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Georgie

What does "Conscript" mean in CM terms?

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I'm under the impression that it means that the soldier is completely untrained in what he is doing. Gunner, MG crewman , gun crewman etc. Am I correct? Grogs to the front please.

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Think of low level of training...for example, if a regular recruit gets 8 weeks basic training, a conscript will get half that at most. Not familiar with their weapons, teamates, or oranizational capabiliities....i.e. don't know how to work as a team.

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Technically, in CM terms "Conscript" just means "lower skill than Green." Most of the soldiers in WW2 were conscripted by their respective nations, but they received better training than "Conscript" implies.

Here's a question: under what conditions would you set U.S. troops at Conscript? I think of new infantry replacements as Green, so Conscripts might be truck drivers and others who haven't had extensive experience or maintained any readiness for front-line action.

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It is a fair question, since nearly everyone actually fighting on all sides was in fact a conscript, legally speaking. Nobody was running an all volunteer military.

It means a level of experience below that of "green", and green means someone without any prior combat experience, "seeing the elephant" for the first time, in any serious fight sense, at least. Green forces have generally had full training but no actual battle experience. Since training can only go so far, compared to the lessons of actual combat, that sets a max on readiness they can't get beyond.

A conscript, then, lacks even the level of battle readiness that full training without actual combat experience can provide. Its only objective meaning, then, is less training than a green.

In practice, pressed armed forces sometimes commit recent recruits to battle before they have completed a normal training regimen. That is the category it is meant to match. That means men who have not completed even a basic training course, and may thus be unfamiliar with their arms and equipment, inexperienced at even taking verbal orders or coordinating their movements with those of their comrades, etc.

Think German Volkstrum in late 1944 and early 1945 (recently "impressed" civilians, most still in civilian clothes); think 1941 Russian rifle forces of the third line, just mobilized and dumped by the railcar load along a threatened frontage, or "worker brigades" in the city fights, armed in ad hoc weapon distributions and under thin cadres but otherwise straight from civilian life.

What it means to me...

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It is a fair question, since nearly everyone actually fighting on all sides was in fact a conscript, legally speaking. Nobody was running an all volunteer military.

Canada came pretty darned close. We enacted conscription late in the war (November 1944) and only 2463 conscripted troops actually made it to the front lines in Europe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_Crisis_of_1944

OK, so it seems that there was conscription for home defense and what they did in November 44 was start the process of sending 17 000 of them overseas.

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The Persian Gulf War, I was there with 2 Mar Div MP Co. We processed dudes in wind breakers and penny loafer shoes on their feet who where at times literally snatched off the street on their way to the store to buy milk for their families. Just like that you where on the front line with Republican Guard troops at your back and Coalition forces at your front.

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This is how I look at CM's skill levels in relation to WWII:

-Conscript: very poorly-trained troops with zero combat experience. As has been said, this describes Volkssturm and 1941 Soviet infantry very well.

-Green: troops who have completed a "bare minimum" basic training but nothing more than that and have no combat experience. That, or troops being used as infantry who in normal conditions wouldn't be employed as infantry. Examples: Luftwaffe infantry, US troops in North Africa, truck drivers, supply clerks pressed into service to hold the line, etc.

-Regular: troops with more thorough training who might have some combat experience. Examples: German army formations new to the front before 1945, American units pretty much any time from 1943, etc.

-Veteran: troops with training above and beyond the typical grunt and / or those with plenty of combat experience. Airborne troops and Rangers I would put in this category.

-Crack / Elite: the absolute best of the best.

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This is how I look at CM's skill levels in relation to WWII:

-Conscript: very poorly-trained troops with zero combat experience. As has been said, this describes Volkssturm and 1941 Soviet infantry very well.

-Green: troops who have completed a "bare minimum" basic training but nothing more than that and have no combat experience. That, or troops being used as infantry who in normal conditions wouldn't be employed as infantry. Examples: Luftwaffe infantry, US troops in North Africa, truck drivers, supply clerks pressed into service to hold the line, etc.

-Regular: troops with more thorough training who might have some combat experience. Examples: German army formations new to the front before 1945, American units pretty much any time from 1943, etc.

-Veteran: troops with training above and beyond the typical grunt and / or those with plenty of combat experience. Airborne troops and Rangers I would put in this category.

-Crack / Elite: the absolute best of the best.

This is the same logic I've been using for a fictional 1945 German offensive campaign I've been working on. I reserve conscript only for Volkssturm units, and even then sparingly. I did a little testing and they really perform appallingly. A garand salvo flying over head is enough for them to hit the dirt and any casualties sustained sends them running for the hills.

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I have always thought that it is possible to take realism too far and having extremely fragile troops just seems masochistic in the extreme. Reading the US Army "Tankers in Tunisia" some of the squads were getting replacements who had been to the army's bakery school and would no doubt rate as conscripts.

The point being though that the majority of troops were green or slightly better so adding raw recruits did not degrade the unit too much. Particularly as some got themselves killed pretty instantly by not realising that digging deep holes was a very good idea when bombardment was possible.

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...replacements who had been to the army's bakery school...some got themselves killed pretty instantly by not realising that digging deep holes was a very good idea when bombardment was possible.

"New guy" syndrome at its most primal. Possibly compounded by such low combat readiness including a low standard of physical fitness, leading to an even greater reluctance to move earth in sweltering heat.

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On digging holes, the thing to remember is that grunts are tired. They were born tired, they were tired when they got up this morning, they were tired putting on their 70 pounds of gear, they were tired after the first 5 miles of hiking along the dusty goat track the higher ups keep calling the "main supply route", they were tired at their 20 minute lunch break after 10 miles, they were tired putting their packs back on and wobbling about for five or six steps before their rubber legs could stay still under them, and they were more tired 10 miles later when the sadist of a sergeant finally called "fall out". They took it literally.

After five minutes of breath catching, some of them begin to brew ranger stew out of their coffee and hot chocolate packets, others just don't want to move a muscle, and a lucky few have already passed out completely, heads buried in those damn backpacks. Then the sadist of a sergeant cries out - "dig in", and it is once again cursing outside (like raining, only faster).

A unit that has picked parts of its former buddies out of trees to bury them properly will dig in anyway, but before they have seen that, digging a hole in hard, rooty or rocky soil with a kids dime-store toy of a shovel, deep enough to be a grave, after all of the above - knowing that you are just going to do it all again tomorrow and that hole will last you all of five hours before you walk away from it - seems so beyond pointless that the men just don't do it. They scrape out a foot or two and lie down in it, maybe.

Experience being shelled is the only thing that teaches this, hard enough that the men will do it spontaneously, no matter how tired they are. The best cadres will drive the men to it before they have had that lesson - but it is damn hard to get them to see the point, before they have seen it with their own eyes.

FWIW...

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On digging holes, the thing to remember is that grunts are tired. They were born tired, they were tired when they got up this morning, they were tired putting on their 70 pounds of gear, they were tired after the first 5 miles of hiking along the dusty goat track the higher ups keep calling the "main supply route", they were tired at their 20 minute lunch break after 10 miles, they were tired putting their packs back on and wobbling about for five or six steps before their rubber legs could stay still under them, and they were more tired 10 miles later when the sadist of a sergeant finally called "fall out". They took it literally.

After five minutes of breath catching, some of them begin to brew ranger stew out of their coffee and hot chocolate packets, others just don't want to move a muscle, and a lucky few have already passed out completely, heads buried in those damn backpacks. Then the sadist of a sergeant cries out - "dig in", and it is once again cursing outside (like raining, only faster).

A unit that has picked parts of its former buddies out of trees to bury them properly will dig in anyway, but before they have seen that, digging a hole in hard, rooty or rocky soil with a kids dime-store toy of a shovel, deep enough to be a grave, after all of the above - knowing that you are just going to do it all again tomorrow and that hole will last you all of five hours before you walk away from it - seems so beyond pointless that the men just don't do it. They scrape out a foot or two and lie down in it, maybe.

Experience being shelled is the only thing that teaches this, hard enough that the men will do it spontaneously, no matter how tired they are. The best cadres will drive the men to it before they have had that lesson - but it is damn hard to get them to see the point, before they have seen it with their own eyes.

FWIW...

Very well said.

Olf

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In CM scenario design terms, using "Conscript"can be used to attempt to avoid gamey behavior by users. For example, truck drivers are less likely to be used as scouts or cannon fodder if the commander knows they won't obey orders that will put them in harm's way for long.

Plus, if a historical designer is making up a battle that included the use of cooks, quartermasters, etc, then by all means "Conscript" would be a valid setting... along with Low Motivation.

Bulge battles come to mind... I am thinking that on more than one occasion, there were men on the line that were not exactly combat troops. Now, THOSE would be more likely to have High Motivation, as Bastogne was surrounded and there is no place left to go.

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In CM1 there were problems with conscript class troops as drivers etc as they could not even drive intelligently and the time lag to do anything was absurd. I am not suggesting that CM2 suffers the same way - I simply do not know if there are unforeseen side effects.

A bit of exploration perhaps before deciding this is correct for scenarios!! : )

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In CM scenario design terms, ...

Personally, I tend to think of the various levels in relative terms, rather than absolute or in relation to what the words mean outside CM. So, a CM-conscript is a bit worse than a CM-green, and way worse than a CM-veteran. I tend to set one side somewhat arbitrarily, depending on how I want troops on that side to perform (accuracy, steadiness), then set the other side at a differential to the first one, depending on whether I want them to be better or worse, and how much better/worse.

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