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NeimanMarxist
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Bitter Winter: An Ice March AAR

Tue Nov 21, 2023 9:52 pm

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It is November 1917. Russia is in a state of revolution. After Emperor Nicholas II abdicated the throne in March following mass unrest, a Provisional Government made up of liberals and democratic socialists assumed governance of the country but has so far proved unable to cope with the economic crisis, food shortages, and Russia’s bloody and unpopular involvement in the “Great War” between the Allied and Central Powers. The primary rival to the Provisional Government, presently headed by Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky, are the soviets (workers’ councils), established in the capital Petrograd and elsewhere, led by the communist Bolsheviks under their chief theorist, Vladimir Lenin.

This “dual power,” or division of political authority, has made conflict between the Provisional Government and the Bolsheviks inevitable. Finally, in the early morning of November 7 (October 25 according to the Julian Calendar), the Bolsheviks and their followers stormed the major government buildings in Petrograd, capturing all save for the Winter Palace, the Provisional Government’s seat of power. By the following morning, the Palace fell, and the Bolsheviks declared that they alone ruled Russia.

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But the toppled Provisional Government is not only threatened from the left. The monarchist right has started to coalesce around the Don Cossacks in southern Russia and their new ataman (leader), Alexey Kaledin, a former Russian general. Kaledin opposes the Bolshevik coup, and the conservative Cossacks have little love for Lenin and Trotsky. Kerensky attempts a half-hearted counter-revolution with the help of General Pyotr Krasnov and his Cossacks but is defeated. As the Bolsheviks censor, arrest, or kill their enemies, right-wing figures begin to flock to Kaledin’s banner at Novocherkassk.

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We start out with a single garrison on Turn 1, but on Turn 2 we get Kaledin and his Cossacks.

The first notable arrival is General Mikhail Alekseyev, formerly chief of staff of the Russian high command. For some time, he planned to form the “Alekseyev Organization,” the nucleus of a new army capable of suppressing the Bolsheviks and stopping the German invasion of Russia. He offers his services to Kaledin and starts the work of appealing to officers across the land to “save the Motherland.”

Meanwhile, General Lazr Kornilov, once the commander-in-chief of the Russian army, escapes from prison and makes his way to Novocherkassk. The Provisional Government had arrested him in September on charges of attempting a right-wing coup. Kornilov and several of his former inmates—Anton Denikin, Evgeny Elsner, Ivan Romanovsky, Sergey Markov, and others—join with Kaledin and Alekseyev, providing them with an experienced and skilled officer corps. Combined with the rank-and-file of Alekseyev’s new army, the first units of what will become the White Volunteer Army take shape.

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Thanks to the strategic resources arriving from the Allies via our Black Sea ports, we can start creating reinforcements and making trouble for the Bolshies.

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In January 1918 the Bolsheviks dissolve the Constituent Assembly after it becomes clear it is dominated by the moderate Socialist Revolutionaries opposed to the Bolsheviks. Lenin and his comrades won't give up power peacefully. Moreover, Finland too is falling into a civil war between the communist Reds and the conservative Whites. It feels like a preview of what is to come in Russia...

Meanwhile, the southern city of Yekaterinodar comes under White control after an anti-Bolshevik uprising by the Kuban Cossacks. They are led by Viktor Pokrovsky, a former pilot.

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Here is what the White forces look like at Turn 7:

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To be continued...
Last edited by NeimanMarxist on Wed Nov 22, 2023 7:50 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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deguerra
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Re: Bitter Winter: An Ice March AAR

Wed Nov 22, 2023 11:02 am

Ooo, I like this. Are you using RUS Gold? I haven't tried this Scenario since the very fist release.

Thanks!
-deguerra

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NeimanMarxist
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Re: Bitter Winter: An Ice March AAR

Wed Nov 29, 2023 5:18 pm

Yes, I am playing with Revolution Under Siege Gold. This is definitely my favorite Russian Civil War strategy game and probably one of my favorite strategy games of all time, even though (due to its complexity and time requirement) I don’t play it as much as I’d like. But I was inspired to finally spring for To End All Wars during the Steam Autumn sale because of it!

Unfortunately, when I returned to the game after the Thanksgiving break, my save was corrupted. Thankfully, my previous post was mostly setting things up, and I think I was being a little too cautious, anyway. No point crying over spilled milk so let’s go…

Fast forward to January 1918 and we have our coterie of White generals and the Volunteer Army taking shape with Kaledin and the Don Cossacks.

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To the south, we have Yekaterinodar under White control, with forces commanded by Viktor Pokrovsky. For the time being they are isolated and already under threat.

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Kaledin moves to take the seemingly undefended city of Rostov, but Bolshevik troops under Mikhail Muravyov intercept him. Besides being outnumbered two to one, Kaledin retreats, but only after suffering around as many losses as he inflicts. Still, we are able to take Bataysk to Rostov’s south, and are in striking distance of the port of Azov.

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Meanwhile, our White forces are reinforced by Mikhail Drozdovsky’s division. It has marched all the way from the Romanian front to join their fellow patriots.

While Kaledin greedily eyes Rostov, Muravyov decides to go for the low-hanging fruit and diverts southward to Yekaterinodar, where he easily defeats Pokrovsky’s Cossacks! The last of the White rebels in the area are wiped out. We must console ourselves with finally taking Rostov. But no sooner do we catch our breath than more bad news arrives.

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Lavr Kornilov, one of the most talented White officers, is killed by a Soviet shell during the siege of Rostov. One of the staunchest opponents of the Bolsheviks and a hero of the Russo-Japanese War, his death is a huge loss for those who would save Russia.

Ivan Romanovsky defends Rostov while Pyotr Popov takes Azov without much of a fight. Anton Denikin lays siege to Donetsk. Additionally, we get more reinforcements in the form of the Terek Cossacks, who revolt in the North Caucasus. Lazar Bicherakhov, a former Russian army officer, captures Vladikavkaz without much of a fight.

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A large Cossack force under Pyotr Krasnov defeats Ivan Sorokin’s Reds east of Rostov. At the same time, more White units belonging to Vladimir Sidorin keep up the siege of Donetsk. Instead of racing south to the Kuban as the Whites did historically, we are attacking the Bolsheviks on multiple fronts. This has the advantage of spreading the numerically superior Reds thin, but it risks doing the same to our own troops!

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To be continued…

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