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Tamas
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Plan Moltke - is it The Way?

Thu May 13, 2010 11:45 pm

This is my latest game, as Central Powers, started with the release candidate. I was at the end of 1914 when I decided this could turn out interesting, so I will be just summarizing the first year of the war.

So mostly, my intention is to give a peek on how the trench warfare part looks like. For the equally crucial movement war part (1914) of the game, there is an excellent beta AAR of Maestro06, which I highly recommend.

I have been writing this for a while now, so what I will do is copy over what I have now, then continue later.

Images are on Imageshack so be patient with them. ;)


My initial plan was to stick to the historical warplans, but then I get the notification (certain warplans get detected by the enemy) of France applying Plan XIX. This is basically the "offensive, free army placement" plan. It greatest asset is that France may mix up the Army placement as it feels like, and it can move into Belgium/Switzerland in case of a German attack there. However, as with the plans offering the most flexibility, they start at 29 National Wall, a quite shaky setup (max. is 40NW, instability zone beginst at 20NW).

So I figured I would not duke it out with the French on the plains of Belgium. Rather, I decided to enact the Moltke Plan, aka. the Russia First strategy. To support the matter, Austria-Hungary would also go against the Russians.

It turned out, the Russians also went with one of the more free-form plan, the Czar Plan which is also about an initial attack in East Prussia, but with free placement of the 1st and 2nd Russian armies.

This can be a very effective counter of the Moltke Plan, as German 1st and 2nd Armie start out from Eastern Prussia.

In my effort for an all-out strike on Russia, I concentrated most of my diplomats on Romania throughout 1914. This surely contributed to Great Britain declaring war on me very early despite no neutral country invaded, and altough Turkey followed me into war with the same speed, my progress with Romania was modest.

SUMMARY OF 1914

My fear regarding the better positioned Russian armies at East Prussia turned out to be right. I tried to storm pass them, which resulted in both sides trying to outflank the other, the Germans ending up not gaining much, until the end of the year when Russian resistance up north seemed to collapse and the German 1st and 8th Armies made some progress there. Is the screenshot of the front there right at the start of 1915:

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In Poland, the comperatively small German 3rd Army made some good progress, quickly capturing Lodz then pushing toward Warsaw. Reaching its border, they had to turn back near the end of year, because the Austro-Hungarian 1st Army failed to seal its flank, and a pretty dangerous Russian counteroffensive started to take shape there. That was in turn countered by the new German armies incoming, with the whole thing standing at the end of the year like this:

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From that screenshot you can also see most of the Austrian sector. It may look like a failure, and yes it was. Instead of a concentrated attack or two I intended the Austro-Hungarians to tie down Russians but one-on-one fighting is not the strong side of the A-H army, especially on the offense.

while all this was going on, Romania finally joined me in November. This could turn out to be decisive because by that time, altough the Russians faired well against me, the prolonged fighting against superior enemies drained their manpower near dry so they could end up too stretched (the very idea behind lobbying for a Romanian declaration of war).

In the Mid East, Turkey failed to make any big impression, and out of negligence I almost let the British 5th Army break out into the Holy Land.

There is no need for a screenshot of the West. In August, the French captured Metz, and were still holding it as of January 1915, but this was all their success. Needless to say of course that they were determined and it took a great deal of effort and luck from the Germans to hold them.

France suffered so many losses that it was forced to name a new government during the autumn, but had been stable ever since.

Speaking of political turmoil, the end of the year Interphase was really quite unlucky for Austria-Hungary, remaining at the edge of the instability zone, which helped Russia when they played a Mutiny event on Austria. Due to A-H's low National Will they actually succeeded and mutiny weakened all Ausro-Hungarian armies.
Low on manpower, ammo, and national will, with a parlaiment becoming shaky, they could not have ambitious plans for early 1915.

On the other hand, Germany was solid as a rock, and Russia was showing serious signs of growing weak. They had the Czar personally commanding the forces since September, and they were unlucky enough to get the Rasputing event as well.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1915
A good diplomatic result with Bulgaria pushed them near joining the Central Powers, but Italy was also on the edge of utilizing Austria's weakness and declaring war on them. Bulgaria was essential since the Serbs kept holding the Austro-Hungarians, and Romania basically emptied its country of military in an effort to pose as threat to Russia, so an Entente Bulgaria would spell catashtrophe.

This was the last turn before trench warfare kicked in, and it saw the Germans mounting a big offensive with the beefed-up 5th Army to finally retake Metz, partly due because a determined and brutal, but utlimately failed French offensive north of it, which left French ammo stockpiles very low. So as soldiers awaited Spring, at the west they faced each other on unchanged borders.

At the East, both sides had minor successes: the Russian 1st Army managed to get behind German lines somewhat east of Memel which was to prompt a backtrack by the sector, and the German 10th Army were cautiously advancing toward Warsaw from the Nort-West. They layed siege on Novo Georglewsk, the last obstacle before the Polish capital.

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Tamas
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Thu May 13, 2010 11:46 pm

MARCH 1915

A decisive month in diplomacy. Altough Italy finally caved in and declared war on Austria-Hungary, this decision pushed Bulgaria to weight in and join the Central Powers.
Not only that, but the Entente political option of attempting a military coup in Greece seriously backfired on them, having the Greeks on the verge of siding with the CP.

This was end of good news for this month, as numerous minor attacks in West and East put pressure on Germany and Austria. The Italian front was yet to explode but the mutinies of last winter left the local Austro-Hungarian armies in a bad shape.
That little Russian incursion, salient, east of Memel turned out to be a bigger annoyance than expected. It had been held by forces of the Russian 1st Army, and it's new general was Yudenitch, transferred from the Caucasus. His skillful defending repelled a German attempt to push them back.

Political brickering prevented Austria-Hungary from forming a new government and thus exiting the instability zone. Luckily, police managed to prevent serious strikes so the situation did not become worse.

APRIL and MAY 1915

After executing the Prime Minister for his alleged part in the failed coup, Greece signed an alliance with Germany and entered the war. The Balkans as such had been secured, as soon as the combined power of its neighbors would crush Serbia.

Militarily, nothing important happened in April or even May, except for a Russian attempt at retaking Lodz, a signal that they were far from being defeated.
Luckily however, the road to Warsaw got free for the 10th Army, so a Grand Offensive to take the city then push on to force a Russian retreat out of Poland was planned and scheduled for July.

Also, the Germans managed to develop early trench mortars raising trench level from zero to one meaning they would now get extra protection on the Western Front.

During the Spring Interphase Austria-Hungary ordered the fielding of a hungarian and severa slavic conscript units to plug any possible future holes on the Italian border and to make regular units free of frount-guarding duty. But otherwise A-H still failed to stabilize.

JUNE 1915

The training of 4 regular infantry corps of Germany finised this month and they were used to form the 14th Army in Danzig, while the Eastern Grand HQ with Hindenburg moved from Konigsberg to Posen in anticipation of more operations in Russian Poland.

Also during the interphase wartime production was increased considerably in Germany at a price of much dissent of the population.

Needless to say that no such action could be attempted in A-H while it was still on the verge of serious social upheveal.

The event of this month was the launch of Italian attacks on several parts of the Alps. The only serious one almost managed to break through, surprising Austrian leadership by its size:

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Needless to say I quickly gave up on one of the sub-battles so I can maintain my presence in Gorizia.


There is an important bit of info on that screenshot which I did not notice until that time. there had been some very serious trench technology advancements for the Entente. Their Western trenches were already at the maximum, 3rd level, and by July the Russians received one of these techs, and it was only a turn or two away to see them reach the eastern maximum, level 2 trenches. Rare luck for the AI, and something which hinders me.

JULY 1915

The new Austro-Hungarian conscript units arrived in perfect timing to give some strength to the Italian border.

And FINALLY a new government was formed in Austria-Hungary stabilizing the National Will of the country to some extent, but also the government turned out to be Pacifist, giving various negative modifiers to future tests. This would have to be improved later.

This was also the start date of the German Grand Offensive against Warsaw but due to organizational difficulties no actual attack took place (meaning, I was so engrossed in forming my Italian defenses that I forgot to move my stack :bonk :) . But this was not a big problem because the Germans failed to propely enact the gas attack tactic planned for the offensive.

The Russians, like in previous months, kept keeping up pressure on the Galician city of Lemberg, and the Brits continued their short probing attacks in the Middle East, this time at Beersheba. The French tried a determined attack from the Vosges but were repelled.

So was the second, this time smaller Italian offensive on Gorizia, where the hell of the Italian front fulled itself fully, as Italian reservists and conscripts were sent against Slovenian mountain troops and freshly gathered conscripts.

As sidenews, the Royal Navy raided Kiel! What an embarrasment. Yet, I refuse to risk my navy.

AUGUST 1915

Of course I forgot one bad thing about forgetting to move my attack on Warsaw in July: Russians adopted level 2 trenches in August!

Also, the Zimmerman telegram was intercepted by Entente and given to the US government. Some serious diplomatic effort must be put on USA.

Speaking of diplomacy, there had been a big diplomatic battle in Persia in recent months, which was finally won by CP this month, giving some troops to the Mesopotamia theatre, which had been absolutely silent throughout the war, except for Brits taking positions around Basra.

The only major event this turn was of course the successful attack on Warsaw:

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You can see that I attempted to use chlorine gas (failed, by the way) and my preliminary bombardment (gathered two artillery units in reserve of the 10th Army - not much, but I anticipated a stretched Russian defense) reduced the Russian trenches by one level, and the overwhelmed defenders retreated after two rounds.

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Tamas
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Thu May 13, 2010 11:48 pm

As the Summer Interphase kicks in, here is the screenshot showing the Rape of Serbia, with its armies near collapse, as Austro-Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Greek forces occupy the country:

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And here is the immediate area of my ongoing Grand Offensive:

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The 14th Army of mine is a real monster. It has 6 freshly created active-duty corps. The general plan is that they will proceed toward Brest-Litovsk, the 10th Army will go southward, with the other armies helping to round up the Russians and protect the flanks.

So lets get back to business!

SEPTEMBER 1915

France at Metz, and Italy at the Isonzo and Trent, tried to relive the pressure on the Russians, but with little success. The third Battle of Isonzo was a pretty close call for a round but defense on excellent terrain prevailed.
The Italians got a really bloody nose at Trent, their National Will started to show their futile but determined attempts to break through.

At the east, as planned, the 14th German army pushed toward Brest-Litovsk, while the saxon 10th Army continued the Grand Offensive and engaged Russians at Ivangorod:

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You see that is what I like about the Grand Offensive system, it gives flavour. Those icons (and my and the AIs selections) tell the story of the Germans attacked using a combination of momentum and smaller jumps plus gas, and the Russians attempted to use scattered defense to halt them.

They failed, mind you. And with that victory Germany got the 10NW bonus for a successful Grand Offensive.

They were far from being done, however.


OCTOBER 1915

During the last couple of Interphases, I concentrated Germany's industry on producing artillery units. These are slow to complete of course (they come in lineary, so you can't for example have all your available artillery units ready in a given month just because you saved up the money to order them all at once), but the first siege arty unit got completed this month. Having confidence in destroying at the very least the offensive power of Russia with this offensive of mine, I placed it with the 9th Army, which is my general reserve army in the West Front.

Speaking of which, I also ordered a steady flow of German mountain troops. With a surprise 1916 offensive to the Vosges in mind. This was far from happening, though.

At the Balkans, the Serbian army was reduced to a single isolated stack. The A-H 5th Army was still needed to contain them, but the 6th Army was ordered to gather up at Sarajevo. Wether they would be sent to the Alps or to Russia was yet to see.
The pesky serbs did manage to cause one last time though: their breakout attempt costed me some Bulgarians, as I carelessly ignored the fact that Bulgaria had no manpower reserve left after recent battles, and should had reduced some of their units to gain a couple. Now two Bulgarian units would have to be rebuilt during an interphase.

I was looking for opportunities to increase the pressure on Russia but there weren't that many, because of the sophisticated trench techs (an alt-hist turn, historically Germany was the one ahead of its enemies in producing effective trench systems).

Still, I ordered to resume Turkey's Caucasus offensive, which by the way ended abruptly in failure, despite capturing Kars, back in last August. Since then, the strongest available units had been built for Turkey.
They started off this month by securing their flank at Kars so they could move out. They succeeded, but the single mountain corps of Russia they attacked almost managed to defeat 3 Turkish ones with artillery support.

Also the Austrian 1st Army moved north and linked up with the German 10th Army moving south, but the Russians in the new huge pocket put up a fight, and it seemed as it would be hard to take them down (there are enough big cities in that pocket to keep them supplied).

Italy kept searching for the elusive breakthrough, something understandable, since they have a HUGE numerical superiority on the front, but the Austrians have quality, terrain, and morale on their side. And the Italians keep being unlucky. Every turn they had had a battle where they got enough units destroyed (placed off-map either out of combat or gone until rebuilt) to qualify as a major defeat, hurting their National Will.

At the west, the first serious air battle of the war happened. The German airforce (one fighter, one bomber) encountered the French one of 2 fighters, 2 bomber squadrons. After two rounds of fighting they broke of, with the German bombers, and one of the French fighters reduced.

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Speaking of the Western Front, Germans managed to improve their trench mortar tech raising their western trench level to 2.

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Tamas
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Thu May 13, 2010 11:49 pm

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1915

So the pocket in Russian Poland was almost closed, with the fort of Ivangorod holding out under siege of the 10th Army until the very end of the year. The Russian outbreak attempt could very well begin in January, so I decided on caling off 14th Army's advance on Brest-Litovsk, and keep it around to reclose the pocket if needed. So they were moved back to Warsaw.

General minor offensive action continued, including my continued careful advance in the Caucasus. Speaking of which, let me give you a quick rundown on the state of things with Turkey through these screenshots:

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As you can see, the pressure I had been applying on the Russians since gamestart shows on the Caucasus front, altough I expect those holes to be filled pretty soon.

There is also a chance to liberate Basra. Palestine is more iffy.


During the Interphase, Forming of the 15th German Army had been decided, altough only with its default two active-duty corps for the moment. Their intended purpose was to help in reorganizing the East Prussia sector of the front, as general plans had been made for a decisive advance into Russia once the huge Polish pocket has been eliminated.

The Austro-Hungarians ordered two artilelry units and a corps of Hungarian reservists.


JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1916

The redeployment phase at the end of the year saw the Brits positioning apparently quite a few forces in and around Basra, it could very well be that I triggered a stronger than desired counter-reaction.

the Arab Revolt started, but due to my earlier negligence (I am not sure if I mentioned but in pure carelesness I let the British 5th Army outflank in Palestine hence the defensive line is where it is), the arab peninsula was already controlled by British forces. Which did prompt me to garrison Damascus, btw.

A revolt in French Indochina, and a strike in Germany contributed to this being a revolt-heavy start of the year.


I had to realize that my Russian pocket was too large as it was: I was waiting for the outbreak attempt but then realized it contained 3 towns and under the supply rules two are enough to act as supply source, so it was perfectly viable for the Russians to try and hold themselves. So the 10th Army was sent against Kielce, the southernmost town in the pocket, next to the Austrian lines.

The 4 elite mountain corps of Germany ordered (for serious amount of economy points) earlier finally finished their training. They were deployed to the 9th Army behind the Western Front. That's also where I have been gathering up new siege artillery unit slowly rolling down from factory lines. I want to prepare for a surprise strike near the Swiss border, or for a serious counter-offensive if the French decide on a Grand Offensive of their own.

MARCH-APRIL 1916

Emergency in Palestine! Clearly I greatly ignored the dangers of that front. DO NOT LET THE BRITS TAKE ARABIA! it opens up a route to the backyard of Palestine, clearly showed by the capture of Amman by the Brits in February, behind Turkish lines. Wether it was an arab revolt unit or a Brit regular moved to Arabia earlier was unkown, and hardly mattered: the Turkish forces had to be evacuated back further north with the utmost urgency. The defensive line was decided to be the Beirut-Damascus line but it had to be reached first! What a military blunder :(

A risky counterattack against the advancing Brits in Mesopotamia did suceed however, but there were further advancing troops spotted going out of Beirut.
In general, it appears Brits were abandoning their reserve duties on the West Front and shipping more and more soldiers against Turkey.

At least Kielce was captured in Poland, advance continued on the town just north of it, Rzin.

Last turn was the first in quite a while without any Italian attacks, I was wodnering if they were up to something...

And they were. In March, they launched their Grand Offensive toward Trent. They used combat gas and rolling barrage, I opted for in depth defense, and got scattered defense as a random bonus.
The Italians sent their best, along with their usual waves of reservists, but they lacked artillery, so I managed to hold on. The Grand Offensive would continue next month, but I was not overly concerned, seeing the lack of firepower of the italians.

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There was a British probing attack against Persians near Basra but they did not force the issue.
In that region, I am getting a bit worried about only having a single (altough elite) persia unit in Persia itself, seeing the nasty Arabia business.

In Russia, the seal-off the pocket was complete, with the Russians in it isolated from supply sources, they run was about to begin. I only had to weather that in May, and thus destroy a big portion of the Russian Army.

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Tamas
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Thu May 13, 2010 11:50 pm

MAY 1916

By the end of May, my victory in Russian Poland was complete. Russian reservists throwing themselves at the best of the German army supported by artillery was qutie hopeless. I was planning an other Grand Offensive toward Brest-Litovsk. After the May Interphase the Russians stood at zero National will, still not the lowest possible but a quick determined strike at their fighting spirit seemed to knock them out.

But all things considered, I think my pocket was too big. It took me way too much time to take down.

And that was quite important as the lack of Western Front to occupy the Brits started to show more and more in Palestine. Luckily I had some Turkish units constructed right after the meltdown due to Arabia, so I managed to establish the Beirut-Damascus line before the Brits could get there.

Speaking of National Will, the French weren't in such a good shape either. In the interphase they formed a new government, putting their NW back to 28, but with a Defetist parlaiment. I know haven't been giving much attention to the French border, but every few months they made a solid effort at trying to brake through, plus the constant harassments and this had its toll on their NW.

The Italians did continue their Grand Offensive against Trento, however one of their conscript units panicked and that called an abrupt end to the month's fighting.

As part of trying to deal with the British problem, I finally started (restricted) submarine warfare. I already had 7 submarines built and had 3 more ordered this month.

Along with a bunch of German fighter squadrons, a couple of German active-duty corps, and Austrian units.

I also had to cautiously press enaction of wartime economy in Austria-Hungary. The relatively high raise of National Will from the civilian production every Interphase was good, but their economy had been a joke.

Especially that this had been the second Interphase where the British blockade started to make itself felt. Still not the devastation it can be expected to late 1917-1918, but can't be shrugged off either. Plus being mid-1916, now there would be a constant NW penalty due to length of the war.

Austria-Hungary closed May with 24NW, 27 for Germany and Turkey. Far away were the happy days of 1914's august. Yet, the planned successful Grand Offensives for A-H and Germany this summer were to establish a good NW base for the take on Italy after Russia gets out.


JUNE 1916

I drew: the Lenin event. All I need is to get some revolution going in Russia then I would have a shot at installing the reds (who have a random chance of grabbing power anyway)

Also Land Mines had been invented by Germany, finally, so trench levels could be maximized.

But also, the US closed Baltimore harbor from the Deutschland commercial submarine, furthe deteriorating relations between the US of A and Germany. Considering the freshly launched submarine warfare, a diplomatic mission was promptly sent to the States, and it did manage to smooth off the rough edges.

The German 14th Army had to move out of Warsaw a bit to be in Grand Offensive planning range from Brest-Litovsk, but I did schedule a joint attack of the Austrian 3rd and 5th Armies toward Dubno:

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Apart from the usual French harassment, and the Italians continuing the grand offensive (again, as in history, they were grossly ineffective), June was a surprisingly quiet month.

JULY 1916

Luckily you can plan a Grand Offensive for your current month, so the German 14th and 10th Armies were to set on toward Brest-Litovsk, while the Austrio-Hungarian 3rd and 5th launched their own attack.

The austrians were to experiment with flash bombardments, while the Germans were planning to try trench inflitration techniques, so they could use the assault troops they just researched.

With perfect timing, the Russian army experienced mutinies, pushing their NW down to -4. Their end was near.

As expected, the Russians melted away, even though neither of the new combat tactics were implemented successfully. But all 4 armies seemed to open a way for themselves, and Russian NW plumetted to -7. As a matter of fact, serious consideration was given to halting the offensive until the autumn to avoid reviving national pride before the social checks of the summer interphase.
But alas, the Central Powers needed the NW from the success of the offensive.

The French did a rather prolonged offensive south of Metz, but as every other attempt, it failed.

The Italians paused their Grand Offensive, to no surprise.

The Brits did not pause their advance on Damascus, however, but they underestimated the strength of the now prepare defenses.

AUGUST 1916

The collapse of the Russian army became quite clear by this time. You can view the result at the end of the month below, the two main offensives sweaping all opposition aside. A corps or two of the Russians managed to hold on bravely for a while, but the huge morale penalty due to their National Will simply gave them no chance.

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The Italians managed to produce some meaningful artillery it appears, they used them to support their human waves tactics against Trent, which were met with local counterattacks. This was the most savage fight of this Italian Grand Offensive yet, but the Austrians kept holding.

And then came the Interphase. A steady flow of stosstruppen had been ordered for Germany, and some reinforcements for all powers, like the remaining slavic reservits for A-H plus an Austrian mountain corps, in an ambition to being able to tackle Italy alone after Russia falls, with the Germans hitting the French simultaneously.

But of course, the real question was the political phase. What would happen with Russia...

and it was PERFECT. With down to minimum possible NW, there was a fair chance of them surrendering right away when revolutionary hell brakes out (sort of like the Central Powers did). And they did!

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(the text at the end repeats so much because of all the CP combatants).

Even with this wonderful news the NW of A-H raised up only until 30 (38 for Germany) so its no surprise the meltdown of Russia caused shockwaves in France and Italy, pushing both National Wills somewhat below zero. The chance to end the war in 1916 suddenly presented itself!

Great Britain, however, faired much better, still keeping a National Will of 24 even after the Russian surrender and the introduction of the submarine warfare (of which they already prepared for, check the big number of escorts below). But then again, they only had fighting against Turkey so far.

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As a somewhat negative news, the US promised economic aid for France and the UK.

That was just one more consideration to have Grand Offensive launched immediately against France and Italy, to capitalize on their abysmal National Will, before they have a chance to recover.

06 Maestro
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Fri May 14, 2010 3:26 am

That was a crafty way of knocking out Russia. If I understand the situation correctly; the results of the two Grand Offensives, the losses of manpower and provinces and the likely prevention of planned Russian Grand Offensives pushed Russia over the edge.

Now the preparation can begin on settling the score with France and then England. Are you planning on a bit of naval expansion?

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Tamas
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Fri May 14, 2010 7:13 am

06 Maestro wrote:That was a crafty way of knocking out Russia. If I understand the situation correctly; the results of the two Grand Offensives, the losses of manpower and provinces and the likely prevention of planned Russian Grand Offensives pushed Russia over the edge.

Now the preparation can begin on settling the score with France and then England. Are you planning on a bit of naval expansion?


Basically yes. :) One of the aspects I forgot to mention is that all this CP concentration on Russia made the Russians decrease their civilian production (increase their military production) down to level 2, which did good to their production capabilities, but stopped any NW gains during Interphases from civilian production. This was not decisive, but a piece of the puzzle.

Other than these, gettin Romania to join me relative early also helped. They were barely capable to defend their long border, but they did force the Russians to leave troops there. (They only dared to abandon parts of that front during the last two months of their war when they tried to plug the holes mutiny and my double Grand Offensive caused to them).

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calvinus
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Fri May 14, 2010 8:02 am

06 Maestro wrote:Now the preparation can begin on settling the score with France and then England. Are you planning on a bit of naval expansion?


I believe the next target should be Italy. Once Russia and Italy are crushed, he has really the chances to win on the long run.

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Tamas
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Fri May 14, 2010 8:11 am

Yes, I have been too shy to sail my German fleet out (the god damn Brits even raided Kiel once), due to the risk to National Will.
Seeing how the UK is by far the strongest willed enemy, I am not going to risk it just now.

I have several options to choose from:

-wait until the Eastern troops arrive back, mass a German-Austrian force to knock the Italians out with a thunderous strike
-use the currently abysmal, but supposedly recoverable National Will of France and Italy to try and finish the war before the year ends, by instantly going on a Grand Offensive accross the French border (remember, I have the 9th Army quite strong and behind the lines), with the Austro-Hungarians following suit against Italy.
-there is also an option to use the Eastern armies against Belgium... the Brits seem comitted against the Turks, an attack accross Belgium would allow me to stretch the French thin.

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calvinus
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Fri May 14, 2010 8:17 am

An attack across Belgium would be great, but beware of the diplomatic reaction of USA... :neener:

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Tamas
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Fri May 14, 2010 8:26 am

calvinus wrote:An attack across Belgium would be great, but beware of the diplomatic reaction of USA... :neener:


True, in fact, in my excitement over the surrender of Russia, I forgot the important event of the sinking of the Lusitania!

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calvinus
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Fri May 14, 2010 8:43 am

USA enter the war when their diplomatic level is -5.
A war declaration against Belgium applies a -1 to the diplomatic level.
Plus, if USA abandoned their Isolationism, you have a -1 every turn/phase...

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Tamas
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Fri May 14, 2010 5:19 pm

SEPTEMBER 1916:

Tragedy for Austria-Hungary:

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This means a morale penalty for the minorities within the Monarchy, as the last person keeping this failing state together dies.

I forgot about the fact you can't just switch Grand Offensvies on a whim, so no chance for one against France in 1916.

Despite this, the beefed-up German 9th Army was ordered to go and face the sector of the french fort in Epinal in the Vosges, an attempt to force a breakthrough with a minor offensive would be attempted.

The eastern forces began their move to the west, altough this overloaded the railroad capacity of the countries, so it would take a while.

The Brits kept massing in Palestine, further reinforcements coming through Sinai and Arabia were spotted, and an attack in Mesopotamia was repulsed.

The Italians had a very good preliminary bombardment against Trent considering their artillery force, reduced both of the defending units and the trench a level, but their offensive failed abysmally anyway when the reservists sent forward panicked. Disadvantages of zero NW I guess.

OCTOBER 1916

Following the death of the Emperor, his successor, Karl, faced a decision: reform the Dual Monarchy or not? Reform would had meant eliminating the morale penalty of the minorities, but majorly pissing off Hungarians. Alas, it was not attempted, altough it was a hard decision, since there could be hardly better circumstances.

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While Italy continued the offensive against Trent in vain, and General Haig failed with an attack on Damascus, and during an ill-prepared French Grand Offensive start against Saarburg, the strongest army of Germany, probably the entire war, went into a major (altough secondary) battle with the defenders of Epinal.

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As with the Italians, morale penalty due to abysmal National Will (this month France had around 5, roughly the same for Italy) decided the battle. The Germans suffered significant losses, 4 elite, one veteran, and one active corps all were rotated through the battle with a varying degree of losses, constantly with artillery support. But despite that, the morale penalty ensured that any French unit (and it was mostly reservists defending this hex) which was forced to make a morale check would suffer serious consequences. So despite their machine guns in their bunkers mowing down the best of Germany, French units repeadetly became disorganized and place out of combat or downright destroyed. With no Russian ally, the French soldiers did not feel the courage to fight on.
Epinal was placed under siege and promptly taken care of by the new siege guns.


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NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1917

Looks like both a revolt and a mutiny check failed in France, either that or i triggered a national revival, because their NW is back to 17! Time to press on the attack. The 9th Army was ordered to turn south and take out the French fort near the Swiss border, while the 6th Army would move in to defend Epinal.

France won the initiative so stopped my further movements with a weak counterattack, so operations grinded to a halt before the winter interphase.

Not in Persia, however, the Brits managed to take it over, but the Caucasus forces of Turkey would be redeployed around it to quickly counter this threat.

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Tamas
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Sun May 16, 2010 2:55 pm

Both France and Italy recovered their NW quite well, (France: 19, Italy: 21) so my sudden death victory plans were gone.

But some German armies already arrive to the western border, so did a couple of Austro-Hungarians, the rest were redeployed as much as possible (meaning at the west front/east front border).
So, the Grand Plan was made: 9th Germany would take Belfort at the swiss border in a secondary offensive, then the Germans would proceed to a Grand Offensive based on the magnitude of victory there.

Meanwhile, the Austrian 6th and 7th Armies would launch a Grand Offensive toward Caporetto, supported by the 5th and 8th Armies to their north, then proceed to overwhelm the shaky Italians.

Here is the Italian situation:

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JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1917

Results of the US election came in!

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he stopped economic aid to Entente. Nice!

Entente won the initative and Italy came crashing into my Austrian armies prepared for the grand offensive. Needless to say they were badly beaten, despite bringing their good troops and artillery, no doubt learning from their early failures at Trent. They did manage to delay my offensive this way, though.

At Belfort, Epinal repeated itself. The elite german units took considerable losses, but they had a decisive moral advantage, so the French decided to give up the ground, and the fort again fell to continued artillery fire by the start of March.

The Brits continued their attempts in Palestine and using the northernmost province in connection with Arabia, almost slipped past Damascus to the north-east of it, but the Turkish 3rd Army arrived from the Caucasus to stop them. Their counteroffensive against the ANZAC forces failed miserably, though.
The Turkish 2nd Army was preparing to take back Persia in March.

MARCH-APRIL 1917

The German 14th Army, hero of the eastern front, conquerors of Brest-Litovsk, was preparing to start a Grand Offensive in May, against the French province of Longwy bordering Luxembourg, trying to invent Rolling Barrage in the process.

Maybe it was that the Italians also prepared their own Grand Offensive, but the Austro-Hungarian big push opened abysmally. It was like the mirror image of the Italian efforts. There was simply not enough artillery for a proper preliminary bombardment and the quality troops got disorganized fast and after that the reservists posed no real threat to the sopishticated Italian trenches.

The Turks, trying to push the Brits down below Damascus realized just what a force they are dealing with. A major battle erupted where the Brits had artillery superiority so quickly repulsed the Turkish attack. Their attempt on Persia failed as well.

So, April closed full of bad news for the Centrals. But May should see the big breakthrough in France.

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count taaffe
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Mon May 17, 2010 10:58 am

Hi Tamas!

Thanks for the thrilling AAR. I'm really enjoying it :thumbsup:

Cheers, Peter

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Longhairedlout
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Mon May 17, 2010 2:57 pm

Very good AAR, in fact its tempted me to buy the game :)

Fastsnake
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Mon May 17, 2010 8:40 pm

Oh great! You made me discover where we can see the effects of submarines guerilla. Is it the same thing for blocus effects?

By the way, what do you mean by CP? Civilian Production? And how do you see the exact civilian and militarian production of a country?

And your AAR is great, it's kinda funny because I'm playing one of my first campaign with France, and in 1916 the overall situation is quite similar to yours (which is not good for me, so!).

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Tamas
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Mon May 17, 2010 9:30 pm

Thank you guys. :) Will try to get an update soon.

By CP I mean Centarl Powers :D I think I always spelled out Civilian Production full when I mentioned that.

But, you can see civilian production beside the money icon at the top. it is the (number) beside your economic points.

Fastsnake
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Mon May 17, 2010 9:33 pm

Oh yes... What a jerk am I!


And the miltiary production? It is proportional to the civilian production?

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Tamas
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Mon May 17, 2010 9:52 pm

Fastsnake wrote:Oh yes... What a jerk am I!


And the miltiary production? It is proportional to the civilian production?


its the same thing. the raise wartime economy political action decreases the civilian level. The less civilian production you have, the more of the economy goes to the war.

Its a though compromise, actually. Each interphase you get an NW bonus from civilian production, which is quite healthy at higher levels, but gets to zero around level 4 or 3 or so.

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Tamas
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Tue May 18, 2010 7:43 am

Fastsnake wrote:
And your AAR is great, it's kinda funny because I'm playing one of my first campaign with France, and in 1916 the overall situation is quite similar to yours (which is not good for me, so!).



There is a thread here in the AAR section asking for impressions for playing as Entente, perhaps you want to give a summary of your game there. :)

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Tamas
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Wed May 19, 2010 10:28 pm

sorry for the lack of screenshots in this post, its a bit late here, I just wanted to write down what happened, as it was quite interesting. :)


MAY 1917

What a great choice flash bombardment was! My Grand Offensive on Longwy took the French completely by surprise, as they repositioned their troops to launch several secondary attacks against the territory they lost to me recently, and against Metz, desperately searching for a weak point.

As such, as it turned out, Longwy was only held by a reserve corps. The quick, concentrated, and furious flash bombardment prevented the French from sending in any reinforcements in time, so in a quick battle they were forced to retreat and Longwy was captured. But the breakthrough attempt failed, so a sudden strike deep into France failed.

Yet, this was yet another nail in France's coffin.

The Entente again had initiative, once again delaying the continuation of the Austrian Grand Offensive.
The Italians started their own, in Trent again, trying heavy bombardment but their result were usual, and their numerical superiority is vaining as the Austrian armies arrive from the East.

The Brits launched a Grand Offensive of their own in Palestine, attempting to outflank Damascus through the mountains to its north. The Turks held on.

Their Persian allies, however, failed at holding the left (northern) flank in Mesopotamia. Hopefully, supply problems will grind the British offensive to a halt long enough so the Turkish 2nd Army, which just liberated Persia this month, could cut their advance.

The May interphase saw the worrying start of general war exhaustion kicking in in a MAJOR way. The final period of the war started. From this point, the populace starts to become so fed up and unstable, that nothing is certain, a failed Grand Offensive can be your final undoing. A lost city can hurt you big time, or rally your flailing people to the flag, in desperation.


After all effects were counted, Germany suddenly found itself on NW 20, A-H on 15, Turkey on 6(!).
The Entente wasnt much better off either, they did not have the blockade but it was a great season for the German submarines, causing a loss of 6 NW to Great Britain, which started June on the NW of 14, France 11, Italy 21.

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calvinus
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Thu May 20, 2010 8:06 am

I'm wondering if the surrender of Russia in 1916, instead of a historical 1917, is giving to CPs much more chances to win... :love:

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Tamas
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Thu May 20, 2010 8:19 am

calvinus wrote:I'm wondering if the surrender of Russia in 1916, instead of a historical 1917, is giving to CPs much more chances to win... :love:


It certainly does, but I can't help but feel I am in a delay and must push the issue fast, or else... The NW reductions per Interphase are becoming a decisive factor.

Plus I have been thinking that I have been very lucky with that US election result. With Wilson they probably would have already entered the phase where they go closer to joining the Entente one step every turn.

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Tamas
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Thu May 20, 2010 7:44 pm

JUNE and JULY 1917

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Thats the Western Front at the start of June.

Not much happened that month, except that the Brits had to learn that the Turks can hold themselves when none of their forces are tied up by the Russians.

They payed such a heavy price learning that, it triggered a small mutiny in the ranks of the British Army.

July, now that was a much more interesting month. If only I had it recorded somehow to show it off.
It was a nice showcase of several trench war aspects.

While I continued the Austrian Grand Offensive that month, following some serious but ultimately failed Italian efforts in June, plus, feeling the time was right (as two new Armies arrived from the East), I ordered an across-the-board offensive for the Germans on the West Front. Signing the peace accord in September, was plan.

So, if you read the earlier posts, you can remember the lackluster performance of France on the attack. Being on the defense is an entirely different ballgame, however. As my attacks kicked off one after the other, with no serious preliminary bombardment or appliance of any of the Grand Offensive tactics, the French had time to deploy defensive artillery and units from the reserves, and so the pride German army melted away against them. HUGE losses were suffered, and the offensive failed accross the entire front.
It was really ugly.

Then Caporetto: it started out much in the same fashion. But the numerical superiority of the Italians were gone, so altough the initial rounds were bad, I kept on pushing and in almost the last round, I forced a victory!

So you see, there is a crucial thing in the game: to spot when to give up, and when to press on despite all the ugliness.


AUGUST 1917

The losses were so great that Germany lost 7 NWs because of it. Yet, the instability test suceeded magnificently, adding 8NWs. Germany started August with an NW of 16.

Austria-Hungary stood on 14 NW. I did manage to form a new government in Turkey, but I wanted to avoid risking stance of Parlaiment for the two main countries because they would be getting some good NW boost from the successful Grand Offensives at the end of the year.

Speaking of Grand Offensives, I learned from last month's German disaster, and only contiuned the GOs which were ongoing. The 14th German Army continued westward, discovering what I ignored as I sent waves after waves of Germans to their death: the French had big losses stopping them as well. Their manpower reserve got pretty low while defending against my main attack, and again were forced to retreat.

The Austrian main attack was a real nail biter, but one round before the battle's end, the Italian retreat was forced again, halfway to Treviso.

The support attack by the A-H 5th Army to the north failed in an ugly manner, however.

And, the Italians had a surprise up their sleeves: I kept my fleet at bay all this time so, they landed a force in Trieste! Luckily for me, I just moved the A-H 3rd Army there by rail, so they defeat this dastardly attempt

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Tamas
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Fri May 21, 2010 6:31 pm

SEPTEMBER 1917

The German artillery concentrated with the 14th Army at the north, and with the 9th in south, and fatal July proved there was no hope of attacking with acceptable losses withouth the extra preparadness of a Grand Offensive.

So until a new GO could be planned, the 14th Army had to remain the spearhead, and as such was named Main Army of the theater (and by as effect, the war).

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It was to seek combat along the Belgian border, while the 4th and 12th Armies would flow into the gap, with the 15th and other armies remaining back as defenders.

The French were to either not defend against the 14th and its flanking partners properly, and thus lose their mainland, or they remove a serious amounts of troops from the border, allowing the general push of July to be repeated with much better hopes of success.

In short, the overwhelming numbers of a one-front Germany was to really put a weight on proceedings.

Austria was to attempt the crossing of the Piave with its main offensive of the 6th and 7th Armies.

Oddly enough, unlucky rolls during the recent Interphases, and the effect of the submarine warfare pushed Great Britain well below anyone else in terms of National Will. They started the turn on 5, so the Turks in Palestine were ordered to try a counterattack.

And that counterattack worked very well, cutting some of the british forces who tried to outflank Damascus, in a pocket.

The Austrian crossing of the Piave ended pretty badly, but at least the North-Eastern border province was taken from the Italians.

The Italian offensive was called to a stop however, because its German counterpart in France was an outsanding success. The 14th Army broke through the French trenches in force, and captured Sedan, catching France as whole out of position. What would follow now is a mad rush toward Paris, so the war can end before the reorganization phase of December.

Speakinf of being cut off guard, the Brits desroyed the southernmost defenders in Mesopotamia, forcing a general withdrawal by Turkey there.

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Meanwhile, the economy of the Balkan minors was about to crumble due to the war, a rebellion attempt had to be put down by force in Sofia.

OCTOBER 1917

Every eye was on France this month, and indeed no major action worth mentioning happened. However, it was probably the most catastrophic triumph for Germany during the war.

France started the month with an NW of 14. But due to the german swarming of their homeland, and more importantly, probably because of an unkown combination of a positive stability test and national resurgance, and/or a crushed rebellion attempt, my "little incursion" into France skyrocketed their National Will to 38!

However, there were two good points. The mechanics maximizing the post-1917 NW of countries will cut this down by at least 10 during the Interphase. And, France only had 4 replacement points at the time. They probably had a good amount of new/previously destroyed units under construction because their monthly manpower flow was not impressive.

And worst of all, my incursion was stopped much sooner than I hoped:

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Lucidor
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Tue May 25, 2010 8:42 am

I'm very much enjoying reading your AAR, Tamas.

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Tamas
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Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:47 pm

I am sure you guys have already figured this out, but because so many beta patches have been applied to my game since starting this one, I have decided to stop it, as I felt that most of the happenings were too far from how the game looks now (much better!).

I was winning it, anyway, the important point about this late game I think is that never forget that military victories are a tool to achieve the ultimate goal of the game: breaking the will of your opposing nations! As the final 3 years of the war start (1917-1919), never take anything for granted.

Anyhow, thanks for the positive comments and I hope you enjoyed the AAR. :)

06 Maestro
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Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:20 am

There is ample reason to think the Russia first approach will be successful more often than a France first approach. Its just so much damn fun to march through Belgium. :)

I enjoyed your AAR-plausible events..
Perhaps, some fine day, we can do a set together.

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