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"Food sabotage a valid tactic?" Topic


23 Posts

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757 hits since 15 Sep 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

Have you ever gamed raiding or sabotaging the enemies supplies such as food?

Personal logo Zeelow Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 1:25 p.m. PST

Nope, but a good idea for a quik scenario.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 1:27 p.m. PST

Yes, many times. One of my former wargaming chums was a logistician

Henry Martini16 Sep 2017 1:41 p.m. PST

If you include herds of livestock… yes.

emckinney16 Sep 2017 5:04 p.m. PST

It was a big deal in the AWI. I believe the British we're bedeviled by irregular Patriot forces in New Jersey in the run-up to Valley Forge. Some guerilla groups put up 700 men for battle against a foraging party.

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 5:18 p.m. PST

Do Border Reivers count &tc count?

Also does raiding of livestock qualify(which was a very common form of warfare in the pre-modern period)?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 8:37 p.m. PST

Considering how "an army travels on its stomach," and how the raiding and destruction of baggage trains and supply lines were always an integral part of tactics throughout history, I'm surprised this isn't the subject in wargames more often.

If not food then, at the very least, the disruption or contamination of their water supply. Even if the physical effects take days to develop, the general effect on morale is immediate.

Dan

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 4:33 a.m. PST

Oh yes.

It's also a critical element for Little Crow's War. Then there's the lovely Death Cult scenario where they are trying to start Justinian's Plague by infecting Byzantine grain supplies …

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 8:05 a.m. PST

I did run a Power Projection: Fleet scenario in which Imperial commerce raiders attacked Zhodani freighters around a gas giant.

Personal logo Mardaddy Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 8:55 a.m. PST

I am actually surprised by the answers.

I would have thought scenario results would be over long before the effects of sabotaging food would be a factor in the opposing force (or your own), and therefore why? Would it be a tactic?

But that is because I have not observed or played historicals (my area has no fans.)

Based on the thread posters, I have seen the light on this subject..

Unless it is also an OBJECTIVE…
Unless it could be a negative morale effect…
Or unless the game advanced time like a siege…

Learning is fun.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 9:23 a.m. PST

Many of our streams out in the West carry significant amounts of alkali--not enough to kill you, but in an RPG or perhaps skirmish setting, characters would be ducking behind large rocks to drop their drawers with dismaying frequency after drinking from the stream.

Grelber

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART17 Sep 2017 3:10 p.m. PST

In my Sudan games, the British have to protect the baggage column or it's 'game over'.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 5:23 p.m. PST

Isn't that the whole reason for why the battle of Kadesh was only a partial victory?

Maybe the Hittites put the baggage train there on purpose, so that when the Egyptians went for I they could then make a clean getaway, and be ready to fight again another day.

Dan

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2017 6:07 a.m. PST


I would have thought scenario results would be over long before the effects of sabotaging food would be a factor in the opposing force (or your own), and therefore why? Would it be a tactic?

Actually you said it quite rightly yourself…
Unless it is also an OBJECTIVE

In the game I have played the raid was in the context of a skirmish, so the goal of the players was their own small part of a larger conflict.

I should also point out that in some games (DBA comes to mind readily) capturing (and presumably sacking) the other player's camp is a common and useful tactic.

In DBA the reason to attack the other side's camp is not because the destruction of the food in the camp has a direct influence on the game. After all, the battle will be won or lost long before the troops have time to starve. Rather it is because the troops' morale will plummet once they realize their food (along with anything else they put value on in the camp) will be destroyed.

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2017 6:11 a.m. PST

It's also a critical element for Little Crow's War.

When you mention "Little Crow's War" are you speaking about the historic conflict of that name or a set of rules titled "Little Crow's War?"


the lovely Death Cult scenario where they are trying to start Justinian's Plague by infecting Byzantine grain supplies

Is this a published scenario/adventure/game (because if it is, I want it)?

Old Wolfman18 Sep 2017 6:33 a.m. PST

And cattle rustling( ala "The Alamo")

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Sep 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

When you mention "Little Crow's War"

I mean the historic conflict. I have run several scenarios from the conflict (omitting the slaughters carried out by either side – not revisionist history, just it's not interesting or insightful to play a slaughter). I haven't put it together in a scenario book yet. It's on my list.

Is this a published scenario

"Saga of the Death Cult" on WargameVault. It has several scenarios where the shadowy Death Cult is actually the agent causing several massive human tragedies of history.

I think it's like $1 USD or $2 USD

Lion in the Stars18 Sep 2017 4:27 p.m. PST

The old "Sting of the Scorpion" game from Battlefront/Flames of War was all about hitting supply dumps in the desert. I still have those rules and minis.

Murvihill19 Sep 2017 8:57 a.m. PST

In a campaign protecting food supplies would be important, especially as drawing off security troops favors the side with the smaller army. As far as sabotaging food supplies I think poisoning or contaminating food is harder than it appears. The amount of material needed to do the deed isn't something you could just carry in your saddle bag and it would require preparation. Setting fire to warehouses and trains is more to the point, but would be more obvious and allow more effective countermeasures.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2017 12:40 p.m. PST

Burning the supply train ended Sibley's New Mexico campaign.

link

Lion in the Stars19 Sep 2017 5:08 p.m. PST

If we're talking pre-1900s, there's also the option to steal supplies and burn what you can't carry.

Particularly for insurgents.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2017 7:35 a.m. PST

As far as sabotaging food supplies I think poisoning or contaminating food is harder than it appears.

Depends on the situation. It doesn't take a lot of poisoned Tylenol to get it off the shelves. Likewise, one doesn't have to poison a well completely and forever to get people to stop drinking from it. I would hazard that visible and olfactory effect was more important than toxicity in a lot of cases.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2017 9:51 a.m. PST

Etotheipi makes a good point. If a few food items have been poisoned, they all have to be checked. If the tech level is low, checking will be slower, because you may have to do things like make the prisoners eat first. A delayed meal can turn into a delayed march easily.

I'm not sure how to game that out.

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