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Wargames by Jim Werbaneth




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©2008-2022 Jim Werbaneth


JANUARY 10, 2022

The march of new features continues.  Here, I present a returnt to the major, researched papers.  This one addresses the Second Battle of Kharkov in spring 1942.  This one is of some import to me, as my introduction to Eastern Front wargaming came in 1978, with Strategy & Tactics Issue 68 (May-June 1978), and the issue game, Kharkov.  Now, forty-four years later, here is my own article on the battle, Anatomy of a Failure: The Defeat of the Soviet Kharkov Offensive, 1942.

DECEMBER 31, 2021


As promised, I'm ending 2021 with another piece of historical commentary, this one an essay on the importance of Winston Churchill of World War II.  This is not only due to his leadership of Britain from 10 May 1940 onwards, but also his central role as a key historian; he made the history, and then wrote it.  So, here it is, Churchill the Indespensible: How the Prime Minister Became the Most Important Figure of World War II.

DECEMBER 19, 2021

This site has not been updated meaningfully in five years, and the Academic Articles section, added in early 2017, was the last update of any kind.  I've given the reasons a lot over the years; these start with health problems, and end with lots and lots of work in my day jobs.  Typically, I've had two to three jobs at a time, and at the most frantic, two of them full-time, with a third part-time, as an adjunct college instructor.  Secondarily, there were all the commitments of being an adult and buying, and then keeping, a house. 

Now, after recovering from all those health issues and relearning to take a breath and take a nap, I'm putting more energy into Line of Departure.  Besides working to get the thirtieth anniversary issue of the print edition out the door, this means adding to Line of Departure Online Features, at long last.  I do not see this as a "one and done" effort, but one for the long term.  The start of that is a short essay on Adolf Hitler's character as a gambler, and how he fell into the gambler's trap of expecting a change in luck, just around the corner.  Thus I now present Portrait of the Führer as a Compulsive Gambler: How Winning Early Warped Hitler's Perceptions of Strategy.

There will be more, and sooner rather than later.

FEBRUARY 13, 2017

As the culmination of the effort to put more academically-oriented work on Line of Departure Online Features, I gathered all of these projects together on one page, in addition to the central Articles section.  If I end up writing more such projects, I'll add them there too.  In the meantime, teachers and especially students are invited to check out the Academic Articles page, and use them as examples to follow, and as resources for their own research projects.

DECEMBER 11, 2016

It has been two years since I updated Line of Departure Online Features, and I'll admit that it's been too long.  The Battle of Sadowa is about to be published, and I am planning to doing more game design work in 2017.  Stay tuned from details.

This year too I finished work on my Master of Arts in military history, concentrationg on World War II, over the summer.  It was officially conferred in August.  Take a look.

One of the last major projects that I wrote for this six-year projects is a research paper for an elective on command and leadership in the Civil War.  This covers the logistical foundations of the Overland Campaign of 1864, especially Ulysses S. Grant's use of naval and riverine assets.  You can read it here.

This is probably going to be the last significant paper that I upload to Line of Departure Online Features.  There are others, but they have been submitted to a couple of different wargaming magazines, so they won't be going down a black hole by any means.

So what is next for Line of Departure Online Features?  I anticipate a smaller proportion of historical articles, and more projects directly related to games, both board and computer.  I anticipate that with my latest and probably last venture into graduate school complete, I'll have more time to write what I want, rather than what I have to do for school.

DECEMBER 17, 2014

I'll admit that today's update is more than a little overdue.  Suffice it to say that it has been a very busy year, wtih two academic positions, the Line of Departure print edition, and graduate school.  Additionally, I returned to game design work with The Battle of Sadowa, for Turning Point Simulations.  Now under development, this game is a strategic-level treatment of the Austro-Prussian War, with low counter density on an 11" x 17" map.  Look for this to be published in 2015.

In the meantime, I present to you one more historical article.  It is an analysis of the 77th Infantry Division's performance in the Pacific War, and why it should be viewed as an elite.  There are more famous elites, such as the Marines, paratroopers and Rangers, with the latter two particularly being comprised of carefully selected, specially-trained men.  But the 77th Infantry Division was something else; a formation of reservists and draftees.  Yet it demonstrated, from Guam  through the Ryukus, that it was a cut above.

MAY 27, 2013

Today's update is another academic article.  This one covers a campaign that was intended to be a lot more important than it turned out to be something less.  Initially, it was expected that the upon the breakout from Normandy after D-Day, Patton's Third Army would be tasked with seizing ports in Brittany to supply the drive toward the Seine and then Germany.  As it turned out, this was overshadowed by opportunities to destroy the German army around Falaise.  Furthermore, German resistance and sabotage denied most of the area's port capacity to the Americans.

This new article examines that campaign in detail.

DECEMBER 18, 2012

Yes, it has been a year since I updated the site.  One of the big reasons was a need to retool the basic templates that I use for the pages.  These date back to the late nineties, when what later became Line of Departure Online Features was hosted by The Gamers Net, and I was using code provided by them.  Over the years I did make changes in format and appearance, but a core of the code remained, with a lot built on top of it.

The result was that the new pages became harder and harder to set up correctly.  Then late this year, as I prepared the newest articles, I found it very hard to get anything to look the way that I wanted it.  At that point it made a lot of sense to start over.  Now, I'm glad that I did.

Altogether, there are about a hundred different pages on the site.  I'm not about to change them all, and will not change the existing articles to the new form.  They work now, and will work in the future.  Instead, the new projects will use the new templates, and so will the basic Articles, Scenarios and Supplements and Player's Aids pages.  The changes in appearance will be relatively minor, but making the work presentable will be much easier for me.

The newest features are a pair of academic articles.  One analyzes the Battle of Mortain, the German counteroffensive in Normandy whose defeat contributed to the American breakout.  The other is a short biographical piece about Heinz Guderian.


DECEMBER 27, 2011

Here is my latest academic venture, a paper on Winfield Scott's campaign to Mexico City in 1847, ending the Mexican War in favor of the United States.  As was May's article on Shiloh, this started life as an assignment for a graduate class at American Military University; this was for a class on great military philosophers, hence the emphasis on Jomini and Clausewitz.

I do plan more projects for 2012, which is just around the corner.  Plus, the latest edition of Line of Departure's print edition is making good progress, and you can look forward to that before long.

MAY 5, 2011

I promised more content in 2011, and here is more content.  Today's addition is another article, this one a bit more scholarly; a historiographic essay on the how three major historians analyzed Grant's actions in the early hours of Shiloh, when he was surprised by the Confederate onslaught.  The genesis is an assignment that I did for an historiography class that I took over the winter at American Military University where, besides working as a political science instructor, I'm also pursuing a second Masters in military history.  For publication here, I changed the title slightly and beefed up the conclusions, especially about the changes in how Bruce Catton saw Grant.

You can go to the Articles page, or read it by clicking here to read it directly.

And lest we forget; Osama bin Laden is dead, and so I have to give a big "Thank you" to the US Navy SEALs for a job well done.

JANUARY 18, 2011

I know that I missed updating this site through 2010.  I was extremely busy keeping up with the print edition of Line of Departure, and there was that "massive career change."  In fact, it was the biggest of my life, going from selling insurance to academia.  Today, I am a full-time online political science instructor at American Military University, and an adjunct instructor in political science at La Roche College in Pittsburgh.

This update includes something rooted in that.  I teach a course called Experience of Modern War at La Roche, and wrote an article about teaching a combined political science-history course that centers on military history.  The article is Titled Military History for Beginners, and can be found through the articles page as well through here.

Additionally, there are more Command at Sea and Fear God and Dread Nought data sheets by Gary Greenhalgh accessible through the supplements page, and Tony Costa contributes a ZunTzu module for playing my game Rommel at Gazala over the internet.

Now, let's see what else we can generate for Line of Departure Online Features in 2011.

August 20, 2009

Gary Greenhalgh is really on a roll.  After yesterday's addition of data sheets for the Dutch Navy, today he addresses the Reggia Marina in Command at Sea.  These are nine classes of destroyers, destroyer escorts and torpedo boats, all available in pdf format from the Supplements page.


August 19, 2009

It took me a while, as I worked through a massive career change; don't worry, it's all for the better.  But now, I've started updating Line of Departure Online Features.

Look to the Supplements page for a set of new ship data sheets for Command at Sea, courtesy of regular contributor Gary Greenhalgh.  This time, he turns his attention to the Royal Netherlands Navy in World War II.

There definitely will be more to follow.

January 5, 2008

Welcome to the inauguration of Line of Departure Online Features, a free service of Line of Departure Wargaming Quarterly.  Since 1999, I have been committed to providing high-quality articles, scenarios, game supplements and player's aids for free via the web, in addition to the features carried within Line of Departure's pages.  Until now, it has been in concert with some of the best web sites in the industry, but now I am going out on my own, with independent servers and my own web domain.

Long-time readers will recognize that the first features carried here were originally published through the previous web sites: Line of Departure@The Gamers Net, Line of Departure/Military Gamer Online, and Line of Departure/The Wargamer.  Indeed, most of the material accumulated there made the transition here, changed mainly in terms of format, repair of broken links, and some new proofreading.  One or two articles did not make the move, as I decided that they did not really fit in with the new web site's focus.  Then maybe a half dozen scenarios for older computer games got lost, as they were housed on an America Online server when that company decided to eliminate its hosting services.

Despite all of this, please do not view Line of Departure Online Features as simply old projects in a new venue.  I do intend to resume posting new ones on a regular basis.

And always, it will be free.

So please enjoy the return of an important component of the Line of Departure Multiverse, and check back for new additions to Line of Departure Online Features.