"Bremer" Prepares for War!

    The first step of any WW2 game, really, is choosing a core force. Before you can do that, however, you have to decide which nationality you want to be. This is important, because each nation has different capabilities which actually changed during the course of the war. The Germans were the dominant army in the first half of the war.  By and large, the Germans could accomplish more with less resources than any other army. The reason for this is simple, moderate to excellent equipment combined with the best overall experience, reaction and leadership than any other army on the field. Playing the Germans, however, will be no cakewalk. Assuming you are playing a long campaign, in the early stages of the war you have two handicaps : 1) you need to take as little casualties as possible, as rank will determine upgrades and 2) their tanks are relatively inferior to those fielded by their enemies. The Germans compensated for their inferior tanks with their excellent tactics and efficiency, but this will largely come down to a matter of tactical command ability amongst the players. That is, it's up to you to use what you have wisely and effectively.

    After you have chosen your nationality, the next thing you must decide is whether your core units will be Foot Infantry, Motorized Infantry or Mechanized Infantry. I have chosen for our unit: German Panzer Grenadier Division. One of the big advantages of Motorized or Mechanized infantry is that all of our core force infantry units will be equipped with transportation. Mechanized troops especially have a big advantage this way because each squad would then have an affiliated half-track which is invariably mounted with a machine gun. This effectively doubles the firepower of our troops. If we are going to use vehicles, we'd may as well get vehicles that can actually do some damage to the enemy.
    Next on the agenda was the choice of squad size. Size will effect the outcome of the experience that will be gained while playing. The larger the group, the longer it will take to get everyone experienced in fighting. The experience your troops have will affect a lot of things that are going on in the game, such as the effectiveness of their fire and their ability to sight enemy units, so the importance of experience cannot be underestimated. As the players gain experience, so to will they gain rank. Higher experienced units are more efficient and have a better chance of surviving longer, so you won't have to replace or rebuild them as often. If you're efficient on the battlefield and in the refit area, then this will leave the players with more points to spend on upgrades, than it would if we were just keeping a shattered rookie force in one piece. The best method for doing this is by having a core force with strong leadership. Our force will be fighting its way through Europe in dozens of different situations, so our force will have to be prepared to meet different challenges along the way.
    There are basically two schools of thought with respect to choosing a core force. On one hand, there are those who like to fashion a core force which more or less corresponds to what a commander would have available in a battlefield situation. This "historical" school tends to organize infantry companies with some extra punch like a tank platoon, a mortar section, or an antitank section. The other school dumps any sentimentality and tries to select units which will give them the best chance of winning the most battles. This school typically has a higher ratio of tanks, antitank guns and engineers. Neither school is correct, it is really a matter of personal choice. I've chosen to do both. Just remember that the more expensive our units are, the more expensive it will be to replace them if they are lost. One thing we definitely should do is fill every slot in your core forces with someone, before "France". We won't get a second chance to add core players later, so we have to fill those slots now.

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