• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Fiftypence

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Victory or Death: A Serbian WWI AAR​

In the lead up to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the global conflict that followed, Serbia had emerged as a strong power in the Balkans. Ever since Austria-Hungary "acquired" Bosnia from the dying Ottoman Empire in the Treaty of Berlin, there had been a desire amongst nationalist Serbs to unite their people, something Austria rightfully saw as a big threat to their authority in the Balkans. The Serbian government craved a coastline, and hoped that the Great Powers would eventually give them a slice of Bosnia, if not all of it, while some others in Serbia dreamed of uniting all the south slavic people into one grand nation.

SER1.png

But this never occured, and when Austria formally annexed Bosnia in 1908, Serbia flew into a fury. Austria completely ignored their protests, Germany supported Austria, and the other Great Powers only objected vaguely. The only nation to firmly take Serbia's side was Tsarist Russia, who pressed for a Conference to decide the fate of Bosnia. Although the Austrians were willing to consider this, no conference occured, and Serbia was left with nothing. It would leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Serbs.

The following years saw an alliance of Balkan nations push the Ottomans almost completely out of Europe, but then proceeded to argue over the spoils. In particular, Bulgaria had hoped to gain northern Macedonia, but instead this land was grabbed by Serbia, who were now the strongest of the Balkan nations.

The war that had almost broken out over the Bosnian Crisis of 1908 eventually came in 1914, when due to a pure fluke a secret society called Young Bosnia were able to orchestrate the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, upon a visit to Sarajevo. Upon recieving news of this tragedy Austria sent a list of demands to Serbia, and many thought that Serbia would reject these out of hand. Surprisingly, only one demand was rejected, the condition that Austrian officials be given freedom to hunt down Serb terrorists within the borders of Serbia. The little Kingdom saw this as a violation of her national sovereignty, but Austria took this to mean that all the demands had been rejected, and declared war. Alliances were invoked, and soon most of Europe had been brought into the conflict.

SER7.png

Ferdinand's assassination

August 1914 - Reorganisation of the Serbian Army

As of the start of the war, the Serbian army consisted of eight divisions, three of which had artillery brigades. While this gave an advantage on the battlefield, it meant that the economy was quickly in tatters, but there was no way Serbia was going to sacrifice her superior army because of financial strain.

Of her neighbours Serbia was only at war with Austria, but Bulgaria remained hostile. Romania, Greece, Montenegro and Albania were much more favourably inclined towards the Entente, and Serbia hoped these nations would join the fight eventually. Serbia's southern border was for the time being secure, and so all efforts could be concentrated northwards.

SER6.png

Prince Aleksander, commander of Serbia's army

The overall commander of the Serbian army was Prince Aleksander, heir to the throne occupied by King Peter I. Upon receiving his post, the first thing he did was to reorganise the army so as to provide a strong defensive line along the entire border with the enemy to the north. Of the four divisions at Pristina, two were sent to defend Novi Pazar, and one was ordered to join the garrison at Bor. Meanwhile, a division was sent south from Beograd to reinforce those already at Kragujevac. When these positions had been taken, any Austrian offensive was sure to come unstuck by entrenched Serbian artillery. In addition to this, two reserve divisions were called up, and Aleksander was informed that they would be ready for duty in mid-October.

While this reshuffling was occurring, there were some significant events in the wider war. On August 21st Montenegro joined the Entente, their army consisting of two divisions, including an under-strength artillery division. Austria-Hungary was sure to take advantage of that, which would leave Pristina exposed. Those two reserve divisions could not arrive quick enough for Aleksander, and he knew that if Serbia was to gain the upper hand then they must take the initiative in this war. Thus, plans were drawn up for a September offensive into Austrian territory.

SER2.png
Situation 1st September 1914​
 

Fiftypence

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I've always wanted to do a WWI AAR with Victoria, and have decided to play as Serbia. The game is V:R with latest patch. I've played up until April 1915, and I must say it's been very tense so far!
 

Divi

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Fiftypence said:
I've always wanted to do a WWI AAR with Victoria, and have decided to play as Serbia. The game is V:R with latest patch. I've played up until April 1915, and I must say it's been very tense so far!

That's an interesting choice of state... To which I happily suscribe.
 

unmerged(59737)

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Lookin' Good. :)

1,000th post, BTW.
 

noddysseus

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I wish you good luck!
I recently was at the helm of Serbia in a multiplayer WW1 game we had over Christmas.
Take a look here if you would like, although I am sure the outcome shall be entirely different for you.

My advice is to be careful of Bulgaria and be ready to help Romania!
 

unmerged(62421)

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Best of luck. I have seen very few serb WW1 AAR's so I hope you finish this one.
 

GeneralHannibal

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Looking good so far. Although I don't own Vicky, look out for Bulgaria because if they attack, you're doomed.
 

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Divi: Thanks. Serbia historically got obliterated, so hopefully things will go a bit better for me.

Fulcrumvale: Well done on your milestone. :D

noddy102: I've had a glance at that, looks like a fun game. And your right about Bulgaria, I'm very weary of them.

Wenis: There have been a couple, but not for a long time.

GeneralHannibal: Not neccesarily. As long as I can keep a line of divisions along the border I should be able to hold them off. Of course, first I need to actually build those division.
 

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Victory or Death: A Serbian WWI AAR​

SER10.png

The September Offensive

On the 6th September, III. Corps and IV. Corps, consisting of four divisions in total, received the order to advance west towards Foca. Reports received by Prince Aleksander suggested that the Austrian’s only had one division defending the town, and that it was quite well dug in. However, Foca lacked any defensive structures, and so Aleksander was confident that the Austrian force could be dislodged by heavy artillery fire. All sources seemed to suggest that Serbia’s military was decades ahead of Austria’s in terms of technology and that they had much better morale and fighting spirit, so Aleksander was confident of victory.

While Serbia’s army was on the move, news was received that Japan had joined the war on the side of the Entente. While Aleksander was grateful for more allies, he was fairly sure that the Japanese would be no help in the coming struggle. General Hracovec’s IV. Corps arrived at Foca two days ahead of Bojkovic’s III. Corps, and found the Austrian defenders in makeshift trenches.

SER3.png

For two days they fought skirmishes, and when Bojkovic arrived with the artillery it became clear to the Austrian commander Roth that if they stayed at Foca they would all die, so the order was given to retreat. Serbia had come out of her first major battle triumphant, and as the town was secured a couple of probing Austrian counter-attacks were easily deflected. What remained of Foca was declared safe on October 3rd, and the two Corps begun to dig in.

SER4.png

The Western Front, September 1914

Germany’s strategy, labelled the Schlieffen Plan, was to knock France out of the war quickly by invading Belgium and rapidly encircling Paris, so as to force a surrender, at which point they could concentrate all their efforts on the Russians. It was a good plan, in theory.

In theory. The initial German invasion of Belgium was slow and difficult, although by the middle of September Arlon had fallen. The German offensive seemed to be going well, but it seemed that the French high command had anticipated the plan and begun to pour troops north. A split in the German command meant that the Germans lacked the necessary troops in the north to decisively break the Belgians, and so the great German breakthrough never occurred.

SER8.png
Initial German successes in Belgium​
The Eastern Front

The situation in the east was much more fluid, and in September neither side had established genuine front lines. The Russians, despite their slow mobilisation, could bring plenty of troops to bear, and a tentative offensive into Silesia was attempted. The Germans, meanwhile concentrated their forces north into Latvia and Lithuania and into Congress Poland, while the Austrians were able to gain some ground in southern Poland. But for now, most of Austria's attention was given to Serbia, and Prince Aleksander decided to wait for the reserves to be deployed before considering any further offensive action. Also, there was the question of the whereabouts of Field Marshall Radomir Putnik, last known to be recuperating from ill health at a spa in Austria...
 

Freddan

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Always interesting to read your AARs Fiftypence, and I haven't seen many Serbian WW1 AARs so I will definitely follow this one! :)
 

Fiftypence

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Freddan said:
Always interesting to read your AARs Fiftypence, and I haven't seen many Serbian WW1 AARs so I will definitely follow this one! :)
Thanks, glad your reading. :)
 

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Victory or Death: A Serbian WWI AAR​

SER16.png

Montenegrin POWs outside Podgorica

October 27th 1914

A haze of cigar smoke fills an upstairs room of the City Hall of Kragujevac, where King Peter and his top generals are gathered. It had been over a month since the move to Kragujevac, and while Belgrade is still official capital of the Kingdom, it is here that the government was based, as it is deemed safer.

Among the men gathered are Prince Aleksander, Field Marshals Misic and Stepanovic, as well as the King himself, although officially he has handed over all regal responsibilities to his son on the outbreak of war. Thus, the king is present more as observer than participant. All stood around a table, upon which a map is spread, the only piece of furniture in this sparse, drab room, which had lay unused until Austria’s declaration of war.

“Gentlemen, we have received news from the front of a great triumph at Foca, comprehensively defeating an Austrian attempt to reclaim the town. As I speak, III. And IV. Corps’ are digging further in. Živojin, what’s the situation in Montenegro?”

Misic, a powerful man well versed in the art of conflict with deep, knowledgeable eyes and a typical moustache, coughs before speaking.

“Not looking good, I’m afraid. The enemy have broken through the Montenegrin lines and have begun a siege of Podgorica. If we allow the situation to remain as it is, then Austria will be able to drive a stake right into the heart of Serbia.”

SER11.png

Austria defeats Montenegro's army.

Aleksander nods, looking concerned. “What would you suggest we do?”

Misic pauses for a moment, stroking his moustache. “Well…we have two conscript divisions ready for deployment. Now I know you wanted them to assist in the northern theatre, but I think we need them to form a defensive line from Novi Pazar to Pristina. There is also the remnants of the Montenegrin Artillery Corps, which have arrived in Pristina after a hasty retreat.”

“Ah yes,” says Aleksander, “I have received word from the government of Montenegro that they are to come under Serbian command, so that they may keep up the fight. They have also requested that we commit troops into a counter-offensive to rescue them.”

“Would that be wise?” says Stepanovic, the old general stepping forward. “Throwing conscripts straight into a situation where they’ll be outnumbered would be suicide."

"We could send Hracovec or Bojkovic south to aid in the attack," suggests Misic.

"No," says Stepanovic, "We need both III. and IV. Corps to hold Foca. I suggest we wait until Montenegro falls, and then counter-attack. I know it will look like a betrayal…”

The men were silent. Eventually, Aleksander sighs. “It will, but our loyalties must lie with the lives of our soldiers. Let Montenegro fall. I have personally ordered the recruitment of three new volunteer divisions, so when they are deployed then we can consider taking action in Montenegro.”

All gathered look uneasy, and Misic chimes in and changes the subject. “Any word of Putnik?” Misic is, in a sense, Field Marshall Putnik’s protégé, and had acted as his second-in-command during the Balkans campaigns of 1912-13.

“None,” says Aleksander. “I would guess he is in some god-forsaken prison in Austria-Hungary.”
 

unmerged(59737)

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So, a victory and a defeat...here's to hoping for the best.
 

Fiftypence

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Victory or Death: A Serbian WWI AAR​

SER18.png

Budapest

Only a short stroll from the great flowing blue waters of the Danube lay holding cells, on a quiet little street comfortably out of the way of Budapest's many denizens. It is a dank, unpleasant place, the peeling paint of the walls covered with festering mould and in the air is a stench of damp, that makes it hard to breathe. The desk clerk glances up upon hearing the arrival of a visitor, only to be confronted with a striking man, dressed in an immaculate military uniform.

"Can I help you?" the clerk asks in heavily accented German.

"Yes, I received a rather interesting telegram from the warden," the man responds, "I believe he is expecting me, Conrad von Hötzendorf is the name."

Before the clerk can respond, the warden appears from a back room and greets von Hötzendorf warmly.

"Ah, come to inspect the quarry?" the warden says with a leering smile. "Don't worry, I've made sure that the Serb dog is comfortable."

Von Hötzendorf regards the man with barely hidden disdain. Typical power-hungry little worm, with no idea of honour, he thinks as he follows him down a corridor lined with cells, stopping at the last. The warden fumbles with the key, and von Hötzendorf watches with irritation until the door finally swings open with a rattle. They both step inside.

"Field Marshall Putnik," says von Hötzendorf. The prisoner glances up, recognising his name, his eyes dark and full of mistrust. However, upon seeing von Hötzendorf, a look of mutual respect passes between them. "Do you speak German?"

No response apart from a grating, hacking cough, that seems to last several minutes.

"Hungarian?"

There is a glimmer of understanding in the man's eyes. "A little."

"Right, excellent. Now, I have been told that you were caught trying to return to Serbia, is this true?"

Putnik nods, before coughing noisily again. "I want to resign my commission in person and see my family. I don't want to die in a strange land."

Von Hötzendorf appears to find this reasonable. "You are an ill man, Field Marshall Putnik." More of a statement than a question.

"I am," he croaks.

Von Hötzendorf turns to the warden to berate him. "This man is ill. You should not keep him in such shabby conditions!"

"But he's the enemy..." the warden says, in protest.

"True, but he's also a general, and a damn fine one at that! Look at him, he's dying...this is no way to treat a soldier."

"You don't believe him, do you?!"

"I do. That is why I have come here, to take him into military custody and oversee his release."

The warden shakes his head with disbelief, but says nothing. This is wartime, after all.

"Field Marshall. I shall arrange a permit for you so you may return to your home unabused. You shall be provided for until I can make the necessary arrangements. I shall return tomorrow."

Putnik nods graciously as von Hötzendorf leaves, and the warden slams shut the cell door in a fit of rage, the reverberations audible all throughout the building.

SER17.png

Radomir Putnik
 
Last edited:

Fiftypence

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Fulcrumvale: Montengro's lost, but there is an unexpected benefit as will soon become apparent.
 

unmerged(59737)

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Fiftypence said:
Fulcrumvale: Montengro's lost, but there is an unexpected benefit as will soon become apparent.
Let me guess: a non-firing event chain?
 

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Victory or Death: A Serbian WWI AAR​

SER19.png

Soldiers in winter

Winter

As the cold began to set in, Serbia lacked the numbers or the will to undertake any new offensives for the time being, and so apart from Austria’s invasion of Montenegro the Balkan Front was all quiet, as the two sides could only glare at each other across the ditches and barbed wire. As the year ended, it appeared that the war that was supposed to be “over by Christmas” was set to drag on much longer than anyone could have anticipated.

On the Western Front the German offensive, haven previously stalled due to a combination of poor planning and unexpectedly veracious Belgian resistance, began to collapse under Entente pressure. In early December the French launched a major counter-offensive, the first great battle of the trench warfare that would characterise the war in the West. The Battle of Arlon was to last well into 1915, as 16 French divisions caught the outnumbered German defenders completely by surprise. It was an important victory for the Entente, as the Germans were pushed back to their own borders.

SER14.png

The Battle of Arlon

But while there was good news from the West, the Russians continued to suffer. The Central Powers continued their advance into Poland and the Ukraine slowly but surely, and in the Caucasus the Turks were holding their own. While the Tsar could bring superior numbers to bear, his soldiers were poorly led and suffered from low morale, and were slaughtered in huge numbers. The Russian commanders, like most at this time, led their divisions from afar, relying on a rather unreliable communication system to get their instructions to the battlefield. Often commands and orders would get lost and would be missed, and this could lead to an instruction to retreat failing to be understood. Of course, this meant huge, unnecessary casualties were all too often incurred on both sides, but it was something the Russians suffered most.

Montenegro fell in early December of 1914, giving rise to the quote of Austrian Field Marshall Erzherzog Friedrich of Teschen, gleeful signatory of the surrender papers, “And so the first domino falls.” In truth this was only a minor setback for the Entente, but for Serbia it was a considerably bigger blow, as Prince Aleksander was rightly concerned that Serbia was to be the next domino. What was left of the Montenegrin Army, stationed in Pristina, was combined with the Serb conscript division and was fully integrated into the Serb command structure. It was as a response to Montenegro’s fall that Prince Aleksander took personal command of the III. Corps, heroes of the September Offensive into Foca.

SER13.png
 

Fiftypence

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Fulcrumvale said:
Let me guess: a non-firing event chain?
No, it's rather more mundane than that. The Montenegrin division, when Montenegro as annexed, became mine. For Serbia, a free artillery division is a great bonus!
 

Estonianzulu

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Fiftypence said:
No, it's rather more mundane than that. The Montenegrin division, when Montenegro as annexed, became mine. For Serbia, a free artillery division is a great bonus!

Indeed it would be.

Good luck with this, so far you are faring better than my first Vicky AAR. Serbia can be tricky, especially if France backs out of the war. If Germany has any level of success on the Western Front, or if Italy never joins the Allies, you will have an uphill battle.

Its nice to see these old familiar faces (Misic and Stepanovic) brought up for another AAR. That event you have in the first post, is that from a Mod? I don't recall ever seeing that when I played.
 

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Interesting. I hope you do well.