Overruns – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Published by John Bannerman on

OVERRUNS – a hoary subject of discussion.  In most game systems these are free – that is, other than maybe some movement, the attacker wins 100% of the time.  This has always fascinated me since, other than when, for example, an armoured division overruns a bunch of blokes armed with spears or picks’n’shovels, this is the absolute opposite of what happened.

Time and again, rear guard formations massacred spear-head assets during WW2.  Repeated ambushes, artillery strikes, and clever traps using mines, booby traps and so on caused heavy attacker casualties with minimal defensive casualties.  This holds true in France and Belgium in 1940, Africa throughout the campaign (the rapid British and German “lossless” advances were nowhere close to enemy forces, so you know), within the USSR and then again across France and up through Italy during the Liberation of Europe.

The vast amount of work we have done on this indicates that our very heavy attacker losses for unprepared (ie overrun) attacks much more accurately reflect the attacker loss-rates than ill-conceived but convenient attacker-centric rules permitting free wins.

Generally speaking, the problem these free attacks are fixing are system rules or unit values which do not reflect, at a given scale, the real world capability of forces to work “off the cuff”.  So, to reflect that, we made overruns costly.  You can use them – and we have made them a bit nicer for the attacker – but over-use, and/or overly-cavalier use of them, will still pummel the attacker – which is as it should be. 

If you feel losses are too high, use attacks.  This is exactly what the best Generals of WW2 did – pause, gather forces, prepare – and only then commit them.  It could be a fairly hasty attack, such as several launched by O’Connor, Patton, Guderian or Rommel we can find, or a more carefully prepared assault similar to several launched by Montgomery and Rundstead.

Thus, the simulation value is correct within the TSWW rules – you can do rapid stuff, but it may hurt a lot if you misjudge it. If you sit back and prepare, you have a better chance of low attacker losses.  Thus, we will not be amending the primary system rules – they reflect reality, not inbuilt design and unit rating flaws – unlike many other products.  That, simply put, is why our rules live up to our demand that they provide real world results given real world decision making!

1 Comment

pedro.santos704 · March 2, 2023 at 10:37 am

I think the recent discussion on TSWW overruns was about that the current system is too punishing on the defensor (auto DA result, even at low odds), and too lenient on the attacker (less losses than the regular CRT), and not the other way around…

As is written above, many times there were “minimal defensive casualties”. Why does TSWW impose a Defender Anihilated result all the time? Why not roll on the CRT to resolve overruns?

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