Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Der Weltkrieg: The Battle of Tannenberg September Turn 2 (September 5 – 8, 1914)


Two-fer today!

From this turn forward, the Germans no longer receive any reinforcements. The Russians still have the 10th Army HQ and three reserve/replacement divisions on deck.

As I stated in my last post, the Germans are in trouble. I simply took too long in destroying the Russian 2nd Army, and never destroyed it.

It is extremely unlikely, pretty much impossible that the 2nd Army can be surrounded and destroyed. It is much more difficult since the Russians know what happened historically and will do everything they can to prevent being surrounded. Historically, the Russian generals did not coordinate their movements and the Germans cannot intercept their communications. However, there is an optional rule (that I actually implemented in this game) to hold the Russian First Army in the Königsberg area, giving the Germans time (which I did not use wisely) to destroy the 2nd Army.

I’m sure that, in the case of the Germans, that I misused the army, especially the cavalry. Of course, this is the first run through with this game system. Things will changed as the rules are mastered.

German Turn

Since there are no more reinforcements, the turn jumps straight into the movement of the troops.

German move - September 5-8, 1914 (click to enlarge)

German move – September 5-8, 1914 (click to enlarge)

The 1st Infantry Division is rushed to the frontier to reinforce the 41st Infantry Division that was just mauled last turn. At this point, I am not sure if they are going to attack and attempt to drive the Russians back or not.

Other reinforcements are rushed south as well, even though they are not in the best of shape. The 2nd Infantry Division, at half strength is also moved south to protect the rear of 8th Army HQ. The half strength 1st Cavalry Division moves north to prevent any flanking moves by the Russian First Army.

German advance - (click image to enlarge)

German advance – (click to enlarge)

The Germans attack the left center of the Russian 2nd Army, bringing 39 combat factors in the assault, against 8 combat factors defending in broken terrain (-1 DRM to attack roll). The Germans inflict 4 CF in damage to the Russians. Since this is more than 1/3 of the total defense strength, the Russians are forced to retreat, and only lose 3 combat factors instead of 4. The counterattack is also only doubled instead of triples due to the retreat.

The Russian counterattack inflicts only 1 combat factor in damage.

The Russians retreat back to their HQ to lick their wounds while the Germans advance. I decide not to attack the other hex at this time, because the Russian troops are fresh and are in good defensive terrain. However, the Russian position is exposed and nearly surrounded.

At the end of the turn, two reserve divisions are rebuilt to 80% strength by absorbing two Landwehr brigades into the organizations. They are ready to move out nest turn.

The score currently stands at 45 Demoralization Points for the Germans and 53 Demoralization Points for the Russians.

Russian Turn

The 10th Army HQ appears in Warsaw this turn, but I see now why 10th Army did not seem to get involved in the East Prussian Campaign. It has no supply.

Well, it is not devoid of supply. It has 5 supply points, which is only 10% of what 1st and 2nd Army HQ started the game with. Right now, 2nd Army HQ has 15 supply points left (out of 50), and the 1st Army HQ has 24 supply points left.

The 68th Reserve Division is raised and appears in Kaunas, Lithuania (Kovno). It is a long way from the front.

Russian move - Northern Sector (click to enlarge)

Russian move – Northern Sector (click to enlarge)

First Army starts the push south. It is determined that the German 1st Cavalry XX must be eliminated. I consider making a column attack. These units supply line is extended (7 movement points from a supply source), so they would attack at half strength without supply (3.5 combat factors). If making a column attack, they would be halved again (1.75 combat factors). If they make a normal attack, they are only halved without supply.

The Russian cavalry division must attack, otherwise the German cavalry can withdraw before combat.

The rest of the 1st army pushes south and attacks the German 2nd Infantry Division protecting the 8th Army Headquarters rear.

To the east, the non-divisional reserve forces keep moving to join 1st Army as quickly as they can. They should be in position to deploy next turn. The 68th Reserve Division moves in column formation from Kaunos, but fails to reach East Prussia this turn.

The 76th and 84th Reserve Divisions move to cut off the Masurian fortresses. There are not many German forces in these fortresses, but it can prevent the fortresses from being manned.

Russian moves - southern sector (click to enlarge)

Russian moves – southern sector (click to enlarge)

In the south, a division is sent to 2nd Army HQ to bolster the defense, while another division is sent northwest to form a contiguous front and block the German 2nd Cavalry Division from any mischief. The 10th Army HQ rushes northwest by rail to take position behind the line.

Battles commence along the northern flank, The German 1st Cavalry decides to defend in the broken terrain, giving the Russians a -1 DRM. Neither inflicts any damage to the other.

The attack on the German 2nd Infantry brings 15 Russian combat factors against 7 German combat factors. The Germans set up defenses in the woods, giving the Russians a -2 DRM, and the Germans a +1 DRM for the counterattack.

The Russians only inflict 1 combat factor in casualties, while the German counter attack inflicts 2 combat factors of damage. Since cavalry was included in the attack, the casualties come out of the Russian cavalry first. Neither side has to retreat.

Army positions, September 8, 1914 (click to enlarge)

Army positions, September 8, 1914 (click to enlarge)

During the replacement/recombination phase, the 26th & 43rd Infantry Divisions are combined into a single division.

The end of the turn finds the Germans with 46 Demoralization Points to the Russian’s 55 Demoralization Points.

The Germans are getting very low on supplies. They may have enough to finish the game, but just barely. The Russian 2nd Army is critically low on supplies. Only the 1st Army seem to be have adequate supply.

At the end of this turn, it looks like the Germans are trapped, but the tide of the battle seems to be turning in their favor against 2nd Army. The question becomes, is there enough time?

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