Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Der Weltkrieg: The Battle of Tannenberg, August 4 Turn (August 13-16, 1914)

Rules, rules rules.

It often helps to read them all the way through before playing. Well, at least the scenario instructions.

SPW Games has posted a series of videos on their website that explains the rules in detail by showing examples. Of course, there is the caveat that the videos do not replace the rulebook.

That’s true, but the videos do an outstanding job reinforcing the rules.

I watched the videos, and got so excited I moved on to the setup, skipping over the scenario rules. Why did I do that? Because I thought it was the victory schedule, how victory points are awarded and levels of victory.

It was, but there was a little more than that. It lays out Russian objectives, and German reinforcements.

The Russian objective is still Königsberg even though they cannot attack it. Instead, the goal is to get as many infantry divisions within 8 or less movement points of the city. The more divisions the Russians get within that region by the end of the August 5 turn, the more German reinforcements come into play.

So, why would the Russians want to face more Germans?

Number one, it weakens the drive in France.

Number two, the more reinforcements the Germans have to bring in, the more demoralization points they rack up. The more DM the Germans have, the more likely it is the Russians can win the scenario,

Does this mean I need to start over, as is often the case?

Nope. Not gonna happen. I discovered this after the first turn was complete. The Russians are already heading in the general direction of Königsberg. All that will happen is the Germans will have to modify their plan a bit.

One of the tricky things about the map, and it takes some getting used to, is that terrain is based per hexside, not by hex. This means that there can be multiple terrain features in any given hex. It also means that sometimes an area can look like a hex when it really isn’t. The last turn got me. There is one unit that is straddling 3 hexes due to this.

I apologize in advance for the some of the slightly blurry photos. I am trying to decide if it is better to go without a flash, which prevents reflection in the map, or use a flash, giving slightly crisper photos at the cost of map reflection. There isn’t a lot of light down in the basement, with a single lightbulb over the map.

German August 4 Turn

1. Reinforcement Arrival Phase

All German 5-5 Reserve Infantry divisions and the Eighth Army HQ are mobilized and may move this turn. All German brigades are still not eligible to move.

2. Movement Phase

As the German commander, I had entertained the idea of pushing south into Russian Poland two catch Second Army out in the open, but this would leave them too far from their supply. This, and there are five German divisions facing ten infantry and three cavalry divisions in the direction of Warsaw.

August 4 Turn; The Germans set their defenses (click image to enlarge)

August 4 Turn; The Germans set their defenses (click image to enlarge)

The 35th Reserve Infantry Division leaves Thorn (Torun), another “unassailable fortress” and moves east into the swamplands to complete the front line while 35th Infantry shortens the line just a little bit, opening a gap that is filled by the 1st Cavalry Division. The cavalry uses column movement to race down and fill the gap in the line. For Europa veterans, think administrative movement. Each unit using column movement gets 1/2 of their movement allowance. If a unit has 6 movement points, it gains an additional 3.

Fortresses, in this game, are not required to be manned. They have an intrinsic garrison, and do not have to have additional units in the same hex to keep them from being overrun. With this in mind, the two German 8-5 infantry divisions that have manned the fortresses on the Masurian Lakes do not need to stay there. The move north to form a line with the 5-5 reserve divisions to block access to the Insterburg Gap, the gap between Königsberg and the Masurian Lakes.

Again, there is no combat nor any reinforcements.

Russian August 4 Turn

1. Reinforcement Arrival Phase

All infantry units in Second Army have been released. Oops. I moved a cavalry division.

2. Movement Phase

August Turn 4 Russian Movement (click image to enlarge)

August Turn 4 Russian Movement (click image to enlarge)

Second army begins the trek north, into the face of the German defenders waiting for them. They form a line of battle before crossing into East Prussia. The turn ends with Second army 20 kilometers from the border (about 12.5 miles).

To the east, First Army rushes across the border and into East Prussia, intent on getting as many divisions as close to Königsberg as they can in order to inflict Demoralization Points. They do not, however, engage the Germans in battle.

There is no combat or reinforcements.

Next turn: The Germans strike!


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