By the end of May, my victory in Russian Poland was complete. Russian reservists throwing themselves at the best of the German army supported by artillery was qutie hopeless. I was planning an other Grand Offensive toward Brest-Litovsk. After the May Interphase the Russians stood at zero National will, still not the lowest possible but a quick determined strike at their fighting spirit seemed to knock them out.
But all things considered, I think my pocket was too big. It took me way too much time to take down.
And that was quite important as the lack of Western Front to occupy the Brits started to show more and more in Palestine. Luckily I had some Turkish units constructed right after the meltdown due to Arabia, so I managed to establish the Beirut-Damascus line before the Brits could get there.
Speaking of National Will, the French weren't in such a good shape either. In the interphase they formed a new government, putting their NW back to 28, but with a Defetist parlaiment. I know haven't been giving much attention to the French border, but every few months they made a solid effort at trying to brake through, plus the constant harassments and this had its toll on their NW.
The Italians did continue their Grand Offensive against Trento, however one of their conscript units panicked and that called an abrupt end to the month's fighting.
As part of trying to deal with the British problem, I finally started (restricted) submarine warfare. I already had 7 submarines built and had 3 more ordered this month.
Along with a bunch of German fighter squadrons, a couple of German active-duty corps, and Austrian units.
I also had to cautiously press enaction of wartime economy in Austria-Hungary. The relatively high raise of National Will from the civilian production every Interphase was good, but their economy had been a joke.
Especially that this had been the second Interphase where the British blockade started to make itself felt. Still not the devastation it can be expected to late 1917-1918, but can't be shrugged off either. Plus being mid-1916, now there would be a constant NW penalty due to length of the war.
Austria-Hungary closed May with 24NW, 27 for Germany and Turkey. Far away were the happy days of 1914's august. Yet, the planned successful Grand Offensives for A-H and Germany this summer were to establish a good NW base for the take on Italy after Russia gets out.
I drew: the Lenin event. All I need is to get some revolution going in Russia then I would have a shot at installing the reds (who have a random chance of grabbing power anyway)
Also Land Mines had been invented by Germany, finally, so trench levels could be maximized.
But also, the US closed Baltimore harbor from the Deutschland commercial submarine, furthe deteriorating relations between the US of A and Germany. Considering the freshly launched submarine warfare, a diplomatic mission was promptly sent to the States, and it did manage to smooth off the rough edges.
The German 14th Army had to move out of Warsaw a bit to be in Grand Offensive planning range from Brest-Litovsk, but I did schedule a joint attack of the Austrian 3rd and 5th Armies toward Dubno:
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Apart from the usual French harassment, and the Italians continuing the grand offensive (again, as in history, they were grossly ineffective), June was a surprisingly quiet month.
Luckily you can plan a Grand Offensive for your current month, so the German 14th and 10th Armies were to set on toward Brest-Litovsk, while the Austrio-Hungarian 3rd and 5th launched their own attack.
The austrians were to experiment with flash bombardments, while the Germans were planning to try trench inflitration techniques, so they could use the assault troops they just researched.
With perfect timing, the Russian army experienced mutinies, pushing their NW down to -4. Their end was near.
As expected, the Russians melted away, even though neither of the new combat tactics were implemented successfully. But all 4 armies seemed to open a way for themselves, and Russian NW plumetted to -7. As a matter of fact, serious consideration was given to halting the offensive until the autumn to avoid reviving national pride before the social checks of the summer interphase.
But alas, the Central Powers needed the NW from the success of the offensive.
The French did a rather prolonged offensive south of Metz, but as every other attempt, it failed.
The Italians paused their Grand Offensive, to no surprise.
The Brits did not pause their advance on Damascus, however, but they underestimated the strength of the now prepare defenses.
The collapse of the Russian army became quite clear by this time. You can view the result at the end of the month below, the two main offensives sweaping all opposition aside. A corps or two of the Russians managed to hold on bravely for a while, but the huge morale penalty due to their National Will simply gave them no chance.
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The Italians managed to produce some meaningful artillery it appears, they used them to support their human waves tactics against Trent, which were met with local counterattacks. This was the most savage fight of this Italian Grand Offensive yet, but the Austrians kept holding.
And then came the Interphase. A steady flow of stosstruppen had been ordered for Germany, and some reinforcements for all powers, like the remaining slavic reservits for A-H plus an Austrian mountain corps, in an ambition to being able to tackle Italy alone after Russia falls, with the Germans hitting the French simultaneously.
But of course, the real question was the political phase. What would happen with Russia...
and it was PERFECT. With down to minimum possible NW, there was a fair chance of them surrendering right away when revolutionary hell brakes out (sort of like the Central Powers did). And they did!
(the text at the end repeats so much because of all the CP combatants).
Even with this wonderful news the NW of A-H raised up only until 30 (38 for Germany) so its no surprise the meltdown of Russia caused shockwaves in France and Italy, pushing both National Wills somewhat below zero. The chance to end the war in 1916 suddenly presented itself!
Great Britain, however, faired much better, still keeping a National Will of 24 even after the Russian surrender and the introduction of the submarine warfare (of which they already prepared for, check the big number of escorts below). But then again, they only had fighting against Turkey so far.
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As a somewhat negative news, the US promised economic aid for France and the UK.
That was just one more consideration to have Grand Offensive launched immediately against France and Italy, to capitalize on their abysmal National Will, before they have a chance to recover.