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

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Axe27

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AGEOD has some weird bugs. For example, during my Southern White campaign, the Greco-French expeditionary force simply stopped regaining cohesion after capturing Kiev, regardless of where they spent the turn. It didn't really matter in that I had built up about 4.500 power in White troops at this point, but I imagine it could severely hamper a Siberian White game if the Czech legion stopped regaining cohesion. For the record, I am using the latest update.
 

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Axe27: Have you by any chance moved these troops outside of the Ukraine? Check with the theater filter. French, Greek and Anarchist troops are limited to the Ukraine if you move them beyond its borders, they occur a massive cohesion penalty (cohesion drops to zero!) They will recover if you move them back into the Ukraine and let them rest for a few turns.

loki100, Narwhal and Stuyvesant: You are writing the Bolsheviks off too early ...
 

Axe27

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Axe27: Have you by any chance moved these troops outside of the Ukraine? Check with the theater filter. French, Greek and Anarchist troops are limited to the Ukraine if you move them beyond its borders, they occur a massive cohesion penalty (cohesion drops to zero!) They will recover if you move them back into the Ukraine and let them rest for a few turns.

Yeah, they spent a few turns at Kharkov, before I moved them back to Rostov (which had plenty of supply). They spent 4 or 5 turns sitting in Rostov not regaining any cohesion, even though the tooltip said they were gaining 2 cohesion points a turn, and then the game ended because the Reds ran out of NM (as Denikin was besieging Moscow no less).
 

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Turn 25 - Early May 1920: A Communist miracle


Kolchak is furious, the Bolsheviks refuse to surrender! The graceful thing would be to flee the country or peacefully await a Siberian execution squad followed by proceedings before a kangaroo court (or was it the other way around?). Instead the Communist fight on. Orders are given for one final offensive effort with attacks on Kharkov, Simbirsk and Gomel.

turn25e.jpg


Last turn was a fine moral victory for Ian. Nothing is harder than to achieve victory with your back to the wall. Communist lost 2 NM because Minsk and Kiev are under Polish occupation and one more point of NM in a battle against the Siberians. But they more than made up for it by mauling my Southern White allies for a total 5 NM points.
Total casualties in this bloodbath of a game are now at 1.003.780. Not exactly something to be proud of. :(


turn25map.jpg



Belorussian front: Skierski is ordered to take Gomel. After this turn the link to the Ukrainian front will be established. Gomel is only defended by a few thousand Bolshevik militiamen, they will be no match for 20.000 Poles.

turn25b.jpg



Ukrainian front: Pilsudski will strike with lightning speed at Kharkov. His men may be tired after 6 weeks of marching and fighting but the possibility of conquering Kharkov is driving them on. Polish intelligence on Red forces in Kharkov is not available (I didn't expect to reach the city this early). The Southern White weren't able to provide more than vague information, either. It appears there are at most 20.000 Bolsheviks in the city. 50.000 Poles should be able to overwhelm them.

turn25a.jpg


In the meantime, Iwazkiewicz's small division made up of cavalry and motorized infantry is securing the northern flank by attacking Konotop. This should also establish the link with Skierski's force advancing from the north.


Siberian front: The Red Army is in an increasingly desperate situation:

Second Battle of Saransk: Trotzky tried to break out of the trap along the railway to Saransk. Luckily Voitsekhovski's cavalrymen were able to fend the attack off (the battle report mistakenly shows Khanzhin as commanding officer although he was inside the city while Voitsekhovski was in charge of the defenders outside Saransk. Two armoured trains were destroyed. The Red Army lost 2.800 men against 1.300 White casualties. +1 Siberian NM.

turn25d.jpg


The Siberian army will try to tighten the noose. Semenov takes most of Kazan's garrison and attacks Somoylo's small militia force at Simbirsk. Hopefully, Trotzky doesn't rail back there. Meanwhile Dutov moves north to retake the railway connection to Saransk which has been cut off by Dybenko's cavalry division. Smolin and Sladkov's divisions are shifted around to ensure that these moves won't create openings for the Red Army to exploit.

turn25c.jpg



Supply crisis: I have finally solved it!:happy: Improvements from Omsk all the way to the frontlines. A small surplus of supplies is starting to accumulate in most places. It is small, but a surplus nevertheless. Only the area around Perm still hasn't improved. The solution was to ship enough divisions (more than one third of my total strength) to Tomsk, Irkutsk, Chita and other cities in Central Siberia. This turn the first divisions will arrive in the Far East and spread havoc amongst rebellious peasants.


If the attacks on Simbirsk and Kharkov succeed the Bolsheviks will surely realize that all hope is lost. Or will they be able to summon another miracle?


I have to admit part of me is routing for the Communists right now. It's hard not to cheer for an underdog that struggles with such ingenuity and courage. Luckily, my inner Kolchak is less sentimental. :p
 

loki100

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great stuff, to try and strike back like that takes real commitment - the only problem is if your supply situation has eased then you'll be far too strong to fend off?
 

Axe27

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The Reds are really feeling the heat now. Severe pressure in the Ukraine and in Belarus and the Siberians have a future icepick victim in the noose. All very exciting. Are you planning on swinging south with the Poles at any point? I take it Denikin could use the help.
 

Stuyvesant

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I guess Ian did exactly what he needed to stay alive - while I can't see any reasonable way in which he can win the war - in fact, I can see any way in which he can stave of losing - he can prolong the agony. And why wouldn't he? It's not like he gains anything by giving up. Especially given Admiral Kolchak's generous peace terms. as offered above. ;)

As long as he can keep beating up on the Southern Whites, he might be able to keep squeezing out turns. I had thought the Poles would form a better target (with their lower NM), but I guess they are too powerful, even with that lower morale. As hard as the fighting in the South has been (gauging by the combined casualty numbers), there might be enough mauled Southern units to keep the Reds going a little while longer.

Then again, if you're successful and a couple more of the VP cities fall after attendant fierce battles, things could well be over after this turn.

Which just goes to show, that I really shouldn't be trying to predict the future, not even in computer games. ;)
 

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Turn 26 - Late May 1920: Kolchak for Tzar!


The short version of this turn's events: 30.000 more dead on all sides, the Bolsheviks lose 3 NM because of Minsk, Kiev and defeats against the Siberians but manage to gain back 2 NM from the Southern White. Durk's comment: "I am safe in my homeland, but I am getting battered to smithereens."

turn26a.jpg


Sidenote: It seems the Polish NM may be completely irrelevant. At least any NM the Polish gain or lose on the battlefield only affects Siberian NM. Similarly, their casualties are added to the Siberian count.


turn26i.jpg



Ukrainian front: The main objective here is to free Southern White troops from the Ukraine. If Durk can redeploy an increasing number of troops to the Don Basin, Red pressure on Rostov should lessen. Unfortunately, the Polish Army can't help in the struggle for Rostov directly since it is confined to the Ukraine.

turn26b.jpg


Pilsudski's attack on Kharkov was stopped in the most embarrassing manner. A Red militia blew up the railroad tracks right in front of his army. Since it contained two armoured trains, this effectively stopped the march on Kiev.
This turn rain and mud limit the reach of offensive operations severly. Therefore Pilsudski will only be able to reach a less ambitous target: he will swing south-east and take Poltava from the Green.
Not only will this cut-off Matsiletsky's only retreat route but Poltava also seems like a good place to establish a forward supply base.

Iwaszkiewicz took Konotop and smashed Kirov's red militia while doing so. He got lucky and gained a vital point of NM. His fast moving division will be joined by Jazwinski's small division (it arrived as part of an event and has yet to build up cohesion). Next turn, the fast moving troops in Iwaszkiewicz corps will head south-east.

turn26d.jpg


Tolstov will secure the broken railroad link to Kharkov. His corps is weak but I don't expect the Red Army to leave Kharkov, it would be insanity with Pilsudski's powerful corps advancing east.

This turn Ukrainian reinforcements arrived. 4 new infantry division under Petliura's personal command (the fifth division was part of the original Polish army, I gave Petliura divisional command rather than leave this troops loose in a stack). Unfortunately the new units arrived with hardly any cohesion - potentially this division could have close to 500 pw. Eventually (provided the game lasts long enough) Petliura will push the offensive beyond the Ukrainian borders. Unlike Polish troops Ukrainians aren't restricted to certain areas of the map. Getting these troops was the reason why it was paramount that Polish forces took Kiev (I didn't know about the NM penalty for the Bolsheviks then).


Siberian front: Simbirsk has fallen and the entire garrison was annihilated. Unfortunately, this victory didn't gain me any NM. But at least I captured a unit of Red river transports. Together with a supply train, it will be used to build a depot in the city.

turn26g.jpg


The Red river fleet continues to be a pest: Last turn, it interrupted Smolin's march to Kazan. Without these reinforcements, Akutin's force guarding Kazan is desperately weak. Ordzhonikidze could easily retake the city this turn. To prevent this Semenov is ordered to Sviask (the small town just opposite of Kazan). Should Ordzhonikidze's try an attack, he would run into Semenov's superior force and get badly mauled. Luckily, the alternative attack route on the northern bank of the Volga is currently impossible since the mud slows down movement too much.
I asked my Southern White ally for help against the Red fleet on the Volga - the Siberian fleet is still too weak. Here is his answer: "The Caspian Sea's fleet set sail last turn to conquer and connect with your forces, but ran into Ian's destroyers; who lived up to their name. I have no river ships left." Oh my ... :(

turn26f.jpg


Trotzky tried to escape the encirclement with yet another attack against Saransk. Fortunately for him this ill-advised attempt was abandonned without a battle. This turn, Kappel's corps will tighten the net even further. Trotzky should be starving by now. I really don't understand why Ian doesn't abandon Trotzky and his remaining armoured train to save at least Parsky's infantrymen. The Red forces in this area are miles away from the next Communist supply source. In Ian's shoes, I would have ordered a tactical retreat a long time ago.

Dybenko is another bother. Once again he tries to interrupt my railroad network. Kalmykov is send after him to convince him that this isn't a polite thing to do.

As you can see, I am slowly increasing the Siberian frontline numbers again. In particular, I have brought all my cavalry divisions back. The slightly bigger demand on supplies is more than made up for by their superior mobility.

I should probably simply try to crush Trotzky with one big stack, but as a result of my supply crisis my forces are spread out. Concentraing my forces could create openings for Trotzky to slip through. Still, if the Bolsheviks survived yet another turn, I may reconsider ...


turn26h.jpg


Central Russia: The Bolshevik regime is losing the grip on its population. All around Moscow peasants have risen up against the revolution; vital railroad lines have been interrupted by Green forces. The first cities have fallen into their hands. Obviously the Bolshevik leadership has pressed the population too hard to make up for the horrible losses on the frontlines. It's yet another sign that the days of Bolshevism in Russia are numbered. Kolchak is already shopping for coronation mantles ... ;)
 

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Turn 26 results - Late May 1920: Aftermath


May 1920 marked the end of this game. Ian conceded defeat although he had survived yet another turn. But the hopeless fight had taken its toll. With Polish forces advancing deeper and deeper into Ukrainian territory and the Siberian front in shatters, it had become clear that the Reds wouldn't recover.

The last battle between Reds and Siberians was fought on river Kama. For the first time in the war the Siberian river fleet held its own against the Red navy.

turn27a.jpg


In the meantime Polish and Japanese forces started to bear down on the Green. Soon order would be restored in Kolchak's Russia.

turn27b.jpg


turn27c.jpg


While the Siberian front was thus fairly quiet, savage fighting continued between Southern White and Communists. The former got bashed once more.

But even with Rostov surrounded by Red forces, it seems likely that the remnants of the Volunteer Army would have been able to hold on. On both sides the constant fghting had left the armies battered and severly depleted. Many regiments were at 50% or less of their strength. Of the once 40.000 men strong Greco-French intervention forces in the Ukraine less than 10.000 men were left. It's quite the feat that Durk held out this long. I never was aware just how desperate his situation had become.

turn27d.jpg


But the Red Army had suffered as well. Most importantly however low NM was severly limiting its combat effeciency at this point. A fully rested Red unit had more no more than 25 points of cohesion. In contrast, Southern White forces usually had 50, whereas Siberian units had as much as 100 points of cohesion. The lower NM, the higher the cohesion penalties. Combat power directly depends on cohesion; so does the capability to sustain prolonged battles.
The Red Army had little hope to survive much longer under these circumstances. It speaks volumes that Ian kept fighting this long. In retrospective I can hardly believe that he managed to put off sudden death (zero NM) for several turns.

Now that Durk has granted me a look at the files for all sides, I have to admit my strategy on the Siberian front was too timid during the last few turns. I didn't realize just how low Red cohesion was. If I had known this as well as the degree of pressure the Southern White were exposed to, I would have attacked just as aggressive with my Siberian forces as I did with the Polish.



At this point I want to thank all readers and lurkers. I hope you enjoyed this AAR. But most of all, I have to thank the people who took the time and commented. Nothing motivates more than the comments, questions and encouragement you posted here on a regular basis. Thank you so much!
 

loki100

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ok, time to rewrite this post to reflect your second update.

It was a brilliant AAR, exceptionally well told and well played by all your group. Thanks for sharing, I must get to grips with RUS asap as its too intriguing a timeframe and its clear the game has been significantly sorted since its release state.

bravo ...
 

germanpeon

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Congrats! It was a fun ride.

We can rest easy knowing that Russia is safe from the threat of Bolshevism. Unfortunately the Russian peasants are now subject to the reactionaries. Worse? I don't know...
 

Stuyvesant

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I believe this is the first RUS AAR to actually finish, so congratulations on that. :) It's been quite the ride and while I would've loved a triumphant march into Moscow and Petrograd, it's a testament to Ian's threshold for punishment that the game continued as long as it did. ;) I don't think I could've continued myself, if I were on the receiving end of all that mayhem.

Thank you all for a very interesting game to follow, and thank you especially to Bornego for writing it all up in such an accessible and educational manner. :)
 

Dewirix

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I suspected that the Reds were done for when your update for turn 25 "A Communist miracle" only concerned their survival for another turn rather than anything more threatening.

Thanks for putting all this together in what has been a brilliant AAR.
 

PrawnStar

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Feb 21, 2007
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Excellent AAR - I've really enjoyed it so onto your other AAR now :)