Home Forums WWII Battle of the Bulge Campaign Game

This topic contains 19 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by hammurabi70 hammurabi70 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #105782
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    Today I am starting the Bulge campaign, using the Bitter Woods game and playing two turns a day to match the timeline of the real battle.

    I have started a post over on my blog that will follow the game and it will be updated daily from today through to 26th December.

    Hopefully it will provide some interest and a coffee break for anyone passing by.

    The link to that post for anyone interested is;

    http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/12/battle-of-bulge-1944.html

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #105783
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    I’ll be following it.

     

    #105826
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Nice idea that we will be watching with interest.

    However, I would prefer other books on the subject over the one you mention on your website, which I found unimpressive.

    #105840
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    However, I would prefer other books on the subject over the one you mention on your website, which I found unimpressive.

    Because?

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #105880
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    However, I would prefer other books on the subject over the one you mention on your website, which I found unimpressive.

    Because?

     

    Ardennes 1944
    By Anthony Beevor
    ISBN 9780141046587
    Penguin Random House
    Softback 453 pages

    Beevor has written nine previous books covering the fascist dictator wars and I had expectations of another good read. I was disappointed.   He starts with the point of the breakout from Normandy but then spends a quarter of the book dealing with Antwerp, Aachen and Hurtgen Forest, which I thought unnecessary and not well done.   My view was that it was wasted space that could have been better used. He then discusses German preparations and the intelligence failures of the Allies.  Badly presented IMHO.  We then get a chapter for each of the eleven days from the commencement of the attack on 16 December.  The chapters did not impress me.  In each one, you get some outline of what was happening with some quotes from personal memoirs about their experiences at this time.  It is all very dissatisfactory.  From 27 December there are four more chapters dealing with the counter-attacks by the Allies and finally a chapter for a conclusion all of which, as before, seem poorly done.  It all seemed a wasted opportunity with very little analysis and no depth of explanation.

    There were quite a few points that irritated me from the start.  He bemoans the fact that Eisenhower couldn’t quite muster the courage to sack JCH Lee running COM Z.  Of course, Lee did not report to Ike but direct to Washington headquarters. Ever the consummate political general Eisenhower knew too well that the cost of getting Lee removed was much too great and the resultant outcome much too uncertain to consider doing it. Beevor seems unaware of this.  Nor does he understand that the constant negativity towards Devers that is reported was due to that General having been the understudy for Eisenhower; if Roosevelt considered Eisenhower had failed so badly that he needed to be removed then Devers would have been the replacement. The negativity that Eisenhower orchestrated against Devers is understandable but it is also notable that it did not impede Devers career; evidently Roosevelt knew what was happening but Beevor does not.  He constantly snipes at Montgomery throughout the book.  He also misses the point that as Monty knew he related badly to the Americans he used de Guingand as an intermediary.  Beevor must know this yet the narrative does not indicate anything of it. That the Saar was the traditional route between Germany and France gets thrown into the text at one point and one would have thought that the case would be made for reviewing the debate on the two routes into Germany as it resulted in the development of weak defences facing the Ardennes yet there is no detailed discussion of this.  You do get oddities on the going on of Hemingway and other characters that seem irrelevant to the real story to be told of armies grappling with each other in the depth of winter.  There is no point in boring the reader with pages more of this sort of analysis; my take is that he lacks understanding of the topic.

    It all has the feel of a man who reads a lot of books from which he takes notes, throws each note into the relevant chapter of his book and once he has enough writes down what he has accumulated.  In his acknowledgments, he places prominently a tribute to Rick Atkinson.  This is an author whose award-winning trilogy left me very unimpressed and the modern school of journalist converted to military historian seems to produce populist history uninformative to those who want some detail.  There are 48 nice photographs and 19 helpful maps.

    As I was recovering from flu with a local library copy it was an acceptable use of six plus hours of reading time; as with anything like this there are always a few useful nuggets to mine from the text.  However, I feel very cautious over this book as it seemed to me that the author showed too little discrimination with the material he read and was too ready to lap up whatever he obtained.  I recommend avoiding it; there are some much more useful books on the BULGE out there to spend your time and money with.

    #105885
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    One of the things that I think he excells at (generally across his books) is the narrative of paricular incidents that frequently personalises the account for the reader, in which one can often be left dismayed by either the relationships and personalities at the command level or some of the awful behaviours on the ground and subsequent individual tradgedies that fall out of war and conflict i.e. the real effect at the ‘man in the street’ , as well as the strategic ‘matter of fact’ narrative. He can readily encapsulate the worst and best qualities in people.

    He typically highlights the absolute tradgedy of the occupied and I feel he makes an emmotional connection between the reader and the subject in a way that encourages this wargamer to be mindful of having a respectful and reflective approach to the subject being gamed.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #105912
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    By late evening of 17th December, Bastogne has fallen to the Germans and Peiper has by-passed St. Vith. The Allies are very nervous.

    The speed at which they reached Bastogne has much to do with the spectacular success of their early attack at Hosingen and the immediate capture of Clervaux. I do enjoy the play out of consequences that a campaign game offers up.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106017
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    Separate to what is actually happening on the table, I am finding that the situation has the Allied player really nervous about breakthrough and in panic because they have nothing to stop the advance, while the Germans don’t quite have enough oomph to smash that centre or take Liege quickly and are worried that the Allies will recover, so there is a real emotional connection to play.

    News for 19th Dec .. the Allies have taken heavy losses and now really find themselves stretched. Bastogne fell early, leaving the route to Marche exposed and Eupen is under threat and close to being cut-off. German fuel supplies are about to become problematic.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106087
    Darkest Star Games
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Apparently my post was lost, so TDLR:

    Loving this report on your campaign!
    I’ve only played 2 Bulge games and neither gave the Germans any sort of chance, nice to see them able to make some progress.

    I agree with personal views being good for the gamer, keeps the player from throwing away the lives of their little people needlessly.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #106100
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    Thank you for sticking with it.  The backlash that must surely come with all Bulge games will probably bite me hard, but I’m not seeing it yet.

    Perhaps fuel shortages will herald a change of tempo.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106111
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Loving this report on your campaign!
    I’ve only played 2 Bulge games and neither gave the Germans any sort of chance, nice to see them able to make some progress.

    I like Bulge 20, which seems to give a good challenge and keeps the Allies uncertain of the objective.  It plays swiftly so a conclusion can be reached with only a few hours play.  Is there than one objective for the Germans in BITTER WOODS to keep Ike guessing?

    #106115
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    No – The objectives are know to both sides at the start of play, which probably holds the advantage that it helps BW from a solitaire gaming perspective. The German high point in the real campaign was the reaching of Celles, so I suppose the game, against a competent Allied force, needs some blunt objectives to pull them that way versus the available timetable.

    I own and play Napoleonic 20 and I appreciate the elegance of  those designs, so I am guessing that Bulge 20 delivers a similar ethos.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106146
    deephorse
    deephorse
    Participant

    @ Hammurabi

    Thanks for that.  I’ll bear your view in mind as I read my copy.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by deephorse deephorse.

    Wargamers - successfully driving the fun out of wargaming since 1780

    #106156
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    No – The objectives are know to both sides at the start of play, which probably holds the advantage that it helps BW from a solitaire gaming perspective. The German high point in the real campaign was the reaching of Celles, so I suppose the game, against a competent Allied force, needs some blunt objectives to pull them that way versus the available timetable. I own and play Napoleonic 20 and I appreciate the elegance of those designs, so I am guessing that Bulge 20 delivers a similar ethos.

    No, different design approach.  Three-day turns.  Very high level: Army units with Corps supports.  No stacking, not even moving through.  German objective might be in the North, to the West (Antwerp) or South.  A player picks for his hand which cards he wants to be able to play during the upcoming turn.  Simple, demanding but evidently heavily abstracted.  You command at Army Group/SHAEF level.

    #106204
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    In the ongoing Bulge game (Bitter Woods – Compass Games edition), the daily report for the 22nd December has just gone onto the blog.

    Link for anyone interested (just scroll down to todays date).

    https://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/12/battle-of-bulge-1944.html

     

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106365
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    By daily playing of the Bulge campaign concludes today. It has been a bit of a marathon, thanks to anyone who had the fortitude to stay with it.

    I have played a fair few Bulge games in my time and enjoyed the differences that this one threw up.

    Good gaming to everyone in 2019. Regards Norm.

    Link

    http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2018/12/battle-of-bulge-1944.html

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by norm smith norm smith.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106367
    kyoteblue
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Thank you, I enjoyed reading your AAR.

    #106369
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Very interested to follow this.  Visibility of counters appears (not unusually) to be 100%.  Would it play very different if the only knowledge of enemy forces was those that your own were currently in contact with?

    #106373
    norm smith
    norm smith
    Participant

    I think the German player would be much more cautious, but that would perhaps be a consequence that previous Bulge games may ‘train’ the German player to be cautious and go for a smaller solution, as they await the powerful Allied counter-attack …… as indeed some of the German high command felt was more appropriate, as they saw the larger objectives of the offensive to be unrealistic.

    http://commanders.simdif.com

    #106597
    hammurabi70
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Someone somewhere was asking for books on the subject that would be preferred.  Here are a couple:

    Dupuy, Bongard, Anderson

    MacDonald

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Battle-Bulge-Charles-B-MacDonald/dp/0297787594

     

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