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Old 12-23-2016, 09:57 AM   #21
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
I'm not sure that fighting sub-optimally is ever a good idea on the Northwest Frontier. It sounds like a good way to end up (a) dead and (b) regarded with contempt by the locals. But certainly, good Strategy is always going to factor in the thing about war being a continuation of politics by other means, in a way that Tactics won't.

(The quote in question being from a soldier, note, not a politician. A good strategist bears in mind that the conflict has a more or less "political" objective, then gets on with the job of achieving it.)
What I mean is Tribe A holds a hill on the right flank, tribe B holds one on the left. Tribe A's position is better but tribe B is negotiating for a defection. So Milord Snobbybrit attacks Tribe A's position even though looking at the Pathan army from a purely tactical perspective attacking Tribe B would be better. However Milord Snobbybrit knows from intelligence outside the battle that Tribe B is a future ally and wasting lives for the purpose of gutting it's supply of warriors is kind of silly in the long run.

Of course Milord Snobbybrit could believe that Tribe B is playing them for fools and they might as well hit them where it hurts most. That is also a strategic decision, just not the most subtle and so not the best example of how tactics and strategy diverge.
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:06 AM   #22
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

As a product of a military educational system, I'd support having specializations for Strategy such as (Grand) and (Operational). The latter probably needs to sub specialize by type (land, naval, etc.), though there is a lot of cross-training.

The real problem, as always, is in figuring out when you need to use Tactics and when you need to use Strategy (Operational). A fair rule of thumb for game purposes is probably something like "If you have to worry about logistics, it's Strategy."
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:44 AM   #23
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

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The real problem, as always, is in figuring out when you need to use Tactics and when you need to use Strategy (Operational). A fair rule of thumb for game purposes is probably something like "If you have to worry about logistics, it's Strategy."
As far as Mass Combat goes, Tactics is for combat when you command 5 elements or less (an element being either a vehicle or a fire team or the local equivalent in your universe (say 10 spear(wo)men in a medieval era)), and Strategy for more, though I'd allow some leeway for Hero elements (One soldier with enough firepower to rival an entire fire team (a single superhero for instance)) in the final headcount and probably not count them unless there were *a lot* of hero elements.).
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:32 PM   #24
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

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As a product of a military educational system, I'd support having specializations for Strategy such as (Grand) and (Operational). The latter probably needs to sub specialize by type (land, naval, etc.), though there is a lot of cross-training.

The real problem, as always, is in figuring out when you need to use Tactics and when you need to use Strategy (Operational). A fair rule of thumb for game purposes is probably something like "If you have to worry about logistics, it's Strategy."
Most of the stuff they have now spews out ordinance at such a rate that even sergeants have to worry about logistics. Of course that is not telling as in a counterinsurgency even subalterns and non-coms have to worry about diplomacy too and diplomatic considerations are more likely with strategy then tactics. That is what is meant by the saying "strategic corporal". But the point is made. Nobody is immune to logistic considerations.

There are a number of tactical decisions that have to do with logistics. Getting ammo forward for instance. Or conserving it. Stopping to rest, or eat, or relieve waste(the last is never mentioned but must in fact be a critical decision at times). These are all decisions that would probably go under the heading of logistics but they are also taken at the tactical level.
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:57 PM   #25
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

The way I run the skills is such:

Strategy is what you use before the battle. Tactics is what you use during the battle (in small skirmishes).

I don't run large scale battles... but if I did I'd probably use Strategy rolls (have to check Mass Combat rules, it's been a long time since I read them).
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:38 PM   #26
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

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I don't run large scale battles... but if I did I'd probably use Strategy rolls (have to check Mass Combat rules, it's been a long time since I read them).
As WaterAndWindSpirit said, Mass Combat only uses Tactics on fairly small scales - less than 50 people to a side, more or less. Above that, it uses Strategy. I tend to think that that's not really how the skills tend to break down in real life, but that is the way GURPS currently does them.

Personally, I'd like to see a split between Tactics (Small Unit) and Tactics (Large Engagement), and use the latter for most things Mass Combat currently uses Strategy for, and save actual Strategy for an even larger-scale "Mass Combat - Winning The War" ruleset.
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Old 06-17-2017, 06:44 PM   #27
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

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Most of the stuff they have now spews out ordinance at such a rate that even sergeants have to worry about logistics.
Did you see the part about my being a product of a military education system? :) I'm not talking about feeding your squad and their weapons. I'm talking about worrying about adequate sealift and railheads and contractors for the chow hall and whether or not the runway is long enough for a C-5 and how much tonnage the airhead can handle, etc. That starts at maybe battalion level?

5 elements sounds like a platoon. 5 squads, right? I'd argue it should be Tactics up to company level in modern warfare. Say, 16 elements. (I'm just sort of bloviating, here, though.)

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Old 06-18-2017, 12:53 PM   #28
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Strategy and Tactics

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Did you see the part about my being a product of a military education system? :) I'm not talking about feeding your squad and their weapons. I'm talking about worrying about adequate sealift and railheads and contractors for the chow hall and whether or not the runway is long enough for a C-5 and how much tonnage the airhead can handle, etc. That starts at maybe battalion level?

5 elements sounds like a platoon. 5 squads, right? I'd argue it should be Tactics up to company level in modern warfare. Say, 16 elements. (I'm just sort of bloviating, here, though.)
The purpose of sealift and railheads and contractors for the chow hall and whether or not the runway is long enough for a C-5 and how much tonnage the airhead can handle, etc is ultimately feeding the squads and their weapons.
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:37 PM   #29
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Default Strategy and Tactics -- and Operations

Multiple layers of decision making.

Policy -- what's important to this nation (or group of nations.) How do we get it? Can we do so without fighting? Do we fight alone -- or with allies? What will we give up to get the support of allies? (& much more.)

Strategy -- since we've (presumably) decided to fight, how do we use fighting to attain our national goals? Which theater of operations do we choose (or are forced into by our opponents?) Do we go for seizing resources (oil fields, say) or destroy the enemy's forces or maneuver him out of the area without fighting? If we go after the enemy's military strength, which part do we go after first? What's important in this theater of operations, and how do we get it?

Operations -- the use of battle and maneuver within a theater of operations to gain the objectives decided on at the strategy level.

Tactics -- the use of firepower, maneuver, and shock on the battlefield to destroy enemy forces, capture key points (terrain) or otherwise win battles.

Examples -- early 1863, the Confederates, in Virginia.

Policy -- defend slavery by maintaining an independent Confederacy.

Strategy -- stand on the strategic defensive. Put the onus of continuing the war on the d--n Yankees. Make their army come to yours. Defend Richmond for its economic & political importance.

Operations -- if the Yankees can choose when & where to fight their firepower & numbers will swamp the Army of Northern Virginia. Therefore, don't give them that time -- let 'em get to a battlefield, let 'em prepare to attack -- then strike at them. Find isolated detachments and hit them by surprise & with superior numbers.

At Chancellorsville, send Stonewall Jackson around the Union right to bushwhack an isolated Union corps.

Tactics -- Get on their flank. Maintain surprise. Hit 'em with everything you've got like an avalanche.

Voila.
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Old 06-18-2017, 06:40 PM   #30
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Default Re: Strategy and Tactics -- and Operations

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Originally Posted by fredtheobviouspseudonym View Post
Multiple layers of decision making.

Policy -- what's important to this nation (or group of nations.) How do we get it? Can we do so without fighting? Do we fight alone -- or with allies? What will we give up to get the support of allies? (& much more.)

Strategy -- since we've (presumably) decided to fight, how do we use fighting to attain our national goals? Which theater of operations do we choose (or are forced into by our opponents?) Do we go for seizing resources (oil fields, say) or destroy the enemy's forces or maneuver him out of the area without fighting? If we go after the enemy's military strength, which part do we go after first? What's important in this theater of operations, and how do we get it?

Operations -- the use of battle and maneuver within a theater of operations to gain the objectives decided on at the strategy level.

Tactics -- the use of firepower, maneuver, and shock on the battlefield to destroy enemy forces, capture key points (terrain) or otherwise win battles.

Examples -- early 1863, the Confederates, in Virginia.

Policy -- defend slavery by maintaining an independent Confederacy.

Strategy -- stand on the strategic defensive. Put the onus of continuing the war on the d--n Yankees. Make their army come to yours. Defend Richmond for its economic & political importance.

Operations -- if the Yankees can choose when & where to fight their firepower & numbers will swamp the Army of Northern Virginia. Therefore, don't give them that time -- let 'em get to a battlefield, let 'em prepare to attack -- then strike at them. Find isolated detachments and hit them by surprise & with superior numbers.

At Chancellorsville, send Stonewall Jackson around the Union right to bushwhack an isolated Union corps.

Tactics -- Get on their flank. Maintain surprise. Hit 'em with everything you've got like an avalanche.

Voila.
Policy: Contain and preferably eliminate expansionist ambitions of Axis powers.

Strategy: Prioritize European Theater conduct holding action followed by counteroffensive in Pacific. Seize necessary airstops to bring Japan within bombing distance, bypass islands that do not suit this priority.

Operations: Spruance orders Mitscher to accept temporary naval defensive to protect assault on Saipan, conduct limited counteroffensive and pursuit with Saipan remaining as priority.

Tactics: Intercept incoming strikes with fighters and shipborne antiaircraft fire, guided by improved sensory and communications technology. Then execute long range airstrike against enemy carriers.

Logistics: Prepare full scale airstrip on Saipan with mass engineering as soon as enemy are cleared.

Propaganda: Vulgarly nickname battle after an Appalachian blood sport.
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