minipol
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Belgian army at start of the war

Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:36 am

The Belgian troop total is nowhere near the historical amount.
The Germans also start inside Belgium which is no good.
No way one can stop the Schlieffen plan with this Belgian Army.

As for troops, I noticed Belgium is invaded by the 2nd Armee under Karl von Bülow at power 3029. There is another force with power 146 under Georg von der Marwitz.
Belgium only has an army led by Albert I of power 226, counting roughly 25.000 men.
If I check my books, the Germans attacked Belgium with a force of about 600.000 men vs 110.000 Belgian troops.
Unless I'm missing something, this isn't so on turn 1.

The forts at Liège where defended by approx. 32.000 troops. In the game I spot general Léman with 12.612 men instead of the 23.000 troops he should have.
All the other troops in the forts and his 23.000 troops should add up to 32.000.
As it is, the Belgian army is short a lot of men compared to the historical numbers, and it's army is already super tiny compared to the Germans
After turn 1, the small army is immediately attacked in Brussels and retreats to Namur to get stuck between 2 armies, pfffff...
As it's now, one should move those troops immediately to avoid that route.

Those are only a couple of examples but total troops should be at least 110.000 as this was a conservative guess not taking in account all men from the mobilization that was going on.
Also on 22 august, the French troops fought already on Belgian soil. As it seems now, I can't get any troops from France to Belgium by that date.
Railroad move is not permitted in the first turn. On the 2nd turn, late aug, I can rail French troops in.
On the 27 of august, British troops landed in Ostend, but I can't see this happening either.
I do have the BEF sitting in Boulogne @ power 549

I do feel as if the Belgian army has less troops then historically, but I could be wrong.

This might help:
- the French rail lines need to open on turn 1. I wasn't able to rail troops in from France the first turn
- the BEF should be unlocked immediately
- the Germans should be stationed outside Belgium on tun 1 instead of inside. ( might be dude to the way turns are handeled but on turn 1, they should not be in Belgium already)
- Belgian troop total needs to be seriously upped to historical levels.

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Jim-NC
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:30 am

The issue with this is how to show what the Germans did historically (there was quite a bit of discussion in beta). If you increase the Belgians, you need to either up the Germans, or give the Belgians some other handicap. As to why Liege is under siege in turn 1, if not, then the Germans must spend the 1st turn moving into the region, and can't get past it (game engine). Again, this was discussed/tested in beta, and this is the best solution we could come up with.
Remember - The beatings will continue until morale improves.
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PhilThib
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:55 am

If you have an accurate OOB for the Belgian army, I would love to see it and see what could be done with it.
Image

minipol
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:37 am

Thanks for the response.
PhilThib I'm not sure what you mean with OOB? A guess, Out Of Book?

@Jim-NC
I understand but even if you increase the Belgian Forces to what they should be, they are still outnumbered about 6-1 AND the Germans had way better guns, artillery and where better trained.
They were only equiped to last in the forts and fight while retreating.
So if the troops numbers of the Belgian army is upped, the stacks are still at lot less powerfull then the German army entering Belgium.
Even if a few forces split of the main German army as in RL, you can't win as Belgium (maybe a battle against a smaller force) against the main German Army but you will be able
to inflict casualties and delay the Germans, that's the whole point.

Increasing the troop numbers and having the Germans already besieging Liège I can live with if the Belgian army has more troops to do a retreat while causing casualties.
You said you would need to give the Belgians an additional handicap if you up the troop numbers.
As I said, their guns and artillery is no where near what the Germans have. If that's not enough, maybe the cohesion of the starting troops could be set lower so they retreat faster?
Same with morale?
By the time they ended up behind the Yser, they were exchausted and had low morale.

Now it's very hard to even do something with the Belgian army.
In the 2nd turn, I tried to build Belgian units. Well, I couldn't. They can't be build, not the Belgian Militia divisions nor the infantry divisions.
The 3rd turn, I can build the Militia division again in Bruges and Charleroi, still can't build the Belgian infantry division.
Why is that?
Since the army retreated to Dixmude behind the Yser, and stayed there for the remainder of the war, you should always be able to build troops there, infantry and militia.
As it stand now, it doesn't look like I will be able to build them in Dixmude (and Ypres), which should really be possible for the Belgian Army.

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Ebbingford
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:40 am

OOB=Order of battle :)
"Umbrellas will not be opened in the presence of the enemy." Duke of Wellington before the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

"Top hats will not be worn in the Eighth Army" Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein K.G.


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minipol
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:43 am

Haha ok :)
Meaning a detailed list of what troops where engaged at a certain location

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caranorn
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:05 pm

minipol wrote:Haha ok :)
Meaning a detailed list of what troops where engaged at a certain location


And how they were organised.

I think one problem we have with the Belgian Army is that we have a good idea of it's peacetime structure. We also know how it was supposed to mobilise. But we don't really know much about how it ended up mobilising under the German attack. Iirc the Belgian Army at the time of the Yser had a lot more manpower than it was able to organise (raw recruits and reservists) so one of the first things to happen was the formation of training units in France, well behind the lines. But It's been a while since I last read up on WWI Army organisations (well I started again yesterday as I cannot recognise the British and Empire forces in the game (some due to abstraction, some due to bad naming).

If I enjoy the game I will probably start looking into various orders of battle. First Britain and the Empire which is my usual favorite. Later probably Belgium, France, the US and a few others. But I'm not sure all could be incorporated as I'm not a friend of the "brigade" abstraction adopted for EAW (infantry elements being German style brigades when the regiment (yes, almost twice as many elements needed) and british brigade would be more appropriate (also because division structure massively changed through the war (essentially retaining firepower but lowering manpower at the cost of war supply))...
Marc aka Caran...

minipol
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:38 pm

It's indeed valid point you make. Thing is history professors have gone over this and how done the hard work for us.
The info they provide is more accurate then we will probably find out.
One of the sources is based on the work of these individuals.
The danger in dealing with this kind of info is that sometimes people quote or use a source without having verified if the info is correct.
It's not always easy to verify information, and for that matter, it's not because it's printed in a book that the information provided is valid.
Anyway, I will try and gather more info and crosscheck the info with several sources.

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Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:55 pm

We have to remember that this is a game and proper troop amounts can probably never be represented.

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James D Burns
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:02 pm

PhilThib wrote:If you have an accurate OOB for the Belgian army, I would love to see it and see what could be done with it.


OOB site: http://marksrussianmilitaryhistory.info/BELG14.html#DIVISIONS

Jim

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Florent
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Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:02 pm

" No way one can stop the Schlieffen plan with this Belgian Army."

To avoid too much change of balance, i would ask fo a change in Entrenching Level at start.
Level 0 in August for the Western Entente. => the French Doctrine used Movement instead of trying to take cover in entrenching, the British before Ypres are shown lying on the ground or whatever cover but were not technically entrenched, and the same for the Belgians soldiers ofter taken in photos lying on the ground or roads and easy targets for Shrapnels.

All of this changed in September after somes hard lessons taken.

The Russians benefited from their experience in the Russo-Japanese War and entrenched systematically and the Serbians learned from the russians how to have perfect concealed positions.

The germans studied the russo-Japanese war but were better to take the lessons compared to Westerners.

I have read that everybody starts at Level 1 Trench/defensive position => put the Western Entente at 0 during 2 turns.

The french doctrine was read in " Le sang de la Marne " published by Historica/Heimdal where there is plenty of photos of british soldiers lying on the ground where they could take some cover...but not entrenched as the Russo/Serbians or Germans.

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caranorn
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Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:19 pm

I read up a bit more on the various phases of the Belgian Campaign and must now fully agree that the current Belgian Army is too weak and positionned incorrectly.

This is not an issue of numbers, this is a matter of fighting stength and staying power.

To reflect the original breakthrough 3rd Infantry Division should probably start slightly depleted (lower strength and mostly lower cohesion) at Hasselt (they were ordered to retreat from Antwerp on August 6, leaving it's commander General Leman in the fortress with the garrison). The division was in no way destroyed as it stayed in the front line on the Gete/Gette line, was also active later at Antwerp.

So in Liège the garrison would be 14th Independant Infantry Brigade, the Fortress Artillery and I guess a militia/reserve unit, all under General Leman (the garrison as is now works).

The 4th Infantry Division should be in the open at Namur.

Namur fortress should be roughly the same as Liège, that is one regular Brigade (15th Independant Infantry Brigade), fortress artillery (yes they were silenced by the German super heavies, but that should only work if those guns are moved to Namur) and militia/reserves.

The 1st Infantry Division at either Louvain or less realistically Namur with the 4th (other countries have their units starting in positions they moved to in the first few days, so should the Belgians).

The 2nd Infantry Division at Louvain.

The 5th Infantry Division at Bruxelles.

The 6th Infantry Division at Bruxelles.

The Cavalry Division at Bruxelles (whichever else units might be locked, these have to be mobile)

Antwerp should have slightly stronger militia/reserve forces (but no regular brigade), fortress guns and coastal guns.

The French Cavalry Corps should be close enough to Belgium to be able to move into the Dinant or Ardennes Region in the first turn.

Note, General de Dixmude should not be in the Congo, either with the Belgian Generals on the Diplomatic screen, or added to the largest Belgian stack in 1915 (he was colonel of the 12th Infantry Regiment in 1914).

Grouped together that would be:

At Liège; General Leman, 14th Infantry Brigade, Liège garrison, Liège fortress artillery all locked.

At Hasselt; 3rd Infantry Division (lets say 80% strength and 60% cohesion), unlocked.

At Namur; 4th Infantry Division (in the open, probably locked 1 turn). 15th Infantry Brigade, Namur garrison, Namur fortress artillery all locked.

At Louvain; the 1st and 2nd Infantry Divisions (maybe with a generic General to be able to March to the Sound of the Guns) (probably locked 1 turn). Also the Cavalry Division with General Witte (not locked).

At Bruxelles; Albert II with the 5th and 6th Infantry Divisions.

At Antwerp; General Deguise, one or two Antwerp garrison units, Antwerp fortress guns, Antwerp coastal guns, and supplies.

In theory a Belgian Infantry Division in 1914 was about 22000 men strong (three brigades of two regiments of 3 battalions each), even assuming that organisation was not achieved (the second regiment of each brigade was war formed) that's still at least 3 EAW style infantry brigades plus 1 artillery unit (that's counting without the 14th and 15th separate infantry briagdes which are sometimes shown as organic to the 3rd and 4th divisions). The Belgian Cavalry division is given widely varrying organisation and strength in the few sources I've located so far, but is probably justified as a 2 EAW style brigade unit (note, so far I've found no justification to give any WWI country's cavalry divisions artillery (varrying from 8 to 18 guns for countries I've researched so far), though one unit per corps could be considered reasonable). In any case, that would make for 18 Belgian Infantry and 2 Cavalry (note flavour men and horse numbers for cavalry should be changed for all natons as the current one is an obvious carry over from another game) EAW style Elements as well as 6 Field Artillery and probably 1 or 2 Heavy/Medium Artillery (like cavalry flavour number of men and horses is obviously way off), units for the potential mobile forces. That would make for roughly ~108000 infantry, ~3000 cavalry and maybe ~12000 artillery, train and other specialist which comes out pretty close to the number generally given for the mobile forces.

Note, Liège historically fell at the start of turn 2 (August 16). Namur late during turn 2 (August 25). Antwerp only late turn 5 (October 10). Note concerning Antwerp, this probably would require a map correction to work realistically, namely extend the region of Ghent to border with Antwerp (cut away part of Terneuzen, Dutch Flanders is now much too important and cuts off the land road used by the Belgians and British on their retreat from Antwerp to the Yser.

The BEF should stay unchanged. If one were to unlock it it would have to be reduced to just the I Corps with some cavalry as only 2 of it's Divisions were ashore during turn 1...

German forces can probably start the game in the places they are at now, that is most of 1st and 2nd Armies at Liège and the Cavalry at Louvain. If this force is unable even to do its historic advance then it needs fixing not weaken the Belgians who were sucessfully counterattacking in the Antwerp area as late as October (with just 5 of their Infantry Divisions as 4th was still on the way back after its retreat through France, plus one British Brigade (RM of the Naval Division). The Belgians mostly starting locked and without an active corps structure (but enough generals to adopt one in turn 2) should make it tough enough to do anything but delay the assault a turn or two.
Marc aka Caran...

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LoupVert
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Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:12 pm

Hello community,

first time here and EAW is my first AGEOD's game, I must admit that both are appealing!





Looks like a great source you do have there Jim, among the the most researched page online on the topic. It may be souped-up by names of commanding officers though, which are:



ORGANISATION DE L'ARMÉE BELGE 1914-1918


Commandant en Chef : S.M. le Roi Albert I

Chef d'État-Major Général de l'Armée

Lt.-Gén. Chevalier de SELLIERS de MORANVILLE jusqu'à 06.09. 1914
Lt.-Gén. WIELEMANS de 06.09.1914 jusqu'à 05.01.1917
Lt.-Gén. Baron RUCQUOY de 06.01.1917 jusqu'à 10.04.1918
Lt.-Gén. GILLAIN de 11.04.1918 jusqu'à 23.02.1920
Sous-Chef:
Lt.-Gén. MAGLINSE
Lt.-Gén. Baron de RYCKEL


Commandants de la 1er Division d'Armée

Lt.-Gén. BAIX jusqu'à 05.01.1915
Lt.-Gén. BERNHEIM de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 04.10.1919


Commandants de la 2ième Division d'Armée

Lt.-Gén. Baron DOSSIN de SAINT-GEORGES jusqu'à 05.01.1915
Lt.-Gén. Baron DRUBBEL de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 04.10.1919


Commandants de la 3ième Division d'Armée

Lt.-Gén. Comte LEMAN jusqu'à 15.08.1914
Lt.-Gén. BERTRAND de 24.08.1914 jusqu'à 05.01.1915
Lt.-Gén. JACQUET de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 21.01.1917
Lt.-Gén. Baron JACQUES de DIXMUDE de 05.02.1917 jusqu'à 04.10.1919


Commandant de la 4ième Division d'Armée

Lt.-Gén. Baron MICHEL du FAING d'AIGREMONT


Commandants de la 5ième Division d'Armée

Lt.-Gén. RUWET jusqu'à 05.09.1914
Lt.-Gén. GUIETTE de 05.09.1914 jusqu'à 20.10.1914
Lt.-Gén. SCHEERE de 20.10.1914 jusqu'à 05.01.1915
Lt.-Gén. LECHAT de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 11.06.1915
Lt.-Gén. Baron RUCQUOY de 11.06.1915 jusqu'à 06.01.1917
Lt.-Gén. GILLAIN de 06.01.1917 jusqu'à 11.04.1918
Lt.-Gén. Baron RUCQUOY de 11.04.1918 jusqu'à 04.10.1919


Commandants de la 6ième Division d'Armée

Lt.-Gén. LANTONNOIS van RODE jusqu'à 05.01.1915
Lt.-Gén. Baron de CEUNINCK de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 04.08.1917
Lt.-Gén. BIEBUYCK de 04.08.1917 jusqu'à 15.12.1919


Cavalerie

Lt.-Gén. Baron de WITTE de HAELEN, commandant de la 1er Division de Cavalerie jusqu'à 05.01.1915, Inspecteur-Général de la Cavalerie de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 12.08.1915, commandant du Corps de Cavalerie de 12.08.1915 jusqu'à 15.09.1915, commandant de la 2ième Division de 15.08.1915 jusqu'à 31.01.1918
Lt.-Gén. PROOST, Commandant. de la 1er Division de 05.01.1915 jusqu'à 31.08.1918
Lt.-Gén. de MONGÉ, Commandant de la 2ième de 12.10.1914 jusqu'à 15.09.1915
Lt.-Gén. Vicomte BUFFIN de CHOSAL, Commandant de la 1er Division de 15.09.1915 jusqu'à 31.01.1918
Lt.-Gén. DE BLAUWE, Commandant de la 1er Division de 31.08.1918 jusqu'à 12.10.1918
Lt.-Gén. LEMERCIER, Commandant de la 1er Division de 12.10.1918 jusqu'à 26.04.1919


Commandants de la Force Publique

Lt.-Gén. Baron TOMBEUR de TABORA de 23.02.1915 jusqu'à 19.09.1916
Colonel Chevalier HUGHÉ de MAHENGE jusqu'à 09.10.1917

http://www.ars-moriendi.be/LA_PREMIERE_GUERRE_MONDIALE.HTM
Please note that their necrology often come with a picture which *could* be used ingame (unsure on copyrights though).


Here are other interesting pages giving an short overview on structures' evolution during the war:
http://www.be14-18.be/en/defence/keymoment/infantry
http://www.be14-18.be/en/defence/engineers


Quoting Jim's source, "By a reorganization of 16 December 1913, divisions were to be composed of three or four brigades of infantry with artillery. Each brigade had an active regiment which in wartime would double its companies to provide a second regiment. In peacetime, these second regiments were represented only by reserve cadres."

In othere words "(...) dans chaque brigade un des deux régiments d'infanterie a été constitué à la mobilisation et est pauvre en cadres comme en matériel."
http://www.clham.org/050372.htm

As for how mobilization went, here's is an interesting article: www clham org/050295 htm "1914, la mobilisation générale en Belgique et la déclaration de guerre (Adjudant Chef J. THONUS)" (in French as you may have guessed).


And as for the Belgian deployment, here's a rough map:
L’armée belge en position de paix renforcée (31 juillet 1914)
Image
Fullsize: http://11rdp.fr/rdp/1914_0210B1.jpg
Source: connaitrelawallonie.wallonie.be/fr/histoire/atlas/larmee-belge-en-position-de-paix-renforcee-31-juillet-1914



PS: On French army, you guys probably know that awesome source:
http://www.fortiffsere.fr/index_fichiers/Page5073.htm


In a couple of weeks, the Army Royal Museum's Documentation Center will be open again and I should then be able to double check things more thoroughly.


Hope it helps!

[S]EDIT: sorry for the borked urls, have to wait until my 5th post you know. :o [/S]

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Jim-NC
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Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:28 pm

Welcome to the forums LoupVert. :wavey:
Remember - The beatings will continue until morale improves.

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caranorn
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Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:42 am

Just one note LoupVert, that map you posted gives the peacetime positions of the Belgian Divisions. As the Germans stat the August turn already besieging Liège I think the Belgians shuld likewise be in the positions they arrived at after the roughly the first week of campaigning. Otherwise 3rd division will be smashed to pieces at Liège and the other formations might very well end up destroyed too without even delaying the germans...

Nice addition of general names etc.
Marc aka Caran...

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LoupVert
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Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:11 am

Just read up your #12 post Caranorn and it sounds all clever. I'm about to get a commemorative map by the IGN (1914-1918 THE GREAT WAR
from LIEGE to the YSER and the SOMME
), probably this coming week, and will be able to get more details in a couple of weeks, thus will confirm your proposal or suggest otherwise.

You wrote that you "read up a bit more on the various phases of the Belgian Campaign", could you please name the sources you got through so I can focus myself somewhere else?

Schéinen dag nach!

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James D Burns
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Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:41 pm

LoupVert wrote:Looks like a great source you do have there Jim, among the the most researched page online on the topic. It may be souped-up by names of commanding officers though, which are:


Thanks, but I can't claim credit. Mark's home page is full of great little bits of information (though not well organized) and some nice photo's too. Definitely worth spending an evening digging through it and reading his stuff if you are interested in what he has posted there.

On topic with the game, he also has some pretty detailed 1914 OOB's for several other powers in game linked near the bottom of his page.

Jim

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caranorn
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Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:38 pm

LoupVert wrote:Just read up your #12 post Caranorn and it sounds all clever. I'm about to get a commemorative map by the IGN (1914-1918 THE GREAT WAR
from LIEGE to the YSER and the SOMME
), probably this coming week, and will be able to get more details in a couple of weeks, thus will confirm your proposal or suggest otherwise.

You wrote that you "read up a bit more on the various phases of the Belgian Campaign", could you please name the sources you got through so I can focus myself somewhere else?

Schéinen dag nach!


Not much, mostly internet sources and I didn't keep all links.

Here is one that gives a good account (little detail) of the campaign http://www.belgianarmy.freeservers.com/home.htm ...

A Merci gesoot :-)

P.S.: Can't hide my curiosity, do you actually speak Luxembourgian?
Marc aka Caran...

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LoupVert
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Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:05 pm

Nah Caranorn, however, I do speak Googlian ;)

Thanks for the link.

Jim, thanks for the heads up, I didn't get much further than the page you linked and I would have then missed all the amazing pictures he made available online, quite a time-machine!

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Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:09 pm

Nice work to get a more realistic view on troops.
However, one has to be careful when using internet sources.
That's why I used the number of the Belgian troops from sources of one of Belgium's leading war historians Luc Devos.
Having said that, I really hope they up the troops to historical levels, and maybe use other game mechanics like moral or cohesion to have them
fight a retreating war.
I have order his book (he wrote with 3 scientists). It's 588 pages, containing 60 maps, and 400 pictures.
When it arrives, I will hopefully be able to verify what has been posted in this topic.

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Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:36 pm

LoupVert wrote:and I would have then missed all the amazing pictures he made available online, quite a time-machine!


Yeah some really great stuff in there, this shot is one of my favorites:

http://marksrussianmilitaryhistory.info/USPhotos/MaybeVANGparade.html

It’s remarkably clear for the year it was taken and there is so much going on in the shot. He isn’t sure if these are regular military or cadets, my vote falls on cadets. Several of them are talking in the ranks and they lack the military bearing of the captain leading them. That and the fact the two gentlemen in front of the captain appear far too old for military service, so they are probably the heads of the school the cadets come from.

I also think they may be carrying muskets of some kind. I don’t see a bolt action on their rifles and if you look at the tip of the barrel of the young man off the left shoulder of the corporal behind the captain, it looks like there is a ramrod showing (in the zoomed in shot), but the image is blurry and my old eyes can’t be sure.

I’m also wondering about the fact the colors are not leading the formation. I would think if this were regular military, the color guard would be out front.

I also think there may be some sailors near the corner drug store, going by the hats they are wearing. But across the street the hats look more like a graduation cap, so I’m not sure.

Can anyone make out what the sign says? Try a dose of our…? I can’t make out what they are selling, so needless to say it bugs me no end. Lol

Jim

minipol
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Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:02 pm

The sign seems to say: "Try a dose at our fos..."

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Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:34 pm

minipol wrote:(...)
I have order his book (he wrote with 3 scientists). It's 588 pages, containing 60 maps, and 400 pictures.
When it arrives, I will hopefully be able to verify what has been posted in this topic.


Minipol, is it "14-18: Oorlog in België" that you gonna get? If so, would you know if there's a frenchspeaking version around?


Jim, I have absolutely no clue on what troops there are. The rifle could be a Springfield Model 1892-99 as far as I can tell. The sign you noticed is about some headache treatment, how relevant! ;)

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The Belgian army, 1917 - 1918

Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:58 am


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caranorn
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Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:24 am



Nice one! Had noticed a dead link at various sites talking about the Belgian Army in WWI but forgot to check whether it might have been archived :-D ...

Edit: The 1918 link for the first time shows what I suspected. Those Belgian Divisions were intended as corps rather than divisions in the french/german style. But I'd prefer at least another source to verify that...
Marc aka Caran...

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caranorn
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Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:53 am

On the 1914 page there is also an interesting transcript concerning the theoretical organisation of the peace time army (in Dutch, I can skim over it and understand the important material (which goes a long way to prove that Dutch and Luxembourgish are Frankonian Languages ;-) )...

https://web.archive.org/web/20130507151848/http://users.skynet.be/fonck/barmy1.html
Marc aka Caran...

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Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:31 am

See, if you add up all the troops in the German Army you get about 50% of the total German Strength on Mobilisation.
Pre-war divisions in Germany were 15000 Combat troops not 12000- as Reserve Troops, Landwehr etc were mobilised.

Similarly, i am sure Russia and Austria have those issues.

So if you buff BELGIUM, the whole balance will go away. In real- Schlieffen (the whole Schlieffen plan itself as per modern documents is said to be a myth as there was very little forces or detailed plans to implement it) was not delayed due to Belgium but by LOGISTICS, the army could not send enough men and material at the same time to the front in time and hence; at MARNE they collapsed. The roads and railways were just enough for Fodder + Food + Ammo or for new troops.
Also substantial troops were withdrawn for- Masking Fortresses like Antwerp, Maubenge etc and for sending to the Eastern Front.
Already, in game- Reaching LILEE is like reaching PARIS!!. As the pace of advance is too slow!!. You can never reach the Marne even in September first turn.

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LoupVert
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Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:42 am

Available for download : The report from the Ministry of War regarding the army budget for the year 1914, with a detailed description of the army in peace time strength and the answers given to several parliamentary questions. Presented to the Belgian parliament on March 10, 1914. (Zipped Word 7.0 document, 36Kb.)
https://web.archive.org/web/20130507151848/http://users.skynet.be/fonck/downl/report.zip

Sorry, only available in Flemish.


You are right Caranon! I didn't bother to download it because it's in Flemish (yeah, I know, shame on me) but did it now and it's amazingly detailed! If we ever have to locate each elements precisely just before the war, that will be priceless.


Shri wrote:See, if you add up all the troops in the German Army you get about 50% of the total German Strength on Mobilisation.
Pre-war divisions in Germany were 15000 Combat troops not 12000- as Reserve Troops, Landwehr etc were mobilised.

Similarly, i am sure Russia and Austria have those issues.

So if you buff BELGIUM, the whole balance will go away. In real- Schlieffen (the whole Schlieffen plan itself as per modern documents is said to be a myth as there was very little forces or detailed plans to implement it) was not delayed due to Belgium but by LOGISTICS, the army could not send enough men and material at the same time to the front in time and hence; at MARNE they collapsed. The roads and railways were just enough for Fodder + Food + Ammo or for new troops.
Also substantial troops were withdrawn for- Masking Fortresses like Antwerp, Maubenge etc and for sending to the Eastern Front.
Already, in game- Reaching LILEE is like reaching PARIS!!. As the pace of advance is too slow!!. You can never reach the Marne even in September first turn.


Shri, I'm not sure that this topic is about breaking balance, in my understanding it's simply about adding more granularity to the Belgian army we do have ingame so it is a better representation of 1914.

Your ratio is interesting though, do you know if that figure pertain for all armies?

minipol
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Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:19 pm

LoupVert wrote:Minipol, is it "14-18: Oorlog in België" that you gonna get? If so, would you know if there's a frenchspeaking version around?


Yup that's the book I ordered. I have other WWI books lying around, but this seemed like a book I hope contains more and verified info on the Belgian army in 1914.
Not sure if there's a French version around.


Shri wrote: In real- Schlieffen (the whole Schlieffen plan itself as per modern documents is said to be a myth as there was very little forces or detailed plans to implement it) was not delayed due to Belgium but by LOGISTICS, the army could not send enough men and material at the same time to the front in time and hence; at MARNE they collapsed.


Altough there might have been a factor of logistics, it was however the Belgian army who disrupted and delayed the advance.
The roads and railroads allowed faster transportation of troops faster than they eventually did.
It's hard to believe the Germans wouldn't be able to transport 500.000 troops in several months after they had been preparing this kind of move for a long time.
If they had no resistance, it wouldn't have taken more than a couple of weeks to transport everything to the borders of France.
Not all troops were so slows. If Belgium's beaten troops marched to the Yser in a couple of weeks, fresh German troops definitely could.

It's a combination of being held up because of enemie troops, and having your transportation stop because of the fighting.
To generalize like you do and saying it's a purely by logistics, is really an insult for the soldiers who died delaying the German attack.
Belgium was the 5th most powerfull economy at that time. It would be very surprising to find the roads and railroads trailing behind those of other countries.
You make it sound as if the Germans would have had the same problems with or without the 110.000 Belgian troops and 90.000 + fortress troops.

If checked one of my online resources to make sure (http://www.historyworld.net/)

Nevertheless by September 3, a month after their invasion and well within their schedule, German armies cross the river Marne. To safeguard against the likely fall of Paris, the French government moves south to Bordeaux.
The Germans are within 30 miles of the capital when a mainly French force finally halts and then rolls back their relentless advance. During four days of fighting (Sept. 5-8, the battle of the Marne) the German army is pushed north of the river.


This means, they were delayed by the Belgians, could swing down towards the Marne in time (by taking fort Liège and Namur). and were stopped by French troops that had time to prepare due to the delaying actions of the Belgian Army.
Meanwhile fighting was still going on with the Belgians and the British (BEF) in the north of Belgium which resulted in the English holding on to Ypres, and the Belgians holding the land behind the Yser.

minipol
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Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:42 pm

My copy of "14-18 Oorlog in België" by authors Luc De Vos, Tom Simoens, Dave Warnier and Franky Bostyn came today.
The main author Luc De Vos is a well respected professor and former officer in the Belgian Army.
I tried to summarise the parts that dealt with the start of the war, to get a better view on the number of troops and how they were organised.
Here goes:

On the 29th of july 1914, the mobilisation was split into 2 phases.
Conscripts from 1910, 1911, and 1912 were called up.
2 days later on the 31st of july, a full scale mobilisation was issued.
All conscripts from class 1901 to 1909 were called upon.
4 days later, they added classes 1899 to 1900.
This way, the forces were increases from 65.000 to about 190.000 (field army and fort defence)
14.000 of those were professional soldiers. About 40.000 draftees of those earlier classes didn't show up.
Note: this doesn't mean there were 190.000 - 40.000 troops avaible. It means that if they all showed up,
the total forces would be 190.000 + 40.000.
In the next weeks, some 18.000 volunteers joined the army. In September, another 18.000 men
joined, although this was an incomplete draft.

The field army had 117.000 men by the beginning of august.
The army consisted of 85.000 infantry troops.
The most important units were the 6 army divisions and the cavalry division.
These 6 divisions number 113.000 men, the cavalry division had 4.000 men.
The German and French cavalry both had approximately 17.000 men.

1ste Army division: 17.800 (HQ Ghent)
2nd Army division: 17.400 (HQ Antwerp)
3rd Army division: 24.000 (HQ Liège)
4rd Army division: 22.000 (HQ Namur)
5th Army division: 16.800 (HQ Mons)
6th Army division: 15.500 (HQ Bruxelles)

An army division consisted of:
- 3 or 4 mixed brigades
Each brigade:
- 2 infantry regiments
- 1 artillery unit 12 guns of 7,5 cm)
- engineers corps
- divisional troops:
- 1 cavalry regiment of 500
- artillery 12 or 24 7,5 cm guns
- engineer corps
- service corps

This meant only 3 pieces of artillery per infantry battalion.
Plans were there to add 2 groips of light howitsers to each Army division.
The Belgian 75 mm guns were made by Krupp.
At the end of august, Belgium bought 12 howitsers from France orginally destined for Romania.

The army had 120 machine guns at the start of the war.
6 Maxims for each of the mixed brigades of about 5.000 men.
Mid august each mixed brigade received an additional 6 Hotchkiss machine guns.
The infantry soldier was equipped with a Mauser model 1889.

Further, the army had 37.600 horses, 2600 trucks and 1.500 cars.
Belgium had 30 planes, half of them were operational at the start of the war.
34 pilots and observers were available.

The civil guard had 46.000 troops and the gendarmes (patrolmen) 3.500 men.

The main forts were defended by 65.000 men.
Most forts fell not because they were destroyed but through other reasons:
- toxic fumes in the forts because of own and enemy guns
- hygiene
- lack of officers
- skill of the commanding officers
- ammo

5 officers made a defensive plan:
- general August De Ceunick
- colonel de Ryckel
- general de Selliers de Moranville
- major Henri Maglinse
- captain-commander Galet
However, they were to late to really execute the plan or any variations on it.
They were forced to put the field army in a central place, a days march fro the river Maas (Meuse),
between the rivers Gete and Dijle.
They also chose this location to not provoke the Germans army before the initial attack.
Eventually, the 3rd and 4th army divisions were sent to Liège and Namur.
The cavalry division was located between Gete and Maas as a advant-garde for the main army
when the fortes of Liège fell. What happened next confirmed this was actually the best possible
defence given the circumstances.
If the main army was situated more closely to the invading troops, chances are they would have been
wiped out by the German professional troops. If they were withdrawn behind the outer forts of Antwerp,
the Germans would have been able to march without delay, aiding them towards achieving the Von Schliefen plan.

Conclusion of the start of the war:
The Belgian army was ill prepared. The weapons were inadequate, the tactics were rather basic.
The troops hadn't had time to practice the movements. The staff were ill trained.
The high morale at the first weeks of the war could partially alleviate these problems.

----

This means we really should increase the troops in the game to historical levels.
To represent the fast deteriorating conditions in the forts, the troops there should retreat faster.
That way, the Germans should be able to advance quickly with increasing stiffer resistance when going further west.
The Belgians got better equipment and were organised better during the first months of the war,
making it more difficult for the Germans to roll over the defensive works.

Hope this helps to get a more realistic Belgian army in the game.

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