Learning from Prussia - a Rise of Prussia AAR against a real player - for beginners

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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loki100

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very impressed with your manouvres around Kassel, presume if that ends in victory by early October you can disrupt a few of his sieges in Saxony and then winter will force him back in any case? If so you've ridden out a very difficult year with very limited losses ...
 

Narwhal

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Part XXXXIII –Late September 1758 – The mouse has escaped

Baris saw the trap, and escaped at the very last moment :



At least, Kassel is freed without combat. My opponent has wasted 3 months of most of his Western armies. For me, it is a clear victory without firing a shoot.

One of the French armies did not escape from some reason. It is going to pay for the others :



Von Schwerin is not sent in attack but back to Saxony to threaten the enemy as soon as possible. The rest of Frederick’s army will soon follow.

In Saxony, I am under a full-fledged attack, led by Von Daun himself.



I believe there are two armies with von Daun, but cannot be sure now :)

Breslau is breached already ! Will it hold long enough for my relieving forces to come help it ?



[The ebprinz Karl has merged with Cumberland’s army]


Finally, in France, the disastrous expedition of St-Malo ends on a British defeat. The Austrian player gets 10 NM !

 
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Narwhal

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Part XXXXIV –Early October 1758 –Annus Miserabilis ?

October sees some very bad, bad news fall on poor and innocent Prussia…

Breslau surrendered without combat :



Bunch of cowards ! Just when my troops were one turn away. I am not going to attack now, but to wait on the other side of the river to have the protection it offers, and maybe siege Breslau if Baris winters early.

Other bad news : the fall of Cheminitz to Franz Nadasdy’s army :



Franz Nadasdy then rushed to Leipzig, that he also assaulted (Leipzig has no walls) :



Way to become the Queen’s favorite, Franz !

[Rule note : an army on “Assault Posture” will only assault an enemy structure if it has stopped all movement. You can bypass this rule if you also set your Rule of Engagement in “All Out Attack”. It can be very efficient – like here with Baris taking two cities in one turn – and also very risky…]

More bad news : Picolomini meets some of my scouts (the chances are always very low, but not null), and destroy them without any loss :



Some enemy army led by some dude called Karl Kheul meets more of my hussars, who were going back to resupply from a far away scouting expedition, and utterly destroys them :



At least there are survivors… But in practice I have no more eyes in the area. At least Hussars are quick enough so that I can bring some more in a couple turns.

In Kassel, the situation is dire. More accurately, the situation in Saxony makes the one in Kassel dire.
The enemy army escaped, but that’s not my main source of worries.

Now all my armies are in Kassel, except von Schwerin. I CANNOT afford to retreat to Hannover, because the Austrians will push to Torgau, then Brandeburg, and then… Berlin, while the French are not a threat anymore to Hannover for the time being. I need to gather all my forces and march on Saxony.



But this will be a succeed-or-die march : my supplies are average at best (Kassel don’t provide quite enough), and I won’t find any in Saxony as long as I don’t take a city or go through the Austrian lines to reach Torgau (where the supplies flow from Berlin)... provided Torgau is not taken by then. Even if I had supplies, winter is coming, and snow already fell on the way to Saxony (october "only", so it should not last), but von Schwerin is in the snow without supply wagons (that's why he is so fast) so he will suffer from frostbite... Can I even reach Saxony without my armies melting due to winter ?

This is desperate, but I have no choice.

Now, I can only regret to have tried to destroy that last army, and not having used those 15 days to rush back to Saxony. Maybe Baris left that army on purpose to entice me to do this mistake.


Finally, I should add that in East Prussia, the Russians tried a probing attack…



… that failed, so it is not only horrible, terrible news this turn.
 
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loki100

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well as a reader this just gets better (as it gets worse for you), but being sympathetic, this is becoming very tense, presume if your do or die march fails then you take a lot of damage to your main remaining combat army?
 

Narwhal

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There are no "die or march" order. What I meant is that I have to arrive before winter, but not haste to much with forced marchs (which can fail and can also destroy cohesion) so that my combat force is still strong enough. If I succeed at this, I will have ca 100 000 men in one huge army, so I have a chance.
 

Narwhal

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Part XXXXV –Late October 1758 – Dresden surrenders !



The bad news carry on on late October 1758…

Dresden has surrendered to the Austrians without combat :



For some reason, the walls have disappeared. I discovered during the game that it happens to many Prussian cities when they are captured by the Austrians, so I suppose it is a script – but I have no message telling me anything.

Torgau is left : Baris has made sure he has military control on the road from Dresden to Torgau…

My main Prussian-English-Hannoverian-Hessian army is still marching on Saxony, but my army is hit by a poor sanitation event, which means I will have to stop in Erfurt to recover my cohesion… One more turn loss, and the supplies are running low…



Von Schwerin will still march in front to take and defend Halle. It is not showed on the map (forget to put it before uploading).

At least, in Silesia, the Austrians have retreated – they were one column against two – so I am going to siege Breslau next turn.



Ferdinand, who has been freed due to the Frederick take-over of his army, is going to replace Cumberland as Commander-in-Chief on this theater
 
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Narwhal

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Part XXXXVI –Early November 1758 – Winter behind Frederick

A few cavalrymen could have taken Halle ! But Baris did not bother to scout, and now Schwerin found a safe place to rest from his mad march, a place from which the supplies flow from Berlin through Torgau.
For Frederick, though, the safe harbor of Halle is still far away :

CONTREATTAQUE

Winter is behind him, and he has to march through snow to reach Halle, where he will be able to rest and recover some supplies. He can do it in exactly 15 days…. PERFECT !




As you can see, Von Daun has taken defensive position in Leipzig… He wants to deny my this major supply center ! I expect the rest of the Austrian army to join him.

… except Picolomini’s column, busy raiding and taking the city of Bautzen :



Not really a major urban center, but I am afraid Picolomini gets transferred to the Silesian front. But then, maybe it is better for me that he is on that secondary front rather than helping Von Daun.

I am now sieging Breslau back, but I am afraid that Picolomini might cut the way back. Due to the snow on his way, I don’t believe it is likely, though, so I decide to carry on with my siege. I pondered this decision a lot.



A French army is sieging Minden, just a few days away from the city of Hannover !



That army is one of the French armies (the only one ?) not involved in the siege of Kassel.

The army that stayed last in Kassel is still not back home, and is now marching in the snow. I suppose it has taken quite a few damages due to frostbite, as its supply level is most likely low.

Finally, here is a large view of the situation, to see both Silesia and Saxony. As you can see, Picolomini is right in the middle.

 
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Narwhal

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Part XXXXVI –Late November 1758 – Objective : Leipzig

In Late November 1758, Frederick finally succeeded in reaching the small city of Halle in Saxony.



Von Daun has moved in front of the river, probably to block von Schwerin. Don’t let the lonely face of that Austria general fool you, there are 2 or 3 more stacks “under” him.

The army was tired (not exhausted, due to all those stops in towns and cities), but the weather was good. It was probably the last turn before total winter, so Frederick had to act decisively: Leipzig must be attacked now.



As you can see, I reorganized my army in only 5 columns – the English and Hessian will fight under Frederick direct command instead of under the command of their poor leaders. I decide to cross at Merseburg (only place where I can cross in a short enough time to “finish” in Leipzig) and rush on Leipzig. It is very likely that Von Daun will try to stop me… unfortunately Baris has no idea on whether I plan to relieve the siege of Torgau or attack Leipzig (or just wait), so he has a decision to make on which “crossing” to block. He could send one of his army on each of the potential crossing, but that would mean some of his armies would be two provinces apart, so they could not help each other in battle. I am pretty sure he hesitated for quite a long time.

In Silesia, the siege of Breslau is succeeding (breach !) but an enemy column is moving on me. Battle expected next turn, but I am in a defensive position, so I should win.



As you can see, Picolomini is moving to the West, albeit slowly.

Finally, Minden resists :
 

baris30

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Marvelous screenshot ! very good summary of the situation Narwhal. :)
Besides mountain skiing in the snow ,Picco indeed sent to interfere with Ferdinand unfair and unjust rivaly against the lonely Von Bilbers.
But Piccolomini name echoed twice in last part, there should be something about him? Maybe he anticipated what was really coming... :)
 

morningSIDEr

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A pity that Baris identified the trap just before it could be sprung (well done to you though Baris!), still as you say you kept his armies busy for three precious months, so a victory for yourself nonetheless. Currently with all of the maneuvering by both sides it is tough to say who is now in the ascendancy. Still, it makes for an engrossing read as I am not at all sure who is going to come out on top here.
 
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4th Dimension

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A pity that Baris identified the trap just before it could be sprung (well done to you though Baris!), still as you say you kept his armies busy for three precious months, so a victory for yourself nonetheless. Currently with all of the maneuvering by both sides it is tough to say who is now in the ascendancy. Still, it makes for an engrossing read as I am not at all sure who is going to come out on top here.

Well time is working AGAINST the Prussians. So each year the do not inflict a colosal losses to their enemies, is a loss to them, as I understand it. But also, sooner or later Austrian allies are going to tire of this and quit.
 

loki100

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Well time is working AGAINST the Prussians. So each year the do not inflict a colosal losses to their enemies, is a loss to them, as I understand it. But also, sooner or later Austrian allies are going to tire of this and quit.

If the game is set up to reflect the wider events of the 7 years war, then I agree, Narwhal basically has to hang in there to about 1790 when Russia will briefly fall away and Britain & France start to lose interest. But thats at least a year of skilled footwork away? And, effectively every year he loses the current advantages of having the best trained army as his best formations are ground down.
 

Narwhal

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Part XXXXVIII –Early December 1758 – Dodging the Austrians

Baris bet on me trying to free Torgau from the siege – and moved his troops accordingly to block the crossing of the river. This allowed me to go to Leipzig unchallenged.



I plan to take the city next turn (my troops are ordered to get ready for assault – and there is a huge chance of breach next turn) – which means I will have to spend one turn only “in winter”. The weather, while cold, is good this turn, and my supply wagons still have a few reserves, so I should not get too many frostbites.

As you can see, Bevern is sent to take Chemnitz. Not really the largest city, but that is a free catch in my situation.

In Breslau, Ernst von Bilberstein tried to interrupt the siege :



It is a clear defeat for the Austrians. Bilberstein has 4-1-5 stats, so using him in attack was not very efficient. No loss of element for me.

Unfortunately, the breach is closed in Breslau :



Since the weather is not good, nor is my supply level, I decide to retreat to Torgau to protect from winter.
I forget to say that Katte is not in command of the cavalry any more. Gerd von Brunk, Hannoverian commander, replaced him.

Minden is breached :



Worrying. Hannover would be next.


[I will answer the questions you asked later on]
 

Narwhal

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Part IL –Early December 1758 – A golden opportunity

As expected, Leipzig is breached and immediately assaulted :



2100 Austrians fell in defense of Leipzig. This is a pleasant surprise, and so are the 7 NM I received…
Chemnitz is similarly taken, but the combat is not worth showing (only a few fixed guns in defense – they are captured).

But the most pleasant surprised is the opportunity offered by some uninspired moves by Baris :

Baris tried to block the way from Leipzig to Torgau with only one army only. Franz Nadasdy is one province behind, retreating slowly to Dresden (he probably failed to activate – because usually he is quite fast). The four (Von Daun is with Kollowrat's column) Austrian armies are separated, and two of them have moved last turn and thus are not fortified. As for Daun’s, several turns in the snow will have weakened his force. This is a unique opportunity to destroy most of the Austrian army :



- I will first move from Leipzig to Torgau will all my force, so my 5 "consolidated-worth-7" armies will face between 1 and 4 armies (depending on the “march to the sound of the guns” activation), most probably winning the battle and, if von Daun (and Kollowrat) are involved which is likely, I will push them back to the North where they won’t move due to htheir defeat – so he will be out of action for the following turn.
- The next turn (late January 1759), I will move from Torgau to Dresden where I will face at most two (large) armies capable to fight (Nadasdy and Picolomini’s – and von Daun will be to far away to help with his outstanding defensive abilities.
- Finally, I may even want (if the enemy escaped south) to march to the depot of Dipposwale, thus “trapping” the badly mauled and unsupplied Austrian armies north of the Iron Mountain. With some additional luck, the pass will even be blocked – the whole Austrian army can be destroyed.
Bevern will have an important yet less prestigious role : protecting Leipzig so the routed enemies don’t take it to gather some supplies. As for Chemnitz, I hope the winter will block the pass south.

If this works, I might get rid of a good chunk of Baris forces, and hope again to win.

As for the other fronts :
- I could have carried on the siege of Breslau, as the winter is pretty mild. Too late.



- Minden surrendered without combat, and Hannover is without serious defense (I ordered Cumberland to lead the garrison)…



- Madras in India is sieged by the French, costing me 5 NM.

 
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Stuyvesant

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You always seem to come up with a grand plan to fit the (changed) circumstances. They don't always work the way you want to, but it's impressive how you always come up with something - and it's never a passive 'Let's dig in and hunker down' kind of plan.

Good stuff!
 

Narwhal

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Well time is working AGAINST the Prussians. So each year the do not inflict a colosal losses to their enemies, is a loss to them, as I understand it. But also, sooner or later Austrian allies are going to tire of this and quit.
Actually, both yes and no. 1758 is an horrible year for the Prussian, as the Austrians can attack full force. The beginning of 1759 is exactly the same, but by mid-1759 the events in New France (Canada) give regular large NM hits to the Austrians. If Prussia survives these two years, it can count on the English reinforcements formerly committed to the Colonies. So really, the main Prussian objective is to gain time in 1758 and 1759 - time is playing with him.

Moreover, I understand that the Austrian player gets more and more events ("French soldiers are not paid and revolt") destroying the cohesion of the armies of his allies as time goes. I believe it is the reason why Baris is only committing a couple armies in the attack to Minden : the two other armies, formerly sieging Kassel, are in revolt.

The allies (Sweden and Russia) will eventually quit. The quitting is hardcoded, but the moment at which they will quit is partly random and partly depending of the success of the ally in question. I BELIEVE for instance that if Stralsund is lost Sweden quits very quickly.

This won't happen before 1761 at least, though.
 

Narwhal

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You always seem to come up with a grand plan to fit the (changed) circumstances. They don't always work the way you want to, but it's impressive how you always come up with something - and it's never a passive 'Let's dig in and hunker down' kind of plan.

Good stuff!

That's one of the interest of the game. The Prussian player just cannot afford to do that : once I count out the forces I use to block the Swedes and the Russians (I believe Baris could be more active on the Swedish front, though), I have enough force to match exactly ONE of the two other fronts left (Austria, France). So I need to have a victory (with or without a battle, like in Kassel), then bring my force to the other front while my opponent reorganises on the first front, win again, bring my forces to the first front...

That is actually most of the history of the Seven Years War, with Frederick battling the Austrians, then the French, then the Austrians, then the French, ...
 

baris30

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Well written Narwhal,
As for new players it should be mentioned that the main armies can give difficulty to Prussia are Austrians and French. Swedish and Russians should be considered as "support forces". Swedish main rule in early part is to disturb Prussian player that they station some of his armies near Berlin or Sweden while French advancing to Hannover.

Geographically French, Austrians and Russians and Swedish are too far way to concentrate forces succesfully even they have 2-3 times populated armies versus Prussia. Prussia had the advantage to combine forces of hannover and prussia under Frederick. This game is very well designed in the philosophy of leadership against numbers. With Narwhal's skills and Prussian leadership, Prussian armies are very adept and capable to inflict greater damage to Austria or French if they are caught even 1*5 numbers.
Better to be cautious :)

Oh my poor fortified camp. Trusted at least to hold 1 more turn :(
 

Narwhal

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Part L –Early January 1759 – Like a knife in hot butter !

I know some of you are waiting to know what happened, but first a short update on the situation. The winter is really hot in Saxony, so I won’t do a point about my new objectives – at this moment they are very, very short term, but here is a point about my forces :



This is going to change a lot, so I will not develop too much. A few points, though :

- The Northern army is getting thinner and thinner, as I needed its troops to field an army in Silesia. It is actually weak to the point that it cannot resist an attack by what Baris has up there
- On the other hand, the Eastern army (facing the Russians) is stronger than at the beginning of the year. I was fearing another massive attack, and decided to allocate some reinforcement there.
- Frederick’s army is powerful – but once the Austrians are defeated (hopefully) I will have to send half the army back to protect Hannover.
- Overall, the size of my army increased (+15%) in the period, due to the very small number of battles and the arrival of replacements essentially.

Now, back to action.

As the title implies, the plan worked. It even worked surprisingly well. The army I was planning to fight (Kheul’s) escaped at the last moment, but I intercepted Daun and Kollowrat on their dash to Dresden.



Due to the weather (rain & mud), the battle was relatively bloodless (given the size and the determination of the armies), but von Daun and Kollowrat are pushed back to where they come from : one more turn in winter, and 4 NM for Prussia.

At Torgau, I meet another small army of imperials, led by the Graf Hohenzollern :



With 2750 dead soldiers out of 7860, and 66 hits while the army retreats, I am pretty confident that’s an army I won’t face again. Only 477 dead men on my side – glorious. This gives me 3 well deserve NM.

I can now launch the second part of the plan – the march on Dresden :



Von Daun will be out of action this turn, so Nadasdy will be in command for defense (except if he has less seniority than Kheul, I actually don’t know). Nadasdy is an horrible defender (he is 5-4-1). Plus he has the “Reckless” characteristic, which makes him a bad retreater when the situation is not good, as he does not want to retreat.

With some luck, I will first meet Kheul and the destroyed Hohenzollern army, beat them, then face Nadasdy in Dresden. If this is what happens – well, I should inflict a decisive defeat to my opponent.

Von Daun and Kollowrat next moves are a mystery for me. There are three “solutions” for Baris :
- A dash through Chemnitz. Either the pass is not blocked and Von Daun is safe, or the pass is blocked by snow, and Von Daun will lose one more turn while being out of supply – and also will have his troops stationed in a mountain in winter.
- A dash for Dresden. In this case, he will meet Frederick and his troops, and most likely lose. But he might not think I would try something as aggressive as an attack on Dresden right now.
- An attack against Leipzig to winter there. Not really Baris’s style of play, but he can surprise me.

Difficult decision for Baris.
I hope Baris will choose the second solution, I cannot do anything against the first and I need to prepare against the third. That’s why I give a very special order to Bevern, currently in Leipzig :



Hide in the city !

This is a dangerous order to give in general – as an army in a city is trapped. But in this situation, Von Daun cannot siege an army of the size of Von Daun. The fact that Bevern will be inside the city will ruin his chance to succeed an assault or an instant surrender (instand surrenders only happens where the garrison is very small), and of course he cannot wait in winter and out of supply for Bevern to finish his supplies. So the best solution is to keep Bevern in the city. If Bevern was outside the city, he could be defeated and just retreat out of the province – not good.

In other news, the British prove useful, by sending me massive helps in subsidies :



And allowing me to recruit an handful of men :

 
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