The Great Game: Incidental posts

At this point I stopped making narrative posts for a while. Below the cut are several posts from different sessions, in which I at first had success (by the skin of my teeth) against the Belgian Blob, but started to get into trouble when Comintern (Chinese and Spanish) forces finally got to the European fronts.

Whew. I must say I do think landing in Norway is a mistake, even if it does cause me some temporary embarrassment. A raid to take out my reactor, sure, but a real invasion attempt? Why bother? It’s some of the most difficult terrain and worst weather in the world, it’s a very short distance from the main fighting front where I’m just getting to the point of being able to detach lots and lots of units, and there’s no industry to speak of. You could take over the whole of Norway and I’d go right on fighting. You’d have been better off forcing the Straits and attacking the Caucasus from the north, or landing on the Baltic coast of Poland. Although, admittedly, resistance would have been a lot faster in both cases.

Edit: Let me do a quick recap for those of you who weren’t there. The Siberian front is now stuck like granite after Sid surprised me with the capabilities of stacks of 50 militia; I expect to see it moving sometime after Madrid falls to my panzers, say 1955 or so.

The Caucasus front is likewise stuck, not so much for objective reasons as because both sides forgot about it! I had to put all my attention into the Polish front, and the Comintern were presumably also busy elsewhere. At any rate, by this time both sides have been digging in for three months, winter is coming, and the mountains are still standing. Don’t expect movement here.

The Baltic and Balkan fronts have seen exciting things happen! There will be screenies forthcoming, but briefly: The AI fought a lot smarter this time than it did when I wargamed this in SP, and pushed me back beyond Königsberg. Then the panzers got there, in the proverbial nick of time, blew a hole in the Belgian line south of Warsaw, then drove up the Elbe to the coast, pocketing twenty or so Belgian divisions. (Six of which are still holed up on Bornholm, keeping a whole army corps tied up.) Meanwhile the Belgians blew through the unavoidably weakened southern part of the line, drove to the Black Sea outlet of the Danube, and pocketed all the Polish divisions in the Balkans. However, the Poles were able to get supplies across the Black Sea – still an Axis lake – and when I could shift some tanks south, I managed to re-link with the 100 or so divisions in Romania and also to cut off the Belgian spearhead of twenty to thirty divisions, which had by then reached the Crimea.

South America went as expected; there are now no Norwegian divisions fighting there.

Finally, a new front has opened up with the Comintern invasion of Norway! Surprised the hell out of my militia, I assure you. They landed at Mo i Rana, south of Narvik, and destroyed my nuclear reactor in the first few days of fighting. Very embarrassing, to be sure. They currently hold a long strip of coastline, and a nuke destroyed two armies that I rushed north to try to retake Trondhjem. (I retaliated by destroying Madrid.) But with the Belgians now fighting almost on the Rhine and in full collapse, I can rush divisions north and at least hold them; it is no joke to fight in Norway in the winter. And, as I said, it’s just not that decisive a front, strategically speaking, as long as I hold the North German plain.

Ok, so screenies! We start with the Baltic front, early June. I’ve tried an attack with the Polish troops alone, and I’m not getting anywhere, but the Belgians can’t shift me very much, either. It’s worth pointing out that throughout the campaign, the Polish AI kept taking field marshals off my carefully constructed 12-strong stacks and sending them to command single mil-art divisions in Siberia! I kid you not, I saw this happen! So those 80 divisions are nowhere near as strong as they ought to be, simply for lack of good commanders.

Baltic June 3rd

Three weeks later. I’ve chopped off a Belgian advance, but what you’re not seeing is the scary moment when they held Lublin and cut off my advance! Now, wouldn’t that have been a disaster. Fortunately I was able to retake Lublin from the east, but it was a tense ten days.

Baltic June 25th

Another month. As you can see from where the tide of battle has left the Belgians, they made quite the push in this period; at one point they were threatening Wilno! Happily, the Yngling panzers are here now. Torun has been taken and retaken several times, creating and uncreating the pocket around Warsaw; I think it’s due to have still another iteration before I manage to hang on to it for good and wipe out those fifteen divisions.

Baltic June 27th

Which leads us to the situation at the end of August. And it’s over. The only thing limiting the speed of my advance now is how fast my infantry can march. You’ll observe Lodz about to get pocketed here; later on Danzig suffers the same fate, and then I blow right across the Oder. By this time the Belgians are out of panzers, those all went into the spearheads.

Baltic August 30th

Which allows me to link up with my counterattack out of Denmark! Committing all those troops to the attack left the Belgians without enough forces to hold against the panzers bursting out of Fyn and back onto the mainland. Three divisions have just disappeared from Hamburg. Note that we’re back on the 2nd of August, here, so this attack is developing simultaneously with the battles for Torun. I didn’t really have the forces to go very much further than this, the perimeter just gets too thin, but the linkup occurs in Berlin, incidentally trapping five divisions or so in Rostock. You’ll note, however, the Chinese troops occupying Århus; an ominous sign of things to come, even if these ones never got any further. I think Sid just wanted the airbase in Aalborg.

Baltic August 2nd

So much for the north; now let’s look at the Balkans. Things were pretty quiet there during the summer, but as my attack along the Baltic coastline developed, troops from the Zamosce area tended to get sucked into the victorious advance, eventually creating a weakness the the Belgians could exploit. Also, at this time Poland was played by a sub, and we had agreed that he should take care of the southern front. Considering this situation, I do wonder if maybe I should have asked for him to play Belgium, instead:

Balkans September 8th

Naturally, as soon as I became aware of this, I began pushing at the base of that salient with whatever tanks I could divert from my westwards march. To begin with that wasn’t much, though, and by late September the Belgian vanguard stood on the Don:

Balkans September 25th

Fortunately, by this time there was a supply line over the Black Sea, so the pocketed troops could at least fight. A week or so later, the tanks were beginning to have an effect; also, I suspect that by this time the Belgian AI was pulling back whatever it could to shore up its defenses in Germany. At any rate, a strong southward push began:

Balkans October 8th

And ended, after much frustration, in retaking Stryj, relinking Romania to Poland proper, and cutting off twenty to thirty Belgian divisions from resupply. Fighting for Stryj was really nasty, though; I attacked it six or seven times before finally getting around a flank (some tanks into Zamosce – three times before they managed to hold it) and being able to take it.

Balkans October 17th

Let’s go back to the Baltic, where my triumphant advance continues:

Baltic September 24th

Hah. Let’s see them stop that little lot.

I think I mentioned my great respect for the fighting qualities of the Kazakhs; here, for example, they are cut off from supply, reinforcement, and hope, but still fighting on bravely. I salute the Cossack nation!

Kazakh troops

I had, of course, a plan of attack for the Siberian front. Let’s just say it didn’t work.

Chinese Plan

And lastly, the new, Norwegian front!

Norway October 26th

It does seem to me that the Comintern is being a little deliberate, a little cautious, here, where a whirlwind, all-out commitment might have brought them to the Baltic by now. Still, whatever it is they’ve got defending Trondhjem, it’s hell on wheels. Infantry assault, panzer assault, combined arms assault, they shrug them all off alike. The nuke that torched 14 divisions and Røros have thrown me back on to a pure defensive for now, though. Still, we are Ynglings! Winter is coming, and we have the mountains at our back.

The invasion of Norway has been enormessly helped with the destruction of your principle reserves by my nuclear attack once both me and Spain consolidate the invasion your government will be forced to take the embarrassing action of fighting the war from Northern Rus’ in Ingramend. The mighty Yingling Hird running away from Chinese and Spanish forces!

Well, actually, the Ynglinga Hird doesn’t exactly have a presence in Norway anymore, except for some radioactive dust; what you’re fighting is militia, second-line troops, and fifteen-year-olds with .32 caliber rifles. And they’re not running, they’re conducting a fighting retreat, which is an entirely different matter.

And, by the way, speaking of propaganda: I’d get some better translators if I were you. 😀

All right, as requested. The Norwegian front in the latest save:

Norway November 18th

And here’s why I think it’s not going anywhere fast:

Winter in Norway

England is occupying all of Norwegian North America and Africa, and dealing with the consequences. Both they and Belgium are reasonably democratic, IIRC. Australia is, I think, English, but honestly it’s been years of game time since I looked at that corner of the world. For all I know the space lizards have invaded it. And yes, China is a brutal Stalinist dictatorship, quite as nasty in their own lovable way as the Ynglings, although without the racial overtones. Although mind you, the Ynglings may talk a good game about their bloodline descent from King Olaf of Norway, but by this point there have been so many extensions of the privilege for reasons of “otherwise the empire would collapse in multiple civil wars” that the elite, at least, recognises it for the propaganda it is. It’s not impossible that the Yngling caste could be extended to, say, “all white Europeans living in the Empire before 1940” or some similar subset. It depends a bit on how the war goes, to be sure. But honestly, at this point I’d be just as happy to see the Ynglings go down in flames, just because it would be such a cool AAR to write! I’ll fight my best to avoid it, though.

Well, Golle had to leave, so I guess we won’t get any further today. Only three months played, ah well, such is life.

To update a bit, the Norwegian front is going quite badly but may now be stabilised. Bergen has fallen; the Norwegian government has moved to Berlin. The Don pocket has been wiped out, freeing up twenty or so divisions. Fierce fighting continues all along the Balkan and German fronts; Yngling panzers briefly reached Venice and Freiburg before being forced back by a million-strong Chinese counterattack. Apparently the Belgians, in their desperation, have reached some accommodation with the Comintern and are letting their troops onto Belgian soil. I have some plans for dealing with this, but we shall see. Numbers are now fairly even in Germany. However, I did get to Strassburg even if I only held it for a few days, so the Belgian nuclear industry is now history. Leaving China with a nuclear monopoly. No movement on the Caucasus front; in Siberia the slow, irresistible push of 2 million Chinese continues, albeit with vast casualties.

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