Straight from the Beta Testers: Strategic Command World War 1: Breakthrough! - After Action Report: Part 2
Fury Software's beta tester Michael Kollmann shares with us his exclusive play-through with the expansion to Strategic Command World War 1. Is he able to change the outcome of the First World War, or will the Central Powers again submit because of internal and external pressures? This is Part 2.
Campaign/Scenario: "1914 Ostaufmarsch"
Alliance: Central Powers
Part 1 can be found HERE.
It is now January 1916. My armies are in their winter quarters, and I invest in the Hochseeflotte. Plans for this year are to crush Russia and to start pushing my armies into France. The mine of Loos will be an especially valuable target. Bulgaria finally joins the Central Powers in February 1916. Due to good weather conditions, the German troops in Russia have left their winter quarters and march to the East.
In the Caucasus, my rested and upgraded troops mount an attack on Russian cities. If it does not succeed, it will at least distract the AI and take away MPPs from the Russian western front.
Surprise, surprise... these Russian defences are well set up. Pretty sure I will not get through—seems to be a very quick invasion... to end with a quick withdrawal!
If you wonder what is going on in Italy: my trap is now full of Italians, and without their superb food they lack much fighting spirit.
On the Western Front, my fourth heavy artillery unit has arrived. As you can see, I plan an attack on Belfort; let’s see how this is going to work out.
Ottoman troops cross Bulgarian territory to attack Greece, while the Bulgarian Army besieges Uskub in southern Serbia.
On the Sinai Peninsula my counterattack starts. A British corps is destroyed and their heavy artillery will be as well, next turn.
It is now July 1916, and Portugal joins the Entente. Belfort is in German hands! French morale decreases.
Northern Russia looks fine as well, and we should be in St. Petersburg before the year ends. Russian morale is at 30%, so the war will be over for them soon.
I felt restless with the situation in Romania, so my Austro-Hungarian ambassador delivered a nice and friendly declaration of war. The Romanian war readiness had increased, so war was inevitable anyhow. Why wait?
Uskub is taken and the Ottomans besiege Salonika. Four of my units surround the city, so the city’s supply will decrease.
In Italy, Udine is taken. From now on, it seems Italy will be on the defensive.
In the West, the fall of Belfort is a strategic disaster for the French. Nancy, Epinal and Besançon are in danger. If the AI wants to avoid that, it will have to divert troops, and these will be missed somewhere else.
North of Königsberg, a fleet has gathered. Mission: clear the convoy route from Sweden to Russia, sinking raiders and any other Russians ships in the Baltic. This will hurt Russian morale and end the war in the East even quicker.
The Russian navy does me a big favour and attacks. This may have been a good strategy when up against one or two subs, but it not against a massive force like I’ve amassed.
Two destroyers, two cruisers and a Russian battleship are sunk; while another two battleships and a cruiser are cornered.
German units approach Vyazma and Moscow looks undefended. It would make for a nice Christmas party for the German units in the East.
“I love the smell of burning headquarters in the morning.“
In the Baltic Sea, I have sunk another battleship and cruiser, and I have located the Russian subs.
The last Serbian unit is destroyed. Will they consider surrendering now?
By the way: what is the Austro-Hungarian navy doing? Nothing up to now... all of the ships have been repaired and upgraded, and 5 battleships, 2 cruisers, a destroyer and 4 subs (including two Level 2 German subs) are ready for raiding. “A hunting we will go!“
Serbia surrendered in August 1916. The Russian navy is almost completely sunk (one Strength 2 sub left), and their morale took quite a hit. German troops gather around St. Petersburg. With Russian morale at 8%, the loss of St. Petersburg will transpire to them exiting the war.
The Allied fleet in the Med is looking for an open encounter. They lose two cruisers in the first turn, and two are damaged.
I lost a battleship, but the Italian navy loses four in exchange. All ships in sight are damaged, some badly.
Ottoman troops take Suez and approach Cairo.
In September 1916, Russia surrendered. All my troops come back for rest & relaxation... and upgrades.
Belgium remains bloody, but there is a big hole around Dijon. I am quite excited how the AI is going to close that gap. I have my heavy artillery in place for an attack on Nancy and Verdun during the next turn.
Sedan, Verdun and Nancy fall in the same turn. My frontline is a bit thin, but I will get a lot of troops from the East within the next few turns.
Austria has its second victim of the war: a corps dies in front of Padua. But the advance on that front is going quicker than I thought.
Romania surrenders in the autumn of 1916. All of my troops in Serbia, Romania and Poland get reinforced and upgraded. The Bulgarian forces will head for Montenegro and Albania, and the Austro-Hungarian forces will be a nice surprise for the Italians.
It is now the end of 1916 and I am quite happy with my achievements this year; all strategic goals have been reached. The year 1917 will see a lot of decisions in the minor theatres, and a very bloody German advance in France. Although the general picture does not look good for the Allies: they still have many units in France and are consistently deploying more. I have made good progress already, but I doneed to advance quicker; and being quick in France is costly.
There is one general thing to say about France: when I have a look at the historic German spring offensive in 1918, Ludendorff concentrated his forces on one point at a time and tried to achieve a breakthrough. His offensive failed (for various reasons), and anyone who tries this strategy in this game will also fail. The AI is smart enough to close any gap you can open if you just concentrate on one point. You can conquer a few tiles, but that’s about it. The fighting on the Western Front has already gone on for two and a half years now, and if I continue at the same pace, I should be in Paris in 1922—obviously too late. So the only thing that may help is a massive, ongoing attack. It does not make any sense to concentrate on crucial points now, so the new strategy will be different: destroy any Allied unit in sight, quicker than they can rebuild them. The road to Paris will be expensive for me and for the Allies. Fortunately, I can attack on a very broad frontline, my capture of Belfort and Besançon helping a lot here.
My troops in Belgium and France prepare for the big showdown; time to make decisions in other theatres.
By the way, a strength 13 Level 2 heavy artillery is a very powerful unit. I was able to kill a fresh UK tank unit with 5 shots! As I mentioned above, the loss of Belfort is an epic catastrophe for the French. I am certain that there are few French units left south of Dijon.
The “Lawrence of Arabia“ problem is going to be dealt with now.
Let us see what the Greeks say to our Ottoman heavy artillery.
Okay, this can definitely be called a “Breakthrough!“ As written above, this can only be achieved if all Allied units in the frontline are destroyed. Unfortunately, the enemy is not retreating and their morale is intact. Even if I do manage to take Paris quickly, the war might not be over immediately as French “National Morale” is still quite high.
Venice is under Austro-Hungarian control. In Pola you can see what kind of surprise I am preparing for the Italians.
In June 1917 Montenegro surrenders. Paris is under siege and might fall next turn. Thus, I would say: “the end of the war is near.”
Belgium is liberated completely, and Paris is captured. That should be a major blow to French morale.
Cairo falls as well.
In August 1917, Albania and Greece surrender. Few Allied minors remain. Ravenna and Verona are taken, and Ancona is free of enemy troops: Italy is in danger.
German troops approach Bordeaux and Marseilles. If I can capture these two cities, the war should be over.
A “March to Rome“ Austro-Hungarian style!
A Turkish invasion fleet sets sail. Bets are taken as to what their target is.
The Arab Revolt is finally crushed.
People say Bordeaux has the best wine and Bretagne is known for its lobster. Let’s see!
The situation for Italy looks hopeless.
Ottoman troops start to besiege Tobruk.
Marseilles is captured. That was the last French city.
On the 28th of December the war ended. France surrendered and Italy’s national morale is at 0%.
Germany lost 21 corps and two detachments. Austria had lost a battleship and a single corps. The Ottoman forces did not lose a single unit. Italy lost 55 units, the French lost 85, the UK lost 86 and Russia lost 150 units. 27 Headquarters from these four nations were also destroyed. Russia, France and Italy have surrendered, but the UK is still in the war. Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Albania, Egypt and Greece have also surrendered. I would like to test a WWI-style Sea Lion in 1918 as my Hochseeflotte is fully upgraded and ready for battle, including ten Level 3 subs in the North Sea. I contemplated more than a few times what would have happened if my conquest of Poland would have not been so quick. My advance into Russia would then have been delayed, and I wouldn’t have been able to divert troops to the Western Front. Although this match looked pretty easy, things can get nasty quite easy. If Belgium falls and Russia is still not beaten, Germany is in big trouble.
Having played many Strategic Command campaigns and scenarios in the past year, I have to admit I really enjoyed this one. Although we are still in the beta phase, it looks good and is great fun to play. Great work by Hubert and Bill from Fury Software!
After action report written by: Michael Kollmann, Beta Tester for Fury Software
About Michael Kollmann
Michael Kollmann's internet alias is “Hyazinth von Strachwitz“. He's 39 years old and he lives in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He works as a bond trader and is married with children. Turn-based strategy games have fascinated Michael since the 1980s. His first game from this genre was Battle Isle, which helped him decide that this was the genre for him. He has played Panzer General and almost all of the clones enthusiastically, but for him Strategic Command is more or less Panzer General 2 taken up to the strategic level.