Author Topic: "The Death Ride of Jean Lannes" -- Game Time Is...  (Read 21647 times)

Hatricvs

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Reply #345 on: October 30, 2020, 05:14:38 PM
Jim,

Just want to record my thanks for yet another amazing Kriegspeile experience. This was an epic game. Very frustrating at times but also immensely exciting at other times. I lived and breathed this game with my room literally littered with Intel about the campaign, messages written out by hand and collated in time batches by commander including captured Austrian messages. Detailed analysis of which Austrian Corp were where....I still did not know the precise location of a lot of the Austrian forces until the videos showed me. That willow the whisp  Corp or Divsion run by Jack Gill gave me palpitations ... I just could not understand where it kept disappearing too. We travelled down every route it could have gone or at least that's what it felt like. An my d'erlonesque shalll I go up the road or shall I go down the road and then ending up doing both...amazing!

Thanks once again until the next time....and remember no senior command for me anymore,!

Cheers

Andy B. (Napoleon)



Advocator (Scott)

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Reply #346 on: October 30, 2020, 05:21:55 PM
Jim,

If there's a spot and no one with seniority, I'll take it!

Scott



JasonPratt

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Reply #347 on: October 31, 2020, 11:39:46 AM
Not that there aren't consequences -- there are -- but they are abstracted out.

I totally get all that, but I'm still surprised that one of those consequences isn't some kind of delayed alert. Like a special, perhaps slower, courier-esque set of markers tasked out to everyone on that supply node, and when they arrive to the players you tell them "Your supply line, from Passau through Straubig, to where you are, has been cut somewhere; so you'll be fighting at some penalties until the supply line reestablishes."

At the very least I would think that supply line combat penalties and any other other practical consequences wouldn't be hidden from the players.



JasonPratt

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Reply #348 on: October 31, 2020, 11:55:27 AM
I lived and breathed this game with my room literally littered with Intel about the campaign, messages written out by hand and collated in time batches by commander including captured Austrian messages. Detailed analysis of which Austrian Corp were where....I still did not know the precise location of a lot of the Austrian forces until the videos showed me.

I figured a substantial number of our couriers from south of the Isar, and from the Munich area, were being intercepted after I started receiving fewer of them during the Landshut faceoff -- I think the dearth started shortly after Davout arrived in the area.

I had planned for the strong probability of our dispatches being routinely intercepted eventually, thanks to our decentralization, by two methods:

1.) ensuring that all three areas (or four counting Hohen) had independent authority to do what seemed best to them from what they could see, and any information that did get through to them;

2.) setting up a code system so that everything sent should be ignored EXCEPT for some simple weather references indicating stages of the plan succeeding or having problems.

I kept the code going on my dispatches out for some time, but eventually I realized the Munich and Landshut areas weren't using the code at all, and that was around the time we started having serious problems at Landshut (i.e. our foray across got pushed back with Davout's arrival). So then I directed any detailed couriers from me to take longer and safer routes to the groups -- though eventually even most of those got nicked by that brigade parked on the road to the bridge 2nd corps had crossed at the start of the game. I risked some minimal messages by shorter routes, and I know now most or all of those got snipped up.

We intercepted a few ourselves, of course, mostly to and from Rathbone. The most important one we intercepted was a note from Davout to Rathbone indicating that he was heading for Straubing! -- which triggered our overnight march (for myself, 2nd Corps, and 1st Corps) back down the line to surround Straubing and retake it if necessary. But either he changed his mind, or he spoofed us with a fake message, because his cav division autobot was the only thing that touched Straubing, and that only briefly.

But this delayed us several crucial days, from needing to march back, to needing to rest a full day after our march (by then we didn't realize there was anyone remaining at Landshut to rescue), to then needing to reposition ourselves, for launching the second main stage of the operation: our pivot of the main force of corps down toward Munich, checking on Ingolstadt's situation as we went.



Advocator (Scott)

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Reply #349 on: October 31, 2020, 12:15:18 PM
I don't know if it worked, but I sent out a few fake messages with directions to the courier that it "accidentally" be intercepted.



Lancer4321

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Reply #350 on: November 11, 2020, 09:45:16 PM
Relatedly, am I upset about the Reserve Corps pushing so far north as to let a small French force sneak through and take our victory location behind our back? Not really. Technically it was an operational error, sure, but they weren't disobeying orders or deviating from the plan: we knew they'd be out of comms for practically the whole game, and would have to operate and make decisions on their own recognizance, and as the compiled operational strategy thread for us Austrians shows, the HindClawForce had a ton of leeway about prosecuting contacts and creating advanced defense lines to stall any forces coming down to Munich. Plus they were getting messages from the LowerJawForce at Landshut, calling out trouble, so with Munich apparently secured and supplies still flowing through it  ::) it made some sense for them to go up the road and see if they could lend help. Plus from a gameplay standpoint, sitting around on defense building up entrenchments would have been boring. So I understand it, and can't really complain.

Neither Jack or I had any clue that Munich had been taken behind us; it wasn't until I watched the video AAR that I found out about it. I thought about breaking off a brigade from Rohan's big grenadier division to garrison/fortify Munich, but was under the mistaken impression that breaking up divisions was not allowed, so I never even approached Jim with the idea -- in retrospect, I should have.

The reason we chose to advance north, once Oudinot (?) abandoned Dachau, was that we felt confident we could shadow/screen his force and prevent a detached division from sneaking past us and into Munich. This was (we felt/though) in keeping with the spirit of the orders we'd been issued to first secure Munich and then provide such support as practical to assist the Austrian center. We'd expected that at worst they'd be able to hold their positions until we arrived, and at best we'd arrive well after the decision had been reached. You can imagine our surprise when we discovered the Austrian center had essentially ceased to exist and half the damned French army was descending upon us!

In real life, their part of the plan would have been to DEFINITELY sit on Munich and fortify that sucker (especially with Charles' preference for epic defensive sitzkriegs and then counterattacks). Would that have made enough difference to win by ref judgment?

My personal sense is that it wouldn't have sufficed. Even if both our Reserve corps had been entrenched at Munich we were still outnumbered nearly four-to-one. Either the settle down for a protracted siege or accept the heavy casualties necessary to storm the city. Game over, dude!



davidhorton

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Reply #351 on: November 19, 2020, 03:08:45 AM
I just finished watching the videos today.  And I have to admit I am surprised the French won as well.  I was shadow boxing the whole time and ran when I was outnumbered and turned to fight when we knew we had the numbers only to see the Austrians melt away just as I had done.  It was always hard to find which way they went.  That was always frustrating but makes you understand Grouchy's absence at Waterloo all the better.

I played Marshal Oudinot/Lannes and the detached brigade from Colbert had much more impact than anticipated and was a very lucky event.  I sat in Dachau for a while watching the Austrians on the opposite bank and finally left one infantry brigade behind and marched to Freisling.  At the river crossing just north of Dachau I detached a cavalry brigade south to determine what happened in Munich while I marched north east.  Since patrols were disallowed the minimum sized detachment was a brigade.  The detached brigade found Munich abandoned and then I ordered the brigade to head back north to see if Dachau was held by my infantry brigade.  The cavalry brigade reported that Dachau had fallen and was occupied by an Austrian force.  Having no further duties, I ordered the cavalry brigade to rejoin me at Freising.   But as luck would have it, they ran into Austrian infantry retreating from our stand off at Freising.  After the Austrians left Freising we thought we would fight some of them at Erding but they had vanished.  I ordered the detached Cavalry back to Munich to see if they were there and expected to find the Austrians there but hey were not to be found.  Had it not been for the pontoon bridge further north they probably would have been there.   I sent them several more orders to make sure the Austrians were not in Munich and was puzzled not to find them there. 

Looking back in hindsight, we knew Munich and Ratissbonne were the main objectives but the French plan to concentrate in the center could have been our undoing since we ignored these objectives believing we could not retake them.  Our piecemeal operations were driven more on individual corps finding the enemy, fixing him and then pouring in forces to crush them rather than to secure the objectives.  Ending up with Munich was a pure fluke that owes much to, what I saw at the time as, bad luck.  I really wanted that brigade back in Freising and running into the Austrians at that crossroad on their return was pure luck but allowed them to move to Munich.  If it were'nt for bad luck I'd have no luck at all.

Thanks all for a wonderful three years of Kriegspiel.   Looking forward to the next one.



JasonPratt

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Reply #352 on: November 26, 2020, 02:15:04 PM
That's a dang amazing AAR and explanation for what happened, David!  :applause:  :notworthy:

While I still think the result really should have been communicated as a warning loss of supply to the HindClawForce, I actually feel better about our team losing this way.  ;D It's a classic example of "fortunes of war"; especially in that it wouldn't have mattered much, or at all, if the rest of the French forces hadn't been fighting and working hard to set up a situation where that coincidence could win (which after all also happened because you were doing a good scouting plan.)

Opportunity is indeed preparation plus luck, but sometimes luck is preparation plus opportunity (as Seneca or maybe Cato once said.)

Recon leads the way, and sometimes recon wins the day!



bayonetbrant

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Reply #353 on: December 11, 2020, 03:42:49 PM

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


Hatricvs

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Reply #354 on: December 12, 2020, 03:49:20 AM
Excellent episode as ever and particularly so as it dealt with the Kreigspeile. Loved hearing some of the voices behind the commanders in the game; weird to put a sound to the names that I have played along with for the last two and half years. One day it would be amazing to get a report together from all parties involved as a re-union type get together to shoot the breeze about the game. Logistical nightmare to record and get time zones sorted but, it would kinda be nice to hear the full story, from all sides, both senior command and the commanders on the ground. Dread to think how long an episode that would make!

 I think there is a balance that is missing at the moment in that you have covered the story well from the side of the commanders on the ground; in the last two Kreigspeile's we have heard how people didn't know 'the plan' or that senior commanders were not responsive to messages and such like. There has been very little about what the senior command needed re comms and the sometimes woeful lack of data coming in from the 'front' to aid  their attempts to collate all the data to get even the darkest/opaque picture of what was going on in the campaign and respond accordingly. I think it is a missing piece of the puzzle in both the 1806 and 1809 campaigns podcast reports. If it was possible to do this for the 1807 current campaign that would be great...one episode the senior command tells what went well, badly or otherwise during the campaign, the difficulties they faced 'hearding the cats' to keep to the plan and report regularly and in detail and the moments that they loved and learned something new about the game, command and the people and history as it unfolded. Follow up episode what the guys on the ground, fighting those battles and not getting the love they deserve from their senior commanders and the issues as they unfolded. Would make epic listening for this 'ole timer at least!

Napoleon (1809)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2020, 03:57:55 AM by Hatricvs »



JasonPratt

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Reply #355 on: December 24, 2020, 12:17:00 PM
In the first game, I made sure to set up Napoleon in the middle of the play map so that I could pass along messages and respond in a slightly more timely manner to events happening at the far edges of the map. However, with a full map spread plan, I knew from the start that often the groups would be out of command communication, so I did my best to consolidate a plan from various discussions and suggestions before the game and then gave each area a subcommander with each group having total freedom to act as they saw fit according to local conditions so long as they kept to the general shape of the plan (divided into one or two-step portions).

In the second game, I probably made a mistake in putting Charles off on the right wing; but that was the main thrust for a VERY slow moving Austrian team, trying to protect our LoC while exploiting a game rule -- about sending one corps safely off map around to one of our game-win targets -- and while taking the shortest possible route to the same victory target. Our setup also put our most elite corps (punchy but small) on the shortest route to taking our other victory target: BUT those were on diametrically opposite ends of the map. We knew from the start we were NEVER going to have good comms between those areas, so keeping the original plans in mind for each group (including the two corps teaming up in the middle) were vital, with independence to operate.

In either game, the only way to avoid a lot of comms problems would have been to create a Grand Army with the leader (me) in the center having interior lines, and advancing to our chosen target. But there didn't seem to be any way to protect our LoCs by this method (under the simplified supply rules we were using), and in the second game especially the Austrians are so slow that we wouldn't be able to bring the enemy to fight if they declined.

Our strategy in the second game was to capture the two victory points asap and hope to win the game sooner than later that way. I think it would have worked, too, except the French team managed to sneak a point-capper behind left-wing's line (somewhat by accident!) who then sat on the point unnoticed. Left wing (the Hindclawforce) were following the plan and so, as not to be bored, were actively defending ahead of Munich rather than sitting on the win point -- and also they were trying to take some heat off the devolving situation in the middle, of course, which was well within their operational plan, and worth doing if they could. But you can see, that this strategy doesn't need a lot of comms with the on-map boss. Unless the operation goes on too long and things start to fall apart after we should have won. (This is why I'm annoyed that Hindclaw never got sent any indication from Control that their supply route had been snipped back at Munich. Maybe the brigade was letting supplies get through, but then that should have been news traveling, too!)

On the right wing, where I was, I did seriously think about halfway up our path, about abandoning the plan and turning around to fall upon the enemies of the middle group (LowerJawForce) from the rear. Had we done so, we could have salvaged that situation, and then combined together to go get Regensburg (and with part of LowerJaw sent over to help protect Munich). But we would have had no way to keep the French from snipping our supply totally back at Passau if they were sending anyone along our path to do that. (We did have a second supply path, although we weren't ever told about it, but it came onto the map near Passau and wouldn't have made much difference if a major force had taken Passau, so long as they also secured the bridges near where the Isar flowed into the Danube.)

This was a case where our operational plan required us to be so out of comms to cover our bases, that The Plan took on more importance for less deviation (outside its broad parameters). If Upperjaw had done that, the FrontClaw force would have arrived on the map without us nearby, probably totally out of supply, and we would have been strongly delayed in securing both victory points, meaning Munich might be overrun by a stronger force. Too many vulnerable players depended on everyone, UpperJaw (thus myself) included, staying with the plan in order to secure the win before we got mulched by Napoleon consolidating his crews somewhere important. So I decided to keep going to Regensberg. (Also, to be fair, at that point things on the Isar didn't look, from reports reaching us, like they were going to fall apart completely: LowerJawForce was doing a bang-up job beating on the defending French, and securing a beachhead.)