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Syt
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Syt learns to play WW1

Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:03 pm

Ok, mastered the tutorials, read a bit on the boards, tinkered a bit with the game and decided that it's time for my first real game where I try to pick it up on the go.

I acknowledge that V104b is not yet perfect, that the AI probably needs polishing (as does the game on the whole), but I think there's a very deep game here that will shine once it's gotten the support it currently needs.

Since a deep manual is so far missing I am sure that I will make plenty mistakes on my road to victory, but that should make the exprience all the more realistic. ;)

I know about the war's history, so I think I might not mess up too badly.

For this game I choose the Entente, at the beginning consisting of France, Russia and Serbia, posed against Austria-Hungary and France.

Before the actual war plans for the belligerents are chosen two events fire for Central Powers and Entente. Germany gets the chance to prop up the Ottoman Empire with cash which improves their diplomatic chances with them. In this case the Germans do not use the opportunity.

On the other hand is the case of the two battleships ordered from England by Turkey. Historically, England refused delivering them and kept them for herself, which led to a chain of events that made Turkey join the Central Powers.

I choose to be a good boy and have the Ottomans have their ships which gives me a diplo bonus with them.

[SIZE="5"]Early August 1914[/size]

Alright, time to pick warplans. As I haven't seen a message from the AI I can be certain that the Germans haven't chosen "Moltke", i.e. propping up their eastern front (if they choose that plan my intelligence notices and I get notified). Otherwise I am a bit in the dark.

I choose War Plan XIX for France:
Image
It gives me an immediate entry into Belgium if the Germans attack there. Iam forced to attack, but I hope for the best. I also choose Good Morale as option, increasing my National Will and costing me nothing. Home before Christmas! :)

With Russia I have two options. Try to get Germany out quickly or focus on Austria-Hungary. Germany is by far the more dangerous foe, but also German troops tend to be better than the Russians.

I am going to gamble on the Berlin Plan:
Image

To keep the Austrians busy, though, I choose the "Prepare Serbia for War" option for the Russians.
Image

With that done I end the warplans phase to enter the events phase.

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:45 pm

The events phase kicks off with the announcement of what warplans and opening options have been chosen.

The Germans are going for the Schlieffen Plan:
Image

The also chose the Option Fleet Sortie in case Britain goes to war.

The Austrians go with the Prinz Plan:
Image

They also chose to shuffle their generals around.

I get a range of events of which I can choose three. I go with these three:
Image
Anything that makes it more likely the USA joins the Entente must be good. Clemenceau sounds nice; we'll see if it actually is useful. And what is The Great War without spies?

Emperor Wilhelm seems VERY eager to play with his boats:
Image

They also have a spy on a minor front (Serbia?).

And this event confuzzles me:
Image
The French don't use shock tactics - so they don't use their attack values for defence ... but defence values > attack values, so this should be good for me?

The Germans also broke the codes of my Eastern Front of dispatches. So for one turn they see everything on that front. They'd get a bonus on gas an rolling barrage attacks, but I doubt they have those ready yet. :D

Meanwhile, I do some little fog lifting on the Western Front myself:
Image

The West Front before the outbreak of hostilities:
Image

The Central Powers have dispatched ambassadors to Holland, Greece, Romania and Japan. Myself, I'll try to be more selective. I send my ambassadors to Italy, and the U.S., but also to Turkey and Holland. The diplomat worth 2 points will try a mission there.

Guess that's all for the Events/Diplo bit for now.

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:46 pm

The events phase kicks off with the announcement of what warplans and opening options have been chosen.

The Germans are going for the Schlieffen Plan:
Image

The also chose the Option Fleet Sortie in case Britain goes to war.

The Austrians go with the Prinz Plan:
Image

They also chose to shuffle their generals around.

I get a range of events of which I can choose three. I go with these three:
Image
Anything that makes it more likely the USA joins the Entente must be good. Clemenceau sounds nice; we'll see if it actually is useful. And what is The Great War without spies?

Emperor Wilhelm seems VERY eager to play with his boats:
Image

They also have a spy on a minor front (Serbia?).

And this event confuzzles me:
Image
The French don't use shock tactics - so they don't use their attack values for defence ... but defence values > attack values, so this should be good for me?

The Germans also broke the codes of my Eastern Front of dispatches. So for one turn they see everything on that front. They'd get a bonus on gas an rolling barrage attacks, but I doubt they have those ready yet. :D

Meanwhile, I do some little fog lifting on the Western Front myself:
Image

The West Front before the outbreak of hostilities:
Image

The Central Powers have dispatched ambassadors to Holland, Greece, Romania and Japan. Myself, I'll try to be more selective. I send my ambassadors to Italy, and the U.S., but also to Turkey and Holland. The diplomat worth 2 points will try a mission there.

Guess that's all for the Events/Diplo bit for now.

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:13 pm

The subsequent diplomacy phase brings interesting news:
Turkey opens the Dardanelles to the Central Powers and swings two notches in favor of the CPs, nullified by swinging three points for the Allies

On the other hand, Italy moves two bits closer to the Entente, but that's more than evened out by a three point swing in favor of the Central Powers. Serbia moves 1, Britain 2 points towards the Allies. A couple other minors swing about a bit, and Persia grants basically everyone right of passage. The Dutch send some food to Germany.

The USA open the Panama Canal for everyone. They are also sending low amounts of munitions to France and Russia. They are also not happy the Germany declared war on Belgium.

To make things messier with Turkey:
Image

Meanwhile, the Germans also managae to steal West Front Plans, so I guess we're kinda even there.

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Syt Learns?

Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:23 pm

Are you playing the two player campaign by yourself against the AI? :p apy:

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 5:24 pm

tagwyn wrote:Are you playing the two player campaign by yourself against the AI? :p apy:


Yes I do. :)

I just looked at the diplomatic map filter (because I find the diplo pop ups you get for every country with all those scales a bit incomprehendible yet. Italy is red to France, while Turkey is Green. Go figure.

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:53 pm

Good news, everyone:
Image
They also send out the BEF to Belgium.

Alright, the military phase.

My armies on the southern edge of the Western Front are forced to attack in France. The 2nd Army under Castelnau:
Image

They will face the right wing of the German 5th Army, plus the fortress of Thionville.

The left wing of the French 1st Army will move on Metz, facing the left wing of the German 5th Army. Lastly, the right wing of my 1st Army will attack the left wing of the German 5th in Morhange.

To sum up:
Image

The other French units are locked this turn, so I leave them be. I send out the Atlantic Squadron out into the Channel, thugh, and the Mediterranean Fleet to lock off the Adriatic in the Ionian Sea.

The BEF isn't ready yet, but the fleet departs from Scapa Flow to the Dogger Bank in anticipation of the German fleet sortie. The Atlantic Squadron from Southampton will join them.

The Serbs will move two units into Belgrade. The Austrian units on that front seem to be locked for now, so they will hide in the fortress to give them a bit of a headache.

The Russian operation plans look like this:
Image

Before executing the turn I guess it's a good idea to plan my budgets. So, France will build a few units:
Image

I sink my excess cash into ammo production and the research of light machine guns.

Britain builds three infantry units, one artillery unit and recruits an amabassador. We also start building two new battleships.

Since no ammo can be planned for by the UK we sink money into the development of aeroplane engines.

The Russians start recruiting a new infantry unit, an arty unit and an ambassador. They also begin the research on the marvel that is: trucks.

Let's also do some political decisions. The Russians have three armies without "real" leader yet. So let's appoint one. The Russians are short on cash, so let's try to go for a War Loan. And since the combat with the Germans will probably suck, we also call up some conscripts, just to make sure.
Image
They will also attempt to move their economy to a wartime footing (41% chance).

France will also appoint leaders and try to improve the war economy. Calling for a loan sounds like a good idea. In a bid for Italian support, France will recognize Italian war aims and calls for D'Annunzio to make a pro war speech in Italian parliament.

Great Britain goes through the standard procedure - war loan, wartime economy. Additionally, though, the vie for a blockade of the Central Powers.

Time to see what those orders look like in action.

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:52 pm

The battles kick off with an engagement between Sturdee and Adm. Spee at the Bismarck Islands. However, the battle ends with an indecisive stalemate.

Admirals Beatty and Jellicoe have interecepted a German squadron in the North Sea.

The small numbers are the numbers of ships per squadron. So I have on the left wing 17 ships, on the right 16.
Image
As for formation and tactics, I pretty much use gut feeling. :o

After two days of fighting, the result looks like a draw:
Image
Though I am confused. Sunk ships? Own sunk? Enemy sunk?

At least the Hun admiral is dead.

Thionville was not what I would call a success.
Image
However, it's enough to initiate a siege there (which is, eventually, successful, after much bloodshed).

Metz didn't go better on first try.
Image

Morhange didn't go any better. We retreated before matters got too bloody.

In Allenburg, our cavalry screen ran into Hindenburg. Before we could retreat, two of three units were destroyed.

As a sideshow, the French attack on the German colony Togo also failed.

In Namur, King Albert of Belgium narrowly escapes the encirclement card played by the Germans.

In East Prussia, von Rennenkampf has begun the siege of Königsberg. Let's hope he can hold out till the Germans attack in large numbers.
Image

Thorn is also under siege. Germans can play the siege game, too: at Antwerp and Liege.

I will take it a bit lighter on the screenies with the next installments, as they are bound to repeat themselves and rather focus on the overall development. :)

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Syt
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Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:11 pm

August 1914

The British 1st Army has arrived in Arras. Yay!

However, the Russian High Command's wishes leave me a bit, uhm, surprised. Without having East Prussia secured they make it mandatory for me to plot my units' advance to West Prussia in what looks like a feeble attempt at a blitz on Berlin.

Let me illustrate:
Image
You have known enemy units in red, and my requested movement in blue. This will be messy. Very messy.

Attacks in Alsace-Lorraine are also to resume. BEF, Belgian army and the French 5th Army will attempt to hold the German advance in Belgium. I have a feeling that that will be mightily messy, too.

Checking the colonies, it appears the battle in Togo was won, after all. Somehow I have trouble understanding the cimbat results, it seems. It would be really nice if it would say who won and if someone has to retreat etc.

The Austrians invade the Russian border. For now our valiant troops have to retreat. One reason is that they lack sorely in artillery.

Thionville has been successfully defended against a German counter offensive, while the remaining Belgian infantry corps was destroyed. Rennenkampf was not so lucky in East Prussia. Losing one corps he has to retreat and was annihilated by Hindenburg on the flight. Brusilov was doing better.

Our own attack on Metz was repulsed after a probing attack. The attack on Mulhouse was similarly lacking. The offense on Colmar was faring much better. Nevertheless, the remainder of Dubail's army managed to initiate a siege at Metz, but except increasing the bloodhed nothing was achieved while trying to storm the fortress. Brusilov faced a similar dilemma in Posen. Even though the fortress had only a minimal crew no storming was possible.

Small skirmishes also occured in Montenegro, but they remained rather indecisive.

September 1914

We are drowning under a sleuth of results of our political decision making. Most were successful. Russia failed to appoint a new leader. Also, they lose two national will points due to combat losses (now at 24). Unfortunately, the message log's memory is not very long, because it doesn't seem I can scroll all the way through the messages to see some I know I had pop ups for.

We are also blessed with two new events: Fokker (improving airplane research) and Surprise (giving a surprise bonus in one combat). There's complaints about 2nd French Army being out of the main Frontline. They are in Thionville with an almost open road to the Rhine. I guess that's a bad thing? I'd be more concerned about the gap in the Vosges mountains and Val de Moselle thanks to my mandatory attacks on the German lines in Alsace-Lorraine. There's a similar complaint about the 1st Army, spread out in Birey and Metz (into which I attacked because I had to attck somewhere there).

The situation on the West Front (red = enemy, blue = friendlies):
Image
I should start on filling those gaps a.s.a.p.

The Prussian front looks better. For now it might actually be the road to Berlin is open.
Image

The Austrian "Front". Not really sure what to make of it yet, to be honest.
Image

I just noticed I can switch to 2D NATO icons, so I guess the next screens shouldn't be as messy. :p

I think I'll be calling it a day for now. Update tomorrow, I guess. :)

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Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:06 pm

Interesting to follow your AAR, Syt. Keep up the good work! :)
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Syt
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:27 am

Thanks, Rafi! :)

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Carnium
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:43 am

Great work Syt. Please don't cut down on the screens as they sometimes tell us more than words :thumbsup:
Wow you are Austrian and you fight for the Entente :D

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Syt
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:29 am

Carnium wrote:Great work Syt. Please don't cut down on the screens as they sometimes tell us more than words :thumbsup:
Wow you are Austrian and you fight for the Entente :D


Thanks. Actually I am a German living in Austria. ;) And I like to not always play my "home nation" (except in Europa Universalis 2 where I loved playing as Holstein ;) ).

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Syt
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:50 pm

Looking at National Will, things look kinda gloomy. France is down to 21, Russia to 24, Belgium has a lofty 40, and the UK has 37. That can't be good. Better win some battles soon. France is actually, if I read the Excel file with the NW effects correctly on the brink of risking strikes.

Economic income in Britain is 150, 90 in France and in Russia, uhm, 15.

The Diplomacy phase has me focusing on Italy again. Uk doesn't get ambassadors. Working as designed? Anyways, I am glad I started recruiting ambassadors. Meanwhile, Italy allows commerce with Austria-Hungary, alleviating the blockade somewhat. Drat!

I received a few reinforcements, in fact Russia received a fair bit of them, but I am guessing most of them are destroyed units returning to duty. For now I will try to stabilize the front in Alsace-Lorraine. The fighting there was costly, and while I may be able to break through Thionville I have a big gaping hole in the Vosges where the German 6th and 7th Army could walk right through, so I rather try to fill those gaps first. I am yet hoping I won't have to retreat to the forts of Verdun-Toul-Nancy.

The BEF, Belgians and French 5th Army will be joined by the French 6th Army trying to halt the Germans from entering France through Belgium.
Image
See the defense lines I am aiming at in yellow.

The Russians, meanwhile woll continue their march on Berlin while launching selective counter attacks against the Austrians.
Image
The main German body in the east will be between me and the homeland, but my rationale is that I can be faster in Berlin than they can be in Petrograd.

For good measure I threw in an Anglo-Belgian attack on German East Africa and a French push from Togo to Cameroon along some fleet action in Africa and the South Seas.
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The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.
- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

mariandavid
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:02 pm

Wonderful!! I had not yet bought the game - but this persuaded me to do so. The details of the decision making are beautifully brought to life in your AAR.

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Syt
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:07 pm

mariandavid wrote:Wonderful!! I had not yet bought the game - but this persuaded me to do so. The details of the decision making are beautifully brought to life in your AAR.


Thanks, hope you enjoy the full game. :) Bear in mind, though, that the game needs still some polishing before bringin on its full potential, so be sure to look through the main game's forums. :)
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The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.

- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

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Syt
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:07 pm

Let's define our political goals again. It appears recognizing Italy's War Goals didn't quite work, so we try once more, same with D'Annunzio's call to war. This time, we also offer Tunisia to Italy. If the war is won and Germany can be eviscerated once and for all to make France safe that that's a small price to pay. And France tries again to call up a general.

Russia will try to get a new leader and recognize Bulgaria's war aims. The opnly other action that would have at least 50% success chance would be to recognize Bulgarian war aims - but that would alienate both Italy and Turkey.

Britain will not effect any new politics.

Anyways, the effects won't be seen before the next interphase in the coming winter, so for now it's time to execute our orders.

In the colonies, German ships fled from every encounter. In East Africa the Allies prevailed, but at a high cost.
Image

We retreated from the battle of Gorokhov, but we hit the Austrians badly, at least (perhaps I lack yet the coldbloodedness to go for victory at all costs ;) ).
Image


Inflicting bad losses to the Germans, Dubail retreats, indeed to Verdun. However, the Germans have exploited the gap in Alsace-Lorraine before I could close it - they siege Nancy.



October 1914

Good news first: Brazil declared war on the Central Powers. How this shall help me I know not yet.

The Germans play the Blockade Runner event, sending an infantry unit to the colonies.

The bad news: French national will has dropped to 18. Not good.

Nothing special in Allied events phase other than that - collected an initiative card. I'll play it right away (since I am not sure if the normal WEGO system pays attention much to initiative.
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The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.

- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

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Syt
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Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:28 pm

The diplomacy phase has Italy discontinuing her trade with Austria-Hungary. Adriatic remains closed for the Entente, though.

The Germans have not crossed the border into France in Alsace Lorraine yet (except the siege of Nancy). Their progress through Belgium is also slow.

Meanwhile, Russian troops have crossed the Weichsel and are moving towards the Oder in a bid for Brandenburg and Berlin.

Cuonter attacks against Austria will continue in the Tarnopol and Przemysl.

France was supposed to receive North African units the past two turns in the area where thei GHQ is, but they are not there. I got the message alright, but the units don't show up. I put it down to a bug that needs ironing out. Additionally, I have LVL3 and 2 ambassadors sitting in London and France, but for some reason I can't access them during the diplo phases? Hm.

During the executions phase, Brusilov found himself repelled at Posen by von Mackensen.

The French relief effort at Nancy also didn't go too well:
Image
At least it appears the Germans have withdrawn their units from

In Letishev, an army of Ukrainians lost against the Austrians. A Serb foray into Austria at Oravita was also ill fated.

At Könitz, Samsonov meets von Eichhorn, unfortunately not bringing artillery support.
Image

We were lucky, though:
Image



November/December 1914


French National will drops again due to losses. Fortunately:
Image

We also start digging in:
Image
Belgium and Russia follow suit.

Russia loses one NW point due to losses.

We pick up events that allow for a White Coup in Russia (well, let's hold onto it right now) and Pioneers which gives a bonus for river crossing.

The situation in the West at the begin of November 1914:
Image

Things are messy in Prussia:
Image

The Austrian Front is also not looking well:
Image
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The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.

- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

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Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:53 pm

Keep the good work.
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Syt
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Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:30 pm

In the diplo phase we're informed that while the French are still struggling with the idea of Light Machine Guns. At least the British have managed to invent better aircraft engines. They'll be working on aerial radios next.

France and England launch a major diplomatic offensive on Italy, sending two LVL3 diplomats there.

Our blockade will not be as effective as we hoped it to be:
Image

Haig's 2nd Army has arrived in France. Unfortunately it's a bit light on Artillery.
Image

With the Germans still bogged in Belgium, we will attempt a counteroffensive there in Spring 1915.

The Russians will carry on their campaign as scheduled, avoiding German encounters while pushing directly for Berlin. Brusilov's 8th Army is without artillery, but they are in a position to attack the German GHQ for the Eastern Front in Luckenwalde. As the Russians have to cross a river here (and elsewhere) we will play the Pioneer event card that gives them a +2 modifier for river crossing.

The French will again attempt to break the siege at Nancy. The colonial fleets will attempt once more to destroy the German overseas threat. The other British fleets have returned to the harbors for winter repairs. The weather in the North Sea is winterly, I doubt an engagement there would make much sense at this point.

The Germans cling to Nancy with teeth and nails:
Image

The attack on the GHQ at Fürstenwalde didn't go too well. The Germans didn't have any artillery, but I still lost two corps, vs. one wounded German unit.

The Austrian front is a mixed bag. Two Austrian armies retreated as soon as they met the Russians. In Kremenetz the roles were reversed.

The Germans removed several units from the Alsace front, likely to counter the Russians stomping through Prussia and knocking at the doors of Berlin. They still tried to attack at Epinal with Gen. van der Marwitz. In vain.
Image

The year ends with the Interphase.
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The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.

- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

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Syt
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Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:37 pm

January/February 1915

The year starts with some good news: National Will is tallied, based on civil production, lost cities, conquests. Another strike attempt in France was thwarted. Britains naval yards begin the repairs on the damaged ships.

Belgium is badly shaken:
Image
We better aid them a.s.a.p.

The German submarine campaign has started:
Image
That's over 10% our income. Great Britain also suffers 2 NW points.

NW stats:
France: 39
Great Britain: 38
Belgium: 39 (huh? I thought their morale sucked?)
Russia: 39
Serbia: 39
Austria: 39
Germany: 40

Castelnau is shifted from French 2nd to 3rd Army to lead the effort of relieving Nancy.

During the event phase we pull the Propaganda event, which will give boni during social checks. This may come in handy at the end of the year. The Russians have come with what they consider a new weapon: Chlorine Gas. That culd be useful for the final push to Berlin.

The French give new build orders:
- 3 Infantry Corps
- 1 Artillery Unit
- 1 Fighter Plane squadron

The British order:
- 2 Infantry Corps
- 1 Arty Unit
- 2 Plane squadrons
And continue to build 5 Battleships.

The Russians build 2 artillery units and start researching the marvel that will be known as Heavy Tanks.

Our efforts towards Italy start to bear some fruits:
Image

The plans on the West Front for the early winter:
Image

Russian fronts continue as usual. The British and French mediterranean fleets will also bottle up the Austrians in the Adriatic.

The battles in Alsace-Lorraine didn't go too well. In Lille, though, the Germans tasted British steel.
Image

Samsonov was repulsed at Schneidemühl and then at Schwedt. Plehve probed Berlin's defenses unsuccessfully:
Image

Combat against Austria was (again) a mixed bag, but at least the Germans in Cameroon were obliterated.

The belligerents move on to Firepower doctrine:
Image
This will suck.

The situations at the end of the 1914/15 winter in Alsace:
Image

Belgium:
Image

Prussia:
Image

Austria:
Image
Yes, the Austrians pushed through and walk all across tghe Czar's home.
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.

- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

mariandavid
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Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:50 am

The mods certainly seem to have solved most of the problems. The (almost) endless choices involved, especially off the battlefield, are fascinating. Fine reading!

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Syt
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Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:18 pm

Thank you. :) Updates will a bit slower, as we are currently going through our month end and going to full throttle with our year end procedures in the accounting department, though.
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The brutality and inhumanity of war stood in great contrast to what I had heard and read about as a youth.

- Reinhold Spengler, war volunteer 1st Bavarian Infanterie Regmnt., 1916

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Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:21 am

Syt you are making a dream into "reality"... Russians marching towards Berlin! :thumbsup: :w00t:

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