The strategic objective for the opening of 1918 was to once again conserve our overall strength and allow depleted forces the time to regain their strength. However with so many forces committed to the fighting at Kiev and Lvov this was hard to achieve.
At the start of the year, learning from the lessons of this war and with all territory now liberated, the government ordered the strengthening of all border defences. Future strategy, they declared, would not allow enemy troops to enter the so-called “buffer zones” or outflank the nation via another country; they would be fought on the borders and no ground would be given up without a fight.
The Right-wing revolution
On 14 January the strategy for winter, had become fantasy as a massive revolution sprung to life across the width and breath of the Ottoman Empire: occupied territories or not. The overall strength of the rebellion was later estimated to be close to a million strong. All available reserves were ordered south to engage the rebel forces in the occupied provinces. Their forces were even identified as having substantial cavalry elements.
In Asia Minor our forces holding the frontline were engaged as was a force of 7,000 men on some of the Aegean Islands. The latter quelled the opposition they faced before moving onto the mainland, engaging by double their force and cut off from any reinforcements by hundreds of thousands of right-wing rebels. On mainland Europe, battered units from the fighting in the south were moved to tackle the rebels as where the four Panzer Korps and some cavalry units all rebuilding their strength from the previous fighting.
During this time the Papal States, whose soldiers had ad times spear pointed the invasion of Asia Minor and led the invasion of the Gulf, withdrew from the war; this was quite the blow to our efforts as it meant that an invasion of the Middle East would have to follow-up the occupation of Asia Minor. Any attempt to close this front down just seems to make the fighting drag on longer.
Further training was offered over the winter months to the NCOs, to keep them busy when they had little to do
After two months of fighting Europe had been cleared of the right-wing Ottoman rebels, with our forces concentrated they then struck into Asia Minor. Thousands of men had already been lost in the fighting as well as tens of thousands of rebels. This strike into Asia Minor came as excellent news to the frontline troops and the trapped garrison: overwhelming weight of numbers would now crack the rebel lines and relieve these battered units. By the end of March sections of the frontline had been cleared and freed up units were able to launch an attack west.
The butcher's list for Kiev
The advance towards the besieged garrison
On April Fool’s Day the fighting at Kiev came to an end after five months of fighting. The battle had ended in a strategic victory for Austria with the withdrawal of Russian troops but it had been a stalemate at the tactical level with much bloodshed on both sides. In Asia Minor by mid-April the counterattack had cleared out a huge portion of the north-west and was closing in on relieving the trapped garrison. By the end of the month the garrison had been relieved, having lost 6,000 men in the previous three month but over 30,000 rebels had been killed or wounded during the siege.
On 24 May France and Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles ending the war between them with a white peace.
With the war dragging on for so long, the military finally started to impose themselves upon the civillian government
Throughout May the rebels were driven into two pockets: one in the north and another in the south. By the end of the month the northern pocket was destroyed and on 3 June so was the southern. In around five months of fighting the revolution had been crushed, clearing the supply line to allow our war against the Ottoman Empire to continue. Over 30,000 of our men had been killed or wounded in the process, seriously hampering the attempt to let these units rebuild. The rebel death toll amounted to 697,920. However the revolution was widespread, rebels were still present on some of the Aegean Islands, in the Middle East and presumably in Africa; an initial strength of a million seemed like a reasonable estimate.
The rest of May was peaceful as the frontline line areas, in Asia Minor, were fully occupied. Still needing to drive home the point the Ottomans had lost the war and should cede everything we had asked for, an invasion of the Middle East was required. On 8 June, 60,000 men of various cavalry and panzer units, were ordered to advance across Russian territory and invade the region of Iraq.
The invasion of the Middle East