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The Guns of August» Forums » Rules

Subject: 1917 Scenario Balkan Front Setup rss

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Michael Barton
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Sorry if this was answered someplace else - I haven't found it yet...

On the Scenario Setup Chart for the 1917 Scenario -
If a two-front or an Eastern front 1917 scenario is being set up, I note that both the British and the French have a minimum number of 3 corps to deploy on the Balkan Front, i.e. in Neutral Greece (assume the optional variable entry rules not being used, Greece becomes Allied June 1917, and is still neutral in January 1917, first turn of the 1917 scenario.) therefore violating the rules about entering neutral countries.

I am also aware of the Optional Rule 29.34.

First...did I miss an official errata on this?

If not - where do the 6 Corps (3 B, 3 F) go? Since only 3 fit in Salonika.

Does it matter? If the Variable Entry rules are not used then does that mean Greece is automatically CP due to the presence of the 6 Allied Corps? Or does it mean that Greece is neutral until June 1917 when they join the Alliance, or, of course, if CP does DOW on Greece before that.

OR

Would the 3 B and 3 F Corps required to be deployed on the Balkan Front be held 'off map' until Greece becomes allied due to DOW or June 1917 and deployed with the regular Greek Corps, being, in effect, deployed like forces of a neutral that just joined a side?

OR

Do you just ALWAYS use the Variable Entry Rules in the 1917 scenario and start rolling for Greek entry as per 29.34 in Jan 1917?

OR

Is the scenario setup wrong and there should not be a 3 B and 3 F Corp deployment requirement for the Balkan Front in Jan 1917?

Any thoughts or official clarifications?
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Michael Barton
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Purely historically, it appears that Greece behaved essentially like an undefended 'Open Country' - neither resisting the Allies that landed at Salonika, nor resisting the 'Invading' Bulgarians, and even permitting the retreating Serbs to pass unmolested. In fact, well before June 1917 when Greece declared war on the Central Powers, there had already been plenty of fighting between German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian CP troops and Serbian, British, French, and even some Italian and Russian Allied troops. In fact a very large part of the Balkan Front Allied Force was Serbian.

So, if we are omitting the Variable Entry rule, and being historical, it seems like Greece should not really be treated as a regular Neutral country, more like a 'Passive Neutral' - such that Greece has basically open borders, and that the joining of the Allies in June 1917 simply means that the Greek Troops are simply added to the forces already in Greece.

I could "buy" that the 3 French and 3 British Corps might be considered to contain the Serbian troops, since historically Serbia was conquered in 1915.

Dunno.
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Paul Popejoy
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Hi!

Good question!

If you are playing with the 2nd edition rules, then I agree there is indeed a conflict between Rule 29.34 and the scenario set-up rules. I am unaware of any official errata to resolve the discrepancy, so I offer the following solution for your consideration.

Assumptions
My basic assumption is that "mandatory" rules generally take precedence over optional rules. With this is mind...

Findings
1. The scenario chart shows ≥6 allied corps (≥3 French, ≥3 British) on the "Balkan Front."
2. Rule 6.22 forbids belligerent forces to enter a neutral country without a declaration of war.
2. Rule 10.1 forbids putting more than three combat units in a hex.
3. Optional Rule 29.34 requires all Allied units to stack on Salonika until Greece joins the Allied or Central Powers; however, if the Allies follow this restriction they will violate the stacking limits for Salonika (see §10.1).
4. Optional Rule 29.34 also requires the Central Powers player to deploy Greek forces in the event of a landing in Salonika.
5. Rule 30.23 states, "Balkan Front: ... Allied units must deploy in Greece"

Suggestions
1. If you are playing the 1917 scenario without using Optional Rule 29 then
- Greece remains neutral (with no units on the map) until Greece enters the war as an Allied power in June 1917.
- Allied units assigned to the Balkan Front deploy anywhere in Greece and have normal freedom of movement.
- While Greece is neutral, Central Powers units may attack Allied units in Greece but may not enter Greece, either during movement or as a result of combat (per §6.22).

2. If you are using Optional Rule 29 (Optional Variable Entry Rules) in the 1917 scenario, do the following:
- Ignore the optional requirements in §29.34 that all Allied units in Greece must start in Salonika and that they may not move anywhere in Greece until Greece enters the war. This seems to most closely reflect the historical situation.
- The Central Powers place Greek units in Greece after the Allied Powers place their units in Greece, regardless of whether the Central Powers placed their units before or after the Allied Powers. This seems to me a reasonable interpretation of §6.31 and §30.31 and since Greece is not yet a member of the Central Powers.
- Roll normally for Greek entry into the war. If they enter on the side of the Central Powers, then I hope the Allies have protected their supply line back to Salonika.
- While Greece is neutral, Central Powers units may attack Allied units in Greece but may not enter Greece, either during movement or as a result of combat (per §6.22).

Further thoughts
I think you've raised a good point about Serbian participation in the war after the fall of Serbia in 1915; I'll probably add some optional text in the unofficial Augmented Rules to address the points you've raised here. My first thought is to say something like, "Serbia does not surrender until that last Serbian unit is destroyed" but that 1) Serbia is not eligible for reinforcements (see §14.13) and does not receive replacements (see §14.21) until they recapture a city in Serbia; and 2) they must continue to draw supply from a friendly supply source.

Since Salonika is not a "friendly source" until the Allies occupy it, that would provide an historically-based reason for Allied landing in Salonika. Lifting the "Salonika-only" restriction on Allied deployment in Greece only after all cities in Serbia are controlled by the Central Powers is also a possibility in this case. Hmmm....

I hope this helps!
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Paul Popejoy
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Hi!

I think the game's designer, Ty Bomba, realized there was an inconsistency with the way the Optional and Scenario rules were worded, so he proposed a revision that Avalon Hill published in its in-house magazine, General, rather than release a 3rd edition of the rules. This "unofficial" version from the developer removed the stacking and movement limitations on Allied units in Greece once they invaded Salonika - they were only prohibited from attacking Greek units.

I incorporated (and slightly edited) Mr. Bomba's proposed revision into the Augmented Rules (V2.0), and so I plan to update its version of Rule 29.34 with small clarifications as follows (bold text indicates a change):

Quote:
If Greece is neutral and the Allied player wishes to invade Salonika, the Central Powers player immediately rolls for Greek entry.

• If Greece joins the Central Powers, follow the standard rules.

• If Greece joins the Allies, Greek units deploy immediately and the Allied units may land at Salonika.

• If Greece remains neutral, the invading units may occupy Salonika. Once the Allied player has invaded Salonika, however, he is prohibited from declaring war on Greece (in accordance with §6.3) but may move within Greece without restriction. Assume this outcome if using this optional rule in the 1917 Scenario.

NOTE: When using the Variable Entry Rules, Greece is conquered when all Greek land units are eliminated. Greek units are automatically in supply in Greece.


Hope this helps!
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Michael Barton
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Thank you very much for the response, you have given me a lot to think on.

Researching it a bit further, I found that the Balkan Front was mostly completely inactive for all of 1917. In 1917 the Germans withdrew their fighting troops (The German 11th Army consisted of Bulgarian Troops led by German generals). The Greeks quietly took their sector of the line in June. The most active year was 1916 and then nothing again until very late in the war, September, 1918 if I recall.

As far as treatment of the Serbs...

While historically the Serbs belong there, I would be fine with assuming that the British and French forces could represent the Serb contingent - if only to avoid the need for a new set of rules governing forces without home countries still in the game. But, the Balkan front was definitely the front, at least for the Allies, that had the most confusing hodgepodge of multinational forces, for the entire war.

So - Historically the 'Deploy in Greece, but Greece is still neutral' rule makes the most sense.

Just my 2 cents.
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