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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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robou

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To All: Right, ok, I know I said I would be slowing down, but I want to take a break from revising this weekend but have not enough time to write a Narrative update, so I guess it will have to be this one... oh well... could be worse. I need to just go and do some History revision and then will be back as soon as possible to write this. But first, feedback.

Enewald: To get Germany on our side, first, was our priority. Once we have time to ourselves, the Princes can be broken one by one. Patience is needed my friend.

coz1: 'Tis a wise saying, and one that I shall hold true to. Those men have a use. The French, I am worried, will throw division after division at me, so fighting a defensive war, especially when I have a serious lack of troops available on the front line is to my advantage, as well as the more far-sighted (and pure roleplay for now) associations that Bismarck made for not taking Paris now.

Eöl: I would like to have a large period of peace, and I think, to a great extent, Europe will grant it too me after I have beaten France. However, I cannot say how America will react to me. Events in America, I am quite sure, will be more important to me in the next few years than ever before.

ComradeOm: Thanks, I doubt Britain will make a return to the continent, but you will see a much greater agression between Britain and Germany in the coming years. Britain has become the real Bismarck's Russia, but I do not think I will be able to tame this beast like he did Russia. This makes for even more reason for me to get Russia back on my side to keep safe against Britain. I'm tangling with a super-power with an intrinsicly weak state... I need allies and big ones.

geek_kinght: Like I said, Britain didn't expect anything to the extent of what has happened in Germany, and the war with France is not helping relations between Germany and Britain. We will have to wait and see what it comes to in the end...

comagoosie: Indeed it did have the manpower, but I wanted to show just how laterally Bismarck was thinking, as a pose to the quite one-track-mindedness of the Generals in taking to the offensive and winning the war. Attacking Denamrk certainly had the better of the argument though, and mainly because of Bismarck.

phargle: A joke it may be, but it may become a serious threat. I have a navy yes... the Prussian navy consists of 4 clipper transports and the German navy now consists of 5 clippers and a frigate. That can't stand up to Denmark's navy of 14 vessels of war. You are correct though, a defensive campaign against France would be to my advantage, and I intend to use that, but I can't let them take foot holds in Germany... the union would fall apart if we showed weakness to the age old enemies. The Dukes might decide that perhaps Germany isn't such a great idea if I fail. It can't be left to chance. The situation in Germany is quite dire. War exhaustion is at 9% and I am getting a couple of revolts. It is hardly nation threatening though. The fate of the war, I think, rests on if the British get involved or not, but it is purely speculative.

Ahura Mazda: Aims are slim, along the lines of the gentleman peaces I have scored over the past few years. Schleswig will be the main candidate for annextion into the German Empire, though I have eyes set else where as well if possible.

JosunUrashima: I want Denmark to stop being an annoyance on my flank and an offensive there should yield good gains for small loss, so it seems the logical choice rather than leaving it to be a parasite on the french front. Like I said before, American events will be leading much of my policy, I would suspect, in the post-franco-war era, but I can't say for certain. I have to let America come to me, rather than the other way around, to stop the British getting up my back.
 
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robou

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1845: A Formidable Foe

On March 22nd, von Scharnhorst’s Holsteiners had crossed into Southern Schleswig and fought off the feeble defence of the Danish cavalry. No one thousand dismounted cavalrymen could defeat a full division of infantry, even when behind the walls of redoubts, the traditional Danish defensive line of the Dannevirke. The Danish lost half their number and lost their position, and the principle town in the region, Flensburg, originally by-passed by the Germans so they could pursue the Danish Cavalry was successfully entered on April 20th, after severe delays due to the annoying fighting retreat of the cavalry. However, to a small extent, this worked in Germany’s favour as by the time Scharnhorst’s men had consolidated in Flensburg the 10,000 Hanoverians following them had caught up and would allow Scharnhorst to move towards Ribe, the next major Danish town and principle town of Northern Schleswig, with more strength than he had anticipated. It was a good measure, as well, because now the Danish Navy would be able to threaten German positions. It preferred to avoid landing troops anywhere near the German coast, now that Germany was prepared to them, due to the presence of German coastal batteries being a threat. However, once the troops moved out of Flensburg, they would be beyond this protection, and the Danes could ferry men from Copenhagen onto Jutland at Scharnhorst’s flank. With another division to support him, he could ensure better security along the Baltic coastline of Jutland.

Five days later, an anti-climactic battle ended the Siege of Stralsund as General Rathjen’s 12,000 Hanoverians defeated the Danish Army in a day and the Navy was obliged to pick up the troops and take the battered divisions back to Copenhagen. However, it was better for the German people to now know that no enemy troops were on their soil. Still, their mood was still against the war, and they wanted peace, work and bread. The King was unsure as to how to sate their tastes, but he knew for certain that to bring the war to a quick close was needed if the German Union was to stay as one.

The King’s fears were proved a month later, even though the war ha moved on from the dire situation before hand, when Austrian troops moved through Stuttgart on their way to Baden-Baden. Marching through the city, they encountered a mob of people angry about the continuation of the war. The Austrians were also now the enemies of the southern Germans, as they felt betrayed that Austria would hand them over so easily to Prussia. It was not a general sentiment among the people of the south, but there were murmurings. Unfortunately, this mob was not willing to compromise, and demanded that the Austrians turn around and head back to Vienna as this was a German war, not an Austrian war. They were part of Germany now because of Austrian weakness, and they would not let the Austrians forget it. When the colonel of the regiment of Austrians refused to turn back, the mob jeered at the troops. The Austrian colonel made his men charge bayonets to try and scare the mob away and clear a path so they could continue. Unfortunately, it was a terrible miscalculation, and the mob thought it a sign of aggression. When a shot rang out and an Austrian soldier fell, the colonel panicked and in the confusion of the entire situation ordered his men to fire on the mob, most of who were unarmed. Those that did have muskets quickly returned fire and casualties mounted on both sides. Eventually the mob saw they were getting the worse of the situation against regulars and dispersed, but the damage had been done.



prattstreet.png

The Stuttgart Massacre sparked off a series of minor revolts across Germany that did not assist in the new nations stability problems


Several revolts broke out around the country when news of what had happened in Stuttgart got out, and such events, though with local police instead of regular troops, were repeated in Tübingen, Augsburg and Stade. These all sparked debates at whether Austria should have been allowed to ally with the new Germany, but the King dismissed these and put his support behind the Emperor of Austria arguing that the Austrians had pledged considerable support to the German cause and that should be rewarded, not condemned.

In Denmark events had continue to unfold even with the unrest back at home. Ribe had been taken without challenge as the Danish Cavalry, horribly outnumbered, had surrendered the town unconditionally. Any further progress northwards would be entering Denmark itself, rather than Schleswig, and Scharnhorst waited for a few days for confirmation that he was to proceed towards Viborg, and after he got confirmation he moved, wary of the Danish navy moving in troops behind and beside him. However, seeing the Danish Navy was stuck in the Baltic ensuring the Germans didn’t cross over into the home isles, there was a unique opportunity presented to the Germans. Quietly, on July 1st, KMS Brandenburg and several transport vessels snuck out of Emden harbour and began to sail around the north of Scotland at out across the vast Atlantic. A few weeks later they arrived in Vera Cruz where they picked up a Mexican Division that Emperor Gustav had offered to Germany to assist in such an operation, and carried it towards the Virgin Islands and landed it successfully on the undefended colony of Denmark. A naval party from the Brandenburg attempted to land on Guadeloupe, but the French colonial forces were too strong and the party was forced off the island. A similar attempt was made on the South American holdings of France at Cayenne, but this also failed as there were too many French forces in position. Still, the Danish Virgin Islands were a fair prize for the small cost of the expedition*.

The war against Denmark was going well enough, even with problems closer to home, but now the true test was about to come. The troops were finally arriving at the front from the east, and now the French would attack or the Germans would have to, but the French had already proved their worth against the German naval assaults in the Caribbean, and all involved knew it would be no easier on the continent.


retrb1_187.png

Audacious as they were, the failed naval assaults on Guadeloupe and Cayenne showed that the French were going to be a formidable enemy…

Notes:
*: This was just me looking at the defences of the islands mostly, though I did try small scale assaults that failed



 
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coz1

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A little widening of the war never hurt. Looks like things are going pretty well vs. Denmark. Let's see if the French have the balls to attack you in Germany while you've had a chance to entrench.
 

unmerged(81979)

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I finally caught up on this massive work, and have little to ask or declare that others have not already answered or proclaimed. All I can say is, excellent work, sir! :D
 

Enewald

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A world war?
Meaning that it is fought on many continents? :p

Deutschland über alles, weg mit österreicher!
 

comagoosie

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Hey speak english, don't make me go spanish on you.

Those poor danes why do they start a war when they have no hope :p

And can you really expect to please everyone?
 

canonized

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A very nice twist to add the massacre portion in there . It really added a lot of flavour and depth :D
 

phargle

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The Austrian massacre is a major event that probably bears much greater analysis. Troops firing on rabble is just the sort of thing a new kingdom on the brink of greatness or despair does not need! The Danish are at least not a threat, but now there are hints that the French will cause trouble due to some Caribbean adventures. Interesting. . . I think Prussia prevails after an easy fight along the Rhine, but it remains to be seen if it prevails afterwards.

I also really liked the image of the exploding French troops.
 

Director

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Sounds like the populace are disgruntled. High casualties will turn them against the war for certain, but high casualties appear certain when the French are involved.

Whatever the French are planning, they had better make use of the Danish 'distraction' while they can.
 

robou

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To All: Update will be sometime today, though can't say exactly when I will find the time to write it.

coz1: Looking at the situation, of which I will cover in the next update, I doubt the French will have the strength to attack me before I get the larger portion of my army in position. Then it would be suicide. French mobilisation is taking a lot longer than I had at first imagined. I guess that leaves only one option to end this war...

demokratickid: Pleasure to have you aboard, sir. Glad to see you have few questions, it means I have answered, or my readers have answered, everything well enough. Good show everyone!

Enewald: A single Mexican division gallavanting around the Caribbean hardly consitutes giving this the title of world war, but I am certainly taking it to the colonies. A world war is more a war where people from all continents are belligerents, as far as I know.

comagoosie: It'd be nice to please everyone, but in a country that still has such divided goals, my situation is comparable to the United States before the Civil War in how it works, though less democratic obviously, it is impossible for me to do so. It turns out the Danes just didn't have the manpower to keep up with the war and weren't expected the quick onslaught I gave them.

canonized: I thought it was a nice touch, well when I say nice... based it somewhat around the Platt Street Riot in Baltimore, 1861, and that image is from that event. But phargle has made a very good point...

phargle: You are very correct, this incident will require a lot more analysis, but only later on. I won't tell in what context, but it will be big news in a few years time. Just keep vigil and see where it might fit in. However, I doubt the French will fall apart, even if they do not have the numbers of troops they want along the front. The image is from Hornblower: Retribution, and is British Naval officers blowing up a Spanish tunnel at Sabana Bay (yes we have been there in this AAR if you are just able to remeber that). I thought it looked good :)

Director: They would do best to use my distractions, but Prussian troops arrive at the front in greater and greater numbers each day, so a chance for a successful French offensive is getting slim now. On the other hand, it is still going to be difficult for the Germans to make and offensive as well. The double edged sword of making a defnesive line while you redeploy, the enemy does so as well.

Ahura Mazda: I think I will set my sights on Metz first, then maybe, just maybe, a push for Paris. Doesn't seem likely at the moment.
 

robou

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1845: Overstretched

The French front had always been considered the primary worry, but until there had been substantial gains against the Danes, there had been little in the way of offensives anywhere in the region as both German and French forces made their long march towards the border. The only engagement during the time the Danish and Caribbean campaigns had been progress was a small and short skirmish consisting of General der Infanterie Dohna-Schlobitten, a Saxon by birth, attempting to cross the Rhine from Baden into Strasbourg. He found that 22,000 French Chasseur d’Alpins had just moved into the city and gave him tough resistance as he tried to move his combined force of Wüttemburgers and Bavarians across the wide river’s bridges. After a single day of combat, he found the French troops too much and pulled his men back, burning the bridges, as best he could, behind him. It was hardly a humiliating defeat, but crossing points across the Rhine were in short order. The area of the Vosges mountains covering the points of crossing at Strasbourg and Mulhouse were both now occupied by at least 50,000 French troops facing off against around 40-50,000 Germans, mostly Bavarians and Wüttemburgers. However, there was still one gap to be exploited to the north.

Where the Rhine swept up further north towards the Netherlands, leaving the Germans on the French side of the river, and where the mountains of the Vosges and Alps cambered down into the forests of the Ardennes, Palatinate and Argonne there was still an avenue of attack, towards the French city of Metz. There were still no French troops in the city, though some would reach it from Paris eventually, and the Germans already had 45,000 men on the left side of the Rhine facing no Frenchmen. The opportunity would close quickly if it were not exploited, so Prince Maximilian, no great General but also no great fool, took advice from his aides, mostly Prussians, ordered that 20,000 German troops were to advance towards Metz and occupy the city. The 24,000 Prussians defending the Saar would remain in their favourable positions until it could be made certain that Metz was secured, so as to create a safe zone for retreating troops should the offensive not go as planned.

It was clear that Maximilian had only just been able to call the cards in time, as only a day after entering the city, a French division, the first to arrive from Paris, attacked the Prussians who were in the process of occupying Metz. It proved to be a half hearted assault by troops that were exhausted after a long march, and with another 10,000 Austrians nearing the city, and 48,000 Prussians, the first columns finally arriving at the front, behind them, it was deemed that the breakthrough had been successful. So in a week, the Germans would have almost 100,000 men in a salient jutting into the Alsace.

However, instead of consolidating the hard won gains of the day, Maximilian decided to try and expand his victory without his full assets available to him. Graf von Wrangel’s Corps, just returned all the way from Vienna, was ordered to rebuild the bridges across the Rhine and cross into Strasbourg and throw the 30,000 dug-in Frenchmen from the vital city. It was true that Maximilian was acting in good faith, as without securing Strasbourg, further offensives from the Metz salient would be dangerous and threaten the attacking Germans with encirclement. However, it meant that, for the time at least, 22,000 Prussians would be attacking a numerically superior and prepared force. True, reinforcements were on the way, but how many Prussians would be lost before that happened could not be said.



dhm127-1.png

The brutal battles around Strasbourg produced some of the largest losses since the times of Napoleon. Was France willing to suffer such dear costs again?


Within a few days, however, von Wrangel did have over 65,000 troops fighting their way into the city from three different sides, East, West and North, but it was a slow and grinding battle, and more troops were constantly requested to secure a quick victory. They could not come from the south, as the constant arrival of French troops from Marseille into Mulhouse made sure that 40,000 Germans had to guard that portion of the border. So they had to come from the only other concentration of troops available, the Metz salient.

This caused a drain on the troops stationed there, and the grand total of 100,000 a few days before hand was soon cut down to 50,000 as now 80,000 Germans battled at Strasbourg against an enemy that refused to budge. The problem was that with so few troops, it was very difficult to launch any kind of offensive further to the north without weakening the position to an extent that it became a target for attacks. If attacks were not made, though, more French troops would arrive from Paris, dig in, and make an attack, even with 100,000 men, an impossible process. An offensive by 30,000 Prussians was made against Verdun, but the French troops there under General Aumale had an easy time defending the various ridges that littered the landscape. It was obvious more men would be needed, but there were none to give.



dhm139-1.png

It would be the desperate fighting, for both sides, at Verdun that would eventually be the catalyst for peace with the Danes


The calls for reinforcements were great, and gave some momentous results. The eventual signing of peace with Denmark at the Treaty of London, 24th September 1855, which handed over the area of South Schleswig* to Germany and made Denmark renounce its claims on the Duchy of Holstein on paper though not in minds, but made sure to clause that Danes in the area were allowed full rights, went some way to relieving the German armies stress. In Bismarck’s eyes, the signing of peace with Denmark for such a meagre sum was unacceptable and that all German claims should have been answered, especially those on all of Schleswig and control over the Virgin Islands, but it was not his job to broker peace, so he would stand discontented for the time being. However, the troops were not large enough to have a major effect, and would not arrive at the front in time.

By November 21st, both sides at Verdun had been reinforced but neither side seemed to gain any advantage from it, and the French still had the upper hand. With Strasbourg still gobbling up German troops, it was decided to call back the troops from Verdun back into the Metz salient and wait for Strasbourg to be secured. However, Aumale was quicker in moving that Maximilian and the depleted German troops, low on morale, found themselves facing 50,000 angry Frenchmen. Strasbourg continued to eat up German troops, up to this point having claimed 50,000 German and 20,000 French casualties, and so no reinforcements would reach Metz.

Finally, on January 1st, the French Chasseurs finally vacated Strasbourg, leaving a bloody battlefield to clear up and a severely depleted German force left to hold their brutal gains. Reinforcements were sent to Metz, and the tide turned against Aumale. He retreated, but both sides were beyond beating each other now. The war had been ‘all warred out’.


Notes:
*: In game terms, the province of Flensburg




 
Last edited:

unmerged(81979)

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Well, it seems that this most recent chapter in the war has taken the punch out of everyone. Hopefully, the Germans will still command a great triumph... :D Good work, sir! :D
 

Enewald

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Land, land!
Danes shall be attacked hopefully again?

No peace before Paris burns and the vengeance is fulfilled!
 

geek_knight

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At least Prussia won a war once again, but Maximilian should be careful not to let the German-Austro alliance lose the war, by acting on his own:eek:(in other words, as an AI:p)
 

coz1

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You are in that deadly time that tactics have not caught up to technology and the loss of life is at it's height. There is no good entry point into France from Germany that won't be fairly guarded. Do you plan to push the war now that you have the Danish gain, or will Bismarck push to keep it on to make up for not getting all he wanted?
 
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comagoosie

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Wow, by the sound of your writing it seems those are the battles on the scale of WWI and trench warfare! Is this a trend we are going to see with you and future battles/wars? Time flys when you are galloping through the Russian countryside, but it crawles on the Rhine...
 

Eöl

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This was an excellent update as usual robou, the way that you got across the difficulty in fighting the French in such a situation was very good indeed.
Still, it’s a shame you didn't go for a higher price concerning the Danes...
Oh well, there's still time for Denmark to have another roll of the dice as it were, and fail miserably.
 
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canonized

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ahh the beginning of stalemate warfare . This can be difficult :D Looking forward to seeing some innovative ways around this perhaps .