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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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robou

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1838: Expect the Unexpected

The tired courier that arrived at the door of the Kings private meeting with the high rankers of the Riechstag was most unexpected. He had arrived hot-foot from Austrian Embassy to bring news that none had expected this early. Austria had, on November 29th, declared war on the Free City of Kraków and had begun marching cavalry troopers into the city and the surrounding countryside. This meant that the Prussian King now had to make a split second decision to either go to war with Austria and uphold the Gaurentee of Independence or decide that it was too early and call the plans, temporarily, off. The King quickly consulted those ministers that were with him at the time as it would have taken too long to assemble the entire Riechstag and make a choice.

The King had several things to consider. Firstly, the time that the decleration had come. This was far too early; Bismarck had not reported this to happen until at least late 1839 onwards. Prussian troops were hardly placed to meet any Austrian troops there may have been lurking in Bohemia and Moravia. The plans for war with Austria had been designed to be using the whole Prussian Army, nearing on forty divisions including reserves, to bash their way through the Austrian defences and take Vienna as quickly as possible. However, at the time, the Army had a mere eight divisions on the Austrian border with the rest of the Army still marching south from Poland. As for the reserves, they would take time to mobilize, and disaster might have already struck by the time they had been able to do this. Prussia was simply not ready to go to war.

However, if he let the Austrians take Kraków, there would be no other way of taking on Austria without angering the Confederation. Kraków was the only way to get at Austria. If Wilhelm did cancel the operations this time, the chance for something even remotely similar might have gone as the Austrians would most likely incorperate Kraków into the Hapsburg Empire if no one stood up for them. Therefore, the King could do nothing but inform the Austrian ambassador that if Austrian troops did not leave Kraków, which he knew they would not, in a week, then a state of war would exist between Prussia and Austria. The ambassador laughed at the suggestion of Austria troops backing down at the demand of a less important German nation. Therefore the ambassador was informed that if that was the mood the Confederation leader was too take, then there would be no need to wait a week to start hostilities. On the night of the 29th, Prussian troops marched into Bohemia.

defensiveline.jpg

The Prussian Defensive Plan

A new plan was quickly formulated but was mostly made on the go by the Generals. The basics of it was to make best use of the few resources Prussia had on hand at the time. Arrayed along the Bohemian and Slovakian Mountains, running throught the Carpathians, would be General von Zieten's I. Cavalry Korps, General von Goeben's II. Korps and two other independant Divisions. These made up most of the troops that were in Silesia at the time. They would rush through Austrian territory to take up the best defensive positions along the mountains and make Bohemia open to the rest of the army until it got there. One of the Dragoons would also secure Kraków from Austrian occupation, though the flat ground a little tree cover made it a hard place to defend. Using this plan, the Prussian's could quickly secure Bohemia and Moravia while striking deep into Austrian territory before they knew what had hit them. The reserves would also be mobilized, though it was doubtful if they would be much use. The twenty-eigth reserve divisons would take all of December and the best part of January to be mobilized and would likely not all see much action.

The advance began and by December 21st, General von Zieten was entering Brno. To his surprise, he had met no oposition until two divisions of Austrian infantry hoved into view marching towards the town. Von Zieten took tp the attack and immideately charged towards the oncoming infantry. Admitedly, charging two divisions of Infantry is not normally a clever thing to do, but this time it worked perfectly. The Austrians were not at all prepared for any battle. They were formed in columns and could not have begun to imagine that such a large force of cavalry could be so far within Austrian territory. They quickly routed with both sides taking few casualties. When questioned, prisoners revealed that they were from General Angeli's Corps, most of the troop being new recruits. Perhaps, if he was quick enough, Von Zieten could chase them all the way back and through Vienna, taking the city in a mere two months. However, first he had to secure Brno so the main columns of infantry, about seventy miles behind them, now entering Bohemia, would have easy passage into the Austrian heartland.

brno.jpg

The scuffle at Brno
Casualties:
Prussian ~ 400
Austrian ~ 200

Securing Brno and the surrounding areas took longer than Zieten had imagined, and it was not until late January that he got word from Berlin that the Infantry were now close enough for him to ride of Vienna, now defended by Angeli's demoralized Corps. It was decided that Von Goeben's Infantry would march straight through Brno and assist Zieten in the capture of Vienna. It would leave a big gap in the Prussian lines, but the prize was worth the risk. The situation by this time was favourable enough anyway. Other units were almost complete in securing the entire front and more troops were arriving from Poland by the hour. It would not be long before Prague fell.

jan21.jpg

The Situation of the Front, January 21st 1839

On January 25th, the first reserve divisions arrived at the front. Four were sent to Brno and then would march on Vienna. They had overtaken Von Goeben's slow artillery and would now take over his job as Von Goeben took over the defence of the Brno area. As this was happening, Von Zieten had finally enaged with Angeli for a second time outside Vienna. Angeli had the terrain and entrenchments on his side, but his troops had not yet recovered from their defeat in the skirmish near Brno. The sight of the same cavalry did no good effects for the Austrian troops. However, after less than a week of on and off combat, von Zieten was getting the worst of the fighting. Admitedly, if he held the Austrians would eventually run, but he had taken almost 3,000 casualties too the Austrian's 500. However, the tides turned on February second when the four reserve divisons arrived, making the odds 3 to 1. Angeli decided not to waste his troops, even if it was to defend the Capital, and retreated back to Sopron. Vienna was taken a few days later.

vienna.jpg

The Battle of Vienna
Casualties:
Prussian ~ 3,000
Austrian ~ 500

Another battle was going on to help secure the place that the two nations were, supposedly, fighting over. The Prussian Dragoons had come near to Kraków with high hopes before recognising that the city was infact under seige from Austrian cavalry. The Dragoons went straight into battle, their heavier armament giving them a significant advantage over the cavalry in terrain that gave no advantage to either side. However, even if the Austrians were taking more casualties, a cavalry charge did much more to break morale than a skirmish with rifles did. The Dragoons were more likely to break, and hence the four reserve divisions were sent in to assist in the defeat of the Austrian cavalry. Maj. General Wolf decided it best to vacate the seige of Kraków and head back into Gallacia.

krakow-1.jpg

The Seige of Kraków
Casualties:
Prussian ~ 500
Austrian ~ 1,000

By February 19th, the situation was most favourable to the Prussians. Bohemia and Moravia, as well as Vienna and northern Slovakia, were in Prussian hands and Kraków was still independant. The army had all arrived in the war zone and the Austrian troops were in no position to counter-attack anywhere along the line. The Prussian would continue to use this advantage to keep to offensive and grab as much land as possible. However, peace was not yet secured, not even yet in negotiation, so the war would go on for several more months.

feb19.jpg

The Situation of the Front, February 19th 1839
 
Last edited:

phargle

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It's like you used naval strategy on land. The Austrians have to be everywhere at once to protect their massive empire, but you just have to be at Prague and Vienna to beat them.

Then again, it remains to be seen if you just sucker punched them. If you're lucky, go for a quick peace. Maybe put a Hohenzollern (satellite) on the throne, which is easier if you own their capital even if your warscore is too low. Otherwise, those extra Austrian divisions and ramped-up mobilization are going to start to get unpleasant.

Do the defense pacts Austria has exclude Prussia? Or does the fact that the initial declaration of war was against Krakow mean it's not a defensive war on Austria's part? I noticed the rest of the confeds are out.

By the way, this war is a violation of carefully applied force doctrine.
 

Capibara

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And so the war with Austria started. Prussia is doing well so far, despite of having started the war before planned, let's hope it continues this way.
 

stnylan

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The war is going well. Hopefully you will be able to secure favourable peace.
 

cegorach

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Interesting developments with Kraków.

Historically impossible, because it was tripple guaranteed by all three powers and was their demilitarised protectorate created in Vienna together with the Duchy of Posen and the 'congress' Poland.
Historically the Austrians annexed it thanks to some diplomatic actions after the end of the Kraków Uprising of 1846 (was supposed to be coordinated with a rebellion in Posen and ex-'congress Poland' - autonomy suspended after the Polish-Lithuanian-Belorussian November Uprising).

Anyway, rather a good move because it would actually bring Prussia closer to Russia (suspension of Posen autonomy similar to their opressions at that time) and place Prussia as the defender of Vienna negotiated status quo.





BTW Interesting introduction. Well written. Full of AAR flavour.
I enjoy the way it was prepared, looks more or less like a piece of Prussian state propaganda (those tales about inferiority and falsified historical notes about early Prussians, T.Order and the loss of Danzig by the Order).
It reminds my Friedrich II who more or less used similar arguments.
Please, continue.




I will follow this AAR closely. :)
 

PrawnStar

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That's a good start - does Austria get a wave of reserves to dump all over you at some point?

What's your idea of a worthwhile peace? Bohemia would probably be enough to make the ghost of Frederick the Great happy.
 

likk9922

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Good job so far. Take land and peace out! :)
 

unmerged(24320)

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robou: ...However, if he let the Austrians take Kraków...

so very true ! ! you had to strike while the iron was hot ! ! :)

robou:
...By February 19th, the situation was most favourable to the Prussians. .. so the war would go on for several more months.

best of luck in the war ! ! :D

awesome AAR ! !
:cool:
 

robou

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Edzako: Hopefully. I couldn't care less about the bloodshed though, more about my treasury. Even if i only have 8 of my 28 reserves deployed, i have to pay for them all...

phargle: With Prague and Vienna being the flag ships? ;) I won't stick a Hohen on the throne, it wouldn't be right role-play wise. Techinically my war is defensive. Austria declared war on Krakow ---> i support Krakow making it an Austrian conflict rather than a Confederation conflict. Therefore the defense pacts Austria has count for nothing.

Capibara: What without planning or well? :D

stnylan: favourable but not crushing. Hurting Austria too much would destroy the delicate structure of central Europe...

cegorach: yes this would not have been possible in real-life, but seeing that no-one starts out guarenteeing Krakow i can make best use of it. Glad you are enjoying and welcome aboard.

asd21593: sounds easier than it is for reasons soon to be divulged.

PrawnStar: Not at the moment. It would appear that Austria had not built anymore divisions than the 12 she had in 1836, and also doesn't seem to have any reserves. Wether it will be like that in wars to come... who knows. I trust that Austria will learn from her mistakes!

likk9922: ah but which land?

GhostWriter: I couldn't have missed the oppertunity! Honoured to have you following!

update in about an hour
 

robou

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1839: The Real Leader

Almost as soon as Vienna had fallen to von Zieten's troops, orders were given to mount two attacks to drive what Austrian troops were left away from their occupied Capital. If the Austrians re-took Vienna, they would have the upper-hand and have the Prussian on the back foot. The only troops left near the Capital was Angeli's Corps located in Sopron and a division of Austrian cavalry. Von Zieten would clear out Angeli, keeping his now rag-tag troops on the retreat. The reserves would attack at Sankt Polten and drive off the enemy cavalry. Once enemy troops were out of sight of the Capital, negotiations with the Emperor could begin.

Von Zieten's cavalry bumped into Angeli's Corps outside of Sopron while they were still at camp. Although Von Zieten could only commit four brigades at a time, the effect of even this show was to have a huge effect. The already badly demoralized troops ran, rode and hitched their way out of the camp and went running into Hungary, The Prince of Liechtenstein had taken over the Corps, but it did not help one bit. The southern edge of Vienna was secure.

sopron.jpg

Rout at Sopron
Casualties:
Prussian minimal
Austrian ~200

On the North Western side of Vienna, Erzherzog Karl's cavalry were woken by the sounds of thousands of guns bearing down on them. 60,000 Prussian Infantry were attacking them, their intention obviously clear to the General: push him away from Vienna. However much he would have wanted to halt them, Karl could do nothing but run against such odds. By sheer force, the North Western flank of Vienna was secure. Now only two channels still laid open to the Austrians, the East and the South West. The South West would not be attack by any Austrian commander; the presence of 60,000 Prussians was too much to risk a division or a corps trying to retake Vienna. The eastern side was still open, though a Prussian force under General von Wrangel, 20,000 infantry, was securing Bratislava and if this was done the gap would be closed.

General Berres knew this all too well. However, if he acted quick enough, he could move his 20,000 Hungarians to keep the gap open until reinforcements arrived. If he got there first, he would most likely be able to hold von Wrangel off for a month; more than enough time for two or three more Hapsburg divisions to reach him. Luckily for General Berres, he did act quick enough, otherwise slaughter could have ensued. However, General Wrangel had 2,000 more men than Berres, his handy Engineer's proving their worth again.

So, even though Berres had the high ground, just as the Hatian's had done at Pétionville, Wrangel could still numerically win the battle. Throwing his engineers and perhaps two brigades of infantry around to the side of Berres positions, he kept the Austrians spread out and taking casualties. These flanking moves also had a demoralising effect on the defenders, and it was clear that within the month of March, Von Wrangel would have the field.

brat1.jpg

The Bratislava Skirmishes

However, the situation changed somewhat on March 28th. Von Wrangel's scouts, made up from the most excellent of his engineers, reported that Berres was soon to recieve reinforcments. A Hungarian Divison from the south would arrive sometime in early April and a division trekking over the Carpathians from Gallacia would be there later in April. Obviously, Berres also knew this, and even though by April 3rd, one of his divisions had lost almost half its strenght and all cohesion had all but fallen apart, Berres continued to hold in the hope that the Hungarians would arrive to relieve him. On that day, a force was spotted on the Southern horizon, and the Austrians believed the battle to now be back in their favour, but a stronger telescope soon confirmed that the force was 20,000 horsemen in Prussian uniforms: General Von Zieten's cavalry. Berres gave up, the battle was lost. He, and the other divisions that had come to reinforce him, retreated into the depths of Hungary. Bratislava was to be the bloodiest, and last, battle of the war.

brat2.jpg

The end of the Battles of Bratislava
Casualties:
Prussian ~ 5,000
Austrian ~ 7,000


With the battle of Bratislava over and the routes to Vienna secured by 80,000 Prussians, the Austrians finally, though reluctantly came to the table. The Prussians also accepted to negotiate peace and a conference was held in Luzern, Swtizerland.

The eventual terms decided on were:

1) The Sudetenland is handed to Prussia as the people there are most ethnically close to the Prussian Germans rather than the Austrians. Austria was to also drop it's claims to the Sudeten area

2) The Free City of Kraków was to be restored to all the rights it had before the Austrian Invasion and Prussia was to act as it's protector

3) Austria will remain leader of the German Confederation

4) Prussia will continue to be a core member of the German Confederation and it's rights as a member be respected by Vienna as Vienna would respect any other German states rights.



Point 1 was attended too well enough, and the territories along the northern sections of Bohemia were handed to Prussia without incident. However, Austria never official dropped its claim to the cities of Troppau, Cieszyn and Karlsbad.

No one thought that Prussia would keep to point two, Kraków was now too much of a burden to carry. Prussia had proved she could beat Austria without too much effort already now, but wars from now on would have to ensure that Prussia increased her control over the Confederation rather than proving she was more powerful than Austria; most German states had recognized Prussia's military power long before the Kraków War.

Points 3 and 4 would generally mean that both Prussia and Austria were to annouce that now the war was over they would again align themselves next to each other and continue to give Germany great service. However, this never happen*. Never again would Austria and Prussia co-operate as a combined force, like they had done against Napoleon, again, and Germany would most likely suffer because of it. But suffering was only temporary, Prussia would see that it was so...

auspeace.jpg

The Treaty of Luzern, May 26th 1839

Total War Casualties:
Prussian ~8900
Austrian ~8900**




---------------------​

Notes:
*In gameplay terms, i don't have an alliance with Austria any longer.
**Pure coincidence that these are the same!
 
Last edited:

Woody Man

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Ahh excellent, good solid gains!
 

Capibara

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Great peace deal, now the Austrians know who's the boss :D Time to confirm Prussian hegemony over Germany
 

stnylan

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Very true, weakening Austria too much could cause complications.
 

ColossusCrusher

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When there was a map of your cores, I forget if I saw one on Munich...?
Nice result, the borders will clear up once you unify. :)
 

phargle

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A delicate peace. I was hoping for Austria to not just cave like that. Taking Karlsbad is kind of ballsy since it cuts off Austria from some of those nearby German states - it's probably the most important part of the treaty.

Also, saving Krakow - maybe it's time to write some sort of event that causes the Poles in Russia to rise up in hopes of a Prussian intervention. :)
 

cegorach

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phargle said:
Also, saving Krakow - maybe it's time to write some sort of event that causes the Poles in Russia to rise up in hopes of a Prussian intervention. :)


Only less than a decade from the November Uprising and with 'random executions' in Posen that would be too gamey.
'Polish Question' wouldn't exist in this form for sure.


I personally see more opportunities fro an alliance with Russia - only this way its assured - in long term - hostility could be avoided.
Something which existed during the time of Bismarck.

Besides earlier defeat with Prussia might move Austria towards a federal system before it really happened - this way Galizia (actually Lesser Poland and western Ukraine) would become a hub of Polish independence movement quicker which in turn would be answered with Russia moving closer towards Prussia.
On the other hand a civil war in Austrian Empire could also happen, but again this would bring little reasons for Russia and Prussia to engage in hostilities against each other.
If Hungary goes for independence war it would be wise to quell this movement (this as in real life would open a whole, terrible 'Pandora box' of national and ethnical dangers to neighbouring Russia e.g. Polish Legion in Hungarian army) or push Rumania closer with promises of Transylvania.


Those are my predictions, how accurate and useful it is another question, but the quoted idea is impossible to implement after the dramatic change in Prussian policy.

Besides this could attract Britain as guardian of Vienna negotiated status quo.