jcrohio
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Doctrine question

Sat May 25, 2013 2:38 pm

I have a question about doctrines. In all of my games I have started with "Movement" and then in late 1914 gotten messages on the transition to "Firepower." This is as expected. However, in my current game it is late 1915 and I think I am in the "Combined Doctrine." This has happened to me in other games as well.

Am I in combined doctrine (see enclosed picture)? If so why as this is not supposed to happen until 1917?

Also I have been playing the AI on a difficulty level of 3 with an aggressiveness of level 4. Would be interested what others find to be a good mix of settings.

Thanks
Jack

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1915 screen.jpg

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Random
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Sat May 25, 2013 7:20 pm

Looking at the Big Manual and the relevant tables there's no reason why Combined Doctrine cannot kick in starting with the Jan-Feb 1915 turn. Early acquisition of Combined Doctrine is unlikely, there are a number of modifiers to inhibit this happening but the game allows for it.

The Combined Doctrine still uses the Trench CRT, it just allows you to take advantages of the positive modifiers that come with new technologies and techniques that will appear along the way. You still need to build and exploit assets like tanks and storm troops and it's still desirable that you develop and build these in quantity. If you can do all these things in 1915, you've done well.

You seem to be lucky, not sure if the difficulty levels affect this or not.

Was it possible in the event? Who knows. The Germans started experimenting with infiltration attacks on the Hartmannswillerkopf in Alsace during the winter of 1914-15 (I think the local commander was von Mudra) and soon after an experimental assault battalion was created. In France, there was discussions regarding small-unit operations along similar lines starting soon after the disastrous campaign of 1914 started to wind down the the extent of French losses begin to be felt within the Army.

Combined arms operations on the Western Front were probably facilitated by the requirements of trench raiding; variously claimed to have originated by the Canadian's, Australian's, Ghurkha's, French Colonial's and German's but probably cooked up at battalion level or lower relatively simultaneously as a survival tool. One of the biggest problems was getting the High Command's on side with reforming the Army to take advantage of the techniques and disseminate the necessary skills. Here the German's had a big advantage because their 1908 Infantry Manual started the process of command decentralization to give Company and Platoon commanders unheard of scope for initiative. There was an effective process in place that allowed for and encouraged new combat techniques developed in the trenches to be investigated by senior officers and experimented with under field conditions. Also, alone of all the combatants the German General Staff started the war with an intelligence section dedicated to analysing what the enemy was actually doing on the battlefields, this gave them an advantage in being able to react to the changing situation.

A number of French commanders recognized that small-unit decentralization was necessary and several trials under combat conditions were conducted but Joffre believed in mass and Nivelle held the answer to the riddle of the Trenches to be found primarily in artillery. Until they passed from the scene the entire French Army was handicapped although the British historian's frequent disdain for the French Army post-Battle of the Marne is almost entirely misplaced in my opinion. As with all the armies, there was a wide variation of innovative tactical performance across the Corps and numbered Armies. As to the British, there are many reasons why the BEF as a whole was slow to adapt although there was considerable innovation occurring practically from the start in the white Dominion formations and within certain Corps and Armies. Commanders such as Maxse, Allenby, Horne, Byng, Monash and Currie encouraged new ideas whereas others deliberately stifled them while HQ BEF was slow to determine what worked and what did not and then implemented change quite unevenly. I have my pet theories of why this might have been so.

But none of this was carved in stone and it is not to unreasonable to speculate that it might have been otherwise.

Authors such as Bruce Gudmundsson (Stormtroop Tactics; Innovation in the German Army 1914-18) and Robert Doughty (Pyrrhic Victory; French Strategy and Operations in the Great War) have done much to discredit the conventional wisdom (largely held by British historians) that German infiltration tactics magically appeared at Riga in 1917, created by General von Hutier and coming as a complete surprise when introduced in the West. Paddy Griffith's Battle Tactics on the Western Front should probably be approached with some caution as his Sandhurst tenure (at time of writing) and anglophilic bias' tend to shine through the work.

If you get the opportunity to use Combined Arms modifiers early rather than late, I would run with it, was I you...

-C

jcrohio
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Sun May 26, 2013 4:10 pm

Thanks Random - I am still struggling with parts of this game and your responses help a lot. Combat tactics and the Naval war are probably my biggest areas of confusion. The strategy of the naval war is making sense (control, patrol etc) but the tactics of a battle still confuse me (I usually let the AI play the naval battles). Combat tactics I am just not feeling comfortable yet. I understand how to get them just not what is there most efficient use. I wish there was a thread that went into detail with this.

Jack

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Sun May 26, 2013 5:38 pm

Not entirely certain what you mean but will assume that you are unsure of the tactic to select prior to the start of a battle.

I think that it's important to understand that there is no "right" answer to the question of which tactical options to select for either land or sea combat. This is because the process is both interactive and dynamic. Different options yield different advantages or not depending upon the options chosen in secret by the other side. The relationship between the options can probably best be seen in the appropriate tables rather than wading through the text explanations in the Big Manual although there is much good information detailed there and it should help to explain what the entries in the tables actually mean.

Have a look at the following tables, using the spreadsheet format in the Modding folder for clarity provides the matrix used by the game although the engine uses the *.csv files in the Data\DB\ folder. See ...\Modding\DB\NavalTacticsTable.xls and TrenchTacticsTable.xls

There's no way to know in advance what the "Best" selection is but you may find that overall, some may bring about the desired results more often than others. For example, selecting "Free Formation" when hunting lone raiders may increase the chance of getting an Enemy Reaction Malus and this could prevent them from fleeing before a combat round so you may have a chance at getting a decisive shot in. But this only happens if the enemy selects Circle Arc, Line or Crossing "T" formations.

So there is really no "most efficient" choice that you can know before battle and no way to intervene should your selection fail to provide an advantage. No option is "Best" all of the time and in every situation.

Hope this helps.

-C

jcrohio
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Mon May 27, 2013 4:49 pm

That is exactly what I mean - "Not entirely certain what you mean but will assume that you are unsure of the tactic to select prior to the start of a battle"

Looked at the tables as suggested and yes that does help - actually played through some Grand Offenses (kept reloading a save game) and they made more sense - the naval game I just have to keep plugging away with

A question on the naval game: When a naval battle starts you are taken to the naval battle screen. There are left and right sides. What is the purpose of the right and left sides? Also there are two rows on each side. What is the purpose of the top row and the bottom row?

Thanks
Jack

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Mon May 27, 2013 7:10 pm

Just to be clear, your tactical selection should never be random, for example if you have a morale advantage picking a tactic that provides you with a morale bonus or enemy morale malus can pay big dividends, particularly if you can encourage a situation where the enemy panics. Likewise in naval combat against an aggressive Admiral, selecting an option that decreases enemy aggressiveness or increases your own commander's aggressiveness might also be a good plan.

So examine what each tactic gives you in the situation that you're in and select accordingly.

There are left and right sides. What is the purpose of the right and left sides? Also there are two rows on each side. What is the purpose of the top row and the bottom row?

The right side of the battle screen is generally used when there are more than eight-units on a side. I have not noticed any advantage to having units there if the enemy does not so there does not appear to be any flanking bonus or penalty, unlike in land battles. However, in full-blown fleet actions on occasion it may prove advantageous to place overwhelming force on one side rather than spreading combat power across both sides evenly. Experience and the anticipated threat can be your guide for this.

Destroyer units are essentially one-shot assets so be careful when the range closes to Short and try to avoid exposing them to gunfire damage when fighting a Long.

Edit:
Missed the question about the rows but I have never noticed any effect, ships get damaged by gunfire and torpedoes in both. Suspect that it's just to save space.

Good Luck!

-C

jcrohio
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Tue May 28, 2013 2:39 pm

Thanks Random - the only reason I asked was the board game rules seemed to match up ships and if one side contained excess ships doubled up on the enemy - did not know if this was what they were trying to do here with the multiple row and columns
Jack

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