+ Reply to Thread
Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 ... LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 139

Thread: In the Age of Superpowers

  1. #41
    I just cannot get enough of this AAR.To be completely honest,this is definitely in my top 3.Maybe even number one on my list.
    It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.-Neil Armstrong

  2. #42
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3For The Glory

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Somewhere
    Posts
    2,783
    Cybvep: Normal difficulty, normal aggression. I find the idea of IC penalties very bothersome.

    H.Appleby: Your support seems to be somewhat contradictory there...

    Kurt_Steiner: Maybe. I'm fast approaching the point where I stopped playing prior to starting on this AAR.

    Kaiser_Mobius : The question, of course, is when?

    AwesomeSauce123: Well now, that's very fine praise, and much appreciated

    -----


    Chapter I - The Great War - Part IX

    In August of 1916, General Erich von Falkenhayn, Chief of the General Staff, was likely beginning to understand the strain that had brought about the break-down of his high-strung predecessor, Moltke the Younger. Germany's military position was incredibly perilous, perhaps more even than the dramatic days of spring the previous year. Though the army had scored rousing victories on the Eastern Front since the fall of the Tsar, and had pushed the Italian armies out of the Tyrol, advanced into Veneto, and even isolated an Entente force in Trieste, a sense of crisis gripped Berlin and the General Staff like a miasma of gloom. The sudden Western offensive had shattered Germany's complacent hold on northern France, while in Russia itself, Soviet armies continued to appear as if out of the ground, threatening to grind the German offensive to a halt. For all its material superiority, the German army simply lacked sufficient manpower to securely guard its flanks from enemy divisions or partisans, who were now seemingly supplied with weapons and support by the British. Moscow, so bloodlessly occupied, was given up and the cavalry divisions sent there had to fight tooth and nail out of a Soviet encirclement in late July. In the Ukraine, the Austrian drive on Kiev had lost steam, unable to simultaneously battle the swarm of 'Green' partisans, and defeat the growing Soviet army, and in the north, the Whites of Pskov were brutally dispersed, leaving an enemy army astride the German supply lines to both Petrograd and Smolensk. Beyond those two points, the Germany army simply could not advance. With all available reinforcements now being shuttled west to bolster the line in Belgium and Lorraine, it seemed Germany had reached the limits of its capacity to fight a two-front war.


    Germany continued to enjoy successes on other fronts, but note the absence of troops in Pskov and Smolensk, and the divisions trapped west of Moscow.


    Faced with the reality that all the wildest dreams of the German Empire could not be fulfilled in the East, or at least not at present, Berlin began looking for a way to negotiate with the Bolsheviks and bring the fighting to a close. While Berlin was fully aware of the Bolshevik promises made months earlier to bring peace to Russia, it had become perfectly evident that they were either unwilling to do so, or unwilling to do so at the price now demanded by their weak position. Toward that end, the Foreign Ministry devised a proposal they considered harsh enough to satisfy most Germans, while soft enough for the Bolsheviks to accept. The peace terms were the work primarily of General Max Hoffman, Chief of Staff of the Ostfront. In Hoffman's plan, Poland would be detached from Russia - likely to be converted into a German protectorate - while the Baltic states would be annexed outright, and Finland's independence, now very much already the reality on the ground, be recognized as such by the Soviet government. In this plan, no provisions were made for reparations of any sort, nor were Austria-Hungary or Turkey's territorial ambitions recognized. The priority was to end the fighting and free up Hindenburg's army for service in the West.

    The offer to negotiate extended by Germany was heartily accepted by Lenin, who now considered the Whites the greater peril to Soviet power. The meeting was to be held at Smolensk, now the front-line of the conflict. As Foreign Minister, Leon Trotsky led the Soviet delegation, a motley assortment of workers and peasants unprecedented in diplomatic history. With Hindenburg and Ludendorff's blessing and von Jagow too disdainful of the Red revolutionaries to send any but low ranking subordinates, Hoffman effectively led Germany's diplomatic team without oversight by the Foreign Ministry, though Prince Leopold of Bavaria and Count Ottokar von Czernin of Austria-Hungary added sufficiently to the distinction of the German party. The two groups met first on August 13 with the sound of artillery rumbling in the distance and the thought of the Entente offensive very much on the minds of the German delegates, Trotsky arriving by train from Moscow, where the Soviet government had relocated after the German evacuation.

    The sight of uneducated, even illiterate Russians seated across the table from princes and generals made for a spectacle, as did the confrontation between the Soviets' revolutionary exuberance juxtaposed against the trained diplomatic decorum of the Germans. But Hoffman showed little interest in the novelty of the situation and pushed rapidly ahead with the negotiations, intent to get the army moving westward as soon as possible. Germany laid out its terms, all while Trotsky stalled for time, dragging matters on by constantly wiring Moscow for specific instructions on how to proceed. Seeing Germany's supposed 'soft' peace, the Bolsheviks blanched. In effect, they were being asked not just to hand over more than two hundred years of Russian imperial expansion, but to hand it to the single most powerful anti-communist force in Europe. Moreover, Lenin was vaguely aware of the successes being achieved by the Entente and hoped time would bring an improvement of fortunes.

    After a week of such games, Hoffman presented an ultimatum: accept the peace plan, or prepare to fight. It was mostly bluff; only in the Ukraine were the armies still advancing, and only in the Ukraine could they be expected to continue to do so. But from the opposite side of the table, the situation looked far more bleak; Kiev was on the verge of being captured, and the Whites were advancing north from the Don-Kuban basin. But the Soviets just could not bring themselves to accept. Instead, without time to consult Moscow, Trotsky delivered a response that left his audience speechless. Russia, he pronounced, withdrew from any further negotiations and declared summarily hostilities were at an end, a position he summed up as 'no war — no peace'.



    Trotsky's unexpected reaction left Berlin in a state of enormous consternation. Such a flaunting of the ultimatum could be met with only one course, a renewal of the offensive, but that was precisely what the Central Powers were struggling to manage. In an ironic turn, the burden of offensive operations rested upon Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria in the south, with only minimal German assistance to be expected. Kiev was now threatened from three directions, a protruding salient of Soviet control on the west bank of the Dnieper River. For their part, the Bolsheviks reacted with no small amount of anger upon hearing Trotsky's written report. Unwilling to face the anger of the Central Committee, he had stopped in Vyazma, ostensibly to shore up the defenses in the event of a German attack. But the reaction from within the army was even worse; Trotsky's now-famous phrase left far more soldiers remembering the 'no peace' half, and the result was unsurprising. Full-scale revolts were now breaking out, as formerly staunch Bolshevik units threw aside their weapons and disbanded. Morale plummeted, and it looked as though another revolutionary tidal wave, not the external threat of the Germans or Whites, might sweep Lenin from power.

    The chaos persisted for nearly three more weeks. More bad news trickled on from the front: the Habsburgs had taken Kiev and the Whites continued to advance northward from Rostov. On September 9, the Germans wired new terms for a peace, which now included the recognition of Ukrainian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian independence and the extension of the Polish protectorate eastward to Minsk. Lenin, who had always been in favor of peace, quickly gathered the necessary majority vote from the Soviet Central Committee and dispatched a new delegation to Smolensk the sign the terms, Trotsky now conspicuous in his absence from either of the proceedings.

    The Treaty of Smolensk, signed September 10, 1916, was one of the most punitive seen yet in history, depriving Russia as it did of enormous swathes of territory long held by them for centuries, and augured a truly radical shift in the political balance of Eastern Europe. In Germany itself, even the most expansive of nationalists could look upon Smolensk as the fulfillment of the country's ambitions. Though largely excluded from its terms, the other Central Powers could look upon the effective removal of Russia's influence as an opening for their own territorial gains. But at the same time, the remaining Entente powers could use Smolensk as a perfect example of the fate of their countries should Germany be left undefeated. But underneath this newfound resolve to fight to the end came the sobering understanding that France and Italy were about to face the full force of the Central Powers, no long distracted by a second front. No sooner had the ink dried on the treaty when Hoffman fired off messages to Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who immediately began pulling units back from the front. While it would take many weeks, if not months to fully reinforce, reorganize, and transport the divisions from east to west, and while several would have to be left behind to guard against partisans and hold the frontier from any excursions by Red or White Russian forces, the General Staff could announce to the Kaiser with satisfaction that as many as 125 divisions would be made available for combat on the Western Front, more than twice the number that had marched through Belgium two years earlier.


    Territorial arrangements in Eastern Europe following the Treaty of Smolensk, and the movement of troops to fight in the West.

  3. #43
    Lt. General Aliasing's Avatar
    Darkest HourDivine WindVictoria 2

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC, Former British Dominion called Canada
    Posts
    1,668
    One Word Subscribed

  4. #44
    I tried playing this scenario in normal/normal.My allies got destroyed.Did you take military control of your allies?
    It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.-Neil Armstrong

  5. #45
    Lt. General Kaiser_Mobius's Avatar
    Darkest HourHearts of Iron III

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,637
    Great work defeating the Bolsheviks. Now, you can either help destroy the Italians, removing their units and their front from being a factor in the war, or you can throw all of those divisions on the Western Front for another march on Paris. I get the feeling you are going to go for the 2nd option?

    Good update.
    In Defense of Freedom, A US Kaiserreich AAR Complete. Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, March 15th, 2010
    Rebirth of the Japanese Empire, A Japan MDS 1.6 AAR Complete, Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, February 5th, 2012
    The Return of The King: A Canadian KaiserReich DH AAR Complete, Awarded Darkest HeAARt Award, April 2014
    The Dual Monarchy at War A 1914 Austria-Hungary DH AAR Complete, Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, March 9th, 2014
    Awarded WritAAR of the week: February 14th, 2010

  6. #46
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Questing for the Black Shine...
    Posts
    17,948
    Blog Entries
    20
    So many divisions freed... so many options
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
    Palo Dixit: posible Anticristo, vacalentacialanonanista, Culé y Salido que provoca manifas por donde pasa.
    Palo Dixit redux: Escatológico bipolar

    AARs en curso o acabados -Ongoing and finished HoI2 AARs-
    WritAAR of the Week:16-03-07/5-04-09/13-09-09/19-09-10/28-10-11 - Fan of the week 25-03-07/29-10-07/06-04-08/29-12-08/13-09-09 - Canonized 02-12-07 - Best Character WritAAR of the Week:03-04-09- Showcased 01-05-2010/10-12-2010 - Mi blog: Confesiones clandestinas: La sombra de un secreto (7) [Actualizado 01/08/2014]

  7. #47
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    8,310
    Great update. How high is revolt risk in the East? How many divs will remain there?

  8. #48
    Major GulMacet's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron IIIVictoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Vienna, Austrian Imperial Remnant
    Posts
    500
    When will you start releasing puppets? Getting some 'native' troops in place should free up even more divisions for the final victory in the west!

  9. #49
    Karl Popper Fanboy H.Appleby's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourHearts of Iron IIISemper FiVictoria 2

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Deep Inside the Beltway
    Posts
    980
    Blog Entries
    3
    Weiss Ruthenia FTW!
    Obessively following Nathan Madien's excellent AAR: The Presidents: Vietnam War Edition and check out my own AAR: The American Experience 1912-1964

    Unapologetic, Arrogant, Unserious, Uncultured, Warmongering, Pyromaniac American Patriot. (As in I can take a joke about my country as long as you can take a joke or to about yours.) But seriously, I love the whole world, so don't take offense at my occasional bits of exaggerated jingoism, I'm really actually pretty open-minded.

    -.-. --.- -.. / -- --. -.--

  10. #50
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEU3 Complete
    Divine WindFor The GloryFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the Throne
    Europa Universalis III: In NomineMagickaMarch of the EaglesEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: Revolutions
    Europa Universalis: RomeSemper FiSengokuSupreme Ruler: Cold WarVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessRome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: WarbandCK2: Holy Knight
    EU Rome Collectors EditionEU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Call to arms event

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
    Posts
    9,875
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by GulMacet View Post
    When will you start releasing puppets? Getting some 'native' troops in place should free up even more divisions for the final victory in the west!
    This.
    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
    -------------------------------

    My machine specs: i7 2600 @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon HD6870 with 1 GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit

  11. #51
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3For The Glory

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Somewhere
    Posts
    2,783
    Aliasing : Welcome along for the ride!

    AwesomeSauce123: Nope. My allies are doing what they're doing on their own. If I did, I'm sure I'd quickly be overwhelmed. To be honest, several times so far I was convinced I'd lost: just before the first Russian encirclement and during the Western offensive.

    Kaiser_Mobius/Kurt_Steiner: Since I'll talk about this in the update... no comment!

    Cybvep: Revolt risk is fairly negligible, but rebels are still possible, as you can tell from the screenshots in the last update.

    GulMacet: Undecided yet. Likely not until the end of the war, if ever. :ninja:

    -----


    Chapter I - The Great War - Part X

    Bolshevik Russia's exit from the war left Germany with a large quantity of divisions free to be redeployed to other fronts. Though it had been ceded vast amounts of territory, Germany needed only a comparatively paltry force to keep it pacified, perhaps no more than six to nine divisions to suppress partisans and guard the frontier from spill-over from the Russians' civil war. The question for generals and politicians in Berlin was, where to send them? The natural choice, of course, was to ship them quickly across the Continent to Belgium and France, where intense fighting continued to rage as Anglo-French forces attacked with diminishing success against the new German defensive positions, and resume the offensive long stalled by the failure of the Schlieffen Plan. But there were only a few months left in the campaign season before the snow and cold rendered offensive operations too difficult to carry out. By the time Hindenburg's armies could be transported there, the window of opportunity would only be weeks at best.

    With the British making only modest gains in Palestine against the Ottoman Turks, the only other option was to reinforce the Italian sector, a plan that quickly gathered up wide support. Ever since Italy's abrogation of the Triple Alliance and subsequent alliance with the Entente, Berlin seethed with resentment at the perceived betrayal. Italian offensives into the Tyrol, at the critical moment in 1915, had nearly destroyed Austria-Hungary and force the diversion of several of Germany's precious few divisions, and the fact was never forgotten. But for all the ill-feeling, Italy remained merely a nuisance, though admittedly a large one at that. With the reinforcements under the command of General von Lettow-Vorbeck, the Italian armies ground to a halt. The combination of eight German divisions and Lettow-Vorbeck's energetic command style reinvigorated flagging Austrian morale, and in time the Central Powers went on the offensive, reclaiming the Alps, marching into the Veneto, and even threatening Milan. Asserting a boldness never seen before, Austrian armies surged forward, sweeping the paltry Italian defenses before them. Caught in this tidal wave were four divisions in Trieste, and a Franco-Italian force of five divisions in the Quadrilateral forts. Milan itself was captured in mid-October, with the Austrians advancing all the way to Genoa.


    The Italian Front, October 30, 1916.


    Having advanced so far with little help from the German forces present beyond holding the line in the Veneto, the General Staff was convinced that Italy could be knocked out of the war, quickly and with only a minimal addition of forces. Once victory was assured, the Central Powers could focus their entire armies exclusively on France. There was to be no grand plan of encirclement and destruction. Indeed, Lettow-Vorbeck did not believe such plans were even necessary by this point. Therefore, to ensure a victory in Italy before the spring campaigns, Germany dispatched eight divisions under General von Mackensen, doubling the German presence along that front. Overall command was to remain with Lettow-Vorbeck, but the former colonial adventurer ultimately preferred to excercise the minimum oversight neccesary to ensure the advance continued. Indeed, by the start of November, the Quadrilateral forts and Trento had been recaptured, and by all predictions Italy would not last much longer.

    After catching up with the Austrian advances and carefully preparing for what was to come, the German offensive was unleashed on December 9, directed against the city of Bologna on the east coast of the peninsula. Against the thirteen enemy divisions involved, the Italians could muster only three underequipped divisions of their own. The results were predictable, and set off a cascading panic that threatened to entirely undo Italy's armed forces. British reinforcements rushed into Ancona, halting the attacking in that direction, but the Germans simply hopped across the central spine of mountains and resumed their push along the western coastline. On December 20, Florence was attacked, defended by an emergency militia force. By the middle of January, three divisions under General Sixt von Armin had reached Livorno, within striking distance of Rome itself. Aside from the British troops at Ancona, there was practically no resistance left. Within days, Perugia was taken, opening the capital to attack from the north and east. On January 22, the final push for Rome began, and in less than four days, German troops were marching past the Coliseum.

    The loss of Rome forced King Victor Emmanuel III to flee with his government to Naples, but he refused to continue on with the cabinet to Sicily under cover of British cruisers. Aside from those units still holding on in Trieste or under the protection of the British in Ancona, there was no Italian army left to speak of. The rest were either languishing away in prison camps or had deserted under the onslaught of the German advance down the peninsula. Faced with total defeat, the King sued for peace. Overjoyed at their complete success, German and Austrian diplomats rushed down to meet the defeated monarch at Anzio. Italy, it was believed amongst the negotiators, had been taught a lesson of sufficient severity. Having little of value to give, no major cession of territory was demanded of the Italians, though the country would be expected to hand over its colonies in Libya and East Africa to Turkey and Germany respectively, but only once the war with Britain had been concluded. In that respect, and certainly compared to the terms forced upon Russia, Italy escaped from its total defeat largely intact and, moreover, grateful for it.



    For Germany, the most important ramification of the Treaty of Anzio, signed on February 2, 1917, was that it freed up the entire German army for operations against France. With no additional territory to leave troops to defend, the whole force employed in knocking Italy out of the war could be pulled back and deployed to join the fighting in the west. And with the winter months waning fast, the great confrontation was almost at hand.

  12. #52
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Questing for the Black Shine...
    Posts
    17,948
    Blog Entries
    20
    I have the odd feeling that the Kaiserslacht of this AAR is going to be awesome...
    "Pequeño Padawan Kurtizacoal, por qué me has salido tan cabrón?" - me dijo mi Maestro.
    Palo Dixit: posible Anticristo, vacalentacialanonanista, Culé y Salido que provoca manifas por donde pasa.
    Palo Dixit redux: Escatológico bipolar

    AARs en curso o acabados -Ongoing and finished HoI2 AARs-
    WritAAR of the Week:16-03-07/5-04-09/13-09-09/19-09-10/28-10-11 - Fan of the week 25-03-07/29-10-07/06-04-08/29-12-08/13-09-09 - Canonized 02-12-07 - Best Character WritAAR of the Week:03-04-09- Showcased 01-05-2010/10-12-2010 - Mi blog: Confesiones clandestinas: La sombra de un secreto (7) [Actualizado 01/08/2014]

  13. #53
    I smell a knockout blow so hard I can feel my jaw aching from when it got broken.
    Earth Needs You!
    OPERATION BLUE DANUBE, (It's still a thing)

  14. #54
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    8,310
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    I have the odd feeling that the Kaiserslacht of this AAR is going to be awesome...
    +1

    I'm eagerly waiting for the next update.

  15. #55
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEU3 Complete
    Divine WindFor The GloryFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the Throne
    Europa Universalis III: In NomineMagickaMarch of the EaglesEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: Revolutions
    Europa Universalis: RomeSemper FiSengokuSupreme Ruler: Cold WarVictoria 2
    Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessRome: Vae VictisMount & Blade: WarbandCK2: Holy Knight
    EU Rome Collectors EditionEU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IV: Pre-orderEUIV: Call to arms event

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
    Posts
    9,875
    Blog Entries
    1
    Lucky Italy, I would have anticipated at least some land grabbing by AH.
    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
    -------------------------------

    My machine specs: i7 2600 @ 3.4 GHz, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, Radeon HD6870 with 1 GB RAM, Windows 7 64-bit

  16. #56
    Lt. General Kaiser_Mobius's Avatar
    Darkest HourHearts of Iron III

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    1,637
    Im sure AH will probably get the Venice area once the war is over.

    Great job smashing the backstabbing Italians. Now, its time to deal the killing blow against the French and the rest of the Entente forces still fighting there.

    Good update.
    In Defense of Freedom, A US Kaiserreich AAR Complete. Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, March 15th, 2010
    Rebirth of the Japanese Empire, A Japan MDS 1.6 AAR Complete, Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, February 5th, 2012
    The Return of The King: A Canadian KaiserReich DH AAR Complete, Awarded Darkest HeAARt Award, April 2014
    The Dual Monarchy at War A 1914 Austria-Hungary DH AAR Complete, Awarded Weekly AAR showcase, March 9th, 2014
    Awarded WritAAR of the week: February 14th, 2010

  17. #57
    It'd be totally hilarious if history repeats itself though.

  18. #58
    Not a Sahib Milites's Avatar
    Darkest HourDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3For The GloryHeir to the Throne
    Europa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    In the shade of the Buland Darwaza
    Posts
    1,676
    Another AAR by TC Pilot, Hallelujah! I'm really interested in seeing how the post Weltkrieg world develops.

  19. #59
    Field Marshal TC Pilot's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIDarkest HourDeus VultEuropa Universalis 3For The Glory

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Somewhere
    Posts
    2,783
    Chapter I - The Great War - Part XI

    When one recalls the events that unfolded on March 30, 1917, the mind is invariably drawn to the countless novels, plays, and motion pictures striving to recapture the moment; it is just before dawn, the sun's rays barely stretching out over the crater-filled landscape of mud and twisted, charred tree. Clouds drift lazily overhead on the wings of a light breeze. Men, packed tightly into the trenches, stare out solemnly into no man's land. Soldiers grip their rifles until their knuckles are white, officers glance down at their watches, and then toward the eastern horizon. There is silence, so deep that it is nearly overpowering. Then, to the north there is a rumble, so great that the earth itself seems to groan beneath the force, and muted flashes of light. A brief moment later, the scream of artillery shatters the early morning calm. Now, the world seems to explore around these soldiers, and the agony begins.

    The drama of that day is not so far from the truth. Despite the perception of those who experienced, and survived, it, Germany's Spring Offensive, or Kaiserschlacht or Ludendorff's Offensive, did not engulf the entire Western Front in a maelstrom of death and destruction. Rather, the offensive focused its truly staggering combination of men and explosives into concentrated regions of armageddon. With both Italy and Russia removed from the conflict, Germany had amassed nearly the entire army on the Western Front. Bolstered by a contingent from Austria-Hungary, the force arrayed in Belgium and northern France for the principal drive of this attack numbered 139 divisions. In sheer numbers alone, it would dwarf the great Schlieffen Plan offensive of 1914.

    As Ludendorff and Hindenburg envisioned it, the Spring Offensive would attempt what the Schlieffen Plan had tried and failed to do: a grand double-encirclement of the Entente army. The right wing would strike toward Amiens from Lille, then swing southeastward, crossing in front of Paris en route to Compeigne and Chateau-Thierry, while the left wing would smash through Sedan, march south on Reims, and link up with its counterpart somewhere east of Chateau-Theirry, thereby encircling in the Laon-Hirson region and simultaneously pinning any forces at Calais against the Channel. For the initial breakthrough, the German duo planned for the participation of 110 divisions, 70 at Amiens and 40 at Sedan under the command of von Mackensen and Hindenburg respectively. Dug in to meet the initial blow, the Entente had positioned nineteen divisions, mostly British, under Marshal Nivelle and General Egerton at Amiens, and an equal number under Marshal Philippe Petain at Sedan. The bulk of the French and British armies were dispersed across the entire front, unsure of where the blow would fall but still in position to reinforce threatened zones; but even with this contingency, the numerical imbalance was still deeply felt.



    Against the sheer force of the attack the German army delivered, the Entente defenses could not possibly hold for long. The line buckled at Amiens first on April 13, Egerton's British force retreating south toward Rouen while Nivelle was forced back into the pocket around Calais-Dunkirk. But around Sedan, the offensive met far greater resistance. Petain proved much more responsive than Nivelle in meeting Hindenburg's assault, rapidly moving new divisions up from Verdun or out of Hirson-Laon, until there were 36 divisions on the day Amiens fell. Immediately, the hope of a grand encirclement was thwarted, but Petain's precipitous redeployment had left the center front weakly held. Amidst this clash of armies, it was the Austrian expeditionary force that rushed forward to capitalize, seizing Hirson on April 15, the same day the drive toward Compeigne began.

    With the push on Sedan stalled, the focus of attention turned to the German right wing and the Austrian expeditionary force in the center. The Austrians wasted no time in pressing their sudden advantage, occupying Reims on the 18th against a furious counter-attack. The French army around Sedan was now caught with its left flank exposed, the road to Verdun practically unguarded against a Habsburg assault. But within another week, Hindenburg called off the attack on Sedan, his armies too exhausted from fruitless attacks on the French strongpoint. Entente forces now began to fall back, Petain's large force on the fortress of Verdun, Foch and Nivelle's forces in the center toward Chateau-Theirry, which had now become the epicenter of the vast conflagration to determine control of northern France.



    On May 1, the attack on Sedan was renewed, its defenses having been stripped down to a paltry ten divisions. A token resistance was offered until the 7th when Petain ordered a retreat to Verdun. At the time, the French commander's decision to withdraw in order to cover Verdun was accepted as prudent, but historians to this day point to Petain's decision as a blunder worthy of the disastrous French defeat suffered there in 1870. Until now, the Austrian hold on Reims was tenuous at best, exposed as it was to attack from three sides. The speedy arrival of German reinforcements on May 15, shifted out of Sedan days before, undoubtedly saved the Austrian defenders from having to retreat and simultaneously allowed Hindenburg to bring another twelve divisions to bear against Chateau-Theirry. The inclusion of these reinforcements, pushing the figures to 76 German and 50 Entente divisions, was decisive in tipping the balance in Germany's favor. The Entente line finally began to crack, as trench lines were overrun one by one in truly murderous fighting. On May 25, the Entente armies were pushed completely out of Chateau-Theirry, Marshal Peano's decimated troops falling back toward the French capital.

    The Entente failure at Chateau-Theirry left the central front widely exposed to German attack. The road to Troyes was covered by only three French divisions, who promptly came under renewed German attack on the very next day. Hindenburg committed forty-nine divisions, the French desperately committing twenty-three battered survivors of Chateau-Theirry. In spite of this reinforcement, the Entente position was untenable, and by June 9 the German forces were firmly in control of the region between Paris and Chaumont, effectively separating Petain's command in Alsace-Lorraine from Nivelle in the capital. A brief lull now descended over the front, save for the reduction of the French army trapped in Calais that capitulated June 15. The General Staff ruled out a direct attack on Paris from Troyes and Chateau-Theirry, favoring instead another pincer movement that would encircle the French capital. The first step toward this ambitious goal was to drive Nivelle's army out of the old '15-'16 entrenchments they had reoccupied between Dieppe and Paris. Against General von Kluck's attack force of fifty-seven divisions that began on June 21, Nivelle could muster twenty-two.

    Despite being outnumbered more than two-to-one, Nivelle's army held strong. Hoping to draw off reinforcements, Hindenburg unleashed the eastern pincer against Chartres on July 3. Here as well the Entente was outnumbered two-to-one, but a combination of dogged resistance and massive reinforcements ground the German thrust to a halt. By way of small consolation, this setback at least managed to divert ten enemy divisions that might otherwise have been employed to hold Dieppe. In any case, Nivelle's line between Paris and the Channel was broken by the 16th. No time was wasted in keeping the strong right wing on the march. Lettow-Vorbeck was made to lead the assault to shove Nivelle's battered army backward into Normandy. The French marshal desperately tried to find a defensive line he could hold, but was thrown back as far as Le Havre by the 25th. The Germans continued onward now toward Evreux, simultaneous with a renewed attack on Chartres. The constant fighting had left Nivelle's army exhausted and disorganized, while the overall numerical inferiority of the Entente forces left no additional troops to spare to shore up this alarming breach in the line. Evreux was captured on the 1st of August, leaving only the twelve Entente divisions around Chartres as the last link between Paris and the rest of France.



    Attacked from both the east and northwest at once, General Morland's BEF could not stand for long, but they held their ground at least long enough for the French government to escape the pocket. On August 10, German troops finally entered Chartres, thereby cutting the final link with Paris. It had been more than four months since the start of this massive offensive, and it had carried the German army from the Belgian frontier to the gates - all of them - of Paris itself. But it had come at a truly horrendous cost to both sides, totaling well into the millions even by the most optimistic estimates. But for the Central Powers, and Germany in particular, the results seemed to have vindicated the truly herculean efforts demanded. Victory, it seemed, was close at hand.

  20. #60
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    8,310
    This looks good. The Entente is outnumbered and their forces are not as modern as yours, at least judging from the screenshots. I don't know whether they have any reserves in the area, but you should be able to capture Paris soon by attacking from all sides. The end of war is near.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 3 of 7 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts