Category: Operational

Operational art of war, both warfare and games


Deep Battle: Soviet Doctrine for Operational Level Warfare

Operation Uranus - Successful Deep Battle -Eastern Front 1942-11 to 1943-03

Everybody knows about the German’s Blitzkrieg style of warfare. But I was surprised to discover the Soviets had a similar approach to warfare called “Deep Operations” or “Deep Battle”. This was a well defined doctrine for Operational Level Warfare, was invented during the 1920s, and deliberately applied during WW2. Admittedly Deep Battle had mixed success during the war, but this was probably more to do with the previous purge of Soviet military leadership than with any fundamental flaw in the doctrine. Soviet doctrine in the Cold War period is still based on Deep Battle.

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2018 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac

My inner megalomaniac is back. This post is a follow on from my 2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian. The previous post was a retrospective of the last 23 months, which means pointing out my successes. This post is the (overly ambitious) list of what I’d like to get done in the coming year. It is the more embarrassing part. The confession. Bear in mind these are more or less active projects.

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2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac 2017

I have noticed that my The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian of 2015 was literally a confession, describing my overly inflated ambitions and incomplete projects. But the 2016 edition was more a reflection on my progress against those goals. It has been a 23 months since the 2016 edition and it is time to revisit. But I’m going to split the reflection aspect from the confessions bit. So this is my reflection on the 23 months from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017.

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Kharkov 1942 Map for PanzerGruppe with 10km Hexes

Kharkov Map for PzGruppe

In a moment of enthusiasm I drew a map for the Second Battle of Kharkov at one hex per 10 km. Perfect for PanzerGruppe. I thought I’d share it, although I’m no longer sure I’ll use it.

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Tabletop Operational Wargame Inspired by Drive on Moscow

Balagan Operational Warfare Example Map 2 v2

I’m still looking at my options for Wargaming Rules to use for the Operational Level of War. This time I thought I’d have a look at the iPad wargame “Drive on Moscow” by Shenandoah Studio. It is right up my alley being an operational level warfare and on the Eastern Front. Continuing my experiment of translating other game systems to the table top, I wondered what Drive on Moscow would look like as a generic set of table top rules. I haven’t tried to follow the original game slavishly, just get something with the same flavour.

Previously I did

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Operational Terrain 1: Experimenting with River Templates for 4 Inch Hexes

Rivers for 4 inch hexes – Templates for most likely options

Quite a lot of the Operational Level Wargames I looked at recently use a hex grid. And 4 inch hexes seem about the right size for the table top – at least to me – so I have been wondering what to do about terrain. My normal terrain will sit on hexes fine. But rivers are different. That realisation lead to experimenting with templates for generating river features to sit on top of a hex mat.

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Tabletop Operational Wargame Inspired by Hell’s Gate

Balagan Operational Warfare Example Map

During my review of operational level wargames, Martin Rapier put me onto Philip Sabin’s game “Hell’s Gate” within the book “Simulating War” (Sabin, 2012). Hell’s Gate is an operational level board game focusing on the Korsun Pocket of 24 Jan – 16 Feb 1944. I wondered what this game system would might look like as a generic set of tabletop rules for operational level warfare on the Eastern Front. As an experiment, I drafted such a set of rules. Here is what I came up with. It is my work, I have for example completely replaced the combat system, but

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What Wargaming Rules to use for the Operational Level of War?

What Wargaming Rules are really for the Operational Level of Warfare

I’ve tried Megablitz a few times but I wondered what other wargaming rules there are to use for Operational Warfare in WW2. I quickly found there are a lot of game systems that claim to be large scale rules. But you have to careful in this space as many rules that claim to be Operational are actually Tactical. Others are Operational-Tactical and a fourth group are what I call Operational-Map-And-Tactical. These groupings are from my categorisation scheme using my criteria for what makes a set of wargaming rules operational level – both found later in this post.

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What is the Operational Level of War?

Three Levels of War - Strategic, Operational, Tactical

I’m interested in operational level wargames for World War II. But my definition of “operational level” has been pretty vague. Something about campaigns and major offensives. So I thought I’d explore operational level war in more detail … and it turns out I was right. It is all about campaigns and major offensives.

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A Dot in Russia – A Megablitz Battle Report

End game - View from West

Chris Harrod wanted to play an Operational Wargame so we played my Megablitz scenario called A Dot in Russia. This was only Chris’s second game and only my third – all spread over many years – so we made a few mistakes. None-the-less an enjoyable game and could have gone either way.

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How to use Crossfire Armies for Megablitz

Russian Regiment R-2-3 Yellow Diamond - Sabot

It must be age but sometimes I find a solution to a problem and then, after a couple of years, I completely forget and look for a solution again. That is what happened recently with ground scale in Megablitz. The rules recommend two ground scales and suggests some base sizes to match. All my WW2 kit is based for Crossfire so does not match the Megablitz recommendations. In this post I outline what I’ve done so that I can use my Crossfire armies for Megablitz.

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2015 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac

One of the things that really impresses me about Paul Ward of Matakishi’s Tea House is his focus. He chooses a new project, plans the project, does the project, finishes it, and moves on.

I’m a bit more scatter gun myself despite the fact that at work I encourage teams to limit work in progress. I start with a focus and get a lot done but then often wander off on a tangent when something else comes up that sparks my interest. I let myself do that because this is my hobby, not my job. A hobby shouldn’t really

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PowerPoint Maps: From CC2 to PowerPoint for Drawing Maps

Crossfire at Position Four- The Village P Scenario

I’m starting to use Microsoft PowerPoint to draw maps for my Wargaming projects. So I thought I’d start a series on how to do that.

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Wargaming Rules for WW2

There are lots of wargaming rules for World War 2. These are the ones I play: Crossfire, Megablitz, Rapier Offensive and Engle Matrix Games. One day I might write up my thoughts on the competitors, of which there are many.

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You can never have too many trucks

Russian Zis-5 3-ton truck

“You can never have too many trucks” is a catch phrase of Megablitz players, and, in fact, of players of other operational games such as Not Quite Mechanised. You see Megablitz includes rules for logistics and transport for those supplies is very important. Megablitz forces also need headquarters and signals units; signals units in particular are something that rarely appear on a wargaming table.

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