Kriegsspiel News 56 August 2002

August 2002
The next game at Bill’s in early October is on the American War of Independence, and is being run by Dave Stanforth. American readers should be assured that all our AWI Kriegsspiels are based in-depth research, and are designed to ensure a comprehensive British victory, normally involving the ignominious surrender of the Alamo.
Older readers will recall that it is Silicon Sid’s occasional practice to award a ‘smacked botty’ to those in the computer industry who have visited particularly egregious cock-ups upon their poor customers. The last winner was Talonsoft’s Age of Sail II – a game still not properly fixed after some years.
Our recent brush with the Press Complaints Commission has caused us to review our policy in this area. While Sid of course admits nothing, we have decided to institute formal awards for merit, to avoid any suggestion that KN is overly negative in its coverage. The ‘smacked botties’ will be retained, but in future we are prepared to award the prestigious ‘Reisswitz Monocle’ for meritorious contributions.
To keep things open and above board, future awards will be made by a committee including Sid and the current KN editor. As chairman we are indeed fortunate to have secured the services of veteran Kriegsspieler Binky Rees-Mogg.
The first awards are recognised in this issue, and include Richard Madder, who has done an excellent makeover of the Kriegsspiel website. This includes several large articles from old KNs plus other stuff. So Richard, your full regalia is on its way to you. Kindly remember that this is only to be worn at state weddings, or the opening of the Steeple Bumpstead summer fete.
We have taken our usual break from games for the summer, but I am pleased to include a replay on the Tunisian WW2 email game run by Ben Hutchings at the turn of the year. Unfortunately the demands of everyday life forced Ben to bring this to a premature conclusion. Later on I offer a few suggestions on how we might develop such games in the future. They are certainly to be encouraged, and are particularly good for our group, as it is so widely spread over several continents.
Within the next month I will be switching to Tiscali broadband, and my new address (I think) will be . Keep using the old one for the time being though…….

1. Forthcoming games
2. Email games – Tunisia 1942 by Ben Hutchings
3. Email games – a player’s view by Martin James
4. Kriegsspiel products from Bill Leeson
5. Further further thoughts on the Matabele War Scenario
6. Army Level Games -discussion with Francesco Francini, Bill Leeson & Martin James
7. Silicon Sid – Austerlitz & Age of Sail II
8. Letters
9. Contacts

1. Forthcoming games
Saturday 5th October 2002 Hemel 2.30 pm AWI from Dave Stanforth
Sunday 24th Nov 2002 Hemel 2.30 pm To be advised. May be WW1 naval.
Saturday 25th Jan 2003 Hemel 2.30 pm To be advised. Large scale late Napoleonic
If you fancy running a scenario, let us know, as we are happy to re-jig the list to fit it in. We will also provide assistance with the design and umpiring if you need this.
Games are usually held at Bill’s house in Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Pick up from Hemel Hempstead railway station (and drop off) can normally be arranged. Games finish around 7 pm. If you are interested in playing, give Bill a ring or email as early as possible before the game so we can plan the numbers. If we know you are coming we can also let you know if there are any last minute changes to arrangements. For some games we send briefings out prior to the game, so early contact means you are more likely to get a key command.

2. Email games – Tunisia 1942 by Ben Hutchings

test tunisia1.gif

The First Moves (11th November – 16th November )
Commanded by the 1st Army CO to capture Tunis by 20th November, the Allies looked to secure the port and airfield at Bone and the airfield at Souk el Arba as a prelude to the main advance. By the end of the 12th elements of the British 6th Armoured division were making their way over rough terrain to Souk el Arba, Bone being occupied by the 1st Derbyshires on the 11th and Bouchegouf by 26th Armoured brigade on the afternoon of the 12th.
The Allies were beaten to the punch however by an aggressive forward Axis defence policy, with landings at Tabarka by Italian marines coinciding with an airdrop of a battalion of Falschimager at Souk el Arba early on the 11th. Coming up against strong French garrisons at both places the Axis spent most of the 11th negotiating with the rather bemused French – taking Souk el Arba, with the French garrison withdrawing NE to Bou Salim but failing to persuade their companions in Tabarka to surrender or retire. This was to change swiftly on the 12th when the Italian marines, reinforced by a 2nd German Para battalion forced the French out of Tabarka inflicting heavy casualties and taking 80 prisoners.
11th – 13th November – see map 1

At about the same time the French garrison forced out of Souk el Arba on the previous day was ordered by General Barre (French C in C) to retake the town. A halfhearted attack by the Battalion (1st Bn, Chasseurs d’Afrique) got nowhere and after a brief skirmish they retired back towards Bou Salim. Souk el Arba remaining under sporadic bombardment by the French artillery bn in Bou Salim.
The day ended with Axis forces astride the 2 main lines of advance open to the Allies, but with considerable French forces between them and their main planned supply hubs – Bizerte and Tunis. Luckily for the commander of the initial German forces – Oberst Stolz – who landed in Bizerte on the 12th, Admiral Derrie in charge of the Bizerte region was apathetic to the Allied cause, even if his rank and file were none too pleased about the days fighting on the frontier or of a strike by Sicily-based Ju88s that managed to damage the port at Bone. The issue came to a head on the 13th when a delegation sent by General Barre to arrest Derrie was itself detained by the Germans. The French garrison sunk further into malaise and large numbers of troops began to desert, the Germans occupying the airfield and port at Bizerte with no opposition.
On that same day, the 13th, the Germans decided to prioritise Souk el Arba over Tabarka and despatched the 3rd Bn, 5th Para Regt from the latter overland, these troops arriving late in the afternoon. Unfortunately for the Axis, this realignment of forces to the south coincided with an Allied amphibious landing at Tabarka that evening by 6 Commando. After some heavy fighting the Italian Bafile Marine Bn was forced to withdraw to the ridge south of Tabarka, leaving 150 men as casualties and prisoners.
At about the same time as the German reinforcements were arriving at Souk el Arba, the forward elements of 26th Armoured brigade – 1st Derbyshires – were probing the defences of the town and airfield. With the majority of 26th Armoured laagering in Rhardimaou, the following day promised to add to the discomfort of the German paratroopers, surrounded on all sides, low on supplies and entrenched on the valley floor faced by an armoured brigade.
The attack came in late morning of the 14th November with 26th Armoured brigade sweeping the paras off the airfield with relative ease, although with some cost to both sides. Now threatened by sizeable armoured forces and low on supplies, both Bns of Paras, along with the Bafile Marines, withdrew via Ayn Darahim to the ridge 10 miles NW of Beja. Arriving on the night of the 15th just in time to see the French garrison (the unfortunate Fusiliers Marins) being bumped out by a night attack mounted by KG Witzig. This formation with a panzer bn, an Italian SP bn and the Witzig Para Engineers had motored from Bizerte to try and form a line of communication to the Paras.
The 15th was also notable as it saw the arrival in force of the first major Italian units with 91st Infantry Regiment securing Tunis, the French having vacated the city for the more salubrious surrounding of Medjez el Bab.
14th – 16th November – see map 2
The 16th was relatively quiet apart from a fair degree of air activity, the French units to the west of Beja withdrawing to Bou Salim and the German Paras from Ayn Darahim to Beja with the 1st Derbyshires probing the latter position. With these movements the three protagonists (soon to become two as the French threw their weight behind the Allies) concentrated on the valley running from Souk el Arba to Medjez, the British at Souk el Arba with 4 bns, the Axis with 6 at Beja and the French with 7 at Medjez and 4 at Bou Salim.
By deploying so far forward the Axis managed to buy time for their forces to build up, being lucky (very lucky) that the Allied armour was not unleashed as it could have been. As it stood the 6 days of fighting ended with the Axis in a dominant central position albeit with large French forces on their left flank.
Losses for the first 6 days were:
Casualties Captured Tanks Aircraft
Allied 300 – 8 16
French 335 3995 – –
Axis 530 85 – 13
Consolidation (17th November – 18th November )
The 17th was a quiet day for the British with 11th Brigade closing up to Tabarka and 26th Armoured Brigade moving to laager just east of Bou Salim. Unfortunately for the French at the key position of Medjez, the day bought with it the initial thrusts of a co-ordinated attack by the Italian 91st Regiment from the east and KG Stahler from the north. This developed into a major effort on the 18th resulting in heavy casualties all round. Rather surprisingly it was KG Stahler that fared the worst – failing to dislodge a magnificent French defence. 91st Regiment had meanwhile made an efficient job of crumbling the French defences to the east and as night fell the French position in Medjez looked untenable.
Waking up after the inaction of the 17th, the 26th Armoured Brigade made a thrust on Beja, being foiled by difficult terrain and a strong German resistance.
The end of the 18th bought play to an end due to time constraints on the umpire. The end position was one of an Axis defence growing in strength by the day but matched by the sizeable Allied forces getting more sizeable. Both sides played competently and from the umpire’s chair the only comment I would make was that the Axis were a little bit too aggressive and the Allied were a little bit too unaggressive. Ain’t that always the way…..
Final counts were:
Casualties Captured Tanks Aircraft
Allied 470 – 39 35
French 1215 4175 – –
Axis 1430 85 18 24

If anyone is interested I can also let them have the map and other sheets with all the details on. Ben
3. Email games – a player’s view
Ours is a widely spread group in 3 continents and around 10 countries (last time I counted). Even in the UK, many of the group live so far away that they cannot participate in our regular games. Email games are a great way to keep in touch and have some fun.
I have now participated in several of these, have enjoyed them all, and felt that I ought to share my experiences with an eagerly anticipating world. I should say that I have yet to run a single one, so what you get here will be a player’s view. Hopefully, this will help and encourage those thinking of running a game.
If any of my umpires feel moved to offer us the benefit of their experiences – that would be good too!
First a brief note on each of the games:
(a) Detachments Napoleonic Kriegsspiel. This was a traditional hypothetical scenario between Red & Blue run on the Meckel map and involved 5 players. Overall forces were fairly small, so that each subordinate commander had no more than a few battalions or squadrons. Variable length turns. A day’s engagement ran over about 2 weeks of actual time, with feedback from the umpire every day or so. A result was achieved, the game kept moving, and the ‘feel’ was much like a typical Kriegsspiel at Bill’s.
(b) WW2 operational level game. Based on the 1942 Tunisian campaign, using a modified map from a PC-based atlas. Turns were daily, with reports received in the evening, allowing orders to then be written for the next day. Initially just 2 players (C in C plus one divisional commander) on each side. Most players commanded a division or less, with sub-units at the battalion level. Eventually 3-4 players a side, as additional divisions arrived in theatre. Hierarchy of command meant that divisional orders needed to be cleared with C in C before submission to the umpire. Initially the game moved fast, but then slowed dramatically as more players joined.
(c) English Civil War strategic level game. Set in Yorkshire in 1642, and modelled the outbreak of the war. As well as fighting, players had to find out where their support was strong, seize key towns & river crossings, and raise and train new regiments. 2-day turns with reports & messages received in the evening, and orders dispatched for the next turn. In structure and speed, it worked very much like the Tunisian game. Initially just 1 player a side, later 2 per side, but with a proliferation of non-player commands as garrisons were placed, detachments made and regiments sent of to recruit. After a few days of game time, I guiltily realised that I had created about a dozen subordinates – mostly NPCs. This must have created a lot of work for the umpire.
(d) Modern strategic/operational level game. Hypothetical game between Red (Russia) & Blue (NATO) set in Europe and the North Atlantic in 2010. Scenario involves a surprise Russian attack and the NATO response. Variable length turns. Covers land, sea & air, with large teams of players, and several umpires. Teams have freedom to organise as they wish, and spend as much effort as they wish in planning operations. Many engagements are modelled in detail, often using commercial PC simulations (Tacops & Harpoon), while others are resolved in a fairly abstract manner. A vast amount of information is available to the players, not all of it accurate, of course. The game is proceeding very slowly. I was a late recruit to the glorious Russian armed forces, but several months of actual time were apparently spent last year on pre-game planning by Red. Since the new year, only a few ‘turns’ of combat have been played, so it has taken around 6 months of actual time to advance 18 hours of ‘game’ time! The sheer amount of detail generated by both umpires and players must make this a nightmare to administer. Can’t say too much more about this as one of our readers, Bill Jennings, is the Blue C in C!
(e) WW2 U-boat strategic campaign. Pilot for WW2 game, set in the North Atlantic beginning in mid 1942. Only 2 players. One plays Doenitz and allocates U-boats to one of 7 areas (eg Bay of Biscay, Mid Atlantic, Newfoundland etc). The other represents the Allied commanders with naval escorts and air power to deploy. Turns are one month, but the process is similar to that of the Tunisian and ECW games, with intelligence appreciations sent to the players, who then respond with their orders for the following month. We completed around 9 months of play quite quickly, and the result was a marginal Axis defeat. The pilot worked well, perhaps partly because it was built around quite a simple and easy to administer system. Unlike most of the other games, it would actually benefit from a little more complexity to allow some more challenging decision-making.

The main danger with email games appears to be that they can become overly complex, difficult to administer, and consequently slow moving. This can lead to frustration for the players, and umpire burn out. Factors which can contribute to the burden include:
 Games which are open ended in terms of player input. If players believe that by producing very detailed plans & orders they can achieve an advantage, those who have the time and inclination will do so. Pages of orders inevitably means that the umpires need to spent a great deal of time to sort it all out.
 A large number of players – unsurprisingly, this directly increases the admin burden. In addition, the demands of everyday life can pull individual players away from the game for a while, and this will happen more often with more players.
 A hierarchy of players – if junior commanders need to have their orders cleared by their betters before submission, this will slow the game.
 Non-player characters – more work for the umpire, not only in writing orders, but also in communicating with the other players as per that character.
 More than one umpire – further delays as umpires sometimes need to consult or, worse, give contradictory opinions to players.

All is not lost however! Whilst work and family pressures cannot be avoided, I believe that we can design future games to minimise the consequences, and generally reduce the umpiring burden. To do this our designs should curb open-ended input, emphasise streamlined processes (eg standardised order forms), give careful thought to the number and type of player roles, and maximise features which add to enjoyment, without additional umpire activity (eg email communication between players).
To illustrate what I mean, I’ll finish with 2 possible suggested email games, which I believe could be run by one umpire. If you’re interested in playing either, do let me know. Please note however, that neither are yet designed! Even better, if this fires you up, feel free to take on one of these projects yourself (I’ll even help) or design your own.
(a) Late Napoleonic campaign – possibly Germany 1813 or France 1814. Players would act as army commanders of broadly equal rank, eliminating the hierarchy problem. Napoleon is an obvious exception, of course. However, if he joined a subordinate marshal, only he would submit orders for the whole force that turn. Players would each command a number of corps, and normally operate in different sectors. Battles would be decided by die roll, with no player input. But no individual battle would be likely to be decisive, in view of the size of forces in the theatre. Game options would be limited to ordering corps to march, patrol, blockade, rest etc, and NPC activity would need to be quite restricted. Main challenge would be to interpret intelligence reports from various sources, and coordinate plans with other commanders who might be some days away. Correspondence would go via the umpire, who would merely forward it after an appropriate delay. These restrictions would allow perhaps 3 or 4 players a side. Any player who was out of the game for a few days could give general orders for the period they were to be off-line, or we could just assume that their forces rested and recovered stragglers, which they would need to do periodically anyway.
(b) WW1 or WW2 campaign – possibly 1914 in the west or east (corps level units), or a WW2 eastern front battle (division level units). We could have teams of players, with a hierarchy, as only one set of orders would be submitted, thus minimising the umpire workload. Teams could organise as they wished, but typically players might take roles, such as C in C, intelligence chief, operations chief etc. They could communicate with each other all the time on plans, analysis etc. without disturbing the umpire’s deliberations. They would not control the individual combat units directly, but rather act as the command staff of an army or army group. The would specify attacks, divisions to be involved, date and objectives. Combat could be resolved by the umpire using a commercial boardgame on the battle, or a PC game such as The Operational Art of War.

4. Kriegsspiel products from Bill Leeson
KRIEGSSPIEL, B von Reisswitz, 1824.
Full translation of the original book issued to every regiment in the Prussian Army at the instigation of von Muffling. A complete system described in detail with march rates, fire effect, ranges, results of attacks, etc. ppxix, 75. Comb binding. ISBN 1 870341 07 4. £12.00

This is a facsimile edition of the manual that was translated for the British Army, and details of units marching columns etc have been changed to suit British Army conditions. Tschischwitz was one of the foremost Kriegsspiel writers of the time, who kept firmly to the Reisswitz tradition of the Kriegsspiel. Pp48 + tables. ISBN 0 09508950 67. £8.00

This is a revision of the 1872 rules by a committee lead by Major-General F.Willis. Tables for lengths of columns, march rates, losses from attacks etc. are given. The influence of the “Free” Kriegsspiel of Verdy du Vernois can be seen from the way the user is encouraged not to use them. Facsimile ed. Pp38 ISBN 0 09508950 15. £6.00

Produced by a committee of officers from the Berlin War-game club only a few years after the suicide of Reisswitz it manages to avoid mentioning him even once, referring only to “the existing rules”. It contains many good ideas for troops exiting from a defile etc. and gives less severe fire effect results. Pp40 ISBN 1 870341 01 5. Available only in photocopy format at the moment. £6.00

THE NAVAL WARGAME. Fred T. Jane, 1912.
A facsimile edition of Fred’s book. By 1914 some version of Fred’s game was being used in most modern navies. He gives down to earth ideas for all aspects of war at sea including fuel and ammunition consumption. The well-known diagrams from Jane’s Fighting Ships form an essential part of his game. I would say that this is the sort of inspirational book that makes you want to get a game going at once. 100pp ISBN 1870341 08 2, Out of print. £12.00

KRIEGSSPIEL – A SAMPLE GAME. Hauptmann Schmidt, 1873.
Schmidt gives a move by move account of a game based on the Koniggratz map to explain to civilians how the game works. It is especially useful to anyone who would like to see a practical example of how basically straightforward and simple it can be. Maps and diagrams allow you to follow the game easily, 40pp. Available only in photocopy format at the moment. £5.00
Five articles from the Militair Wochenblatt which give fascinating details of the early days of the Kriegsspiel, including his meeting with Von Muffling and the General Staff which resulted in his game being taken up by the army. 25pp ISBN 1 870341 05 8. Available only in photocopy format at the moment. £5.00

This book is a record of carefully conducted trials carried out by the Prussian Army between 1800 and 1812. Each trial records the size of target, calibre, ammunition, charge used and the number of hits at each distance. There is also a scale diagram showing actual fall of shot in three trials. Personally I think this is a little gem of a book and repays study. Translated for the first time, as far as I know, in 1992. 90pp + 2 plans. ISBN 1 870341 04 X. £12.00

I attempted to bring together all the umpiring details given in the 1824 manual in a form that would fit into a 6-hole binder. Not entirely successful, I must admit, but not entirely useless either. £3.00

The eighteen manoeuvres are the basic infantry manoeuvres as laid down by David Dundas in 1792 for all regiments of the British Army. It is an aid for drill sergeants and gives words of command, sequence of movements, positions of officers, colours etc with diagrams for each manoeuvre. ISBN 1 870341 02 3 £6.00.

This is a facsimile of the instructions for 1775, but they had already been in use for half a century by then, in fact most of them can be traced back to the instructions issued in 1691 by Admiral Russell, and many of them go back to the time of the Commonwealth Navy. The system of signalling used meant that a particular flag flown from a particular part of the ship gave a particular message – a Dutch ensign flown from the ensign staff meant “Prepare to anchor”. So this little book contains all the instructions an Admiral could make to his fleet under sail apart from any extras he may have written into the back pages for his own fleet. ISBN 0 9508950 7 5. £6.00.

100 A3 sheets covering the area around Metz at around 1870. Black and white, but fully contoured, scale 1:7500. Roughly 8 inches to a mile. Plenty of detail. Sold in four separate parts, each part 25 sheets plus index map. The most generally useful section to start with is probably Metz SE, but the others have plenty of interest as well.
• Metz NW (A to E, 1 – 5) £12.00
• Metz SW (A to E, 6 – 10) £12.00
• Metz NE (F to J, 1 – 5) £12.00
• Metz SE (F to J, 6 – 10) £12.00

This covers exactly the same ground as the four parts above, but the sheets have been reduced to A5 size so that 2 sheets fit on one A4 sheet of paper and the whole thing takes up 50 A4 sheets. It is quite a good scale for larger actions or it could be used as reference maps for the players. Sheets can be duplicated so that you have enough for each side and the relevant sheets can be slipped inside clear A4 folders and marked up with washable marker pens. You are also quite welcome to enlarge them again to 1:7500 scale, but there will inevitably be some distortion after they have been reduced to A5 and then enlarged to A3 again. £12.00

As far as I know these are still produced by Irregular Miniatures. I can email you a sheet giving sizes and what they represent which would help you when ordering.

5. Further further thoughts on the Matabele War Scenario
Forgot to comment last time on the following from Howie Muir:
“the sense of impossibility of actually keeping to the timetable is interesting. Do you think there was a disconnect between the ostensible orders and the time it would have required to cross the distance
unhindered? Or has the colonial experience merely been one that was not historically infrequent: a failure to match means and ends successfully?”
Had there been no Matabele around, I think that the timetable was ok. It would also have been ok if the Matabele had attacked – and been heavily repulsed – early on. The problem for the column commander was that the mere threat of a major attack meant that he was forced to go into laager. Not a particularly time consuming process (as the wagon teams were well practiced by this point), but one that precluded any further movement if the Matabele were not so obliging as to make an immediate attack! Here I guess the best tactic is to send out your mounted men to provoke one.
Of course to give the British this sort of analysis in advance of the scenario (even if I’d thought of it myself) may have been unhistorical.
Also, the original British planners may well have underestimated the capabilities of the ‘native’ forces, as Europeans/Colonials so often did. So given the mindset, perhaps it’s more authentic for the briefing to make unrealistic assumptions on progress? Still a bit rough on the British CO though.

6. Army Level Games -discussion with Francesco Francini, Bill Leeson & Martin James
Francesco sent us some comments on the army level rules included way back in KN 48 & 49.

The thing I like most is that you, actually, didn’t work out a new set of rules but a series of (war) principles. This is, in my opinion, the most correct approach to any war game simulation, since we know, by the history, that in a battle, campaign etc. any thing can happen and there are not a fixed rules.
We do have the advantage that our games are umpired. Provided the umpires have the confidence of the players, then they can interpret the guidelines. Rules for commercially produced boardgames, or for non-umpired miniatures games typically need to both cater for a wide range of scenarios, and attempt to close any conceivable loophole. Not an easy task. Martin
Simulated time: I would opt for a simulated time unit of 1 hour to: march, deploy etc. While the combat time is of 15 minutes (1/4 hour), the so called “Telescoping Time Concept” I’m not quite convinced if this idea is really good i.e. brings more benefits than complications. In other word the basic time is 1 hour, but when the troops are in contact the simulated time proceeds in increments of 15 mins
Although we tend to play army level games in 15 minute increments, I am not convinced this is always the best way. We opted for this as it gave players a regular opportunity to intervene in the flow of events, and also seemed a reasonable approximation for various basic military functions (eg issuing reasonable complex orders, making a brigade ready to move, conducting a local reconnaissance).
I have been thinking for a while however, that with really large forces – and we may be playing such a game later this year – we should perhaps be moving to larger time increments. This would have perhaps better reflect the difficulty of directing an army of over a hundred battalions, rather than one of say 40. It would also mean that game time moves more swiftly, which I think it needs to do if such a large battle is to be fought to conclusion. As Clausewitz implied, it takes much longer to defeat an army than a corps, or a corps than a division.
My experience with telescoping time (or variable length bounds) is mixed. It can work very well with a small number of players. The problem arises with large numbers, when events on one part of the battlefield require more detailed treatment, yet on another front, moving the clock forward say an hour would be sensible. This can be difficult for the umpires to control, and can get out of hand if events on one front start to impinge on the other.
Of course if no forces are yet in contact, you can advance the clock more easily. You can also try to write the scenario so that all forces come into action at around the same time. This is easier said than done – particularly when one player decides to march AWAY from the sound of the guns! Martin

During the Napoleonic period there was a substantial difference between “regimental armies” (Austrians, Russians etc.) and “brigade armies” (the French). This difference is relevant and we should keep this in some account while playing a Napoleonic game.
Another particular I think have been, probably, neglected is a different initiative to assign to each army, i.e. a French army can take more and faster battle decisions than, let’s say, a Spanish one. In other words: a “sub standard” army is slower in deploying, deciding, executing the orders, reacting to a threat etc. This is not only historical true but essential to catch the “flavour” of (any) battle or period.
Excellent points, and ones we have barely explored in our games as yet. Any thoughts on how best we could model the differences? We did play one game where the revolutionary French were able to organise attacks with fewer delays than their Austrian opponents. I guess that fits our prejudices – but was it reality? Martin
Reflecting on the point you make – above. Every one has their own point of view of course and mine is that I like to play on an even battlefield. I like to kid myself that I am understanding something about tactics from these games, and you cannot do that by trying your idea out against inferior opponents. I can remember games where if you were the Austrian commander you might as well go home now for all you will achieve because the dice have been stacked against you.
I remember reading about an incident in WWI in which the Germans failed to respond to an opportunity opened up by the British because they said “No commander in his right mind would do that without a proper backup”. They were wrong, and missed an open goal, but better that than underestimate your opponent. If you are testing a plan you want to test it against a capable foe. This colours how I feel about this issue although I realise others feel differently. Bill

Bill is referring to an operational level game on Napoleon’s 1814 campaign in France we ran several years’ ago. Superior French staffwork was reflected in a greater certainty the French corps would actually move & attack when ordered. Poor Bill was the Austrian Schwarzenberg, and on one memorable occasion coordinated a masterful attack on a couple of detached French corps with 5 or 6 of his own. Unfortunately most failed to actually attack! Bill has never forgotten.
In retrospect, the penalties for the Austrians were too severe, although you need to do something to offset the Allied numerical advantage if you want to recreate that particular campaign. The game was run by Geoff Eyles and myself, although I always ignobly play down my own role whenever Bill is around!
I think that Bill is not alone in his views on the ‘even battlefield’. On the other hand, players in our group seem quite happy to be outnumbered 2 to 1, and cope very maturely when the combat dice go against them. Perhaps it’s just that if you lose, you want to know that it was your own mistakes, rather than some idiot non-player subordinate.
In terms of the games we actually play, I would guess it is pretty much 50/50 between the traditional Red v Blue game with similarly equipped armies, and more asymmetrical encounters. Extreme examples of the latter would be the 2 colonial games we have run in the last 12 months. This suits me very well as I like both equally. Martin

It’s not being outnumbered 2 to 1 that bothers me. That is just part of the given circumstances. I am not so keen on being assigned character qualities such as – well whatever. I have enough character failings of my own without being assigned any extra ones. One thing we find we do not have to simulate is player’s attitude. Some are bold some are cautious, some are full of surprises. Bill

Stoic troops: Typically the Russians. “Six times easier to kill than to defeat”???
This reminds me of a program I saw on the battle of Stalingrad. It was said that the German’s relied on the quality of their troops in this campaign. Quality over quantity, as the earlier part of the campaign seemed to show. But that the Russians had a saying “Quantity has a quality of its own”. Bill

The Austro – Prussian war of 1866 was a military confrontation between two theories: the “old shock columnar tactic” of the Austrian vs a “new” more flexible tactic “deserved” by Moltke. A recent study (Wawro) demonstrated that the Prussians didn’t win because of their new Dreyse rifle, since the average amount of cartridge fired per man wasn’t too much superior to that of the Austrians. Surely the superiority of the new weapon played a significant role in the matter, but the Prussian success in the Campaign relies more on the adoption of this new tactic. How Krgspl simulates this ??
Regrettably my knowledge of this campaign is rather limited. Perhaps someone else can jump in here. I do seem to recall that Wawro’s analysis has been challenged. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean he is wrong! Some commentators have also suggested that the Austrians could have won at Koeniggratz. I often think that a lack of consensus on such matters actually makes for a good game. After all, if the Dreyse was so clearly a battle-winning weapon, why should the Austrians have fought at all? Well, actually I suppose they had no choice – but we do of course.

I think that the Combat result tables should be more unforeseeable. For instance, instead of a fixed result like 1, 2 why not to throw a dice: a d4 or dm (four sided dice; or an average dice) the result indicates after how many 15 minutes increments the unit will be operative again. In this case we could include by only one dice throw the troop quality. Example: a guard unit will throw a d4 or a d4 -1. A recruit – green unit will throw a d4 + 1 or a d4 +2.
Yes, I’m inclined to agree that we need more variation. The only problem I can see with your approach is that it requires more factors to be taken into account, and die rolling – and thus more umpire time.

In the “Timing for attack” table under: Cavalry (1 bgd) is stated that a cavalry bgd. can in 15 minutes advance, resolve combat & retreat. I agree with the statement that cav. fights are faster but how can a cav. bgd. fight & retreats in the same 15 minutes turn if, for instance, it had to cover its maximum allowed distance in the same space of time ??
The table assumes that cavalry begins it’s advance against enemy cavalry at a range of 1500 paces. Typically the enemy would counter-charge, so that the advance to contact might only be say 1000 paces. The speed will increase during the advance, but even if the cavalry does not work up to a full charge it could easily cover that distance in 5 minutes. Examples given in contemporary battle accounts suggest that the actual clash normally lasted no more than about 5 minutes, followed by retreat/rout or reorganisation/pursuit as the case may be. There also seem to have often been cases where, after going through the motions of an advance, both side’s cavalry failed to come to blows, as if by mutual consent.
Of course all this is an approximation (& compromise) for ease of umpiring, and umpires should feel free to modify things. In a simple game, with variable length bounds, one could increase this to say 20 minutes if the advance began from further away etc. I do think it unlikely on practical grounds that commanders would normally have advanced against fresh enemy cavalry from very much greater distances however. Who wants to get in a fight with horses that are already starting to tire, and where the distance has precluded a through reconnaissance of the ground?

Why not to adopt the same dice system to ascertain when a given unit executes an order ??
It’s certainly a valid option. The only problem that I can see is the extra time it may take to administer. Like some of the other points above it’s a trade-off of more accuracy against a somewhat slower game. This is a personal thing – and other umpires are sometimes more relaxed over taking more steps to resolve things than I.

7. Silicon Sid – Austerlitz & Age of Sail II
Austerlitz: Napoleon’s Greatest Victory is Breakaway Games latest grand-tactical simulation based on the Sid Meier Gettysburg engine, later used in Antietam and Waterloo. Austerlitz features improved graphics and the option to selectively assign units, brigades, or divisions to AI control. In short, more of the same – good fun, but a world away from Kriegsspiel.
Also just released (but only in America?) is Age of Sail II: Privateer’s Bounty. The blurb says that “Fans of the first instalment of Age of Sail II will be amazed with the improved graphics, new intuitive interface and a score of fantastic new features such as weather effects, new combat modes and 3 brand new exotic units including hot air balloons and experimental submarines.” Well that’s about 3 people happy then. Based on what happened with the original Age of Sail II, the rest of us should wait for the reviews before parting with any cash.
8. Letters
From Chris Russell
In KN 55 I asked what the difference was between vedettes and pickets.
I thought vedettes observed like pickets while patrols went out and scouted.
A succinct but correct answer. You beat the next correct answer by about 40 minutes, and accordingly are our second winner of the Reisswitz Monocle. Huzzah.

From David Commerford, also on patrol
I think this is fairly universal but is taken from British Light Cavalry practice in the Peninsular.
A Squadron provided the parts of the cavalry outpost. This was divided by Troop so that one was held in reserve and used to relive the other. The second was turn divided by Division (Half Troop). The first Division (nearest the Reserve) would be nominated the In-lying Picquet the second (nearest the enemy) would be the Out-lying Picquet.
Posted from the Outlying Picquet would be a number of two men Vedettes whose job it was to observe enemy movement and act as the alert. Moving between the Vedettes and the Outlying Picquet were Patrols of 5 to 10 men whose job it was to check up on and relive the Vedettes and to challenge any one who passed through the outer screen. These Patrols would also probe to the front and flanks to avoid surprise. Larger Patrols of a Division in strength would, when required, be sent forward on recon and intelligence gathering.
Well done. Not the first right answer, but is far and away the most complete, so you get an honourable mention too. I think you’re right that the broad meaning is universal, but different armies varied the detail. I think the French used slightly stronger vedettes in “finger-like deployments of 4 to 5 troopers extending a hundred or more meters from the encampment” according to one source.

From Bill Leeson
I did get in touch with somebody at the museum site, I told them a bit about who made the original and where it was kept etc also the article in Militair Wochenblatt where all the information is. I got a polite reply, but I did not get the feeling that they were all that thrilled. Kind of – thanks very much – if we need to know any more we will know who to get in touch with.
This relates to the discovery of the elder von Reisswitz’s terrain model and troop pieces, reported in the last KN.

From Geoff Eyles on Castiglione
I have a copy of Bernhard’s first book “CASTIGLIONE 1796” and can heartily recommend them to anyone interested in the period or the region. No.1 is A4 format in softback with a card cover in colour and 96 pages. It is clearly a labour of love – the result of a lot of personal research of primary sources and I understand published at his own expense: it includes several full page contemporary maps alongside modern day photographs of the landscape – many in colour. It has a short chapter about the opposing armies with a complete OOB for the start of the campaign. It also boasts brief biographies on quite a few of the commanders especially the Austrians which must be unique.
Dare I say it; to compare them with Ospreys does not really do him justice. As you have probably gathered by now, I liked it and will definitely be buying more as they appear!
Another really good KN. Why do I always get the urge to reply immediately? The stuff about the original models was fascinating.
Taking up the point about games via the internet. It could have some distinct advantages:
 umpires could take as long as was necessary to resolve a situation – no need for the rushed decisions often taken when the players are waiting in the next room;
 no need to cover up bits of the map every few minutes when players request a “visual” – send them a picture of only what they can see;
 players messages would be replaced by e-mail sent via the umpires, suitably restricted to a certain number of words and converted to gothic script of course…
I wish I had the time
Thanks for your comments, Geoff. Bernhard will be pleased that you enjoyed his first book. Looks like many of us are thinking along similar lines re the internet games (see my comments above). Let’s hope we see more of them.

From Dave Stanforth
Just read KN 55 and thought I’d let you know that I’m at present painting a whole bunch of Irregular Minis troop blocks – as described in your write up Arthur. I’ll try them out in the October game.
Dave is running our October game, on the American War of Independence. Of course you’ll need a double-sided Benedict Arnold piece Dave!

From Nick Luft
Can you send out just a reminder for the KN newsletter, so I can pick it off the web and take me out of the e-mail distribution list for the attachment e-mail. That way I can download it at work rather than at home, which seems to take forever.
Sure. Actually that’s the way we may all end up doing it, if Yahoo takes off.

From Thomas Kolley
Just make sure to include me if the mentioned game of the Mexican war starts. I like to join. I had one successful (classical) and one abortive game (WW2) and I like to try again.
Your first recruit Jeff McCulloch – and with me that’s at least two. Thomas was the initial Axis commander for the Tunisia game, and devised the aggressive forward deployment plan Ben mentioned above. Having done so, Thomas was forced to pull out due to work commitments, leaving me in charge. I have to say his plan worked – but left me with a few more grey hairs along the way!
From Francesco Francini
Compliments for your site! I’ve found particularly interesting the section containing the “Army level Napoleonic Krgspl”. If I only have had that I would have not submerged you and Mr. Leeson with a flood of messages !
But then we would not have had the fun of working out the answers! When you edit a newsletter it is always good to get some comeback from readers – as I am sure Martin will agree. The guy who has actually put the site together is Richard Madder. He has made a very good job of it. Bill.
Absolutely. Keep those questions coming. Martin

From Francesco again
Shall we set up in a future a Kriegsspiel naval game ??
Strangely enough Martin and I have had a submarine game in the back of our minds for ages – I mean years. Bill

Yes, Bill and I have been talking about doing a game on the N Atlantic WW2 campaign for an eternity, and made some progress with the design. The game would be played between 2 teams, one representing Doenitz and his staff, and the other the Allied equivalent.
Much of the game would revolve around the use of available intelligence, which would fluctuate as one side or the other improved security (until the next breakthrough). We envisaged tracking individual U boats in a simplified way, and perhaps 2 or 3 day turns. So in one Kriegsspiel session we could get through one month. It might work even better via email.
I would still very much like to bring the design to a conclusion. It’s just a matter of finding the time.
Much nearer completion is Chris Russell’s game on the same campaign (mentioned above). Chris adopts a different approach, where each turn represents one month, and U boats are allocated to one of 7 large areas. Given the much greater time span, we get into the areas of increasing U boat production and developing improved tactics. This worked pretty well, and is pretty fast to play. After further refinements, I am hoping he will run another game for anyone else who would like to try it. Martin

9. Contacts

Anything in this newsletter is freely available for you to use and disseminate for non-commercial use, as long as attribution is maintained. The aim is to share fun and enlightenment.
There is no charge for the newsletter, but if you would like to receive future issues you will need to send some SAE envelopes to Martin (or even better let me have you email address). New players are very welcome. If you would like to know more about what to expect, give one of us a ring.

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