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Posted on Apr 16, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Rear Area Security in the Operational Art of War

By Mark Dabbs

Units performing conversion duty should engage to end their turn surrounded by the most unconverted hexes possible. The example below shows one unit divided into three ending its turn so that in the next, they will have converted a maximum of 15 hexes by keeping two hexes apart. Conversions need not be rapid so much as deliberate and sustained.

End of Turn 1

Start of Turn 2

The hex conversion aspect of the game is useful in defining where the enemy is not (at least at the moment). By aggressively engaging in hex conversion, you can immediately pinpoint partisan activity, airborne drops, amphibious landings, and other threats long before they can pose a serious threat to your overall operations.


While not a particularly exciting element of TOAW, these aspects of security can be quite significant in most of the larger scenarios. Moreover, you can gain valuable intelligence about your opponent by what units are being assigned to this duty…a panzer regiment, or military police companies?

II. Logistics, Supply and Fixed Assets

Objective areas, roads, rail lines, airfields, ports, bridges, major cities and supply points represent fixed assets deserving of protection. Always read the scenario notes to determine what is permissible with regards to airborne and amphibious invasions to hopefully narrow down some of your concerns. It is not necessary to rebuild every section of rail and blown bridge behind the front line or maintain control over every road behind your front lines. When everything is a top priority, you have no priorities.

Ports and Beaches. Top in priority — every one eligible for amphibious invasion deserves a good, sturdy garrison. Size is relative to scale, but should be a minimum of one-third of the maximum-sized force likely to conduct such an assault. Add some engineers and artillery for good measure. If you think you do not have enough force available to attend to this #1 priority in security, you are guaranteed to think very differently after a second front is created from an unopposed amphibious landing far behind your front line.

Objective Areas, Supply Points and Cities. Putting a garrison in every city and objective area is cost prohibitive. Prioritize these fixed assets by how vital they are to your own forces, how far they are from the front lines, and how valuable they may be to the enemy. Gaining or losing one of these might serve to gain a shock bonus or penalty; increase or reduce replacements, reinforcements and supply; lose or bring aboard a minor ally; or open up the potential for sudden death victory. Always read the scenario notes to see if any of these events are mentioned. Density of assets (of all types) also serves as a guideline for the arrangement of your security network, discussed below.

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