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Bill101

WWI Breakthrough - 1914 Call to Arms AAR!

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Hi

To provide everyone with a taste of WWI Breakthrough!, two of our beta testers have kindly agreed to provide us with an AAR.

They will be playing the 1914 Call to Arms campaign, Breakthrough Edition.

Commanding the Central Powers is Catacol Highlander, while attempting to halt his advances will be Abukede.

Both are veterans of numerous games and a number of great AARs, so stand by for what should prove to be a thrilling game!

Feel free to ask questions and post comments as the game progresses, though please bear in mind that neither player may be able to reveal too much of their planning.

Finally, let's wish our players good luck and a great time, as the war is declared and both sides prepare for battle... will the victor be King or Kaiser?

breakthrough_web_badge_155.jpg

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Yes we're back in a bid to beat heck out of each other! I am sure I speak for the both of us by saying how very pleased we are to bring you a sneak peak of this amazing game that Hubert and Bill have toiled over for the past year. I really enjoy it... and I know you will as well.

Just as a side note: The first time we (Al and myself) have played Call to Arms while the original was under development... as Germany I managed to surround and envelop around 70% of the Russian army in one big battle in Poland. I virtually caught his entire army in a bag and over a period of 10 turns reduced it. :P There was no escape for those poor soldiers. Russia never recovered and that was 1915! Just rubbing it in a bit... that's how competitive we both are.

Seriously though... we both learned a lot from that game... and I don't think we've played another WWI campaign together since. I know he is itching to get back at me and stomp me good. So... safe to say you are all in for one heck of a show and will probably see some very unconventional stuff tried. As I have said before Al is the only player that can regularly beat me. I have tremendous respect for his gameplay and safe to say over the years we have become good friends. As Germany he is going to do his best to crush me. Will it be a focus on the West or the East? I can't wait to find out!

We should have the first few turns up sometime this weekend... Get your popcorn ready... sit back and enjoy the show... er I mean fight. :P

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Thanks Bill... but one correction: I am quite prepared to reveal LOTS of my planning. Not much fun for you readers if you cant see what is going on... but I will occasionally keep a surprise up my sleeve to keep everyone interested. :-)

OK - so the Central Powers are mine. Those of you who read the last 2 AARs that Abukede and I did will know that I always go into a game with a strategic plan of sorts. To start a game without one is like walking into a room with the lights off: tripping up liable to happen and every turn!

After some thought (because there are a number of different ways to approach the game as CP) here are the following priorities until the end of 1915:

1. The destruction of Serbia and Montenegro. Relatively easy to do, and it releases lots of AH units plus hopefully preventing Greece from being a nuisance later on and also bringin Bulgaria into the war early.

2. A very gentle Schlieffen. Push through Belgium and close to Amiens, but no further.

3. Resources therefore to be ploughed into an attack on Russia. Initially ensure East Prussia does not fall, and then mass for an attack on Warsaw in 1915.

4. A research strategy that prioritises entrenchment (key to stopping the French and British from doing too much that is nasty in the west too early) and infantry weapons so that Russia can be carved up. Secondary priority to artillery tech, shell tech and industry tech. Long term tech priority to sub warfare.

5. A very quiet naval opening. There will be a time and a place for a U boat campaign, but it wont be in 1914 so I will hold back resources. As and when U boat tech arrives campaigns can be considered.

We will see whether any of this comes off!

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Turn 1 taken. True to form Schlieffen underway, but not worth a screenshot yet as turn 1 is a fairly routine invasion on Belgium. I destroyed the 2 border garrisons there and closed in on Brussels.

One change in this expansion is the ability to deploy a fraction of the German army prior to the start of turn 1. Looks like this:

Deploy.jpg

Essentially I had an HQ, 1 artillery, 2 corps and 2 cavalry units to position. So what did I do? Well - I split them. I dont want East Prussia to fall so I stiffened the rather weak units in that area, but also put a few down in the west so as not to weaken the fall of Belgium and northern France.

In the East Austrian units closed in on Serbia as per my plan. The Turks had fun in the sand, watching the world slide to war with certain trepidation. What will the British in Egypt do??? A very good question, and one factor that the CP player needs to keep a close eye on.

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It has begun!

First turn… Al pushed into Belgium hammering the Belgians hard. My initial strategy in the West will be to slow Germany and make his advance as costly as possible without taking too many casualties. So in essence I will initially focus on defense with a goal toward forming a coherant line and taking careful potshots where I can. I expect Al to continue his push until the Entente defense tightens up. Then I expect him to put his focus onto the East. Early research buys will be Trench, Industry and Production…. Goal for the West is to hold early and slowly build up a powerful offensive force that will strike before Russia gets knocked out of the war. I also want to see if I can goad Al to bring the US into the war.

With Russia I plan to be offensive minded early… as such I went for the Austrian mine. I want to deprive AH any income I can quickly. Notice I made sure I put a unit on his rail line… as I wanted to cut/reduce his production.

GoingforOil.jpg

The UK has also shifted naval assets to the blockade and will begin a buildup with the purpose of drawing the German Navy to battle. The BEF also landed in France this turn. My forces in the Med are active. No news yet from there.

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Turn 2. Schlieffen Plan underway, but very relaxed and not at all over aggressive. Here is the end of turn shot:

Schlieffenturn2.jpg

Anything worth seeing? Well to the trained eye you will note that I am conquering Belgium and northern France relatively gently with a view to sustaining as few casualties as possible. I want to save my mpps for other operations: the war wont be won in the West in 1914! Note the UK corps has threatened to come out to play from Amiens, so I have sat one tile back so that if Marc wants to hit me with it he will suffer the penalty for move and attack on the same turn. I was happy to maul French cavalry instead. Elsewhere across the line it is dig in and drink coffee for a bit.

In the East Marc hit the Galician Oil with force. I countered and then withdrew from the oil. Final shot here:

Galiciaoil.jpg

What have I done here? Losing the oil (temporarily) is probably inevitable if the Russian player really goes for it, but the plus for me was that Marc did nothing to try and hit East Prussia or advance anywhere near Lodz or Krakow. That is good news. If you examine the units near the oil here and do some maths you will see that Russian units sustained high casualties for this attack. I am quite happy with that: hitting Russia is my big priority once Serbia is curtailed, and the more casualties Nicholas' army sustains the better for me.

In Serbia Austrian units mass for the attack on Belgrade - more of that next turn.

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I am very pleased with my new line forming in the West. It is strong and getting dug in. Al’s push through Belgium should wrap up this turn and he will probably test it either immediately or next turn. I left a Cav unit in place as a speed bump which will not be a great loss as the time for Cav in the West will shortly be over. French reinforcements are pouring into the area and the UK is gearing up nicely.

Here is part of my line in the west.

BreakT3West1.jpg

In Serbia Al has concentrated a great deal of A-H strength and I saw the first German artillery unit down there as well. Instead of moving I decided to hold my position… even if it means losing the mine. I also chose not to reinforce my forward units that were very beat up. Research was more important. Al’s strategy also opens up A-H to Russia. If I am careful I can do some significant damage to him early.

I took the oil well with light casualties and managed to destroy 1 A-H army that had pulled back to the mountains. My scouts tell me that German units are massing in East Prussia. I am building up as well. The beauty of playing Russia is that it is large. I have a choice where I can offer battle and when needed where not to. Russia deploys a lot of units and Al has to be careful where he attacks and how he attacks. He can't afford to take too many casualties early or it will hurt him late game.

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The plan... the plan.

So: Belgrade falls on turn 3. Very happy with that indeed, and I got a good pop up regarding Bulgarian interest too. My AH force here is strong, and I have sent a German army too that will be strong enough to ensure the fall of Serbia quickly in 1915. Graphic here:

Belgrade.jpg

Elsewhere a French cavalry unit that decided to sit tight next to 2 full strength corps was destroyed without loss, and Ostend and Calais both fell. My Schlieffen attack will be over soon: just need to take out the last 2 Belgian units.

In the East Austria reinforced the line to the west of the Galician oil, and German units eased gently forward. Too early yet to attack, and there are a large number of Russian corps unaccounted for at the moment, so I am wary. However - happy with the start here too.

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Wow, you pulled a german HQ, artillery unit and two corps out of the west to conquer Serbia? :eek:

This should become very interesting now!

At least if abukede uses this opportunity while neither your western nor eastern front is as strong as possible because of your serbian expedition.

Will be extremly interesting to watch how this turns out, especially in East Prussia, Silesia and Galicia!

:)

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Don't get too excited xwormwood... it is the very beginning of the game and there has been very little fighting.

Game wise... I probed the A-H line south of Warsaw... did some recon with Russian cav and am surprised at what I found... so I am playing it a bit cautious. Al has invest heavily in technology with both A-H and Germany. The allies are lagging a bit behind but combined the Allies have out-invested the Central Powers.

I had a couple of decision events that involved additional UK units and where to deploy them. I will let Al puzzle that one out. Overall I am pleased with the Allied position and the good news is that poduction is ramping up.

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OK - my Serb attack is ongoing, but not able to do much this turn as I had to reposition and bring my artillery forward. I did get rather carried away and attacked with 3 AH corps against a Serb corps in the hills. I lost 8 strength, the Serb corps lost 3. Sometimes it is difficult not to get carried away, especially when the combat indicators suggest (as they did this time around) that the results of battle should be even at worst. Dont always believe them!!

In the West 2 Belgian detachments were taken down and antwerp occupied. One Belgian corps is left now in Ypres. It wont last long next turn assuming the weather holds.

Interest for this turn lies in Marc's movements in the East. Rarely does Russia not get up to some mischief in the East, such is her power in the early part of the game, and it would appear that, having taken the Galician Oil already, Marc has his sights set on Lemberg. Here is the graphic:

Lemberg1.jpg

I destroyed the lead Russian corps that had edged up to my lines, and then retired the mauled corps on strength 4 to the rear for R and R, but Marc's massed forces are plain to see.

What can I do? Well - pray to the Gods... and the Gods answer. :-) A bit of luck - I got a trench tech for both Germany and Austria at the end of the turn. This is big in the East, as it means that Marc's casualties will be significantly higher whatever he tries to do. It will also make it tricky in the West should Marc decide to try anything early with the British or French armies.

However remember my plan at the start - and my tech priorities. 3 trench chits were invested by both nations as early as possible, and the fact that they have clicked already is fortunate but not purely down to luck. The pace and direction of the tech war is a huge part of SC.

Now... a few more prayer beads and a sacrificial lamb or two and maybe I can get to trench tech 2 by Xmas and really put a spanner in the Russian works!

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No pictures this turn. Al is building up against Russia. He came down to the border this turn and hit one of my scouts. He is not really pushing against the West so I have to play careful against him. Last turn I snuck in and whacked an A-H unit... lost a unit in reply... this turn I pulled back a bit. I want to see what Germany does. There is no rush... especially if he is concentrating against me like I believe he is. If I commit strong against A-H... Germany will come in the back door and hammer me hard. I would rather him come to me so that I can hammer him when his supply and readiness is low. At least that is my current thinking. I've only let him see part of my army. He has to wonder what the rest is up to?

In the west... I am still amazed that the Belgians are still hanging in there at turn 8. I expect him to correct that this turn.

I have a very powerful line facing Germany in the West. It is dug in and I have sufficient reserves. I am building up and conducting research. France also got tech this turn. I will continue to build up the next few turns and evaluate the situation in the West... perhaps I challenge him... perhaps I take the bulk of the UK army elsewhere. I dont know... we will have to see how he reacts. I also managed to antagonize the Norwegians this turn by raiding in their territorial waters.

I am toying with the idea of sending UK troops to Albania... :P Somthing to annoy the A-H.

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Still the plan... but weather was an obstruction this turn. My only offensive action was against Serbia, but again I sustained higher casualties than the defender. However my pressure here will tell before long - one turn of good weather before winter should see me to the gates of Nish. Here is the end of turn graphic:

serbia1.jpg

Elsewhere? Well - Belgium survives one more turn. I moved units up adjacent to Ypres ready to hammer it next turn. Final graphic here as I have given you very little to look at in the west so far!

brussels.jpg

From a strategic perspective Ypres now has mpps attached, but it has no NM factor. NM is the key to this game, so plans elsewhere to hit NM take precedence.

Now... to the East. My major theatre in the planning. Here is an odd graphic -

Russia.jpg

Where has the Russian army gone? Have I scared it off? Is Marc planning action against Turkey or a sudden leap into East Prussia? Cant be sure. What I do know is that I am getting a window of quiet opportunity to build up a very potent force which will soon be flung straight into action. Once Serbia is gone I intend to break the back of the Russian Army in double quick time, and be ready to face the expected counter attack in the West in 1916. I wonder whether Marc will try anything in the West in 1915? It is possible... and to that end my research on trenches continues. It is hard for the western powers to get much artillery into the field before 1916, so I have about a year's grace before entente artillery will make my life there difficult.

More about my plans for 1916 later. Stage one though for 1915 is well underway - lots of action in the East to come.

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Not much to report this turn. No pictures. I am playing it careful. The Western Front gets more powerful by the turn. Al has moved to the border of Poland in strength. He has put a tremendous amount of pressure on Serbia. Belgium is still holding out. Turkey has not joined yet... but I expect it to happen soon. I believe it is now November.

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(Apologies for my absence over the last few days: was in The Borders in Scotland with a group of young rugby players, and had no internet. Back on the wagon now all the way to Christmas!)

OK - November. Rain and some mud. I chose to regather a bit of strength in Serbia before trying to push on again: looking to get some luck with the weather in late autumn. Here is the Serbian Front:

serbia2.jpg

2 things of note here. Firstly the German unit that has upgraded to infantry weapons level 1 - I intend to try and make Marc's life hard with that up my sleeve if I can get some good weather turns soon - but also a continued assault in the left hand corner in Montenegro. Take out Montenegro and Serbia tends to fall faster, but as of yet I am unable to wear down the defending corps and force it to retreat. However... I have seen units under pressure retreat before when hit over and over, so I remain hopeful.

Elsewhere Brussels fell in a muddy attack, and the German Army gathered greater strength for its Russian offensive which is stage 2 of my plan.

The Ottomans also joined this turn. How to play Turkey is an interesting one - I haver elected not to stick them into the "plan" at this stage as I want to see first how Marc intends to play Russians in the Caucasus and the Brits in Egypt. It is possible for the Entente to put Turkey under a big squeeze if they choose... so my first priority is to get some entrenchment and wait and see what happens.

Pop up windows also told me that Germans in Africa and at sea around Coronel were victorious too... to be honest I have yet to work out quite that this means in terms of the game overall, but reports of victorious Germans can only be good news!

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This is a preparation for a decision event which will follow soon.

Sending the HMS Invincible against this german naval thread or not.

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Excellent turn for me. No pictures... sorry.

I am very pleased with the Serbian defense. Al has put a lot of pressure on little old Serbia and he has even brought in arty and upgraded German units. Eventually he should begin making progress… maybe next turn… maybe in the coming turns when the weather turns fair. His offensive drive has forced him to take heavy casualties and sending a significant German presence makes me smile. The fight in Serbia has become expensive.

Why is he focusing on Serbia? Al seems to be rushing against time. The Ottomans could quickly find themselves in trouble and the only way to relieve them is to take Serbia, bring in Bulgaria and create a rail link directly to Turkey. He needs to get German units into the Middle East as quickly as possible. Right now the Serbians are holding out like champs… and even better the Russians got entrenchment tech this turn. It’s about to get exciting.

My French and English forces are building up nicely in the West. What is a bit frustrating is the poor state of the French Navy. I’ve been slowly chipping away at that each turn… building select units up to full strength. With the Ottomans joining… I expect a full blown naval battle in the Med soon. Al has to try to break out… at least I expect that he will to support operations in the Med. I think if he tries to link up with the Ottoman navy he will lose. The Allied navy in the Med is very strong and upgraded. So in the Med I am feeling very confident. We will have to see how things turn out.

In the East the Russians are growing in strength and power. In the last few turns a lot has been going on behind the scenes. Al has pressed in toward Warsaw and I have refrained from any offensive action. He currently does not know where the bulk of the Russian army is and I know it’s driving him nuts. I intend to keep it that way until he jumps or I feel the time is right. Will I meet his main attack head on? Will I hit elsewhere? Turkey perhaps? We will have to wait and see.

This turn I had a large number of decision events. I love them… everything from sending forces either to Europe or Egypt? Great stuff. I will let Al wonder what I am up to.

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OK... so The Gods have answered my call again. The weather in the East cleared in late October allowing at least one more turn of offense. I took advantage of it.

Firstly in Serbia:

serbia3.jpg

One step closer to Nish, and the Serbian main defensive line breached. I have now reached the point I had hoped for in 1914 prior to the arrival of any ice and snow: any more good weather allowing a further advance really would be fortunate and catastrophic for the Serb defence. Serbia will be out the game for sure before the summer is too far gone in 1915. Note the infantry tech that Austria-Hungary has also scored... handy for any potential winter operations that might become possible...

Secondly in Russia. I was not quite ready to be honest - units still gathering readiness and tech following transfer and forced march so my casualties were a bit higher than they needed to be, but I couldnt ignore the opportunity to get a supply base near Warsaw and the Fort. So the attack went ahead, one Russian corps was destroyed and a detachment wounded. Image here:

warsaw1.jpg

Warsaw is the next target for sure.

2 points of discussion at this early stage:

1. Where is the Russian Army? Is Marc going for defence in depth? Or has he done something underhand and massed for an attack in East Prussia, or the Caucasus or maybe even naval landings across the Black Sea? I must admit it is puzzling me. Russia has more units than any other player in the game at this stage, but she is being very passive, and the defence in front of Warsaw is not particularly strong either.

2. The reason it is puzzling me is the second point of note. The ease of the beginning for Germany in this game has put her NM up to 103 already. France and Russia both sit at 96. This 7 point gap might not seem a lot, but it is significant. The game will not be won by territory... but instead by a war based on NM. As my Germans advance into Russia (and I will be giving the conquests to Germany and not to AH in order to boost that NM) her NM may creep upwards, or at least flatline. Russia's will freefall. So what is Marc doing to counter that?

I am scratching my head a bit to be sure.

Finally I noted through pop ups that the ANZACs have landed in Egypt. This may suggest Entente offensive operations against Turkey, or it may simply suggest that Marc wants to make sure I cant launch a thrust into Egypt. Still... all intel is good intel and as I suggested before my Turkish play is going to be a little based on a "suck it and see" approach until I get a feel for what Marc wants to try and do with the Western Powers in 1915 and particularly 1916.

Bagged 3 techs too that turn. All going well I reckon.

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Hey,

as usual i am enjoying another one of your AAR's.

I would like to make a quick point about the use of a whole German army in an attack on Serbia. In my opinion i think it is a bit gamey. I'm not saying that it was out of the realms of possibility at the time but was highly unlikely.

German involvement to quickly knock out Serbia can be a major boost to CP's long term chances.

I do think there should be some kind of penalty for CP for this to happen. Maybe operating through am allies territory should be more expensive or some kind of negative impact on units of different nationalities fighting alongside each other. I have seen and heard of the latter been used allot.

Am looking forward to reading rest of this AAR.

P42

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Great turn for the Allies. I got a lot of really good hits on Tech. The Weather was very poor so little Action in the East. No action in the West. The UK advanced to the border of the middle east in the Sanai and conducted a limited attack. I Iraq the UK began her push out from Basra. Since it is virtual sitskrieg in the West I expect much of the action early on to be in the East and Middle East. Al is putting a lot of pressure on Serbia. The longer she holds the more difficult it will become for the Turks. I think that Al has to be very careful because the UK and French have a huge army... if he spreads himself too thin and the Western allies begin killing a lot of Germans he can get into trouble fast.

Sorry no pictures this turn around... just went through Sinus surgery and am barely functional. :P

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Evening all...

P42 - I am not sure how Germans going to attack Serbia is gamey? If you mean it didnt happen in history then yes - agreed it didnt. But this game is about options and trying things that werent done historically. There is certainly no way that the Habsburg Empire would have denied German troops passage or said "no" to assistance in the area. They might have got annoyed had Germany tried to annex Serbia herself, but the game partly covers that by giving no NM bonuses for Serb conquest, so it lessens the attractiveness of German occupation a bit.

I would agree with you that an early defeat of Serbia is a massive boost to the CP - that is why I am attempting it. But not sure how that should be barred. It is not impossible to counter as the entente - but that is a conversation for another day.

Back on topic and very little to report in the main operations' areas as the weather finally closed in and made everything grim. However I dont want anyone to get bored too easily... so some thoughts about the Med. Here is a graphic of the Basra area:

iraq1.jpg

Now this is interesting. Marc is advancing quickly... and leaving Basra empty. It suggests to me that he is sending more troops to the area. A fair bet? Take a look at this graphic of Palestine too:

palestine1.jpg

That certainly looks like a swift offensive. You can see that I have got units in place on the crucial defensive line hinged on Jerusalem, but altogether this is my first window into Marc's thinking. Looks to me as though he will try to relieve pressure on Russia by dragging German troops into the Middle East to stop a British advance. Not a bad idea... but it does mean pulling British resources away from the Western Front. Wise? Time will tell, but it makes the early destruction of Serbia even more desireable to open up the rail link and leads me to an interesting decision to make on naval strategy. Marc is likely to send naval assets to the Eastern Med to support this strategy... so what do I do? I'll keep that under my hat for now and come back to it in a future post. Dont want to take ALL the fun out of the surprise elements of the game!

If the Gods are really smiling on me they will now fast track my Turkish techs too. We will see...

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Al,

January 30th... the deep freeze of winter. Not much action to report. Allies continue to build up. I launched another attack on Al's outer line as UK forces continue to move up in strength. In the East Al has unzipped his fly... and exposed much or his army near Warsaw. I have to play cautiously... as I can not afford to have Russia damaged too early. He still does not know where the bulk of my army is and I intend to keep it that way at least till spring.

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Afternoon all

If there is ever a good reason not to post a graphic then this was the turn. I did next to nothing that was visible in the ice and snow blanketing Europe in February 1915, instead choosing to spend lots and creep German troops a little bit nearer to Warsaw. Marc has expanded his Basra beach head further and I have responded with forces on their way to Iraq.

I got 3 more techs and when Spring arrives, and my forces launch the 2 offensives I am preparing for, I will give you all a tech update. I have been pretty fortunate to be honest and am going to cause all sorts of trouble for the Entente in 1915 I think.

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