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Calling for audience participation for the formations
#1
The time has come.

As Shad noted in the 2016 roundup, I have been updating the formations and scenario associations in the database. To my mind, the reason for the formations is to help create a bridge between playing a scenario and the larger context of the wars and campaigns. The formations, along with the scenario narrative, take the session beyond an overly complicated game of dice & checkers, into a venue of exploration, understanding, and a larger context of the participants.

Today I would like to highlight some features and developments, and describe some of the quirks and how they were dealt with. Primarily this effort on the formations has been to update the database to include the current generation of games. Of course I do not own all the games. There will be gaps. Gaps may be shrunk by user input. In fact I desire audience participation on this point. I am sure there are errors in what I have entered. Some may take issue with my choices. So I say, post in the forums or PM me, help me fill the gaps.

As of this moment there are 2441 formation entries, 2279 of which are live. They cover 31 countries or national entities, with well over 60 service branches. There are forces and formations to be added. I don’t have the games which reference most of those. Another reason for audience participation.

The formation hierarchy in the games generally stops at the division level, and rarely descends below the battalion level. Some formations now have a unique image associated with them. The image is normally the the unit's shoulder patch, but may be the cap badge, vehicle recognition graphic or something else appropriate. Wikipedia has been a wonderful source for these, as have veteran associations and reenactment pages. Still many units will not have an insignia. In those cases a generic emblem has been substituted..
Clicking on a formation name will take you to the formation’s page. Formation names are not always consistent. Some units evolve over time. Such particularities have largely been accounted for. Temporary formations, which could not be given a single parent, have been left out. (As in perpetually inactive.)

There some peculiarities with each nationality, which I will try to explain.
America: One thing players will notice in the formation database is the absence of combat commands. A combat command is a temporary formation under a permanent headquarters used by U.S. armored divisions. Finding which combat command was used in a given operation is easy, finding which battalions were assigned to it at the time, is rather hard. When a regimental combat team appears in a scenario, I used the regiment for the formation database.

Australia: A lot of battalions say they are the 2/(whatever) Battalion. The means the unit is the second muster for imperial service, specifically to fight overseas in World War 2. The “1” battalions were raised for World War 1.

Britain: Despite all of the “Regiment” talk, Britain doesn’t have regiments like everyone else. A regiment in Great Britain is more of a home administration office. A regiment raises battalions, the battalions go to war. For example the 7th Royal Tank Regiment is not a regiment, it is the 7th Battalion of the Royal Tank Regiment. The 1/5th Welsh Infantry would be the 1st battalion of the 5th Welsh Regiment. A regimental number doesn’t mean there are any other numbered regiments of the name, such as a 4th Welsh Regiment.

Finland: Formations from the Continuation War onward are pretty straight forward. The Winter War was convoluted about unit structure. Basically the army was based on brigades, with a lot of small formations running around. The brigades were eventually kinda, sorta, but not quite really, built into the later divisions. Lineage was difficult to sort out, but it’s mostly correct.

Germany: The names change, but otherwise the units stay the same sort of the same. The biggest exception to that rule is when the panzer corps was expanded. Infantry divisions were converted to panzer divisions and redesignated. Otherwise not so hard, an infantry division becomes a volksgrenadier division, but keeps the same number. Kampfgruppes were left out because they were too convoluted in lineage for 1 or 2 appearances.

Japan: There are sometimes nondescript forces on the Japanese side of a scenario. These have been leftout. If enough players wish to follow "Jinxo" through his career, I will consider putting them in. Unit recognition information and imagery is nearly nonexistent. If you have some, let me know.

Soviet Union: Divisions were destroyed, disbanded, reformed, promoted, and reincarnated after promotion. That created lineage problems. The solution was to make the formation reference the final designation and work backward from there. This makes weird things appear to happen, like 100th Division in Eastern Front, is not the 100th Division at Kursk. That one is the one raised after the first 100th Rifle Division became the 1st Guards Rifle Division. Again, unit recognition information and imagery is lacking. As a substitute for formation images, I have used a graphic of unit service awards when I found that information.
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