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runyan99
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Under what hypothetical situation would the Central Powers have won the war?

Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:39 pm

Under what hypothetical situation would the Central Powers have won the war?


[color="Blue"]Edit by Korrigan: This very interesting discussion initially took place in the WW1/LGG anouncement thread. I have moded it here for an easier reading. Cheers![/color]

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soundoff
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:44 pm

runyan99 wrote:Under what hypothetical situation would the Central Powers have won the war?


One surely, prior to 1918 would be the fall of France (probably precipitated by the taking of Paris) :siffle: :siffle:

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soundoff
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:48 pm

runyan99 wrote:Under what hypothetical situation would the Central Powers have won the war?


Another that would have tipped the balance towards the Central Powers would have been the capture of the Suez Canal.

I could get on a roll here

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runyan99
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:01 pm

soundoff wrote:One surely, prior to 1918 would be the fall of France (probably precipitated by the taking of Paris) :siffle: :siffle:


I'm pretty sure they tried that and it didn't work.

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soundoff
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:15 pm

runyan99 wrote:I'm pretty sure they tried that and it didn't work.


Perhaps Runyan thats because it never happened :siffle: :siffle:

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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:23 pm

runyan99 wrote:I'm pretty sure they tried that and it didn't work.

Worked pretty well in 1871, at least :)
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soundoff
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:28 pm

Then you have the failure of the German fleet, even though it won a victory at Jutland, to impose itself......if only

In addition you have the role of Italy....if only it had gone with the Central Powers as was expected.

If the USA had entered the war 6 months later....

Many many ways in which the Central Powers could have ended up victorious. :coeurs: :coeurs: Bring on the game

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runyan99
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:31 pm

What I'm getting at is that I see very few alternative outcomes for a WW1 game. Given the weapons and tactics of the time, it's hard to see how the Germans could have overcome the French and English.

So unless the French player is totally incompetent, the Germans probably shouldn't be able to take Paris in the game either. So, what does the German player have to look forward to? Is every game doomed to play out the same, where both sides smash into each other, and the Central Powers eventually run out of men?

I can argue that the Germans had other options besided invading Russia in 1941. I don't see similar alternate strategic choices in 1914. As a game, that seems like a potential weakness.

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runyan99
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:34 pm

The diplomatic options have to be the heart of the game. If Italy is a swing country that can go either way, only something like that could tip the balance to one side or the other.

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soundoff
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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:35 pm

Runyan, as a British European, with due respect, I could argue the same about AACW.....'what real chance did the South ever have of winning the war'.

As has been pointed out to me many many times by folks more well versed in American history than me....they had a chance....perhaps not much but they had a chance.

In European history the same case that can be made for the Confederacy in the ACW can be made for the Central Powers in WW1....they had a chance.

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Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:40 pm

runyan99 wrote:What I'm getting at is that I see very few alternative outcomes for a WW1 game. Given the weapons and tactics of the time, it's hard to see how the Germans could have overcome the French and English.

So unless the French player is totally incompetent, the Germans probably shouldn't be able to take Paris in the game either. So, what does the German player have to look forward to? Is every game doomed to play out the same, where both sides smash into each other, and the Central Powers eventually run out of men?

I can argue that the Germans had other options besided invading Russia in 1941. I don't see similar alternate strategic choices in 1914. As a game, that seems like a potential weakness.


WW1 was in reality much more open ended. The Schlieffen plan in 1914 wasn't tottaly enforced by German, the submarine war Germany led precipitated US war entry, Italy could have entered war with the other side, France was on the verge of collapse in 1917, Belgium could have not be invaded in 1914, Nederland could have, France wasn't doomed to launch stupid and fruitless offensive in 1915, Verdun as attrition effort by Germany wasn't the only strategy avialable in 1916, Grermany could have developed more vigourously tanks...
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Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:35 am

runyan99 wrote:What I'm getting at is that I see very few alternative outcomes for a WW1 game. Given the weapons and tactics of the time, it's hard to see how the Germans could have overcome the French and English.

So unless the French player is totally incompetent, the Germans probably shouldn't be able to take Paris in the game either. So, what does the German player have to look forward to? Is every game doomed to play out the same, where both sides smash into each other, and the Central Powers eventually run out of men?

I can argue that the Germans had other options besided invading Russia in 1941. I don't see similar alternate strategic choices in 1914. As a game, that seems like a potential weakness.


I would argue that the Germans had a greater chance of pulling off a victory in WWI than they did in WWII. Consider the fact that, unlike in WWII, Germany--despite some hardship on account of the blockade-- showed virtually no signs of imminent defeat until the very last year of the conflict. Indeed, many historians believe that the final German offensive in the West could have succeeded in achieving great things had it been organized a little differently (the testing of which is what war-gaming is all about!). Compare that to Hitler's Ardennes offensive, which could not possibly have altered the outcome of the war even if it had caused greater havoc and destruction than it actually did.

As for the "what-if" of Hitler not attacking Russia, that has always seemed pointless to me. Waging war in the East was always Hitler's greatest priority--the hub around which everything else in his mind revolved. He never even considered an alternative. It was as innate to his very being as his mustache.

Conversely, the Kaiser's Germans--with the help of the Bolsheviks--actually managed to get themselves back into a one-front war before it was too late, freeing up men and resources that, I at least would assert, were improperly deployed in the West. Had the Germans gotten their act together a little earlier and under different circumstances, it seems possible to me (possible, not probable) that they could've broken up the Allied defenses seriously enough to threaten Paris before the Americans, still un-blooded, could make a real difference.

And that's not even getting into the naval war, which Germany just badly mishandled. Again, what if something else had been tried? edit: In fact, the naval war holds the most promise for reversing historical outcomes. In the words of Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral Jellicoe "was the only man who could lose the war in an afternoon." The Kaiser simply got cold feet after Jutland, a fateful decision that helped to doom his own nation--bored, disaffected sailors in the German navy were among those in Germany who agitated for revolution in 1918.

All of which is to say that, when I play a WWI game, I anticipate a greater diversity of possible outcomes than when I play a WWII game. :sourcil:

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Tamas
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Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:29 am

WW1 was much, much more open ended than WW2. I think the latter being the more popular subject, it is blurring the view on the Great War.

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:31 am

runyan99 wrote:Under what hypothetical situation would the Central Powers have won the war?


Italy beeing wooed to fight for Central Powers, not the Entente? Austria gets relieved of one bloody front while France faces a second in the south.

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Bo Rearguard
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Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:02 am

The greatest what-if of WWI, was what if Britain had stayed out or delayed her involvement? That was the British cabinet's firm position until Belgian neutrality was violated wholesale. If Germany goes on the defensive against France and marches east against Russia that keeps Britain on the sidelines momentarily. Hopefully such diplomatic nuances are covered. :cool:

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:25 am

I think that many of that "what if" comments can be saved for VGN, as we can take this WW1 game as a teaser before the release of the VGN. WW1 will be a nice game, but do not expect wonders from an adaptation of a boardgame.
Just trying to calm down people that (maybe) expect too much from this nice game :sourcil:

Central powers could win the ww1 if :
- they would managed to defeat France in 1914 and take Paris while the Russians were still busy with the mobilization
- USA would not enter the war on the Entente Powers
- Italy would enter the war on the Central powers side or at least stay neutral or if the AH+German offensive in 1917 would knock Italy completely off the war.

However time was not on the side of the Central powers thus the longer the war went on the less chances they should have to win it (lack of resources and the fact that they were surrounded on all sides).

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:47 am

Carnium wrote:I think that many of that "what if" comments can be saved for VGN, as we can take this WW1 game as a teaser before the release of the VGN. WW1 will be a nice game, but do not expect wonders from an adaptation of a boardgame.


I don't think that being an adaptation of a boardgames limits how good/complete can the game be in the end.
Specially when the boardgames seem to be so ambitious as the one we are talking here. :siffle:
Of course it all depends on how good the adaptation to the new media is.
But lets not forget that Civilization or Europa Universalis were boardgames in the beginning :nuts:
And the tabletop EU was designed by or P. Thibaut... the same than LGG :sourcil:
Cheers!

PS: i also agree with many of the posters here that the WW1 was a more ended conflict than WW2... and definitely, much more open than the ACW.
On WWI we have very big "Wild cards" like Italy, Russia and the revolution... that can change dramatically to what side the war goes...

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:08 am

soundoff wrote:I do so hope not. I'd totally agree with 'what ifs' but Libya entering WWW1 was as practical as men from mars landing. So I do hope that 'what ifs' are limited to historical what ifs. All in MHO


Fightings would have been limited to the sea side, where much of the habitable lands are. The fact is also that inner Libya was barely controlled by Italy in 1914 and the Senoussis guerilla did control much of it.
In the cas of a CP Italy, I can't imagine French and UK doing their best to destroy such a threat for Algeria/Egypt and Sea lanes like Italian Libya is.

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:17 am

As for WW1 ending: Germany is doomed as soon as she lost her 1918 on the Marne (again...), because she's out of Manpower and revolution is coming at home because of food penury that add to military disaster on the Western front.
I think that had Germany taken Paris in 1918 France may not have won a sudden KO victory. Remember that in 1871, France fought 5 more months.

What the games have to simulate, in order to be a correct WW1 game, is food problems, morale and national exhaustion. Just have a look at what GoA does:
Playing Germany, it's vital to take food hexes in Eastern Europe to stand in the long time, while as TE you can just, playing wisely, starve Germany into capitulation in a few years.

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Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:19 pm

runyan99 wrote:What I'm getting at is that I see very few alternative outcomes for a WW1 game. Given the weapons and tactics of the time, it's hard to see how the Germans could have overcome the French and English.

So unless the French player is totally incompetent, the Germans probably shouldn't be able to take Paris in the game either. So, what does the German player have to look forward to? Is every game doomed to play out the same, where both sides smash into each other, and the Central Powers eventually run out of men?

I can argue that the Germans had other options besided invading Russia in 1941. I don't see similar alternate strategic choices in 1914. As a game, that seems like a potential weakness.


Frank Hunter's Guns of August is designed with realistic historical contraints and though it is difficult for the CP to win the war it is possible. An alternative Russia first strategy can sometimes lead to a CP win if Russia is forced into revolution early enough and then a few months later surrenders allowing Germany access to food and resources from Russia that energizes the German army and economy enough to make a decisive push against France. There are many possible alternative strategies and research tracks that can give the CP at least a fighting chance to achieve victory. Although Germany must have either France or Russia on the verge of collapse by 1916 to have any real chance of ultimate victory.

A well designed strategic simulation of World War I will be anything but predictable or boring.

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Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:22 am

Sol Invictus wrote:

I agree that WWI has more reasonably different outcomes from the actual outcome than either the ACW or WWII.


I disagree.
Once Britanni rules the waves, it's over for Germany. The only way for the CP to win WW1 would have been either kick France out in 1914-1915, so very early, or Russia. They fail, they lose.
The Entente has a whole world behind: colonies, sea-trade, etc. An attrition war, that is WW1, just can't be won by CP.

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Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:36 am

Well the CP could have won if they had husbanded their resources (human or otherwise) and stuck to a plan to win the war. They were brilliant tactically and operationally but strategically they kept wavering between variuos objectives.

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Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:40 am

In 1918 in the second battle of the Marne, Germany was pretty close from Paris.

During the WW1 nothing was written before. Otherwise the CP wouldn't go to to war thinking "Gosh we have already loose" :tournepas
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Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:27 pm

Palpat wrote:I disagree.
Once Britanni rules the waves, it's over for Germany. The only way for the CP to win WW1 would have been either kick France out in 1914-1915, so very early, or Russia. They fail, they lose.
The Entente has a whole world behind: colonies, sea-trade, etc. An attrition war, that is WW1, just can't be won by CP.


With a peaced-out France and Russia trading with Germany, the British blockade would had been much less effective, I suspect.
Besides, this was not an all-out do-or-die ideological war like WW2.

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Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:51 pm

bloodybisounours wrote:In 1918 in the second battle of the Marne, Germany was pretty close from Paris.

During the WW1 nothing was written before. Otherwise the CP wouldn't go to to war thinking "Gosh we have already loose" :tournepas


Just like saying "WW2 is scripted, why should I invade USSR"? :sourcil:
My guess is 1918 would have been a German victory only if they had managed to destroy or make rembark the BEF AND took Paris, with no US in the war, thus destroying Entente/French morale. And even there... remember 1871 and the fact that Germany is by far more exhausted than the allies are.

By the way, just thought about it: would be great if what ifs like ones where Austrian-Hungarn secret peace/treason offers are included. :king:

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Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:24 pm

Palpat wrote:I disagree.
Once Britanni rules the waves, it's over for Germany. The only way for the CP to win WW1 would have been either kick France out in 1914-1915, so very early, or Russia. They fail, they lose.
The Entente has a whole world behind: colonies, sea-trade, etc. An attrition war, that is WW1, just can't be won by CP.


I disagree. Don't get me wrong, the CP had an uphill climb to be sure. If they didn't win quickly in 1914 or early 1915, the odds go up even further. But If America had stayed out of the war, it could have went either way very easily. The decision to forego unrestricted submarine warfare and the silly daliance with Mexico would have kept America on the sidelines. Those were simply horrendous failures in strategy.

The Confederacy had a very slim chance to defeat the Union; much less than the CP winning WWI imo; and while Germany had a good shot of winning WWII and was on the verge of achieving it; with the invasion of the USSR; which was inevitable imo; the game was all but lost. The addition of America onto the scales made the outcome inevitable.
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Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:36 pm

I agree with Sol Invictus. WWI was a conflict of such a massive scale, with rising and decling powers, and with so many possibilites that it could have gone either way when it began. We tend to take warfare as a roded machine-like narrative with a fluid beginning, a middle, and an end. We seek patterns that justify our conclusions that wars' course is previsible or, at the extreme, that "this war was over when it started". Wars are never over when they start. War is also about human capabilities, human reactions, luck, succesful and failing results, decisions both low and high in the chain of command, coups-de-genies and mistakes, and numerous miscalculations and misinformation. In fact, wars are one of the best examples of butterfly effects I can find: One small thing that leads to another like a ripple in a waterpond.

When the armies got dragged in entrenchments at the end of 1914, the war got not only attritional, but also psychological: who would break down first. Each failed offensive and butchery brought both camps a little closer to morale and psychological break-down. Notably, French soldiers were so fed-up of being sent by General Nivelle in suicidal offensives that got nowhere that 30,000 soldiers stationed in Champagne literally mutinied in 1917. They simply refused to advance and walked toward the rear. What if it had caught up throughout the Western front? What if the German had made an offensive at the exact time the French armies were so demoralized that they were ready to face firing squads rather than German machineguns?

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Franciscus
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Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:18 pm

Interesting discussion. A posteriori reasonings and conclusions have a way of being "right" that a priori does not exist. One can look at any of the major and minor conflicts in human history and find "why" it ended as it did (and also why "it could not have been" other way).
I am sure that every one that lived or has familiars that lived - even indirectly - through WWII, knows that during the real war no such certainty existed.

Regards

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Sol Invictus
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Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:49 pm

Certainly true Franciscus, events are never as clear as when they have already occured. It is certainly entertaining to speculate and voice our opinions on these weighty subjects though. ;)
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joram
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Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:30 am

Does look interesting. In regards to CP "winning" well I would personally consider performing better than the historical result a "win". Which in that case means there are quite a number of ways that could happen. It's by no means one-sided.

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