January 01, 1919,
Bolsheviks army of 105 units opposed to White army of 139 units
for a battle of complexity 1.29 at Corps(XXX) level
on a 25 Km/Hex map
for 70 turns of Full Week each.
by Mark Stevens submited on 21-04-2012
Rugged-Defense Playing Statistics
The Russian Civil War January 1919 - May 1921
January 1919 - mid 1921, fortnightly turns, corps and division level, 25km per hex. 1 squad = approx. 100 men/horses. 1 piece of equipment = approx. 10 guns, tanks, planes, trucks, etc. Ingore the automatic calender: DATES ARE SHOWN AS FORTNIGHTLY EVENTS
I've concentrated the heavy artillery, engineers, ferry bridgers and railway repair troops in the large HQ units.
PBEM for both sides but, in view of the complexity of the scenario, FAR better against a human opponent.
A large-scale scenario covering the critical period of the war, when the White counter-revolutionary forces were at their strongest and, supported by Allied Interventionist troops and supplies, came to within 200 miles of Moscow and advanced to the outskirts of Petrograd. It also allows for a Bolshevik offensive against Poland and/or Finland, both of which had successfully broken away from Russia in the chaos following the Revolution.
There is some discussion about when the 'war' actually started: there had been fighting in the former Russian Empire ever since the October 1917 Revolution. However, by January 1919 the Finns and Poles had established independent states, the counter-revolutionary Whites had consolidated their forces in the south, the north, and in Siberia and were as strong as they would ever be, and Allied Interventionist Forces had arrived. Critically, the surrender of the Central Powers in November 1918 and the withdrawal of their armies removed a major constraint on the fighting in the west of the former Tsarist Empire, so this is an appropriate start date.
The Red army had more men than its opponents, and the bulk of the equipment of the former Tsarist Army, but most of the troops were unwilling conscripts. Therefore the individual Red corps are very fragile at the start, despite their raw numbers, and prone to disintegrate in high intensity combat: several armies were all but destroyed during the initial White advances. Do try to conserve them until they've built up. If you must attack early on, note that the sub-units are more likely to reconstitute if they were destroyed while divided. Try to support them with HQs and armoured trains, consider standing on the defensive, or even giving up ground, while your conscripts are coming in. Limited attacks to break up enemy units may be more prudent than all-out attacks. Historically the Bolsheviks rushed forward everywhere (except against Poland) and got a bloody nose, apart from in the Ukraine. The exceptions were the Latvian Rifle units, eventually combined into the Latvian Red Army: for a variety of reasons these were battle-hardened, thoroughly indoctrinated troops, used as a shock force before the Red Army grew to maturity.
The Whites had better officers and were well-equipped from ex-Imperial stocks and by the Allies: their forces are smaller but significantly tougher.
By early 1919 the Red Army already outnumbered the combined numbers of the Whites, Nationalists and Allies and their situation will improve as time goes on. The Whites, with a higher proportion of ex-officers and a more - arguably wholly - military ethos, start with higher proficiencies. Therefore the White player has a relatively narrow window in which to attack: sitting on the defensive will just mean being faced by overwhelming Red forces at some point in the future (although the Nationalists have no other option once they've occupied their own areas). A vigorous attack towards the key Red cities of Tsaritsyn, Moscow and Petrograd will - if successful - disrupt Red supply and earn permanent VPs.
Armoured trains may seem disproportionately strong but they did play an important role early on in this war: think of them as being very large trains, plus artillery and small but good shock forces. Their relative importance will decline as the land armies get stronger, and they will not reconstitute.
3. House Rules (another good reason for playing a human opponent is that there's no way of making the PO stick to these!)
The Reds and Whites are both seeking to reestablish control over the whole of the former Empire, and are unrestricted, as are the Allies assisting the Whites.
Whites may not stack with Nationalists (and their formations are set to not cooperate in attacks on the Bolsheviks)
Neither Bolsheviks or Whites may stack with Anarchists or Freikorps.
Nationalists may not stack with Anarchists.
Poles are restricted to Greater Poland, Greater Ukraine, and the Baltic States: they may not move or attack across their borders (not the Polish 4th Div., which is under command of the Allied Interventionist forces).
Both Ukrainian People's Republics and the Anarchists are restricted to the Ukraine (including the Crimea) and to Greater Ukraine
The Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Scandinavian Volunteers and Freikorps (either side) are restricted to the three Baltic States
The Georgians, Azerbaijanis and Armenians are restricted to their own countries
If the Finns enter the war they are restricted to Finland and Petrograd
The Turkmenistanis may not advance further west than Astrakhan or further north than Uralsk (inclusive)
The Turks are limited - if they enter the war - to Turkey and Armenia.
If forced out of these areas, or to stack, by combat players must attempt to rectify the situation immediately. Use common sense, this doesn't mandate suicidal attacks.
The White armies in the east are drawing their men and supplies from Siberia: therefore (i) if Ekaterinburg is lost to the Reds, Admiral Kolchak's Siberian Army will be withdrawn and (ii) if Chelyabinsk is lost the White's Western Army will be withdrawn. These cities were the two main rail connections to Siberia.
Some time in mid-1919 the Freikorps, having fought successfully against the Red Army, will change sides - at that point they realise that the Balts are not going to allow post-war German domination of the Baltic States and decide to impose it themselves by force. They're still restricted to the Baltic States and cannot stack with Bolshevik units.
The capture of Tsaritsyn, Moscow or Petrograd will reduce Bolshevik supply (permanently - the disruption to industry and political control cannot be restored by their recapture in the short time frame)
Finland will remain neutral unless the Bolsheviks chose to declare war via a Theatre Option. (The point of doing this would be to win the 25 VPs located in the country) OR if the Bolsheviks take Warsaw, on the basis that they'll be next and may as well get their blow in first.
The Greeks will withdraw in mid-1919 due to rising tensions with Turkey
The other Allied Interventionist forces will withdraw during mid-1919 unless Moscow is captured before then
Makhno's Anarchists will change sides if the Bolsheviks repudiate their tacit alliance (this earns the latter 25 VPs). If this occurs there is a 75% chance that the Bolshevik's Kronstadt garrison will mutiny, as they did. This will partially isolate Petrograd.
The White General Denikin unit will be withdrawn if Ekaterinodor is lost.
The Turkmenistanis will be withdrawn if Atyrau is lost: this town is at the very limit of their territory, and their priorities lie far to the south-east. The rest will fight on even if their capitals (*) are lost, as they've nowhere else to go.
There is a 75% of the historical peasant Tambov rebellion occuring around mid-1920.
There is a 75% chance of the historical Turkish invasion of Armenia in the mid-1920s
This is Russia: there will be harsh winters and muddy conditions, which may (25%) completely paralyze movement if the rasputitsa takes hold.
Most major cities act as Supply Points for both sides: they all conscripted workers and peasants indiscriminately if they came under their control, and would use what supplies and industry there was. Do note however that the supply radius is deliberately set relatively low, so you do need to advance from town to town, or along an unbroken railway line, to be in full supply.
Reds, Whites and Nationalists will reconstitute in their original home territories: none of the Allies will, except for their fleets - the game assumes that defeated navies and air fleets are scattered and driven off, rather than being entirely sunk or shot down.
The Bolsheviks had the population and industrial base, and a (ruthlessly enforced) unified political structure. The Whites were disunited, even among themselves, and were on the fringes of Russia where the population density was lower and industry limited. As their aim was to restore the former Empire they were unable to cooperate with the Nationalists. Although Red propaganda made much of Allied Intervention their forces were relatively weak and war-weary, and their main contribution was in providing supplies to the Whites. Even the strongest Nationalists, the Poles, had limited war aims, although their ambitions did include a far larger Poland than they eventually achieved.
The Whites have a (very) limited sealift capacity - there were some small sea landings around Archangel and Narva (plus the initial Allied unopposed sea landings before the October Revolution).
The VPs are distributed to force the Red player to attack outside their core territories: the game starts with the Whites and Nationalists controlling more VPs.
Besides the VPs shown on the map, there are some 'one-off' bonuses to encourage historical play:
White occupation (even if reversed) of Tsaritsyn, Moscow or Petrograd: 5, 10, and 10 VPS respectively.
A Red declaration of war on the Ukrainian Nationalists: +25 VPs (there is a 75% chance that the Red PO will do this if the White's southern capital of Ekaterinodar falls). This may (75%) lead to the Kronstadt garrison mutinying in disgust at the Bolshevik's centralising policies.
Mark Stevens, April 2012
This isn't World World I on the Western Front: it's unlikely that either side has enough units to form a contiguous front line, and deep cavalry sweeps can still be decisive. Although the supply rules mean that it's relatively safe to huddle around a town, neither side will win unless it tries to manouevre. The restrictions on the Nationalists do mean that the Bolsheviks have the luxury of concentrating on the Whites and Allies (possibly not against the PO opponent), and then picking off the Nationalists - this is exactly what happened historically, although the Poles defeated the final Red drive west in 1921. If the Bolshevik player follows this strategy it does mean that - by the time the Whites are beaten - the Nationalists will be at full strength, entrenched and fully supplied, and the game will still only be a draw.
AFSR = Armed Forces of Southern Russia: the main White army, properly officered, well-equipped by the Allies and with a high proportion of hightly motivated Cossacks
WRVA = West Russian Volunteer Army: Freikorps and Baltic Germans determined to maintain post war German superiority in the Baltic states.
S.S.R = Soviet Socialist Republic - the Bolshevik's nod in the direction of autonomy for local areas on the fringes of the former Empire
Cheka = security troops, the forerunners of the NKVD and KGB, disposed of 100,000+ lightly armed paramilitaries
N.R.R.F. - North Russian Relief Force, dispatched to cover the withdrawal of Allied forces from the north.
To players who prefer more conventional scenarios, this may look like a bloody mess, with lots of tiny factions involved, most failing to cooperate with each other, and some changing sides half way through: it was.
Comments and criticism welcome, but it's a big picture scenario: don't tell me that your researches show that the 1st Siberian Corps had seventeen armoured cars and I've given them thirty.