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Thread: The swans head north - A Southern White Short Campaign PBEM

  1. #61
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    First, I stand in awe at your moves around Moscow in the earlier posts. You're dancing around the Reds, keeping them guessing (and dealing quite a lot of damage in the process).

    Second: those are MASSIVE Red armies facing you at Kursk. Seems like you got lucky that the Red cavalry decided on its death ride. Otherwise, if it had been a straight-up infantry fight, I imagine things would have been even more costly for you - if it wouldn't even have lead to a loss for the White cause.

    At least, for now, you still have the link between your forces near Moscow and the south. Here's hoping you'll be able to fend off the next attack as well.
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  2. #62
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    again, superb stuff ... that first map makes the point that there are no conventional fronts, just key cities and junctions. And well done for holding Kursk, but it could become a bit of a stalemate for a while ... are your Siberian colleagues in a position to put on some serious pressure along the Volga?
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  3. #63
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Fascinating. In this move by the Reds we can see a very clear and clever plan, that was only twarted by skill and luck (weather).

    It looks like the Reds are more focused on you that they were in the last game.


    Great update, in any case.
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  4. #64
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    Seriously clever red offensive, thwarted by the game engine

    Let's see what the red can do to survive...
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  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Second: those are MASSIVE Red armies facing you at Kursk. Seems like you got lucky that the Red cavalry decided on its death ride. Otherwise, if it had been a straight-up infantry fight, I imagine things would have been even more costly for you - if it wouldn't even have lead to a loss for the White cause.
    Actually, there wasn't much luck involved (ouch, that sounds arrogant ). Overall the casualties of the battle of Kursk were pretty much what one would expect:

    1. I was on defensive and had had level 4 entrenchment

    2. Two turns of marching had lowered the Red forces to 2688 pw. Mai-Maeivski on the other hand had 2640 pw. In other words, the armies were very evenly matched.

    Under these circumstances, a 2:1 casualty ratio is almost a good result for the Reds. They had the better luck roll and opened fired at a longer range than the White forces (very unusual for the attacker).

    What wasn't to be expected, though is the huge amount of elements Highlandcharge lost (in total 34 elements). This was indeed bad luck. But he also made a mistake in attacking with multiple corps rather than concentrating all his forces in Frunze's stack (his good stats would even have increased Red combat power). As a consequence, the cavalry corps moved into close combat where it was annihilated, while the other corps stayed at long range.


    Quote Originally Posted by General_Hoth View Post
    Seriously clever red offensive, thwarted by the game engine
    Yes, Highlandcharge had a very good plan. It was risky but also could have turned the war around.

    Or at least I think he had a good plan. Unfortunately, I am not privy to his thoughts. What I presented here are my conclusions from his moves.


    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    again, superb stuff ... that first map makes the point that there are no conventional fronts, just key cities and junctions. And well done for holding Kursk, but it could become a bit of a stalemate for a while ... are your Siberian colleagues in a position to put on some serious pressure along the Volga?
    Good point about there not being fronts. RUS plays out in a very realistic way. The game tends to concentrate around key cities and railway junctions rather than continous frontlines.

    I can promise you that there won't be a stalemate. While Highlandcharge pressured me at Kursk, I continued to spread havoc elsewhere.

    Ashtray, the Siberian player, had some troubles early on. But once Highlandcharge weakened the Siberian front to deal with the Southern Whites. Ashtray started to push the Reds back slowly but steadily. His casualties continued to be rather high, though. Still soon White and Red forces will rendez-vous ... in the middle of a huge Green uprising.


    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    It looks like the Reds are more focused on you that they were in the last game.
    Yes, the Southern White soon became the main focus of the Red Army in this game. But Highlandcharge had little choice in the matter. The Siberians were still behind the Volga while Southern White forces had already reached Orel. Hard to ignore White armies this close to Moscow.

  6. #66
    Chapter 12 - The ace in the hole: Petrograd, February - June 1920


    The North-West had been quiet since the beginning of the war. Rodzianko's small corps was still guarding its trenches at Pskov. Meanwhile Skobeltsyn had led another "corps" - in reality it was little more than a division of infantry supported by two armoured trains - south from Murmansk. The Northern White had established bases on the Eastern side of Lake Ladoga and secured the railway lines almost all the way to Petrograd through careful maneuvering.



    In the meantime the Red Army, content with containing the White forces, had continously reduced its strength in the area. By February 1920, Rodzianko felt confident that he could brush Grittis and Kork aside, yet he still lacked the power to take Petrograd, the ultimate objective in North-Western Russia.
    Therefore an ambitious plan was implemented: local recruits were gathered at Pskov in order to increase Rodzianko's force from two to three divisions. In the meantime Yudenich - the commander of the Russian Caucasus Front during WW I, was recruiting a second force in Estonia.* Once the new recruits at Pskov were fully trained, Yudenich would cross the border and join Rodzianko on a march to Petrograd.



    This plan had been already set in motion when Shkuro's rampage (see chapter 10) frigthened Sovnarkom enough to make it flee Moscow on February 28th. Suddenly Petrograd became the capital of Soviet Russia again. Yudenich's prey had just gotten a lot fatter.**

    The Red Army remained blissfully unaware of the danger to Petrograd until Skobeltsyn took Tsarskoye Selo, the gateway to Petrograd, on April 20th. The city had been defended by a small Red brigade which provided some welcome target practice for the White artillery.



    10 days later Yudenich's Army crossed the Estonian border into Russia.*** Back in February, Rodzianko had hardly 24.000 men under his command - many of them weren't even combat troops but part of his grotesquely oversized baggage train. With Yudenich's arrival and through continous recruitment the White Army at Pskov had increased to almost 68.000 men.



    Yudenich immediately led 6 White divisions north while only two understrength formations stayed behind in order to secure Pskov.
    The chubby White general had hoped to destroy Grittis small Red force on his way, but the Communists managed to evade. On May 14th 1920, White forces conquered Gatchina. Two days later Yudenich joined Skobeltsyn at Tsarskoye Selo.****



    Now that Petrograd was within reach, Yudenich proceeded very carefully; rather than attack immediately, he waited for 5 armoured trains and yet another newly recruited infantry division to arrive from Pskov. It wasn't before June that Lieven, Yudenich's second in command, finally crossed the Neva to besiege Petrograd. To his surprise, there was no opposition from the Red Army. Rather than defend the Neva line, it had retreated inside the city itself. On June 4th, 9 days after the victory at Kursk, the Red capital was surrounded by White soldiers.




    Next update: The rampage continues - how Shkuro and Wrangel spent their time while Yudenich marched to Petrograd and Mai-Maievski defended Kursk.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    * As a reminder: the Baltic states as well as Finland are locked in this scenario. Their armies appear on the strategic map but can't enter the fighting. There is an option for them to join the Southern White but we agreed on a house rule that prevented me from taking this option. The Yudenich option on the other hand wasn't prohibited by this house rule.
    ** An unlucky decision on Highlandcharge's part. Me starting to build new troops at Pskov should have been a warning sign. But truth be told, his decision was understandable: the threat to Moscow was evident; that to Petrograd - while just as acute - hadn't yet manifested in a visible way.
    *** A few words about the Yudenich option: Although it is available from the very start in the Short Campaign, I had saved it for a long time. When I finally took it, the railroads to Petrograd were already secured while railroads towards Moscow and Smolensk had been destroyed in order to prevent Red reinforcements from interfering. But most importantly, I had waited until I was confident that Yudenich would impact the balance of power sufficiently to assure that he could reach Petrograd.
    Under less favourable circumstances, I would strongly advice against taking this option since it comes with the downside of a severe NM penalty: If Petrograd isn't taken within twelve turns, the Southern White start bleeding NM (-1 each turn for the rest of the game).
    **** In my humble opinion, not eradicating Rodzianko's corps at the very start of a Short Campaign game is possibly the biggest mistake a Red player can make. If the Southern White player is allowed to prepare until he is ready to strike and succeeds in unifying Yudenich, Rodzianko and the small Murmansk Army, he suddenly poses a serious threat to Petrograd while any of these forces on their own could have been easily wiped out by a medium-sized Red corps.

  7. #67
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    another great update and very much a change of scene from the Ukraine, be interesting to see if you can actually finish off Petrograd though
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  8. #68
    Captain Axe27's Avatar
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    I stand by my original comment - without Yudenich, NW/N White Forces are not strong enough to take Petrograd.

    However, now, Highlandcharge is faced with the decision of saving Moscow or St. Petersburg, as the loss of either will mean a huge NM penalty and big VP gains for the Whites.
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  9. #69
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    If nothing else comes from it, having that dagger pointed at the newly-reminted capital of the Soviet Union should really send shockwaves of panic through your Red opponent. If you manage to take Petrograd... That would of course be utterly awesome.

    Good job marshaling those forces and striking at the right time. There's a plethora of risks for the Communists right now, I look forward to seeing both how you exploit your opportunities and how the Reds respond to your moves.
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  10. #70
    Very impressive concentration in the north. One of the hardest things to do is unite all those forces.

    BTW, didn't realize you were OAM from the other forums. If you ever want to start our AACW game back up, send me a message.

  11. #71
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    seems you've won a prize ... congrats
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  12. #72
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Huzzah! Job well done on winning the showcase and it's nice to see an AGEOD AAR in the spotlight!
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  13. #73
    You've broken the reds

  14. #74
    I have lurked here for a long time, but I decided to leave the shadows and give you a pat on the back. Great AARs, Bornego! Thoroughly enjoyable read.

    The Reds seem to be shaken by your maneuvering, don't let them settle into new positions, hit 'em while they mill around!

    Although I have to ask, it seems from your AARs that the commies are destined to lose. Whites have better units and officers and can keep up numerically. Are you so great in this game, or does it happen every time?

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Morrell8 View Post
    You've broken the reds
    That about sums it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurfürst View Post
    Although I have to ask, it seems from your AARs that the commies are destined to lose. Whites have better units and officers and can keep up numerically. Are you so great in this game, or does it happen every time?
    Honestly, I would say chances of Red defeat are probably something like 70% in this scenario (still a lot better than in the Grand Campaign where I have never seen a Red player win a PBEM). I have played the Short Campaign four times myself (all PBEMs, never in single player): out of these games only one ended with a Red victory. Having played all sides, I think the Reds are probably hardest to command (the sheer number of troops is a challenge in itself - but also offers a lot of possibilities to a good player). Siberians are definitively challenging, too. Southern White is the easiest faction to play.

    Your analysis is spot-on: White leaders are superior, numbers are even (the Southern White even start with numerical superiority on the Don front which is destined to become decisive).
    However, the Red situation is far from hopeless: their army is of good quality (unlike in the Grand Campaign, the Reds start the Short Campaign with a professional army. The Reds might even hold a small edge long-term since they are the only faction that can build elite units). Moreover the Red Army is numerous enough to defend all fronts and even attack on one or two. Finally it has the advantage of interior lines.

    So yes, the result of this game isn't that surprising. But I like to think that I am a decent player as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Axe27 View Post
    I stand by my original comment - without Yudenich, NW/N White Forces are not strong enough to take Petrograd.
    You are probably right. At least if the Red Player reinforces Petrograd's garrison like Highlandcharge did in this game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Good job marshaling those forces and striking at the right time. There's a plethora of risks for the Communists right now, I look forward to seeing both how you exploit your opportunities and how the Reds respond to your moves.
    Part three of the dangers to Soviet Russia will be revealed in my next update.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Cleburne View Post
    Very impressive concentration in the north. One of the hardest things to do is unite all those forces.

    BTW, didn't realize you were OAM from the other forums. If you ever want to start our AACW game back up, send me a message.
    Yes, I am indeed OneArmedMexican (Bornego is an anagram of Obregon, the Mexican general/president lacking an arm). I would love to continue our game. It has been such a long time. PM on its way.

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    seems you've won a prize ... congrats
    Thank you loki, it's nice to see that the bigger Paradox community starts to take an interest in AGEOD games. I believe Narwhal and you have a lot to do with that with your excellent AARs.

  16. #76
    Chapter 13 - Stalin's stand: Moscow, March - June 1920


    For a strategic map please see chapter 11 since the events in chapters 11-13 happened simultaniously.


    After the conquest of Kaluga and the Red retreat to Moscow, Shkuro didn't stop his rampage through Central Russia. On the contrary, the White armies intensified their efforts to secure the road to Moscow. In spite of the increasingly worrisome Red troop concentration at Gomel, Wrangel's entire corps was send north to join Shkuro in this effort.



    On March 24th, Wrangel's 53.000 men stormed the city of Tula. It wasn't a cheap victory, though. Under the fire of the fearsome Red fortress artillery, 3.700 White soldiers died that day.1



    10 days later, Wrangel's men arrived at Ryazan. The city was defended by a number of fresh recruits and a garrison force.2 In command was a most beloved foe: Nestor Makhno. He had become almost like a mascot to the White soldiers. Whenever he was found to be in command of Red forces, White victories had followed. Wrangel's men thus charged joyfully into the streets of Ryazan. The ensuing battle was short and ended in the utter destruction of the 5.000 men strong Red garrison. Yet another railway connecting Red forces in Southern Russia with Moscow was interrupted.



    On April 11th, it was Shkuro's turn to strike: Podolsk didn't offer much resistance and was quickly taken. The White Army had reached the outskirts of Moscow.
    The next month was wasted besieging Kolomna and Bogodorosk.3 But by mid May 1920, Wrangel's patience had run out. Finally, assaults were ordered and both cities fell. The proletarians on horseback trapped inside Kolomna made a valiant defensive stand; only to pay for their foolish bravery with their lifes.



    Both Red and White now prepared for the inevitable Battle of Moscow. In the city, bourgeois and former aristocrats were forced to dig trenches, yet they were hopeful. Red Guards piled up barricades, while they tried to brace themselves for the White onslaught. Housewifes stood in endless cues to obtain supplies, fearful of what was to come. Dzerzhinsky's Chekists were probably busier than anyone else; but some things better remain untold ...
    In command of Moscow's defense was Joseph Stalin, born as Iosif Dzhugashvili, a Georgian Communist. White propagandist took it as yet another piece of evidence that the Bolsheviks were a cabal of foreigners trying to take over the rodina.4 The people's commissar had 49.000 Red soldiers under his command. Would it be enough to stop 122.000 White soldiers who had been assembled outside Moscow?



    The Red Army had two major advantages, though: excellent trenches and its artillery. Almost 500 pieces of artillery had been assembled at Moscow. 16 armoured trains were defending key positions. But the White army had a secret weapon as well: British made tanks. All six tank battalions available to the Southern White had been concentrated for the Battle of Moscow.
    Wrangel had divided his army into three parts: Shkuro was in command of the 71.000 men composing the Left Wing. Most of the soldiers in his five infantry divisions were veterans but there was also a number of newly recruited White guards with little combat experience.
    Wrangel personnally led the Right Wing. It consisted of three infantry divisions, totalling 41.000 men. The Reserve under Ulagai was fairly small: one infantry division and three armoured trains. It would move to Podolsk at the outset of the battle and enter combat from the South if need be.5
    The main attack would come from the East. Shkuro would advance on Moscow from Bogodorosk. In the meantime Wrangel would perform a flanking march and attack Moscow from the West. White propaganda painters already made sketches of both commanders shaking hands in front of the Kremlin.

    On June 3rd, only 9 days after Mai-Maeivski's great victory at Kursk and a day before Lieven would lay siege to Petrograd, the Battle of Moscow began. The initial artillery bombardment was short and ferocious. But the White commanders knew that they were outgunned; soon whistles blew, Shkuro's men left their trenches and stormed towards the Communist positions. Red artillery dealt horrific punishment to the mass of approaching White soldiers. Drozdovsky's former division suffered worse than any other and lost almost 50% of its men during this mad assault. Amongst the dead was its commanding officer, general Vitkovsky.6 If the assault didn't fail completely, it was because tank units managed to breach the Red trenches in several places; under their cover White infantry established footholds in the Red defensive lines. Still at first the Red Army managed to hold on, it was only when Wrangel's and Ulagai's men attacked the city from the West and South that fortune changed. With Southern White troops attacking from three direction, the Red artillery lost its precision. White units closed in and dealt bloody revenge on the Red Army. Soon Communist forces were in full retreat. Several Red regiments were annihilated in this second phase of the battle.7



    The Red Army had fought heroically. Inspite of being outnumbered by 2,5 : 1, it had inflicted 21.400 casualties upon the White Army while "only" losing 16.500 men itself. But Stalin's greatest feat may have been that he managed to rally his fleeing soldiers and retreat in good order to Sergiev Posad, north of Moscow. Inside the city only a small garrison remained that was now almost certainly doomed.8



    In terms of casualties, the Battle of Moscow was to remain the bloodiest fight of the Civil War: 37.943 soldiers had died within a single day.9 For the Southern White, it accounted for one third of their total casualties.10 But all White leaders agreed that this sacrifice was worth the gain, or as Wrangel put it: "Il faut casser des oeufs pour faire une omelette." (You have to break some eggs, if you want to make an omelet).



    Most importantly, the Volunteer Army had gained three important victories within ten days: Mai-Maievski had repulsed the 2nd Shock Army at Kursk and thus stopped the biggest Red counter-offensive of the war, Yudenich had reached Petrograd and Wrangel had won the Battle of Moscow. The Red Army would continue to fight but these ten days in the early summer of 1920 had sealed its defeat.11


    Next update: Red catastrophies - the end of the 2nd Shock Army and the fall of Moscow.


    ---------------------------------------------------------
    1 Red position batteries are a pain in the butt. Assaulting cities defended by this heavy artillery inevitably results in high casualty rates regardless of how overwhemlingly the odds are stacked in your favour.
    2 Highlandcharge made the mistake of recruiting new units in the countryside rather than under the protection of strong armies in his key cities. As a consequence, he lost a lot of units shortly before they were ready to enter combat. These were easy victories for the Southern White that gradually sapped Red NM.
    3 Frankly, I wasted time here due to stupid mistakes. I had send Wrangel to assault Bogodorosk in the late April turn. Yet the assault was aborted because Shkuro in the neighbouring region was in defensive posture. Corps attack before army hqs, but I had forgotten to order Shkuro to attack. The next turn, I decided for some reason to besiege these cities rather than storm them.
    4 Historically, a high number of leading Bolsheviks were Jews, Poles, Georgians, Latvians, ... White propaganda ineptly tried to capitalize on this. Especially anti-semitism came to play an increasing role within the White movement. The White advances in 1919 were thus accompanied by a series of pogroms.
    5 Marching to the sound of guns. I didn't want my smallest corps in the thick of the battle. Ordering it to Podolsk rather than attack Moscow made sure it would serve as reserve rather than bear the brunt of the first fighting by accident (this happened to Budyenny during the Battle of Kurks, see chapter 11).
    6 That loss really hurt, I was already desperately short on Southern White division commanders. In Vitkovsky I lost one of my best one-star generals (4-3-4 stats don't grow on trees).
    7 The battle was fought in two rounds: the first round was a White disaster (368 hits suffered and only 164 inflicted upon the Reds), the second round was sweet revenge (43 hits suffered but 151 inflicted upon the Reds; all 8 elements the Reds lost were destroyed during the second round).
    8 In my humble opinion this was a waste. Highlandcharge could have put these men into Stalin's Army. Especially the fortress artillery would have made the Battle of Moscow even more costly for me. There is even a small chance that these units participating in the fight rather than sitting idly inside the city might have been enough to repulse the White attack. If Highlandcharge had additionally brought Samoylo's small corps from Vologda south to bolster Moscow's defense, I am pretty sure, Wrangel and Shkuro would have lost. That is part of the fun with PBEMs, victory or defeat often depend on a few small decisions.
    9 Kursk was slightly less bloody with combined casualties of 30.619 men.
    10 Up to this point, I had managed to keep Southern White casualties at 42.000 men (which is really nothing for a Short Campaign game) now they were up to 63.000. Note that the Greens have suffered considerably more than me: almost 90.000 men. That is largely Ashtray's doing. He triggered massive Green rebellions in large parts of his territory: between Omsk and Vladivostok 50% of the territory was under Green control. Kazakhstan had become a Green free state and Turkmenistan spotted several Green strongholds as well. But while he had an unfortunate talent for triggering unrest, he was truely masterful at squashing it; hence the crazy high Green casualties.
    11 It had also sapped Red NM to a lowly 27 points. Shkuro's rampage did a lot more to reduce Red NM than the Battles of Moscow and Kursk, though. The small battles around Moscow gained me a total of 8 NM. Moreover it triggered the Reds to evacuate their government to Petrograd which cost them another 10 points of NM. In contrast, the Battle of Kursk was only worth +4 NM and at Moscow I was lucky to gain one point.

  17. #77
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Oh my! The death knell of the Reds has sounded! First Kursk, then Petrograd besieged, and now Moscow all but taken. I know there are some big Communist armies left, but what can those realistically do, once you've taken their capital(s) and cut off all their railroad connections?

    Horrendous casualties at Moscow, but well worth it. I assume the city will fall to an assault shortly. I also assume that Stalin and his survivors are probably in no state to fight right now, or am I too optimistic about that?
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  18. #78
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    well that was dramatic, certainly fully validates your earlier decisions to disrupt the Red front before it had chance to form up and then keep up the pressure. Adding to your careful build up at Petrograd it looks like the end is nigh

    sob ...
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  19. #79
    Congratulations, of course. Heart of Rodina is in your hands, the russian window to the West (aka Sankt Petersurg) is ripe for taking, you are set on course to victory.

    Although I hope for some sort of last heroic stand of Red Army. They should go out of this world as they came - kicking, screaming and fighting for every breath

  20. #80
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Nicely played. It's hard not to feel sorry for the Reds given the kicking you're inflicting. The fact that this sets them up for a fall at Petrograd doesn't help.
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