Global 42 Game Report
OK, got a game of Global 42 in over the weekend.
Overall Review: Interesting, but misguided.
Course of game: Russia destroyed the German armies R1 in Russia, pushing almost back to the German starting line. Germany never recovered against Russia, which kept pretty aggressive against Germany. Bad luck for Germany on G1 meant the UK fleet survived and Italy was basically KO’d It1. Japan was the only hope. Japan managed to rout several US fleets, defeat China, and set up India to be captured. But with Germany collapsing, it became obvious that the US could start giving a 100% contribution to the Pacific and preclude Japan from getting Hawaii. The game was called beginning R4.
Problems with game:
1. The set up does not make historical sense in terms of the timing of Battle of Midway/Guadalcanal invasion/Operation Fall Blau etc. Obviously historical accuracy is not required for a game, but it does give the set up a rather odd appearance and feel. If it really is Spring 1942, then the US fleet should have no BBs, Japan should be engaged/engaging in the Indian ocean raid, and Germany poised to attack the USSR. As is, it looks like Dec 1941 on the Europe map and some conflation of pre and post Midway on the Pacific.
2. Germany is too weak. It’s obvious from the set up that Russia can roll back Germany hard, and in this game it did, with even so so luck. This would not be such big problem if Germany had reserves ready to counter attack, but the set up has only weak German forces in the Baltics and Poland, so Russia can in fact consolidate its gains. Germany thus has to scramble to stop the USSR, which leaves the UK with a free hand.
3. Japan can’t get the NO J1. The celebes are in British hands at the start, which is fine. But the Japanese 2 transports are out of position, really stymying Japan.
4. Italy is a total zero in this game. Since Germany is more or less completely occupied with stoping Russia, Italy gets no support and will never get anywhere near Cairo.
Solutions: Well, I would set the game truly in Spring 1942. Japan would be at its zenith and Germany ready to resume the offensive in Russia. Thus, I would scrap this scenario and redesign from the ground up. Not much of a recommendation, I know. But the idea of a 42 set up is still good.
I have often wondered if Hitler and Mussolini hadn’t declared war on the US how things might have been different. Would the US just have concentrated all it’s effort against Japan? Or would they have went ahead and eventually declared war on Germany and Italy?
You know, the main reason that Hitler declared war on America was because Japan had signed the tri-partite pact with Germany and Italy. This supposedly guaranteed each party assistance against whomever they may be at war with. Hitler had originally envisioned the goal of the tri-partite pact as a way to destroy Russian Communism and expected the Japanese to invade Russia from the east, which of course they never did. As for Italy, I think Mussolini was simply following Hitler’s lead.
The German Generals were dumbfounded when Hitler declared war on America. Hitler spouted off a lot of bluff and blunder about how he was glad to declare war on the United States but I think that was just for show. I don’t think he really wanted America in the war and was secretly angry that the Japanese dragged America into the conflict.
Declaring war on the US was indeed a major blunder on Hitler’s part, and I don’t think it’s ever been entirely clear why he did so. Even taking into account his track record of tearing up treaties whenever it suited him, he actually had no obligation to declare war on the US after Pearl Harbor because the Tripartite Pact said that the signatories would “undertake to assist one another with all political, economic and military means if one of the Contracting Powers is attacked by a Power at present not involved in the European War or in the Japanese-Chinese conflict.” This provision didn’t apply because it was Japan which attacked the US, not the other way around.
Hitler may have been motivated by the fact that, for the past several months, the US had been in an undeclared shooting war with Germany in the Atlantic. This situation became particularly acute on November 17, 1941 – just 3 weeks before Pearl Harbor – when the US repealed most of the provisions of the Neutrality Act, thus essentially allowing full participation of American merchant ships and naval escort vessels in Britain-bound convoys…something which had the potential to seriously alter the course of the critical Battle of the Atlantic.
Hitler was probably tired of the USA sending tons of equipment to England and Russia and constant sniping in the battle for the Atlantic. He may have also wanted to show loyalty to his Japanese partners who had just attacked Pearl Harbor.
For whatever reason, it was a bad idea!
Great post, thanks.
Winter 42 was the high-water mark for the Axis. They needed to take Moscow/Leningrad before the winter of 42. They didn’t. Hence, it was eventually a downhill slog.
I had a professor in one of my graduate course who offered that it was possible that Hitler knew the war was lost, because he gambled everything on knocking Russia out in 41, and because it failed, Germany would eventually lose. Hence, better for Germany to be destroyed utterly in a gotterdamerung than fight tooth and nail for years and years. This is what explained his declaration of war on the US in December (remember: USA declared war on Japan on December 8. It only declared war on Germany and Italy AFTER they declared war on him).
Not sure if that is factual. Almost impossible to prove, but an interesting theory.
Hence, I think a more interesting global set up would be as you say: June 1941. Let’s see how things go in the East for Germany, and what play the Japanese make.
Maybe it is not the right thread to post this but, according to some of the documentaries I saw,
Hitler almost succeed, he was three weeks short. If the rains of Fall have been less intense, it could have made it to Moskow. And Staline would have to flee.
Is it right?
Hitler lost five weeks by having to bail Mussolini out in Greece. Otherwise the Germans would have been to Moscow before bad weather. But there is no guarantee that the Russians would have surrendered even if they lost Moscow. Plans were underway to move the capital further East.