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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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volksmarschall

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I must have missed the last update when it came out, but I made it at last, even though I didn't particularly like it since you destroyed Austria off the face of the earth!:mad::p:D (Well I guess the age-old Habsburg Empire was doomed to fall anyways--just like in RL, bummer)

Well, with a Greater German Empire now, I think we can see Europe, if not most of the world, recognize German industril/military/scientific might! :p (And now the lyrics to 'Deutschland Uber Alles' don't represent a single people of culture, now it represents a single people of the same culture under a single great nation!) ;)
 

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director-robbed.png


Welcome to the second instalment of the Canonized-style “You’ve Been Robbed”, still as funny as the first day I thought the name up… There has been a long gap since the first interview, but now the summer months should give me plenty of time to ask some people some questions. So without further ado, lets meet tonight’s guest!


The Knight Temporal
Director introduces himself


Robou: Thank you for agreeing, among your busy timetable to speak to us. So, let’s first get an idea of who exactly you are. Would you introduce yourself, please?

Director: I'm a mild-mannered genius with a super-hero alter-ego... No, not quite. I've been many things in my life so far: retired music teacher and computer programmer, retired nightclub owner and entrepreneur, now managing a theater in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That's just up the road from New Orleans. I moved here a month ago from Mobile, Alabama. So far I like it here, a lot.

My life is pretty quiet - I live alone except for my cat. His picture is on my Inkwell page. I don't argue with him much. One of the things I've liked best is meeting some of the AARlanders. We had a mini-convention a few years ago in Washington, DC and another (post-Hurricane Katrina) in Tennessee (instead of New Orleans). Another may be coming up in Chicago sometime soon.

Robou: You are an AARland veteran, to say the last. You’ve written several AARs and have been with the forum since, almost, day one. I know 2002 is a while back, but can you remember why you came to the Paradox forums?

Director: I got started on the forum after I sold my nightclubs. I was bored, depressed (though I didn't realize that at the time) and a confirmed CIV II addict. Lots of people on the Apolyton forum were recommending this new EUII game, so I gave it a try and liked it. While wandering the forums looking for gaming tips I ran across the AAR forum... and all these people were having such fun! And they let me play, too! I fell in love with the place and the people, began reading non-stop and then...

Robou: And to elaborate on that, what got you writing your first AAR?

Director: I think every AAR needs a 'hook', especially so if you have to explain how a single character is around for centuries. This is why vampires, ghosts and time travelers are so popular here. In my first AAR the hook was a simple one: kill the protagonist in the first scene and then see what happened. Quite a lot, actually, since Dr Charles Rivers didn't manage to die all the way. I was writing busily along but posting very little, and had asked MrT (a mod and a legendary writer and commentor) for help. 'Sure,' he said, 'send along your next bit.' I sent him, oh, half a novel? You could hear 'WHAT THE...' scream all the way from Canada.

The people who commented kept me writing - my first comments from MrT, Lord Durham, Stroph1 and others made me feel as though I was one of the gang, and I wanted to write well so as not to disappoint them. From that, I take my passionate plea for readers to leave comments. Writers in AARland don't work for free, we hunger for applause. A comment is the visible manifestation of that approval; it is the currency on which we rely, the toll that opens the road to the rest of the story. MrT used to say, 'Write on!' I say, 'Leave a comment you stingy b...'

Robou: Recently you became a moderator. You are working with some of the most experienced and best writers, and readers, on the boards in one of the most thriving AAR forum communities. It must come with big responsibilities. What’s the job like?

Director: The sad thing is that moderating requires a lot of skimming, not much reading in detail. We are always grateful to readers who point out posts we should look at, as there are very few of us and a lot of AARs to cover. Spending time patrolling usually means that moderators have to cut short their writing time, though most of us try to keep in practice.

Mods work for free, because we love AARland and because the job needs to be done. There are dozens of thankless jobs available - as you know from your work with the Vicky library. Serving AARland is a civic duty - a way of paying back - that we all owe.

Robou: There have been rumours that you may eventually work towards a publishable book. Are these true? What subject would you really like to write about?

Director: Another sad thing is that publishing has really ceased to be a paying job unless you are one of a small handful of writers with name recognition. And science fiction - which I love - is being crowded off the shelves. So the career opportunities I want are not available right now. For topics? Regarldess of the topic there is only one story. It's all in how you tell it.

Robou: And will the writing, and feedback, from the forums have given you the firm base of… cultivation needed to launch yourself from amateur to professional writing?

Director: The forum teaches us to write in sound bites, not in chapters. For gaining confidence, polishing the tools and exercising the chops it is fine. But work that wins awards here wouldn't sell on the big shelves - the episodic format is wrong. Practice here might help me write something good enough to gain attention, and there are people here (notably Lord Durham) who understand professional writing.

The Firmest of Enemies
What do the Yanks think of Germany?


Robou: Ok, so now let’s talk about Carefully Applied Force. For the author of a highly detailed narrative and history-book AAR, though your history-book is much more formalised and narrative driven than my own, it must have been a culture shock, even a mild one. What were your first impressions on the style of CAF?

Director: I like a good history-book style and yours is well written. I like that you are able to sum up the information the reader needs to know without discursions. An expansive Germany isn't shocking - the US Army and Navy were pretty sure that Germany had ambitions in the New World. I do think 'in real life' the US would have been, um, 'displeased' by such disregard for the Monroe doctrine.

Robou: And have you had any personal favourite moments yet? I know you like Bismarckian Politics!

Director: My favorite moment so far? Probably the series of battles for Vienna. I admire Bismarck's abilities while not feeling much affection for him personally. 'Special Providence' is of course a Bismarckian quip used with malicious forethought.

Robou: And do you have any favourite characters? This is a hard question, as the characters are not embellished upon, so perhaps a fairer question is do you think anyone is more important than the others, and why so?

Director: Characters are of minimal importance in a history-book style unless the author highlights their critical decisions and abilities. CAF is more about the forces that shape men, not the men who shape the forces. You have written detailed character sketches - the Crimean War AAR for one - but CAF is on a higher level of abstraction.

Robou: Also on favourites, I try and balance out, as you put it, the ‘full tapestry of events’ going on in Germany through political, military and economic events. Which is your personal favourite topic? And which was your favourite chapter from that topic?

Director: The military, and secondly the political events are my favorites. Your construction of Germany was well handled, as were the various wars. I did particularly like your handling of the 'Great Backdown' over Krakow.

Robou: Moving on, you came in late reading and CAF is getting a little on the longer side now, so what tips would you give to anyone wanting to catch up but who might be put off by length or style?

Director: To any reader I would advise that they simply start with the last post. If it seems intriguing, go back a bit (or all the way to the beginning). I'm not intimidated by a long-running AAR but I don't feel obligated to read all of everything. I have little reading time anymore so I am picky.

Robou: As a reader and writer of such history-books, is there any advice you might want to give to me and any prospective writers based on what you yourself have written, and also read in CAF?

Director: Advice? Be concise - which I can never do. My favorite history-book AAR is still my 'Bremen', which is told as a series of essays on the political, economic, social and military affairs of the anarchic and highly-successful Bremen. Pick out the very most spectacular events and write only about those... let the readers fill in the gaps themselves.

The American Epic
Director talks about his own ‘A Special Providence’


Robou: Now, for prospective readers, the beginning of A Special Providence might seem quite confusing, what with all the talk of separate timelines that all have a similar yet slightly different outcome, the Knights Temporal who are, in effect, time travellers who go around these different timelines and either preserve or exploit. Could you explain how you came up with this idea, and for new readers explain the whole system over?

Director: I wanted the beginning of ASP to have a 'Verne'-ian aspect; one reason for the inclusion of Nemor. Another influence was the cheesy old 'Wild Wild West' TV show. The idea of time-travel isn't new, nor is the idea of policemen or guides. H Beam Piper's 'Paratime' stories are fantastic, and his alt-hist 'Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen' is a seminal source for time-travel, timelines and the people who rule them.

The civilization of the Knights is the only one they know with the ability to hop between parallel timelines. They are able to move forward and back in time to a limited extent, but only a few dozen timelines are open to them. The Knights Temporal are a deliberately quasi-religious order tasked with exploiting the ideas and products of the other lines while keeping the secret of time-travel from the 'natives'. KT civilization views the other lines as colonies, to be used and shaped for the mother civilization's ends.

Robou: Out of interest, would you say that A Special Providence is about the Knights or about the Americans, or indeed the whole world, they have an effect on?

Director: A Special Providence is really a quest story, with two 'heroes' trying to preserve the fabric of history and return to their own civilization while two villains want to rule the world. Its central trope is how very difficult it is for individuals to have any real impact on the history of the world. I deliberately have not altered history in large ways because I did not want the readers to become lost. That will change as the story goes on.

Robou: Thinking about the characters, let’s firstly look at the Knights. Basically you have two pairs of Knights Temporal who are both going around causing havoc. One pair trying to exploit the world for their own ends, and the other trying to preserve the world by stopping the exploiters. Oh and let’s not forget poor old Nemor! Where did you get your inspiration for this setup?

Director: A quest needs a hero - in this case the grizzled old veteran and the raw rookie - and a villain, in this case a power-hungry female former assassin and her bloodthirsty henchman. Having two characters on each team gives them someone to talk to and Nemor, as a third party, gives them someone to bargain with.

Robou: And the Americans. Now, you have made quite a reputation for making well known characters come alive with effective speaking and thoughts. To name but a few, you have brought people like Grant, Sherman, Lee and Lincoln to life. How much research did you have to do you nail the hammer on the head for all the vast array of human characters in A Special Providence?

Director: Research? Forty years. Seriously, I've studied the Civil War since I could read. Where possible I've stuck to actual words and actions, and the rest of the way I've tried to stay true to the people as we know of them. As the AAR goes on that will of necessity change - little changes become bigger ones as the ripples spread.

Robou: Which is you personal favourite Character, and which update too?

Director: I wish I could say my favorite character is the hero, but we all know the Devil gets all the good lines. For historical characters, my favorite would be Winfield Scott Hancock, and the posts would be the Battle of Belmont.

Robou: What made you choose the style of mixed History-Book and Narrative? It is not an easy balance to make, but you seem to have cracked it, in my opinion.

Director: The balance of narrative and historical is really hard to do, but I don't have it in me to write 100 years in narrative. I wanted to practice my writing chops because I don't write narrative sections well, nor do I develop characters well. I'm glad you think the balance is right; I never like what I've written until I can re-read it a year later (and mostly I want to revise it then). My advice to others is to limit the length of a narrative section to ONE idea.

Robou: And to anyone wanting to read A Special Providence, any words of advice or tips, or things to look out for on the way?

Director: Special Providence has a ways to go but once past the Civil War it should run pretty swiftly. Readers should expect a United States that is more involved in world affairs than in 'our' history. Those who like wars and battles won't be disappointed; those who expect the UK, the US or any other nation to always embody the highest of ideals - well - they're in for a shock.


Robou: Well that’s the end of the interview. I’d like to thank Director for his time, as well as anyone reading. Join me next month when I’ll be interviewing another Mod: Coz1. Until then!
 

robou

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To All: Apologies for the long wait. Update is coming today. Unfortunately, its a bit of a boring one.

volksmarschall: Oh we haven't seen the last of Austria, but i'll say no more about that. They may respect my power, but that won't stop them fighting it.
 

Enewald

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Another good reason for me to leave comments everywhere.
Nearly everywhere. :eek:o

Nice interview!
 

robou

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1850: A Quick One

When the odd truce between Germany and Russia finally ended, it did not take long for the Germans to show their organisational achievements. Troops from the Austrian front had quickly been moved into Poland and down into Galicia, as well as reserves that had not yet been deployed being sent to East Prussia. Within a month of the victory over Austria, German troops were fully prepared to fight Russia, many for the second time in a decade. Morale soared.

The German plan was simple. Three different groups would aim for three different locations and smash the Russian army wherever they met it. Army-Group South, 90,000 men, would attack out of Galicia and aim for, first, Zhitomir and then Kiev, with Odessa as a secondary objective should the war still be going on by the time Kiev was taken. Army-Group Centre, 120,000 men, would lunge into Congress Poland and take Warsaw and then continue advancing with the axis of advance being from Suwalki in the North to Brest Litovsk in the south. The final objective was Minsk. It was hoped that much of the Russian army could be destroyed here. Finally, Army-Group North, 100,000 men, would relieve East Prussia and then attack along the Baltic Coast and, if needs be, take St. Petersburg. Again, von Müffling was left without a end-war objective by Berlin, but this time intended to take as much land in as little time as possible. He did not want to have to have another battle like Klement to break a stalemate. And it was imperative that advances were made while the ground was still frozen, as it was in December, before the ice melted and roads became quagmires. It was, at least, fortunate that this winter had been less harsh than some before.

The offensives got off to a slow start; von Müffling blamed the weather. Warsaw, barely twenty miles from the German border, took three days to reach, despite meeting no more resistance than some skirmishers outside of Pruszków. However, things began to speed up after Warsaw. 10,000 Russians were forced out of East Prussia and caught in a pocket between the troops chasing them and Germans advancing through Poland; they surrender ten days later at Plock. Another 20,000 Russians were spread too thin to stop the Germans reaching the river Bug, and were now trapped between Army-Groups Centre and South, which had advanced almost one-hundred miles from Lviv to Kovel.

Army-Group North had also been making stready progress, even though they were facing the larger percentage of Russian forces. Gumbinnen had been retaken by December 14th, and Memel on December 16th in an audacious move. While the main Russian force was engaged on land, 2,000 volunteers had force-marched up the Curonian Spit, crossed the Klaipėdan Strait on boats and taken the remaining garrison by surprise. A seaborne assault had been impossible, as the Imperial Baltic Fleet was out in force, but this unorthodox move had not been foreseen.

After this had been accomplished, it was not long before German forces were charging across Lithuania, in numbers and quality twice that of the Russians. In a series of brutal battles, the main Russian force was battered closer and closer to the coast, while other German detachments continued to race northwards. In Poland, also, remaining Russian forces were surrounded and then forced to surrender. Throughout January and February these advances continued. Minsk fell late in February, though Riga was simply bypassed by German forces. The one let down was that remaining Russian forces put up stiff resistance in front of Kiev and the city could not be taken. However, when, on April 30th, General Paskevich surrendered at Ventspils on the Latvian coast, there was nothing to stop the Germans reaching St. Petersburg. He had had 40,000 men at the beginning of the war. He surrendered with less than 6,000.

The Capital was evacuated, and a quickly mobilised force tried to defend the city. They failed and were almost completely destroyed. Resistance in front of Kiev also fell apart. Russia’s third largest city and the Capital had fallen within a week of each other. The shame of such a defeat I cannot even begin to cover. It was the quickest defeat in Russian history. The Germans had covered hundreds upon hundreds of miles in a matter of months. It was an amazing military victory, one of the best, in German history, and also one of the worst defeats in the history of mankind. The Russians quickly sought out a peace.

The Germans, however, did not realise that they had managed to destroy almost 90% of the Russian army. Berlin also wanted to try and make Russia a friend. Their armies were not of quality, but they would always be of quantity, and should Russia side with France in the future, this could have presented problems for Germany. Therefore, Berlin’s terms were lenient, considering the scale of Russia’s defeat. The rest of Congress Poland was to be annexed to Germany, in an attempt to “relieve Russia of the pressure of the Poles”, who, no doubt, the Germans would treat horrifically, and also to shorten the Eastern Front, should it flare up, again, into war. Russia accepted with glee; they had got off scot-free.

The one major casualty of the war, however, was Nicholas I. He caught Pneumonia while being evacuated from St. Petersburg and died a month after the war had finished. His son, Alexander II, took up the throne. The nation hoped that this new monarch would bring in a new era for Russia. He certainly would struggle to do as badly as his father.


Coronation_of_Tsar_Alexander_II_-2.jpg

Alexander in crowned Tsar of Russia, May 4th, 1850.
 
Last edited:

Enewald

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-Lviv should be Lemberg(now germanized).
-Nicholas II was not yet born.

Sometimes one just is wise enough not to try to eat too much at once.
Poland, a land soon to be forgotten on the pages of history along with the people that once spoke polish?
Let the Wartheland grow. :p

Lovely update!
 

unmerged(81390)

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And now, Russia is rendered harmless too! :D
 

comagoosie

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Ah, it seems that Mother nature didn't have time to set in for the Germans, must lucky for the Germans. I wonder if they will ever be as lucky as that ever again?

No matter, it seems that all opponents near Prussia are submitting (France?). By the way, how in Britain?
 

Lord_D

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Nice handling of Russia.

And now, peace... ? ;)
 

unmerged(141095)

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Russia can always bounce back given time, and in this game they do have time on their side, the trick will be stopping them from ever siding with France or the British. If you can avoid having that occur, then the world should be your oyster.

Time to turn your attention to the West again?
 

phargle

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The comments about Russia made me do a spit-take. Russia stomped? In the space of one update? You're way out there in front. I like how you summed up the scope of the defeat by saying that you couldn't really do justice to the scope of the defeat. I also liked this:

The German plan was simple.

Genius.

It seems like only Britain can trouble you now, and that is a battle for empire. Is that a story you want to tell, or is this AAR nearing its end? Not that I want it to end. .. I am just curious what stories are coming up.
 

unmerged(61356)

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A brilliant and effective campaign brings Russia to it's knees and ends the war. I can understand why Germany would want to be lenient and turn Russia into a friendly nation, but is that even possible? Germany has dealt Russia serious defeats in the past and I'm sure that those blows to national prestige will not be soon forgotten in St. Petersburg.
 

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Man, it's 1850. What on earth will you do for another 80 years?

Nice update - clear, concise.

Poor Nicholas I. Becoming Tsar in the wake of a defeat like that will make the troubles of 1904 (our history) seem like a pillow fight.
 

unmerged(96020)

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A successful Operation Barbarossa, and in the 19th century...

This is going to be a very different world. :)

A question though: were there many partisans? I always hated invading Russia in Vicky, the partisan levels were always thoroughly ridiculous; the Russian army couldn't do half as good a job slowing me down as the damn suicidal peasants!
 

unmerged(95429)

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The peasants are always revolting. Makes one think twice before buying a farm if life is that bad for them... :(

I wonder what's next. You may have to start strengthening your enemies if you want something to do at all. Put them on equal footing or something. Maybe you could ally with Russia and invade Central Asia (and the British Empire) and give them a little more land to play with. You could take that island right below India as a naval base/trade centre (can't think of the name off of the top of my head) and give them the rest. We could call it Überrussland. Or maybe Russia on 'roids. Then have an amalgation of France and Spain. If that becomes to untenable you can ally with a unified Italy and a unified Scandinavia. You dig? ;)
 

coz1

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Well Russia snapped like a dry twig. Germany reigns supreme on the Continent. The French should be afraid...very afraid.

That was a well executed war - quick, concise and fatal. I agree too that a friendly Russia could be a helpful ally due to their numbers. As long as the eastern borders satisfy you, that is. ;)