It occurred to me whilst I was fighting Operation Market Garden (I refuse on principle to abbreviate this to OMG....) that the scale at which I was fighting made a nonsense of thinking about purely tactical considerations. All of the features that are so important at a tactical level - cover, positional awareness, equipment and training (and command of course) etc, are less so when one moves up the command level. Consider the action I just fought as an example. Taking the British Airborne at Arnhem as the benchmark the scenario had 6 units of 4 infantry figures that were accorded 'special forces' status. This meant that they were able to move 2 hexes and battle rather than just the one. They also had the use of a special rule being British and Commonwealth troops that were able to battle back when reduced to a single figure.
In the game itself there was no mention of machine guns, PIATs, supporting mortars or anti tank artillery. All of this is swept up into the 'infantry unit' category employed by the game. That is fair enough and I have no problem given the scale of the action being played. Major terrain features played a part but none of the stone wall, hedge or reverse slope so beloved of hull down tankies or Napoleonic British in Spain. Our considerations are at a much higher level.
So this got me thinking.
If the games that I want to play are pitched at what can only be described as the Operational Level (the movements of brigades and divisions rather than platoons, companies and battalions) why do I need to worry about such things as battalion support machine guns, mortars or anti tank guns?
The simple answer is that I do not. I only need to consider representing infantry, artillery and vehicles of varying types because all the smaller stuff should be absorbed in the greater scheme of things.
This line of thinking then led me to look at my much thumbed (but sadly never used) copy of Megablitz, by Tim Gow of Megablitz and More fame.
These rules are designed to fight large actions during WW2 and use, as an example, a base of a few infantry figures to represent a battalion. Support weapons feature if they are present in a large enough concentration to be worthy of inclusion - so forget anti tank rifles and such like or section light machine guns! This is heady stuff, at least it is for me.
The rules represent a fusion of traditional wargame and boardgame mechanics so in effect, you have what is essentially a free table board war game. Which is coincidentally the type of game I spent most of last year fighting, albeit on a grid and with wooden blocks. Taken to its logical conclusion both of these systems represent a level of war game that for me has the most appeal - the operational art of war.
I have a feeling that I may have just answered a very long and complex question of what I do and how I do it. I think that Memoir '44 has the operational level of war game pitched at the right sort of level but in a highly abstract and, dare I say, 'gamey' way. I now believe that very few tweaks are needed to make the core rules much more wargames like in their outlook and indeed, the various official additional rules added in the various expansions during the life of the game reflect this.