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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kaiser_Mobius

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Hello everybody! Kaiser_Mobius here, and I have decided to get back into the AAR writing business.

This time, I have decided to tackle a very interesting scenario: the 1914 campaign in Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour. For this, I will play as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and battle for the survival of the empire during the tumultuous years of the First World War. This can be a very tough game, against very powerful opponents, so it will hopefully be a very entertaining battle to watch!

Anyways, here are the settings:

Game: Hearts of Iron Darkest Hour: 1914 Campaign
Country: Austria-Hungary
Difficulty: Normal
Aggressiveness: Normal (I can increase this if it looks like it is too easy)
Full IC takeover: On
Full Tech Team Takeover: Off

So with that out of the way, we shall get this started! In the meantime, allow me to leave you all this map:
 

Winner

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Aaaa, this is going to be fun. I wish you success in the war on terror (*cough*cough*)!
 

GulMacet

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I resent the implication that we think of the French as mad liberals. In fact, we think of them as mad Bonapartists and murderers of Austrian princesses (with the exception of Eugene of Savoy).
 

Milites

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Good luck with your defense of the Brave Old World.

Also,

 

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Ah, excellent! I've recently completed an A-H game myself, and I'll be interested to see how our experiences compare.
 

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How long until A-H falls to the revolution? ;)
 

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I wish you luck in your campaign to keep the brave old world alive!
 

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Finaly,it is not KR aar.Good luck
 

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Ouch, that's a cruel map! Altough it's not that far from K.u.K. perception of world in that time.
 

Kaiser_Mobius

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@NikephorosSonar: "Whats this socialism thing these anarchists and rabble rousers keep going on about?!?! Bah, it will never happen here!" -Franz Josef. :happy:

@oberstbrooksy: In older versions of DH that I have played as Germany, there are lots of events for colonies switching hands. Not sure what A-H will get, but I have ideas of post war annexations...if I can win the war that is.

@everyone else: Thank you for your comments! I am pleased to see that this has already gotten alot of attention, and we have barely even started yet! :)

Austria-Hungary, June 1914. The Austro-Hungarian Empire is an empire whose glory days have largely faded away. A multiethnic state, made up of a dizzying mix of Austrians, Hungarians, Slovenes, Croats, Bosniaks, Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians, Serbs, Italians, Poles, and others, the country finds itself in an era of decline. Increasing ethnic nationalism or agitation amongst the working classes against the traditional economic and political elite are slowly whittling away at the country's foundations. Still, the old empire soldiers on, in the face of increasing internal and external threats.


Holding the country together is the aging Hapsburg Emperor Franz Josef, a patriarch who has ruled the country since the middle of the 19th century. Although somewhat old fashioned, the monarchy and the government are still managing to keep the empire running and most importantly united as well. It is hoped that this will continue into the foreseeable future, when the heir to the throne of the Dual Monarchy, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, eventually becomes the emperor...


The continent of Europe, 1914. Europe is still the centre of the worlds political, economic, and military power, but it is also an area of vastly increased tension. Decades of great power rivalry for colonies, economic markets, security, and simple accumulation of power, have reached a boiling point, as the continent moves from one crisis to the other with the threat of all out war almost always present. This is further complicated by an extensive web of secret alliances, secret treaties, and military war plans, created by many of Europe's great powers which could turn even a small crisis into a major conflict. Austria-Hungary is no exception to this, having forged agreements with Germany for mutual defense and military access, or currently maintaining an alliance with the Kingdom of Italy.


Amongst these great powers, Austria-Hungary is something of a middleweight, far outmatched one on one by the still relatively young but very powerful German Empire, or Austria's big Eastern neighbour of Russia. France and Britain are also very powerful opponents, possessing very strong navies, large economies, and the world's largest colonial empires from which to draw resources, manpower, or base their military forces from. The only great powers Austria outmatches are Italy, which is still a relatively young nation-state, or the Ottoman Empire, which is regularly derided as the so called "Sick Man of Europe".


Militarily, the Austro-Hungarian Empire is behind many of the other great powers, but is still a very potent force to be reckoned with. The K.u.K (Imperial and Royal) Austro-Hungarian Army is a strong although somewhat outdated force, that upon general mobilization can field almost 1 million soldiers for combat, organized into 84 divisions. A reorganization of the army is planned for the immediate future, and the government also has ambitious plans to re-equip much of the army with newer weapons like better rifles, artillery, machine guns, or even to perhaps look into expanding into the new field of military air power.



At sea, the K.u.K Kriegsmarine is Austria-Hungary's naval force, and on paper at least is a very powerful one at that. The navy fields a powerful fleet including 17 battleships, 2 of which are modern Dreadnought class battleships, soon to be joined by a 3rd: the SMS Prinz Eugen which is undergoing final sea trials. However, like the army, when compared to the navies of the other great powers, the fleet falls somewhat short. Many of the Kriegsmarine's ships are older vessels, and rivals such as the British or French Mediterranean fleets would more than likely give the Kriegsmarine a real challenge in combat. Austria-Hungary also does not hold any overseas colonial possessions, so the navy does not get much priority in investment in comparison to the Army, which has huge influence on military decision making or policies. The navy is ready to fight in defense of the Empire, but the odds are stacked heavily against it.



The navy is however undergoing a somewhat modest expansion at the moment, with a few new cruisers and two new dreadnoughts currently under construction. However, it is widely expected that any further investments will be diverted to the needs of the Army should a crisis arise. Also note Austria-Hungary's current stockpiles of important resources, and its industrial capacity.


Military and civilian research projects by June 1914. Austro-Hungarian industries and companies are focusing their efforts on various projects, such as new military doctrines, new weapons and equipment for the army's infantry divisions, or new industrial technologies.


Overall, things look pretty stable for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but then, urgent news arrives from the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, concerning the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.....
 

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Good depiction of situation in dual empire. Too bad that Great War starts practically when the game just begins, you could use a bit more maneuver space.
 

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No SKIF icons? :closedeyes:

Anyway, Austria-Hungary(-Czechia, -Galicia, -Croatia, -Bosnia) isn't really in a good position. I mean, the Germans were making fuss about having to fight a two-front war. Well, it was a three-front war for Austria. In Galicia there was the juggernaut of Russia, then there were the Serbs (to a large degree protected by difficult terrain and miserable infrastructure of the Balkans) and very soon the perfidious Italians. And Romania later as well. Given how ineffective the imperial government as a whole was, it's a miracle the country managed to survive to the very end of the war.

But you'll surely do better! I'd advise to finish the Serbs ASAP to free forces against Russia, Italy and perhaps something for the Western front as well in case the German AI screws up big time (which it will, let's have no illusions about that :D ).

Good depiction of situation in dual empire. Too bad that Great War starts practically when the game just begins, you could use a bit more maneuver space.
Yeah. In Mod1914 you at least had a few months to reorganize the army.
 

Ericafaq

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So many hungarian names for the ships,seems Horthy influence.Best goal-save empire
 

Asalto

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Yeah. In Mod1914 you at least had a few months to reorganize the army.
Speaking of 1914 mod, it's also worth to mention its Imperial Zenith scenario that allows you to start in last years of Victorian era. I just loved that scenario with its late Victorian flavor, many possibilities and plenty of years to prepare yourself for Great War.
 

Battle bunny

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Speaking of 1914 mod, it's also worth to mention its Imperial Zenith scenario that allows you to start in last years of Victorian era. I just loved that scenario with its late Victorian flavor, many possibilities and plenty of years to prepare yourself for Great War.
Yeah, it had fun elements - playing the USA-Spain war as Spain, a British-French colonial war, China with the Boxers, etc. (I even won against Great Britain with the Boers once - after abusing the hell out of reloads and the peace event's trigger conditions...) Unfortunately, it wasn't much good for WWI since by that point everything went out of whack.
 

Kaiser_Mobius

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@Zzzzz...: Its too early at this point to start making really ambitious war aims, so I will wait to see how the war unfolds before I start doing that. My primary goal above all others is to simply win the war for the Central Powers. Other things can be worked out in due time.

@Winner: I am too lazy to be bothered to go rummaging around trying to find some icon pack or something. If you got a link to send me with the latest versions of icons or units portraits or whatever, feel free to send them, and I might put them in. :happy:

I also REALLY hope the German AI doesn't botch in this game. My fate is inextricably tied to whether or not Germany can win, it is my only chance. I just really hope that it won't come down to having to deploy badly needed troops from my main theatres of combat to prop up the German Army...

@Asalto: Hehe, I am not sure if I would have had the patience to wait 14 or 16 years to be able to wage the Great War on some kind of improved footing! I am fine with starting the fun right off the bat, but it would have been nice at least to have maybe just a couple more months to maybe get a run of infantry divisions finished.

@everyone else: thanks for the comments!

June 28th, 1914. Tragedy has struck the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, while on a visit to the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, has been assassinated, along with his wife Sophie, shot dead while their vehicle drove through the streets. The trigger man, a Bosnian Serb named Gavrilo Princip, is arrested, along with other conspirators, and is being held by police in Sarajevo, while the authorities begin to investigate how this tragedy could have happened, and who coordinated the attack.



The K.u.K Army is meanwhile ordered to reorganize in Austria, in preparation for future deployments.


Meanwhile, the fallout over the assassination of Franz Ferdinand begins to stir up major tensions, as the true scope of the conspiracy is being uncovered. It is discovered that the assassination of Ferdinand was orchestrated by a group of top ranking Serbian military officers and officials, hoping to use the assassination as a way to begin to break Bosnia away from Austria-Hungary and join Serbia. Serbia has been a major thorn in the side of Austria-Hungary for many years now, due to Serbia's infiltration of agents or weapons and support of separatist groups in the Empire, part of a drive to create a union of southern slavic republics led by Belgrade.


This situation can no longer be tolerated: Austria-Hungary wants to avenge the death of the Archduke by destroying Serbia once and for all! To create a proper pretext for invasion, Austria-Hungary sends Serbia an ultimatum, knowing that the terms will more than likely be rejected by Serbia and thus giving Austria-Hungary a cause for invasion.


The crisis now deepens. Serbia turns to its powerful ally, Russia, for support. Russia promises to protect Serbia from an Austro-Hungarian attack, something that now elevates the scope of the crisis to one that could result in a major war against two great powers. With tensions rising meanwhile, Italy, which was Austria-Hungary's ally, ends its alliance and declares neutrality.


With Russia promising its support, Serbia declares that it accepts only part of the ultimatum sent to it by Austria-Hungary. In response, diplomatic relations are cut between the two countries, and the Empire has no other choice left but to pursue military action.


By this time, the K.u.K Army has finished its re-organization and is deployed accordingly. Facing Serbia are some of the army's best divisions, well equipped and led by some of the army's best commanders. 33 divisions are in place near Serbia, a force that should be able to overcome Serbia's very significant defenses near Belgrade and the surrounding mountains.


The next major area of deployment for the K.u.K army is Galicia, along the border with Russian Ukraine and Poland. Here, 35 divisions, including the army's entire cavalry force and most of the K.u.K's heavy artillery, are ready to defend the empire's territory from a possible Russian assault. However, there is still much cause for major concern. The Russian's have alot more troops in the area than Austria-Hungary does, and the line is somewhat thin in areas to the east. The army's general staff has decided therefore to enact a strategy of mobile defense: using the cavalry as a fast response force that will hopefully be able to blunt any major Russian assault. It is just hoped that the Russian's wont attack in more than one place at once....


Finally, the termination of Italy's alliance with Austria-Hungary has forced the general staff to deploy troops along the border, in case the Italians decide to join any war against the empire at some point in the future. For this task, only 15 divisions have been allocated, made up of second-line units with older weaponry and equipment. They are however joined by the army's 2 best mountain infantry divisions, some of the best soldiers in the entire K.u.K army, so this should be sufficient to hold the area against the Italians and maybe even to go on the offensive against them as well.