Discussion:
Tactical vs. Strategic - Where is the line?
(too old to reply)
BP
2008-02-02 18:32:03 UTC
Permalink
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...

What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?

And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?

BP
Epi Watkins
2008-02-02 19:29:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
In this case, just in this case, I'd say he wanted a tactical level
strategy game. Not a shooter, for example.
--
Song of the moment: "Flightless Bird, American Mouth."
By Iron & Wine, from the album The Shepherd's Dog.
----
Slick:
http://www.aktuellekamera.de/archive.php/393/OEZ/2007_12_21_21:58:25
----
http://www.curlesneck.com
----
Epi
p***@yahoo.com
2008-02-02 19:39:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
In US military doctrine, there are three levels of war: tactical,
operational, and strategic.

Here is what the JP 3-0, Joint Operations says on this question:

"The strategic level is that level of war at which a nation, often as
a member of a group of nations, determines national or multinational
(alliance or coalition) strategic objectives and guidance and develops
and uses national resources to achieve these objectives. The
operational level links the tactical employment of forces to national
and military strategic objectives through the design and conduct of
operations using operational art. The tactical level focuses on
planning and executing battles, engagements, and activities to achieve
military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces."

Many people equate the tactical level with the Division or below, the
Operational level with Corps and Joint Task Force (JTF), and the
Strategic with the Global Combatant Command (like CENTCOM), the Joint
Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and the executive branch of government
(primarily State and Defense department).

Others (most notably Shimon Naveh in his book "In Pursuit of Military
Excellence") say that the Operational level is not a level at all, but
a logic that connects tactical actions to strategic aims. Thus, a
battalion commander could, technically, be the operational level of
war if he is operating independently of a higher military headquarters
and working to connec the tactical actions of his subordinate units.
How's THAT for muddying things up? :)



PAT PROCTOR
President, ProSIM Company
http://www.prosimco.com/writing
BP
2008-02-05 00:55:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
In US military doctrine, there are three levels of war: tactical,
operational, and strategic.
"The strategic level is that level of war at which a nation, often as
a member of a group of nations, determines national or multinational
(alliance or coalition) strategic objectives and guidance and develops
and uses national resources to achieve these objectives. The
operational level links the tactical employment of forces to national
and military strategic objectives through the design and conduct of
operations using operational art. The tactical level focuses on
planning and executing battles, engagements, and activities to achieve
military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces."
Many people equate the tactical level with the Division or below, the
Operational level with Corps and Joint Task Force (JTF), and the
Strategic with the Global Combatant Command (like CENTCOM), the Joint
Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and the executive branch of government
(primarily State and Defense department).
Others (most notably Shimon Naveh in his book "In Pursuit of Military
Excellence") say that the Operational level is not a level at all, but
a logic that connects tactical actions to strategic aims. Thus, a
battalion commander could, technically, be the operational level of
war if he is operating independently of a higher military headquarters
and working to connec the tactical actions of his subordinate units.
How's THAT for muddying things up? :)
Thanks, Pat. That is about what I had thought as for real world usage
of the terms, but it seems that sometimes regarding games people use
the terms differently. (As in the title "Advanced Tactics" which seems
more of a strategic/operational game, although I can't say for sure as
it refuses to even install without 512 MB RAM, so until I get that all
I can do is read the manual.)

BP
ERutins
2008-02-02 20:27:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
I'm guessing the person meant to say "squad-based strategy game" -
I've often seen people substiture "strategic game" for "strategy game"
for whatever reason.

Regards,

- Erik
HR
2008-02-02 20:56:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
Tactical = squads
Operational = bn/regts or div
Strategic = Corps or bigger

All of the above with the appropiate battle area size.

No if and buts.:)

Anything can be strategy..as opposed to strategic.
Andrew McGee
2008-02-02 21:08:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by HR
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
Tactical = squads
Operational = bn/regts or div
Strategic = Corps or bigger
All of the above with the appropiate battle area size.
No if and buts.:)
Anything can be strategy..as opposed to strategic.
I seem to remember being taught that strategy is the art of manoeuvering
one's forces so as to encounter the enemy in the most favourable
circumstances and on the most favourable terms. Tactics is the art of
handling one's forces while in contact with the enemy.

Of course that formula says nothing about 'operational' level, which is, I
suppose and as suggested by an earlier poster, a sort of bridge between the
two levels.
HR
2008-02-03 20:46:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew McGee
Post by HR
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
Tactical = squads
Operational = bn/regts or div
Strategic = Corps or bigger
All of the above with the appropiate battle area size.
No if and buts.:)
Anything can be strategy..as opposed to strategic.
I seem to remember being taught that strategy is the art of manoeuvering
one's forces so as to encounter the enemy in the most favourable
circumstances and on the most favourable terms. Tactics is the art of
handling one's forces while in contact with the enemy.
Of course that formula says nothing about 'operational' level, which is, I
suppose and as suggested by an earlier poster, a sort of bridge between
the two levels.
Which is why I said strategy is different that strategic.

strategic is long term planning. hence a game with corps/armies having turns
of 1 month or more. Tactical is small scale units in a small area. ie: squad
leader.cc.
operational is at the bn/regt scale level such as TOAW.

These are the traditional descriptions for wargames since the beginning of
board games. Again it's a description only for the scale of the game.

Of course you can use the words to describe other things such as *tactics*
when playing a strategic level game.
mcv
2008-02-04 11:01:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew McGee
Post by HR
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
Tactical = squads
Operational = bn/regts or div
Strategic = Corps or bigger
All of the above with the appropiate battle area size.
No if and buts.:)
Anything can be strategy..as opposed to strategic.
I seem to remember being taught that strategy is the art of manoeuvering
one's forces so as to encounter the enemy in the most favourable
circumstances and on the most favourable terms. Tactics is the art of
handling one's forces while in contact with the enemy.
Of course that formula says nothing about 'operational' level, which is, I
suppose and as suggested by an earlier poster, a sort of bridge between the
two levels.
I think what you call "strategy" above is operational strategy, as
opposed to grand strategy, which is about whether you want to encounter
that enemy at all, or whether perhaps you should try to work together
against yet someone else.


mcv.
--
Science is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. It's a tool.
A very powerful tool, but not the only tool. And if only that which
could be verified scientifically was considered real, then nearly all
of human experience would be not-real. -- Zachriel
BP
2008-02-05 00:59:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andrew McGee
I seem to remember being taught that strategy is the art of manoeuvering
one's forces so as to encounter the enemy in the most favourable
circumstances and on the most favourable terms. Tactics is the art of
handling one's forces while in contact with the enemy.
Another nice distinction. Not quite congruent with the US Army
definitions that Pat posted... but I would expect Napoleon to agree
with the terms as you used them.

Maybe that is why we sometimes make a further distinction of "grand
strategy" - deciding whether to fight at all, and if so who and where
- as opposed to your usage of maneuvering your forces into the best
position for the fight.

BP
p***@yahoo.com
2008-02-05 02:24:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
Another nice distinction. Not quite congruent with the US Army
definitions that Pat posted... but I would expect Napoleon to agree
with the terms as you used them.
That's an interesting observation...

The operational level of war was not really even a concept until World
War II, and then only with the Russians (as someone pointed out
earlier). Operational art and the operational level of war really
only came of age in the US military in the 1980s.

When you read all of the commentary on the Napoleonic Wars written
immediately after the wars (especially Jomini's "The Art of War" and
Clausewitz' "On War") they only describe the tactical and strategic
levels of war. Tactical was everything that happened in a single
battle, on a single battlefield, between two opposing forces.
Strategic was everything that happened outside of this realm. A lot
of what was called "strategic" in these days is now thought of as
"operational."


PAT PROCTOR
President, ProSIM Company
http://www.prosimco.com/writing
mcv
2008-02-05 15:47:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by BP
Another nice distinction. Not quite congruent with the US Army
definitions that Pat posted... but I would expect Napoleon to agree
with the terms as you used them.
That's an interesting observation...
The operational level of war was not really even a concept until World
War II, and then only with the Russians (as someone pointed out
earlier). Operational art and the operational level of war really
only came of age in the US military in the 1980s.
When you read all of the commentary on the Napoleonic Wars written
immediately after the wars (especially Jomini's "The Art of War" and
Clausewitz' "On War") they only describe the tactical and strategic
levels of war. Tactical was everything that happened in a single
battle, on a single battlefield, between two opposing forces.
Strategic was everything that happened outside of this realm. A lot
of what was called "strategic" in these days is now thought of as
"operational."
And I think that's exactly what it is: operational strategy. I think
Guderian's Blitzkrieg also counts as operational strategy, so I don't
think it's just the Russians that had this concept, although they may
have been the first to give it a different name.


mcv.
--
Science is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. It's a tool.
A very powerful tool, but not the only tool. And if only that which
could be verified scientifically was considered real, then nearly all
of human experience would be not-real. -- Zachriel
p***@yahoo.com
2008-02-05 22:49:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by mcv
And I think that's exactly what it is: operational strategy. I think
Guderian's Blitzkrieg also counts as operational strategy, so I don't
think it's just the Russians that had this concept, although they may
have been the first to give it a different name.
There is actually quite a bit of writing on this topic. Matt Cooper
("The German Army") says the Germans lost Russia because they ignored
Guderian's insistance that they should use panzer drives to reach
Moscow to the exclusion of all else. Shimon Naveh ("In Pursuit of
Military Excellence") says that blitzkrieg lacked any operational
logic at all, and rather was just penetration for its own sake. Bryan
Fugate ("Operation Barbarossa") says the russians were thinking in
detail about how to match tactics to strategy before the Germans were
even sure they were ever going to invade.

I think this is all much ado about nothing. The Russians had nearly
twice as many divisions as Germany to start with and were able to
mobilize 35 million people (none of which the rest of the world
knew). Just about any tactics will work with those kinds of numbers.
That having been said, the Russians were the first to use the term
"Operational Maneuver" and distinguish planning at this level from
tactics or strategy.
Post by mcv
I also remind me that even in the ancient greek world, "logistic" was an
important aspect of war campaigns. So I'm not sure "operational" level
suddenly appears in the WW2, ex nihilo.
I absolutely agree that the operational level of war didn't just
appear in WWII. I am just saying that before WWII, people didn't
think about it as distinct from strategy or tactics. In fact, if you
read Clausewitz ("On War") and Jomini ("The Art of War") when they
talk about strategy, it sounds a lot like what we now call the
operational level of war. What we now call strategy all happened in
the king's head back in their day.


PAT PROCTOR
President, ProSIM Company
http://www.prosimco.com/writing
Mike Kreuzer
2008-02-06 02:10:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by mcv
And I think that's exactly what it is: operational strategy. I think
Guderian's Blitzkrieg also counts as operational strategy, so I don't
think it's just the Russians that had this concept, although they may
have been the first to give it a different name.
There is actually quite a bit of writing on this topic. Matt Cooper
("The German Army") says the Germans lost Russia because they ignored
Guderian's insistance that they should use panzer drives to reach
Moscow to the exclusion of all else. Shimon Naveh ("In Pursuit of
Military Excellence") says that blitzkrieg lacked any operational
logic at all, and rather was just penetration for its own sake. Bryan
Fugate ("Operation Barbarossa") says the russians were thinking in
detail about how to match tactics to strategy before the Germans were
even sure they were ever going to invade.
[snip]
The operational level can be summed up in just two words: middle management.
The tactical guys do all the work; the strategic guys make all the
decisions; the operational guys worry about the cost of dry cleaning
uniforms. <g>

Niklas Zetterling wrote a lengthy critique of Naveh's book. (I haven't read
the book & only skimmed the critique. Sounds dire.)
http://www.militaryhistory.nu/critiques/HTML/naveh.html

There's quite the tradition in this field of folks lauding every drab Soviet
pronouncement. Glantz is the principal offender, but Fugate's
another. Naveh sounds similar. As chroniclers of totalitarian propaganda
they're vaguely but unintentionally interesting, but I wouldn't recommend
them to anyone. Bring back Alan Clark!

I liked your own summary of why Russia won just fine.

Regards,
Mike Kreuzer
www.mikekreuzer.com
Giftzwerg
2008-02-06 11:43:04 UTC
Permalink
In article <47a9171a$***@dnews.tpgi.com.au>, ***@FIRSTNAMEkreuzer.com
says...
Post by Mike Kreuzer
There's quite the tradition in this field of folks lauding every drab Soviet
pronouncement. Glantz is the principal offender, but Fugate's
another. Naveh sounds similar. As chroniclers of totalitarian propaganda
they're vaguely but unintentionally interesting, but I wouldn't recommend
them to anyone. Bring back Alan Clark!
All we're missing here is John Moser asserting (in a tendentious 300
page tome) that - contrary to ignorant conventional scholarship -
Germany actually kicked Russia's butt.

Here's my theory of the Eastern Front. It's like if you asked me to
knock our Lennox Lewis. I'd have one chance; pick up a heavy object,
sneak up behind him, and clobber him so hard that he's unable to get up
again. But if the second round of our bout starts with Lewis standing
there rubbing a knot on his head, and me waving a folding chair, the
remainder of the contest is kinda preordained. Yeah, I might manage one
or two more diminishing rushes with my chair ... but if the first one
didn't work, when I had all the advantages...

Klonk. Down I go. Sooner or later.
--
Giftzwerg
***
"Baghdad got hit by two bombers today, but neither of them committed
suicide. The al-Qaeda attack involved strapping remote-controlled bombs
to two girls with Down's Syndrome, and detonating the devices when they
walked through the market."
- Ed Morrissey
"Retards led by sadists; The Religion Of Peace(TM) in action.
- Giftzwerg
von Schmidt
2008-02-06 12:45:22 UTC
Permalink
Here's my theory of the Eastern Front.  It's like if you asked me to
knock our Lennox Lewis.  I'd have one chance; pick up a heavy object,
sneak up behind him, and clobber him so hard that he's unable to get up
again.  But if the second round of our bout starts with Lewis standing
there rubbing a knot on his head, and me waving a folding chair, the
remainder of the contest is kinda preordained.  Yeah, I might manage one
or two more diminishing rushes with my chair ... but if the first one
didn't work, when I had all the advantages...
Klonk.  Down I go.  Sooner or later.
--
Giftzwerg
That is an Eastern Front assesment with 20/20 hindsight though: you
*know* that the Soviets are going to keep fighting, they have a vast
heavy industrial base and population in the remote hinterlands and in
a few months the American colossus is going to join the fight.

From the German point of view before June 41 just as valid an
assesment would be that: they were facing a weak and battered UK which
was unable to actually invade the continent at that point. So why not
turn your now near-undivided attention on a country which you knocked
out in the previous world war - when you were fighting on a solid
French front at the same time?
Once the USSR is out, Germany would easily be able to see off the
mobilised British Empire - and USA if necessary.

A better boxing metaphore would be for you to take on Roberto Duran: a
fairly small and compact Mexican who does not seem too dangerous.
And only after your first punch fails to take him down and he
counterpunches do you realise you might have made a slight mistake in
your assesment.....

Regards,

-von Schmidt
Giftzwerg
2008-02-06 14:29:56 UTC
Permalink
In article <8d782618-224b-4431-a15c-5c9482062154
@d70g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>, ***@mail.com says...
Post by von Schmidt
Here's my theory of the Eastern Front.  It's like if you asked me to
knock our Lennox Lewis.  I'd have one chance; pick up a heavy object,
sneak up behind him, and clobber him so hard that he's unable to get up
again.  But if the second round of our bout starts with Lewis standing
there rubbing a knot on his head, and me waving a folding chair, the
remainder of the contest is kinda preordained.  Yeah, I might manage one
or two more diminishing rushes with my chair ... but if the first one
didn't work, when I had all the advantages...
Klonk.  Down I go.  Sooner or later.
That is an Eastern Front assesment with 20/20 hindsight though: you
*know* that the Soviets are going to keep fighting, they have a vast
heavy industrial base and population in the remote hinterlands and in
a few months the American colossus is going to join the fight.
I'd argue that's just an eastern front assessment that takes a worst-
case scenario into account; proper planning means that you assume the
enemy isn't going to just fold faster than Kal-El on wash day.
Post by von Schmidt
From the German point of view before June 41 just as valid an
assesment would be that: they were facing a weak and battered UK which
was unable to actually invade the continent at that point. So why not
turn your now near-undivided attention on a country which you knocked
out in the previous world war - when you were fighting on a solid
French front at the same time?
But Stalin wasn't a feckless boob like Nicholas II, he was a ruthless
monster who was willing to burn vast tracts of the Earth and put tens of
millions of people in shallow graves to win. This, at least, was
plainly evident to anyone who was paying attention at the time, and thus
comparisons to the weak performance of Russian in 1914-1918 are nearly
worthless.
Post by von Schmidt
A better boxing metaphore would be for you to take on Roberto Duran: a
fairly small and compact Mexican who does not seem too dangerous.
And only after your first punch fails to take him down and he
counterpunches do you realise you might have made a slight mistake in
your assesment.....
"Fairly small?" On what measuring stick was Soviet Russia "smaller"
than Germany? I mean, most of the ones I can think of would find Russia
"substantially bigger."
--
Giftzwerg
***
"Baghdad got hit by two bombers today, but neither of them committed
suicide. The al-Qaeda attack involved strapping remote-controlled bombs
to two girls with Down's Syndrome, and detonating the devices when they
walked through the market."
- Ed Morrissey
"Retards led by sadists; The Religion Of Peace(TM) in action.
- Giftzwerg
e***@hotmail.com
2008-02-06 14:52:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Giftzwerg
"Fairly small?" On what measuring stick was Soviet Russia "smaller"
than Germany? I mean, most of the ones I can think of would find Russia
"substantially bigger."
There is the argument that the Russian army in 1941 was the smallest /
worst it would be for the next 10 years - no matter what the Germans
did. It was just recovering from the officer purge, new equipment was
coming online. So, if the Germans ever wanted to attack Russia it
would be better to do so in 1941 than later. Hit them when they're the
weakest etc.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Giftzwerg
2008-02-06 16:42:14 UTC
Permalink
In article <82031327-1f12-4f27-9ada-
***@l1g2000hsa.googlegroups.com>, ***@hotmail.com
says...
Post by e***@hotmail.com
Post by Giftzwerg
"Fairly small?" On what measuring stick was Soviet Russia "smaller"
than Germany? I mean, most of the ones I can think of would find Russia
"substantially bigger."
There is the argument that the Russian army in 1941 was the smallest /
worst it would be for the next 10 years - no matter what the Germans
did. It was just recovering from the officer purge, new equipment was
coming online. So, if the Germans ever wanted to attack Russia it
would be better to do so in 1941 than later. Hit them when they're the
weakest etc.
Well, but this is exactly my point; the entire German plan was
predicated - whether they acknowledged it or not - on hitting the
Russians so hard that there wouldn't be a 1942 or 1943 or 1944 for the
Red Army, it having been wiped out in 1941. Indeed, the Germans did so
little planning beyond the "we wipe them out this summer" concept that
their logistics train didn't even really envision having to supply three
army groups at several hundred miles remove in winter.

"They're small enough to take out now" is a different argument from
"they're only going to get bigger," and the one can't really suggest the
other.
--
Giftzwerg
***
"Baghdad got hit by two bombers today, but neither of them committed
suicide. The al-Qaeda attack involved strapping remote-controlled bombs
to two girls with Down's Syndrome, and detonating the devices when they
walked through the market."
- Ed Morrissey
"Retards led by sadists; The Religion Of Peace(TM) in action.
- Giftzwerg
e***@hotmail.com
2008-02-06 16:46:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Giftzwerg
"They're small enough to take out now" is a different argument from
"they're only going to get bigger," and the one can't really suggest the
other.
Strangely enough that's exactly the argument why Nato vs. Warsaw Pact
games are mostly set in the mid to late eighties. That was the most
optimum moment from the Soviet's pov - any later and they'd face a
stronger Nato while they themselves where getting weaker on the
economic and technological fronts.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Giftzwerg
2008-02-06 17:21:06 UTC
Permalink
In article <49c274e1-a44e-42f1-bfed-2f9377e3c534
@m34g2000hsb.googlegroups.com>, ***@hotmail.com says...
Post by e***@hotmail.com
Post by Giftzwerg
"They're small enough to take out now" is a different argument from
"they're only going to get bigger," and the one can't really suggest the
other.
Strangely enough that's exactly the argument why Nato vs. Warsaw Pact
games are mostly set in the mid to late eighties. That was the most
optimum moment from the Soviet's pov - any later and they'd face a
stronger Nato while they themselves where getting weaker on the
economic and technological fronts.
Which argues that the Soviets were (a) smarter than the Nazis or (b)
less murderously reckless than the Nazis.
--
Giftzwerg
***
"Baghdad got hit by two bombers today, but neither of them committed
suicide. The al-Qaeda attack involved strapping remote-controlled bombs
to two girls with Down's Syndrome, and detonating the devices when they
walked through the market."
- Ed Morrissey
"Retards led by sadists; The Religion Of Peace(TM) in action.
- Giftzwerg
Vincenzo Beretta
2008-02-06 13:24:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Giftzwerg
Here's my theory of the Eastern Front. It's like if you asked me to
knock our Lennox Lewis. I'd have one chance; pick up a heavy object,
sneak up behind him, and clobber him so hard that he's unable to get up
again. But if the second round of our bout starts with Lewis standing
there rubbing a knot on his head, and me waving a folding chair, the
remainder of the contest is kinda preordained. Yeah, I might manage one
or two more diminishing rushes with my chair ... but if the first one
didn't work, when I had all the advantages...
I like very much a description of how things went on the Eastern Front
written by "I would like to remember who". I.e. The story of the war on the
Eastern Front can be summarized as "Hitler increasing unwillingness to
listen to his generals vs. Stalin increased willingness to do the opposite".

Which would be an interesting thought in a thread about either DRM schemes
or Battlefront. Maybe we should move it there :o)
von Schmidt
2008-02-06 13:41:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Vincenzo Beretta
I like very much a description of how things went on the Eastern Front
written by "I would like to remember who". I.e. The story of the war on the
Eastern Front can be summarized as "Hitler increasing unwillingness to
listen to his generals vs. Stalin increased willingness to do the opposite".
As it became more clear that the USSR would win the war, Stalin
started to clamp down more on his generals and reasserted political
(ie his) control.
For example, see him playing off Zhukov against Koniev in the Race for
Berlin, and how quickly Zhukow disappeared into oblivion post-1945.

And I'm pretty sure it was the German *generals* who wanted to wait
for reinforcements before launching the assault on Kursk in '43; so
listening to the professionals did not pay off that time!

Regards,

-von Schmidt
mcv
2008-02-06 08:41:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by mcv
And I think that's exactly what it is: operational strategy. I think
Guderian's Blitzkrieg also counts as operational strategy, so I don't
think it's just the Russians that had this concept, although they may
have been the first to give it a different name.
There is actually quite a bit of writing on this topic. Matt Cooper
("The German Army") says the Germans lost Russia because they ignored
Guderian's insistance that they should use panzer drives to reach
Moscow to the exclusion of all else. Shimon Naveh ("In Pursuit of
Military Excellence") says that blitzkrieg lacked any operational
logic at all, and rather was just penetration for its own sake. Bryan
Fugate ("Operation Barbarossa") says the russians were thinking in
detail about how to match tactics to strategy before the Germans were
even sure they were ever going to invade.
I think this is all much ado about nothing. The Russians had nearly
twice as many divisions as Germany to start with and were able to
mobilize 35 million people (none of which the rest of the world
knew). Just about any tactics will work with those kinds of numbers.
I once read an interesting article about infantry tactics in WW2 (I
think the article was related to Squad Leader), which said that Russian
infantry tactics were to attack in two waves, the first of which
had guns, and the second wave would pick up the guns from fallen
soldiers from the first wave. That might be efficient from a logistical
point of view, but doesn't exactly count sophisticated compared to
German infantry tactics.
Post by p***@yahoo.com
That having been said, the Russians were the first to use the term
"Operational Maneuver" and distinguish planning at this level from
tactics or strategy.
"Operational Maneuver" still sounds to me like good old fashioned
strategy, as opposed to "Grand Strategy", which is a lot more closely
related to diplomacy and politics.
Post by p***@yahoo.com
Post by mcv
I also remind me that even in the ancient greek world, "logistic" was an
important aspect of war campaigns. So I'm not sure "operational" level
suddenly appears in the WW2, ex nihilo.
I absolutely agree that the operational level of war didn't just
appear in WWII. I am just saying that before WWII, people didn't
think about it as distinct from strategy or tactics. In fact, if you
read Clausewitz ("On War") and Jomini ("The Art of War") when they
talk about strategy, it sounds a lot like what we now call the
operational level of war.
Exactly.
Post by p***@yahoo.com
What we now call strategy all happened in
the king's head back in their day.
Like diplomacy and politics, I suppose.

I have to admit my notion of "Grand Strategy" comes mostly from the
Avalon Hill game _Empires in Arms_, which for a large part revolves
around whether Napoleon should invade Italy, Prussia, or forge a
naval alliance and invade England, and whether the other major powers
should ally against Napoleon, with him, or try to stay out of it.
This is strategy on a grand scale, and diplomacy is just as important
a tool at that level as armies and generals are. It's not the
strategy of generals, but indeed the strategy of kings.


mcv.
--
Science is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. It's a tool.
A very powerful tool, but not the only tool. And if only that which
could be verified scientifically was considered real, then nearly all
of human experience would be not-real. -- Zachriel
Hugo
2008-02-05 15:52:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by p***@yahoo.com
The operational level of war was not really even a concept until World
War II, and then only with the Russians (as someone pointed out
earlier).
As describes by many of you, it sounds like "logisitic" is strongly
linked to "operational" level. Actually, I'm not sure to clearly state
the difference between the two.

I also remind me that even in the ancient greek world, "logistic" was an
important aspect of war campaigns. So I'm not sure "operational" level
suddenly appears in the WW2, ex nihilo.
--
Hugo
Marcus Piffer
2008-02-05 10:44:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by HR
Tactical = squads
Operational = bn/regts or div
Strategic = Corps or bigger
I agree Pat. The Brazilian doctrine is similar than US. :)

There aren't a clear equivalence between the levels (tactical,
operational, strategical) to echelons (battalion, brigade, division,
etc). But normally, Divisions are at tactical level.
Briarroot
2008-02-02 23:20:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
Games often blur the distinctions, but I've always classified these
three areas in the following way:

Strategy - setting the overall goal(s) of the war or the most desirable
outcome;
Tactics - the shooting - i.e. the execution of strategic aims;
Operations - the immediate planning, preparation and support of tactics
--
"Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a collective conscience
does
violence to the individual and is the first step toward
totalitarianism." - Herman Hesse
Werewolf
2008-02-03 15:22:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Briarroot
Games often blur the distinctions, but I've always classified these
Strategy - setting the overall goal(s) of the war or the most desirable
outcome;
Tactics - the shooting - i.e. the execution of strategic aims;
Operations - the immediate planning, preparation and support of tactics
Briarrot beat me too it.

I'll add that strategic equals war at the macro level and tacticl is war
at the micro level.
Bloodstar
2008-02-03 20:44:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Werewolf
Briarrot beat me too it.
I'll add that strategic equals war at the macro level and tacticl is war
at the micro level.
Well it's not just that.

When I read Alan Clark or Albert Seaton they say for example that German
victory at Kiev in 1942. was just TACTICAL victory or at first battle of
Kharkov in May 1942.

They don't mention operational aspect here and not nececarily I will call
them wrong.

So in fact STRATEGICAL aspect would be whole Eastern Front and TACTICAL in
that sense they were talking would be battle at Kiev. Now this don't bode
well in terms and make some contadictions but that's the way they wrote it.

Maybe in relation that German victory at Kiev did put a 600000 in a bag (or
close to million if we include other losses of Soviets there) but it did not
bring strategic outcome just tactical in this sense.

But I would not confuse this tactical term with tactical term you were
mentining and that is those unit's up to battalion strength.

Confusing :)



Mario
Oleg Mastruko
2008-02-03 04:14:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
They probably just wanted to make a distinction with, say, first
person shooter games or RTS or MMORPG or whatever. When I do reviews
for my magazine, which is mainstream PC magazine, with similarily
mainstream gaming section, every wargame I review is primarily
classified as "strategy" or "strategic game".

Then it's up to me to waste an opening paragraph to explain
that, in fact, Close Combat is a tactical "strategic game" as opposed
to tactical FPS (Ghost Recon for exaple) or brainless FPS (Quake Wars
for example) etc. Simply put - strategy exists as genre, tactical
games are not a genre on their own, just a subset of strategy games
(for most people at least).
Post by BP
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
Norm Koger gave excellent definition of tactical-operational
divide, I believe it was in the first TOAW manual. He said tactical
ends, and operational begins, when the ranges of individual direct
fire weapons do not matter anymore. I think it's an excellent
definition as when the tactical "realm" ends. The TOAW scale was
designed around this definition, as he specifically made hexes and
scales so that individual direct fire weapon ranges would not matter.

(IIRC there were some problems with TOAW 2 end extremely small
scales, because some modern direct fire wepons can be effective at
1km+ ranges, most older weapons can't.)

Today we have some hybrid games, like HTTR/COTA, where
individual weapon ranges DO matter, but the game is still low-level
operational in nature IMO. Even in grand strategic monster like WITP
we have some tactical elements, however it's still a strategic game,
just that it chooses to model as sorts of crap, including tactical
elements (which is usually a wrong decision).

For good definition of "operational" we should consult some
Soviet literature as IMO, late war Soviets were unsurpassed masters of
the operational level warfare.

This is the rule of thumb I use to classify the operational
level games - it's totally unscientific :o) If the game involves
player issuing mental orders like "take that city!" or "take that hill
by 0900 tomorrow!" - it's probably an operational level game LOL :o)

IMO, "strategic" games begin with the production. When
production, natural resources, railway network, alliances with other
states, raising new units etc come into play - it's strategic.
Werewolf
2008-02-03 15:33:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
Using WWII as an example:

Strategy - roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin decide to concentrate men and
materiale in the European theatre and give the Pacific theatre what's
left over.

Operations - which armies, corps, divisions, fleets go where and then
getting them there - this crosses multiple layers and can be thought of
as preperations maded prior to engaging in battle

Tactical - what units do to win battles
mcv
2008-02-04 10:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Werewolf
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
I've noticed that quite a lot of people (often not wargame afficionados)
use "strategy" to mean "a game where you need to think". Exactly what
you need to think about doesn't matter, as long as the game isn't decided
most by luck, dexterity, clicking really fast or knowing useless trivia.

According to those people, chess is a strategy game, whereas to me, it's
mostly tactical.
Post by Werewolf
Post by BP
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
Strategy - roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin decide to concentrate men and
materiale in the European theatre and give the Pacific theatre what's
left over.
This is what I call "Grand Strategy". It's about when to wage war and
whom to wage war on.
Post by Werewolf
Operations - which armies, corps, divisions, fleets go where and then
getting them there - this crosses multiple layers and can be thought of
as preperations maded prior to engaging in battle
I call this "operational strategy", and it's not necessarily about armies
and corps, but can go all the way down to platoons on occasion. It's about
what units you commit and how, and deals with anything from blitzkrieg to
outflanking to deception and stuff like that.
Post by Werewolf
Tactical - what units do to win battles
I think I've got the smallest grasp on this one, but I think it's what
the soldiers themselves need to know. Drills, covering fire, how to
enter an unknown building, setting up cross fire, that sort of stuff.
There may be some overlap between tactical and operational aspects.

According to these definitions, a squad-based X-COM/Jagged Alliance
kind of game is clearly tactical. But to someone who's definition
of strategy is "requires thought instead of quick reflexes", it's
clearly strategic.


mcv.
--
Science is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. It's a tool.
A very powerful tool, but not the only tool. And if only that which
could be verified scientifically was considered real, then nearly all
of human experience would be not-real. -- Zachriel
e***@hotmail.com
2008-02-04 10:49:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by mcv
I've noticed that quite a lot of people (often not wargame afficionados)
use "strategy" to mean "a game where you need to think". Exactly what
you need to think about doesn't matter, as long as the game isn't decided
most by luck, dexterity, clicking really fast or knowing useless trivia.
Don't know about that last one. There's plenty of strategy games (in
your sense of the word) that rely on gamers knowing a lot of arcane,
game related stuff. Dominions 3 for example.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Andy Brown
2008-02-04 19:54:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@hotmail.com
Post by mcv
I've noticed that quite a lot of people (often not wargame afficionados)
use "strategy" to mean "a game where you need to think". Exactly what
you need to think about doesn't matter, as long as the game isn't decided
most by luck, dexterity, clicking really fast or knowing useless trivia.
Don't know about that last one. There's plenty of strategy games (in
your sense of the word) that rely on gamers knowing a lot of arcane,
game related stuff. Dominions 3 for example.
Which can vary from game to game and may not be intuitive. For example,
it's obvious to any historical game player that "troops need supplies" but
the simulated circumstances under which troops start being penalised for
being "out of supply" can vary from game system to game system. Playing
TOAW well required a good understanding of its abstact supply system which
was certainly "different" from that found in many other games.

Andy
mcv
2008-02-04 22:54:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andy Brown
Post by e***@hotmail.com
Post by mcv
I've noticed that quite a lot of people (often not wargame afficionados)
use "strategy" to mean "a game where you need to think". Exactly what
you need to think about doesn't matter, as long as the game isn't decided
most by luck, dexterity, clicking really fast or knowing useless trivia.
Don't know about that last one. There's plenty of strategy games (in
your sense of the word) that rely on gamers knowing a lot of arcane,
game related stuff. Dominions 3 for example.
Which can vary from game to game and may not be intuitive. For example,
it's obvious to any historical game player that "troops need supplies" but
the simulated circumstances under which troops start being penalised for
being "out of supply" can vary from game system to game system. Playing
TOAW well required a good understanding of its abstact supply system which
was certainly "different" from that found in many other games.
I don't really count knowing the (sometimes obscure or overly complex)
rules of the game itself as useless trivia. It's useless trivia outside
the game. I was referring to games like Trivial Pursuit and the like.


mcv.
--
Science is not the be-all and end-all of human existence. It's a tool.
A very powerful tool, but not the only tool. And if only that which
could be verified scientifically was considered real, then nearly all
of human experience would be not-real. -- Zachriel
Stupot
2008-02-05 09:15:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
I've been wondering about the line here for awhile, but today I saw a
post in the strategic group requesting a "squad-based, strategic" game
and that seemed to me a contradiction...
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
And then how about operational, just to muddy things up a bit more?
BP
How about this?

If the consequence of doing the wrong thing is a spear, arrow, blade, or
bullet through the cranium, it's tactical.

If the consequence of doing the wrong thing is being sacrificed, court
marshaled, fired, or demoted, it's strategic.
--
Stupot http://insignity.blogspot.com
Gandalf Parker
2008-02-18 15:49:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by BP
What would y'all say are the dividing lines between tactical games and
strategic games? Is it just scale and unit size, or is there something
more?
That comes up in forums Im in fairly often.

To ME the difference goes like this......

Strategy is what you come up with before hand. Before the battle, before
the war, even before entering the game. You develop strategies.

Tactics are what you do in response to changes. You develop tactics and
store them in a metal "toolbox" to use in case something opens up.

A good player should be abit of both. I have seen players who were too
much one or the other.

The dedicated strategist has his plans so totally laid out in his head
that the game is already played. Like a chess game AAR. And if something
random occurs to throw him off he sweeps the pieces off the board and
goes home. They tend to prefer "fair" maps (sometimes to the point that
the map is simply mirror-imaged to each player). And if possible, turning
off all random events.

The expert tactician tends to love randoms. They prefer maps with lots of
randomly placed choke-points, random events both good and bad, 3rd party
enemies which are as likely to attack him as to attack the other side.
They might even enjoy games where their own starting settings (nation,
army, pieces) are randomly selected so that he has to work with what he
is given.

The division is easy to see in forums where the game supports both styles
(such as my present favorite Dominions 3). As I said, most gamers are
abit of both which is what makes the definition of them a problem. We
tend to see both, and be both, in the games we play. Altho... in all
truthfulness I think I lean more toward tactician than the average
player. Hmmmm come to think of it, Id have to say that its also how I
live my life. Interesting thought. I will need to dwell on that abit.

Gandalf Parker
--
I was asked "Do you think playing games is a life?"
And I responded "Dont you think living life is a game?"
(and by the way, Im winning!)
e***@hotmail.com
2008-02-18 16:01:11 UTC
Permalink
On 18 feb, 16:49, Gandalf Parker
Post by Gandalf Parker
Altho... in all
truthfulness I think I lean more toward tactician than the average
player. Hmmmm come to think of it, Id have to say that its also how I
live my life. Interesting thought. I will need to dwell on that abit.
That's an interesting question. IRL I tend to be a planner. I'm not
anal retentive about it but I like it when things go smoothly because
the needed preparations were done. However in my games I'm the guy who
goes for the long shot, the surprises, someone who can decide to
switch flanks without even thinking about it, on a hunch.

Compensational behaviour ? :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...