Saturday, 13 February 2010

Spotty research and wargame rulesets

Ok, this is a bit of a rant, but a good way to start. Recently I was doing some re-reading of a ruleset I like, Division Commander, and in the pacific supplement I spotted some very very poor research.

What has made me so willing to goes public with my complaints? Of course not the recent discussion with the author on TMP where he shown a distinct lack of research integrity, but the magnitude of the error, something that not even Wikipedia would have done.

The Pacific supplement is riddled with errors...

on Guadalcanal scenario 2 the American forces are the 1st Marine Division... and the 5th Marine division! At the time of the campaign the 5th Division has yet to be raised. In the same scenario the Japanese receives the Kawaguchi brigade (no problem) and the Hyakertak brigade... not what is the Hyakertak brigade? Probably Hyakertak is a corruption of Hyakutake (yes I am aware of a controversy on his first name Harukichi, Seikichi or Haruyoshi, but the family name never changes). But General Hyakutake Seikichi was the commander of the 17th Army not a brigade commander. He commanded the Kawaguchi brigade the 2nd and 38th divisions, the 65th brigade and the rest of the poor Ichiki detachment. The scenario is supposed to represent the big October offensive, so the 38th division was still to be shipped (the defeat of its convoy would play a pivotal role in the campaign) so I was expecting at least the 2nd "Sendai" infantry division... but nothing only a fancy fantasy brigade... but lets move forward, to the actual division OoB, neatly represented on division cards...

The two japanese units combined have a whopping 4 field artillery, 3 mountain and two heavy battalions... and only 7 infantry battalions. Now a quick glance at Rottman's order of battles for the October offensive will show that the japanese actually employed a whopping 15 battalions... while its artillery was only 2 mountain battalion, 2 field artillery and 2 companies of heavy, plus it was under strenght and without a lot of ammunition... on the other hand the Americans received only 2 field artillery battalions, while the 1st marine division (reinforced by the 164th Infantry Regiment) ad around 4 alone much more effective and with much more ammunition.
also in the American order of battle there were several critical units not represented as the paramarine or the the raiders, the divisional tank battalion (while the Japanese receive a full light tank battalion equipped with type 95 tank, incorrectly labelled Kyu-Go instead of Ha-Go; in reality they had a single tank company mainly equipped with 10 type 97 medium and 2 type 95 light. Now I know that Division Commander units are battalions, but the order of battles are complete fantasy).

I will not dwell in other problems except another glaring one, the USMC M3 Lee tanks... now you will be very surprised... you have never heard of M3 Lee tanks in USMC service. Simply put they never had them in service. The only American employment of M3 Medium "General Lee" tanks in the pacific happened courtesy of the 193 Tank Battalion from the US Army in Buritari island (Makin Atoll). This is all. No more US M3 Lee, except recovery version in the pacific... still Division commander graces us with an M3 battalion in every USMC division...

The point? All the sources are open and quickly available online or on easily obtainable books, so why are still treated to poor research like this one? I do not have an answer except thinking the author is less knowledgeable than he wants to appear in other forum, yet the rules are good, but before using them I will have to rewrite the complete division organizations.

Coming soon... post world war two naval wargaming... an insoluble dilemma? and then some nice pictures (If I will be able to take decent pictures) of my latest painting.

Welcome at the Forward HQ

Ok, everything has a start... and this is the start of my blog.

My name is Arrigo and I am a military history researcher in good old England (and before you start to wonder I hail from Italy, I had just to emigrate to do some research).

My interests are about history, military history, and wargaming... actually I cannot separate those three. This Blog will be mainly about wargaming and military history. some of you readers will undoubtedly already know my polemical streak from other forums as my unorthodox views. I hope that blog will help to put some basis in my polemics and showcase my wargaming activities.

And, above all, I sincerely hope everyone sharing my interests will enjoy it.