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Fatal Alliances: The Great War» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Great War for Amateurs: July-August 1915 rss

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Risto Marjomaa
Finland
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Beginning at last to master the game system, we were able to push through the end of the early summer turn together with the whole of July-August, the longest period in the game. This was very promising for future game sessions as we can usually find time to play only once in a few weeks and then only for a few hours at a time. Hindenburg launched at last his long-waited push in the eastern front. The heroic defenders of the besieged Warsaw were quickly overwhelmed, followed by an advance into Brest-Litovsk and the fringes of the Pripet marshes. In the north the Russians were able to counterattack, pushing the German advance back from the gates of Riga, but in the south Conrad von Hötzendorf’s Austro-Hungarians stepped up their cautious advance into Ukraine causing serious losses to the retreating Russians. The Russian line was nowhere breached, though, and by the end of August the front has been anchored in a South-Easterly line from the Courland (2742) to the Pripet marshes continuing in Ukraine in a North-South axis through the coal mine region (1931). Despite grievous losses, Russian morale remains solid (11) as autumn approaches.

Im Westen, nichts neues. Joffre choose not to repeat his June offensive after Bülow successfully suppressed French fortifications around the coal mines of Nancy (1030). Belgian neutrality came under increasing pressure with both sides investing political points to sway it. In the end there was no change to its previous position (+8) and Brussels remains the centre of a hectic diplomatic struggle. The Italian front was quiet as well, with France and Great Britain pushing in resources to build up Italian production. The Italians have begun to dig in to bolster the exposed border area of Alto Adige (0525) and as this continues unhindered, there appears to be no imminent threat of an assault by the Central powers.

In the meanwhile, the Commonwealth is at last beginning to have an impact on the war, having finally sorted out its transportation and convoying problems. The British are currently sending resources to France and Italy, together with a production point to Russia. In return, the Russians are sending two resources to Great Britain, and the United States one. American commitment to the Allied cause remains negligible, despite the British punctiliously respecting their right as neutrals to trade with Germany. British transports are now carrying a steady stream of land and aerial units into the Mediterranean, needing sizable cruiser protection against skulking German and Austro-Hungarian submarines. Empty transports making the return trip require similar protection, and the whole operation drains much of British naval power in cruisers. Fortunately, the French and Italian navies have taken up the task of patrolling Allied convoy routes in the Mediterranean and the African West Coast, thus relieving pressure on the beleaguered Royal Navy.

The Balkan Expeditionary force (under French) is fully operational and has taken its place at the side of the Serbians in northern Albania, tying up sizeable Austrian troops from outflanking the Serbs and reaching Tirana. Freed to concentrate against the Bulgarians, the Serbian army is confidently holding its lines. Egypt is secure (under Kitchener), while the first offensive operations against the Ottoman Empire were launched in the backwaters of the Arabian Peninsula. A cavalry division from India occupied San’a, the capital of the Imamate of Northern Yemen, an Ottoman vassal state. Relief troops send to help the Imam were too late, being tied up in clearing a revolt in the holy city of Mecca first. Interestingly, the tribal forces of Abdullaziz ibn Saud are turning out to be an important ally for the Commonwealth, as they threaten to cut Ottoman supply routes to north by taking Medina should the Turks intend to retake San’a. The Ottomans faced another setback in the Caucasus, where Yudenitsh retook Yerevan pushing the invaders beyond the Russian borders.

A more important victory for the Commonwealth was achieved by the South-Africans, whose second invasion of the German South-West Africa crushed the territorials and Maritz's rebellious Boers. It took General Smuts offensive points to do so, but his troops are now freed for use elsewhere, there being no fear of the defeated Germans regrouping. Our Russian player grumbled over the British wasting resources in such a secondary target, but while South-West Africa is undoubtedly as secondary as they get, it is not so simply as all that. Smuts’ forces can be moved elsewhere, and if the results there are similar, this can create a snowball effect creating local superiorities in one place after another. The Russian front is the most crucial area of the war, but so far it has delivered no decisive results. It devours huge amounts of resources from both sides, but as long as Russia is not defeated and forced out of the war, all these sacrifices are only going to require additional ones. The same dilemma was faced by the real Central powers during WWI. As long as Russia did not sue for peace, advancing further into its territory required more investment of troops and resources thus actually weakening Germany and Austria-Hungary in the other fronts.

British marines are on their way into Australia to help overwhelming the last enemy outpost in Truk Island. The South Africans can move to East Africa, where Chilembwe rebels of Northern Rhodesia were finally defeated as a necessary preliminary for taking on Lettow-Vorbeck. The French are close to annihilating the last German troops in the Cameroon, having already taken Yaounde, the capital, in the spring. Allied supremacy at sea is gradually weighing down on enemy colonies and only time can tell how important this shall be in the long run. There are still obstacles to hinder our advance, like a revolt among the Malayan principalities shutting down a major centre of two resources, with no troops in sight to quell it. It is one of the interesting aspects of this game how even minor revolts can last such a long time before enough forces can be put together to defeat them. The nationalist revolt in Saigon has survived for months now while the French have slowly concentrated their Indochinese territorials to deal with them, with no guarantees for success.

The main dilemma in the Allied camp remains what to do with the French army, our second largest fighting force. We have been looking for alternatives, but for the time being the best invasion route to enemy territory still lies through the narrow strip of land in Alsace. Can this be enough to distract German forces from crushing the Russians? A large German army is still stationed on the Belgian borders doing nothing and it is not certain whether even a determined French push through Belgium would require the Germans to concentrate more resources in the West. Yet, it is clear that France needs somehow to find a more relevant impact to the war, if we are to win.
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paul taylor
France
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mbmb
This should be filed under "sessions"
 
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Risto Marjomaa
Finland
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I know, but the series started wrong and I do not know a way to change the group afterwards. Is it possible? If so, how?
 
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mike paoletti

Oregon
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cool writeup! Pics of the action would be neat..
 
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