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Thread: Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919)

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    General Evans's Avatar
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    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919)




    "It'll all be over by Christmas."


    Prologue Part I; 'To secure peace prepare for war?'
    Prologue Part II; 'The crisis that lead to disaster'
    Chapter I; 'The war begins'
    Chapter II; ‘The Great War intensifies'
    Chapter III; 'The Alsace Offensive'
    Chapter IV; ‘Lusitania Sunk!'
    Chapter V Surprises and a brave undertaking...'
    Chapter VI; ‘The Austrian expedition'
    Chapter VII; ‘In the balance between disaster and triumph'
    Chapter VIII;'Is this the war that will never end?’
    Chapter IX; ‘Death, taxes and now the war…?’
    Chapter X; ‘Guillotine and the Summer Offensive’
    Chapter XI; ‘The catastrophic winter of 1918-19’
    Chapter XII; ‘The Phyrric Victory’

    “Two armies that fight each other are like one large army that commits suicide…”

    H. Barbusse


    Game Information: Using HOI 1.6c and The Great War mod 1.1 on Very Hard/Weakling (I might play normal aggressiveness next time, I was using conventional HoI2 wisdom regarding AI effectiveness, been a long time since I've picked up HoI1)
    Last edited by Evans; 25-01-2006 at 21:50.
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Prologue I: To secure peace prepare for war?




    January 1914

    1914 arrived with Europe in a state of apprehension and tension. International pressure had built up so as that the slightest incident could spark war, and the stakes had reached such a height that backing down would lead to diplomatic humiliation and a horrendous loss of face for that nation. If global politics were a game of poker, the final round of betting had begun and all that was needed was for someone to call the cards. In this great poker game the players were all very confident in their cards which were painstakingly revealed over the 5 years that the most destructive and catastrophic war of all time was waged.

    In France the Prime Minister Gaston Doumergue started the year with a new and bleak outlook. He had grown increasingly concerned over his period in office that Germany would declare war over some trivial matter or other to secure hegemony over continental Europe and as such decided to take immediate action to rectify what he saw as problems with France's policies.

    His first move in 1914 came as a shock to many both within and without France- three quarters of the new warships in construction would be scrapped. Although the move was initially met with fierce resistance from the French Admiralty, lead by Jules Habert, the logic of the move quickly became apparent as the resources were poured into a 'modernisation' program for the French Army. Notable projects of the early phases program, which lasted the entire war developing advances primarily in Infantry, Artillery and Land Doctrine, included the first ever gas-powered, air-cooled machinegun in the form of the Hotchkiss M1914 and the key doctrinal choice of the French army to pack it's fighting formations with firepower.



    Doumergue's next move was shelve the Army's Plan XVII and task the French General Staff under Maurice Pélle and Joseph Joffre to create a new war plan regarding Germany. The initial result was Plan XVIII, which placed only a small amount of the French army on the border with Germany, and placing the bulk of it on the Belgian border with plans to move through Belgium and attack Germany's weaker and hopefully relatively unguarded flank. This was rejected however because of the radical proposal of invading or coercing Belgium to their aims, which they correctly realised would have alienated Britain. The second attempt carried this idea in mind though in reverse. Despite a large amount of dissent from many proud French nationalists and Officers who called for an offensive plan to retake Alsace-Lorraine and drive deep into Germany, Pélle and Joffre argue against them, citing that given the utterly deadly modern combination of Artillery and Machineguns, the fact that large numbers of both were possessed by the German army and that they'd be packed tightly into Alsace-Lorraine, any offensive plans should wait for favourable conditions and definite local superiority. As stated above many protested, fearing that this would give the Germans all of the initiative in the war. Instead of an attack then Plan XIX was born, which called for a defensive line in the south with forces held in the north standing ready in case Plan XVIII was tried in reverse, as indeed it was in the form of the Schlieffen Plan.

    In his final move of re-organisation Doumergue decided there should be 3 Field Marshals under Pélle in the French Army, to affect a better and more efficient structure of command. One of course was FM Joffre, generally regarded the greatest leader of the war, whilst the other two were FMs Pétain and Gallieni. Under Plan XVIII Joffre was to command the northern part of the French Army, positioned on the French border.



    Pélle and Joffre


    French pre-war dispositions in accordance with Plan XIX
    Last edited by Evans; 04-01-2006 at 20:13.
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Prologue II: The crisis that lead to disaster




    June, July & August 1914

    To use a cliché, the spark that ignited the powder keg of Europe came on the 28th of June, 1914, when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo by a member of the underground pan-Serb-nationalist group the 'Black Hand', Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb student who was part of a group of no less than fifteen would-be assassins. Initially the Archduke's death caused no major stir across Europe beyond riots in Sarajevo. The Archduke was an unpopular man, especially in his native Austria-Hungary. This was to change however with the subsequent actions of the Austrian leadership, actions which were backed up with full promise of military support from Germany.

    In what is now called the July Crisis, Austria send a 10-point ultimatum to Serbia whom they ostensibly deemed responsible for the Archduke's assassination, though with evidence we now have regarding German foreign policy of the period and despite the current fashion of apologism for the war it seems likely that this was a deliberate ruse to spark a war in which Wilhelm II hope Germany would gain hegemony over Europe.

    The Serbian government agreed to all but 1 of the 10 points, on the basis that the 10th would violate the Serbian constitution (regarding Austrian participation in their judicial activities) and fully expected a renewed ultimatum or at least time to alter the constitution to allow it. There is no doubt that the Serbia government fully intended to capitulate rather than start a war with a Great Power, the decision however was no longer in their hands. Outraged that their 10-point plan had not been accepted in it's entirety, and egged on by the German Kaiser, Austria formally broke off diplomatic relations with Serbia on the 25th of July and on the 28th issued the fateful declaration of war.

    Following a breakdown in telegram communications between Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II, the Russian government mobilised its military reserves on the 30th of July, In 1909 Russia had pledged to uphold and guarantee Serbian independence in return for Serbia's acceptance of the 'Bosnia annexation'. The following day Germany demanded that Russia stop it's mobilisation and stand down her armed forces, but was met with a stubborn rejection, on the grounds that a demobilization would have made it impossible for Russia to re-activate her military schedule in the short term. Germany declared war against Russia on the 1st of August and two days later against France, who was allied with Russia as part of the 'Entente' alliance.



    The alliances established over the decades after the Franco-Prussian war were a tangled web, broadly defined pre-war in two blocs. The Central Powers was formed up of Germany, Austria and Italy, whilst the Triple Entente consisted of France, Russia and Britain. In the actual event of war these alliances were not actually activated in the initial outbreak, but the Russian mobilisation and Germany's declaration of war against France were almost certainly motivated by the fear of the opposing alliance being brought into play. As it turned out France was brought into war by German declaration, Italy refused to partake in an offensive war when their obligations were only defensive, and Britain only formally entered when Belgian neutrality was compromised on the 4th of August. As a result of British intervention Japan followed suit under the terms of their alliance, declaring war on the Central Powers themselves on the 23rd of August. Both the British and Japanese Expeditionary Forces were to see extensive front-line service against the Germans and serve with distinction throughout the war.

    Britain's real reason for joining the war is now generally accepted by academics as being that they could not actually afford to remain neutral, and that this was because of two major reasons, one being related to economic realities, the other to diplomacy and plain pride. Firstly, without the French and Russian assistance afforded by their alliance, British colonies in Africa and India would be under threat, and any German occupation of French Atlantic ports would be an even larger threat to British trade as a whole. Secondly, they simply could not afford to allow Germany to establish hegemony over Europe and become the premier Great Power. The amount of power and prestige that stood to be lost was simply too much for nation of proud and nationalistic people with a rich history of glory and triumph. Britain had always stood up to attempts of one power or another to achieve hegemony over Europe. Britain was certainly not a nation of cowards, and stood by her friends in times of need. Above all however, Britain had always prevailed.

    Timeline of events
    # 23rd of July: Austria-Hungary ultimatum to Serbia.
    # 28th of July: Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
    # 31st of July: Russia begins mobilization.
    # 1st of August: Germany declares war on Russia.
    # 2nd of August: German troops occupy Luxembourg.
    # 3rd of August: Germany declares war on France.
    # 4th of August: Germany invades neutral Belgium; Britain declares war on Germany in response.
    # 6th of August: Montenegro sides with its traditional ally, Serbia, and declares war on Austria-Hungary.
    # 10th of August: Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.
    # 12th of August: Britain and France declare war on Austria-Hungary.
    # 23rd of August: Japan declares war on Germany.


    The man that lit the final fuse- Gavrilo Princip
    Last edited by Evans; 13-01-2006 at 17:55.
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Mombotian Marshal Oranje Verzet's Avatar

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    "The man that lit the final fuse- Gavrilo Princip" ... I saw a site where historians call him the man of the 20th century... What a bum he.

    Never played France with the TGW, so im curious to see what you can do with them. Good luck!

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    Custom User Title Allenby's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuckergußgebäck
    Woohoo! It seems that, as with french wines, TGW grows more popular the older she gets.
    She truly is the Joan Collins of Paradox.

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    Mombotian Marshal Oranje Verzet's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allenby
    She truly is the Joan Collins of Paradox.
    Joan Collins is popular, yuk

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    General Evans's Avatar
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    Eurgh... I think we should agree not to mention Joan Collins again... Maybe Great War AARs are The Beatles of the HoI board? That'd suit me a lot better Cheers for the early shows of support btw!

    TGW AARs are popular I think because 1914 is still a long way off (not complaining there btw ) and all the WW2 AARs have gone over to HoI2 now. Simple
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    General Evans's Avatar
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    Chapter I: The war begins




    August & September 1914

    The watered down version of von Schlieffen's original plan was brought into action on the 4th of August, when the German army compromised Belgian neutrality and Luxembourg was annexed into the German Reich. Meeting little initial resistance beyond isolated sniper attacks the German army intended to march its way across the Belgian plains into the expected vulnerable flank of the French Army. Instead they discovered that the French were well prepared, and on the first hint of offensive movement into Belgium had ordered their forces forwards on a forced march through night and day, making full use of friendly held Belgian railways. Taken utterly by surprise and seeing the unexpectedly large numbers of French troops headed for them the Germans withdrew to allow time to gather for an offensive. It never came, by the time the Germans had reorganised the French army was firmly established and few a parts of Belgium were occupied by German troops. Trench warfare set in quickly. With the complete and somewhat puzzling failure of the Schlieffen Plan, Kaiser Wilhelm II decided to pull his forces away from the Western Front and sent them towards the Eastern, as he had always favoured.


    The French Army deployed with startling speed

    The additional troops were certainly needed in the East, where Grand Duke Nikolai had seized the initiative and was spearheading a Russian offensive into Prussia. The Russian war plan had considered Germany to be the primary threat, and thus the majority of the Russian army was positioned against them, leaving smaller 'containing' forces to keep the generally weaker KuK at bay. The gamble could be said to have paid off, as the Austrians were unable to penetrate the Russian defences and more Russian troops were left to fight in the battlegrounds of Poland and Prussia. Without this weighting of troops on the Russian Front it wouldn't be unreasonable to argue that the Germans could have affected several major breakthroughs early on in the war rather than the bloody stalemates that came in reality. It is generally accepted by both military historians and knowledgeable contemporaries that Russia's war plans averted a potentially disastrous start to the war in the east.



    September, November, December 1914 & January 1915

    On the third front of the war things were relatively quiet at first, with no major offensives or great masses of troops. Minor battles and skirmishes were fought all over the border territories of the combatant nations but it wasn't until the 22nd of September that the war hit it's 'crescendo', with a major two-pronged offensive against the capital cities of Belgrade and Podgorica. The latter attack faired badly, faced with rugged mountainous terrain, autumn rains and a fiercely motivated army defending the tiny state of Montenegro the KuK made little progress and lost many good men. The attack in the north however, against Belgrade, met more success albeit somewhat at a snail's pace. The Serbian Army fought valiantly and bravely to defend against the onslaught on their capital city, but were eventually overrun and forced to withdraw deeper into their hinterland after a long and brutal campaign. On the 17th of January, 1915 Austrian troops occupied Belgrade.

    In the meantime the war's theatre was expanded to the Middle East and Africa with the entry of the Ottoman Empire on the side of the Central Powers. Angered by the confiscation of several of their battleships under construction in Britain and promised aid and materials to help them modernise by Germany the 'sick man of Europe' decided to throw their lot in against their traditional enemies Russia, despite the fact it pitted them against their traditional benefactors France and Britain. Ottoman actions against the Western Entente powers was initially limited to the occupation of Kuwait, as the Entente was unwilling to engage in protracted desert warfare over the relatively unimportant strategic region and the Ottomans needed all of the troops they could get fighting the Russians in the Caucasus region after an utterly disastrous initial offensive.


    The Austrian Army begin the long and brutal campaign to capture Belgrade


    A phyrric victory is won as Belgrade finally falls to the KuK army, but little glory is felt by the battered victors


    The Entente (green) and the Central Powers (red) in early 1915
    Last edited by Evans; 13-01-2006 at 17:55.
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    General Evans's Avatar
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    Lots of pictures in that update, it's not going to be a particularly 'in-depth' AAR with deep plotlines and character building That's saved for my next AAR idea in the pipeline
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Lt. General SirCliveWolfe's Avatar
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    BOO!! France must fall!!

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    Major prussiablue's Avatar
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    Hmm.. then I shall read this great AAR and wait for your next one as well.
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    Mombotian Marshal Oranje Verzet's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evans
    Lots of pictures in that update, it's not going to be a particularly 'in-depth' AAR with deep plotlines and character building That's saved for my next AAR idea in the pipeline
    A two AARs, good job.

    Seems Germany has some start up problems as always.

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    General Evans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oranje Verzet
    A two AARs, good job.

    Seems Germany has some start up problems as always.
    TBH I have absolutely no idea why the Germans didn't attack me in the Schlieffen... they started the war by directing large numbers of troops to our border in the south
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Norway über alles kenneththegreat's Avatar

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    Enjoyable, but may i suggest changing the name of the "KuK army" to the "Austro-Hungarian Army"? Kuk means male genital in Norwegian

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    General Evans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneththegreat
    Enjoyable, but may i suggest changing the name of the "KuK army" to the "Austro-Hungarian Army"? Kuk means male genital in Norwegian
    I'll change it then
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Den ökända hästen från Troja Zuckergußgebäck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneththegreat
    Enjoyable, but may i suggest changing the name of the "KuK army" to the "Austro-Hungarian Army"? Kuk means male genital in Norwegian
    And swedish. It´s slang though, and the KuK armee was the austro-hungarian army. I´d say you just keep it the way it is, but with a capital k at the end.

  19. #19
    General Evans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuckergußgebäck
    And swedish. It´s slang though, and the KuK armee was the austro-hungarian army. I´d say you just keep it the way it is, but with a capital k at the end.
    As far as I can see the K's are capitalised I'll see how I feel about them later...
    Revanche, A French AAR of The Great War (1914-1919) (Finished, Weekly AAR Showcase, 9th Jan '06)

    President Petrov Basil Ivanovich of Kraszakistan (KLD)

    What if Germany had won the Great War? Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

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    Non sufficit orbis Lord E's Avatar
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    Great start so far, nice to se an other TGW AAR, good work with France. Seems like the German AI acted a little strange, not attacking you, but that will just make things more interesting ahead. Can the Germans defeat the Russians, will France take the offensive and bring the war to German soil… Looking forward to more


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