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Bill101

1914 March on Paris AAR

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Trenches in this aren't that strong, they just help to give the attacker a bloodier nose than otherwise.

I think that what Ivanov has mentioned above is the price of not attacking through Belgium, because doing so would have provided the Germans with a number of routes into France, and the French would struggle to resist them all. Hence the campaign would have been mobile for longer. Not that we have necessarily seen the end of mobile campaigning yet in this game, I seriously doubt that the Germans will let that happen.

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More French divisions arrive at Belfort ready to repel the invader.

belfort15aug_zpsf7d1bb2d.gif

General Dubail is now here at Belfort, commanding the forces that will defend his hometown.

General Auguste Dubail

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A German infantry division south west of Toul showed itself to be totally spineless when attacked by two French divisions. The Boche were so scared they ran away every time they were attacked!

As more infantry reinforcements march up behind the Meuse, they are taking over the positions occupied by our Cavalry, freeing up our horsemen to form a masse de manoeuvre ready for the next stage of operations.

It would be interesting to know what von Moltke’s next grand plan will be. Was he wise to throw his predecessor's ideas into the waste paper basket without having a back up plan?

The Kaiser’s mention of India makes the British Foreign Secretary suspect that he has designs on the British Empire, and this raises British demands to have the UK enter the war.

British mobilization is well underway, and Sir John French just awaits the order to embark the B.E.F. for the continent!

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So here it is - the Mother of All Battles has commenced on the central front! There is no space left for maneuver and finesses. The 1st and 6th Armies field in total over thirty divisions for this attack! The German HQ hopes that this critical mass will be able to eventually overcome the enemy. If the French lose here, it could only mean their ultimate defeat:

16AUGCommercy_zps31142022.png

The intilal wave destroyed three French divisions but the German casualties have been high aswell. This is a contest between the two modern armies and it seems that so far, is has been bloodier than any of the previous wars! Some contemporary intellectuals claimed not so long ago, that the modern weapons have become so powerful, that this fact would deter the world powers from waging a war. Unfortunatelly their idealistic ideas turned out to be very wrong indeed...

So far, von Moltke is rather happy from was has been achieved by his armies. He firmly belives that the French won't have the stomach for a prolonged campaign. On the downside, it looks that the enemy is mobilizing very efficiently and despite taking constant loses, the actual number of the French units in the field has increased recently. Our intelligence tells us, that during the last turn, at least 10 new divisions have been mobilized! But the German armies in the West are expecting to receive significant reinforcements aswell and not all of our units are involved in the combat. There are still many turns left until the October and the German HQ may decide to strike somewhere else. Could that be Verdun, Alsace or maybe even eventually Belgium? Der Kaiser is capricious and moody leader sometimes and he may even decide against the rational advice of his field commanders. Let's wait and see...

Nightmare of the French. The Germans are coming:

ZEGERMANS_zpsbb978b92.jpg

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The Germans have withdrawn at Belfort! Dubail’s arrival has stiffened our resistance and the Boche will now struggle to capture this great fortress. :)

General Joffre reviews our reinforcements heading for the front

joffretroops_zps020a304d.gif

It’s time for our counterattack, and three German infantry divisions are smashed! The casualties the Germans have suffered in their frontal attacks have been tremendous, and they are now paying the price for not having invaded Belgium, even if only to turn our flank north of Verdun.

Here’s the situation in mid-August 1914

sitrep16Aug_zps44a01f9c.gif

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The relentless German assault continues on the central front and the French clearly don't inted to yield even an inch of ground there. It seems that gen. Joffre, sees the defensive line on the river Mouse, as some kind of French Thermopylae. Is he really hoping that the hadful of British divisions will enentually save his beloved Third Republic? Two more French divisions have been destroyed on 18th of August, while the Greman casualties have been heavy aswell. The live images from the battlefield are too horrid, so this time we will show only an artistic vision depicting our heroes:

tw0107germany.jpg

The author of this work of art from the trenches remains anonymous. Some attribute it to a young Austrian volunteer from Vienna, who served as a dispatch runner in the Bavarian regiment and was killed by a French sniper near Commercy...

In ther mean time, a single German cavalry division has reached the town of Mierecourt and effectively cut off the shortest way linking the fortress of Epinal with the main body of the French army. It is believed to be a raid in the search for an opportunity, on the quiet sector of the front:

18AUGMirecourt2.jpg

In Alsace the army of gen von Heeringen has been regroping. A superior enemy force is belived to be deploying near Belfort and the German Alsace may be finaly threatedned by the invasion of the warmongering French revanchists.

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Our reconnaissance flights suggest that von Moltke is going to attempt to outflank the south of our line between Toul and Epinal, so rather than just sit and wait for him to do so, we advance and batter his leading Cavalry division. That’ll teach him!

mirecourt_zpsb362c5fa.gif

The fighting along the Meuse continues, with a German division occupying Commercy being destroyed. How much longer will the Germans keep up the pressure here?

Belgian Cavalry spot the deployment of several German divisions in northern Luxembourg. Could the Kaiser be planning on violating Belgian neutrality after all? It certainly looks possible.

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It's 20th of August now and the gigantic and bloody battle at the banks of river Meuse has been raging for four days now. It's purpose is clear - the attrition and annihilation of the defenders! The French are still holding their ground, but the rate of casualties they are taking in the process, is practically not sustainable in the long term. The German frontline units have spotted that the cavalry divisions are being recently used to fill the gaps and to replace the destroyed units...

The French venture against our reconnaissance unit in Mirecourt has been punished severely and a strong counter attack has destroyed the leading French division. The fighting in this hilly terrain has been really ugly and none expected that the war and destruction could arrive one day to those quiet and picturesque towns and villages:

20AUGMIRECOURT1.jpg

In Alsace the cat and mouse game continues to take place and an enemy division has been destroyed South of Belfort:

20AUGBELFORT.png

This may seem like a secondary front but it's political significance is enormous. The vast majority of the population here is German spaeking and the French claims to this teritorry are groundless.

The Landwehr troops in Colmar assure the local population that they are here to stay:

Landwehr.jpg

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The German Cavalry Division in Mirecourt has been wiped from the Kaiser’s Order of Battle, and it died so fast we didn’t even manage to take a note of its name!

You may be wondering why we have lots of cavalry in the front line whereas the Germans don’t? The answer is simple: it’s because we still have most of our cavalry.

The Importance of the Battle of the Meuse

Our aircraft discover that the enemy are still massed ready for a crossing of the Meuse, so our brave bonhommes’ stand on the river is holding up almost the whole German army!

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And what brutality are the Germans preparing for Belgium? Belgian scouts report the presence of German infantry near Bastogne:

bastogne_zpsf68791a6.gif

The UK stands at 79% mobilization. When will the British government tire of sending their polite complaints to Berlin and actually do something useful to help us?

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On 22nd of August it still seems, that neither side shows any sign of yielding in the Battle of the Meuse and gen. Joffre continues to lose the units. According to our intelligence assessment, the French have already mobilized all the available divisions and from now on, they won't be able to replace their loses. The most mobile fighting takes place around Mirecourt an enemy cavalry division has been battered there and is currently cut off:

22AUGCommercyMirecourt.png

In the mean time, the German replacements arrive continuously to Nancy which has become the main rail hub in the closest proximity to the battle zone. Here our troops in the city, having a luch break before departing to the front:

ZeGermans2.jpg

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It’s the 23rd August 1914 and we are resting our troops for the most part, as we sense that the enemy are building up for some important moves.

Our cavalry near Mirecourt withdraw, and fresh infantry units arrive in support. Our forces in this area are serving under the command of General de Castelnau, a veteran of many years service, starting with the war of 1870. Nicknamed the “Fighting Friar” for his piety, the Boche will struggle to get the better of him

General de Castelnau

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The enemy’s build up in Luxembourg for a possible move into Belgium is continuing. Perhaps von Moltke has realised that von Schlieffen’s plan had the advantage of providing some room for manoeuvre, something which the current German strategy of attempting to cross the Meuse is sorely lacking in.

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While the French press has been praising gen de Castelnau, the units under his command have suffered heavy loses in the vicinity of Neufchâteau. The German Hussars chased and clashed with the retreating French cavalry division, which effectively ceased to exist. The higher command decided to reorganize our forces in this area and a new Seventh Army has been formed under one of our best generals, that is Oskar von Hutier. He replaced the rather mediocre Von Hausen and certainly will be more than a match for Castelnau.

hutier.jpg

In reality gen. Oskar von Hutier is commonly associated with the later period of the World War One - mostly with the capture of Riga in 1917 and the Western Front in 1918. He is considered one of the ablest German commanders of that period.

The relentless pressure continues at Meuse and the French continue to lose units there:

24AUGCentral.png

It is pretty clear for Von Moltke, that if the Frenchies won't get outflanked at some stage, they will all perish where they currently stand.

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It looks like von Moltke is pursuing his ambition to outflank our line along the Meuse, by advancing to our south through the Vosges. It will be hard to prevent, but on the positive side, German supply won’t be good in this area.

warmap25aug_zps3f8baf80.gif

To deal with this situation, de Castelnau’s right flank is retiring, even giving up Neufchâteau without a fight.

Further north on the Meuse, de Langle de Cary orders a counterattack which destroys two German divisions and badly mauls two more.

meuse25aug_zps7b711e70.gif

The British government is now making serious preparations for war. The country’s mobilization level has risen to 85%, so it won’t be long now before the world’s greatest Empire joins our struggle!

More good news is that our income has increased now that mobilization is over. With the imminent British entrance into the war, a good chance of Belgium being invaded, and our increasing income, the Kaiser will soon realise that he’s bitten off more than he can chew. Will von Moltke be able to stand the strain?

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Is victory in this scenario usually an NM issue, or one of territory?

[spectacular AAR, with the intelligent historical analysis and pictures. I was going to write, "It goes without saying"--but, hey saying it is likely the best way to go to motivate excellent scenarios. It is astonishing that you may be doing a 1870 scenario.]

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Hi Rankorian

Glad you're enjoying it, and it's a lot of fun playing it. I am really not sure at the moment how much extra pressure Ivanov is going to be able to put on me in the coming turns, so the battle could easily move from the Meuse to elsewhere!

It's most likely to be the capture of objectives which will determine the result, unless one side or the other fares really badly in which case National Morale would lead to a collapse.

So, for instance if the Germans are able to smash a lot of French units and advance to capture a good number of French cities, then French National Morale will fall quite considerably. At the moment, my French have suffered considerable casualties but haven't lost many locations. Let's hope that doesn't change!

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Momentous events are taking place on 26th of August. It seems that the French flank at Neufchâteau may be disintegrating! It came as a shock to a German HQ that the enemy has given up the town without any resistance. At Meuse, the main body of the French army has been bleeding for over a week now, without any signs of yielding the ground, so the retreat further South is quite suprising indeed. For the moment a risky maneuver of marching the entire 7th army through the Vosges seems to be paying off. Von Moltke estimates that the hastily retreat has been caused by the fact that the forces of gen Joffre are overstretched and already lack the operational reserves in the battle zone. So it seems that the costly assault at Meuse was worth the the effort just as planned. There's a rumour that the eldery gen de Castelnau suffered a nervous breakdown and possibly even a heart attack! In any case it looks like he might have lost control over some of his units, that are believed to be retreating on their own initiative...

26AUGCENTRAL1.jpg

The German HQ considers now the two potential courses of action. First - the French continue to hold their ground at Meuse while trying to seal off the 7th Army breakthrough by throwing all available tactical reserves into the Neufchâteau gap. Second - Joffre orders an operational retreat in order to shorthen his frontline and to reestablish operational reserve that could be even employed for some kind of counter attack. We certainly shall see...

In Alsace a reneved attack at Belfort has taken place. While attempting to outflak the fortress from the South a battered enemy division has been dispersed. Yet another proof that some units of the French army are already exhausted and not fit for the combat.

26AUGBELFORT.png

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Revenge at Belfort as one German division is destroyed and another badly mauled!

1914-08-27Belfort_zps1875ff50.gif

Meanwhile, a great withdrawal has begun, as our forces march to the west to escape the clutches of the brutal Hun.

1914-08-27Meuse_zps13257d7c.gif

We’ll see how long the Kaiser can keep up his attack once he’s run out of supplies west of the Vosges… and Ivanov has clearly not highlighted in his post above just how knackered some of his units in this area are! :)

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It's 28th of August and so far there is no sign of a French general retreat. There has been some movement and regrouping in front ouf our 7th Army but it looks as merely necessary reorganization, in order to create some kind of continuous frontline, in the area of Neufchâteau Gap. So it seems that the first variant contemplated by Von Moltke is materializing. A screening force of cavalry and battered infantry units is taking up the defensive positions at Marne between St Dizier and Chaumont. In the meantime the 7th Army continues it's confident march westwards.

28AUG.jpg

At the same time the 1st and 7th Armies launch a series of devastating attacks along Meuse, because only a coordinated effort along the entire lenght of the front may finally overcome the enemy, who is evidently at at a breaking point. It's worth noting, that since the end of mobilization, the total number of French divisions has fallen from 68 at it's peak to 56 currently.

The 7th Army of gen Von Hutier employs some pre-Blitzkrieg tactics in order to speed up it's advance:

1914Blitz.jpg

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The British are getting very close to entering the war now, and we have more good news in the shape of the arrival of Ferdinand Foch to command a new army that is forming ready to stop the enemy’s advance.

Foch: the man who will save France

Foch_zps105b2717.gif

We strengthen our positions along the Meuse so as to better guard our southern flank, and we round off the turn by destroying a German division here too!

1914-08-29Meuse_zps65e48128.gif

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It is clear on 30th of August, that the French defensive line of the Meuse has been decisively crossed by the 7th army ( supported also by some of the von Kluck's troops ). The German soldiers are already on the western bank of the river, everywhere south of Commercy. This may allow our advancing armies to unhinge the rest of the enemy positions, that are located between Verdun and Bar Le Duc :

30AUG_zpscfa1aa02.png

***

A news that Britain has declared war on Germany has just reached our Kaiser Wilhelm. It has been expected for some time, still it is hard for His Majesty to come to terms with it:

-Zis is outrageous! We haven't provoked them, yet this treacherous nation of shoopkeepers dares to conspire agaisnt us?! Moltke - how big is their army?

-We estimate that they may send to France around then divisions, not more your highness.

-Zo funny! The French are losing so many troops in one week of fighting against us! What are those English thinking? They should be rather policing their colonies or chase the Pashtuns in the mountains of Afganistan - ja?! This is a moment of a special significance for Germany and our people. Is shall wear my favourite, flashy uniform for this occasion. You know, the bombastic one with an eagle. I will address our generals now.

KAISER_zps9997a796.jpg

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The British Expeditionary Force arrives in France! :D

kitchener_zpsa7bc623e.gif

It is reported that the Kaiser has a contemptible attitude towards this force, so the B.E.F. looks forward to proving its worth in battle, and if bad tempers could win wars, then the British II Corps commander, Smith-Dorrien, would be worth a hundred thousand men.

Foch continues forming his new army, while fighting continues on the Meuse with the destruction of another German division.

Meanwhile, French aircraft flying over Luxembourg discover that there are five German divisions in Luxembourg, none of which could possibly expect to see any action unless the Germans are planning to invade Belgium. The question is: are these units there to distract us, or is von Moltke seriously planning an invasion?

warmap3108_zpsefe2903b.gif

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It is amazing to me that less than a 100 years ago, a European statesman could wear a uniform so weird, pagan, and bombastic as what you showed Kaiser Willhelm wearing. He looks like something a Celt or Gaul commander, facing the Romans, would have looked like.

I can't think of an equivalent look in WW2, outside of a Wagner opera.

What amazes me about these AARs is how they are all so nail-biting. Really? They are all so long that huge imbalancing flaws could have been unmasked, particularly by two players who know the system well enough to potentially "game" it.

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The German intelligence is reporting on the 1st of September, that the British units have already landed on the coast of France. However it will most likely take them few days, before they will arrive combat ready to the battle zone. One can certainly sense tension in Von Moltke's HQ. According to the Kaiser's wishes, the German army in the Western Front, has only one more month left to capture Paris and to win the war. If that won't happen by the end of September, then the offensive will be called off and our brave troops will be ordered to start digging in, so they could survive the Winter on the occupied French territory. It will be a sad necessity, because the combined potential of France and Britain will continue to grow, while the Russian bear in the East is still very dangerous, despite our victory at Tannenberg.

***

In the mean time, the battle is in a full swing and the elements of the 7th Army continue to push forwards, with the cavalry divisions condicting operational reconnaissance:

01SEP_zps1f848de5.png

Unlike the commanders of the 1st and 6th armies, gen Von Hutier hasn't forgotten, that the maneuver warfare has always favoured our armies ( due to the inherent superiority of the German soldier ) and conducting it, it the best way to avoid the next, Meuse like stalemate in the West.

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It is amazing to me that less than a 100 years ago, a European statesman could wear a uniform so weird, pagan, and bombastic as what you showed Kaiser Willhelm wearing. He looks like something a Celt or Gaul commander, facing the Romans, would have looked like.

That's exactly what I thought when I saw this picture for the first time :) He looks stereotypically militaristic and arogant. Just the way the Allied propaganda was portraying the proverbial "Huns" during the WWI.

What amazes me about these AARs is how they are all so nail-biting. Really? They are all so long that huge imbalancing flaws could have been unmasked, particularly by two players who know the system well enough to potentially "game" it.

This is a wonderfully balanced campaign and very acurate historically, what personally I love. It is simply a must for a multiplayer match!

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That's exactly what I thought when I saw this picture for the first time :) He looks stereotypically militaristic and arogant. Just the way the Allied propaganda was portraying the proverbial "Huns" during the WWI.

Which is ironic, since, in Roman times, it was the Huns from the East pushing the Germanic tribes into Roman territory.....

But that is off-topic. Let's see if 1914 is really the death of cavalry, or if horses really still have a place in a German/French conflict.

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