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

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Very nice, but

turn20map.jpg


It's not Arkhangelsk, Arkhangelsk is in the arctic North. It's Astrakhan.

Anyway, crush the Commies! ;)
 

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@Falconette: Thanks for reading. :) I am terribly sorry about my mistake. Obviously it's supposed to be Astrakhan. Unfortunately I haven't gotten the original screenshot anymore. Thus there is no easy way to fix it. :(
 

baris30

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Very Good AAR with pictures. Well done :)
I haven't read all of it but how did you field so much large armies as Siberians. No opposition to Cossack rule :cool:
 

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Very Good AAR with pictures. Well done :)
I haven't read all of it but how did you field so much large armies as Siberians. No opposition to Cossack rule :cool:

Welcome Baris! :) Nice to see another face from the good old AGEOD forums over here.

The "secret" to my big army is simple:

  1. Armies are huge in the Short Campaign to begin with.
  2. Intensive use of special operations: I constantly used at least 7 conscriptions/requisitions all through 1919. At the same time, I usually had at least 4 reforms running to keep the risk of Green revolts in check. It is surprising how much ressources you get this way. I had played with the same aggressive recruitment strategy in three Grand Campaign PBEMs before. It always worked extremely well. For the Short Campaign, I wouldn't advice copying this strategy, though. As you can see, I ran into massive supply troubles once the winter hit. Initially, a massive recruitment drive in order to quickly expand the Siberian forces may be adviceable. But after the first cycle of special operations, it probably is smarter to slow the recruitment down.
  3. In this particular game another factor explaining the size of the Siberian army are my low casualties. It is now turn 21 in our game, and Siberian casualties are still under 100.000 men while the Red are at 450.000 and the Southern White at 250.000. Basically the Red Army has lost forces the size of the entire Siberian Army.
 

Stuyvesant

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I don't know what you're planning to help the Southerns, but the fact that your supply situation is starting to improve is great news.

Looking at that strategic map, my eyes are always drawn to Tsaritzyn... If you could take that (and I realize that's a very big 'if'), then you would essentially be linked up with Denikin's boys, right?

Ah, one can dream... ;)
 

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Happy New Year to all my readers. Thank you very much for following this AAR. :)


@ Stuyvesant: Tzaritsyn is indeed tempting but there are three reasons why I won't go there:

1. supply
2. an option to fortify the city only exist for the Southern White
3. I gain nothing from linking up with the Southern White. On the contrary, cooperation between the White faction is severly limited by game mechanics (they can't draw supplies from each other, won't march into a battle to help their brothers in arms, steal military control from each other (meaning they cut off each others supply routes and railway control if they operate in the same territory).

Even if communications between the two White players are excellent (and with this group of players that has always been a delight), it is therefore best to keep the areas of operations seperate.
 

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Turn 21 - Early March: The endgame begins ...


The fate of the Southern White: Reds and Southern White have clashed multiple times this turn. The Red Army has achieved two important victories: It lifted the siege of Novocherkassk and pushed Yudenich's Army back at Tsrskoye Selo (just outside Petrograd).
In the Don area there is nothing left even remotely similar to a frontline. Red and White units are hopelessly intertwined. Overall the Red Army has gained some ground; but the important cities haven't changed hands.

turn21b.jpg


In the Ukraine, the siege of Kiev has been going on for months. Durk prudently doesn't risk an assault and the city is just too big to starve. Once the Polish will finally intervene, they will take care of that problem quickly.

turn21a.jpg


Durk's attempt to take Petrograd with Yudenich's Army seems to have failed. This puts the White cause under additional pressure: starting in the summer of 1920, the Southern White will lose 1 point of NM per turn due to this failure. Hopefully, Durk can at least pin down some Red troops in the North while staying on the defense.

Overall the Communists didn't gain much NM out of their fights with the Southern Whites this turn: If my calculations are correct, the Southern Whites lost a total of 3 points of NM against the Reds. Nevertheless Red NM hasn't increased since the Reds suffered one bad defeat on the Siberian front that cost them 4 points of NM. With Red and Southern White NM both at lows, it seems the endgame has started. It will be a race against time: will the Reds be able to crush Southern White NM before Polish and Siberians finish them off?

turn21c.jpg


Red chances are slim at this point: Durk is anything but a pushover. Additionally, his Southern Whites still have a comfortable NM advantage over the Reds and their army remains strong.
In a paradoxical way, another slight decrease of Southern White NM might even prove advantagous to the White cause: If Southern White NM should drop below 50, chances of a Polish intervention increase from 20% to 50 % per turn.


turn21map.jpg



Northern front: Starvation has significantly weakened Pepeliaev. Although "only" 3.000 men have starved, combat strength dropped considerably due to cohesion losses caused by the supply shortage. Luckily, three fully stocked supply trains have now arrived. They will sustain Pepeliaev for the next two turns.

turn21d.jpg


In the meantime, the Red Army is reducing its combat strength on the Northern front as well. Blucher has been reassigned elsewhere and several brigades seem to have retreated west. Since there isn't a direct railway to Kazan they have to embark on a long railway trip via Volgoda and Moscow. The question is where will they reappear? I fear they might be used against my Southern White allies. After months of impassivity the Red Army doesn't seem to take the Siberians serious anymore.


Southern front: Samoylo tried to break the siege of Syzran. Perhaps his supplies are finally exhausted? The escape attempt was planned as a pincer movement: Samyolo would leave the safety of his positions inside Syzran while Pavlovsky was dispatched by Trotzky to reinforce Samoylo from the North. It would have been smarter if Trotzky had brought his whole force: unlike him Pavlovsky wasn't part of the army structure. As a one star general his force remained independant, meaning he wasn't able to march to the sound of guns. The battle between Kappel and Samoylo was bound to be over before Pavlovsky would reach Syzran.
In the end, this mistake was of little importance since Samoylo proved to be a coward and retreated back into the city without a fight. However Pavlovsky's men continued their march. Even worse, upon entering the region of Syzran, they must have switched to offensive posture (Red military control of the region is too low to enter in defensive posture). The disaster unfolded: Ineptly Pavlovsky's men stumbled into the arms of Kappel's veterans. Instead of retreating they tried to attack the White lines. Most of the Red soldiers were mowed down before they came even close to the White trenches. The whole affair had more similarity to the proceedings before a firing squad than a field battle. Samoylo and his men watched from inside Syzran while Pavlovsky's division was entirely annihilated. Almost 12.000 Communists have fallen. Siberian casualties remained under 1.000 men. Kappel's latest victory gained the Siberian cause another 4 NM.

turn21e.jpg


At least this battle explains why there are no breaches at Syzran: Samoylo has more artillery stacked inside the city than Kappel's siege force has on the outside. The big question is whether Samoylo's corps is really in supply trouble. If so, there is a chance, his men will starve. To make things worse for the besieged Communists, the Volga remains frozen; evacuation by river transport is thus still impossible.

While the supply crisis is still far from solved, most stacks have enough for at least two more turns. With pressure increasing on the Southern White, the Siberian Army can't afford to sit idly by any longer. It's time to launch Operation Sickle: The opening move will be an attack by Voitsekhovski's cavalry corps from Saratov to Saransk where Kutiakov is in command of a small Red force (6.000 or 7.00 men at most). Hopefully this attack will come as a surprise to the Red Army: Saratov lies far behind the actual frontline; it is not exactly an obvious staging area for an attack north.

turn21f.jpg


Saransk is an important railroad hub: Westward a railway line leads all the way to Moscow. In fact with Moscow only 10 regions away Saransk is the ideal jumping board for a lightning strike against the Red heart. Another railway leaves Saransk towards the North-East. It connects the city to Kazan - yet another tempting target. To the East the only railway line that connects Simbirsk with the rest of the Red forces leads through Saransk as well. Moreover Trotzky is sitting on these railway tracks with 3 armoured trains. Taking Saransk cuts off their only escape route.

turn21g.jpg


Further East a small division under Tarasevich is ordered to retake Bugulma. The idea is to regain control over a vital railroad. It may prove handy come spring.


Fighting Green uprisings: Green rebels are trying hard to gain ground in the Far East and Kazakhstan. However, they failed badly, three battles against Japanese forces have cost more than 4.000 Green rebels their lives. In the meantime Japanese casualties remained low. Unfortunately these victories didn't gain me any NM.
 
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loki100

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some bold plans there ... and another terrible Red defeat at your hands. But it seems as if your supplies are still a major constraint and its a bit of a race to bottom between the Reds and the Southern Whites. Despite your advantages this remains really tense.
 

Searry

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Only a few turns and spring starts. Doesn't this improve the supply situation?
 

germanpeon

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I noticed that your Southern Front does not seem to be connected by rail to the rest of your rail network. Is supply passing through Syzran because of a MC advantage that I assume you have? If so, how was the Southern Front supplied before you obtained this link?
 

Stuyvesant

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I noticed that your Southern Front does not seem to be connected by rail to the rest of your rail network. Is supply passing through Syzran because of a MC advantage that I assume you have? If so, how was the Southern Front supplied before you obtained this link?

I think (which is always dangerous, I know) that rivers can transport supplies. Not sure if that works in the winter, though. Anyway, I'm sure Bornego can provide an actual, knowledgeable, answer. :)

Speaking of the update: my word, Kappel is turning into quite the scourge of the the Communists. That was a bloodbath of the first order... Shame it doesn't really impact the siege situation at Syzran, though.

Bold plan with Saransk. I love how those railroads play such an important role in the game, all the chokepoints they create. I really hope to see Trotsky and his shiny trains stuck in the frozen wastelands somewhere, nowhere to go. :)
 

Narwhal

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Great move and description. I found out that the "intermeddled" situation is much more common in RUS than in any other AGEOD game, owing to the large number of units no doubt.

The Syzran force is out of supply. In the battle report, it says that 85% of units did not receive supply this turn. If you remember that about one third of the units involved were part of Trotsky force and thus not in short supply, it means that a significant part of the troops under siege were out of supply - and it can only get worse.

I don't see why Kiev would not starve (except if the port is not blockaded). Under siege if a player has > 90% military control, no supply are produced except by port. So it is bound to starve at some point.


I really appreciate the "strategic map" sending down to the "local / tactical map". Could you put the "numbers" in purple instead of orange, though ? Due to the color of the map, I could not see the 2 for quite long :)

Carry on like this, I want you to win without the Poles !
 

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@ loki: thanks, but these are just my opening moves. Boldness is waiting around the corner, though. ;) The supply situation makes any offensive a lot more risky than usual.


@ Searry: as far as I know (the manual isn't very clear on that point, either) bad weather only limits supply distribution not production. The reason I am having global rather than local troubles, is that in my case supply production isn't sufficient. Still spring should bring some slight improvements.


I noticed that your Southern Front does not seem to be connected by rail to the rest of your rail network. Is supply passing through Syzran because of a MC advantage that I assume you have? If so, how was the Southern Front supplied before you obtained this link?

Good observation. :) Yes, Syzran it is the keyhole through which I am sending supply trains by railway (I have 95 % military control). My opponent realized that as well, with his next orders he destroyed that crucial railway link. Some supplies will still be distributed westward since I have a line of depots bypassing Syzran. Moreover Uralsk and Saratov produce a few supplies, too.


I think (which is always dangerous, I know) that rivers can transport supplies. Not sure if that works in the winter, though. Anyway, I'm sure Bornego can provide an actual, knowledgeable, answer. :)

Thank you for the kind words. There are a lot of things about RUS, I still haven't figured out. The AGE engine guards its secrets jealously. ;)

Harbours produce supplies - but they don't distribute. A harbour only stops producing supply if it is blocked by the river freezing or an enemy fleet.

Speaking of the update: my word, Kappel is turning into quite the scourge of the the Communists. That was a bloodbath of the first order... Shame it doesn't really impact the siege situation at Syzran, though.

Kappel is by far the best general the Siberian player has at his disposal: he comes with some handy special abilities and 5-4-4 stats (in my game experience has turned him into a 5-7-7 monster. :) Still he falls short of the very best general in RUS: Wrangel (6-5-4 stats and an exhaustive list of special abilities). Put Wrangel in charge and the fighting power of a stack increases by almost 30%.

Bold plan with Saransk. I love how those railroads play such an important role in the game, all the chokepoints they create. I really hope to see Trotsky and his shiny trains stuck in the frozen wastelands somewhere, nowhere to go. :)

Me too. :D


The Syzran force is out of supply. In the battle report, it says that 85% of units did not receive supply this turn. If you remember that about one third of the units involved were part of Trotsky force and thus not in short supply, it means that a significant part of the troops under siege were out of supply - and it can only get worse.

Thank you very much! I had overlooked this. It is the other way around, though: 85% of the forces participating in that battle were still supplied. In the long run that doesn't change much. Next turn starvation will truely start to affect Samoylo's force.

I don't see why Kiev would not starve (except if the port is not blockaded). Under siege if a player has > 90% military control, no supply are produced except by port. So it is bound to starve at some point.

The Dnejper is firmly under Red control. Kiev has a level 2 harbour, thus supply production isn't completely restricted. Furthermore the Red river fleet can use its transports to get more supplies into the city. Finally the forces inside Kiev aren't that strong (300 something pw). They can survive a long time on the huge supply stack that usually accumulates at Kiev.

On a more general note: my experience with RUS is that it can take very long to starve a besieged enemy force. In another PBEM, I have seen an ~800 pw strong Red force survive inside Tzaritsyn for 6 months.


I really appreciate the "strategic map" sending down to the "local / tactical map". Could you put the "numbers" in purple instead of orange, though ? Due to the color of the map, I could not see the 2 for quite long :)

Carry on like this, I want you to win without the Poles !

Will do for your first wish. :) The second wish I can't fulfill (the event is rather inflexible: with low Southern White NM, Polish intervention is inevitable), Polish forces are thus about to meddle in this civil war ...
 

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So, do the Baltic states declare independence at any point during the civil war? Or is that only a long campaign thing?

In both major campaigns RUS has to offer, the Baltic states and Finnland have already broken away from Russia. In the Grand Campaign the Southern White get the option to recognize the independance of these new states. This opens up the possibility to get them as allies in the war.
In the Short Campaign history has already progressed to the point where it had become obvious that the Whites as Russian nationalists would never recognize the independance of new state on former Russian soil. For that reason the White players don't have the option to get Finnland, the Baltic or the Caucasian nations into the war. On the other hand there are options that allow the Reds to declare war on these states. Unfortunately there is really no incentive to do so, unless you desperately want another 250.000 enemies. :p


Edit: I just made a very disturbing discovery: in the Short Campaign, it is possible for the Southern White to recognize the independance of Finland & Co after all. For some reason the option becomes only available in March 1920 (one year later than in the Grand Campaign. Very strange.:confused: It isn't as big a deal as in a Grand Campaign: Short Campaigns tend to bring about intense and continous bloodshed from turn 1 on which means that they usually are decided before this option will become available. The existance of an option to drag Finland, the Baltic and Caucasian nations into the war puts additional pressure on the Red, though. Time is defintively playing against them with multiple foreign interventions looming. Even worse this opens up the possibility of truely gamey exploits:
I am currently playing a second PBEM where I am in control of the Southern Whites. I have done well. NM is at 111, Southern White armies are three regions away from Moscow, the Reds are far from beaten but I could now exploit the "recognize independance" option to get Finland, the Baltic and Caucasian nations as well as Poland into the war within the next few turns: If I used this option, I would lose 40 points of NM, getting me down to 71, a few reforms would get me below 70 quickly. Suddenly Polish intervention (impossible at this point due to high Southern White NM) would be triggered (50% chance each turn).
The Red player in this game would probably get a heart-attack if he had to face 4 new adversaries within the next few turns. To make matters worse, he has just transfered the Red capital from Moscow to Petrograd because of Southern White armies approaching Moscow. However Petrogard is pretty much doomed once Finnish, Baltic and Northern White armies descend upon it (it usually falls within two months of Finlands entry into the war.​


By the way, the term "Short Campaign" is highly misleading. Yes, the campaign starts 3/4 of a year later but the game still lasts 64 turns which is more than enough (most RUS multiplayer games are decided in under 30 turns). In terms of available troops the Short Campaign however dwarfs the so-called Grand Campaign. It's a true mammoth scenario: armies are huge and are spread over half a dozen fronts. While the Grand Campaign usually starts slowly and then builds up, the Short Campaign starts with the opposing sides at each others throats. Carnage is garantueed. :)
 
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Axe27

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Another quick question. I just bought the game, and I've been playing as the Southern Whites. What I've noticed is that A. Stalin is a bitch to attack, and B. I can't get any of the reinforce decisions to work. I click on them, a stamp appears (I know I satisfy the prereqs certainly), and end the turn, and the next turn, I'm still out a couple hundred conscripts and replacements. Why for gods sake an implement button couldn't haven't been attached to the UI I want to know, but until I know why it's not functioning, I can't continue to play. Any ideas?
 

loki100

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Another quick question. I just bought the game, and I've been playing as the Southern Whites. What I've noticed is that A. Stalin is a bitch to attack, and B. I can't get any of the reinforce decisions to work. I click on them, a stamp appears (I know I satisfy the prereqs certainly), and end the turn, and the next turn, I'm still out a couple hundred conscripts and replacements. Why for gods sake an implement button couldn't haven't been attached to the UI I want to know, but until I know why it's not functioning, I can't continue to play. Any ideas?

Stalin has traits that really boost his performance on the defense - a key part to any AGEOD game is the role of leader traits (much more important that in paradox games). As to the second - check you have the resources to pay for everything you've ordered. All the stamp means is that you've asked for it, not that it will be delivered (it took me a while to grasp this distinction)
 

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I concur with loki. :) The partial mobilization and recruit prisoners options aren't bugged (if they are for you, the reason may be that you didn't update to the current patch? Recruit prisoners was buggy in early versions). As far as I know, you need at least enough EP to buy this option. Money can have negative values in RUS (if you are in the negative new options and recruitment get blocked, though), EP can't go below zero. You need to have enough EP in store to pay for any option you want to take (the income from the next turn doesn't count to that end).

Sidenote: I just discovered that one of my basic assumptions about the Short Campaign was wrong: it is possible to get Finland, the Baltic and Caucasian nations into the war in this scenario. The option becomes available to the Southern White in March 1920 (a year later than in the Grand Campaign). I really don't like this option! It screws too badly with game balance. It gives the Southern White player access to ~250.000 men most of them periliously close to Petrograd. Unless a Red player is already securely on a winning path, he can't spare that many troops.
Some additional thought on this option influencing Polish intervention are in post #135: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?571687-Who-put-the-stranded-Admiral-in-charge-Siberian-White-Short-Campaign-PBEM&p=13260546&viewfull=1#post13260546
 

Axe27

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I concur with loki. :) The partial mobilization and recruit prisoners options aren't bugged (if they are for you, the reason may be that you didn't update to the current patch? Recruit prisoners was buggy in early versions). As far as I know, you need at least enough EP to buy this option. Money can have negative values in RUS (if you are in the negative new options and recruitment get blocked, though), EP can't go below zero. You need to have enough EP in store to pay for any option you want to take (the income from the next turn doesn't count to that end).

But, I satisfy the prerequisites. So, why is the decision not activating? Do I need to ask for it, every single turn before some unknown condition is satisfied? It's impossible to complete with the huge red manpower pool with only a very small amount of conscripts coming in from conscripting in George/Armenia.

Edit: Oh, so apparently Victory Points are not in fact Engagement points, and apparently the options work fine, as I raised some money to cover the expansion of my armed forces. Surprisingly, I haven't had a need to partially mobilize as it's both really expensive, and my manpower crunch quickly evaporated after I conscripted more men in foreign countries. Now I just need a weapons factory.
 
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Glad you found a solution to your troubles.

You don't need to build a weapons factory. You will get one for free at Rostov once Germany is forced to retreat from the Ukraine after losing WW I.

Also, you shouldn't be able to conscript in Georgia/Armenia. Both regions are locked and there is a script disabling special operations in these areas. Unfortunatley it only triggers once turn 1 is processed. If you have started special operations in locked areas they will get cancelled.

Don't under-estimate partial mobilization: it is one of the most powerful options available. It may be costly but it is definitively worth it. If you spend a lot on militia (2 money + 10 conscripts per unit). You can get a lot of boots on the ground for little ressources. Training oficers (the Southern White have quite a few of those) can whip them into shape (upgrade them to conscripts and even regular infantry).

But we are getting a bit off-topic. Loki100 might start seeing red if we continue on this path. ;) Good luck with your game. :)

New update will follow soon.