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"The Dead Cert That Wasn't" Topic


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875 hits since 26 Jul 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 9:56 a.m. PST

Just been in a discussion regarding wargaming events with a high probability of success (e.g. 90%+) where (typically) non-wargamers might say "whats the point in rolling, its a dead cert". We all know there's no such thing so what I'm after is a few historical examples where one side had it in the bag but something went wrong and the certain victory turned to disaster. Or alternatively the million to one shot that turned a battle (Bismarck sinking Hood for example).

Does anyone have any good historical dits that fit the bill?

Korvessa Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 10:52 a.m. PST

I have often wondered what historical events can be considered as rolling a "1." – Or the underdog rolling a "6" as the case may be.

Some thoughts, in no particular order
Narva
Poltava (had Charles not been incapacitated by a lucky shot a couple days before, it would have been very different)
Reno at the LBH
Bridge at Lodi

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 10:59 a.m. PST

Battle of Cunaxa – if Mithridates had not killed Cyrus the Younger with a lucky javelin cast, Cyrus would probably have won and become Emperor of Persia – and Xenophon and the 10,000 would have been paid instead of having to march up-country

Maybe Hastings as well – if Harold had not died, could the Normans have beaten those housecarls?

daveshoe27 Jul 2021 11:53 a.m. PST

The Battle off Samar. The American force there should have been wiped out and the Japanese continue to attack transports.

Maybe Agincourt and the first invasion attempt of Wake Island.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 1:28 p.m. PST

Rorke's Drift?
The Battle of the River Plate?
Killing the first Death Star…oh wait, that's fantasy!!!

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 1:37 p.m. PST

How about the Charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava? If I was playing a wargame as a Russian cavalry commander and I charged downhill against an enemy formation one-third my number (or less), who were still in the process of deploying, and whom I overlapped on both flanks – and I not only failed to annihilate them but was routed instead…

…well I'd have some choice words, let's say.

JMcCarroll27 Jul 2021 2:18 p.m. PST

Hood was sunk by Prinz Eugen, An 8" round hit the weak armor and exploded the secondary weapon ammo. Hardly a one in a million chance! Poor armor design.
Now the Rodney hitting the Bismarck, knocking out her long range rangefinders with an early hit, was closer to a one in a million.

Lazyworker Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 3:45 p.m. PST

Would you consider the Battle of the Crater at the siege of Petersburg in 1864, American Civil War?

8,000 pounds of black powder creates a giant crater in the middle of the Confederate lines. One would think the massed Union infantry would be able to pour right in, but no. That's not what happened.


link

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 4:04 p.m. PST

The point in rolling is you don't actually know.

And we don't actually know the "odds" from real life. Prior to the event, we might think we know the odds. We might think that this win was against unfathomable odds and that loss was an outlier. But all we really know is that things happened the way they happened (for as far as we know that).

John the OFM27 Jul 2021 5:28 p.m. PST

In Tunisia, a French Char D1 fired at a Tiger I and somehow got a shell jammed in under its turret.
No self respecting wargaming rules would allow that.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2021 6:18 p.m. PST

The Battle off Samar in October 1944 should probably not have led to the Japanese withdrawing from a smaller and less powerful force.

emckinney27 Jul 2021 6:40 p.m. PST

"Hood was sunk by Prinz Eugen, An 8" round hit the weak armor and exploded the secondary weapon ammo. Hardly a one in a million chance! Poor armor design.
Now the Rodney hitting the Bismarck, knocking out her long range rangefinders with an early hit, was closer to a one in a million."

That's one theory, but not the strongest. Drachinifel's review and simulation has the attention of professional naval historians, which is impressive for a YouTube channel: YouTube link

smithsco27 Jul 2021 7:10 p.m. PST

I feel like the Mongol fleets being hit with typhoons off the coast of Japan is the Samurai player rolling a 1, it bouncing off the table and hitting a player and falling back on the table as a 6 and then repeating the feat the next round.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jul 2021 7:39 p.m. PST

For those of you who don't know (one of) my favourite battle(s) to game … The Battle of Puebla:

Dead Cert – The English and Spanish would not accept a loan renegotiation from a broke and broken Mexican government on the outs with its people and thus abandon the Joint Task Force to the French alone.

Dead Cert – The highly successful, battle hardened French Army would defeat the routed, under supplied, unpaid (for quite a while) Mexican Army that they had been trouncing for the last few months.

Dead Cert – The people of Puebla would certainly not support the Army (that they hated) of the Government (that they hated) in their continuing loss to and retreat from the French and never never never would actually help them in the battle.

Dead Cert – Farmers on farm nags with big pointy sticks would have no effect on the front ranks of tough as nails Zouaves armed with the best and latest ranged weapons.

Q: How many critical failures can the French commander roll for one battle?

A: Au moins, quatre.

von Schwartz ver 202 Aug 2021 5:16 p.m. PST

Killing the first Death Star…oh wait, that's fantasy!!!

Is it really Herky???

von Schwartz ver 202 Aug 2021 5:16 p.m. PST

Killing the first Death Star…oh wait, that's fantasy!!!

Is it really Herky???

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