A new production turn and the weather turns to MUD! It doesn’t get any better than this! The Belgians start to rebuild their two divisions lost in Antwerpen. The British start to rebuild their last destroyed division. The French just have too many destroyed units to rebuild, but they try. The Belgian Army prepares to defend another hex north of Lille. The British Army prepares to defend another hex south of Lille. This will free up two French corps to strengthen the French defense around Lille and southern portions of their line.
Another series of attacks are planned to force the German forces on the Marne back to the main Central Powers line. Once again the 2nd Hv Cav Corps is cut off and isolated with the only loss being 5 French Metropolitan Manpower Points from a failed cavalry charge.
The Central Powers gets a good reaction with the 1st Army setting itself up to attack Lille better and then the Bes Army around Antwerpen reacts and supplies the 1st Army with a full strength corps. The 1st Army launches a quick assault on Lille and fails, but the defense is almost lost in an AX result. The Central power losses total 61 German Manpower, 15 Saxon Manpower, and 1 Equipment Point lost. The Entente lost 14 French Metropolitan Manpower, 14 French African Manpower, 4 French Colonial Manpower, and 10 Equipment Points.
Tom: Just when I thought it was safe! The reaction attack on Lille caught me by complete surprise. I noticed the shift of the siege artillery to the area during the CP last movement turn, but figured I had until December before he could shift enough troops over. He managed to scrape together 3.4:1 odds with a -1 DRM and then rolled a 1/5 (1 on the six sided die and a 5 on the ten sided) to give a die roll result of 0 on the 3:1 Positional CRT, an AX. Unfortunately, this means he lost half of his normal attack strength and I had to lose half of his losses. This left only a single division and two cadres, something that may not be able to hold during his turn. If he gets lucky, Lille may fall in his turn and I will be hard pressed to get it back. Even if I do, I will lose the factory and the railroad penalty will come into effect. I need some luck on my side now.
The Central Powers reinforce around Lille, ready for the big push. They also concentrate north and south of the Verdun area. The newly produced resource points (9 of them) are very important because the Central Powers only had 2 resource points left before the production phase.
The Central Powers assault Lille once more. The odds are 9:1 with a +1 DRM after throwing four engineer regiments, air recon, and the leadership of Falkenburg into the battle. This results in a DL, leaving the French in control of Lille. Another attack by the 3rd Army to relieve the 4th Hv Cav Corps (formerly the 1st) is successful. This time, the cav corps ‘advances’ towards friendly lines. The 3rd Army also stages an attack on the ‘corner’ of the French line between Verdun and Reims forcing the French to give up a hex only fortified by fieldworks. An attack by the 5th Army south of Verdun attempting to circle behind the fortifications and cut them off successfully routs the French defenders and threatens to surround the French 4th Army defending the Verdun area.
The total losses for the Central Powers are 15 German Manpower and 8 Equipment losses. The Entente lost 26 French Metropolitan Manpower and 9 Equipment points.
The BEF and the French 5th Army react to reinforce Lille and allow the French to turn over another front hex to the BEF to protect in the north for additional troops to be freed for the defense of Lille. Unfortunately, the French armies around the breakthrough south of Verdun are paralyzed and unable to react properly. Fortunately, the German forces that have broken through are not able to exploit their success.
Carl: I had a 50% shot at taking Lille and was unsuccessful. That hurts but the threat is there and the Entente will have to scrape together some more troops to build the area back up again while I still have my main force together and threatening the city. It is a must defend situation for the French and perhaps I can bleed him there. The success near Verdun was a total surprise to me. I have almost pocketed the French 4th Army around Verdun. He is in the position of having to counter attack me in order to save Verdun. Of course, he could withdraw, but France is down to only 243 Morale Points and I do not think he could afford the morale loss. The German morale is 810 the British is at 406.5. They are both at National Will level of 5, but barely. Overall, I am pleased with my current position and the possibilities. My thrust towards the Marne between Reims and Paris has been pushed back, but it has taken its toll on the French. I will not be able to capture two major city hexes by the end of February, 1915, but we did agree on a campaign game. With the current level of French morale, I hope to be able to force a morale check on the French in late 1915 or early 1916. This would indicate a Central Powers victory in mid to late 1916, or perhaps 1917.