From: Houston, TX
(This AAR was originally posted in the Development forum on March 28th. I'm finally posting it here).
This is an AAR for analysis of my test of my “Kaiserschlacht 1918 (Mini)” scenario. As I did with the “France 1944 D-Day”, “Germany 1945 (Last Stand)”, “Soviet Union 1941”, and “Leipzig 1813” AARs, I’ll play both sides in hot seat (“changing hats” each player turn). The game was played using TOAW version 126.96.36.199. This covers Germany’s last chance offensive of World War I.
Before we start, let’s review the scenario a bit.
1. Special Settings: This trial uses the new features of TOAW 3.6 as follows: Both sides have Overextended Threshold Levels of 4. Any location with 3 or less location supply will be “Overextended”. The Allies have their RFC Scalar reduced from the default 10 to 5. This makes it twice as hard to RFC defenders. This reflects the fact that the Allies were not yet using fully modern tactics, and their offensive action would more compare to World War I success rates than World War II. The Germans, who are employing a revolutionary tactical doctrine, have no such penalty.
2. Special Rules: Note that all infantry combat units begin the game sub-divided. There is a special rule that forbids their recombination (which would create unrealistic overrun abilities and thwart density penalties even worse than when divided).
3. Options: Each side has a suite of hypothetical theater options that may be chosen on turn one for appropriate VP penalties. In this trial, I declined all options. That makes the scenario historical.
4. The Forces: The composition of the forces is very similar. However, the Germans, thanks to their tactics, have a significant edge in movement allowances, and enjoy the benefit of the Special Forces icon on all their Stosstruppen units. Their squads tend to be a step above the Allied squads. They have a proficiency advantage as well (all of these factors are to model the Germany’s improved tactics). And the Germans are a homogeneous force, while the Allies must combine British with French – sometimes giving an edge in cooperation. The Allies, however, have a smattering of tanks and armored cars that may stiffen their resistance. Both sides have huge artillery concentrations – this was World War I, after all.
5. The Map: The map is rather benign, terrain-wise. Only the presence of Fortified Line terrain in the northern half of the map aids the Allies in defensive factors. There are a few rivers which can slow the Germans down, and there is a large part of the map covered in Rocky terrain to model the area the Germans destroyed earlier, when they retreated from the Somme area. That will now slow them down when they most need to be fast. The map scale is 5km/hex, while the unit scale is divisions (actually corps/3). A more normal unit scale for that map scale would be battalions. So, the units – by themselves – violate the stacking limits. But, due to a flaw in TOAW, unstacked units will not suffer any density penalty – while virtually any stack will suffer it. So both sides must endeavor to avoid getting their units into stacked conditions – although combat will often force this against their will. This is especially an issue due to the huge artillery concentrations both sides enjoy.
6. The Starting Situation: The Allies suffer a 20% shock penalty on turn one to model the surprise the offensive caused. Worse, about half the Allied line is in disrepair and their units are in poor preparedness. Finally, the Allies are all in Limit Losses. This makes it easier to dislodge them. The Germans, meanwhile, have accumulated a huge force differential. The Germans must exploit these initial advantages to have any chance to win. The Allies will pour reinforcements and replacements into the battlefield as fast as they can, once the game starts. And they will certainly shift their units to Ignore Losses. The first turn is critical, but the follow up is equally important. The Germans must follow the infiltration principles at the operational level to succeed. To review, those principles are “Exploit Success, Abandon Failure”. Attempts to redeem operational failure will probably doom the offensive.
7. The Ending Situation: There are guaranteed to be at least ten turns. However, the German High Command may pull the plug on the offensive any time after that, depending upon how unsuccessful it has been. There is a 10% chance of that if the Victory Level hasn’t reached at least 0 by turn 11. There is a 21% chance of that if the Victory Level hasn’t reached 10 by turn 12. There is a 33% chance of that if the Victory Level hasn’t reached 20 by turn 13. There is a 46% chance of that if Amiens hasn’t been captured by turn 14. And there is a 60% chance of that if Amiens hasn’t been captured by turn 15. The game will automatically end after turn 15 if that turn has been reached.
8. Victory: The Germans must do a bit better than historically to even achieve a draw. To win, they will need to capture either Amiens or Arras.
Let’s get started.