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"Were the French Really Doomed to Defeat in 1940?" Topic


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©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Apr 2018 3:49 p.m. PST

"France holds a unique place in the collective military psyche. Once the military paragon of Europe, the French seem to have been doomed to an inexorable decline since Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.[1] France's recent expeditionary achievements in Mali are praised, but within the range of small-scale operations. When it comes to major wars, many Americans remember France's military collapse in 1940 and assume it was inevitable, since the French were stuck in the obsolete tactics of Verdun. This is not some kind of a post-2003 French non-interventionism bashing. Rather in Europe, the most severe critics are often the French themselves.

Surprisingly, it is seldom emphasized that the French could quite possibly have imagined something close to the Blitz if they had been not just one but two wars behind in 1939. Indeed, before 1914 they were the strongest advocates of the offensive, which had been taught for years at the Ecole de Guerre by future Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and theorized by the influential Colonel Louis de Grandmaison to the point of the offensive outrance (attack with no limit). The latter was much criticized later for having inspired the bloody and failed offensives of 1914-1916. But that does not erase the fact that, in the dialectic of the cannonball and the cuirass, the advantage goes successively from one to the other. Hence, the concept of lightning war was really nothing new in 1940, especially to the French. Today, Western armies see the blitzkrieg as the quintessence of military art because it splendidly combined technological innovation with the culture of mission command…"
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Amicalement
Armand

StarCruiser26 Apr 2018 5:04 p.m. PST

"Blitzkreig" was a surprise in 1939 (Poland) but, it should NOT have been a surprise when the Germans rolled into Belgium and France…

If the French and British had paid attention to what Guderian and Rommel (et.al.) were doing, they would have tried to concentrate their forces in larger formations, do your best to cover them with fighters (to keep the Stukas away) and hit in mass.

France had one of the largest tank forces in the world in 1940, and while some were outdated, many were actually very dangerous machines, if used correctly.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian26 Apr 2018 5:49 p.m. PST

Blitzkrieg as practiced in Poland was not the same as practiced in France. In Poland, 'blitzkrieg' mostly meant simple speed and encirclement. In France, the full 'blitzkrieg' doctrine of shock was used – not so much to encircle your enemy, as to hit him with multiple deep blows to shock and incapacitate his command and control.

21eRegt26 Apr 2018 6:32 p.m. PST

I remember the old Avalon Hill game, France 1940. It had the optional "Idiot Rule" that forced the allies to duplicate the historic battle plan. It was, to borrow a chess term, a forced loss. If you made your own deployment and decisions, it was a competitive game. So no, I don't believe that the French were doomed to defeat.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member26 Apr 2018 6:47 p.m. PST

"Were the French Really Doomed to Defeat in 1940?"

I believe they were doomed to defeat by decisions made well before 1940. The French/Allies were preparing to fight WWI all over again. They had seemed to adopt a "But this is how we always fight a war" mentality. The Germans although not prepared to fight it well of for a long duration, did seem to take steps to fight WWII instead of refighting WWI.

With a different plan and leadership, the French/Allies may have made Germany pay more dearly and achieved a more favorable outcome. Soldier for soldier the French/Allies fought well but the WWII Blitzkrieg just put too many Germans up against too few French/Allies in any given spot.

Aapsych20 Inactive Member26 Apr 2018 7:46 p.m. PST

In science there is the notion of determinism. If cause A, then effect B, for all networks of causes and effects.

Simply put, what has happened is the only thing that could have happened.

That was a theme of one of the Matrix movies, now that I think of it…

Lion in the Stars26 Apr 2018 9:40 p.m. PST

The biggest problem was that the French command and control was not able to react fast enough to deal with the Germans.

In the few times where French forces and German forces actually fought, the French did pretty well. But usually the Germans just went around any French forces instead of fighting them.

Lee49427 Apr 2018 12:03 a.m. PST

If you want to take the French Forces and give them German command and control, doctrine, strategy and tactics then yes they could have made a fight of it. Problem was they were stuck with French command, strategy, tactics etc. So the answer is NO. Cheers!

Fred Cartwright27 Apr 2018 4:16 a.m. PST

So the answer is NO. Cheers!

I think you mean yes they were doomed to defeat! The French started WW1 convinced that French elan would carry the day and the attack would still succeed. They and others discovered that machine guns or even some well trained infantry with bolt action rifles could shoot an attack to pieces. By 1916 they had the stuffing knocked out of them and developed the fortress mentality that lead to the Maginot Line. They started WW2 ready to refight WW1. The Maginot Line would hold the frontier and the bulk of the army would dig in on the Dyle river line and watch the Germans batter themselves to destruction attacking it. Given that was the plan having your tanks spread out along the line ready to counterattack any breach makes sense. Unfortunately that only works if the Germans stick to the script, which of course they didn't. WW1 left a profound impression on France. Due to the depression the birth rate did not bounce back post war in the way it normally does leading to the lost generation of France. The French were determined never to suffer that again. So the only way I see for the French to avoid defeat is for the Germans to fight in the way the French expected.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 4:18 a.m. PST

I don't think the outcome was pre-ordained. If the French had had a few more divisions dug in along the Meuse and kept the panzers of the 'sickle-stroke' through the Ardennes bottled up for long enough for reinforcements to arrive, who knows what might have happened? Still, the French command structure was unbelievably bad (archaic even by WWI standards) and would have crippled their chances.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 6:28 a.m. PST

I think the French were not well positioned tactically, strategically or philosophically to beat the Germans in 1940, but they could have – but it would have been a close-run thing at best

Legion 427 Apr 2018 7:07 a.m. PST

I remember the old Avalon Hill game, France 1940. It had the optional "Idiot Rule" that forced the allies to duplicate the historic battle plan. It was, to borrow a chess term, a forced loss. If you made your own deployment and decisions, it was a competitive game. So no, I don't believe that the French were doomed to defeat.
Loved that game ! Played it many times. Historically and with the various alternate TOEs, optional rules etc. The Campaign Analysis, etc., was excellent !

I also played the AH Panzerblitz/Panzerleader France '40 supplement. Albeit the rule mechanics at that time were not as good as today. But you certainly got a good "feel" for the situation, etc. on a tactical level.

SPI also did a great game called "Kampfpanzer", and covered the many early battles shortly before and during WWII. Again on a tactical level. Played it many, many times as well. And the France '40 battles were the majority of the scenarios. E.g. Arras, Abberville, etc. Again, very much gives you pretty good feel for those early battles of WWII …

Regardless, all the armies of most of the planet were "still fighting the last war" … so to speak. The UK and France had the assets. But the Germans were on only ones using the new paradigm of mobile combined arms warfare, i.e. Blitzkrieg …

We discussed like a bit on this thread … TMP link

Fred Cartwright27 Apr 2018 7:48 a.m. PST

But the Germans were on only ones using the new paradigm of mobile combined arms warfare, i.e. Blitzkrieg …

Sort of. The British did the same thing to the Italians later in 1940 and they were as powerless to prevent disaster as the French had been earlier in the year. The British had the advantage of commanders who understood mobile warfare, and a very well trained force, possibly one of the best trained armies the British have ever fielded. Sadly after that stunning victory broken up and squandered.

Legion 427 Apr 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

Would have been more accurate to say "But the Germans were one of the only forces using the new paradigm of mobile combined arms warfare, successfully. As in the France '40 battles, i.e. The Blitzkrieg … "

So yes, the UK did have one of the best forces that understood the modern concept of mobile combined arms warfare. As we are told in the history books, etc. The UK had a good team … but they didn't do well on the playing field, generally, so to speak.

Yes, Again as you noted … they didn't perform well on the battlefields of France in '40. And again, for a number or reason. The UK had a number of combined arms "visionaries", e.g. Liddle-Hart, Hobart, etc. But in the end, the BEF, French, etc., were defeated. And some were pushed off the continent … Leaving behind everything heavier than their uniforms and boots.

However, as noted in Operation Compass, in North Africa, the UK did display tactical expertise against the Italian forces in Egypt and Libya. E.g. in places like Beda Fomm.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2018 8:48 a.m. PST

Tanks: 3 groups of 1000 vs 1000 groups of 3
Faulty doctrine even to the point of artillery wholefully inadequate ( read for ex Manstein crossing some river and be not smashed by it as he expected).
Totally into defensive, Petain 1918.

Unmotivated people, after 20 years of pacifism as the only way. ( works only if both play by it).

The whole command and control system was outdated, the top generals, peacetime bureaucrats/ bysantine politics specialists, no leaders, none able to analyse and take right swift decisions.

The a good deal of lower level quality guys, troops, and people let down by hierarchy, abyssal inadequate, 1918 supply system, unprepared and faulty doctrine.
So yes probably doomed as no time to recover.
A few good decisions might have given the time, maybe, as we know the Rommel adventure was hanging by a thread, but always wise we are, after the events with hindsight.

donlowry27 Apr 2018 9:56 a.m. PST

So the only way I see for the French to avoid defeat is for the Germans to fight in the way the French expected.

That almost happened. Only the accident of a staff officer carrying plans being forced down behind enemy lines led Hitler to overrule a rerun of the Schliefen Plan in favor of Manstein's Sickleschnit.

Fred Cartwright27 Apr 2018 10:47 a.m. PST

The UK had a number of combined arms "visionaries", e.g. Liddle-Hart, Hobart, etc.

Yes it was Hobart that trained the desert force that did so well against the Italians in 1940. Had the whole of the allied force been trained and motivated to that level things would have been very different.

ToysnSoldiers Inactive Member27 Apr 2018 11:10 a.m. PST

Short answer: no

Old Peculiar27 Apr 2018 12:46 p.m. PST

Yes! Not because of the quality of their armed forces, which were very capable of resisting the Germans, if and only if the leadership from Divisional to Army level had been up to the job, and they certainly were not! So the army was doomed. Add to that the divided nature of the French government so there was no will to commit to the fight.

Legion 427 Apr 2018 12:54 p.m. PST

Yes it was Hobart that trained the desert force that did so well against the Italians in 1940. Had the whole of the allied force been trained and motivated to that level things would have been very different.
I'd think so as well …

Mark 127 Apr 2018 1:51 p.m. PST

I do not believe that the French were "doomed" to defeat. I never accept absolutes!*

But I do think that big failures almost always have multiple contributing factors, and do not easily accept analysis that says: "If only ____, then it wouldn't have happened."

So in my reading of history there are in fact several factors. Some are more important, but many contributed.

I think Lion has articulated the biggest issue:

The biggest problem was that the French command and control was not able to react fast enough to deal with the Germans.

In the few times where French forces and German forces actually fought, the French did pretty well. But usually the Germans just went around any French forces instead of fighting them.

It hardly mattered if the French tanks were better or not, or if the Germans used Stukas, or if the British and French had fighter defenses. So long as the French High Command issued orders for operations that made no sense to the troops on the ground, orders that were days behind the reality in fast-moving campaigns, then no better weapon, nor neutralization of a German weapon, was going to save them.

A corollary to this is the whole concept of centralized control and planning.

The German military (and the Prussian tradition that informed the German military) had emphasized decentralized tactical decision-making for a century and a half by 1940.

The French military was highly devoted to the scientific battle, which is by it's nature centrally planned. Central planning is a multiplier of any shortcomings with command / control infrastructure.

On it's own centralized planning does not necessarily mean loss. The Russians suffered the same combined shortcomings in 1941-43. They suffered it in spades, as it were, and they paid the price many times over compared to the French. But eventually they learned how to continue with their centralized planning and still beat the Germans. After mid-1943 even IF the Germans were faster at reacting, the Russians planned so many campaigns in sequence that kept the Germans wrong-footed -- the Germans spent ALL their time reacting and never got back to having the initiative.

I would agree with statements that the British had a better mobile combat capability than the French in 1940. But … and it is a big but … they failed on the same issue of command/control.

The history of the BEF in the France 1940 campaign is rife with failures of the British OODA loop. In some cases it may be blamed on the path of coordination with the very broken French command/control, but in other cases it is as much from the BEF to London and back, or even just within the BEF itself.

The great success of the Desert Force against the Italians in the campaign culminating at Beda Fomm came about in large part because London was out of the loop altogether. The Brits in the Western Desert seemed to be almost adequate in their command/control, and perhaps more importantly understood the importance of momentum in maneuver warfare, and so staged several maneuvers in sequence to keep the Italians wrong-footed. This paid high dividends.

Once London got back involved, their success rate immediately dried up. Whether it was deliberate or not (I believe not), Monty was pretty much correct in taking more of the centrally-planned scientific battle approach, given that his OODA loop was never going to match the Germans. So instead he just staged enough activities in sequence, to keep the Afrika Korps reacting.

Which is pretty far afield from France in 1940. But it is further illustration of the same issue. The French High Command HQ had a single telephone line for communications (and no radio network). Most communications was done by couriers. The days of delay this injected into their OODA loop meant that the French gave orders for counter-attacks to formations that were already scattered, or for forces to assemble at staging areas that were already in German hands, or for infantry regiments with a few tanks in support to clear up bridgeheads that were already filled with multiple Panzer Divisions. With that behavior pattern they were doomed to failure. It hardly mattered if a Char-B was big and scary if the orders didn't make sense. No weapon solves that problem.

*Yes, there's a bit of satire in that statement -- if you don't see it, or if it doesn't amuse you, well, nevermind.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

deephorse27 Apr 2018 3:27 p.m. PST

OK, I give in. OODA loop? And why can't some posters set out what their acronyms mean the first time they use them? It shouldn't be up to me to Google every TLA (see what I did there?) in order to have a chance of understanding a post. Thanks.

Mark 127 Apr 2018 6:14 p.m. PST

OODA: Observe -> Orient -> Decide -> Act

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop

This is model for describing the command decision cycle. There are others. So if you prefer another acronym, fine. Understanding command decision cycles is fundamental to understanding why and how the German Blitzkrieg worked. The Germans themselves really only understood that keeping up a high operational tempo worked well, without much background theory on why or how. The Russians started figuring it out in 1943, and really had it mastered by mid-1944. The US Army didn't figure it out until the mid- to late 1970s, although many US commanders (like Patton) also used operational tempo to their advantage even without a theory of why and how it worked.

YOU do something. Call it event 1. Whatever it is -- you crossed a river, you captured a crossroads, you launched a campaign, you flanked a position, whatever you did, you did something.

Now what does your opponent need to do to counter that?

OBSERVE: Well first of all, someone needs to know that you did it (whatever it was). That's why militaries have outposts and recon. Someone needs to observe event 1 before any response can take place.

ORIENT: Nothing happens just because someone saw something. That observation has to be reported up the chain until it reaches the level of someone who can do something about it. That someone doesn't necessarily react because of one report. That someone builds an impression of what's happening through many reports. That someone, a higher level commander, orients himself from the reports received. (What do we know: we know they are on that hill, we see they are firing at that crossroads, we observed logistics flowing so we suspect they are assembling in that valley, but that force that crossed the river is the real threat -- we have to do something about THAT!)

DECIDE: Once the commander has oriented on what's going on , he puts together a plan, based not only on observations of the enemy's actions, but on availability of resources, and higher command intentions. All of that is taken in to his step of deciding. (OK, we'll counter attack the force that crossed River A and point B. We need the infantry, the tanks, and the logistics trains to move to town C, to fuel and ammo up and establish their liaisons with the arty at D. All preparations must be completed to jump off on the attack at time E).

ACT: Great. The division CO has decided to counter-attack. But he doesn't then run out the door with pistol in hand and shoot at the bad guys. Acting takes the distribution of orders, the assembly of forces, liaison between cooperating units, and then getting those forces to step-off into action.

If you can make event 2 happen, and event 2 is anything meaningful, before your opponents have observed, oriented, decided and acted on event 1, then you are probably going to win this campaign. Because your opponents are giving orders to their troops that won't make sense.

Their poor schnooks on the ground receive orders to meet up with their ammo and fuel supplies at town C, and to coordinate with the artillery at D before launching their counter-attack.

But your recon forces have already taken town C, or have chased off the artillery at D.

So their orders are all wrong for the reality on the ground. And so their counter-attack never takes place. And they march and counter-march (ie: wander around) or sit on their thumbs. And you runs rings around their forces, carve them up, and take them down one piece at a time.

This is what the Germans did to the French. This is what they did to the Russians in 1941. Once you get inside your opponent's OODA loop, their command / control falls to pieces because the orders they are issuing don't make any sense to the reality on the ground.

It's a matter of operational tempo on one side, versus the decision loop on the other. Can you do things faster than they can understand those things and reply to those things.

The French in 1940 had an inordinately long OODA loop, with a doctrine that reserved decision-making to higher echelons, who were safely installed well behind the battlefield to be out of range of enemy attack, which meant longer paths between observation and orientation, and between decision and action. All orders had to be written (in multiple copies), which took time. This was coupled with an amazingly under-developed communications network so that each step the information had to go, up or down, took more time and was more prone to interruption.

The Germans allowed more autonomous decision making by the commander on the scene (VERY short OODA loop), emphasized commanders going forward to the key sectors of the battlefield (again shortening the OODA loop at that key point), used radios extensively, and gave orders verbally, to be followed-up in writing later.

Better tanks, or more fighter planes, won't solve that problem. As Stormin' Norman Schwartzkopf said of Operation Desert Storm, if his forces had swapped equipment with the Iraqis, if his troops were in T-55s and the Iraqis were in Abrams tanks, if we had MiGs and they had F-15s, he would have achieved the same results. Yeah, the casualties might have been a little different, but he would still have stomped 'em in an overwhelmingly disproportionate way, because the US Army had just spent 10 years focusing on OODA loops and how Blitzkrieg actually worked, and re-organized its doctrine and its forces to use that understanding.

Or so I've read…

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 428 Apr 2018 8:41 a.m. PST

issued orders for operations that made no sense to the troops on the ground, orders that were days behind the reality in fast-moving campaigns,
As we see the Germans were moving too fast, with combined arms units, etc.
The Germans themselves really only understood that keeping up a high operational tempo worked well,
Bingo !

It's a matter of operational tempo on one side, versus the decision loop on the other. Can you do things faster than they can understand those things and reply to those things.
Bingo !

Plus E.g. a Pz I or II may not have been "better" than many of French and UK AFVs at that time. But if those "better" AFVs are not at the right place at the right time and in proper quantities. It really didn't matter.

Also note many Infantry units did have enough if any AT assets. Or again they were not where they were needed. For a number of reasons. So to an Infantryman at that time, a Pz I was an almost unstoppable "Iron Monster". It didn't even have to shot you with it's MGs, etc. It can just run you over.

IIRC, when the WWI Germans first encountered the Allies' tanks. Some referred to them as "The Devil's Coaches" …

OODA: Observe -> Orient -> Decide -> Act
Yes, another phrase/technique, we were taught was "to get into the enemy's decision cycle". I.e. make him too busy trying to react to you that he can't do anything else. He can't effectively counter-attack, etc., etc. He's trying to plug holes, trying to not get outflanked, trying to resupply, etc., etc. But you don't give him the time to do it, etc. He losses the initiative … And really things are happening so quickly he never can regain it. If he had it at all …

And imagine at that time, with e.g. Panzer Is and/or IIs outflanking, pushing behind your lines, cutting off avenues of retreat, LOCs, etc. When you don't have any weapons on hand that can effectively defeat them. Even as lightly armed and armored they are.

donlowry28 Apr 2018 9:19 a.m. PST

If you can make event 2 happen, and event 2 is anything meaningful, before your opponents have observed, oriented, decided and acted on event 1, then you are probably going to win this campaign.

That is the very definition of "blitzkrieg".

It is also a pretty good definition of "surprise" in the military sense.

Legion 428 Apr 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

Indeed …

As I have noted before … Surprise one of the Principles of War.

And of course, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, "All warfare is deception" …

Fred Cartwright28 Apr 2018 10:14 a.m. PST

Private Frazer definitely thought so! :-)
YouTube link

donlowry30 Apr 2018 9:06 a.m. PST

So the question becomes: How to simulate this in a game? or, at least, in a campaign?

Mark 130 Apr 2018 11:04 a.m. PST

So the question becomes: How to simulate this in a game? or, at least, in a campaign?

It's pretty hard.

I can point a finger at a couple of aspects of wargaming that prevent the decision cycle from being part of games. But that doesn't mean that I know how to make the decision cycle part of games. It is easier to criticize, than it is to fix.

The first issue is the question of what forces get on to the game table.

The overwhelmingly dominant reason that Pz IIs and Pz 38t's were such useful tanks in 1940 (or Shermans and T-34s were such useful tanks in 1944) was that they showed up, when enemy tanks didn't, at points where they made a difference.

Once you are inside your opponent's decision loop, you go places where he is not ready for you, because he can't understand where you are going in time to issue orders to prepare for your arrival.

Who wants to play the opposition in a game where they face down a bunch of enemy tanks with no useful AT assets? Not me. But that's how blitzkrieg worked. You got your tanks to roll over his supply echelons and shoot up depots and train yards, or to catch columns in march order on roads far outside of the combat zone (so they thought!), or to route formations that were not equipped or deployed for anti-tank combat. "OK, in this scenario you set up your 3 batteries of artillery facing E. Each gun has a 12 degree arch of fire, and all guns in each battery must use the same arch. The battery archs most overlap so that the two wing batteries each overlap half the arch of the center battery, which must be pointed due East. You get 2 LMGs per battery, and 2 for your HQ, to deploy in outposts for local security wherever you choose. Your battery command post can be set where you choose, but you must lay out wire connections you have on the board. Once you have your 18 guns and 8 LMGs in place, 56 tanks enter the S edge of the board and roll over you." Yep, how fun. (NOT)

The second issue is the aspect of the God's Eye View of the game. For there to be any challenge in OODA, the first challenge should be in observing. If you observe everything, if you know everything, you have no partial observations, or opportunity to misinterpret observations, orienting is not much of a challenge (unless you are particularly thick, or the enemy's actions are particularly complex).

For this reason I much prefer games where players do not know what forces the enemy will have, and can not see enemy units until they have been spotted by his own forces. It adds observing and orienting into the game, which makes decisions a real challenge. Otherwise the decisions are mostly about what gun to shoot at what target. (Yawn…)

Interestingly, in games like chess, even though the board is 100% in view, there is an artificial construct (you only move 1 piece per turn) that limits the time you have to act, and makes "thinking ahead" the key aspect of orienting. If you play chess, you know what it means to have an opponent get inside your decision loop, even if it is only on orienting and acting. Since it takes you two or three turns to set up anything meaningful, if you have not anticipated your opponent's actions (oriented on future potentials) you won't have time to act. So maybe there's something in there that wargame rules can use. I think this is partly why activating by unit or by cards or dice adds something many of us like to games. It's hard to get your actions going, when you can't get all your pieces to do what you want at the same time.

Just some thoughts. Don't claim to be a rules architect. Just a rules user.

-Mark
(aka: Mk 1)

Thomas Thomas30 Apr 2018 11:41 a.m. PST

You can go a long way to simulating the decision loop in miniature gaming by using the order chit system pioneered by John Hill in Johnny Reb and brought to modern warfare by Frank Chadwick in Command Decision (and according to me simplified/perfected in Combat Command).

You give orders (face down under commander so they can't be seen) – then you start the turn with a Movement Phase (causing a bit of a scramble representing what's been going on while you have been issuing orders). Phases are simo but with better troops having option of going first or second.

Problem mostly solved long ago but seeming complexity of Reb/Command subsystems may have lead to the dead end YouGo/I Go of current popular systems (or maybe worse – random activations).

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame and Glory Games

Legion 430 Apr 2018 1:29 p.m. PST

The overwhelmingly dominant reason that Pz IIs and Pz 38t's were such useful tanks in 1940 (or Shermans and T-34s were such useful tanks in 1944) was that they showed up, when enemy tanks didn't, at points where they made a difference.
"Classic" Blitzkrieg, look for enemy weak points and attack there.

I.e. On a strategic level … as Mac did in the PTO, land where the enemy isn't … Not Island hopping but by passing.

In both cases generally you are avoiding where the enemy is/is in strength.

E.g. Longstreet told Lee at Gettysburg to go around the Union Forces there. Head for DC.

Fred Cartwright30 Apr 2018 1:32 p.m. PST

That almost happened. Only the accident of a staff officer carrying plans being forced down behind enemy lines led Hitler to overrule a rerun of the Schliefen Plan in favor of Manstein's Sickleschnit.

Not true. Hitler, the Luftwaffe and OKH were all unhappy with the plan and Hitler was already looking at ways of tinkering with it in November 39 long before the plans were captured.

donlowry01 May 2018 9:04 a.m. PST

The first issue is the question of what forces get on to the game table.

This is one of the major advantages of campaigns over one-off games. A simple mechanism to simulate this in a campaign is to have the orders of the slower OODA side be delayed a turn or two. i.e. he orders unit A to move to place B but it doesn't do it until 2 or more turns later. (Maybe even roll 1d6 to see how many turns later.)

The second issue is the aspect of the God's Eye View of the game.

Again, this is another advantage of a campaign over a one-off battle. Especially if there are multiple objectives or possible objectives. Even if you know the exact composition of the enemy force (but why should you?), you don't know how much of it will show up at a given point on a given turn.

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