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Part Seventeen of "The Schlieffen Plan" series.
Weather: West Clear, East Mud
Triple Entente Turn
Things are looking grim for the Triple Entente. The Russian offensive has come to a standstill, and the French just lost their third city, Rhiems. The French salient into southern Germany has also been cut off and eliminated, with only a single artillery unit stuck well behind enemy lines. Finally, the French losses have far outpaced the German losses, especially given the French diminished replacement rate as they lose cities. Even the British have lost enough units that they have been able to do little but garrison Calais.
As mentioned, the French just suffered the loss of Rhiems. While not a red-dot "objective" city, Rhiems is a fortress protecting clear terrain in a wide swath behind it. Now that the Germans hold Rhiems, the clear terrain will be more difficult to defend and easier for the relatively quick German units to move through. The loss of their units in Alsace-Lorraine does not affect the number of units defending in France, but they did at least prevent the Germans from gaining easy access to the southern flank, in particular Nancy and Belfort. Now the German units formerly defending Strasbourg can join the offensive.
The biggest problem is the lack of units. Compared to the Germans, the French have lost far more units than they could afford. Their lines are thin everywhere. The best they can do is mostly double stacks. If they triple up anywhere, I imagine it will leave other areas so weak that the Germans would be able to make easy progress. Not counting Calais, the French and British have 19 combat units to cover 12 hexes. In the replacement phase, if they convert both of their 4-6-4 units, they could add up to three units to that number. This would work, as they have two cities right on the front line. That still leaves only 22 units for 12 hexes.
I cannot predict what they will do, other than man the front lines as best they can. I will be very surprised if they launch any attacks this turn. Of course, I think that every turn about the French....
The Russians must be getting frustrated. Many times they have threatened, and come within inches of, major breakthroughs that could have overwhelmed the Central Power defenders. Lemberg was in grave danger on two or three occasions, and the Russians had several turns in which they might have swept through a breakthrough in Poland, from which they could have marched north to Danzig and south to Breslau. The Central Powers managed to slip out of the trap each time, sometimes by the skin of their teeth, and the entire East Front has become very stable for two months now.
While the Russians are as strong in units as they were to start the game, the CP have definitely increased their forces significantly in the East. This has come as a result of three things: a strategy of keeping CP casualties low; maximizing German replacements to the East to the detriment of the West; and quick early success in quelling any Serbian aspirations to cause trouble, allowing Austria to focus entirely on defending against Russia. The Western front has gone so well that the Germans have been able to carry on without many replacements so far.
The weakest point in the German line, and also the strongest for the Russians at the moment, continues to be in Poland, which has been the focus of much excitement so far. That is the area that has the lowest priority for me to defend, as losing ground in central Poland would take the longest to pay dividends for the Russians, in the form of capturing a red objective city. I don't have enough units to cover everywhere in strength, so I may as well make him choose between attacking against strength or taking the long way around. It's very different from France, where there is a far greater concentration of cities all along the front to defend.
My opponent has done the same to me in Russia, and has not bothered to defend the area to the east of Breslau, which is the one area that the CP have pushed into, hoping to create problems for the Russians. In retrospect, that was a bit optimistic, as my units were not close to anything of importance, and a single unit covering three hexes was enough to prevent significant advances.
In any case, I expect the Russians to attempt another push in Poland, which is largely defended by a long line of single low quality units. The one thing I made sure to do is reinforce the two edges of the Polish pocket, to (try to) force the enemy to go around them through the area of least resistance. Konigsberg and Lemberg at this point have very strong perimeters, and I don't expect big gains for the Russians in those areas.
Serbia remains quiet. There ends up being no movement or combat this turn. Did they forget there was a war on?
The British unit is waiting very patiently for the reticent Greeks to join the fight.
Not much to say here. The French advance into the hexes in the north that the Germans hastily abandoned, and otherwise set their defenses as best they can. Curiously, the hex to the south west of Rhiems is left open. That gets me to thinking what the consequences of sending a couple of 5-7-4s into that hole would be. If the weather turns out to be clear next turn, they could penetrate two hexes. And here I was last turn musing about cutting the French line in half over the course of months!
The Russians seem to ready themselves for another crack at pushing through Poland. Nothing much seems to be planned against Austria, as there is no movement to make big stacks against the Austrian corner hexes, which the Russians could attack from three hexes from.
I do notice that the majority of the Russian artillery is in the center, with enough to the east of East Prussia for a DRM bonus if massed together, but only one unit against Austria. Especially with trenches, the lack of artillery would make it difficult to make any progress against the Austrian defenses. So the plan is most likely to attack in the center.
The only attacks made by the TE are by the Russians.
A small attack is made against the unentrenched stack of Germans next to Konigsberg, taking advantage of the artillery DRM bonus with no defensive bonuses. However, there are not enough Russian factors involved to make much of an attack, and the result is each side have a single unit retreat.
In the Poland pocket, the Russians get things started again, taking two hexes, although luckily for me with D results rather than DX or DE.
They do get an unfortunate roll attacking the southern corner of the pocket, rolling a '1' on a big 2:1 +0 attack, which gives them an AA result, which eliminates ten Russian factors. I'm surprised they went that route, as only a '6' would have won the hex if the Germans chose to lose a unit to keep the hex, whereas they could have gone for a 3:1 and a 1:1 separately. I expect he wanted to take advantage of the artillery DRM against all the units instead of just one, especially with the defenders under a trench marker.
The only attack against Austria is a low-odds raid by a 2-2-4 cavalry unit against a stack of 17 defensive factors. Result = AD, and the cavalry retreats, happy to have survived the encounter.
For the CP, once again I must face the possibility of "The Rift" being pried open again, but for now the damage is minimal. Serbia remains somnolent, and the West is looking ever more promising.
All the other session reports of this game can be found at http://boardgamegeek.com/forum/1077/the-guns-of-august/sessi....
- Last edited Tue Jul 3, 2012 2:02 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:00 am
Waste Water too
Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
There isn't much for me to add. Only the Russians attack because they're the only ones who can. I can't bring myself to waste units pell mell, so I make the best attacks I can. But since France is in such terrible peril I do risk some bigger lower odds attacks in hopes that combined with CP bad luck rolls perhaps the tide will turn.
The Russian artillery was in the center with the hope that I would have made some headway. Weather and die rolls have kept them out of the game. I have learned they are probably best placed near Kongisberg from Kovno or railed into Austria where they can be concentrated. The "Rift" allows them to be railed to its center but I struggle to get them to the line in numbers due to the weather and CP pressure.