The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: November 2015

Analysis: Central Powers Food and National Will situation

Food

In this game, as in presumably most TGW grand campaigns, food will be a critical consideration. The following chart reflects the starting condition, consumption as the war drags on, and Central Powers’ food income at each November harvest.

New / Total / Change / Condition
2 2 At Start
0 -2 Consume SEP, OCT14
6 6 Harvest NOV14
8 2 Plunder Liege NOV14
12 4 Maximum Trade NOV14

0 -12 Consume NOV14 – OCT15
4 4 Harvest NOV15
15 11 Plunder in the East NOV15
17 2 The Netherlands join the CP NOV15
19 2 Blockade Rate Trade w/ Switzerland and Denmark NOV15

22 3 Bulgaria join the CP DEC15
10 -12 Consume NOV15 – OCT16
14 4 Plunder in the East NOV16
16 2 Harvest NOV16
18 2 Blockade Rate Trade w/ Switzerland and Denmark NOV16

2 Plunder in the East NOV17
0 Harvest NOV17
Blockade Rate Trade w/ Switzerland and Denmark NOV17
-12 Consume NOV16 – OCT17

-2 Harvest NOV18
Blockade Rate Trade w/ Switzerland and Denmark NOV18 (if Germany not shaken)
8 Plunder in the East NOV18

-4 Harvest NOV19
Blockade Rate Trade w/ Switzerland and Denmark NOV19 (if Germany not shaken)

In the game, the Entente declared war against The Netherlands, driving trade away from that country, but the Central Powers remained able to trade at the maximum rate with other adjacent neutrals. The Netherlands joined the Central Powers, taking its grain with it, but that grain would be plundered by the Central Powers in any case if Germany does the logical thing and bloodlessly seizes a neutral The Netherlands in October 1916 – it’s trivially easy and a very good decision.

Thee Entente held the German drive into Belgium and France far short of historical. If the Germans conquered more granaries (at least the historical Antwerp) then the situation would be shifted even further in favor of the Central Powers.

As such, we can see that the critical decision is the Central Powers player ruthlessly saving four resource points during the opening campaign and ruthlessly trading them for food in November 1914. Combat supply be as it may, that food is essential for Central Powers victory in the end game because it avoids any hunger in 1915 and thus pushes hunger back until much later than historical.

Given trade, the Central Powers won’t run out of food until September 1918, or later. That being the case, if influenza strikes it probably won’t do double damage to the Central Powers. In any case, because the Central Powers will again have food in its belly for November 1918 thru February 1919 or later, the distant blockade will not substantially help the Entente end the war on historical schedule or, indeed, until mid-1919.

I suggest that this analysis is an amplified reason for system-wide revision of the rules regarding how neutral countries defend themselves against their controlling sides. The situation of The Netherlands basically breaks the food rules.

Meanwhile, the American Expeditionary Force in 1919 is very powerful. We’re going to need it.

National Will

In preparation for the February morale check, and to give ourselves a better sense of the progress of the campaign, we also conducted a thorough review of the morale point and national will situations in DJ05. Our conclusions surprised us in some ways and proved disappointingly consistent in others.

  1. In digitizing the morale point tracks, we discovered several situations in which we had failed to record morale point changes: half a dozen combats, a few calendar-specific bonuses, and even an entire production cycle of out-of-theater events.
  2. Including those changes, and adjusting for changes between a currently partial re-play of the incomplete war in Africa, some values changed significantly.
  3. In February 1915, the annual morale check awarded France a revised bonus of 46.33 morale points. This presumably broadly fit with the difference in fortresses, Lille, factories, and resource centers lost historically versus in DJ05.
  4. Britain gained a revised 18.67 morale points in February 1915. A review of game reports indicated that the British Expeditionary Force in DJ05 suffered no casualties in 1914: its combats were exceptional and ended in a few bloodless retreats or solid victories. In partial compensation, the Boer revolt went a-historically badly for the British (it always will in the game) and cost the British 6.67 morale points (vice probably zero historically).
  5. By February 1916, it became apparent that the Italian morale check column in the rules must be broken. The Italians could only achieve the historical by scarcely fighting and historically the numerous disasters on the Isonzo River cost the Italians heavily throughout the war.
  6. DJ05’s Austro-Hungarians gained three morale points in February 1916 because DJ05’s Germans declared war and took a sector of the front against Italy immediately.
  7. Britain earned 1.67 morale points during the February 1916 morale check.
  8. France earned a February 1916 bonus of 57.5 morale points, landing solidly above Germany’s national will, though by November the French had fought themselves back down to national will three and parity with the Germans.
  9. Absent any further Entente attacks, we predicted a German bonus of 16 morale points in February 1917. Germany lost 207 morale points from February 1915 thru January 1916, 47 more points than historical. During the same months during 1916, Germany lost approximately 182 morale points, 93 fewer than historical. Germany will gather 150 bonus points from Russia in 1917 and lose approximately 67 for events out of theater. Historically, Germany suffered approximately 148 morale points of losses in the West Theater during 1917, a value unlikely in DJ05. Therefore, we expected that 16 bonus points in 1917 would double in 1918, double again in 1919, and quite possibly decide the war.
  10. We forecast Austria-Hungary gaining approximately 13 morale points during February 1917. The Empire will gain 50 morale points from Russia and lose 17 out of theater during the 1917 morale cycle, so the Empire can expect another small gain in 1918.
  11. France coasted toward a bonus of 127 points in February 1917 and expected another huge bonus in 1918.
  12. Despite attacking much less than historically throughout the war so far, Italy in 1917 and 1918 will gain exactly the morale bonus it gained in 1916: zero. In DJ05, the Zeppelins concentrated against Italy and kept, and will keep, its morale relatively low.
  13. We expected Britain to gain approximately 15 morale points in February 1917 and probably a larger bonus in 1918.

Monthly routines

Only a short note today – small updates to the Glossary (a recent discussion of the Popofski maneuver made me finally fill out that article, and I´ve also added a small paragraph on AT guns, even though most other unit types are lacking any description. Additionally, Todd allowed us to publish his two newest posts on the DJ05-game report. Enjoy!