Rethinking of National Tactical Advantages

  • This really should be National Tactical Advantages that comes from hundred years of military traditions. But when I read through the threads here, the majority of Advantages seems to be weapons developments, terrain and weather. USA were not the only nation with Paratroops, and Russia were not the only with Trains. So here comes my favorite list.

    Do mind that the cost, movement and combat value of the units stay the same, as OOB. A Tactical Advantage is how the military leaders of that nation used the units.


    1. PanzerShock. Each German Tank absorb, or negate one hit, this means it takes two hits to kill a German Tank.
    The reason is German Panzerdivisions attacked as shockwaves at the weak point at the enemy line, breakthrough it, cut the supply and made the enemy surrender. This way of attacking produced less casualties than the infantry and artillery meat grinder, so every Tank save German lives.

    2. PanzerBlitz. German Tanks can double-move, both during combat and non-combat movement.
    2a. German Tanks that were not used so far, can Blitz through newly captured territory, and undefended enemy territory, and resolve combat in the next territory.
    2b. German Tanks that moved into an adjacent territory and resolved combat there, can retreat into any adjacent friendly territory during non-combat move.
    This is the historical correct way that German Panzer divisons were used. No other nations would do the same. All other nations would use Tanks as slow infantry support weapons.


    1. Scorched Earth.
    1a. When you take a Russian territory, all facilities are destroyed and removed from map. Put a damage token to cover the IPC value, the conquer can not collect income from this territory before he have payed 1 IPC to remove the Damage-token in his next Phurchase and Repair phase.
    This is Russian military tradition from hundreds of years back, and no other nations, not even Germany, did this on a large scale.
    1b. Russian defending units that survived the first round of attack, can retreat to any adjacent friendly territory that is not under attack.
    This too is a typical traditional Russian way of warfare, trade land for time.

    2. Partisans. During Mobilize Units phase, Russia can place one single infantry on territories without factories. Even occupied Russian territories that are not protected by enemy units.
    This happened all the time in Russia, but nowhere else.

    …is now recognized as a great Sea Power with supreme sailors.

    1. Defending UK ships can retreat from a seazone when enemy naval units combat move into it, and before combat is resolved. Enemy aircrafts abort this retreat.
    The Brits did in fact decode the Enigma, were masters in espionage, and the worlds best sailors since Nelson

    2. Defending UK Infantry can retreat into an adjacent seazone that have one or more Trannies. The trannies cargo limit is still in force.
    The Brits did in fact evacuate infantry  from shore to Trannies several times, Dunkirk, Greece, Crete etc


    1. Kamikaze. Japan is the only player with an exclusive National Advantage rule in every edition of the A&A games.

    …great economy and worlds largest Airforce

    1. Lend and Lease. USA can give money to other nations like Russia and UK, or France if it survives long enough.
    a. Place a Convoy unit (buy at HBG), at a seazone in the North Atlantic, and as long this is not sunk by Germany, USA can give a friend like 3 or 5 IPC for every Convoy that are afloat during that players collect income phase. This rule need to some more work.

    b. Place a Resource Token (buy at HBG) on a US Tranny, and move it to a territory that belong to the receiver. If it makes it, the receiver turn the token into IPCs

    2. Carpet Bombing.
    During the SBR phase, US Heavy Bombers can do one round of Carpet bombing against land units.

    The sequence.
    1. Move Bombers, Tacs and escort fighters into the contested territory.
    Defender commit intercepting fighters

    2. One round of air-to-air dogfight.
    All attacking planes roll 1 as a hit, defending fighters roll 2 or less as hit.

    3. Surviving Bombers and Tacs choose to SBR factories, Ports or airfields. So far OOB. US Bombers can also choose to Carpet Bomb land units.
    Facilities roll AA fire to the planes, and if it is an AA-gun unit present, it too fire against the Bombers that are Carpeting.

    4. The bombers roll for facility damage OOB, and the carpet Bombers roll to kill land units. Every Carpet bomber roll 2 dice, each 2 or less is a hit, and the casualties are removed, and since this is preemptive fire, before the attacking land units have moved into the territory, the casualties can not return fire. But, like when Battleships do Shore Bombardment, every Bomber need a matching attacking land unit to do the Carpet bombing.

    Only USA had large enough and many enough Heavy Bombers to do Carpet Bombing, so this is an exclusive USA National Advantage

  • Customizer

    German tank advantage shouldn’t apply vs USSR. The KV tanks were almost invulnerable to German shells before the Panther and Tiger were introduced, so give the Soviets the 2 hit point advantage also.

    I’ve had a rule: idealogical warfare - whenever Germany/Italy and USSR capture a tt from the other they get a free infantry there to represent locals opposed to the other regime politically. Germany had about 1 million Soviet citizens serving in its armed forces at the hight of the war. This also encourages attacks, representing the vicious nature of war on this front.

    Not sure about the Soviets retreating; Stalin ordered any Russian soldier who retreated to be shot. Perhaps something to represnt the intelligence they received from British codebreakers, which meant that they knew everything the Germans were going to do before they did it?

    Incidentally, for pre 1942 scenarios I think Germany should receive IPCs from Russia to represent the large quantities of materiels sent by Stalin as part of the German-Soviet pact. It has been calculated that Germany got more out of Russia under this deal than it ever got by forcibly occupying most of the Soviet Union’s industrial areas.

  • @Flashman:

    Not sure about the Soviets retreating; Stalin ordered any Russian soldier who retreated to be shot.

    You are only partly correct. Stalins famous Order Nr. 227, which told retreating soldiers must be shot, was written in July 28 1942, one year after the attack on Russia. If you look at a situation map from that date, you will see that the Red Army had stopped the trading of land for time, and now were headed west to Berlin.

    Stalins first order after the German attack was the Scorched Earth Order, and before August, just one month after the attack, he had established more than 1 700 Destruction Battalions to burn down and blow up everything the Red Army left behind. This was a typical Russian military response to an attack. Stalin also wrote Order Nr. 270 in August 16 1941, which instructed officers to not retreat without order. Stalin wanted the retreat to be as slow as possible, and he wanted encircled units to not surrender, but slow down the Germans.

    In light of this, my house rule suggestion still stand firm IMHO, love discussing with you though

  • @Flashman:

    German tank advantage shouldn’t apply vs USSR. The KV tanks were almost invulnerable to German shells before the Panther and Tiger were introduced, so give the Soviets the 2 hit point advantage also.

    You are misunderstanding. The 2 hit advantage has nothing to do with Heavy Tanks, armor or shells. Tanks are not Battleships. Its the Blitzkrieg doctrine, with fast surprise attacks and Tanks making shock waves. The Russian KV Tanks did not earn a 2 hit advantage during the Finnish Winter war, nor in the Spanish Civil war of 1936. You need to understand that this rule is not about individual Tanks, its about Panzer Divisions and Armor Corps of hundred thousand men and thousand Tanks. At this scale, a German Panzer Korps took less casualties than the defender, because their Mission Tactics, surprise attacks and Blitzing would absorb enemy hits. Simple as that.


    1. USA purchase one or more Convoy units. This unit cost USA 7 IPC to purchase, but the receiver only cash out 5 IPC. The missing 3 IPC is for shipping.

    2. The Convoy unit represent civilian merchantmen and cargo ships that USA hire to ship the stuff to UK or Russia. The Convoy unit move 2 spaces, and can be sunk like any other ship. It has no combat value.

    3. When the Convoy unit finally reach its destination, the receiver cash in 5 IPC and remove the unit from play. When the LL goods are delivered, the Merchantmen are supposed to join the international trade again, and are no longer part of the game.

    P1010168 (640x480).jpg
    P1010167 (640x480).jpg


    The Commander unit is supposed to model very skilled and successful Field Marshals and Fleet Admirals, that got the ability to turn battles to their favor. For any game purpose, a Commander that is present in a territory or seazone, can reroll all misses, both in attack and defence. If your Tanks, Inf, Art and Tacs in Ukraine roll a total of 5 hits and 9 misses, then a present Commander can reroll the 9 misses.

    Only one Commander can use his reroll ability in a specific territory. If Germany have 5 Commander units in Poland, only one of them can reroll misses. The others are considered being on vacation.

    The great military powers start with a set numbers of Commanders, and it is not possible to purchase any more during play. But a Commander can be removed from play if all units in his territory or seazone are killed.

    Germany start with 6 Commanders. They got the best military commanders of the world at that time.

    USA start with 3 Commanders.

    Russia start with 1 Commander. Stalin had purged the rest of them.

    UK is recognized as a great Sea Power and start with 1 Fleet Admiral.

    P1010169 (640x480).jpg


    1. The Maginot Line. France start with 4 Fortress units on the German border.

    Fortress unit. Cost 10 IPC. Defend on 4 or less. Take two hits to kill

    2. French Fighting Spirit. French infantry that survived the first round of combat, will surrender before the next round

    P1010165 (640x480).jpg
    P1010166 (640x480).jpg

  • A thought to consider on the commander units:
    This game already heavily rewards “stacking” units. Adding this unit increases that incentive even more so.

    I mean to be pointing this out from a neutral perspective.

  • @EnoughSaid:

    A thought to consider on the commander units:
    This game already heavily rewards “stacking” units. Adding this unit increases that incentive even more so.

    I mean to be pointing this out from a neutral perspective.

    Thanks, this is exactly the kind of feedback I want. I hope to playtest it during the upcoming holidays. I have seen threads about this HR now and then, and would like info from playtests, if any have been done.

    I see your point about stacking, but am not sure that will happen before it is playtest big time. I believe the Moscow stack happens because Moscow is a decisive point. If you want to remove the incentive to stack, you must change the Capture of Capital rules.

  • 2. French Fighting Spirit. French infantry that survived the first round of combat, will surrender before the next round

    I can’t see where is the advantage??!!! :-D

  • @crusaderiv:

    2. French Fighting Spirit. French infantry that survived the first round of combat, will surrender before the next round

    I can’t see where is the advantage??!!! :-D

    The advantage to France is, it saves lives. Now that’s a big deal to the French

  • Customizer

    I like the commander idea. A good bonus but not terribly overpowering (after all, even the re-rolls could turn up as misses again).
    Not so crazy about Germany getting 6 while the Allies seem to get so few. I understand Russia with the Stalin purges. Zhukov really was the only talented Russian general anyway. It just seems as though the US and UK should get more, like at least 1 each. Or at least give the UK 1 more to represent Monty or Sir Harold Alexander. This way both sides would have 6.

    I noticed you only covered the European theater. No great commanders for Japan? Or for the US Pacific forces? I think 2 each would suffice. For the US, Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur. For Japan, Admiral Yamamoto and perhaps General Tojo, or General Yamashita.

    Oh yeah, about having multiple commanders in one territory. You mentioned only 1 re-roll (the other commanders not getting that bonus). The other commanders wouldn’t be on vacation, they would just be subordinate to the one commander that gets to re-roll. Like if Rommel and Kesselring were in the same territory, Kesselring would be the superior officer so he would be getting the bonus.
    Another note about stacking commanders: that could be very dangerous. If Germany puts 5 commanders in Poland (like in your example) and the Russians attack and wipe out all the German combat units, Germany just lost 5 commanders in one fell swoop.

    So this commander bonus would happen no matter how big of stacks of units you have? Sometimes with the final attack on Russia (Moscow) I have seen the Russians stack up 60+ infantry along with some other units. If Zhukov is in Moscow, and Russia rolls defense for 60+ infantry plus other units, they would still get to re-roll for all the misses? I understand that would be the point of the commander rule, it just seems like a lot of re-rolls.
    This is every combat round, right?

  • Thanks for input, knp7765. I am brainstorming, so noting is carved in stone yet.

    Yes, so far I just cover Europe. I live in Europe so that’s the game my group usually play, that or 42. Don’t think we have finished a game of Global 40 yet, takes too much time.

    So far this idea is more theory than playability. Since its a house rule, every group are free to play it the way they want. I figure a decent Commander can reroll in every round of combat, not just the first. Maybe the Allied Commanders should reroll in the first round only, since they use a rigid tactic, and after the first meeting with the enemy their plans turn to chaos. But the Germans used the Mission Tactics (Auftragstaktik) where even low leaders at company, battalion and Division levels would take initiative on their own, and don’t sit and wait for orders from above. If a Russian leader would take initiative, then Stalin would send him to GULag, so the Russian tactic was different, no finesse, only human waves. And Zhukov was only successful when he was far away from Stalin, like in the Battle of Khalkin Gol in the far east, or in Leningrad.

    If you look at the TDI reports at Dupuy Institute, you will see that for every German soldier, it would take 10 Russians, 3 Brits or 2 Americans. Obviously the German training, skills, tactic and leadership were superior to the Allies. Its two ways to model this, either give German units higher combat values, or give Germany Commanders that can reroll misses. I prefer the last choice.

    Monty did not make the list. He did too many mistakes. He did well only against the Italians, but they score even lower than the Russians on the TDI reports from DI.

    Yes, then we have the Moscow stack. Lets say Germany attack with 70 units against 60 units. If both stacks got a Commander each, they will balance each other, and the outcome will be the same. The only advantage with Commander units in this case, is faster resolving of the Battle. Lets say you use 10 dice. You roll for 10 units at a time, and with a Commander you do the reroll immediately, saving time. Now you will have less units left after the first round of combat, and the extra time spending is barely noticeable.

  • Customizer

    Yeah, I agree with your assessments, both on the big Moscow stacks and with the different leader styles and tactics. Germany really did have better military tactics and training than the Allies did. I think that is partly because military service was compulsory in Germany early on while the majority of Allied troops were drafted from civilian lives and pushed into service with somewhat quick training (or in the case of the Russians, almost no training).
    This is why the war dragged on so long and cost the Allies such tremendous casualties. If it were strictly a numbers game, the Allies would have overwhelmed the Axis much earlier and the war could have been over in 1944, maybe even late 1943. But the Allies relied more on greater numbers and material wealth than on real training. Of course this eventually worked, but came a quite a high cost. Perhaps if the Allied troops had the same kind of tactics training as the Axis troops, it could have been different. Then again, that takes a lot more time and the Allies did kind of have to rush things.
    Allied tank production is a good example. From 1940 to 1945, the US build a total of 91,197 tanks, the Soviets built 98,600 while Germany only produced 46.403. The Germans were so much into quality that each of their tanks were basically hand-crafted units. They looked upon mass production assembly line techniques with disdain. Meanwhile the US were masters of the assembly line and the Soviets copied much of the US techniques. So they were able to crank out tanks at a much higher rate, as well as planes and for the US, ships.
    Also, design changes were much less common in the US and Russia. You would have hundreds of tanks that were pretty much identical. In Germany, they would often incorporate changes to the design so a finished Tiger tank coming out of the factory might be radically different to the Tiger tank just 6 spots behind it. This required too much time: 200,000-300,000 man hours on a tank in Germany compared to 35,000-50,000 man hours per tank in Russia and only about 10,000 man hours per tank in the US.
    The US Sherman tank was inferior to the German Panther or Tiger tanks and was totally outclassed on a 1 to 1 basis. But the US flooded the European theater with so many Shermans that Germany couldn’t keep up. Like one WW2 tanker veteran said, "You could send 10 Sherman tanks after a Tiger tank and you would take it out, but you might lose 7 or 8 of your Shermans in the process.

    Anyway, I understand your reasoning for the ratio of commanders. Yeah, Monty I think was one of the biggest overrated commanders. He did do good against the Italians, but they pretty much sucked. He did end up defeating Rommel, but Rommel’s supplies were getting sunk in the Med while the Brits just kept getting more and more stuff to work with. A lot of Monty’s successes were him taking credit for other’s wins. Do you know that after the Germans were defeated at the Battle of the Bulge, Monty actually said that it was he and the British army that saved the day? Even Winston Churchill got mad at that and made the statement that the Battle of the Bulge was an American victory.

  • One method to regulate commanders is to roll at the beginning of the game to assign each leader a level. That level would be how many rerolls they get.

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