Who put the stranded Admiral in charge? - Siberian White Short Campaign PBEM

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Stuyvesant

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Almost time for the Battle of Samara... Regardless of whether it'll be an epic or a low-key stroll into the city, it seems that the prize can't elude you now.

I like your cynical exploitation of Central Asia, revolts be damned. I must really remember these things for if I ever get round to playing myself. :)
 

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RUS can be a rather cynical and dark game. Especially if you think about what certain options in this game imply: the Red player routinely sends out the Cheka to repress opposition, all sides force hundreds of thousands of unwilling peasants into their armies or "requisition" (in the civil war basically an euphemism for "rob") their food, horses, money, lifestock, ...

In a way I like this: RUS doesn't pretend that the Russian Civil War was an honourable affair. It grants a glimpse at the ruthless slaughter and exploitation during this conflict without getting too inappropriate for a game.

This PBEM is currently at turn 12, just 2 turns ahead of my AAR. The next update contains a lot of information, I don't want my opponent to see just yet. It will have to wait another day.
 
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PrawnStar

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Just found this, good stuff.

I never quite understood how the Whites actually assembled armies "Hello please come and die so your children can be serfs" doesn't seem very appealing!
 

Arilou

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Just found this, good stuff.

I never quite understood how the Whites actually assembled armies "Hello please come and die so your children can be serfs" doesn't seem very appealing!

"The reds will steal all your land and have sex with your women!" seems to have been the most common appeal.

But then again, there's a reason the Whites LOST.
 

Searry

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Just found this, good stuff.

I never quite understood how the Whites actually assembled armies "Hello please come and die so your children can be serfs" doesn't seem very appealing!

Serfdom was abolished in 1860's in most of Russia. You've read some typical red propaganda which has survived to this day.
 

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Turn 11 - Early October 1919: Samara is taken and Chapaev disappears


The Second Battle of Samara: In Omsk Allied funds designated to pay White soldiers are are spent on a lavish victory party. Champagne bottles are decapitated and the thousands of officers that prefer to stay in their warm offices rather than the frontline trenches boast with "their accomplishments". They have every reason to be happy: Samara has been retaken. It's defenders are completely annihilated. General Kappel's men were amongst the first to enter the former capital of the Komuch.

turn11b.jpg


Ian must not have realized just how big Kappel's corps had gotten otherwise he wouldn't have risked this battle. Kappel's 74.000 men utterly crushed Grittis' Bolsheviks. 15.600 Red soldiers have fallen as opposed to 3.600 White ones. + 8 NM for the Siberian cause. My big new divisions tore through the Red Army like a knife through butter. In the first round of combat Smolin's division (a monster with 525 pw) killed one third of Grittis force without taking a single hit. Voitsekhovski's corps never even got the chance to participate in this battle.


Northern front: The Red Army is slowly reinforcing its troops facing the Kama Line. A new attack will come sooner rather than later. I would prefer a frontal attack to another flanking attempt. Therefore the goal will be to make the Kama Line appear weaker than it is. Retreating the 1st and 2nd Siberian Divisions to deepen the line was just a first step. This turn a newly recruited division under Milovich will reinforce Verzhbitsky (who has taken over from Panov). Lacking scouts on my side of the Kama, Ian won't see this increase of forces. Next turn I might even retreat Pepeliaev a step backwards ...

turn11c.jpg



Center: While Kappel was annihilating Samara's defenders, Samoylo divided his force. He retreated with three divisions and some smaller units behind the Volga. Chapaev on the other hand marched south-east until he suddenly disappeared along the Ufa-Samara railroad.

turn11a.jpg


The big question is how many men has he with him? Possibly he could have as much as 600 pw. But I highly doubt it: for one Samoylo brought too many men with him on his retreat. Moreover Chapaev's division must be small to avoid detection in an area where the peasants are loyal to the Siberian cause and military control rests with my forces. My wager is Chapaev has not much more than one division of cavalry, 200 pw at the very most.
I adjust my plans accordingly. Ufa will be weakened considerably. Only Grivin and a half-finished infantry division stay behind to defend the city. Hopefully I haven't underestimated Chapaev's strength; if he should decide to venture against Ufa, my unfinished troops will fare badly. Meanwhile Savelev will try to catch Chapaev or at least cut off his retreat route by taking Bugulma.

turn11d2.jpg


To the West, the forces at Samara will be split into three corps: Akutin and three division, one of them badly mauled (it was the unlucky division that took the entire casualties during my assault on Samara last turn), are ordered to defend Samara. Voitsekhovski takes another three divisions to Troitsk in order to protect the river crossing. The main force under Kappel will try to cross the Volga further south in the hope that Ian doesn't expect a new offensive west of the Volga just yet and neglects to blockade the river crossing. The Siberian Autumn Offensive isn't over just yet ...


Southern front: Khanzhin has been reinforced considerably: He received a newly recruited militia division and a veteran cavalry division freshly arrived from Turkmenistan. The latest intelligence on Avksentevski's stack at Pokrovsk (one turn old but I didn't see any reinforcements arrive) suggests that Khanzhin outnumbers him 2:1. It is time to try an attack. The casualties are bound to be high but unless Kirov intervenes (unlikely since neither force seems to be organized as a corps) the Siberian forces have a fair chance of prevailing. In any case, my attack will keep the pressure up and increase the number of river crossings Ian has to worry about.

turn11e.jpg


Tolstov will take over guard duty at Uralk. This leaves Orenburg weakly protected from a possible attack by Chapaev. But more reinforcements from Turkmenistan are scheduled to arrive at Orenburg on day 8. Together with a few regiments I am leaving behind this should be enough.


The state of the war: The balance of power is shifting. Communist NM has plummeted to a mere 63 points. Meanwhile Siberian NM has risen to 118 (it would be considerably higher if I hadn't spent so much on reforms and options). Southern White NM is at 87. Not great but good enough. The latest decrease seems to be due to reforms (each costs 1 point of NM) rather than lost battles.

turn11f.jpg


The White factions are ahead in casualties as well. I like to think that is mostly a Siberian White achievement since my soldiers have been consistently inflicting more than double the casualties they take. Most importantly, Ian is falling behind in the recruiting race as well. I have seen very few Red special operations during the last few turns. That is a crucial mistake. Ian has always been on the cautious side when it comes to special operations but this is a civil war not a contest in good government. Kolchak will bleed Russia's pesants dry if it gets him to Moscov. Besides the interior redesign he is planning for the Kremlin won't come cheap, either.:p
 

Stuyvesant

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...but this is a civil war not a contest in good government.
That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? Pretty much anything is allowed, if it helps attain the final goal, the Greater Good.

Moral musings aside, that was a walkover at Samara - but even so, you still destroyed a large number of Reds. And you're following it up with further offensive actions. I'm impressed with your aggressive approach.
 

TheExecuter

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Good victory...but you need to cross the river...

Good luck dealing with those pesky Red flotilla's...
 

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@ TheExecuter: Thank you. :) Even if I don't succeed this turn, winter will soon force the Red fleet into their harbours. Then frozen toes rather than river crossings will become my headache. But if anyone is capable of mounting a large scale winter offensive, it should be Siberians.

That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? Pretty much anything is allowed, if it helps attain the final goal, the Greater Good.

I don't know about the "Greater Good". The Russian Civil War always seemed to me like a contest between pest and cholera.:sad:
 

Narwhal

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I would hate to be the Reds. I hate it when you have this feeling that you re losing the initiative, that your opponent forces all your moves...

... but what pleasures when you come back !

67 in NM is a much worse Key Performance Indicator that the number of death, all the more since there were few Special Actions taken.
 

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I would hate to be the Reds. I hate it when you have this feeling that you re losing the initiative, that your opponent forces all your moves...

... but what pleasures when you come back !

Comebacks are what makes for truely exciting campaigns. Unfortunately they are rare.:( I had an incredible RoP PBEM earlier this year where the Prussian player gave me hell, managed to crush entire stacks twice. It took me until the fourth year of the campaign before I managed to trap his last troops in places where they had a choice between starvation or desperate attacks. Rarely had I this much fun (or was this unnerved when he send me back yet another turn where my carefully crafted plans had been foiled).
But the usual outcome is that one player controls the game (either because he commands the stronger side or because he is more experienced/cunning).

67 in NM is a much worse Key Performance Indicator that the number of death, all the more since there were few Special Actions taken.

Ture, NM is indeed the decisive factor - but casualties and NM can tell two different stories: NM gives the big picture, casualty rates provide an indication how the balance of power is shifting. I rely on casualty rates in the early turns of a campaign because NM tells you little at that point (it may even be misleading since reforms and some option can influence it significantly). It takes some time before NM reflects a clear tendency.
 

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Interlude: Floating coffins and mass conscription


This update will be different from my previous ones. Instead of telling you whether Kappel managed to cross the Volga, I will pause for a moment and take a broader look at Kolchak's armies and his "navy". Were my attempts to increase the Siberian forces successful? How has the strength been redistributed between theaters of operation?


Siberian River fleets:

Kolchak's navy is in a sorry state. Currently it consists of 8 gunboats. 4 of them are little more than scrap metal. After two disastrous naval engagements, the crews are demoralized but they also have become veterans. Their ships will be repaired starting this turn. Construction of the other 4 gunboats has just begun. In a few months the 1st Gunboat Squadron will be ready for combat.

turn11g.jpg



Siberian Armies:

Luckily, the state of Kolchak's land forces is a lot less depressing:


Northern Front: Gaida's Siberian Army

turn 1: 59.600 men
turn 11: 97.500 men*


Center: Dutov's Volga Army

turn 1: 79.700 men
turn 11: 154.500 men


Southern Front: Tolstov's Orenburg Army

turn 1: 17.400 men
turn 11: 42.900 men


Central Asia: no army command structure

turn 1: 34.600 men
turn 11: 23.500 men


Siberian Hinterland: excluding locked garrision forces

turn 1: 26.000 men
turn 11: 33.300 men


Overall combat strength of Siberian forces:

turn 1: 217.800 men
turn 11: 351.700 men

turn11j.jpg


Within the first 11 turns Siberia's forces have lost 45.600 men, nevertheless 133.900 new soldiers have joined Kolchak's armies. Overall their strength has been increased by 62%. On average mass conscription has put 12.100 new soldiers in the field each turn. The only front that has been weakened is Central Asia; a process that will continue with Red forces in the area all but crushed.
More importantly the balance of power has shifted dramatically: In turn 1 the Red Army had 229% of the combat strength of Kolchak's forces. This percentage has dropped to 158%. Considering that the Red Army has to cover several fronts against the Southern Whites with these troops as well, it must be significantly outnumbered on the Siberian front.

turn11i.jpg


I am rather impressed with this increase of Siberian forces myself. In my experience aggressive recruitment is the key to playing the Siberian Whites successfully. Regardless of the scenario they start with the weakest army of all factions, but if the huge hinterland is ruthlessly exploited, they have the potential to transform into a behemoth. The trick is to squeeze Siberia's peasants without triggering massive Green revolts. It requires a delicate balancing act but it can be done.

turn11h.jpg


Recruitment is continuing at a high pace. A number of new brigades is already under construction.


---------------------------
* This number includes reinforcements schedulded to arrive by turn 12. These units aren't counted as stationed in the hinterland anymore.
 

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RUS is a highly complex game. Unfortunately not every concept is sufficiently explained through tooltips or the manual. While I don't intend to provide informations about everything in RUS, Narwhal's amazing work in his "how to"-AARs has me inspired to highlight at least some questions specific to RUS and try to provide some answers.


RUS game mechanics - Chapter 1: replacements


Replacements are managed in the ledger, more specifically the Ministry of War section (F2). The ledger lists the number of available replacement chits for any type of element, as well as the number of hits that needs to be replaced in units of this type.

The big mystery is how many hits each replacement chit contains. The tooltips doesn't answer this question, neither does the game manual.

replacements.jpg


Here is my answer to this question: A replacement chit is an element of that unit type. Unfortunately not every type of element contains the same number of hits. Here is a list:

infantry, militia and cavalry: 20 hits per replacement chit
light infantry: 15 hits per replacement chit
tanks, artillery, armoured cars : 8 hits per replacement chit
supply trains: 6 hits per replacement chit
engineers: 4 hits per replacement chit
aircraft: 12 hits per replacement chit
 

Stuyvesant

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Oh, I agree, the 'Greater Good' as it was defined by the Whites or the Reds wasn't anything to write home about. I merely meant that both sides did some pretty horrible things, because they believed their final goals made it worthwhile... It's why utopian idealism and armed conflict usually produce extremely nasty results.

Anyway, back to the AAR. You've managed to expand your forces in an impressive way, so far without triggering massive Green uprisings. Can you remind me about the loyalty thresholds before the Greens become an issue?

Two other questions: regarding the reinforcement chits, once you order them, they get automatically applied, right? There's no manual 'click this button to reinforce the selected unit' mechanism? And when I look in your build queue (in the first update), it looks like you're ordering a leader in Ufa. Can that be done, or am I reading it wrong?
 

loki100

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nice overview .... also from my limited experience I think you're right that the Reds at the start have to put in a massive recruitment effort - a case of sort out the immediate crisis and then worry about the consequences later. I'm less sure but I reckon there is a lot of mileage too in the subversion missions to raise Bolshevik control behind the lines.

Interesting to see how the replacement system varies from the other AGE engine games, so you effectively generate replacements off your population and then the game engine applies them to units (on the same sort of rule as RoP - passive/defensive stances frist?)
 

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Can you remind me about the loyalty thresholds before the Greens become an issue?

The rule of thumb is: keep the loyalties towards your faction above 60% (in other words don't allow Green loyalty to exceed 40% - not exactly the same since most region have loyalties to the Reds as well).

Two other questions: regarding the reinforcement chits, once you order them, they get automatically applied, right? There's no manual 'click this button to reinforce the selected unit' mechanism? And when I look in your build queue (in the first update), it looks like you're ordering a leader in Ufa. Can that be done, or am I reading it wrong?

Reforcements chits get applied automatically. There are two important limitations though:
1. The unit must be in a region with a town, city or depot (depots speed the replacement process up considerably).
2. The unit may not move during the turn.

It is possible to add unfinished units into a division, this is what I did at Ufa. I am not building a new leader but rather have a leader commanding a division filled with unfinished units. As a side effect this tricks the game into thinking there are fewer units under construction in that region. This gamey tactic allows you to artificially increase the unit construction limit in that region.

nice overview .... also from my limited experience I think you're right that the Reds at the start have to put in a massive recruitment effort - a case of sort out the immediate crisis and then worry about the consequences later. I'm less sure but I reckon there is a lot of mileage too in the subversion missions to raise Bolshevik control behind the lines.

My advice would be never to stop using special operations. With frequent reforms/cheka interventions loyalties are managable. The best chance to win is to put huge amounts of new troops in the field. This is exactly the point I wanted to make with my last update: show how quickly armies can grow in RUS if the player doesn't hesitate to use special operations aggressively.
 

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Turn 12 - Late October 1919: Mud-wrestling


The Siberian Autumn Offensive is starting to relief the pressure from my Southern allies. Here is what Durk wrote when he send me this turn: "Much more fighting on my front. I can see Ian pulling units away." Kiev and Novocherkassk are now under siege by Southern White forces.
Winter seems around the corner. It has started to rain and the whole country has turned into mud. Operations will slow down considerably this turn.


Northern Front: The long expected flanking attempt against the Kama Line finally came. If the Red Army wasn't such a tardy bunch it would have stumbled right into Verzhbitsky's waiting corps. Shorin picked up two additional infantry divisions during his move which undid two days worth of marching. From the replay it seems Shorin would have arrived in time for a battle with Verzhbitsky but for this delay. A shame. Suddenly the Red Army Command must realize that it underestimated the true strength of the Siberian defences in the North.

Red forces along the Kama: 1577 pw
White forces in the Kama Line: 1896 pw

turn12a.jpg


Most likely Shorin will either retreat or dig in where he is. He might attack Perm supported by Blucher but I doubt the Red leadership would risk a repeat of the first Battle of Perm. Another option would be a march on Ekaterinburg. In the mud the Red soldier wouldn't get far though and risk being cut off next turn. I could intercept such a move but I wouldn't mind Shorin getting further behind my lines. It would only make him more vulnerable.


Center and South: The Autumn Offensive keeps its momentum. In the South Khanzhin succeeded in pushing Avkensentevski back across the Volga. Amidst the mud, 4.300 dead White soldiers lie side by side with 7.600 of their former enemies. The Siberian cause gains 2 NM.

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Further north, Savelev crushed a Red cavalry brigade while reconquering Bugulma (+ 1 NM). This turn Dutov will assume command over this stack. Chapaev slipped through his fingers, though. He reappeared in Buzuluk where he destroyed a White cavalry regiment. At least the Siberian leadership now has exact informations on his strength: his divisions consists of one cavalry and two smaller infantry brigades (205 pw).

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Kappel managed to cross the Volga with 62.000 men. The idea was to have a corps big enough that it won't depend on another successfull crossing for reinforcements. The downside of this idea is that Kappel will have to conquer a sufficent supply source west of the Volga soon. This time he has simply too many men with him for another long march.
Four options present themselves:

1. I could unleash Kappel upon Samoylo's force at Syzran. Most of it has already retreated inside the city. It would take Kappel 9 days to get to Syzran though. This might be enough to get reinforcements there. But most importantly Syzran has no depot and the Siberian supply infrastructure at Samara has already reached the limits of its capacity.

2. A forced march would get me to Penza. While it has a depot, it is just too far behind enemy lines for my taste.

3. Another march on Simbirsk: the city is weakly defended. I wouldn't get there within a single turn, though. Moreover the city has no depot.

4. Kappel will lead his corps south and cut off the Saratov-Penza railway. This will isolate Saratov from reinforcements. The river Medveditsa will shield Kappel from counter-attacks and he is certainly strong enough to crush Avkensentevski's beaten force in turn 13. Khanzhin might even be able to intervene in a fight for Saratov. The only risk I can see is reinforcements heading to Saratov from the Southern front. Luckily Durk has destroyed the railway at Tambov which will slow reinforcements down. The mud will increase that effect. It is very well possible that the troops Durk saw leaving from the South won't arrive until the end of turn 13.

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The decisive factor in the decision for Plan Saratov is the level 4 depot in the city. It will come as a great relief to my strained supply network in this sector. If Kappel failed to take the city, he could still dig in and built a depot which can be supllied from Samara and Uralsk. This should sustain him until winter allows a retreat.

In the meantime Akutin will take two of the three divisions in Samara and try to catch Chapaev. By railway he should be at Buzuluk before the Red partisan leader can slip away.

Dutov is ordered to retake Buguruslan, I plan on building a depot there next turn. There is a big stack of supplies at Ufa. Hopefully the new depot will help push more towards Samara.

Recruitment: I am reaching the limits of the Siberian unit pool. This turn the last available infantry brigades and militias have started construction. From now on out I won't be able to field more huge divisions. I still can build a few more cavalry brigades, though. Perhaps the units pool will be restocked for 1920 - I think late infantry becomes available at that point. Unfortunately, I believe it will only be available in single regiments, not brigades.