All from the Real Life section, which is simply loaded with ideas for use by Referees:
- It’s interesting to note that in the German/Soviet situations in city fighting earlier in the war, such as at Stalingrad, the Germans had superior firepower and air support while the Soviets were underequipped and fighting desperately for their lives, were totally reversed in its late stages, such as in Berlin in 1945. Stalingrad is probably the most infamous example. Nicknamed “Rattenkrieg” (“Rat War”) by the Germans, some would bitterly joke about capturing the kitchen but still fighting for the living room and the bedroom. Buildings were literally cleared out room by room, floor by floor.
(“Just wait till they discover what’s waiting for them in the basement!”)
- The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the Jewish resistance that arose within the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Poland. The resistance was so successful, even with almost no supplies and after being starved for years, that the Nazis resorted to systematically burning houses block by block using flamethrowers and blowing up basements and sewers.
- To further prove the point, the Ghetto resistance in one district lasted nearly as long as the entire Polish military did against the Wehrmacht across the entire country!
- The Warsaw Uprising the following year lasted more than twice as long. The Germans responded by flattening almost the entire city.
- Knowing the difficulty of this style of warfare, in the later stages of WWII, American forces would often attempt to avert it. They would approach (relatively strategically unimportant) German towns and villages, and before entering, demand the surrender of any defenders. If the offer was accepted, the defenders would be disarmed, a small garrison left behind, and they would move on to the next objective, leaving the village unharmed. If the defenders refused and fought back, US forces would level the place from long range using artillery and aircraft, and move on to the next objective.
(In the Third Imperium, “long range” means “from orbit” and “artillery” means “10MT warheads.”)
- The Battle of Monte Cassino, part of the Italian campaign, took four months and 55,000 Allied casualties to secure, and the city was devastated by the aerial bombardment. Ironically, the main effect of this bombing was to give German troops more cover against Allied infantry.
- This kind of warfare was used by the Israelis during the War of Independence to hold off the (then better-equipped) Jordanian Arab Legion in Jerusalem. Because of this, before 1967 the IDF had a reputation in some quarters for only winning wars by sheer willingness to take casualties.
- Grozny, the capital of Chechnya was once called the most devastated city on earth. And for good reason…through two wars it experienced not one, not two, but three major battles that took place on it’s streets.
- The first battle during the First Chechen War saw the Russian military capture the city after a long fight and heavy losses.
- Then in August 1996, the rebels launched a surprise attack and reclaimed the city, and kept control of it for the rest of the war.
- When the Second Chechen War broke out in 1999, the city still hadn’t recovered much from the first conflict. This time the Russians laid siege and eventually pushed into the city for a decisive victory.
- In the Siege of Lucknow during the Sepoy Rebellion a number of English residents barricaded themselves in a school and held it against rebel soldiers until relief arrived.
- The Boxer Rebellion had a group of foreigners in Bejing defending the diplomatic quarter against a siege, while the relief force fought their way into the city and rescued them.
(A pretty good situation for a large mercenary unit, if you ask me.)
- The 1915 Siege of Van in Ottoman Turkey took on this kind of character, after local Armenians refused to allow their able-bodied men to be drafted and most likely massacred, as had already happened in surrounding villages. Though minorities in the empire were banned from owning guns, the Armenians resorted to defending Van, a city already surrounded by walls, from the Ottoman army with antiquated rifles and pistols that had been stashed away, and other Improvised Weapons until invading Russian forces liberated them.
- The concept of an “open city” is meant to avert the kind of destruction and suffering this trope can bring onto a city and its many inhabitants. In short, if the defenders declare it, they will no longer fight within the city—in exchange, the attackers are expected to simply march in and refrain from attacking any part of it.
(Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.)