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Capture Paris = Automatic victory?

Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:15 am

In a recent game against the AI, in October 1914 my Central Powers guys were actually having a good deal of trouble on several flanks. The Brits had sparked rebellion in the Arab world and were advancing in Mesopotamia and Palestine, the Russians had pushed the Austrians back to the Carpathians and held the Germans near the border. And the British and Belgians were holding out in western Belgium while the Battle of the Frontiers was a see-saw. However, a hole opened up between Maubeuge and Lille and I had 3rd Army go for it, knifing down to Paris. I figured that it would cause the French and Brits to fall back to consolidate their lines. Instead, they let me take Paris with the second "bombard" attack (during the interphase). Imagine my surprise to get the "Decisive Victory" screen. I'm sure this would have been a hell of a blow to French morale, but I can't see all the Entente powers just packing it in like that. Or maybe so?
Stewart King

"There is no substitute for victory"

Depends on how you define victory.


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Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:27 am

Difficult to say, the problem with history is that we only get one version and it's usually both subjective and biased. Alternate histories also tend to be subjective, biased and fictional so any version that you wish to present is as valid as any other. Unless you decide to add magic or dragons.

There is another component here though that maybe deserves mention and that is the massive socialist movement that existed in Western European politics in 1914. Both the German and French General Staffs anticipated that huge numbers of their conscript armies; urbanized, educated and socially aware and sometimes socially militant would fail to respond to the colours to fight their socialist brothers when mobilization was ordered. The fear was very real and French socialist Jean Jaures had advocated for just just a reaction to a war in Europe before his assassination on 31 July 1914.

So, what might have happened if the loss of Paris had triggered a revolt of the workers taking France out of the war?

After all, the militarization of France came at far greater cost than that in Germany; more Frenchmen were conscripted (>80% of the average class for three-years compared to <55% for two-years in Germany) and a greater percentage of government spending went for defence than in Germany. The tax burdens fell hardest on the urban worker and if Paris fell anyway, might it all seem to be for nothing? Besides, a major defeat on the battlefield might have collapsed the government and led to the conclusion that the enemy was not the German worker but the bourgeois leadership and the whole alliance system.

In the event of course, the workers of all belligerents did their duty and slaughtered each other with great alacrity for far longer than anybody would have given them credit for. The numbers who actually failed to report were <2% in France and even fewer in Germany. Socialist leaders of the era were often fond of saying that the average worker was just three-missed meals away from revolution but the Great War proved just how far that was off the mark. But in the world of the might-have-been, it's not entirely unreasonable to imagine that it might have been otherwise.

In my opinion there is nothing really incongruous in the outcome that you saw.


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Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:07 pm

This is coded as per boardgame rules: capture of Paris or Berlin in 1914 entails a decisive victory for the capturing side. WAD

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:19 pm

And sowewhat realistic and coherent with Germany's war plan.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

- This is 1914, not 1917. No total war yet and the general mood is still set in the 19th century. "The war shall last a few months, and it will be over." Capturing Paris (or Berlin for Russian, as if you can reach it before 1915 you win) is the way of showing your victory.

- German war plan wanted to deal with the French army then take Paris. At least earlier draft of the Schlieffen manoeuver. If you are able to take Paris, well, either you are on the verge of winning or you already destroyed most of the French forces. The war is over for them.

- No need for socialists & whatevers that weren't that strong. French 2nd (or 3rd, can't be sure) bureau was obsessed with the red threat on mobilisation and had lists of people that were to be arrested if troubles started.
There weren't any notable troubles. Again, this is 1914 not 1917.

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Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:53 am

Right, it was still 1914, good point.

I could see the British looking at the war as if it were the Napoleonic Wars. Our unreliable ally on the continent has fallen, but we are still interested in the balance of power. We will subsidize anybody on the continent who is willing to fight and look for ways to screw the newly-dominant power over, relying on our empire to provide us with the resources to wage protracted war. Not saying it would work,of course.
Stewart King

"There is no substitute for victory"

Depends on how you define victory.


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Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:47 am

Look at it like 1940..

As soon as the French were cut off by Guderian, the Bits ran back to their Island..
Similarly as soon as Paris falls, GAME over- British will go back to London and the Royal Navy will make a blocking stand in the channel and the north sea.

Taking Berlin as the Russian is a JOKE! - it is game impossible and in reality even the GRAND DUKE understood that it was logistically and even physically impossible, that is why the GRAND DUKE wanted to make an all out attack on Austria in the Rumelian areas (modern Ukraine/Rumania) and ignore congressional poland, the general staff also understood their limitations, ALEXEEV the Grand Duke's advisor had carved a detailed plan to such an extant.

The French gave a "BRIBE" of 500 Million Francs in late 1912-early 1913 to Russia in return of an aggressive plan, this gave rise to the famously stupid invasion of East Prussia and the disaster at Tanenberg and Masurian Lakes. Russian General Staff had made pre-war calculations that with all things equal 2 GERMAN division was equal to 3 RUSSIANs on a good day on a bad day- more Russians were needed. Taking that into consideration coupled with bad terrain, good fortresses and also the fact that- EAST PRUSSIA was the homeland of the JUNKERS- invasion of EAST PRUSSIA was doomed from the start, all STAFF officers (good ones like Hoffman, Ludendorff, Von Seckt) had their early training here, excellent railways made logistics easy and the rivalry of the Russian commanders removed whatever little hope present.

The Schlieffen plan was the best plan possible - perhaps the greatest plan since Napoleon's Austerlitz campaign plans.
It took into account Germany's bad situation and increasing weakening ally- Austria.
In 1913- Germany manged to mobilise only 52% of its men and spend only 3.4% of its money on military despite the best efforts of the Chancellors, Russian were spending 6.5%, France 4.5% and even Britain 3%. This was due to the Federal structure of Germany with Saxony, Bavaria and several smaller constituents essentially having autonomy.
France had 82% under arms, Russia had 30% (huge population's 30%).

Consider the alternate offense plans (all disastrous)- Plan XVII, Plan Conrad or Russia's Invasion of East Prussia... Schlieffen Plan looks superlative.

Had in 1905, instead of the nincompoop Moltke Jr. a stronger man become the chief like - Mackensen or Von der Goltz, GERMANY would have won in 1914.
As it was they came close, Moltke should have resisted Rupprecht's aggressive counter-attack and forced V.Hansen to move faster (3rd "SAXON" army), also V.Wurtemberg and V.Preuben (4th and 5th army - held by Crown Prince Albrecht and Crown Prince Wilhelm) moved slowly.
The really decisive march was made only by Kluck, though he has been ridiculed by the English as dumb, this was not so, he was most decisive and acted forcefully in his march. Had V.Bulow, V.Hausen and the Crown Princes followed his footsteps and stretched their armies to the end, they might have won.

Also had Moltke not panicked and sent 2 corps + 1 cavalry (5divisions in all)- including the Garde Reserve Corps (the best corps in the GERMAN army as per combat reports )
to OstPreuben, the gap would not have come between the 2 armies.. this totaled nearly 100000 troops (full strength) i.e. almost equal to the British (6 divisions in august-sept 1914).

So, the program is right- PARIS falling in 1914, which you can easily replicate once you get the knack of moving corps is correct.

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