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Aryaman

Some points about the 1st Balkan War scenario

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Hi

I am very delighted with the game I bought a couple of weeks ago. I am surfing the scenarios and I have palyed the 1st Balkan War scenario. Having recently read a couple of books on the subject I was very interested on that very neglected conflict, but I found the scenario OOB puzzling.

1) First of all it seems to be heavily weighted in favour of the Turks, were in fact they were clearly outnumbered. The Turkish Eastern Army starts the scenario with the historical 4 Inf Corps plus the 2 provisional Inf Corps already in position (They didn´t arrive until October 28, second turn, and were not ready for action for some days).

2) The OOB of the Western army is not very accurate, and rather short of effectives, 5 instead of the 8 Corps present, you can mora than counter that with the 1500 MPPs available to the Turks the first turn to buy units available for inmediate deployment. However you can deploy them wherver you want, while in reality Aremy Corps were territorially based and they could no be mobilized magically in other regions.

3) The Bulgarian army is very much understrength, especially the Bulgarian army. The OOB of the Bulgarian army could be deceptive because the Bulgarian division was the equivalent of a Turkish Army Corps in strength. The Bulgarian army deployed 10 Corps size divisions but in the game they just deploy 4 Corps, 2 Divisions and 1 heavy artillery (?).

To sum up, the non historical weakness of Bulgarian forces and the correspondingly overstrength of the Turkish force means that the scenario is balanced in favour of the Turkish in a non historical way.

I would like that to be redressed if possible. I am not familiar with the scenario editor, but if someone is willing to edit it I can supply the historical data for the deployment of the forces.

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Hi Aryaman

Thanks for offering the info on the Bulgarians, and I'd love to see it.

Regarding the Ottoman deployment, I took the conscious decision to give them a chance to rewrite history as their starting MPPs represents the opportunity for them to have adopted a different strategy to defend the Balkans.

I realize that this does mean that their actual deployment won't necessarily fit with the historical one, but the hope has been to increase re-playability through adding the possibility of trying out more "what ifs".

In my playtesting of this scenario (admittedly more against the AI in this one) I have found that the Turks are quite easy to beat, as cutting the rail link from Constantinople to Salonika will immediately reduce the supply and therefore effectiveness of their forces in and to the north and west of Salonika.

The Turks are hard pushed to stop both that and attacks on their cities and units.

However, I'd welcome hearing the results of both multiplayer and AI games as this will help give a better feel for balance before any changes are made.

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Hi Bill, thanks for the swift answer

I have beaten the Turkish AI, but I doubt I can beat a human player of similar experience (very limited in my case).

The historical Turkish position was rather desperate from the start, but I think there are 2 possible answers to that and at the same time keeping the historical accuracy

1) Working the Victory conditions making the historical outcome a draw, so that the Balkan league player has to go for more than just taking Salonica to win.

2) Making redeployment possible for replayability, but within historical limits, instead making new units available for the player to purchase making the historical units mobilized earlier so that they could be redeployed, like the option the Germans have in the Call to Arms scenario.

Just my suggestions.

Regarding the Bulgarian Army, you can see the OOB here on wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Bulgaria#First_Balkan_War

The links to the three armies detail their respective OOB.

Quoted from EJ Erickson. Defeat in detail, The Ottoman Army in the Balkans 1912-1913

"The Bulgarian Army employed a unique infantry

division comprised of three brigades, each of two infantry regiments, with each regiment containing four

infantry battalions. This configuration gave full-strength Bulgarian infantry divisions a grand total of twentyfour

infantry battalions. Additionally these divisions contained two artillery regiments, a cavalry regiment, and

an

engineer battalion. At full strength, Bulgarian infantry divisions could contain as many as thirty thousand

soldiers, making them nearly the equivalent of a single new 1910 Turkish army corps."

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After reading this thread, I played the scenario as the Balkan league, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually won a decisive victory against the Turks, but had to work for it. I must admit I took the tip Bill gave, and cut the rail line between Constantinople and Salonica on the first term.

The OB might not have been totally accurate, where the Turks and Bulgarians were concerned, but the scenario was a lot of fun, and gave me a sense of mountain warfare.

I would not mind seeing a larger and more historical Bulgarian army, though, both in this scenario and the main 1914 scenario. Great fun.

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After reading this thread, I played the scenario as the Balkan league, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I actually won a decisive victory against the Turks, but had to work for it. I must admit I took the tip Bill gave, and cut the rail line between Constantinople and Salonica on the first term.

The OB might not have been totally accurate, where the Turks and Bulgarians were concerned, but the scenario was a lot of fun, and gave me a sense of mountain warfare.

I would not mind seeing a larger and more historical Bulgarian army, though, both in this scenario and the main 1914 scenario. Great fun.

I would like to try the scenario against a human opponent. I am a novice to the game, but would you like to try it against me? I hope I can give the Balkan League a better fight than the AI

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Thanks Aryaman, I'll have a think about what to do, and in the meantime I welcome more feedback from yourself and others on the game balance in due course.

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I would like to try the scenario against a human opponent. I am a novice to the game, but would you like to try it against me? I hope I can give the Balkan League a better fight than the AI

Aryaman, I never play games online. I very much appreciate the offer, though, and have enjoyed the way you raised and discussed this very interesting subject.

Best wishes,

Vaalen

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Thanks Aryaman, I'll have a think about what to do, and in the meantime I welcome more feedback from yourself and others on the game balance in due course.

Thanks to you Bill, the detailed OOB for the Ottoman army is also in the book I quoted before, "EJ Erickson. Defeat in detail, The Ottoman Army in the Balkans 1912-1913", if you don´t have the book I can send the OOB to you.

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Ok, here is the Ottoman OOB

EASTERN ARMY Ferik Abdullah Pascha

1)Manouver Force

Deployed between Adrianople and Kirkilisse, from West to East, Independent Cavalry Division, IV Corps, I Corps, II Corps, III Corps.

2)Adrianople Fortified Area: (Aproximately a Corps size garrison, BTW Adrianople should be a fortress in the scenario)

10th Infantry Division

11th Infantry Division

Adrianople, Babaeski, Gümülcine Redif Divisions

4th Rifle Regiment

12th Cavalry Regiment

Fortress Division and Fortress Artillery

3)Kircaali Detachment: (aproximately equivalent to one full strength regular division)

Kircaali Redif Division

Kircaali Müstahfiz Division (provisional)

36th Infantry Regiment

The detachment’s wartime mission was to keep the Bulgarians away from the vulnerable Constantinople-Salonika railroad that ran through Thessaly. The railroad was generally located about fifty to sixty kilometers south of the Bulgarian frontier. There were two avenues of approach south through the mountains along roads, which the detachment intended to block. The eastern approach connected the town of Kircaali to Gülmülcine (on the railroad), and the western approach connected Paşmakli to Iskece (also on the railroad). It was placed around the tile were the II Corps unit is now placed in the scenario.

4) XV Provisional Corps: (aproximately equivalent to one full strength regular division)

Formed by 2 Rediff (reserve) divisions still mobilizing, Ottoman General Staff was very concerned about the vulnerability of the Gallipoli Peninsula to a Greek amphibious assault. On October 15, 1912, the staff gave the XV Corps a revised mission to defend the Gallipoli Peninsula against such an attack, and the corps began to concentrate at the peninsula.

5) XVII Provisional Corps, XVIII Provisional Corps.

They were concentrating at Constantinople, incorporating units arriving from Anatolia. They were activated on October 29.

Because of the Italian naval threat to Smyrna and the southeastern Anatolian coast, the 6th Infantry Division was ordered to remain at its island and mainland garrisons there. Most of the 1st Infantry Division was deployed in Macedonia to hunt down rebels, as was a part of the 2nd Infantry Division. Indeed, the 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 12th Infantry Divisions (all the regular infantry divisions attached to the four Corps readily available to Eastern Army) all had at least an entire infantry regiment on detached duties in Yemen or Albania. Cumulatively, this meant that the Eastern Army was going to war at about half of its anticipated strength in infantry.

WESTERN ARMY Ali Riza Pascha

Bulgarian Front

Ustruma Corps

Nevrekop Detachment

(In game terms I would put just 1 Corps unit where the IV Corps is presently at the scenario)

Montenegro Front

Iskodra Corps (Half the force detached to Ipek)

Ipek Detachment

Taslica Detachment (2 regiments)

(In game terms 1 Detachment at Scutari and 1 Detachment at Pec, and no HQ unit)

Greek Front

Yaniya Corps

VIII Provisional Corps (regular VIII Corps was in Syria, blocked by the Greek Navy)

Salonika Division (Garrison)

(In game terms I would replace the Salonika Corps by a Division unit, and rename the HQ unit to the name of Ali Riza Pascha)

Serbian Front

VARDAR ARMY Zeki Pascha

V Corps, VI Corps, VII Corps

II Provisional Corps (never operational, it was used to fed reinforcements to the active Corps)

Firzovik Detachment (Divisional size)

Pristine Detachment

(In game terms I would represent the 3 regular Corps deployed between Uskup and Monastir, with the HQ of Zeki Pascha in Monastir, and 1 Detachment at Pristina)

Forces were very much understrength, In all about 175.000 troops were available. The Second Army Inspectorate was geographically split between the Balkans in Europe and Syria in Asia. The VIII Corps (20 percent of the army’s regular strength) was stationed in Aleppo, Damascus, and Jerusalem. Moreover, the Redif infantry divisions assigned to the Western Army in wartime were spread throughout two Redif Inspectorates in Anatolia, a Redif Inspectorate in Syria and Palestine, and the Second Redif Inspectorate in the Balkans. The mobilization plans for this force were equally complex and varied according to the local geography and demographics.

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And here some notes on the armies of the Balkan League

ARMIES OF THE BALKAN LEAGUE

Greece

In 1912, under the supervision of a French military mission, the Greeks reorganized their army along the lines of the Ottoman Army by moving organizationally to the triangular infantry division. As in the Ottoman Army, this created a surplus of regiments, which, in late summer 1912, remained unorganized into infantry divisions. Upon mobilization, the Greek General Staff formed additional infantry divisions from the surplus regiments for a mobilized total of 7 infantry divisions.

There was no structure of Army Corps, however in Game terms the force of the Greek Army was about 3 Army Corps, but they were all deployed in the Army of Thessaly under Prince Constantine, in Epirus there were just a number of battalions that were consolidated in the new 8th Division, in game terms the 3 Corps would be in Thessaly, the Corps in Epirus would be a division and there would be no additional HQ unit nor Division garrison at Athens.

Serbia

Serbian Divisions, at 4 regiments each, were larger than Greek and Ottoman Divisions. The 1st Army, with 5 Inf Divisions and 1 Cavalry Division, had the strength of 3 Army Corps, in game terms they would be deployed around the deployment of the I1st Army Corps unit, the rest of the units being about right)

Montenegro

The overall strength of the Montenegrin Army in 1912 was 44,500 men, armed

with about 36,000 rifles, 44 machine guns, and 118 pieces of artillery, I think it is adequately represented in the game.

Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Army employed a unique infantry division comprised of three brigades, each of two infantry regiments, with each regiment containing 4 infantry battalions. This configuration gave full-strength Bulgarian infantry divisions a grand total of 24 infantry battalions. Additionally these divisions contained two artillery regiments, a cavalry regiment, and an engineer battalion. At full strength, Bulgarian infantry divisions could contain as many as thirty thousand soldiers, making them nearly the equivalent of a single new 1910 Turkish army corps.

The Bulgarian field army counted for nine infantry divisions, one cavalry division and 1,116 artillery units. In game terms 5 Corps size units and a cavalry Division would be deployed around Burgas, ready to strike to the Ottoman Western Army, 2 other Corps would be close to Adrianople to blockade the fortress, 1 Corps would be where the 1st army cops is now in the scenario and the final one would be close to Nish to collaborate with the Serbs. The army was massed in Eastern Thrace for swift attack on the main Ottoman concentration, and the hope to reach Constantinople.

In the game the armies of Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria have each one a heavy artillery unit, but in reality they had a very small number of heavy pieces, and during the siege of Adrianople the Bulgarians resorted to infantry attacks to force the surrender of the Ottoman garrison. IMO those Heavy artillery units should not be in the game.

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BTW In the game the Greeks receive by event a unit of Italian Garibaldini volunteers, in fact that unit was very small, it comprised just 2 Battalions and it hardly merit a proper unit in the game

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Is it intended that Montenegro gets the Albanian Legion event instead of the Ottomans if the Balkan League controls Tirana at the time the event fires? The text says something about the integrity of the empire, which only makes sense if you're playing the Ottomans. I was playing the Balkan League so it seemed very much out of place when I got it.

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As a player, and not a history grog, I want to mention how much I enjoyed my first game as the Turks, on Intermediate, where I received the lowest level of victory by just holding onto Adrianople.

It is seldom fun to play against the AI, but this was an exception. Not being familiar with the scenario, it was fascinating to have enemy units pop all around me, and end up making a fighting withdrawal, almost like a Vietnam War ambush, and ending up establishing a last-ditch line.

In replaying this, and looking at the victory conditions, I sense that counter-attacking the Balkan League at Greece may be the reasonable strategy. I look forward to playing this many times, with variations. (the scenario is also a nice length, with a nice--lowish--number of units.)

If the Turks are supposedly overpowered, then all the better for me--when I switch to playing the Balkan League it will still be challenging playing the AI (except now I know to cut the rail line)

I like the 1200 MPP build for the Turks--lots of options, but, but.....making a massive navy is not one of them. That would be consistent with what I see as the philosphy with this SC series to make big navy builds correctly difficult and expensive.

There are so many subtle issues such as how quickly units on the attack could actually advance, and how easily attacking units from different nationalities to coordinate, and the special terrain issues which are abstracted intensely, that I think there is a correct need to balance to create the correct flavor. If Bill decided to take away artillery units for the Balkan League, and add infantry units, as Aryaman seems to advocate, I would not be against it, but the testing would need to be, in my opinion, significant.

Again, to me this is an utterly excellent scenario, both fun to play, and I know know 10 times more about the balkans geography--nothing like fighting across terrain to understand it--, and the historical situation in the area in 1912, than I did a month ago.

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Is it intended that Montenegro gets the Albanian Legion event instead of the Ottomans if the Balkan League controls Tirana at the time the event fires? The text says something about the integrity of the empire, which only makes sense if you're playing the Ottomans. I was playing the Balkan League so it seemed very much out of place when I got it.

Unfortunately it appears this event was not fixed in 1.02 as per the patch notes. Now instead of going to Montenegro, the Albanian Legion simply doesn't appear at all.

Also, shouldn't the initial strategy advice popup for the Ottomans appear on their first turn, rather than the second?

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Good spots, these now definitely are fixed my side! I think I fixed the unit script before, without realizing that there was also a problem with the Decision Event itself.

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