Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Der Weltkrieg: The Battle of Tannenberg: August Turn 7 (August 25 – 31 (or so))


August 25 – 31, 1914

After the last turn, I have gone back and did some more studying on the actual East Prussian campaign. I found that in this game so far, the Germans have not retreated nearly far enough. I was afraid of backing up so far, but it makes sense in a shortening of supply lines way. As long as 1st Corps to the NE is not firing with full supply, they cannot defend adequately. It is tricky figuring out where the German HQ needs to be in order to fully supply all units on all turns.

The evolution of the campaign can be seen here, here, here and here (firstworldwar.com).

Retreating that far does make sense. It shortens the supply line, and it gives better defensive terrain.

With that in mind, the Germans begin a slow withdrawal into the interior of East Prussia.

German Turn

Reinforcement Arrival Phase

Two more Landwehr brigades arrive in Bromberg (now Bydgoszcz, Poland).

Movement Phase

German movement (click image to enlarge)

German movement (click image to enlarge)

The newly arrived brigades are ordered to join I Corps in the northeast, and are entrained and rushed forward to join the southern flank of the line. The two hexes in between these brigades and the brigade manning the northernmost Masurian Lake fortress are now covered in German Zones of Control, making it impossible for the Russians to pass through on a single turn.

The beaten up division in between the Alle and Pregel Rivers is taken completely out of the line, and it retreats  to a point between the Alle and Passarge Rivers, safely away from any kind of attack.

The two remaining stacks pull back as far as they can, the left flank of the line creating a choke point between itself and Köningberg, and the right flank creating a choke point between itself and the Masurian Lake fortresses.

In the south, Eighth Army HQ repositions itself to be able to provide supply to all units. The division that was beaten up last turn is sent north to join I Corps and bolster the defense.

The rest of the troops close in on the northern flank of Second Army and attack.

Combat Phase

German attack (click image to enlarge)

German attack (click image to enlarge)

The only German attack this turn brings everything the Germans can into an attack on one of the few unblemished Russian divisions. The Russians get the benefit of woods (-2 DRM for the Germans, +1 DRM for the Russian counterattack).

The Germans bring 39 Strength Points into the attack, against a Russian defense of 8 (tripled to 24).

Both sides suffer heavy casualties during the battle. The Germans inflict 4 Strength Points of damage to the Russians, who in turn, inflict 5 Strength Points of damage. While the Russians did much more damage, they are forced to retreat south, having lost more than a third of their strength during the battle. The Germans gather their casualties and advance into the abandoned hex.

Russian Turn

Reinforcement Arrival Phase

Another Russian Reserve division arrives in Warsaw.

Movement Phase

First Army
Aftermath of the German turn, and Russian reinforcements/movement (click image to enlarge)

Aftermath of the German turn, and Russian reinforcements/movement (click image to enlarge)

First Army continues to advance into the Insterberg Gap, but do not make it very far, due to rivers and Zones of Control. The Russians do, however, reach the outskirts of Königsberg on the banks of the Pregel River.

Russian infantry in the east attack German units in the open.

Second Army

Reserve divisions move forward and take position on the German right flank, preparing to attack exposed German units.

Combat Phase

First Army
Russian attacks (click image to enlarge)

Russian attacks (click image to enlarge)

Russian units advancing from the east attack the newly reinforced German I Corps. This is a major miscalculation on their part. The Russians bring 15 Strength Points to face the German 10 Strength Points (tripled to 30 for counterattack).

The Germans are ready for the Russians. The Russians inflict only 2 Strength Points in casualties, but the Germans inflict 5 Strength Points in damage, and force the Russians to retreat (the Russians lose one third of their strength and have to retreat).

This leaves the Germans in a very good position.

Second Army

Second Army attacks the exposed German flank on the border, in part with reserve units. The Russian attack amounts to 18 Strength Points versus 7 German Strength Points (tripled to 21). Both sides inflict 4 Strength Points worth of casualties on the other, forcing the Germans to retreat (greater than one half their strength taken in damage). The Russians choose to not advance.

The end of August, final positions (click image to enlarge)

The end of August, final positions (click image to enlarge)

This turn, both sides beat the tar out of each other. The game thus far, in my opinion, is a stalemate. The Germans have 35 Demoralization Points, and the Russians have 44. Advantage for the Germans at the moment, but they haven’t driven the Russian First Army out of Prussia yet, so there could be a lot of demoralization points for them in the turns ahead.

Next turn, the German reinforcements arrive from the Western Front. This could turn the tide of the battle in the favor of the Germans. Second Army has been stopped in its tracks, but not destroyed. Historically, Tannenberg ended this turn and the Germans turned to face First Army.

In this game, First Army has been stopped, now Second Army must be destroyed.

Four and a half divisions will arrive next turn, including a cavalry division. Second Army may have pushed Eighth Army back far enough to prevent encirclement. We’ll have to wait and see.

The Germans also have to pull a few units back and recombine them into stronger units. They could use a rebuilt full strength division right about now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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