• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

MacGowan

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INTRODUCTION

This is a fictional story with an unplanned plot.
It is determined by using a grand strategy wargame
and written down as events unfold.

Its aim is to be a solemn and respectful account
of a generation that was destroyed by the First World War.

It begins as the old stories always do;
With the death of Franz Ferdinand,
and the great unraveling.

















CHAPTER INDEX
1914

JUNE
28—30 The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

JULY
1—7 The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
7-14 The July Crisis
14-21 Austria-Hungary delivers ultimatum to Serbia
21-28 Mobilisation
28-31 On the eve of war

AUGUST
1-4 On the eve of war
4-11 WAR!
11-18 The massacre in the North Sea
18-25 The Ottoman Empire joins the Central Powers
25-31 The Battle of Belgium

SEPTEMBER
1 The Battle of Belgium
1-8 The enemy breaks through at Hirson










APPENDIX
PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE (1914)
SELECTED SOUNDTRACK

















 
Last edited:

MacGowan

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JUNE 28 - JULY 7, 1914

THE ASSASSINATION OF ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND

"The times change, and we change with them."

- Latin proverb -




A bomb detonates in front of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife


Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary


“We have to leave!”

The door flung open and almost hit the cat. Vlad jumped back in terror.

“Pack your bags, brother. We have to leave right now.”

Bete had no later than locked the door to the apartment before he began stuffing their clothes into the suitcase.

Vlad stood there like a fool trying to find the words to say. He was the very opposite of his big brother: Smaller and more innocent. Whenever Bete would pace around in the apartment, every plank would moan in response. Now it sounded as if a deaf choir was conducting its grand symphony.

“What is wrong?” Vlad finally strung together two words.

Bete stopped dead in his track as if suddenly broken out of a trance.

“He is dead.”

“Who?”

“The Archduke.”

Vlad dropped his hat in shock. Had they succeeded? Would they be free now?

“What?”

“They blew up the whole damn car.”
Bete’s voice was cracking. It never did. Not even when the hoodlums had robbed them on that night in Belgrade. Bete was a locomotive. A pillar. Vlad would follow him to the ends of the earth.​

“The police is rounding up all the suspects.” He said. “It will not be long before they come for us, brother.”

Vlad’s ears now instinctively turned to the sounds in the streets. He noticed Bete hadn’t been the only one causing commotion. The whole neighborhood was in an uproar. Women wailing and children crying, as angry voices echoed throughout the area, no doubt searching for Serbs.

Serbs like them.

“Open up!” a stern authoritarian voice called out, accompanied by a heavy pounding on the door.

“Open up in the name of the law!”

The cat peeled out of the rear window.

Bete grabbed Vlad by the collar.






-------------------------------------------------


London, England


Captain John Robertson looked down—The medal hung heavy on his chest, staining his uniform. South Africa had been nothing but a disaster for him—First he was awarded a bullet through his shoulder, and then cursed with a medal for all his troubles.

Whenever his wife dragged him to parties it would be an embarrassment. He could still hear her friends ask him about it.

“I thought we lost that battle” one of them once said.

Nothing stings more than the truth.

He adjusted his collar and looked at the sign.

OFFICES OF THE CHIEF OF THE IMPERIAL GENERAL STAFF.

John swallowed. Few things scared him more than paperwork—Miles and miles of names and numbers, dates and time. Everything had to be connected, checked and rechecked. It was tiring, not to mention tedious work. But yet, here he was, ready to begin his new life as a bench boy for the empire.

“Looks rather frightening, doesn’t it?” An old voice crackled behind him. John turned around.

“Pardon me?”

“Oh, you are very much pardoned, young man.”

Infront of him stood a short, stout Brigadier-General with a large mustache.

“Brigadier-General, sir,” John immediately jumped into attention.

“I haven’t been a proper General in many years, chap.”
He chuckled. “I’m simply Cecil.”

“Yes, Cecil, Sir.”


The office was a mess: In the middle stood Cecil’s desk overfilled with stacks of paper, with a cramped window leading to the neighboring brick building which barely let any air in. On one side stood two bookshelves filled to the brink, and on the last wall hung a large map of Europe.


“A beauty isn’t she?”

“Who?”
John asked, looking around.​

“Europe!” General Cecil exclaimed and laid his hands on it, gently patting it as if it was his favorite horse. “The cradle of civilisation!”

“Sir?”

“Cecil.”

“Cecil,”
he braced himself, trying not to seem condescending. “I was transferred here to aid you, sir. To organize your papers, relay your messages...”

“Rubbish” Cecil interrupted, and tapped on John’s medal “Such a terrible ordeal.” He squinted up at him.

John avoided his stare.

“You’re here because I require someone sane.” He pulled away from John to pop his head out into the hallway “Ms. Coward, please be a darling and fetch us some Scotch.”

“Sir... Cecil. If you want someone to talk to...”

“I require a mind that has been there.” Cecil grunted. “A mind that intimately appreciates what happens to all those bloody pins and markers on that map. A mind that can tell me what Tommy is thinking, what the enemy is thinking.”

John was taken aback. The British Government had long tried telling him how the war went, rather than listening to his version of it. He hung his jacket on the coat hanger and grabbed a seat next to the overfilled desk.

“The enemy?”

“The Austro-Hungarians are tearing through Sarajevo, punishing every Serb they can lay their fingers on.

Nedeljko Čabrinović may have died in the terrible blast, but they have uncovered a whole network of conspirators who were involved in this whole ordeal. All apparently fighting for independence for the Serbs.

The funeral for the unfortunate Franz Ferdinand, and his wife took place 2 days ago in Vienna. Austrian Emperor Joseph I was in attendance, as well as other high ranking members of the government.

This is shaking up to be a bad one, chap. Yesterday, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey received a warning from German ambassador Karl Max of likely war in the Balkans. Despite all this Grey seem rather optimistic.

He says, if Kaiser Wilhelm II went on his annual cruise to Norway, how bad can it be?
Well I believe it’s as bad as it can get. If Austria-Hungary declare war on Serbia, Russia will declare war on Austria-Hungary, and so on, and so forth.
Look here, chap, I’ll draw you up where the nations stand as of today. Look at that. What a sordid mess.”


John scratched his head.

“So what you are telling me, sir, is that Europe is on the brink of war?”

Ms. Coward entered the office carrying two glasses of scotch. Cecil grabbed one of them and took a generous sip.

“I’m saying the world is.”






-------------------------------------------------


North of Munich, Germany


Erich’s sister jumped into his arms as he came home from school. Her red bow brushing against his chin.

“What did you learn today?” Maria asked.

“That Germany is the greatest nation on earth.” Erich professed proudly.

“Didn’t they teach you that yesterday?”

“Well it was also true yesterday.”

Erich was a young man of 17 and Maria had just reached 10. Together they lived at a farm outside of Wangen with their hardworking parents.
He took her hand and walked up to the house where their mother was busy making tea.

“How was school, dear?” She asked as Erich walked in the front door.

“Same old.” He smiled, displaying his crooked front tooth. “Where’s father?”

She picked out a few plates from the cupboard. “Oh, he’s out back” Reading about the terrible ordeal in the Balkans, I’m sure. He’ll be with us in a moment.”

Maria made faces. Erich ignored her.

“What are they saying, mother? Will there be a war?”

She put the plates down.

“Now don’t you get any funny ideas, Erich.” She said. “We need you at the farm. Besides, Germany has all the soldiers it can handle.”

“Yes, mother.” Erich answered, dreaming of the dashing German uniform he had seen on the soldiers in Munich.

Father opened the back door.

Maria ran away as he entered the room. Father was a righteous man, but a stern one, and one who could easily scare young boys and girls with his demeanor. It had not been many years since Erich himself had stopped fearing him.

“Cursed Balkans.” He muttered to himself while twirling on his mustache. “Nothing but problems there.”

Mother nodded in agreement.

“We should ride down there and teach them a lesson.” Erich said, trying to impress his father.

“What do you know about that?” Father said. “What does a naive little boy, as yourself, know about war?”

Erich sat there embarrassed.

The kettle whistled. His mother broke the tension.

“Tea, anyone?”







 
Last edited:

Ericafaq

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I'm glad to see your new work, and of course i'm will watch it

But i'm have only one question about my last work for your AAR about alien invasion ; Are you planning to write this AAR in the future? It will be sad if my work will be in vain.
 

MacGowan

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I can understand not wanting to get into the nitty gritty sometimes, and WW1 was full of this kind of incomprehensible mad decisions that only make sense after hours of study giving the specific context of the situation.
I'll try to get right into the nitty gritty. The foolishness. Which is why I'm thinking about having more POVs in this AAR, let me know if you guys think there's too much rambling text.

I think WW1 has a bit of a challange compared to the myriad of film ww2 got on record. World at war remains one of the best history documentaries and book series ever.
The World at War might be the greatest war documentary ever made IMO, BUT I will submit these two gems for any documentary nut to watch:
Very much in the same vein. quintessential WWI documentaries.

about your books, my english its not good enough. Shame.
Story of my life.
Glad to see you went through with the WWI AAR idea :) Following with interest.
Thank you.
That was a great read, congratulations and I certainly hope to see more of it :)
Thank you, comments like this makes me wanna write more. :)
I'm glad to see your new work, and of course i'm will watch it
I'm glad to hear it Ericafaq, I always respect your opinion.
i'm have only one question about my last work for your AAR about alien invasion ; Are you planning to write this AAR in the future? It will be sad if my work will be in vain.
I'm so sorry to say it appears I won't be writing it. I posted this on the other thread.
Ericafaq did a great job with the mod. Unfortunately there are still some issues that need to be addressed. I've spent a few days trying to mod it myself and it's painfully clear that I lack the skills to do so.

What I need done for this AAR.

  1. UK government updated
  2. US government updated
  3. UK production line updated (I know there are 2 aircraft carriers and a few other navy ships coming off the line)
  4. Alien government
  5. Alien research companies
  6. Unit graphics for Alien military (I have them finished, but can't implement them)
  7. Add Alien navy and airforce
  8. Add Alien military leaders
  9. Some issue that causes Belfast and Cyprus to be without supply
Hopefully someone out there wants to help me with this.
No one ever got back to me. So I was left with 2 options:
  1. Cancel the AAR.
  2. Move to make the WWI AAR.



Here are some things I think I could do better from AAWWII.
  • I think the graphics could be a bit too complicated: too many pictures squeezed into one.
  • Not enough story depth; I loved the Red Wolves, the Iron Falcon, General Fyodor, etc. But I wished I could have written something in their POV.

The next update might take a little while (14 July). Hoping to use the month before the war (28 July) for some diplomatic action, and backstory.

AAWWII was amazing, primarily because of you guys coming with feedback, shaping the story, so don't be a stranger if you have some opinions or historical corrections where needed. this upcoming month will set the template for what this AAR will be.
 
Last edited:

TheButterflyComposer

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I'll try to get right into the nitty gritty. The foolishness. Which is why I'm thinking about having more POVs in this AAR, let me know if you guys think there's too much rambling text.
I quite like it. Would be great to have all of us focus on strategy and high table stuff, have that be played out in the AAR, and then slap us in the face with the consequences of our actions by describing soldiers on the ground POV as they and their friends die in our battle plans.

Who are you are you playing as btw? And how far can we/you push the realm of alt history? Since...well, I don't think anyone here would actually want our countries involved in the war at all. Even otl reasons might have to be expanded on/commented on, cos some of the players joined for such inane reasons. Most of the intial big players had quite understandable ones though.
 
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Conquerer1234

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Ah, the seminal tragedy that was 1914, if I am to guess you will focus more on the western front than any other given its proximity to London when you join the war. Personally I am more of a Turkey first guy myself.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Ah, the seminal tragedy that was 1914, if I am to guess you will focus more on the western front than any other given its proximity to London when you join the war. Personally I am more of a Turkey first guy myself.
It always holds such tantalising possibility. However...needs go be planned and executed far better than otl. Don't give the navy a month and then change it after a failed naval assult to an amphibious landing. Pulled off properly however, it would certainly pin down a lot of ottoman resourced whilst you clean up the arabian desert.
 

Bullfilter

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Tuned in to have a look. :)
 

J_Master

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Good to see you back MacGowan! I like your setup. It seems that this setup will allow us to see both the big picture of the war and some more smaller and personal stories. I would love to see something with Belgian refugees or the Maritz Rebellion
 

stnylan

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Very nice beginning
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I already thought something was off about the beginning. So it's the bomb that kills Franz Ferdinand this time around?
Seems so. The assasin didn't screw up as badly as otl.

Then again, it was a very unlikely assasination in otl so suprised it went off without as many hitches here.
 

MacGowan

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I quite like it. Would be great to have all of us focus on strategy and high table stuff, have that be played out in the AAR, and then slap us in the face with the consequences of our actions by describing soldiers on the ground POV as they and their friends die in our battle plans.
That's the plan. But strategy will take a while. War doesn't break out until August, so I'll be setting up the scene, introducing characters. Also, I won't be making major changes to our nations production at first. We'll probably be running around like headless chickens for a bit. (just like OTL)
Who are you are you playing as btw?
Britain. I'm thinking General Cecil, and Captain John Robertson will be our main characters. Sort of like an evolution from AAWWII.
how far can we/you push the realm of alt history? Since...well, I don't think anyone here would actually want our countries involved in the war at all. Even otl reasons might have to be expanded on/commented on, cos some of the players joined for such inane reasons. Most of the intial big players had quite understandable ones though.
Well, one mistake I made in AAWWII was that I pushed the AI to the edge, and beyond. Thankfully the AI will have less issues with WWI (we hope). I think the initial steps will be pretty much like OTL. There will be a World War and it will come next month. Then we can respond to what happens in game (we could very much lose France for example).
I think the multiple perspectives work well -- it helps you get a feel for the scope of the events, seeing them from different angles separated across space and time.
Right?
I was worried if we do it like AAWWII every week would just be the number of casualties on the western front.
Ah, the seminal tragedy that was 1914, if I am to guess you will focus more on the western front than any other given its proximity to London when you join the war. Personally I am more of a Turkey first guy myself.
I'm hoping to jump around a little bit. most weeks should have Cecil and Robertson involved, guiding us. but maybe also a POV from a fighter ace, the ottoman empire, the tsar in Russia? I'm a big fan of World War Z (the book), and No Man's Land, both are heavily POV driven, with a ensemble of characters.
It always holds such tantalising possibility. However...needs go be planned and executed far better than otl. Don't give the navy a month and then change it after a failed naval assult to an amphibious landing. Pulled off properly however, it would certainly pin down a lot of ottoman resourced whilst you clean up the arabian desert.
Planning an amphibious assault in DH with WWI equipment. I shudder to think of how I'll pull that off...
But yes, just like in AAWWII things will take time.
Hopefully we will live with this fictional war for 4 years together. Every week a new chapter of problems and solutions.
Tuned in to have a look. :)
Very nice beginning
Looks very nice. The POVs are well written, so I'll be looking forward to more.
Thank you! I ended up posting the first chapter a bit prematurely (since the test i posted was just moved to this forum, grumble grumble). So next chapter won't be out until 14th July. Maybe I can cook up something fun in the meantime.
Good to see you back MacGowan! I like your setup. It seems that this setup will allow us to see both the big picture of the war and some more smaller and personal stories.
Thank you J_Master! I always appreciate your feedback.
I would love to see something with Belgian refugees or the Maritz Rebellion
Oh? very interesting. I'll have to read up on these.
Glad to have you back and I can't wait to see more of your amazing writing!
Thank you! We have to get a Canadian POV up in here. Anyone seen Passchendaele (2008)?

I already thought something was off about the beginning. So it's the bomb that kills Franz Ferdinand this time around?
Seems so. The assasin didn't screw up as badly as otl.
OTL: At 10:10 am,[70] Franz Ferdinand's car approached and Čabrinović threw his bomb. The bomb bounced off the folded back convertible cover into the street.[71] The bomb's timed detonator caused it to explode under the next car, putting that car out of action, leaving a 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m), 6.5-inch-deep (170 mm) crater,[70]and wounding 16–20 people.[72]

I figured it would be a good start of divergence to have Čabrinović succeed this time. To make it clear this is NOT our war of 1914-1918.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Planning an amphibious assault in DH with WWI equipment. I shudder to think of how I'll pull that off...
Well we'll have to try. We're playing as UK. Can't do much else, especially if you think we might actually lose france!

What I'd do (for turkey anyway) is actually plan it, unlike otl. And move it much further west, probably past cyprus, and try to link it up and combine it with a push through Arabia/Mesopotamia. Of course if you treat the Greeks a little nicer they might join in and really mess up Austria Hungary for you.

I figured it would be a good start of divergence to have Čabrinović succeed this time. To make it clear this is NOT our war of 1914-1918.
Yeah. We should probably make a list of things we absolutely must try to change.

1) the entire year of 1916 (especially for the British)

Since we're doing Britain, how are you going to be handling the imperial crisis at this time, since it is still salvageable in summer 1914 (espeically Ireland and the dominions) if you handle it right. Indeed, if you avoid too much damage and expenses in this war you might come out on top! I suppose it depends, as it always bloody does, on what france does.
 

stevefitz744

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I figured it would be a good start of divergence to have Čabrinović succeed this time. To make it clear this is NOT our war of 1914-1918.
You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention XD

But really this AAR is gonna be awesome and definitely liking the possibility of seeing many different parts of the world through POV's...best of luck :)