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Subject: Serbia/Galicia AAR rss

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Paul
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"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
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I played my second solo game from The Great War in the East quadrigame today--Serbia/Galicia. As with "Brusilov," this is the first time I've had this on the table in over 35 years.

I played the campaign game, which starts on 12 August. At this point in the war both the Austro-Hungarians and Russians were still mobilizing and shipping their armies to their deployment areas.

The Serbs are already hunkered down in northern and western Serbia.

You can see the large stacks of Russian and AH reinforcements waiting on the map edges to enter the game by rail or regular movement.



I played with the optional rail movement limitation rule which only allows the players to move so many stacking points along any one rail line per turn. This did seem to channel the options quite a lot, as the AH only had the double line to Lemberg that could handle the heavy traffic of all the reinforcements deploying.



The game's exclusive rules dictate that AH entrained units must detrain at the end of the turn they enter map. This caused an interesting wrinkle for the Russian player later on because I misread this rule.

The game started very slow, the first five turns or so mostly consisting of moving and deploying the opposing sides in Galicia. The Serbian front was pretty quiet, the AH side making its mandatory attacks each turn in the least damaging way possible. They even had some luck and managed to destroy a Serbian militia brigade.

At GT 6 the action picked up significantly and there was some heavy combat and maneuvering on the left end of the AH line, north of Rava-Ruska. Both sides got some licks in, but it became clear as the steamroller that was the Russian 3rd and 8th Armies advanced from the east that it would be madness to stay and fight. The AH forces withdrew. Abandoning Lemberg and 5 VP's a turn to the Russian.



On the Serbia front things were pretty quiet, with some back and forth around Belgrade--the AH forces crossing a river here, a river there, only to be thrown back by the Serbs. I marched the AH forces in Bosnia north and around to add to the main attack into Serbia. Under this pressure, and after some bad rolls to replenish their munitions, the Serbs fell back.

The AH retreat in Galicia was so precipitous that the Russian player struggled to keep up due to supply issues. On the Eastern flank, the bad placement of a supply depot out of command range and a failed command attempt roll left the 8th army stopped in its tracks waiting for supply to catch up.

On the Russian left flank, a misreading of a the rail rule concerning mandatory AH rail detraining on their first turn of entry into Galicia led me to apply this to the supply depot of the Russian 4th Army as well. I only discovered my mistake quite a few turns later and after a few failed entraining attempts by the depot.

99% of all Russian reinforcements can reach their deployment areas on their first turn of entry via rail, only one corps and one depot of the 4th army must travel at least two turns to reach their area. My misreading of this rule (thinking it applied to both sides) led to this mistake.

The AH retreat saved most of their forces from a serious beating, even if it meant the surrender of Lemberg.

I played the supply rules a little differently, applying a house rule that Russian units could only trace supply from depots of their own army. This prevents the Russian player from daisy-chaining the depots of the 3rd and 8th armies to a length of 18 hexes, or over 200 KM, which is just about double the viable length of supply from a rail-head at this point in the war. In this game players are not allowed to use enemy rail lines for supply, at all.

My end run on the Serbia front took longer than I anticipated and I had only forced my way across the Danube to the east of Belgrade in the last turns. This put the Serbs in a precarious position, but the rule giving them automatic supply in Serbia meant they could afford to let the AH maneuver a bit around their flanks.

Here is the final situation. 29 points for the Allies, a marginal victory.



The game played a bit differently than I remembered, but it has been 35 years. My fast retreat of the AH forces in Galicia led to minimal losses for them, but it was very close to a substantial Allied victory (6 points shy). I probably played the AH too conservatively.

After a slow start I really enjoyed the game. I was a bit bored with the masses of rail movement the first turns, but on GT 5 and after things got exciting

I would like to give this another try, especially against a live opponent.
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Kim Meints
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Good session Paul cool
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