Little in the first half of December changed when compared with all of November 1914. The Belgians called up their training and replacement forces garrison and continued their rebuilding of military and diplomatic clout. German forces massed their siege train and sundry heavy artillery divisions near Oostende. Neither side launched any attacks.
The arrival of snow in the second half of December 1914 finally broke the lethargy of both sides. Entente engineers, carefully pre-positioned at critical locations, immediately upgraded some key French positions to entrenchments. Entente calculations in this regard were simple: the Germans would not attack in mobile combat at worse than 6:1 -3 or the equivalent and those odds were impossible to deny the massive German force after the arrival of winter. With the onset of winter, entrenchments and weather would make highly likely the retention of key positions with results likely to be no worse than even. The Germans saw the same weather change and salivated at the chance to hit the Entente in mobile combat with numbers and terrain available to guarantee success, or to hit the Entente in positional combat with results likely to be no worse than even and quite possibly better.
Perhaps in response to this new aggressiveness, a discussion of morale and will seemed in order. An investigation of the immediate future revealed the French to be in fantastic shape, up by nearly sixty morale points versus their historical February 1915 numbers. The British were likewise in great shape, though only up by less than ten points. The Germans, probably due to their lack of geographic progress in the west, sat at only about one hundred five points above their February values. With the imminent Schlieffen Plan penalty of one hundred morale points, the players immediately grasped the situation: Germany needed to hit the French hard and soon. Once February arrived, the French looking forward could see a massive morale advantage that would yield +1 in every ground combat. The British, by contrast, would probably drop to national will four in January due to losses in other theaters and would thus spend January in the position of the nation with the lower national will. Further, if the Germans could not kill enough Frenchmen, in February the French morale would skyrocket and probably leave them to enjoy a combat bonus throughout the remainder of the war; every morale point of French losses before February 1915 would be one less bonus morale point gained by the French in that month.
As if in connivance with the Entente, the Central Powers dice once again failed them during the reaction phases of the Entente turns in both II DEC 14 and I JAN 15. During neither turn did a useful German army activate and the Entente dodged two big bullets as a result.
The Central Powers II DEC 14 turn did not pass so peacefully. German forces used their massive rail net, for once not occupied with numerous transfers to all theaters, and highly mobile heavy artillery to put together a useful attack against the French salient at 2119. Forty-six points of defending French faced 3.7:1 odds and met the challenge admirably. Modifiers of -1 for entrenchments and -2 for winter found only partial compensation in the efforts of four regiments of engineers. Aerial reconnaissance reminded all of its general uselessness, until next turn at least, by failing in both attempts by in-range aircraft. Falkenhayn could not be bothered to attend the battle, so far south of his comfortable Belgian chateau. In the end, 3.7:1 rolled down to 3:1 and a -2 modifier changed the roll of 5 into a BX. French forces suffered 2x 8*-11-5 divisions reduced plus 1-5 eng III eliminated. German forces suffered 9*-11-5 Bavarian and 13-15-5 Prussian divisions reduced plus 1-2-5 Engineer III eliminated. Morale losses came out dead even (discounting the loss of part of the upcoming French bonus) but the battle cost the Germans two more replacement points to make good.
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