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WW1 Revisited – An Ash & Will AAR – Central Powers


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It’s been a good long while, but after intense fighting on the eastern front in assault on Communism Will and I decided to move back to our first project of the SC series, the excellent WW1 version. Has it been since April we did that very first Newbie AAR? Last time I fought as Germany (Prussia, it’s Prussia! No, wait… Prussia is just a part of Germany… oh… *sadface*) and I will be doing so again this time. I heard from will that he will be doing an Entente AAR as the opposite of this one, so you’ll be able to see both sides!

I’ll be experimenting a little with the game this time around, though nothing too insane as I don’t have the experience to anticipate the results of large gambles yet. Heck, I barely remember the lessons learned last time!

Anyway, on to the initial strategy.

Initial Strategy

After thinking for a while and looking around the map I decided to take a slightly different approach this time. Mainly in that I want to try and get all of those German troops up to elite steps before engaging Belgium, and in wanting to apply a little more pressure to Russia at the start. I’m still thinking I need to take out Serbia, so the German artillery will be sent there, but German troops in the east might help keep the immense pressure of the Russians off our weaker Austrian allies. Ottomans. Hm. On one hand I’m not sure I want them in the war. On the other… I don’t think I can stop them from entering, so they might as well be as strong as possible.

Waiting until turn 3 to attack Belgium might be bad, but then again, I’ll have elite steps and the Brits will be getting a very low income until they enter. I briefly considered attacking France head on and ignoring Belgium, but I don’t think I can break the deep French lines in such a narrow corridor. This start leaves me options, either I can keep reinforcing the east to increase pressure on the Rus, or I can strengthen the west to hurt the western Entente and keep the Germans a distraction eastwards. We’ll just have to see!

Turn 1 – August 1, 1914

The western Front

1WesternFront.png

According to plan German high command moves into position apace, awaiting the last supplies coming in the next few weeks to strengthen the German army before the initial offensive. If the froggies want to attack our lines, let them come! German high command divides command of the Army as follows;

1st Army: Von Kluck (red)

2nd Army: Crown Prince Wilhelm (blue)

3rd Army: Duke Albrecht (green)

4th Army: Prince Rupperecht (brown, ish)

The 1st and 2nd armies will stand ready to assault Belgium, or bring the fight to the French if I change my mind. The third and fourth army will initially hold against any French advance, and only push forward once mobilization is complete and reinforcements reach the lines. Our positions have created a “no mans land” on the western front, with Mullhaussen being an exposed anchorage point.

The German Eastern Front

1GermanEasternFront.png

With German initial deployments favoring the east, Von Bulow finds himself overwhelmed in trying to organize the eastern army. We have deployed far back behind a river, withdrawing visible units from the front. Hopefully this will entice Russian units into overextending while Von Bulow receives a substantial overstock of Munitions and material from the army reserve, allowing his armies to strike harder, and thus push through the Russians eastwards.

In the Baltic, a large naval task force gathers to deal with any raiding conducted by the Russians.

Austrian Eastern front and the Serbian front

1Austria.png

Austria finds itself in the unenviable position of defending too much with much too little. The Austrian 2nd army was deployed to the Serbian front, the hope being that the stronger German presence will make this less of a gamble in the face of the Rus hordes. Soon, the Austrian artillery loaned to the Germans will be returned to this front, allowing a sustained offensive. Cities and fortresses along the eastern front were garrisoned, and the men now brace themselves for the coming storm.

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Very nice, to see a new Great War AAR.

Interesting to see you delaying the offensive in the west, very curious to see were the war of movement ends in static trench warfare. In my current game (multiplayer) as the central powers I used a strategy in Belgium were I wanted too keep the losses as minimal as possible. This ended in a Verdun type of battle for Lille were we traded corps for corps before winter set in. Belgium still alive and now the most reserves are in the east.

IMO the best way is to be very aggressive and accept losses in conquering as much of Belgium and northern France or not invading Belgium in 1914 at all and defeat the Russians.

Cant wait to see how this is going to end!

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Thank you for commenting VonLourens, hope you'll enjoy the AAR! This strategy is something of a gamble, we'll see how it plays out!

Turn 2 – August 15th, 1914

2Events.png

The British, those arrogant imperialistic swine, seized the sultan Osman. What an affront! Naturally our friends in the near east are incensed. Or will be. Our diplomats will tell them just how heinous this was to make sure they react accordingly.

The western Front

2WesternFront.png

All quiet on the eastern front, as the German army receives surplus materiel and food to sustain an all out offensive. Kaiser Wilhelm II is expressing doubts in this un-german caution and urges an immediate attack! Chief of staff Von Moltke urges caution however, and has so far prevailed upon the Kaiser to allow final preparations their due time. Basic trench work is dug at the French front.

In truth, I’m a little hesitant about my current strategy, but who knows, it might work out! What else are all those experience stars for anyway!

The German Eastern Front

2GermanEastFront.png

With Von Bulow struggling to manage the influx of Corps into the east, and Russian forces rushing into German lands as expected, Von Hindenburg is brought out of retirement to oversee the strengthening and final positioning of the 8th and 9th armies. Hindenburg will lead an attack northwards, as the Rus will likely overextend. The enemy has seized the mines at Silesia, a cause for some concern and much to the consternation of the Kaiser.

During a scouting tour of the Baltic, one of our submarines ran into a Russian destroyer…

Austrian Eastern front and the Serbian front

2Austria.png

A detachment has been brought by rail from Trieste to hold Dubrovnik behind XVI corps, heading out to join the Siege of Valjevo. The 2nd, 5th, and 6th Austrian armies now surround Belgrade and Valjevo, and the cities are under siege.

The Russians are appearing in frightening numbers around Galicia, and AOK is worried. Austrian armies, previously celebrating the coming offensive, have now begun to inspect sadly lacking entrenchments. The AOK is desperately trying to invent new ways to dig holes, but so far none of the new methods look promising (turning the spade around and trying to use it as a mattock was one suggestion, which turned a previously anonymous general into an unemployed and well known laughingstock, 3 chits in trench warfare).

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Turn 3 – August 29th, 1914

The western Front

3WesternFront.png

After nearly a month of preparation the OKH is finally ready to launch the great offensive in the west. The French have massed along our shared border, and the decision was finally made to strike through Belgium to stretch the enemy lines thinner. Two Belgian detachments were immediately destroyed, to insignificant German losses. Antwerp and Brussels have immediately come under siege. More mobilized forces have joined the armies at the front.

The Baltic

3TheBaltic.png

Our scouting submarine in the Baltic suffered further losses at Russian hands. The readied naval forces of the Kriegsmarine struck back, sinking the Aurora Cruiser and Vidni destroyer group with all hands. A screen was created to catch incoming enemy ships en route to the larger battleships.

The German Eastern Front

3-GermanEastFront.png

With intense Russian pressure mounting on Galicia, the Silesian mines fallen and no less than three corps and a Cavalry squadron besieging Krakow, German aid, that according to previous treaties between Austria-Hungary and Germany should have been sent to Serbia, now mobilize by train around Breslau. It is doubtful that the Austrians will survive the onslaught alone, and the German people honor their agreements. With any luck, these forces will be able to break the Siege of Krakow, retake the mines, and ease pressure on Galicia. Von Bulow has been sent to oversee the preparations.

The Russians seem more cautious than anticipated, and have withdrawn towards their conquests. Hindenburg follows apace, hesitant to strike on the move into unknown territory.

Austrian Eastern front and the Serbian front

3Austria.png

Fighting sparks all along the Austrian borders. In Serbia, Von Bohm-Ermolli calls a general offensive. After bitter fighting, Serbian 3rd army corps holds on to the city by a thread and Sabac detachment mauled in valjevo. German artillery has been brought by train to assist in the offensive on Serbia.

In Galicia, XI corps was brought close to destruction by massed Russian assaults. Replaced by XIV corps and brought to full strength, AOK commits to a counter offensive that wipes out Russian IX corps. Von brudermann is now doubtful as to whether continuing to defend the oilfields was the right call. AOK continues it’s desperate search for the superior shovel (another chit in trench warfare, four total). Sporadic fighting across the front damages several squadrons of Russian cavalry.

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Ah so there is an AAR for the bad guys too :D .

Will be interesting to see how all those elite steps do in the next offensive(s) !

Good luck to CP then.

Hehe, I honestly dont have a clue. I'd guess they dont have quite as much impact as armor elites on the eastern front :P. All that blue on the unit numbers was pricking my eye, so I just had to make use of it ;)

I figured the Belgians dont get stronger while they are neutral, and with britain out of the war for the first two turns I didnt get blockaded and they got less MPP too, so maybe it isnt so bad? (optimism has no place in war... :P )

Thanks for following the AAR!

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First, I apologize for the long delay. I made the decision not to send my finished turn to will before I had written and posted my AAR update here, I find that otherwise I tend to fall behind in writing, and finish turns before I posted the one before! While updates might be a bit slower in the future, at least I will be keeping pace with the action. Now on to the turn!

Turn 4 – September 12, 1914

4Events.png

The world is in Chaos, and the Serbs are to blame! Their dastardly act against Austria shook the foundations of western society, and the despicable French, British and Rus are helping them. Civil war in Albania, and more and more of the Rus appear every week.

The western Front

4WesternFront.png

French harassment hurt two German corps badly before the Frenchies withdrew. The 1st and 2nd armies advanced further into Belgium, exacting some small vengeance in destroying the 1st French cavalry corps. Despite furious attacks by most of the 1st army, the fortified city of Antwerp still stands, though the defenders hand on by a thread, propping their wounded on canes along the battlements to affect a staunch defense.

The German Eastern Front

4Germaneastfront.png

The Kriegsmarine sent the Battleship Konig Albert to scout the Gulf of finland, where it encountered and sank an aging Russian cruiser. The rest of the Baltic task force stands by in combat formations to assist the Albert and strike back if any more of the Russian fleet reveals itself, and to screen the approaches from the North Baltic in case raiders from that area try to escape to Russian waters.

Two Russian corps, the second and third, engaging in a classic field battle against the German 9th corps, were outflanked by Hindenburg and destroyed. Unfortunately this immediately depleted most surplus munitions and dedicated reserves, leaving the German corps weaker than we had hoped. Gumbinnen was left unmolested, viewed by Hindenburg as no threat to his flanks.

Austrian Eastern front and the Serbian front

4Austria.png

The Austrians continue to suffer under the seemingly endless waves of Russians. Von Brudermanns doubts as to the wisdom of trying to defend the oilfields prove well founded, as the defending Austrian corps was overwhelmed and destroyed, along with another corps on the flank of Lemberg. AOK desperately seek adequate defensive measures. On the northern Galician flank, Von Bulow leads a relief force, threatening the Russian army around Krakow and within striking distance of Lodz.

If things look grim in the east, Von Bohm Ermolli can at least report success against the Serbs. The detachment holding Valjevo and the weakened corps defending Belgrade were routed and scattered, and the Austrian 2nd, 5th and 6th armies advanced to close the front and prepare new assaults. The Austrian artillery (technically on loan to Germany who have decided to use it on the Serbian front to fulfill pre-war promises) proved decisive.

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Turn 5 – August 1, 1914

One small change, using red color for all moves and casualties became a bit confusing. So from now on I'll try to use red for enemy moves, lost corps and noteworthy damage, and flamy orange for my own. Comment on this is welcome, is it good or bad?

The western Front

5WestFront.png

The western front is heating up. The german 2nd army suffered it’s first true losses, with two corps attacked and destroyed by advancing Frenchmen. A counter attack… In turn, Crown prince Wilhelm and Von Kluck coordinate to destroy a weakened French corps, and a bold charge by the 4th cavalry corps catch and scatter the 10th French corps be Maubeuge. Antwerp falls, and the advance continues.

Worsening weather, and the dawning realization that time spent to complete mobilization might not be worthwhile plague Von Moltke. The effort spent overstrengthening the corps before the attack does not seem to be paying any actual useful results, French attacks do plenty of damage, and German counter attacks not noticeably more.

The Baltic

5TheBaltic.png

Modern Russian cruisers, the Pallada and Rurik attacked The Konig Albert in the Gulf of Finland, leaving her severely damaged and listing. Both ships were sunk by the counter stroke of the Kriegsmarine, and Parting shots from the Konig in particular saw the Pallada sucked into the dark waters of the Baltic. Advancing submarines now gather to try and sink the remainder of the Russian fleet in port, while the blockade around Åland continues to trap any escaping Russian raiders.

The German Eastern Front

5GermanEast.png

A continued aggressive advance by von Hindenburg saw the Russian 27th corps destroyed near Kovno as it retreated from Gumbinnen, with negligible German losses. The Rus is falling back, and Hindenburg intends to give chase. Any forces tied down or lost here are not pressuring the Austrians. More men arrive by train near Memel to strengthen the offensive and reinforcements bring 9th corps to full strength.

Austrian Eastern front

5AustrianEast.png

Galicia is a continued headache. The fortress of Lemberg is left exposed as the corps holding it’s right flank is shattered by several Russian attacks, corps which then retreat behind Russian lines. Nonetheless, the Rus now holds that flank, and the front is exposed. Desperate counter attacks by 17th corps and 10th corps out of Jaroslav clear it’s left flank however. A damaged corps is brought by train from the Serbian front to hold the important city near Premyzl.

Though the Siege of Krakow is not a fact, Von Bulow impetuously struck at Lodz rather than directly hit the dug in Russian besiegers. Whether or not this was wise is still to be determined.

Serbian front

5SerbianFront.png

Quiet on this front, as Von Bohm Ermolly advances and prepares for the next assault.

One small glimmer of hope among the AOK is the idea that sharper, pointy spades might be better at digging. (Trench warfare 1 reached).

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Turn 1 – October 24th, 1914

The British blockade is sinking its teeth into Germany, and is felt every week across the country. The Brits are shipping forces from around the world, this is truly a war to end all wars.

The western Front

6WesternFront.png

As cold October closes it’s wet and miserable grip around Europe, the German 1st and 2nd armies suffer harassing attacks by French and British forces. German XVIII corps is brought to the brink of destruction, but escapes in the lords hour behind advancing IV reserve corps. Meanwhile, Von Klucks second army strikes Ypres, where the British stand exhausted after fighting XIth corps. The shatter under the weight of Von Klucks assault, and Ypres is taken by advanced, but exposed, German forces.

With their country occupied, the Belgians surrender. Reports of Belgian forces remaining with the British despite this trouble OKH…

The German Eastern Front

6GermanEastFront.png

As Von Hindernburg approach Kovno and spot dug in Russian corps in the miserable weather, a pause in the advance is called to reorganize and receive reinforcements.

Von Bulow launches his assault on Lodz without hesitation even as German I corps buckle and retreat under pressure from newly arrived Russian forces. As the battered Germans receive fresh recruits, the rest of the army spares no expense in breaking the Kutno detachment defending the city and advancing to take it. Due to the weather, even with enormous numerical superiority, victory was a near thing. Despite this success, Von Bulows command is under question at OKH, as frantic Austrian complaints regarding the lack of direct aid to Beseiged Krakow reach the emperor.

The Baltic

6TheBaltic.png

The naval operation to secure the Baltic seems to be winding towards a conclusion. So far, it has been an astounding success for the German navy to lift the hearts of the people. Russian raiders along the coast of Sweden have been located, and the submarines sent to try and sink the battleship “Peter the great” at port where she is receiving repairs. As a first stage in these final parts of the operation, the Kriegsmarine scout almost all of the Russian ports into the Baltic, finding them empty.

Austria

6Austria.png

The worsening weather that is a curse to the Germans is a relief to their Austrian allies. Beseiged by superior Russian forces on all sides, AoK can simply dig deep and pray to the lord and the worsening weather for survival.

Von Bruddermans army stand alone against at least two Russian armies, and Lemberg is under siege. A coordinated attack breaks an advanced Russian corps threatening Brudermanns own position. Rear echelon corps receive reinforcements.

Von Bohm Ermolli, under pressure from AOK to finish the Serbs before the new year so that he can relieve the Galician front in early 1915, launches another all out assault on withdrawing Serb forces. The south Serbian corps is caught, low in supply and with men deserting, and is utterly crushed on the slopes of the mountains near the Bor mines. Attacks from two corps on Uzice demoralize the defenders and soften the city for conquest.

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Hi there ^^ ,

- The change in color to show movement is fine. It stands out well on the map that is "darker" than other SC games.

- Seems dumb AOK can't even comprehend the obvious genius of the Lodz maneuver by von Idontcarewhataustrianssay :D . Anyway Serbians will soon crumble and Vienna will be able to celebrate !

- It's that kind of situation that makes me think playing with four players (France-UK-Italy, Russia-Serbia, Prussia, Austria-OE) would make things veeeery interesting though it would increase the delay between turns (but shorten each player turn length).

*

- Now that some turns have passed I think we can say it's clear delaying Belgium invasion isn't a good idea. Since WWI quickly becomes a trench war the chance to grab ground unopposed must be seized (NM and MPPs locations).

- That said there is still merit in withholding some corps to buy their elite steps even more those in the East with 1,5 star instead of one if I remember well.

- Another point to consider about experience is artillery, looks like you didn't reinforce it so you'll lose any/most experience gained in Serbia when you do. Did you decide that because of a lack of MPPs or just to use it sooner ?

*

- Nice ship hunting in the Baltic, not sure it was worth it NM wise to get out of ports for the Tsar but it certainly had some cost for the Kaiser too piling up with the one from RN blockade.

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Turn 7 – November 21st, 1914

7Events.png

As the OKH scrambled for a new plan among the ruins of the Schliefen fiasco, it eschews adventurous escapades such as supporting African or indian rebels, or building new fangled inventions such as aircarriers. All production must go towards our uncertain goals!

As if this was not bad enough, our Norwegian allies have stopped all trade under pressure from Britain, no doubt worried that the imperialists incessant “patrolling”, in fact raiding, along their shores will turn to outright aggression!

The Central Powers have some cause for celebration, as we welcome a new member to our coalition! The Turk that in times of old made all of Europe tremble, and indeed made Austrias own knees decidedly weak, has now joined its’ ancient enemy in this war. This surely heralds a new great era for the Ottomans, as conquest awaits! (Hindsight: LOL).

The western Front

7WestFront.png

The enemy shows unexpected strength and skill. The forward German corps holding ypres was hurt by withdrawing French troops, and then utterly destroyed by a single strike from the English! 60% of a corpse gone in one assault! This unprecedented slaughter makes OK hesitate, and dig in near the border of Belgium for the winter.

The Baltic

Kriegsmarine naval operations in the Baltic are drawing to a close. Peter the great is struck a glancing blow by a torpedo in the port of Helsinki, and more of the undersea wolves now flock to its’ bleeding carcass. The Novik destroyer group has withdrawn, no doubt to the port of Kemi. We have declined pursuit for now.

Until further notice, this theatre will again be merged with the German eastern front.

The German Eastern Front

7GermanEastFront.png

German woes continue, as their exhausted forces are struck yet another blow. Three Russian corps near Kovno combine a mass assault that breaks one of Hindenburgs corps. Incenced, the old man does what he does best, striking back and shattering the Russian 22nd corps.

Von Bulow continue operations near Lodz, shifting forces closer to Warsaw and making probing attacks upon Kutno. The Austrians are hoarse from screaming. Von Mackensen has set up staff and materiel at Breslau, tasked with moving up to the front to aid the overtaxed German commander. Some whisper that he is in fact there to take over command of the two armies…

Austria

7Austria.png

With von Brudermanns headquarters again under assault, the Austrian commander elects caution and retire behind XVII corps, all along the Galician front the Austrians dig in.

With the Serbs withdrawing ever further into their rough homeland, Von Bohm-Ermolli continues an advance that has been near on continuous since mid-September. The temporary Serbian capital, Nish, has come under Siege. Behind the lines, IVth corps receives reinforcements near temeschburg.

The Near East

7NearEast.png

The Russian navy still seems to be feeling frisky, no doubt thinking to reclaim some of it’s name after the Baltic disaster. The Rostislav Battleship and a Russian submarine group strike the Ottoman Hamedieh cruiser at port. Swift Ottoman counter attacks destroy the Rostislav, and damages the Russian submarines. All of the 3 remaining ships of the ailing Russian navy is now located.

Indian forces have seized Basra as the ottomans mobilize all of the near east, such a heinous affront!

General Staff

The war is now fought in many arenas, it is a battle of armies, of diplomats, and of progress.

Germany has spent a considerable surplus after the conquest of Belgium to develop new routines for the intelligence services (2 chits intelligence), and better industrial production (2 chits total in industry). The ottomans have picked up something on the usefulness of shovels from the Austrians (now 1 chit).

Several diplomatic efforts are being made, among other things to remind the Norweigans to honor their agreements and stand fast in the face of British arrogance.

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Hi there ^^ ,

- The change in color to show movement is fine. It stands out well on the map that is "darker" than other SC games.

- Seems dumb AOK can't even comprehend the obvious genius of the Lodz maneuver by von Idontcarewhataustrianssay :D . Anyway Serbians will soon crumble and Vienna will be able to celebrate !

- It's that kind of situation that makes me think playing with four players (France-UK-Italy, Russia-Serbia, Prussia, Austria-OE) would make things veeeery interesting though it would increase the delay between turns (but shorten each player turn length).

*

- Now that some turns have passed I think we can say it's clear delaying Belgium invasion isn't a good idea. Since WWI quickly becomes a trench war the chance to grab ground unopposed must be seized (NM and MPPs locations).

- That said there is still merit in withholding some corps to buy their elite steps even more those in the East with 1,5 star instead of one if I remember well.

- Another point to consider about experience is artillery, looks like you didn't reinforce it so you'll lose any/most experience gained in Serbia when you do. Did you decide that because of a lack of MPPs or just to use it sooner ?

*

- Nice ship hunting in the Baltic, not sure it was worth it NM wise to get out of ports for the Tsar but it certainly had some cost for the Kaiser too piling up with the one from RN blockade.

Thank you again for following and your comments. A four player game could indeed be fun! :D

For the artillery it has been a lack of funds at the beginning, and now the need to constantly move it as the serbs run away. :P

More on the Elite steps and so on in the end of year summary!

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Turn 8 – December 19, 1914

8Events.png

Right from the start the Ottomans will to fight is given a punch, as the Imperialists seize Basra and strengthen their Egyptian forces. Not only that, but the Von Spee is sunk in the battle of the Falklands.

The western Front

8WestFront.png

All is quiet on the western front. The men even celebrate Christmas together. Some more digging of defensive works and a slow trickle of reinforcements are the only things of note.

The German Eastern Front

8GermanEastFront.png

The East front is much more lively, even in the bitter cold.

Hindenburg digs around Kovno for the winter.

Von Bulow is recalled by OKH, a convenient scapegoat to offer up to the Austrians. Ironically, a mere week after his downfall his strategy proves a resounding success, with Russian forces completely leaving Krakow to block the advance towards Warsaw. Their counter thrust destroys a forward german corps. Von Hautier, stepping in to take control of the forces around Lodz in Bulows absence continue to capitalize on his predecessors momentum and powerful attacks on Kutno give the Russians there no rest. Von Mackensen coordinates the south eastern defense, restrengthening forces and receiving a newly formed corps near the Silesian mines.

Austria

8Austria.png

A furious assault by two entire Russian armies, eight corps, break upon the walls of Lemberg. The defenders, The heroic IXth corps, suffer grievous losses, but take thrice their number with them! With the Fortress so long under siege, Von Bruddermann is relieved and replaced by a hungry careerist, Arthur Von Straussenburg. The newly arrived commander takes care to immediately relieve the beleaguered defenders and bring to the rear behind a screening squadron of cavalry. With Von Straussenburg in command of the entire Galician front for now, commander Dankl is ordered out of his cozy long-time holdfast of Gorlice, and into Jaroslav. As forces arrive from relieved Krakow and reserves are brought to bear, the Austrians bring a united front to pressure the Russians for the first time in the war.

With miserable weather making conditions extremely difficult in the rough Serbian terrain, Von Bohm Ermolli pauses to refit and reorganize. A full quantity of shells and replacement artillery arrives from Germany. Everything is now ready for a new year assault on Nish.

Near East

8NearEast.png

With the British strength in Egypt growing, ottoman high command sets as its’ highest priority the immediate reinforcement of Palestine. A detachment is brought to act as forward scouts in El Kossaima and two experienced corps brought by train to Beersheba and more force marched to around Jerusalem.

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This chapter turned out much wordier than I intended. Still, these summaries are a good way for me to order my thoughts and keep a coherent direction in the game.

End of the year 1914 Summary

As the year draws to a close the dignitaries of the central powers gather at Gallipoli as a gesture of friendship to the Ottomans. The modern airships present a convenient way to travel even over enemy territory. Present are mostly anyone of note, noble, stately or military. Among the vigorous back slapping, long winded self gratulating and outright lies, some real strategy is discussed.

First, regarding the elite steps. One thing above all: IT’S A TRAAAAAP!

When I decided on that course of action I was mostly aware that it was probably a bad idea. I guess it’s something that has to be explored before one knows exactly how bad of an idea it really is. First, it’s hideously expensive. Secondly, the elite steps are nearly useless, providing no noticeable combat advantage. The one exception might be the troops on the eastern front, who due to their stronger combat stats might actually survive an engagement or two without losing more than one step. ´However, as soon as they lose that extra step down to 9, there goes your veterancy! The delay cost the Germans dearly, and has prevented any incursion whatsoever into France. I’m just happy that I managed to conquer Belgium, reaping some much needed NM and income.

In conclusion; All those shiny blue numbers to signify your oodles of experienced troops is a nice eye candy addition. They will shortly be gone, and they don’t amount to anything.

The war of Economics

Collected income / Spent on units / Lost in units / spent on research / Spent on diplomacy

Germany: 2400 / 1200 / 4822 / 500 / 150

Austria: 1311 / 887 / 2224 / 200 / 100

Ottomans: 303 / 0 / 216 / 175 / 0

Russia: 1967 / 1190 / 6970 / 100 / 0

France: 1557 / 561 / 1243 / 300 / 50

Britain: 1474 / 409 / 754 / 225 / 50

Central Powers total: 4014 / 2087 / 7046 / 875 / 250

Entente Total: 4998 / 2160 / 8967 / 625 / 100

Far from the all bleak picture I was expecting, this actually shows several encouraging facts.

In the research department, notably, the Russian research is in two “50” chunks, likely entrenchment. This means that they have yet to begin researching infantry weapons. Doubly a blessing, as the Austrians haven’t either, and the Germans are at 22%. The Brits have spent theirs on infantry weapons and entrenchments (most likely what the two 50s are). Not sure what the French have been doing, but one pick is infantry weapons. The Germans are invested in both industrial technology and intelligence, giving us a lead. The plan here is simply to keep an advantage in developments, especially compared to Russia.

The Entente have suffered nearly 2000mpp more in losses, though the majority of this is likely the Russian fleet. The central powers also have an edge in the diplomatic arena, something I hope to make use of in the future.

There are dark clouds on the horizon. The entente have gathered some 1000mpp more than the central powers during these first four months. This would be some 1200, were it not for the plunder from conquered Belgium. This gap will only continue to grow if the situation remains as it is today.

The war of men

1914EndYear-Units.png

The situation on the ground is a slightly less promising picture. On the western front, some 28 German land units face off against the might of France and Britain. Britain fields 16 land units, and France 26. We assume that not all of these can be on the western front, but even so we are clearly outnumbered. On the Eastern front, 21 German units are fighting alongside 15 Austrians to stem the tide of the Rus. Many of the German units here are detachments or cavalry squadrons, and not fit for fighting, only 11 actual corps are here. The Rus, then, fields 57 land units of which only about 30 are visible, a truly daunting number. Seven Austrian corps fight in Serbia, desperately trying to avenge their fallen Arch Duke.

The Naval balance of forces is even worse. 27 British naval units and 17 French face a mere 23 germans, 8 Austrian and 4 ottoman. Most of these are also in a sorry shape.

It isn’t a pretty picture, and one we must work to change if this war is to have a successful conclusion.

1914endyear-Losses.png

There isn’t much to say about actual unit losses yet, except that they have been very low for both sides. The only other thing that stands out is the Russian navy. So far, the Russians have lost slightly more than the central powers together, and the western entente is almost entirely intact.

War Plans

After all this number crunching, what does this mean for the future? It is clear that we cannot fight an offensive war on the western front. We have neither the momentum, nor the men. Instead we will opt for a wholly passive approach to this front. Investments in further entrenchments will be a priority to minimize our casualties and maximize damage done to the enemy if and when they try an offensive. I have no plans to wage a naval war with Britain during 1915, though they may well try to force the issue. One positive side to this is the fact that the Russian navy is all but annihilated, now consisting of one submarine in the black sea, an aging battleship at 1 str surrounded by submarines and a battered destroyer group. That is one less threat.

We will instead opt to push hard in the east, concentrating all effort on breaking the back of the Rus and forcing him out of the war. With the national morale gained from this, and the income, we should be able to turn and deal with the western entente in due time. Steps have already been taken towards this end, the focus on Serbia, advantage in infantry warfare, and the fact that the german armies on the eastern front are all commanded by rank 8 commanders. I hope that these factors will prove decisive during 1915. Investments into diplomacy in Bulgaria should hopefully result in an ally as Nish falls and the Serb retreats further.

Depending on if we manage to stabilize the Galician front with our current forces, one option I am considering is an invasion of Russian aligned Romania. This is highly dependent upon how the other fronts fare and when and if the Bulgarians enter and the Serbs fall. I’m not quite sure what effects, if any, this will have on the Rus beyond depriving them of potential ally. At the very least it should give Germany some extra income and NM, which is never a bad thing. Here I could use some rule-mechanics insight though, will the penalty for the Austrians kick in even if I declare war and quickly capture Romania? (ideally within the turn of declaration).

Unfortunately, as the end of the year draws close Italian nationalists demand Trente and Triesto. I sat down and considered this dilemma for a good while. I really, really do not want another front in the west and even though I very much wanted to give the Italians their claim to keep them out, in the end it simply cannot be justified. 10.000 nm points off Austria is 33%, desertions and uprisings will hit the morale of the army hard, and all of this would essentially gut Austria as a combat worthy major, and set them up for a quick surrender should the ottomans fall. We will have to resign ourselves to having this front. Dankl will have to move his small army there after the collapse of Serbia, which is even more vital now.

Regarding the Ottomans. The near east front is very much a case of “it depends”. I’ll move forces quickly to attempt to drive the Brits back across the channel, Adis Aqueba must be garrisoned. I do consider recreating Liman von Sanders successful march upon Basra from my previous game, but other priorities beckon. Instead I think I will move cavalry there to scout for any larger brit incursion, while pressuring the Rus from across the mountains.

Well then, a course is set. As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men...

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The things to bear in mind are that Russia will gain 2,500 National Morale points when Romania joins the Entente, though good news for you is that they would lose it when Romania surrenders, and that Austria-Hungary will lose 50 National Morale points per turn for as long as Romania is fighting on.

I'm glad you're the one having to make the decision rather than me! :)

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Turn 9 – January 30th, 1914

Austria Garrisons cities near Italy, and a pro german rebellion in Africa is crushed.

The western Front

9WestFront.png

The west front continues to be quiet. The Western entente has begun shelling the shores near the coast of Belgium, hitting our troops stationed there. Some shuffling along the lines to create better supply for our troops.

The German Eastern Front

9EastFront.png

The Russians continue to move back towards Warsaw, creating a solid line that will be difficult to breach. German forces occupy A Kovno left empty by retreating Russians.

Hindenburg continues to rest, awaiting better weather.

In the Baltic, OKH receives word that the Russian fleet has launched another ship somewhere. The continuous incursions by submarines into the port of Helsinki finally sends the damaged Russian battleship into the depths. Coordinated maneuvers to scout all the ports in the Baltic discover A modern battleship in Petrograd harbor, the Gangut, and submarines immediately move to intercept. The new pride of the Russian navy is struck a glancing blow.

Austria

9Austria.png

As quiet as the German fronts are, in Austria there is no respite for the AOK. Dankl coordinates an army wide attack against a forward Russian corps, driving it backwards and opening the lines for an advance. The Defenders of Lemberg endures another mass assault, and is again relieved by fresh troops.

In Serbia, Vom Bohm-Ermolli is under pressure from the Emperor to launch “a great offensive to crush the Serbs” before new year. The Serbs Launch attacks with three corps of their own, severely damaging an Austrian corps, and Ermolli belatedly orders the offensive just the days before the year turns, knowing it is futile. Nonetheless, the wily Austrian commander has realized that the troops garrisoning Nish lacks teeth, and that the lives of his men will at least wear the defensive works down. The artillery remains silent, waiting until the real assault begins.

Near East

9NearEast.png

The Brits are advancing, and Liman Von Sanders arrive by train to oversee positioning of the Ottoman army.

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The things to bear in mind are that Russia will gain 2,500 National Morale points when Romania joins the Entente, though good news for you is that they would lose it when Romania surrenders, and that Austria-Hungary will lose 50 National Morale points per turn for as long as Romania is fighting on.

I'm glad you're the one having to make the decision rather than me! :)

Thanks Bill! That's a tough one, might not be worth it. We'll see how it goes!

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Turn 10 – March 27th, 1915

10Events.png

Marines move into empty Ypres, and the Belgians celebrate as if they were liberated. It is all a show for newspapers, with staged photographs in the daily press to raise the western ententes morale. Lemnos, a previously greek island in the Mediterranean, is occupied. Is there no limit to imperialist aggression? It seems our fallen pocket cruiser gave decent account of itself, as the HMS invincible returns home badly damaged. That at least, is something.

Nationalists in Italy call for war in a Frenzy. There will be fighting here soon, but we hope for it to take as long as possible.

The western Front

10WestFront.png

I accidentaly used the blue circle symbol for deployed reinforcements in this picture rather than the blue triangle for reinforcing existing formations

German forces strike back at the invading French immediately, completely annihilating the corps of Marines. Pictures of their corpses, the price of the propaganda show, is distributed by airplane among the entente forces on the Belgian front. OKH hopes that this display of strength will discourage more attacks in force on this front in the near future...

Badly needed reinforcements arrive to strengthen the corps that fought hardest in the invasion of Belgium.

The German Eastern Front

10EastFront.png

On the eastern front Hindenburg sits tight, letting reinforcements trickle in, while Von Hautier, now co-commander under Mackensen, continue to close on warsaw. Artillery is deployed to assist in the coming battles.

Austria

10Austria.png

The Galician front is without a doubt the bloodiest of the war. Austrian advances near Lemberg is immediately punished, and the corps moving to relieve the siege destroyed. Questions of Dankls’ ability are now being raised in the capital. He changes tack, switching forces to outflank the Russian line. Doubtless, more bodies will be added to the tally soon. Von Straussenburg brings more reinforcements to the lines, preparing a counter attack as Austrian artillery is brought up in Sambor.

In Serbia, Von Bohm Ermolli launches an all out attack in the miserable rain, answering Serbian aggression near Pristina that has sent one Austrian corps reeling back with heavy losses. As artillery fires ceaselessly, the entire second army brings strength to bear on the Servbian capital and the defenders crumble. Victorious troops march into the city, a great victory for the galleries, and a fairly insignificant one in the field. Ermolli grits his teeth for a long and bloody struggle.

Near East

10NearEast.png

In the near east the British have dug in on the peninsula, and Von Sanders strengthen his own troops. A detachment moves to Aquaba to defend it. It is likely that this theatre will soon spark intense fighting.

General Staff

Frustration is slowly building among the OKH as significant investments in research fail to yield any results. German high command is slowly rebuilding lost corps, but have yet to catch up with casualties.

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Thanks for the year statistics ;) ,

- Actually taking Nish is a great strategic victory because it opens the railroad to Sofia and the Turks beyond, now if the Bulgarians would be kind enough to join...

- One detail: I saw "von Hautier" twice as a prussian general but I've always known a "von Hutier" is it a game typo for the HQ name ?

*

- About the elite step traaaaaap (:P) maybe it's the "elite" thing that is misleading. Maybe we should consider those extra steps more like "shock" ones. They give more punch but are mostly "temporary".

- That said their use is also different from other SCGC games. It's probably better to build only some and use them where they will have the most effect (against fortresses or main objectives after heavy artillery shelling).

- So maybe protect the better corps from the start (those with 1,5 stars) and try to build that second star by killing easy preys. With infantry tech advantage, 2 more steps and best HQs they should maul any foe with some artillery support (think Italians when they join).

*

- Entente shelling along western coasts is always a pain. That's why capturing Calais or better Abbeville is great since enemy ships will shell the town and not the unit. Anyway, don't let the Belgians take back the chocolate factories, it's a strategic objective for Easter :D !

- Well done holding at Lemberg despite heavy russian commitment, the cost in morale and ressources will surely pay later ! And congratulations for making the Baltic a prussian lake.

- One last word about Aqaba: it reminds me bold UK palyers can amphib in the Red Sea before Turks join CP and capture the town before you can do anything and it hurts a lot ! Glad you were able to seize it freely :) .

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Turn 11 – April 24th, 1914

The advantage in concentrated artillery that we have enjoyed until now has ended, as the French are seen to have artillery near Belgium, the British deploy heavy guns in Egypt, and even the Rus has some looted and worn down pieces to use. We fear that war with Italy is but weeks away.

The western Front

11WestFront.png

What we feared has come to come to pass. The western Entente is moving in strength on Belgium. Our army here has never recovered from the losses and horrors of the Belgian campaign, and are in low spirits. OKH orders counter attacks against a highly experienced British Corps in Ypres, damaging it severely. Whatever meagre reserves can be spared are moved to the line. This summer will not be a happy one on the west front.

The German Eastern Front

11EastFront.png

Hindenburg brings his army out of winter quarters at last, doing what he does best. A rapid redeployment of the army surprises the II Siberian corps on the move, and it is broken by the German assault.

In the Centre, Von Mackensen coordinates attacks from the entirety of the two armies on the move, battering one Rus corps severely and driving it behind the relative safety of the Novo-Georgiesk fortress. Other elements redeploy and strike forward Russian Ist corps, destroying it as repayment of lost IX reserve. More troops deploy and artillery is brought to strength.

Austria

11Austria.png

I corps is brought close to destruction by advancing Rus forces around Lublin, Dankl calls a general retreat into cover behind the fortifications of Premyzl. The nobility of Austria view this as a great betrayal, and only Von Straussenbergs personal intervention on Dankls behalf stays a court marshal and dismissal. Here, too, artillery is brought to strength to allow for coming counter attacks.

In Serbia, Von Bohm-Ermolli rests his 2nd army and receives reinforcements. 1st Serbian Army Corps is surrounded on two sides, and will be destroyed if it does not retreat.

Near East

11NearEast.png

Von Sanders, seeing that the British forces consist mainly of detachments, moves aggressively into the peninsula. Avoiding direct attacks against entrenched defenders, pressure is brought to bear on the Suez detachment, left hanging in low supply on the British flank. Djemal Pasha arrives and awaits the final portions of his staff before assuming command of the Gaza wing of the army, and more troops arrive by train.

General Staff

The Bulgarians seem to have finally decided to join us, no doubt tempted by land in Serbia. The Italian nationalists are silent for a while, making us suspect foul play behind the curtains.

German industry grows in efficiency, a necessity if we are to survive the summer. As German trains are allowed once more through Austria and across the Bulgarian border, shipments of German weapons start appearing in the Near East. These will be distributed to the ottoman troops as quickly as possible (ottoman infantry weapons 1)

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Thanks for the year statistics ;) ,

- Actually taking Nish is a great strategic victory because it opens the railroad to Sofia and the Turks beyond, now if the Bulgarians would be kind enough to join...

- One detail: I saw "von Hautier" twice as a prussian general but I've always known a "von Hutier" is it a game typo for the HQ name ?

*

- About the elite step traaaaaap (:P) maybe it's the "elite" thing that is misleading. Maybe we should consider those extra steps more like "shock" ones. They give more punch but are mostly "temporary".

- That said their use is also different from other SCGC games. It's probably better to build only some and use them where they will have the most effect (against fortresses or main objectives after heavy artillery shelling).

- So maybe protect the better corps from the start (those with 1,5 stars) and try to build that second star by killing easy preys. With infantry tech advantage, 2 more steps and best HQs they should maul any foe with some artillery support (think Italians when they join).

*

- Entente shelling along western coasts is always a pain. That's why capturing Calais or better Abbeville is great since enemy ships will shell the town and not the unit. Anyway, don't let the Belgians take back the chocolate factories, it's a strategic objective for Easter :D !

- Well done holding at Lemberg despite heavy russian commitment, the cost in morale and ressources will surely pay later ! And congratulations for making the Baltic a prussian lake.

- One last word about Aqaba: it reminds me bold UK palyers can amphib in the Red Sea before Turks join CP and capture the town before you can do anything and it hurts a lot ! Glad you were able to seize it freely :) .

Thank you for the comments. I have a feeling that I'm in for a world of pain on the west front, if I'm lucky I'll hold onto most of Belgium. In truth, I've made two very grave errors this game, errors that should likely cost me the war. I'll do my best to get back into it in a good way, a lot depends on how 1915 goes.

One thing that I have noticed is that redeeming diplomatic chits do not give any production back, bug or feature? It also feels like the Italians enter quicker than they did last time, but that may be illusory.

It really helps to lay out the stats for myself and reevaluate my position and goals as I go. Glad they're somewhat interesting for you to read as well!

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Turn 12 – May 22, 1915

12Events.png

May is the darkest month so far of the war. On both main fronts dire news reach high command. Romania now stares covetously at Austrian lands, encouraged by Russian successes in Galicia. Encouraged, too, are the Italians, now entering the war in force on the side of the entente. Kitchener is deploying a new model British army, and the damnable blockade continues unabated.

Yet for all of this, there is a hint of a silver lining. The war will continue, surrender is impossible.

The western Front

12WestFront.png

The worst nightmares of OKH has come to pass, the British and French are attacking in strength on the Belgian border. Their troops mass thick, and there seems no end to them. German X reserve corps disintegrates on the line, and XI Corps is brought near breaking, stumbling back at 10% strength. Von Klucks camp is partially overrun, and critical supplies and papers lost among the confusion. As Kluck struggles to maintain order, Crown Prince Wilhelm moves decisively and orders a general offensive against the newly established British salient near Ypres. Airships are brought to bear on the enemy for the first time in the war, causing casualties and confusion among the Brits, who break under the weight of the assault. Striving to relieve pressure on the buckling part of the line, the Second army also strikes at advanced French 4 GDR corps, destroying it as well. As deeper and more complex fortifications are drawn up across the front OKH hopes that the fury of this assault and the weight of reinforcements brought to the area will give the Western Entente pause (trench warfare lvl 2 hit for both Germans and Austrians this turn).

All of this comes at the cost of security further down the line, particularly strength around Strasbourg is watered down. It is also worrying that only a single British corps was seen on the front, if the Entire british army shelters behind the French ready to strike, this will be a summer of blood and tears.

The German Eastern Front

12GermanEast.png

Hindenburg continues to maneuver, looking for an opening to exploit. His efforts are frustrated by an army’s worth of dug in Russian corps, and local superiority is established around a forward position.

Von Mackensen likewise plays to German strength, maintaining momentum east and around Novo-Georgievsk, catching the previously retreated 13th corps receiving reinforcements and routing them off the field. The Artillery concentration in the east is completed with an assortment of modern emplacements, and is now ready to be brought forward. The Goal set by the OKH sees Warsaw fallen by the end of the summer at the latest.

Austria

12Austria.png

Von Straussenburgs counter offensive begins as the Fortress of Lemberg falls to a massed Russian assault preceded by artillery. Despite all that has been suffered in Galicia, thousands upon thousands dead, the enemy has taken the pride of the army. The defeat and destruction of the heroic XVII corps within its walls is felt everywhere in Austria.

It must be retaken. Russian 7th corps is driven back by the oilfields just shy of destruction, and the forward Kuban Kossacks are harried severely by probing attacks from the mountains.

Serbian 2nd army corps is overrun by Von Bohm-Ermollis inexorable advance, supported by newly arrived Bulgarian forces in a surprise joint operation. The Serbs are now pressured on all sides. The forces here are badly needed on the newly active Italian front, Serbia must fall soon.

The entente have begun a massive naval operation in the Adriatic Sea, catching a cruiser fleet and a destroyer fleet off guard. It is clear that the aging and badly kept Austrian navy is no match for the advancing naval forces, and their loss is now unavoidable. The only small consolation is that the Austrians never planned to use their navy for anything, and the Entente must have spent considerable funds to bring all their ships to strength. That is production that has not gone towards land armies. The only thing to do now is hide in the ports and try to make the entente pay as dearly as possible for every ship sunk.

Near East

12NearEast.png

Bad tidings never come alone. Optimism in the ottoman army about new German weaponry equalizing effective strength between them and the British is put to shame. Missives from a scouting detachment makes clear that the imperialists have been busy, and have overtaken even their German opponents in the field of infantry tactics. Time will tell whether numerical superiority will still be sufficient, or if Von Sanders will be forced to switch entirely to the defensive.

General Staff

With Italy entering the war and defenses in the region next to non-existent, the pressure upon Austria is greater than ever. It is encouraging that the Austrian shovel is the envy of the world. Germany struggles to rebuild routed corps, and have yet to catch up with losses.

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Turn 13 – June 19, 1915

As Italy mobilizes its African colonies it seems that all of the old world is aflame. A brief pause like the intake of a breath, probably the calm before the storm.

The western Front

13WestFront.png

OKH took advantage of a brief Respite to dig as much as possible in the rich Belgian soil. Reinforcements and reorganization were the watchwords of the day.

The German Eastern Front

13GermanEast.png

In the German east, the ongoing effort to stretch the Rus across all fronts finally paid some small reward. Scouting cavalry reported the entire central east and the cities of Minsk, Branovich and Vilna empty. With the cautious maneuvering over the previous weeks, Hindenburg was in a position to respond and commit what russian papers term "grand theft city" before the Rus could react. He now requests additional troops to push for Siauliai, with the goal to isolate the Russians opposite his lines. The first corps was brought up to the front to answer this call.

Around Warsaw von Mackensen and Hutier (you were right of course Strategiclayabout, it’s my spelling that’s in error rather than the games!) put the siege of the Russian fortress into effect. They too request more troops to envelop the fortification and strike directly for Warsaw, but reinforcements for this front will have to wait. A german corps brought close to destruction by Russian attacks is brought behind the lines to rest.

Austria

13Austria.png

Von Straussenburg orders a general advance following a shuffling of Russian lines to the northeast. This move aims to strike at the fortress of Lemberg. The sad fact is that AOK simply does not have the troops to make an attack in strength, and must content itself with a cautious operation.

In Serbia a defending detachment is brought close to destruction as von Bohm Ermolli continues his advance, on and on into the hills and mountains. Two corps shift towards Belgrade for transfer to the Italian front, while Bulgarian forces close on the Serbian eastern flank.

Near East

13NearEast.png

Fie and double fie. Advancing ottomans report a worrying amount of British corps on the peninsula. With their modern weaponry and strength, an assault here is now impossible. The disappointment is great among Von Sanders staff as orders are distributed to fall back and dig in. A 3 to 1 superiority in corps at the very least is needed before an offensive is possible.

General Staff

As the ottomans race to perfect their fortifications a condition is created that a later famous psychologist would term “Shovel envy”. All of the Central Powers seem to jealously strive to contrive the superior digging tool. The ottomans develop trench warfare 1 after investments into the branch.

With all fronts screaming for reinforcements and lacking the troops to make effective offensives, AOK and OKH struggle to keep up with demand. As two more corps are ordered reconstituted, investments into the production of shells is made (1 chit).

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