Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Unity of Command II Teaches You Operational Art

It would be silly to end this year without a mention of Unity of Command II (UoCII). Right beneath the great graphics, the efficient interface, the tough computer opponent and the well-thought game mechanics you will find grognard-worth wargaming riches. Don't get confused by the looks, this is not Panzer General. Unity of Command II is a true wargame for the 21st century. 

Yesterday I was playing the "Sickle Stroke" from the "Blitzkrieg" DLC. This scenario has you in command of the German Army Group A, with Panzer Group Kleist with its own HQs. In the screenshot above, the divisions of the Panzer Group have made it to Sedan, where French forces of the French First Army Group are making a stand. This is nothing to worry about. The powerful armored force will force a crossing, yet there is something else going on. The really closed terrain of the Ardennes is already a problem for supply delivery. With a limited pool of supply trucks I'm thinking: what's going to be after I cross at Sedan? The rail network -the best way to supply your units in UoCII- in northern France is either lacking or moving perpendicular to my advance. 

The creation of an additional supply hub (see above) will do for the time being, and it did for around two turns or so.

Crossing at Sedan. Blitzkrieg unleashed!

Panzer Group Kleist cut deep into Northern France, but then the lack of supplies caught up.

The supply network: the red symbols denote locations out of supply.

The previous question of "what's going to be after I cross at Sedan?" comes back to me. And there is a reason for that: one of the most important operational art's elements is "lines of operations". I have thought about what those lines would be, but I haven't thought on how to keep them healthy. As a result of this lack of supplies, my "tempo" (yet another operational art element) sank.

Needless to say, my relaxed tempo gave the enemy enough time to re-arrange its defensive posturing. Eventually, I find myself at an unavoidable "culmination point" (no further offensive actions are possible). So short from total victory. See screenshot below.

As I mentioned before, there is a lot food for thought in UoCII. 



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