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Will NBC be an option?


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7 hours ago, Rice said:

So if a game is simulating WWIII, it would then be expected to have an NBC environment? This doesn't make sense.

Do we have poison gas scenarios in Battle for Normandy? The idea that it will be used is subjective, there are arguments that it won't be. Look at Chernobyl a nuclear accident it affected all Western Europe too. Poison gas and nerve agents don't abide by the area of operations. METT-TC stipulates the C last but not least. Civilian considerations, means restoring the infrastructure. Post WW2 we had the Marshall Plan which was a costly exercise. 

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25 minutes ago, chuckdyke said:

Do we have poison gas scenarios in Battle for Normandy? The idea that it will be used is subjective, there are arguments that it won't be. Look at Chernobyl a nuclear accident it affected all Western Europe too. Poison gas and nerve agents don't abide by the area of operations. METT-TC stipulates the C last but not least. Civilian considerations, means restoring the infrastructure. Post WW2 we had the Marshall Plan which was a costly exercise. 

This is just justification for not using it IRL, my original post was about the logic of your first message. I think it makes sense not to add it but that wasn't what I was pointing out lol.

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1 hour ago, Monkie said:

"Trust in the Modders. They will deliver."

That would be just fine with me, hats off to the modders in this community who have made the series that much more enjoyable. The M17 with the hood please, maybe someday.

I can see it now, you guys will get someone to mod the infantry models for MOPP4, mess with the fitness etc., create one scenario.. find out how crappy it plays, and then never touch it again. 

Just a little prognostication from your Uncle Bil.  ;) 

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3rd World War never happened because of Mutual Assured Destruction Poison Gas, Biological Warfare and Nuclear Warfare could be used. We are a hobby site for wargamers and like movies meant for entertainment. That was my first message re-formulated. It is like a game of chess nowadays the pawn has the ability of the queen. 

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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

This can be filed under 'Be careful what you wish for'. Some of the stuff people  ask to include for 'completeness' would bring gameplay to a standstill. I'm reminded of MLRS (fielded in '83, just outside our timescale) which would basically stop any scenario in which was deployed. Players, especially competitive 'play-to-win'-type players, would not enjoy seeing their men gradually shifting from green to yellow bases and becoming suppressed and unfit before even catching sight of the enemy. That already happens when pixeltruppen are caught in a WP cloud.

Sure, but those players also likely play balanced, fairly symmetrical quick battles without night, bad weather, or mud. They could continue doing that as much as that wanted regardless of the other options and it wouldn't make sense to remove mud and bogging because of them. 

Maybe I'm an outlier, but I like interesting conditions and challenges that force you to change things up rather than have every battle in ideal conditions.  

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47 minutes ago, chuckdyke said:

3rd World War never happened because of Mutual Assured Destruction Poison Gas, Biological Warfare and Nuclear Warfare could be used. We are a hobby site for wargamers and like movies meant for entertainment. That was my first message re-formulated. It is like a game of chess nowadays the pawn has the ability of the queen. 

  1. Bio and Chemical weapons would have had next to nil effect on Armed Forces of 80s. Everyone was prepared (unlike today).
  2. Tactical nukes would have had quite manageable effect for military commanders as well. Massive conventional carpet bombing was/is more destructive to military than tactical nukes.

There's a concept of counter-value and counter-force. Given a limited number of available strategic weapons (like today - not like in 80s when they can "cover all the bases") using them for counter-force is lame. And tactical nukes again are manageable within the timeframe of a land operation. Though devastating economically in a long run.

Edited by IMHO
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9 hours ago, Sequoia said:

Right, I think the only way that an invasion by the Warsaw Pact in the time frame would be if

Nobody was foolish enough to want to open up the can of worms of WWIII. It's just both sides (stupidly) believed the other was getting ready to do exactly this.

9 hours ago, Sequoia said:

1. Announce they would not be the first to use NBC weapons.

NATO would have never done that at that time since it would be a near certain loss of Europe to OVD. It's like one announces one'd never be the first to use NBC ONLY when one has comfortable lead in conventional forces. The moment one looses overmatch - the policy "suddenly" changes :)

9 hours ago, Sequoia said:

2. Announce limited objectives. i.e. they'd stop at the Rhine and Dutch and Danish Borders.

NATO would never allowed that. May be 5km over the border incursion in one particular point is manageable but taking over half of Western Europe is definitely not.

9 hours ago, Sequoia said:

3. Announce they'd pull back once the political reason for launching the invasion was met.

  1. From a Soviet point of view: why pull back if you're allowed to occupy the land?
  2. From a NATO point of view: does one really believe they'd actually go back to square one?
  3. Pull back and leave what - total rubble after heavy fighting?
9 hours ago, Sequoia said:

The objective could be simply to limit NATO power by "Finlandizing" (that's not a word coined by me) West Germany. With a neutered West Germany the Soviets would be in a position to repeat the invasion with ease whenever they wanted to, and become the dominant world power.

NATO leaders were not morons to buy this :)

9 hours ago, Sequoia said:

Marxist ideology was not to conquer the whole world by external military power but that eventually all Western countries would go Marxist by internal factors.

By 80s Soviet Union was well aware it had failed miserably to "conquer" its own grain and meat production save taking over the world. Had the West ceased supplying Soviet Union with grain back then may be it wouldn't be an all-out hunger in the Soviet Union but we'd have definitely had "limited calorie intake". And by the beginning of 80s Soviet Union lived on a lifeline of selling oil and gas to the Western Europe so starting an unprovoked war was like shooting yourself in the foot.

Edited by IMHO
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I agree with your first sentence except to amend it to say "Were were fortunate we had leaders who were not foolish enough to want to open up the can of worms of WWIII. It's just both sides (stupidly) believed the other is getting ready to do exactly this. "

The whole point of the post was to say that the Soviets didn't think it worth the risk to try to launch an invasion of West Germany as basically you're risking civilization. BUT if, for whatever reason, they did, perhaps their best bet was to try and defuse the situation so as to not tempt NATO into escalating into using nukes. etc thereby making combat as portrayed in this game possibly the most plausible scenario.

Point 1. You did see it was the Soviets announcing no first use, not NATO?  NATO had a significant advantage in the number of Tac nukes.

Point 2. NATO is again not doing anything. It's a statement by the Soviets. It's propaganda to again make the first use of nukes by NATO look bad to their own populations. I think there's a real deterrent in that. The Soviets announce they're stopping at the borders mentioned. They might not, but realistically that's probably the maximum extent they could manage where, even if successful on the battlefield,  their logistics wouldn't be able to sustain a further push without a halt.

Point 3. Again it's just an announcement, and again it to gain political points to discourage NATO from going nuclear. But I think there's more to gain fulfilling the pledge ( after stripping West Germany) when convenient, than breaking the pledge, losing political points world wide and having to occupy a hostile nation with an angry NATO still at your border. Maybe they don't care about long term political points, but not pulling back leaves them in the same position as Israel after 1967.

But more specifically. to your subpoints. 1. No one is allowing anything. 2. I'm not sure what you mean. NATO is not calling the shots, the victorious Soviets are. 3.If it's all rubble, why not pull back?

Anyway it didn't happen and let's be thankful we dodged it all. Again I agree it was just too scary to risk. And It might be pointless to argue such a hypothetical question not knowing really what was in the minds of Brezhnev and his successors. It quite possible they'd never consider my plan. I think even if my wild plan worked initially, the whole Soviet structure would have fallen apart anyway as you indicated.

Thanks for your comments.

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1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

making combat as portrayed in this game possibly the most plausible scenario

For some reason you're trying to find a plausible grand strategy scenario based in HARD HISTORY but why do you need one? :) It's just a tactical milsim - it does not need one.

1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

NATO had a significant advantage in the number of Tac nukes.

Sure, Soviets had advantage in conventional forces so NATO needed tactical nukes to stop them. Now the play is reversed and Russia is at total disadvantage in conventional forces so now Russia needs tactical nukes.

1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

their best bet was to try and defuse the situation so as to not tempt NATO into escalating into using nukes

1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

It's propaganda to again make the first use of nukes by NATO look bad to their own populations. I think there's a real deterrent in that. The Soviets announce they're stopping at the borders mentioned.

  1. The picture you paint is taking over half of Western Germany. What do you expect THEM to do? They would have fought so it's a bloody conventional war with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands dead. Now what d'you think NATO would have done? Just watched all those people die in vain? What political points there would have been to loose AFTER non intervening full scale including nukes?
  2. What US forces in Germany would have done? Just locked themselves in their quarters?
  3. West Germany had their "own" nukes - it can act on its own.
  4. The ever present problem of all strategic scenarios is the assessment of your adversary intentions. And that's usually made not by political statements (that are all too transient) but by military posture. Taking over half of West Germany against the intention of its government would have required enough Soviet forces that they can run over the other half as well and Benilux and who know what else in the process. So being a US President how would you argue for non intervention? Say you read Soviet plan on the latest Pravda front page?
1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

that's probably the maximum extent they could manage where, even if successful on the battlefield,  their logistics wouldn't be able to sustain a further push without a halt.

What makes you think the deficiencies of Soviet logistics would stop its advance? It was all planned and tested many times to run it all the way to the Channel. In early 80s OVD was something like 25-30% of the World's GDP - more than today's EU or US (US was still bigger than Soviet Union but since SEA was negligible the relative share of OVD was that).

1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

It might be pointless to argue such a hypothetical question not knowing really what was in the minds of Brezhnev and his successors

No, Soviet military planning is no big secret - the documents are in the wild since early 90s. There was (?) an annual Cuban Missile Crisis conf where former US and USSR military commanders and upper-middle political leaders exchanged information about their respective decision making.

1 hour ago, Sequoia said:

It quite possible they'd never consider my plan

They certainly never considered this plan because it wouldn't have worked :)

Edited by IMHO
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In hindsight it seems Cold War was never destined to go hot. But lets recall Cold War was a follow-up to WWII which had killed 80 million people worldwide over the course of (depending on when you want to start counting) 6-7 years. And included the incineration of entire cities, by nuclear and other means. Post-WWII the US had lost some 40,000 combat dead in Vietnam and 33,000 dead in Korea, and the other side had lost many many more. So the 'unthinkable' wasn't considered outside of the realm of possibility. I saw an article just last week recounting  how close the US got to inadvertently initiating a nuclear exchange in 1984.

 

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3 hours ago, MikeyD said:

I saw an article just last week recounting  how close the US got to inadvertently initiating a nuclear exchange in 1984.

This reminds me of a discussion a while back on the merits of We-too vs RT play, and (sorry I didn't look it up), I think it was you MikeyD who pointed out there are two different ways of playing Combat Mission, which can sort of be exaggerated to 'chess with tanks', and 're-living the gritty horror'.

Of course most of us are somewhere between, and I understand that the designers of this particular title may lean toward the 'chess with tanks' part of the spectrum and would prefer the title lean that way also, but there are a lot of players (myself included) who lean somewhat towards the 'living the horror' side. I didn't experience WWII, but older relatives did, and I want both to understand the large scale historical, technological, tactical and other factors, and also to gain a feeling for things like the chaos of house-to-house fighting, storming fortified positions through mud and pouring rain, and so on.

Combat Mission for me is both fun and deeply educational. I was a child in period CMCW; I don't have military experience of that period - but it was nevertheless a frightening reality. It's educational (and fun) to test the capabilities of each side's various pawns, queens and rooks; but it's also meaningful and educational (and, dammit, it would exciting and fun), if the game were to allow players to understand the horror that might have been.

Forget reason and strategy; no plan survives contact; nuclear or chemical warfare could very easily have happened. This customer politely requests BF consider incorporating some aspect of that :)

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21 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

And BFC politely refuses. I may be overstating his opinion but I believe Steve's policy from the start was basically 'If NBC/WMD then no Cold War'. Not including it was (as near as I can tell) a stipulation in agreeing to move forward with the project.

OK - well that's about as clear as you can get :)

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RTS vs WeGo I am biased the moment I notice RTS played on YT I look for something else. As a rule a clickfest with camera position 4 and ignore contact icons and the manual which explains relative spotting of the engine. If you enjoy it good luck to you. WeGo on Iron and I am not happy of the realism. Using Camera 3 and 4 need to be fought for. K-Buildings and or K-Terrain unlocks it. Favorite play Hotseat sit down and agree on the house rules. Hills and High Rise Buildings we agree on the Camera settings. Then the C2 Look at the structure of Scouting units, Armor, Artillery, Infantry and Engineers intel is not shared automatically, you have to agree for the sake of the integrity of the game as a military simulator. @Bil Hardenberger Wrote rules which go as a guideline how PBEM will be conducted in the future. We never get it all our way. OK you beat the AI regularly with major or even total victories. Don't forget the guy who gave you the entertainment practically plays one turn only. You can change your mind every minute. You beat the AI you just graduated from Kindergarden. 

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I'm reposting this here from the "new things" thread as my perspective on tactical nuclear weapons from an entire 34 year career in the military nuclear world, including actual US Army experience as a Field Artillery officer/Nuclear Weapons secondary specialist. (And Steve says no NBC, so there's that too 🙂 )

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My secondary specialty in the US Army was Nuclear Weapons - Field Artillery primary specialty, , commissioned coincidentally in 1979 (so nuclear warhead artillery shells, 155mm and 8" howitzer fired). Also spent a few years doing research in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, and about 30 years in nuclear propulsion and radiation protection. A few points:

1)  Pointless to include them in the game as the blast would cover a whole CM map. (give or take, depending on whether it was 155 or 8" that was fired).

2) Mostly the projected use by the US was at 2d and 3d echelon troops assembling for continuing the attack, so way behind the Soviet front line unit you are fighting on the map, to isolate the front line units from reinforcements.

3) Conversely to 2), NO ONE thought that anyone in NATO/US would authorize nuclear strikes on anything inside West Germany, which made having them pretty pointless, really. 

4) Considering the expected course of a Soviet invasion of West Germany, the most important thing I learned was exactly how to blow the warheads up into tiny little pieces so that they wouldn't fall into Soviet hands (blow them up conventionally - which you can do without setting off the warhead). 

5) The consensus at the time was that any use of tactical/battlefield nuclear weapons would not remain contained and would rapidly escalate to a general nuclear exchange. It seemed both sides felt this was true (it later came out) which makes it unlikely they would be used.

6) Lastly, personal opinion (facetiously) - we're talking firing nukes out of artillery - you just don't want to be that close.

Dave 

 

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On 2/23/2021 at 9:30 PM, IMHO said:
  1. Bio and Chemical weapons would have had next to nil effect on Armed Forces of 80s. Everyone was prepared (unlike today).
  2. Tactical nukes would have had quite manageable effect for military commanders as well. Massive conventional carpet bombing was/is more destructive to military than tactical nukes

1. The fact that we were prepared does not mean nil effect. Everything slows down. Everything you do is harder. As an artillery officer we found calculating firing data and firing the battery to be extremely slow. Everything took at least twice as long, a lot of constantly repeating to make sure we heard numbers correctly. Same on the gun line. Checking 4 times to make sure the correct data was set on the guns. Beyond game time scales, although this applies for a campaign: If you have to be in Mopp4 for more than say, 12 hours, how will you eat? How will you eliminate? Even drinking water. Yes there is a tube. Do you trust it and your canteen to not pass contamination? I never did. Theoretically you move that unit to a clean area for Decon and to eat and rest. Can they actually disengage? Is there someone to plug that hole?
 

2. Speculation. Tactical nuclear weapons have never been used. (Although by today’s standard Hiroshima and Nagasaki were pretty much tactical nukes). Sure, firebombing of cities by hundreds of level bombers caused more casualties in WW2. Those are cities, not battlefields. Soviet plans were to hit our front lines to blow massive gaps they could drive through. Traveling through a fallout zone is much more manageable than through nerve agents. But in the game do you want to fight with the few scattered, dazed, now in MOPP4, surviving remnants of your company team against that intact Soviet motorized rifle battalion? Sounds like no fun, although realistic if they were used. 
 

Dave

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3 hours ago, Ultradave said:

Everything slows down. Everything you do is harder.

Correct but to simulate this in CM you don't need big badaboom CGI. You just set troops' experience level, morale and voila, you have a post-nuclear conventional fight with zero development effort.

3 hours ago, Ultradave said:

Traveling through a fallout zone is much more manageable than through nerve agents.

Actually nerve agents (like organophosphates like VX) normally degrade into metabolites pretty quickly.

3 hours ago, Ultradave said:

Speculation. Tactical nuclear weapons have never been used.

I'd disagree, nuclear explosion effects on combat troops are well researched. See Totskoye and Desert Rock exercises.

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Desert Rock exercises were conducted in the 50s. There were some significant tactical and technical changes in the following decades. Besides, exercises are just that - exercises, real life usually brings some surprises, especailly with virtual no previous experience of troops fighting after nuclear strike.

 

5 hours ago, Ultradave said:

 But in the game do you want to fight with the few scattered, dazed, now in MOPP4, surviving remnants of your company team against that intact Soviet motorized rifle battalion? Sounds like no fun, although realistic if they were used. 
 

Dave

Wouldn't the Russian battalion be treated the same way? I mean retaliation with chemical weapons after first use of chemical weapons by the Soviets. Then all the things you wrote about - everything taking twice as much time, huge difficulties in performing even the simplest tasks - would equally effect the opponent.

Wouldn't it be World War one again, equally miserable for both sides with no one getting significant operational advantage?

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25 minutes ago, mrzafka said:

I mean retaliation with chemical weapons after first use of chemical weapons ... Then all the things you wrote about - everything taking twice as much time, huge difficulties in performing even the simplest tasks - would equally effect the opponent.

Wouldn't it be World War one again, equally miserable for both sides with no one getting significant operational advantage?

Chemical weapons are made in such a way as to degrade pretty quickly exactly not to have a long lasting area denial effect for the side that chooses to use them. Like you planned for the wind forecast but the agent lasts for few days and then what? Wind changes and now your front line troops are sitting in NBC suits seeing **** while your opponent runs unhindered. AFAIK the planned use of chemical weapons was to temporary deny some terrain to the enemy, restrict mobility of some enemy units, severely degrade their combat capabilities for a given time period. NOT to turn some areas into permanently inaccessible post-apocalypse wastelands.

Basically you use the weapon then you quickly exploit its effects and by the time the dust settles you hold key terrain and enemy units are in encirclements.

40 minutes ago, mrzafka said:

Desert Rock exercises were conducted in the 50s. There were some significant tactical and technical changes in the following decades.

Sure, "significant tactical and technical changes" were implemented as the product of that research :) Like Soviet tanks hauled around hundreds of kilograms and even tons of polyethylene liner.

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2 hours ago, IMHO said:

Correct but to simulate this in CM you don't need big badaboom CGI. You just set troops' experience level, morale and voila, you have a post-nuclear conventional fight with zero development effort.

Actually nerve agents (like organophosphates like VX) normally degrade into metabolites pretty quickly.

I'd disagree, nuclear explosion effects on combat troops are well researched. See Totskoye and Desert Rock exercises.

Those exercises were to test troops moving through an area that had just been hit, which is a manageable thing to do. My comment was about fighting with what was left on the receiving end, which won’t be much. There have been no instances of troops being in the receiving end of a blast (obviously) and knowing what shape they will be in ( it won’t be good). 
 

And to answer @mrzafka, no it wouldn’t be the same. The Soviets will be in protective gear but they won’t be the ones who were hit with a nuclear weapon. So while they have protective gear which slows them down, they actually exist, where those under the nuclear blast, well.....

During this time there was debate over whether to issue soldiers dosimeters. What use would it be? Soldier reads his pocket dosimeter after a blast and realizes he’s a goner. Does he, a) sit under a tree and cry b) go berserk and charge the enemy, figuring he’s dead anyway. Neither is the response you want. No dosimeters for the troops was the decision. 
 

The discussion has changed from firing nuclear weapons (not happening, see my discussion) to simulating operation on a contaminated battlefield, which you could sort of do by setting every possible readiness, morale, experience, leadership setting to rock bottom, maybe don’t allow quick or fast movement by agreement. Don’t forget to have the US side fight with almost nothing. A few surviving tanks maybe. Everything else is toast. Go for it if that’s your thing. Scenario Editor awaits. 😀
 

Dave

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@Ultradave,

Agree with a note that NATO had way more tactucal nukes than Soviet Union so Soviet troops would have been on a receiving end probably more often than NATO. It's hard to believe NATO units would have gone down one by one without resorting to thosands and thosands of warheads on hands.

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Nukes, gas, Star Wars space lasers can all be 'employed' in the game. All you have to do is write it up in the orders. 'Troop strength is down to 50% because of a gas attack 2 days ago'. 'Nuclear strike to our rear means no air support, supplies or reinforcements'. 'Follow-on forces for the breakthrough never arrived due to a WMD strike and front line forces are exhausted'. Crank up the electronics countermeasures to max and  claim EMP from a nuclear air burst fried all the radios. That's something you can do, but the game maker's ain't gonna touch it.

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38 minutes ago, IMHO said:

@Ultradave,

Agree with a note that NATO had way more tactucal nukes than Soviet Union so Soviet troops would have been on a receiving end probably more often than NATO. It's hard to believe NATO units would have gone down one by one without resorting to thosands and thosands of warheads on hands.

Well, we'll never know, but being part of it all at the time, it was unthinkable that we would nuke West German territory, no matter the situation on the ground. But, we won't know, thank goodness.

Dave

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