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The Guns of August» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Schlieffen Plan March 1915 Central Powers turn rss

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fangotango
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Part Sixteen of "The Schlieffen Plan" series.

Weather: West Clear, East Mud

Central Powers Turn

The Triple Entente had both a good and a bad turn in February. The French & British erased all the gains made by the Germans in the West that month, with a set of well orchestrated (if somewhat chancy) attacks. The Russians, though, were unable to make any gains at all in the East. For the Central Powers, the West offensive has been so successful to date that one turn without making headway is of little concern. The two-turn respite in the East has been very welcome. It has, in fact, allowed me a turn in which I chose to deploy all of my replacements in the West.

West Front

The Germans have a couple of problem areas to deal with this turn. The Western Allies have managed to put a lot of German units in isolation, and it looks like I will have to beat a hasty retreat in the north. Clearly I overextended the German line in my eagerness to push forward towards Rouen and began to entertain visions of an encirclement of Paris as the French lines become thinner with the longer front. Apparently the German lines also get thinner, and that is what my opponent capitalized on. In the south, my push on Nancy is stalled, as my isolation of the city was broken by the French (who also eliminated two 5-7-4 units in the process *sniff*), and one of my stacks is isolated in turn. A bit of tidying up is required this turn.

In the north, I will make a "tactical" withdrawal of two hexes in depth (ouch!), and launch an attack to eliminate the British 5-7-4, which will open supply to all my units in the area, although I will have to give up a whole chunk of real estate to do so. Given that I want to be sure of clearing out the British 5-7-4, and most of my units are at half-strength, I don't think any other attacks in the area would be prudent.

In the south, I must attempt once again to eliminate the French incursion into Alsace-Lorraine. While for a time it was a most welcome distraction for the French forces while I romped through Belgium into the center and north, now it has become an impediment to my attempts to take Nancy and push into the south. Last turn I was sure I would eliminate that nuisance, but to my chagrin that proved false.

Meanwhile, my assault on Fortress Rhiems will continue with even more strength than before. My opponent, either through an oversight or simply that he had too few units and too many weak spots and had to make choices, has left Rhiems defended by only two infantry and an artillery. It looks like I'll be able to make a bigger attack this turn than last turn's unsuccessful attempt on the city. If Rhiems goes down, I have a chance of cutting the French lines in half, with a push to the south through the clear terrain towards Dijon and behind Nancy and Belfort.



For this turn, I did not send a single German replacement to the East Front. The East has been sucking up most of my replacements, so it is nice to be able to send a few units against the French. It is not as if I feel the CP forces are strong in the East, but there are no immediate threats, so I'd rather wait and see what trouble the Russians will cause next before committing more troops. I feel as if I have a chance of breaking the French, so I will take the risk of a weaker East Front to push harder in the West.



Serbia has become quite dormant. No movement or attacks planned. The Serbians will eventually go on the offensive when they have built up enough units, but until then, no resources will be spent in the area by the Austrians.



Movement Phase

In the North, a full scale retreat is enacted, in good order I might add. The British 5-7-4 is targeted, and it looks like it will be an attack at 4:1 odds with a +0 DRM, so victory is guaranteed.

The attack on Rhiems gets an extra artillery unit, which will give an additional +1 DRM this turn, not to mention the attack will be at 4:1 odds (+2 DRM) instead of the 3:1 odds (+1 DRM) last turn, due to the reduced garrison defending the fortress city. Unless I roll a '1', Rhiems will be captured and all defenders eliminated. I have a 4-in-6 chance of getting a DE result, meaning no losses for the Germans. Those are the kind of odds I like, especially when targeting a major objective of mine with multiple defending units.

In the south, I push my isolated units forward, being certain that I will be able to eliminate the French units behind them. I set up with enough attacking factors and artillery to make 4:1 +0 DRM attacks on both units, so again, I am guaranteed to eliminate them and re-supply my isolated units.

As usual, anywhere I am not massing to attack is weakly defended, as there are no units to spare. I have even been leaving some captured cities ungarrisoned in order to get better odds on my attacks, which means I lose one replacement point for each ungarrisoned city that turn. This turn I have left only one city empty, and will take another hit to my replacements.

The French have on occasion been able to take advantage of my weak hexes, but for the most part my attacks have resulted in situations in which they don't end up with very promising offensive options.



Not much excitement on the East Front. The holes are filled, albeit not with many units. A few key positions are stacked with extra units, and units advance into Russian holes. No attacks are planned. As the weaker side on that front, I never attack unless I have to, preferring to avoid losing units and creating holes in my own line on my own turn. The front is so wide, with few objectives, that I am happy to lose ground in many areas (but not all!) if I can spare units. I would even lose cities to spare units, if it means it will help the attack against France.



Combat Phase

The only attacks by the CP are in the West.

All three attacks succeed, although losses are taken against two of the hexes. This was to be expected, as they were high enough odds to be sure of winning the hex, but not overwhelming. Two 5-7-4s and a 3-5-3 are lost.

The British unit is eliminated, saving the isolated northern units, although losing the gains of two turns towards Rouen.

In the south, the French invasion of Germany is finally put to an end. The only unit left is a lone 3-3-3 artillery, far behind enemy lines. There is nothing it can do, and it has no ZOC to hinder my units or their supply lines.

On this my second attempt, Rhiems is captured with a DE result. This will hurt the French badly, as their replacement rate drops to 7 factors per turn, and removes a French fortress from my path. There is nothing but clear terrain all around.

Best of all, I have eliminated 12 infantry factors and 6 artillery factors (that includes the isolated 3-3-3 behind German lines) this turn. This is more than double what the French can replace. The French are down to their last 4-6-4, so they their ability to create more units by conversion is about to dry up.



All in all a very good turn for the CP. While my push on Rouen was repulsed, the capture of Rhiems and having cleaned up the south easily make up for any loss of ground in the north.

The Russians have been quiet lately, but I am in constant expectation of continued problems to deal with on that front.
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Patrick Bauer
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This turn was perhaps the most crushing to my morale of the game. After the early loss of Lille, I managed to fortify Rhiems. Rhiems and Verdun were to anchor the whole front and having lost Verdun with barely an enemy unit lost, Rhiems falls on a single die roll; not even a DX.

The Germans have made large scale attack after large scale attack and a Defender Exchange at any point would have stalled their thrust. It is, as in any game, disheartening to have your opponent not get any bad luck during the important rolls.

France is effectively lost. It is just a matter in time. Any effort to save France until relief in the form of Yankee debt to Lafayette means I have to pull back from Nancy. But Rouen, Paris and Belfort will quickly come under siege. France will be down 4 of its 10 replacement points and one more for every other city lost. I could take Konigsberg, Breslau, Danzig and all of eastern Austria and Germany would still be able to press France relentlessly -- and I'm in no position to do any of that.

My previous hope that Russia could sway this battle is a false and vacant one. Only an unlikely string of hideous luck as the Germans decimate the French line can save the day.

I need Italy, Greece and Rumania to join the TA and join it soon.
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fangotango
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Haha, if you want Rumania to join the fun on your side sometime soon, the Russians will need to grab an objective city from the CP. Without some DRMs, the Rumanians have no chance to join either side until 1916. Worse news, if either Turkey or Bulgaria join the CP, that gives a +1 DRM to Rumania, so then the only side that has a chance until 1917 to gain an active alliance with the Rumanians are the Central Powers.

The Variable Entry rules tend to give a boost to whichever side is winning on each front. If the Russians had been able to match the German successes in the West, then it could well be that all the Balkan minors would be invading Austria-Hungary by now! If the Germans ever make it to Paris, then hopes for help from the USA or Italy become ever more remote.

As far as luck goes, I try to take the luck factor out as much as possible if I am in a position to do so. I focus on high-odds attacks with the best modifiers I can muster at the expense of making more numerous attacks. If I really want to take a hex, I do everything I can to deploy enough factors to guarantee success, and the die rolls are just for relative losses of each side. The high-odds with positive modifier attacks are not only good for ensuring capture of hexes, but tend to score a lot of DE results, which both minimize one's own losses while maximizing the opponent's. As the defender on a front, D results are not so bad if the unit is able to retreat, as no loss of defense factors is suffered.
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Patrick Bauer
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While I admit that you have engineered a greater number of high odds rolls (I think maybe that is important to winning, maybe), not one of them didn't have the possibility of a DX. I find that this result is very debilitating to an offensive over the long haul.

Nearly the whole German offensive in France has been DX free and none of the DXs came a key moment or at high combat factors. And that is the crux of the game, all odds even the 6:1 column have a basic 16.7% chance of a Defender Exchange.

The attack on Rhiems was my morale breaking point. Again another combat with no enemy losses. This turn was one of woe for my disposition.

The Triple Alliance player was demoralized. I retreated two hexes from my computer and didn't attack until the next day.
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fangotango
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I'm not sure it is so simple, and focus on just a very small group of attacks. For instance, the turn I captured Rhiems (which would have cost me only 13 factors on a DX), I lost 13 factors in my other three die rolls, which included two DX results. And all attacks were at 4:1 with +0 or +1 modifiers.

Further, going back to the previous TE turn, France eliminated 13 factors of German infantry with some pretty sweet die rolls at very low odds attacks. That makes 26 German factors lost to the French in one complete turn.

Go back one more CP turn, and the Germans lost 24 combat factors and 3 artillery factors to a series of poor rolls on their own attacks, including a failed attack on Rhiems. That is significantly more than if I had lost 18 factors in the attack on Verdun. I'll trade that turn for a DX against a major target any time .

If I were to go back and look at my big "significant" attacks, there were only five that come to mind: one on Leige, one on Lille, one on Verdun, and two on Rhiems. To not get a DX on any of them is on the lucky side, but one DX would not have affected the Germans too much, I don't believe, and two big DX results in five attacks would have to be considered unlucky.

We have both had "lucky" and "unlucky" turns, and I have had many losses, including DX results, one by one, on smaller attacks, and as a result of "lucky" attacks by your forces. That's just Guns of August. Whether I lose 13 or 26 factors in one roll, or in several, it still adds up to the same thing. In large part, it really is a game of attrition.

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Patrick Bauer
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From my perspective it seems that if any of the early large attacks had been a DX then the German lines would have been thinner. This loss of forces weighs in any attack decision. While I do not know if you would have continued with your assault, I do know that each set back would have had you thinking harder about committing to the roll in fear of yet another large loss; not to mention any counter attack opportunities that might have then been presented. It certainly would have reduced the odds on subsequent German rolls.

You have indeed made mostly higher odds attacks, but in part(just a little) because you did not suffer early losses that required such risks if you wished to attack.

For my part, the only thing I feel I have done right in this game is make some effective counter attacks. The German center has been a bastion of power and threat. This replay is a treatise on how not to play the Triple Alliance: don't attack the Alsace region in the face of the early Schlieffen Plan, don't trust the Russians and pretty much don't attack until German losses open an opportunity.
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