Author Topic: "Death Ride of Lannes" -- Austrian team pre-game 2018 discussions  (Read 2539 times)

JasonPratt

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With the game now done, and Cyrano/Jim now posting up videos on what happened since mid-summer 2018 in our play-by-email Kriegspiel, I thought it might be interesting for the French team, and anyone following along at home, to see how we, the Austrian team, developed our operational plans before the game.

This forum engine doesn't seem to provide link-code for particular posts, but the after-game commentary starts about halfway down this page in the main game thread: https://www.armchairdragoons.com/forum/index.php?topic=361.300

The first main post-game article (including first video) by Cyrano as the game runner, can be found here: https://www.armchairdragoons.com/forum/index.php?topic=2638.new#new (This links to a specific thread set up to point to the main article, and for any discussion of it; I didn't want to leave any of that out, though at the moment there's barely any commentary per se yet; moreso in the main game thread.)

There's a little more than 100 pages of pre-game discussion between us on TeamAustria; and while that's at 18-point font (because I'm getting old ;) ), it'll still take me a while to post everything up.

I'll set off portions using asteriks like this *******************. I'll use a larger fontsize to clarify brief notes of my own near those setoffs, compared to actual correspondence text.

Within correspondences, any double fancy brackets, {{like this}}, were added by me recently while editing and posting the notes. Other brackets and parentheses will be original to the emails. Single fancy brackets {like this} typically designate where I was talking Out Of Character.



JasonPratt

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****************************** opening pre-address, from JRP ******************************

Marshals of the Eastern Reich!

I don't have enough information yet to even begin formulating a plan, and besides I'll probably just harmonize a plan together from your suggestions.

But what I _can_ do is explain what happened previously when that Napkin-Lion invaded Prussia. {{Sabrenote: I’m referencing the previous Kriegspiel which had recently ended, as an example for consideration of what to do or not do in this game. We fought the Jena campaign, where by coincidence of the draw I happened to play Napoleon.}}

At the Grand Strategic level, our Prussian cousins were caught _totally out of place_ on defense, too far from the Thuringian passes, and with too few corps, to seal off the approaches into Prussia. That was no failure to the men in field command (unless some of them were responsible for guarding southern approaches into Prussia through those passes), but it meant that they had to trade Prussian soil for defensive field maneuver.

This problem was magnified by their relatively few corps, and proportionately their relatively few divisions. While substantially larger than the French divisions, the Prussians couldn't expect to maneuver as well on their maneuver-defense, nor seal off all access through the passes -- not without making any such 'seal' so weak that the French could effectively punch through anyway. Moreover, the Prussian corps-command kept all its cavalry divisions inherent to each corps (indeed they might have had cav brigades for each division instead of even any cav divisions), so while they had a little tactical flexibility, they did not have the operational flexibility of the French. On top of this the French quality across the board was superior, both in speed and in fighting power (man to man). It didn't help that Nappy brought along a WHOLE CITY OF ARTILLERY either, even if it seemed like he had no idea it was there during most of his campaign! (Ahem.)

{{Sabrenote: I’m poking fun at myself here for having totally forgotten, during that game, that Napoleon’s grand artillery battery was in the game, following my position around on the map.}}

The Prussians might have been expecting little Nappy to hide himself in the middle of his usual Grand Army, too, uber-stacking his corps into one unstoppable blob of a mobile fortress, with unbreakable interior lines of quick (sometimes instantaneous) communication and centrally protected supplies, devastating on short campaigns like a hike to Berlin, and concentrated to where Napoleon could lend his freakish combat buffs, almost at will, to any part of the battle he desired.

Instead, that dashing and unspeakable genius simply ignored the whole concept of a Grande Armêe, and by the looks of it he almost completely decentralized his command structure so that his marshals could operate with practical independence long distances apart (although Nappy stayed somewhat in the middle of his broad thrust so that he could at least serve as a sort of military newspaper collecting reports and passing information around.) Despite starting, on average, farther from the passes {{than the Prussians}}, Nappy's army broke into pieces and invaded through every single pass, ensuring his line of supply back southward would be protected. Presumably had he met various levels of Prussian resistance at the passes, his marshals had orders to hold up and let the rest of the army penetrate beyond the passes to envelop and strike at the defenders while protecting against a potential Prussian counter-blitz south out of the passes. Apparently Nappy had heard that at least one of his opponents was fond of unexpected counter-blitzes. Fortunately we have such a KorCom on our side, too, this time. {nodding in Hohenzollern's direction!}

{{Sabrenote: Hohenzollern is being played this game by “Barthheart”, who had been on the Prussian side against my French team in the prior game; and I’m alluding to Barth’s penchant for counter-blitzing me with Polish cavalry in our epic multiplayer match of Decisive Campaigns: Blitzkrieg some years ago.}}

The Prussians, unlike the French, suffered from a general lack of an overarching plan, and had a lot of trouble dealing with a schizophrenic mix of centralized command over initially (and at first progressively) decentralized forces. In effect this meant that Napoleon's East and West wings, acting on their own recognizance (but each with conceptually basic plans of advance under various conditions), discovered Prussian outlying divisions and corps, theoretically preparing counter-thrusts southward but not quite in position to defend the passes yet; and so were able to achieve local force and maneuver superiority against the Prussian wings, defeating them in detail. Notably the Prussians on the French East Wing managed to delay their own destruction with exhausting marches and a final good defensive stand, but the French had been under orders to advance without fatiguing themselves once past the passes, and the French East Wing had started closest to the passes anyway, so despite some frustration in being unable to bring the Prussians to battle for a while, once the fighting did start the French were generally in better rested conditions.

Napoleon's careful but decentralized plan for dealing with the natural defenses of the Thuringian passes, allowed the French Wings to secure their sides of advance, to weaken Prussian overall force for the final Prussian defense, and maximized the French maneuver capability to probe for weaknesses, particularly paths for severing the main supply artery. Murat's cavalry corps (yes the French had a whole cavalry CORPS, so large that the marshal could hand off a few cav divisions to help his fellows), following a variation of his original plan, looped around the eventual Prussian defensive stand-line, and was in position to slice the aorta of Prussian supplies when our cousins decided it was time to withdraw to Berlin and give up the area. Basically the Prussians quit the operational field before they were caught and annihilated.

{{Sabrenote: this is how we French players won the prior match. Not everyone from that team is on the Austrian team or vice versa; the players for this new match got randomly assigned.}}

Before then, Napoleon's basic plans of advance had brought his thin but broad front up to a somewhat ad hoc Prussian defensive line running from Naumburg throug Weissenfels to Leipniz, the southwest anchor of which had been exhausted by West Wing's depredations already. Rolling up his still fresh Center Thrust elements (effectively acting as reserve for the operation), and zipping himself around a local road loop overnight to help reduce road congestion, along with one of his corps (Bernadotte's if I recall correctly), Napoleon created a schwerpunkt opportunity at the Weissenfels defense, dooming the whole Prussian line to be enveloped and eroded from the southwest to the northeast. Meanwhile the French East Wing, though somewhat exhausted, took up a daring defensive position just south of Leipniz, fixing the attention of the main Prussian command there and preventing Prussian reinforcements from rescuing Weissenfels -- there wasn't much if any fighting up there, by then, but neither could the Prussians dare leave to go southeast to relieve their endangered forces.

With Nappy himself and his GODAWFUL CITY OF ARTILLERY faithfully trooping behind him despite his apparent total ignorance of them (coughcoughnewbiehack!), committing to the schwerpunkt at White Falls, and elements of his Central Thrust being able to maneuver around the city to prevent tactical withdrawal, the three sections of doughty defense at the city were shredded in detail one after the other (while the Naumbourg defensive outpost was surrounded and neutralized, unable to lend any help).

Thus ended the defense of Prussia a few years ago, and I trust we all know what happened afterward as a result. {vague gestures in the direction of whatever alternate history resulted}

Put shortly, my fellow men: we aren't going to let that happen to Austria.

And that's why we're here.

Let's get to work.

Erzherzog Carl Ludwig von Oesterreich



JasonPratt

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******************** Fri 13th 2018 from Lance (encal), assigned to play Kienmeyer. Remember my {single bracket} comments are original to the correspondence

My dear Archduke -
Your words are an inspiration to us all. However, I feel compelled to point out that my personal "take away" from the recently completed 1806 campaign that many of us participated in is somewhat different from yours.

I believe the chief cause of that Prussian defeat was less from their failure to defend forwards than it was their failure to concentrate their strength. By attempting to screen all the possible routes of advance through the mountains, the Prussians allowed the French wings to each concentrate multiple corps and defeat separate individual Prussian forces before other Prussian commanders were able to come up in support. The plight of Ruchel's corps in the far west is a perfect case in point, with two of Ruchel's divisions being utterly crushed before Brunswick even seems to have been aware there was a battle developing on that flank.

My point here is two-fold.

First, I believe your highness should strive to keep our army (or at least the bulk of it) concentrated within easy supporting distance of each other. If one element of the force becomes engaged it is vital that the other elements move quickly to support it so that we may achieve a decisive local superiority over the French in that sector.

Second, it is absolutely essential that all of us maintain a lively and robust correspondence with one another, so as to ensure we all have an accurate (and similar) picture of the overall operational situation. In the previous campaign with the Prussians, the complete lack of communication by some parties bordered on treasonous! All our commanders should be required to update your highness of our situations every twelve hours, at a minimum -- even if that update is merely to report that nothing has changed since the previous dispatch was sent. Communications between subordinate commanders are the very life's blood of a successful military undertaking!

Most respectfully,
- General Michael von Kienmayer
  Commander, 2nd Reserve Corps

******************************* Fri 13th 2018, my reply

Honorable Von Kienmayer!

I actually agree that their failure to concentrate strength at the operational level is why they lost the operation. What I was trying to express, in my opening analysis, was that by having not made preparations to seal the passes pre-emptively, before the operation, the Prussians had no hope (given their force composition) of fixing that problem. {OOC: i.e. the Prussian players were dealt a situation of defensive failure which they had to recover from as part of the game.} And yet one each of their precious corps was found, not trying to seal the passes of course but simply scouting, on the far left and right. Having been caught out of position to start with, they stayed or got more out of position.

Also from after action reports both French and Prussian, I have received the distinct impression that practically no Prussians were screening the central passes, so I infer they weren't trying to watch all entry positions: they were trying to prepare for a countermarch opportunity. The Prussian correspondence shows they had no clear idea at all about the corps advancing through the central passes. Ruchel on the French West Wing, especially, hadn't surged his advance division far forward with orders to pull back along a route after contact: rather, Ruchel had parked his whole corps not far back from the Western Passes, and got enveloped when naturally he took a defensive stand. He wasn't preparing to withdraw as part of his plan, and he wasn't preparing to defend exactly or he would have reached those passes first (being much closer than the French West Wing's initial departure points by far).

As I recall, our III Corps Marshal, the renowned Hohenzollern, wrote a paper last year analyzing Ruchel's correspondence and camp notes, so I fully expect he can clarify and correct any mistaken impressions of ours, on this academic point.

{OOC: Barthheart played Ruchel, and most likely remembers his intentions and plans, so I'll defer to him for further commentary there. {g}}

Anyway, I don't disagree with your assessment about the basic Prussian failure. I myself had wondered if the Prussians would not be better served to pull back much farther than they did and concentrate a defense on their supply routes. (Of course I am much disposed to calculated defense of supply points as the necessary factor which should never be deviated from, even though I must confess that my most astounding defensive victories have ignored my own rule, a circumstance I have been unable to reconcile. But I remain sure my theory of defense must be correct.)

{OOC: Archduke Carl was a bit infamous for this inconsistency, and got flamed for it in commentary by his contemporary Von Clausewitz. I have been expecting with some amusement that I'll end up harmonizing a similarly bold defensive strike aimed at crushing the enemy, so that everyone will have fun actively playing the operation, rather in keeping with Carl's historical abandonment of his own defensive principles in his most successful parts of this campaign.}

Moreover: I fully agree that concentrating our forces within easy supporting (and communication) distance of each other, COULD be one successful strategic preparation. After all, Napoleon himself usually uses that on both attack and defense, and I have been reforming Austria's own army along the line of Nappy's Grande Armee for a few years now (although sadly we are still not quite up to standard there despite strong improvements.) I only say COULD, because I am most impressed by Napoleon's willingness to decentralize his attacking force and allowing operational recognizance -- with (this must be emphasized) a clear procedural plan with flexibility for his marshals to adjust to discovered circumstances. This worked out very well for him, in that battle at least; I trust our own generals would not be less competent. The Prussians, by contrast, evidently lacked a cohesive plan built from all recommendations of what their marshals believed prudent and capable.

Still, I am much drawn to the concentrated defense advantages. So don't fear I am dismissing that.

{OOC: honestly, I am, too, personally. Heck my own original suggestion for the previous game was to use HALF THE FRENCH ARMY TO GUARD OUR SUPPLY LINES SOUTH OF THE PASSES! And we were supposed to be attacking! I mention this ludicrousity, in order to stress that I only take some small credit for harmonizing everyone else's plans into a workable whole, not coming up with a good plan myself. {g} So I assure you, I'll be listening to everyone closely.}

I also fully agree that corps commanders should dispatch situational updates, even if only brief ones, with regular frequency. The French Army was much better about this than the Prussians, evidently, even though the width of their advance rendered some of their dispatching quite 'occasional' occasionally. Napoleon himself jokes that he was, for the most part, simply a newspaper editor passing along compiled reports from his position near the middle, during this campaign.

{OOC: and I'm likely to do that again. Especially for KS {{Kriegspiel}} purposes, if I'm the on-map boss I just see my role as supporting the fighting generals once the plan has been worked out.}

I look forward to other opening remarks, although I realize that until our under-officers have finished preparing the maps and such we won't be in position to start theorizing specific strategies.

Carl of Austria (JRP)



JasonPratt

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************************ from James Sterret, assigned to play Rosenberg’s 4th Corps, Fri 13th

In a terrible scramble of IC and OOC:

I whole-heartedly endorse Kienmayer's second point here...  communications are absolutely essential.  The odd message may fall into enemy hands, but it's far worse if we do not communicate fr fear of that outcome.

I believe the Prussians suffered - partly because of players dropping out - a failure of higher command.

The Army commander needs to communicate a clear vision of how the force as a whole will operate, and what the major parts of it must do to accomplish their goals.  This allows the subordinate commanders to operate without detailed orders and yet still support the overall effort.  Note that this is nowhere as easy as it sounds!   

It is my impression that this communication did not happen on the Prussian side last time.

The second job of the Army commander is to be thinking several days ahead....  because any orders given will usually take at least a day to reach most of the force.  On the French side in the prior game, our plans mostly unfolded as we intended, and for at least one of the major decision points, many of us were co-located - both of which reduced the need to communicate new plans ahead.  If we are defending against an aggressive set of French players then thinking ahead is the only thing that will offset their superior speed and, possibly, concentration.

- Rosenberg ( IV Corps)


************ From Ecnal/Lancer Fri 13th

Excellent points, herr Rosenberg. I would add one bit as emphasis for the edification of any inexperienced commanders: there is no limit (or penalty) to sending out dispatches. The more the merrier!

In one of my other campaigns I ran across a novice commander who believed he was strictly limited to sending no more than a single communique per hour and so husbanded his messages to fellow commanders out of fear that he would "run out" at an inopportune moment. Hopefully none of us will mistakenly operate under such an artificial self-imposed restriction.

- Kienmayer


********* Lance added on Sat Jul 14th


(OOC) Don't get me wrong, James -- I actually think a limit on messages is very realistic and should be a feature in the game, with the actual limit imposed by the "size" of the player's headquarters staff. Army commanders like Charles and Napoleon should probably be allowed 3-4 messages per hour, and an actual Wing Commander (with a real staff) perhaps 2-3, but a corps commander should probably be limited to just 1-2 dispatches (including to the NPC division commanders within the player's own corps).

This could then become a fairly significant issue when a side forms an impromptu Wing Command (which Napoleon often did) by designating a corps commander to take over a major operational sector but not giving him the staff assets to effectively carry out those duties. This would be similar to what happened with Macdonald at the Katzbach, where he was left in charge of four corps (including his own) but not given any additional staff to effectively control that force, such that when Blucher's Army of Silesia advanced Macdonald had a hell of a time trying to coordinate the movements of his army.

- Lance


************ Sat 14th, from JRP

Adding a few more cents, partly to get MarshalNeal and B_C's new addresses into the reply-all mix...

{{B_C is BanzaiCat, assigned to play Kollowrath and the 2nd Corps}}

OutOfCharacter: I tried very hard to keep the number of couriers I myself dispatched, limited to four or five a day on average (ideally less), partly because I tend to be wordy anyway, and partly because it adds to the umpire's workload tracking the couriers, even when there aren't more-or-less real-time factors as in a live game.

Also, I had tried to design a plan that allowed as many players as possible to operate on as much of their own authority (playing the game creatively) as possible, and sending out micromanage couriers seemed antithetical to that goal.

Plus, relatedly, since I was ten or more hours away from extended wing actions, it would have been silly of me to try to manage much of anything. Which (under the circumstances of protecting our LoCs against an ambitious Prussian counter-thrust) fed back into why I thought it was best to decentralize command as much as possible.

I absolutely understand the importance of minimizing communication lag with close-support operational proximity, no question. But I'm keeping my options open, too, until we get a better idea of our win-goals, terrain, resources, startpos, etc. {{Startpos = Start positions}} The historical Archduke scored one of his biggest victories in this particular campaign by some daring maneuvers. We might end up doing the same. But, like the historical Archduke, I have a strong preference for turtling on defense and then striking back on the enemy is worn down.

On the other hand, we should kill Napoleon and, perhaps even more importantly, his nuclear artillery city. That thing is deadly overpowered (as of course it was designed to be). And I love making arty parks in my games, so we might consider haxoring up something similar ourselves, but in the back of my mind I'm playing with a plan of NappyJaegering.

That's purely spitballing. But if it turns out to be feasible....

JRP



JasonPratt

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********** At this point there was some discussion about arty rules, and Jim clarified that although we were using simplified rules, the French did have Nappy’s arty-park division trailing him around -- but Nappy will not have that this time. Jim will be clarifying this again later, including in this next email.


************** Sat Jul 14, Cyrano/Jim sends the in-brief. The campaign map can be seen in his video AAR series now.


And so it begins...

Attached to this e-mail, please find:

1.  The Austrian roster in .xls format -- This lists your corps, the number of men, and their beginning morale.
2.  The campaign map
3.  The Austrian situation briefing
4.  The one-page player aid from "The Flight of the Eagle", vol. I

For those who have not traveled this way before, each corps commander is responsible for his corps.  Initially, after we've spent about a week with you all talking freely amongst yourselves, I will request your dispositions at campaign start.  I may go so far as to go back-and-forth with you a bit via photographs on the map to make sure I get these right.  If you've seen the earlier game, you know I track the divisions within the corps as Daleks so they're not all that precise, not should they be in my mind.

Then I will ask you for your first day's march orders.  The key facts are:  march order and either how far or how long you want to march.  It will be apparent, again if you've not played before, that it can take many hours after the first division steps off before before those behind are permitted to even begin.  The bigger the division, the bigger the problem this is.  And this will determine the availability of troops when it comes time to fight! Factor this into your orders.  The more your men march, the more fatigued they will become and the fewer of them will be under arms should a battle occur.  In this game, unlike the previous, daylight is from 0430 to 2230, considerably longer.  Marching after dark is a tiring prospect best avoided -- unless circumstances dictate.  Do NOT march off road unless you've got a fascinating plan worthy of Charles' best day.  Movement penalties in this game are brutal.

There's a lot of ways to format your orders -- some of you are really creative sorts -- but what I REALLY need is time sent, to whom the order is sent, and the order itself.  Everything else I can pretty well figure out.

As in the previous game we will NOT -- repeat NOT -- be allowing patrols.  Doug and I went back and forth on this and I've thought about it a lot, but, bottom line, the flame isn't worth the candle.  In exchange, the "knowledge radius" for infantry divisions is increased to 5 km and that for cavalry divisions is 10.

You may split your units into nothing smaller than brigade strength.  This is an incredibly risky proposition anywhere near the enemy.

To answer Lancer's earlier questions, we will be using none of the italicized "extra" rules -- guns, supplies, &c.  We used none of them in the earlier game. I  suspect His Charles-ness was referring to the reserve artillery division he had at his disposal at Jena-Auerstedt which did play a significant role at a critical battle or two, but is not present in this campaign.

One particular piece of errata bears mention (all coming from "Flight" vol. II):  Charles has a pontoon train with his GHQ that can be deployed with any Corps HQ at the opening of the campaign.  Location must be shared with the umpire.

The other significant bit of errata is that both Ratisbonne and Passau are level 1 forts.

Finally, it must be said that, after the initial consult, there should be no conversation amongst yourselves and does not pass through Control (me).  I'll tell you when you're close enough to communicate directly.  Honor demands that this radio silence be kept absolute.  It's really the heart of the experience.

Throughout it all, please feel free to ask whatever questions you might have.  The goal is to have fun, wave a sword about, and play the best Napoleonic game there is...

I Embrace You All,

Jim



JasonPratt

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************* Former Soult and Ney from the previous game quip that they won’t be chasing the Prussians to Leipzig this time! -- the Austrians are slow as hell. The baggage penalty is even worse, Cyrano notes. A point of strength in the rules = 1000 men.

************ Sunday Jul 15th from Ecnal/Lance

After a quick read-through of the introductory material, I'd like to make a somewhat unconventional proposal to our glorious leader, the Archduke (Jason), and my fellow Reserve Corps commander (Jack).

I'd like you to consider starting the two of us (Kienmayer & Lischenstein) relatively near one another and having us each swap out one of our divisions with the other (either before, at right at, game start). The result of this maneuver will be that once the swap is complete one of our Reserve Corps will have both of the Grenadier divisions (Fresnel & Rohan), effectively becoming the "Infantry Reserve Corps," while the other will have both the Heavy Cavalry divisions and thus become the "Cavalry Reserve Corps." This in turn will give our army at least one corps that is comprised entirely of cavalry and is thus capable of taking advantage of the faster cavalry movement rate.

I personally don't care which force I end up with (all infantry or all cavalry), so I defer to Jack on that point if he has a preference (assuming that Jason approves of this wacky idea in the first place).

- Lance/Kienmayer


*********** Jim eventually agrees to allow this as a pre-adjustment before the fight. I, Jason, mistakenly think the reserves are four divisions per corps, not two, so this explains some of my subsequent plan/comments/spitballing.


************* Jul 15th 2018, Barth / Hohenzollern, two short emails

Control,

In the briefing, in section 2 initial setup it states "You can choose to have some corps coming from Bohemia, one a day, starting on April 20th"

Does this mean we could have a corps appear north of the Danube on April 20th, say on the road going south into Ratisbon or on the road south into Ingolstadt?

:)

Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince of Hohenzollern

Control,

On map, single line roads are normal roads or tracks? Double line roads are very large roads or normal roads?

Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince of Hohenzollern


*********** Jul 15th John Gill, who is playing Lischenstein, eventually commanding the elite Reserve Cav Corps. Lance/Ecnal's Kienmeyer will be eventually commanding the elite Reserve Grenadier Corps. They each started with one cav and one gren division, but are working out a different arrangement.

Doubtless, control wants to give the Austrian Generalissimus the opportunity to send two corps north of the Danube as Charles did in the actual campaign: 1. and 2. Corps for approx. 49,000 men under Bellegarde, the 1. Corps commander.


*********** Note that Bellegarde and his 1st Corps are being played by Pinetree. 2nd Corps is Kollowrath, being played by Banzai_Cat

Cyrano replies: Correct.  To Hohenzollern, however, I note Bohemia, not the suburbs of Koln.

*********** Jul 15th Jack Gill

Herr Feldzeugmeister Lancerman has a very interesting idea--indeed this reflects the de facto Austrian organization by the time of Wagram:

- a grenadier reserve that could be employed as a body or from which brigades or divisions could be detached to reinforce a key sector. At Znaim, for instance, two grenadier brigades were detached to support the right flank; while at Wagram, the grenadiers were employed more/less as a body.

- a cavalry reserve that was seldom/never employed en masse a la Napoleon, but which could detach brigades to support the cavalry–poor line corps or to conduct attacks/cntrattks as needed (usually on a brigade basis at most).

So, i am in agreement with FZM Lancerman if his K. und K. Highness wishes to implement this suggestion.

Hochachtungsvoll, jack the austrian



JasonPratt

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*********** Jul 15th, 2018, James Sterrett (playing Rosenberg and 4th Corps) kicks off some more specific and detailed strategizing about options, worth a full post in itself I think!

A bit of mission analysis:

Restated Mission:  Retake Bavaria, defined as retaking Ratisbon and Munich.  Ratisbon is the center of the enemy defense.

Terrain: Favors the defense due to dense woods and numerous rivers.  The Isar can be bridged normally south of Munich, and the Inn south of Branau; north of Munich/Branau they require the pontoon train.
     The terrain between the Isar and the Danube is more mountainous in the SW (Pfaffenhofen) than in the NE (Straubing).

Deployment:  All but 1 corps south of the Isar and south of the Danube.
  --> This implies the Munich is immediately within our grasp as it is on the Isar.
       1 corps can be sent north of the Danube, limit of deployment not clear to me.

Logistics:  Based on Passau and following routes "indicated by our deployment" thereafter.
    --> I'm presuming that, as in the prior game, the logistics flow is abstracted but we need to keep a route to Passau open.


Enemy:  We are finally an army worthy of the name, but we are still sluggish.  This makes us highly vulnerable to the French outmarching us to bring about battles on terms favorable to themselves.  We want to be concentrated, but then our march columns are separated in depth instead of breadth.  We should expect the French to try to take advantage of this.

Implied tasks: 
    Rout or destroy French forces in Bavaria.  These are assumed out of position and lack the guiding hand of Bonaparte.

It would be great to know more about French forces defending Bavaria - their general disposition and strength.  I'm sure the Archduke Charles wanted to know that too.  :)

Enemy COAs:
  Most likely:  Cover the Isar crossings lightly, delay to the Danube, seeking opportunities to bloody us and vector their reinforcements into a fight they hope to win.

  Most dangerous:  Pretend to cover the Isar crossings while maneuvering the bulk of their forces to an area of our weakness, then punching towards Passau, leaving the defense of the Danube and Ratisbon to reinforcements.

Several courses of action present themselves:

Left Hook:   Cover center and right, punch hard through Munich/Freising, converge on Ratisbon.  1 corps moves towards Ratisbon on north side of Danube.
      Advantages: Crosses the Isar early and secures one of our two objectives in force.  Assuming we reach the Danube, gives us several options on where to cross from Ingolstadt to Kelheim.  Concentric advance may confuse the enemy as to the location of our main body if they fight a series of delays to the Danube.
      Problems: Several corps must be detached to form the screen and will be vulnerable to defeat in detail. 

Right Hook:  Cover left, punch up the Danube plain (Landshut and north).
        Advantages:  Short route to Ratisbon, better terrain for the offensive.  Some convergence on Ratisbon.  Direct protection of our LOC.  Short communications routes for better coordination.

        Problems:  Need to detail at least a corps to take Munich.  Will it be enough?   Also, the plan will likely be obvious to the French.  Multiple aces of advance may leave us open to defeat in detail.

Knock on All Doors:  Lots of crossings of the Isar, figure out the main effort later; all forces converge on the Danube and seek crossings.
       Advantages:  This broad front approach may initially confuse the French as to our intentions; if they are truly out of position and not expecting this, it may give us the opportunity to keep them off balance.  Local commander's initiative is maximized to make headway.
       Disadvantages: C2 will be difficult, re-concentration of the Army will occur only by accident, and it presents many opportunities for the French to defeat us in detail.

.....  that's all for now.



JasonPratt

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*********** Banzai asks where our starting boundaries are. Quick answer, anywhere south of Isar and Danube rivers.

********* James Sterrett Jul 15th

We might speculate that the main fight might be to retain the region south of the Danube once we have taken it.....  Even if we crush the local French forces the Ogre will eventually come.

********* There’s a controversy over whether there are Very Large roads on the map. Cyrano confirms that double-lined roads would be very large, single-lined regular, but there are loads of double-lined roads on the map, quite distinct from single-lined. This unexpected result is not resolved yet.

*************** Barthheart / Hohen Jul 15th

From my short readings, James' Right hook is close to what Charles tried IRL. And managed to catch Davout mostly cutoff from the rest of the French.

I assume the French have as much freedom of setup as we do so we probably can't count on catching Davout flat footed again.

But as James stated it's the area most open for offensive operations.

Could the French concentrate at Munich and just plow straight for Passau along the main route? What is a good estimation of their LoC? Ratisbon-Ingolstadt-Munich line?

There seems to be a dearth of names on the map, especially between the Isar and Danube, so we should establish what we want to call the blank towns/villages asap.



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*************** Marshal Neal (forum name) adds some extensive thoughts on July 15th; he’ll be playing Louis and the 5th Corps

This will be fun to learn!

I have not played this game before, but based on my own Kriegsspiel experience, this is my opinion:

I'm uncertain about our initial setup. I have no idea where we will be posted. but I understand there are three or four basic objectives.

1. Take Rastibonne
2. Take Munich
3. Exit the West edge of the map
4. Don't die.

I have no idea what the enemy objectives are, but I might speculate they are to:

1. Hold Rasribonne
2. Hold Munich
3. Fix and destroy as much of our forces as possible

If my speculation is correct, I would expect the French to play defensively, posting strong forces at river crossings and key approaches to prevent being flanked. They will attempt to locate our forces by scouting, harass us with sporadic appearances to keep us guessing and countermarching, while concentrating the bulk of their forces in a mutually supporting disposition. Once accomplished, they will march directly against us. The opportunity is that they are not disposed in this ideal fashion at this time.

We have the initiative.

This is speculation. As such, it should be regarded with some skepticism, and we will have to perform reconnaissance to confirm or invalidate my musings. However, if I am correct, we should not shy from battle, even if the enemy appears strong. In my experience, the value of one or two initial victories is substantial, and even against a superior foe, we can damage their morale to the point they begin fearing our maneuvers and become hesitant.

Overall, it seems to me that Munich may be a good first objective. If the enemy is dispersed, then that means we have the option of taking any ONE objective from him without him being able to stop us. Munich appears to be a major road nexus, and we can approach from multiple directions.

If I were to suggest a strategy, I would propose moving two forces north in a feint to Rastibone, and ensuring those forces are seen by the enemy. At all times, the commanders must be prepared to support one another and to fall back quickly to a defensible position as soon as the enemy appears to attack. If the enemy does not appear, continue to press the advance. Meanwhile, those divisions assigned to Munich ought to remain out of sight, or give the appearance of being a feint towards Munich. Approach from as many quarters as possible, Dachau, Freising, and on the roads from the east.

Once Munich is ours, it will deprive the enemy of a major hub of communications, and provide a base from which to operate North. The hills and river crossings in that corner of the map also appear quite defensible. This is important, because if the enemy goal is to destroy our army, then they will be compelled to fight on ground of our choosing. We can fall back as needed until we reach the crossings and gaps, and let Napoleon's armies dash themselves against the Austrian phalanxes.

This is my thought, and it could be terribly misinformed, but it is my read of the situation given how little I know. I hope it provides good food for thought. If not, the paper can be used in the sinks.

-Neal/Louis V Corps



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************** John Gill Jul 15th, 2018 -- note that Jack had actual ancestors involved in this operation historically!

Herr Feldzuegmeister Graf Kolowrat!
Yes, 1. and 2. Corps marched north of the Danube. 1. Corps (Bellegarde) played almost no role in the April campaign. 2. Corps closed the northern access to Regensburg helping ensure the city's fall and then came south of the Danube in time for limited action on 21–22–23 April.
Meanwhile, 1. Corps remained north of the Danube facing all of some 1,200 to 2,000 French troops.
Hochachtungsvoll, Jack, Freiherr von Dingbatsdorf

Much will depend on the degree of freedom Control allows the French.

Historically:
- the Austrians had the initiative, so it makes sense that we could deploy as we wish (Charles started with most of the army in Bohemia and shifted most of it south of the Danube only at the last minute).
- the French and their German allies were scattered in generally the following location on/about 10 April:
> Davout more/less isolated at Regensburg owing to Berthier's incapacity as interim commander
> the Bavarian corps stretched along the Isar from München/Freising to Landshut to Straubing
> Massena 's 4e and what would become Lannes 2e Corps along the Lech from Rain–Augsburg–Landsberg
> The small Württemberg corps approaching Rain on the Danube
> Saxon 9e Corps and la Garde have not yet arrived (and should not during the course of the game--except as a possible cygne noir events)
- But, of course, we likely will not know how much latitude the umpire will allow N

Your ob'dt servant, Graf von Jack



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Reply #10 on: October 28, 2020, 11:08:16 PM
************** Sun Jul 15th, my collated notes in consideration of correspondence so far. I had not yet realized Cyrano had told us there would be no Artillery City following Napoleon around this time, and so we the Austrians don't have to worry about this tactical nuke threat; but this turned out to be a moot point anyway.

So, pretty much OutOfCharacter (since I've got to talk game technicals):

These ARE DEFINITELY NOT STRATEGIC PLANS! These are just ideas pinging around in my head as I come to them.

0.) I've forgotten but are there character sheets for the player-character marshals? -- with stats? If so, this would seem to be requisite knowledge (but I don't recall getting it last time).

1.) I fully agree with the plan to create a cavalry corps and a grenadier corps from the two reserves. The Cav Corps won't be very numerous, but it'll have some elite heavy punch and might end up winning the game for us for positioning (as was about to happen last time had the game gone one more day). But we should be wary that the French can be expected to have one, too. Or more perhaps. Not counting their hideous ARTILLERY DIVISION which will follow Nap around. (Too bad "Rohan" doesn't command a cav division! -- that would be meta.) Anyway, if the player-character marshals have relevant stats, this should determine which reserve corps gets the grins and who gets the cav. NOTE! -- this plan effectively presumes that we intend to maneuver and punch with the reserve rather than keep them a day or so back to use as "reserves". But that would be boring for their players, so duh. SURGE EVVVVERRRYYYONNNEEE!! (Worked for us last time. {g})

2.) I'm relieved to see that 'my' reforms have gotten far enough along that each corps (aside from the reserves) can field a small cavalry division. They seem too small to count for any punch, and should be used carefully and sparingly for scouting ahead of the advance. Unless we decide to do something zany with them.

3.) Somewhat relatedly, the "third division" in each corps, we're told in the setup, features a mixmash of light and cav troops. Can't tell if Fresnel's division under I Corps fits that category, as it's fully equal in number and morale to the other two infantry divs. The briefing does say "usually" so this may be the exception. Cyrano should be able to confirm this, since divisional composition is something a corps commander would know about!

4.) More importantly, according to the briefing Napoleon (and his arty park?) may not be in theater yet, but rather on the way from Spain. The briefing also indicates that the umpire won't allow the French as much leeway for prior setup as us: they hold Ratisbon but are scattered otherwise, and the army is mostly recruits.

5.) How much reorganization would Cyrano allow us, in shuffling divisions around? Because I'm thinking about taking out the 25 morale divisions and consolidating them into a new corps for my command. (Since I don't have a corps.) This would make 2nd through 5th corps lighter, but would also allow them to operate more strenuously without weak links to cause problems. Relatedly, we could cobble together a second and larger cavalry corps (albeit 35 instead of 40 morale) under one of our marshals if he has decent relevant stats. (i.e. "something zany with them")

(Hey, I'm playing as a reform army-chief. I'm thinking outside the box.)


6.) Someone asked Cyrano a question about the roads and I want a clearer answer. There _are_ two types of roads on the map, and most of them are double-lined. A key single-line road example runs parallel to the Danube on its north bank from Passau through Deggendorf all the way to Ratisbonne; while for example a double-line road runs also parallel on the south bank through Straubing to Ratisbonne (although getting away from Deggendorf to cross the Isar. The difference between those two roads should be that the double-lane road allows 1/2 length to the marching column but otherwise equal speed on each.

7.) Are we allowed to know the enemy line of communication? Or do they have more than one?

8.) Briefing objectives suggest that we're going to score more points for taking and holding Ratisbonne and Munich, and exiting off map-west, than slaughtering the enemy (although that, too, no doubt). Of those goals, only taking Munich would support exiting map-west. Relatedly, we march ass-slow. Even our cavalry. The French, even if they are fresh recruits, will march much faster. But the French should start primarily holding Ratisbonne.

9.) Game-math suggests that our best points will come from taking Munich pronto (since according to the disposition we can start literally on top of it), hold that, defend our LoC to Passau, and then exit troops off the map edge which is less than a day's march from Munich (even by our sorry standards). I don't know if there's a minimum game length but I do know the game triggers a win if the relative score widens too far (which is what happened last time). In theory we could trap or overrun forces in Munich, and blob-score most or all of our troops off the map, within two or three days, before even the swifty French have time to reach our supply line. That would be a cheap and dirty way to win, if the relative score could trigger that way, but presumably Munich would become our new supply depot.

That seems so obvious and easy that I have to suppose the game design has been balanced to avoid that result, right??

10.) A French cav corps can get to Deg from Rat in two days, and from Deg to Passau in another two days, using the north-bank Danube road. That's assuming they march only 8 hours a day to conserve fatigue. Infantry won't be much slower. We have to conservatively expect we've only got five days, maybe less, maybe a LOT less (depending on start-pos leeway and their willingness to gamble being destroyed in detail), before the French are surrounding Passau.

11.) We should probably expect the French to attack us for at least one reason: this is a game and sitting around on defense waiting for trouble is boring, especially on a long-form game like this.

12.) The best places for us to defend are obviously the Isar and Danube river crossings. But we must assume they'll be given at least one pontoon kit, like we've got.

13.) There's too much river for us to defend all the bridges reasonably. The best concentration would be between Laundau and Deggendorf (down to maybe Dingolfing, the next bridge west from Landau). This is also the shortest march to Regensburg (aka Ratisbonne). But if the French take a longer loop around us then we've accomplished nothing.

14.) Everything might depend on identifying the main French LoC, and figuring out how to attack that.

JRP



JasonPratt

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Reply #11 on: October 28, 2020, 11:12:50 PM
************** Jul 15th, from Barth

Archduke Charles,

0) there are no character sheets, weren't last time either.
1) what plan to form what? I've not seen any mention of this until just now. And no Nappy Arty park according t Control.
4) No Nappy Arty park, see above. Not sure Nappy even brings any troops with him. IRL he hurried from Spain to Bavaria to get control of the mess so probably traveled really light... like with just his staff.
5) wouldn't our Cav divs be better used locally as scouts?
6) control stated he was looking into what roads were what.
14) Agree with this.

Hohenzollern


************** Jul 15th from Banzai

Would it be safe to assume a direct LoC between Munich and Ratisbonne, say Munich > Dachau and/or Freising > Pfaffenhofen/Abensberg > Ratisbonne?

If that were the case/if they were on the west side of the map, I would assume strong scouting elements as far east as Moosburg if not Landshut, perhaps?

Herbert Sifuentes Ramirez Ignacio Commeleaux Kollowrath III (Sr.)
II Corps


************** Jul 15th, from James Sterret

The Isar seems to be the current frontier, so I'd presume that even if they do not have major forces their, we will be seen as soon as we cross it. 

I suggest leaving the cavalry with their corps unless we have a very clear concept on how we will utilize the corps.  The relative weakness in cavalry was a tactical disadvantage to the French in the last game, for all that the corps itself was doing good work.

Do we know what might make the Germans desert back to Mother Austria?


************** From Jim/Cyrano
There was earlier a question about the "character sheets" for the individual commanders.  Well, there is one...kind of...

At the bottom are your commanders in all their glory.

The strategic modifier is how many divisions he can command without penalty IF he is the overall commander of a battle.  In every case, there's a certain number he can manage before costing his side a precious die.

The tactical modifier is to be used if he is leading in one of the three sectors of a battlefield.  A few very special leaders have this.

This typically factors into battle resolution so I've kept it "under the hood", but there's no reason for you all not to know.

Jim


************** The essential points from subsequent emails, are that everyone but Charles takes a 1 die penalty if they’re commanding more than 4 divisions in a fight (Charles can command up to 12 with no penalty). Charles gets two extra dice tactically, Hohen (Barth) gets 1 extra die. There is no information about who is better at infantry or cavalry or anything like that. There is some discussion about whether this means Hohen!Barth would be a good Wing Commander, but it doesn’t really work like that.


*************** Neal, Jul 15th

If we will be seen crossing the Isar, perhaps we should all be seen crossing to the North?

Have two divisions press north and push away their scouts to they can only "see" our vanguards moving North.

Once the rest of our force is thus screened from observation, have them turn back for an advance on Munich.

Just an idea. I am not 100% sure how hard it is to scout, or exactly how it works. We want them to assume anything but what we are doing.

Thoughts?

-Neal/Louis V Corps



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Reply #12 on: October 28, 2020, 11:14:08 PM
************** John Gill Monday Jul 16 -- his historical details are worth their own entry I think

Though i come from an aristocratic family of great lineage and our own principality, i am the green recruit in this game setting, so offer the following for whatever it might be worth with the understanding that the Spielmeisters in Kontrolle might alter things (though i doubt they can fiddle with the French side too much without serious historical warp that would destabilize the cosmos).

General:
* N is in Paris, cannot arrive for several days (historically 17 April in Donauwörth). N brings no troops with him, just a few staff officers (and not many of those).
* N knew an invasion was coming, but did not expect Austria to attack this early in April; therefore French and their allies are scattered as outlined previously.

French Army (it is the "Army of Germany" not the "Grande Armée" in 1809)
* French Guard (inf, cav, arty) is still en route from la belle France. Historically, elements do not arrive until near the end of April (25 or 26 or so).
* No French reserve artillery (again, unless Gamemasters shift things, but that would be a real distortion).
* The three French heavy cavalry divisions are split geographically, not formed in a corps (this is probably easiest to change for a game, but will require a day or two for them to come close enough to each other to function as a corps).
* Germans: the game–play may be different, but the German soldiers harbored no love for Austria (second time Austria has invaded Bavaria in four years did not endear Aust to Bavarian neighbors) and efforts to induce desertion fell flat. Performance of all German contingents in the April campaign was excellent: Bavaria, Baden, Hesse–Darmstadt, Württemberg. Unless the game is badly ahistorical, we can expect no help here.

> Most of the above is information the Austrians could be reasonably expected to know. But the Austrians were uncertain of French locations (especially Massena/Oudinot along the Lech).

And on Austria: the enlightened notions of our Generalissimus, His Imperial and Royal Highness, created a "light division" for each regular corps composed of cavalry and (supposed) "light troops" for scouting, screening and recce. Sadly, for the House of Habsburg, the troops who were supposed to perform as light infantry, seldom performed beyond the mediocre.

Hope that is of some interest.
Your humble servant,
Jack von Liechtenstein
(Austrian general even though my principality is part of Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine)



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Reply #13 on: October 28, 2020, 11:18:40 PM
************** There is some discussion about how the scouting cloud works, at least on simpler rules.

************** Me, Jul 16

Barth (since we're OOC talking game mechanics),

0.) Well there kind of were sheets, as I recalled. But I couldn't recall what information was 'visible' to us on them. Specifically I didn't recall if there was relative skill at infantry or cav command, and from Jim's reply there's a reason for that lacuna in my memory. {g}

Relatedly then, 5.) It kind of depends on how proactive we're planning to be. If we're only moving a couple of corps and not very far (due to sucky march speeds) then we don't need local scouting so much as we might need one or two wide detection nets or LoC blitzers. Good reminder, though, on the relative weakness of the French cav corps last game. And our Austrians might be effectively worse! -- Panzer I mob instead of Panzer II!

Also relatedly then, 1.1) Someone back early in the long list of messages, back before the game info was posted (just our emails), I forget who to credit sorry, pointed out that once the game starts it would be totally legitimate for the two reserve corps to hand off divisions to each other to create a solid grenadier and cav corps reserve. (We handed off divisions to each other on the French side with some regularity, too, the same way, though not with that goal.) So the question was whether Jim would allow us to do that before gamestart. From which I then extrapolated a couple of other re-org ideas.

{{Sabrenote: that was Lance and Jack, who started out commanding identical short but elite Reserve Corps of one Grenadier and one Cav division each. They had immediately hit on the idea of re-organizing their forces to be better suited to an offensive team role rather than reserve.}}

1.2 & 4.) Oh, that's right, Jim did confirm that! "I suspect His Charles-ness was referring to the reserve artillery division he had at his disposal at Jena-Auerstedt which did play a significant role at a critical battle or two, BUT IS NOT PRESENT IN THIS CAMPAIGN."

Giggity!

6.) I think Jim stated that while the rule as questioned was correct he didn't think there were any VL = double-lined roads on this map, regarding them as "very rare"? But I see double-lined roads all over the map, along with some single-lined roads for comparison. Aside from my prior example (parallel roads north and south of the Danbue between Ratburg and Passe {g}), there's also a single-lined road running straight map-north across the Danube out of Passau and into the hills/mountains, by comparison with a bunch of clearly double-lined roads connecting in Passau from other directions. (I've been eyeing that road into the mountains as a potential weak spot to exploit... but I can't quite trace a clear road line back west to Ratisbonne, so there would have to be some overland travel to get 'back to the road' going west once in the mountains. Cyrano may end up declaring that space off bounds anyway for convenience, since it's near/under the ruler.)

JRP (Charles)


************** Monday from me again

Now, having pondered things more (and caught up on other missives this morning):

(um, these numbers aren't meant to connect topically with my prior meanderings, they're just handy topic markers.)

1.) Ecnal's explanation of the 'scout cloud' rules we played under last time, and evidently will again, was very well put. CorComs will want to use their scouting clouds appropriately, typically with cav in the vanguard, although sometimes we would put our cav divisions echelon'd off left or right of our advance if we weren't moving a long way (since cav tires out a lot more easily and echeloning them to an angle of our advance tended to put them off-road).

This however also explains how a CavCorps commander might use his divisions as a detection net to give us an advance-alert across a wide area of the map that we aren't concentrating in. And if we cobbled two CavCorps together, one could be used for that purpose while the other blitzes for the LoC -- but then of course we're sacrificing scout probing on our advances. Or on our defenses if, say, a corps is holding behind a bridgeline: the cav division should be given orders to probe forward beyond the bridge and then fall back upon enemy approaches.

As Jim noted, though, keep in mind that in any case divisional non-player-characters still generate (via Jim/Cyrano himself) reports by courier which take game-time to arrive to the players. But Jim has proven good at keeping some basic NPC command protocols in mind if we send out divisions beyond immediate character range to do this-or-that.


2.) I'm not in position yet to check the player-character stats myself, but I note Ecnal/Kienmayer/Lancer's evaluation of Hohen/Barth as our best potential wing commander. In the previous game I assigned Wing Command based on other factors, not knowing to take this into account; those factors being prior player experience in games like this, and expected positioning of corps relative to each other and to me (in the center passing along notes. {g}) So for example West Wing's corps started out with Murat in command, because as the Cav Corps he was in position to scout the area better and faster, and so to make decisions for the initial assault through the passes; but then once the major town after the passes was captured (from Ruchel, ironically Barthheart! -- our prospective WC this time), West Wing command shifted on schedule over to the infantry player who had a little more experience in this game, so that Murat could proceed (if things seemed clear) out on a protracted clockwise loop behind the enemy seeking the LoC, and the two remaining mostly-infantry-corps  (or three, I forget) could decide whether they needed to hang tough against Prussian counter-attack or (as things happened) prosecute forward toward Weimar.

I harmonized those plans (didn't quite 'make' them, credit goes to the marshals) without knowing about the extended-command factor, and West Wing might have suffered some debuffs consequentially. Or maybe not, I don't know. But I sure want to keep this factor in mind, now that I know about it!


3.) In regard to the excellent discussion of left-hook and right-hook, which I wanted to ponder some more before commenting: the left-hook plan would certainly mesh better with exploiting the game-scoring factors -- take Munich then exit map-west!

On this synthesis, the right-guard near Deggensdorf (where Isar runs into the Danube, iirc, don't have the map handy here), might then synch with the proposed plan of feinting up the shorter LoC path to Ratisbonne while we actually do something else toward Munich! Center Front in that case would perhaps be best spent with the proposed Cav Reserve Corps spread out to detect encroachment, perhaps probing across the center bridges first and then withdrawing back over them rather than being caught.

(At this point, some familiarity with a similar computer game system, CAMPAIGNS ON THE DANUBE, which also features a similar set of 1809 campaigns, leads me to ask Cyrano about any effects of large rivers on the scouting cloud. Can the Cav Corps commander shadow movement along the north side of the Isar from the south, by shuffling his divisions to follow the French? In the computer game, the Danube causes major problems with scouting as might be expected.)

In fact, we might WANT to sucker the French into trying a central crossing against relatively undefended positions, and then killbox them with the backs to the river. (Historical Charles succeeded at least once in something like this during the extended campaign.) If we've already taken Munich, then we're guarding that approach; and on a left-hook plan we're anchoring at the Isar/Danube conflux so that'll be hard for them to get past (especially if we're also forting at Deggendorf on the other side of the river). Logically they'd be looking for a less-defended crossing in the middle. Can we prepare in such a way to give them what they want and then ambush them? Don't know yet.


4.) Worth keeping in mind that on either a left-hook or right-hook plan (although left-hook looks better for scoring points), we are essentially sacrificing any short interior lines. Not necessarily a bad thing, but we _did_ start off reminding ourselves that it's necessarily a _good_ thing!


5.) Spreading out in a left-hook plan of some sort, would maximize our initial initiative positioning while minimizing our problems with sucky marching speed: our relatively fastest troops (CavCorps reserve) would be watching the center; right-wing wouldn't be really going anywhere anyway; left-wing only would have plans for a short scoring march; and whoever's _really_ guarding center would be minimizing maneuver for trapping a French crossing in a kill box. This might get a little boring for whoever's on right-wing duty...? But hard to say.

6.) On a spread-out plan like this, I'd pretty obviously have to be plopped in the center, I guess? -- so as to relatively minimize the average courier time back and forth. But the wings would be given lots of decentralization leeway, too.

7.) I feel like we ought to be at least trying to propose a gang-up advance plan, to keep our LoCs tight and for better mutual support, which might also better exploit initial French weaknesses. In that case, right-hook would clearly be better, but our left-center positions would be advancing, too, and much more closely. We'd be gambling hard that the French wouldn't just send one non-player division of cavalry with bot-orders to try looping around and camping on our supply line back to Passau. And we can't march fast at all, so the speedier French would have lots of time to mess with us -- and with our supply line -- from all sides. But they might panic, too.

If we did try a right hook (offtackle right?!), we'd have to make plans to advance and secure the north-bank road, too, especially so that we have any hope of getting _around_ Ratisbonne. This might also involve seeing how far Cyrano would let us game the map to send a force up, around, through the hills (near/under the ruler!)

I'm not feeling it yet, but I want to be fair about considering it.


8.) If we decided to super-stack on the left... well, clearly the only point would be to take Munich pronto and then blob our troops off the map and hope to trigger an auto-win within two or maybe three days. Otherwise we'd have to expect the French to be all over Passau, and then we're screwed. Unless taking Munich allows us to rejigger supply lines onto the map. Seems unlikely.

JRP



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Reply #14 on: October 28, 2020, 11:23:47 PM
************** Lance/ecnal

Jason -
Since you're apparently giving consideration to the possibility of adopting a "take Munich and rush off the west map edge" strategy, it might be helpful/prudent to get a more detailed clarification from Control about how exiting works and what its relative weight is with respect to the overall determination of victory. For example, if we successfully manage to exit 50% of our army to the west, but the other 50% is shattered, how does that balance out? What if we exit a couple corps but lose our base at Passau? If exiting just acts as a sort of "tie breaker," then maybe it's not a particularly viable strategy; but if exiting is the equivalent of cutting the French LOC, then maybe it's worth it.

- Lance/Kienmayer


************** Cyrano replies

This is an instance where I think Didier is quite clear:  Your objectives are Munich and Ratisbonne and IF POSSIBLE exit the map while preserving your own LOC.

Exiting without those two cities in hand cannot be adjudged a victory.


*************** Ecnal/Lance

Thank you for the clarification. That was emphatically NOT clear to me (nor, I suspect, Jason). The wording was ambiguous enough that (for me) it left open the possibility of the Austrians executing a simple "bum's rush" off the map edge for the win. This seemed rather implausible/unrealistic, which is why I asked for amplifying info.

- Lance/Kienmayer


************** Neal (on Tuesday, consolidating topic)

Exiting "right" {{he means left, off the map near Munich, in a blob}} seems a bit too gamey to be viable as a strategy. Not only does it end our game early, it also seems inconsistent with that we are trying to do, which is to play Kriegsspiel.

Taking Munich may be sufficient to compel the French to attack us. I don't know the rules or how this works, since I'm a novice, but I do know forcing your enemy to attack you is solid strategy.

-Neal/Louis


************** Dom

I would think that models historical circumstances/objectives well. our goal is to liberate Munich and Ratisbonne. ... exiting the map seems secondary, and dangerous with French troops in significant towns to our rear. We would then be caught (of map) between potential French armies from the west and forces fortified in towns to the east, and our lines of communication threatened, if not untenable.

2 cents... or francs, or marks... or?

Dom/Hiller