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17 minutes ago, dbsapp said:

But it's curious if you noticed that your thesis is a classical Cath 22. Country "X" poses a threat either way: its strong, so it's a clear indication that it's aggressive and can attack. Or it's weak, so it's even more suspicious, because this weakness could lead to outbreak of aggression. Hence always peaceful nation "Y" is stymied to defend itself by building military bases around "aggressive" neighbor, or even to launch a preemptive strike. With the best intentions, of course. 

Again, I would offer that a "binary" view is another example of amateurishness.  Strong stable countries do not always attack.  Country X in you example would be the US and both it posture and doctrine were both extremely defensive in nature in the main conventional theaters.  Both the US and Soviets were highly aggressive on the margins, while the Soviet were at the same time built for strategic offence in Europe...and with good reasons.

And not all weaker nations are offensively orientated.  Switzerland is the epitome of that example, while others favour collective security mechanisms to offset there overall vulnerabilities.  The Soviets, as you point out, were highly vulnerable across the board and lived in the shadow of WW2.  They had no interest in a defensive war, should it come to it.

Dance around the Cuban missile crisis all you want, but the Soviets were not innocently placing medium range missiles off Florida as a demonstration of strategic defence, neither was the US in Turkey, again a lot of aggressive action to go around.

I think what is really being asked here is "who would attack first"?  Or more clearly, "who would attack first in Germany, if it were to happen?".  Well I have to go with the side who was actually setup to do it.  The US/NATO was not going to attack with that disparity (you know force ratios and all that), nor was it setup for it politically, the alliance likely would have fractured without the Soviets attacking first.  I seriously doubt the Soviets had any grand plan to attack but if poor intel, or simple misunderstanding were to factor in, that dog would be one let off the leash.

Finally, as to the poor Soviets on their farm tractors:

 https://nintil.com/the-soviet-union-military-spending/

 

30 minutes ago, dbsapp said:

As for kilotons of USSR tanks it hardly proves anything. Should we compare quantity (and quality) of navies, airforces, submarines and nuclear warheads (nuclear parity was achieved only in the late 70s), we would inevitably find out that those tanks are not that frightening  at all.

So putting aside the nuclear equation for a minute (because it a one way rabbit hole), you proposition is that the western navies off-set the land combat power in the WP?  Land combat power, positioned forward with enough punch to drive to Paris?  All the while the Soviet Union had enough access to energy, food and raw materials in both its homeland and near abroad, none of it really vulnerable to naval power (i.e. pre-globalization)?....?

Ok, well this was fun.     

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28 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

Again, I would offer that a "binary" view is another example of amateurishness. 

I would agree with you that "binary" view is example of amateurishness. The thing is I don't recall any of it in my words. 

I never argued that the US was interested in the actual war with USSR or was trying to initiate it first for whatever reasons. I guess, if, as you proposed, we put aside the nuclear equation for a minute, NATO would invade USSR with high probability. But since in real life it's not as easy to put aside several thousand nuclear warheads as at internet forum, it was highly unlikely. The nukes serve as a very strong deterrent, so I doubt that in those circumstances any American decision maker thought seriously about making the first move ever. It would be suicide. 

What I merely said is that the same goes for USSR. Soviet Union never considered the probability to initiate "invasion", despite all the billions and billions of $ that Washington spent on propaganda to prove the opposite and receive $ trillions  in defense budget. 

47 minutes ago, The_Capt said:

 

Finally, as to the poor Soviets on their farm tractors:

 https://nintil.com/the-soviet-union-military-spending/

 

  

Well, this link totally proves my point - the share of military spending in GDP of the USSR was higher than in GDP of the US. That precisely means that for the USSR military spending was much heavier burden than for the US.

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The Soviets vs NATO is a classic case of a continental power vs a maritime power. The Soviet Navy was never going to win the land war in Europe but the huge submarine fleet could cause massive attrition to NATO's available shipping that was vital to bring reinforcements, supplies, and most importantly for a land war, the megatons of oil a modern army needs to fight. 

 

The NATO navies were never going to win a land war in Europe and w/o nukes their ability to directly influence the ground fighting was minimal. The Soviets were pretty much self sufficient (except for food, which is an interesting oversight) and not dependent on moving bulk cargoes in ships to keep their economies going. 

 

H

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On 6/17/2021 at 5:52 AM, Ultradave said:

Actually BEING an expert in one very small area gives you a good perspective in how much you DON'T know. I was reminded of that every time I went to a technical conference.

Yep, and that is why many people with actual expertise are careful about how confident they seem - they know they don't know everything. Meanwhile non experts who watched a few hours of a documentary say with confidence how sure they are. Sigh - we humans can act pretty spacey.

 

On 6/17/2021 at 5:52 AM, Ultradave said:

One of my favorite things when I was teaching at NC State was going to a post doctorate symposium where post docs would present their research. There were 50 presentations selected from all areas of the university.

My son is currently a PhD candidate at McGill and really likes going to those presentations at his university. I love hearing about them.

Learning is fun.

Edited by IanL
oops wrong word "non" not "no"
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  • 1 month later...
On 6/13/2021 at 2:44 PM, USASOCRanger said:

Hello everyone. I am a long time Combat Mission player going all the way back to Beyond Overlord. I am more or less comfortable with gameplay mechanics and everything, but I ran into a huge speed bump with Cold War. I am a GWOT veteran and grew up in an age of Javelins, TOWs, Bradleys, and all that ****. My question is this:

How in the hell does a mechanized infantry company with M113s and a couple of Dragons fend off, or attack, a motor rifle company with BMPs? I mean, the 113 is about useless in that fight so I realize it's about correct positioning of the dismounted element but how on earth is my couple of Dragon dudes supposed to carry the day in that fight? 

Since this thread has long drifted into off topic garbage I'm going to ask you this.

Are you interested in learning how to defeat Soviet forces controlled by another player or are you purely interested in single player? If you're inquiring about head to head I can share with you the knowledge I've acquired in about 64 games I've played against human opponents.

If it's against the scripted AI I have nothing to offer you since it is easily exploited and not worth talking about.

Edited by BuzzCutPsycho
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On 6/19/2021 at 8:46 AM, Halmbarte said:

The Soviets vs NATO is a classic case of a continental power vs a maritime power. The Soviet Navy was never going to win the land war in Europe but the huge submarine fleet could cause massive attrition to NATO's available shipping that was vital to bring reinforcements, supplies, and most importantly for a land war, the megatons of oil a modern army needs to fight. 

 

The NATO navies were never going to win a land war in Europe and w/o nukes their ability to directly influence the ground fighting was minimal. The Soviets were pretty much self sufficient (except for food, which is an interesting oversight) and not dependent on moving bulk cargoes in ships to keep their economies going. 

 

H

makes one look back in history at examples of how that can play out - Napoleon comes to mind.  

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I recall reading that some year ago the Pentagon conducted a major (digital) wargame to test out its 'transformational warfare' concepts against an aggressive modern OPFOR force. Immediately on starting, the OPFOR force sunk the bulk of the blue force's landing craft. The blow was so stunning that they had to stop the game, refloat the navy, then resume making believe the initial blow hadn't happened. After that the Blue force continued to fare badly. The OPFOR force took advantage of swarms of drones, ECM warfare, everything at it disposal and basically overwhelm the attacking Blue force.

The point of my tale is I'm not convinced the Russians would not have been able to nip the American defense in the bud by sinking its follow-on forces mid-Atlantic. The allied assumption is reinforcements arrive, disembark and enter the fight once the Russians had exhausted themselves in their initial push. If the reinforcements don't show up, or show up significantly degraded, 'phase 2' of the plan becomes problematic. A lesson often learned playing CM is don't assume your opponent will be blind, slow or stupid because those assumptions tend to come back and bite you.

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7 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

I recall reading that some year ago the Pentagon conducted a major (digital) wargame to test out its 'transformational warfare' concepts against an aggressive modern OPFOR force. Immediately on starting, the OPFOR force sunk the bulk of the blue force's landing craft. The blow was so stunning that they had to stop the game, refloat the navy, then resume making believe the initial blow hadn't happened. After that the Blue force continued to fare badly. The OPFOR force took advantage of swarms of drones, ECM warfare, everything at it disposal and basically overwhelm the attacking Blue force.

The point of my tale is I'm not convinced the Russians would not have been able to nip the American defense in the bud by sinking its follow-on forces mid-Atlantic. The allied assumption is reinforcements arrive, disembark and enter the fight once the Russians had exhausted themselves in their initial push. If the reinforcements don't show up, or show up significantly degraded, 'phase 2' of the plan becomes problematic. A lesson often learned playing CM is don't assume your opponent will be blind, slow or stupid because those assumptions tend to come back and bite you.

The Millennium Challenge 2002, and it wasn't just digital. It's also rather more complex than that narrative - although that was certainly the one that made the headlines. There has been *endless* back and forth about the specific minutia of that one.

One of the more interesting conclusions that no-one seems to talk about, but all agree on, is that despite refloating the ships and proceeding under a more restrictive Redfor ROE (whether that constitutes "changing the rules" is one of many debated topics here), and the Redfor commander resigning six days in, Blufor was still unable to achieve it's objectives. The Red side maintained regional control, albeit in a weakened state.

Your fundamental point is completely correct. One thing I've found playing at a lot of tournaments for various things is that it seems really common for (poor) players to assume that their opponent is weaker, stupider or more clumsy than they are.

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35 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

I recall reading that some year ago the Pentagon conducted a major (digital) wargame to test out its 'transformational warfare' concepts against an aggressive modern OPFOR force. Immediately on starting, the OPFOR force sunk the bulk of the blue force's landing craft. The blow was so stunning that they had to stop the game, refloat the navy, then resume making believe the initial blow hadn't happened. After that the Blue force continued to fare badly. The OPFOR force took advantage of swarms of drones, ECM warfare, everything at it disposal and basically overwhelm the attacking Blue force.

The point of my tale is I'm not convinced the Russians would not have been able to nip the American defense in the bud by sinking its follow-on forces mid-Atlantic. The allied assumption is reinforcements arrive, disembark and enter the fight once the Russians had exhausted themselves in their initial push. If the reinforcements don't show up, or show up significantly degraded, 'phase 2' of the plan becomes problematic. A lesson often learned playing CM is don't assume your opponent will be blind, slow or stupid because those assumptions tend to come back and bite you.

MC is overblown - the guy running the opfor decided to powergame by placing anti-ship missiles (silkworms) on infinitely respawning small fishing boats which teleported into existence beside the carriers and using faster-than-light motorcycle riders to communicate with all his forces. Basically Van Riper took the existing training program and abused it to the limit.

Once the referees realised what was happening they placed limitations to prevent further abuse, at which point Van Riper threw a public hissy fit.

Also, you have to remember that this exercise was actually a training exercise involving thousands of troops and millions of dollars in expenses. What were they supposed to do, have the troops and dozens of ships go home when they were knocked out a few minutes into a multi-day training exercise? What value would that have brought them?

Most exercises of this nature are done in discrete increments because you actually want troops to get experience doing these things. Who cares if the amphibious landing force was wiped out on the ships during the map exercise, better to have them actually go ahead with an actual landing and get experience doing that. Better the destroyers get to go and fire cruise missiles at targets even if they were nominally "sunk". Better the aircrew get the flight hours and experience dropping ordnance on targets than sit in the ready room because their carrier was "sunk". Which was the whole point of these real life exercises.

MC wasn't meant to validate the doctrine, it was to teach the troops how to use it.

Edited by Grey_Fox
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12 minutes ago, Grey_Fox said:

Also, you have to remember that this exercise was actually a training exercise involving thousands of troops and millions of dollars in expenses. What were they supposed to do, have the troops and dozens of ships go home when they were knocked out a few minutes into a multi-day training exercise? What value would that have brought them?

From the POV of training at lower levels that makes sense.  Unfortunately we all know that pols and top level decision-makers will base their predictions based on the overall wargame result, and in this case will surely make the wrong and disastrous conclusions.  Midway anyone?

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14 minutes ago, Erwin said:

From the POV of training at lower levels that makes sense.  Unfortunately we all know that pols and top level decision-makers will base their predictions based on the overall wargame result, and in this case will surely make the wrong and disastrous conclusions.  Midway anyone?

The Midway example could be a good example as it was a tabletop staff/command exercise.

However, and this is a big however, it could have been entirely valid to do what Yamamoto did if the exercise was done on a per-phase basis. Per Jon Parshall in a recent interview (as well as Ian Toll in Pacific Crucible), if the tabletop exercise goes badly in one phase, it'd be valid to say "ok, let's learn from that, work on a plan to mitigate after the exercise, and then move onto the next phase of the plan".

Would you seriously expect people to throw away an operation involving hundreds of ships and tens of thousands of sailors and airmen just because there was a hiccup in one phase of a single tabletop exercise?

Back to MC: it wasn't just the lower-levels, it also was designed to give commanders experience at implementing the doctrine, which adds value in itself.

Edited by Grey_Fox
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"Transformational warfare' (a favorite Rumsfeld term) was a novel concept at the time and there were expectations that the exercise would validate the theory. It appeared (from my admittedly very limited perspective) that the think-tankers were angry with the exercise for not giving them the answer that they wanted. Our theories weren't wrong, your wargame was wrong! A Combat Mission equivalent is "The Game Is Broken!!!!" after a player loses a tank platoon in the first five minutes. :D

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Yeah, that's the popular narrative, as well as being the narrative that Van Riper himself was keen on spreading. The reality is more complex (isn't it always). Whether history has shown Van Riper to be right, or whether he was intentionally disrupting the exercise and self-aggrandising is more of an opinion. The truth is likely to be somewhere in the middle.

Your fundamental point is absolutely correct though - including the "the game is wrong".

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The purpose of a wargame is to produce tactical models which solve tactical problems. Get beaten in a game? 12 months later and with more experience try it again with models you learned in other games. I complained about topographic maps but I don't need them anymore. Just some more experience solves a lot of problems. Always keep in eye out for the integrity of the game. We use a computer they didn't have them in WW2 so the C2 model is challenging. 

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Hah, I had to go back to the first post to remind myself what we're talking about. :D

We're not too far off the original topic of "How in the hell does a mechanized infantry company..." because we're talking about the purpose of wargaming-out tactical/strategic scenarios. How in hell does a mech inf co of M113s defend itself? That a topic worthy of experimentation, and will probably tell us why Bradley got invented. 

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That was a question I had asked myself many times while attacking as the US, but part of the answer is seeing the other sides vulnerabilities.

To do that I switched sides and took the Soviet as the Attacker, and promptly got several burning BMP wrecks!

So that was a useful experience, seeing what the other side does to get the edge.

Also, my other insight - and this advice is free of charge - is: they're in the trees, they're always in the trees!

THH

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On 6/14/2021 at 6:09 AM, The_Capt said:

1982:  US: M60A1s, some A3s and the M1s/M2s make an appearance. M901s and more DPICM.  Soviets are primarily T64Bs (T80s pop up) and BMP2, so that can be a tense fight.

1979: M48A5s, M60A1s and the A3s make the odd appearance, oh and M150s.  Soviets: T55s and T62s are main tanks but T64s make an appearance and BMP 1s.

Hard to say but based on feedback, 1979 is the tougher of the two.

Nah, its the easier of the two if you enjoy attacking (as Soviet) ....

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20 hours ago, MikeyD said:

That a topic worthy of experimentation, and will probably tell us why Bradley got invented.

& why it mutated into a tank?  ;)

I love the fact that BAE have managed to sell the original Bradley concept back to the US, on the same chassis no less, but four decades later:

content_dam_mae_online_articles_2014_12_

British ingenuity at its finest!  :P

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