Entente: Jim Broshot, Patrick Haugh (Carl Tuisku as occasional guest commander)

Central Powers: Carl Kleihege, D. T. Moon

Special Invasion Turn:

CP takes the Ardennes, attacks Liege and Bruxelles. Bruxelles falls to attack by two CP Cavalry divisions and a Jager III – the cavalry has 7 fatigue hits, the Jager three. The Jager III is lost in an exchange. The factory is destroyed and the Belgium government is captured. Liege is attacked and captured, but the CP losses three Eng IIIs trying to use the EEC.

Entente Aug II 14

Unsuccessful attempts to retake Bruxelles and advanced after retreating CP cavalry into the Ardennes. French advance to the Rhine in the south, an AP result was followed up by a two CP division advance which is cut off just south of Nancy.

Central Powers Aug II 14

Attack and captured Namur after the newly rebuilt Eng IIIs once again suicide trying to use EEC. Forced back French army in Belgium. CP attack in the south re-established contact with the forward 2 Prussian rifle divisions and continues to expand the hole in the French line down the Moselle toward Nancy with 2 heavy cavalry corps. Forward of Metz, the French 4th Rifle Corps is retreated back across the Franco-German border. Reaction phases: the French 3rd army counter-attack in the south traps and destroys the 2 lead CP divisions. French Plan 17 finally dissolves with a suicide attack from Ligny at 1:4 on the Mobile Ground Combat table, resulting in the loss of that ore field.

Entente Sep I 14

Reorganization of the French army to reflect reality. Prompt change to defensive along the line. Attempted attacks on the BEF and in the Ardennes during Reaction Phase result (with two bad die rolls) in large CP losses.

Central Powers Sep I 14

Northern flank reorganizes from previous losses. Line is stalled along Namur-Bruxelles-Antwerp line (with first two in CP hands). Bombardment of BEF does not yield sufficient results to raise CP morale to attack them. Southern flank attacks French at Luneville forcing the French corps back with heavy losses.

Entente Sep II 14

Reallocated their British assets and moving forces north.

Central Powers Sep II 14

The CP players rolled badly on 5 attacks and gave up Bruxelles on an AR, and failed miserably versus 2 of the 3 hexes of the French salient sitting in front of Nancy. A battered 1st Bavarian Rifle Corps achieved contact with the Nancy sector at a high cost (7 front line divisions were cadred in the south.)

Entente Oct I 14

Reorganize to hold Bruxelles and position better defense around Nancy. CP Reaction Combat advances north of Ligny.

Central Powers Oct I 14

In a dedicated effort to turn the tide before the autumn rains, Falkenhayn himself appears at 6th Bavarian Army HQ, looking to lift spirits in the general vicinity. Just before the planned attacks, the Field Marshal calls for a zeppelin raid on Nancy, which was unfortunately ineffectual, but energized for the German forces nonetheless. In the north, the attack on Antwerp resulted in a mutual bloodbath between attacking CP forces and the Belgians. A further attack between Namur and Bruxelles is bloodily repulsed and the CP forces are routed from the front with heavy casualties. German victory northeast of Nancy took the form of the decimation of the French 20th Rifle Corps and the Germans gaining 3 hexes adjacent to Nancy. Just west of Luxembourg, the French city of Longwy changed hands for the 3rd time as the German 5th Reserve Rifle Corps occupied the area.

Entente Oct II 14

The weather is still clear. General Nivelle, Commander of the Southern Group of French Armies (Broshot) is detached for liaison duty with the Grand Fleet, and is replaced by General Petain (Tuisku). The Entente begins to dig entrenchments.

Central Powers Oct II 14

The CP digs entrenchments in the North. Major reorganizations start to take place to reflect the lessons learned so far in the war.

Strategic attention is briefly directed to the South as Falkenhayn seems to have made some progress there earlier in the month. However, crack Prussian intelligence has determined that new french fortifications (coordinated trenches laced with barbed wire) must be tested before launching a major offensive. This decision coincides nicely with the likely onset of worsening weather across the continent.

Entente Nov I 14

Mud has arrived. All is quiet except for the sounds of digging.

Central Powers Nov I 14

Everyone digs in and recovers. Maneuvering of forces to be in position for possible future attacks.

Major reorganizations of Saxon and Wurtemburger divisions. Prussian and Bavarian replacements arrive in the fortress of Strassburg, reconstituting all divisions in the failed late September offensive save three Bavarian.

Entente Nov II 14

Play goes quickly as everyone sits and recovers.

Central Powers Nov II 14

Play goes quickly as everyone sits and recovers.

Entente Dec I 14

Play goes quickly as everyone sits and recovers.

Central Powers Dec I 14

Play goes quickly as everyone sits and recovers.

Entente Dec II 14

Play goes quickly as everyone sits and recovers.

Central Powers Dec II 14

Play goes quickly as everyone sits and recovers. Glad Christmas tidings come as the CP Zepplins score their first hit on the French factory at Saint Quentin.

Entente Jan I 15

Successful CP reaction in the middle of the line. General Nivelle returns to command, having narrowly escaped death at the hands of SMS Goeben.

Central Powers Jan I 15

Units shift, reorganizing and planning for the future.

Entente Jan II 15

Units shift, reorganizing and planning for the future.

Central Powers Jan II 15

The first attack in a long time occurs as the CP attack the Antwerp fortress defended by the BEF. The battle was fought to a bloody draw.

Entente Feb I 15

The BEF reorganizes around Antwerp to continue its protection.

Central Powers Feb I 15

The CP build up around Antwerp for future operations against the city.

Entente Feb II 15

Reorganize and collect units for the future.

Central Powers Feb II 15

Reorganize and collect units for the future. Only a few divisions conduct active maneuvers along the Franco-German border, and, suspiciously, the Germans units east of Nancy are busy being particularly quiet.

Entente Mar I 15

Strange odors have been noticed drifting over from the German entrenchments. Realizing that the winter “armistice” might soon come to an end, last minute preparations are conducted.

Central Powers Mar I 15

After nearly six months of inactivity along the Franco-German border, Falkenhayn once again arrives at 6th Army HQ, directing a massive, concentrated effort versus Nancy. Eighteen first-line divisions of the Prussian, Bavarian and Wurtemburger contingencies are unleashed on the well-entrenched French positions just east of the target city. The preliminary bombardment proved to be symbolic as CP forces were repulsed in the full assault. Although several combat and siege engineering units managed to influence the battle significantly, the newly formed 36th Pioneer Gas Engineers wrote off the 1st Battle of Nancy as a training evolution. Losses on both sides were astronomical: over 100 strength pts for the French and well over 200 pts for the Germans for one attack.

Entente Mar II 15

The Entente is able to reconstitute almost to their full strength prior to the Central Powers assault at Nancy. A desperate CP attempt to force the issue results in even more confusion at 6th and Gaede Army HQs. The rain-soaked soldiers on both sides of the line are silently thankful for the chance to recover in these last weeks of a grim winter.

Analysis

8 March 1915

Without a German breakout into and through Belgium, the French defenses along the German border benefitted immensely from not having to siphon off troops to patch up the north. Even prior to the onset of positional warfare sometime in October ’14, my recommendation to future Central Powers High Commands: if the 1st-3rd German Armies do not reach Mons and environs by September ’14, resist the temptation to go on the offensive along the Franco-German border. Instead: save the combat supply, save the troops and (replacements!), save the German national morale, build a double line of forts starting in February ’15, and maintain the morale advantage given you by French losses in Plan 17. Reassess the odds after the spring ’15 rains.
Feldmarshal Kronprinz Mond (D. T. Moon)

The French Armies were blessed with a suicidal offensive plan, a glitch in the scenario rules, and abysmally bad dice rolling….by their opponents. Plan XVII forced Third Army’s VI Corps to suicide on the Boche breastworks, while the Fifth Army set up and moved farther north than General Staff had ordered. Despite this, combats before the rains came and the leaves fell resulted in many German casualties and the retention of two of three border hexes that contain the resources vital to the French war economy. However the return of good weather in the Spring will probably lead to the fall of Nancy. Siege warfare, WWI style, is elegant and bloody to both attacker and defender.
General d’Armee Nivelle (Jim Broshot)

The strong left flank of Fifth Army was critical to the early stabilization of the Entente line far forward in Belgium. Rash utilization of scarce resources in the opening phase of the campaign by Fifth Army was offset by two catastrophic German assaults south of Brussels. The BEF was able to relieve Belgian forces in Antwerp. The resulting line, running from Antwerp-Brussels, with adequate manpower reserves, proved adequate throughout the winter. Attritional winter warfare at Antwerp drained the manpower reserves of the BEF. It is unlikely that future Entente players will be able to duplicate this forward defense without incurring unacceptable fatigue in Aug II.. The artillery support available to the BEF is inadequate throughout 1914 and early 1915, limiting their offensive ability.
Sir John French (Patrick Haugh)

The stalling of the CP right flank just past Bruxelles was the key to the game. Errata will fix this, and it will be interesting to see just how far the CP flank can advance. There was enough taste of trench warfare to indicate that a large amount of planning and preparation must be made to start a successful battle, let alone shift your emphasis from one portion of the front to another.
Feldmarshal Carl von Kleihege (Carl Kleihege)