Part 19: Turns 39-42Turn 39: December 9th, 1915
Ulcer brigades begin! We have hit 85% of our manpower so now the men we throw into the fray will be less than our best and brightest. There is another rating called "quality." This starts at 10 and starts falling as a country dips further and further into manpower and has combat penalties. Austria, Bulgaria and the Ottomans aren't there yet, but newly commissioned German forces won't fight as well from here on out.
New cruisers with more on the way. We may be able to zerg rush the British battleship if we keep producing these guys.
Just cruisers queued up. We are repairing and upgrading heavily so this will be it for now.
Ship technology if we need it but with land fronts collapsing many of these aren't quite as useful. The upgraded fighters will start to intercept enemy air attacks once they are ready.
Nothing new but I wanted to show off the status of the USA. Right now they are about halfway to intervention. Our surface fleet will intercept merchant shipping when it can, but we will hopefully force Britain into terms before this drops further.
New conquests are fueling our production despite war weariness and attrition starting to drag on our economies. Pulling more men out of the factories will continue to hurt if we can't keep expanding our production holdings. We do always have the advantage of downsizing due to only having two fronts.
Even though it is winter our eastern hordes continue to march. Not concerned about their efficiency because they won't be committing with the size of the front and will only serve as reserves.
Due to new mechanics, we also need units in friendly territory to fully get production and manpower back in the pool from disbanding units.
Rerform, repair, and upgrade. Winter is no joke and I'm not attacking through the Alps during winter. Austria could use a few weeks off to stockpile shells for another offensive anyway.
Farewell Italy! Their fleet rests at the bottom of the sea and they lose 10 national morale. We start attacking the British shipping to starve them out more quickly. For now, we just shift and repair and upgrade to preserve our salient. Attacking during winter would weaken our position and so it is better to let the British bear the brunt of the shitty conditions. The embarked army retreats to repair back in France. We embark more forces. It isn't much production, but I am thinking of snagging Ireland since nothing else is going on for now.
More cruisers more supply. Once the convoy either sinks or gets away we can make sure all of our men are fully supplied.
Rotating armies and hitting their weak center for as long as they will allow. Their manpower has to be in the gutter and every little bit helps.
Lag didn't catch everything but they are shifting heavily to what is clearly the main salient. Railing troops during winter is the antithesis of keeping high spirits but whatever keeps them from mounting an offensive.
Starting to work on this salient. If they have the shells, air support could tip the balance and break this army. I want it here to keep them from moving everything west but having another cruiser wouldn't be the worst thing.
Italy extends the salient and launches a series of attacks. Three units attack Trento and knock a reserve into the red. They also attack a reserve to the east but hey winter and mountains! Sure enough their efficiency tanks. Don't fight in the Alps and don't fight during winter etc etc.
Harassing and reforming. They are still lucky I have no artillery here.
Turn 40: December 23rd, 1915
Meh defensive tech.
We add some depth to our lines, but railing units in winter has made the men groggy and unready for the fight. Using airstrikes, we hit the tip of the salient and make them pay for pushing so far. Our shells are also put to good use as we start hitting the line near Trieste. They are just human-waving reserves but with the chance to dig in this will take us a while. Snapping their salient may be the best option until winter ends.
We hit some efficiency but I was hoping to at least bag a division or two. Attrition helps but the Ottomans are starting to get fatigued here and if our efficiency breaks this whole line could need to reposition.
Our subs go out to scout since we may try and snipe Ireland. We destroy the merchant shipping and continue to reinforce the line. British convoys have 10 steps for 100 production. Even if it pisses off the US, an army this size means they are running convoy to convoy and this will cause harsh rationing. Not a quick fix but hey, WWI gonna WWI.
Healing the army to be a distraction. The new cruisers supply them and the other ones move out. It will be nice to have one for an Irish adventure.
I don't really see the logic in why they are rotating this much during winter and via rail but I won't really complain. It must be hard to have the hated enemy on your island, after all.
Italy refuses to pull back and instead continues to attack Trento and terror bomb Bavaria. They may regret this next turn.
Yup. With the efficiency falling for our troops, Britain launches an attack with three armies using heavy air support. We hold well enough, but it costs us full corps size elements.
Turn 41: January 6th, 1916
Heh. So usually, this is how it goes. It is very hard to get the Russians to surrender right out based on national morale. Usually, once they get to 40 morale and the date is 1916 or later they will revolt and then surrender. To get them out, we must have hit 20 or maybe even 0. Oh well, what harm could some social unrest in Russia be when we have already won on that front?
New fighters for Germany. We need to use ours this round, but this will be a welcome upgrade once we build more.
The enemy lead army is destroyed and we keep shifting units around at Trento. Von Hotzendorf and a rested corps try to pinch off the salient with air support but it is managing to hang on. If they keep refusing to pull back we can keep sawing at this until something gives.
The wounded armies limp behind our lines and our new armies hit Haig hard. We may not have their air support, but having reserves allows you to do these rotations to keep fresh units on the front line. Always have reserves. We don't need to break through to win this front. They just have to bleed.
The great exodus
So here we see a new mechanic. Our hordes are way oversized for what we need, so high command decides to send these hardened veterans home and repurpose the materials. For disbanding in home territory only one corps doesn't get full manpower and production back. We thank our boys for their service, but it isn't 1914 anymore. If Britain and Italy hold out this war will be won with industry. On to the planes and artillery!
Operation Sea Lion
With a three front attack available our armies take advantage under fighter cover. Their lead army loses a corps and a division and the unit as a whole loses all semblance of integrity. Our ships throw flak at their fighters just to be an asshole.
Two cities only worth 1 production but every city counts towards morale and every PP lost counts towards morale. Who would have thought the greatest feat of attrition in WWI would be naval landings.
The British are pulling back! Could it be? Is operation Sea Lion going to be a success? Only time will tell.
Same old salient, same old unrelenting need to fulfill the need (and juicy event) of retrieving Trento.
Britain somehow finds individual corps to fill the lines while Haig's men retreat and refit.
Turn 42: January 20th, 1916
Better red than dead! This is how Russian capitulation normally plays out. You can win in 1915 but it is pretty rare. Nines times out of ten this is how it goes down.
We try to pinch the salient but since there is nowhere to run the unit just stands there to get wrecked. Other than that it is just forming up and preparing for spring.
We reform but can't really attack since our efficiency is kind of shitty. We won't break though so that is a nice change.
The good news is that we destroy Maude's army and push the line back. The bad news is this will drop some of our spearheads into half supply and stall the attack. We can only have full supply on coastal armies unless we bag London.
With all of the new cruisers, we send an army out just to destroy their artillery and threaten London.
We snag a free city and hope to grab Dublin and the mighty 1 PP that it holds. They either take the morale hit or waste more production and resources trying to defend it.
Italy refuses to pull back. They keep attacking and bombing any and every German city within range. Guess that is worth an army getting isolated.
They actually pull multiple units to protect London. I think the strategy of multiple landings is stretching them thin. We still may drop troops at London to open up the Plymouth salient. London and all of those juicy supplies courtesy of unwilling citizens seems so far away.
As long as they have the shells I guess.
Next time, we marvel at Sea Lion looking successful and wonder how long Britain can have a super sized army while having just lost 100 production to our surface fleet.