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THE DARKEST HOUR OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE

by Falconette​

bigleu.jpg


Darkest Hour
Russian Empire campaign


This AAR is something like a new version of my "Eagle raises his wings", in which I ruled the Russian empire from 1897 till 1917. I had to abandon my previous AAR because of Photobucket troubles, so I decided to start a new one. I use Darkest Hour because I like WW1 and the map style. So, let's fight for the Motherland!​

Game version: Darkest Hour 1.02b2
Scenario: The Great War, 1914
Difficulty: Hard
IC takeover: ON
Tech teams takeover: ON
Used cheats: nofog and sometimes money



CONTENTS


CHAPTER ZERO: INTRODUCTION​
Chap0.png
CHAPTER ONE: 1914​
Chap11.png
CHAPTER TWO: 1915​
Chap2.png
CHAPTER THREE: 1916​
Chap3.png
CHAPTER FOUR: 1917​
Chap4.png
 
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son of liberty

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I look forward to this. You have some great ideas for Russia, I can't wait to see the application.
 

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The Darkest hour of the Russian Empire

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Chapter Zero: Introduction
Part I: Two months before...

Two words about history

200px-Nicholas_II_of_Russia_painted_by_Earnest_Lipgart.jpg

Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias​

For three hundreds of years mighty Russian Empire was one of the most powerful states in the World. In XVIII century Russians defeated three European superpowers - Sweden of Karl XII, Ottoman Turkey and Prussia of Friedrich II, in XIX century Imperial army destroyed forces of Napoleon and liberated Europe. Russia had brilliant victories, but she had bitter defeats too - for example, the Crimean war. Anyway, by 1900's the Russian Empire conquered 1/6 of the planet - she started her journey with little amounts of land in Central Russia and entered the XX century with Siberia, Far East, Central Asia, Caucasus, Ukraine, Poland, Finland and Baltic area. XX century wasn't successful for Russia - Russian economy grew rapidly, her infrastructural system was the biggest in the world, her industry developed gradually and Russian ruble became #2 currency after the British pound. But developing and modernizing Empire was in great danger - it was too close to the revolution, Russian Tsarist regime was popular only amongst peasants and clericals - all other social groups (including the Army command) were opposite. Russia had talented ministers to save the situation - Stolypin's and Vitte's reforms helped her to continue industrial growth, but Russian government wasn't able to solve all financial and economical problems. Russian army - the biggest in Europe - was outdated and didn't have enough talented commanders. Russo-Japanese war showed, that Russian military of XX century isn't equal to the glorious times of Suvorov, Kutuzov and Skobelev. Emperor Nicholas II had a chance to win the war, but revolts of 1905 forced him to accept peace and lose territories in Manchuria and Korea. Emperor Nicholas wasn't a talented leader, but he helped Russia to modernize. Russian empire was getting prepared for the World War together with other European superpowers, but in summer of 1914 she wasn't ready - all her dreadnought battleships weren't completed, industry wasn't prepared for military orders, army wasn't rearmed.

Russia. Two months before the Great war.
General overview

The Russian Empire had a great potential in 1914, but she had a lot of problems too.

screensave0.jpg
Russian government in 1914:

Head of State: Emperor Nicholas II
Head of Government: Ivan Goremykin
Foreign minister: Sergey Sazonov
Armaments minister: Petr Bark
Minister of security: Nikolay Maklakov
Head of intelligence: Okhrannoe otdelenie (Okhranka)
Chief of staff: Nikolay Yanushkevich
Chief of the army: Grand Duke Nicholas
Chief of the navy: Alexander Rusin
Chief of the air force: Grand Duke Michael

Russia had some territorial claims before the war - she wanted to take back southern Sakhalin (Toyohara) from Japan, to take control of Constantinople and Kars from the Ottoman Empire and to gain Galizia (Western Ukraine and Eastern Poland) from Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy.

screensave1.jpg

Russian economy was in difficult situation - it was large enough to produce some war goods and even create new divisions and ships, but it wasn't able to upgrade all Russian giant army, and it wasn't good at all. Russia had 7 dreadnought battleships to complete - Sevastopol, Petropavlovsk, Poltava, Gangut, Imperatritsa Maria, Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya and Imperator Alexander III. These ships had to be built during the war. Another problem of the Russian industry was the placement of all her factories - they were situated in the Western part of the Empire, Polish and Baltic governorates had about 50% of all Russian industrial capacity. Germans had a chance to collapse the Russian industry with taking these lands.

screensave2.jpg

Situation with technologies wasn't simple too - in some cases Russia was very progressive (agriculture, cavalry, and even strategic bombers!), but she had obsolete war doctrines, outdated infantry and artillery equipment. 70% of army divisions were outdated. Naval technologies were modern enough, but the naval doctrines weren't. Industrial techs level was normal. Russia had 5 tech teams working on different projects.

screensave3i.jpg

Russian Imperial army was the biggest in the world, but had a lot of troubles. Dislocation of the troops was one of them - Russian armies were too far away from their borders, and General Staff ordered to move closer to the frontiers. Also, quite high dissent level (12,5%) wasn't a good thing.

National military comparison​

screensave4.jpg

Russia had #1 army - 155 divisions. Together with France and Britain the Entente Powers had 313 divisions (155 Russian + 114 French + 44 British). Germany had #2 army with 115 divisions. Her allies - Autria-Hungary and the Ottoman empire had 68 and 41 divisions. Together the Central Powers had 224 divisions, but Russia and France were huge countries, and a lot of their soldiers were far away from the war theater - French had troops in Africa, while Russia - in Siberia and the Far East. So, forces of two blocs before the mobilization were quite equal.

screensave5v.jpg

After catastrophic naval disasters in the Russo-Japanese war Russia lost her position as #3 naval superpower and had the 8th navy by 1914. Britain, Germany and the USA were naval leaders.

screensave6.jpg

However, situation with the Air Forces was better - Russia had #3 Air Force.

Author's note: It's a mistake, by 1914 the Russian empire had the largest Air Force in the world.

The war would start soon...
Waiting for your comments
Next update: October, 21
 
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Milites

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Once more, onwards Russia! I really hope this attempt will succeed.
 

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The Darkest hour of the Russian Empire

scaled.php
Chapter One: 1914
Part II: The war to end all wars

Slykhali, dedy?
Voina nachalasya,
Brosai svoe delo,
V pokhod sobiraisya!

My smelo v boi poidem
Za Rus svyatuyu
I kak odin proliem
Krov' moloduyu!


(Did you hear, grandfathers?
The war has begun
Stop all your work
Prepare for the march!

We will go into the fight courageously
For the Holy Russia
And everyone will shed
His young blood!)


300px-Franzferdinand40hel1917.jpg

Postage stamp as memory of a horrible crime

On 28 of June Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburgs' throne, was visiting Sarajevo, the capital of occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina. Serbian nationalists from many terroristic organizations like "Mlada Bosna" or "The Black Hand" prepared well for the "meeting" with the crown prince. Young terrorist, Gavrilo Princip, attacked Franz Ferdinand's car. He shot seven times - Franz Ferdinand and his wife were killed. It was a horrible diplomatic scandal, and Austria decided to punish Serbia (Serbian General Staff illegally supported terrorist organizations in Bosnia).

Gavrilo_Princip_assassinates_Franz_Ferdinand.jpg

Assassination in Sarajevo

Austrian diplomats created an ultimatum and sent it in Belgrade. Serbians accepted all points except one - they didn't want to let Austrian soldiers enter Serbian land. Austria and Serbia realized, that there were no ways to avoid the war between them. They started seeking for support - Serbia decided to call Russia, Austro-Hungary - to call Germany. Accepting Serbian request, the Tsar understood, that the war would start soon - most of the Russian armies were too far away from the borders, and Russian diplomats started the negotiations with France - Entente had to encircle Central Powers bloc in the war.


We'll never betray Serbia!

On 29 of July the Great War began - Austria declared war against Serbia. Russia had to defend her interests in the Balkans.
Russian citizens truly welcomed the government's decision to start the war. Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Warsaw - everywhere people were celebrating the start of the war. Loyalist manifestations happened everywhere. These people didn't know, what this war would be like...

0_2c9b2_2982f4ad_L

Russian people with Tsar's portraits celebrate the war declaration

Germany tried to solve the conflict between Russia and Austria - German kaiser Wilhelm II knew, that Russian negotiations with France were successful, and if Germany declared the war, French and Englishmen would join Russia. Wilhelm sent an ultimatum to his cousin Nicholas II and suggested him to stop mobilization. Russia refused, Germany declared war, France did the same, and First World War officially broke out.

screensave15l.png

The global war

Germany decided to have the two-front war. Schlieffen plan was their main doctrine - they decided to crush France first (invading neutral Belgium and Luxembourg) and then to move all the forces against Russia.

screensave16k.png

Germany starts the Western offensive

The Russian HQ (and Grand Duke Nicholas, commander-in-chief and uncle of the Tsar) decided to wait for German moves and not to start their own offensive. But against the Austrians Stavka (main HQ unit, based in Baranovichi, Poland) planned an offensive operation in Galizia (Western Ukraine).


Russian positions in the Eastern front


Russian general mobilization

352.jpg

Russian soldiers after the mobilization

The first target of the Imperial army was Tarnow, undefended Austrian city in Galizia. 14th Army Corps under the command of general Barkhman started the march.


First step of the Great War

162.jpg

14th Army Corps HQ

The second phase of Galizian offensive was attack on the city of Tarnopol. Forces of 9th, 11th, 12th, 21st Army Corps and Odessa and Kiev military districts started their march on 4 of August.


For the Tsar!

7.jpg

Russian artillery near Tarnopol

The battle of Tarnopol started. Russian armies had about 19 divisions against 6 Austro-Hungarian.


Battle of Tarnopol, the first phase

On 4 of August the Germans started their own offensive - at first, they captured Russian border city of Sosnowiec in Poland.


The Germans enter Sosnowiec!

On 5 of August Russian troops tried to recapture Sosnowiec, while the British Empire decided to take part in the war on the Entente's side.


UK is together with us


Diplomatic map of Europe, Entente is green, Central Powers are red, Neutrals are yellow

The war began...
Waiting for your comments
Next update: October, 22
 
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Miihkali

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Russia decided to help Serbia.

Accepting Serbian request, the Tsar understood, that the war would start soon - most of the Russian armies were too far away from the borders, and Russian diplomats started the negotiations with France - Entente had to encircle Central Powers bloc in the war.


Redeployment is not finished

On 29 of July the Great War began - Austria declared war against Serbia. Russia had to defend her interests in the Balkans.


We'll never betray Serbia!

Did you post the same picture thrice accidentally?
 

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Oh, my mistake) Thanks!) It was a bug from Imageshack)
 

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Best of luck to you. Let's hope this AAR went as well for you as the other one did.
 

son of liberty

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Good work so far. I wonder if you can win before the revolution begins?
 

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Thanks for comments :)

@son of liberty: Yes, I hope so. I don't want to give my country to the commies) In my "previous" AAR I managed to do that.
 

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The Darkest hour of the Russian Empire

scaled.php
Chapter One: 1914
Part III: Battle for the borders


Ah, verba-verbochka,
Ot stuzhi korchilas',
Ot dozhdya ona
K zemle sklonyalas'

Ne zhaleyu ya
Togo, chto konchilos',
Zhal', chto nichego
Ne nachinalos'...

(Oh willow, little willow
Writhed because of the frost
It was vailed with the rain
To the ground

I don't regret
About things that ended
But it's a pity
That nothing had begun... )


On 6 of August Japan entered the war and attacked German naval base in Qindao (China). In the Eastern front the German offensive continued - massive Kaiser's forces headed for the city of Plock.


Japan joins the Entente

Russia had bad relations with Japan after bitter peace in Russo-Japanese war, but the Great war made them allies. German army was better prepared and it was bigger than the army of Grand Duke Michael, who tried to defend Plock.


Plock, 6 of August. The Germans attack.

In the Western front thing didn't go well too - by 8 of August German army conquered Luxembourg.


Luxembourg is captured

Meanwhile, Tarnopol offensive continued and was quite successful for the Russian Imperial Army. Led by talented general Brusilov, Russian troops took some minor towns and marched on Tarnopol itself.


Brusilov's forces advancing

47.jpg

Russian camp in Zhlodka, a village near Tarnopol. August, 9.

In the Baltic region Germans kept advancing - their next target was Alytus, a city in Russian-controlled Lithuania. Germans wanted to crush the Russian armies in the Baltic area because those regions were really close to Petrograd - so Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were strategically important both for the Entente and Central Powers.


Kaiser's army wins the battle of Alytus

35.jpg

Russian guns in Alytus

On 10 of August bad news were mixtured with good ones - Brusilov won the battle of Tarnopol and HM Michael lost the battle of Plock.


Victory & Defeat

On 11 of August the Germans marched on Siauliai, another city in Lithuania. Russian divisions weren't able to stop them.


Russian army seems to lose one more battle

On 13 of August two battleships from the Mittelmeerdivision, SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau, managed to escape from the British ships in the Mediterranean sea and entered the Ottoman fleet.


Two battleships for the Turkish navy

Russian Air Force were big (3rd in Europe), but they had air bases only in Petrograd and Moscow. They were too far away from the battlefields, and Russian HQ decided to build more aerodromes and give some air support against the Germans.


New airfields


On 14 of August Russian troops left Plock, and after six hours German regiments entered the town. It was the first Russian city to be captured in the Great War.


It's a sad precedent indeed

And on 16 of August Russian soldiers entered Tarnopol, and it was the first enemy city to be captured in the Great War.


A medal always has two sides...

38.jpg

Russian soldiers at the outskirts of Tarnopol

Battle of Alytus was lost and the Russians had to retreat. General Flug reported that he had no chances against the Germans and he did everything he could.


Troops of Wilno Military district leave Alytus

After those defeats, Russian High command decided to move all troops from the borders to Warsaw and to defend the Polish capital. Provinces near the border, like Czestochowa, Wroclavek, Lodz and Radom were left. Russian newspapers started writing that the Russian army is currently losing the war...


They have to defend Warsaw and to sacrifice other Polish cities

39.jpg

Grand Duke Nicholas, Commander-in-Chief, 1914.

On 18 of August Czectochowa was lost. Russians decided not to move any forces from Warsaw and to defend the city, waiting for the reinforcements from central provinces.


Germany invades Polish lands

The war continues...
Waiting for your comments
Next update: October, 23
 
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son of liberty

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Looks like the Germans have the upper hand for now. I hope you can recover and beat them back soon.
 

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The Darkest hour of the Russian Empire

scaled.php
Chapter One: 1914
Part IV: Poland, my dear Poland

A pervaya pulya, a pervaya pulya
A pervaya pulya, bratcy, ranila konya!
A vtoraya pulya, a vtoraya pulya
A vtoraya pulya v serdce ranila menya!

Lubo, bratcy, lubo
Lubo, bratcy, zhit'
S nashim atamanom
Lubo golovu slozhit'!


(And the first bullet, and the first bullet
And the first bullet wounded my horse!
And the second bullet, and the second bullet
And the second bullet wounded my heart!

Like to live, my brothers,
Really like to live,
But I'd like to die,
Under command of our ataman!)


Retreat in Poland continued - Russian army corps were leaving their defensive positions and moving on Warsaw. Russian commanders wanted to concentrate all forces in the Polish capital.


15th Army Corps leaves positions


But it's too late - Wloclawek is under attack

On 20 of August Russian general Barkman started a counteroffensive near Sosnowiec.

384.jpg

Russian soldiers in a train

On 23 of August Russian corps attacked the main city of Galizia - Lwow, or Lemberg. Austrians weren't ready for the offensive, and the battle started successfully for the Russians.


Siege of Lwow

341.jpg

Russian machinegunners secure their position

A lot of Russian forces were still very far away from the frontlines - trains with reinforcements were on their way. Russian HQ hoped that with fresh troops their army would be able to stop the German push in Poland.


Russian war plans

Meanwhile, battle of Wloclawek was lost - 19 German divisions with massive support of artillery and aviation crushed the resistance of 4 Russian divisions in a few days. General Zabelin had to fall back.


Defeated again


Wloclawek is lost

On the other hand, in Galizia everything went very well - the Austrians suffered heavy losses, and had to retreat. By 26 of August the battle of Lwow was won, and the Russian armies moved out. HQ thought that with wins in Galizia they'll force the Germans to move more forces to support Austria - and will stop their offensive in Poland as a result.


Victory among defeats

Bad news came from Warsaw - German commander managed to destroy main parts of Warsaw garrison separately - and Russian commanders didn't have any fresh forces to meet the offensive.


Battle of Warsaw - a black day for the Russian Imperial army

56.jpg

Wounded Russian soldiers in Warsaw

On 29 of August the Russians entered Lwow.


Galizia will be ours!

In the end of August Russian army tried to stop the German advance in Poland with attacking German cities in Eastern Prussia. On 30 of August after the massive artillery fire huge amount of Russian divisions moved on Tilsit and Memel-Klaipeda.


Attack!

While in the North Russian army corps were advancing, in Poland everything was tragic - on 2 of September Russian corps left Warsaw with terrible casualties and without any chances to win.


Catastrophe in Poland

270.jpg

Graves of Russian soldiers in Poland

In the Western front things didn't change very much - in the West the war had already become positional and stative.


The Western front on 2 of September

And little brave Serbia shocked the world - most of the Austrian army was busy in Galizia, and Serbs managed to capture a lot of Austrian cities in the Balkans - it was impressive.


Good job, little brothers!

post-267-1278950218.jpg

Serbian soldiers

The war continues...
Waiting for your comments
Next update: October, 24
 

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Well well, look at Serbia! Hopefully their success will aid you as well. We can't have a repeat of OTL.