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Europa Games and Military History

Tag: 1918 (page 1 of 2)

Summary

All four of the combatants enjoyed the game and would play it again The game saw the emotions of all 4 of us on a rollercoaster, ranging from despair to high-5\five victory choruses!

Critical dice rolls in the game: Early clear weather. French and British recovering from being shaken so quickly. French recovering from collapse immediately. Entente rolling command unity on the second attempt. Germans NOT being shaken when NW dropped to 1. This prevented the A/H morale point penalty, which allowed them to propagate the attack on the Italians with a greater degree of ferocity. The Biggest dice roll of all was influenza. It arrived on the 4th turn (There is ~ 35% chance or arriving on or before the 4th turn) and it resulted in a blow from which the CP could not recover as it resulted in collapse of both AH and Germany. Finally the inability of the Germans to recover halved production, which crippled their ability to replace their army.

Some comments on strategies: The CP players were wishing they had attacked the Italians earlier. The Entente players were wishingthat they had fortified the Italian front line earlier (almost everything begins as entrenchments and steps were not taken to improve things as resource points were judged to be needed for the bombardment of Lille)

The CP player adopted a strategy of attack the French at all costs. This worked devestatingly well however they lost the bottle at the critical time and turned their focus instead to the Italian front. At game end the French morale was at about 70 points. That was only 9 exchanges away from total surrender Thus all attacks on the French stpped in the July I turn. Thhe stated reason for this was that they were getting concerned about the increased losses, as the French by this stage were almost all fighting within 3 hexes of Paris, thus getting a NW bonus.

The Entente adopted a strategy of nibbling away at the German forces and slowly whittlingthem down. One example of this was the terror bombing of German cities. We did this every turn for the game, scoring perhaps 15 morale hits over the course of the game. This was something that the Germans did not think was worthwhile. Thus they seldom used the Paris gun for ombing Paris and inflicting morale hits that way. It may have made a difference. Given the German strategy of attacking French only it gave the Entente great latitude with their attacks and it saw the British redced at one stage to only ~ 10 full strength divisions. We felt that the Germans should have taken advantageof the Brits at this time andattacked them – but their view was that it would have diverted their attack forces for a few turns – which was time they did not have. They also pointed out that the Brits were doing a good job killing themselves as in 1 turn the Brits had 2 attacks both at 3:1 odds and rolled AXs for both of them!

Comments on the game mechanics: We all felt that printed fortresses fell too easily. Verdun was undefendable. We belived that to take the fortresses perhaps a little more work would be required. Thus our suggestion is that defenders from fortresses should only be required to retreat when the combat roll is a DE

All up though, the gaming experinece was highly enjoyable and is recommended as there are a wealth of opportunities and decisions for all combatants!

September II 1918

The Entente tank offensive continued in its merciless fashion, smiting the northern flank and opening up the plains of central Belgium. By turn end Belgian cavalry and French armed forces had exploited adjacent to Antwerp and Brussels, while the British stormed into Mons after a brutal frontal assault. German national will was reduced to -121 points (only 4 short of what was needed to ensure that even the maximum bounce would still leave them in total surrender.

It was now make or break for the Central Powers. They would have to knock Italy out of the war! Rolling only 1 successful reaction they were only able to entertain 1 positional assault against an Italian corps. The odds were good – 4:1 (-1) however the engineers all failed them – very badly, the resultant combat roll of AX toook the AH morale down to 8 points (With the Italians on 13).

After the debacle of the AX the CP players realised that with the smattering of Entente minor forces and some strong American divisions scattered amongst the Italians, that they would be unable to inflict enough casualties on the Italians to enduce surrender without collapsing themselves so the Central Powers high command negotiated surrender terms.

Oddly enough the rules indicate that surrender does not happen until recovery has occured. We thus decided to see how long it would take the Germans to recover… They did not recover until Feb II 1919!!!, so technically they would have stayed in the game for another 5 months – who knows, even with winter, what damage would have been done and how much territory captured in that interval by the Entente?

September I 1918

The Germans have still not recovered from collapse. We are beginning to wonder if they ever will, as when they do they will not have many – if any morale points remaining. After taking cycle losses into account the German morale is at -63, with the Austro/Hungarian empire now only 27 points from total surrender. The French have enjoyed their respite, and since the 50 morale point bonus in Jul II, and are still well over 80 points, as the German war effort has lacked purpose and direction on the western front in recent turns.

The rolls for American Reduced Effectiveness units – of which there were over 20 – went very well:. The dice smiled at me tonight. Only 9 US units are now at Red Eff state!

The balance of this turn will probably be one of manoeuvre as the various Entente forces will need to take a turn to redeploy HQ’s, rebuild the army and generally deploy for what will be the final push, as we want to conclude the campaign before the onset of bad weather. One or two weeks should see the end!

With the German forces still feeling the effects of collapse, they took steps in the previous turn to shorten their front line and make as many corps as possible Stoss Corps. The forces driving on Paris were recalled, only 20 miles from their ultimate goal.

The Entente, who had been carefully husbanding their armored assets, opened the turn with a bang in Belgium. 2 Hexes in the north were vaporised with DE’s, while the American divisions – finally almost all at full combat strength (although it should be pointed out that 1 of the American divisions that began the game at Ref Eff state is still Red Eff) lurched into overdrive and hit the German line hard, inflicting additional casualties. German national will dropped to – 83.

In the reaction phase the Central Powers, desperate for reactions on the Ita;lian Front failed with all combat rolls thus were denyed a chance to inflict more harm on the Italians.

They would not be denied in their regular turn and launched a front wide offensive south of the mountains, inflicting heavy casualties on all combatants – Germans, Austro-hungarians and Italians.

In the Entente reaction phase there was again some success on the western front and the partially patched line was again pummelled. By the end of the phase the Entente had gained possession of 8 hexes of Belgium.

August II 1918

The Aug II turn began with some trepidation. Nobody wanted to roll the influenza dice. After some minutres of inaction two of us picked up a dice each and threw them simultaneously. The reaction was electric and simultaneous for all of us as the boxcars stared up at us forlornly. This sent both Germany and the Austro-Hungarians into collapse, with morale levels now well below zero.

The Entente forces proceeded with their attacks. Oddly enough we achieved enough hits in the turn, had we not rolled influenza to reduce German Morale from 17 to 3. This would have been reduced by another 2 had we decided to use the Italians in an attack, so we would have failed by just 1 point to crack the Germans. This may well have made a difference.

In the Central Powers turn the Austro-Hungarian forces rolled an immediate recovery, receiving a bounce of 100. They are now hovering at about 41 points to the Italian 37. The race to induce Italian surrender before the Germans now ultimately collapse is on again!

The Germans failed their recovery roll and are now faced with an awkward decision – They must knock out Italy and France as fast as possible and ignoring all losses, as they will surrender very soon now , being most unlikely to last until winter with a morale level currently at -47.

After a lot of deliberation the Germans decided  to attempt to knock Italy out of the war while on the west front they want to minimize the front line and reduce all their fortifications to field works – thus removing the possibility of us inflicting losses by use of BX’s and AX’s.

As things turned out the war on the Italian front went badly for the Central Powers. This was not aided by the fact that the Germans are still in collapse and the AH airforce is almost non-existant. At the end of the turn, the Italians had lost only 4 morale points, reducing them to low 30’s. The Entente then failed with all their reaction rolls except one – the Belgian HQ. The Belgians proceeded to advance – amongst great fanfare – and seized the town of Oostende!

August I 1918

Failed to roll influenza (again). Attemptred to roll up American forces. Finally succeeded with somewhat normal odds – rolling up 7 divisions (from about 20 units still at Red Eff)! This means I now have 2 full strength American divisions in each of 5 hexes! Wonder of wonders!

Strong shift this turn in player will. Germans now despondent about their planned strategy. French player relived to hear this….

German Morale has now dropped below 50 (pre-rebound), Italian has gone below 40 (post rebound), While the French is now down to 84 (post rebound), after gaining 50 points this turn due to American Mobilization status. The French can survive only 9 more losses before surrender

In the last few turns the game had begun moving slowly in favour of the Entente Forces. This trend continued in the Entente turn with more German Trench divisions ending out in body bags with pathetically few losses to the Entente forces. The lifespan of these units is now tenuously brief. Things then changed for the worse. The CP player succeeded in rolling every single army corps for reaction purposes.

Between these reactions and their regular turn 6 attacks were conducted on the Italian front, with the Germans now having 2 full strength Stoss corps (including the mountain Stoss) now operating on this front. All 6 of their attacks were wildly successful. The Italian morale is now hanging at 13 points whiuch means they will surrender most probably in Aug II or at the latest Sep I. The only hope for the Italians now is Influenza in the Aug II turn as this would drive Germany into collapse, which would result in the Austrohungarians going into collapse which would see the Italians gaining 25 morale points. To finish off the turn the Germans pulled back their foprces from the drive on Paris, providing the French with some respite.

It is now the Entente Reaction phase, with much work to be done and some hard decisions to be made about the future of Italy and how to safeguard southern France – as one is fully aware that this retreat in front of Paris is only temporary. The assault on France must continue if the Central Powers are to win!

The tension around the gaming table tonight was tangible. The session began with the Entente having to inflict 23.5 morale hits on Germany to cause them to collapse, which would cause Austria/Hungary to collapse which would mean Italy would receive a 25 point morale boost, as their own total surrender was worryingly close.

To combat this the Entente had worked on a desperate plan to counterattack the Germans and drive their morale down, with one of the attacks even coming from Italian troops. There followed a raft of failed reaction rolls, with a couple of attacks on the British front securing a couple of BX’s on the helpless trench divisions. At the end of the turn German national will was down to 17.

 

July II 1918

Things began aggressively for the Allies. The long awaited pincer movement began, with the British attacking south, from the newly liberated pile of rubble formerly known as Lille; while the Americans attacked in a northerly direction into hex 1823. Very long pincers, I admit, but designed to strike a fatal blow at the flanks of the German juggernaut.

They may have succeeded but for the fact that 2 x ‘1’s resulted – yielding a BX and an AQ. The Germans and Austrohungarians then failed every single one of their reaction rolls. From that point the turn only got worse.

Of the 2 Attacks on the Italian front, only one worked (BX). While the other, attacking the vital corner hex 4312 resulted in another frustrating (for the CP) Attacker stopped. Italian Infantry losses are now mounting, with excessive amounts of artillery being forced out of the front line. Once again the slowly withering German airforce is slowing operations, as a significant proportion of the airforce is now either aborted or killed. Thus only 1 attack was prosecuted against the main French line, resulting in a DR – which was converted to an EX. German Stoss cadres now amount to about 25 of their alloted 78. German rail guns continue to bombard Paris, but without effect. Paris is now in range of all guns with a range of 3 hexes or longer!

Finally the game concluded with the British player making their first reaction roll since March. The Northern arm of the front line crawled into action yet again, to the huge accompaniment of tanks, resulting in a DX. 6 German divisions were put to the sword – but the line held.

Entente reconnaisance report that the Germans are building a shorter, fortified front line – the Hitchens line – that is stretching from the coast to just east of Paris.

 

Jul I 1918

Entente Turn

We’ve survived enough night of emotional turmoil – just. There have been some significant changes in the game with this turn. CP artillery has an increased chance of dropping short – although it didn’t seem to stop them! These guys just don’t seem to know what drop shorts are… The major Entente powers also gained modern artillery tactics, which had an effect far beyond that we imagined.

For the Entente the Jul I turn began magically! With our now standard attack on Lille. The bombardment was devestating – leaving the defenders with a pile of hits. Odds skyrocketed to the princely level of 9:1 and with all the engineer and gas attempts succeeding we succeeded in rolling a “DD” to the chorus of “What’s that” from all 4 of us. 118 factors of Germans entered the dead pool with the total obliteration of the hex. The once proud city of Lille is now little more than a stark shell of it’s former self. Theoretically we are entitled to a 1 off draft of French manpower. I’m not sure where the survivors hid!!

Our attack on Lille included 270 points (after terrain modifications) from heavy artillery alone (i.e. not including siege artillery)! In earlier turns we had been struggling to accumulate 300 – 350 points in total (including infantry, engineers, etc) for an attack on Lille and were doing well to get 3:1 odds. This time the odds worked out to 14:1, after halving of most of the artillery for the earlier bombardment. Quite a change! It’s the first attack the British have made without wiping out most of their own troops.

After previous attacks on Lille, which have all failed to force the defenders from the hex, the Germans have simply rebuilt and dug in again. This time they have abandoned the city. It is now free for the British to march in and occupy. The sobering thought is that it will be the first territorial gain for the Entente in this game.

The Central powers then failed to roll any useful reaction roles – much to my relief as the French commander.

German Turn

For their turn the CP railed the German Mountain Corps south and continued to drag the Italians into the mire, while on the main front the agony of the French was only just beginning! The first attack – on 103 points was a full exchange. The second attack on 93 was an HX. The odds were then calculated on the third stack. 444: 145 for odds of 3:1. However the French had elite troops, armor, Petain and 13 points worth of AA. After securing Recon the Germans had 3:1 odds with no modifiers. Potential modifiers now consisted of Leader (4 in 6 chance) and Gas (1 in 6 chance) for the Germans; Leader (2 in 6 chance), AECD (4 in 6 chance) and German artillery drop shorts (2 in 6 chance) favouring the French. Thus the German attack could go in with an odds modifier ranging from -3 to +2. Any result from an AE to a DE was achievable!

The Central Powers players elected not to go ahead with the attack, although opinion was sharply divided.

What would you have done?

National Will Totals: (Note that the Germans and AustroHungarians both suffered badly due to Hunger – however Influenza has not struck YET)

  • German: 57.5, A/H: 56
  • French: 43, British: 36, Italians 41.5

The French and Italians have already bounced so absolute zero is looming larger on the horizon!

Jun II 1918

At last the true elite combat forces have come to the fore! The elite combat formations, in terms of National Will are now the Portuguese! Having the princely morale of 2 (I would be tempted to say that the Americans are doing well with 4 (but so far, after the Jul I rolls if have rolled up – in total only 5 units from their Red Eff state! Given this sorry state (Attack factor quartered) the Americans hardly count as superior at this point of time!)

Every other combatant has a NW of 1, with both the Italians and the Germans going from 2 to 1 this turn. Fortunately (for the Germans) they managed to avoid going becoming Shaken.

The turn was however brutal with 3 very large exchanges, the biggest on 133 factors. All up in the turn the Germans lost 430 attack factors to the Allies 400 (A DX on Lille being the difference)

The other significant factor in the game is now the state of the German airforce. The air war has continued to go the Allied way, and with the scant German fighters the Entente air forces elected to go on an airfiled bombing raids across the front. The Germans have more air units in the dead and aborted piles than they can replace using both the Jul and Sep Air Replacement Point allotments – and it will get worse.

The game has now developed a new twist. To compensate for the rapid decline in morale, the Austro Hungarian forces are now attempting to knock Italy out of the war. Italian NW is taking a pummeling as the Austro-Hungarians are now attacking along the front, with the hope that they may be able to knock Italy out of the war and advance on France via the Alps!

As for the Germans, Their main fear is that the Entente will roll Influenza. Germany lost 27 morale points in the last turn (balanced by gaining 2 points for capturing a French fortress). The arrival of Influenza and the effect on National will could drive them into collapse in a single game turn.

The game is hanging by a thread – for both sides!

Jun I 1918

Entente Player Turn

All is fine and well with the world. Dice like me (and me – Rob). The French recovered immediately and achieved a rebound of 100 points. I also rolled up a whole 2 Americans (for a total of 3 since the beginning of the scenario).

The Turn commenced with the regular Italian terror bombing raids over the German heartland, again achieving great success. At thr rate German Morale is collapsing the Italians will be able to beat them into submission in about 8 years.

Very little remains of Lille at this point in time. A whopping battery of siege guns of all colours and nationalities inflicted 29 hits in just one attack. Did so well we even failed to roll our engineers with any degree of ability. A second British attack inflicted furhter German casualties, although at a price. There are few ANZAC or Canadian troops anywhere in play, with the sector littered with cadres.

The Americans, in a surprise move also joined in the fun, hitting the German Trench units on the flank of their advancing Stoss Corps, shattering the quavering defenders into submission.

Meanwhile the French training garrisons have been called up. The fragile French line has now pulled into a tight ring in front of Paris and along the west bank of the Seine River that flows south from Paris. The Clouds of war can now easily be seen from the summit of the Eiffel Tower.

Finally the air war has returned to its true state. German elite fighters are shot down across occupied France.

German Player Turn

The solid German war effort has pushed on mercilessly against the war weary French, with the Germans, perhaps seeking revenge for the terror bombing of their own cities, have bought the might of their rail guns within range of Paris. No positive results have been achieved to date as the long range Paris gun keeps firing too long. Despite this the Germans pushed on, forcing the Elite French forces in front of Paris back towards Paris. In the center they attacked the French on the flanks of the American army, coming close to encircling them (Rolling a DH against the Italians and a DE on a 109 point stack of French). In the air war, the war continues to travel in favour of the Allies, with another few German air units shot down and some more aborted.

The big surprise was the launching of the Austrohungarian offensive in the Reaction phase and then following it up in the regular turn. Both attacks went in at 2:1 (-1) with 2 x ‘BX’s resulting. This hurt the Italians badly, but the front line managed to just hold. This may not be able to do so for long due to the loss of Infantry. Of note is the rapidly declining Italian morale. The Italian Morale has dropped to the mid 50’s (When they reach Zero it is game over for them). This loss will encourage the Italians to be cautious in future.

The game continues with some trepidation for all concerned. Some of the many critical dice rolls that are to come: How quickly will Germany remain shaken when their NW reaches 1? How soon will they reach 1? Will it coincide with the effects of Hunger? Will it coincide with the effects of Influenza?

Will the American player ever succeed in ‘rolling up’ any of the American ‘Red Eff’ forces? Will the American player continue their offensive into the eposed flanks of the German offensive drive? Will the British player risk another attack on Lille? Last turn 29 bombardment hits were achieved. This makes the defnders look really silly. Didn’t help much they still rolled a BX! British forces now have only about 12-15 divs at full strength!

Commentary

What has been interesting about the game has been the strategy employed. In essence the Germans have decided to attack only the French. Even the A/H front is static, as the Germans are needing all their resources for the main front. This has however resulted in the non French Entente forces able to do virtually anything they like. Thus we recognised that the best hope for the French was to drive German national will down to 1 as fast as possible. While the French have collapsed, the German Morale is at 139, and we still haven’t reached the end of May II!

This poses a very interesting dilemma for the Germans in 1918. If they adopt a ‘hit one enemy’ policy, then I would say if they fail there is every chance that they will collapse faster. If however they adopt a broad approach against the British, French and even the Italians, then the focus for all the Entente forces will be on surviving until the German offensive runs out of steam and the Americans can be rolled up (something I am not at all succeeding with in our game – having ‘rolled up’ from reduced effectiveness only 1 unit)

We had a long indepth look at the various modifiers and found where the Germans seem to come out on top is with Stoss attacking fortifications. They get a benefit for being Stoss attacking non Stoss (ie all the Entente) regardless of attack. They also get a guarenteed benefit for attacking fortifications – which makes them super engineers. Finally they seem to be able to take the fortresses too easily. I don’t know how they stood in history, but Reims, Verdun, Epoul and Tours(??) all fell the first time on 3:1 assaults. That has added another 20 Morale point losses to the French (and added 8 to the Germans).

Thus it seemed to us that if the Stoss did not get the guaranteed +1 against fortifications of all sorts (ie a fort would still impart a -2), then it would encourage the Entente to stay in their fortifications and fight for them. This may still have the same disasterous effect, but the need and emphasis on the various siege troops to attack the fortifications would be restored. In addition to this we felt that attacks on fortresses should still be done on the positional table. I have no historical justification for this, just the view that to take the fortresses would require a little more effort – such as surrounding them and reducing them by attacking at higher odds.

May II 1918

Entente Turn

Turn started quite well – I rolled command unity and shot down yet another German elite fighter. Germans aree now out of ARPs for the cycle!

The game then went into a decline. Deputising for the British I failed 4 reaction rolls. Resorted instead to doing 2 regular attacks by the Brits at 3:1 – 1 odds. Both attacks at lots of engineers. Failed on all 7 rolls. Then rolled two ‘1’s for combat = 2 x AX. I’ve set a new record. The attack on Lille was going in with 409 face value combat factors. The other attack had 336 face value factors.

To round out the turn the German player failed every single one of his reaction rolls – even the one with Hindendorf and Ludenburg providing a die roll mod, so the French breath a sigh of relief, as their national will is down to 24. One last hurrah for the Italian airforce terror bombing German cities. Some more hits! German NW is now down to 149!

German turn

Germans have induced French Collapse, reducing French Morale to -3.

As the air force has now headed for the Riviera, it is unlikely that the French will last much longer, perhaps another 3 turns – but at the rate of 25-30 VP per turn the Germans are doing it too easily, getting DE’s too consistantly on the 3:1 table. Losses from just 3 attacks on French (plus 1 soak off amounted to 300 Fench and about 80 German. They charge on in an unstoppable fashion – as any hex they attack, including the 5 VP fortress hexes will be guaranteed to fall.

French dead pool is littered with units. German dead pool: about 6 non-divisional units plus 2 divisional artillery. In addition there are about 10 German Stoss Cadres in play.

Time to call up the training formations… We valiantly hold out for a miracle. From where this will come, we are unsure…

Commentary on the Game so far

Number of German attacks in game: 28

Number of attacks that have not had to roll using rule 9M: 3. (2 natural HX’s and one natural EX)

Of the others I have converted 4 DR’s into HX’s (ARGH – these have really hurt), 1 DE into an HX and 1 DH into an HX

Now the AX’s are a different point entirely. Blame the fact that I am not using GRD dice. I bought the dice we are using several years ago from the guy playing the Germans. They are just being loyal to their original master

What has been interesting about the game has been the strategy employed. In essence the Germans have decided to attack only the French. Even the A/H front is static, as the Germans are needing all their resources for the main front. This has however resulted in the non French Entente forces able to do virtually anything they like. Thus we recognised that the best hope for the French was to drive German national will down to 1 as fast as possible. While the French have collapsed, the German Morale is at 139, and we still haven’t reached the end of May II!

This poses a very interesting dilemma for the Germans in 1918. If they adopt a ‘hit one enemy’ policy, then I would say if they fail there is every chance that they will collapse faster. If however they adopt a broad approach against the British, French and even the Italians, then the focus for all the Entente forces will be on surviving until the German offensive runs out of steam and the Americans can be rolled up (something I am not at all succeeding with in our game – having ‘rolled up’ from reduced effectiveness only 1 unit)

We had a long indepth look at the various modifiers and found where the Germans seem to come out on top is with Stoss attacking fortifications. They get a benefit for being Stoss attacking non Stoss (ie all the Entente) regardless of attack. They also get a guarenteed benefit for attacking fortifications – which makes them super engineers. Finally they seem to be able to take the fortresses too easily. I don’t know how they stood in history, but Reims, Verdun, Epoul and Tours(??) all fell the first time on 3:1 assaults. That has added another 20 Morale point losses to the French (and added 8 to the Germans).

Thus it seemed to us that if the Stoss did not get the guaranteed +1 against fortifications of all sorts (ie a fort would still impart a -2), then it would encourage the Entente to stay in their fortifications and fight for them. This may still have the same disasterous effect, but the need and emphasis on the various siege troops to attack the fortifications would be restored. In addition to this we felt that attacks on fortresses should still be done on the positional table. I have no historical justification for this, just the view that to take the fortresses would require a little more effort – such as surrounding them and reducing them by attacking at higher odds.

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