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Thread: Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany

  1. #1

    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany

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    "Nicht durch Reden und Majoritätsbeschlüsse werden die großen Fragen der Zeit entschieden sondern durch Eisen und Blut." -- Otto von Bismarck

    (Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided, but by iron and blood.)

    The goal of this AAR is to form Greater Germany quickly, and provide Germany a strong basis for future expansion.

    In order to form Greater Germany, Prussia needs to:

    -- sphere Bavaria
    -- sphere Hanover
    -- sphere Baden
    -- sphere Saxony
    -- sphere Wurttemburg
    -- sphere Austria
    -- sphere Denmark, or liberate Schleswig-Holstein
    -- sphere Holstein
    -- retain Prussia's starting sphere
    -- liberate Alsace Lorraine from France

    Additionally, Prussia may add Luxembourg to the mix by sphering them.

    So the plan for the initial phase of the campaign is to
    1) attack Austria on January 1, 1836 (with an Assert Hegemony CB)
    2) sphere the required minor powers (Hanover, Denmark, Holstein, Luxembourg)
    3) attack France after peace with Austria.

    In January 1, 1836, Prussia begins influencing Denmark and Holstein, researching Muzzle Loading Rifles, allies with France and Russia, and declares war on Austria.

    Austria has to be a priority. It interferes with the Prussian sphere in Germany, and must be eliminated as a threat.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  2. #2
    Prussia opens the war by mobilizing and ordering every Prussia unit to Vienna, the Austrian capital. The plan is to advance until contact is made with the enemy, and then engage, surround and destroy the Austrian army.

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    After a month of marching, the Austrian Army is concentrated in Kattowitz (44k), Salzburg (25k) and Krems (most of the rest). Much of the Prussian Army is traversing through Russian Poland, Central Silesia and Bohemia. The Kattowitz pocket is the first target. It is within Prussia, nearest Prussian troops and easily isolated. Prussia will attack into Kattowitz, while blocking any attempts to rescue the doomed Austrians while I let my other troops trickle in to Vienna.

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    By late February, the Austrian position in Kattowitz is untenable. The Austrian defenders are outnumbered, surrounded, and facing a technologically superior Prussian Army. The other Austrian armies are also surrounded. The largest Austrian concentration of troops is in Linz. They are attacking Prussian defenders who are outnumbered nearly 3:1. Prussia will maintain the cordon around the Austrian forces, destroy the Kattowitz pocket and use the troops from Kattowitz to destroy the other surrounded Austrian pockets in Linz, Brno, and Krems.

    The Austrian Army in Brno surrenders on March 9, 1836. The victorious troops from Brno reinforce the Prussian defenders in Linz. The Austrians in Kattowitz surrender in late March, 1836. The victorious Prussians begin streaming westward to the battles still ongoing in Linz and Krems.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  3. #3
    The Linz and Krems battles are ongoing. The Austrian Army in Krems finally capitulates in late March, 1836. On April 1, 1836, Prussia finally gets a general!

    He is no prize, but he will help on defense.

    On May 1, 1836, the Austrian Army in Linz surrenders.

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    This represents every last brigade in the Austrian Army; it ceases to exist in May, 1836. Prussia begins laying siege to Austrian provinces, and sending back the worst-mauled brigades of the Prussian Army to recuperate along the French-Prussian border.

    Post-Campaign Analysis

    Austria's starting army is inferior to that of Prussia. It is behind Prussia on the Army Leadership techs. It is outnumbered by the Prussian brigades (50-33 of regular army brigades, 73-46 upon mobilization).

    Furthermore, my mobilized brigades get the benefit of time to regain org before they are committed to battle. They form the lines surrounding the initial battles. The Austrian mobilization pool is committed directly to combat.

    So the 3:2 numerical odds the Austrian Army faces on the battlefield is worsened by technology and the fast pace of the Prussian assault. The Austrians are never able to compete. Also, the Austrian sphere does not come to its defense. Tiny Krakow is its sole ally. Even this turns out badly for the Austrian Army, in fact. A neutral Krakow would have been an acceptable retreat location for the Army in Kattowitz. A different worry would have been the armies of Bavaria, and to a lesser extent Wurttemburg. Bavaria might have interfered with the battles in Linz. Prussia could not have surrounded the Austrian forces without Bavarian neutrality, and Prussia could not have concentrated its forces from the Rhineland and Sigmaringen on Austrian territory so quickly.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  4. #4
    I regularly try to form Greater Germany within a decade of the game's start myself. I don't know about AHD, but in Vanilla all uncored Austrian provinces (Lombardia and Venetia, iirc) had to be released for the Austrian Empire to be incorporated into a unified Germany. 1850 should be your goal for German unification; if Austria to be decimated and reduced to a minor nation, the peace resolution has to smash its prestige to 25 or below and leave it with a limited military and no industry. Therefore, the entirety of Austria must be occupied, Bohemia-Moravia freed to curb any industrialisation, Lombardy and Venice released and the 'Cut down to size' CB enforced. Austria will immediately fall from the GP ranks and Russia, or another GP, will sphere it - in the meantime, the player should grab Alsace-Lorraine. As soon as the Austro-Prussian truce expires, compete for influence over Austria. By the time you sphere it (whether through diplomacy or war), Greater Germany should be creatable.

    Alternatively, AHD makes all this redundant or you have a superior modus operandi. Nonetheless, thusfar our plans have been the same. Did any of Austria's German minors DOW you? In my experience, you usually have to conquer southern Germany.

  5. #5
    @ncm, the goal will be a Greater Germany before 1840. My thinking is this: in most games if I wait to form NGF to get the extra troops, I crush France like a bug. So I figure I will just go and crush France after the Austro-Prussian War is concluded. If I push it early, that can only help me to focus on expansion elsewhere once it is done.

    I do not wish to release Bohemia, as it is Greater Germany's most populous province, and can host some good industry; ditto the Italian provinces. Any additional CB above Assert Hegemony (infamy-free) and Humiliate (3 infamy), are unnecessary. It would be great if a German minor wanted to conquer Bohemia, but my first aim is to destroy the Austrian army and then move on to the next phase. I figure I would rather use up infamy in the Chinese buffet of rich, tasty provinces over there...

    Diplomatic Situation

    Prussian forces take another 6 months after the end of fighting to subdue Austria and occupy her provinces. Prussia adds the wargoal of Humiliate Austria. The Humiliate and Assert Hegemony wargoals will basically reduce Austrian prestige to near zero, once a peace is concluded. There appears to be no way to avoid fighting Austria a second time. As her prestige will not be greatly reduced during the war (just by the small amounts of losing battles, 3 each for the largest battles of Linz and Kattowitz), we have to conclude peace, and then attack Austria again. Only in this way (destroying her prestige in the first war, and her IND and MIL scores in the second war), can we reduce Austria's score low enough to be considered a minor power and then can we sphere Austria.

    Meanwhile, I have sphered Holstein, and am working on Denmark and Luxembourg (the UK banned me from Hanover). Sphering Denmark is preferable to attacking Denmark for several reasons. First, it takes more time to conquer than to sphere, and I would also need a bit bigger navy to beat Denmark. The Danish fortresses slow down occupation, and make it more difficult to secure a good peace agreement. I can work on sphering Denmark while I am fighting France/Austria, so it will not slow down the creation of Greater Germany. The only disadvantage to sphering Denmark is that I cannot attack them to get a hold of Danish Ghana. Danish Ghana is a great Place in the Sun destination if you wish to quickly colonize Africa (which should a primary goal of every Victoria 2 imperialist).
    Last edited by mbrasher1; 18-03-2012 at 22:41.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  6. #6
    Peace with Austria is finally achieved in November of 1836. They are pretty low on the GP totem pole. I notice that Austria allies with France. This is great news, as I can start an infamy-free war against Austria along with France before a truce is over. Prussia allies with Bavaria, Baden and Wurttemburg. Prussia is still allied to Russia, but I have no intention of asking them to join my war against France/Austria. Since the Russian total score is higher than that of Prussia, the Russians would control the peace negotiations. Since Prussia will be waiting for Austria to drop off the GP club, Prussia cannot permit this. Prussia also tries to ally with the Belgians; the odds say Belgium is a "Maybe," but they nonetheless agree. They are good allies, because an attack through friendly Belgium means alot fewer army losses to attrition on the approach march to Paris. Plus, the Belgian army is not exactly tiny. The French are sure to give it some attention, drawn away from my own forces.

    These screenshots (showing French mobilization after the December 5, 1836 declaration of war) show what Prussia is up against. An attack beginning in December 1836 faces numerical odds of about 1:2. Sure, my Bavarian and other minor German allies would help. But Austria will probably more than keep the Bavarians busy. After mobilization, the Austrian Army is about 30 brigades, IIRC.

    The Prussian plans for the Franco-Prussian War is the same as for the Austro-Prussian War: march towards the enemy army, find it, fix it in place, and destroy it. Yes, Prussia will be trying to surround a force twice as large, and given that my own forces need to surround the French forces, this will be difficult. Hopefully, while the Prussian posture is the strategic offensive, Prussian can quickly seize key provinces, and go on the tactical defensive, letting the larger French army attack.

    This shows the attack on Paris by the entire Prussian Army, beginning on December 5, 1836. Yes, Austria follows France to war. Hopefully, the Bavarians will delay them long enough for Prussia to beat France. I waited until the last Prussian troops are clear of Austrian territory before I declare war on France. Prussia needs every soldier to beat France. If the Austrians honor their alliance with France and mobilize, any Prussian unit in Austria will be navigating through hostile territory, outnumbered and far from where they can make a difference.

    There are a few Prussian brigades that are not at their full complement. But most are fully reinforced.

    This shows the invasion of France at D+10:

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    Note that the Belgian Army has engaged some of the French mobilization pool at the border. They are still low ORG. Any fighting Prussia gets from allied AI minors the better. The Prussians have not found the bulk of the French forces. All 474,000 of them need to be defeated.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  7. #7
    In January, I am fighting France in two main regions: Paris and Alsace Lorrraine. In Paris, Prussia is outnumbered and Prussian units are at low strength and low org. In Alsace, Prussia is outnumbered and Prussian units are at low strength and low org. But there is no question that Prussian forces are getting ground down by the weight of French numbers.

    The fighting in Alsace is desultory. The Prussians lose some battles and win some battles, but no French units have been destroyed. Even so, my stragglers have all moved into France. In March 1837, after 3 months of fighting, the Prussian Army is here:

    As you can see, the Prussians are slowly surrounding the French units. The French has a large, low org pocket at Evreux and a larger, higher org pocket at Chartres. Prussian forces are moving into blocking positions to prevent that army from retreating, or resting.

    Between these two screenshots, the French pocket in Evreux dies. On Mach 27, you can see the only strong French army outside of Alsace is surrounded. Prussian units that had been fighting in Evreux are cycled in as reinforcements.

    The battle ends on April 12, 1837

    This is a major blow to the French Army. They lost a large number of brigades, but still hold Alsace, and in some strength.

    This screenshot is from the same day, but the view is in Alsace/Franche Comte. The French have armies in Metz, Nancy, Chaumont and even in Belgium. Prussia does not have the strength to deal with that until the units from Chartres/Evreux arrive.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  8. #8
    In late April, I peak into the diplomacy tabs to see how the French Army is looking.

    The French have lost 105 brigades from the start of the Franco-Prussian War in December of 1836. My brigades are certainly weak and need reinforcements, and time to gain org as well, but they are all intact except for one or two that were overrun during the advance to Paris.

    The Battle of Chaumont destroys the largest visible concentration of French armies. There are some in Metz and a few brigades that are laying seige to a Prussian Baltic province or something. But the French, for all practical purposes, are done.

    Paris surrenders in early May, 1837.

    The Battle of Epinal destroys another surrounded French Army. The French Armies to the north are exhausted, surrounded, and soon meet the same fate as all the other French armies. As Prussian forces come out of these battles, the exhausted, low org brigades begin occupying French provinces, while the healthier ones go back to Prussia to reorg and get reinforced.

    By June 1837, the French Army does not exist in France proper. There are 21 brigades listed. I can see 2-3 of them, in Prussian Pommerania.

    Austrian Situation, June 1837

    The Austrians have been getting roughly handled by the Bavarians. The Bavarians have actually occupied several Austrian provinces, and are holding off some Austrian attacks nicely.

    Prussia begins to redeploy units coming out of France. The entire Prussian Army is not needed to occupy France, especially with the bloodthirsty Austrians lurking about. The Prussian General Staff begins moving about 30 brigades to deal with the threat.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  9. #9
    By August, I have assembled a modest force of Prussians in Berlin.

    The screenshot shows the status of Prussian armies, and also shows the likely attacks they will make. Note there are 11,000 Prussians in Schwerin. They will deal with surrounding the Austrian/Papal forces in and around Bohemia/Schlesien.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  10. #10
    You'll probably have to rush for Darwinism, to get that nice education % for all the low-literacy pops in Austria once you've absorbed them, or it will slow your tech down. The German Minors have comparable literacy rate to yours. And it can never hurt to humiliate - it is a low cost CB and can block your opponent's advance significantly, first in score, and then next because they will be ranked lower for buying products on the world market, which will keep them down if you know how to knock them out of GP status.
    "Now theatres are a very special animal..."

  11. #11
    Captain paulthebug's Avatar
    Victoria 2Victoria II: Heart of Darkness

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    Is the old trick of not peace-out with Austria (to let them drop out of GP status) while you are warring France no longer worked in AHD?

  12. #12

  13. #13
    @Juan de Marco -- Yep, literacy does tumble from the low 60s to the low 40s upon forming Greater Germany. But that is more than worth getting over 20 states. Some are pretty decent industrial states; I get Austria's future oil patch. As you point out, I will have to deal with the lower literacy.

    @paulthebug -- I cannot just keep Austria down while I war France, because that will not lower their prestige except by a little bit (for lost battles and the like). Austria can keep GP status with its prestige alone, so they need to be defeated in war twice. I have not found a way around this. I suppose if the Austrians started a war with Denmark and THEN I attacked, they'd lose a fair bit of prestige by not fulfilling their wargoals with Denmark (because I would really beat them badly, and leave them in no position to beat the Danes). But this would leave the action to others -- I'd have to hope for an Austrian DOW on Denmark.

    @calvinhobbelisk -- The Dutch did a Restore Order on Belgium. I did not honor our treaty (the shame!). Frankly, at the moment it happened (January 1837), I thought the Prussian invasion of France would fail. The Russians were allied with the Dutch, and I had no troops to spare. And frankly, I saw little upside apart from keeping the Dutch from GP status.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  14. #14
    In September, the French offer peace, and Alsace Lorraine. To quote Wayne Campbell (of Wayne and Garth fame), "Yeah, right!"

    This generous Gallic offer is politely refused. Obviously, Prussia cannot peace out the French until the Austrians agree to be Prussia's sphereling, which France cannot offer. "As if!"
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  15. #15
    Captain paulthebug's Avatar
    Victoria 2Victoria II: Heart of Darkness

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    Sep 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    Good job fighting the French!

    Referring to your comment on fighting the Austrian twice, you are right. I tested it out myself.

    For your current game, I assume that Austria is no longer on the GP list? Please remember to conclude separate peace with them first before you peace with France, then a couple clicks later, viola Greater Germany.

    You are very fortunate that Austria was allied with France, I think you can form greater Germany in 1838 or so. Damn fine job!


    When testing out myself, I wasn't as fortunate as you. So I had to wait for the truce with Austria to expire before I can declared on them again. I formed Germany in 1843.

    On the up side, since I have plenty of time to wait, I just grabbed as much France as possible. All her oversea colonies are gone, except that bloody island on Canada (it turned state so fast), plus French-Comte and Champange. Also grabbed Zulu and Johore, for their strategic positions for the upcoming war with the UK.


  16. #16
    The destruction of Austria's smaller forces continues. The Papal States have a decent sized army -- 25k men -- in Prussia. These are beaten in Liegnitz and then retreat into Olomuouc.

    You can see the Papal army has retreated into Olomuouc and are encircled and engaged. They are immobile, while the Germans, er, Prussians, can improve their position with the victorious forces from Hradec Kralove. It is only a matter of time.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  17. #17
    @paulthebug, Austria is still on the GP list during the war wit France. If they were not, I'd have added a wargoal to Austria to be in my sphere and then asked France for peace. Here is the diplo screenshot from Dec 1836 (before I declared on France).

    Austria is a GP but they are in that probation status where they could lose it. When they join the war, their MIL score will go up by 100%. That will vault them over Belgium and the Netherlands, and give them a refresher on their probation. I always forget if it is six months or a year.

    I agree I was fortunate that Austria was allied with France. However, if Austria is a GP, in AHD I can still declare war using the Assert Hegemony CB even with the truce in effect. I have to take a loss of 20 prestige, 1 infamy and 2 militancy, but Austria in Greater Germany is worth it. Otherwise, I'd probably DOW Austria not much later than when I started moving forces there. Since the Bavarians, Austrians and Papal forces were fighting, it probably helped (as their org was lower when I finished them), but fighting Austria is doable even without the alliance with France. The only downside/worry is that Austria, when they join the war with France, joins alone. If I attacked them, they'd have allies. in 1836, no GP (read the UK or Russia) is an ally. I'd hate to have to negotiate with a strong power, or have to invade Russia to win Austria in my sphere.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  18. #18
    This image shows the last two significant Austrian forces. There are still 21 french brigades unaccounted for. The Prussians have about the same number waiting in France to deal a beatdown to any forces that might think about coming for a brawl.

    You can also see forces coming from the east, west and north to deal with these guys. I am desperately trying to save those Wurttemburg defenders, as it will be easier to defend than to attack.

    What a difference a week makes. This shows the win in Salzburg. Just visible are the Prussian defenders in Linz, IIRC. You can see that both armies are blown, but the Prussians have reinforcements en route. The Austrians are done.

    Prussia now begins to redeploy spent units directly from occupying France to occupying Austria. By the time they arrive, they can safely siege Austrian provinces without fear of fighting. Previously, they needed to get some reinforcement in Prussia.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


  19. #19

  20. #20
    Two months later, I finish my first tech. I had chosen muzzle loading rifles, as I figured the extra punch might help with France, but France lost first. Now I wish I had chosen Ideological Thought first.

    Postwar Analysis

    The French should have won. They had 158:83 brigades. Taking away the 21 they have somewhere other than France, and the two that invaded Swinemunde, they had 125:83 for the main show. The mobilized French brigades were pretty quickly committed, and could not org up. The French brigades got little rest. once the battle started (basically, if Prussia lost, or quit a battle). They rarely retreated.

    Why did the French lose?

    1. Prussian concentration of forces in the decisive theater. I loaded up the Dec 4, 1836 save, to peek at French deployments. They have 45k troops in Algeria, 9k in Senegal and 6k in Cote d'Ivoire. In the opening days of the war, I have 83 brigades ready for business in northeast France (and good access routes through Belgium). They have 37 brigades in France proper to my 83 just across the border, pre-French mobilization (and some of their brigades are not at full strength -- in total they are short the equivalent of two brigades). Prussia did not mass in Belgium before the attack. That would have made it easier, but the Prussian general staff forgot!

    2. Superior Prussian organization. Prussian org in 1836 was based on a 100% national stockpile setting. France's is 41%. The average of three largest French armies (in France) is 16.9 org, 18.5 and 11.8, compared to the Prussian base of 32 (though some have commanders that give a bonus). The French have 8 brigades in France with org of less than 10 -- perhaps they were newly created; this means they were even less useful than the mobilized brigades. My mobilization pool is orged up. Theirs has not yet been called. If we can say that their average org of their standing army is about 1/2 of mine, and the mobilization will come in with org of 10/32, they will have about 1/3 of the Prussian org. This organizational superiority means that there is more organization points in the smaller Prussian army than in the larger French army. On D+1, after their mobilization, Prussian org exceeds French or by about 60%, even with the smaller Prussian Army.

    3. Tactical defensive. The Prussian Army fought many key battles on the defense, even while on French soil. This gave an intangible advantage to Prussia.

    Even with these advantages, Prussia nearly lost. I almost gave up when I was on the defensive against more numerous French troops, especially in March of 1837. It was only after some successes in smaller annihilation battles of surrounded French units that convinced me the Prussians may have a chance. Successes against encircled enemies just snowball. I was also worried for quite some time about Papal forces. They had a decent sized army. Had they marched to France, 25k fresh, orged up troops would have been a serious obstacle at any point between December 1836 and April 1837. They would have swept aside weak, depleted, scattered armies.

    What would I do differently?

    1. Better pre-war forward deployment. As I mentioned, lining up Prussian forces in Belgium would have saved me a great deal of attrition on the approach march, and allowed the French even less time to org up.

    2. Better focus on destroying the French Army. Generally, since the Prussians do not know where the French are, I ordered the Prussian Army to Paris. When I encountered the French army, I engaged each of its parts separately. The French deployments around Paris and the English Channel was the far larger portion of the French Army in France. I think it would have been better to set up blocking forces in Paris, and then focused energy on engaging and destroying the smaller French forces in Alsace Lorraine. The French superiority in Alsace Lorraine/Franche Comte meant that several smaller Prussian detachments were pretty badly mauled marching in. I probably could have blocked the French border and marched every Prussian unit through Belgium. Not having any definite local superiority was a mistake, and made things closer than they should have been.

    3. Role for the Prussian Navy. Large French forces (45,000 men) were deployed in Algeria, which were eventually sent to France. Given how long naval battles take, 2 frigates and 3 clippers would have delayed that 45k army for quite some time in the critical early days of the invasion of France.
    Blood and Iron -- A Fast Road to Greater Germany


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