Saturday, December 26, 2015

Panzer Battles - Battles of Normandy - What Makes it so Great?

What's so appealing about Panzer Battles? For me it's all about its ability to model tactical (and sometimes even operational) situations at a certain level of detail without being overwhelming. Your mileage may vary.

Panzer Battles - Battles of Normandy
John Tiller Software
US $39.95
Digital Download

Every war game that I play handles the essential tasks of  tactical/operational units. The scale at which you can do this is off course variable. Taking example from John Tiller's portfolio of games, the Squad Battles series boosts a great level of detail but off course the scope of every scenario is limited. The Panzer/Modern Campaigns series are great to model warfare at the grand tactical/operational level, but the formations and terrain are aggregated, providing a reduced level of detail. No complains here, something has to give for a manageable game after all.

And for a while we have been playing Panzer Battles, which is at an intermediate level of detail between Squad Battles and Panzer Campaigns.

What's the deal?

Just my opinion: no other Tiller WWII war game shows the minimal and the basic WWII tactical units at a level of detail that is manageable yet providing a significant amount of moving parts and options.

Without getting into a scholarly debate of the tomato/tomatoe type, a unit with the abilities listed below is what a call a minimal tactical unit. You may recognize this list and you will notice that I took some items out, like combat service support, which tend to be out of the scope of many war games.

  1. Provide and process intelligence
  2. Conduct tactical maneuvers
  3. Fire support, including localizing targets
  4. Provide air defense
  5. Provide mobility and counter-mobility
  6. Provide command and control
  7. Conduct tactical missions

That being said, I call the regiment as the minimal (can more or less do all of the above) WWII tactical unit and the battalion as the basic (can do some of the above) tactical unit.

A US infantry regiment "parade". From one of Battles of Normandy formation viewer scenario. It is only a the regiment level that WWII US formation had significant indirect fire support. You may also notice the lack of engineers (mobility) and aerial defenses in the regiment. Those were usually detached into the regiments from Divisions and Corps.

An infantry battalion (counters highlighted white) spread out. Note the amount of terrain covered and all the options for flanking a German position. 


florian said...

There are already some artwork mods out there, you should check them out !

Doug Miller said...

Well said, JC. I think this is exactly right. Certainly with the Normandy release the PzB series has really come into it's own.

JC said...

Hi florian,

I heard about the mods and I am looking forward to try them out. Any particular suggestion?

How is everything? We haven't chatted in ages! :)


florian said...

Actually there are only two mods, one is semi official and my own mod.
They also can be mixed with each other, just try them and see what look you like.