The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Author: chef (page 1 of 25)

Like distant rolling thunder

Fire in the East/Scorched Earth truly defined the term “monster game” new when they came out. At more than 3.000 counters and maps large enough to cover a small basement floor, the game dwarved the competition. SE’s complexity and size also severly limited the number of games played, so we are very proud to be able to present our second game report of a FitE/SE game. The report of an ongoing game started in April 2018 is being written by Ken Newall, who again deserves our gratitude for allowing us to publish it here.

Since’ we’re currently experiencing some technical problems witrh the website, the menue isn’t done yet, but should follow in the next few days, along with more content.

Um, who am I kidding, It might be weeks. But we’re working on it.

No more questions

Hi everyone,

apologies, but we had to deactivate the FAQs, since the plugin we used to display them managed to break WordPress’ backend. At least thats what we suspect, we were suffering from the “White Screen of Death” for some weeks now, and deactivating the plugin remedied parts of the trouble. We’re still having occasional whiteouts , though, and are trying to identify the source of the problem. What we can say for sure is that the site hasn’t been compromised or anything, trouble seems to be some outdated plugin code.

As soon as we manage to get the backend back to working order, we’ll try to salvage the FAQs and re-up them in a different format. After all, quite some effort went into putting them together, inclomplete as they were. For now though we’re working on being able to get the site back to properly operational status.

For the Glory of the Fatherland

Today we added a long due work to the library entries: The official history of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union, 1941-1945. Research into the historiography of the Second World War in the USSR is still ongoing, so expect additions and corrections.

The official Soviet history of World War Two

The first official history of the Second World War was published in the Soviet Union from 1960-64 and bore the title “История Великой Отечественной войны Советского Союза“ (History of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union). The six volumes prepared by the editorial team around G. A. Deborin decribed the German attack on the USSR and the subsequent war until Germanys surrender in 1945. Although the work was translated in several languages, no English translation is available.

Contents:

Vol 1:  Подготовка и развязывание войны империалистическими державами. Events leading up to the war, the annexation of the baltic republics and the initial period of the Second World War (1 September 1939 until the invasion of the Soviet Union.

Vol 2:  Отражение советским народом вероломного нападения фашистской Германии на СССР. Создание условий для коренного перелома в войне (июнь 1941 г. — ноябрь 1942 г.) From the German invasion of the Soviet Union to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad (22 June 1941 to November 1942)

Vol 3: Коренной перелом в ходе Великой Отечественной войны (ноябрь 1942 г.— декабрь 1943 г.) From The Battle of Stalingrad to the Battle of Kursk, (November 43 to August 1943)

Vol 4: Изгнание врага из пределов Советского Союза и начало освобождения народов Европы от фашистского ига (1944 год) From the Battle of Kursk to the liberation of Belorussia (August 1943 to July 1944)

Vol 5: Победоносное окончание войны с фашистской Германией. Поражение империалистической Японии (1945 г.)  From the liberation of Belorussia to the defeat of Germany (July 1944 to May 1945)

Vol 6: Итоги Великой Отечественной войны Cost and consequences of the Second World War.

The historiography of the Second World War in the former USSR is more complex due to censorship and the heavy political influence that went into any official description of events. Additionally, official viewpoints on historical events and persons were bound to occasionally sudden chances, depending on political developments.

A very useful description of the works genesis, its contents and public perception of the war in the USSR during the sixties can be taken from Yan Mann’s dissertation “Contested Memory: Writing the Great Patriotic War’s Official History During Khrushchev’s Thaw“, Dissertation, Arizona State University, 2016.

 

RKKA-WW2

Since 2003 RKKA provides a host of information on the Soviet Forces in World War Two: Formations, Force Structure, uniforms, Losses, Weapons and Maps. The Design hasn’t changed much since then, and the site hasn’t really been updated since 2010, so the website structure belies the sheer amount of information available, which definitly could use a more accessible navigation, and a lot of the maps and individual documents would profit from context.  But the amount of material presented makes RKKA one of the reference points for the Red Army in the Great Patriotic War. Since Alex, the site’s webmaster, is russian, many items are based on original research and russian sources.

Date: April 6th, 2018

URL: http://www.armchairgeneral.com/rkkaww2/

 

Spit & Polish

In addition to the Combined Arms index mentioned yesterday, we were also able to add ETO #57 and #58 to the ETO index, thanks to information provided by Edmond (Thank you!). We’ve updated a couple of game pages to include the new references, and this should bring the newletter section indeed to completion – unless I have missed an important newsletter, in which case someone please point that out to me.

Also new are the History of the Second World War and Das Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, the two official histories of the Second World War from Britain and Germany, respectively. Some of the British volumes are available online at hyperwar.com and archive.org, whereas the German work is too new and not available legally.

I remain fascinated by the Turkish official military history. It seems that the work of the Turkish General Staff on the First World War has been updated since its inception in the Twenties and is still an ongoing project, currently spanning 27 volumes. However, no translations have ever been undertaken, and there are no digital versions available, or at least I was not able to identify any with the limited Turkish available to me. Which is a sordid state of affaird from several angles, not only because the Turkish and Muslim experience of World War One remains underrepresented in historiography, but also since access to the sources for Turkish military history remains limited. Even though the Turkish General Staffs work has a reputation for being nationalist and biased, the same can be said for most of other nations official histories, and in the least it could provide a valuable corrective on the western narrative. A first survey of available (i.e. English and German) literature seems to indicate both German and British sources underrate the Osman contribution to the war. See for example Erickson, Edward J, Ottoman Army Effectiveness in World War I: A Comparative Study, 2007)

Protected: The German Official History of World War Two

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The British Official History of the Second World War

The History of the Second World War is the official history of Britain’s contribution to the Second World War and was published by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO). The immense project was sub-divided into areas to ease publication. Military operations are covered in the United Kingdom Military Series, the United Kingdom Civil Series covers aspects of the civilian war effort and the Foreign Policy series; the Intelligence series and the Medical series are eponymous. There are other volumes not under the aegis of the series but were published by HMSO and may be read as adjuncts, as they cover matters not considered in great detail or in one case at all in the main series. Further volumes, published after the privatisation of HMSO or in the series about the Special Operations Executive, are also useful.

The original works lacked references to unpublished sources when published before 1970. Government archives were opened to an extent by the Public Records Act 1958 and the Public Records Act 1967. The works were published with only references to published sources.

United Kingdom Military Series

  • Grand Strategy
  • The War at Sea
  • The Strategic Air Offensive against Germany
    • Volume I: Preparation, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
    • Volume II: Endeavour, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
    • Volume III: Victory, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
    • Volume IV: Annexes and Appendices, Sir Charles Webster and Noble Frankland, 1961
  • Defence of the United Kingdom, Collier, Basil, London: HMSO, 1957
  • The Campaign in Norway, Derry, T. K. London: HMSO, 1952
  • The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, Ellis, L.F. London: HMSO, 1953
  • Victory in the West
    • Volume I: Battle of Normandy, Major L. F. Ellis et al., 1962
    • Volume II: Defeat of Germany, Major L. F. Ellis et al., 1968
  • War against Japan
    • Volume I: The Loss of Singapore, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1957
    • Volume II: India’s Most Dangerous Hour, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1958
    • Volume III: The Decisive Battles, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1961
    • Volume IV: The Reconquest of Burma, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1965
    • Volume V: The Surrender of Japan, Major-General Stanley Woodburn Kirby et al., 1969
  • The Mediterranean and Middle East
    • Volume I: The Early Successes Against Italy, to May 1941,
      Playfair, I.S.O. et al. London: HMSO, 1954
    • Volume II: The Germans Come to the Help of Their Ally, 1941,
      Playfair, I.S.O. et al. London: HMSO, 1956
    • Volume III: British Fortunes Reach Their Lowest Ebb, Major-General I. S. O. Playfair et al., 1960
    • Volume IV: The Destruction of the Axis Forces in Africa, Major-General I. S. O. Playfair, Brigadier C. J. C. Molony et al., 1966
    • Volume V: The Campaign in Sicily, 1943 and the Campaign in Italy, 3 September 1943 to 31 March 1944, Brigadier C. J. C. Molony et al., 1973
    • Volume VI, Part 1: Victory in the Mediterranean: 1 April to 4 June 1944, General Sir William Jackson et al., 1984
    • Volume VI, Part 2: Victory in the Mediterranean: June to October 1944, General Sir William Jackson et al., 1987
    • Volume VI, Part 3: Victory in the Mediterranean: November 1944 to May 1945, General Sir William Jackson et al., 1988
  • Civil Affairs and Military Government
    • Central Organisation and Planning, Frank Donnison, 1966
    • North-West Europe, 1944–46, Frank Donnison, 1961
    • Allied Administration of Italy, Charles Harris, 1957
    • British Military Administration in the Far East, 1943–46, Frank Donnison, 1956

United Kingdom Civil Series

  • Introductory
    • British War Economy, Hancock, W. K. & Gowing, M. M. London: HMSO and Longmans, Green, 1949
    • Statistical Digest of the War, Central Statistical Office, 1949
    • Problems of Social Policy, Richard M. Titmuss, 1950
    • British War Production, Postan, Michael M. London: HMSO, 1952
  • General Series
    • Coal, William B. Court, 1951
    • Oil: A Study of Wartime Policy and Administration, D. J. Payton-Smith, 1971
    • Studies in the Social Services, Sheila Ferguson, 1978
    • Civil Defence, T. H. O’Brien, 1955
    • Works and Buildings, C. M. Kohan, 1952
    • Food
      • Volume I: The Growth of Policy, R. J. Hammond, 1951
      • Volume II: Studies in Administration and Control, R. J. Hammond, 1956
      • Volume III: Studies in Administration and Control, R. J. Hammond, 1962
    • Agriculture, Keith A. H. Murray, 1955
    • The Economic Blockade
      • Volume I, William N. Medlicott, 1952
      • Volume II, William N. Medlicott, 1957
    • Inland Transport, Christopher I. Savage, 1957
    • Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War, C. B. A. Behrens, 1955
    • North American Supply, H. Duncan Hall, 1955
    • Manpower: Study of War-Time Policy and Administration, H. M. D. Parker, 1957
    • Civil Industry and Trade, Eric L. Hargreaves, 1952
    • Financial Policy, 1939–45, Richard S. Sayers, 1956
  • War Production
    • Labour in the Munitions Industries, P. Inman, 1957
    • The Control of Raw Materials, Joel Hurstfield, 1953
    • The Administration of War Production, J. D. Scott, 1955
    • Design and Development of Weapons: Studies in Government and Industrial Organisation, M. M. Postan, 1964
    • Factories and Plant, William Hornby, 1958
    • Contracts and Finance, William Ashworth, 1953
    • Studies of Overseas Supply, H. Duncan Hall, 1956

British Foreign Policy in the Second World War

  • Volume I, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1970
  • Volume II, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1971
  • Volume III, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1971
  • Volume IV, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1975
  • Volume V, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1976
  • Abridged Version, Sir Llewellyn Woodward, 1962

British Intelligence in the Second World War

  • Volume I: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1979
  • Volume II: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1981
  • Volume III, Part 1: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1984
  • Volume III, Part 2: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1988
  • Volume IV: Security and Counter-Intelligence, F. H. Hinsley et al., 1990
  • Volume V: Strategic Deception, Michael Howard, 1990
  • Abridged Version, F. H. Hinsley, 1993
  • SOE in France, Michael R. D. Foot, 1966 and 2004

Medical Volumes

  • The Emergency Medical Services
    • Volume I: England and Wales, edited by Cuthbert L. Dunn, 1952
    • Volume II: Scotland, Northern Ireland and Principal Air Raids on Industrial Centres in Great Britain, edited by Cuthbert L. Dunn, 1953
  • The Royal Air Force Medical Services
    • Volume I: Administration, edited by S. C. Rexford-Welch, 1954
    • Volume II: Command, edited by S. C. Rexford-Welch, 1955
    • Volume III: Campaigns, edited by S. C. Rexford-Welch, 1958
  • The Royal Naval Medical Service
    • Volume I: Administration, Jack L. S. Coulter, 1953
    • Volume II: Operations, Jack L. S. Coulter, 1955
  • The Army Medical Services
    • Administration
      • Volume I, Francis A. E. Crew, 1953
      • Volume II, Francis A. E. Crew, 1955
    • Campaigns
      • Volume I: France and Belgium, 1939–40, Norway, Battle of Britain, Libya, 1940–42, East Africa, Greece, 1941, Crete, Iraq, Syria, Persia, Madagascar, Malta, Francis A. E. Crew, 1956
      • Volume II: Hong Kong, Malaya, Iceland and the Faroes, Libya, 1942–43, North-West Africa, Francis A. E. Crew, 1957
      • Volume III: Sicily, Italy, Greece (1944–45), Francis A. E. Crew, 1959
      • Volume IV: North-West Europe, Francis A. E. Crew, 1962
      • Volume V: Burma, Francis A. E. Crew, 1966
  • The Civilian Health and Medical Services
    • Volume I: The Civilian Health Services; Other Civilian Health and Medical Services: The Colonies, the Medical Services of the Ministry of Pensions, Sir Arthur A. MacNalty, 1953
    • Volume II: Public Health in Scotland, Public Health in Northern Ireland, Sir Arthur A. MacNalty, 1955
  • Medical Services at War: The Principal Lessons of the Second World War, Sir Arthur A. MacNalty, 1968
  • Cope, Sir Zachary, ed. (1952). Medicine and Pathology. History of the Second World War United Kingdom Medical Series. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. LCCN 53017268. OCLC 458306589.
  • Cope, Sir Zachary, ed. (1953). Surgery. History of the Second World War United Kingdom medical series. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. LCCN 54001119. OCLC 459817464.
  • Medical Research, edited by F. H. K. Green and Major-General Sir Gordon Covell, 1953
  • Casualties and Medical Statistics, edited by William M. Franklin, 1972
  • Medical Research, edited by F. H. K. Green and Major-General Sir Gordon Covell, 1953
  • Casualties and Medical Statistics, edited by William M. Franklin, 1972

Supplementary HMSO works

Other official departmental histories

A number of official histories were produced by government departments. The authors worked under the same conditions and had the same access to official files but their works did not appear in the History of the Second World War.

  • Britain and Atomic Energy 1939–1945 Margaret Gowing, 1964.

Supplementary works from other publishers

  • SOE Histories
    • SOE in the Far East, Charles Cruikshank, 1983
    • SOE in Scandinavia, Charles Cruikshank, 1986
    • SOE in the Low Countries, M. R. D. Foot, 2001
  • Secret Flotillas
    • Volume I: Clandestine Sea Operations to Brittany 1940–44, Sir Brooks Richards, 2004
    • Volume II: Clandestine Sea Operations in the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Adriatic 1940–44, Sir Brooks Richards, 2004
  • Army Series, printed by the War Office, 30 volumes
    • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
      • Volume I Organisation and Operations, Rowcroft, E. Bertram (1951)
      • Volume II Technical, Bloor, F. R. (1951)
    • Supplies and Transport 2 volumes, Boileau, D. W. (1954)
    • Works service and Engineer stores, Buchanan, A. G. B. (1953)
    • Fighting, support and transport vehicles and the War Office provision for their provision
      • Part 1 Common Problems, Campagnac R. & Hayman P. E. G. (1951)
      • Part 2 Unarmoured Vehicles, Campagnac R. & Hayman P. E. G. (1951)
    • Maintenance in the field 2 volumes, Carter, J. A. H. (1952)
    • Maps and Survey, Clough, A. B. (1952)
    • The Auxiliary Territorial Service, Cowper, J. M. (1949)
    • Movements, Higham, J. B. & Knighton, E. A. (1955)
    • Signal Communications, Gravely, T. B. (1950)
    • Quartering, Magnay, A. D. (1949)
    • Miscellaneous Q services, Magnay, A. D. (1954)
    • Mobilization, McPherson, A. B. (1950)
    • Discipline, McPherson, A. B. (1950)
    • Transportation, Micklem, R. (1950)
    • Army welfare, Morgan, M. C. (1953)
    • Ordnance services, Officers of the directorate (1950)
    • Airborne Forces, Oatway, T. B. H. (1951)
    • The development of artillery, tactics and equipment, Pemberton, A. L. (1950)
    • Manpower problems, Pigott, A. J. K. (1949)
    • Army Radar, Sayer, A. P. (1950)
    • Morale, Sparrow, J. H. A. (1949)
    • Personnel selection, Ungerson, B. (1952)
    • Military Engineering (field), Pakenham-Walsh, R. P. (1952)
    • Administrative planning, Wilson, H. W. (1952)
    • Special Weapons and types of warfare 3 volumes, Wiseman, D. J. C. (1951–53)
      • Volume I Gas Warfare
      • Volume II Screening smoke, signal smoke, flame warfare insecticide & insect repellent & special common use equipment
      • Volume III Visual & Sonic warfare
  • Royal Air Force Series, printed by the Air Ministry
    • Airborne Forces (1951)
    • Air/Sea Rescue (1952)
    • Air Support (1956)
    • Armament
      • Volume I Bombs & Bombing Equipment (1952)
      • Volume II Guns, Gunsights, Turrets, Ammunition and Pyrotechnics (1954)
    • Maintenance (1954)
    • Signals
      • Volume I Organisation and Development (1958)
      • Volume II Telecommunications (1958)
      • Volume III Aircraft Radio (1956)
      • Volume IV Radar in Raid Reporting (1950)
      • Volume V Fighter Control and Interception (1952)
      • Volume VI Radio in Maritime Warfare (1954)
      • Volume VII Radio Counter-Measures (1950)
    • Works (1956)

Obituaries

My staff notified me today that armchairgeneral.com, which for years was the first address to learn about the Soviet Army in World War Two, has been unavailable for a couple of days now. I guess I could start making a hobby from starting to list websites, gamers and designers from the Europa community and those remembering the conflicts of the twentieth century slowly passing away. Alas, I am a bit young for that, and I feel its too depressing a task to basically keep myself busy naming the fallen. So while we will faithfully try to archive all things Europa here, please forgive us if we do not write obituaries. Exceptions are a given.

On a more positive note, thanks to the support of James A. Broshot I was able to add the index of the last missing Europa newsletter, Combined Arms, to the library. While only running for a mere nine issues, the depth and quality of the articles influenced the Europa community for a long time. Maybe I will live to see the day when I can put the full issues online.

 

 

By the roll of a dice

Strategy games usually focus on the front lines of a conflict, and gamers will have long discussion when the rollout of a new anti-tank gun happend and in what numbers, and if the upgrade of this or that unit is justified as per OB or should happen earlier – or not at all. Logistics, the art that does indeed decide wars, and  which usually takes up 90% of a commanders time, is usually abstracted, since until the advent of computer games the process of raising, training, equipping and organising forces was too tedious to be converted into a playable game.

Yet another aspect sometimes cripples consims: The hindsight that enables players to approach a situation with much more information than available to their historical counterparts. Hindsight defines a lot of the strategies employed in most Europa games, and only its most egregious problems can be corrected by artificially straightjacking the player into historical behaviour by victory point mechanisms or outright enforcement by rules (garrisons, no-retreat-rules, Plan XVII, etc).

Which brings us to the Asturian Gambit, a series of opening moves during the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in For Whom the Bell Tolls. In hindsight it was obvious that the balance of forces and the deep-set enmity between the two political movements precluded a quick end to the conflict that broke out in July 1936. Hindsight enables the nationalist player to play the long game and secure an andvantageous position from which to better prepare for a conflict that will span several years.  A reasonable, game-changing, and completely ahistorical strategy. Carlos Perez lays out the Asturian Gambit and its implications for you in the last article for now that Carlos gratiously allowed us to publish and which first went online at his website belliludi.com.

The Asturian Gambit of course runs contrary to all strategic assesments and convictions in the chaotic summer of 1936, where possession of Spains capital was seen as key to a quick and desicive victory by all parties. A possible fix would have to take the political value that Madrid held at the beginning of the war into account, forcing the nationalists to devote their assets to a serious attempt to take the capital as soon as possible for an extended amount of time. One possibility would be a rule prohibiting units of the Army of Africa to move north of hexrow 25xx as long as the weather is clear, and to require all units of the Army of Africa to attack in the direction of Madrid as long as they are in general supply. This could be com,bined with a modification surrender rule, requiring a roll for surrender for the side that just lost possession of Madrid, while giving them a strong modifyer in 1936 and a smaller one in 1937.

Together, these rules would reflect the prevalent belief that whoever held the capital would decide the conflict early on, and also simulate the political reality that any general on the nationalist side not pursuing a quick victory over the republic would have lost his position from where to make such strategic choices really fast. However, as with all rule modifications, these ideas would have to be playtested and evaluated before being made a recommended rules modification.

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