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German attack doctrine in CM


JasonC
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"The victory conditions of every battle in every war are different."

 

Said every loser ever; they always have a thousand excuses for what they were trying to do and the constraints they operated under and the like.

Meanwhile, great captains and winners focus on the destruction of the enemy force, and destroy every constraint placed on their doing so - no less ruthlessly.

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Very Clausewitz of you ... "What do we mean by the defeat of the enemy?  Simply the destruction of his forces, whether by death, injury, or any other means—either completely  or enough to make him stop fighting. . . .  The complete or partial destruction of the enemy must be regarded as the sole object of all engagements. . . .  Direct annihilation of the enemy's forces must always be the dominant consideration."
 
I do think you're enjoying trolling everyone though by refusing to acknowledge any of the other people's points.  Or you're just incredibly stubborn lol.
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Lol. 

 

You are living in a fantasy land. The geopolitical situation is absolutely relevant to the definition of victory. People don't fight wars for the hell of it. 

 

If you invade my nation and I push you out, I WIN. You wanted to take my land, and I pushed you out. You failed your objective, which by any sane definition is losing. 

 

Winning a war is determined solely by whether or not my political objectives are achieved. Your army can twiddle its thumbs for all I care If control the territory or resources I am fighting for. Very often, neutralizing your force is the means to that end. But not always. The path to victory is situation based. The massive overwhelming bulk of the Japanese army in WW2 was bypassed. Seizing key terrain isolated entire armies and made them useless. The war ended with Japan having 2 million troops still untouched in the home islands alone. You gonna claim the USA lost? You are trapped in a doctrine vacuum and your not considering the nuances of reality. There is no such thing as a one size fits all military strategy---period, full stop, end of story, THE END. 

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Ah we've switched from Guderian regurgitation to Clausewitz regurgitation. I do find it interesting that a line of argument that is basically screaming 'kill the enemy no matter the context' has chosen to quote a man who believed Defense was the superior form of warfare, or that war is basically a radical expansion of diplomacy.

 

One can hear, but that doesn't mean one can listen...

 

:) "Glantz in one hand, PPSh in the other" - I found a new name for this thread.

Edited by Rinaldi
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Very Clausewitz of you ... "What do we mean by the defeat of the enemy?  Simply the destruction of his forces, whether by death, injury, or any other means—either completely  or enough to make him stop fighting. . . .  The complete or partial destruction of the enemy must be regarded as the sole object of all engagements. . . .  Direct annihilation of the enemy's forces must always be the dominant consideration."
 
I do think you're enjoying trolling everyone though by refusing to acknowledge any of the other people's points.  Or you're just incredibly stubborn lol.

 

 

"A certain amount of dogmatism and pigheadedness is necessary in science."

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I know we're veering from CM to grand theory and back again, so I'll keep it up.

 

My first post on the CM boards was in March of '05 (Dear God, ten years gone by...) in a thread about the attritionist's approach started by none other than JasonC.  At that time, it was clear that he didn't think that Victory Locations should be removed entirely (except for maybe meeting engagements).  His words:


If the battle ends in the place it can be expected to end the majority of the time, given the odds, flag points should -divide- and do so roughly evenly. With a slight edge to the defender in the highest odds cases, only. Having 500 points on the map is not a play balance or incentive problem if many fights can be expected to divide them 200 vs. 300, or 300 vs. 100 with 100 unawarded.

 

This was back in CMx1 days but the principles apply; it's a de-emphasis.  The normal thing is to have both sides with some presence on the map and VLs in hand.  Sure they provide flavor and focus but, in this telling, they're not the be all and the end all.  If you sweep the map of the enemy, there's nothing to discuss.  The enemy doesn't have troops or territory.  But consider the curious case where you inflict disproportionate damage to the enemy forces and they "win" by holding a piece of terrain.

Yes, there are examples throughout military history of fights for a "key ridge", "critical crossroads", etc...  But are those the majority of engagements?  Where victory is more reducible to who holds a VL and less to which force was knocked around?  Are those the kind that people prefer to play in CM?  Maybe, maybe not.  For my part, I accept the necessity of VLs and time limits as a concession to the game.  And if we're going to have them, people are bound to quibble about them.

 

Should it come as a surprise that we can't always get along in a Wargaming Forum?   :)    

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I have a tribe and you have a tribe. I want your wine, women and song. One night my tribe lures your women to our camp. Your men are a bore and asleep. Your men get pissed. Attack my camp. Right into an ambush. We get it all. Not fair. We oriented on your tribes critical vulnerability, ego. That's maneuver warfare.
 
Kevin
 
PS
We could have just attacked your camp directly, made a mess and grabbed a few gals - but we rather them all and in one piece.
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Nobody needs an informative post about your conventional lack of wisdom. But many clearly do need to be told that they can freely chuck the rulebook, the manual, their orders, and conventional idiocy, and take actual command of their force.

The most talented don't even need to be told this - they were born knowing it, in their bones. The next tier of talent will find it fresh and liberating, a new way of looking at the field and their goals. Conventional also rans will be upset that it doesn't confirm their existing opinions of themselves as Gods gift because they follow orders as predictably as a train on rails. But frankly, who gives a toss what they think? No reason why anyone should.

Command is headstrong stubbornness incarnate. Anyone who thinks stubbornness is a vice should make sure they arrange to spend their careers fetching other men's coffee, or at most working diligently on a staff working problems set for them by superior men.

My first piece of advice, then, is take actual command of your force. Know the different miltary strategies, but treat them as tools in your toolbox to use or violate at will, never as orders that you must follow. All battle is a struggle of wills. Don't throw yours away before you give a single order. You will find you need it...

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Jason, nobody is arguing that stretching the rules and fighting in an unconventional manner isn't desired. Always look for a unique and unexpected approach, of course I agree with that.

Your contention that ignoring the terrain objectives and simply going after the enemy's force is what has raised hackles. I contend that it is never so simple and you should use those objectives and the designer's briefing to drive your recon plan and orient your force on his when you can determine the most efficient way to attack him, and most of the time that means attacking where he is weakest.. Often that is also terrain driven, if it means capturing a piece of high ground that provides better visibility or a piece of ground to his rear which will force him to reposition.

You can't simply say "kill the enemy nothing else matters", that is nonsense.

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Irrespective of the territorial gains, the failure to achieve one of the main objectives of operation Barbarossa, that being the rapid destruction of the soviet army in the summer of 41, signalled eventual failure further down the road. Hitler was obsessed with taking and holding terrain but it didn't really matter how much he took and held, as the undefeated enemy just got stronger and stronger. On a tactical level, we hear a lot about casualties in cm battles being ahistorical, this is explained away as "real commanders wouldn't push their men as hard as cm commanders. If you take the view that you should reinforce success and not failure, can't it be argued that a lot of real battles would bog down due to commanders being given unrealistic objectives, and the same commanders, would be unwilling to sacrifice their men on senseless "take the hill" type operations?

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Irrespective of the territorial gains, the failure to achieve one of the main objectives of operation Barbarossa, that being the rapid destruction of the soviet army in the summer of 41, signalled eventual failure further down the road. Hitler was obsessed with taking and holding terrain but it didn't really matter how much he took and held, as the undefeated enemy just got stronger and stronger. On a tactical level, we hear a lot about casualties in cm battles being ahistorical, this is explained away as "real commanders wouldn't push their men as hard as cm commanders. If you take the view that you should reinforce success and not failure, can't it be argued that a lot of real battles would bog down due to commanders being given unrealistic objectives, and the same commanders, would be unwilling to sacrifice their men on senseless "take the hill" type operations?

The rapid destruction of the Soviet army was unlikely, given its size. You would also be wise to remember that one of the linchpins of the Stalingrad battle, you know the one that constituted the turning point of the Eastern Front, was as much about Hitler obtaining the oil fields behind the city as it was about the Russians recuperating and reorganizing for the counterattack. Armies run on gasoline, and food etc. Those resources exist on land, they dont grow on the backs of soldiers. 

 

I cant think of a single major war in the last 100 years that resulted in the utter and total destruction of the enemy army that was not the result of the loser running out of places to retreat to. Ultimately, destruction of the enemies forces only happens when he surrenders because he has been forces back onto and untenable position and chooses to surrender. Nobody wants to fight to the last man, and even if they did, it wouldnt matter (see Japanese holding out on islands until the 70's...) OR all the islands in the Pacific we bypasses that had large numbers of Japanese troops on them. 

 

Terrain and Attrition are both means to and end. They do not exist in as vacuum. One does not superseded the other intrinsically, only with the situation dictates. 

 

But dont mind me, just look at how an ACTUAL army does things. The US Army trains METTC. NOTE: Terrain and Enemy are BOTH on there. Most people in the Army simply refer to the aforementioned acronym as "mission dictates" or in layman's terms, IT DEPENDS. 

 

Edited by shift8
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Irrespective of the territorial gains, the failure to achieve one of the main objectives of operation Barbarossa, that being the rapid destruction of the soviet army in the summer of 41, signalled eventual failure further down the road.

I argue that Hitler's insistence of weakening the drive on Moscow in order to reduce the Russian forces in the Smolensk pocket was a war losing move. The delay thus incurred and the losses they suffered, can be directly blamed for the German failure to capture the rail hub that was Moscow (in my opinion the key to the war in the East). He had target fixation and was keyed in to capturing or destroying as many enemy soldiers and as much enemy material as he could, without concentrating on the one terrain objective that really mattered.

I am far from an East Front grog so hesitate to use these historical anecdotes, but in this case, as in many others it does not take a rocket scientist to know that concentrating on killing the enemy force is rarely the most efficient or even the correct way to go.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger
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The Germans never had any chance of winning. When the Germans attacked, both sides had roughly the same number of men at the front lines, about 2 million each. In early December, the German strength was pretty much still that, but they now faced twice as many Russians, about 4 million (the Russians also had about another half million troops in reserve close behind the front. Many of these units were still being formed, but they were still close, and therefore available at short notice should an emergency arise. And many other units were of course being formed too, further inland). And all this in spite of the Red Army losses during the 6 months of fighting, a staggering 4 million casualties.

 

So, even if the Germans had got another few weeks before the rain and mud made the roads almost useless, grinding their offensive to a halt, and even if that had been enough time for them to reach Moscow, it would most probably not have won war for them. They were still hopelessly outnumbered and outclassed in industrial production.

 

Oh, one final thing. The Germans never planned to capture Moscow. Hitler had given orders that the city was to be surrounded and cut off, and no surrender was to be accepted. He was planning to cut off and starve the city, much like what was done to Leningrad.

Edited by JSj
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IMHO, both views to combat operations are correct. You'll be limiting you options by just focussing on the enemy force, or only on

terrain and time. Every situation is an unique blend of these factors. Perhaps a few interesting insights can be found in the works of Sun Tzu, Von Clausewitz, Guderian - Achtung Panzer. They trie to explain, how to best prepare and execute combat.... and 

wargaming :) 

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