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Jarkko
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Doomed cause, defending Saxony

Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:02 pm

Rise of Prussia, patch 1.01g (public beta)

Scenario: Invasion of Saxony (1756 - 1757)

Imperial side: Jarkko
Prussian side: AI

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In the Invasion of Saxony -scenario the goal for Prussia is to invade and conquer Saxony. Anybody with half an experience in strategy games will succeed, because Saxony absolutely has no chance. However, for some weird reason that has made me try this scenario a few times the past couple days, as the Imperial side. This AAR is about my fourth attempt at defending Saxony, and all the previous attempts had failed miserably.

The goal of Prussia is to take all the objectives before Early January 1757. The Imperial goal is the same, but it is not even physically possible to move an army to Berlin in time (because of supply reasons) even if all the Prussians tried to avoid engaging an attacking army. As per the scenario background, if Prussia doesn't win, then that can be seen as a victory for Saxony. Also enough strategic towns have to be held, so one can not simply go for objectives and disregard the overall strategic situation.

With that in mind my intention is rather "gamey". I intend to do my best to hold on to one objective (Pirna camp in this case), and to hoot with the rest of Saxony. Imperial side needs just three (3) strategic cities, so that is much easier to fulfill (but it means I actually have to defend Prague and Koniggratz, else I'll be burned).

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My strategy is to make a valiant last stand in Alamo... errr... Camp Pirna. If I get the Saxony main forces there in time, they might be able to fend off the first Prussian attack with the aid of the terrain (and I am praying hard to see some rain to slow down the Prussian), and then the Austrian reinforcements should start arriving. I'll mercilessly sacrifice the Saxon cavalry on harassing attacks, their only task will be to buy time with blood; I won't be defending Chemnitz with anything else but the cavalry, and I hope that will be enough to see snow start falling and make the area between Chemnitz and Pirna impossible to move through (and I hope the Prussians won't push on to Karlsbad and set up a depot there before winter, or else I am screwed).

Even with numerical superiority, favouring terrain and entrenchments the battles will be hard. The Imperial commanders are mediocore at best (and there are only a couple such commanders on the Imperial side), while the Prussian commanders are demi-gods on roller-skates. Commanders are in RoP, just like the other AGE games, very very very important.


TURN 1, Late August 1756

During the first turn Saxonian and Austrian troops are locked. This means one can only decide wether to have armies sitting inside city walls, or camp outside, but no movement is allowed. Torgau is the main target on first turn, and there is absolutely nothing one can do to help Torgau, but the longer Torgay garrison holds out, the better. Still, I split off one of the two garrison battallions to stand outside the gates, with orders to immediatly retreat if possible; my idea and hope was that they would avoid combat and withdraw towards Leipzig, where I wanted to set them as a garrison (Leipzig has no garrison, just the standing Saxonian army, and I definitivelt do not want to detach combat regiments to garrison duty).

The other thing Austrian side can move is the river-flotillas. The other flotilla is on the Danube, and is useless in this scenario. The other is on Elbe, in Prague at start, and is needed for one very game tactics. The Austrian advanced guard sits in the town of Lobositz on the border of Saxony and Austria. Due to some design oversight this elite force starts with only two turns worth of supplies, but they are locked for three turns (and thus can not move before turn four); thus the guard starves and is useless in this scenario because there is no Austrians who could move in supplies. Except Saxony has in Dresden two supplywagons. However, trying to move the supplywagons over land (on turn two, because on turn 1 they can't move yet) sees the Prussian cavalry rush for it and capture the wagons and thus the flotilla from Prague has to dash on first turn to Dresden, pick up the other supply-wagon, dash back to Pragu, unload the wagons and send them marching towards Lobositz. Supply is checked at the end of the turn, and the wagons will arrive just in time to prevent the advanced guard from starving to death.
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Jarkko
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Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:18 pm

TURN 2, Early September 1757

As expected, the Prussians stormed across the border as an unstoppable horde. To my joy the garrison infantry from Torgau valiantly avoided battle, and withdrew west from Torgau! Torgau was put under siege, but the walls held for now. Across the Elbe Prussian besieged the other objectives, but I never intended to defend them anyway (but the longer the garrisons would hold out, the better it would be).

However, the Prussians moved even faster than I had expected, an unknown force was already next to Leipzig and blocking my route to Chemnitz. I split my forces in Leipzig, shuffling around commanders until I had a mix where I had a commander who was active (Graf von Arnim) leading the cavalry (adeptly renamed (you can rename stacks by alt-clicking on the tab) as "Saxonian Cavalry"), with the orders to intercept the Prussian stack next to Leipzig. As I wasn't quite sure what the Prussian stack had, I gave orders for a cautious attack in case it was a trap, although I thought it can't possibly be anything else but some light-cavalry.

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The escaped garrison battallion from Torgau was ordered to move to Leipzig and immediatly enter the city. In Dresden the flotilla picked up the supplywagon from the force commanded by the artillery specialist von Wilster (von Wilsters force was hiding inside the city, I surely didn't want to lose him and his artillery in a futile field battle), and set sail towards Prague.

The remaining forces in Leipzig were put in one stack commanded by Rutowski, and the stack was renamed Army of Saxony. I gave orders for the whole stack to move towards Dresden, where they would be in command range of Maximilain Browne, the commander of the Bohemian Army. If successfull the Army of Saxony would then technically be named a corps of the Bohemian army, and the horrible command efficiency penalty (-35%) should be considerably smaller.
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Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:40 pm

Resolution of turn 2 orders

The Prussian stack next to Leipzig, in Wurzen, proved to be something totally different from what I had expected. There was a full Prussian army there, and the Saxonian cavalry were lucky to escape alive. As it were, they decided to withdraw towards Chemnitz, and that was a good thing.

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Showing some unbelievable dodging skills Rutowski succeeded to avoid both the Prussian army in Wurzen, and also a second Prussian army in Dresden. They were in the process of withdrawing towards Pirna at the 15th day of the turn, but still in the Dresden area.

The flotilla with the supplywagon got to Prague without incidents.

The garrison of Bautzen, one of the objective towns in eastern Saxony, surrendered to the Prussian besiegers, as did Torgau too.

Prussians had also dashed already across the mountains of Bohemia from Silesia, and did put Koeniggratz under siege. Most vexing!

Turn 3, late September 1757

The supply wagon from Prague was ordered to move towards Lobositz. It would be a close call, as the plotted move said it would take 12 days (and a turn lasts 15 days), and that is always assuming nothing spectacular happens (like orders get messed up, or weather changes or whatever). The advanced guard in Lobositz were already eating their finger-nails, so it would be a very close call.

Rutowski was active, so he could be designated as Corps commander in the Bohemian army. von Wilster and his cannons joined the Saxon army. Better yet, the command penalty was now down to -9%, so the army now had some serious punch, almost as much as one of the Prussian armies :wacko: The Army of Saxony was ordered to move to Pirna, and there they would dig in and defend at all costs until Austrians would be released to their help.

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The cavalry of Saxony was ordered to stand outside of Chemnitz, and retreat immediatly upon hostile contact. I would prefer to use cavalry in open terrain, but the cohesion of the cavalry troops was totally down the drain after the major beating they had just taken.
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Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:12 pm

Resolution of turn 3 orders

The Prussians in Dresden engaged the Army of Saxon, and the Saxons were not able to evade the Prussians this time. A major battle followed.

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A great victory for Saxony! While Saxony lost way more men in the battle, it meant that I would most likely have one turn of time to dig in (and build a supply depot!) in Pirna next turn. The Army of Saxony reached Pirna without incidents after this.

Meanwhile in west the cavalry evaded some Prussians entering Chemnitz, but were caught in Wurz. The Saxonian cavalry ceased to exist. I had lost them waaay too fast to my liking. Not perhaps the most brilliant of my strategic choices...

Prussians assaulted Chemnitz and Leipzig. Chemnitz fell immediatly, but the brave garrison battallion originally from Torgau succeeded to fend away the Prussians assaulting Leipzig.

Prussians pushed with lightnings speed south from Chemnitz towards Karlsbad, and things started to look seriously bad. If Karlsbad would fall fast, it would mean Prussians would be able to flank my position in Pirna from south too, effectively meaning Pirna would be cut off from all help.

The supplywagon reached the Advance Guard just in time. The guard was already partially unsupplied, and they would have starved this turn if the wagon hadn't arrived. At the end of the turn the Advance Guard activated, and I would now be able to move them (not only are the troops of the Advance Guard crack troops, they actually are commanded by the best Austrian commander on the map (who isn't even half as good as the Prussian generals, but in the kingdom of blind-people the man with one eye is the god).

A Prussian river-flotilla was sighted in north, but it then moved back to Fog of War. I wasn't even sure it was on Elbe, but it was disturbing.

Turn 4, early October

The Army of Saxony had three supplywagons in all, and two of them were used to build a supplydepot in Pirna. The building would take 15 days, so it was imperative to be able to hold the positions for the whole turn. As it were, it did seem like there wouldn't be at least any heavy attacks coming this turn, but who know about these Prussians who move so fast all the time.

The Advance Guard was formed into a brigade, and they were ordered to move to Pirna. While it would be faster to move without the supplywagons, I decided to take them along anyway, in case Pirna would get caught off from the supply chain (supply-depots can push supplies up to 5 regions away to other depots (when weather and terrain permits) and Pirna is four areas away from Prague; regular troops recieve supplies from depots only when in adjacent area, so once they use up their intrinsic supplies, they better be next to a depot or have supplywagons from where to pick supplies).

The river flotilla was moved to a blocking position next to Pirna, in case I had seen right and there was indeed Prussian ships sailing up the river.

Other than that, I could only pray for snow. Both my flanks, at Karlsbad and in Koeniggratz, where held by garrison troops only, and they would be no match for the Prussian main armies.

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Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:48 pm

Resolution of turn 4 orders

Prussians assaulted both Leipzig and Dresden, and both fell. I had two generals in Leipzig being treated for wounds, and they escaped out alive; they just were deep behind enemy lines, and would have to cross some heavy terrain to reach friendly lines.

Prussians seemed to fix up their supplylines, they didn't press on anywhere. Presumably the wagons were empty by now, and as Leipzig with its huge supplydepot hadn't yet been serving the Prussians, they simply had to slow down and wait for supply to catch up.

Advance Guard with their excellent commander Andreas von Futak arrived to Pirna. Brigadier von Futak would of course not be able to take command of the whole force, but he and his elite troops would add some much needed oomph and staying power to the Saxon army.

Austrians finally woke up and did smell the coffee, with many more units released. Most importantly two of the corps from the Bohemian army were released (although the big corps under General Piccolomin in Brunn (in south-east Bohemia) was still locked), as well as three independent brigades.

The first Austrian built troops were placed on the map (some garrison militia and a depot battallion to Prague), although it would still take a long time before the raw troopers would be combat ready.

Turn 5, late October

Some major movement plotting happened now. The escaped brigadiers from Leipzig were ordered to move to friendly lines, avoiding if possible Prussian positions. The three indpenendet brigades were ordered to move into blocking positions, from where they would be able to threathen Prussian supply lines if they would dash forwards too boldly.

The two corps from Prague were given the heaviest tasks. The First Line, commanded by General Joseph Luccese, was ordered east to save Koeniggratz. The Second Line, under the command of General Emmanuel Kolowrat, with its engineers and heavy mortars, was ordered to march as fast as possible towards Pirna. While Luccese isn't exactly the sharpest needle in the stack, at least he knows which way to put his pants on, unlike the total douchebag Kolowrat is. Happily though the commander of the Army of Saxony, General Rutowski, is more senior than Kolowrat (but Luccese is more senior than Rutowski), so Rutowski will take command in battles where they both are present. Meanwhile I did hope Luccese would be able to push the Prussians out from Koeniggratz, with one of the independent brigades moving into a position to cut the Prussian supply-lines.

General Browne, commander of the Bohemian Army, was ordered to take the fastest possible route to Pirna. Browne is a 3-2-2 general, so better than any of the two star generals, and my intention was to give him command of a flying corps in Pirna (the Advanced guard and some cavalry).

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enf91
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Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:50 pm

A very impressive AI. Making you actually have to try.

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Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:20 pm

Resolution of turn 5 orders

Prussians moved across the hilly terrain south-west of Pirna to cut off the road to south. In the forest of Dippoldiswalde, just south of Pirna, General Kolowrat and his Second Line bumped into the Prussian Corps under the commander of the divine Heinrich von Preussen ("just" a meager 8-4-7 rated commander :eek :) . At first it did look like von Preussen and his men would sweep the floor with Austrians, but Rutowski and his Saxons marched towards the sound of guns as fast as they could, and the Prussians were in danger to become surrounded between the Imperial forces, so they took a hasty retreat northwards, avoiding the Army of Saxony who was hot on their tails.

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Meanwhile Friedrich II von Preussen and his troops assaulted Karslbad in the west, and stormed the city.

A small Prussian cavalry force penetrated past Karlsbad, and entered the road towards Prague.

Snow began to fall in the hilly areas of Saxony. Winter was here.


Turn 6, early November

With my western flank shot to hell as Karslbad fell so fast, things did look very grim. I still had the mountain fort of Eger in west, and I did hope Prussians would go for it, as it has a level 2 depot also. In the fortress I had the standard troops, and in addition some medium-size garrison militia. With any hope the fortress would be able to hold out even a long siege, but one never knows.

If the Prussians would ignore Eger, I would be in deep poo. On the other hand, Eger was the only supply source south of the now snowy hills of Saxony, so unless the Prussians had some fresh wagons filled with supplies along, they wouldn't make it far.

Never the less, I did order the independent brigade in west under the command of Brigadier Wolffersdorff to give chase to the Prussian cavalry. If von Preussen would go east with his force the independent brigade wouldn't be much more than a speed-bump anyway, so better keep running in front of them :neener:

Near Koeniggratz the First Line hadn't made it even close to as quick as I had hoped, and were still marching towards the Prussian siege lines. It would suck in a major way if the fortress now surrendered, just when relief was in sight. The independent brigade was also still making it through the wilderness to the blocking position, so things were still very open on that front. First Line was ordered to intercept the Prussian Schlesien Armee, in case they would attempt to escape.

The Second Line got stuck in snow, and didn't make it to Pirna. They were only a few days away, so should be able to make even through the snow.

In Pirna General Browne was given the Advanced Guard and some Saxon troops (so that the Army of Saxony finally got to full efficiency) for a flying column. There were still no replacements available, so many companies were at reduced strength (and there won't even be Saxon replacements in this scenario, so the Saxon companies would stay at reduced strength).

As there had been no sightings of Prussian ships, the Elbe flotilla was ordered back to the harbour in Prague. Ships and ice don't seem to go well that good...

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Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:43 pm

Resolution of turn 6 orders


The Bohemian Army with the Army of Saxony attacked together the Prussians withdrawing through Pirna. The Second Line of Bohemian Army was still stuck in snow south of Pirna, and they were not able to march any faster towards the sound of guns. Prussians didn't even put up a fight, but were only fighting a delaying action as the scrambled northwards.

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At Koeniggratz the First Line catched up with the besieging Prussians. Apparently the Prussians had had serious supply problems, because they were in no fighting shape. Their position wasn't improved by the fact that the force was commanded possibly by the worst Prussian commander, so the commanders of the figthing parties were almost on par with each other (the Prussian commander being only slightly better). A bloodbath followed, and Prussians suffered their first major defeat of the war.

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In the west Prussians set siege on the fortress of Eger, while the smaller forces of each sides danced around each other, evading and counter evading.

A small Prussian force moved across the mountains of Bohemia, and threathened to put Prague under siege.

Piccolomini's huge corps in Brunn was finally released.

The depot battallion began operating in Prague, and first Austrian replacemements became available.


Turn 7, late November

With snow everywhere things bogged down real good. In the west I ordered a freshly trained Freikorps regiment to cut Prussian supply lines, while the independent brigade was sent towards Karlsbad (which according to my intelligence was empty).

I center the independent Brigade in Kolin was ordered to move west towards Prague, but their speed in snow wasn't something to call home about.

At Pirna Camp all troops had finally begun the entrenchement works.

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Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:53 pm

Resolution of turn 7 orders

Prussians made a futile attack on Pirna, which was thrown back with practically no losses to either side.

At Koeniggratz the forces engaged again, but this time the Prussians were able to break off earlier, and their losses werent that heavy. They retreated to the mountain paths, and I wrote them off; either they would die there, or if they made it through they would be in so bad shape that they would not be a problem anymore.

In west Prussians gave up the siege on Eger, and sent all on a wild run towards Prague.

Prussian troops put Prague under siege, but were not able to harm the fortifications.


Turn 8, early December

The Advance Guard was ordered to harass Prussians, and to attack Dresden. Other than that the whole turn was just about sloshing around the snow, trying to secure own supplylines and cut Prussian supplies. At Prague the independent brigade was ordered to perform a harassing attack, I did like the Prussians outisde the walls in the cold, and I certainly didn't want them to move away too fast ;)

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Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:09 am

Resolution of turn 8

Karlsbad was liberated. Prussians retreated inside Dresden in front of the advanced guard. At Prague the Independent brigade avoided the forces, and fell back to where it began its attack.


Turn 9, late December

Just the same sloshing through snow as previous turn really. Advanced Guard was ordered back to Pirna

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Resolution of turn 9

The Advance Guard moved back to Pirna. Prussians abandoned the siege of Prague, crossing the Elbe and withdrawing northwards there.


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Jarkko
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Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:18 am

Discussion.

The key point was on turn 2 when the Army of Saxony succeeded twice to avoid battle, and thus got to Dresden (and on to Pirna) pretty much in full shape. The AI was unwilling to make a full frontal attack (which I think could have succeeded), and instead attempted the historical move of cutting off Pirna. Sure, I had way more troops than historically, as I didn't even attempt to defend Saxony, just "win" :)

The loss of the Saxon cavalry was pure stupidity. One should never attack blindfolded with small valuable forces; there might just be ten times more enemies there...

In my first test game of RoP as Prussia in this scenario I was able to take Prague, but I made so many new-player blunders it is far from "perfect" (I didnt advance towards Karlsbad at all, for example). It could be an interesting excercise to see just how far it is possible to advance with Prussia as a human vs AI. The human player will have the same supply problems as the AI after all.


Thank you AGEOD for another excellent game :)
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Moogel
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Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:12 pm

Thanks for the AAR, it was a fun to read it.
On the same scenario i have managed to get over 50 more than the prussians did. Prussian forces made Browne to retreat to another province that was held or attacked by 6600 men strong prussian cavalry force. None of them were seen after that day.

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Jarkko
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Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:41 pm

Yes, cavalry is so totally messed up if they end up against lots of shooters. One has to wonder what the commander of the cavalry is thinking when he sees the slow infantry colums march to the field, deploy and then advance to firing range. Presumably the cavallirists are too drunk or something to not get the notice and ride the heck out of Dodge :p In some board-games cavalry can always automatically evade non-cavalry forces if they just have somewhere to retreat, but that might be a pain to balance in a game of RoP scale (cavalry raids are quite efficient as it is already).
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halfmanhalfsquidman
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Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:52 am

Awesome thanks for the AAR. I enjoyed reading it!

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Jarkko
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Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:27 am

halfmanhalfsquidman wrote:Awesome thanks for the AAR. I enjoyed reading it!

Thank you for the kind words :)

My intention was to write an AAR of the full campaign too, but I had/have some peronal issues with game mechanics (while I played through the campaign, I don't want to go through the pain again to write an AAR, even though I have some 120 screenshots and quite a few notes scribbled :p ). Maybe someday I will overcome my issues, or perhaps the game gets patched towards *my* views of the warfare in the era ( :wacko: ), and I would get my hands dirty and play&write a full AAR campaign :)

In the meantime it sure would be nice to see somebody else write a full campaign AAR. I would hate to think I am actually the only one who have actually played the full campaign through :blink: It would be great to get proven my issues are based on flukes only, and that I should give the campaign a new chance :)
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Jim717
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Thank you!

Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:44 pm

This AAR is very helpful. I just purchased the game. Could not resist the 50% savings.... I am on somewhat familiar ground with the game system from having played the other AGEOD games, but am new to this theatre. I look forward to not only playing the game, but in also being educated about this time period.

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