Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Key Elements: a Comparison
I've been doing a little historical reading of late, and discovered that Bomber Command during WW2 were denied campaign medals, and were never publicly recognised for their role in D-Day. I only recently found out, and it came as a bit of a surprise, so as I said, much reading done has been done...
Anyway, on to toy soldiers! One of things that all this reading has gotten me thinking about is the importance of three factors over the years: Technology, Training and Resources. A few definitions to get us started:
Technology: In this instance, I'm referring to technology in all it's forms, rather than simply weaponry. That means target recognition, detection and communication as well as the "sharp end" of warfare. For example, during the Battle of Britain, one of the major advantages which the Allies possessed was the integrated warning system, which allowed fighters to be dispatched in good order and with decent response times. Without this, any comparison between aircraft on both sides would be mute.
Training: Here, I'm talking about the training of troops to receive, interpret and carry out orders; as well as the ability of officers to observe and understand engagements and then issue orders. Bravery and Morale are also wrapped up in this (part of their ability to carry out orders). Finally, training also refers to the practical aspects of soldiering, such as how to use weaponry and tools with which they are supplied. As a historical example, the Romans had better training than the Celts, demonstrated by their ability to use formations, support each other and rapidly erect defensive positions, amongst other things.
Resources: Anyone that has played RTS games will know what I'm getting at here- men, munitions, forage; all these (and more) are parts of Resource. Apart from accounting for bodies on the battlefield, this is probably the most neglected in wargames.
OK, here's the question- what happens when these elements are not balanced between opposing forces? Historically, there are countless examples- off the top of my head, the English had a technological advantage at Agincourt, the Spartans had superior training at Thermopylae, and any successful siege throughout history has required an advantage in resources. (In fact, any successful war has required a resource advantage in one form or another, hence the importance of the Battle for the Atlantic in WWII).
This is something I'm going to be exploring over the next few weeks- and I have no idea where the conversations going to lead. So- I need comments, thoughts, e-mails on anything you think about this- whether it relates to how wargames reflect these aspects, or historical examples, or indeed anything else you can think of.
In that vein- comments, as always, are welcome :)