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Review: Peninsular War Battles

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Despite its crucial role in the downfall of Napoleon, the Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal from 1808 to 1814 has not received much love from computer gaming. AGEOD’s Napoleon’s Battles and Wars of Napoleon include it at an operational level; only John Tiller’s Bonaparte's Peninsular War Battles has detailed tactical action covering the first half of the “Spanish Ulcer” with the last half still in the design stage. Hexwar.com released its iOS version using its venerable tactical engine a few years ago. The release of that product to the PC, Mac and Android platforms calls for a new look at the game on an iPad 2.

Hola, el frances!

The graphics of Peninsular War Battles are pretty much what we expect from Hexwar games. Zoomed in with a pinch, trees, buildings, roads, marshes, streams and fortifications are clear as are the flags of objective points. Important to this particular game are hill slopes, boulders and broken ground. Slopes block fire by creating “dead” zones for units adjacent to them while boulders and broken ground disrupt formations on the move and sometimes halt them completely. Field fortifications are too simplistic, resembling simple iron bars along a hex side. Important defenses such as the fortress of Badajoz and the Lines of Torres Vedras are not even attempted.

pwbfort

Field fortifications protect these Spanish and British units.

Unit images need one more zoom level to obtain easily recognized uniform and formation details. Uniform colors and details can barely be discerned on the map but a clearer view can be had by tapping a button on the right of the screen. Column and square formations are clear enough but the difference between line, open and unformed units seem blurred. Fortunately, a button on the left shows the selected unit’s formation. Veteran and elite units are marked with gold chevrons while raw troops have white chevrons. Rifle battalions have crossed weapons and mounted cavalry have a white horse on their image. Each unit has its strength in white numerals and a French, British or Spanish flag. An alternate view is gained by swiping out, showing a stylized version of the whole field. This view can be aggravating when it appears as players are trying to tap a unit. Other features are a round meter with bars indicating how close the sides are to victory.

Sharp-eyed players can enjoy quick glimpses of animation as troops step out, level fire arms and fire with accompanying smoke. Leaders and cavalry gallop around the field. Cannon trundle along with shot streaking toward targets. Eliminated units fall into bloody heaps. Since most games have many units that move slowly, the ability to speed animation by double-tapping the screen is welcome. Sound effects are predictable: troops tromp, hooves clop, muskets rattle and cannon roar. Charges are highlighted by yells and the clank of steel. Collapsing regiments grunt as they drop. The five-mission tutorial and on-screen help do a fine job of explaining game mechanics.

pwbskt

A wider view of the field is shown in the stylized view.

The Never-ending Campaign

The mechanics of this game is similar to all other Hexwar games. Tapping a unit shaded blue shows possible hexes for movement outlined in white and targets are shaded orange. “Dead” zones are also orange. Possible routes for infantry or cavalry charges are clustered in yellow around the target. Enemy units have an invisible zone of control to their front facing prohibiting normal movement into that hex. Regular infantry in line can move one hex; in column, they can move farther. Special units such as light infantry and rifles (Eh, Sharpey!) can move even farther. Of course, leaders and cavalry have a much greater range. Infantry can move and shoot or change formation in the same turn but can’t move if they do either before moving. Artillery can only move or shoot. Most cavalry can only move and melee but dragoons can dismount to fire. Leaders can move by themselves or join a combat unit via a button to give the troops a bonus. The necessary tapping on an iPad is more work than for most other apps. Repeated taps are not only frustrating but can lead to unwanted moves. Play on a PC using a mouse would be much easier.

Game play is fairly historically accurate. Lines are usually the best formations for fire with columns the best for fast movement and melee. Cavalry is scarce but good for finishing off weak units and forcing enemies into square to be blasted by artillery. Squares usually handle cavalry charges well although raw troops may not form the formation soon enough. Unformed and open units retreat from charges and charging units fall back to their start line if they don’t destroy their target. A sort of a flank attack is possible if two units attack the same target from opposite sides.

pebbat

The on-screen combat analysis predicts the outcome of fire from a uniformed British unit on a French column.

Army composition is also accurate down to the regimental level. All but a few Spanish units are raw so that the powerful, professional British regiments carry most of the allied water. Napoleon did not – except for his own brief appearance in 1808 - send his “A team” to the peninsula so the French army has many raw regiments. The much unsung Portuguese troops are often in the allied order of battle.

Anomalies exist. Some unformed units seem to fire better than those in line. Units can fire through friendly formations on the same elevation. The French AI is overly aggressive, sending raw columns to melee steady lines just to be repulsed. Batteries are excessively vulnerable to attack by columns. The biggest flaw is the lack of defensive fire; columns should be taking fire from units in range all the way as they advance but they just go their merry way.

Twenty-seven unlinked missions playable from both sides are in four historic campaigns that trace the course of the war. A fifth eight-mission campaign follows a British detachment through the travails of a four-day outing. A bonus mission is available if players sign up for the Hexwar newsletter. Any kind of replay must be done through the three difficulty levels as no two-player option is given.

For all the attention given to orders of battles and battlefield terrain, Peninsular War Battles remains a typical simplistic game. The recent Hold the Line shows Hexwar can do better. Thought should be given to upgrading their older games rather than just recycling them to different platforms.

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[Divisions] 16. Luftwaffen-Felddivision

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Second Wave, the upcoming Division Pack for Steel Division: Normandy 44, will be available in two days, and will allow you to take control of 4 new divisions: The American 4th Armored Division, the British 1st Special Service Brigade, the German 9. Panzerdivision and the 16. Luftwaffen-Felddivision. We also revealed the Content Roadmap for the game, don’t hesitate to take a look to know what’s coming for you in the coming months. For those who still don’t have the game, you can get 33% off Steel Division: Normandy 44 in the Paradox official store.

Let’s focus today on a much unlucky division, which happened to be have been repeatedly standing at the wrong places at the wrong times: the 16. Luftwaffen-Felddivision.

Steel Division: Normandy 44 - Second Wave - Luftwaffen

DIVISION MEINDL

Not to be mistaken with the elite Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) & ‘Hermann Göring‘ (armored) divisions, Luftwaffen-Felddivisionen (literally: field divisions) are infantry divisions formed from the German air force’s excess military or technical ground personnel. They find their origin in the terrible Winter 41-42: after its failed attempt at capturing Moscow, the Wehrmacht went on the defensive and was soon under constant attacks by Soviet fresh troops, better suited to Winter conditions.

Every single soldier or unit was thrown into battle to keep the Soviets at bay, and that included Luftwaffe ground crews. Following an appeal for volunteers from their leader Reichsmarschall Göring, Luftwaffe personnel raised four provisional infantry regiments. In February 1942, they went East and, with cadres from the elite air-assault Sturmregiment, formed the ad hoc Division Meindl, named from its general, legendary paratroop commander EugenPapaMeindl.

Scherl Eugen Meindl, Generalmajor der Fallschirmjägertruppen 4830-42

Eugen Meindl

Although inexperienced in ground combat and lacking equipment, that all-volunteer force led by elite officers and NCO and under the command of such an inspiring figure, performed well, distinguishing itself in the defense of Cholm. They created a myth which will serve badly their successors, mostly pressed air force ground crew serving under officers as inexperienced as them.

FORMATION OF THE LUFTWAFFEN-FELDDIVISIONEN

In the Spring of 1942, the Wehrmacht (Army) had been decimated and was looking for any source of immediately available manpower to replace its casualties. Army brasses managed to convince Hitler to let them tap into surplus Luftwaffe troops, much to Reichsmarschall Göring’s wrath. To retain command of his men, the latter made Hitler a counter-offer of raising twenty-two infantry divisions if they remained under his control. Highlighting the performance of Meindl’s men and the higher degree of Nazi indoctrination of the Luftwaffe, which he feared would be misused by “reactionary” Herr officers, Göring finally got his way.

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Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, and some of his top officers

The first ten Luftwaffen-Felddivision (LwFD) were formed from September 1942, each with four Jäger battalions (while regular Army Infanteridivisionnen had three regiments with two battalions each), one artillery battalion (instead of one regiment of three battalions), and one company each of reconnaissance, anti-tank & pioneers (instead of one battalion of each). This meant that a LwFD was much smaller than its Wehrmacht counterpart, almost half the size. Adding to that that their artillery guns were often second-rate and their anti-tank ones mostly restricted to PaK 38 50mm, they clearly lacked punch. But as a counterpart, they had an entire Flak battalion with more 88mm guns than in a Heer‘s division.

While Meindl and his airborne officers had been able to provide a strong cadre for the four regiments of volunteers sent East early in 1942, such was not the case when the Luftwaffe had to find enough officers to lead ten divisions. Hence, most of them were completely inexperienced in infantry combat, from the mere platoon leaders to the generals. Two divisional commanders had previously held the function of head of the meteorology service for one, judge advocate general for the other! The officers were pilots taken out of their planes or staff officers, the NCOs specialists torn away from comparatively prestigious technical jobs, … To a man, they didn’t want to be pressed into the infantry! And none of them, whatever their rank, received proper instruction: they were dispatched to the front as soon as possible, often with barely a few weeks training and sometimes even incomplete, from Leningrad to the Caucasus.

02-W5[1]

LwFD trooper receiving rifle training

Needless to say, those divisions performed badly. Three of them (2., 7. & 8. LwFD) were destroyed on the Eastern after a few weeks combat: once the Soviets identified them as the weak link of the German front, they often singled them out as the main effort of their offensives. Once again, Wehrmacht officers pointed out to Hitler that those men would be better used under their command, and this time they won the case: in November 1943, all remaining LwFD and those still forming passed under Army control and were reorganized along infantry division lines. Many Luftwaffe NCO & officers, including divisional commanders, were being replaced by Wehrmacht ones in the process.

16. LUFTWAFFEN-FELDDIVISION

16. LwFD was formed on December 1st, 1942 in Germany with the second wave of LwFD divisions, under the command of Luftwaffe Colonel Otto von Lachemair. Barely one month later, it started to be sent bits by bits to Amstelveen (Netherlands) to man coastal defenses, only being regrouped there on March 1943 to start training as a division. On November 1st, 1943, the division was taken over by the Wehrmacht and just four days later, Oberst von Lachemair was replaced by Generalmajor Karl Sievers, an Army veteran from Belgorod, Kursk & Voronej.

Karl_Sievers

Karl Sievers

The division was also reorganized along the lines of a regular light infantry division with three two-battalion Jäger regiments, one three-battalion artillery regiment, one battalion each of Pionier, Panzerjäger (anti-tank) & Füsilier (recon). Of course, it remained a paper organization for quite some times since, when the division moved to Normandy in June 1944, its Panzerjäger‘s 1. Kompanie still had a combination of PaK 38 50mm & PaK 40 75mm anti-tank guns instead of only the latter; 2. Kompanie of the same battalion, supposedly equipped with 10 StuG III only had 2 old ones; two out of nine of its artillery batteries had no guns and the rest captured Soviet ones; the division only had 57% of its authorized number of trucks; …

Nevertheless, the 16. LwFD was sent to Normandy piecemeal, elements staying for some time behind in the Netherlands to man the coastal Flak guns before being sent to join the division.

HOW TO BE IN THE WRONG PLACE(S) AT THE WRONG TIME(S)

From July 2, advanced elements of the divisions arrived in Normandy and were immediately placed under control of the 21. Panzer to consolidate the defensive ring in front of Caen. The rest of the division arrived within a few days and took over from Panzer-Lehr, which was being pulled out of the line to rest and refit, and settled just North of Caen. By a grim twist of fate, the 16. LwFD was taking positions right in the path of the next Allied offensive, merely a few days before it started …

Operation Charnwood, a major British offensive aimed at capturing Caen, opened on July 8th with a massive air force, army & naval artillery barrage … most of it straight on the 16. LwFD‘s sector. It has often been said that the division was destroyed in the process, but it is only true for the units (about one regiment) deployed West of the Orne: those suffered about 75% casualties even before the British ground assault hit them. There were subsequently wiped out by the 3rd Infantry Division‘s advance a few hours later, and the next day in the Northern part of Caen.

581px-Charnwood.svg[1]

Positions at the start (July 7-8th night) and end (July 9th) of Operation Charnwood

 Sievers was said to have been “demented with grief” from so many losses, “wandering on the battlefield” trying to reorganize his men. Maybe he was shell-shocked himself, as many survivors of the bombing? Yet, despite many blaming him and his men’s almost inexistent resistance for losing Caen, he remained in command of his much-reduced division. The 16. LwFD was regrouped East of the Normand capital city, on the eastern shore of the Orne river. It took over the Colombelles sector from 21. Panzer, which fell back in tactical reserve just behind it. It received reinforcements from the Netherlands and equipment, including some more StuGs, and absorbed local Luftwaffe security units. The division was taking shape again, but its ordeal was far from over …

73051592[1]

16. LwFD’s positions in Colombelles before Operation Goodwood, with 21. Panzer’s Kampfgruppen behind it.

 At dawn on July 18th, British & Canadians troops initiated Operation Goodwood. Once again, it opened with the greatest artillery & tactical air bombardment to be seen so far on the Western front … and once again, against the 16. LwFD! When the barrage rolled behind its positions, the shell-shocked survivors were assaulted by the tanks of the three British armored divisions (7th, 11th & Guards) engaged in the offensive. Once again, the Luftwaffe Jäger didn’t offer much resistance, being rounded up by the British as they were advancing. Only in the third line, spared from the bombardment, did the Luftwaffe 88mm Flak guns gave a good account of themselves, stopping the British armored thrust.

When Operation Goodwood was brought to a halt two days later, the 16. LwFD had lost all its regiment & battalion commanders, as well as many officers from their staff and thirty-six company commanders (the division had forty-five field companies, not accounting for staff, service & administrative ones)! Literally beheaded, the division was disbanded and its men transferred to 21. Panzer to make up for some of its earlier losses. There, they kept fighting until the end of the campaign.

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LwFD MG-42 fighting with 21. Panzer, 1944

AFTER NORMANDY

Although dissolved, what remained of the division’s cadre was merged with 158. Reserve-Division to create a new 16. Infanterie-Division, which fought until the end of the war on the Western Front. But for a few individuals, it had lost its Luftwaffe identity.


THE 16. LUFTWAFFEN-FELDDIVISION INGAME

16. LwFD has some distinctive features compared to other German division:

  • unlike many (most) German divisions, 16. LwFD can’t rely on superior infantry: almost all of them would rather be anywhere but in a foxhole! Disheartened and equipped with second-rate weapons (MP-28 Bergmann, MG 15, Faustpatrone) they have to be kept close from an officer to make sure they’ll put a real fight. At least do they come in numbers …
  • being very well provided with AA guns, 16. LwFD doesn’t have any fighter aircraft available, only ground attack planes. But the latter come in all fashions: with bombs, rockets, AT guns, …
  • its artillery observers all come in Beo.Storch in the AIR tab.
  • its economy has the shape of a “reversed V”, with its peak in Phase B but its Phase C income being brought back to its Phase A level.

In Phase A, the unwilling Lw-Jäger are supported by some light Beutepanzer from local Luftwaffe security units, including the mighty (in 1917!) FT-17 tank, coming in two variants under German designation: Panzer 730M(f) for the MG-only variant, Panzer 730C(f) for the 37mm gun one. Good fire support tank, they are better deployed from the start for they are very slow if called in as reinforcements.

Steel Division: Normandy 44 - Second Wave - Luftwaffen

It also fields several variants of the ubiquitous French Renault UE tracked tractor, either as unarmed light tractor/transport (UE630(f)), fire support/weapon carrier for the heavy Hotchkiss HMG (UE630(f) Sicherungs) or armed transport for scouts (UE630(f) MG) much in the same way as the British Bren Carrier. Speaking of which, Major Becker’s workshop had first tried its hands on Carriers abandoned by the British at Dunkirk, and those few remaining in 1944 were used by the Luftwaffe to mount either a 20mm Flak gun (Flakpanzer Bren(e)) or Dutch Böhler 47mm anti-tank gun (Panzejäger Bren(e)). This motley assortment of obsolete & tinkered vehicles gives the 16. LwFD the ability to provide its infantry with some level of support against enemy infantry or light vehicles.

Its early anti-tank guns are restricted to a few PaK 38 50mm guns, although the Panzerjäger Bren(e) provides a more mobile gun and the Soviet gun-howitzers in the artillery tab can double as decent anti-tank guns, just like in the 91. LLD.

But where the 16. LwFD truly shines is the anti-aircraft tab. There, the AA crews are doing what they’ve always trained for, and are all experienced in the use of their guns. Elite Flak 88mm comes in number, including two of them from Phase A. Light bombers and “light” off-map artillery are also available in early game in the AIR tab.

In this phase, the division is really more suited for defense.

Steel Division: Normandy 44 - Second Wave - Luftwaffen

In Phase B, more infantry is available, including heavy HMG team with s.MG 271(f), German designation for the French Hotchkiss 13,2mm, giving the Germans a counterpart to the US  .50 cal. It also receives a few of its first two StuG III F/8 & StuH 42, and its anti-tank capacity is enhanced by a few Pak 40.

Once again, it is in the AA tab that’s it gets the best improvement, with two self-propelled Flak guns on NAG 4500 heavy truck, the NAG 4500 37mm (armored truck variant) sporting a modern Flak 43 gun, and the NAG 4500 Drilling (unarmored variant) with two triple-15mm guns. That makes six very heavy MG indeed, 50% more and of bigger caliber than the American M16 half-track. Finally, it gets the Flakzwilling 43, a twin-37mm towed gun. And of course, more elite 88mm …

Steel Division: Normandy 44 - Second Wave - Luftwaffen

With its best income in this phase, 16. LwFD can either push forward as much as it can to later try to hold the ground captured OR sty on the defensive and accumulate a war chest for the next Phase …

In Phase C, 16. LwFD gets what it had lacked in the previous phases to really get moving: StuG III G (including command variant), JU 188 heavy bombers, heavy Hs 129 B3 Panzerknäcker and 210mm off-map artillery support, still in Beo.Storch.

Steel Division: Normandy 44 - Second Wave - Luftwaffen

The post [Divisions] 16. Luftwaffen-Felddivision appeared first on Eugensystems.com.

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Rule the Waves Austria-Hungary Episode 7 - The War Rages On

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From: BattleGroupGamer
Duration: 36:50

Still tackling the French, gaining small victories and unrest.
Want to see more Rule the Waves content? Check out my friends!
Tortuga Power - https://www.youtube.com/user/sexyneckbeard
The Historical Gamer - https://www.youtube.com/user/thehistoricalgamer
XTRG - https://www.youtube.com/user/XThatRandomGamer

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Woken and alexrus to contend for the title of Panzer Corps champion!

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This is it! It's been a long tournament but the official 2017 Panzer Corps Tournament is almost over!

Woken and Alexrus will face each other for the title of champion, while Paulwalvoord and Kingshafter are going to fight for the third place! 

It's been a blast for us to follow you intrepid generals, and we're eager to see who will become the 2017 champion! Good luck, commanders!

 

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Order of Battle | Burma Road | Operation Longcloth | Part 1

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From: Paradogs Gamer
Duration: 25:16

Let's Play Order of Battle - Burma Road Campaign

Order of Battle: Burma Road is a new DLC for the Order of Battle series, bringing you in the thick of the action in the

Burma campaign. Lead many new units and fight on an unfamiliar terrain to stop and repel the Japanese invasion.

As commander of British and Allied forces in this new Order of Battle historical campaign, it's up to you to muster your

forces to defend the Malaysian Peninsula and prepare an army to fight in the dense Burmese jungles. Re-live unique

historical battles and events through special scenarios that include, but are not limited to:

Providing an aerial umbrella for a British Naval Task Force.
Launching a pre-emptive strike into Thailand to challenge the Japanese advance.
Escorting battered Indian Army units safely across Burmese rivers.
Paving the way for the replacement to the Burma Road: the Ledo Road.
Throwing back the massive Japanese invasion of India at Imphal.
Suppressing an Indian revolt in Bombay by arresting it's leader: Mahatma Gandhi!
And more!

Link to game: http://www.slitherine.com/games/order_of_battle_pacific

If you enjoyed this video please consider hitting the Like button, it helps the channel grow by affecting search results

on YouTube.

Make sure to subscribe to the channel so you stay up to date on new releases!
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Copyright (c) 2017 The Artistocrats. www.the-artistocrats.com

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Ultimate General Civil War 1.0 | Union | Part 7 | Secure River

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From: Benjamin Magnus Games
Duration: 27:29

Lets Play Ultimate General: Civil War full 1.0 release as the Union! Ultimate General: Civil War is a tactical wargame, immersing players into the bloodiest period of U.S. history, the American Civil War 1861-1865. Choose your side, build your army and progress through multiple historical and speculative battles. At the time of this recording version 1.04 was released, being updated to 1.05 part way in.

Watch the entire series here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4GdZmIk_dI&list=PLLqrxEC8a7xYoq0hwH9sUkH0mukMou4bL

Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=BenjaminMagnusGames
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Benjamin_Magnus
Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/benjaminmagnusgames
Official Webpage: http://www.ultimategeneral.com/ultimate-general-civil-war/
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Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/0uhIE2IownOXu9w3

Ultimate General Civil War 1.0 | Union
Ultimate General Civil War 1.0 | Union
Ultimate General Civil War 1.0 | Union

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