Strategic Command WWI Beta AAR
by Michael Kollmann
this is the first post of the new Strategic Command Beta AAR.
This post will focus on strategic thoughts.
I have already played a couple of matches versus the AI.
Although I am a relatively experienced player, the AI gave me some tough nuts to crack.
In the previous build, I lost the Ottoman Empire due low National Morale in 1917, and this is something I don't want to see again.
This experience has changed my strategic view a bit.
It does not help me in the end if I defeat Russia quickly, but loose the Ottomans.
There a lot of interdependencies in this game, and maybe I did underestimate the AI a bit.
But you will be able to see what I mean.
In general, the game set up is very close to the real circumstances in WWI.
Offensive actions need a lot of resources (esp. Heavy Artillery), and these are limited.
It is not possible to attack on all frontiers, so I need to foucs on certain areas and defend the rest.
My first target is to defeat Belgium quickly.
I do not expect problems at Lüttich, Brüssel or Antwerpen, but Lille will be difficult.
Once I get there, the city will be entrenched, and I decided to use my artillery in the east.
So need to let my infantry attack against an entrenched position, and this will not work without losses on my side.
Ypern and Boulogne would be a dream, and I can be happy if I conquer one of these two in 1914.
But even if I do not get them in 1914, they will be my first targets in 1915.
The most important thing is to establish a straight frontline without any corners or bulges.
Why is this so important?
I have already made the experience that, later in war, the AI puts its focus on exposed positions, and defending units are usually gone within a turn.
And yes: this makes attacking very difficult.
If I punch a hole into the enemy defense and send a unit in, it will be gone in the very next turn.
But let me come back to this point later.
To minimize my own losses, a straight frontline would be perfect.
This is why Boulogne is the most important city in the initial stage of the war.
In Eastern Prussia, I have 4 corps and 2 detachments.
In the previous build, I tried to defend Gumbinnen with just one corps, and I lost the town in the second AI turn.
This time I will send two corps so they can switch positions if one is badly mauled.
In late September, I get two fresh corps.. and I am quite sure I will need them.
I decided to place von Bülow in the east.
I want to conquer Lodz quickly.
Taking Kutno quickly after would be perfect.
I think the Russians are weaker in this theater than in Eastern Prussia or Galicia, so an attack here will have the biggest effect.
My long term strategic target is to take Warsaw, lower the Russian NM and make my frontline shorter.
Galicia is the most important theater in the initial stage of the war.
In RL, AH lost their best units there.. and Tarnopol, the oil wells, Lemberg and Prezemysl.
I want to avoid this, so I will put my focus on defending Galicia.
It might happen that I loose Tarnopol and the oil wells, but I draw a red line in front of Lemberg and Prezemysl.
As a result of this strategy, I will divert all troops to Galicia.
This means I will not be able to advance in Serbia quickly which is a problem.
But this is still better than loosing too much ground in Galicia.
In Serbia, I need to take Belgrad as soon as possible.
This is necessary to bring Bulgaria into the war sooner or later.
Once Belgrad is conquered and secured, I will remain defensive until Spring 1915.
By that time, my Heavy Artillery will arrive, and I need it to advance.
On the seas, I will be inactive in the first two years.
I need to strengthen my economy first.. otherwise I cannot afford expensive maritime adventures.
The only exception will be the Baltic Sea.
I will try to sink a few Russian ship to lower the Russian NM.
The AAR will start in the next post with the initial shots.