Winter 1901

Builds

As the great armies settle into winter quarters, mobilization continues unabated.  Recruitment offices across Europe are swamped with volunteers, and soon millions of new troops are traveling by rail to their assembly points.  Shipyards churn out hundreds of cruisers and transport ships for deployment in the spring.

Britain builds fleets in Edinburgh and London.

Britain builds fleets in Edinburgh and London.

France builds armies in Paris and Marseilles.

France builds armies in Paris and Marseilles.

Germany builds an army in Berlin.

Germany builds an army in Berlin.

Russia builds an army in St. Petersburg.

Russia builds an army in St. Petersburg.

Turkey builds an army in Constantinople.

Turkey builds an army in Constantinople.

Austria builds an army in Budapest.

Austria builds an army in Budapest.

Italy builds a fleet in Rome.

Italy builds a fleet in Rome.

Overview

Winter 1901, build overview

Winter 1901, build overview

Spring 1902 disposition

Spring 1902 disposition

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Fall 1901

The Channel Coast

Britain_thumb Germany_Thumb

A hoarse Prime Minister Nathan stands before parliament, clears his throat and begins, “Britain has stood by Belgium since her inception, we have long been her guarantor, her ally, and her friend. But now the exigencies of the European situation have forced my reluctant hand.  For Belgium’s neutrality to be defended, it must be violated, better by a trusted friend than by ancient enemies.  I have thus ordered our forces to the defense of Belgium and her frontiers.”

A long convoy of transports, battlecruisers and supply vessels carry the Home Army from its ports near Edinburgh to the Belgian coast. Once ashore, astonished British troops find their columns led by German scouts and their rations supplemented by German bratwurst.  From the coastal towns of Oostende and Middelkerke the expeditionary force marches southeast to Brussels, where a reluctant King Leopold II offers his country’s formal surrender.  The British Army has returned to the continent.

To the north, Heeresgruppe Bülow crosses the Kiel frontier into Holland, seizing Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam before the end of the summer.    Amsterdam’s great harbor is put to work bringing in German men and matériel.

British troops convoyed to Belgium by the North Sea Fleet, with German troops in support.  Heeresgruppe Bülow seizes Holland.

British troops convoyed to Belgium by the North Sea Fleet, with German troops in support. Heeresgruppe Bülow seizes Holland from Kiel.

The North

Britain_thumb Russia_Thumb Germany_Thumb

British naval forces stationed in the Norwegian Sea steam south and begin landing troops along the Norwegian coast in early August.  The HMS Harald Hadrada is the first ship in; her marines take Trondheim before proceeding overland to Oslo, seizing thousands of pounds of Rakfisk along the way.  300 miles to the east, Stockholm surrenders to a Russian naval bombardment in late September.  To the south, German troops peer anxiously across the Oresund strait as Sweden is overrun by carousing Russian marines.

British naval forces seize Norway while Russia occupies Sweden.  German forces hold in Denmark.

British naval forces seize Norway while Russia occupies Sweden. German forces hold in Denmark.

Along the Baltic coast, Russian troops leave their summer quarters in Warsaw and begin the long march north into Livonia.

Russian troops move north into Livonia.

Russian troops move north into Livonia.

The Alps

France_Thumb Italy_Thumb Austria_Thumb Germany_Thumb

On the early morning of September 1st, German pickets report seeing columns of blue clad infantry moving in the pre-dawn gloom.  By mid-morning, over two hundred thousand Frenchmen cross the German frontier.  With Heeresgruppe Haeseler supporting the British invasion to the north, the German people can only watch as French troops fill the idyllic valleys of Bavaria.  One by one the great Catholic cities of southern Germany fall– First Stuttgart, then Nuremburg, and finally Munich.

On the other side of the Alps, Italian troops abandon their defensive positions around Venice and strike westward, determined to recapture Italian Piedmont from Gallic forces.  They find entrenched French troops waiting for them.  Wave after wave of Italian infantry hopelessly melts away against massed French fire.  The Italian army is forced to limp back to Venice.

In Austria Franz Joseph issues a public proclamation in support of his German speaking brethren and orders the Vienna army west into the mountains of Tyrolia.  From there, Austrian troops are positioned to strike south into Italy or north into Germany.

French forces seize Munich.  Austrian troops move west into Tyrolia.  Italian troops are repulsed in Piedmont.

French forces seize Munich. Austrian troops move west into Tyrolia. Italian troops are repulsed in Piedmont.

The Mediterranean

France_Thumb Italy_Thumb

The Mediterranean is a peaceful contrast to the violent tumult of northern Europe.  A long hot summer stretches into fall without a shot fired in anger.  The French Mid-Atlantic Fleet sails into the port of Cadiz, and from there marines march north to Madrid.  The Spaniards prove to be welcoming hosts; a quarter million Frenchmen are very valuable to a tourist-economy.  The Spanish armament garage in Toledo is immediately put to work making dozens of 8mm MLE rifles for France.

The French Mid-Atlantic Fleet seizes the south coast of Spain.

The French Mid-Atlantic Fleet seizes the south coast of Spain.

To the east, Italian cruisers in the Ionian sea convoy troops west into Tunisia. It was here 2000 years ago that Rome sacked Carthage.  This time, the Italians have an easier go of it; the great port city of Tunis falls under their control by the end of October.

Italian troops cross the Ionian Sea by convoy and seize the port of Tunis.

Italian troops cross the Ionian Sea by convoy and seize the port of Tunis.

The Balkans

Austria_Thumb Turkey_Thumb2

Emperor Franz Joseph is determined to make good on the promises he made in Spring.  Austrian troops cut short their military occupation of Serbia and invade Rumania to the east, seizing Bucharest and the Black Sea port at Constanta.  They quickly entrench and wait for a counterattack that never arrives. Instead, the Turks turn their Bulgarian army south towards Greece, where it collides with the Austrian fleet attacking from Albania.  The two forces fight a series of indecisive actions along the Greek coast at Corinth, Athens and Khalkis.  Eventually they are both forced to withdraw.

Austria abandons Serbia for Rumania.  Turks and Austrians deny each other control of Greece.

Austria abandons Serbia for Rumania. Turks and Austrians deny each other control of Greece.

The East

Turkey_Thumb2 Russia_Thumb

Mid-September: Turkish mountain troops turn north from Armenia and invade the Russian Caucasus.  Gunboats support the infantry’s advance and keep the Russian Black Sea Fleet in port.  The Turks reach the Crimean port city of Kerch by October and begin preparations for the siege of Sevastopol, which is now under heavy naval bombardment.

Just as the siege begins, Russian reinforcements arrive from Ukraine.  Over the next two weeks, roughly a million men contest the crowded Crimean Peninsula.  Eventually the Turkish army is forced back across the Caucasus, but Turkey’s fleet remains in control of the Black Sea.

Turkish troops attack Sevastopol from Army supported by their Black Sea Fleet.  The Russians turn them back with help from Ukraine.

Turkish troops attack Sevastopol from Armenia supported by their Black Sea Fleet. The Russians turn them back with help from Ukraine.

Overview

Full orders, Fall 1901

Full orders, Fall 1901

Winter 1901 Disposition, builds necessary

Winter 1901 Disposition, builds necessary

No retreat orders necessary

It is now Winter 1901.  Troops have retired to winter quarters and there will be no movement until Spring.  Supply centers have changed hands and players will be able to build/disband accordingly.

Supply center changes:

  • Austria: Gained one
  • Britain: Gained two
  • France: Gained two
  • Germany: Gained two, lost one.  Gained one net
  • Italy: Gained one
  • Russia: Gained one
  • Turkey: Gained one

Build orders are due Sunday Feb 17th at Midnight

Spring 1901

Britain

Britain_thumb

In Britain, this is the most welcome spring bloom in recent memory. Not two months removed from the death of Queen Victoria, the national mood is still somber.  Britain’s immense navy resides in port at London and Edinburgh, flags still flying at half-mast.  In Liverpool to the west, the home army breaks winter quarters and begins its muster calls.  With the period of national mourning coming to a close, Britain is a country on the move once more.

With the spring thaw, Prime Minister Nathan’s government orders the fleet out of harbor; within a month British battlecruisers crisscross the North and Norwegian seas, seizing Scandinavian shipping and fishing vessels.  The Norwegians and Danes send letters of protest that are ignored.  In the meantime, the Home Army moves east by rail to cities along the Edinburgh coast.  Is Britain preparing an invasion?

Germany

Germany_Thumb

Germany is the youngest of the Great Powers, a nation proclaimed in the halls of Versailles thirty years earlier by generals still flush with their victory over France. The country is ambitious, and Germany’s Kaiser Brillhelm has the energy to match the ambitions of his young kingdom; lately he has been seen in nearly every European capital, spreading messages of friendship and the gospel of German might.  The young kingdom desires an empire, and Brillhelm is determined to win it.

With great fanfare, The High Seas Fleet leaves it’s harbor in Kiel and steams north along the Jutland coast, then east to Copenhagen.  Soon all of Denmark is under German control.  Christian IX is allowed to stay on as king as long as he accepts the cadre of Prussian advisors that Brillhelm has graciously included with the expeditionary force.  With the fleet gone north to pacify the Danes, the army in Berlin moves west by rail into Kiel.  In the meantime, villagers in the Rhineland report  seeing column after column of grey-clad troops coming down from the mountains of Bavaria.  By mid april, a quarter of a million men occupy the Ruhr Valley.

 
France
France_Thumb
As of late, history has not been kind to France.  Humiliated in the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 and then again by the Dreyfus affair, the country is gripped by a spirit of revanche.  She has traded her Empire for a Republic, but France is determined to recover her former glory.  After a flurry of foreign visitors over the previous week, a bleary-eyed President Nich emerges from the National Palace to give this address,“The President of France, despite what the rest of Europe would like to believe, is no idiot. He understands that much of Western Europe covet their wonderful land with which to grow the best Grapes, and make the greatest wine in the world.”
Giving action to these words, the French military machine roars to life in the next week.  The fleet leaves Brest and steams westward into the mid Atlantic.  Columns of troops trudge east from Paris into the vineyards of Burgundy, further escalating tensions along the border with Germany.  Meanwhile to the south, the French army near Marseilles leaves its winter encampment and strikes boldly eastward through the French alps into Piedmont.
 
Italy
Italy_Thumb
Like Germany, Italy is a young Kingdom.  Long the battleground of foreign powers, Italy is now determined to write her own history.  Her King dreams of a new Roman Empire, but Italy’s neighbors are powerful and she is hemmed in from all sides.  Where will she go?  South, it seems.  The Italian fleet leaves harbor at Naples and steams south into the Ionian Sea.  Likewise the Roman army moves southeast into Apulia.  From here Italy’s forces can strike westward into Tunis or east into Greece and the Balkans.  Resisting the tide of men and material heading south, the troops around Venice busy themselves constructing entrenchments until the fall.
 
Austria
Austria_Thumb
Once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and the most powerful family on earth, Austria’s glory is fading.  Like France, she suffered humiliation by Prussian arms during the last century, and her influence in Central Europe waned.  Determined to renew his empire’s vigor with the turn of the new century, Austria’s aged Emperor gives the following address to his people,“Kaiser Franz Joseph von Mundsberg, Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Bohemia, King of Croatia, King of Galicia, King of Lodomeria, and Grand Duke of Cracow, in accordance with the noble honor of the greater Austrian Peoples, declares that the lower Balkans are the birthright of our mighty civilization. We declare that we shall see these lands under our glorious rule, but with trust accorded the honorable Italian and Russian leaders, we shall not overly defend our Eastern and Western borders.”Overcome with emotion and consumption, the ancient Franz Joseph collapses, and his guards bear him tenderly back to quarters.
The general staff puts his plan in motion; the Austrian Fleet at Trier steams south along the Dalmatian coast, seizing the ancient castles of Albania by sea.  Likewise, the army in Budapest marches south into Serbia, threatening the whole of the Balkan Peninsula.  Austrian troops around Vienna hold their positions and begin constructing defenses.
 
Turkey

Turkey_Thumb2Long derided as “the sick man of Europe”, Turkey hasn’t gotten much respect since it nearly sacked Vienna 200 years ago.  Recent successes against Russia in the Crimea (albeit with the help of Britain and France) have emboldened her government however, and Turks chuckle at the latest jingoistic Austrian pronouncement.Sultan Aaron is not content to defend the Dardanelles. On the heels of Franz Joseph’s speech, Turkish infantry stream west into Bulgaria.  From Smyrna, specialist troops equipped with climbing gear, mules and hand drawn artillery scale the mountains into Armenia, threatening Russia from the south.  The Sultan’s fleet steams north from Ankara into the Black Sea, trading warning shots with Russian forts dotting the Crimean Peninsula.
 
Russia
Russia_Thumb
The coup in Moscow came quickly and was relatively bloodless.  Vladimir Bradonovich now leads the first Communist government in Europe, and names his cousin Ivan to the post of Foreign Minister.  The new government has vowed to leave Russia’s long monarchist history in the past, and plans to pursue a strategy to “Unite all Russians, and indeed, all peoples in the tender embrace of international socialism”.  The Russian populace is cheerfully assured of the royal family’s safety.  “Even now,” boasts Minister Bradonovich, “they are enjoying their spring vacation in the beautiful Ural mountains.”
The long winter finally over, Russia’s enormous network of muddy roads and dirt tracks have once again hardened into something traversable for an army.  The Russian multitudes are on the move.  In the south, an army enters the Ukraine by early April, quickly installing a socialist government in Kiev.  By the end of the month Russian troops entrench themselves along the borders of Galacia and Rumania.  The army in Warsaw and the fleet in Sevastopol stand pat and dig in. Russian troops now occupy a continuous line of defense from Poland to the shores of the Black Sea.  In the north, marines based  in St Petersburg cross the swampland of eastern Finland and seize Helsinki, opening up a new harbor for the Russian North Fleet and threatening nearby Sweden.

 
Overview
Europe stands poised at brink of war.
There are no retreats necessary this turn
Orders for Fall 1901 are due next Thursday at midnight.
The new map
Full orders, Spring 1901

Full orders, Spring 1901

Fall 1901 disposition

Fall 1901 disposition

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