Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha #4: Situation Maps

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

My fellow Vsadniks,

Were you aware that the German OKW produced maps of the entire east front, every day, showing  positions of major units? And, did you know that you can download these scanned maps, and use them for research?

Situation Map Background

The “situation” maps were called “Lage Ost” maps and made between June 1939 and May 1945. This is a highly significant and unique source of documentation for the 1939 Polish campaign and the Soviet-German war, 1941-45. These maps, which number approximately 2075, and were prepared for daily use by Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW. They detailed dispositions and movement of German forces and their opponents.

In 1999-2000, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) filmed these records in the format of 20.32 x 25.4 cm color transparencies. Negatives and reference prints were retained by NARA, while original maps were returned to the Bundesarchiv in Koblenz, Germany. Fortunately, these have been digitized, and are now available through a website: ftp://jccalvin.ddns.net. More on this later.

The wall-sized maps were first printed  by the Mapping and Survey Branch (Abteilung fur Kriegskarten und Vermessungswesen,) and then, annotated by OKH’s Operation Branch (Operationsabteilung) to indicate specific headquarters and unit locations. New maps were prepared daily, as staff officers collated radio and teletype reports from front-line commands to indicate advances, withdrawals, or other changes in locations and shifting geographic boundaries.

The maps were sent to OKW’s Operations Staff (Wehrmachtfuhringstab) for their use in following daily military developments on the Eastern Front. At times, Adolf Hitier personally reviewed these in consultation with his generals. The approximate size of the originals varied from 193 x 193 cm to 152 x 243 cm.

The map annotations are in German, as are transliteration of Slavic place names (e.g. “Wilno” for Vilnius, “Woronesh” for Voronezh.) Knowledge of German is helpful. German and enemy command headquarters are shown by standard German Army tactical symbols. The NARA document: German Military Situation Maps provides additional technical information on the maps, and some history of their capture and exploitation by the US Army.

Sample Maps

An overall view of one of these wall-sized maps is shown here.

Lage Ost Map

Wall-sized Situation Map 26 June 1941

A “zoom-in” of a specific section of a situation map is shown here. This provides some details on the battle around Smolensk on 15 July 1941.

Map around Smolensk

Screenshot of Situation Map around Smolensk 15 July 1941

From this map, the locations of various divisions, like the German 20. Pz (blue color) or the Red Army 37th and 82nd Tank Divisions are visible.(Shown in red color.) Locations of the 2. Panzergruppe HQ is visible. (It is near Gorki.) The Red Army Western Front HQ is shown in Smolensk, but fleeing to the northeast. The next screenshot shows the resolution possible (The total map filesize is 86 MB).

Higher Resolution screenshot

Higher Resolution screenshot showing location of 2. PzGruppe HQ near Gorki

These are screenshots from the MS Paint software display of the files. Most of these files are in the *.tif format. The software program Paint is useful for viewing these as it allows various zoom levels.

Downloading Situation Map Files

The website where these maps can be obtained is ftp://jccalvin.ddns.net. This is a specialized server, and can be accessed only by pasting the following URL into a browser address bar: ftp://jccalvin.ddns.net/Situation%20Maps/

After pressing the keyboard “enter” key, this website should appear. Here is a screenshot:

FTP Server Lagekarten

Screenshot website ftp://jccalvin.ddns.net/Situation%20Maps/

Next select the directory Lage Ost, by left clicking on the link Lage Ost. Do not right click or attempt to open this in another tab or window at any time when working with this server. This will redirect and get off track. The next directory shows options for various years, 1941, 42, 43, 44, and 45. Army Group Weichsel 1945 is also shown.

Again, left click on the Lage Ost 1941 option, and the directories for the months June to December 1941 are shown. Left click on the month of your choice. For example, when June is selected, the screen will show the following:

DailD

FTP Server Lagekarten Daily

Daily June 1941 Situation Map Choices

The daily map of your choice can be downloaded by left clicking on the appropriate link. These maps have large filesize, shown on to the left of each link. They vary from 34 to 96 MB. Download times could take several minutes up to perhaps a half hour, depending on your internet service.

After downloading to the folder of your choice, the TIF graphic map file can be opened in MS Paint or some other suitable graphic software.

References

“Guide to German Military Situation Maps – “LAGE OST” (Eastern Theater), 1939-1945,” NARA

This can be downloaded from http://www.sturmpanzer.com/Research/Resources/resources.aspx

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

Marshall Semyon M. Budyonny


Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha is the latest series of articles by David Galster that will cover various aspects of scenario design, and some key historical points for Campaign Series: East Front III.

 

Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha #3: Cyrillic Transliteration

Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha #2:Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

My fellow Vsadniks,

Do some of our western comrades panic when they encounter text like Смоленск? Well, there is no need to, Смоленск  = Smolensk. Cyrillic is an alphabet used by millions of people in Russia and Eastern Europe. This article provides historical background, and some easy ways to transliterate into Latin letters.

Saint Cyril

For their work evangelizing the Slavs, the brothers Cyril and Methodius are known as the “Apostles to the Slavs.” To help spread the gospel, they translated the Bible into a 9th century language, “Old Church Slavonic,” developing the Glagolitic alphabet for this purpose.

The Glagolitic alphabet was the first to be used for Slavonic manuscripts. But, a simpler alphabet evolved, and early Cyrillic emerged in the First Bulgarian Empire. Later, disciples Kliment and Naum finalized it under a commission of Tsar Boris I of Bulgaria. Cyrillic supplanted the Glagolitic alphabet, and more closely resembles Greek.

Manual Transliteration

Systems exist to covert Cyrillic in to Latin-style letters. The the International Scholarly System was the first, and developed in the 19th Century. The Soviets developed a system in 1935, and later GOST 16876-71 was developed by the National Administration for Geodesy and Cartography at the USSR Council of Ministers.

Using a manual table is a useful way to become familiar with Cyrillic, making sight recognition easier. This is especially useful when working with Russian maps. In the Campaign Series map editor, Cyrillic symbols do not work. If you try to use them for map labels, they will show up as question marks, like “?????”. To represent Russian place names, Cyrillic letters must be transliterated.

The following table is useful for transliteration for Russian maps made in the pre-WWII era and a few decades after. Simply find the Cyrillic symbol in the table, and get the corresponding English letter on the right hand side.

Notice that certain symbols act functionally like accent marks or apostrophes, and indicate proper usage or pronunciation of a preceding letter. For example Ь is transliterated as ‘, and Ъ as “. The letter Ь indicates that the preceding consonant is pronounced in “soft” manner, and Ъ as hard. It is important to include these ‘ and ” symbols in the transliterated word.

Cyrillic Transliteration Table

Cyrillic Transliteration Table

Online Cyrillic Transliteration

Don’t worry my dear Vsadniks, I know you are “chomping-at-the-bits” to find an easier way to handle Cyrillic. The Google translation program automatically shows the Latin transliteration along with the Cyrillic Russian text.

Google Translate Example

The text circled in blue is the transliteration of the Cyrillic Russian text above. And, you can highlight this text and copy for pasting into a document, or perhaps a map label.

Google translate can be accessed via the Google search engine, by clicking the little Google Apps icon in the upper right of the screen. It looks like:

Google Button

Click on this and a selection of Apps appear. The translate option is at the bottom.

In the case of graphic file map symbols that aren’t easily highlighted and copied, there is an online webpage for transliteration. It allows one to type in the Cyrillic characters using a special keyboard, and then these can be transliterated. The website link is: http://translit.cc/

Here is a screenshot of what this looks like:

Translit Website

The Cyrillic letters are typed by clicking the dark highlighted symbols in the “Russian Virtual Keyboard.” Once finished, click on the “Latin” button and the transliterated text appears. For example, if you click on Latin, then the word “Smolensk” appears.

And as an added feature, the “Do more” pulldown menu allows options for spell check, searching, and translating into English, German, French or Spanish.

A few Wargaming Translations

Some common Russian words and their translations follow:

РККА  =  RKKA for  Raboche Kriestianskaya Krasnaya Armiya or Workers and Peasants Red Army

CCCP = SSSR for Sojuz Sovetskih Socialisticheskih Respublik  or USSR

армия  = armiya = army

корпус = korpus = corps

дивизия = diviziya = division

полк = polk = regiment

батальон = batal’on = battalion

Генеральная = General’naya = general

полковник = polkovnik = colonel

References

“Saints Cyril and Methodius”, Wikipedia

” Romanization of Russian”, Wikipedia

“Romanization Systems and Roman Script Spelling Conventions”, US Board Geographic Names

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

Marshall Semyon M. Budyonny


Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha is the latest series of articles by David Galster that will cover various aspects of scenario design, and some key historical points for Campaign Series: East Front III.

 

Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha #2: Russian Military Maps

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

My fellow Vsadniks,

Finding suitable maps to make EFIII battle maps is quite tricky, but this article describes some tips to get suitable reference maps.

Russian Military Maps

The former Soviet Union made a great effort to create maps all over the world. These maps are useful for wargaming, particularly for the Barbarossa campaign. The best maps for Campaign Series are the 1:100000 or 1:50000 scale. Fortunately, these maps are reasonably well available. The system for identifying these maps is the International Maps of the World, IMW coding.

IMW System

The Soviet topographic sheets follow the International Map of the World (IMW) numbering system. In the Northern Hemisphere the numbering system begins at the Equator, and the 180° meridian with sheet number A1. Sheet numbers progress northward and eastward in letters,  and numbers respectively. The individual sheets cover 4° of latitude and 6° of longitude. Example: Sheet M36 is located between 48° and 52° north latitude and 30° to 36° east longitude.

The most useful sheets for Campaign Series mapmaking are the 1:100000 and 1:50000 scale. These also are in the Transverse Mercator projection, and have a rectangular grid system in kilometers. Using these grids is more “user friendly” for mapmaking than geographic coordinates, like latitude and longitude.

A 1:100000 sheet (100k) is identified by this IMW format: M36-18. The last number is a subdivision of the larger 4×6 degree area. Each 100k sheet is one of 144.

M-36 Map Grid

Further, each 1:100000 sheet area is divided into four 1:50000 sheets, (50k) each covering  10′ of latitude and 15′ of longitude.

M-36-18 Map Grid

In Russian (Cyrillic) the subdivision letters are A, Б, В, and Г. However some map websites use Roman letters A, B, C, and D. This needs to be kept in mind when searching for maps on the internet.

The ultimate IMW code for this 50k map is M36-18- Г, M36-18-D.

An IMW conversion spreadsheet is useful for finding the map number from geometric coordinates.

For example, in this spreadsheet, enter a geographic coordinate, 51.4N, and 32.8E. The spreadsheet will display the code M, 36, 18, and Г. The spreadsheet is shown below:

Map Conversian Table

With this IMW code M36-18- Г, a mapmaker can do an internet search to get the map.You can download the spreadsheet from here.

Map Websites

Virtually all Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union maps can be found at this webpage:

http://loadmap.net/ The scale selection for 100k maps is 1 cm = 1 km. A large graphic map index is provided, and by selecting a square, it gives the IMW code and the correct map can be found.

Another way is to use a search engine and use the keywords: Map 100k–M36-18 (Yes, do use the double dash after 100k, it finds it more easily.) This webpage requires a three letter “Captcha” and allows users to download either a *.jpg, or sometimes a *.gif file. The webpage sometimes offers 50k maps

These maps on loadmap are more recent, from the 1970s and 80s. And for Campaign Series mapmaking, a 1:50000 scale is optimal. The language is Russian, using Cyrillic alphabet.

For older maps and 50k scale, this website has maps made by the Red Army:

http://maps.mapywig.org/m/Russian_and_Soviet_maps/series/050K/

This is how this website appears:

Index of Russian Maps

These maps feature a Transverse Mercator grid system, in 1 km increments. The timeframe is 1930s and early 40s, which is perfect for WWII battle maps. This website does not have much coverage as the loadmap site, but has a large number of maps. Also, the Parent Directory has maps in other scales. These maps are in the Russian language using Cyrillic alphabet.

German 50k maps of Russia also exist. The website that features these is:

http://maps.mapywig.org/m/German_maps/series/050K_WWII_UdSSR_x1/

These maps also have Transverse Mercator grid system, in 1 km increments, and a 1930s-early 40s timeframe. The language is in German.

Index of German Maps

Map Samples

1:100000 map section

Map Sample 1:100000

1:50000 Map Sample

Map Sample 1:50000

Conclusion

The IMW map system is useful for identifying maps of Russia. A spreadsheet that converts geographic coordinates to an IMW code is helpful as well and is downloadable from the CS Legion site. There are several good websites where decent maps can be obtained.

References

“Soviet military topographic maps Chapter 1,” USSR Chief Administration of Geodesy and Cartography

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

Marshall Semyon M. Budyonny


Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha is the latest series of articles by David Galster that will cover various aspects of scenario design, and some key historical points for Campaign Series: East Front III.

 

 

Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha #1: Barbarossa 1941

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

My fellow Vsadniks,

This new CS Legion article series, “Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha” covers the early part of the Red Army’s response to Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The articles cover various aspects of scenario design, and some key historical points. This first article deals with a guide on how to research the details needed for Campaign Series scenario design.

Scenario Research Problem with Barbarossa

Operation Barbarossa was very massive, with numerous armies, dozens of corps, and hundreds of divisions. WWII war historians like David Glantz have written volumes about the 1941 invasion, but the discussions are about movements and actions of armies and corps. Occasionally, a division is identified and discussed, but this is the exception.

The new game, Campaign Series EFIII is not suitable for simulating these very large operations. It is much more geared to scenarios with maybe a few regiments on each side, at most a couple of Divisions per side. Details of the lower level unit identification, specific combat locations and times, are not easily found in the narratives.

For example, David Glantz wrote “Barbarossa Derailed, The Battle for Smolensk, 1941 Volume 1.” It is an excellent reference, but does not provide the level of detail needed for good CSEFIII scenario design.

A narrative example in Barbarossa Derailed is as follows: “Boldin, to attempt to organize a counterstroke in accordance with DP-41. Assigning Boldin nominal control of Khatskilevich’s 6th and Mostovenko’s 11th Mechanized, as well as Major General Ivan Semenovich Nikitin’s 6th Cavalry Corps, he ordered the forces of the three mobile corps to mount a concerted attack northward from the Belostok region towards Grodno. . .”

Notice that there are no divisions, regiments, battalions, etc. identified. Where were some of the firefights between German and Soviet forces? The area between Belostok to Grodno is huge, as these cities are 50 km apart. On an EFIII map this would be about 200 hexes. Further, this action spanned two or three days. This narrative is simply not specific enough to design a historical EFIII scenario.

EFIII Campaign Model

This problem can be overcome by using a systematic research method. The first step is to identify a specific campaign within the overall Operation Barbarossa.

Then on the German side, identify the Army Group, Armies, and Corps.

On the Russian side, identify the Front, Armies, and Corps. There were certain identifiable, smaller “campaigns” within Barbarossa. For the German Army Group Center vs Soviet Western Front, the advance on Minsk comprises the first phase, and then afterwards the Smolensk Campaign. In the south, there was a huge tank battle in the Lutsk-Brody-Dubno triangle. These may be artificial constructs, not always found in the literature, but they provide a framework for further research.

Using the narrative example, and studying the book’s Appendix B OOB tables, one can find that the Western Front had 11th Mechanized Corps. This Corps consisted of 29th and 33rd Tank Divisions, and 204th Motorized Division.

We can pick one of these, perhaps 29th Tank Division for a scenario. We can do Russian language searches on it, like 29-й танковая дивизия, in Google, and translate these back to English and find regiment and battalion numbers. Perhaps, in Wikipedia articles, we might even find a battle narrative that provides further detail.

Similarly the 6th Mechanized or 6th Cavalry Corps can be researched for historical information.

One of these should have some interesting action that can be fairly well defined, in terms of units involved, specific locations, and specific times.

A Corps level commander on the Soviet side might have Wikipedia articles. They might even contain some of this battle information. Primary source data, such as a “Kriegstagebuch” might offer some additional information.

Similarly, and perhaps more easily, we can determine possible German Divisions involved.

According to Glantz’s text:

“The few tanks, cavalry, and infantry that survived the gauntlet of intimidating air strikes arrived in the Grodno region long after Hoth’s panzers had raced eastward toward Vilnius and fell victim to devastating infantry ambush and antitank fire from German Ninth Army’s advancing V Army Corps.”

The Divisions of V Army Corps can be found in Appendix B OOB tables: 161st,  5th, and 35th Infantry Divisions. Similar internet research on these Divisions might yield some specific relevant information.

Conclusion

So the basic “Campaign Model” method is to understand the overall picture of a “campaign,” and to know the Army Group, Front, Armies, and Corps involved. (Both sides)

Then from the operational narrative, identify specific Corps actions, general area, and timing.

From Corps designations, list the Divisions involved.

Research these Divisions and perhaps commanders in more detail, to find specific and relevant units,locations, and times.

A sketch of the campaign is useful:

 

EFIII Campaign Sketch

References

“Barbarossa Derailed, The Battle for Smolensk, 1941 Volume 1”,  David Glantz

Campaign Series East Front III | Marshall Budyonny's Dacha

Marshall Semyon M. Budyonny


Marshall Budyonny’s Dacha is the latest series of articles by David Galster that will cover various aspects of scenario design, and some key historical points for Campaign Series: East Front III.

Interviews with the Masters: Huib Versloot

Foreword by Scott Cole

I have been playing CS ever since the original East Front was released. At times, I would take a break from the game, mostly due to time commitments elsewhere, and have played other games but I have always returned to CS. I attribute my continued enjoyment of this long running game franchise to our community of gamers, the friendships among us that have developed over the years and the incredible number of scenarios covering everything from the Spanish Civil War, the Italians fighting in Ethiopia, the Pacific Theater and, of course, the carnage on the Russian Front.

Full credit must be given to all the scenario designers and I will embark on a series of Q&As with the designers I have derived countless hours of enjoyment by playing their games. I won’t be able to interview everyone and while I was absent from CS there has been a few designers such as Tanker Tony and Dan Caviness creating ambitious games. If designing scenarios were easy, I would have created a ton of them by now, so even if this Q&A series misses a few of your favorite scenario designers I would like to extend my appreciation to everyone that has spent the many hours creating scenarios, thereby strengthening our gaming community.

Interviews with the Masters: Huib Versloot

Campaign Series West Front | Scenario Designer Huib Versloot

Huib Versloot (right)

1:  How long have you been playing CS?

I have been playing CS since EF I came out somewhere in the nineties. Before that I used to play a game called Close Combat or something. I think it was a Microsoft game at that time but I’m not sure. Shortly thereafter I started playing Steel Panthers. In the beginning of CS I merely played without much thinking. I used to play by email against a Danish guy and lost all the time. Only later at the same time when I started designing scenarios my gameplay became much better and more serious.

2:  What prompted you to start designing scenarios?

I did a few fictional things in the scenario editor for fun in the beginning, but a few years later I started to combine it with my other hobbies: WWII history and battlefield archaeology in particular. For years I would make annual trips with my elder brother to the Ardennes and explore what still could be seen and found on those former battlefields. We would usually prepare those trips by reading a particular book on a certain part of the battle in advance. In 2002 or 2003 we read the book The Battle of The Bulge in Luxembourg by Roland Gaul. After the battlefield visit to this southern flank of the Bulge, I tried to replicate the events I read in the book and the battlefield and landscape I had seen in the scenario and map editor of CS WF.  At that time the first version of the later “Southern Shoulder” scenarios was born. I posted the scenario on “wargamer.com” and after a while I received some positive feedback from 2 gentlemen by the names of Jim Puff and Don Fox. They invited me to join a wargaming community called The Blitz and from there on the scenario designing became serious fun. Sadly, within one or two years Jim Puff suddenly passed away after a heart attack while at his work place I think it was.

Scenario Designer Huib Versloot | The Ardennes

Huib taking a walk in the Ardennes

3: What is the scenario(s) are you proudest of.

I don’t remember how many scenarios for CS I made anymore, quite a few I think and some in cooperation with other designers.  Probably the best scenario I made as far as I’m concerned is “A Pivotal Day for the 82nd”. It deals with the 82nd Airborne Division combat around Nijmegen during Market Garden. For the Allied side of that history I used a book called “All American All the Way” by Phil Nordyke which is an excellent unit history. About the Germans in these events much less was known. Even if you have a book like “It Never Snows In September” it doesn’t give you all the detail needed about the German counterattack towards Nijmegen. Fortunately, I managed to get a hold of a very rare book by Heinz Bliss and Bernd Bosshammer called “Das Fallschirmjäger Lehr-Regiment” that is very detailed on what happened there from the German perspective.

While this scenario was my highlight I guess, after that I made some interesting scenarios and scenario plans. Unfortunately, they were never released or finished since after that at the CS legion we needed to concentrate on Middle East and the same time my spare time was dwindling as I moved to a more demanding position in my working life. So eventually I dropped out of the CS legion and transferred the things I had done for CS ME and Vietnam to Jason. CS WF stuff remained on the shelf and I might even have lost the files over time.

CS West Front Scenario by Huib Versloot | 82nd Airborne at Nijmegen

CS West Front Scenario by Huib Versloot

4: What is your process for scenario design? It must be difficult to try and recreate a historical event but also create an enjoyable scenario.   How do you go about addressing this?

I don’t remember the precise process anymore as it has been a while. In the previous interview you had with Don, I think he described it well. You start by designing the map and you determine the scope. In the past I wrote a few documents about scenario designing and map making. I don’t know if they still exist somewhere but I would guess they still apply.

Making a good scenario is almost like writing a book to me. You have to make sure to get all the details right (at least I’m quite purist when it comes to the OOB etc.). I would always like to have both sides of the story. So normally I would want to have both Allied and German documentation. I read and write German as well so that makes it easier.

In most cases I would also combine with my other hobby, which is visiting the battlefield, but that is only nice and not necessary to deliver a good scenario. For enjoyability and balance some “feeling” is involved I think. For balance you can do a lot with victory conditions and points vs unit losses etc. I think I described that somewhere in one of those documents. I had a “system” that worked very well, but by now I have forgotten that “system” lol.

5: You mentioned that visiting a battlefield in not necessary to deliver a good scenario? Is this because of the nature of the period you are designing a scenario for (larger battlefields over wide areas as opposed to, for example, Waterloo) or the terrain has changed over time (urbanisation or regrowth of forests) or maybe personal inclination?

Indeed, it is not necessary, it is fun though. What is necessary is a good period topographical map, or knowledge of the terrain changes since the events in case you would use google earth to map for example. I used to use both; the topographical map to know what human structures and terrain type existed and google earth to know the terrain heights. I would then make a transparent hex overlay in google earth and by hovering the mouse over each hex I would know the height value of that hex.

6: Please tell me more about battlefield archaeology.

Every year I used to go to the Ardennes with my elder brother for a mid-week, to investigate a subject, (mostly a unit that participated in the battle of the Bulge or Hürtgen) that we had studied beforehand. The last years we were also joined by a friend of ours who has been a staff sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was very skilled in using the metal detector and could identify almost any rusty object we dug up.  On the last trip we dug up a piece of metal and it wasn’t even completely out of the soil and he said “It’s a Garand”, before I could even see it was a rifle.

As I said we would read /study and from what we read we would try to find evidence. For example, we read the book “Victory was beyond their grasp” about the German 272nd VG division and they had been in very close combat with the Americans on a slope just east of Kommerscheidt. We found cartridges of both sides mixed and hand grenades etc. It was evidence that had really been a fight of man to man as described in the source.

7: When I visited Holland a few years back and we were driving to the Airborne Museum Hartenstein you were telling me about another hobby. It is not game related but I think interesting in how you catalogue bird activity in a certain area over time. I’m not sure how but I think the same attention to detail and aspect of discovery and documentation required for bird watching would come in useful for game scenario design?

My other hobby is something that I actually already started when I was a child. It is bird watching. This hobby ended basically at the age when you get interested in “other birds” lol. When my dad gave him his camera with zoom lens a few years ago, it just started from there again. You never forgot what you learn at a young age so I could still identify a lot of bird species. The good thing is that just like battlefield archeology it is outdoors. In Holland quite a bit of statistical data is collected of birds and nature. So each year I count all the breeding birds in a patch of nature near Amsterdam, that has bit of forest, swamp and a lake so has many different species of birds.  Very early in the morning is the best time walk your round to count the birds, as they are singing and you can identify them by their song, as that is much easier than by visual recognition. You enter the species in the app (with GPS coordinates) on your smartphone and send it over to SOVON (which is the institute that collects the data). Over the months that the birds are breeding (from March to July) you walk several rounds and software (each species has certain parameters) calculates how many individual territoria of each species are present. Modern technology is very helpful in this.

The sad thing is that since I was young there are now 50% less birds in Europe. Like in many areas, the rise of industrial agriculture has wiped out many wild plants, insects and ultimately the animals that eat insects: birds.

 

 

Hack’s Hardcore Hints #6: Initial Battlefield Craters

Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

In Hack’s Hardcore Hints series, David Galster shares some of his scenario design toolkits for Campaign Series: Vietnam, a work-in-progress tactical platoon-scale wargame.

It’s a pleasure, Campaign Series Wargamers,

Have you ever played a scenario, starting with a pristine battlefield, yet knowing that there had been previous combat at the location? Not realistic right? Well, there is a way to put artillery craters on the game map – right from the start. So now you can see, (in 3D mode,) shellholes on the very first turn. This is like the Campaign Series Vietnam scenario editor option to rubble cities. However, the craters must be added by manipulating the *.scn file itself, and not with the scenario editor.

Crater Code Basics

In the game engine, all crater codes start with 13, then have the X coordinate, Y coordinate, and a firing points number. (12, 16, 30, 48, are a few.) There are single spaces in between. The code line for a hex with craters looks like:

13 2 10 48

So to “pre-crater” a scenario, first open the scenario file, (*.scn) using Notepad ++ or jEdit that has the ability to add or modify text. Then add the code lines in the “Unit Data” section.

Generating with EXCEL

These can be generated by an EXCEL spreadsheet if you have a pattern that you want, and can define by coordinates. The variation numbers can be picked from a column file using a random number generator.  Be careful not to put craters over trench hexes, or it will negate the trench. Since they are there for visual effect only, be careful not to put them on top of other functional scenario elements like trenches, mines, etc.

A set of crater codes in a scenario file looks like this:

13 2 12 16

13 2 14 48

13 2 16 30

13 2 18 36

13 2 20 30

The spreadsheet will generate codes in a group of cells. These can be pasted into Notepad++, using unformatted text, but they will be tab delimited. They will look like this:

13              2          10        48

13              2          12        48

13              2          14        16

13              2          16        36

13              2          18        68

 

To replace the tabs with spaces, (you can see the tabs by toggling the “paragraph” key, ¶,) perform a “find” on “→” and replace with a single space. Use the “replace all” option in Notepad++. Then, they will be in a form that can be copied an pasted into the *.scn file. These need to be located in the “Unit Data” section, and can be placed just before the “data footer” part of the scenario file.

Crater Density

You may wonder about the significance of the fourth number, like 48, 16, 36, etc. That number is the cumulative number of points fired on that hex. From 1 to 23, there is a smaller pattern of five craters. From 24 to 47 the pattern has 11 craters, and for 48 and above it has 14.

In CS Vietnam, they look like this:

Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints

Trio of Possible Crater Patterns

Sample Scenario File with Craters

Here is an example of a scenario file and what it looks like with the crater codes added. See the boldface codes near bottom, just above the data footer.

[——————————– data header —————————]

26

Laos Test Map

0 0 0 1-30[d]

0 0 0 0 1-30[20]

9 0 2 5 80 80 80 80

0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

100 100 0 -1

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

Testmap.map

Testmap.org

Testmap.ai

Testmap.lua

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

0 0

0 0 0 0 20

1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1

[——————————— unit data —————————-]

0 0 0 P136508 87 1 1 4 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 0 1 P132101 44 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 0 1 P131004 35 1 32 3 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 0 10 P103014 29 1 1 2 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 0 P106523 28 1 1 2 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 0 P131013 88 1 32 4 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 1 P138015 74 1 1 1 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 8 P132109 32 1 2 6 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 8 P136802 43 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 1 11 P106564 30 1 1 1 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 0 P106504 24 1 1 2 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 1 P132104 77 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 3 P212090 84 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 11 P104001 73 1 32 1 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 2 11 P132109 33 1 1 6 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 2 17 524288

2 2 18 1

0 3 1 P102091 41 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 3 5 65536

2 3 9 524288

0 3 18 P212002 79 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

 

 

0 5 3 P138809 75 1 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 4 P211033 40 1 1 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 5 P217025 2 1 1 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 5 P211029 1 1 32 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 5 5 P212021 37 1 2 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P212004 6 16 8 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P211013 7 16 32 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P212009 8 16 4 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 7 8 P212004 5 16 1 6 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 7 8 128

2 7 9 1

0 8 8 P218012 45 1 1 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

0 8 8 P218011 46 1 32 3 0 0 100 6 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

2 8 9 8192

7 5 0 1 0 100 1 1 0

P132096 36 8 8 2 0 0 100 5 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 -1 -1

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P105037

19 P135001

19 P105044

13 2 10 48

13 2 12 16

13 2 14 48                       Crater Codes

13 2 16 30

13 2 18 36

13 2 20 30

 

[——————————– data footer —————————]

0 -1

1

David Galster

05 September, 1970

Admiring Your Work

So after you modified the scenario file, go ahead and start a new game, and in the 3D mode, look at the area where you wanted craters. There should be artillery crater holes of various patterns, making the battlefield look like the random, tattered mess that any should look like after only a few hours combat.

Campaign Series Vietnam | Hacks Hardcore Hints