Entente Player Turn
All is fine and well with the world. Dice like me (and me – Rob). The French recovered immediately and achieved a rebound of 100 points. I also rolled up a whole 2 Americans (for a total of 3 since the beginning of the scenario).
The Turn commenced with the regular Italian terror bombing raids over the German heartland, again achieving great success. At thr rate German Morale is collapsing the Italians will be able to beat them into submission in about 8 years.
Very little remains of Lille at this point in time. A whopping battery of siege guns of all colours and nationalities inflicted 29 hits in just one attack. Did so well we even failed to roll our engineers with any degree of ability. A second British attack inflicted furhter German casualties, although at a price. There are few ANZAC or Canadian troops anywhere in play, with the sector littered with cadres.
The Americans, in a surprise move also joined in the fun, hitting the German Trench units on the flank of their advancing Stoss Corps, shattering the quavering defenders into submission.
Meanwhile the French training garrisons have been called up. The fragile French line has now pulled into a tight ring in front of Paris and along the west bank of the Seine River that flows south from Paris. The Clouds of war can now easily be seen from the summit of the Eiffel Tower.
Finally the air war has returned to its true state. German elite fighters are shot down across occupied France.
German Player Turn
The solid German war effort has pushed on mercilessly against the war weary French, with the Germans, perhaps seeking revenge for the terror bombing of their own cities, have bought the might of their rail guns within range of Paris. No positive results have been achieved to date as the long range Paris gun keeps firing too long. Despite this the Germans pushed on, forcing the Elite French forces in front of Paris back towards Paris. In the center they attacked the French on the flanks of the American army, coming close to encircling them (Rolling a DH against the Italians and a DE on a 109 point stack of French). In the air war, the war continues to travel in favour of the Allies, with another few German air units shot down and some more aborted.
The big surprise was the launching of the Austrohungarian offensive in the Reaction phase and then following it up in the regular turn. Both attacks went in at 2:1 (-1) with 2 x ‘BX’s resulting. This hurt the Italians badly, but the front line managed to just hold. This may not be able to do so for long due to the loss of Infantry. Of note is the rapidly declining Italian morale. The Italian Morale has dropped to the mid 50’s (When they reach Zero it is game over for them). This loss will encourage the Italians to be cautious in future.
The game continues with some trepidation for all concerned. Some of the many critical dice rolls that are to come: How quickly will Germany remain shaken when their NW reaches 1? How soon will they reach 1? Will it coincide with the effects of Hunger? Will it coincide with the effects of Influenza?
Will the American player ever succeed in ‘rolling up’ any of the American ‘Red Eff’ forces? Will the American player continue their offensive into the eposed flanks of the German offensive drive? Will the British player risk another attack on Lille? Last turn 29 bombardment hits were achieved. This makes the defnders look really silly. Didn’t help much they still rolled a BX! British forces now have only about 12-15 divs at full strength!
What has been interesting about the game has been the strategy employed. In essence the Germans have decided to attack only the French. Even the A/H front is static, as the Germans are needing all their resources for the main front. This has however resulted in the non French Entente forces able to do virtually anything they like. Thus we recognised that the best hope for the French was to drive German national will down to 1 as fast as possible. While the French have collapsed, the German Morale is at 139, and we still haven’t reached the end of May II!
This poses a very interesting dilemma for the Germans in 1918. If they adopt a ‘hit one enemy’ policy, then I would say if they fail there is every chance that they will collapse faster. If however they adopt a broad approach against the British, French and even the Italians, then the focus for all the Entente forces will be on surviving until the German offensive runs out of steam and the Americans can be rolled up (something I am not at all succeeding with in our game – having ‘rolled up’ from reduced effectiveness only 1 unit)
We had a long indepth look at the various modifiers and found where the Germans seem to come out on top is with Stoss attacking fortifications. They get a benefit for being Stoss attacking non Stoss (ie all the Entente) regardless of attack. They also get a guarenteed benefit for attacking fortifications – which makes them super engineers. Finally they seem to be able to take the fortresses too easily. I don’t know how they stood in history, but Reims, Verdun, Epoul and Tours(??) all fell the first time on 3:1 assaults. That has added another 20 Morale point losses to the French (and added 8 to the Germans).
Thus it seemed to us that if the Stoss did not get the guaranteed +1 against fortifications of all sorts (ie a fort would still impart a -2), then it would encourage the Entente to stay in their fortifications and fight for them. This may still have the same disasterous effect, but the need and emphasis on the various siege troops to attack the fortifications would be restored. In addition to this we felt that attacks on fortresses should still be done on the positional table. I have no historical justification for this, just the view that to take the fortresses would require a little more effort – such as surrounding them and reducing them by attacking at higher odds.