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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

loki100

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All corps in the same army can automatically march "to the sound of the guns". The only condition is that they must NOT be in "inactive" mode (the green mode).
You can make sure your armies move exactly at the same speed by checking the special move whose name I forget with the "two arrows". If the Commander-in-Chief has the icon checked, all units following the same path AND having the icon checked will move with him - so they will go at the speed of the slowest.
Be wary with using this icons - quite often you drag a unit without wanting it, thrasing your battle plans.
I managed that once in the Saxony training scenario, was convinced I'd finally worked out how to win and the whole Prussian army wandered off ... so far have been very cautious about using it.

Interesting AAR loki100. This "No move if unactivated" is going to be a pain in the ***. I used it once, lost an entire column due to lack of suplies and never used it again.
glad its enjoyable to follow. I actually like it the effect. It makes manouvering my large armies really difficult & certainly makes me cautious about ambitious (or complex) moves. I can easily see this game going the distance (unless I manage to lose) principally due to this. I sort of like the level of frustration it brings on.

Karlkrona is the most important Western port of Sweden (the other on the East being Göteborg, not in game - two ports were needed so Sweden doesn't pay the Sund toll). It is on the other side of the sea - the Prussians actually landed in Sweden. First time I see that. Good luck to go help Karlskrona.
Karlskrona is on the east and Göteborg in the west, alas :p
Indeed. Mistook East and West :)
reminds me of a time many years ago when I went to Australia and forgot a simple fundamental difference to how you navigate in NW Europe ...

James Keith? Woop! One of our nation's ultimate badasses!
thats the boy, he's also a really scarily good general. Usually if you play the Prussians he just ends up operating with Freddie so you don't often see him let out on his own. Anyway he's not the only really bad boy on the Prussian side, in the next post we get to meet the butcher of Culloden himself ... One can only hope they don't actually end up in the same army at the same time ...
 
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loki100

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I didn't mean to do that? August 1757

So the nice warm summer of 1757 slowly comes to an end. Charles of Lorraine completes his leisurely march to Bohemia



and the rest of the Austrian army slumbers in the cornfields of Bohemia.

Now, I'm starting to learn the virtue of inactivity in this game. First my goal for 1757 was to ensure this force stayed intact (& thats now most likely to be the outcome) and second, with Generals dropping asleep and so on, its too late in the year to move into Saxony and take something I can winter in (even if Freddie lets me)

Elsewhere:



This is the Karlskrona problem. Not much I can do but hope that winter arrives before the fortress falls. The Swedish army is all stuck either in sieges or sleeping in the woods, and I have no decent navy in the Baltic in any case.



Russia, I don't think I have time to take Koenigsburg this year now but will move to invest the fortress, at the moment this is my forces arriving and my cavalry raiding and scouting in the wider region



With Wesel mine, I build a depot and plan an attack on Munster. Again maybe too late but seems worth a gamble.



very similar at Kessel. It seems that new French general I ordered up just gives me another corps, useful but not what I really wanted. Anyway 2 corps and a fair few brigades of HRE units can do a raid on Kessel - at the least it may distract the Prussians from finishing off the Swedes.



Events, there were a few, my hope is that the Prussian sieges in the north just take too long for this campaigning year.



Russia in late August, I'm still getting into position and constructing a decent supply line



This shows very well the impact of a poor general and the don't move if inactive logic. The man with the mad staring eyes is inactive 2 turns out of 3 (he only has 2 as his strategic rating), so I decide to cancel any ambitious marches and move him to Bayreuth. He can spend winter listening to opera. I then move a couple of Bavarian brigades over to Karlsbad. They will create a nice firm east barrier to any Prussian attacks.



Finally at Munster, it seems there are no large enemy forces so I send one corps to start the siege (but just in case it has rather cautious orders) and the rest can move into place in early September.

That was the plan:



There were a lot of Prussian, Hannoverian and English forces there led by the evil Cumberland. As you can see, although I lost I didn't do too badly (helped by breaking off very early) and the main problem was sheer imbalance of numbers.

Other events?



well the good news is the lack of progress for the Prussians with their sieges. Its worrying that Keith has moved to that region as the Swedish army still slumbers in the forest and is very vulnerable.

and, this shows how quickly I was able to break off at Munster.

One last comment. Especially with the French, I have a real shortage of supply wagons. I think I need to decide on a single axis of attack in 1758 or I'll end up with no means of moving much beyond the border fortresses in any case.
 
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On Karlskrona : He probably brought his troops by bateaux (!). You cannot do the same as you don't have bateaux... for now. You can build some in Sweden or Memel I believe.

If you take you troops "locked" in Karlskrona out, they will engage the Prussians. The enemy forces seems very weak (Hussars, supply wagon and probably some infantry) so you might win. As a bonus, you will unlock your force this way).

I would not be too worried about Stralsund, as it has a hard-coded bonus against siege.

I still like the AAR. The unactive rule is really tough on you.

Finally, Cumberland "the butcher" is usually a pretty poor general (he has 0 in attack, "only" 2 in defense and the "Easily Angered" trait). But in your mode of play (locked if unactive), his 5 in strategy rating makes him a good general you can count on !
 

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On Karlskrona : He probably brought his troops by bateaux (!). You cannot do the same as you don't have bateaux... for now. You can build some in Sweden or Memel I believe.

If you take you troops "locked" in Karlskrona out, they will engage the Prussians. The enemy forces seems very weak (Hussars, supply wagon and probably some infantry) so you might win. As a bonus, you will unlock your force this way).

I would not be too worried about Stralsund, as it has a hard-coded bonus against siege.

I still like the AAR. The unactive rule is really tough on you.

Finally, Cumberland "the butcher" is usually a pretty poor general (he has 0 in attack, "only" 2 in defense and the "Easily Angered" trait). But in your mode of play (locked if unactive), his 5 in strategy rating makes him a good general you can count on !
I must admit I really like the effect. It gives a feel for having a potentially very powerful army but constantly having to heave it into position as opposed to making clever elegant moves. Against that background, Cumberland is dangerous not because he's any good but because he's very likely to be active, that ambush at Munster was downright nasty, as I thought all I was doing was starting a siege a turn early.
 

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Someone really doesn't like Swedes: September 1757

The process of dancing around looking for small advantages continues. Over in the east, I order my two active Russian corps to Koenigsberg in part to test out what is exactly there. Note they have orders not to prosecute an attack with any vigour.



I'm also trying to make a mess of the Prussian communication and supply lines.

Over at Wesel, I have a dilemna:



In effect I have 3 choices, go for Cumberland (but he may move), go for Munster but I doubt I can prosecute a siege (& in any case Cumberland could retake Wesel faster) or protect Wesel. After a lot of changes, I decide on prudence, protect Wesel and then maybe go for Cumberland later.





This is good, he won't be active till 1758 but it gives me a second French army. With this in mind I abandon my manouvres at Kessel and pull all those forces back to Frankfurt. As above, my relative lack of supply wagons means I need to be careful about axes of advance from the Rhine.

The new Austrian and Hungarian battalions are welcome too.

So my attack on Konigsberg goes ahead



Much as expected, what was good was the Prussians falling back into the fortress.



So I move up my main army, lets see what I can do before winter. And my supply chain starts to link up.



I got to Wesel first, so I'll now go for Cumberland leaving 1 corps to guard my rather crucial depot. After a while this game does have a rythym and it seems to be about marching to threaten/protect key locations. Oddly it is a game of manouvre not combat.

On which subject

The main Swedish army moves down from its hammocks, so I try to force it into Stalsrund (the idea is even if they lose the battle this time they retreat into the fortress)

Note also Karlskrona is no longer under siege (& I didn't do anything!)



Now as with many of my Swedish plans this went very wrong, the Prussians attacked before they got moving



gave them a right humping and



they end up even further in the wilderness than before, and back to sleep. Note that Keith is being a bit aggressive up at Stalsrund. I think he's got Swedes mixed up with Hannoverians (which is problematic as he's now on the same side as Cumberland).
 

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You used the word "humping". I'm impressed. Not many people use that in AARs ;)

"Doin'" and "square go" should also be used I feel.

As for Cumberland, I feel that, in hindsight, he has got a bit of a raw deal. He's been demonised by historians but the actual "butcher" title was applied by his own family (I think to score political points!). It always annoys me when people see the Jacobite Rebellion as a "Scots vs English" conflict, when it was nothing of the sort - it was ultimately the squabbling of two dynasties, one who happened to use Highlanders as fodder (and who convieniently left them to their fate!). The majority of Scots were ANTI Jacobite and feared the restoration of the House of Stuart.

Still, that's not a suitably romantic view, is it? ;)
 

loki100

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You used the word "humping". I'm impressed. Not many people use that in AARs ;)

"Doin'" and "square go" should also be used I feel.

As for Cumberland, I feel that, in hindsight, he has got a bit of a raw deal. He's been demonised by historians but the actual "butcher" title was applied by his own family (I think to score political points!). It always annoys me when people see the Jacobite Rebellion as a "Scots vs English" conflict, when it was nothing of the sort - it was ultimately the squabbling of two dynasties, one who happened to use Highlanders as fodder (and who convieniently left them to their fate!). The majority of Scots were ANTI Jacobite and feared the restoration of the House of Stuart.

Still, that's not a suitably romantic view, is it? ;)
ah but its very true. The non-SNP version of Scots history from 1400 to 1800 was less a heroic strugggle against a foreign power and more a long Scottish civil war on lines of greed, ambition, language, religion and ethnicity waged by a Scottish ruling class that was as multi-national as any other part of the aristocracy in that period.

but then pantomine villains make easy narratives, and it is amusing to think of Keith and Cumberland serving in the same army (they are in this game on the same side). My reckoning is that Cumberland got his bad reputation in the 1850s when the clans had been destroyed, the population dispersed and all of sudden there was this 'romantic' reinterpretation of Highland life.

as to slipping in a bit of Scots now and then ... I think somewhere in my Soviet one is a reference to a particular battle as a stushie ...

this report I'm doing at the moment is doing my head in ... hence all the diversions over here and additional posts. Its not the content, its just I don't want to write it in the style and tone the client wants ... just have to lie back and think of the mortgage (or the cost of the vets bills).
 

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Biography of Cumberland as given by the game :

 

loki100

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which in a way supports the view that he was no worse no better than most of his type and time. Culloden was more a massacre than battle, but thats because Stuart sent men who were starving and armed with swords across open ground directly at well trained infantry and artillery. I also doubt that what followed was any worse than the norms of the time, especially in a civil war. Still it makes for a nice in-game narrative to boo him every time he appears ...
 

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A real big battle, October 1757

This turn, for the first time I tried to force the pace of events, at least on the French sector.



as you can see I have 2 corps over the river next to Dulmen and a third will arrive a bit later crossing from Wesel. My hope is the first two corps win the battle and the third is fresh for a follow up later in the month.



well that was not quite too plan. As you can see Cumberland is over his command so I think I should have won. He had 51-49 on luck but I reckon the main problem was so many of my units failing morale checks.

Given how the game engine works, there was nothing I could do to stop the third corp crashing in



ah, the taste of victory ... I actually lost a lot more than Cumberland, but I think his army was quite disorganised from the first battle



well thats no surprise, new turn, new bashing of the Swedes



A new general has taken over the rather demoralised Swedish army, and it looks like Cumberland tried to retreat during the first battle of Dulmen - pity he didn't manage it.

Overall, I'll stick with my plan and go for him again at Munster.



maybe not such a good idea, but I think I've permanently destroyed some bits of his force, so all in all not too bad



new commander made no difference there



So Dohna isn't locked up in Koenigsberg but slipped away. In the next turn I see him shuffling off pretty quick down towards Silesia so there are no Prussian forces left in the region.



change of French command, think this one is a little bit better and Stalsrund now has a hole in it. Where's winter when you want one?

Over in the west, I'll retreat to Wesel, I have quite a lot of French units moving up, and need to recover. The Austrians start to fall back to Prag after a strenuous summer chasing after .... well whatever it is that bored Austrians chase after.
 

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as to slipping in a bit of Scots now and then ... I think somewhere in my Soviet one is a reference to a particular battle as a stushie ...
I remember the use of some Scottish in Tales from our Faarthers too, a reference to midges I think?

this report I'm doing at the moment is doing my head in ... hence all the diversions over here and additional posts. Its not the content, its just I don't want to write it in the style and tone the client wants ... just have to lie back and think of the mortgage (or the cost of the vets bills).
Sounds rather awful for you, but good for me! More updates from yourself is always a good thing. Although I do hope your pet is feeling a bit better having seen the vet.

Very good updates anyway. Your Swedish forces seem to be taking a real hammering though, I suppose Prussia keeping some men up in Sweden isn't a terrible thing, it leaves their lands open to attacks from elsewhere. Oh wait, such attacks are unlikely to be made due to the inactivity of your Austrian forces, I suppose Prussia having men up there is then a bad thing! At least your French forces are faring slightly better. As it is, I assume if you cannot get your Austrian forces to actually march further than the nearest pub, things are going to get increasingly tricky.
 

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Wow - I bet you're glad you've got the French and the Swedes on your side!

Your comment about non-SNP history is spot on. I remember my lecturer in medieval history at university started every lecture with a synopsis of what year we were going to look at, and an overview of what was happening. Things like "The Papacy is doing this, the Emperor is doing that..." and he would inevitably finish with "...and the Scots are locked in combat with their most bitter foe. Other Scots."

We've done more damage to ourselves than the English ever did, and I get annoyed when people pick up on things like the 1745 rebellion and the Highland Clearences and shake their fist whilst hissing "Bloody English!" The '45 so a henious explotation of the Clan system by the House of Stuart (who, as you pointed out, left them to die on the fields of Culloden) and the Highland Clearences was largely down to the greed of Lowland land owners.

Don't even get me started on Braveheart....
 

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I remember the use of some Scottish in Tales from our Faarthers too, a reference to midges I think?
Sounds rather awful for you, but good for me! More updates from yourself is always a good thing. Although I do hope your pet is feeling a bit better having seen the vet.
thats true, when/if I do one for MnB that'll be a good time to send someone for me messages ... now that will confuse 98% of any potential readership. Cats are ok, in fact very full of themselves, just their annual injections and things. I think I also managed to slip midges into an earlier HOI3 aar too.

Very good updates anyway. Your Swedish forces seem to be taking a real hammering though, I suppose Prussia keeping some men up in Sweden isn't a terrible thing, it leaves their lands open to attacks from elsewhere. Oh wait, such attacks are unlikely to be made due to the inactivity of your Austrian forces, I suppose Prussia having men up there is then a bad thing! At least your French forces are faring slightly better. As it is, I assume if you cannot get your Austrian forces to actually march further than the nearest pub, things are going to get increasingly tricky.
Wow - I bet you're glad you've got the French and the Swedes on your side!
...
Don't even get me started on Braveheart....
well if it wasn't for the French (with some competence) and the Swedes (with none), this would be a very quiet aar. Still as you'll see in the next post, Freddie is not scared of the snow, even if all my forces are. I fear that in 1758, the Austrians may well have to move ... what I'm not sure is in what direction.
 

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Wailing on a Swede: Nov-Dec 1757

I've conflated 4 turns into this post as not too much happens. I'm falling back to depots & cities for winter and the Prussians are bashing 7 bells out the Swedes ...

so on with the action:



Here's the Russians, I'm trying to retreat back to the depots I constructed earlier, and am also expanding the big one on the border.



At Munster, I was seeking to disengage and fall back to Wesel. This triggered another battle which I notionally lost (mainly as I had withdraw orders), inflicted some damage on Cumberland but I also managed to lose 1200 prisoners.



ah right. So thats Stalsrund gone now. The main Swedish army had its usual beating (I'll stop showing these are they are too predictable).



overall, I get a small and really meaningless hole in Koenigsberg, elsewhere this really confirms the regular Swede beating and my loss at Munster.



So here's a very zoomed out view of the north in late November. As you can see, Freddie is now up there (he must really fancy fighting someone, since my Austrians won't come out to play with him). The Swedish army is now starving in the middle of nowhere and the Prussian force from Koenigsberg is somewhere near Stettin (you can see units when they are moving as the turn unfolds and also in the game log).



as you can see Koenigratz has repaired the damage, the only reason I'm stil besieging is the units have gone inert. Elsewhere more Austrians die of frostbite in being tardy in moving to Prag than managed to get killed in actual warfare (which is no challenge as Austria's battle losses come to 0)



In early Dec, Cumberland makes a move. Now I thought long and hard about slipping over the river and attacking but decided against it. Those corps need to take on reinforcements (which due to my game set up they can only do when based with a depot and passive orders), and I've become very cautious about moving on the off-chance. Since winter arrives in late december (see inset box), I reckon I made the right choice.



Early December saw more losses to winter.



Now here's the rather unhappy Swedes. Out of food, out of ammo, and if you click on a unit you can get an idea of its real strength. In this case, red are missing 'elements' (ie companies for cavalry and infantry). Its pointless but I order them to Wismar (has no walls) on the off chance they can make it.



More events. As you can see winter is bad news, and here I'm suffering for the 'inert-unless-active' rule. I probably should have started to move to winter quarters a turn earlier.

and those new options?



Well if I still had Stalsrund, a decent new Swedish army ... sigh

1757, that was the year that ...

Well that completes 1757. On the Austrian front I actually managed to do what I set out to do - keep Prag and keep my army reasonably intact. On the Russian side, not sure what else I could do, but hopefully I can take Koenigsberg in 1758 and press on past it. There's also a new army at St Petersburg which will be able to move to the front in Spring.

For France? So so, I'm still not being as cautious as you need to be, as I think if I'd taken time I could have handed Cumberland quite a beating. I have a new army on the upper Rhine, a couple of Corps at Frankfurt and a lot due to be released from their terrible existence in Paris. So I'll have 2 largish is brittle forces and know I have the beating of Cumberland.

Sweden - an unmitigated disaster ... and all my own fault. If the main army had stayed at Stalsrund I reckon the city would have held out, and I've have a weak but real threat to the Prussians.

As it is, I suspect that with the Prussians freed from the north, they have the capacity to more than handle 2/3 fronts. If the AI keeps to its current strategy, I fear either the French or the Russians are in for a rough time. So any advances on those sectors need to be cautious. In turn, that means I can't be as passive with the Austrians. On one sector, I should have superiority, so I really need to make it work in my favour.

Final reflection on 1757. The AI is pretty good. The strategic choice to knock out the Swedes was sound, as was Freddie not tangling with my Austrian forces all nicely set up behind river lines.

Great, really immersing game. I reckon my 1758 strategy will be set by where Frederick goes, but in any case, I need to find someway to overcome the consequences of the Swedish disaster.
 

loki100

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Quick question - and excuse me if I've been slow and not picked this up - how do you "knock out" a nation? Is it just a matter of destroying their forces or can you cause a surrender?
good question to which I don't know the answer ... you can lose if your national morale dips below a certain point or if you take a certain set of cities and there is a special surrender event around Saxony. But I'm not sure how to remove parts of the enemy coalition (or your own) from the war. I believe there are events that trigger to reflect Russia's brief pro-Prussian stance when Catherine dies.

Looking at the game files the Saxon event is a 75% chance of surrender in any month if: Leipzig, Dresden, Bautzen, Chemnitz, Torgau, Dippoldiswald & Radeberg are all Prussian, but I can't see any obvious surrender events for other states, perhaps Narwhal will know?

In game, I'm using it as a sort of lazy shorthand. In effect Sweden has no boats and the only way to reinforce their main army is via Stalsrund. Whats left of their army in Europe certainly can't retake Stalsrund so unless I can get there with the Russians (at which stage I think I'd have won anyway) then Sweden can't take an active role.
 

Narwhal

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When we say "knock-out" a nation out of the war, it does not mean it surrenders but that all its most important cities are taken, and thus it cannot bring any more reinforcements to the field. It just some "game slang" I (and Loki) use.

For the Prussian, only the Swedes can be knocked out - the other are too big. If you take Stralsund, the Austrian player cannot use the "Swedish reinforcement" option, and cannot create any more troops on the continent.

For the Austrian, England can be "knocked" out by taking Bremen and that city North of Bremen - the Prussian player won't be able to have any reinforcement from the English (and those are VERY significative from late 1759 / mid 1760 onward). Hesse can be knocked out by taking Kassel and a couple other small cities - but as there are no reinforcement received from Hesse, it only blocks the construction of new Hessian unit. Similarly, Braunswicg can be knocked out (only one city), or Hannover - but no reinforcement from them either.
Knocking out Prussia means immediate victory in most case.

In any case, the armies still in existence will carry on fighting. They will quickly be short on replacements, though.
 

Narwhal

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For us French it is all the same. Land-grabbing, emperor-killing, colony-stealing backstabbers.