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Sedgwick (Southerns) & Highlandcharge (Siberians) vs. Cleburne (Reds)

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:01 pm
by John Sedgwick
RUS 1.04. I will be playing Southern Whites, Highlandcharge will be playing Siberian Whites, Pat "Stonewall" Cleburne will be playing Communists. Settings: Historical Attrition; Medium Battle Delay; Normal/Standard naval box handling and activation rules; Historical force limits and leader stats; one redeployment per turn. House rules: strategic redeployments should be able to trace a line of communication by rail, river or sea, however tenuous, to their new location.

Orders for Early June, 1918: I am focusing all my efforts on destroying Sorokin as quickly as possible. Drozdovsky's division will spearhead this initiative along with Denikin, Sidorin and Denisov, all assigned to Volunteer Army to prevent the Reds from fleeing to the south or east. Krasnov and Don Cossack Army will stay in Azov - I am hoping to tempt the enemy into an assault on the city - while 1st Cavalry Division will be standing by on his right flank to rapidly reinforce his position. Lady luck has bestowed on me perfect campaigning weather - not a rain cloud in sight - and I could probably occupy the entire Caucausus in one go if I wanted to, but I want to Keep It Simple, Stupid, so Kuban Cavalry will perform my only long distance raid for the first two weeks, and is expected to arrive in Astrakhan in 7 days.

Cossack volunteer militias are raised in Azov and Novocherkassk.

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:51 am
by John Sedgwick
The Strategic Plan for 1918. Circles show potential pockets. Northern Army and Allied expeditionary units will attempt to establish control of a railway connecting Archangelsk with Murmansk to keep Pat guessing whether my primary objective in this theatre is Petrograd or Moscow. In reality it is both, and neither, but if Denikin can make it as far as Lipetsk before winter, northern forces will launch a feint in the direction of Petrograd to distract operational reserves around the communists' capital.

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:15 am
by John Sedgwick
Drozdovsky's Division defeats Kalnin's Column at Tikhoretsk.

Orders for Late June, 1918: Sidorin's and Denikin's headquarters are in disarray after their manoeuvre de derrière, but the plan must proceed regardless of their inactivity, so Drozdovsky and Markov are put on an offensive footing in the unlikely event that Sorokin's surrounded army attempts a breakout to the south or east. Salsk, Azov, Bataisk and Maloorovsky are to be heavily reinforced, while a small detachment of cavalry will attempt to take Novorossiysk, which we believe to be undefended. The raid on Astrakhan was a failure, so Kuban Cavalry and 1st Cavalry Division will try to prevent Kalnin's Column from crossing the Manych River. Bishkelaurov was killed in the assault on Grozny, but his forces continue their march northward to sieze the railway. Fitskhelaurov continues his cautious advance on Tzaritsyn.

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:10 am
by John Sedgwick
Sorokin's army slips away to Stefanidar. I had not anticipated this move; it seems the Communist Fleet in the Sea of Azov has enough transport capacity to extract most of the Red Army of North Caucausus from the Kuban region. Don Cossack Army will close the vacated Zernograd pocket, while Drozdovsky's Division will undertake a last ditch effort to intercept Sorokin on the beaches before he can board ships and sail to safety, but I am not optimistic about his chances for success. Kalnin ran into White reinforcements on the railway at Tikhoretsk, resulting in a bloody draw causing both sides to retreat. I am tempted to go after Kalnin's Column, but he's not worth the effort - instead, the Volunteer Army is ordered to assemble at Tikhiy, while Mamontov will attempt to sieze the railway north of same in preparation for an advance on Tzaritsyn. Erdeli's 1st Cavalry will try to reinforce Fitskhelaurov's position at Ilovlya; if he succeeds in his forced march, they should arrive in 5 days.

A brigade of conscript infantry is recruited in Azov. Conscript troops will be held in reserve; once the Caucausus is secured, Lukomsky will be in charge of training them.

Posted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:38 pm
by John Sedgwick
Drozdovsky barely catches Sorokin's Red Army of North Caucausus on the beaches at Stefanidinodar. The Bolsheviks fight like cornered rats and both sides suffer heavy losses, forcing Drozdovsky to withdraw. Drozdovsky is recommended for promotion - he will make an excellent corps commander for my operationally mobile forces.

The Strategic Situation in Late July, 1918. Shaplin's Column and Allied expeditionary forces led by Poole are ordered to sieze the railway south of Archangelsk.

Orders for Late July, 1918: Bogaevsky will try once again to destroy Sorokin's army before they can sail away to safety. Lukomsky is returning to Azov, leaving a small force to besiege Kalnin's Column at Stavropol. Don Cossack Army spent ten days in Zernograd, but Communist military control in that region remains at 100% (???). Denikin's Volunteer Army will try to encircle Stalin's 10th Army at Tzaritsyn, keeping a wary eye on Trotsky's forces at Balashov.

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:34 pm
by John Sedgwick
This is why playing a human is so much more fun than playing the AI. I've been so focused on the south that I've been rather careless in the north - I advanced to hastily on that front, and I failed to garrison or even secure total military control in Archangelsk. Pat's no fool - he can read a map and assess intelligence - so now he's making me pay for my mistakes, and in one fell swoop up that railway, he's totally disrupted all my plans in the region without even a fight. I am sorely lacking any intelligence on his force composition, so for now, Shaplin will attempt to contain them, and Poole and his staff will be extracted by sea along with a detachment of US Marines, leaving most of the British expeditionary forces and their supplies in the care of Shaplin. Understandably, my western allies are unimpressed and demoralized - the planned US "Polar Bear" expedition into the region is likely to be cancelled :non:

The Strategic Situation in Early August, 1918: I am considering leap-frogging Trotsky's relief column at Balashov in a feint encirclement; if Stalin tries to cut and run, I'll nab Tzaritsyn. But I'm not sure yet - destroying 10th Army is a tempting proposition, too, but so far I've focused on armies at the expense of cities, and it hasn't panned out as well as I'd hoped.

Orders for Early August, 1918: Lukomsky will move south and prepare to assault Ekaterinodar with his recently mustered conscripts. Sidorin and Fitskhelaurov move up the railway to Kotovo. Volunteer Army and Denisov's Corps are to reinforce Mamontov's position in Ilovlya, while Don Cossack Army and Drozdovsky will take Denisov's place south of Tzaritsyn.

Drozdovsky's Corps is a dream come true for manoeuvre warfare enthusiasts such as myself. Shkuro's division gives you an idea of its force composition: elite and light infantry; elite cavalry and cav-arty supported by armored cars; other than supplies and eventually a transmission company, all units' speed coefficients are 110 or above. Prokovsky's division is similar, but is composed mostly of Cossacks and the bulk of our elite infantry. Shkuro may be detached as necessary for an additional fast-moving force during operational manoeuvres. I hope to use them for strategic offensives (encirclement/manoeuvre de derriere) and have them fight on the tactical defensive.

Posted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:37 pm
by John Sedgwick
Strategic Map, Late August, 1918

Shaplin and our British allies will cross the Dvina and, depending on the strength of enemy forces in Archangelsk, attack or withdraw under cover of naval artillery. Transports are dispatched to the Dvina Flotilla to expedite their hasty retreat if necessary.

Orders for Late August, 1918: Most of my corps commanders are active for once, but Stalin's still too tough a nut to crack, so I've decided to cautiously expand the Tzaritsyn pocket and set up a defensive line behind the Medveditsa River. Drozdovsky will lead the left flank, and eventually swing around the enemy's right if Trotsky stays in Balashov. Cavalry patrols will screen for any standing forces on the railway north or at Voronezh in advance of any offensive operations.

I'm working overtime in the Kuban, ordering Lukomsky and Wrangel to launch all-out assaults on Ekaterinodar and Armavir respectively, and redeploying Kutepov to take command of forces besieging Kalnin in Stavropol. I need to secure my base before November, so if anyone can do it, it's Wrangel and Kutepov. To that end, I am raising funds to recruit new units and recomplete the rail pool.

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:57 pm
by John Sedgwick
Sorry for the hasty update, I may add screenshots later.

Early September, 1918: bad weather and inactive commanders hamper operations and delay the return of cavalry patrols. Scouts report: Sorokin's army is inside Voronezh (~400 power); no large standing forces were spotted on the railway north of Tzaritsyn; Lipetsk, Kozlov and Tambov are weakly garrisoned. Shaplin's Column reports on enemy forces in Archangelsk: Moscow Reserve Force (~430 power), led by Bela Kun, including elite Latvian riflemen - British General Poole demands Shaplin evacuate immediately by sea. A marine regiment will be raised in Murmansk with an eye to possibly retaking Archangelsk next spring.

Late September, 1918: Shaplin's Column is safely evacuated to Murmansk. Good weather allows Drozdovsky's Corps to swing around Trotsky's flank and occupy the railway north of Balashov. Even with a river crossing further south to avoid potential penalties in battle, it takes only 9 days - 3 days per region - to manoeuvre an army of 500+ power, even with supply trains - talk about operational mobility!

In other news, Lenin survives an assassination attempt, and the Directory is established in Omsk.

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:59 pm
by John Sedgwick
Strategic Map, Early October, 1918: Archangelsk is abandoned to the Bolsheviks; Stalin's 10th Red Army is completely encircled; Trotsky's Southern Front is cut off from its rear depots. The Communists held Kazan long enough to evacuate the gold train.

Orders for Early October, 1918: having screened our advance with cavalry, it appears the only significant reserve within striking distance of Drozdovsky's Corps is Sorokin's army in Voronezh, which is temporarily unable to respond due to the ruined railway in Utkino. Denikin orders Drozdovsky to sieze the line as far as Tambov while we have the iniative.

Wrangel and Kutepov besiege Novorossiysk and Stavropol, respectively; the Communist Don Fleet just sailed into Novorossiysk, presumably to extract those forces by sea - if so, let them run, it saves me a siege assault. Lukomsky and Kutepov will assault Kalnin's forces in Stavropol next turn. With any luck, Wrangel and Kutepov will be poised to push through the Ukraine in November.

Production: several Cossack Militias were raised to garrison the Kuban last month; Lukomsky just finished training a conscript brigade, which was sent to the Tzaritsyn front, while a second brigade of conscripts was just recruited in Azov; marine and infantry regiments recruiting in Murmansk; two gunboat squadrons on the Don, and lots of light infantry in the Kuban - next to Marines, Plastuns are my favourite infantry for their speed, protection, and high rate of fire.

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:29 pm
by OneArmedMexican
Nice work! Good luck with your game. :thumbsup:

Not sure you will need it though. I have yet to see a Red player win in a Grand Campaign PBEM; even excellent players usually succumb once foreign intervention is triggered in 1919.

By the way, may I ask why you are building up your river fleet on the Dnejper? If you plan to push North (Kharkov/Voronesh) anyway, the Red fleet will soon lose their bases and cease to be a problem. I would think some artillery would serve you better. My five cents. :)

Posted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:36 pm
by John Sedgwick
Thanks OneArmedMexican!

As for the river fleet, well... I could probably come up with some rationale, but I just like having a brown water navy. I would like to build artillery, but even when I was able to afford it, I didn't have any cities capable of building arty. I'm guessing they can only be built in a level 3+ city or something? Hopefully I'll be able to produce some in Ekaterinodar the next time I raise money.

EDIT: I need a weapons factory to build artillery. Makes sense :neener: That will be my next priority on the domestic front.

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:41 am
by John Sedgwick
Late October, 1918: Soviet Taman Front was evacuated from Novorossiysk, and Wrangel is ordered to assault the now lightly defended city; Kutepov and Lukomsky prepare to assault Kalnin's forces in Stavropol; Drozdovsky took Tambov, and orders a forced march to Liski in preparation for an advance on Voronezh should Sorokin leave the city; cavalry is sent to scout the vicinity of Kursk; Volunteer Army and Mamontov's Column will attempt to secure Balashov while Trotsky is distracted by Drozdovsky.

I've been waiting a while for a chance to use Mamontov. Eventually I'd love to promote Mamontov and have him lead corps-sized raids and feints like the one on Tambov. I call him my Gingerbread Man because with the deep raider trait he's nearly impossible to catch when he's on the move.

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:30 am
by OneArmedMexican
John Sedgwick wrote:EDIT: I need a weapons factory to build artillery. Makes sense :neener: That will be my next priority on the domestic front.

I wouldn't waste my ressources on a weapons factory. Soon the Germans will retreat from Rostov leaving the city to you. It is one of the few cities on the map where artillery can be built without having to invest in a weapons factory first.

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:00 pm
by John Sedgwick
Good to know, thanks again OneArmed. As you can see I'm still learning the ropes in RUS. Guess I'll save my money for arty and maybe increase the rail pool again - you can never have too many trains.

Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:03 pm
by John Sedgwick
Late October, 1918: Stavropol's garrison melts away under Lukomsky and Kutepov's withering assault. Kutepov is recommended for promotion.

Denikin's cavalry evades the enemy, but Mamontov's division is blown away at the battle of Balashov. Mamontov is currently recovering from a serious injury. We lost more men in one day than the past five months' casualties combined. It is a serious blow, but we must soldier on.

Orders for Early November, 1918: Poliakov pursues Communist partisans in the south; Kutepov promoted and redeployed to Azov to assume command of Wrangel's Division and drive north in the direction of Kharkov; Drozdovsky's Corps pauses to catch their breath in Liski; Sidorin's Corps is to be heavily reinforced in case Trotsky decides to try his luck at Kotovo; entrenchments at Kalach-on-Don are abandoned - if Stalin wants to bolt for the Ukraine in November, let him; winter is coming and I need to think about my supply situation, so I'm thinking about building a depot somewhere on the railway northeast from Salsk.

Production: Two conscript brigades, two cavalry regiments, two supply trains, a field hospital, a transmission company, and some engineers.

Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:14 pm
by John Sedgwick
OneArmedMexican - I meant to ask earlier, why do you suppose it's so hard for the Soviet player after foreign intervention? Is it because a human opponent is able to concentrate and use them more aggressively? Seems to be a balance issue in the Grand Campaign - maybe some house rules could be worked out regarding mutinies and military cooperation between certain nations? I certainly won't be recognizing any independence movements any time soon. Maybe next time I'll try the Short Campaign PBEM, I understand it's a more balanced contest.

Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:27 pm
by OneArmedMexican
John Sedgwick wrote:OneArmedMexican - I meant to ask earlier, why do you suppose it's so hard for the Soviet player after foreign intervention? Is it because a human opponent is able to concentrate and use them more aggressively? Seems to be a balance issue in the Grand Campaign - maybe some house rules could be worked out regarding mutinies and military cooperation between certain nations? I certainly won't be recognizing any independence movements any time soon. Maybe next time I'll try the Short Campaign PBEM, I understand it's a more balanced contest.

The difficulty: The Red Army is hard pressed to keep the balance of forces without the White player getting his hands on several 1.000 pw worth of White troops. If I remember correctly the Finnish Army alone is worth ~3.000 pw, the Balts are worth another 2.500 pw and the Caucasian people field ~1.500 pw. Even worse the Finnish come with sublime commanders and are positioned to attack Petrograd within two turns. With the allied fleet in the Baltic a considerable Baltic/German force can join that attempt.
How is a Red player supposed to come up with enough troops to foil this new threat while his forces are usually already stretched thin?

House rules are indeed a good solution. Personally I think at least the Finnish intervention should be banned altogether. The Balts and Caucasians are less threatening to the game balance.

Yes, I have come to favour the Short Campaign. The title is misleading anyway. It should be called the Big Campaign. It may be shorter in terms of turns but it is a lot more complex in terms of fronts and sheer amount of troops. Besides, my typical GC PBEM didn't last longer than 25 turns. After that the Reds were crushed. The Short Campaign can last a lot longer.