Tuesday, September 22, 2020

First Blacklands War - Escalation

Situation at the end of the first week.  The three western
Turcowaz Armies have been effectively cut off
from their capital...


Further Strategic moves.
For the opening action, refer to 'First Blacklands War' label.

The Declarations of war came quickly after the Black Mountains Principality had set the ball in motion. The exodus of ambassadors from the Turcowaz capital increased the traffic along the main highways west for several days.  

The Armies were already in motion.  First Turcowaz Army had driven the Black Mountaineers back to their home country, and Second Army was ready to meet the Bejelans, whenever and wherever they crossed the border (see previous posting).

Eyes set upon the capture of Salonika and its inclusion into the Hellenican realm, Crown Prince Constantine was hastening up quickly though Thessaly with his army from Athens. But Fourth Army, under the best general Turcowaz had, Halepi Zeki Pasha, was just ahead of him, entering Middle Macedonia before the Hellenes could arrive.  

The Chervenian II and III Armies marched south. Rather than try conclusions at once against the strong, and well led Third Turcowaz Army (Abdullah Pasha was classed as 'average'), II Army entered West Thrace. Not far behind, poised in Chervenian territory upon the Turcowaz border, came the smaller III Army.  Meanwhile, some doubt remained as to where I Army, of but middle size, should march - Rhodope or North Macedonia? Events to the west determined the decision by Chervenian High Command. I Army should force march from Sofia, across South Chervenia, into North Macedonia.

Whether the forced march would succeed was determined by a die roll. General Kutinchev being rated 'good', the force march would succeed on a 3-6 score on a D6 roll. The roll was a '6' - I Army overcame vagaries of weather, mountainous terrain and difficult roads to arrive in North Macedonia within the week.

The incursion of the Chervenians placed the western Turcowaz armies in something of a dilemma. Only Second Army was in a position to do anything to amend the situation - to find and bring Bejela's IInd Army to battle and free itself to move on the Chervenians in North Macedonia the following week. Such a decision proved to be beyond the capacity of Ali Riza Pasha.  Requiring a 5-6 to effect the move ('poor' commander), he failed to rise to the occasion, rolling a mere '3'.    

For all their two victories, the Turkowaz Empire in Europeia was already looking to be gravely compromised. Still and all, First and Second Armies remained powerful after their battles, and Fourth Army was well led.  The situation was by no means desperate. 

Not yet...


  1. Archduke Piccolo,

    If I were the commander of the Turcowaz IIIrd Army, I’d be digging in as quickly as I can and hoping that the Government starts mobilising volunteers to help in the defence of Ionople. By blunting any enemy attack, they could buy time for IVth Army to move up behind the attackers and act as the ‘hammer‘ that smashes the enemy against the IIIrd Army ‘anvil’.

    My two penny worth!

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob -
      What you suggest makes a whole deal of strategic (and political) sense, no doubt something along the lines of:
      The Sultan orders that the army PREPARE for a siege of Ionople
      and RECRUIT volunteers for the garrison.
      This is likely to succeed because of the People's
      LOVE of the Sultan (or their home city).
      FEAR of the enemy
      and MOTIVATED by the desire to 'do one's bit.'

      Or maybe
      PREPARE for defences of Ionople
      a SMALL FORMATION (a 24SP army, say)
      by RECRUITING volunteers
      for LOVE of Sultan and Country
      and FEAR for the city's fall.

      You might actually have found for me a possible use in the context of this or similar campaigns for those Matrix cards, for instance if, from the pack I drew the RECRUIT/DESERT card, or, drawing several, that card was included. Something to think about anyhow. I don't know that I could use it as designed though with a five-card 'argument' (I'd fetch up arguing with myself).

      On the other hand, I have used the forced march idea, and the First Army might be compelled to do the same, stuck out on a limb in Kosovo at the moment.

      But this time around, I'll keep it simple. If III Army is defeated in the field in East Thrace, and the likelihood is that it will have two battles to fight, back to Ionople it will probably go.

      There is another possibility that occurs to me, though I think it would make the Allied task too difficult. That is to give every marked city a permanent garrison, 16SP for provincial or prominent cities (Commandant, 2 infantry, 1 gun); 24SP for capitals; 32SP for Ionople (big place, Ionople). These may NEVER be recruited into the field armies, but they do present some kind of obstacle simply to moving in to undefended places.

      I'd value your thoughts on these ideas - and anyone else's who happens to read this!

      And I still haven't fully decided what to do with the navies!

      Archduke Piccolo.

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    I don’t think that anyone has ever used the Matrix Cards in a solo context before ... but what you suggest make a lot of senseM and would be an interesting way to reduce a solo player’s unconscious bias when deciding what one side or another might do. It’s certainly something worth considering.

    Regarding garrisons/local militia assets, I have been thinking about this for my Operation Barbarossa mini-campaign, and my initial thoughts were to give small towns 1D6 of SPs, larger towns 2D6 of SPs, small cities 4D6 of SPs, and large cities 8D6 of SPs. This would give them an average of 3 SPs, 7 SPs, 14 SPs, and 28 SPs respectively. The end result is not that far from what you propose, but with a random element to the actual number of SPs each location would be able to raise.

    All the best,


    1. Hi Bob -
      I thought of very small garrisons, mainly as a 'force in being' such that an invading army doesn't get to walk into an undefended place.

      For instance, come Turn 2, the Chervenian Ist Army is in North Macedonia. If it want to take Monastir, it will have to overcome its garrison. The loss of 6SP to that garrison will force its surrender. But the garrison is not to be subject to the 'unit median' activation system.

      That is so far assuming the invading army chooses to take the town by coup de main. But suppose they decide on a siege? If the besieging army has siege guns (medium or heavy) they may attempt to breach the walls and/or inflict losses on the defenders. There is always a chance they'll take out the town commandant, whereat the garrison surrenders forthwith.

      The commandant, by the way is still 6SPs worth of the overall SP count.

      I did consider (briefly) drawing garrisons from the main armies, but that leaves many armies much too weak. Overall, though, the more I think of it, the more I like putting garrisons into towns. Playing around with the numbers, I think I might he been too generous How about this:

      Provincial town: Commandant[6SP], 2 militia[8SP], medium gun[2SP] = 16SP;
      National capital: Cdt, 3 militia[12SP], 2 medium guns [4SP] = 22SP;
      Ionople: Commandant, 4 militia [16SP], 3 medium guns [6SP] = 28SP.

      Ionople would be a fairly tough nut for even the most powerful armies in this campaign! It also gives the East Thrace Army some flexibility, possibly choosing to hole up in Adrianople instead.

      I think I'll be activating the navies shortly. The March of Fourth Army and the threat to the Imperial capital opens the possibility of the Turcowaz sea-lifting that army thereto from Salonika. The Hellenes might decide, therefore, that a blockade of the Dardanelles is indicated...

      This really is a lot of fun even just thinking about it.
      Archduke Piccolo