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Old 06-29-2018, 11:40 AM
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Default OMEGA Revisited

There may be an existing thread dealing with OMEGA and CONUS, but if there is, I can't find it.

I've been thinking a bit about the massive draw down as U.S. forces return to CONUS from Germany in the winter of 2000. Several forumites have pointed out that it seems unrealistic that so many veteran troops would be released from service when foreign enemies remain on U.S. soil. I tend to agree. However, since, IMHO, it's best to try to reconcile with canon than RETCON it, whenever possible, I'd like to proffer an explanation.

First, imagine that you are one of the returning vets. You've spent anywhere from one to four years in combat with WTO troops, far from home. You've received word that nuclear weapons have been used on your home state. You haven't heard from your parents, wife, siblings, stateside friends in many months, years even. You are very likely desperate for reliable news from home.

Imagine that you step off the boat in [] (I can't remember the evac fleet's exact destination in CONUS). A bunch of deep reservists- quite a few of which who haven't seen the elephant yet- are there to keep you from going AWOL. The military has told you that you are to remain in camp until your unit receives new deployment orders, likely to fight the Mexican army in the Southwest. You're not from the Southwest. Tensions between the returned vets and MPs guarding the base camps rise.

The military would surely have anticipated these issues. The last thing that they would need would be a major mutiny- especially with rumors abounding that "CivGov wouldn't do this to us". The miltiary would need to take a proactive approach. They have options. The first is a law-and-order approach. This would involve establishing and maintaining strict control of the camps for returnees, including a crackdown on dissent. I think that such a response would almost guarantee the result it was intended to avoid. You'd be looking at large scale mutinies at the debarkation ports/mustering sites. Desertion would be rampant.

The second option is to take a more understanding, loose-handed approach. This would involve issuing furloughs or 30-day passes to returning veterans, with the understanding that they return to base after checking on their home towns. To make sure this process runs smoothly, I can see the military providing transportation to major hub cities. This would increase the probability that vets would return to base after their leave.

Now, in the latter case, what percentage of vets would return to their assigned bases after completing their furlough/leave? Or, on the flip side, what percentage of vets would decide that they'd had enough of the war, and desert for good?

We've seen, in T2K canon, that unit mutinies and desertion were an issue in Europe, despite cultural/language barriers between U.S. troops and their hosts. Once can imagine that back in the U.S.A., desertion would be an even bigger problem. This is backed up by RL history. Although there were very few munities, there were thousands of desertions by American troops in the ETO during WWII. Desertion rates were appreciably much higher, on both sides, during the American Civil War and there were a couple of notable mutinies (see Free State of Jones) in the South.

Another consideration is the 2001 military's ability to support (feed, clothe, house, etc.) large numbers returning vets. Perhaps the military calculates that they can only maintain a certain percentage of the returning vets under arms. They would likely pick the best units (any evaluation process would likely take time) and demobilize the rest, with the understanding that they were then considered active reserves that could be called back into active service at any time. Again, once they've transitioned to civilian life- whatever that would look like in 2001- how many demobed vets would heed that call? Plus, I don't think that military could effectively keep track of all demobbed troops in a post- computer U.S.A. Telecom is a mess, and any postal system is likely primitive and inefficient.

In closing, I think that, although, on the face of it, the massive troop drawdown described briefly in Howling Wilderness doesn't make a lot of sense- at least from a strategic point of view- when one examines the practicalities of maintaining control of and supplying the returning vets, and the sentiments of the returnees themselves, it is plausible, if not altogether likely that the military would shrink considerably.

Consequently, I think you'd see a lot of returnees forming local militias or turning to marauding to make a living. Many might be willing to return to the struggle to eject foreign armies from U.S. soil as locally-based partisan/guerilla groups instead of as federalized U.S. troops.
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Last edited by Raellus; 06-29-2018 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:53 PM
Olefin Olefin is offline
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One thing that makes no sense - and I mean absolutely no sense at all to the point that its a canon breaker in my opinion - is that none of the units brought back are reformed. I covered this in my Olefin universe story right off the bat. Lets look at the units that came back - the following ones reported for the evacuation intact and organized

3rd US AD 5000 men - pre- war regular division

28th ID 1000 men - National Guard

4th US MD 1000 men- pre- war regular division

1st US AD 4000 men - pre-war regular division

3rd US MD 5000 men - pre-war regular division

6th US ID 2000 men - pre-war regular division

38th US ID 4000 men - National Guard

278th US ACR 400 men - pre-war regular ACR

thats 22,400 men in organized units with their officer, NCO and unit cohesion intact - seven divisions and one ACR and two intact Army HQ orgs to command them (of which only two are Guard units)

And none of them are mentioned in Howling Wilderness? Sorry but the idea that the military literally never reforms any of these units after the evacuation is zero. Dont care how disorganized it gets - unless you have the entire fleet sink and everyone on board is killed some of these units would have been stood to, reformed with whatever equipment they had left and sent out at the very least for security operations.

Now many units showed up disorganized and falling apart - and those I could see people saying the heck with it and leaving - they already had their discipline and unit cohesion gone.

But every single unit - literally no chance - as in zero. Loren screwed up pure and simple. He did have some of the returnees sent as reinforcements but only a fraction - less than ten percent of the total.

And some of his desertions make no sense - look at the math and literally some units would not have held together with the desertion rates he gives - there wouldnt have been a unit left by the time the reinforcements arrived.

And the one unit that absolutely positively would have been reformed is the 28th - they are a PA unit and literally could have walked to Harrisburg or stolen transportation to there.
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:59 PM
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This is how I wrote it in the Olefin Universe thread - and this makes a lot more sense than the canon - and the 2nd Brigade by canon is now in Kenya

"several formations had arrived as mobs of men, with almost no unit cohesion. These personnel were offered a chance to join CENTCOM prior to embarking and some 5000 Army personnel plus another 500 US Air Force and USN personnel and 500 USMC personnel volunteered for duty with CENTCOM.

One unit, the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Armored volunteered as a unit for duty in Kenya. The remaining US Army units that had arrived with no unit cohesion were disbanded and their personnel made available for reinforcement of the units that remained. These units that were disbanded included the 44th Armored Division, the 1st, 35th and 36th Mechanized Divisions, the 2nd ACR, and the 1st Cavalry Division.

Upon arrival at Norfolk all soldiers and officers were informed that the US was still in a state of war with foreign soldiers still on US soil and that until the state of war was lifted they were in it for the duration and that desertion during time of war was a capital crime."

Also keep in mind there were a lot of dependents with the evacuation - i.e. wives and husbands who came along with their spouses - many of whom would not have been soldiers - thus the overall numbers of troops that MilGov would have had would have been less than 43000 - but not to the point as its depicted in HW

In fact the total failure of HW to address the evacuees outside of a couple of mentions of reinforcements is a big reason that module has always had issues with me and many others

and it would have been easy to add a couple mentions without changing canon significantly or making the US "win the war" all of sudden

example

"the militia garrisons of York, Lancaster and Harrisburg are beefed up by the arrival of the 1000 survivors of the 28th Infantry in January of 2001"
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Old 06-29-2018, 02:55 PM
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I agree that it is a somewhat bizarre oversight, if oversight it was. If it was intentional, it's shocking that more of an explanation wasn't offered in HW. I also agree that a returning federal troops -> local/regional militia balancing of the books could be a partial solution to the irregularities in numbers.

That said, I think that you tend to look at things very much by-the-numbers, and fail to adequately consider or account for the human factor in all of this. Civil War vets didn't have to fight- away from home- for four or more years. Neither did WWII vets. Even in our longest wars, Vietnam and The War on Terror, the majority of vets didn't have to be away from home continuously for more than 12 or 13 months at a stretch. To expect nearly every returning soldier to stay in uniform, follow orders, and not go home (i.e. desert) at the first or second opportunity, is almost as unrealistic as the disappearance of so much returning NorthAg and CentAg strength.

Another solution to the conundrum of the "missing thousands" is that HW simply didn't count troops still on furlough. This doesn't account for the missing whole units, but it could explain why the total numbers of troops in CONUS post OMEGA are so dramatically skewed.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:10 PM
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I personally go with the shocking error theory. Keep in mind that the units he mentioned were all ones from the US Army Sourcebook and specifically the ones that were on American soil at the game start. Have a feeling he had a book to get out, it was behind schedule and he just literally went right down the list and only mentioned the units that were in the US at the game start since trying to figure out the fate of all the European divisions would have either made the book too big or taken too long.

Plus keep in mind that he basically ignored events from other books throughout Howling Wilderness. Now it did say it was as of April 2001 - but he also extrapolated to the end of the year - so these events should have been mentioned for sure -keep in mind every campaign changes the timeline for the players only - but if he says that the Corps in OK would break up by the end of the year or LA and NYC would be abandoned by later in the year then its pretty easy to say that the sub gets back in early June or whatever and that the first reactor designed by the scientists goes online at Cape May by Nov of 2001 and there you go - events of Last Submarine trilogy finale and after events now in HW

No mention at all of the events of Last Submarine as to the submarine coming home - those scientists had the formula for easy fusion reactors - should have definitely been mentioned that the sub made it back and that at least a couple of reactors were online. Or even if the sub was being used to generate power.

No mention at all of Reset - which is strongly hinted at that it was recovered by the US given the Krakow descriptions

No mention at all of the recovery of the equipment in Allegheny Uprising - getting those Bradleys would have added to the firepower of that unit significantly.

No mention of what happened with Satellite Down - getting that data would have been crucial as to where to plant.

No mention of the refinery in Lone Star Red Star - getting that much oil going again would have changed the whole situation in South Texas

No mention at all of the turncoat Russian units in Alaska - two divisions joined the US Army - they should have been mentioned with US forces

No mention at all of what happened to the remaining Russian and Mexican forces on US soil - it strongly infers that the Soviet Division Cuba fell apart but doesnt out and out state it - same with the units in Alaska and along the Canadian West Coast or for that matter if the Mexican Army continued to fall apart by years end

Thats why I see HW as possibly only being accurate up to April 2001 - and from there then you could work on the omissions being added to the canon - which I plan on doing

FYI adding in some of the missing units or events doesnt mess up canon - they are canon already - its more an issue of putting them back in where they belong and correcting the oversights

Last edited by Olefin; 06-29-2018 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:14 PM
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Default It's So Obvious, We Missed It!

Perhaps there's no mention of all of that stuff because, as a writer trying to sell product, Wiseman had to assume that purchasers' gaming groups hadn't completed those module missions yet? I mean, otherwise, he's essentially ruining all those other products with spoilers (i.e. how their successful completion would influence the game world)- including, most significantly, Going Home!

It's kind of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario. By failing to account for the outcomes of those modules, it seems like he's being careless or super absent-minded. By including all that stuff, he's basically screwing GDW/FFE over by riving away the major plot points of many of the previously-published, still-for-sale, adventure modules. Why would you buy module X when you already know how it's supposed to end?!?

So, the lesser of evils may have been to ignore anything covered previous canonical works. That's why the ETO units are not mentioned at all in HW.

What would be really helpful to Ref's then is an official addendum to HW, with the results of earlier modules factored in. Kind of like a flow-chart. For example, "If the players successfully completed module X, then Y would be affected in the following ways. If they failed to obtain [insert Macguffin], the situation will be as described."
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Perhaps there's no mention of all of that stuff because, as a writer trying to sell product, Wiseman had to assume that purchasers' gaming groups hadn't completed those module missions yet? I mean, otherwise, he's essentially ruining all those other products with spoilers (i.e. how their successful completion would influence the game world)- including, most significantly, Going Home!

It's kind of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario. By failing to account for the outcomes of those modules, it seems like he's being careless or super absent-minded. By including all that stuff, he's basically screwing GDW/FFE over by riving away the major plot points of many of the previously-published, still-for-sale, adventure modules. Why would you buy module X when you already know how it's supposed to end?!?

So, the lesser of evils may have been to ignore anything covered previous canonical works. That's why the ETO units are not mentioned at all in HW.

What would be really helpful to Ref's then is an official addendum to HW, with the results of earlier modules factored in. Kind of like a flow-chart. For example, "If the players successfully completed module X, then Y would be affected in the following ways. If they failed to obtain [insert Macguffin], the situation will be as described."
I actually like that a lot - especially since the players actions really affect the post HW world.

For instance a couple of ideas in that vein

"If the players managed to get the tapes from the Russian Satellite then the effects of the starvation in HW are significantly reduced as planting is directed towards areas that will get enough rain, reducing wasteage of seed and fuel in areas that would not be productive.

If the players managed to retrieve the scientists in Romania and successfully bring them home, starting in early November the first reactor comes on line from their efforts in the Cape May area followed by others in areas still under Milgov control."

FYI some events were mentioned for sure - keep in mind that Kidnapped was released before HW. Thus the successful kidnapping of the head of NA is presented as fact in HW. So again that supports more the rushed effort - and there is also the distinct possibility that Loren didnt have time to read the other modules. Thus if he is working on HW but hasnt read one of the modules I mentioned he might not have known of the events. This was pre-internet - and I have no idea how much the various GDW authors coordinated their work.

You can see that clearly in Gateway to the Spanish Main where the submarine from Last Submarine torpedoes the Bulgarian freighter with the Cubans on board. But according to Last Submarine at that time that ship is still being repaired and is in the hands of the UFB and has no weapons onboard. There are lots of other contradictions like that many of which have been discussed ad naseum on this board before

Also we know Omega happened and those units came home in the HW text itself- its stated in HW that reinforcements for some units came from the European evacuees that came home on Omega - so again its back to Loren either messed up, got hurried or didnt know how to deal with them so he just ignored them - and that needs to be corrected

Last edited by Olefin; 06-29-2018 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:44 PM
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I think the better approach may be that the units were stood up and reformed eventually but that it took quite a while to do so. Keep in mind the supply system is non-existent, there is very little new production going on outside of reloads, mortars and mortar ammo, grenades and bikes - thus its going to take quite a while to stand those divisions back up as anything other than a big formation of foot infantry

Thus something like - "the first division from the Omega evacuation was not fully reformed and readied for combat again until mid-June, with mechanics repairing and converting trucks and civilian SUV's for military use and restoring a few tanks and armored vehicles back to operating condition that were still in depots. (Pick the division of your choice) In place of artillery it had mortar companies and recoil-less rifle platoons and many of its tanks were literally museum pieces brought back to life." would make a lot of sense and would be not change the canon in any way - as the forces described in HW was as of April 2001 and the re-stood to division wouldnt be back up until June or so
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