Welcome to an AAR about my current game, a DNA scenario against Highlandcharge. THe game is currently ongoing so things will unravel as I describ it, hopefully some great epic and unpredeictable things will happen. This AAR will describes the german side from the perspective of the german general staff, it will focus on operational questions and describe events from OHL point of view. I will add comments from a palyers perspective at the end of each section about how the game goes.
English not beeing my native language I hope you can forgive writting errors and spelling.
(beeing a hypothical scenario I will first explain how we got to the 1921 situation and wich plans the german general staff prepared before 1921 for a war against the bolshevists.[/CENTER]
In 1918 the german army launched it's long anticipated attack against the western allies. With the eastern front secure, Russia beeing in total dissaray thanks to the bolshevists, Hindenburg and Ludendorff could use all their available strength to strike the allies. With it's new tactics succesfully tested at Riga and in Italy, the german high command was optimistic. On the 21 March the hammerblow of operation Micheal struk the allies hard. Another attack quickly followed and the allied front started to fall appart. Sensing the weak spot, Ludendorff commited all his strength for a decisive attack between the french and britsh armies. Although logistik were dramatically overstreched the germans managed to penetrate deep into the hinterland and brushing asaide the newly arrived US-Divisions sent to fill the gap. The british armies now severed from the french started to move towards the sea while the shattered left flank of the french army desperately tried to stop the reatreat. Foch appointed as supreme commander of allied forces during the battle couldn't stop the wheels in motion and the german reached the outskirsts of Paris, panic grew in the capital as german tropps started to enter the city. Foch tried one last time to break the german advance by launching all his reserves into the german flank but it was to late. The british had their back against the wall/the channel, the french moral was crushed by the loss of Paris and the US-Divisions in France had suffered greatly at the hand of the german storm troops they had been sent hastly to stop.
The german generals were enthusiastic, at last they had managed to score a complete breaktrough wich resulted in the capture of Paris. But Ludendorff had become worried as the offensive had progressed, his main amries were a formidable fighting force but the rest of the front was of considerable less strength and the losses necessary to achieve the breakthrough were irreplaceable. He had managed to penetrate the allied front, to overrun a french, a british army and the US-Divisions, but it was still no Cannae, he simply didn't had the strengh for the final blow against the british nor the french if they decided to continue the fight. Contacts for peace had existed during almost all the war, although no one would have officially admitted this. The french had been hit hard by the loss of their capital et voices started to arise for an honorable peace. Pressured by the french politians Foch turned to the british for support, but british military was extremly anxious about its situation. The british could not afford beeing destroyed in northern France, wich seemed the next logical german offensive to them, and pleaded for evacutation or peace. The french generals, furious of the "betreayal" of their british counterparts but not able to fight the war on their own, therefore didn't bolcked the starting peace negociations. The fighting went on for a couple of more weaks untill both side agreed on an cease-fire in preparation of a peace summit.
The german Reichskanzler managed to silence the more radical voice of germany wich demanded a lot from the allies. Instead he convinced the Kaiser to propose an stabilizing peace offer, no blame was decided for the war on either side and the western front only changed in some minor cases along the german-belgium and french-german border. Austria-Hungaria renounced to territorial claims against Italy and recievied some parts of transylvania in the carpathians. Germany secured it's colonies and the allies accepted the validity of the Brest-Litowsk peace at the east allowing them to reshape the east as they wanted. To secure peace an general disarmement treaty was joined to the peace treaty. The main peace treaty was to be followed in the next years by several minor treaties on issues the world war had created all over the world.
In the east the russian revolution and civil war had been bloody. Without allied support Koltchak's armies were quickly destroyed and Denekin lacked the proper equipment to capitalize on it's early wins. The central powers could not intervene in russia after the peace treaty in the west wich limited the germlan influence to the area of the east it already conquered. Money and supply did though come through the ukraine to the pro-german cossacks of the Don. Finland and the baltic states with german suppot quickly proclamed their independence and with support of the Ottoman Empire the republics of the transcaucasus were given autonomy. Romania wich had been occupied by the central powers was recreated with new borders as a sattelite state. The Ukraine was the weakest of all the new states, central goverment in Kiev was weak and the Donbas region was pro-bolchevists.
In 1920 Denekin's main drive towards the north was broken at Orel and the white armies were pushed back south towards Rostov and Tsarizyn and than further south into the Kuban peninsula. Meanwhile the economical catastrophy of the World War still was haunting the central powers. In germany the demobilized soldiers coudn't find a job and the pension of several million former soldiers strained the already fragile budget. Communist and socialist unrest grew as inflation and unemployment got worse. In Berlin Spartakists had to be repressed by the military on several occasion when local police coudn't handle the unrest any more. In Poland, wich germany had completly annexed tension between the german and polish population grew and soon the german army put several army corps as garnison in poland and western belorussia. In Austria-Hungaria the Emperor had managed to apeace tchezch demands by extending several policies that hungaria already had to the tchezch provinces. But the hunger year of 1918 and the first half of 1919 had stuck in the poples mind and the minorities of the balkan never sleep.
Hindenburg had retired after the demobilization of most of the army and Ludendorff had succeded him as chief of great general staff. His main concern was to properly demobilize the army, making sure it's best elements would be preserved in the peace time army and that the experience of the World War would be correctly transformed into a new moderne army. But the great strain on the budget of the Reich by the bad economical situation didn't allowed to push the modernization of the german army as much as Ludendorff wanted to. He managed to impose the new standart artillerie and the construction of a sizeble panzer force but most of the army was still infantry and depended on horse. The bolchevists were not considered a worthy adversary and the first operational plans the german general staff concieved after the war were against an revengefull France. By 1920 altough the department for the east of the general staff urged the operational staff to work on a plan for defeating bolchevik russia. Sizaeble red armies were now stationed along the ukrainian amry wich could not stop them and the political pressure from the bolcheviks against the weak urainian state was growing. At the end of 1920 the german Reichskanzler sent an ultimatum to the Sovarnkom demanding the immediate retreat of all bolchevik illegaly operating in the ukraine and to stop any subversive action against the authoroty of the ukraine goverment.
Following is the planning of the general staff about a war against the bolcheviks:
[CENTER]This study will explore the possibilites of war against the red army and the bolchevik state. It will be structred as follows:
1. State of the german armies
2. State of the red army
3. Red army planning, war scenarios
4. Diplomatic situation
5. Geograhpical analysis
6. War doctrine
7. Conclusion for a war against the red army
8. Three warplan studies[/CENTER]
1. State of the german armies and it's allies
The german army in peacetime has now about 660 000 men stationed in the east, mainly in poland and belorussia. About a 150 000 men are in reserve on the western frontier of the Reich and can be transferred if necessary to the east. Furthermore germany has military missions in most of the states of eastern europe and an observation corps in the ukraine. The german army has many veteran and elite units from the war and and an excellent overall level of training making it the best amry in the world. With the new disarmament treaty and the shift to new guns the artillerie is still undersized, but a sizeble panzer force has been raized this passed year. German officiers are the best there is and with the experience of the World War is battlehardened.
The k.u.k. Army can only put 300 000 men on the field and needs a longer mobilization time than the german army but can call on 70 000 more men from its reserve. The core of the k.u.k. Army is very solid but large portion of it's 2nd class troops will not perform that good. Finland has a sizable and verfy efficent army of 60 000 men who will do everything to defend their border. The three baltic states have a collective strengh of 73 000 men but are not as quite efficient as the finns. They will however fight any bolchevik intrusion vigoroursly. In the caucasus the three republics have 40 000 men but hate eachother and will not cooperate easely. The ottoman empire has 80 000 men in it's eastern provinces and won't be able to raise more soon because of it's internal struggles. Romania eand the ukraine have both a standing army of 40 000 men and are no match for the red army.
Mobilization will be a difficult question, there is a lot of war veterans and reserve tropps who will provide a excellent quality replacement for loses and new units, but a complete mobilization of german war potential will no doubt be very unpopular and difficult to pass trhough the Reichstag where socialists of the SPD still hold a majority. Altough most of the SPD is opposed to bolchevism, we can't excpect them to support a popular war against bolchevik russia.
2. State of the red army
About the red army the most recent information are summerized by the reports of the Abteilung Fremde Heere:
Russia has still an impressive reserve pool of men the red army can mobilize, even after the loss of the peripherical provinces of the tsarist empire. Most of the rural population is tired of war, but soviet terror and russian pride will drive enough of them into the ranks of the red army. Especially since it is one of the few stable organization in the bolchevik state wich provides a stable source of food and money.
3. Red army planning, war scenarios
Soviet russia is still in an undeclared war against all previous provinces of the tsarist empire wich are now independent, so the main concern is to secure the security of these new states. Finland and the baltic state have defended themselfs well against the bolchevik revolution and with some support can withstand any attack. The transcaucasian league is weak but is well protected by the caucasus mountains and the ottoman Empire will not let the red revolution near it's border and will intervene if Lenine tries something. The weakest state is the ukraine. It's army isn't very strong, the Donbas and the population of the cities support the bolcheviks and the coast of the azov sea is practically not under the control of the ukrainian goverment. Sebastopol, great forteresse and nval base of the black sea is under the control of white russian gorverment wich don't reconize ukrainian independence. More important, the ukraine is an important source of grain and raw materials for both the central powers and the russian. The bolcheviks are still cut from the northern caucasus grain fields and have to count on volga and siberian grain production, while the german economy is still suffering from the allied war blockade.
From a militray point of view the following map shows the more likely lines of advance for anybolchevik invasion of the ukraine.
4. Diplomatic situation
As one can see in the map above, germany has the advantage of having friends, allies and dependend states all around the bolchevik state, except for siberia and the far-est. If attacked all these countries would turn to us for help. In case of war we would also be able to convince most of them to join us, since the danger of bolchevism as a powerfull neighbour is a reality for them. THe Ottoman Empire would probably not engage in any offensive war, but would definitly take action against any involved of red forces in the transcaucasus. Romania will followour lead in every way we wish, their state dependin on our good will. The Don Cossacks will help us as long as we help the m fight for their cause. The Poles will not support us since we now control most of the polish land, but Pidulski's Legion will fight for us to obtain some goodwill. The Baltic states will join us because they depend on us for protection, but won't be to happy about it, as will the finns. They will be glad to get back some land in Karelia and to secure their frontier, but won't support any more aggresive mouvment.
5. Geograhpical analysis
Any war in russia will be about geographie. As seen above, several regions are not suited to large scale warfare, especially the Prypiat marsches and the great north. Any landing in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk won't be able to make good progress south. In the center the marsches dictate the main operation line towards Minsk, in the south the great rivers of the ukraine (Don,Donets, Dniepr, Bug) are formidable obtacles to any fast acting offensive. In the caucasus the mountains limite the scale of the offesnive to the Goss Pass and to the Derbent-Baku line.
6. War doctrine
Our war doctrine is founded on the experience of the World War. The successfull breaktrough tactics showed the importance of the cooperation of all arms, the concentration and mobility of artillerie, the importance of specialized units and the cooperation between them and the ability to keep the link between front and command structure as long as possible. Tanks have demonstrated their ability to give efficient support to infantry and some theorist say that tanks can in the furture play the role of a new mechanized cavalry, th technological progress doesn't allow this yet, that's why tanks willremain as infantry support role only. The east and it's wide space allows the use of cavalry divisions and corps, unlike the western front of 1918. The main weapon of war still is the infantry and it's rifle, but he now has new means to achieve victory, infantry has recieved more heavy weapons, as mortars, machine guns and light guns, wich allows it to be more efficient on it's own. Generally speaking the old though of operationnal offensive but defensive tactics is still valid.
7. Conclusion for a war against the red army
Serveral conlusions appear to us after this study:
- a war against the red army can't be allowed to become another stalemate, the german army could fight it and would most probably win it but the homefront would not be ready to make such sacrifices again only 2 years after the World War. The red army on the other hand has interest in a long and costly fight, since it has a important reservoir of men and has means to create unrest in the german working class. A war must be a quick and decisive one.
- the most probable war scenario includes an conflict in the ukraine, the german army must be prepared to answer such a move quickly
- germany has the unique situation to have almost all the neighbours of the bolchevik state on her side, through smar deiplomatic play a war against the red army could be fought with help of several allies, wich would multiply the numbers of war thaters the red amry would have to fight in
- georgraphically, a breaktrough in the center would depend on the ability of the geran amry to destroy any red forces around Minsk, in the south, the ukraine has many rivers wich are great defensive positions for the bolcheviks, a large offensive could loose it's momentum there, the great north is a bad place for intervention, troops landed in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk would be virtually trapped there bacause an advance south would be easely match by few red troops.
- the war must be offensive on a operational level, if the bolcheviks stat to loose ground they will fall apart. But on a tactical level wisely balanced dfensive/offensive postures will be the key to destroying the red army.
8. Three warplan studies
In the light of these conclusions three warstudies were developped by three of our top thinkers von Hoffman, von Hutier, and Groener.
The Hoffman plan:
The Hoffman plan is based on two phases.
-First a defensive line would be set up along the Dniepr line with a minimal amount of troops. The main german thrust with most of the germa narmies would strike the Southwertern Front north of Kiev, once beaten the german attack would go on north towards Gomel and then Mogilew. A support offensive from brest would keep the red Western Front buy around Minsk while the storm armies of the main push would continue their strike north towards the Orsh-Rudnya region to cut of the bolchevik Western front. Then would follow the destruction of the Western front, together with the initial blow against the southwestern front, the main amries of central russia would be beaten.
-In the second phase the main armies would attack towards Moscau and to the north to destroy the Northern Front. Once the economical heartland of the bolchevisks would be under german control the rest would soon collapse.
The Hutier plan:
The Hutier plan also involves two phases:
-First all available troops would be assembled to strike against the red Western front while what could be spared would defend the Ukrain. The main attack would when swiftly penetrate the red lines destroying with overwhelming force the Western Front, the critical point would be the swift breaktrough from Minsk towards Smolensk/Vitebsk and than northeast towards Moscow along the Kaluga and Vyama rail lines. This strike would effectively cut the red heartland from it's main armies down south.
-Then while red would try to counter attacks towards Moscow the cut in two would be completed by a push further east towards Nizhniy Novgorod, while the mass of the german armies would clean up northern russia destroying the Northern Front and taking Petrograd.
The Groener plan:
The Groener plan is a more long term plan that involes three phases:
-The Groener plan consits in a defensive position in central ukraine facing north while the main german thrust would hit in the Novocherkassk region. The main goal here is to push the Don Front south into Rostov and than the Kuban to cut it of from the rest of red russia. In the meantime this move would cutthe main rail line to the red caucasus and the tropps there. By pushing further east towards Tzaritsyn the secondary rail line south would be cut and the Don and the Caucasus Front cut of from bolchevik russia.
-Then by a combined attack from Novocherkassk/Tzaritsyn and from an expeditionary army in the caucasus the two ennemy fronts would be destroyed.
-In a third time the german main armies would form two lines of advance north, one on the Rostov-Voronezh-Ryazan towards Moscow while the other one would attack towards Tambov-Penza-Azramas to cut the russian heartland from the volga and siberia. The red would have lost the ukrainian, caucasian and siberian grain production areas and would not be able to substain itself without external help. An naval blockade by the German Navy would make that impossible and the bolchevik rule would collapse on it's own.
Next: How will the bolcheviks respond to the german ultimatum ? Wich war plan Ludendorff will choose to use ? What operational planing will resultat from that war plan ?