The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: March 2003

September II 1918

The Entente tank offensive continued in its merciless fashion, smiting the northern flank and opening up the plains of central Belgium. By turn end Belgian cavalry and French armed forces had exploited adjacent to Antwerp and Brussels, while the British stormed into Mons after a brutal frontal assault. German national will was reduced to -121 points (only 4 short of what was needed to ensure that even the maximum bounce would still leave them in total surrender.

It was now make or break for the Central Powers. They would have to knock Italy out of the war! Rolling only 1 successful reaction they were only able to entertain 1 positional assault against an Italian corps. The odds were good – 4:1 (-1) however the engineers all failed them – very badly, the resultant combat roll of AX toook the AH morale down to 8 points (With the Italians on 13).

After the debacle of the AX the CP players realised that with the smattering of Entente minor forces and some strong American divisions scattered amongst the Italians, that they would be unable to inflict enough casualties on the Italians to enduce surrender without collapsing themselves so the Central Powers high command negotiated surrender terms.

Oddly enough the rules indicate that surrender does not happen until recovery has occured. We thus decided to see how long it would take the Germans to recover… They did not recover until Feb II 1919!!!, so technically they would have stayed in the game for another 5 months – who knows, even with winter, what damage would have been done and how much territory captured in that interval by the Entente?

September I 1918

The Germans have still not recovered from collapse. We are beginning to wonder if they ever will, as when they do they will not have many – if any morale points remaining. After taking cycle losses into account the German morale is at -63, with the Austro/Hungarian empire now only 27 points from total surrender. The French have enjoyed their respite, and since the 50 morale point bonus in Jul II, and are still well over 80 points, as the German war effort has lacked purpose and direction on the western front in recent turns.

The rolls for American Reduced Effectiveness units – of which there were over 20 – went very well:. The dice smiled at me tonight. Only 9 US units are now at Red Eff state!

The balance of this turn will probably be one of manoeuvre as the various Entente forces will need to take a turn to redeploy HQ’s, rebuild the army and generally deploy for what will be the final push, as we want to conclude the campaign before the onset of bad weather. One or two weeks should see the end!

With the German forces still feeling the effects of collapse, they took steps in the previous turn to shorten their front line and make as many corps as possible Stoss Corps. The forces driving on Paris were recalled, only 20 miles from their ultimate goal.

The Entente, who had been carefully husbanding their armored assets, opened the turn with a bang in Belgium. 2 Hexes in the north were vaporised with DE’s, while the American divisions – finally almost all at full combat strength (although it should be pointed out that 1 of the American divisions that began the game at Ref Eff state is still Red Eff) lurched into overdrive and hit the German line hard, inflicting additional casualties. German national will dropped to – 83.

In the reaction phase the Central Powers, desperate for reactions on the Ita;lian Front failed with all combat rolls thus were denyed a chance to inflict more harm on the Italians.

They would not be denied in their regular turn and launched a front wide offensive south of the mountains, inflicting heavy casualties on all combatants – Germans, Austro-hungarians and Italians.

In the Entente reaction phase there was again some success on the western front and the partially patched line was again pummelled. By the end of the phase the Entente had gained possession of 8 hexes of Belgium.

August II 1918

The Aug II turn began with some trepidation. Nobody wanted to roll the influenza dice. After some minutres of inaction two of us picked up a dice each and threw them simultaneously. The reaction was electric and simultaneous for all of us as the boxcars stared up at us forlornly. This sent both Germany and the Austro-Hungarians into collapse, with morale levels now well below zero.

The Entente forces proceeded with their attacks. Oddly enough we achieved enough hits in the turn, had we not rolled influenza to reduce German Morale from 17 to 3. This would have been reduced by another 2 had we decided to use the Italians in an attack, so we would have failed by just 1 point to crack the Germans. This may well have made a difference.

In the Central Powers turn the Austro-Hungarian forces rolled an immediate recovery, receiving a bounce of 100. They are now hovering at about 41 points to the Italian 37. The race to induce Italian surrender before the Germans now ultimately collapse is on again!

The Germans failed their recovery roll and are now faced with an awkward decision – They must knock out Italy and France as fast as possible and ignoring all losses, as they will surrender very soon now , being most unlikely to last until winter with a morale level currently at -47.

After a lot of deliberation the Germans decided  to attempt to knock Italy out of the war while on the west front they want to minimize the front line and reduce all their fortifications to field works – thus removing the possibility of us inflicting losses by use of BX’s and AX’s.

As things turned out the war on the Italian front went badly for the Central Powers. This was not aided by the fact that the Germans are still in collapse and the AH airforce is almost non-existant. At the end of the turn, the Italians had lost only 4 morale points, reducing them to low 30’s. The Entente then failed with all their reaction rolls except one – the Belgian HQ. The Belgians proceeded to advance – amongst great fanfare – and seized the town of Oostende!

August I 1918

Failed to roll influenza (again). Attemptred to roll up American forces. Finally succeeded with somewhat normal odds – rolling up 7 divisions (from about 20 units still at Red Eff)! This means I now have 2 full strength American divisions in each of 5 hexes! Wonder of wonders!

Strong shift this turn in player will. Germans now despondent about their planned strategy. French player relived to hear this….

German Morale has now dropped below 50 (pre-rebound), Italian has gone below 40 (post rebound), While the French is now down to 84 (post rebound), after gaining 50 points this turn due to American Mobilization status. The French can survive only 9 more losses before surrender

In the last few turns the game had begun moving slowly in favour of the Entente Forces. This trend continued in the Entente turn with more German Trench divisions ending out in body bags with pathetically few losses to the Entente forces. The lifespan of these units is now tenuously brief. Things then changed for the worse. The CP player succeeded in rolling every single army corps for reaction purposes.

Between these reactions and their regular turn 6 attacks were conducted on the Italian front, with the Germans now having 2 full strength Stoss corps (including the mountain Stoss) now operating on this front. All 6 of their attacks were wildly successful. The Italian morale is now hanging at 13 points whiuch means they will surrender most probably in Aug II or at the latest Sep I. The only hope for the Italians now is Influenza in the Aug II turn as this would drive Germany into collapse, which would result in the Austrohungarians going into collapse which would see the Italians gaining 25 morale points. To finish off the turn the Germans pulled back their foprces from the drive on Paris, providing the French with some respite.

It is now the Entente Reaction phase, with much work to be done and some hard decisions to be made about the future of Italy and how to safeguard southern France – as one is fully aware that this retreat in front of Paris is only temporary. The assault on France must continue if the Central Powers are to win!

The tension around the gaming table tonight was tangible. The session began with the Entente having to inflict 23.5 morale hits on Germany to cause them to collapse, which would cause Austria/Hungary to collapse which would mean Italy would receive a 25 point morale boost, as their own total surrender was worryingly close.

To combat this the Entente had worked on a desperate plan to counterattack the Germans and drive their morale down, with one of the attacks even coming from Italian troops. There followed a raft of failed reaction rolls, with a couple of attacks on the British front securing a couple of BX’s on the helpless trench divisions. At the end of the turn German national will was down to 17.

 

July II 1918

Things began aggressively for the Allies. The long awaited pincer movement began, with the British attacking south, from the newly liberated pile of rubble formerly known as Lille; while the Americans attacked in a northerly direction into hex 1823. Very long pincers, I admit, but designed to strike a fatal blow at the flanks of the German juggernaut.

They may have succeeded but for the fact that 2 x ‘1’s resulted – yielding a BX and an AQ. The Germans and Austrohungarians then failed every single one of their reaction rolls. From that point the turn only got worse.

Of the 2 Attacks on the Italian front, only one worked (BX). While the other, attacking the vital corner hex 4312 resulted in another frustrating (for the CP) Attacker stopped. Italian Infantry losses are now mounting, with excessive amounts of artillery being forced out of the front line. Once again the slowly withering German airforce is slowing operations, as a significant proportion of the airforce is now either aborted or killed. Thus only 1 attack was prosecuted against the main French line, resulting in a DR – which was converted to an EX. German Stoss cadres now amount to about 25 of their alloted 78. German rail guns continue to bombard Paris, but without effect. Paris is now in range of all guns with a range of 3 hexes or longer!

Finally the game concluded with the British player making their first reaction roll since March. The Northern arm of the front line crawled into action yet again, to the huge accompaniment of tanks, resulting in a DX. 6 German divisions were put to the sword – but the line held.

Entente reconnaisance report that the Germans are building a shorter, fortified front line – the Hitchens line – that is stretching from the coast to just east of Paris.