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Category Archives: AARs

Kriegsspiel That Would Never End™ – An AAR, part the last

The AAR has landed ~

Jim Owczarski, 2 June 2018

I have said elsewhere that along this road I learned a lot about running a Kriegsspiel via e-mail.  I have run many face-to-face in my home and elsewhere, but this one created new necessities and inventions.  I have already discussed the oversized wall map and Dalek stickers my wife and I used to track the action.  Shortly into the action, she also fashioned a special ruler, marked off with the map’s scale.

Faded just a bit.

Kriegsspiel That Would Never End™ – An AAR, part 3

The AAR that will actually end™ ~

Jim Owczarski, 19 May 2018

I have played in a fair number of Kriegsspiels, and run a bunch more, and each one teaches something about the nature of warfare in the era.

One of the greater lessons of this one to me was the difficulty of bringing your opponent to battle if he did not want to fight you.  Consider the following:

  • The troop columns are very long.  Even under the simplified system used, a French division of 8,000 men stretches over 4 km.  A division of 2,000 cavalry stretches to the same distance.  In the mixed divisions — common among the Prussians — a 9,000-man division consisting of 7,000 men and 2,000 cavalry covers 7.5 km with an additional 15% penalty because of the relatively poor organization of their wagon train over against the French.
  • Only one division can have a given road at a time.  My friend Doug Miller has written about this elsewhere, but there is a remarkable display at the Deutsches Historisches Museum on the history of road improvement in Germany from the time of the Thirty Years’ War to the Napoleonic era. (Author’s Note:  All museums should have displays that awesome.)  It makes many points, but the one relevant here is that these divisional columns would never have been able to move side-by-side without dramatically slowing their march rates.
  • You do not want the MOVEMENT PENALTY.  In my household, it is a rule when measuring Kriegsspiel marches by anybody silly enough to think he can save time by going off-road that one say MOVEMENT PENALTY in the most ominous voice possible.  It certainly can be attempted in a pinch, but is a very poor way to get to the battlefield.  All through our visit to this battle space, my wife and I repeatedly looked at the hills, the forests, the rivers, and everything else and said, yes, MOVEMENT PENALTY.
  • The battle space in the game is relatively small.  “Flight of the Eagle” decrees that battles generally occur in an area of five square kilometers and that until a column arrives inside that square it cannot be deployed for battle.
  • Commanders were only working with 12-hour days.  The hours of daylight in October in Thuringia are judged by the rules to be 0600 through 1800.  Marching after dark incurs a dramatic penalty in fatigue and no force can move more than 20 hours without rest.  Fights after nightfall — in the darkness of 1806 that is difficult for folks today to imagine — were very rare and I allowed them only under exceptional circumstances.

Kriegsspiel That Would Never End™ – An AAR, part 2

The AAR takes waaaay less time than the game ~

Jim Owczarski, 16 May 2018

One of the great joys of the Kriegsspiel is the fog of war and command friction that results from any double-blind game.  The Jena-Auerstedt campaign’s fights over 13 and 14 October made this point eloquently — and I am not only discussing the fact (alluded to in the videos) that during this period Napoleon lost Bernadotte’s I Corps for a fair amount of time and Brunswick lost contact with Blucher and Ruchel for several days.

While Murat, Lannes, and Davout were barrelling nigh Hell-fot-leather Northward along their western line of advance, Napoleon I himself could never quite figure out where the Prussians were.  He kept punching forward hoping to hit something and never realized just how empty the battle space was.  In the early marches, he failed to catch the divisions guarding the Hof gap and then both Marshals Soult and Ney kept nudging forward along the eastern routes trying to make contact with Hohenlohe’s men who scampered as fast as they were able.

Kriegsspiel That Would Never End™ – An AAR, part 1

What happens when you cram 10 days of battle into 18 months of forum posts? ~

Jim Owczarski, 12 May 2018

It took nine game days rather than the postulated six.

It took a tiny bit over a year and a half of real time.

It resulted in 568 forum posts and 33,553 forum views (as I write this).

The umpire sent out 825 dispatches.

And it is over.

Jokes to the contrary notwithstanding, the Kriegsspiel That Would Never End™ actually ended on 5 May 2018.

But that would be to begin at the ending, and no one wants that.

In the beginning, I was planning a trip to the Jena-Auerstedt battlefields and I had always had a love of Dr. Didier Rouy’s “The Flight of the Eagle” Napooleonic campaign system.  I also enjoy the company of the crew from the GrogHeads forums and was delighted when a fair number of them responded to the idea of playing one of these Kriegsspiels with something other than derisive laughter or knowing dismissal.

RAF The Battle of Britain 1940 – The GrogHeads AAR, part 5 of 5

Will the climax of the AAR leave shots all over England? ~

Michael Eckenfels, 1 May 2018

 

0600 TIME SEGMENT

RAID ONE: HORNCHURCH (Airfield)

MAJOR RAID

This raid has the Decoy Raid card attached to it. I get to choose two Squadrons from the Enroute Sectors listed on the Target card and put them in the Inflight Box. I choose two of the three Spitfire Squadrons from 6/11 as we have a Major Raid coming in to take down the Radar Net at Foreness.

The two RAF Squadrons assigned by Fighter Command find that this was a Luftwaffe trick; the two Squadrons are now out of the picture for the time being, cursing their luck and good German ingenuity, no doubt.