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Showing posts from January, 2019

Battle of the Bulge: Volks-Grenadiers

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I highly recommend Douglas E Nash's Victory Was Beyond Their Grasp for anyone seeking
information on the Volks-Grenadiers. The subject is the 272nd Volks-grenadier Division which fought in the Battle of Hürtguen Forest and concentrates on Füsilier Company 272, the division's reconnaissance company.

The Volks-Grenadier divisions were Germany's answer to an ever decreasing pool of manpower by trading troops for firepower. The success of these divisions depended on the experience of the founding cadre and time available to train green, or in the case of drafted Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine personnel, reluctant recruits.

Chapter 2 of this book discusses how the Volks-Grenadier divisions came into being, the politics behind them, and has a wealth of organizational information. So far, this chapter contains the most comprehensive coverage in the English language I can find on the Volks-Grenadiers and I will share some interesting facts from the book below.

For anyone interested i…

Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest

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When sending me a game turn a friend made me aware of a little known fact of WW2 history.

I had no idea that there was oil production in the U.K. during WW2. By late 1942 Britain needed around 150,000 barrels of oil daily and oil supply routes were under threat by U-boats and the Luftwaffe. While seeking solutions to the oil shortage Britain's Oil Control Board was surprised to discover that England had it's own productive oil field, in Sherwood Forest, no less.

The English oil field only produced 300 barrels a day so American help was requested to expand production. The outcome was a team of 42 volunteers, drillers and roughnecks from Texas and Oklahoma embarking for England in early 1943. All made it to England safely but of the four National 50 drilling rigs sent, one was lost to U-boat attack.

Production at the oilfield soon surpassed all expectations.

Here is a good overview from the American Oil and Gas Historical Society.  In that article there is to another article on…

S&T Magazine Library

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Recently, I've been diving into the back issues of Strategy and Tactics (S&T) Magazine looking for the "comparative quantified units" features. More on the CQ's later but over at Strategy and Tactics Press I highly recommend the S&T Premium Membership.

The benefit of this membership is access to the extensive magazine back catalog. For those unfamiliar with S&T Magazine, it ranks up there with Avalon Hill as one of the hobby's vanguards.

S&T started as a fanzine discussing AH games and offering mods but evolved into a military history magazine accompanied by a folio game.

A good history of AH, S&T and the board game hobby can be found in Greg Costikyan's article A Farewell to Hexes (SPI Died for your Sins). This highly recommended article also discusses issues faced by the game publishing industry.

The back issues contain a wealth of information and I strongly agree with the following quote from Costikyan (who incidentally, was no fan of …

Strategy and Tactics Standard Unit Factors

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I'm interested in how game designers come up unit factors. The counters from the earliest board games usually had two factors, combat and movement.  
During the research process at Strategy & Tactics, Standard Unit Factors (SUF) were compiled to quantify a unit's combat power and allow comparisons between other types of units.  Eventually, S&T changed the designation to Comparative Quantified Units (CQ's). The CQs served as unit templates across many games. The SUF chart below from a magazine on the war in North Africa (S&T 21).


More after the jump.