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This is part two of Germany's Future Lies East, a series of session reports presenting a play of a campaign game of Avalon Hill's Guns of August.

August 1914 - Central Powers turn



Weather
West Front: Clear
East Front: Clear

August being a Summer month, the weather is automatically clear on both fronts.

With the setups complete, the Central Powers begin the game. The main action during the Central Power turn will be in Russia, with a sideshow in Serbia. But first, a brief report about the West Front.

France

Since the Germans set up after the French, and the German stance will be purely defensive, their initial deployment does not need be changed during the first turn. Britain and France have demanded that Germany respect Belgium's sovereignty, and Germany has complied with that request. Germany does not seek war with France or Britain, nor does Germany wish to involve other countries in the upcoming conflict She will remain prepared to defend herself, but not initiate hostilities.

The bulk of West Front German units are concentrated along the German-French border. There are only a handful of units along the Belgian and Netherlands borders, on the off chance that France may launch an immediate strike towards Germany through Belgium.

I am taking a risk in leaving so few units ready to intervene in Belgium, but I am working under the assumption that France will delay any moves against Belgium until Britain is confirmed as a full participant. As I pointed out in the previous session report, Britain begins the game neutral. If Germany attacks Belgium, Britain automatically declares war on Germany. Germany will not be attacking Belgium (in fact Belgium will act as a buffer for Germany against the Western Entente). Thus, Britain has to make a Variable Entry roll (d6) at the end of the first turn, to see if she remains Neutral (6), becomes a limited participant (4-5), or becomes a full participant (1-3). (All this despite German compliance with the demand to respect Belgium's sovereignty. Just what does a country have to do to please Britain?) If France declares war on Belgium, then the die roll for British entry is increased by one, which makes the chances of Britain remaining neutral even higher.

If Britain remains neutral, or becomes only a limited participant, then the Entente run a further risk that could see Italy join the Central Powers! I get the impression that Italy is a bit of an opportunistic country in this game. If Britain fails to throw her hat in fully with France and Russia, then Italy might be persuaded that there is more profit in joining the Central Powers side. All of this translates into a one-in-six chance of Italy joining the Central Powers in August, and again during future Variable Entry Rolls as long as Britain is not a full participant.

So, while the French could get an early jump on taking a full frontal () offensive to Germany, they would be running a big risk. A neutral Britain and the Italians pouring into the south of France would be an unmitigated disaster.

The Germans do not initiate combat or even any movement this month. Depending on the outcome of the Variable Entry die rolls at the end of this turn, I will consider whether or not to reinforce the West.



Russia

Whereas the West will hopefully fall into a holding pattern for a few turns, it is in Russia that the real action starts up.

The Germans and Austrians setup with flexibility and mobility in mind, knowing that August is always guaranteed clear weather and full movement. This was necessary because the I did not get to see the Russian setup until after I had to complete my own.

The primary difference between the German and Austrian setups is that the Germans are planning for a first turn offensive, while the Austrians are planning for defense.

As the Austrians feared, the primary Russian offensive units (4-6-4 infantry and most of their artillery) are deployed and ready to make a push for Lemberg and presumably further. This was deemed the most likely scenario, so plans were made with that in mind.

Germany meanwhile has to decide which are the best areas to attack, given the disposition of Russian units. I am glad to see that the first two rail hexes of the Berlin-Warsaw line are undefended, and I will even be able to repair the first rail hex as it is not in a Russian ZoC. The paucity of railway lines and the problems with repairing them once captured are a constant headache for the Central Powers in Russia. I only have four turns before winter strikes (guaranteed snow in the East therefore no railway repair), and on the East Front one in six Fall turns are also snow. Being prepared to repair the maximum number of rail hexes in the East when the opportunities present themselves is an important part of planning. This includes devising one's strategy of attack to ensure continuing capture and repair of needed rail hexes, and clearing out enemy units and their pesky ZoC`s!

The goals of an attack plan when attempting to conquer the enemy are threefold: (1) to eliminate as many enemy units as possible (2) to isolate enemy units (3) to make progress towards whatever your objectives are. The objectives are usually the capture of cities or rail hexes, or working towards threatening a larger encirclement. All of this while trying to ensure that your attacking units do not take too many losses! My general approach is to concentrate force on a few hexes in order to make attacks of 4:1 or better, hopefully supported by enough artillery to give bonus die roll modifiers (DRM`s). At those odds, especially with bonus DRM`s, defender casualties are guaranteed to be higher than for the attacker, at least in the long run. Results for any one turn can of course vary tremendously.

Warsaw is an obvious first target, with the capture of Brest-Litovsk (even more valuable than Warsaw) as the next goal. Securing and repairing the rail line to Warsaw will facilitate bringing in replacement units each turn, not to mention providing a solid supply line. In one game I played the Germans were so successful against the Russians that their front line had to stop advancing because the railway repair could not keep up!

The plan of attack will be to approach Warsaw from three sides: north, west, and south. If stage one is successful, Brest-Litovsk will then be approached from the west and south. In that second stage, a northern approach of Brest-Litovsk will not be an option as I will not be attempting progress north of the lake hex (which is an impassible hex by the way) in the first phase: the push on Warsaw will take up all of my offensive capabilities, and the area is a difficult one for the Germans to attack from. With the Russians curved around the German hexes there, the Germans cannot attack any hex with more than two stacks. Also required in the second phase is that the attack from the south must originate roughly from Lemberg. Given the Russians are going to be all over that area at the start of the game, I will need to start moving strong German offensive units into the area well ahead of the end of stage one against Warsaw.

The three-pronged attack from different directions will work well to isolate Russian pockets. This will hopefully lead to quick gains of territory towards Warsaw. The Russian area south of East Prussia is the most susceptible to isolation given its peninsular position between enemy borders. After that, I expect it will be more difficult to make rapid territorial gains.

Russian Front start of turn


Movement

The Austrians defend most heavily the two hexes adjacent to Lemberg. The Russians would have to be somewhat lucky to capture either hex this turn, given that they can only attack each hex with two stacks maximum. I am leaving them easier pickings along the line going east, the area that is of least consequence to lose. That will (hopefully) give me time to have full defensive stacks surrounding Lemberg by the time the Russians arrive. Running to the west I have double stacks, so a concerted push would probably gain the Russians some ground there. However, that is closer to where the Germans are concentrating their units, so would be easier to counter-attack the Russians if any trouble developed there.

The Germans send a defensive line east of Konigsberg. It pains me to use 5-7-4 units for that purpose, but I simply do not have enough units to do otherwise. As my most expensive units, they are best used to attack, and when defending are highly susceptible to low-odds soak off attacks launched by weaker units. (More on those in a later post). I plan to man that part of the border with 3-5-3 units once I have more available.

Attacks are planned a little north-east of Warsaw, directly from the west, and from the southwest. The northern attack is a little to the east of Warsaw, and is the first move in a bid to isolate the city in a few turns. The attack from the west is aimed at capturing rail hexes and clearing out enemy ZoC's to allow railway repair before winter, and the attack from the southwest will hopefully allow me to reach Warsaw from the south after a few turns of advances.

Planned attacks are indicated by the hexes which have their unit stacks expanded.

End of movement


Combat

The results of the first turn of attacks are mixed, but overall the objectives for the turn were achieved.

The attack from the north suffers high casualties with two low rolls. I made two attacks, one at 3:1 odds +1 DRM, the other 4:1 odds +1 DRM. That combination of odds and DRM's guaranteed that I would win the hex. However, I manage to roll a '1' on each attack, giving me a BD result each time. The Germans lose two 5-7-4 units, while the Russian defenders are able to retreat without losses. In the end I only advance a single 5-7-4 into the "won" hex. Only one because I need to leave an infantry unit in each attacking hex to protect my valuable artillery units. The one unit that did advance will likely be eliminated by the Russians, since he will be isolated and not able to retreat, but I wanted to throw a ZoC on the Russian rail hexes to impede their movement. Also, if I force them to attack, they can suffer some losses. I am not sure I made the correct decision to advance after combat.

From the west the Germans also attack the two infantry units separately. These attacks are at 5:1 +0 and 5:1 +1 (you can see I like the high odds). I manage one DE and a DX. Another 5-7-4 lost, but at least two Russians are eliminated as well.

From the south, attacks are at 4:1 +0 and 5:1 +1. Here luck is with me and I roll two DE results. I suppose I have to stop complaining about bad luck already.

A fourth attack against the lone isolated 3-5-3 north of Warsaw is made at 3:1 +0, and will eliminate the Russian unless I roll a '1'. Well, I get the '1', and that is my one attack that fails outright as I lose a fourth 5-7-4. If I had to chose one of the attacks to fail, that would be the one, so no big deal. My primary concern with that hex is that he will be able to move supplied units into it, and then attack the hex with my 3-2-2 Siege artillery unit. This is an extremely useful unit. Not only does it give an additional +1 DRM when attacking a fort (in addition to adding to the DRM bonuses for massed artillery), but it ignores the normal stacking limits of four units. To have an extra artillery unit can make a big difference when attacking. It is also very slow moving, so if it gets eliminated, it might never reach the front line again! Especially in Russia.

I have marked the Russian units that will now be isolated at the beginning of my opponent's turn due to the German advances. They are the ones with (1) in a circle, which indicates first turn of isolation. They are actually not officially placed until the beginning of my opponent's turn, but I thought it might be useful to show the situation after combat is over.

Post Combat Phase in Russia


Serbian Front

Right away, the Austrians start with an isolated unit. The 2-4-3 next to the Montenegrin capital Citinje is out of range for supplies, so gets marked with an isolation marker. This means its combat and movement factors are all halved. Also, if it doesn't either come within range of supply (five hexes from a supply city or a railway connected to a supply city), or enter a city (any city), it will be eliminated. However, this is expected, as the unit will be involved in a do-or-die attack on Citinje. The unit will in fact survive unless the Austrians roll an AE or AA result. On a AD, all the units can retreat two hexes, which would put them back in range for supply. On a BD I only have to eliminate a single cavalry, and then the other two units can advance into Citinje. This buys the isolated another turn, at which point Citinje will start providing supply. It was necessary to place it adjacent to Citinje, or the Montenegrin infantry unit could have deployed in the hex north of Citinje, and prevented the Austrians from reaching the city at all on the opening turn.

To capture Belgrade, the Austrians will go the route of least risk of loss to self. Instead of attacking the city head-on, the plan is to attack a hex adjacent, thereby isolating the defenders, and then attacking next turn when they are at half strength.

Serbian Front at start of turn


Movement

The 2-2-4 cavalry units near Montenegro move adjacent to Citinje and prepare to attack along with the isolated 2-4-3 infantry. Soon we will see if my 50/50 play pays off or falls flat.

Several units that were waiting in the wings, so to speak i.e. entrained near Budapest, arrive near Belgrade and move to attack the 2-4-3 Serbian infantry in the hex southwest of Belgrade. I even train in a German 5-7-4, in order to make the odds nice and high. Lower chance of losses that way, and then the 5-7-4 can train out in the next turn or two. Of course I am risking the 5-7-4 on a BD, but a worthwhile risk in my opinion. After all, I am not expecting high losses in Russia this turn. I would very much like to subdue the Serbians as quickly as possible so they provide the least amount of distraction later on.

Another Austrian 2-4-3 infantry advances into Serbia on the eastern flank, which, combined with the hex under attack, will help isolate the units adjacent to Belgrade as well. That way Belgrade cannot be reinforced with supplied units during the Serbian turn.

End of movement on the Serbian Front


The Central Powers make two separate attacks against the two units in the hex southeast of Belgrade. The only way to ensure winning a hex with multiple defenders is to attack each unit separately. If I attack all at once and get either a BD or DD, they can eliminate one of the units and have the rest remain. That would mean no advance after combat. Both attacks are at 4:1 odds +0 DRM. With those odds I am guaranteed to capture the hex, but I also have two chances to take losses. I get very nice rolls: a '5' for a DE against the infantry, and a '3' for a DD against the cavalry. No Central Power losses. Fhew!

Then the attack I am most interested in. The 1:1 odds -1 DRM attack on Citinje. The result is a BD. The Montenegrin infantry is eliminated because a unit cannot retreat if it causes it to end up further from a source of supply than where it started. The Austrians eliminate one cavalry unit, and advance into Citinje! The Entente have no way to counterattack, so Montenegro is conquered! Next turn, Citinje starts acting as a supply source for the Central Powers.

Post combat on the Serbian Front


Next session report will be the Triple Entente side of the August 1914 turn. Hopefully I didn't post any of the wrong pictures this time!
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Alan Richbourg
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southeast of Belgrade -> southwest of Belgrade

Great session report, looking forward to more.
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Steve Zaccardi
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Excellent report! I just picked up a copy of GoA; haven't played yet but I can live vicariously through this play through in the meantime.

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fangotango
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chargetheguns wrote:
southeast of Belgrade -> southwest of Belgrade

Great session report, looking forward to more.


Aargh!

Thanks. Will edit.
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Patrick Bauer
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Oh, my mighty Montenegrins! gone. This is a problem for Serbia, the retreat will be hastened as the left is now imperiled because conquered country cities are supply sources. The left is now as vulnerable as the center and the right.

There is simply no good news for the Tsar on any front. If Britain remains neutral, France must either attack through a narrow and well defended front; and worry about Italy joining the Central Powers. Serbia will wither and the sooner it falls the sooner Russia goes.

Hopefully the rolls will give me some solace.
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Michael McCalpin
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I remain in awe of your willingness to invest so much time into this series of AARs. I'm also looking forward to seeing how the anti-Schlieffen Plan works.
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Matt Ward
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This will defintely force me to get this game back on the table. I enjoyed the Schlieffen Plan AAR a ton.

On the other hand, it also forced me to finally pull the trigger on the "Der Weltkrieg" series. I will have to send you a bill...
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Murray Fish
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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Enjoying these session reports.

To make sure no-one misses one, could you post an update on the old report? That way subscribers will be notified of the new report.
 
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fangotango
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muzfish4 wrote:
Enjoying these session reports.

To make sure no-one misses one, could you post an update on the old report? That way subscribers will be notified of the new report.


Just subscribe to the Guns of August session forum. This is the only thing going on there. You will not be bugged too often by notices.
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fangotango
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mmccalpin wrote:
I remain in awe of your willingness to invest so much time into this series of AARs.


I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not
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Murray Fish
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They explained everything in detail and at great length. After they finished I sat, despondent, contemplating a bleak and empty future. "I’m glad you’re depressed" said one. "It means you’ve understood the situation.”
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fangotango wrote:
muzfish4 wrote:
Enjoying these session reports.

To make sure no-one misses one, could you post an update on the old report? That way subscribers will be notified of the new report.


Just subscribe to the Guns of August session forum. This is the only thing going on there. You will not be bugged too often by notices.


Done!

And now I'll have to read all your old session reports too.
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fangotango
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meward wrote:
On the other hand, it also forced me to finally pull the trigger on the "Der Weltkrieg" series. I will have to send you a bill...


"Der Weltkrieg"? I looked it up, and it looks like the checkers version of world war one , at least from the description in English.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
 
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Jeff S
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Try this link:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgamefamily/111/der-weltkri...

20 miles per hex, division units; army HQs
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fangotango
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That looks a bit different from (and much more interesting than) what I found on BGG when I did a search!
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Thanks for sharing!
The Eastern Front reminds me of the Kursk saillant...well different year, different place but the title of your thread could have been Operation Zitadelle 1914
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