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Europa Games and Military History

Author: Carl Kleihege (page 1 of 5)

March to Victory at Europafest 1998

Entente: Jim Broshot, Patrick Haugh (Carl Tuisku as occasional guest commander)
Central Powers: Carl Kleihege, D. T. Moon
This game report was also published in TEM 71

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)

March to Victory at Europa Fest 1999

Entente: Carl Kleihege, Richard Banks, James Hapner
Central Powers: Courtenay Footman, Marc Elwinger, Jim Broshot
This game report was also published in TEM 71

We played the Feb I 15 start scenario with rolling for Italian entry in Mar 15 but definitely entering the war in May 15. We halved all resource point production after calculating the production with transfers and withdrawals and rounding .5 up.

Feb I 15 Turn

The starting turn was quiet with the Central Powers conducting some small unsupplied bombardments on the British forces without effect.

Feb II 15 Turn

German 1st Army react and attacks the French 3rd Corps but is stopped. The German bombardment cadres a British division and the French 3rd Corps is destroyed in an unsupplied attack. The Germans capture their first hex.

Mar I 15 Turn

The Germans continue to grind down the French without expending combat supply, capturing two more hexes from them.

Mar II 15 Turn

The French attempt to put a new line together. The Germans continue scattered attacks without using supply.

Apr I 15 Turn

The weather clears and the British counter attack the Germans at Lens. The attack destroys an artillery division and two cadres. The Germans react and capture Ypres. The Germans continue their attack in their turn and capture Dunkerque.

Apr II 15 Turn

The British recapture Dunkerque and the Germans try to recover it unsuccessfully.

May I 15 Turn

Italy joins the Entente. The British and French armies strengthen their front line defenses. The German bombardments eliminate a British Territorial Division.

May II 15 Turn

Italy attacks Austria and manages to cross the Isonzo River and cut the rail line into Trient. The Austrians counterattack and fail to reopen the supply line. The Italians react and assault Trient, capturing the city with an AX result.

Jun I 15 Turn

The French and British continue to strengthen their defenses while the Italians continue to stream into Austria. The Austrians fall back and build up defensive lines. The Germans attack the British and are stopped in a bloody exchange. The French react and attack the Germans near Arras, recapturing the hex.

Jun II 15 Turn

The French continue their army reorganization. Italy attacks towards Triest against the Austrians. The Germans continue to conduct unsupplied bombardments against the French and British.

Jul I 15 Turn

Italians are rebuffed while pressing towards Innsbruck but carry the entrenchments in front of Triest. The British and French continue their reorganizations. The Germans fall to a National Will level of 3 and the Austrians fall to a National Will level of 2.

Jul II 15 Turn

The Italians capture another hex near Trieste. The British recapture Ypres with the aid of armored cars. The French hit the Germans around Soissons in an attempt to cut off a German Corps. The Germans pull back to Soissons, giving up another captured hex.

At this point, we had to call the game. The Central Powers won a minor victory with 106 victory points to the Entente’s 90. We did continue with one more operation (to try out the naval rules) before we packed up as follows:

The Naval Battle

The Italian Navy sailed to perform Naval Ground Support at Trieste to aid the Italian assault. The Austrian Navy reacted and a naval battle occurred near Pola. Although the first round saw the Italians be slightly damaged without effect on the Austrian Navy (and Jim said that in a real game he would have tried to disengage at this point), the second round saw the Italians adjust tactics and pound the Austrians at long range with three hits and two extra damage. The Austrian Navy tried to flee, but the Italians kept up with them and hit them hard for another round before the Austrians finally managed to escape. This naval battle saw the Italians absorb two hits on a BB, one on a CA, and one on a CD (for a total of 10 morale points lost). The Austrians saw nine hits on their PDs, one on their BB, two on a CA, and one on a CD (for a total of 36 morale points lost). A resounding Italian victory! The Italian navy continued to Trieste and managed to deliver 11 Heavy Artillery and 40 Siege Artillery bombardment points (the equivalent of 13 REs of artillery) to the hex while losing another 8 morale points of small ships. If the Italians had been smart enough not to take their entire fleet and leave the DD and TB units behind, most of these losses would have been avoided.

Comments

We played this scenario for various reasons. One, it avoided all of the Plan 17/Schlieffen Plan rule controversies. Second, it would allow us to see if the French could hold its own if the Entente were able to perform as well as history. And third, with the halving of resource point production to see if the game was more realistic in the 1915 period (which historically saw both sides short on combat supply). We all agreed that the Entente (who had over 110 equipment points in their replacement pool and no destroyed divisional cadres) where definitely in better shape than any report I have seen of the Entente in 1915. The limited resource points saw the Central Powers performing both bombardments and attacks without using combat supply while forcing the Entente to do so. The Entente never did totally run out of combat supply, but they were down to only two resource points in Apr II 15.

March to Victory at Europafest 2000

Central Powers:  James Hapner (1st & 2nd Armies), Marc Elwinger (3 & 4th Armies), Brian Putman (5th, 6th, & 7th Armies)

Entente:  Dave Stokes (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, & 7th Armies), Carl Kleihege (4th, 5th, British, & Belgian Armies)

Surprise Turn:

The German 1st and 2nd Armies take Liege.

Aug II 14 Turn:

The Entente counterattack against Liege and in the Ardennes without too much success. The French 1st Army is able to destroy the Bavarian 1st Reserve Corps south of Metz. This attack finished the Plan 17 requirements.

Central Powers reaction decimated the French 5th Army in the Ardennes and moved forward.

Central Powers force their way through Belgium to Namur causing casualties to the BEF and 5th Army units in the Ardennes. A counter attack south of Metz partially closes the hole caused by the loss of the Bavarian 1st Reserve Corps. An attack on the French 7th Army results in disaster as two Corps from the German 7th Army are forced to retreat.

Entente reaction fails in their attempts to cut off the leading German spearhead in the Ardennes.

Sep I 14 Turn:

The Entente forces reorganize into defensive positions. The French 4th Army starts to pull back from the Ardennes. The French 5th Army HQ runs away to Mons and accumulates a large amount of fatigue hits. The BEF pulls behind the Scheldte River in Belgium while the Belgian light division defends Bruxelles. The French 7th Army attacks next to the Rhine River and destroys a Wurttemburg mountain brigade.

The Central Powers react and take Namur, Bruxelles, and advance out of the Ardennes forest taking out the French cavalry screen.

The German cavalry blow through the hole where the French cavalry died, taking the San Quentin factory. Additional forces move up and continue to pressure the French and British in Belgium.

Reactions by the Entente have French units isolating the German cavalry units.

Sep II 14 Turn:

The Belgian light infantry division runs down the Belgian – Netherlands border and destroys two German supply depots and the 2nd Army HQ. The British retreat behind the Scheldte River. The French destroy the three isolated German cavalry divisions. The French 1st Army, continuing Plan 17 voluntarily, captures another hex in Alsace – Lorraine in the Vosges Mountains.

The Central Powers fails to react to the Entente movements.

During the exploitation phase the Belgian light infantry division prepares to invade Germany! (Unfortunately the rules prohibit this until Oct I 14.)

The Central Powers clear the damaged rails in Belgium preparing to relieve their newfound supply problems. French cavalry are overrun near Maubeuge area while the Belgian light infantry division is surrounded. An isolated French corps is destroyed in the Belgian forest near Namur. Maubeuge is surrounded and assaulted but the brave French defenders hold on. The Germans attack across the Scheldte River against the British cavalry. The French have fallen to a NW of 4.

Only the French 1st Army is able to react with just small shifting of its units.

Oct I 14 Turn:

The clear weather holds. The Entente prepares to entrench their units next turn and reorganize for a stronger defensive line. The Belgians and British start to pull back from the Antwerpen area but are complicated by the German bridgehead north of the Scheldte River.

The German 4th and 1st Armies react. The 4th Army captures a hex near Longwy while the 1st attacks Maubeuge, which holds its ground. The 1st Army also attacks the BEF with success almost cutting off the British and Belgian Armies but fails attacking the French near Lille.

Central Powers force their way towards Verdun from the north. 1st Army is repulsed near Lille again but force back the Belgian and British Armies. Maubeuge finally falls.

Entente reactions allow them to close the holes formed by the German attacks.

Oct II 14 Turn:

The weather stays clear. The British and Belgian Armies reach the coast. The British counter attack against the leading German divisions and force them back with some losses to the Germans. The French reorganize their defenses while beginning to entrench.

The Central Powers attacks an entrenched French corps near St Quentin and suffers an exchange.

The Central Powers advance and press the British and Belgian armies against the coast. Their attacks send the remnants of the British and Belgians running into Dunkerque. Attacks near Lille and Verdun continue to gain some ground.

The Entente uses their reactions to strengthen the weaker parts of their line and prepare to entrench more of their line.

Nov I 14 Turn:

The weather continues to obey the German wishes and remains clear. The Belgian Army pulls behind the line to rebuild the army from the replacement pool. The British form a line from Lille to Dunkerque (all of two hexes long) in order to do the same. The French abandoned Longwy to consolidate their defensive lines. The French reorganize, rebuild, and dig more entrenchments.

The Central Powers attack Lille and are stopped.

The Central Powers continue to maneuver to attack the French. An attack at Lille is stopped again. Antwerp and Dunkerque are captured as the defenders are forced back. The British fall to a NW of 4.  The German 4th Army at the cost of great casualties eliminates a French corps near Reims. Germany is now at NW of 4.

Entente reaction does not happen.

Nov II 14 Turn:

The weather finally turns to mud. The Entente works hard at building up their front line units, but a manpower shortage makes that very difficult.

The Central Powers use their reaction to reorganize their forces.

The Central Powers capture a hex near Lille forcing back a French corps. Another attack hit the BEF and caused heavy British casualties.

The Entente was not able to react.

Dec I 14 Turn:

The weather is now snow. The Entente tries to build up their front lines. The reconstituted Belgian Army defends a hex near Lille. The British manage to continue to defend from Lille to the English Channel. The French send several divisions from the south to help in the defense in the Lille and Reims areas.

The Central Powers fail to react.

The German 1st Army pushes back the new Belgian army and nearly surrounds Lille. Another attack at St. Quentin fails for the Germans as they suffer huge casualties to destroy a French division and the French hold the hex.

The Entente center reacts and starts to send more troops north.

Dec II 14 Turn:

The weather is now snow. The British scramble to hold their line. The French withdraw from Lille leaving only a token garrison. More troops move to the northern flank to help the defense there.

The Central Powers are not able to react well.

The Central Powers attack  the British link into Lille and are held. The attack on the reduced Lille defense fails to carry the hex as the Germans put TOO much strength into the attack and fail to take it. (DX result on a 9:1 versus a BX guarantee on a 6:1.)

The Entente react and send some more units further north.

Jan I 14 Turn:

A winter thaw occurs and the weather turns to mud. The Entente reorganizes and strengthens their front line defense.

A Central Powers attack near Reims has little effect other than to lower the French NW to 3. Lille falls to a determined assault by the German 1st Army. A further attack destroys a British corps to the north of Lille.

The German 1st Army crashes into the British army and decimates them.

The Entente is able to react to disengage portions of the British army and start to pull them back.

Jan II 14 Turn:

The Entente builds entrenchments behind the Somme River and the British Army begins to retreat to it.

The Central Powers are not able to react.

The Central Powers hit the Belgian and British armies as they withdraw, destroying the Indian cavalry corps and pushing back the Belgian corps from their trenches.

At Game´s End:

The final moral ratings:

Britain:                   237 (NW = 4)

France:                   271 (NW = 3)

Belgium: 22 (NW = 1)

Germany:                764.5 (NW = 4)

Victory Points:

Germany = 345

Entente = 108.5

According to Feb I 15 OB (Historical Result):

Britain:                   292 (NW = 4)

France:                   295 (NW = 3)

Belgium: 50 (NW = 1, down to 0 once)

Germany:                670 (NW = 4)

Historical Victory Points:

Germany = 296

Entente = 230

Final Thoughts

James Hapner (German Right Flank Commander):

Our strategy was simply to load up the right side and keep plugging away. I didn’t push as aggressively toward Brussels as I probably should have on the surprise turn.  When the British came forward as far as they did, I made it a priority to attack their units,  knowing they were only gradually replaceable. I was happy to see the Entente entrench since it made it possible to make more attacks per turn. This is because a 2 or 3 to 1 attack is acceptable on the attrition table since you will almost always kill at least some Entente units. When attacking on the mobile table, we aimed for 6-1 odds as much as possible. I doubt we ever attacked at less than 4-1 add one to the roll.

The navies stayed in port with the British patrol force taking a few pot shot hits from CP light forces. In 1914 the air forces don’t play much of a role. I tried to play as if the war would continue rather than ending after Jan 1915. It would be interesting to see how things would go if we had continued. The British were rebuilding and wouldn’t be much of a factor. I suspect the French were in better than usual shape. They would have to cover more front than usual so I think things were promising for the German Spring offensive.

Marc Elwinger (German Left Flank Commander):

The Entente rushed into Belgium on their first turn. They set up in good terrain except they failed to dislodge on a jager regiment and kept the French from straightening their line. This let the Germans get three hex sides on several hexes and the French defensive line never got established, spending several turns recoiling back. The successful (but expensive) British defense in Belgium prevented us from establishing supply lines beyond the Ardennes Forest stopping the most successful breakthrough. Trying to maintain the initiative, the German cavalry made a deep raid into northern France disrupting the French logistics just as the French line stiffened. The cavalry got cut off and destroyed.

In the south, the French made some initial advances under Plan 17 and the Germans failed to recover that terrain. German attacks all failed to retake the ground with losses that let the French counter attack and gain two more hexes. The Germans spent the last half of the game just making attrition attacks.

By the end of the game, about 30% of the German army was cadred.

Dave Stokes (Entente Southern French Flank):

Even though the CP won a substantial victory in the game (a decisive victory downgraded due to not knocking the France or GB out of  the war), I feel that our performance as the Entente was not too bad.  We were in better shape as far as front line strength than the French usually are in games I have seen in the past.  Of  course the British were pretty well mauled, but the Germans often seem to prefer to go after the BEF instead of  moving swiftly toward Paris.  In this game, we sort of forced them to do so by being aggressive with the British on Turn One.  At any rate, I find it hard to consider it a substantial CP victory in this scenario if they never really come near Paris.

Also, I think that the Germans left way too much force in the south, especially as unwilling they seemed to be to attack in the area.  If you are going to commit a lot of force in the south as the Germans, I figure that you should be willing to use it.  Given the way they were playing, I may have been too quick to withdraw  voluntarily from exposed hexes like 1919 or 2018.  If  I had not withdrawn form these hexes to shorten my lines so I could send units north, I might have provoked them into committing even more heavily in the area, drawing even more strength from their right flank .  Anyway, I felt pretty good about still holding 4 hexes of Alsace-Lorraine at the end of the game.

Overall, I thought it was a fun, interesting, if atypical game.  Both sides made some unusual but defensible strategic choices while avoiding any major tactical  blunders.  That generally makes for an entertaining game.

Carl Kleihege (Entente Northern French Flank, Belgians, and British):

Before the game, Dave and I reached a good plan – do a strong and well thought out Plan 17 while having my commands retreat as fast as possible towards Paris and let the Germans stretch themselves out following. It was a good plan – too bad we ignored it! The sight of the German Army barely across the Meuse River after the Special Invasion Turn was too tempting. As it was, the Germans only held a single hex over the Meuse after the Entente Aug II 14 turn. But my inability to roll a combat roll above a 1 costs me dear in the Ardennes as a single jager regiment holds out and leaves a hole in my line.

After that the game went straight ahead. I plotted the wrong amount of German movement points several times and had my cavalry screen too close and it was overrun. Part of the problem came from the Germans forgetting to set up their ten cavalry divisions in their initial setup and using them as Aug II 14 reinforcements that got me good. The British paid for their presumptive forward deployment.

One thing I did do wrong was I dug in anticipating bad weather that never came. I should have continued to retreat until the weather turned – there were no morale point losing cities in the area and I had plenty of room before I was close to defending the outskirts of Paris.  Another case of live and learn I guess.

Overall, it was a good game. Dave and I managed to keep the Entente in the war, something that is very hard to do when you start in August, 1914. The retreat of the left flank is necessary to avoid the Germans chewing up the French without the French being able to do anything in return. I will definitely have to play the game again as the French and actually stick to the plan this time!

After Thoughts – Central Powers

I think I would have been better in 1914 to bypass Lille and continue my offensive towards the coast with the thought to cut Lille off from the rest of France. It would have still captured Lille with a lot less casualties for me. Those divisions I lost in capturing Lille never did get replaced. The equipment points are just too dear for everything else to spend the large amounts needed to replace divisional cadres.

This does point out the fact that losing a cadre is close to losing the use of that division for the rest of the war. The Germans need all of the equipment points from CR #1 (mobilizing the 0 movement artillery) for their upgrades and the field artillery units that are just placed into the replacement pool. Although the field artillery units are not very useful with entrenchments, they do have to be sent to the East front so they have to be paid for sooner or later. In addition, almost all of the equipment points produced during production cycles in 1915 are used in reorganizing the German army. The reorganization is really very necessary since it increases the number of divisions available to the Central Powers by about 50%.

If I had been able to keep the divisions whose cadres were eliminated in 1914 and the Lille battles in 1915, I would have had a better reserve to have sent down to Italy or used in an offensive against the French during 1915. This was really impressed on me when I was trying to put something together during 1915. The 1916 offensive also pointed out that Germany could have good effect against the French in 1915. My next game will see me be very careful with cadres.

The key to the game was the opening of the war in 1914. The destruction of the French 5th Army was the destruction of French morale. None of those units were ever replaced and the losses of divisional cadres meant that the Entente used their equipment points from CR #1 went to replace the divisional cadres rather than building their artillery units. Without artillery units, an offensive against entrenchments is just not going to work well.

The key to attacking entrenchments is artillery. Use the artillery in massive amounts of small bombardments (preferably on the 9 column at least) and the defenders will lose enough defense strength to make it worthwhile. This means that you have to have decent weather as the bad weather modifiers make bombardments harder.

The key to defending entrenchments is to have some good reserves. Don’t place everyone in the front line. Keep a strong mobile reserve, complete with artillery. Artillery just does not last long in the defensive line. They do not cadre and are usually easily destroyed. The only time to place artillery in the front line is to use them offensively. Although they can be used in defensive bombardments, they are best for this purpose if they are in the flanking corps, not the target hex.

Air is very useful – particularly for the tactical recon missions. Use more than a single air unit for recon if at all possible. This game saw several cases where three air units on tactical recon in 1916 (success on a 4+) still did not give the DRM. You really get to depend on that +1 DRM.

Our next game (probably starting in September) will see us switch commands. I hope to be able to come up with a good Entente plan that will see the French survive 1914 with a good National Will.

Final War Status

Just shy of two years of war in Western Europe before the French surrender. The following are the end totals:

Entente Status

Belgium has 17.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 1. They have lost a total of 103 Manpower points.
Britain has 156 Morale Points for a National Will of 3. They have lost a total of 410 British, 15 Indian, and 83 Canadian Manpower points. This is a grand total of 508 Manpower points.
France has 0 Morale Points for a National Will of 0. They have lost a total of 107 African, 143 Colonial, 13 Foreign, and 1190 Metropolitan Manpower points. This is a grand total of 1453 Manpower points.
Italy has 63 Morale Points for a National Will of 2. They have lost a total of 320 Manpower points.
Entente Equipment points lost are 1305.
Total Manpower points lost are 2384.

Central Powers Status

Germany has 484.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 3. They have lost a total of 190 Bavarian, 1070 German, 114 Saxon, and 73 Wurttemburg Manpower points. This is a grand total of 1333 Manpower points.
Austria/Hungary has 163.5 Morale Points for a National Will of 2. They have lost a total of 78 Manpower points.
Central Powers Equipment points lost are 850.
Total Manpower points lost are 1411.

It is obvious from the numbers above that the Central Powers won the war mostly through attrition. The drastic changes from February, 1916 to the end of July, 1916 show the effects of the prolonged German offensive which started in January, 1916 and kept up until the French surrendered. The final counts show that the Central Powers had a 50% edge in casualties over the Entente.

Jul I 16

One of the French factory at Lyons is damaged and cannot produce this cycle. The Entente do manage to produce 18 resource and 12 equipment points, one more each than the historical production. The French call up their Training & Replacement Garrison. They will not be in the game long enough for the loss of replacement points to matter.

The French deploy forward, maxing out as many of their corps as possible, using the Training & Replacement Garrison units. The British put together another group of units capable of offensive actions in the Soissons area and rebuild their Lens offensive units for continued action. The Italians begin to strengthen their defenses of both Verona and Milano.

The bombardment on Lens completely misses – six rolls of 1s and 2s! The attack goes on anyway and a bloody exchange results. The attack towards Soissons is on the Mobile CRT as the Germans have not bothered improving the captured fieldworks. This rare occurrence (the first in at least 18 months) on this front sees the British hit with a Cavalry charge! The charge actually succeeds for a final of 4.8:1 with a DRM of -1. Unfortunately, Tom then rolls a 1(0) for a modified 0 on the 4:1 column – and the British retreat! The German defenders jump forward and capture Compiegne and only one hex separates the German front line from Paris.

The Zeppelins mass over Lyons and get a terror bombardment hit on the city. The German 3rd Army reacts and presses the advantage given to it by the British. The German 5th Army reacts and does a fast build up against the French 12th Corps. The German 5th Army attacks the British 8th Corps across the Marne and gets a DL result. The German GR Corps advances over the Marne River.

The Entente lost 36 British, 14 Canadian Manpower, and 16 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 16 German, 2 Wurttemburg Manpower, and 52 Equipment points.

Tom: As you can tell, the French cause is hopeless. Since it is, things are really breaking out all over. A successful cavalry charge in 1916! Of course, I would have preferred to have the ‘6’ I rolled for its success switched for the ‘1’ I rolled for the combat. I would have had to cadre a cavalry division, but the combat result would have been a DR instead of the AR. To add insult to the injury, the German 5th Army reacts with the German’s area reserve corps just sitting there waiting for something and able to help push back the British 8th Corps to cross the Marne River. It almost seems like 1918, only the game date is only 1916. I do not expect the French to last the turn. They will most likely surrender during my next initial phase. The only thing now is to cause those pesky Germans some casualties and morale point losses for the final tally.

The Central Powers produce 22 Resource and 20 Equipment points, one more of each than was historical. The Zeppelins do their job raiding Lyons and score another terror bombardment hit. The Germans mass for another set of attacks against the French. The Austrians mass for another crack at Verona, hoping to capture the city before the French surrender and end the war.

The Austrians attack across the Adda River near Lake Como and capture the mountain hex from the Italians. The joint Austrian-German attack on Verona starts with a bombardment. The attack ends in a BX result. The Germans now attack the French 15th Corps just south of Epernay. The bombardment is partially successful and the French retreat from a DL result. The next attack is against the French 16th Corps on the other side of Epernay. The actual bombardment and attack are called off as the air battle is resolved with the French losing a fighter unit and their morale hits zero.

The British fail to react and the turn now ends.

The Central Powers lost 12 Austrian, 10 German, 8 Bavarian Manpower, and 17 Equipment points. The Entente lost 20 Italian, 16 French African, 10 French Colonial, 4 French Metropolitan, and 26 Equipment points. The French will surrender in the next Initial Phase as their morale has hit zero for the second time.

Carl: In a little short of two years of combat and the great European War is over with the Central Powers victorious. There are not too many things I can say here that I will not cover in my final notes, so see those for further details. In the meantime – – – – I WON !!!!!

Jun II 16

The Italians pull back the divisions they pulled from the front lines. They concentrate these divisions to bolster the defenses around Verona and in front of Milano. The French consolidate their defense and pull back behind the Marne River. The French also disband the rest of their rifle brigades for the manpower points. The British build up to continue the offensive against Lens.

The British open up on Lens with a bombardment after the recon missions were returned to base by German fighters and anti-aircraft fire. The bombardment goes through at a disadvantage (-1 DRM from the fort) and disrupts two divisions and a cadre. The Germans fire a defensive bombardment, this time at the two flanking corps from the two flanking German corps. This bombardment succeeds in disrupting the artillery and support units in both corps and a division. The attack is now a 3.0:1 with no modifiers. A 1 is rolled – an AX! The result cadres 12 British and 3 Canadian divisions. The Germans cadre 4 German and 1 Wurttemburg divisions. A clear German victory.

The Zeppelins terror bomb London yet again. A lack of resource points with the proper HQs keep the Austrians from reacting. A lack of reaction from the German HQs save the French for at least one player turn longer.

The Entente lost 54 British, 20 Canadian Manpower, and 34 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 24 German, 6 Wurttemburg Manpower, and 10 Equipment points.

Tom: This turn is a disaster. The fall of Reims during the Central Powers turn and now the damaging of the British army is almost too much. The French are below 20 morale points and the game could end this turn anyway. I hope to hold out until next turn, a production cycle, and activate the French training garrison. What does the effect on French Manpower points matter now? My only hope is that the German losses will be enough to slow Carl down for a while. Things are pretty bleak.

The Germans build new Zeppelin bases in Gent (KLM) and Lille. This will enable them to reach London on a single leg. A Zeppelin is aborted by anti-aircraft fire over London. The Austrians continue to reinforce their drives on Milano and Verona. The Germans follow the retreating French and prepare to cross the Marne River at Epernay.

The Germans attack the French 17th Corps at Epernay. The bombardment is extremely deadly and the French 17th Corps is pounded into oblivion. The French refuse to reinforce the hex with reserves (what reserves?) and the Germans capture Epernay. The French 9th Corps is attacked from Toul and a DX results. A joint Austrian and German assault on Verona begins with a bombardment with fixed results. The following assault ends in a DX result.

The Entente fail to react.

The Central Powers lost 5 Austrian Manpower and 16 Equipment points. The Entente lost 17 French Metropolitan, 12 Italian, 5 French African Manpower, and 35 Equipment points. French morale stands at 7.5 points.

Carl: The French are doing a forward defense. This is what has really cost them in bombardments. I have almost the entire German artillery located around Epernay, a total of over 45 artillery regiments that were able to reach that hex and bombard. I do not know if I would do this type of artillery concentration again, but the only counter to it is to keep a few divisions in the front lines and keep a massive amount of reserves that can enter the hex to hold the line. If I had spread the artillery out along the line, I could be attacking in more places. At the moment, however, I do not have the manpower or equipment points to maintain any type of offensive and I am also running low on resource points. The British offensive is halted, at least I hope so. I do not have the reserves to continue losing the manpower up there and maintain the pressure on the French. The French should only last another turn or two at most. Tom will probably call up the training garrison (nothing to lose at this time) and hope to hold me up some how. The British may do another attack on Lens, but if they do not capture the hex I should be okay. We both need the upcoming production cycle for the manpower, equipment, and resource points.

Jun I 16

The British 5th Army takes over the defense of another hex from the French. The French are beginning to fray, but they do manage to defend every hex with at least 25 defense. Two of the hexes have only a single division and some support troops. The Reims area is well defended with six full strength divisions in each hex. The Italians pull back behind the Adda river in front of Milano. They also reinforce the Verona area and are forced to pull the 1st Corps back from Trient.

The British attack at Lens again. This time, the Germans fire a defensive bombardment. The British bombardment disrupts five German divisions while the German bombardment disrupts five British artillery units. The attack continues home and gets a DX result.

The Austrians fail to react. The German 3rd Army reacts and hits the French 35th Corps with a 4:1 +5 attack which yields a DL result and another hex near Reims falls.

The Entente lost 14 French Metropolitan, 11 British Manpower, and 6 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 12 German, 5 Saxon, and 22 Equipment points.

Tom: The British have been able to continue their offensive. With the current lack of Central Powers manpower and equipment points, it is beginning to force Carl to look at the situation and react to it. The defensive bombardment was pretty heavy, fortunately they were all 1H results that I could place on my artillery – since they were already halved it did not really matter. The artillery from the Germans were from an adjacent corps, not the target corps. The retreat of the French 35th Corps was a surprise. The five divisions in the hex should have been able to hold off any of his attacks, but Carl was able to get that +5 DRM and blew the corps back with only light losses for the Germans. Hopefully, the attacks on Lens and the withdrawals to the East Front (to counter the Russian Brusilov offensive) will make him slow his attacks against the French.

The Austrians advance towards Milano and Verona. The Germans reinforce their defenses at Lens and their offensive against Reims.

The German 4th Army attacks from Toul against the French 9th Corps and achieves a bloody repulse. Another heavy bombardment on Reims followed by an attack which results in a 9:1 +3 DRM and a DD resulting in the fall of Reims! As Reims has been surrounded with enemy ZOCs, only the two chssr divisional cadres manage to retreat. This is a heavy blow to the French. A combined Austrian and German attack captures another hex adjacent to Verona. An attack by the German Alps Corps advances another hex and Verona is now surrounded by enemy ZOCs.

The Italians react by stripping a division from each of their front line corps and sending them back as a reserve for the endangered areas around Verona and Milano. The French 7th Army near Belfort also strips out a division from each of its corps to send to the Reims area for bolstering the French defenses there. The British sit and watch.

The Central Powers lost 6 Bavarian Manpower and 32 Equipment points. The Entente lost 44 French Metropolitan, 8 Italian Manpower, and 58 Equipment points. The French morale stands at 19.5 morale points left.

Carl: As you can see from the above losses, both the French and the Germans lost some divisional cadres. The Germans lost them around the Toul area in their attack while the French lost them all over the place. It is coming ever so closer to a French surrender, only 19.5 points and victory is mine! I am in a hurry because Tom and I will play the game again (probably starting next September) with the sides switched, so speed is of the essence at this point. The Italian campaign is going well, but it has taken a back seat to the real decision approaching against the French.

May II 16

The Italians fall back towards Milano and attempt to build a defensive line. The British take over two more hexes in front of Paris to defend with their 5th Reserve Army. The French spend a long time reorganizing their forces to plug their holes.

The British attack at Lens. They use poison gas for the first time and fail to do more damage to the Germans than their selves. The losses drop the British NW down to 3 and they lose their NW advantage.

The Germans refuse to attack with their reacting armies. The usual London Zeppelin raid is stopped by great die rolling as the anti-aircraft fire (of 5 points) return three of the four Zeppelins.

The Entente lost 20 British, 14 Canadian Manpower, and 16 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 24 German, 6 Wurttemburg, 5 Saxon Manpower, and 12 Equipment points.

Tom: The bright side was the Zeppelin raid. Great anti-aircraft fire! Unfortunately, the British have lost their NW edge. It was expected, but I do not think I have gotten the desired effect, i.e. stopping or delaying the German offensive against the battered French army. I have tightened up the defense as much as possible. The only thing that I may be able to do more is to evoke CR #2 and call up the training garrison. I hesitate to do so as that would effectively eliminate any further manpower points during the next two production cycles, but if it looks like France will not be able to survive until then it really wouldn’t matter.

The Austrians follow the retreating Italians towards Milano. They have almost completely captured the Alps while the Italians are defending in the Italian plains with fieldworks. The Germans maneuver to continue putting pressure on the French. Zeppelin raids hit the French factory at Lyons and do another terror hit on London. A large air battle over Reims sees the French have air superiority and destroy a German LVG C2.

The Austrians attack an Italian emergency corps and destroys it. The advancing Austrian Corps is now on the Italian plain and is only three hexes from Milano. The Germans attack out of the Alps near Trient and force the Italians back into Verona. The French 9th Corps is attacked near Toul and manages to make the Germans pay (a BX result). The French 15th Corps is attacked near Reims. The Germans lead off with a bombardment which disrupts the entire corps but the French again hold with a BX result. The attack on Reims starts with the bombardment missing the first eight die rolls (+1 DRM) on the 9 column of the bombardment chart (66% chance to hit) and is then stopped as a bad chance. The attack goes on at a 5:1 +1 and achieves a DX result.

The Italian 4th Army reacts and sends all of its reserves to plug the hole near Verona. The French 10th Army sends up two reserve divisions to help the defenses around Reims.

The Central Powers lost 43 German, 6 Bavarian Manpower, and 29 Equipment points. The Entente lost 41 French Metropolitan, 10 French African, 6 Italian Manpower, and 27 Equipment points. The French morale now stands at 51.5 points remaining.

Carl: I started the offensive on the Jan II 16 turn. It has lasted 9 turns but it is about over. I cannot continue to replace the losses. I will have to conduct bombardments and hope for effective ones before hitting with an attack. The good news to all of this is that the British are in the same boat. Without the manpower and equipment point reserves, divisions stay cadred, and you cannot replace the divisional cadres very easily in this game. A division that is destroyed tends to stay destroyed. My offensive lasted 9 turns and cost the French over 100 morale points. There are only 51.5 French morale points standing between me and victory. I will have to play it smart to continue chopping down those morale points and still stay an effective force. The Italian front has seen me break into the Italian plains towards Milano and near Verona. I am surprised at how well the offensive towards Milano has gone. I think that Tom’s preoccupation with France’s troubles have helped.

May I 16

The French factory at Lyons is still functioning and the Entente match their historical production of 17 resource and 11 equipment points. The British are able to shift some of their forces south and relieve some French troops defending the way to Paris. The French are in desperate straits. They are unable to rebuild the cadres defending near Reims (they are not in fortifications) and have used all of their manpower already. The French disband more rifle brigades for the manpower points. The Italians shift around their forces trying to enable the rebuilding of their cadres and stop the Austrian – German offensives.

The British again launch an attack at Lens. The tactical recon missions fail as they are chased away by the German fighters and only a single bombardment is successful. It is only the concern for the French situation that causes the attack to be launched. But the attack succeeds in causing more German casualties than British.

For yet another turn, no Central Powers reaction.

The Entente lost 11 British Manpower and 4 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 18 German Manpower and 6 Equipment points.

Tom: The French are in really bad shape. It is possible that the game will be over by the end of this summer. I am hoping that the British can maintain their offensive because it is a drain on the German resources. It does not seem to be helping the French any, but Carl smells blood and victory by pressing the attack home time after time.

The Central Powers produce 22 Resource and 20 Equipment points. This tops the historical production of 21 Resource and 19 Equipment points. The Germans reorganize to continue their offensives against Paris and Reims. The Austrians reinforce their drive through the Alps towards Milano.

The Austrians manage to advance a hex in the Alps and threaten the supply line of the Italian 3rd Army that was slowing them down. The French 8th Corps is attacked from Toul and manages to hold their ground with heavy losses on both sides. The French 16th Corps near Reims breaks and routs from the enemy contact. The French 15th Corps also routs and allows the Germans to threaten to cut off Reims. The French 20th Corps, holding the flanks of Reims, is destroyed without survivors or German losses. This is a severe blow to French morale.

The Italian 3rd Army reacts and begins to retreat from the Austrian offensive. The French react and begin to prepare to entrench behind the Marne river. The British do not react.

The Central Powers lost 6 German, 5 Bavarian, 5 Saxon, 2 Austrian Manpower, and 7 Equipment points. The Entente lost 66 French Metropolitan, 3 French Foriegn, 2 Italian Manpower, and 43 Equipment points. The French morale is now at 64.5 points.

Carl: In the last two turns, the French have lost over a third of their morale points. If I can continue this pace, the French will surrender in two more months. Reims is threatened with my troops covering three of its adjacent hexes. This could be a serious problem for the French as the fall of Reims would be a loss of 10 morale points in itself. I have been able to absorb the British offensive while maintaining a two or three army offensive myself. It is costly in manpower and resource points but I am beginning to get the hang of offensive trench warfare. It is not easy, but I have had the advantage of good timing and a French army that is on the verge of defeat.

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