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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The Kingmaker

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Righto, it's high time I read this AAR.

I've gotten through your first 8 updates, and I must say I am impressed.
This is a very good history-book AAR. The parts I have enjoyed the most so far are the Prussian King's attitude towards the conflict in Spain, Bismarck's schemes concerning Krakow and Austria, and the arbitrary conquest of Haiti. That last bit particularly was pure gold entertainment-wise.

Keep up the good work, and I shall keep reading this as my schedule permits. :D
Great job!
 

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1844: Miracle at the Vistula

The timing could not have been better. Russian forces were caught in exactly the correct, even if not pre-planned, positions and were ripe for destruction. The situation was perfect. 40,000 were on the Prussian side of the Vistula but the other 20,000 was still lagging behind, being held up by the Dragoon screening forces. Chicherin's forces were split in two by the river and were in a very weak position. Perhaps a concerted von Zieten's cavalry could have persuaded the Russians, to whom it must have been obvious that their stance was weak at best, to retreat back over the Vistula with their tails between their legs. However, the reality was even better than the threat of a mere 20,000 cavalry.

Berlin had finally got its act back together and reserves were now arriving at the front en masse. It would, most probably, been nicer for the Prussian commanders had the reserves been in place before war was declared, but there was a certain satisfying feel to this 'in the nick of time' act by the Prussian military. Of course, the situation had been more complex than simply deploying troops to the front. The mobilisation of the entire Prussian reserve was no small matter. Berlin would, of course, have to explain throwing her full weight at Russia to both the French, who would be wary of a Prussian mobilisation, and the British, ever eager to maintain the fragile 'Balance of Europe'. Then of course, there was the question of whether Prussia really needed to mobilise. It cost a lot of money, most likely enough to put the country well into debt to foreign banks, and might not even be necessary. There was certainly an overriding optimism at the start of the war that the Prussian army, with fresh experience in both Austria and Mexico and with a distinct technological, organisational and logistical advantage over the Russians, would easily defeat their in-experienced, badly trained and badly equipped eastern counterparts. Certainly, on paper, the Prussian army seemed the stronger force; the new Potsdam Rifle giving a massive firepower advantage over the inaccurate and messy Russian smoothbore muskets. Yet, still with all these advantages, the Prussian army was clearly on the back foot by the time April came around. With the Russians attacking the Vistula line with such great force it would no doubt fall eventually, and then the front would collapse if it were not corrected. From the Regulars, there were no forces to give. Much of army was tied down keeping the Russians from extending their gains in Silesia and marching on Berlin. Therefore, by April, the Prussians could mobilise the reserves and take the financial and political stigma, or they could ride out the war and hope that the front stabilised with the troops they had; an unlikely event as things looked.

While von Zieten was being ordered to retreat, the newly organized forces were receiving their marching orders and those only pointed towards the Russian lines or the Prussian defensives ones. And these forces were large. This counter attack began where the cavalry had been retreating. 10,000 infantry were landed at Danzig, just a few miles north of Chicherin's advancing cavalry and hit them in the sides. Then von Zieten, with his cavalry and another 40,000 Infantry that had massed in positions just east of the Oder, hit the Russians western flank with force. Chicherin was hit by a force he could not have foreseen after his victorious crossing of the Vistula. Of course, Chicherin now had his infantry across the river too, which at least evened out the odds to the Prussians 50,000 foot and 20,000 cavalry to the Russians 30,000 horse and 10,000 foot.

The situation was worse for Chicherin's other corps of infantry further down the river. They were still struggling to make headway against the dragoons, but a few bridgeheads were beginning to show up. However, the 15,000 dragoons that were left were then reinforced by 20,000 reserve infantry, which alone outnumbered the Russians mere 18,000 worn out troops. If the Russians here could be successfully sent back into East Prussia, the road to Königsberg would lie open. If Chicherin was stubborn enough to hold his ground on the eastern side of Vistula and the Prussian dragoons were quick enough, Königsberg could be captured and Chicherin's first corps entirely surrounded and destroyed. It was a chance worth taking; and von Zieten ordered the dragoons put all their efforts into expelling the Russians from their side of Vistula and then taking Königsberg. It would, at least, even out the regular force; though that was no longer of much concern now that the reserves were deployed.


The Prussian Dragoons take to the offensive.

Indeed, the Prussians now had too many men to successfully deploy. High Command had to put all its efforts into organising new offensives to harness as much of Prussia's new manpower as they possibly could. Of prime concern was the Russian presence in Upper Silesia. So long as the Russians had troops in the region, as has been stressed before, the threat to Berlin was still acute. If this threat were too be removed, the Prussians would be able to free up a lot of manpower, rescue the troops still stuck in Upper Silesia and extend the front to allow for more troops to be usefully deployed. The question was how to go about doing so?

The first plan put forward was straight forward and would get the job done well enough. As would have been suspected, a frontal push in Upper Silesia from the Lower part of the region was the most obvious choice. This would, of course, end the threat, but what it lacked was the ability to be able to eliminate the threat. If the Russian forces, almost 60,000 men were allowed to retreat back into Poland, the threat could still be renewed if they were to receive even a few thousand reinforcements. What was needed was something that would corner the Russian forces in Silesia and then destroy them. Another plan would be needed. It wasn't long coming, though. There was still an avenue with which to outflank the entire Silesian force; Poznan. If a force were to mass in Poznan and the surrounding areas, it could smash into Congress Poland where the Russian defences were light and neglected. Of course, the Russian forces in Silesia would need to be held down to stop them marching their way out of trouble while the Prussians tried to break through the Polish defences. As such, von Müffling's corps, with an extra 60,000 reserves for good measure, would attack Gleiwitz from the north to pin down the 20,000 Russians holding the city, while 30,000 men from Upper Silesia would relieve the city of Kattowitz, then under siege from 10,000 Russians and nearing falling. The worry here was that the 30,000 troops still embroiled at Kielce would be cut off if Kattowitz failed to hold, and would then be destroyed in detail. True, Prussia could most probably survive the destruction of 3 divisions, but it would be an international embarrassment to have such high class troops to be destroyed. While that was happening, Graf von Zieten would lead his 22,000 regulars and 60,000 reserves over the border and into congress Poland with a further 40,000 reserves covering his northern flank by capturing Skierniewice. Hopefully, this huge force would be able to take the large amount of ground in good time for the 60,000 Russians stuck in Silesia to be forced into a tight pocket, and also in time to save the 30,000 men at Kielce. The real enemy, for now, was no longer the Russians, but time; and it didn't look to be on the Prussian's side.
 

Eöl

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This is pretty damn exciting and a gripping read, I must say. :cool:
 

comagoosie

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oh ho! Great chapter if I must say so myself. You seem to keep up the intensity no matter what.

Look prussia unleash her horses on russia :cool:
 

unmerged(80599)

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Another jolly good update. Go Prussia!
 

canonized

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Excellent update indeed ! upped the ante there and added a great sense of excitement ! Well done !
 

Enewald

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One can not beat time.:p
Ah, a pocket. Not so usual at those times. :rolleyes:
 

robou

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Monthly Quiz: November 2008

Ok, so this is going to be the first monthly quiz, where I will set some reasonably hard questions and you can try and answer them as best you can; you have about a week to do so. There will be 6 marks available, and you will win, well... nothing. I suppose you can put in your signature or something that you won it, or anything, I don't really mind. If you get the highest marks, then you win and you recieve the the Iron Cross, 2nd Class. If you win and have got every single question right, you get the Pour le Mérite. As I said, you can put that in your signature if you really want... Anyway, questions will be on real Prussian history or of things that have happened so far in the AAR. Best of luck, here we go.

1.

What battle is this painting depicting and what is the battle's other name? (2 marks)

2. When did Adolf Heinrich von Arnim-Boitzenburg, the first Priminister of Prussia, die? (1 mark)

3. What was the special name I gave to the way of attacking Austria without getting the rest of the German confederation warring with me? (1 mark)

4. What was the name of a German king who caused much Liberal unrest in Germany near the start of the game? (1 mark)

5. Which city was too be taken by the Carlist forces in Spain before Russia and Austria were to intervene with military support for the Carlists? (1 mark)

The winner will be released at the next feedback. Don't forget, if you haven't read the latest update that it is above this a few posts. Don't want that getting lost :D
 

comagoosie

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This is the hardest quiz I have ever seen :eek:

1. No clue not even trying
2. 8 January, 1868
3. A defensive war as your were guranteeing Krakow
4. Some king from Hannover, and wasn't he british?
5. No idea...
 

Enewald

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1. Maybe some Crimean war stuff
2. not yesterday
3. Ein Krieg nur für Schwulen
4. Eichorn
5. not Moscow
 

unmerged(81390)

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1. The Battle of Leipzig, the Battle of the Nations

2. 8 January, 1868

3. The War of Austrian Aggression?

4. Ernst August

5. Bilbao
 

unmerged(7509)

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I'm not going to enter this contest, but next time you add a picture like that you should change it's title. It says something about Leipzig. :rolleyes:

Could you perhaps post a screenie of the front? It's hard to remember where all the troops are located, when updates are not an everyday event.
 

robw963

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Have we gotten to the part with goose-stepping Prussians and war eagles and stuff? This era of Prussian history is fascinating to me!
 

unmerged(61356)

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I've gotten myself caught up and I just wanted to say what a big fan I am of this AAR. I love it's mix of all of the political, economic, and military aspects of the game. The posts concerning the war with Russia have been especially gripping and I'm anxious to see how it turns out.
 

robou

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To All: Great to see participation in the quiz, though I am dubious if some of you were taking it seriously... :D Anyway, I will release the results now and have an update sometime today or tomorrow. But first, feedback.

Eöl, Helmold, canonized: Thank you, I do try :)

comagoosie: Indeed, now we will see if the Dragoons are any good in offense rather than defense. But whatever the weather, I intend to make 100% use of their much greater speed!

Enewald: Perhaps they are not that common, but they did militarisitcally exist at this time, and I will not miss a chance to surround 60,000 Russians. Anything to make sure Russia won't come knocking too soon in the future.

rasmus40: To be honest, I didn't even notice that it had that name attached to it. I will be next careful in the future, but I fear that would have been near impossible to do without it. I will put a screenie of the front up in the next update, sure, it was just a little messy with tons of new armies appearing. ;)

robw963: Great that you have caught up, pal. As for when the goose-step came into service, I don't honestly know, but at a guess I would say that it is probably in place. But yes, Prussian history at this stage is facinating.

Hardraade: Thanks for catching up, and thanks for your support. Victoria presents so many different levels of play, as you mentioned, and it can be hard to get a right mix of political, economical and military events coming into play, and then trying to inter-twine them into a story line. You did it well :) Prussia is also one of the best countries to present all of these levels, coming, I would say, just under the United States for writer friendliness.

Quiz Results!:

First, the correct answers

1. Battle of Liepzig, Battle of the Nations

2. 8th January, 1868

3. The 'Kraków Two-step'

4. Ernst August I, King of Hanover

5. Bilbao

So that leaves us with the following player scores, in ascending order:

Enewald - 0

phargle - 1, though I see where you are coming from with the Helms deep ;)

comagoosie - 1 1/2 (the half was for the King of Hanover)

D'Artagnan59 - 3

Aquilegia and Ahura Mazda - 5, congratulations both of you. You both recieve, for careful intellectual research, the Imperial Iron Cross, 2nd Class. Take a bow :)

 

Enewald

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What you mean I have 0 points?
My answers for 2 and 5 were correct! :D
 

robou

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Enewald said:
What you mean I have 0 points?
My answers for 2 and 5 were correct! :D

They weren't exactly the wrong answer, but they were not the right one either :)

Update coming soon, hopefully...