Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

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PaulWRoberts
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Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Hi! Paul Roberts here. I’m a long-time forum member and also a beta tester for AGEOD. In this thread I’ll be presenting one of two AARs from the design team for REVOLUTION UNDER SIEGE, the new game on the Russian Civil War (1917-1923) from AGEOD.

The AGEOD forums (including the RUS forum) are a good way to reach the designers quickly. They are here:
http://www.ageod-forum.com/

Just a note: I didn’t actually write this AAR, but I’m presenting it for a Francophone member of the team who asked that I edit it. (His English was already quite good, actually.) I’ll try to answer questions as best as I can.

This AAR will demonstrate the first few turns of an alternative history scenario in which Imperial Germany actively intervenes in the later stages of the Russian Civil War. And here we go...



DRANG NACH OSTEN
An AAR of the German Intervention in Russia – 1921-1922


START

Berlin – Early January 1921

General F. von Bredow, head of the Abwehr, has brought together the General Staff to discuss recent information and developments in the East. Reports indicate that since the almost total victory of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. Some factions of the Sovnarkom are pushing for an offensive to the West in order to expand the revolution and provoke the working classes to rise up against their leaders. Red troops have moved into the Ukraine, and a uprising is imminent in Kiev and Kharkov.

The German Imperial government has sent an ultimatum to Moscow demanding immediate withdrawal and cessation of their support for revolutionaries in these areas. The Bolshevik response is expected through irregular diplomatic channels today.

In anticipation of heightened tensions and as a show of resolve, orders were sent to General Pilsudsky in Lodz to raise two new legions of Polish troops.

Kiev – Late January 1921

The sudden invasion of the north-eastern Ukraine by Red troops has caught most Ukrainian officials and the local German garrisons off guard. Few troops are available to react. An immediate transfer by rail of the two available Ukrainian divisions from Ekaterinoslav and Poltava to Kharkov has been ordered. The Odessa division will move to Kremenchuk to secure that vital Dniepr crossing, while the Black Sea division will move closer to Melitopol to watch Green and anarchist activity near the sea of Azov.

The Governor of Lugansk reports that the Don Cossack forces based there have grown increasingly restless. There is talk of a raid towards Novocherkassk to liberate their former capital (and perhaps a link-up with the remaining anti-communist White forces still fighting a desperate battle in the Kuban).



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Player Comments – T0

There is not much to do in the preliminary turn as most Central Powers forces are locked. Only 4 Ukrainian divisions are available, along with the Don Cossacks. Defending Kharkov is a priority; 2 divisions moved there by rail can hold for a while. The Don raid to Novocherkassk is a gambit to distract the Reds from their offensive, and we will gain reinforcements if we hold there long enough to take Rostov as well. (If we control both cities, Krasnov will show up with Don troops.)
Only 2 Polish units are available at start, so we build them immediately. Those mounted infantry are useful for their high movement speed.


Interphase T0-T1

Well, the Reds have decided to go forward the hard way: our ultimatum was rejected and general war has begun. Severe winter conditions in the eastern Ukraine have slowed operations somewhat, but a Red offensive has taken Belgorod and eradicated the 1,000-man garrison. Uprisings engineered by the local Soviets have occurred in Kiev and Kharkov; Bolshevik insurgents have taken control of both cities, lowering our morale significantly. To add insult to injury, an Anarchist cavalry raid captured Makeievka.

When we run the turn, we'll see the combat represented in the next two screenshots.


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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

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The 27,000-strong Cossack force has fought a tremendous battle at Kamenskaya and managed to push back the Red lines there. Over the course of several days, the Cossacks trounced Voroshilov’s poorly-coordinated force of 17,000 men and then halted Snesarev‘s 30,000 Red soldiers, who were trying to move northwest towards Lugansk and (probably) Kharkov. While a great victory, the battle halted the valiant Cossacks’ progress towards Novocherkassk. They will need rest before a further advance.

Player Comments – Interphase

The opening moves are hard to predict, but are always very interesting. The Cossacks did well in blocking a major Red offensive. I feel stupid for having lost Makeievka to a raid of Anarchists, as I could have kept it easily with a Ukrainian brigade sent there instead of Kharkov.

The Reds’ choice of open war offers more options to choose from and an intense campaign from the very start. I have lost the Baltikum Korps option, however, which is available only in limited war situations and produces a free Corps of German troops in the Baltic states.


[More to come tomorrow...]


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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

TURN 1

Berlin – GeneralStab - Early February 1921

So a general war has begun! We have reports that our allies, the Austro-Hungarian and Turks, will not join the conflict immediately. (We will not see them before May, for the Austro-Hungarian are locked for 6 turns. The Turks will remain inactive until the Caucasus is invaded by the Reds). We must organize resistance with our available armies and our Ukranian client forces.

Our priority for the next 4-6 weeks will be to hold on the Dniepr line, so we must recapture Kiev as fast as possible. We also hope to maintain a foothold in the East, either by moving towards Rostov or recovering Kharkov. In the center, we must protect the approaches to Poland and threaten Minsk (and later Smolensk, on the road to Moscow).

In the north, nothing much is to be done. The Finns’ and Baltic neutrality plays in our hands for the time being. (We can always try to involve them later).

Our most important tool for now is our railroad network: we rely upon it as a lifeline and to move our armies forward. Forces from central and southern Poland will move towards Kiev and the Dniepr, along with at least 2 of the recently received Reserve Korps.

Forces in the center and north will concentrate north of the Pripyat Marshes and take the border city of Baranavichy as a stepping stone towards Minsk, also employing available reserves.

OberOst HQ shall relocate to Brest-Litovsk for the time being, to keep our options open. All available air bases are moved by rail too, as far forward as possible.


Kiel – HochSee Flotte Command - Early February 1921

The Imperial Navy has a key role to play in this war. Two fleets under Scheer will be sent immediately to blockade the Gulf of Finland, while Admiral Souchon is ordered to steam to the Kerch Straits to bottle up any potential sortie by the Reds. A third fleet, the Battle Cruisers under Admiral Hipper, will proceed to the Norwegian Sea to intercept any enemy movement up north. The rest of the fleet awaits further development in Kiel.

Orders are sent to the Black Sea squadron to move at their first opportunity (in 1 turn) to Novorossyisk to return our military missions (currently advising the Southern Whites) to Odessa or Constanta.

PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Germany – War Ministry - Early February 1921

Morale will be of utmost importance in this war, for it is an ideological as well as military struggle. Movements on the battlefield will avail us nothing if revolutionary sentiments take hold in Germany itself. Among our first Options is the decision to recall Field Marshal von Hindenburg, the beloved hero of the nation (+10 National Morale) to add his support for the call for a general mobilization (-10 NM).

Logistics are crucial as well. We will increase the rail pool and sell arms to all possible minor allies (Balts, Ukraine, Whites, Caucasus) to keep them fit for the war. On the minus side, we will make requisitions in the Ukraine for needed supplies

But the most important decision is the blockade of Russia. As Germans, we know how decisive such a move can be!


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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

The main expenses are reserved for military production. A key decision is to give maximum support to our Ukrainian vassal: their troops are closer to the front lines (and so can react faster), and their loss will be less detrimental to morale in Germany. We will also build more reserves and call up conscripts. More Polish troops are raised.

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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Supplying our army in the East will be the critical logistical task, so we will produce more supply units.

Special attention is given to two strategic operations we have in mind: decoy movements in the far north and in the Caucasus. (These may turn into full-size offensives if the Reds do not react...) The maritime transport fleet is increased, as well as Marine troops, and some Mountain troops are raised as well.

Because the front is far from home, having a good body of replacements is critical, so the balance of our assets goes to enlisting them (especially the Ukrainians).

The Ukraine – Early February 1921

We have decided to reorganize the Ukrainian army with the aim of recapturing Kiev and Kharkov as fast as possible. Corps are beefed up. In the long run, we plan to redeploy all the Ukrainian forces in the east, around Kharkov. For the moment, stacks in Kiev and Kharkov are ordered to make all-out assaults to recapture those key cities.

Delmensigen Korps will move fast from Jithomir to Makeievka in order to prepare a future offensive towards Rostov and support the Cossacks if possible.

Our military advisors are dispatched to militia garrisons to train them, while the generals with them are sent to command leaderless Ukrainians who desperately need better commanders.

The Don Cossacks will entrench and wait for German support in the recently conquered Kamenskaya lines.

Player Comments – T1 decisions

The key for me is to get ready for a Spring offensive with troops holding good staging points. There is no need to lose more troops than necessary in the harsh winter weather. We will concentrate two main army groups (Center and Ukraine) forward and see how the situation unfolds. Building replacements and new units is given priority.



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Interphase T1-T2

Two battles started almost immediately for the control of Kiev and Kharkov: The assault in Kiev was bloody, but the rebellious soviets were finally eradicated.



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

The same seemed about to occur in Kharkov when suddenly a force of 60,000 Bolsheviks under Antonov-Ovseenko appeared to rescue the rebels. Losses from gunfire were heavy, but Wolf’s Ukrainian corps managed to hold them in stalemate and take refuge in the city center. A siege is likely unless we decide for evacuation.



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

The German offensive operation on Baranavichy took the Reds by surprise, and they quickly left the border town under heavy gunfire.

In the meantime, the German navy has reached patrol positions, and troops moved forward by rail are slowly reaching the front. Makeievka was liberated by a German forward corps, the Anarchist cavalry having destroyed the rail line and fled the city.

There was not much fighting elsewhere, probably due to the cold

Player Comments – Interphase

Things continue to go well, but the reports from the end turn are quite interesting: the Reds are transferring forces from Central Asia and recruiting a lot, and also intensifying their propaganda. All the while, they are protecting their Northern harbors as well. It seems that they are preparing for a war of attrition.

The only surprising move from them was the declaration of war on the Balts. This creates another group of Soviet insurgents in the Baltic capitals and widens the scope of the war. It might prove interesting in the long run: I may be forced to halt my southern and central offensives to protect my allies, but it also opens a new approach to Petrograd. However, it will certainly force me to recall troops from other occupation zones in the West, and this reduces morale. I noticed the mood of the German people go down slightly (event), and communist sympathies in the homeland have risen. I must be careful about domestic agitation…

Looks like Turn 2 preparation will be interesting...
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

TURN 2

Germany – War Ministry - Late February 1921

With the entry of the Balts into the war, the front has enlarged. However, political considerations keep us from making all the choices we would like (our Engagement Point pool is 31, not very high). We choose to upgrade our industrial potential (War Mobilization costs 10 EP, 10 National Morale, and 50 Victory Points but adds a hefty 500 Marks, 300 rail, and 150 War Supplies, plus higher production in several provinces). We have also decreed Partial Mobilization. To offset these unpopular measures, the government has banned the Communist party (costs another 10 EP, but gives +5 NM and more loyalty in homeland provinces) and sent some support to the Balts to raise a new division (5 EP plus some replacements).

As before, the remaining expenses will go to military production (see the shopping list in the screenshot). All available Balt militia are called under arms, and two more German reserve and conscript divisions are raised. The Ukrainian are also vastly subsidized.



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Berlin – GeneralStab - Late February 1921

Most of the operational activity is directed at bringing forward our armies and consolidating our positions. The only real offensive operations will be for the Balts to get rid of the Bolshevik rebels within their territory. All other allied forces will entrench, consolidate positions, or (re)build the supply depots that will serve as offensive staging points for the spring offensive.
Two German armies are taking position to be ready for a push towards Minsk by then.

HochSee Flotte Command - Late February 1921

The Imperial Navy has reached blockade positions. Some transports are sent to Memel to embark the German army there on the following turn. It will be shipped to Tallinn or Narwa, depending on the circumstances (sea transport is faster than going there by foot). The Black Sea squadron now steams to Novorossyisk.
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Interphase T2-T3

Many battles occurred this turn, but mostly skirmishes, especially with bands of Anarchists and Green rebels. The key affair was the renewed Bolshevik assault on Kharkov where Antonov returned again with almost 60,000 fresh troops. Our Ukrainian corps had started entrenchment in the city, but the 27,000 men had barely had time to dig a few trenches (entrench level 1) and their depot was not operational. This time the Reds used tanks to breach our defenses, and the armored landships carried the day…and the city. The defeated Ukrainians started a southeastern retreat down the rail line towards Lugansk.

Meanwhile, in the Baltics, the rebels were expelled from Tallinn and Vilnius but a few are still holding in Riga. We will need to clear them in March.




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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Player Comments – Interphase

The loss of Kharkov was expected, and I am pleased that General Wolf managed to retreat without excessive losses. The trouble is the morale loss and, worse, the low casualties inflicted on Reds. Let’s hope that they will need time to renew the offensive.

I will probably need to bolster the weak Ukrainians with some German divisions before they get crushed.

The welcome surprise of early March was the rebellion of the Soviet sailors in Kronstadt: it probably won’t make a decisive contribution to victory, but the political annoyance for the Bolsheviks is excellent news (in addition to the waste of resources and time they may spend in getting back the naval base).


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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

TURN 3

Berlin – GeneralStab - Early March 1921


Our plan continues to unfold according to schedule. Nieman Armee will be landing at Narwa within a few days, and Army Group North has assembled for an offensive towards Pskov. Balt cavalry and reserves are going along, securing the flanks of the advance.

In the center, Reserve Korps and the new Polnische Legion are targeting cities covering the approaches of Minsk. This city looks heavily defended and will be the target of Army Group Center.

Marshal Hindenburg has been appointed at the head of the newly created Army Group B in Kiev, and an operation has been launched to capture or destroy the Reds’ redoubts on the other side of the Dniepr.

In the central and southern Ukraine, positions are reinforced, with blocking points at Lugansk, Poltava and Kamenskaya, all with a German army and every Ukrainian force available. (The Corps from Kharkov has been instructed to retreat to Lugansk.)

The Don Cossacks will attempt to raid Novocherkassk once more, to be reinforced by a German army if they succeed in capturing it.

Measures for future deceptions are implemented: the Alpen Korps has been railed to Odessa for future use in the Caucasus while Von Schroeder’s Marine Korps builds up in Kiel in anticipation for an amphibious operation when the weather improves.

The Imperial Navy continue its transportation and support operation while keeping a closer eye to the Red fleet.

Germany – War Ministry - Early March 1921


Replacements have been brought in once more, and new constructions as well. We have decided to concentrate on speed (cavalry and armored cars) and punch (artillery and armor) for the anticipated sieges of key objectives.

Our Engagement Points are still a bit feeble, so we limited ourselves to a propaganda campaign, recalling an Army from occupied France to Kiel (for further operations), and more support to the Balts.


Interphase T3-T4

The war has been raging this turn, but unfortunately not always to the Kaiser’s advantage. The situation is not critical so far, but some of our plans were severely rebuffed and sanctions may be needed.
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Things had started well when the Cossacks captured Novocherassk in a daring raid.

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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

But operations in the North did not succeed as expected. Pilsudsky’s Poles reached Bobruisk, but the garrison was tougher to crack than expected and the attack developed into a siege. We must do something quickly there. Otherwise, the supply situation will deteriorate quite fast.



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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

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The two-pronged assault in the direction of Pskov was partly successful. The northern assault on the Pechory lines saw 4,000 Bolshevik troops repulse ten times that amount of brave Landsers. The Germans retreated to regroup, leaving a Balt division to besiege the remaining defenders. Fortunately the southern portion of the defenses did not resist our attack. Now we have a direct path to Pskov, although the city looks heavily defended.



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

In the center, our encirclement of Minsk was a success: a full Red army is trapped inside the city, surrounded by two German ones and allied Balt divisions. We shall send some more siege artillery and get them at some point. For now, we will entrench and avoid useless losses.

But the turn ended with bad news for us: Mackensen’s corps of 28,000 moved too quikcly into its planned assault in Donestsk, failing to coordinate with other forces sent from Maleievka. (Mackensen is a known hothead.) The 30,000 Bolsheviks under Voroshilov put up a staunch defense and our troops have been repulsed with heavy casualties.

All in all, two defeats and a stalemate in 15 days have dried out our replacement reserves and left us in dire situation in at least two sectors. We must halt the tempo of operations.



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RE: Drang Nach Osten, a RUS Developer's AAR

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Our main issue is that we are dramatically short of recruits, and Russia is vast. We have to wait for our reinforcements.



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