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Metatron
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Potsdam (Germany)

AAR Drang nach Osten: There and back again (Metatron vs Highlandcharge)

Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:01 am

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Welcome to an AAR about my current game, a DNA scenario against Highlandcharge. THe game is currently ongoing so things will unravel as I describ it, hopefully some great epic and unpredeictable things will happen. This AAR will describes the german side from the perspective of the german general staff, it will focus on operational questions and describe events from OHL point of view. I will add comments from a palyers perspective at the end of each section about how the game goes.

English not beeing my native language I hope you can forgive writting errors and spelling.

Enjoy ^^






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(beeing a hypothical scenario I will first explain how we got to the 1921 situation and wich plans the german general staff prepared before 1921 for a war against the bolshevists.[/CENTER]

In 1918 the german army launched it's long anticipated attack against the western allies. With the eastern front secure, Russia beeing in total dissaray thanks to the bolshevists, Hindenburg and Ludendorff could use all their available strength to strike the allies. With it's new tactics succesfully tested at Riga and in Italy, the german high command was optimistic. On the 21 March the hammerblow of operation Micheal struk the allies hard. Another attack quickly followed and the allied front started to fall appart. Sensing the weak spot, Ludendorff commited all his strength for a decisive attack between the french and britsh armies. Although logistik were dramatically overstreched the germans managed to penetrate deep into the hinterland and brushing asaide the newly arrived US-Divisions sent to fill the gap. The british armies now severed from the french started to move towards the sea while the shattered left flank of the french army desperately tried to stop the reatreat. Foch appointed as supreme commander of allied forces during the battle couldn't stop the wheels in motion and the german reached the outskirsts of Paris, panic grew in the capital as german tropps started to enter the city. Foch tried one last time to break the german advance by launching all his reserves into the german flank but it was to late. The british had their back against the wall/the channel, the french moral was crushed by the loss of Paris and the US-Divisions in France had suffered greatly at the hand of the german storm troops they had been sent hastly to stop.

The german generals were enthusiastic, at last they had managed to score a complete breaktrough wich resulted in the capture of Paris. But Ludendorff had become worried as the offensive had progressed, his main amries were a formidable fighting force but the rest of the front was of considerable less strength and the losses necessary to achieve the breakthrough were irreplaceable. He had managed to penetrate the allied front, to overrun a french, a british army and the US-Divisions, but it was still no Cannae, he simply didn't had the strengh for the final blow against the british nor the french if they decided to continue the fight. Contacts for peace had existed during almost all the war, although no one would have officially admitted this. The french had been hit hard by the loss of their capital et voices started to arise for an honorable peace. Pressured by the french politians Foch turned to the british for support, but british military was extremly anxious about its situation. The british could not afford beeing destroyed in northern France, wich seemed the next logical german offensive to them, and pleaded for evacutation or peace. The french generals, furious of the "betreayal" of their british counterparts but not able to fight the war on their own, therefore didn't bolcked the starting peace negociations. The fighting went on for a couple of more weaks untill both side agreed on an cease-fire in preparation of a peace summit.

The german Reichskanzler managed to silence the more radical voice of germany wich demanded a lot from the allies. Instead he convinced the Kaiser to propose an stabilizing peace offer, no blame was decided for the war on either side and the western front only changed in some minor cases along the german-belgium and french-german border. Austria-Hungaria renounced to territorial claims against Italy and recievied some parts of transylvania in the carpathians. Germany secured it's colonies and the allies accepted the validity of the Brest-Litowsk peace at the east allowing them to reshape the east as they wanted. To secure peace an general disarmement treaty was joined to the peace treaty. The main peace treaty was to be followed in the next years by several minor treaties on issues the world war had created all over the world.

In the east the russian revolution and civil war had been bloody. Without allied support Koltchak's armies were quickly destroyed and Denekin lacked the proper equipment to capitalize on it's early wins. The central powers could not intervene in russia after the peace treaty in the west wich limited the germlan influence to the area of the east it already conquered. Money and supply did though come through the ukraine to the pro-german cossacks of the Don. Finland and the baltic states with german suppot quickly proclamed their independence and with support of the Ottoman Empire the republics of the transcaucasus were given autonomy. Romania wich had been occupied by the central powers was recreated with new borders as a sattelite state. The Ukraine was the weakest of all the new states, central goverment in Kiev was weak and the Donbas region was pro-bolchevists.

In 1920 Denekin's main drive towards the north was broken at Orel and the white armies were pushed back south towards Rostov and Tsarizyn and than further south into the Kuban peninsula. Meanwhile the economical catastrophy of the World War still was haunting the central powers. In germany the demobilized soldiers coudn't find a job and the pension of several million former soldiers strained the already fragile budget. Communist and socialist unrest grew as inflation and unemployment got worse. In Berlin Spartakists had to be repressed by the military on several occasion when local police coudn't handle the unrest any more. In Poland, wich germany had completly annexed tension between the german and polish population grew and soon the german army put several army corps as garnison in poland and western belorussia. In Austria-Hungaria the Emperor had managed to apeace tchezch demands by extending several policies that hungaria already had to the tchezch provinces. But the hunger year of 1918 and the first half of 1919 had stuck in the poples mind and the minorities of the balkan never sleep.

Hindenburg had retired after the demobilization of most of the army and Ludendorff had succeded him as chief of great general staff. His main concern was to properly demobilize the army, making sure it's best elements would be preserved in the peace time army and that the experience of the World War would be correctly transformed into a new moderne army. But the great strain on the budget of the Reich by the bad economical situation didn't allowed to push the modernization of the german army as much as Ludendorff wanted to. He managed to impose the new standart artillerie and the construction of a sizeble panzer force but most of the army was still infantry and depended on horse. The bolchevists were not considered a worthy adversary and the first operational plans the german general staff concieved after the war were against an revengefull France. By 1920 altough the department for the east of the general staff urged the operational staff to work on a plan for defeating bolchevik russia. Sizaeble red armies were now stationed along the ukrainian amry wich could not stop them and the political pressure from the bolcheviks against the weak urainian state was growing. At the end of 1920 the german Reichskanzler sent an ultimatum to the Sovarnkom demanding the immediate retreat of all bolchevik illegaly operating in the ukraine and to stop any subversive action against the authoroty of the ukraine goverment.


Following is the planning of the general staff about a war against the bolcheviks:

[CENTER]This study will explore the possibilites of war against the red army and the bolchevik state. It will be structred as follows:

1. State of the german armies
2. State of the red army
3. Red army planning, war scenarios
4. Diplomatic situation
5. Geograhpical analysis
6. War doctrine
7. Conclusion for a war against the red army
8. Three warplan studies[/CENTER]


1. State of the german armies and it's allies

The german army in peacetime has now about 660 000 men stationed in the east, mainly in poland and belorussia. About a 150 000 men are in reserve on the western frontier of the Reich and can be transferred if necessary to the east. Furthermore germany has military missions in most of the states of eastern europe and an observation corps in the ukraine. The german army has many veteran and elite units from the war and and an excellent overall level of training making it the best amry in the world. With the new disarmament treaty and the shift to new guns the artillerie is still undersized, but a sizeble panzer force has been raized this passed year. German officiers are the best there is and with the experience of the World War is battlehardened.

The k.u.k. Army can only put 300 000 men on the field and needs a longer mobilization time than the german army but can call on 70 000 more men from its reserve. The core of the k.u.k. Army is very solid but large portion of it's 2nd class troops will not perform that good. Finland has a sizable and verfy efficent army of 60 000 men who will do everything to defend their border. The three baltic states have a collective strengh of 73 000 men but are not as quite efficient as the finns. They will however fight any bolchevik intrusion vigoroursly. In the caucasus the three republics have 40 000 men but hate eachother and will not cooperate easely. The ottoman empire has 80 000 men in it's eastern provinces and won't be able to raise more soon because of it's internal struggles. Romania eand the ukraine have both a standing army of 40 000 men and are no match for the red army.

Mobilization will be a difficult question, there is a lot of war veterans and reserve tropps who will provide a excellent quality replacement for loses and new units, but a complete mobilization of german war potential will no doubt be very unpopular and difficult to pass trhough the Reichstag where socialists of the SPD still hold a majority. Altough most of the SPD is opposed to bolchevism, we can't excpect them to support a popular war against bolchevik russia.


2. State of the red army

About the red army the most recent information are summerized by the reports of the Abteilung Fremde Heere:

[CENTER]ImageImageImage[/CENTER]

Russia has still an impressive reserve pool of men the red army can mobilize, even after the loss of the peripherical provinces of the tsarist empire. Most of the rural population is tired of war, but soviet terror and russian pride will drive enough of them into the ranks of the red army. Especially since it is one of the few stable organization in the bolchevik state wich provides a stable source of food and money.


3. Red army planning, war scenarios

Soviet russia is still in an undeclared war against all previous provinces of the tsarist empire wich are now independent, so the main concern is to secure the security of these new states. Finland and the baltic state have defended themselfs well against the bolchevik revolution and with some support can withstand any attack. The transcaucasian league is weak but is well protected by the caucasus mountains and the ottoman Empire will not let the red revolution near it's border and will intervene if Lenine tries something. The weakest state is the ukraine. It's army isn't very strong, the Donbas and the population of the cities support the bolcheviks and the coast of the azov sea is practically not under the control of the ukrainian goverment. Sebastopol, great forteresse and nval base of the black sea is under the control of white russian gorverment wich don't reconize ukrainian independence. More important, the ukraine is an important source of grain and raw materials for both the central powers and the russian. The bolcheviks are still cut from the northern caucasus grain fields and have to count on volga and siberian grain production, while the german economy is still suffering from the allied war blockade.

From a militray point of view the following map shows the more likely lines of advance for anybolchevik invasion of the ukraine.

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4. Diplomatic situation

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As one can see in the map above, germany has the advantage of having friends, allies and dependend states all around the bolchevik state, except for siberia and the far-est. If attacked all these countries would turn to us for help. In case of war we would also be able to convince most of them to join us, since the danger of bolchevism as a powerfull neighbour is a reality for them. THe Ottoman Empire would probably not engage in any offensive war, but would definitly take action against any involved of red forces in the transcaucasus. Romania will followour lead in every way we wish, their state dependin on our good will. The Don Cossacks will help us as long as we help the m fight for their cause. The Poles will not support us since we now control most of the polish land, but Pidulski's Legion will fight for us to obtain some goodwill. The Baltic states will join us because they depend on us for protection, but won't be to happy about it, as will the finns. They will be glad to get back some land in Karelia and to secure their frontier, but won't support any more aggresive mouvment.


5. Geograhpical analysis

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Any war in russia will be about geographie. As seen above, several regions are not suited to large scale warfare, especially the Prypiat marsches and the great north. Any landing in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk won't be able to make good progress south. In the center the marsches dictate the main operation line towards Minsk, in the south the great rivers of the ukraine (Don,Donets, Dniepr, Bug) are formidable obtacles to any fast acting offensive. In the caucasus the mountains limite the scale of the offesnive to the Goss Pass and to the Derbent-Baku line.


6. War doctrine

Our war doctrine is founded on the experience of the World War. The successfull breaktrough tactics showed the importance of the cooperation of all arms, the concentration and mobility of artillerie, the importance of specialized units and the cooperation between them and the ability to keep the link between front and command structure as long as possible. Tanks have demonstrated their ability to give efficient support to infantry and some theorist say that tanks can in the furture play the role of a new mechanized cavalry, th technological progress doesn't allow this yet, that's why tanks willremain as infantry support role only. The east and it's wide space allows the use of cavalry divisions and corps, unlike the western front of 1918. The main weapon of war still is the infantry and it's rifle, but he now has new means to achieve victory, infantry has recieved more heavy weapons, as mortars, machine guns and light guns, wich allows it to be more efficient on it's own. Generally speaking the old though of operationnal offensive but defensive tactics is still valid.


7. Conclusion for a war against the red army

Serveral conlusions appear to us after this study:
- a war against the red army can't be allowed to become another stalemate, the german army could fight it and would most probably win it but the homefront would not be ready to make such sacrifices again only 2 years after the World War. The red army on the other hand has interest in a long and costly fight, since it has a important reservoir of men and has means to create unrest in the german working class. A war must be a quick and decisive one.
- the most probable war scenario includes an conflict in the ukraine, the german army must be prepared to answer such a move quickly
- germany has the unique situation to have almost all the neighbours of the bolchevik state on her side, through smar deiplomatic play a war against the red army could be fought with help of several allies, wich would multiply the numbers of war thaters the red amry would have to fight in
- georgraphically, a breaktrough in the center would depend on the ability of the geran amry to destroy any red forces around Minsk, in the south, the ukraine has many rivers wich are great defensive positions for the bolcheviks, a large offensive could loose it's momentum there, the great north is a bad place for intervention, troops landed in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk would be virtually trapped there bacause an advance south would be easely match by few red troops.
- the war must be offensive on a operational level, if the bolcheviks stat to loose ground they will fall apart. But on a tactical level wisely balanced dfensive/offensive postures will be the key to destroying the red army.

8. Three warplan studies

In the light of these conclusions three warstudies were developped by three of our top thinkers von Hoffman, von Hutier, and Groener.

The Hoffman plan:

The Hoffman plan is based on two phases.
-First a defensive line would be set up along the Dniepr line with a minimal amount of troops. The main german thrust with most of the germa narmies would strike the Southwertern Front north of Kiev, once beaten the german attack would go on north towards Gomel and then Mogilew. A support offensive from brest would keep the red Western Front buy around Minsk while the storm armies of the main push would continue their strike north towards the Orsh-Rudnya region to cut of the bolchevik Western front. Then would follow the destruction of the Western front, together with the initial blow against the southwestern front, the main amries of central russia would be beaten.
-In the second phase the main armies would attack towards Moscau and to the north to destroy the Northern Front. Once the economical heartland of the bolchevisks would be under german control the rest would soon collapse.

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The Hutier plan:

The Hutier plan also involves two phases:
-First all available troops would be assembled to strike against the red Western front while what could be spared would defend the Ukrain. The main attack would when swiftly penetrate the red lines destroying with overwhelming force the Western Front, the critical point would be the swift breaktrough from Minsk towards Smolensk/Vitebsk and than northeast towards Moscow along the Kaluga and Vyama rail lines. This strike would effectively cut the red heartland from it's main armies down south.
-Then while red would try to counter attacks towards Moscow the cut in two would be completed by a push further east towards Nizhniy Novgorod, while the mass of the german armies would clean up northern russia destroying the Northern Front and taking Petrograd.

[CENTER]ImageImage[/CENTER]

The Groener plan:

The Groener plan is a more long term plan that involes three phases:
-The Groener plan consits in a defensive position in central ukraine facing north while the main german thrust would hit in the Novocherkassk region. The main goal here is to push the Don Front south into Rostov and than the Kuban to cut it of from the rest of red russia. In the meantime this move would cutthe main rail line to the red caucasus and the tropps there. By pushing further east towards Tzaritsyn the secondary rail line south would be cut and the Don and the Caucasus Front cut of from bolchevik russia.
-Then by a combined attack from Novocherkassk/Tzaritsyn and from an expeditionary army in the caucasus the two ennemy fronts would be destroyed.
-In a third time the german main armies would form two lines of advance north, one on the Rostov-Voronezh-Ryazan towards Moscow while the other one would attack towards Tambov-Penza-Azramas to cut the russian heartland from the volga and siberia. The red would have lost the ukrainian, caucasian and siberian grain production areas and would not be able to substain itself without external help. An naval blockade by the German Navy would make that impossible and the bolchevik rule would collapse on it's own.

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Next: How will the bolcheviks respond to the german ultimatum ? Wich war plan Ludendorff will choose to use ? What operational planing will resultat from that war plan ?

User avatar
PhilThib
Posts: 13437
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:21 pm
Location: Meylan (France)

Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:05 pm

Thrilling !!!!!!!! Bravo
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Baris
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1847
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:50 pm

Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:25 am

Excellent!
Especially with zoom out maps clearly points out areas of operation.

Waiting for feedback about how it goes in Pbem.
Thanks for writing.

User avatar
Metatron
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Potsdam (Germany)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:16 am

[CENTER][video=youtube_share;w5n4N4apae0]http://youtu.be/w5n4N4apae0[/video]

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The news of the refusal of the german ultimatum came as a surprise to the general staff, they had thought the Red Army high command would have waited to consolidate their grip on their land before engage in a major war against the most powerfull land army of the world. The existence of a white stronghold in the Kuban as another sign the general staff had seen as determinant in the ability of the bolcheviks to start a war. Ludendorff and his staff was caught by surprise but not unprepared. The mobilization of the Landwehr reserves of the eastern provinces had already begun when the declaration of war was issued by the Emperor. Ludendorff immdiately called for an meeting of the war council and called Hindenburg back into service, that would be the second time the old Fieldmarshall would leave retirement to lead the german troops to victory, a very popular move for un very unpopular war.

The first priority was to set a definitive strategy, after a long debate Ludendorff forced the Hutier plan as base for operation. The main, decisive attack would be at Minsk, followed by a breakthrough towards Vitebsk and Smolensk to reach Moscow and cut soviet land in half. The austrian-hungarian troops, wich would take longer to mobilize and organize, would be in charge of the defense of the ukraine while the german armies were preparing to strike the decisive blow in Belorussia. Ludendorff also managed to get the Reichskanzler to start discussions with all allies in eastern europe to strenghten the central powers situation and create new fronts, Ludendorff was especially interested in getting the transcaucasus league and the baltic states into the war wich would considerably wider his flanks. The operational planing that was set up can be divided into offensive and defensive operational planing as floowoed:

Offensive operational planning:

The offensive would concentrate in the central and northern frontline where the main german armies would be engaged in the decisive breakthrough, if the baltic states would join the cental powers a small german army under Heeresgruppe Nord would enter the baltic and join forces with the latvian, estonian and lithuanian troops, they would put pression on the russian northern front so it could not help the western front. If the main attack against the western front and the entering of baltic states in the war would be simulatanious, red positions could be flanked by troops coming from Lithuania.

An additional offensive operation would take place in the Caucasus, an addition to the Hutier plan from the Groener plan. A expeditionary army consisting of the Asienkorps and the Alpenkorps and some resevre troops would attack the red Caucasian front and draw red reinforcment south into the Caucasus, the complete opposite of where the main would fall, the north. Mountain troops would atttack thrgough the Cross Pass to take Vladikavkaze and threaten the red forces at Gorzny with encirclement.

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Defensive operational planning:

In the Ukraine germany would not engage much of it's forces. The main armies would have to be from the k.uk. Army and other allies. German planners prepare a series of defensivve line based on the numerous ukrainian rivers. The main defensive line would be on the Dniepr, leaving much of northern and eastern ukraine to the red army. Limited attacks or counterattacks would be launched if possible to keep the red army busy in thr ukrain while the main attack would happen in the center.

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With this general plan in place, Ludendorff started to think about when to lauch his attack. The army wasn't ready to perform a largescale operation yet, general winter was still controlling russia, and his allies had not yet joined him or mobilized. He decided to reorganize his armies in Poland during winter to prepare for a vast spring/summer offensive. The lack of artillerie in frontline units also worried him and he started a emergency rearmement program. At the same time he called regular tropps from the west to Poland to impove his strengh without calling in to much reservists. A partial mobilization was called in, as well as a call for volunteers but in regard of public opinion further mobilization would be only achieved at cost of national stability.

The Marine on it's side started laying mines in the finland gulf to confine the red navy to it's homewaters near Kronstadt.


[CENTER]First half of February 1921[/CENTER]

The Don Cossacks wich had been in contact with the german military for some time agreed with german plans and left their positions at the eastern ukrainian border to go west, first stopping at Kharkov, city in turmoil of revolution, than to Kiev where they joined with Skoropadsky ukranian army near Kiev. At Kiev bloody fighting between the german observation korps and red insurgence lasted several days. On the 10 three red armies, 14th, 1st soviet ukrain and 2nd soviet ukrain army crossed the Dniepr. Having only a corps at his disposition and one ukrainian corps (the rest of the ukrainian army was assembling around Ekaterinoslav and Cherkasy) von Dellmensingen fought only rearguard actions while ukrainian militias fought in Kiev to hold of the red armies as long as possible. The ukrainian corps jjoined the Don Cossacks south of Kiev in the Bila Sverka regionwhile the german observation corps returned to it's original quarters at hitomir to resupply and get replacements for their losses.

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Situation after first battle of Kiev:
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[CENTER]Second half of February 1921[/CENTER]

The red army consolidated it's posittion at Kiev durant the last weeks of february while it's armies entered the Donbas and took control of Kharkov, proclaimig a new soviet ukrainian republic. At the same time Romania accepted to join the central powers and gathered it's standing army at Chisinau, from wehre it would join the ukranian theater of war. The german had not bothered to prosie anything to the romanian goverment, they simply threatened to otherthrow the current goverment if they would not comply to the demands of the german army. The precence of the german Donau army of General von Mackensen in Wallachia greatly underline the threat, Romania join the war. In fact von Mackensen's army had already been ordred north into poland to be reorganized like the rest of the army.

At the same time Latvia and Finland had decided to answer the escalation of the conflict in the ukrain by raising each a additional peace time division in case of a decleration of war from bolchevik russia. In Germany the communist party and all bolchevik associations and parties were forbidden by decree of the Emperor. These traiterous elements would not be able to sabotage the war efffort ! A propaganda campaign i favour of the war was started to make the people realize the dangers of bolchevisme.

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[HR][/HR]


Players comments:

Highlandcharge refused the german ultimatum, a really big surprise, since I have never played a pbem DNO game where the red player would chosse to refuse the ultimatum. Usally red player keeps peace in place, destroys kuban whites, prepares for defense and than declars war. Fundamently this didn't change my strategy and operational plan, it's just ment I would have to fight delay battles in the ukrain until I was ready to strike hard at Minsk. Starting an offensive in winter with badly organized troops was no option.

My operational plan in this game was simple (I wanted to try it out), an overwhelming strike through Minsk. I wanted to assemble about 500 000 german torrps in Poland, and strike quickly and decisively. Core element here would be how highlandcharge would chose to defend at Minsk and how quick I could penetrate into red territory. Germany lacks manpower so the main objectif for me was not to engage in any grinding battles in every place of the front.
In the ukraine I lost Kiev quickly, I had hoped to hold it along with the Dniepr line but losing ground in the ukrain wasn't by biggest concern as long as Odessa and the ukrainian-polish border were in my hands. The strike through the caucasus would tie some red troops down there and with some chance take Gorzny and Stavropol (each 1 MN objectives). The main blow at Minsk would probably be synchronized with the entering into the war of the baltic states, condition for that would be enough engagments points at the right time. I would also wait for the baltikum korps event to pop up to strenghen the baltic army.

Early on I needed to reorganize the german army, peace OOB is horrible in term of game engine, so I assembled everything I had at Warsaw and regorganized during several turns my troops, adding built artillerie.


Next: Will the red army push it's advantage in the Kiew region ? How will things go in the eastern Ukraine ? Will germany be able to get more allies into the war ?

User avatar
Metatron
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Potsdam (Germany)

Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:45 am

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First half of Mars 1921

General Winter stoke one last time in the first weeks of mars and snow covered much of russia and the ukraine. On the front not much happened. Red and ukrainian/german troops dug in watching each side around Kiev. The mobilized Romanian army under command of the german general von Bothmer was transferred to Ekaterinoslav to secure the lower Dniepr against the red forces wich were entering the Donbas. Diseases started to appear among the Ukrainian units as the cold struck hard.

In germany the Reichstag passed a law to finance the war through a tax on the revenue. The lack of serious fighting except for some ukrainian and cossack partisans in the Belgorod region was striking and the international press started to call the german-bolchevik war the Phoney War. Some critical voices in the US even went that far than to say the german army didn't want to fight that war.

Meanwhile Ludendorff was structuring his army for the battle to come. His main armies were assembling in the region of Warsaw and Brest-Litowsk. The front was divided into five german Heeresgruppen:

- Heeresgruppe Nord (north) under the command of Generalfeldmarschall von Mackensen, and his chief of staff Generalleutnant von Bernhardi
- Heeresgruppe Mitte (central) under the command of Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg and his chief of staff Generalleutnant von Steuben
- Heeresgruppe Nordukraine (north ukraine) under the command of Generalfeldmarschall von Beseler and his chief of staff Generalleutnant von Knoerzer
- Heeresgruppe Südukraine (south ukraine) under the command of Generalfeldmarschall von Gallwitz and his chief of staff Generalleutnant von Plettenberg
- Heeresgruppe Caucasus under the command of Generalfeldmarschall von Strantz and his chief of staff Generalleutnant von Seeckt


Second half of Mars 1921

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The transcaucasian republics didn't stand each other, but german diplomats managed to get the main tribes support for intervention in the Caucasus. Transcaucasian unités would only play a small role while the main battle force would be german troops of Heeresgruppe Caucasus, with von Sanders IX Armee and the Alpenkorps. The orient expert von Kressenstein would lead the georgian, armenian and azerbaidjan troops to clear to keep the hinterland of the front clean from red partisans.

In berlorussia the first german cavalry Army under the command of General der Kavallerie Brecht and a armored train took control of the rail lines leading to Minsk in preparation of the offensive to come. The german cavalry took the border city of baravichy while two bolchevik cavalry divisions were scouting the border.
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In search of means to finance the war without to much stress on the population the right winged politicians with the support of the army managed to impose an Confiscation act, wich would allow the confiscation of goods and money of rebels, mainly communists anarchists and organizations. The forbidden communist party was the first to be stripped of all it's possessions, money and real estate.

With the quick fall of Kiev, Ludendorff had been forced to agree with the Emperors wish to send german troops into northern ukraine to secure the Kiev area. von Beseler Heeresgruppe Nordukraine with the VI Armee (elite bavarian army) and VII Armee (reserve troops). Meanwhile the 6. k.u.k. Army had been deployed at Cherkasy to secure the middle Dniepr while the rest of the k.u.k. Army mobilized in Galicia.

Situation of the main front, the ukraine in alte Mars:

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First half of April 1921

As the troops of Heeresgruppe Nordukraine approched Kiev, it's commander Generalfeldmarschall von Beseler sent a note to Ludendorff.

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Worried about von Beseler overcommitting his troops Ludendorff sent several messages asking the Marschall to stand down until he could study the reports from air reckon. But several hours went by and finally a message came trough to the great general staff:

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The news were received with surprise, the high command had thought the red arm would have dug in at Kiev and fought to keep it. As reports started to reach Ludendorff, it became clear the red commanders had completely failed, as soon as the storm units of VI and VII Armee had penetrated the forward trenches the rest of the red troops had flood back to the Dniepr. The Bavarian troops had started a pursuit but the occupation of the city of Kiev needed to much troops to effectively crush retreating red forces and the red armies crossed safely the Dniepr to take positions of their previous trenches in the Red Dniepr Redoubts.

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Operation Edelweiss

In the Caucasus with the transcaucasus states on their side, the german troops ready in turkey where transferred into the Caucasus. Feldmarschall von Strantz gave the word and Operation Edelweiss started:

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The main forces would attack along the Baku-Derbent-Grozny rail line, von Sanders IX Armee and von Kressenstein led transcaucasian troops. Meanwhile the Alpenkorps would attack through the Cross Pass at storm the red positions around Vladikavkaz to threaten the red troops at grozny with encirclement.
IX. Armee crossed the Russian-azerbaidjan border on the 13 of April and destroyed the red cavalry division which was guarding the frontier.

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Second half of April 1921

In the Ukraine the central powers consolidated their line on the Dniepr line. With Kiev retaken, the main defensive line was completely occupied. von Dellemensingen ukrainian observation korps was renamed into VIII Armee and was reinforced by the polish Legion. Meanwhile the VI bavarian Armee was sent back to Brest-Litowsk, the elite bavarian would be needed in the coming battle in the centre. In the Ekaterinoslav region romanian, ukrainian and cossack infantry had taken position to protect the river crossings under the command of German generals. The cossack cavalry under general Mamontov launched a deep raid trough the region of the middle Dniepr where the red army had only small forces. The cossacks managed to use several trains and arrived quickly at Kharkov behind the main armies of the red in the Donbas. After two days of street fighting against red militias and rebellious worker mobs the cossacks managed to secure the important city.

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In the Caucasus, the IX Armee and the Armeeabteilung von Kressenstein advanced towards Grozny. In the mountains the Alpenkorps managed to get across the Cross Pass and was approaching Vladikavkaz.

In Poland von Hindenburg and Ludendorff continued to organize their main armies and reinforced them with new artillery. Soon the main offensive would be launched. In Galicia the k.u.k. Army started it' reorganization of it's own, within a month they would be able to reinforce the Dniepr line.


Situation in the end of Aprel 1921:

Situation on the centre front:

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Situation in the Ukraine::

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Situation in the Caucasus:

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Players comment:

Highlandcharge did not capitalize on his win at Kiev and advanced quite slowly into the Donbas. I sent 100 000 german troops to keep red troops at bay at Kiev, with 3 elite bavarian army corps, I decided to test the red defences and attacked right away. Big surprise the red armies actually didn't cooperate properly and my 2 armies concentrated their fire on one soviet army, making all the red armies retreat behind the Dniepr. I had not anticipated that and could take my elite bavarian army back to poland where it would participate in the attack against the western front. Sometime luck is your best general.

Before launching my main offensive I decided to start my offensive in the caucasus, with about 60 000 german troops and some 40 000 transcaucasian troops I hoped to get the Caucasus Front by surprise while it had the kuban white in it's back. I still needed a couple of months to get my main armies ready so with some luck the caucasus would draw some red reserves into combat down south where they could not help my main strike.

The cossack raid is a typical example for cavalry being a pain in the a** when correctly used. Higlandcharge didn't cut the railway lines from Chekasy to Khakov allowing me to strike fast deep into his rear, if I had chosen to use my main armies in the ukraine that could have had serious consequences for his armies in the Donbas. In my situation I just used it to raid a bit and keep highlandcharge busy in the ukraine.

In the same spirtit I took control of the railway lines between Brest and Minsk with my german cavalry army. Highlandcharge did scout a little bit with some cavalry into poland but one of his cavalry divisions got caught and destroyed by my cavalry army and the other reatreated. Highlandcharge was still blind about where my main strength was.



Next: How will operation Edelweiss go ? Will the cossacks continue their raid or come back to the Dniepr line ? Will the Red armies continue their advance in the Ukraine ?

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Metatron
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Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:21 am

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First half of Mai 1921

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The German Alpenkorps had been pushing through the mountain and finally had to force the passage at Vladikavkaz. The red mountain troops defending well fortified positions and supported by entrenched artillerie fought hard but the elite troops the Alpenkorps would not be denied their prize, although it ultimately costed them dearly.

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At von Strantz headquarters the fall of Vladikavkaz was received with satisfaction, the IX Armee was advancing on Grozny to fight the main red forces in the Caucasus. Ludendorff had given the commanders in the transcaucasus region operational freedom since communication through the Caucasus and the Ottoman empire was difficult at best. von Strantz had tasked two transcaucasian divisions to clear the caspian shore from remaining red red guards at Derbent, Petrovsk and Kizlyar. In the same time von Kressenstein and von Sanders troops continued their push to Grozny. On the 11 of Mai IX Armee started fighting the red troops around Grozny. Ordzhonikidze had 33 000 men well entrenched but the remains of Chervanin's mountain troops wich had retreated back to Grozny from Vladikavkaz were a weak point in the red line. The germans exploited it immediately and broke through taking the city. Ordzhonikidze reformed his line west of Grozny, conscious that the Alpenkorps and the Georgian mountain Division were threatening his rear.

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Situation mid-Mai 1921 in the Caucasus:
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During the 13th, red cavalry in pursuit of Mamontov's cossacks crossed the Dniepr in the Ekaterinoslav region and were repealed in blood by the Ukrainian and Romanian forces of Armeegruppe von Bothmer.

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In Germany the Emperor appointed a special comity to get the German economy ready to support the war. The comity introduced a multilevel economical mobilization and activated the first stage. Although the production of consumer goods would suffer from it this would be necessary if the war would be longer than anticipated. To keep the public opinion from worrying to much the German army continued it's propaganda campaign.

Since Kiev had been again in german hand the red had used their Dniepr flotilla to keep the germans to get across the river. Germany thus asked romania and the ukraine to built new gunboats to strengthen the central powers Dniepr flotilla of their own to take the control of the river.




Second half of Mai 1921

In the ukrain the k.u.k. heeresgruppe von Bonja, with 1st, 3rd and 4th Armee and the 25th Artillerie Korps arrived to take over the defence of the middle Dniepr. The second k.u.k. Heeresgruppe with was still in reserve in Galicia but would soon be sentto the Ukraine, but right now the coming main german offensive needed all the railway capacity that could be spared.

The German navy finally officially declared the blockade of Bolshevik ports. Since most western nation refused to commerce with bolchevik russia this would change that much the odds of the war, but would still cause some losses for the red economy in the long term.

On the red side Stalin was called to a command, german intelligence could not determine yet where he would be employed.

Red troops had stopped converging on the Dniepr after the Mamontov raid and the Anarchits in the south had been destroyed by red troops. Ludendorff was worried, the lack of red commitment in the ukraine could be a sign the bolchevik did suspect his plan to strike at Minsk. But it was to late to call of the offensive. June was coming and with it the summer months which were essential to the fast strike Ludendorff wanted. Operation Ostwind had been scheduled to start on June 1st, Hindenburgs Heeresruppe Mitte was ready and all the german logistic ready to support the strike.

Situation in the ukraine in the end of Mai:

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In the Caucasus the exhausted Alpenkorsp and IX Armee could not take the rail-line quick enough and the red Caucasus front managed to retreat back Northwest. von Strantz was furious but could not do anything, after some reste he would continue his offensive towards Piatorsk.


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Players comment:

The caucasus offensive went pretty good, although the victory at Vladikazkaz was very bloody, wich forced my troops to pause a turn allowing highlandcharge to get his caucasus front out of there. Could not get a decisive battle but taking grozny is not bad. I got lucky there, my IX Armee destroyed the mountain troops that had retreated from Vladikavaze and didn't fight the entrenched caucasus troops, sneaking into Grozny. The battle would have been way more bloody if my troops would have attacked the red troops in 6 or 7 level trenches...

The ekaterinoslav battle is actually an accident, highlandcharge wanted Buydenny cavalry army to chase Mamontov's coassacks, but since I retreat them back to the Dniepr Buydenny followed them like morons and got cut down by ukrainians and romanians.

KuK Army is ready at last to intervene in the ukraine. Got an Army Group in position, the other one will have to wait until my main offensive takes place to move since I need all my rail-pool to strike fast against Minsk.

With highlandcharge not really committing his troops on the Dniepr I was quite nervous about my main offensive, if he had pulled back much of his forces he could intervene against my spearhead way more quickly than I had planned which would probably mean no quick victory. Since I didn't want to change the plan (everything was set for next turn) I decided to go with it and see how it would go.


Next: Operation Ostwind, state of the central powers and plan of operation.

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Metatron
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Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:40 am

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Before I pass over to the summer offensive I'll present here the situation at the end of Mai 1921 and the structure of my army prior to the offensive.


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Early fighting didn't cause to much losses, highlandcharge did lose more troops, but mostly because of that raid of buydenny that should not have happened. He lost on the other hand a lot of moral dropping from 110 to 77 within the first months of the war. My moral was good even with all the reinforcement that costs NM. The NM differential would be a good help for the coming battle. I had progressed into the Caucasus without to much resistance and held the Dniepr line, seemingly scaring highlandcharge at Kiev and with the Mamontov raid in the Ukraine. The half the k.u.k. army was already in place along the Dniepr, the other half would soon follow as soon as I had enough rail movement capacity.

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Operation Ostwind

My main offensive would start in June. The offensive would be concentrated in the middle of the front, and supported by a drive in the Baltic. Hindenburg's Heeresgruppe Mitte had gathered everything the german army had best, with 596 296 men sent directly by rail to Minsk. About 80 000 men of XII and XIII Armee would be ready to support HGruppe Mitte within a couple of months, thsese troops would be used to help secure the flanks. Heeresgruppe Nord under von Mackensen had 89 520 german soldiers at it's disposal and would be reinforced by the 72 897 men of the baltic states once they entered the war, the declaration would be on the same turn that HGruppe Mitte attacked Minsk. In total Operation Ostwind mobilized about 869 000 me, 55% of the central powers armies. The initial attack by rail of Heeresgruppe Mitte represents on it's own 41 % of central powers army. The blow at Minsk would be immediately followed by a deep strike towards Vitebsk and Smolensk. The cavalry and armored trains would secure the rail lines and allow a quick breakthrough. The critical point would be the breakthrough at Smolensk. If highlandcharge could stop the spearhead of my armies it would not be a quick win. But if all worked as planned the war could be over before autumn.

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A national comparison and state of central powers armies:

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In the following is the structure of the central powers armies from north to south:


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Next: Will the German offensive be a success ? Will the German Landser be back home by Christmas or will this finnish in a bloody disaster ?

Baris
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Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:32 pm

Great posts!
thanks for writing.Will it continue?

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Metatron
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Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:54 pm

Got a lot of work in january irl, so I hope to continue to write this game down late this month , things actually got very interesting during operation Ostwind so I'll definitely finish this AAR^^

DanSez
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Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:18 pm

Thanks for the information so far - I hope you get to continue this when work load allows.

I have a 'formation' question, if I may. I have read post about the effect of cavalry helping with screening duties. In those threads I was under the impression you needed a cavalry bde or similar in the corps stack but not included in any division unit I might have misread as it appears you fold all your cavalry into division units.

thanks again -

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Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:48 pm

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First half of June 1921

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On the first of June at 0500 hour the codeword "Tannenberg" announcing the start of Operation Ostwind was sent to all headquarters. The cavalry and armoured trains had in the previous weeks captured the rail-road lines from Brest-Litowsk to Minsk and the entire Heeresgruppe Mitte was sent by train to the battlefield. The chaos was monstrous but German efficiency triumphs once again and train by train unloaded German troops in the Minsk region. Initially the movement of the German armies was to be as quickly as possible but Hindenburg wanted to keep his cavalry screen and close as possible to be able to react if his column's of troops moving by rail were attacked. Instead of a few days the German armies took about 12 days to completely arrive in the Minsk region. By then the 16th red army had the time to retreat and avoid battle in face of overwhelming superiority. Ludendorff spent several days asking demand after demand for a speedier advance.
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At the same time von Mackensen had his two armies, X. and XI. Armee, and his support troops enter the Baltic states to face the red fortifications at the frontier. The Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian units forming two corps to support the german forces. A group under the German general von Kathen was formed north to hold the Narwa, while a southern cops was put together to support the two German armies.

In the Caucasus the Alpenkorps under general von Quast stormed the fortified positions at Piatorsk the 13th of june, but once again had to suffer significant casualties, forcing von Strantz to rest that elite-corps and request reinforcement while advancing with the rest of his troops.

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The red Caucasus front had retreated behind the Kuban river at Armavir and had a great defensive position there. Von Strantz decided thus to advance slowly towards Stavropol.


First half of June 1921

The red river fleet on the Dniepr had been very active at Kiev, not allowing the Germans to cross the river and to take the red redoubts. The VII Armee had eventually managed to get through but on the long term the German recognized they needed some gunboats of there own. The German army had demanded from the Ukraine and Romania to build these with German help and during June these gunboats were assembled in the lower Dniepr under the famous German admiral Scheer. It would ultimately still take a couple of days before that fleet could operate on the red upper Dniepr.

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The k.u.k. high command didn't want to stay behind the Germans and started in the second half of June it's own movement. First the 3 k.u.k. Armee was sent to Kiev to help the VII Armee in dealing with the Russian redoubts on the left Dniepr bank. Then it started sending the Heeresgruppe von Pflanzer-Baltin to the southern Ukraine. The austrians wanted to launch an attack into the Donbas towards Donetsk and Rostov with the main red armies busy trying to fend of the German assault in central Russia.

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In Finland, the expansion of the war led to the construction of a defensive line, called Mannerheim Line in Karelia to protect Finland from any quick attack from the Bolshevik. At the same timee the Germans diplomats were trying to convince the finns to join them in the war.

Meanwhile the in the baltic the German troops had made good progress and prepared to attack the border fortifications of the Pechory and Ostrov Lines. Supported by a Baltic corps and two heavy artillery corps von Mackensen hopped to crack quickly the resistance of these fortifications and to take Pskov within a month. From there he could then threaten Petrograd, Novgorod and the rear of the red troops on the Narwa-Line (Marienburg Line).

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In the Caucasus the red forces had been reinforced and were led by the excellent commander Blücher. Von Strantz refused any frontal assault against the bolchevik defences on the Kuban, escpecially since the elite Alpenkorps was still at Piatorsk reorganizing and getting reinforcement. The georgian mountain division was therefore sent to occupy the important kuban city of Stavropol and the Armeeabteilung von Kressenstein north of the positions of the IX Armee.

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In the center first major battles occurred. While armoured trains were taking control of the railway from Minsk to Smolensk the I Kavallerie Armee led the way to breakthrough at Smolensk with IV Armee, followed by the II Armee headed for Smolensk, the III Armee headed for Vitebsk. South-east of Minsk VI, V and I Armee attacked the red troops which had avoided battle at Minsk to cover the southern flank. On the 23. June V Armee under General der Infanterie von Gerok stormed the positions of the 16th Red army at Slutsk.

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The red troops were pushed back and retreated towards the fortified positions of Bobruisk, pursued by von Geroks army.

At the same time the I and VI Armee pushed back Stalin's troops in the Tcherven region cutting 16th red army off, stranded between the Berezina and three German armies.

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The news of the border victories were recieved well in Germany and in the OHL. Ludendorff had been anxious because of the slowstart of the operation, but now the German armies were starting to get up to full speed. Immediately Hindenburg and his chief of staff von Steuben ordred the V and VI Armee to finish off quickly the 16th red army at Bobruisk. Meanwhile the I Armee under von Hoffmann was to protect the Heeresgruppe southern flank by pushing towards Gomel. At the same time the XII Armee under the German Kronprinz newly raised, with one Bavarian and one Prussian corps, was sent to Minsk to strengthen the initial breakthrough and allow the main German armies to continue the push for Smolensk-Vitesbsk.

With he border battles won and the initial red troops around Minsk defeated all eyes went on the coming battle at Smolensk-Vitebsk. If the German spearhead could break through there the way to Moscow would be free and a quick victory could be possible. If not the Germans would have to fight major battles in central Russia.

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Next: Will the German break through at Smolensk/Vitebsk ? Were will the red army counter attack ? Will the Austrians get some glory by striking into the Donbas? Will Blücher strike back at the German expeditionary forces in the Kuban?

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Players comment:

I messed up a little my initial blow, I put my cavalry army in synchronized movement with the rest of my army group, but didn't put in rail movement, that slowed down the entire thing that required my entire railpool. (520 000 men transported y rail in one turn), followed by the 60 000 troops of the cavalry army. After that things went pretty good. My armies pushed aside the initial red troops south of Minsk and cut the 16th red army off. The armored trains made as usual the most important job of taking control of the railway from Minsk to Smolensk, allowing to move next turn my armies by rail directly into battle. Since I concetrated my cavalry I had no idea of wthat was waiting at Smolensk but hoped my concentration of force would suffice to destroy anything there.

The simultaneous attack in the centre with the declaration of war of the Baltic state allowed me to strike from Minsk to the Narva at once. So no real threat to my spearhead from the north was to be expected. In the Caucasus my inability to destroy the reds at Grozny allowed them to get behind the Kuban, a strong defensive position, for now I'm happy with Stapvropol which is a 1 pts objective along with Grozny.

With my offensive in central russia I hoped to draw red troops away from the south and launched the Austrian reserve army group von Pflanzer Baltin into the Donbas, red troops moved erratically in the region so I didn't really know what highlandcharge was up to, but with an armoured train preparing the way a quick grab for Donetsk and maybe Rostov was possible. If highlandcharge would get back strong into ukraine I could always get behind my strong Dniepr line.

@DanSez: I'm not sure but it's possible that for screening purposes cavalry needs to be out of divisional command. I don't think it has that big of an impact. In this game I concentrated most of my cavalry into a cavalry army because I was going for a fast going offensive and as we will see my cavalry army will have quite some adventures.

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loki100
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Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:51 pm

great stuff, this is always such a daunting scenario due to the sheer number of units. Seems as if you were making good progress in the south but rather stalled in the centre and the north - be interesting to see if the Baltic States break that up for you
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Metatron
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Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:33 pm

Unfortunately my computer crashed recently becaue of a harddrive problem, I hope it can be repaired since I have no back up of the game files. I really wanted to describe my blitzkrieg/blitzsieg in the center which was quite impressive.

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Metatron
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Sat Apr 27, 2013 7:13 pm

Unfortunately I lost all game files when my hard drive crashed so I can't finish the AAR with the intended maps and pictures. I'll present here out of memory (which is quite good ^^) how the rest of the game went. (use previous posts to orient yourself)

In july 1921
- Main central Front: I Kavallerie Armee supported by the II Armee and IV Armee stormed Smolensk to break through, Stalin's Front managed to hold its ground but the I. Kavallerie Armee and IV Armee managed to break through reaching Vyazma. III Armee secured the northern flank of the breakthrough at Vitebsk, while V and VI Armee destroyed the 16th red army at Bobruisk. I Armee covering the southern flank of the attack was heavily attacked by Frunze's Front (actually a very good counter attack by highlkandcharge wich aimed at cutting by supply line for my entire offensive at Minsk) and against all odds inflicted horrific losses to the attacking russians between the Berezina and Dniepr river. In late july Stalin finally got pushed out of the Smolensk region by the support of the III. Armee, while the newly formed XII Armee took over northern flank defence at Vitesbk. Meanwhile I Kavallerie Armee rushed towards Moscow without pausing securing the railraod from Smolensk to Moscou for the following armies.
- Northern Front, baltic and german armies started besieging the frontier forts at Pskov
- Southern Front: VII Armee and 3 kuk Armee repulsed a bolchevik counter attack and took the Dnieper bastion north of Kiev, meanwhile the kuk Heeresgruppe Von Pflanzer-Baltin rushed to Donetsk defeating a red army and taking the city
- Caucasus Front: german and transcaucasian troops took Stavropol and started flanking the red caucasus front north and south.

In August 1921
- Main central Front: I Kavallerie Armee with II and IV Armee stormed Moscow taking the red capital by surprised. German troops tried to push immediately for Nijny Novgorod but the I Kavallerie Armee was badly mauled by red armies regrouping east of Moscow. Von Hoffmanns I Armee now supported by V and VI Armee defeated Frunzes front destroying large part of the red armies pushing them back to Gomel. VII, VIII and 3 kuk Armeen from the southern front rushed north to Gomel to encircle what was left of the Russian counter attack. XII Armee took over the defence of Smolensk and III Armee was free to advance to Bryansk and then to Orel. THe newly formed XIII Armee under the command of the German Kronprinz taking over the rear defence at Minsk/Vitebsk.
- Northern Front: the frontier bastions of the red army surrendered and Pskov fell rapidely. The German-Baltic Heeresgruppe then pushed north towards Novgorod and Gatchina to cut off Petrograd and the red forces at Marienburg Bastion.
-Southern Front: the kuk Heeresgruppe von Pflanzer-Batlin took Rostov and Novocherkassk threatening to cut off the red armies in the Kuban peninsula. The rest of the southern ukraine front troops still stayed behind the Dnieper to hold the main defence line.
- Caucasus/Kuban front: red caucasus/kuban armies evacuated north leaving the entire regaion to the german-transcaucasian armies which failed to complete the encirclement at Tikhoretsk.

We did get one or two more turns but nothing decisive happened, than we stopped because of the clear result of the war.

Conclusion:
My strategy worked like clockwork, it took only 5 turns (2/5 months) for my german spearhead to take Moscow, the whole distance between Brest-Litowsk and Mosow ! (I was very impressed at my own achievement, didn't really thought it would go that well) 2 turns to take minsk and consolidate the Minsk-Smolensk rail-road line, 2 turns to break through at Smolensk and take control of the Smolensk-Moscow rail-road line and 1 turn to assault the city. The red front was torn in two, the northern front was lost to them and their capital taken. My northern troops took Pskov and advanced towards Petrograd much slower because of the forests of the north.
The main threat to my plan was a strong counter attack into my southern flank. Highlandcharge did exactly that, he could have gone for the safer attack towards Smolensk which would have stopped me and forced to engage all my armies to break through but he went for the riskier counter attack from Gomel towards Minsk to completely cut off my attacking armies, potentially destroying my entire offensive. Unfortunately for him his initial blow was absorbed by von Hoffmann's I Armee which put up a hell of a fight. I immediately committed all my armies in the Minsk area to strike back and managed to destroy 2 or 3 russian armies between Berezina and Gomel. This horrendous losses doomed the Red Army.
In the south the "distraction" of the central front offensive allowed me to act how I wanted since highlandcharge had to draw forces from the south to try to stabilize his central front. I launched the Armygroup I had in reserve (kuk Heeresguppe von Pflanzer-Baltin) towards Rostov and Novocherkassk to take the caucasus/kuban front out of the game. Highlandcharge had no choice but to evacuate the Kuban, I tried to encircle his troops but the Corps supposed to cut off the rail-road line was to weak at that time to stop the red rail-road transfer towards Tzaritsyn.

Moscow was lost, the northern front cut off, the finns were about to enter the war, Petrorad was doomed, the red army had low moral and suffered horrible losses trying to counter attack towards Minsk. The war was won, but it would have needed a few more battles to finish Highlandcharge of, he still had a couple of armies at Nijny Novgorod and in the Triangle Tzaritzyn-Kharkov-Ryazan. We stopped the game there.

A couple of things can be learned from that game:
- the importance of preparing your armies and organizing them well
- the importance of initiative, highlandcharge didn't really took the initiative in the Ukraine allowing me to plan as I wanted, launching my main offensive exactly when and where I wanted, with devastating effect
- the importance of clear/plain region, armies are really really fast on clear/plain regions !
- the importance of rail-road, I never would have been able to strike that fast towards Moscow if my cavalry army and my armoured trains hadn't taken control of rail-road lines the turn before my respective advances, infantry armies just had to use rail-road movement and could strike over great distance: NEVER let your enemy take control of rail-road lines with cavalry and armoured trains 'armoured trains are extrely effective in taking control of rail-roads but are very fragile on their own and cost MN when lost, using them in the rail-raod line controller is risky but very rewarding in a lot of cases) if your are trying to defend, if your on the offensive take control of rail-road lines just before your offensive turn, then use rail-road movement to strike extremely fast even with the most heavy equipment.

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loki100
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Wed May 01, 2013 7:55 am

thanks for that final round up. It is such an interesting scenario but so huge ... Agree with what you say about having the initiative, if you are on the offensive and can sustain it then it seems as if it all snowballs, equally if you are on the defense and have really stopped your opponent they become reduced to making opportunistic attacks. I saw this in the only RuS PBEM I've managed that once I lost iniative, I could sometimes make some gains or throw one of my opponents back but never really regained any control over the tempo or place of operations.
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ERISS
AGEod Guard of Honor
Posts: 1959
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:25 am
Location: France

Wed May 01, 2013 12:05 pm

It's dangerous being an initiative addict:
If you omit your goal for initiative, opponent can drive you in a big strategic trap, by letting you win tactical fights farther and farther unto the place of trap.

Thanks for the AAR.

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