The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: March 1999

Apr I 16

The weather has cleared up with mud in the Alps. The French have used up all of their replacements – both manpower and equipment – but are unable to recover from last turn’s losses. The French 1st Colonial Corps withdraws. The rest of the French line is reinforced as much as possible while engineering troops take positions to start entrenching another line behind the existing one.

The British launch their offensive against Lens. The Germans repulse the attack with heavy losses on both sides.

Zepplins hit the factory at Lyons and do another morale hit on London, aborting the sole British fighter unit. The German 4th Army hits the French 8th Corps for mutual exchange. The German 3rd Army hits the French 35th Corps for another three divisions cadred. Although the Germans have lost troops too, the French are now down to only 11.5 morale points.

The Entente lost 34 British, 27 French Metropolitan, 7 Canadian Manpower, and 31 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 30 German, 22 Bavarian, 6 Wurttemburg, 5 Saxon Manpower, and 34 Equipment points.

Tom: The French are going to hit NW of 0 soon, there is nothing I can do about it. I only hope that they bounce back from it soon. The British have started their offensive and it is going okay, I will know if it has helped if Carl is forced to reinforce the area. With the clear weather, Carl’s artillery is going to be a big pain. He will be able to play the odds and just go for massive low number bombardments and probably overwhelm the defenders. It should prove interesting – but extremely painful!

The clear weather signals a start of a great Austrian offensive. The troops are moved up to attack the Italians in several spots along their line. The Germans move more troops up to continue their multi-pronged attacks against the French.

The Germans and Austrians combine in an attack on the Italian 2nd Corps in an attempt to clear the secondary rail line from Trent into Italy. The HX gives the Central Powers the hex with little loss. Another attack to the west (along the road into Northern Italy) yields another Austrian victory and advance. A German attack south from Toul is stopped at great loss by the French 8th Corps. Another attack on the French 35th Corps starts with a bombardment that only disrupts a single unit. The attack gained little ground but cost the French some more morale points. The grand attack on the French 37th Corps started with a devastating bombardment that left four of the six divisions cadred (one of the cadres was left without a disruption) and destroyed three smaller units. The attack then hit home and a single French cadre survives to retreat out of the hex. The French have lost all of their morale now.

The Entente high command is in shock and none of their armies manage to react.

The Central Powers lost 12 German, 8 Austrian, 7 Saxon Manpower, and 41 Equipment points. The Entente lost 44 French Metropolitan, 16 Italian, 4 French Colonial Manpower, and 81 Equipment points.

Carl: I got the French! Now to see what will happen with France in collapse (at least until they recover in a friendly initial phase – probably next turn with my luck). I probably should have refrained from the last attack and waited for the reaction combat phase so that I would get at least one of my turns with the French in collapse before they had a chance to recover. In the meantime, I do not know what Tom will do. The British really cannot afford to spread out too much while the Italians are finally being attacked and pushed out of the Alps. The capture of the mountain hex with the rail line gives me the ability to supply a push to the Adriatic Sea. I do not know if I can do it, but with the French down at the moment, I can afford to expend the time and supplies to try and find out. Things are definitely looking good for me at this time.

Mar II 16

The British begin to move their forces towards the German 7th Corps at Lens. The French reinforce between Reims and La Fere heavily to slow down the German offensive. The Italians rearrange some of their forces to be prepared against the Austrians.

The German 6th Army reacts and attacks south from Epinal. The rest of the front is silent.

The Entente lost 10 French Metropolitan Manpower and 2 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 11 German Manpower and 3 Equipment points.

Tom: I think the French have reinforced the endangered area sufficiently to make Carl hesitate about attacking without his artillery. This is the second time that the German army directing the offensive has reacted but not attacked. The British will be able to launch an offensive with the good weather. Until then they will just have to concentrate their forces and hope that the Germans do not reinforce too heavily. I really need Carl to respond to this threat and weaken his attacks on the French.

The Central Powers maneuver against the Italians in Italy. The French front sees additional shifting about of units also. The German defensive line is going down to only two divisions per hex against the French everywhere but a few locations to be attacked. The main offensive army has switched directions and is attacking the British at La Fere.

The attack out of Epinal is bloodily repulsed, but the three French divisions are still cadred. The French 1st Colonial Corps is mangled but manages to hold on to their hex. The attack on the British at La Fere surprises both sides as the British are attacked on 12:1 odds (reduced to the maximum 9:1) and are destroyed! The Germans march in and capture the rail intersection at La Fere and will be able to supply their forward troops on the road to Paris.

The British 1st and 3rd Armies react and send reserves to bolster the retreating 2nd Army and move the rest of the artillery up in preparation for the attack on Lens.

The Central Powers lost 35 German, 9 Wurttemburg, 7 Saxon, 6 Bavarian Manpower and 23 Equipment points. The Entente lost 40 French Metropolitan, 19 British, 5 French Colonial Manpower, and 34 Equipment points.

Carl: The French are down to 17.5 morale points now and it looks like I should be able to get them to 0 within the next few turns. The British are about to launch an attack near Lens (it is kind of obvious) but I have been able to reinforce my defenses there. The victory at La Fere was very surprising. I did not figure on having those kind of odds against the British, but he pulled a division out of the hex to reinforce his future attack and he paid big time for it. The capture of the hex and cadreing four British divisions was a good feeling. It also secured the rail lines I need to continue supplying my push on Paris.

Mar I 16

The weather has turned to mud. The Italian factory was able to produce properly despite the hit it took from the Zepplin attack. Final production was 17 resource and 13 equipment points – 2 equipment points above the historical!

The French reinforce their reserves behind the German offensive. The Italians reinforce a few of their more exposed defensive positions. The British have moved a reserve corps to the left of their line in case the French need them to take over an additional hex of the line.

The Zepplins return to London and get through but the barrage balloons succeed in keeping the city safe. The Austrian 11th Army reacts and reinforces the front line near Villach preparing for an attack on the Italians. No other Central Powers army is able to react.

Tom: The weather is starting to clear a bit and this could be dangerous for me in France. Fortunately, he has not been able to react with his offensive army for the past two turns so some of the pressure is off. We shall have to wait and see just what he does now and if the French troops can hold on.

The Entente celebrate as the Austrian factory in Triest is damaged and cannot produce this cycle. The total production ends with 22 resource and 19 equipment points – one resource point over historical!

The Zepplins return to London and are not thwarted by the barrage balloons this time as they do another morale hit. It is a slow process, but the British are beginning to be bothered by the raids. The Austrians and Germans maneuver their troops to attack weak points in the Entente line.

The Germans continue their offensive with a quick assault (no bombardment) and capture Soissons from the French. The thrust is now only four hexes from Paris. Another attack hits the French 1st Colonial Corps and does a bloody exchange there. Yet another attack from Epinal causes even more carnage.

The Entente are not able to react to the multiple attacks along the French line.

The Central Powers lost 34 Bavarian, 11 German Manpower, and 15 Equipment points. The Germans have also slipped to a National Will level of 3 – the British are now alone with a National Will of 4. The Entente lost 29 French Metropolitan, 10 French Colonial Manpower, and 40 Equipment points. The French are down to only 30.5 morale points.

Carl: I have stepped up my attacks. I knew that the German National Will was going to drop this turn (it was 602.5 after the variable losses) so I made a much broader amount of attacks and really hurt the French. They were only able to use reserves in the attack on Soissons since the other two attacks were in bad terrain where they did not have the ability to move into the hex. This has worn down their front line in sevaral places and another breakthrough may occur. My offensive is still able to continue and another hex is captured from the French. I think Tom is going to have to do something with the British now. I expect a quick offensive against my lines there to relieve the pressure on the French. We shall see if it is able to do anything. I did not bombard this turn because of the bad weather. The modifiers are just too steep and I am better off doing a quick assault.

February, 1916 Status

As the new year has started, we decided to issue a joint status report to compare to the Feb I 16 Historical Setup. This is where we are now:

Entente Status

Belgium has 17.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 1. They have lost a total of 103 Manpower points.
Britain has 234 Morale Points for a National Will of 4. They have lost a total of 192 British, 15 Indian, and 21 Canadian Manpower points. This is a grand total of 228 Manpower points.
France has 63.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 1. They have lost a total of 57 African, 87 Colonial, 10 Foreign, and 772 Metropolitan Manpower points. This is a grand total of 962 Manpower points.
Italy has 90.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 2. They have lost a total of 245 Manpower points.
Entente Equipment points lost are 732.
Total Manpower points lost are 1502.

Central Powers Status

Germany has 624 Morale Points for a National Will of 4. They have lost a total of 103 Bavarian, 744 German, 80 Saxon, and 38 Wurttemburg Manpower points. This is a grand total of 965 Manpower points.
Austria/Hungary has 197.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 2. They have lost a total of 37 Manpower points.
Central Powers Equipment points lost are 490.
Total Manpower points lost are 1002.

Historical Results

According to the Entente Initial Forces, Feb I 16:
Belgium has 46 Morale Points for a National Will of 1 and has successfully passed its first forced surrender roll.
Britain has 198 Morale Points for a National Will of 3.
France has 240 Morale Points for a National Will of 3.
Italy has 108 for a National Will of 3.

According to the Central Powers Initial Forces, Feb I 16:
Germany has 585 Morale Points for a National Will of 3.
Austria/Hungary has 186 Morale Points for a National Will of 2.

The difference is much more evident than the year previous. The French morale is much lower while the British and German is higher. Italy has had a bad war so far, they have lost almost seven times the losses of Austria/Hungary. This was helped some by the declaration of war and attacks by Germany. Overall, Entente losses are now 50% greater than the Central Powers.

APR I 1938

INSURGENT APR I 1938

Spring has awakened, and with a big bang at that! Warm sunshine and dry winds from the North African deserts dried up the snow melt’s slush. Another Azores high is on its way and promises continuing fair spring weather for all of Spain (fair weather now automatic).

Eager to strike before all those new Loyalist division reach the front, the Nationalists not only intensified their pressure at the Ebro, but started a second offensive out of their Cinca bridgehead at Barbastro (13:2929), attacking southward along the east bank of the river in the direction of Lerida. At the Cinca, the Nationalists broke into the entrenched Loyalist positions and reached Monzon (13:3029), but once again the Loyalists managed to fall back in good order. Not so at the Ebro: Although their elite Foreign Legionnaires and vaunted 13th Divison suffered losses (EX result), the Nationalists routed the defenders at Caspe (13:3332). Light armor, artillery on trucks, and the Legion Condor’s 88 Flak of Alcira fame stormed on across the Ebro bend and reached the river again near Gandesa (13:3431). Some unsuspecting Loyalist tank and construction crews taking the sun were rudely rounded up and led into captivity. The bulk of the taskforce is now at the Ebro less than 40 km from the Mediterranean coast, and a few patrols have pushed on across the river to the vicinity of Tortosa, causing disruption of traffic along the coastal highway (zone of control exerted).

Activities in the skies over Aragon slackened as both sides licked their wounds. Reconstituted Me-109s patrolled over Caspe, fending off Ratas and keeping Loyalist ground support away. The Barcelona red-eye continued its routine, as usual with no losses and to no effect. Renewed raids on Valencia achieved more: Savoia-Marchettis and Heinkels caused extensive additional damage to manufacturing facilities (2 more hits) while low-level attacks at the airbase wrecked the last few Republican bombers on the ground.

LOYALIST APR I 1938

Swayed by the impassioned pleas of envoys from Barcelona, raucously supported by the delegates of the left-wing parties, the French parliament took pity on the plight of the Republican cause and opened the border once again. Sadly, this is apt to do little more than provide a boost in morale. Whoever feels compelled to volunteer has already done so, and arms manufacturers are leary to ship to Spain on credit when all her gold has long been turned over to Stalin.

The Nationalist advance on Tortosa has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Nationalist bombers flew harassment missions against the coastal highway around Tarragona to hamper reinforcement of the Tortosa position. In response, the Republican merchant navy was awakened from its slumber to ferry troops, tanks, artillery, and anti-aircraft batteries to Tarragona, but the last proved ineffective. Meanwhile, repaired SB-2 bombers flew missions against the Zaragoza-Tarragona rail line at Escatron (13:3232). Me-109s tried to intercept, but were driven off with losses by Ratas bent on revenge. The bombers had a clear run, but failed to disrupt traffic.

Meanwhile frantic efforts were made to plug the gap at Tortosa with new divsions, artillery, and armor, some of it ferried at night by Barcelona’s taxis, some shipped through Tarragona to avoid bombing and strafing on the coastal highway. Also, construction brigades were summoned in an attempt to improvise a new fortified line.

To the north, the Nationalist advance to Monzon (13:3029) threatened to cut off the substantial Loyalists forces still forward of the Cinca, and a retreat behind that river was hastily odered, with only a bridgehead at Fraga (13:3230) still to be held. However, some stragglers did not make it in time because of overcrowding of the retreat routes, and now face certain annihilation.

The front between Teruel and Valencia remained unaffected by all this tourmoil, except that a few units were pulled out of line to help shore up the line at Tortosa.

COMMENTARY

With the breakthrough at Caspe into the Ebro bend, the Nationalists have reached the scene of one of the largest and hardest battles fought in an alternative history, but with reversed roles: with the Republicans as the attackers. Combined with the gains at the Cinca, the Ebro breakthrough has greatly increased the pressure on the Loyalists. The only saving grace for them has been one of timing: The near-disaster coincides with a whole slough of new divisions becoming operative, and that made it possible to patch up the front in a fashion, even though all entrenched positions between the Pyrenees and Teruel have now been lost. In the foothills of the Pyrenees, the Cinca river line is being outflanked, and a retreat behind the Segre, the next natural obstacle, would entail giving up Lerida. To the south at Tortosa there was just enough time to organize a defense of sorts forward of the coast. Whether it can hold is anyone’s guess. Between the Ebro and Teruel the imposing coastal Maestrazgo mountains form a formidable barrier but, as at Tortosa, its defenders have their backs against the sea: any Nationalist breakthrough here will split Valencia from Barcelona. And there is still a long, long summer ahead! Oh, Pasionaria, where are you when we need you!

This has been a very lucky turn for the Insurgents: good weather on a chance of 1 in 3 at a time when 2 “no change” and 4 clear results next turn guarantee good conditions into the summer; then the breakthrough at the Ebro with successful exploitation almost to the coast; and lastly 2 factory and 1 airbase hits at Valencia without losses to own aircraft.

The two aims of Nationalist strategy in Aragon are now becoming increasingly clear: Lerida and the coast. If both are achieved (and the French border is closed, as it will be for sure starting SEP I 38), the People’s Army and International Brigades will no longer have a general supply base, and Anarchists and Catalans around Valencia will have to rely on a naval supply line to Barcelona that is easily blocked. Although the Loyalists have ample supplies stockpiled in Barcelona and Valencia (over 40 ASP to date), these will no last forever once the troops have to start drawing on them. The next few turn will go a long way towar showing whether the Loyalists can still prevent that from happening.

Suddenly, what was a tiresome inch-by-inch slugging match has become a matter of options, motion, and maneuver once again. For how long, however, is anyone’s guess.

 

Feb I 16

The weather turns bad as snow hits the entire map. The Entente work hard at preparing their defenses. The French and British reinforce the areas between their armies to defend against the Central Powers offensive. French troops build up their reserves and another line of entrenchments is prepared. The Italians hit the Austrian factory at Triest again.

The Zepplins put two more terror bombing hits on Birmingham – the British player realizes that he will never have a fighter unit outside of London in this game. Army Group C successfully reacts and a ground assault is launched against the French 37 Corps. The artillery (since it is all in divisional form) is not able to participate and the French succeed in reinforcing with two chssr divisions. The air battle is won by the Central Powers, but none of the four tactical Recon missions succeed. The attack goes through for a BX. The French lose 8 morale points while the Germans lose 5.5 morale.

The French exploit two more chssr divisions into the hex.

Total losses were 18 French Metropolitan, 7 French African, 5 French Colonial Manpower and 26 Equipment Points. The Central Powers lost 42 German Manpower and 10 Equipment Points.

Tom: Once again, those ***** German divisions can absorb his losses with losing the morale. This will be scary, particularly when he gets to try out Arthur’s newest ruling on bombardment disruptions (where you can place a second disruption on a unit and destroy/cadre/remnant it). With all of that nasty artillery he has it will probably be very deadly.

The Central Powers are able to rebuild their cadres from the battle while the French are only able to rebuild three of their six divisions. Zepplins hit Birmingham for another terror bombardment. The air battle over the French 37 Corps results in the elimination of a Fok E1 and a Nie 11! Offensive bombardment disrupts three divisions and a cadre while also eliminating two cadres. The effectiveness was truly helped by great die rolls by Carl. Defensive bombardments are now fired by the defending troops to either side of the French 37 Corps. The defensive bombardment disrupts a MG X. The attack now hits and results in a 9:1 with no DRMs. The DD result hits the French hard and the German 17 Corps takes the hex! French morale is now at 46.5 and sinking fast.

The French army is frozen by fear (no reaction rolls made for any French army HQs!) but the British react and build up a reserve corps to send in aid.

The Central Powers have lost nothing while the Entente has lost 15 French Colonial, 7 French African, 5 French Metropolitan Manpower and 22 Equipment Points.

Carl: One hex down, another 5 hexes to Paris! Only 46.5 morale points for the French to lose. A few more turns like this one (where France has lost 17 morale points) and the French will be at NW 0 for the first time. I will have to make hay and hit the French hard while they are at 0 in order to get them to surrender. I will be giving the NW edge to Britain soon because the Germans are close to going down to NW of 3. I have probably ignored the British too much during the game but the French have really been worn down.

Dec I 15

Winter and snow hit the entire maps. The British have four divisions and an artillery unit in each of their eight front line corps. The French have managed to build a front line of three divisions per corps and some artillery spread out along the front. The Italians have three or four divisions in most of their front line.

Tom: Another quiet turn before the fury of a Central Powers offensive. I truly expect him to attack the French line at some point. I know he is massing reserves behind the lines in several points, almost all of his artillery is out of the front line and I know he has pulled back some of his rifle divisions too. I can do nothing but build up my front line and hope that I am ready when it comes.

The Central Powers have created a reserve army (Str/C) based around three corps (3, 10, and 13 Wur). Six artillery divisions, all of the available assault engineers, and the majority of the heavier rifle divisions are part of it. It is massed in the Metz area and will be able to deploy quickly anywhere on the French front by rail. The idea is that two of the corps replace two defending corps which consolidate their three divisions with the corps adjacent to them. These two adjacent corps are then reinforced by the third reserve corps which becomes the single reserve corps for the offensive. With sufficient manpower and equipment points in the replacement pool, this should be able to sustain an attack on the Entente for several turns.

The Central Powers defensive line in France is three divisions per corps. In Austria, the defensive line varies depending on the terrain it is defending. The Germans have not yet pulled out, but there is the possibility of some shifts because of supply restrictions.

Carl: A quiet turn with one or more to come. It is time for rebuilding and formulating new plans. I think my new attack will come in the Jan II 16 or Feb I 16 turn. This gives me a few turns of attacking before the Entente (and myself) get a production cycle to build up more replacements. I am still not sure where I will attack, although it will probably be against the French.

MAR II 1938

INSURGENT MAR II 1938

The Azores high has move on and warm air has invaded Spain in its wake. Melting snow has produced a sea of mud in the north, but the south is enjoying dry, spring-like weather.

In Aragon, an impatient Nationalist command insisted on continuing the Ebro offensive despite poor ground conditions. Starting out from Escatron and Hijar (13:3232 and 3233) the tired troops trudged forward through slush and sleet and gained ground toward Alcaniz (3432), presumably their next major objective. However, once again the Loyalists were able to fall back in good order.

In clear skies overhead, the battle royal continued. For the first time some Me-109s bit the dust, but not before having taken three times their number of Ratas with them (1K and 1A versus 1A). The 109s kept Loyalist ground support aircraft away, but could not fully protect their brethren: some obsolescent He-45s fell to the Ratas.

Meanwhile, the Barcelona red-eye continued: Savoia-Marchetti night bombers kept attacking, but not to much effect. A different story at Valencia: Here, Heinkel-111s caused additional damage to factories while fighters and light bombers savaged the airbase, destroying the two squadrons of hated SB-2s on the ground, at the loss of some hapless Italian Fiats to the ever sharp AA gunners.

Except for these hotspots, all fronts remained quiet.

LOYALIST MAR II 1938

Concerned about the worsening supply situation at their front east of Teruel, the Loyalists pulled back from their entrenched positions in the Alfambra valley (23:3303), el Pobo mountains, and foothills of the Sierra de la Canada (23:3302 to 13:3334). Even so, logistics remained a nightmare and mule trains were mobilized to get at least a modicum of supplies forward to the troops (attack supply converted to general supply and brought forward with SMPs).

Some troops freed by the shortening of the front near Teruel were transferred to Aragon. Otherwise no significant activities.

While the Me-109s still licked their wounds, new Ratas were got operational and attacked the air strip at Monreal in the Jiroka valley (23:3103), forcing Fiats to scramble, but doing no harm to ground installations. R-Z attack bombers did better, damaging the railway station at Cuenca.

COMMENTARY

The Ebro winter offensive so far has produced a tidy gain of territory (14 hexes), close to 14% of still Loyalist-controlled Spain and reducing that hold to barely more than 10% of the countries total. However, it has fallen short of reaching its greater objective: to inflict crippling losses. (In the eight “big” attacks in Aragon since November, with on the average a better than 50& chance of causing casualties, only two did so.) As a result, the Loyalists are now stronger than at any time since the collapse of the Murcia pocket. Moreover, a grand wave of reinforcements will become available starting early April (thirteen infantry divisions, a handful of brigades, ample artillery and armor points). The Insurgents will have a hard nut to crack! On the other hand, by now the Loyalists between Teruel and the Ebro almost have their backs against the wall, with only one mountain range between the current front and the sea. A further Insurgent advance of 80 km would split Valencia from Barcelona. If despite more difficult terrain Franco’s troops do better in summer than they did in winter, the Loyalist cause is apt to become critical.

The last few weeks have seen more activity in the air than at any time before. Losses have been heavy on both sides and about evenly distributed. However, having entered this round with inferior numbers (though with better fighters), the Loyalists can less afford the losses. They are now down to two squadrons of Ratas and one of R-Z fighter bombers while the Insurgents, in addition to two squadrons of Fiats, still have six of heavy and light bombers.

 

Nov II 15

Frost in the Alps and Winter in the rest of the maps. The British get four more New Army divisions, enough to replace the loss of the Indian divisions and the 28th Rifle division that are beginning to be pulled out of the line and sent elsewhere. The French do some minor realignment of their defenses while the Italians sit pretty still. The Italians use their Ca 2 and successfully hit the Austrian factory at Triest again. A massive (!) air raid is staged by the French, using Cau G4s and a Cau G3 in an attempt to bomb the German factory at Antwerpen. One Cau G4 is aborted by a patrol mission while the CAP mission by the Fok E1 over Antwerpen is unsuccessful. AA fire aborts the second Cau G4 and the mission becomes a scrub as the Cau G3 has only a single bomb point, not good enough to matter. (Actually all three bomb points would not have mattered since they would have been halved due to the winter weather!)

Tom: A slight mistake with the French air mission – nothing serious though, I have the ARPs to rebuild them. I think the next few turns will go fast as I have nothing planned and Carl seems to be in a build up phase. I will have to watch out in January, 1916 but that will give me a few months to build up some reserves of my own. The French mutiny will release a division or two from Paris in January, so that will help also.

The Central Powers pull back extra units into their reserve. The Zepplins terrorize London for the tenth hit! It is otherwise a very quiet turn.

The Italians just miss hitting the Austrian factory again.

Carl: A quiet turn and probably at least a few more in the near future. The air battle was fun – our first other than AA – even if it turned out to be unnecessary. I am building up my reserves, some of my best rifle and artillery divisions. I am not sure where they will be committed, but it sure seems to worry Tom!