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BluecherForward

Any Chance for a New Afrikakorps game?

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19 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

Maybe I should have made clear in my post that I am not apologetic about any of those two regimes. My speculation was that the Nazis would have lost the war anyway, even if they had managed to break the Soviets first.

Goes without saying, Bulletpoint. It's trying to bully people by calling them white supremacists, neo nazis or racists. It's bound to score him some points and make him feel good about himself. It's also the death of freedom of speech and a new kind of censorship. The fact that Stalin's thugs also murdered millions and millions is just an annoying detail to someone who calls the USSR 'another socialist state'...

Quite disgusting.

Edited by Aragorn2002

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Let's try to get the topic back on track. Many people really want a new Africa CM game, but I think an open desert setting is actually not the best match for the CM engine. The advantage CM has over something like Graviteam is that CM models small-scale infantry warfare much better. I'm worried that a CM Africa would basically just be shootouts between tanks at long ranges, with infantry in trenches reduced to more or less spectators.

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I'd be as happy as anyone to see the early and mid war in Combat Mission but I am sometimes wary of romanticism for the Wehrmacht during the years when they seemed unstoppable. While the campaigns for Poland, the Low Countries and Barbarossa were incredible, the Einsatzgruppen that followed in their wake, and the Wehrmacht's own crimes are unconscionable. I'm very proud that this community does not traffic in "both sides were bad" "brave soldiers fighting for their country" tropes or comparing GIs killing camp guards or the Reds sacking Berlin to the top to bottom atrocities of the Third Reich.

I wonder if there is something in wargamming and amateur military history itself that causes that romanticism for the defeated. It happens with the CSA, the Third Reich and Napoleon, though in that last case I don't think there is as much moral equivocation, nor the need for it.

At least Afrika Korps would mainly feature the Italians who for all the bad that they did, fought a fairly "clean" war in North Africa, made more of an effort than any other Axis power to save their Jewry, and when push came to shove the Italian people joined up with the Partisans and Co-Belligerents. I'm much more comfortable with people waxing nostalgically about the valour of the Folgore than the Waffen SS.

13 minutes ago, Aragorn2002 said:

Goes without saying, Bulletpoint. It's trying to bully people by calling them white supremacists, neo nazis or racists. It's bound to score him some points and make him feel good about himself. It's also the death of freedom of speech and a new kind of censorship. The fact that Stalin's thugs also murdered millions and millions is just an annoying detail to someone who calls the USSR 'another socialist state'...

Quite disgusting.

I hope that isn't addressed at me. I don't think anyone here is white supremacist, a nazi or racist. I certainly didn't say so, much less make an accusation.

Wargaming and military history have long had a historiography that sanitizes the Third Reich and CSA, for totally understandable reasons. When I was young I was obsessed with Tiger tanks and saw the Heer as soldiers just like my own country's. The truth is more complicated, but a wargame does not have the duty to inform about logistics or war crimes, nor should it. This community stands out as one that is exceptionally good for having a culture of nuanced discussion.

When discussing the topics outside the scope of a game, I think it is fair to point out the advances in the discipline, especially these past few decades. Look no further than the Axis History forums to see how far we've come recently. It's nothing short of incredible and I find it rather admirable.

I'm not going to dignify the remark about scoring points or posting for my own self validation with a response. Peruse my posting history and make your own judgement, if you'd like.

Finally, this is a friendly dialogue among fellow hobbyists. Get off your high horse about censorship or freedom of speech. I asked the question in good faith, and good an answer in good faith. That's a positive exchange for everyone. I think @Bulletpoint is a good poster and I appreciate his taking the time to elaborate on what he meant. Why on Earth would I want to censor him?

 

Edited by DougPhresh

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On 2/17/2020 at 12:40 PM, MikeyD said:

I'm reminded of that maxim 'Amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics'. Germany undertook its conquests under the mistaken assumption that after winning the invasion battles their wars would be over and they could get back to business-as-usual. Germany didn't even bother to place its economy on a war footing until the tide had already turned. The North Africa war is interesting because it catches Germany just as the nature of the war transitions from tactics-dominant to logistics-dominant. Germany enters NA, has some early successes, then they invade Russia and NA becomes a side-show. Germany lost the war in North Africa because it was never going to 'win' it. Rommel was never in a position to enter Cairo and take possession of the Suez canal. When Germany's dwindling resources got diverted to the Russian front it was basically game-over. Word-to-the-wise. Never go to war with other 'great powers' because their ability to sustain the effort will undo all of the  gains you hoped to achieve in starting a war in the first place.

Oh no here comes another Simon infodump lol...

The biggest bottleneck was manpower which Germany's industry was sharing with the Army. The Heer took priority and the entire reason why production didn't fall and even increased during the war was simply because the Nazis turned to ruthless forced labor to keep the civilian economy functional and work sub-human untermensch to death at the same. 

There was a lot going around that Speer had worked some kind of miracle in the armaments industry, but this was only partly true. He did inject some rationality into the system of armaments production that Fritz Todt and Goering had been badly mismanaging but ultimately it was his partnership with Himmler that yielded his success in squeezing the German economy to its absolute maximum. The upshot of this partnership not only allowed Germany to maintain and even increase armaments production during the war, but also enabled Germans to maintain a much better standard of living than the occupied territories in spite of all the bombing right up until the nation's infrastructure finally began to collapse as the frontline overtook it. 

The downshot which of course the Nazis weren't likely to care about was the horrifying death toll and misery being inflicted upon the rest of Europe while Nazi forced requisitions of labor and food literally exported the war's ruinous effects on other civilian economies. Aside from the moral outrage of such actions the Nazis may not have saved themselves as much trouble as they believed either. In 1943 the French coal industry collapsed requiring Germany to export its own coal supplies to keep the French rail and energy network functioning. Shutdown of transport would paralyze the movements of military formations and if the electrical grid failed work on the Atlantic Wall would halt. Famine broke out in Italy the same year and badly undermined what little support was left for Mussolini's regime, the Allied invasion was the straw that broke that camel's back even though it was more like a falling tree...

3 hours ago, danfrodo said:

What I find interesting is that despite Stalin doing just about everything possible to lose in the first summer, the Germans were still unable to win.  Which speaks to just how much more resilient the soviet empire was than anyone expected, despite it's murderous lunatic dictator.  So while I love to "what if" to think how the Germans could have won, a more plausible "what if" is around the Soviet side:  What if Stalin had been even marginally competent and had a defense in depth and had allowed retreats?  It was too late for Stalin to undo his massacre of the officer corps, but he still could have allowed basic military common sense once he was attacked.  He could have allowed his staff time to develop proper counterattacks instead of forcing them to throw units at the Germans piecemeal, unprepared, and uncoordinated.  If he had done the most basic rational things the Germans might not have gotten much farther than Smolensk.  

So what I suggest is that it was much more likely for the Russians to have done much better than for the Germans to have done much better -- though no one at the time knew this.  

If what happened in France was any indication than allowing Russian troops to retreat would've invited defeat and annihilation. French and British troops were allowed to retreat in 1940 and this led to mass routs all the time. Generals kept informing Weygand and London that they were conducting "tactical withdrawals" of course...right on through Paris and beyond. Paris was the center of the rail network by the way and giving it up would ensure German victory by freezing military transport and cutting off the French forces still holding the Maginot Line. The same was true of Moscow. Fighting from beyond it would be pointless, so the Stalinist authorities ordered men to stand where they were and fight. Horrifying yes but I simply cannot find anything to indicate that these measures weren't the chief reason why the Soviet Union survived 1941.

Other explanations like German supply problems and the weather could only partly explain the failure of Barbarossa and definitely played a role. Remember the most frustrating fact of all...Stalin's mismanagement was most likely why the situation got as desperate as it did and why the Red Army was so unprepared for the invasion. Yes the consequences of these actions inflicted many disasters and injustices upon Red Army troops. Many times Generals were right to request a retreat and men accused of desertion were in fact following orders to reposition or were just lost etc. It was hard to say, so the Stalinists took no chances and as distasteful and horrifying as it was it's hard to argue that the measures the Communists took to ensure the Soviet Union's survival weren't...well...effective. 

 Stalinist measures most definitely got in the way of the war's prosecution after the first year, but crucially Stalin came around to that fact as the war went on. Though it'd be untrue to say that he had come to trust his Generals and relaxed Communist influence over the military entirely. Certainly the desperate measures of 1941 were not borne out of any strategic insight or sound military rationality. Moscow was afraid of losing control, but that's just a sign of how seriously Soviet authorities took the threat they were facing. By comparison France never took the threat it faced from Germany seriously, and look where that got us all. 

It's crucial to understand that in both Europe and Eurasia there was a great and visceral fear of a man on horseback or a military man gone self-proclaimed Dictator. Since Francisco Franco, Miklos Horthy, and Philippe Petain all became that very nightmare it's harder than one thinks to accuse the Communists of having been irrationally paranoid...

God I should go get a beer. You know you all don't need to read my crap if you don't want to lol. 

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1 hour ago, DougPhresh said:

That'll happen when you have to fight for survival from the very beginning and find fascists and capitalists arrayed against you from within and without. Haiti has had a similar experience - It's hard to have a stable and prosperous society when you have a giant target on your back. Cuba survived when all of the socialist governments in South America that tolerated liberalism within their borders and didn't militarize their societies fell to coups and the USSR outlived the other socialist governments that were crushed in 1918-20. 

There's not much to speculate about. The alternative was not only the complete eradication of the European Jewry, but also most of the people of Eastern Europe as well.

This is wandering a long way from Afrika Korps but I think the tide is beginning to turn against Cold War historiography and apologia for White Terror.

This is Communist apologism, plain and simple. It caused as much misery as it's criminal cousin, called nazism and helped Hitler get his filthy claws on the European Jews. So don't play the innocent. 

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3 hours ago, DougPhresh said:

That'll happen when you have to fight for survival from the very beginning and find fascists and capitalists arrayed against you from within and without. Haiti has had a similar experience - It's hard to have a stable and prosperous society when you have a giant target on your back. Cuba survived when all of the socialist governments in South America that tolerated liberalism within their borders and didn't militarize their societies fell to coups and the USSR outlived the other socialist governments that were crushed in 1918-20. 

 A "stable and prosperous society" does not need to put huge portions of its population in gulags or to starve them to death...so I guess you are saying that all of that was the fault of "fascists or capitalists."  Or do you mean that all of those who suffered and died under the Communists deserved it, because they were "fascists and capitalists"? If so, I hope you stay out of politics.

Edited by BluecherForward
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And why are we discussing this sort of stuff in a North Africa request thread?  I don't know and I'm not going to bother going back to figure it out.  And since we have longstanding wishlist plans to do various things we'll likely never get to, and North Africa is not far up on that list, there's really no point in having this thread open any longer.

Steve

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