Knock on all Doors (KOAD) is on the way

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by Keydet, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    "In war it is precisely the things which are thought impossible which most often succeed, when they are well conducted." Charles Louis Auguste Fouquet, duc de Belle-Isle
    -Quoted in Reed Browning, The War of the Austrian Succession (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Knock on all Doors (KOAD) is soon to be released. KOAD is a Command Ops 2.0 expansion module which includes six historical scenarios and six “hypothetical” scenarios on a larger scale than previously designed, set in the first crucial 48 hours of the Battle of the Bulge. All have unit tank strengths in accordance with the US Army Ardennes Campaign Database http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/data/ardennes.htm. The scenarios are in testing and I am right now concluding many years of work responding to the results. Here I am taking a few moments from the work to give an advance look at what to expect.

    Of the six historical scenarios, three begin the morning of December 17th and end early evening of the 18th. These are HISTORICAL monster scenarios, covering the critical win-lose decision windows for each of the 3 Axis armies involved, 1 scenario per army. You are in the positon to dramatically change the course of the battle by choosing the alternate courses of action you read about in the history books. The scenarios are:

    “Decision at Bullingen” starting at 1000 hours December 17, allows the ISS Panzer Korps commander/player to order KG Peiper to march north from Bullingen. Many historians have speculated on the catastrophe which would have resulted. Is it feasible?

    “Decision before Clervaux” starts at 0530 hours December 17 with the 2nd Panzer Division massed before Clervaux and the rest of the 5th Panzer Army poised to renew the assault. A close review of the situation reveals possibilities unmentioned by historians.

    “Decisions beyond the Sauer” also starts at 0530 hours December 17. Although there are some opportunities the 7th Army is in a tough situation. Can you find a way forward?

    KOAD scenarios use four new maps. These three use Nord - 21 km by 20+km, Mitte – 31 km by 40 km, and Sud Kleine – 37 by 31 km. The fourth, Sud Grosse, is 47 km by 31 km and is used in other scenarios.

    About these three a tester wrote “These 3 Decision/Historical scenarios are a great pack in themselves … I would definitely buy the KOAD pack for these 3 historical beauties.” Pasted below is an excerpt of the map showing some of the starting positions in “Decision at Bullingen”. It clearly shows how the US 14th Cavalry Group has abandoned the field and left things wide open for KG’s Peiper and Hansen.
    PeiperAndHansenRolling.JPG
    The three remaining historical scenarios run from the beginning of the offensive for “48 hours” until December 18. These are:

    “Preiss’ Push” includes the entire 1SS Panzer Korps zone and that of the northern wing of 18th VG Division.
    “Manteuffel’s March” is the complete 5th Panzer Army assault.
    “Brandenberger’s Breakthrough” is the complete 7th Army assault.

    To give you an idea of the ground over which you are battling here is the complete Mitte map used by Manteuffel’s March and Decision before Clervaux. This clip shows Decision before Clervaux start from the scenario maker.

    StartDecisionBeforeClervaux.JPG

    The remaining six scenarios are the “core” KOAD scenarios. These hypothetical scenarios are two nearly identical sets of three scenarios each. One set is restricted to the historically present units, the “Knocks” series. The other, “Big Knock” series, has the I SS Panzer Korps panzer formations switched out for the XII SS Armee Korps and the 9th Panzer and 3 and 15th Panzer Grenadier divisions and has three additional Volks Grenadier divisions between the three scenarios. These scenarios are inspired by the historical success of the 5th Panzer Army and the essence of the commanders’ plan, “knock on all doors and go through the one that open.” The premise is the plan was adopted for the whole attack. [more on this below]

    The three “Hypothetical” Big Knock scenarios:

    “Blumentritt’s Big Knock” starts at 0500 December 16 with 150 Panzer Brigade just completing night raids on US strong points in the Loscheim Gap. At 0530 the rest of the German forces deploy. (the first time I played the US I was greatly startled when the German artillery opened up).

    Built around the reinforced 9th Panzer, 15th Panzer Grenadier (off map), Führer Begleit Brigade, 12th Volks Grenadier and 3rd Falshirmjaeger Divisions, Group Blumentritt (XII SS Army Corp reinforced) will pass through the lines of the 18th and 277th VG Divisions, break through the American strong points between the Schnee Eiffel and Hollerath, swiftly advance west and northwest (exit the map) to march across the Ambleve/Howarche Rivers and secure the Hohes-Venn forest region.

    “Krügers Big Knock” starts at 0530 December 16. Group Krüger (LVIII Panzer Corps reinforced) attack between Stoltzembourg and the Schnee Eiffel to advance on Bastogne and the Salm and Ambleve River Lines. 2nd and 116th Panzer and 3rd and 15th Panzer Grenadier Divisions with eight attached VG regiments are assigned to pass through the lines of the 18th and 26th VGDs, between Stoltzembourg and Bleialf inclusive, and attack on 8 lines of advance shattering the defenders and advancing to and beyond St Vith, the Clerf River and Wiltz (exit the map) within 48 hours. The Korps must also link up with and release the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division to XII SS Armee Korps north of St. Vith (exit the map), continue the advance (exit the map) through and on both sides of Bastogne, cross the Ourthe and on to the Meuse between Givet and Namur.

    “Luttwitz's Big Knock” starts at 0530 hours December 16. Group Luttwitz (XLVII Panzer Korps reinforced) attacks to shatter the American defenses from Stoltzembourg to Rosport and establish a strong southern flank for the breakthrough. The Order of Battle includes the Panzer Lehr Division and Führer Grenadier Brigade, as well as 5th Fallschirmjäger and 212 Volks Grenadier Division.

    Both the Luttwitz's Big Knock and Luttwitz Knocks scenario use the Sud Grosse map. A clip of it from Map Maker gives you a good idea of how much ground the Germans had to cover in 48 hours in order to be successful. The Germans started from the eastern and north-eastern edge and had to flood into the entire zone. Perhaps that can be done with the mobile formations at hand.

    SudGrosse.JPG
    The last set is the “Hypothetical” Knocks series. These three scenarios are:

    “Preiss Knocks”: Same as “Blumentritt’s Big Knock” except the I SS Panzer Corps has the mission with 1st SS Panzer (off map), 12 SS Panzer, 12th Volks Grenadier and 3rd Falshirmjaeger Divisions reinforced by regiments of the 18th VG Division.

    “Krüger Knocks”: Same as “Krügers Big Knock” except that LVIII Panzer Corps has only 1st SS, 2nd, and 116th Panzer Divisions and Führer Begleit Brigade reinforced by two VG Divisions and regiments of the 18th and 26th VG divisions.

    “Luttwitz Knocks”: starts at 0530 hours December 16. Same as “Luttwitz's Big Knock” except the Panzer Corps is less one VG division.

    Previously I made a brief mention of the premise for the “core” KOAD scenarios. Let me give more detail on that. “Knock on all Doors” (KOAD) was inspired by many years of study on the Battle of the Bulge all the while keeping in mind General of the Army George C. Marshall’s admonition:

    “The hurly burly of the conflict does not permit commanders to draw fine distinctions. To succeed, they must demand results, close their ears to excuses, and drive subordinates beyond what would ordinarily be considered the limit of human capacity. Wars are won by the side that accomplishes the impossible.”

    Eventually I came to the conclusion historians’ reviews of the German failure in the Battle of the Bulge were accounts of excuses. After encountering the Charles Louis Auguste Fouquet quote and reading of his exploits I became certain of it. So I took stock of the extensive German command and staff experience assigned to the assault, the obstacles and the extreme secrecy and recognized had Manteuffel’s concept of the operation been applied across the entire attack zone in combination with a number of actual, possible and seriously considered tactics, the Allies would have been faced with an even greater crisis. Beginning the offensive with Skorzeny’s 150 Panzer Brigade in a Fort Eben-Emael like raid on the most accessible American strongpoints would have made it more so. When Dave O’Connor asked for expansion module suggestions I saw this as an opportunity to test these ideas. In order to provide a premise and basis for the scenarios I supposed Army Group B held a second Kriegspeil conference which played out as the historical battle did and revised the plan accordingly. Minutes of this conference are included in the Designer Notes as an appendix.

    One more thing! At the end of the Designer Notes is a challenge to the players, a challenge to play all the scenarios in a set and evaluate your collective performance. The assessments from best to poorest:

    - Alexander II - decisive victory in all three as the Germans
    - Great Captain of History - two decisive victories and one marginal victory
    - Field Marshal/General of the Army - one decisive victory and two marginal victories
    - General - all three marginal victories
    - LTG - two victories and one draw
    - MG - one victory and two draws
    - BG - three draws
    - Armchair General - all other results
     
    #1 Keydet, Oct 11, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  2. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    I am impressed and shall be parting with my hard earned cash happily .
     
  3. *budd*

    *budd* Member

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    How do they run? what's the minimum specs? That map looks huge, can you show the unit count for the scenario's
     
  4. Daz

    Daz Member

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    This looks incredible!
    Being a huge fan of the Battle of the Bulge scenarios, this is a must buy for me.
     
  5. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    Can't say what the minimum specs are but!
    A tester reported on Decision Beyond the Sauer "Speed was ok. Run until runs at 3 secs RT to 1 minute GT. One arrow gives 11 secs RT for 1 minute GT. I found, incidentally, that it seemed to run a little faster if I set my 8 core processor affinity to processor '0' - ie so the game only was being allocated 1 processor. Wasn't much diff though." Also when testing Decision at Bullingen the tester wrote "The speed is fine because it doesn't matter if it runs at (slowest) 15 secs RT per 1 min GT because there's plenty to do and watch with there being 600 units mucking about."

    I am getting pretty much the same on my desktop running W7, AMD Phenom II X4 quad core processor, 8 GB RAM. Also using a 64 GB thumb drive for speed boost. All the scenarios run much faster on my wife's I3 CPU Toshiba Satlite laptop with W10 and 6 GB
     
    #5 Keydet, Oct 12, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015
  6. john connor

    john connor Member

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    unit count.png

    I'm missing the 12th scenario only from that list. But this gives you an idea of the size. They are very large, very acute scenarios, because they all take place in a short time frame, the crucial two days or so at the beginning of Autumn Mist (Wacht am Rhein). There is a lot to do for the Axis commander especially. I think they're really superb, beautifully detailed, on really stunning maps. Some are very difficult indeed, I think - certainly I think poor Brandenburger and the 7th Army had a tall order.

    Peter
     
    #6 john connor, Oct 12, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2015
  7. *budd*

    *budd* Member

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    Thank you, man thats a lot of units for 2 days. That should be fun.
     
  8. k0enig

    k0enig Member

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    Excellent! Looking forward to this, especially to the hypothetical scenarios!
     
  9. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Hi all,

    Things are progressing well and we hope to get this out to you all by the end of November.
     
  10. Templer

    Templer Member

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    Just wonder how this larger scale will work with the Command Ops system.
    941 units - ugh...
     
    #10 Templer, Oct 28, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  11. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    Running well on my machine. Tester says it is running well. Not all scenarios have that number of units. Seems likely several folks are standing by to give it a try. If their response is like the testers there will be a good reception for these.

    Play Widening the Corridor from the Bastogne module to see how your system is likely to perform with these.
     
  12. John Rainey

    John Rainey Member

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    The US Army Ardennes Campaign Database is a horrible resource for any unit tank strength beyond anything after Dec 16th, not great for that either.
     
  13. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    Why do you say that? You think it holds true for all three forces: USA, British and German? Besides reading the sources descriptions in the documentation and examining the bibliography and citations I spot checked by questioning a reliable veteran tank platoon leader of the 9 AD and examining the strengths detailed in Gunther Guderian's book on the 116th Panzer Division "From Normandy to the Ruhr". He was the divisions chief of staff. The numbers matched.
     
  14. John Rainey

    John Rainey Member

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    Seems I was half wrong, the starting strengths are OK, it's after that it goes down hill. DId you compare starting numbers to the sources you listed?

    My source are game designers/researchers such as yourself.

    http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@@.ee6ca36/18127

    When I saw your source I asked about his numbers, the link above and this quote are the answer:

    John, Dupuy's interim tank and manpower strengths for any date after Dec 16 are pure, unadulterated fiction. When I first obtained Col Trevor Dupuy's "Hitler's Last Gamble". I thought it was a gem because of the strength data that was included, but I could not make the interim numbers work from my research. I made an appointment to see Col Dupuy in his offices in the DC area. At first, he was a bit defensive about his work, but started to open up after he realized I was really interested and wanted to understand his Bulge research.

    He admitted to me that the tables in the back of the book which gives purported interim strengths, both manpower and weapons, were a product of the ACSDB simulation program that they had designed for the US Army. This would be the equivalent of playing WaR2 and doing an inventory of what is left on the game board at various times, and then put into a Table and publish it as reality. Col. Depuy also told me that they could never get the Bulge gaming simulation program to recreate what actually happened on the battlefield. The Germans would always get bogged down. To Dupuys's credit he acknowledged that the book was rushed by the publisher and that the strength tables should have been properly footnoted.

    I will say that the ACSDB starting manpower strength numbers are excellent. Much research was done to get a very close approximation of starting unit strengths as of Dec 16th. However, after that date, it is unreliable because of what I said above.

    Interestingly, some authors, for example Christer Bergstrom, have relied heavily on Dupuy's "interim numbers" as gospel. They do not understand that these numbers are pure fiction.

    All of the starting strengths for the book come directly from a set of consulting projects that Dupuy's group completed in the early 1990s for the US Army Concepts Analysis Agency. Dupuy's Consulting organization was named Data Memory Systems and they published a final report in two volumes entitled "The Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base (ACSDB)". It is a monumental piece of research on the actual starting strengths for the American and German armies as of Dec 16th. If you read and study it closely though, it includes raw data runs for each major unit by day that simulates the losses that came from the "game program". You can virtually match these simulation numbers to the unit strengths in Depuy's book at specific interim dates.
     
  15. Keydet

    Keydet Member

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    I am very familiar with the database as i have been working with it for years. Yes the solid data for German strength is really just the first stay and a few unit reports on a handful of subsequent days. And then in the case of a few units the Dec 16 strength is based on the unit reports earlier in December. There is of course a chance these were a bit stronger on O-Tag. The US strength however is based on daily reports. The Brits I am not remembering and do not have time to go look until later in November. Nine of the scenarios have Dec 16 start. Three start on Dec 17. Of the mobile formations only 116 Pz had contact on Dec 16. Guderian gives a detailed account of the action and losses.

    But I do know official reports can be "real world" incorrect due to units keeping things off the books. It is well established veteran US units accumulated extra anything they could carry. Infantry companies supplemented with German MG's and other weapons as well as having extra US MG's, rifles and pistols. (For US veteran units our small arms counts in Command Ops is certainly low) 2nd US ID culled out and left the 106th ID all their worst MG's receiving in exchange the new ones the 106th came into the line with. Several years ago I read a FMS paper written by an SS officer describing an unauthorized off the books mech battalion which included a panzer company. This unit operated along the upper Rhine. He wrote that 1st Army kept it out of operational and logistic situation reports. There was another FMS report which described the count of trucks as units crossed the Rhine and found the units had many more trucks than officially reported. How will anyone produce absolute certain strengths?
     
  16. Kurt

    Kurt Member

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    Fascinating info people
     
  17. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Correct. It's impossible. And it's hard enough to establish weekly strength reports for quite some German units, already, let alone (lost) daily reports.
    In many cases, a researcher will have to rely on/fall back to the monthly reports (early Dec. or 2nd week of Dec.). But even these can be incomplete, or even misleading, as sometimes the content of say the vehicle pool (on paper) was manipulated, in an attempt to maintain a unit's mobility - eg. SS units near Arnheim reporting vehicles as "under repair" or "unserviceable", so that they did not have to hand over their vehicles to other units - or to obtain additional transportation (to get to a halfway useful level again, despite the general lack of trucks/APCs and AFVs) in a fraudulent way.
    Even though Divisional commanders had to pass short daily reports to higher echelons, such reports were often lost (archives bombed by Allies, or destroyed by German personnel during retreats) or could not be compiled due to the war situation at the front.
    US units confiscated what they could find, the Russians, the French and the British did the same, which led to a situation where reports can be even found in archives in Norway and Finland, nowadays, besides in the NARA and the German Federal Military Archive. Quite a few monthly reports survived, one reason might be that they were actually telex'ed to the Army (sector) command and the theater command and then forwarded to the OKH/OKW.

    Now, during the preparation of the Ardennes offensive, even Model and Rundstedt stressed that several divisions on the Hitler-Jodl list (listing the units earmarked for the offensive) had either been deactivated ....

    (ie. the 49th Infantry Division, as its remnants had been merged with the remnants 246th VG-Division, the 246th then participated in the offensive at Monschau, near Aachen, and right after its deployment in the Aachen sector, the 246th incorporated the following additional units:

    - Luftwaffen-Festungs-Bataillon XVIII
    - Festungs-MG-Bataillon 54
    - Schnelle Abteilung 503, 504 und 506
    - Reserve-Grenadier-Bataillon 453
    - Volkssturm-Bataillon Trier),

    or their strength rather resembled regimental-sized or even just reinforced Bn-sized formations (in particular the 21st Panzer Division and 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division, with the two together having the combat value of ONE full division, only, but also the 89th Inf Division, which had been decimated to the size of a single Bn),
    or they were engaged in heavy (defensive) fights and could not be taken out of the lines, as there were no reinforcements with the same combat values/capabilities around.
    In the cases of the 246th VGD and the 89th, the Wehrmacht (Joint) Staff had received the infos about the merger and the limited combat value (of the 89th, where both Model and Rundstedt had requested to disband the unit, which was denied by Hitler), but such details were either ignored by Hitler, or not presented to Hitler by Jodl, maybe in fear of another rage attack.
    Hitler and the OKW had ordered to do everything to keep the earmarked units in battle-worthy condition, and prohibited all deployments that would hamper their participation in the Ardennes offensive. Pretty tricky, as some of them were still in the lines.
    Rundstedt also had to use earmarked units that were supposed to R+R (often without approval from the High Command) to relief battered units in the Strasbourg sector, and he then left them in the line for several days, until either the battered unit had somewhat recovered and could take over again or until another temp replacement could be shuffled in. In the Aachen sector, more than 12,000 casualties during the first week of the battle had forced him to redirect replacement troops that were supposed to reinforce the units reorg'ing for Wacht am Rhein to the suffering units at the Aachen front.

    This whole mess, which made it already hard enough for Model and Rundstedt to keep track of actual strengths during the planning of the offensive - let alone during the actual course of the battle, makes it even harder for a researcher or a historian to get exact data, nowadays.

    I am convinced that it's possible to get a somewhat more accurate picture, though, as some surviving fragments covering say reports about transfers of personnel to other units, replacements on Bn level, subordination to other units (borrowed/lent) or arrival dates of such contingents/units have not been researched/considered to the fullest extent. For instance, "forensic" analysis of daily situational maps can give some leads regarding such borrowed units, in cases where particular strength/arrival reports do not exist anymore. There are also local (sector) daily sick-leave reports that survived, which can help to guesstimate troop numbers.

    Many war diaries were lost, but there are these fragments that are spread over several archives on this planet.
     
    #17 GoodGuy, Nov 8, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  18. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    Great discussion. Thanks.

    In my view, unless we can get comprehensive data about all these "extra" equipment that units beg borrowed or acquired for all forces involved then we run the risk of distorting the force data. All sides seem just as culpable and yet by the nature of this practice we will never know for sure the extent of it. So we'll have to second guess and then run into the strong likelihood of 'buggering it up' - that's a deliberate technical term.;) So I recommend we ignore all these 'extras' and stick to the estabs.
     
  19. daathus

    daathus Member

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    I am eagerly anticipating this module. The great captivating quality of wargames such as Command Ops is that they are entertaining from a gaming and also a scholarly perspective. May I ask if it is known when the module is due to be released? Thanks.
     
  20. Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

    Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor Panther Games Designer

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    We're aiming for the end of the month - the 23rd of we can.

    Sent from my GT-I9195T using Tapatalk
     

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