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Subject: A Tale of Two Bull's Eyes. rss

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Philip Thomas
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This was a pair of ACTS/Cyberboard games using the 1916 Scenario between myself and Jeromey with me playing the CPs. This was my tenth and eleventh games using the 1916 Scenario and my fifth and sixth as the Allies. For these games (as for the previous game) we made some changes in the Alllies’s favour. Jihad was reduced by 1, the Parvus to Berlin Marker was moved 1 turn later (therefore moving the Revolution marker), we removed the trenches in Gaza and Beersheba, and we treated the Persian Uprising as permanently eliminated.

A Tale of Two Bull’s Eyes

First Game.

Summer 1916

Meso/Persia and TU MOs Revolution due in two turns, TU Max Rps at 11.

I began by attacking Gumushane and Erzincan, and moving II Turkistani Corps to Bitlis. Both attacks were ineffectual. XVI Corps formed in Erzincan, XIV Corps in Sivas, and X Corps moved from Gumushane to Giresun. Romanian entered the war, winning a battle at Hermannstadt and we both played for RPs (Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, Arab Desertion).

Turkish Arab reinforcements arrived with a Trench at Gaza and I attacked Diyarbarkir, a draw with heavy casualties. Jeromey organized XVII Corps in Diyarbarkir and moved more troops to that space. I made attacks on Mosul, Karind, and the Bahariya Oasis, the last-named with Tanks. Water Shortage prevented Russian advance at Mosul, but I pushed TU-A XII Corps back into Mesopotamia, causing a potential problem with LCUs in Restricted Areas shouls Jeromey want to shore up Mosul.

Jeromey now played Bull’s Eye Directive, attacking Bitlis, Mus, Erzerum and Trabzon, using the Army of Islam against Mus. I used Jafar Pasha to pull back from Bitlis to Van. The Turks won at Mus and lost at Erzerum and Trabzon. The immediately advanced to Mus and attacked Erzerum, destroying the Russians there and liberating the space. I pressed on into Mesopotamia, attacking and taking Mosul and destroying XII Corps in Khanikan. A final CP 1 Ops move from Erzincan concluded the turn.

Fall 1916

Meso/Persia and RU MOs Revolution due in one turn. Tu Max RPs at 9.

The Russians moved troops around, taking most of Northern Iraq and attacking and taking Khanikan, cutting off a Turkish infantry division in Sulemaniye. I also moved II Turkistani Corps to Ruwands and IV Caucasian Crops back to Van. Jeromey organized XIII Crops in Baghdad and attacked and captured Van. I redeployed Russians to cover the gaps in the front. Jeromey occupied Kronstadt and Hermannstadt and attacked Khanikan inconclusively.

I attacked Sannaiyat and Giresun using the Royal Flying Corps against Sannaiyat but was defeated in both battles. The Berlin-Baghdad Railroad was followed by RPs for both sides (D’Esperey, Yidlirim Offensive). In a desperate gamble to save the Russian position I extended my front by pushing II Turkistani Corps out to Ras-Ul Ain, threatening Aleppo on one side and Diyarbarkir on the other. This involved weakening my position in Azerbaijan, but it would take one impulse for the Cps to get in position there…

Jeromey strengthened Diyarbarkir and moved into Azerbaijan (Aleppo was not a problem for him, because if I took it without dealing with the Diyarbarkir force my force would be cut off easily). I reinforced Azerbaijan with troops from Nazibin and, took Cizre and attacked Diyabarkir. If successful I would cut off the Turkish force in Mardin and stave off the Revolution (if Azerbaijan held out). If I failed it was all over. I failed.

Second game

Summer 1916

BR/IN/ANZ MO for Allies and TU MOs for Turks Revolution due in two turns, TU Max Rps at 11.

Romania entered the war, defeating the Austrians at Hermannstadt. XVI Corps formed in Sivas, II Corps entrenched at Diyarbarkir and X Corps moved from Gumushane to Giresun. Lloyd George took Command, reinforcements arriving at Basra. Jeromey played for RPs (Yildirim). I moved the forces in Oltu to Gumushane and those in Urmia to Ruwandis and Kermanshah. Jeromey redeployed troops to Karind, Mosul and Giresun. I played for RPs (Haversack Ruse).

Left Wing Group appeared in Baghdad. I attacked Giresun and Sulemaniye, taking both. The Turks attacked Bitlis and Kermanshah, playing Army of Islam for Kermanshah. I held them at both and then moved back to Hamadan and Seneh while moving IV Caucasian Corps from Mus to Bitlis. I also took Samsun, which the Turks had pulled back from, and my attack on Diwaniyeh was cancelled by Mosquitos. A final CP 1 Ops move from Karind to Kermanshah ended the turn.

Fall 1916

Both sides had British Empire MOs, one being Enver, with the Cps also having an RU MO Revolution due in one turn. Tu Max RPs at 9.

I began by redeploying troops to Seneh and Hamadan. Jeromey redeployed troops to Mesopotamia. The Romanians took Hermannstadt and the Russians Kronstadt. Left Wing Group moved to Sulemaniye and the Germans attacked Hermannstadt, taking it with Schmettow. I moved back from Seneh to Saqqiz, and attacked at Hermannstadt and Diwniyeh, being defeated at both. Left Wing Group moved to Seneh and more German and Austrian troops moved to Hermannstadt. I redeployed troops to Kronstadt, Isfahan and Sannaiyat.

Jeromey played Bull’s Eye Directive, attacking Kronstadt, Hamadan, Saqqiz and Nasirya. Jafar Pasha saved the day in Krondstadt by rerolling the defence die for a draw.Baratov was destroyed in Hamadan and in all 3 Middle East battles the Allies take heavy losses but held their ground. I pulled out of Hamadan and Saqqiz and Samawa and Ruwandis. The Turks advanced into the gaps and the Germans attacked Krondstadt again, but it still held out. I moved Romanians to Kronstadt and pulled IV Caucasian Crops back from Bitlis to Tabriz. Jeromey ended the turn with RPs (British War Weariness). The Revolution had been postponed, but at a heavy cost.

Winter 1917

None and TU MOs. Revolution due this turn TU Max RPs at 8.

I began by sending Russian 6 Army and Yugoslav division to Bucharest, sending 2 British infantry divisions and the Bikanir Camel to El Arish and attacking Sannaiyat, where I was defeated heavily. Jeromey redeployed troops to Gaza and Turkish War Weariness was followed by Berlin-Baghdad Railroad. I played for RPs (D’Esperey) and Turkish Arab Reinforcements arrived with a Trench in Gaza.

Greece joined the Allies and Caucasian Army Reforms brought fresh Corps to Alexandretta and Cizre. I played Russian Reinforcements, putting a couple of elite divs in the Reserve. Jeromey played for RPs (Indian Mutiny) and I for my final impulse I attacked Amasya, Maragha and Erzincan. I passed all the Severe Weather checks and did a fair amount of damage. Jeromey attacked and took Kasvin. The Revolution began.

Spring 1917

British Empire and TU MOs, Revolution Stage 1 TU Max RPs at 6.

I redeployed Russian troops to Teheran and substituted an Indian division for the Russian division in Isfahan. Jeromey played for RPs and I played Allied Solidarity. XXII Corps formed in Gaza and the Turks attacked Malazgirt and Van, taking the latter. I attacked the Bahariya Oasis with Tanks, destroying the Senussi.

Jeromey captured Urmia and moved troops closer to the front line. I pulled back to defend Russia as well as organizing 2 Russian Corps. Jeromey made a 1 Ops move bringing troops from Mosul into Azerbaijan, and I played Allenby. Jeromey redeployed troops to Kasvin and Burujird. I played Russian Reinforcements, bringing Russian infantry to Petrovsk and Central Asia. Jeromey played for RPs to conclude the turn (Yildirim Offensive).

Summer 1917

Egypt and British Empire MOs TU Max RPs at 4. Revolution stage 2.

I began by organizing BR XX Corps in Abadan and moving a BR elite division to Dizful. Jeromey played Talaat Pasha, and I redeployed British divisions to Abadan and Indian divisions to Nasirya and Qum. Jeromey played Kaiserschlacht and I took the VP hit. Indian Reinforcements arrived at Fao and Sollum. Jeromey attacked Teheran and Bucharest, taking the latter and besieging the former. Dunsterforce appeared in Eastern Persia.

Jeromey attacked Qum and Ardebil, destroying the defenders but declining to advance. I played for RPs (D’Esperey). Jeromey attacked Ploesti and Tabriz, taking Tabriz. I attacked Siwa Oasis, destroying the Senussi. Turkish troops were redeployed to Baghdad, Enzeli and Teheran. The turn ended with TU XV Corps being destroyed by Turkish War Weariness.

Autumn 1917

NI MO TU Max RPs at 4, Russian Revolution stage 3. VPs on 12.

I began by redeploying troops to Basra, Eastern Persia, and an IN Cavalry divison to Erevan. Jeromey entered Central Asia, triggering an automatic Jihad Revolt, and took Erzerum (VPs to13). Arab Desertion was followed by the capture of Central Asia and of Braila, putting Ploesti and Kronstadt OOS. I moved XX Corps to Southern Persia and 2 British infantry divisions and Allenby to Dizful, organized Anzac Desert Corps in Basra and attacked Qurna. The Turks captured Baku (VPs to 15) and entered Afghanistan, triggering Jihad Revolt there. I attacked and took Burujird and moved XX Corps to Central Persia.

Jeromey played Indian Mutiny, attacking Eastern Persia and Erevan, capturing the latter. I attacked Hamadan, moved XX Corps to Kashan and organized XXI Corps in El Arish. Ataturk successfully defended Hamadan and another Turkish Corps arrived at Gaza. I played for RPs (Massed Cavalry Charge) and Jeromey ended the game with Yilidirim Offensive, taking Kars and Burujird with regular forces and using No Prisoners to destroy the garrison at Isfahan, allowing the Bakhtiari to appear there during Tribal Warfare for a neat 20 Vps.

Overview

Twice again Jeromey’s superior handling of the Ottoman forces was easily demonstrated. In both the games the timing and execution of the Bull’s Eye Directive was superb- and indeed the Yildirim Offensive in the second game. Not that my own incompetence should be neglected as an important factor. The Russian position is a fragile one and easily broken, as the first game showed. In the second game I wasted a great many Ops playing useless events (such as Russian Reinforcements post Revolution). At the time I rationalized this as cleaning out my deck, but as my clock got cleaned rather faster this was a flawed logic. All the more as I attempted a strategy of British Empire LCUs in Persia that needed plenty of Ops dedicated to it to get it off the ground (and I vacillated even here, building a completely pointless BR LCU in the Sinai on the final turn (pointless, since all the other LCUs were in other theatres).

For our next game we are playing with the optional Anzac Desert Corps Rules. But I doubt that will save my Allied forces on its own!

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