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WW1 - Call to Arms - Ash vs Will (Central Powers)

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Ash and I haven't done a WW1 game in a while, although it's where we've had some of our best games (for an epic WW1 game that went right through to 1918, see here and here). Besides a very short campaign which fizzled out in the first few turns, we've only ever played from opposite sides, so this is definitely going to be a new experience for me.


Turn 1


(no pictures this turn as it's all just the usual Schlieffen)


This campaign is massive, and awesome. There's a lot of variation, and a lot of different things you can do. WIth that being said, it's pretty important to have a plan- unlike the WW2 scenarios there's no real 'active' and 'reactive' side- both sides have momentum in different places.


In this campaign, you also get the chance to deploy a HQ, an upgraded artillery piece, 2 cavalry and 2 corps. You can do some rather interesting things with this force- for example, you can storm Belfort in turn 1- but I have opted for the rather safer option of splitting them between the weak Prussian front which needed some stiffening, and the west. The artillery is absolutely key here- Germany has superiority until much later in the game, so although it's currently in the west I may yet transfer it to Prussia to assist in an attack there, or use it to hammer the French and perhaps aim for Verdun by Christmas.


My approach to the West is to attack hard and fast, and take as much 1914 territory as I can before mass entrenchment makes further gains too difficult. Although a wise man once said that the war will not be won in the west in 1914, that's not to say that one can simply meander through the Belgian countryside aimlessly- a brisk clip is required to reach the river at Amiens which forms a sensible point from which to bed down.


In the east Ash has the impetus. The Russians have a large force which requires careful handling, so we shall see where he chooses to strike.


In Serbia I would like to achieve a moderately fast victory, perhaps looking towards sending German support once the West is locked down. To this end, at the decision event at the end of the first turn where I was offered the choice of sending my new Austrian troops to Russia or Serbia, I chose the latter. This will weaken my position against the Russians so I may have to concede some territory there- but hopefully I can make up for it with a successful Balkan campaign.


Technology is much more interesting in this campaign than many of the WW2 campaigns, because there are very few 'no brainer' options, it really depends on what you want to focus on. For my part of things, given my weak Austrian position against Russia, trenches have to be a priority to allow me to weather the storm until the Germans arrive. The Germans will be investing in entrenchments as well, but unless the Russians turn their attention to Prussia wholesale, my bigger priority is infantry weapons. This will give me the edge against the West and means that when I eventually go to help out Serbia I can really carve them up.


So here's to a long and close campaign, hope you enjoy reading!



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Turn 2


Schlieffen is continuing as planned. A Belgian corps tried to hold ground in Brussels and was destroyed, while the second Belgian corps was eliminated trying to retreat into France. I managed to reach forward just enough to grab Lille, which provides a nice supply base for those front line troops. I reinforced the artillery in the backfield- elite steps on heavy guns are absolute dynamite (pun :D) in this campaign.




Ash has moved a significant Russian force in the direction of the Galician oil fields, so it looks like he's going to try a quick knock out of my fortresses there. I didn't feel like losing a whole cavalry unit just to hold onto a town, so I withdrew and entrenched. The lack of the extra Austrian troops, redirected to Serbia, is definitely going to make for some issues against the Russians and I expect Ash to try and 'hail mary' his way through. If he does attempt this, I will take my Prussian force (led by the newly appointed Hindenberg) and start conquering parts of northern Russia to alleviate the pressure.




In Serbia, I destroyed a corps and surrounded Belgrade ready for an assault next turn.


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Turn 3


So we've had a short break to tackle academics for the year, but now we're back in action.


The Schlieffen Plan proceeds as well as could be expected, and it looks like very soon we will be facing the Entente across the river by Amiens. This serves as a natural break point for which to cease the attack in the north of France, with little else to gain pushing forward until Paris. However, I want to pivot south and start pressuring Verdun. I have kept the heavy artillery in the West for precisely this reason- with no artillery of their own, the French will be unable to recapture any fortresses I take over the next year, so any gains I make now may pay dividends later on.




In Serbia, an attack on Belgrade had a somewhat disappointing result as Austrian troops failed to clear the city. However I have plenty of infantry force here and it should be easily captured next turn.



The Russians are leaning heavily on my Austrian fortress line. As I chose to send the Austrian reserves to Serbia rather than shore up my defenses here, it's important to manage expectations of what can realistically be achieved in the short term. I will try to hold on to the two fortresses, but it may be necessary to concede one of them in the short term, particularly if Ash makes a serious play for them. I am, however already orchestrating things to take the pressure off- next turn I have prepared a German HQ and 4 infantry corps to operate to Breslau, where they will link up with an infantry unit already there guarding the mines.




Further north a small Russian force is pusing into East Prussia, but Hindenberg and his troops are ready to greet them. With so much Russian force concentrated in the south I might be able to do some damage here.


Technology is critically important in this campaign, as in any. The Germans and Austrians (and later, the Ottomans) all have slightly different agendas; the Germans, at least in this campaign so far, are not looking to be pressured to begin with, so although trench tech remains useful, it isn't critical. Infantry weapons and industry are much more useful to the Germans early on- the former gives them an even bigger advantage over the Russians (who are by default inferior infantry anyway) and the latter is needed to finance offensives. The Austrians by contrast need to both attack and defend- that is to say, they need entrenchment tech as a matter of priority (I have invested 4 chits) but also require infantry weapons so as to keep pace with the Russians (who they are equal to).

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Turn 4


Some interesting developments this turn. The Russians have outflanked my Austrian fortress line with cavalry, cutting the rail link to the capital and hurting my supply at the front line as a result. Meanwhile, a force of Russian infantry and cavalry looks to be making it's way down through the mountains to the east. This might look to be a bad situation, but I do not think things are quite as dangerous as they may seem. Firstly, it is just a single unit of cavalry that has cut the rail link, and it is weak and without any supply at all, so we should be able to relink in the next 2 turns. I have pulled away some forces from the Serbian front to effect this. Furthermore, by taking a force down through the mountains, Ash has weakened his attack on the Galician oil fields, which still remain in my control. Also, my German force has arrived near Breslau. Together with Hindenberg's forces coming from the north, this will give me a decent sized force to attack Russia's western side at Tarnow.




In Serbia Belgrade finally fell, which gave me the break I needed to send a few Austrian troops north to head off the Russian advance.


In the West there is little to report; we consolidated the line at Amiens (although I decided not to try and face off directly across the river- my troops have been in mediocre supply for the last few turns while the French and British are in high supply and therefore I would take serious casualties) and I operated a lot of troops to the east. I have also started moving my spare troops towards Verdun in time for an assault, although that might not come until 1915.


Tech wise, the Germans upped their investment in trench technology to 2 chits and also put 1 chit into advanced subs. A quick looks at the production screen tells me than between now and January I will be recieving several more u-boats, and I would like to be ready with a reasonable level of submarine tech by then to start putting pressure on the British sea routes.

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Turn 5


The Russians are continuing to press hard into my Austrian line. The supply to the capital remains cut, making for supply issues (although no unit is below 6). However, a beacon of light- the German attack came in from the West. Russian troops had entrenched facing my direction- Ash must've scouted my movements- but that didn't stop my troops from carving their way into the line. The Russian HQ was knocked back to 50% strength and a corps was destroyed. Elsewhere, my cavalry stood firm against an unrelenting Russian assault on the Galician Oil. I am very pleased to still be in control of all major NM points despite the heavy pressure.




In Prussia, Russians attacked with a small force out of Kovno. I was actually preparing to have Hindenberg and his men head south, but this provided an opportunity to counter that I couldn't not take. The counterattack was highly successful with 1 Russian corps destroyed, others damaged, and very little damage to the German troops.




In the West, Ash pulled a move I was definitely not expecting, although it remains to be seen whether it will work out for him. Rather than staying safely behind the river and entrenching as I had expected, he advanced across and launched attacks all across my line. My troops took some damage and a corps was lost, but the German counterattack was brutal. Still not sure what he hopes to achieve here, but we will find out.




Austrians got a hit on trench warfare this turn.

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Turn 6


The Galician Oil field still stands under yet another withering Russian assault, incredible. The role-player in me wants to pull them off the line and station them in Budapest on purely ceremonial duties in return for their wonderful service. Unfortunately, the strategist in me knows that the best thing to do is leave them in place. The time for cavalry to be useful runs out quickly in WW1 and I'd rather not lose more Austrian infantry. My Germans to the west continued their attack and have almost broken through to the Austrian line, bringing much needed relief. Meanwhile, a large Russian force is attempting a wide flanking move, but the mountains are making supply for them difficult.




The Russians in northern Prussia withdrew immediately after having their nose slapped last turn. Von Hindenberg gives chase.




In the west, another large assault from the British and French, and once again, I believe I came off much better than they did. I am fighting from entrenched positions which gives me a significant advantage, and I am okay with giving up a little ground in order to do that- there is nothing in northern France worth fighting tooth and nail for.




Germans got a hit on entrenchment tech this turn, which will swing the western battles heavily in my favour.

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Turn 7


Breakthrough! The Germans smashed through the Russian cavalry in the west and the Austrians pulled back some troops from the line to seize the crucial town in the mountains, finally connecting the isolated front to the capital once again. It will take a few turns for supply to return to prior levels, but this is definitely a cause for celebration. The Russians didn't attack the Oil this turn, choosing to wait a turn to resupply. I think I will probably lose the oil next turn, but that is inevitable if Russia applies enough pressure. I also brought in another German HQ to the front this turn, and soon he will have a full army to command to help push back the Russians and start making some gains of my own.




In Serbia, things have been fairly quiet lately. I was forced to move some troops north to head off the Russians so I didn't have enough force to keep attacking. I didn't think the Serbians did either, but this turn they advanced. However they were under strength and the attack was easily beaten back with few Austrian losses.




In Prussia, the German advance continued, although we took some heavy losses this turn.




No activity in the west, just making ready for the next counter-attack.


Germans got a hit on industry this turn, which is always welcome. I also had some interesting decisions to make this turn- whether to fund the rebels against the French in Africa (50 mpps) and whether to convert an interned British tanker into a seaplane carrier. I chose yes on the first one, and no on the second. Having played this campaign a few times now, I've come to the conclusion that there is just no point investing in the German surface fleet, because it's impossible to win in an all out battle with the British. That's not to say I'm ruling out all naval activity though- I am hoping to embark on a submarine campaign before too long.

Edited by Will95
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Turn 8


Finally, the Russians have backed away. The Galician Oil remains in my hands and the Germans have arrived on the front in force. But the best news is evident from the sceenshot below- the Russians are trapped! The significant Russian force that tried to outflank my Austrian line this turn tried to retreat back the way they came, but I have managed to block the narrow passage with Austrian cavalry. I don't have a big window of opportunity here, but for a few turns at least, the Russians will be extremely low supply and unable to reinforce, so I have brought more German troops over to capitalise.




In Prussia, Hindenberg's troops have retaken a town and the rest of the Russians have backed away.




In the West, there was little activity. This gives me time to dig in, and start sending more force to the East.




I had a decision to make this turn- whether to cede Trento and Trieste to Italy or not. If I do, the Italians back off and demobilize, temporarily. If I don't, the nationalists call for war. Seeing as war is an inevitability and I don't wish to cede territory without even a shot being fired, I chose not to give away the Austrian towns.

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Unfortunately due to personal circumstances, this AAR will be put on hold for the forseeable future. We will restart at some point, but it might not be for a month or so. Sorry to disappoint any avid followers, but I promise Ash and Will *will* be back :)

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