seems as if the Italian military's bluster and boasting was successful, unfortunately for Italy, Mussolini also seems to have bought the rhetoric. He did internalize many of the facts too, but he was still very overly-optimistic in the sort of way someone with a self righteous fantasy of great destiny would be. It should've been obvious after Ethiopia that he intended to apply the Italian military to his problems but the Piedmontese Generals were more concerned with career advancement and winning peer rivalries than responsibly performing their duties as the regime's advisers. That right there is a lesson I think...
  2. Mussolini was an easy scapegoat who rightfully deserved much of the blame. If justice was a natural law though then Badoglio, Graziani, De Bono, and the rest of the Piedmontese Generals would've been arrested and locked up after the war. These are men who signed off on unprovoked bombing raids against Spain and commanded gas attacks against Ethiopian villages. Because they cooperated and then proudly characterized themselves as anti-communist after the war the Allies rewarded them with leniency they most certainly did not deserve. They should've all ended up in Spandau Prison along with Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer. This is just what happens when leaders substitute bluster for policy and violence for competence. The lesson of the 20th century to me is that war truly solves nothing, and is the last resort of stupid, irresponsible leaders. I kind of left out the Italian Air Force too. Regia Aeronautica was an interesting little organization (emphasis on little.) It utterly embodied the Italian military's problem of only being able to grasp at the straws of the future rather than to fully hold it. Whereas the Luftwaffe only lost its supremacy after its enemies beat it out them the Regia Aeronautica arguably never held any to begin with. Against France or Britain it was hopelessly outmatched and against Yugoslavia it had nothing to bomb. Douhet was the ultimate proponent of the Strategic Air Offensive the USAAF and RAF so loved except that those two both had the resources to make it a reality and Italy did not. This was certainly not for incompetence, Italian Aero Firms were industry leading and built all kinds of excellent airplanes. One must remember pre-war the Italians were fierce competitors with Britain over the Schneider Cup and the Italians designed and built some of the most powerful engines in the world in the 1920s. The Sparviero and SM81 were successful but expensive 3 engine aircraft and Italy built the only successful Strategic Bomber the Axis had at all during the war, the Piaggio P.108, but they only built 24 of them. Making enough engines to equip fleets of fighters and bombers proved impossible for Italy and in the end they had to import German DB 600 engines frequently. As a result, the Regia Aeronautica could never form itself along the Douhetian lines it so revered and crucially this left it nearly bereft of the less ambitious but more attainable airplane designs that the Luftwaffe and Soviet Union loved so much, dive bombers, tactical bombers, and ground attack aircraft. These would've been absolutely crucial airplanes for making up the Italian Army's deficiencies in tactical artillery and anti-tank weaponry. The CR32 and CR42 were the two best (and last) biplane fighters ever built and they could be surprisingly dangerous even to much newer designs. (A pair of P-38s were likely shot down by Fiat CR42s in 1944!) British pilots defending Malta remarked that getting into a dogfight on even terms with either of them in the Hurricane was a fatal mistake, but that as long as pilots took advantage of their speed they were better off. Bi-plane fighters were the product of a mentality that reflected the lessons of the last war. The belief that aerial battles were fought out in single huge furballs rather than an affair of drawn out attrition between airplanes that were incrementally outperforming and outnumbering each other with each new model. The later idea did not favor the capabilities of Italy and so of course it was not pursued but the former idea only worked as intended if your enemy played into it. This last thought returns us to the fundamental problem of Italy's thinking. Italian strategy would've worked flawlessly if all her enemies behaved exactly as she hoped they would 100% of the time...
  3. The US Army could not stomach the same kind of body counts that were common on the Ostfront or even in China-Burma because of the precarious nature of the Grand Alliance and because it was fighting on the behalf of a Democracy, and was accountable to public opinion of the war. Americans were deeply skeptical of the "Germany First" strategy, which seemed an awful lot like a British ploy to get someone else to fight their war. The American public also deeply resented both the draft and the accompanying rations of raw materials and luxury foods like meat and dairy, even though this rationing was nowhere near as severe as in Britain or Germany. Despite all the "rah rah Pearl Harbor" bluster of the recruitment drives the fact is the American public's interest in the war was distant and its motivation to prosecute it minimal. The United States was directly threatened by precisely none of the Axis powers, and the public thought and cared little for the consequences of an Axis victory. American men in arms were seen as and saw themselves as "Citizen Soldiers", civilians in uniform, who were doing the Army and the Allies a big favor by being present at all. As a result, American strategy had to operate with great prudence because a "Stalingrad on the Rhine" would've been a completely unacceptable outcome for Roosevelt's administration and might well have reversed American commitment to the "Germany First" strategy agreed upon. As a result, American Generals and Commanders were perceived to be operating under an excessive caution when really they were left little choice in how they fought by Washington. German Generals often noted the seemingly bizarre tendency of American Divisions to advance "one Brigade at a time" when really what the Americans were doing was just compartmentalizing their attacks so that a setback didn't turn into a major disaster. Nobody wanted to be the guy who lost a Company or a Regiment or God forbid a Division because the fact was right after they pinned the Medal on your chest for all that brave sacrifice you'd still be George Pickett in 1944. If your career has been in the US military and you planned on retiring from the US military than you did not want to be him. Inversely, the US Army's special formations, its Armored Divisions, Combat Commands, and its much celebrated Airborne all tended to be very motivated and aggressive, to the point where they were almost dangerously reckless. The 82nd and 101st narrowly dodged total annihilation on more than one occasion and the Armored Divisions were notorious for leaving trails of knocked out Shermans up single highways (which Belton Cooper seized upon to claim in his book that the Sherman was a bad tank, and not just that American Armored Divisions were doing a bad job trying to ape the Blitzkrieg).
  4. More or less. Try out some of the maps with AI attack plans and you'll see that, no, they do not explicitly conduct fire and maneuver the way the players do. Since the AI just follows a pre-planned time table and does not react to unexpected or unplanned moves you make. On the other hand, this is probably a bit more realistic than many give it credit for. I think we tend to downplay the player's omniscient super powers and extensive micro-management capabilities. Real troops didn't have me passing down my instant and perfect reception of battlefield details instantaneously like a hive mind. Of course many will also say with justification that the AI is unrealistically passive and stubborn. I think in the end the AI does conduct "attacks", but in a rather heavy-handed and predictable manner.
  5. Pretty much. It seems to me like a lot of the time people just expect way too much of their Assault elements. It takes a lot of preparation, thorough preparation, for an infantry close assault to be successful which is often why it was not a preferred method of attack. It was more like something you did to mop up remains, not win battles.
  6. If field accounts and AARs are what you're looking for I advise lots of caution with them because the sources are often lacking context, or are less than impartial and you may end up with an inaccurate picture of how it all worked. The only book on tactics I would recommend is Rommel's book, Infantry Attacks. Compared to many authors he struck me as very fair and sober in his assessments, and recalled many details of his fights with great lucidity. Generals read his book for a reason. If you're new to the game I would suggest starting small and only going big once you've mastered the basics. Start with scenarios on the Platoon or even Squad level, give yourself the responsibility of managing the small before going big. With enough experience you'll see all the similarities and differences between all the sides. Fundamentally you'll learn the two most important elements, the frequently inter-related duo of firepower and numbers, are the surest path to victory and how you apply them is what characterizes the sides.
  7. SimpleSimon

    10 Myths about Afghanistan article

    "The reality is the Afghan mujahideen did not defeat the Soviets on the battlefield. They won some important encounters, notably in the Panjshir valley, but lost others. In sum, neither side defeated the other. The Soviets could have remained in Afghanistan for several more years but they decided to leave when Gorbachev calculated that the war had become a stalemate and was no longer worth the high price in men, money and international prestige." Sounds conspicuously like "losing" to me. I do believe that overall the war was not the major catastrophe for the Soviet Union often described as such by its enemies, and that it's connection to the USSR's demise is only nebulous, at best. The idea that the Soviet Union did not lose because they never suffered a major battlefield defeat is every bit as ridiculous as American posturing to the same tune over the Vietnam war. It's a gross oversimplification only the very narrow minded can rationalize I think. "Sure we lost millions of dollars, thousands of lives, and humiliated ourselves to the rest of the world diplomatically and militarily at the same time but since the Mujahideen failed to assassinate Gorbachev we are undefeated!!!!!" 😂
  8. Some of the scenarios in this game are just so insanely difficult that a real life military commander would probably consider them suicidal and an attack with the given units and support to be irresponsible. That said it's a game, not real life I get that sometimes people just want the difficulty. I would simply point out that it's less work to make scenarios harder than it is to make them easier. Removing units and support in the editor is easier than adding them and it's easier to balance. Less is more as they say.
  9. SimpleSimon

    CMSF2 Release Update

    Take all the time you need as far as i'm concerned. I would also speak, if only for myself, that I would be willing to stomach higher prices for your games. If any member of the team is not making enough money to support a comfortable life then as far as i'm concerned you all should be.
  10. You must've meant to this for Sgt. Squarehead who's reply to my post was that I was "talking out of my posterior". I agree he did seem quite angry. 😂
  11. Tbh I dispensed with playtesting a long time ago when I realized it was largely unnecessary. It was only necessary because I was designing super "top-heavy" scenarios where the removal or inclusion of single units would affect the balance of the map more dramatically then if their had been fewer units. Because their are more of them to affect. Do you understand? The consequences of including more units did not have the effect of reducing the magnitude of my mistakes but multiplying them exponentially because now more pixeltruppen were on the map to be affected by the consequences of that. Bulletpoint this was a balancing nightmare. Now I don't publish my scenarios I play them with myself and my girlfriend (ex-military) because I don't get into making the briefings or preparing the other housekeeping items like considering core troops etc. Also many of my scenarios were essentially heavily modified stock scenarios because I found it very interesting to tweak the original scenarios and see what I got. I often kept going from there. To tie all of this in with history, I would encourage you to keep in mind that what many of the maps highlighted as "Huge, Large, Medium, Small" etc you should always put a number of units on the map consistent with the next lower level of map size. (If you fill a Medium size map with units who can all cover and affect eachother, you need to place this scenario on a Large map.) Anything heavier represents a concentration of units on the map so abnormally dense that it would be part of a larger operation and supported appropriately. That's just what I got from my research.
  12. The timer is very important, arguably the chiefest source of stakes and tension in the games. Probably the most important element of its function is how simple and universal a measuring tool it is for overall performance. It'd be nice if scoring could be attached to it somehow so like accomplishing objectives sooner rather than any time in the mission would affect scoring.
  13. Before we get deep down this rabbit hole, some people seem to be purporting the fallacy that if you don't agree the scenario designing is hard work then you must think that it's effortless. I will say now that anyone who is pushing this line, especially any scenario designer, is being unfair. I think making scenarios is hard, but it's NOT hard enough to respond to criticism the way Squarehead does. Nobody makes you design these scenarios and if you feel the community it too thankless for your taste I would encourage said designers to just not bother with it. Really, If that's how you feel then just do me a favor and don't exert yourself. Volunteer work does not entitle you to resent the game community and I have zero interest in engaging with people carrying a chip on their shoulder about it. That the games ship with playable battles and campaigns is a great perk but its one im prepared to do without if the designers think theyre owed some kind of compensation for it...
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