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Led By Donkeys - Western Powers AAR

 
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Led By Donkeys - Western Powers AAR - 2/7/2020 6:15:34 PM   
The Land

 

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One of the joys of historical strategy gaming is that you have the chance to do better than history. You have the benefit of hindsight, after all. So obviously investing in artillery and trench warfare is a good move in a World War 1 game.

For this AAR I will attempt to remove some of the benefit of hindsight.

I will play as the Western Entente powers: France, the UK, and if relevant the US and Italy. Russia and Serbia’s historical failures will be simulated by placing them under AI control.

The Central Powers will receive +10% MPP and +1 Spotting.

Further, there will be several limitations achieved by modding and self-imposed house-ruling, to reflect the ignorance, short-sightedness and sometimes downright incompetence of the British, French, American and Italian ruling classes and military establishments.

Strategic Blunders



Photo: Rt Hon Winston Churchill MP, blundering First Lord of the Admiralty who persuaded the British cabinet to assault the Dardanelles. After his resignation he had an indifferent career as a line office in the infantry.


The Dardanelles and Salonika offensives were both bloody fiascos for the Entente, prompted by the idea that the Balkans were some kind of ‘soft underbelly’ rather than difficult terrain with poor supply lines. In regular single player I would ignore both of these fronts and stay focused on the Germans. In this game I will launch at least one major amphibious operation against Turkey within a year of it entering the war, and also reinforce Salonika with at least a few Corps. I may, however, divert from history by undertaking these operations in a competent manner.

Learning from failure

It was only after a long and bloody process of trial and error (often, error) that significant changes were made to weapons, tactics and doctrines.

To reflect this I will introduce significant restrictions on my research.

I will mod Infantry Warfare, Command and Control, Gas and Shell Production, and Trench Warfare for all countries other than Germany and the USA so you can only invest one point in these techs at a time (2 for Trench Warfare). Germany remains un-modded to reflect its relative competence in these areas, while the USA isn’t penalised because it will only enter late in the War.

Further, I will ration my investment in those techs and also Infantry Weapons and Artillery Weapons.

I will count ‘chits’ each time a major power suffers a significant defeat or wins at excessive cost. For instance, losing a battle over an objective or failing to take one with a concerted attack would count as defeats; taking an objective with excessive losses would also count. (The exact definition is going to remain flexible but the idea is that I’ll only count multi-Corps engagements around e.g. major resources.)

I will only invest in these techs when I have chits to spend. Air, sea, industrial and tank research is consciously excluded from this process (Why not include tanks? In part, because they are already heavily limited. In part, because they are fun!).

Chits will be counted for each major separately, as the British and French militaries don’t share experiences. Italy and the US will receive 1 chit on January 1 each year when they’re at peace and an additional 1 on war entry.

Poor leadership

I will not upgrade any HQs until 1916. Creating a new HQ, or replacing an existing HQ, will cost learning chits (as specified above). After all, you can’t just sack incompetent generals, it might upset people!

Onwards! The diplomats have been the first to fail, now it is time for the generals!




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Plan XVII - 2/7/2020 8:04:38 PM   
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Plan XVII

First up, the French immediately execute Plan XVII, the assault into the Vosges. A total of four Corps are committed to this effort, including the reserves you currently see between Toul and Epinal.

This comes perilously close to success, with the target German corps near Mulhouse reduced to 1 Strength. However, it does mean that the front is very weak between Nancy and Epinal. I would not normally have done this, but with my self-imposed house-rules I feel I have an incentive to, as executing Plan XVII will give me a chit to invest in important research shortly.

Further up my line the Germans succeeded in taking Brussels and I have deployed units to hold Lille and create a front before Reims.

Elsewhere, the Royal Navy is redeploying from its peacetime posture to hold the Channel and the Northern Blockade line.




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Plan XVIIbis - 2/7/2020 8:51:53 PM   
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Plan XVIIbis

The German attack continues in Belgium, with the German 'strong right hook' smashing into Lille, overcoming the French defences (which had not time to properly dig in).

However, the French continue the attack in the Vosges with the help of fresh reserves, destroying the Bavarian Corps advancing from Mulhausen. Sadly there is no opportunity to advance and dig in because of the exhaustion of the attacking units.

The British Expeditionary Force digs in opposite the Germans at Lille, and the French inflict a defeat on a German cavalry corps that had occupied Sedan. The Belgians are still hodling Antwerp and Ypres.




On the Eastern front the Serbs have lost Belgrade but are still putting up a stiff fight. The Russians are attempting a general advance, particularly in Galicia.

I have awarded France one more learning chit from the loss of Lille (as it was a defended NM objective). They use the chit they earned last time from the Plan XVII attack to invest in Trench Warfare. As Britain doesn't have any of these, it ends up spending money on researching Spying and Intelligence and ASW. Both will be useful in the long term... but not AS useful! (Russia, under AI control, has already invested in one Infantry Weapons and two Trench Warfare)



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The Battle of Lille continues - 2/7/2020 9:23:46 PM   
The Land

 

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5 September 1914: The Battle of Lille continues.

The Entente mount a significant counter-attack near Lille, retaking the city and destroying the German spearhead in Lille and an adjacent hex before they have the chance to dig in. The British Expeditionary Force plays an important role. (However, immediately after the shot below was taken, the Germans counter-counterattacked and drove the French cavalry out of Lille. The Entente are poised to strike back, but may not be able to occupy the city...)

The Belgians resist continued half-hearted attacks on Antwerp.

The Germans also counterattack in the Vosges area, forcing a heavily-depleted Corps to retreat; shortly they will advance up to the Belfort-Epinal line.




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November 1914 - Lille and the Moselle - 2/8/2020 9:42:20 PM   
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November 1914 - Lille and the Moselle

The Battle of Lille raged on through October, with ultimate success for the Entente. Lille is firmly in Entente hands. The German penetration into Flanders, which had reached as far as Roulers, has been firmly pushed back. British troops have relieved the Belgians in the Antwerp area and that sector is now looking secure as well.

At the start of November the French also launched limited counterattacks on the Moselle to both left and right of Nancy, with the objective of sapping German strength and perhaps preparing for a drive on Metz. These succeeded.




However, most of the rest of the war is going badly! The Russians are taking heavy losses and being driven back across the board, and the Servian line is looking very ragged. To help the Serbs and influence the Italians, a large Franco-British taskforce is making a display in the Adriatic, aiming to sink as much of the Austro-Hungarian navy as possible.

The Ottomans have also just entered the War.

In terms of my house rules: France has earned 2 research chits in total, and spent them both on Trench Warfare. I have also awarded Britain 1 for the Lille which was sufficiently bloody to merit one (Most of the casualties were French, but a higher proportion of the British army was engaged, so either power could have had it). Also spent on... you guessed it... Trench Warfare.



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December 1914: The Balkan Conundrum - 2/9/2020 11:57:23 AM   
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December 1914 - the Balkan Conundrum

A quick update from the Adriatic, where you can see that the Austrian fleet has bravely sortied to meet the Franco-British force.

The Austrians met with some initial success, inflicting serious damage on a French armoured cruiser unit and sinking a seaplane carrier. But it is entirely outnumbered and outpowered:

One Austrian Dreadnought to two French dreadnoughts and a British battlecruiser
One pre-dreadnought and one armoured cruiser to two of each.

The allied navy should be able to make short work of them.




You can also see from the map the dire situation the Serbs are in. If the threat to the Adriatic lines of supply is removed, then the high command will have to consider landing British or French troops in Montenegro or Albania to try to prevent Serbia collapsing completely.

British troops are closer to hand as the Indian Corps and the ANZAC Corps are both still at their ports of disembarkation in Southern France and India. But France is better able to spare an HQ for what might become a protracted campaign. Decisions, decisions...


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Jan 1915 - The Die is Cast - 2/9/2020 9:03:16 PM   
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Jan 1915 - The Die is Cast

Staying focused on the Balkans for a moment:

The naval operation in the Adriatic proceeded as planned. There was significant damage to Indomitable (British battlecruiser) and Courbet (French Dreadnought) but the 3 Austrian units were destroyed, including the dreadnought Viribus Unitis.

At the War Cabinet meeting following the news of the sea battle, Winston Churchill (First Lord of the Admiralty, the civil head of the Admiralty) and Jackie Fisher (First Sea Lord, the naval head of the Admiralty and senior naval office) both urged the War Office to activate its plan to send emergency military assistance to the Serbs. This met with some opposition, not least because of the outbreak of typhus currently ravaging Servia, but ultimately Churchill and Fisher were able to carry the day.

The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force HQ set sail from Egypt, accompanied by the ANZAC Corps. The Indian Corps and Indian Cavalry Corps which had been conducting exercises in southern France pending deployment to the front were also despatched. Over the last two weeks these units have landed at the ports in Montenegro and Albania under heavy escort. The ANZAC Corps, the first to land, have now advanced as far in land as Pristina where they relieved the Serbian garrison. They have suffered losses from typhus.

The objective of this second Expeditionary Force is to prevent the collapse of Serbia and Montenegro, and re-establishing Serbia as a viable power. There is scepticism in some quarters that this will ever be accomplished, and concern that this may prove to be an indefinite commitment...

The timing of the British troops is particularly helpful as morale in the Austrian army has collapsed following the Austrian cession of Istria and the South Tyrol to the Italians. It's hope that it will be possible to beat the demoralised Austrian forces back and liberate significant parts of Servia.

Also, now a British HQ has landed in the area I feel justified in taking control of Serbia back from the AI. I didn't plan for this eventuality, but feel it's reasonable that the Serbs would take 'advice' at this point...!






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Feb 1915 - Flanders in the Snow - 2/10/2020 8:34:30 PM   
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Feb 1915 - Flanders in the Snow

February 1915 is quiet on the newly-established Balkan Front, with British Empire units moving into position around Pristina across poor roads, positioning them against the right flank of the Austrian troops that are moving against Nish. It should soon be possible to start operations to drive the Austrians back. Austrian attacks towards Nish itself have been driven off by the Serbs.

The Flanders front remains surprisingly active despite the winter snows. A combined Franco-Belgo-British offensive has seized ground to the north of Brussels, and it should prove possible to recapture Brussels before too long.




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May 1915: Serbia saved and Brussels taken... - 2/10/2020 9:49:42 PM   
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May 1915: Serbia saved and Brussels taken...

The Balkan counteroffensive has been successful so far, pushing the Austrians back from Nish and Pristina and inflicting heavy losses (3 Austrian Corps destroyed for only minimal casualties). The Austrians are not fighting well, because of their abysmal morale.

The Austrian navy made a second sortie in the Adriatic, managing to sink a British cruiser before being driven off with heavy damage by the Allied navy. Sadly there are not enough units nearby to follow up the attacking ships (mainly pre-dreadnoughts) and sink them - French dreadnoughts are still under repair, while the British HMS Indomitable is on its way back to the UK for repairs, while its relief HMS Invincible is still heading the other direction. Fortunate timing.

Next post - the situation on the Western Front, and the options for Turkey...

House rules update: Nothing to report! There have been no serious losses, so no additional investment in the key techs. I expect life to get much more difficult later in 1915 when the Germans have out-teched me - the system should be self-balancing, the more ground I take the less chance there is to invest in vital techs...

(PS if you are enjoying the AAR please let me know! Replies are good for morale)






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RE: May 1915: Serbia saved and Brussels taken... - 2/11/2020 8:24:02 PM   
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The Western Front and its effect on the East

Brussels is back in Belgian hands, battle-scarred but standing! The Germans have been pushed back the the line of the Dyle river. Elsewhere on the front, French counterattacks have inflicted significant losses in the Ardennes in front of Sedan, and on the Moselle near Nancy. These attacks come at cost and operational tempo is somewhat limited by the need to retire worn-out formations and bring in reinforcements, but they are succeeding. Their success is helped by the fact the German AI is over-offensive and keeps making attacks by one or two Corps against dug-in targets, leaving the attacking units vulnerable.

This pressure is also having an effect on the beleagured Eastern front as Germany is forced to move Corps to the West. German offensives in Latvia (towards Mitau/Jelgava) and Poland (towards Warsaw, Radom and Lublin) have slowed down of late and the Russians have been able to keep up the pressure in Galicia, taking the oil fields.




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5 June 1915: The loss of Nancy - 2/12/2020 8:37:23 PM   
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5 June 1915: The loss of Nancy

Turns out, the AI has no monopoly on overextending its attacks...

The Germans saw weakness in the French Corps occupying Nancy, which had taken significant casualties in the attack across the River Moselle. Bringing up fresh troops, they annihilated it and managed to occupy Nancy itself.

An immediate counterattack has destroyed the German spearhead, but there is now nothing to be gained by re-occupying the city, as it cannot be entrenched this turn. The French High Command has vowed that lessons will be learned! Fortunately, taking Nancy takes the Germans next to the fortress at Toul, which is a formidable obstacle. However, the loss of the city is a blow to our national morale and prestige.

There has been no other movement on the Western Front. The army in Belgium has paused to dig in and integrate reinforcements, while some of the French troops in reserve in the Belgian sector have moved to the Ardennes and Moselle sectors to support a counterattack.

In terms of house-rules, this counts as a defeat, and enables France to finally commence research into Infantry Weapons...




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June 1915: The Ottoman Conundrum - 2/12/2020 9:07:26 PM   
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June 1915: The Ottoman Conundrum

As part of the game setup I committed myself to amphibious operations against the Ottoman Empire. Usually I would not do these, as the Ottomans are easy to contain on the Egyptian and Caucasus Fronts and effort is better spent hammering away at the other two majors. But, Churchill is still there in the Cabinet insisting on more amphibious operations!

I have a fair amount of resources to use for this: two British Marines, three Corps, and an HQ (Haig). Of course, anything I don't use for the Ottoman offensive can be used on the Western or Balkan fronts. I am also sending significant naval reinforcements to the Mediterranean, including a British Dreadnought and Battlecruiser as well as a seaplane carrier, several cruisers and a destroyer. These will be available to polish off the Austro-Hungarian navy, as well as deal with the Yavuz Sultan Selim and any Ottoman naval units.

Now, I have committed myself to an invasion, not a raid. That is to say, my objective is a sustained land campaign that if successful will affect the course of the war - I am not just going to take a vulnerable town with marines and then shoot off again. This means my plan needs to be to take a port (to sustain the invasion) and some NM objectives (to help defeat the Ottomans, who have very low reserves of NM).

Here is Straits region. Sea hexes I can reach are highlighted yellow. There are two accessible ports: Sedd el Bahr, and Smyrna. Sedd el Bahr is more accessible from the sea (though, inevitably some of the adjacent hexes will be mined) - so it would be possible for amphibious transports to attack from the sea from the south, then land to the north and move and attack. Smyrna would rely on troops landing adjacent, and then attacking. It would therefore take longer to take- I would want to land an HQ south of it to support Corps making an attack on the city, with Marines landing to the north. Smyrna is also easier for the Ottomans to reinforce as it is on the rail network, while Sedd el Bahr is not.

There is another option, though...




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RE: June 1915: The Ottoman Conundrum - 2/12/2020 9:16:30 PM   
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The second option is not to land near the Straits, but on the coast of Syria at Tripoli or Beirut. (There is no port further south in Palestine).

This has the disadvantage of being less threatening to Constantinople itself, and the resources in this area have no NM value (though they are NM targets...) But it has the advantage that there are more ports to invade from as Cyprus has two ports and more space, while Lemnos has only one hex. Also, it's further from the Ottoman Navy. And closer to Egypt and a potential British offensive launched from there.

Reconaissance by a French cruiser suggests Beirut is a good target as it's held by an HQ rather than an actual unit...

Hmmmm, where should we land?




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RE: June 1915: The Ottoman Conundrum - 2/14/2020 12:01:22 AM   
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Just wanted to say that I'm enjoying your AAR! Thanks for posting it.

How many British units did you send to Serbia? I couldn't quite make it out from the image.

Also, I'm not sure if you were looking for input, but I hope you'll make your landing in the Aegean. The area around Beirut is strategically enticing, but trying to recreate Gallipoli (or a landing near Smyrna) would be more fun!

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RE: June 1915: The Ottoman Conundrum - 2/14/2020 12:40:33 PM   
The Land

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: commandergren

Just wanted to say that I'm enjoying your AAR! Thanks for posting it.

How many British units did you send to Serbia? I couldn't quite make it out from the image.

Also, I'm not sure if you were looking for input, but I hope you'll make your landing in the Aegean. The area around Beirut is strategically enticing, but trying to recreate Gallipoli (or a landing near Smyrna) would be more fun!


Hi Commandergren! Delighted that you are enjoying it.

British Empire strength in the Balkans is the Indian Corps, ANZAC Corps and Indian Cavalry Corps currently engaged, and IV Corps just landed. That brings the total to 3 corps + 1 Cavalry with an HQ, which is the same as on the Belgian Front. (Of course Belgium also has the Belgian Army - under British overall command.)

And input is always welcome. As it happens my intention is indeed to attack around Gallipolli, I will post my reasoning shortly.

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The Dardanelles: The Plan - 2/14/2020 7:59:10 PM   
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The Dardanelles: The Plan

After considering all the options, the British War Cabinet has agreed the Admiralty's preferred operation: An attack on the Dardanelles at Sedd el Bahr and Gallipolli.

The advantages of an attack here are:
i) Proximity to Greece, Bulgaria and Romania with maximum chances of bringing Greece and Romania into the war on the Entente side
ii) Possibility of conducting a follow-up operation at Chanak to truly open the Straits and disrupt Ottoman supply at Constantinople.
iii) Prospects for a land advance towards Constantinople through Thrace
iv) If ii) and iii) happen in parallel, the strong collapse of Ottoman resistance in European Turkey, the capture of Constantinople and the likely defeat of the Ottoman Empire
v) Ability to isolate the landing zone from reinforcement by the enemy with a landing northwest of Gallipoli cutting the rail link from Adrianople
vi) Intelligence as to the poor condition of the Ottoman units defending the coast in this area (as you can see in the screenshot, they might have a veteran Corps there but it's in a sorry state....)

The first wave of the attack will consist of two Marines units. The Royal Naval Division will land N of Gallipoli as described above. The Royal Marines Corps will land N of Sedd el Bahr. The second wave of the attack will consist of the Canadian Corps assaulting Sedd el Bahr from the South, with the aid of the Marines attacking from the North. This is illustrated in the map below.

Haig's HQ and V Corps will land once the port is taken. VI Corps and the Indian Army Artillery may be committed if necessary.

Most of the troops to conduct this operation have just been ordered to leave the UK; it should be possible to complete it during August or September.




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August 1915: May You Live in Interesting Times - 2/14/2020 9:22:51 PM   
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August 1915: May You Live in Interesting Times

Oooooh boy. Time for a whole series of posts.

Let's start with the Dardanelles, as we were there just now. The Turkish Navy has spotted something is happening, and sortied out of the Dardanelles.

I was not particularly expecting this as the Russians have over the summer so far engaged Ottoman light forces in the Black Sea and done plenty of damage to them. (One of the few Russian successes of the war so far).

However, out come the Yavuz Sultan Selim (the battlecruiser formerly known as Goeben) and the Turgut Reis in an attempt to interfere with the British landings. You can see the Royal Marines are already loaded onto transports, the Royal Naval Division will follow this turn.

Fortunately, they're doomed (the Turkish ships. Not the British marines. Though... you never know). As you can see, Yavuz Sultan Selim is right next to HMS Queen Elizabeth and about to provide valuable target practice for her 15in main battery. HMS Invincible is off Smyrna and will also show up and there are also British and French cruisers and submarines in the area. If possible I will try to give French units the final shots, because France could do with a National Morale boost...




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RE: August 1915: May You Live in Interesting Times - 2/14/2020 9:32:04 PM   
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The Adriatic - The Submarine Plague

The Adriatic has also seen a great deal of action. Entente destroyers have been attempting to contain the Austrian and German Uboats based out of Pola, of which there are a large number. French destroyers attempting to patrol against submarines have taken losses from Austrian pre-dreadnoughts.

Fortunately the Entente still has the balance of power as the area has already been reinforced with more destroyers. We should be able to finish off the Austrian surface units as well as doing some damage to the submarines. There are also more British heavy units (battlecruiser HMS Indomitable as well as two Pre-Dreadnoughts) making their way into the Med, as the Admiralty foresaw issues with the Dardanelles operation...




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RE: August 1915: May You Live in Interesting Times - 2/14/2020 9:41:28 PM   
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The Serbian Front

Next up, the Serbian Front.

The front line has not moved in a few months. The British Empire - Serbian joint command has inflicted many casualties on the Austrians, and German Corps have been despatched to prevent the Front from collapsing entirely. The Serbian strength is increasing as shattered Serbian formations are re-established with British or French equipment and it may prove possible to push the Central Powers back to the Uzice-Kragujevac line before winter, with the ultimate objective of recapturing Belgrade and pushing into Hungary.

It's quite helpful that Austro-Hungarian morale is now 47% as the Austrian army now has relatively little offensive capability.




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RE: August 1915: May You Live in Interesting Times - 2/14/2020 9:53:59 PM   
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Aug 15 Interesting Times Continued: The Dyle and Meuse Fronts

In Belgium and Northern France, the Entente have been content to control the area E of Brussels and N of Sedan without necessarily occupying it. The Belgian, British and French forces have continued to inflict significant casualties on the Germans, though not without losses (A French Corps attempted to entrench N of Sedan last turn and was destroyed). The mines hex at Mons is now starting to be operational again, which is good news for Britain's MPP production. The news on the Moselle and Vosges fronts is less good.




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August 1915:North-East France - 2/15/2020 3:47:00 PM   
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August 1915:North-East France

On the Moselle and Vosges fronts, the French have recently succeeded in re-taking Nancy. However, as they did, the Germans launched an attack further south in the Vosges, driving French troops out of Epinal. Fortunately they were not able to enter the fortress. German artillery is now very effective, which is a pain.






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August 1915: North Sea Skirmish - 2/15/2020 3:54:40 PM   
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August 1915: North Sea Skirmish

Continuing the August 1915 status update I'll also talk about the other fronts that have been less prominent so far.

Here is the North Sea. You can see the Royal Navy is in blockade positions and destroyers are off trying to chase down submarines. The German submarines have focused on the Norwegian Sea, and interfering with supply routes to Russia. Only one sub counter has tried to do unrestricted submarine warfare and you can see it's encountered a destroyer on its way back.

Towards the Norwegian Coast end of the line, you will see that German destroyers are trying to interfere with British cruisers. This is unlikely to succeed as the destroyers are weaker and there are many Grand Fleet battleships not far away. My concern is that the destroyers might be the advance guard for the German High Seas Fleet. My situation in the North Sea is not ideal, because a a total of 3 modern and 2 old capital ship counters have been sent to the Mediterranean.. I can probably take the Germans if they come out to play, but it is not a forgone conclusion. Also, the Germans were very recently spotted in the Baltic, where they have destroyed the entire Russian Baltic Fleet but suffered several ships damaged in the process - have they really come out into the North Sea so soon?




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August 1915: The East - 2/15/2020 4:00:18 PM   
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August 1915: The East

I'm sure you're curious about the Eastern Front as well. Here it is. The Germans have been pushing on Riga for a while but are being held back at Mitau. They have recently made an attack on Kovno and that is threatened as well. In Poland, Warsaw has fallen and before long Lublin and Ivanogrod will fall as well, then the Russians will be pushed back to Brest-Litovsk.

In Galicia the Austro-Hungarians have taken parts of Polish Galicia. Russia still holds the border town of Tarnopol, but not for much longer probably.




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August 1915: The Caucasus - 2/15/2020 4:04:33 PM   
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August 1915: The Caucasus

Not to be left out, here is the Caucasus Front. The Russians have actually been doing fairly well here - they have not gained ground but they haven't lost it, and have inflicted reasonably heavy casualties. There is currently an attack in progress by the Ottomans against Kars. They may take it but they are more likely not to.




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August 1915: Overview - 2/15/2020 4:15:25 PM   
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August 1915: Overview

And finally, here is an overview of the casualty and morale situation.

National Morale is as follows:
UK: 93% (46,869)
France: 79% (35,779)
Serbia: 59% (11,835)
Russia: 65% (29,549)
Germany: 76% (38,432)
Austria-Hungary: 47% (15,246)
Ottomans: 89% (19,715)

US War Entry is at 14%.

Losses of Corps and Cavalry Corps stand at 23 for the Entente, and 41 for the Central Powers. I believe a large majority of CP losses are on the Western Front.

In terms of the house rules, France has earned 4 'chits' (including one this turn for being pushed out of Epinal) and to date has spent them on two Trench Warfare and one Infantry Weapons. The UK has earned only one and spent it on Trench Warfare. Inevitably, the Central Powers will get a tech advantage later in 1915 and thereafter.

At this point the Entente is winning firmly in the West and losing in the East, and is winning so far overall. It looks probable that Austria-Hungary will collapse before Russia does. But really it could all go either way!




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28 August 1915: We're Ashore! - 2/15/2020 5:15:14 PM   
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28 August 1915: We're Ashore!

News from the Dardanelles!

As expected, the Battlecruiser formerly known as Goeben and the Turgut Reis were summarily despatched by the Royal Navy and the way was cleared for the landings. There was some damage to Queen Elizabeth and Invincible, sadly.

As planned, the Royal Marines were able to land N or Gallipoli and isolate the peninsula from the rail network. They are expected to take heavy losses from counterattacks. God Save the King!

The Royal Naval Division has landed on the Straits themselves after attacking Sedd el-Bahr.

The Canadian Corps have been unable to board transports, because of a shortage of transports. Who could have seen THAT one coming! Britain is a great trading nation, so we have lots of ships. But none of them are here. So their landing will be delayed at least one turn. Still, it will hopefully prove possible to take Sedd el Bahr before the Marines run out of supplies.

In good Balkan news, the Greeks appear likely to enter the war on the Entente side and make Salonika available to Entente forces. There is a French Expeditionary Force consisting of their Marines, Foreign Legion and Colonial Corps supported by an HQ, which will land at Salonika and establish a land supply route to the Gallipoli area.




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28 August 1915: Cruiser Clash in the North Sea - 2/16/2020 5:19:41 PM   
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28 August 1915: Cruiser Clash in the North Sea

The Dardanelles is not the only area with news. Probing south from the blockade line into the North Sea, Royal Navy cruisers discovered a substantial German force in the central North Sea.

This was promptly engaged by the Grand Fleet, sinking the battlecruiser Moltke, the armoured cruiser Furst Bimarck and crippling the Yorck. There is at least one German dreadnought also in the area. Very likely the High Seas Fleet is also coming out to play. Fingers crossed I will be able to defeat it.




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September 1915: Salonika and the Dardanelles - 2/16/2020 6:07:10 PM   
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September 1915: Salonika and the Dardanelles

Greece has entered the war! Albeit half-heartedly, only committing one Corps of revolutionaries to the effort. Still that one Corps has marched along the Aegean coastline through Bulgarian territory to open up a supply line from Salonika through to the British Marines at Gallipoli, who have dug in.

The French Expeditionary Force has begun to unload at Salonika and will be in a position to operate against Gallipoli and Adrianople.

Fun fact about Adrianople: It is the most fought-over place in the world. There were battles there in 313, 324, 328, 378, 813, 1205, 1254, 1365, 1829, and 1913. Now there will probably be another one.

Sedd el Bahr irritatingly remains in Turkish hands, despite bombardment by the big guns of British and French ships. The Canadian Corps has now been able to board landing craft, but has not been able to land yet. Hopefully by next turn the dwindling supply position in Sedd el Bahr combined with renewed attacks by the Royal Marines and the Canadian Corps will secure it.

However, the Marines have been able to neutralise the shore batteries on the Western side of the Dardanelles straits. With the assistance of battleships and naval landing parties, the British now control the Straits enough to be able to push cruisers and submarines into the Sea of Marmara, where they will begin to wreak havoc on the Turkish economy and morale. So that is a success.




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September 1915: Serbia - 2/16/2020 7:20:10 PM   
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September 1915: Serbia

Progress on the Serbian front, where the British and Serbs destroyed two weakened Austro-Hungarian Corps, took Uzice and have an open path to Sarajevo, bypassing the Germans around Kragujevac. It's very likely the Central Powers will operate in some Corps from other fronts to prevent a total collapse in this area. Still, it should be possible to continue offensive operations - either towards Belgrade, or Sarajevo, or perhaps the Adriatic coast.




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September 1915: The North Sea - 2/16/2020 7:24:46 PM   
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September 1915: The North Sea

In the North Sea, a German fleet appears to have concentrated off Bergen, though some elements are still off the coast of Jutland. German capital ships inflicted heavy damage on the battlecruiser Tiger, which fortunately managed to limped home, sank a light cruiser and almost destroyed a submarine flotilla. In retaliation the Royal Navy was able to locate and destroy the battlecruiser Derfflinger. This engagement still hangs in the balance.






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