Imperial Germany

Breaking away from the Second World War and paying a visit and tribute to the First World War. Coming this March, 2013
Larry
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Imperial Germany

Post by Larry » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:15 pm

Axis & Allies 1914
Reports from the Front.
A walk through round one
Imperial Germany


You can’t talk about Imperial Germany without also talking about the Kaiser. I’m talking specifically about Wilhelm II. He was the last German Emperor and was the grandson of British Queen Victoria. It always amazes me how all these big shots were all related. It seems that the Kaiser’s big mouth may have done more to incite World War I than even he imagined. He was an out-right militarist, and his speeches and newspaper interviews promoted the idea of war. The following kind of sums up his point of view about the European balance of power at the time: “...For I no longer have any doubt that England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves—knowing that our treaty obligations compel us to support Austria—to use the Austro-Serb conflict as a pretext for waging a war of annihilation against us... Our dilemma over keeping faith with the old and honorable Emperor has been exploited to create a situation which gives England the excuse she has been seeking to annihilate us with a spurious appearance of justice on the pretext that she is helping France and maintaining the well-known Balance of Power in Europe, i.e., playing off all European States for her own benefit against us”.If that’s how the leader of Imperial Germany sees the world, then I guess the smart money would be on... We’re going to war.

The Schlieffen Plan, which basically spelled out how to avoid a two front war by implementing a quick victory against France and then moving against the slower-mobilizing Russians, was to provide the directives and policies of the Imperial Germany Army. The plan called for a rapid mobilization and the invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Northern France. This thrust, in theory, should rapidly lead to the capture of Paris – it almost did.

Historically, things didn’t work out exactly as the big “S plan” suggested it would. Nonetheless, you can still have a blast playing Germany. I like trying out my own Schlieffen plan... I called it the Larry Plan (doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?).

Often when playing the game, I see repeats of things that slowed or totally disrupted the real Schlieffen plan. For example, with only 3 infantry and 1 artillery, the Belgian forces often successfully resisted the Germany’s initial attack and forced them to settle for a contested situation in Belgium. This gives the British and French time to reinforce not only the territory of Belgium, but the whole of Europe itself.

The British reinforcements that we deal with in the game are call-backs to the memories of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force).At first, there weren’t too many of them. They had to be transported by sea across the Channel and were arriving piecemeal. That happens in the game, as well. The build-up of the BEF in Picardy, or Belgium, depending on Germany’s advances, is interesting to watch. The BEF usually are hanging on by their finger nails, but with a steady build-up of forces The BEF’s presence is usually felt soon enough.

As Germany’s first turn opens, several options are presented. It can invade Holland, Lorraine France, or of course Belgium, or any combination thereof. It could even invade Switzerland if it wanted to – but who needs the headache (maybe you do). It can also move into Poland.

Germany’s initial forces are pretty powerful. That’s one of the main reasons the Russian did not attack them on their first turn that I walked you through. It was not because of some rules that this country or that country had to attack another before this one could, and so on. It was more about Germany’s power and how Russia thought that it would be better to play a more defensive game in the north, against Germany, and a more offensive game in the south, against Austria.
I don’t think I should get too specific about the disposition of the German army in this write up. I mean, after all you don’t have game map (at the time of the writing), so my calling out names and numbers won’t make that much sense to you. Let me just say that Germany has the forces necessary to get into the likes of Belgium, Poland, Holland, and even parts of France. They also have the necessary forces to weather the counter attacks that will certainly be launched. Where Germany decides to brings the war is where the front lines will be established. As to how long these lines will remain in place, and who will dominate them... well, that’s up to how they are played by the powers' controllers.

Let's take a moment to look at one of Germany’s geopolitical situations, specific to the coasts of Belgium and Holland running along the North Sea. Being so close to Great Britain, it would stand to reason that the mighty British navy could drop amphibious assaulting forces behind the established front lines. I used to ask myself why they historically never actually did that. I don’t know if it was even attempted. A successful landing in this area could lead to major Allied forces not only cutting off reinforcements to the Germans' current front lines, but could also threaten Berlin itself. Germany would, in effect, be flanked. So what’s stopping the Allies from doing exactly that? Actually, there are a couple of things preventing this kind of attack by the Allies. First, and perhaps foremost, is the Imperial Germany Navy (represented here with one dreadnought and 2 cruisers), and secondly, the great abundance of German naval mine fields. I might as well tell you now - all sea zones with a naval base symbol are considered mined by the power originally controlling the navy base.

Any enemy ship that moves into or through such a sea zone may strike a mine. One die is rolled for each enemy ship that has moved into such a sea zone. Each ship will be called out one at a time, and one die is rolled. A roll of 1 will mean the removal of the ship (except dreadnoughts, which need two hits). This combination of enemy ships and mine fields can be very intimidating, but it can be overcome. Whether to attempt such an operation will be up to you.

One can’t really talk about the German navy without talking about its ever-present fleet of submarines. Subs are, as usual in an Axis & Allies game, capable of moving undetected. Germany begins the game with no less than 4 submarines. None of the other powers have even one. One way for the German player to exploit this obvious advantage, and the rules help him or her right along, is to declare that Germany will begin unrestricted submarine warfare. This can be done at any time during the game. Once this is declared, Germany will be considered to be conducting submarine attacks against both the United States’ and the British Empire’s shipping routes. During the US and British player's' Collect Income phases, the German player will roll one die for each German submarine in certain sea zones (there are 3 of them, and they are sea zones 2, 7, and 8- strategically located, I assure you.). For each roll of 1 or 2, the attacked power will deduct 1 IPC from the income it normally collects during the phase. You might ask why Germany would not immediately and always conduct Unrestricted Submarine Warfare. Well... following Germany’s declared Unrestricted Submarine Warfare the United States will immediately enter the war! That might be reason enough to force the German player to wait a few turns before turning the subs loose.

With all this talk about ships, I probably should cast some light on how naval battles are conducted. I was going to wait for the British Empire write up and start the relevant paragraphs off with the words... “Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!”, but I just can’t hold myself back any longer!

Here are the numbers:

Battleships attack at 4, defend at 4, move 2, and cost 12. They also have to be hit twice to sink.
Cruiser attack at 3, defend at 3, move 3, and cost 9.
Submarines attack at 2, defend at 2, and cost 6.
Transports can’t attack nor defend. They move 2 and cost 6. They can carry any two land units and/or fighters.
When you have warships (not transports) in a sea zone containing enemy ships, you can elect to attack them. I should point out that transports must be chosen last as casualties, after all warships have been sunk or have submerged. Unlike a land battle, a sea battle can go on for multiple rounds of combat for as long as the attacker wants to continue. As usual in most A&A games, when it comes to submarines the attacker can roll an attack or can submerge. This is followed by the defender rolling for his or her ships. After both sides have rolled, the casualties are removed. The attacker can either press or break-off the attack.
Whenever a submarine, attacking or defending, has the ability to roll a combat die, it can elect to submerge instead. If it does so, it is placed on its side, indicating that it has used its ability to submerge and is withdrawing from the battle. They can still be sunk while withdrawing if the enemy rolls a hit.

Enough about ships - let's get back to the subject at hand...
Germany has two armies located in the east, and both can be moved into Russian-defended Poland. This force, 12 infantry and 3 artillery, will be resisted by a Russian army consisting of 6 Infantry and 2 artillery. The question is... How many units does Germany want to actually commit to the Eastern Front and how many of these units could or should be moved to the Western Front, as per the Schlieffen Plan. This same question can be asked of the German aircraft that begins the game in Berlin. If this aircraft is sent to the Eastern Front, it will be guaranteed air supremacy. This same aircraft can be most useful on the Western Front as well. This is just one more decision the controlling player must make.

A word about aircraft - they can move two spaces. When moving two spaces, it doesn’t matter what the status of the first space is. It can be a sea zone, a friendly or contested territory, or even a hostile territory. However, a fighter must end its move in a territory containing land units belonging to its power. That, by definition, can include a contested territory.

Speaking of making decisions, what did Germany purchase and place in the Mobilization Zone at the beginning of its turn? I think I skipped right past that important moment. It had 35 IPC to spend. It purchased 7 infantry, 2 artillery, and another aircraft. Pretty sophisticated purchases!

German has 4 colonies in Africa: Togoland, Kamerun, South West Africa, and German East Africa. These units find themselves in a small but deadly struggle for Africa. The German units in Africa seem to be only interested in holding their ground, for at least this turn. That might be because It’s so hard for the Fatherland to supply them over the British warships infesting the worlds sea lanes.

So what does Germany end up doing this turn? The quick answer is... From Kiel it moves 3 infantry and 4 artillery into Holland. Neutral Holland, generating 2 IPCs, resists this invasion with 3 infantry and 1 artillery. The Dutch units are represented by British pieces (this is decided by the Allies). It should be noted that if Holland ends up being controlled by the Allies, the ally who originally mobilized in Holland would most like gain Holland’s 2 IPCs if the territory ends up in his or her control. From the Ruhr, German moves 7 infantry and 3 artillery into neutral but aligned Belgium. Belgium, having a small French roundel, indicating that it is an ally specifically of France, has French pieces placed on it representing newly mobilized Belgian forces. From Alsace, 7 German infantry and 3 artillery cross over into the French territory of Lorraine. There they are resisted by 6 French infantry supported by 2 artillery units.

From deep in Germany, additional units are moved from Hanover and Munich towards the west. The large German military presence in Berlin is split into two groups. One is last seen boarding trains heading east. The other was seen moving to Kiel. The newly formed German air unit, also located in Berlin, is moved to, and participates in, the attack on Holland. Prussia and Silesia become staging grounds for attacking Poland! Together they thrust 12 infantry and 3 artillery against a defending Russian army of 6 infantry and 2 artillery. Two German submarines located in the middle of the Atlantic are moved to the sea zone touching Canada (sea zone 2). There they will attack a British cruiser and transport. It should be noted that some German units simply did not move. For example the German fleet did not venture out... The battle of Jutland will have to wait.

As usual, each of the newly contested territories will have a single round of combat rolled. The participating units will remain in place on the map, and dice will represent them on the battle board. Depending on whether the infantry receive artillery support, they will be placed in either the boxes labeled "Attacking Infantry" or "Infantry with Artillery Support". The box that they end up in will indicate the number that each die rolled must be in order to score a hit..
This process is about to be conducted in Belgium, Lorraine, Poland, and Holland. I saved Holland for last because in the battle for Holland the Germans have introduced for the first time the use of aircraft. Germany, having the only aircraft in the battle, automatically gains air supremacy. All four of the Germany artillery attacking Holland are promoted to the "Artillery With Air Supremacy Support" box, which means they will score hits with all die rolls of 4 or less! This single German air unit will also have the great honor and pleasure of rolling one die. If the fighter (or fighters) rolls a 1, scoring a hit, it has symbolically strafed or attacked the Dutch forces and will require a Dutch unit be eliminated. Now I’m about to do something that’s going to send at least 2 or 3 or you over the edge... I’m not going to tell you how these battles end up. This whole thing is getting just too long...Set it up and roll your own dice!

I will tell you this, however. Germany’s IPC income has gone up 5 IPCs (they captured Poland and Holland). France’s income has gone down 2 IPCs... It seems that Lorraine is now a contested territory . The initial battle for Lorraine went terribly wrong for the Germans, but not to worry, a counter attack/reinforcement army wisely positioned in Alsace earlier will assure that there will be a rapid follow up attack on Lorraine on the next turn. Oh, and Belgium? Belgium held by a narrow margin! I told you it would. Oh yeah... that double submarine attack against the Brits off Canada. Both the cruiser and the transport were sunk. They did manage to sink one of the German subs, however.


With the placement of Germany’s newly mobilized forces, purchased at the beginning of the turn, Germany now collects its income of 40 IPCs.
France is next...

VonLettowVorbeck1914
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by VonLettowVorbeck1914 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:21 pm

On for the first time in a couple days and boom! This is right in front of me. Very cool!

Any chance of moving up release to... yesterday? :P

VonLettowVorbeck1914
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by VonLettowVorbeck1914 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:29 pm

Love the innovation with mines and the unrestricted sub warfare mechanic!

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Flashman
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by Flashman » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:07 pm

For folks trying to follow the reports without a map, I've mocked up my own based on the info released so far.

While some of the boundaries and tt names may be different, and I could only guess at IPC values, I think this is likely to be pretty close to the real thing. The obvious inspiration of Diplomacy was a big help.

Neither have I guessed at the locations of naval bases, mainly because it would be inconsistent to allow shipbuilding in places like Egypt - have to see what the exact rule for ship placement and repair are.

Also, Naval bases and ship-building yards are not the same places; Scapa Flow was the main RN base in the war, but did not have the facility to build so much as a rowing boat.

I like the NB/mines idea. Also very pleased to see that fighters only have 2 movement, I had visions of US built fighters flying straight across the Atlantic -before anyone ever did so!

P.S. decided to add Mexico (which I don't think is in the game) for a planned house rule re US entry.

Another idea I might mention at this point is that neutrals provide income (representing trade) for a warring power which has the only land border(s) with it. For example as long as the Netherlands remains neutral, its IPC value is collected by Germany, unless the Allies move into Belgium to cancel the condition. Thus, for Germany, invading Belgium alone would allow it to annex Belgium directly, but also protects its trading monopoly with the Dutch, and without the need to invade Holland as well. Germany also has trading rights with Denmark, while those with Sweden and Norway depend on having the shortest route by sea.
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Flashman
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by Flashman » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:53 pm

Big shot Royals do tend to be related to each other - like American Presidents.

The very existence of the Schleiffen plan has been questioned by recent research:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Real-German ... im_sbs_b_1

My understanding of it was that the aim was no so much to capture Paris, but to trap the bulk of the French armies by "pushing on the revolving door", that is advancing through Belgium, then Picardy and finally attacking the main French forces in Lorraine from the west.

The British did indeed consider a landing in Germany, but their army was too small to undertake the task (Bismarck one said that if the British army invaded Germany he'd have it arrested). Further, they were already tied in to French strategy, which meant principally defending French territory and attacking through Alsace-Lorraine.

Questions - can fighters land in a tt that has just become contested as a result of an attack it has just participated in?

What do fighters need to roll in dogfights; do they just continue until one side rolls enough 1s to KO the enemy?

Do defending fighters also roll a die in battle after winning the air fight?

Do naval battles use the same battle board?

What happens when a tt with a naval base changes hands - is the SZ still considered mined by the original owner, or does control of the mine belt change hands with the tt?

What if the Allies capture every Austrian tt - does the mine belt in the Adriatic still work against Allied shipping?
Last edited by Flashman on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

VonLettowVorbeck1914
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by VonLettowVorbeck1914 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:37 am

One of the most interesting things I read about the German plan of attack was that the Germans overlooked the fact that the French could move faster in a straight line back towards Paris than the Germans could move outflanking it on an arc. Seems like an exaggeration (how could the Germans not realize that would be the case?), but who knows.

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Old Dwarf
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by Old Dwarf » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:02 am

The German High Command expected to pin the French on the frontier
& the sweep through Belgium was to be a massive out flanking effort.

It nearly worked but the rapid Russian mobilization caused the Germans
to modify the plan by sending 2 corps back to the East Front( can't have the
Ruskies in the Imperial Hunting Lodge).The irony of course is by the time they
got there The Russian invasion had been defeated & the absence of those Corps
in the west allowed a gap in the German flanking forces that the French were
able to exploit.It was still a close things(love those Paris cabbies).
Für Kaiser und König

WILD BILL
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Re: Imperial Germany

Post by WILD BILL » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:16 pm

Flashman wrote: Questions - can fighters land in a tt that has just become contested as a result of an attack it has just participated in?

What do fighters need to roll in dogfights; do they just continue until one side rolls enough 1s to KO the enemy?

Do defending fighters also roll a die in battle after winning the air fight?
Quote from German report:
"A word about aircraft - they can move two spaces. When moving two spaces, it doesn’t matter what the status of the first space is. It can be a sea zone, a friendly or contested territory, or even a hostile territory. However, a fighter must end its move in a territory containing land units belonging to its power. That, by definition, can include a contested territory."


Just guesses obviously, but above when he adds at the end "can include a contested territory", it must also include a territory that you just made contested (moved in land units) because that is what he did with Holland. Furthermore, I don't think the ftr gets to move again in that turn to with-draw from the front either (only one movement phase). Getting your ftr in the battle only requires you to have your own land units in the fight. I just remembered the last man standing rule from the Austria report. You must also have an inf survive the battle to land your ftr in that territory. It requires you to kill off higher valued units (I think ftrs would also be included here) to have an inf last man standing. This would also mean that even if you share the contested territory with an ally that has a ton of inf, if you get down to just one unit you would lose the ftr and keep the inf.

This mechanic would keep you from just strafing with your ftrs to get the +1 art support, because you will be risking your expensive units (art/ftrs) at the front. You're not going to risk it if you don't think you can keep control of the territory after a win, can handle the counter attack, or at least keep it contested. I think these contested territories at the front will be that way for several turns, and you will have the ability to pull out in later turns if you see it slipping away.

On the other hand if your able to gain control of a territory, you're also going to want to make the next territory contested and will be able to use ftrs to gain the upper hand and keep air supremacy as you move forward (just need to have your own ground units there as well). Your front line ftrs will also be engaged in dog fights to see who keeps air supremacy as the enemy will be sure to send some ftrs in at some point. Not sure but if two def powers have def ftrs in a territory, they will probably both be able to roll in the dog fight, and in the land battle of the contested territory if they win.

Also because of his above ruling about ftrs must end movement in a land territory....., and I don't believe they will be able to move again, I don't think you can use ftrs in sea battles either (but we'll know more in the French/UK turns).

I would think that ftrs get a higher roll in the dog fight at 2 (maybe even 3) when its air vs air. I wonder if the dog fight is an all in til the death fight (no retreats), or a one rounder, and it is hard to gain air superiority if both sides have many ftrs. Below he gives us how you get air superiority (the other side has no ftrs left, or had none to begin with) but I don't think he has said how long the dog fight lasts, or what the air to air values are (if different). Guess we'll have to wait for the next report, or two to find out.

Below Larry said air supremacy gives the same advantages to whom ever has it, so yes if the defender gets it then their ftrs would roll in the ground battle (probably at 1 like attacking ftrs) and all def art would get +1 as well.

Quote from Larry's Austrian report:
"If one side gains air supremacy either by being the only one with any fighters left, or was the only one to have any fighters at all, he or she gains air supremacy. The player with air supremacy immediately promotes all of his or her artillery to the box that reads “Artillery with Air Supremacy Support”. Nice promotion... the now hit with a 4 or less. Air supremacy provides your side with a high altitude reconnaissance advantage... a bird’s eye view of the battlefield if you will. In addition to gaining promoted artillery, the side with air supremacy also gets to roll for their remaining fighter(s) against the enemy’s land units".


Flashman wrote: Do naval battles use the same battle board?

What happens when a tt with a naval base changes hands - is the SZ still considered mined by the original owner, or does control of the mine belt change hands with the tt?

What if the Allies capture every Austrian tt - does the mine belt in the Adriatic still work against Allied shipping?
I can't really see the battle board from the pro-mo pic. Even if you hit control +, or control - to enlarge or reduce it, it is to blurry for me to tell. I would think that the ships would be on it because it only shows one battle board for the game though. The battles at sea won't have as many units to deal with though, they also all have the same attack & def values, so you may not even need a battle board for battles at sea, especially if there is nothing for combined arms like air supremacy. It could have been omitted (will need to wait until the next turn or two to get definitive answers)

It sounds like the naval bases may be printed right on the map this time, and be linked to both a singe land territory and sz (you may not be able to buy more of them). This will control where ships can be mobilized, or repaired. Although I don't think there is an "in port rule", the mines will give you some protection even as a deterrent when your fleet is in a sz with a friendly NB (orig territory is controlled, or still contested by the orig owner). Your ally's NB mines would also help deter or protect your defending ships too because they are always active.

If you attack by sea you would have to fight through the mines, if by land you probably need to win a pretty big battle as the territory w/ NB will probably be heavily entrenched.

He uses the term "originally controlled" (see below) when he talks about ships being built (Russian report), or mines (German report), so I don't think that those abilities transfer to the new owner, just like you won't be able to mobilize new units from a captured capitol. I suppose he could be referring to the power that originally controlled it that turn, but I don't think so.

Taken from the end of the Russian report:
"New sea units can be placed in any sea zone that shares a naval base symbol with a territory that you originally controlled. New units can enter play even in a contested territory or hostile sea zone. No combat occurs because the Conduct Combat phase will be long past".

Taken from the German report:
"I might as well tell you now - all sea zones with a naval base symbol are considered mined by the power originally controlling the navy base".

The rules at sea sound pretty cool including what we know about mines etc... Sounds like mines are activated if you end movement in, or even if you are passing through a sz w/NB controlled by the other side. Mines fire one kill shot at 1 similar to AA fire, and ships are sunk, and won't be able to fire back (unless it is a 2-hit dreadnought).

If you move into sz's that contain enemy ships it is up to you (on your turn) if there will be a battle or not (still subject to mines though). You can fight as many rounds as you want to, then say ok it's over, and share the sz. It also sounds like you can't block out the enemy by picketing a single ship in the way either. Because you can engage or not it sounds like you can pass (like ships in the night LOL).

I also like that the UK will be able to get ftrs to France by air, but the US will need to transport them (good instincts on that Flash). I will say that I was wrong on the absence of the Russians making an attack on the Germans leading into my assumption that they couldn't. Could be the same in some of my above guesses or assumptions, but that's what we do here.

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