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Firestorm: Stripes

The Team Yankee Global Campaign

Final Legions Campaign Results

Warsaw Pact
VS British
Green Howards

Outcome of our campaign at Legions PGH

As discussed before there should be a different way to do this, but ... Our store-only battles resulted in a resounding PACT Tactical Victory. A final attempt at regaining some points by Fitzi failed at 2nd Alme. PACT won 15 games, drew 6 and lost 1. We didn't reach Munich or Amsterdam but did take out the Ruhr/Essen/Cologne complex after forcing a NATO withdrawal from Leipzig and Hannover. Completely different from on-line. The map above depicts the final situation with tan or green counters marking the NATO final positions and orange counters marking the PACT front lines.

This map section is from my 'War Room' and depicts, approximately, the situation in the 1st West Front Area - online sectors Amsterdam, Ruhr and Bremen. 12 NATO units vs 14 PACT units. Rough parity of numbers.
2nd West Front sector, fighting around Frankfurt-Kassel. 9 units to 7.
A close look at Denmark. 5 Soviet and Polish divisions being attacked by a Marine Regiment, and maybe some ACE mobile force elements. Not likely to have a happy ending
Leipzig sector...7 NATO divisions against 14
Northern Front - my favorite - 3 British, 2 German, 1 US and 2 Belgian divisions (and the Belgians, for sure, are out of ammo) fighting against 14 divisions of Northern front.
There are a lot of Soviet tanks in that valley...2nd Central Front arriving

So what's the point of these maps? A touch of history, and a touch of reality. I've preached about logistics issues, and won't bother with that here. What this is about is what the Soviets call the correlation of forces. And limitations of time and distance.

The PACT began our little war with 27 Soviet divisions plus 6 East German and 8 Czech and 10 Polish. Early mobilization would put 5 East German, 2 more Czech and 2 more Polish plus an additional 9 Soviet CAT A divisions. Western TVD also had 3 Air Assault Divisions, 5 Air Assault Brigades, 3 Tank Brigades, 9 Tank Regiments, a Naval Landing Brigade, plus two pint-sized Polish Airmobile and Naval Landing Divisions. That's 70+ Soviet division equivalents.

The NATO forces were 3 British, 2 Netherlands, 1.5 Belgian (4 brigades), 11 German, and the equivalent of 5 US Divisions at start. Britain emptied its larder and put 4 more divisions in the field, and America's M+10 essential force put 1 Airborne, 1 Marine, and 10 heavy brigades configured as 4 divisions to achieve the '10 divisions in 10 day' standard. There were also Danes, but they disappeared so fast as to probably have not completed mobilization. 22 divisions. Then 28 when all the Americans arrived, 32 with the extra Brits. And the Dutch, Belgians each put another division equivalent up. Finally the Germans conceivably could mobilize 6 more divisions, although the mob sectors and equipment for two disappeared in the early days of the first campaign. So 40 NATO divisions are now in the field.

Didn't forget the French. They're presumably in the Rhine Valley, waiting for SACEUR to make a French General commander of a new Army Group, called SOUTHAG. They had 15 divisions on paper, but 2 of them were DLBs with only 4 battalions AND could only be fielded by closing their military school system. The other 8 divisions that composed French First Army consisted of 6 maneuver battalions compared to the German 14 and American 14. In short, a French corps is really a division for anybody else.

And then there are more Americans, right? Well, yes, but, the only way to get them to Europe is by sealift, and the existing sealift in 1989 was only adequate to move one division at a time, every ten days. There were less than 90 C5/C5As in 1985, and they so moving a complete heavy division by air was virtually impossible, and if attempted, with the wing root issues limiting them to one tank per sortie, a heavy division by air would require about 500 sorties, or the same ten days...

Time has some interesting implications. Above was an example of my figuring for a march reversal for a Soviet Tank Brigade. But you couldn't use that same projection to move a PACT army or NATO Corps. Why? That tank brigade had 150 tanks, 160 BMPs, 96 SPH, and probably another 200 soft skins or roughly 650 total vehicles. A column at least 30 kilometers long! A PACT army or NATO corps trying the same trick can expect to occupy the entire road space between the two points on the above map. Taking 24 hours for the entire column to pass a single point, and at least two full days to make the movement. Three before all the vehicles would be fueled.

March of the 5th Guards to Alme. 300 kilometers in 24 hours

Another thing affected by time is strategic movement. I walked the deck of the above vessel and watched it load cargo (trucks of 25th ID) and the process of driving stuff onto it and tying the vehicles down took hours. Then the Paige chugged along at its warp speed of 10 knots with a following wind in flat seas, taking almost a full day to travel from Honolulu to Hilo. Delivering the vehicles was a three day process. Much less load planning the Paige, and the trucks. So mounting an amphibious operation out of Hamburg to northern Denmark was at least a week long effort, based on personal experience with the Paige and 6 Army-owned LCUs.

US Army BDL John U.D. Paige

So why the lecture? In our campaign, there are suddenly a whole bunch more NATO points floating around. And NATO forces are running loose on the map turning in unexpected directions, and attacking with full effectiveness 360. This takes time, Comrades, and for every tick of the clock the Soviets are capable of pouring more troops into the theater. 5 divisions a week with NATO air operations pounding Poland; 10 during a ceasefire.

Every road in Poland probably looks like this right now

Anyway, I would advocate BF/BOW put a time scale, and interject some reality into troop movements like we just saw. The French couldn't intervene in Leipzig or Brandenburg in less than a week of movement but could affect things in Frankfurt fairly quickly - 100 kilometers, no enemy lines, etc. versus 500+ kilometers. And lifting troops out by sea...a week. And no matter how foggy the war, we can all see the sun rise and set, and thus these limits should be known

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  • Harald Knauer says:

    I’m with you bayankhan, but Team Yankee is only loosely based on reality. It is mainly based on a single American’s fiction from the 80s and the way he hoped and wished things would go, based on the info he had at the time. As is obvious from the campaign, NATO needs a lot of help and good will to keep things interesting. I think the only reason this can be frustrating is the intransparent way that players actually influence the campaign (if they do at all). In a way, yes, this devalues what the players do. On the other hand it also takes away the pressure.
    Thanks for providing so much insight and info, I found all that very interesting!

  • bayankhan says:

    And I don’t want to trivialize PACT logistics and maneuver problems. We once did a calculation on how long it would take the Group of Soviet Tank armies to pass a single bridge over the Oder. The answer was a week, at least. The Soviet solution was very many, easily transportable and operable bridges and extremely heavy ADA belts around key brick and mortar bridges. Our answer was LGUs and deep battle; their answer was Scaleboarding airbases. In 1985 we had no answer to that, plus no western democracy bought anything like enough precision munitions to meet their 30 day NATO war requirements. The democratic answer was either ‘take thee thou and write 20’ when the real answer was 100, or “the US has sufficient munitions to meet the National Military Strategy with moderate risk relying on substitutes.” I wrote that one myself to Congress no less than nine times.

    NATO logistics was analogous to a fire hose. PACT logistics, a bucket brigade following behind their maneuver forces. When their buckets ran low, they halted and a new unit joined the battle. With fresh buckets. When NATO advanced too far, like more than 200 km from their log bases, the firehose came off the hydrant, and combat power went to zero almost overnight. And when you turn through 270 degrees or even 120, the hose kinks and the water pressure stops. And when PACT parks a tank on the hose, it also drops to zero.

    So, NATO gurus, think not about what you are seeing in front of you, but about whether you would want to play another game if we had been the ones to get the 20-25 PACT divisions of the Third Echelon armies that are readily available at this moment in time and your French and (fictional) American reinforcements had not arrived? If you can visualize that, you will have achieved enlightenment.

  • bayankhan says:

    The Soviet divisions are no more or less encircled than yours were at the end of last campaign. Certainly they don’t appear to be encircled on my map…

    My point to the sermon…wargames have some connection with reality, and the players then bring their skills to the table (or electronic map). Those connections are unit factors movement rates, and turn length. Miniatures games have model ratings in firepower, range, morale, skill etc. These are based in the real world. If we played the Market Garden Firestorm Campaign on line, we would all take umbrage if the British air landed Churchill tanks at Deeren and took Arnhem with an airmobile tank raid. It would be annoying to all to see the Guards Armored in Arnhem with German units still in Nijmegen.

    So while this is fun, the level of connection with reality has been steadily diminishing. I think it’s mainly because there weren’t any true rules in the first place, beyond post battles. You would be annoyed, and wouldn’t play a game where I could pull a T55 out of my sleeve every turn and place it behind your Abrams and say gotcha. And I would agree with you. When players take advantage of a goofy rule we call it cheesy if we’re being polite. You don’t think it cheesy that NATO gets extra VPs at the end of the campaign when there were very limited NATO reinforcements available while the PACT gets nothing? Especially considering how many Soviet divisions can mobilize and cross Poland in the time it takes to take a Marine Regiment to disengage, board ships over open beaches because ships can’t safely anchor in ports, load real ships? It might only take 6 hours for an amphib to sail from Cuxhaven to north Denmark once underway, but it takes six days to pull off the disengagement and loading operation. 6 days = 4-5 PACT divisions, equal to the entire combat power of the French Army

  • Jagdpanzer says:

    wow on re- reading that, that came over a little harsh, I was just writing as I was thinking, honestly, it sounds quite in depth, but not sure this is the right way to do what you want to do. Glad you had fun this campaign, hope to see you if there is another

  • Jagdpanzer says:

    Congrats on the win, but yes, this should probably be put down as a draw, but that hardly matters now, we have 50 soviet divisions encircled!! But its good your friends got to play a lot more games, which I think is the point of these campaigns. I think if you put in a lot of extra details like logistics, distances, troop movements and losses, then the Soviets may not have any T-64 or BMP-2 left. While that may be cool in a PC game with some grand strategy mode, that is not really what this is. Adding a time scale would be interesting, but would really penalize people who have things like jobs and other family commitments. also it would be whole lot of book-keeping that would be easy to lose track of. But as the other guys said, why not do your won store campaign. It would be fun. Hopefully your friends can win a few games next time, maybe you can help them with tactics. But thanks for the logistics lesson. ALSO there was no French intervention, we just moved forces around, same as you guys did in Denmark. Maybe see you next time around. Jagdpanzer WG Commander

  • Quicksilver says:

    Read the report, nice.

    I due have one question, If so much is wrong with this game why play? Just run your own club campaign.

    Don’t get me wrong the information is great, but this is a abstract game at best! at this level.

    Had in the fact for many reason it would go three maybe four weeks!

    you also never address all the problem that the soviet would have moving from East to West. For another day?

  • Quicksilver says:

    Hi Bayankhan,

    It looks like you may have a video next to a photo. For some reason that cause an overlap, there needs to be a text between

    glad to see another store campaign. Our was closer to the story line and used a different set up of forces

  • M. Nisbet says:

    I am curious about why a player is claiming a win for an overall store campaign? As stated in the past, a store campaign post should be put up as a draw, so as to not interfere with the overall results.

  • Harald Knauer says:

    Who the hell is this salty and only awards one star? Disgusting.