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Thread: "The Mightiest Empires Fall": An Austrian RoP PBEM

  1. #81
    The differences in Narwhal's and loki's playing styles are to a large degree the result of the forces they have at hand and the strategic challenges they face. In order to make most of Prussia's advantages (interior lines, superior speeds, better commanders) quick counter-attacks and shifts of troop concentrations are the logical choice. Granted, this seems to collude well with Narwhal's penchant for bold attacks.
    On the other hand, Austrian players who know what they are doing will choose tactics similar loki's: in particular his idea of concentrated, mutually supportive corps should be standard feature in any Austrian player's repertoire. Some may strike more aggressively, some may try flanking marches of their own. But in the end, the goal is always the same: steadily tighten the screws on Prussia while avoiding stupid risks.

  2. #82
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    You are absolutely right, but I do feel that the asymmetric strengths of their respective sides fit well with their playing styles. I seem to recall (them's weasel words, I realize that ) the same playing style showing in their WIA matchups: a more cautious approach by loki, a more aggressive approach by Narwhal.

    What it makes me wonder is how the game would play out if they reversed sides in their next ROP bout.
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  3. #83
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    well, purely for myself, I tend to be a cautious defensive player (I think that comes over in my various SP AARs too), so there is a good fit to the playstyle needed with the Austrian side. I think in the WiA game, I defended because (at least in 'wars in america') I couldn't see what else to do (by the time I'd worked out the mechanics I'd blown the 18mth-2 year period of relative French dominance).

    My fundamental mindset in this game is that Narwhal does 2 related things in RoP (& both are good strategies with the Prussians) - one is to outflank and the other is to concentrate. So I tried to keep my corps interlocked but spread out precisely to negate the first. He tried one probe at Prag and found 6 corps in a 2-2-2 structure facing him (& over the Elbe), so he couldn't really turn my lines. The second is that at some stage what in the emails I call pac-fred (after the pacman game) will form. This is the bulk of the Prussian army in a block and potentially fatal to one of my main forces. If he badly mauls say the French, then the Austrians are in turn vulnerable and vice-versa. So while a common view in RoP is the Austrian side can lose 1-3 corps and still win, against this Prussian strategy I'm not sure (& this links to our belief that early losses don't really matter for the Prussians except their more esoteric units).

    Now if the French reach Hannover and the Austrians are deep into Saxony, by neccessity (regardless of choice) a large unified Prussian army will come into existence - unless i've been exceptionally lucky and managed to really defeat a critical element in isolation. So everything I'm doing at this stage is with an eye towards that mid-game problem.

    We tried a side game with the roles switched. Partly due to lack of attention and partly due to inexperience, I buggered up Pirna (as a warning, keep some sort of force in Dresden while besieging the camp) & then a key corps got typhus just at the moment it fell into a trap. I think at the moment with the abortive game (& that ran into mid-59) and this one, we're a bit Rop-ed out (we are having a teach yourself NAP PBEM on the side), but it would be interesting to see things reversed. Not least, having played the Austrians 3 times in full games (& a lot in short practice runs), I've got a good idea where some of their weak points are and would be interested in trying to exploit them if i can.

    Apols, long answer, but hopefully it puts things in context. Narwhal is off on holiday at the moment, so we won't get his view for a while but hopefully I've not misrepresented him in what I've said. Also critically in this game, I think he made 1 or 2 outright mistakes and so far, I don't think I did. Add to that 3 moments of outrageous luck - at Pirna, that his army besieging the Swedes gets Typhus the turn before the 25 EP reinforcements arrived (& he had a hole in the fort) and with Troppau surrendering on the "5% no supply roll" at an utterly critical moment when he had turned my lines and had the Austrians for the taking.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  4. #84
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    "Among the bearded bear": December 1757

    The North

    Here the main issue was sorting out the consequences of Alpasin's arrest. When these change of leaders occur, its usually just a case of putting the new one in as C in C and linking the corps commanders back to the new structure. The problem is when a Corps is out of range, as is the case with my Cossacks who'd gone off looking for isolated Prussians to bully. So they had to move back to Gdansk and I split it up into the smaller units to minimise the command malus.

    Other than that, I decide to send Browne towards Kolberg. He'll be able to build the final depot in early January and then start the siege work soon afterwards.



    However, my calm is a bit disturbed at the end of December when the Prussians reopen a breach in Stalsrund and the Swedes decide this is a good time to sack their manager. It will be one more turn before I can order up the large reinforcements so I could well lose the fort in early January.



    France

    At the start of December my only move is to send Armentieres, with his special siege corps, to Lippstadt to speed up the siege. Frederick, however, had other ideas and struck at my forces in an attempt to lift the siege, this time the entire French army responded and although it shows as a French defeat, I held the ground at the end of the battle, helped by the noble sacrifice of the Duc de Vigneau



    By mid-December, I had the breaches I needed, and the fort was quickly stormed



    Frederick's second intervention coming too late, this time I even won the battle.



    Even if poor Claude de Guerchy [1] laid down his life for the glory of France.

    Both the British and French celebrate by sacking their existing commanders.



    Saxony

    At the start of the month, Daun storms Dresden, gaining me a valuable winter rest place as well as commencing the liberation of Saxony.



    Oder

    By mid-December, it seemed as if the Prussians were moving away and Moritz was spotted at Breslau



    Overall, Dresden brought a decent shift in terms on NM and VP as:



    The VP situation is relatively even as, so far, there have been no major battles. However, losses are about to escalate as the 1758 campaigns develop.

    My plan for the coming year involves 5 elements.
    • At the moment Daun has about 8000 power in Dresden facing 5000 under Keith at Leipzig. This makes Keith's army my target not any more Saxon cities, but I don't want to risk the organisational losses of marching in the snow. So if needs be, I'll sit back for a couple more turns. If I can dent Keith, I'll then go for Troppau.
    • On the Rhineland, at the moment, I'm in control. I have 6 corps (about 120,000) and will sort it so it is all commanded by Soubisse (who is a better CinC). I have about 35,000 of easy to gain reinforcements that I can draw down by late Spring. I'll drive Frederick back to Minden, in fact I'd like him to hang around to fight, and then decide on Hannover or Bremen.
    • I'm now in a position to start an offensive on the Oder. This will be slow at the start, but I can reach Breslau by the summer, these gains will then start to eat into Prussian manpower as well as netting me more VP cities.
    • The Russians will take Kolberg by March, if the Swedes are still in existence, I should be on the lower Oder by May.
    • The Swedes need to survive to late January, then the 'large reinforcements' will give me even numbers (even if with poor commanders), enough to lift the siege of Stalsrund and help the Russians out (even if just by forcing some Prussians to stay and keep an eye on them).

    All of which assumes that Narwhal doesn't wreck one or other of my prongs. At this momemt, the Swedes are very vulnerable.

    One comment about winter. I suspect this is the new patch, but we found active campaigning in winter quite easy. The only cost was in terms of slowed movement and higher organisational costs, so ideally its not a time for long marches. But I was constantly able to maintain my sieges and move forward slowly and methodically.

    [1] – in truth, if there is 1 command level I have more than enough of, its French 3-0-0 brigadiers. If this was in the Austrian army, the losses would have really hurt.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  5. #85
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    "Reversed that spear": January 1758

    France

    One major problem this turn is dealing with the consequences of Richelieu's hissy fit at the end of December. Some is quite easy, appoint Conde to CinC and link the corps back together into an army. However, a larger problem is that Zweibrucken, who had a corp is now sent (automatically) to take over Bavarians.



    One consequence of my slow, rather deliberate approach on this sector, is a large British force has now turned up at Bremen. I'm not too worried as I will still have 3-2 odds on this sector.



    In truth, just more prisoners to have to deal with later on ...

    The North

    By early January, Browne has reached Koslin and starts to build a depot. I have a lot of supply wagons with his division, so next turn, I'll start the siege at Kolberg, I'd like, if possible to make more progress than Narwhal expects.



    The rest of the army sits back at Lauenberg (now a level 2 depot) so as not to stress my supply lines. Usefully the Observation Korps unlocks back in Russia and will be broken down (to minimise the command problems) and start its march into Prussia. Those two additional howitzers will give me the capacity to take out any fortress at speed.



    In early January, the Prussians re-open the breach at Stalsrund, but its now too late (I hope), at the time I was confused as to why no assualt had happened but Narwhal has since said they all caught typhus at a critical phase.

    The Oder

    The Austrian forces arrive at Troppau in early January, I'll let them recover and then start the siege at Kosel



    Now this shows part of the problem with mess caused by Richelieu's hissy fit. Zweibrucken has been sent to take command of the HRE army, so I need to send Hohenzollern in turn over to France (that corps that Zweibrucken had is too vital to lose), so I am now a corps commander short. I think I can juggle those brigades between Picolomini and Kollowrat but its not ideal.

    Equally a fresh pioneer battalion is on the way, having been picked up by the Wien bateaux (I think this is the first time I've ever used them)



    Saxony

    At Dresden, Daun sits back in early January, I fancy trying to bring Keith to battle, but I don't want the problem of a march to battle in the snow. I have, however, reinforced his army with Rutowski and a mixed Saxon/HRE corps (this is a mix of those that escaped from Pirna and some fresh brigades that arrive in Bavaria). This gives me either another 1500 power to hit Keith with, or the means to start a secondary campaign towards Troppau while the main army keeps the Prussians entertained





    Thus a quiet turn. In Saxony and on the Oder, I'm waiting for a change of weather or units to recover from their marches. With the French I need to restore a proper command structure. Russia has opened the siege of Kolberg, and I think Sweden is now safe as Serbollini takes control of the shiny new (locked for 2 turns) army that has arrived



    Time to commence Götterdämmerung.

    As a gameplay note, I don't think someone who tends to play the Prussian side knows how much a problem these command shifts are, especially this one for the French. Its a good time to think about launching an attack as at least some of the command structure is not going to function.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  6. #86
    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    As a gameplay note, I don't think someone who tends to play the Prussian side knows how much a problem these command shifts are, especially this one for the French. Its a good time to think about launching an attack as at least some of the command structure is not going to function.
    It really depends on how do you build your corps and what's your strategy. I've never had problems with the Austrians.

  7. #87
    emotionally retarded theif Anazagar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Searry View Post
    It really depends on how do you build your corps and what's your strategy. I've never had problems with the Austrians.
    Ya. I send Zweibrucken to Bavaria as soon as he unlocks anyway.
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  8. #88
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Both the British and French celebrate by sacking their existing commanders.
    Well, after the Russians set the bar, you wouldn't expect Great Powers Britain and France to let themselves be shown up by those upstart Russians, now would you? Really, it was to be expected.

    Slow and steady, command turmoil notwithstanding. I think the screws just turned a little tighter.
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  9. #89
    Hmmh, I am really interested to see what led to the disaster in Saxony at which you keep hinting. Your setup there seem very solid. An army this huge, concentrated in one place is virtually unbeatable with what Prussia has at its disposal.

    But perhaps size was exactly the problem here. What if winter closed the passes to Boehmia for an extended period of time. Dresden alone would be unable to feed such a big army. You would be forced to take desperate actions - most likely an attack against Leipzip in order to find more supplies. The Prussians might just beat the Austrian monster army in a defensive battle if it has been weakened by a march through the snow/starvation/some inactive corps commanders not participating in the attack.
    After this initial defeat and with units starving, the Austrians would become easy prey. If the passes were still blocked, annihilation would become a distinct possibility ...

  10. #90
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    I don't want to spoil anything, so I will intervene a bit later.
    Learning from Prussia - a Rise of Prussia AAR for beginners - or how a forced march in winter saved Prussia from anniliation.
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  11. #91
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I don't want to spoil anything, so I will intervene a bit later.
    You are a tease.

    Looking forward to the unfolding of the Saxon drama - whichever way that ends up going.
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  12. #92
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Searry View Post
    It really depends on how do you build your corps and what's your strategy. I've never had problems with the Austrians.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anazagar View Post
    Ya. I send Zweibrucken to Bavaria as soon as he unlocks anyway.
    aye, thinking about it, this is the worst I've ever had and I think it is because I didn't need him in Bavaria to sort out the HRE formations (as Rutowski gave me a 3rd corps commander), as it was, I was very afraid of being attacked, especially given how reliant I was on mutually supporting corps

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Well, after the Russians set the bar, you wouldn't expect Great Powers Britain and France to let themselves be shown up by those upstart Russians, now would you? Really, it was to be expected.

    Slow and steady, command turmoil notwithstanding. I think the screws just turned a little tighter.
    Exactly, I mean everyone knows its a really bright idea to shift your commanders around in the middle of an active campaign. Yep, and by the end of February, we'll see it tighten just that bit more ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    Hmmh, I am really interested to see what led to the disaster in Saxony at which you keep hinting. Your setup there seem very solid. An army this huge, concentrated in one place is virtually unbeatable with what Prussia has at its disposal.

    But perhaps size was exactly the problem here. What if winter closed the passes to Boehmia for an extended period of time. Dresden alone would be unable to feed such a big army. You would be forced to take desperate actions - most likely an attack against Leipzip in order to find more supplies. The Prussians might just beat the Austrian monster army in a defensive battle if it has been weakened by a march through the snow/starvation/some inactive corps commanders not participating in the attack.
    After this initial defeat and with units starving, the Austrians would become easy prey. If the passes were still blocked, annihilation would become a distinct possibility ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I don't want to spoil anything, so I will intervene a bit later.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    You are a tease.

    Looking forward to the unfolding of the Saxon drama - whichever way that ends up going.
    Well, lets put it this way. My comment is equally valid if (a) the Austrians end up being badly outmanouvered, put into problems with their supplies and roundly beaten up by the Prussians or (b), find that they are the only allied army expected to do any real fighting while the French and Russians divide up northern Europe between them. But I can guarentee, those 5 corps will have less than 10,000 men left by the end
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  13. #93
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    I've been lurking so far, so, in order to make amends, I am uploading two sketches of the siege of Minden and the battle of Dettingen I recently came across in the National Archives.





    Keep up the good work!

  14. #94
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fadi_Efendi View Post
    I've been lurking so far, so, in order to make amends, I am uploading two sketches of the siege of Minden and the battle of Dettingen I recently came across in the National Archives.
    Keep up the good work!
    thank you ... they are such glorious drawings with so much detail
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  15. #95
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    "A sullen welcome, All!": February 1758

    France

    As with the Austrians, I opt to raise a number of militia battalions (these are HRE/Palatinate units) to fill in as garrison forces as I sweep (well wander slowly) towards the Elbe. Frees up the better stuff to remain in the combat units.

    I also want to build up the depots at Munster and Minden to sustain that large (and still to grow some more) army so I order up another supply train.



    By later in the month, Frederick has abandoned Paderborn and retreated to Minden while I was sorting out my command chaos



    So March, will see a more aggressive stance on the Rhine. I'll push that Hannoverian-British force away from Minden and then decide between Hannover and Bremen as the next target.

    North

    By mid-February, Browne has knocked a hole in Kolberg and Narwhal has stolen my depot at Koslin (it was left unattended for about 2 days with one unit of Cossacks leaving and another arriving). As long at Kolberg falls soon this doesn't really matter as that will become my new supply base.



    Over in Sweden, the Prussians pull back from Stalsrund. All I know have to do is to find a use for a mass of Swedes. I doubt they will be much use in battle, but they become yet another threat Narwhal has to worry over.

    Oder

    Here, I am finally able to commit Kollowrat and Picolomini to commence the siege of Kosel late in the month. This is now too powerful an army for Moritz's cavalry to dislodge and I doubt that Narwhal can spare anything else to threaten me. The expectation is a slow slog to Bautzen.



    Saxony

    And in Saxony, the snow lifts so its time to go and play with Keith.





    Well, no it looks like Frederick has returned. Technically I lost the battle (I didn't use the hold at all costs stance) and took quite a hole in my NM. But I'll trade those losses all the way to Berlin, especially as it was the Prussians who took the losses in terms of elements. I also now know just what numerical advantage I hold in the theatre, even if I lag in terms of leadership quality.



    So, I lose the first big battle of the war. In truth, if I can pin the main Prussian army down to a set of bruising encounters in Saxony I'm well on the way to winning. Narwhal is soon going to have to worry about derailing both the French and the Russians, as well as my side campaigns along the Oder and with the Swedes.

    Browne should finish off Kolberg in March, putting the Russians on the lower Oder by May or early June.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  16. #96
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Well, that's one way to whittle down your forces to (eventually) 10,000 men. I see your logic, in that you can better sustain such losses in manpower and units than Prussia can. However, how long can you sustain -8 NM defeats? A few of those and your fighting ability will take a serious hit, right?
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  17. #97
    Unlike RUS, RoP has events that help balance NM. If Austria's drops below 75 points, it will regain 5 points each turn in exchange for some VP. On the other hand Narwhal will lose 5 points each turn if his Nm rises above 125 points (he gets a few EP and VP in return). Therefore it is possible to recover even from bad defeats. It takes repeated and continuous beatings to seriously affect your armies fighting capabilities in RoP. One -8 NM defeat is just an unpleasant hickup in that regard.

    Nicely done, loki! Long term, battles like this one are indeed Austrian victories. Grind away!

    .. and I am still not seeing how you got from this sound strategy to the total annihilation of your biggest army.

  18. #98
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Aye, NM in RoP is a bit like Org in a Paradox game. It determines both how robust your armies are in combat and how fast they recover organisation afterwards. So my past experience by this stage is that the Prussians are better brigade for brigade and recover quicker. While in theory driving down NM is one way to win, in practice that is near impossible due to the balancing system that Bornego mentions. Its not like RUS where targetting your enemy's NM is the way to win.

    As to this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    .. and I am still not seeing how you got from this sound strategy to the total annihilation of your biggest army
    well the next update may offer some clues
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  19. #99
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    "Must be my bitter doom": March 1758

    Saxony

    Despite the defeat at Leipzig, my main army is still in good shape (in terms of organisation), so I decide to initiate a second battle for Leipzig.



    Well I lost again, but again, its the sort of loss that will win me the war in the end. There are two reasons for the defeats, one is that, with exception of Nadasdy, my commanders excel on the defense (Daun has a 6, Von Bilberstein is a 4 in this respect). Equally its clear from the battle logs, my army is not fully committing while the Prussians are. This is not all bad, I'm rotating brigades to some extent, Narwhal is taking sustained damage, hence the loss of another element. Note that, thanks to the Saxon guns, I actually have an advantage in artillery and you can see the impact in the ranged-fire phase (one reason why unlike in our earlier game, the final battle losses are coming out much more even).



    More importantly I hold the battlefield, but this time my organisation is badly damaged especially in Nadasdy's formation (I suspect a consequence of his reckless trait)



    Thus Daun's force is ordered back to Dresden to recover. In case Frederick opts to raid into Bohemia, Chevet's French corps is ordered to build a fort so as to secure the passes south of Chemnitz.

    It looks like Frederick is badly battered too (remember this army was about 6000 power before I started the sequence of battles at Leipzig - most of the loss will be temporary and related to lost organisation)



    So I suspect he will try to retreat north. Now in view of what happened in the turn resolution element for late March, I was very glad I made this decision to pull back, regroup and allow the damaged brigades to absorb the significant number of replacements I have generated over the winter.

    The North


    In the spirit of being more aggressive, the two Swedish corps (I lack the commander needed to make an army of them, so they will not mutually support unless they both arrive at the same time), are committed to drive the Prussians from Rostock.



    And ends in a dismal defeat, well not too bad, my losses don't matter, but that is another drain on Prussian numbers.



    In pulling back, another short skirmish occurs, but I manage to retreat into Stalsrund with no real damage.



    In better news though, Kolberg falls at the start of March, as the guns of the Third Division flatten the walls.



    I need 1-2 turns to recover and move up the rest of the army and then its time to take Stettin.



    The Rhineland

    Here, I create a special 'siege-brigade' to take out Paderborn. From experience, if I leave it behind my lines it becomes a base for all sorts of annoying Hussar-types who then take back MC and threaten my supply convoys.



    The rest of the army marches on Minden, if there is a battle, they will be in a position to support each other. But when I arrive, mysteriously, the British are not to be found.

    At the end of March, a scouting group of Cossacks at Magdeburg sends back interesting news.



    It looks like the British have abandoned Hannover and will join up with Frederick in Saxony. This is maybe not good news for Daun.

    In better news, abandoned by the coward Cumberland [1], the garrison at Minden quickly surrendered, opening the way to take out Bremen and advance on the Elbe.



    And a fresh Saxon force arrives in Paris, and I have the 'Armee Francaise' already there to provide command and they will reinforce the main French armies. For them, the road back to Saxony lies across the plains of Hannover.



    Oder

    Not much happens here, Kosel is under siege and I am a little worried at that Prussian force at Schweidnitz. In theory it could threaten E Bohemia, but with mounting pressure in Saxony I can't see the Prussians being able to spare it for independent action. Especially as it seems to consist just of Moritz's cavalry.



    Summary



    Well I now have two of the outer doors to Prussia secured. Minden and Kolberg mean that the French and Russians will move onto the Elbe and Oder respectively and feasibly threaten Berlin. With the French, I'll take Bremen first to secure my rear against any more British reinforcements.

    The Swedes clearly can't fight their way out of Stalsrund, but at the moment they are pinning down a corps of some 25,000, so its a pretty good trade off.

    The worry is in Saxony. Cumberland plus Frederick is an army of about 120,000 so larger than the 110,000 with Daun. I'm glad I took the chance to allow Daun's army to recover as it looks like a lot of fighting is going to happen. My guess is that Narwhal has decided to ignore the Russians and the French (& the Oder) for the moment and try to destroy the Austrians.

    [1- Yes I know he wasn't that bad, that it is good the Stuarts lost and all that, but ...
    Last edited by loki100; 22-06-2012 at 17:15.
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  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    I need 1-2 turns to recover and move up the rest of the army and then its time to take Stettin.

    Ah, look at all those 'Looted' symbols throughout eastern Prussia/Poland. The Cossacks can be proud of their contributions to the war effort.

    I must ask: how did that annihilated Cossack regiment that was run over by Cumberland managed to get word back to you? Considering they were slaughtered to the last man and horse...

    The combination of Cumberland and Freddie sounds like a very grim prospect: more troops, better troops, better leadership... I see now how your main army is going to become mince meat. I just hope you take plenty of Prussians and British with you - enough to allow the rest of your armies to continue advancing and tightening the pressure on Prussia.
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