Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Der Weltkrieg: The Battle of Tannenberg: September 1 Turn (September 1-4, 1914)

When I last left off, the Russian First Army was bearing down on Königberg (a city that, like Warsaw, can’t be captured in this game), bringing more firepower to bear as they begin to turn south through the Insterburg Gap in an attempt to squeeze the German Eighth Army in a vice.

The Russian Second Army, in Russian Poland was hovering around the border south of Allenstein, trying to hold the bulk of the German Eighth Army in place and preventing themselves from being surround and destroyed.

Thus far, the German units left behind to screen the Russian First Army have taken a beating. The German 2nd and 37th infantry divisions are currently at half strength, but the 1st Infantry Division is still at full strength.

German Turn

German movement, September turn 1 (click image to enlarge)

German movement, September turn 1 (click to enlarge)

Four and one half German divisions (3G, 22, 38 & 1GR) finally arrive from the west. arriving on map in Bromberg, the infantry entrains and rushes towards the fighting. These units leave the trains on the banks of the Drweca River, and cross the river into Russian Poland. The infantry slams into the left flank of the Russian Second Army. The 8th Cavalry Division, also arriving from the west, crosses the Drweca River a little further south and wanders into Russian Poland with the intent of drawing Russian reinforcements off.

German reserve troops pull back from the front line facing the Russian 2nd Army to Eighth Army Headquarters in order to recombine and reform. The recombination will occur next turn, as troops recombining cannot move or attack for the entire turn.

To the north, German troops withdraw, shortening their supply lines with Eighth Army headquarters and moving closer to the frontier fortresses. They are also preparing for recombination within the next few turns. (Recombination is a time consuming process.)

Post combat movement (click image to enlarge)

Post combat movement (click to enlarge)

The left flank of the Russian Second Army is nearly destroyed as the Germans bring 29 combat factors to bear against the Russian’s 6 combat factors. The Russians lose 5 of their combat factors and are forced to retreat, while inflicting 2 combat factors of damage to the Germans. Because the Russians have been forced to retreat, their losses are reduced by 1 combat factor (their losses are reduced by 1/3. One CF is 20%, but reducing by 2 CF is greater than a third, so the reduction is rounded down). The Germans advance into the hex.

Another attack on the Russian Second Army in the center (22 combat factors for the Germans against 10 combat factors for the Russians) results in a loss of 2 combat factors for the Russians to 5 combat factors lost for the Germans. The Russians, however, stand their ground and refuse to retreat. The Russians definitely got the best of that exchange.

At the current end of this turn, the Russians have 49 Demoralization Points, and the Germans have 42 Demoralization Points.

Russian Turn

Russian First Army movement (click image to enlarge)

Russian First Army movement (click to enlarge)

First Army moves through the Insterburg Gap and wheel south, the hinging on the northern Masurian Lakes. I would have attacked Königsburg if the city could be attacked in this game. The First Army does not move too far ahead  or make contact with the retreating Germans at this point because some units also need recombination. Four brigades move west from Grodno in column (50% movement rate increase) and reach the Prussian border.

Russian Tenth Army movement (click image to enlarge)

Russian Tenth Army movement (click image to enlarge)

Elements of the Russian Tenth Army are beginning to appear. Three infantry divisions and two brigades arrive in Warsaw, and immediately begin to move north in column formation, moving north to intercept the German cavalry that is looking to meander behind the Russian lines.

The 79th Reserve division continues to march north and reinforces the 63rd Reserve division that was just mauled by the Germans.

Second Army decides to attack the German left flank, and inflict as much damage as they can. They bring 25 combat factors to bear against the German 5 combat factors, but they will be attacking in the woods (-2 DRM to attack roll, +1 DRM to counterattack rolls).

The initial die roll inflicts 3 combat factors in damage. Since this is greater than 1/2 of the German strength in the hex, the Germans are force to retreat.

Results of combat (click image to enlarge)

Results of combat (click to enlarge)

Retreating means that the Germans take 1/3 less losses. Damage is 2 combat factors instead of 3. Counterattack is also doubled instead of tripled.

Unfortunately for the Germans, they only inflict a single combat factor of damage on the Russians. This results in the destruction of the Russian 6th Cavalry Division. Since the cavalry was included in the attack the rules state that the results of counterattack are implemented on the cavalry first. The Russians advance as the Germans withdraw into a fortress.

The Germans now have 44 Demoralization Points to the Russian 50 Demoralization Points.

At this point, it may be too late for the Germans. They should be turning towards the Russian First Army but are still hung up on Second Army. The Russian Tenth Army is arriving in force. As they reinforce Second Army, and First Army closes in from the north, the German Eighth Army is doomed. At this point, they may have to follow General Prittwitz’s original order and withdraw across the Vistula, or into the Masurian Lakes fortresses. They can hold out in these fortresses indefinitely until help arrives, but that help could come at a cost of the war ending early.

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