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This is part twenty-eight 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.



Weather

West: Clear
East: Clear


September 1915 - Central Powers turn

The September turn opens with the Central Powers declaring war on The Netherlands. Naturally, they first make a formal request to the Dutch government for free passage through southern Holland, but once refused, have no choice but to take the land by force. How else will they defend the freedom of Belgium?

Naval Phase

But first the Naval Phase for the month. Last turn saw the North Sea left empty by both sides, while the TE made sure to keep their access by sea to Salonika open, and the Germans were content to remain in the Baltic. This turn, the TE move into the North Sea in force, while the CP navies remain in place.

The Russians, for the second month in a row, sortie into the Baltic, in the hope that the Germans will choose this turn to contest the TE for that sea area. This time, it is their last remaining naval unit in the Baltic, which is normally stationed in Riga to prevent an amphibious invasion by the Germans. Their unit is a 2-4 B unit, which is significantly weaker than the BB unit they lost last month in the same situation.

End of naval movement


Naval Combat

A replay of the Baltic naval battle between a single Russian unit against the entire German navy that took place in August. Only this time it is even more one-sided.

Against the weak defense of the Russian 2-4 unit, the Germans are able to get 3:1 odds. They score an immediate Heavy Damage hit. The Russian unit, attacking at 1:3 odds, has no luck trying to damage one of the German squadrons.

Suffering from heavy damage, and with a German Battle Cruiser squadron able to pursue, the Russian unit has no chance of escape. (The Russian would have to roll a natural '-1' of a D6!) Combat continues.

End of naval combat part one


The Russian once again does no damage, while the Germans now have a 6:1 odds attack with a +1 DRM, which is at best (for the Russian) another Heavy Damage result, and enough to sink the already damaged Russian unit.

Combat ends with the Germans again in control of the Baltic, while the TE control all other active sea areas.

End of naval combat part two


The West

With clear weather, and having suffered minimal losses to the Western Entente countries last month, the conditions could not be better for a quick and decisive invasion of The Netherlands. The Dutch setup in response to the German DoW is to place one 2-4-3 infantry unit in each of their two cities. While trying to prepare against numerous possible variations of Dutch setups, that was one I did not consider. With the Germans prepared to overwhelm the small Dutch army, I thought they would setup to delay the German advances as much as possible, rather than trying to defend their cities. The clear weather certainly makes that more difficult, but I thought they might attempt to block the Germans from getting units to hex K07, just north of Antwerp. If they could prevent that, then the French could move into the hex on their turn, and have three hexes on Antwerp. One setup I thought of that would stymy the Germans was to have both Dutch units setup outside Amsterdam and Rotterdam. One unit southwest of Rotterdam at L07, and the other southeast of Amsterdam at N06.



Notice that Antwerp becomes isolated with this setup. As far as I can tell, in mud conditions, it would have prevented a single turn conquest by the Germans. Even in clear weather conditions, the only way the Germans can get a unit into each city is by massing forty factors against the Dutch unit adjacent to Antwerp to get an Automatic (combat) Victory at 8:1 odds, which neutralizes the unit's ZoC for the rest of the movement phase. Then one 4-4-5 cavalry unit would be able to reach each city. What would then prevent the conquest is that the French or British could then invade either or both cities and get 3:1 odds with a -1 DRM against at least one or possibly both of them. Not a bad chance to keep Holland alive for at least a turn, and create a TE position behind the German lines. Things would certainly heat up!

If the weather had been mud conditions in the West this turn, it is quite possible I would have delayed the invasion and hoped for clear weather in October or November.

I always find the initial setup of minor countries with small armies to be an enjoyable puzzle. The goal is to cause the most frustration for the opponent, when they expect a quick, easy, and inexpensive conquest. Frustrate just one of those assumptions, and that country will have scored a small victory for you.

If the TE have no interest in mounting an intervention with an amphibious invasion behind enemy lines, which would put a number of their units at great risk, then with the Dutch forces in their cities, the German forces will at least be drawn to the coast, and away from the front line with the French.

Beginning of turn in the West


Movement

With their preparations for this turn, the Germans are flush with units. Not only did three cavalry units get redeployed from Russia to the Dutch border, but additional replacement units have also been deployed in the West the past two turns.

Without much trouble, the Germans reinforce K09 and K10, which both lost a unit to the French attacks last month (albeit one was just a demoralization), securing K07 with two units that can also attack Rotterdam, and mount 5:1 odds attacks against both cities. The worst result for the attacker with a 5:1 odds attack, no matter the negative DRM's, is a BD result. That means both cities are guaranteed to be captured by the Germans.

A Rail Road Engineer unit also arrives by rail movement and is able to repair the first captured rail hex in Holland. Securing the rail line through Holland to Antwerp will be another benefit of the invasion.

End of movement in the West


Combat

The 5:1 attacks against Rotterdam and Amsterdam get a DD and a BD. Both Dutch infantry are eliminated, the Germans lose one 4-4-5 cavalry, and both cities are occupied by multiple units, making a a last ditch TE amphibious invasion to prevent the completion of the conquest a rather unlikely event.

The Germans now have their back door to Antwerp, which will make it much more difficult for the TE to isolate the city, or any of Belgium for that matter. The possible losses of K09 and K10 to the French will not have same effect on the German position as before. Once the rail line is repaired, reinforcements will have access from two directions, in case one or the other is cut off.

End of turn in the West


Russian Front

In Russia, the CP campaign continues. All signs are that it will be a success. The CP are now slowly closing in on five more Russian cities: Riga, Kovno, Minsk, Kiev, and with Rumania now a CP ally, Odessa. It looks most likely that Kovno and Odessa will be the first to fall. So far, the CP have been able to stay ahead of the Russian replacement rate with the losses they have inflicted on them turn after turn. It has been slow going lately, but the Russian losses are always at least a little bit more than they can replace. The CP have also been slowly but steadily advancing each month. As soon as another city or two fall into CP hands, the degradation of the Russian army will accelerate, and once their line gets too weak or even lacks the units to maintain a continuous line, things will quickly fall apart.

The entry of Rumania is a real boon for the CP. The Russians suddenly have to defend an entirely new area, at a time when their present lines are nearing the breaking point. Unless the Russians commit a strong force to Odessa, then it seems likely the Rumanians alone will be able to isolate and then capture the city. If the Russians do commit a large force to match the Rumanians, then they must sacrifice some other area....

Once Turkey joins the CP, which seems inevitable since they have a 50% chance of doing so every three months, Russia will further lose two monthly replacement points.

Beginning of turn in Russia


Movement

Germany was able to spare half of their replacement points from last turn to build two 5-7-4 infantry units in Konigsberg. This much needed boost will help the push in the north launch attacks against two hexes. One attack is designed to widen the break they made in the Russian line near Riga, which puts the neighboring hex in supply and brings them a hex closer to Kovno from the north. A second attack will target the sacrificial unit left behind in Prussia.

In the center, three attacks are planned. Two adjacent hexes will be attacked in a continued push to the northeast designed to flank Kovno from the south, and isolate a stack of defenders. A third attack is made from the Pripet Marsh near Minsk. This attack is meant to isolate the stack of four Russian units blocking the rail line.

In the Kiev region three more attacks are prepared. The Austrians will attack the hex closest to the Pripet Marsh. The north most point in the Russian line defending Kiev has been a regular target for the CP, and they have made more progress along the southern edge of the Marsh than anywhere along the line. Advancing along this corridor has prevented the Russians from maintaining a straight line, and has given the CP more opportunities at three-hex offensives against hexes further down the line. This push is in fact starting to get quite close to Kiev.

Two more attacks by the CP along the Kiev line will attempt to isolate the stack of four Russians defending the rail hex leading to Kiev, by targeting the hexes directly north and south of the defenders.

In the meantime, the Rumanians take advantage of the clear weather and march all the way to the outskirts of Odessa. No attacks this turn, but if the Russians don't block their way, Odessa will be isolated next turn. Two Rumanian units also move north to advance behind the Russian line and isolate two Russian hexes.

End of movement in Russia


Combat

All offensives against hexes are successful except for one.

The offensive near Minsk fails to win the hex. It consisted of two attacks, each at 4:1 odds. One of them had a -1 DRM, and would only fail on a roll of a '1', which is what I rolled. The push on Minsk stalls for a turn.

With the remaining attacks consisting mostly of 8:1, 6:1, and 5:1 attacks, there are lots of DE results, and all the hexes are captured with very few CP losses: only one 5-7-4 and a 3-5-3. The Russians lose fourteen combat factors, which again is two points higher than they can replace this month. Two more 3-5-3 infantry eliminated, who will be replaced by 2-4-3 units. I think that leaves only five Russian 3-5-3 units. The rest are 2-4-3 units, with a single 2-2-4 cavalry.

The Kiev line is in a bit of a shambles. Three hexes are isolated, two of them as a result of two Rumanian units moving up behind the Russian line. Those two may have a tricky time regaining a supply line. They certainly won't do it without combat. It looks like the CP will have gained an entire column of hexes moving east this turn.

The CP are now within one hex from both the south and west from attacking Kovno, and a push from the north is not far behind.

End of turn in Russia


Balkan Front

Not much to do in the Balkans this turn. The Rumanians have all marched against Russia, and the Austrians are more concerned with the campaign against Russia and slowly adding a few more units to their prepared positions along the Italian border. Now that Serbia is vanquished, the British are holed up in Greece, and do not seem to have any prospects of advancing out of Greece. With Bulgarian help, the CP are looking to confine the TE within the borders of Greece with a minimal force to keep them there. Occasional raids by 1-1-4 cavalry units against the British will be considered once I can get some there.

Beginning of turn in the Balkans


Movement

The CP units advance to the Greek border. Unless the TE get some more units to Greece, they likely won't be going anywhere. The Greek units are always in supply when in Greece (special rule for the Greek units only), but the British units need sea supply. The CP have Salonika and all surrounding land hexes in a ZoC, so Salonika is isolated and not a supply source. In fact, with the number of units they do have, the Bulgarians will be able to circle around them into Greece along the coast on the Bulgarian border.

End of turn on the Balkan Front


Graveyard

The CP lost a 4-4-5 cavalry against Holland, and two units against Russia. The Russians lost fourteen combat factors again this turn, while the entire Dutch army, two units, was eliminated. Unless the TE attempt an amphibious invasion of Rotterdam or Amsterdam to prevent the conquest of Holland, those Dutch units will not be seen on the board again.

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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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Although it doesn't appear that the Rumanians will get Transylvania, at least they've 'earned' Bessarabia and Transnistria.
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Andrew MacLeod
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And when, exactly, are we playing Churchill again?
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fangotango wrote:
One setup I thought of that would stymy the Germans was to have both Dutch units setup outside Amsterdam and Rotterdam. One unit southwest of Rotterdam at L07, and the other southeast of Amsterdam at N06.


I like that idea a lot! I've never seen an Allied Netherlands try that one.
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fangotango
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amacleod wrote:
fangotango wrote:
One setup I thought of that would stymy the Germans was to have both Dutch units setup outside Amsterdam and Rotterdam. One unit southwest of Rotterdam at L07, and the other southeast of Amsterdam at N06.


I like that idea a lot! I've never seen an Allied Netherlands try that one.


I probably spend more time deciding how to set up minor powers than I do the major powers.
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Patrick Bauer
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amacleod wrote:
fangotango wrote:
One setup I thought of that would stymy the Germans was to have both Dutch units setup outside Amsterdam and Rotterdam. One unit southwest of Rotterdam at L07, and the other southeast of Amsterdam at N06.


I like that idea a lot! I've never seen an Allied Netherlands try that one.


Another gaffe on my part here. I just plunked my units down assuming he could and would muster an AV and sweep through Holland without losses.

Careless and inexcusable since I did the first part of his plan and had laid out the units as shown but decided on a traditional defense.

D'oh.
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