Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Der Weltkrieg: The Battle of Tannenberg August 5 Turn (August 17 – 20, 1914)


The Germans are surrounded, with two armies bearing down on East Prussia. To drive the Russians back and keep as many Russian divisions away from Königsberg as possible, the Germans decide to strike.

1. Reinforcement Arrival Phase

All non-divisional units have now mobilized and are eligible to move.They should also have received a 5-5 Reserve Division, but I missed it. I thought it said Turn 6, not Turn 5. It will arrive next turn with the other reinforcements.

2. Movement Phase

Since brigades are now eligible to move, several are moved forward to reinforce the lines. Two brigades from Königsberg move to reinforce the Eighth Army headquarters, that moved north to shorten the supply lines with the units on the eastern end of the line. Unfortunately, even with column movement, they are unable to get within the 4 movement point radius to provide full supply for the attack.

3. Combat Phase

As the Russian First Army penetrates deeper into East Prussia, the Germans decide to attack leading elements of the force, on the banks of the Pregolya River.

The Germans attack (click image to enlarge)

The Germans attack (click image to enlarge)

Because the HQ is slightly out of range, it still expends supply points to supply ammunition. This brings all units to full strength. It costs the attackers 1 supply point per 4 attacking strength points. The Russians also grant full supplies to the units under attack, but are within the 8 movement point radius for distribution.

Two stacks are 5 movement points away, reducing each unit in two stacks by 1 Strength Point each, while the northernmost stack is 6 movement points away, and reduced by 2 strength points.

The defender gets to decide what terrain they will defend. Their choices are clear and broken terrain, neither of which offer many benefits. The Pregolya River plays no role in the combat, as only one German stack is attacking across it.

German August 5 Turn post-combat, the Germans declined to advance (click image to enlarge)

German August 5 Turn post-combat, the Germans declined to advance (click image to enlarge)

The Germans attack with 21 Strength Points, and inflict 4 Strength Points in casualties to the Russians.

The Russians counterattack, and their defense strength is tripled, giving them 30 Strength Points in defense. The defense inflicts 6 Strength Point losses to the Germans, however, it is the Russians who are forced to retreat. The 4 SP loss that they took is more than 1/3 their total strength, forcing them to retreat. The must, by rule, move closer to their commanding headquarters.

Casualties must be distributed roughly evenly. This means that of the three Russian units in the stack, each is reduced by a strength point (flipped over to their backside strength), and none can be eliminated until each unit in the stack is reduced to its backside strength. Every unit is flipped, and another division has its strength further reduced by 1. In effect, the Russians lost a whole division in the battle.

The Germans also take their casualties all along the line. They lose slightly less than a division in strength.

The casualties create Demoralization Points. The Germans currently have 6 DM Points, and the Russians have 4 DM Points.

4. Replacement/Recombination

The Germans do not Recombine divisions or receive replacements.

Russian August Turn 5 Turn

1. Reinforcement Phase

The Russians receive no reinforcements. I double checked. This is correct. They will receive reinforcements starting next turn.

2. Movement Phase

Second Army: Samsonov finally crosses the Prussian frontier and into the jaws of the German army. Two divisions are a few miles outside of Allenstein, and some, slower units are still bringing up the rear.

Army headquarters are 5 movement points away for attack supply purposes. From the experience of the German army in the previous battles, Second Army forces decide to hold off on the attack for the moment.

3. Combat Phase

Russian attacks, August Turn 5 (click image to enlarge)

Russian attacks, August Turn 5 (click image to enlarge)

In the north, First Army attacks twice, hoping to take advantage of the victory earlier in the turn.

Two attacks occur. One on the fat north of the line, and the second to attempt to break the remains of the 2nd Infantry Division a few miles south.

The first Russian attack brings 16 Strength Points to bear against 5 defensive Strength Points. The Germans are defending in broken terrain.

The Russians inflict 3 Strength Points in casualties. The German defense is tripled, being in full supply for defense, and inflict 2 Strength Points worth of casualties to the Russians. Neither is force to retreat.

Looking back on it now, I probably should have voluntarily retreated the Germans to save casualties. If I had done so, their casualties would have been reduced by a third (2 instead of 3), but they would not have inflicted as many on the Russians.

Demoralization Points: Russia: 6, German: 9.

At the bend in the river, the Russians attack at full strength (19 SP), and the Germans defend at full strength (6 SP) in broken terrain. Again, the river plays no role in the combat.

The Russians inflict 3 Strength Points worth of casualties, and the Germans (defending with 18 SP), inflict 2 SPs in casualties to the Russians.

The Germans are forced to retreat because the casualties inflicted on them are half of their defense strength. However, the only retreat route lies through a Russian controlled hex (ZOC). The retreating Germans, already reeling from the Russian attack must perform a column attack during their retreat.

August 5 Turn, post turn positions (click image to enlarge)

August 5 Turn, post turn positions (click image to enlarge)

The Germans can only bring 1 Strength Point to bear (of the 3 remaining), while the Russians bring 8 (doubled to 16 for a column attack defense). The Germans don’t inflict any casualties, but the Russians add another SP loss to the Germans woes.

The 2nd Division has been hammered, losing most of the division. It has dropped from 8 SP full strength to 2 SP. Next turn, if possible, it must be recombined with the 1st Infantry Division to bring it back to full strength.

German DM Points: 13, Russian DM Points: 8.

The Russians have no replacements or recombinations this turn.

Post turn activities

The Russians, at the end of the turn, have managed to get 42 points worth of units close to Königsberg. The next turn, the following additional reinforcements will arrive:

  • 1 x 9-5 infantry division
  • 2 x 8-5 infantry division
  • 1 x half strength 8-5 infantry division
  • 1 x 2-6 infantry division.

These reinforcements add 16 DM Points to the German tally (total Strength Points / 2), bringing the total up to 29.

The Germans are definitely not winning against the Russians so far. But with the reinforcements arriving next turn, maybe they can get things turned around.

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