Sunday, August 26, 2012

Game Vs Book II - The Polish-Soviet War 1919-1920 - Part Three

The virtual war was marred by bad leadership, awful logistics and other assorted operational diseases that almost killed many of the real life armies.

In this entry, my hard won victory against the Polish Army.


Ukraine Front
Click on the image for a full size view. The 1st Kornamiya's deployment on Cherkasy, greatly accelerated by a sudden availability in rail transports, reinforces the Dnieper defensive line (Kiev, Cherkasy and Ekaterinoslav).
Unable to launch an offensive in the Ukraine because it would require a concentration of forces that would risk a quick Polish counter-offensive elsewhere in the huge expanses of the Ukraine.

The Dniepr defensive line (B, C and D), and a tiny cavalry division (6th Cavalry, E) deployed with the intention of providing some early warning on the left flank. The Polish forces in the Ukraine (A) are reluctant to move past their original start line. 
NW Front
The right flank of Tukhachevsky's Army is not in a good shape. Repeated attempts to consolidate forces and supplies for an offensive at Vilnius came at odds with the necessary buildup needed for Tukhachevsky's offensive towards Brest.


Ukraine Front
The Polish, commanded by Pilsudski himself (grey icon), show up in force at the gates of Kiev. The 1st Kornamiya (westmost Red Army Unit in the map, reinforced by no less than 8 armored trains) has somehow jumped the gun and advanced forward for a flank attack, without too much forethought about lack of railroads between their line of departure (current position shown in the image above) and their objective. 
Without the support of the 1st Kornamiya, the Red Army at Kiev launches an attack and the Polish forces loose 1/3 of their men. 

Intense maneuvering of forces (orange lines are movement paths) in the Kiev area. The objective is to give a final and fatal blow to the Polish forces. Note how the 1st Kornamiya (westmost Red Army unit) had to pull back east from their position and then drive north towards Kiev. This is because they have a heavy armored train component that I wanted to use to defeat the Polish.
Benefited by our reluctance to attack before gathering all our forces, the Polish (grey icon) retreat west. As a parting gift, they destroy the rail lines behind them (white arrow). This will impair our pursuit if we are to use the armored trains.
Nonetheless, the Ukraine front abandons the safety of the walls at Kiev and pursuits the Polish. Another Red victory, one month after the first encounter near Kiev.
A final attack on the Polish forces under Pilsudski's command is at the hands of the 1st Kornamiya. This battle occurred near the Russo-Polish frontier. The Polish Army that escaped this battle were never seen again (?).
With the Ukraine almost free of Polish forces, the Ukraine Front prepares for a push towards Poland proper. Note how I had to divert the armored trains towards the south flank. This is due to the earlier rail damage we suffered earlier in Kiev.

NW Front

Our right/north flank at Vilnius lacks a global commander or command structure that would allow it to function properly. Here, a Red division was caught off-guard and suffered a serious blow in hands of the Polish.
The main force, under Tukhachevsky's command, starts its advance in the southwest direction. He is advancing too slowly, unable to amass enough supplies for a fast offensive. But whatever is put in his path is destroyed thoroughly.
Now with the main force advancing southwest, the right/north flank attempts to put its act together. At Vilnius, 60,000 men are unable to push south due to supply issues. In the Grodno's forests, an entire Corps slowly collapses due to desertion and malnutrition. Pure buffoonery.
With a threatened flank or not, the main force under Tukhachevsky pushes towards Brest. It was an unopposed move that dislodged the hinge of  Warsaw's door. The only concern is now to secure the lines of supply from Minsk. 

NW Front

Tukhachevsky has struck into the Polish heartland (red colored areas are controlled by the Reds). The right flank at Vilnius is stabilized because neither side can afford battle at this point.
These are the plans for an assault on Warsaw. Contrary to history, Warsaw will be attacked from the southeast. The Ukraine Front will contribute with extra armored trains and cavalry forces to screen the main attack.
Ukraine Front
The Ukraine Front (red areas are controlled by the reds. The Ukraine is entirely under the Red's control, but west of that region Poland proper opens like a funnel and concentrating forces becomes difficult. As a result of that, two main thrusts are visible: north, pointing towards Brest and south, attempting to screen from attacks coming from western Poland.
The final battle for Warsaw

The battle for Warsaw was shouldered by Tukhachevsky's forces, with no additional support (coordination with other forces converging for the assault was very poor). Tukhachevsky found Warsaw defended by a force of 10,000 men who offered a stubborn resistance before their complete destruction.

The first assault was unsuccessful but we suffered minimal losses. The second assault resulted in the complete destruction of the Polish forces in Warsaw.
No further operations were possible after the capture of Warsaw. Not that I didn't try. But the supplies were lacking and the remainder of the Polish territory was too big for the available troops. I wish I could have turned north and destroy those Polish forces in the Grodno-Vilnius area, but that would have meant leaving Warsaw for grabs by Polish forces attacking from the west. Indeed, right up until the end of the scenario, a modest flotilla sailing in the Vistula river had continuously harassed my forces in Warsaw.

The end state of the war

We suffered around 90,000 casualties. The Polish lost 150,000. A heavy toll for an ending strategic situation that was not completely stable.
The victory screen.
Final thoughts later this week. Stay tuned.



Michael said...

Hi, JC. An unrelated question - what about that book on "agent-based simulations" that you'd wanted to review couple of months ago? Or did I missed something and you'd already done it?

JC said...

Hi Mike. How have you been?
I was referring to "Artificial War" by Ilachinsky.
Don't know yet when I am going to post about that. :(


Michael said...

Hi, JC. Wow, ~$200 on amazon - it's a "no-go" price for me.

The only hope is to find it lying somewhere online, just like "Fighting by minutes".

JC said...

Damn, that's expensive. I payed ~$100.00 a year or so back. I found the book interesting, but it is way too forefront theoretical to be of immediate application in the field.