I am looking at Erzurum to see whether it should really be a fortified town. I have found this website "First World War, day by day", which has some interesting information . . .
1) "Erzurum Offensive (8 February, 1916)
Back now to the Caucasus, where General Yudenich has been waiting for the right moment to attempt to capture Erzurum. Let’s recap: Erzurum is protected by a system of forts, but they’re significantly undermanned and have only a quarter of the artillery that they were designed to host. Yudenich and his staff therefore believe that the best way to deal with the forts is to fix bayonets and charge them. The contrast with the Germans’ use of the heaviest artillery in the world to obliterate enemy fortresses simply could not be any more pronounced.
The Russians have recently received news from their intelligence network that a large quantity of enemy reinforcements are on the way to Erzurum. (We looked at this also a little while ago; they are on the way, but it’ll take them a long while to get there.) Yudenich has therefore decided to attack as soon as possible. He tries to sell his subordinate commanders on the idea of starting the already-planned offensive in 48 hours, but after a mass objection he pushes it back. The attack on Erzurum will now begin on the 11th.
The plan is simple and more than a little reminiscent of the plan for capturing Koprukoy. First they’ll attack the strong, self-supporting fortress line to the east of Erzurum that blocks the road from Koprukoy. After a little while to let the Ottomans buy the dummy, they’ll then attack two isolated forts that, along with the Kargapazar-dag mountain (which is already in Russian hands), block the mountain route into Erzurum from the north."
2) "Erzrurum Offensive (11 February 1916)
Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night…as reinforcements plough through yet more ridiculously snowy weather high up a mountain, heading for the heights north of Erzurum, the Russians begin attacking the strong group of forts that block the east road from Koprukoy. General Yudenich’s plan is to concentrate his small allocation of artillery to obtain local superiority against each fort. In comparison to what the Germans have wheeled out on the Western Front, these are barely pop-guns. But they’re not trying to destroy the forts; just to worry the defenders. From noon until eight in the evening they fire the guns.
And then, under cover of darkness, the Russian army tries to take a modern fortress by infantry attacking with fixed bayonets. It should never have worked. But of course, as mentioned, the garrisons are severely under-strength and they have only a quarter of the artillery that had been planned to occupy the forts (and almost none of it quick-firing). In short order, one of the forts has been broken into, and hand-to-hand fighting goes on all night."
3) "Erzurum Offensive (12 February 1916)
Day 2 of the attack on Erzurum goes well. The Russians have indeed managed to capture a garrisoned concrete fortress in 1916 AD with, effectively, a gigantic prolonged bayonet charge. On the Koprukoy road they’ve also get themselves into position to drop plunging fire over another fortress’s walls.
But, more importantly, off to the north, one of the two isolated mountain forts has been abandoned as untenable by its defenders. The only thing standing between a sizeable Russian force and the city itself is now Tafet Fort, which will be attacked in force tomorrow. Another entire Ottoman defensive position is unravelling under the slightest pressure."
There are further entries up to and including February 16th which tell of the Ottoman retreat from Erzurum. I have highlighted a few lines of the text in the three excerpts above as they raise two interesting points. The first one concerns Erzurum itself and whether it should be a fortified town. It does have forts, but they have lost a lot of their guns and are not defended by full strength garrisons. The second one is the lack of Russian artillery and what guns they do have are described as "pop guns".
At the moment in the game, Erzurum is not a fortified town and the Russians can put an artillery unit in the Caucasus if they choose to. From the entries on the website this strikes me as a little bit unbalanced. In my view, either Erzurum should be a fortified town and the Russians should retain their artillery option or, Erzurum should remain as it is and Russia should lose the option of putting artillery in the Caucasus. I think I prefer the second option as Infantry Corps attacks already automatically de-entrench enemy units, indicating that artillery fire (field artillery) is already included in their attacking capabilities. I do not think that the heavier guns were deployed on the Caucasus front in any great numbers. Both Russia and the Ottomans did not have very many of these, in any case.
< Message edited by stockwellpete -- 1/13/2021 8:52:32 AM >