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 Welcome to the second developer diary for Commander The Great War. In the first preview we focused on the two major Central Powers, Germany and Austria. This time we move across no man's land to take a peek at their initial opponents: France and Belgium. We'll discuss the opening stages of the war, the stalemate at the Western Front and the means necessary to break through the trenches: Artillery and Ammunition. 


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Episode 2

France and Belgium

On August 4, 1914 German Forces crossed the Belgian border. The fortresses at Liège held out almost two weeks, delaying their scheduled march on Paris. The unexpected Belgian resistance bought the Allies just enough time to stop the Germans at the Marne River, preventing them from capturing the French capital and essentially winning the First World War.
 
Opening Stages
 
The first turn of the Grand Campaign is executed by the Central Powers. A Belgian Garrison in the fortress of Liège is likely to be the first victim of the war. With German forces pouring into the country, the Allied player must decide whether to defend Brussels - and if so for how long - or whether to fall back to Antwerp or Calais. In the meantime, French and British forces must be reorganised to fill the gap along the undefended Belgian border.


French and Belgian Infantry start at a lower tech level than their
German opponents, making it difficult to match the initial aggression.

 

Paris must be held at all cost. Inexperienced French reserves and the small but professional British army must ignore casualties and whittle down the advancing Germans. Eventually – worn out from relentless marching and attacking - the German advance can be forced to a halt. Fresh reserves from both sides will continue to fill gaps in the frontline until a solid front between Switzerland and the English Channel is formed, effectively simulating The Race to the Sea. The position and shape of this line will be determined by the events and decisions of the first turns of the game.

  
Attacking and moving decreases unit efficiency. Even the most experienced
and best equipped units will eventually be forced to halt and recover.

 
The game uses both mouse buttons: Left click to select, Right click to move or attack. Right clicking a friendly
unit adjacent to the selected unit will swap both units, allowing the player to rotate frontline units easily.


Motorised Cavalry

The Armoured Car was a relatively new weapon of war. Promising as a replacement for the ancient Cavalry, Belgian Armoured Cars proved effective harassing the Germans in the opening stages of the war. However, when opposing armies dug in and entrenched, these weapons lost their purpose in the theatre.


Armoured Cars are fast but deal few damage to all but
the most weakened opponents.

These units have a high movement speed, but limited attack strength. They retreat quickly when attacked, before absorbing too much casualties. This makes them useless to hold the line but difficult to destroy. As a result, their most efficient use is reconnaissance, harassment and cutting enemy lines of supply.

When the war of mobility came to an end at the Western from, the Belgians sent their Minerva armoured cars to support the Russians at the Eastern front, where speed and mobility remained essential throughout the conflict.


An optional “unit glow” effect increases contrast between
unit icons and campaignmap background.

Resources

CTGW has 3 types of resources: Production, Manpower and Ammunition  

Resources, Railroad Capacity and National Morale are
permanently displayed in the user interface.

 

Production points represent anything that can be purchased with money. It also represents the stockpile of raw materials.

Manpower represents the amount of men available for recruiting into the armed forces. Producing and maintaining units costs manpower.

Ammunition represents the available amount of heavy (artillery) ammunition. Before a major offensive, vast quantities of artillery shells had to be produced and stockpiled for the artillery batteries. The majority of this ammunition would be consumed during the first opening barrages.
 


Artillery can attack without repercussion, but limited ammunition
stockpiles force the player to use them carefully.

In the game, artillery units represent massed heavy artillery. Smaller artillery pieces are considered part of Infantry and Armour units and do not require or consume Ammunition. Because Ammunition is a resource, the player much choose carefully when to use it. Firing your heavy artillery whenever sufficient stockpiles are available is a bad strategy.  


Late Artillery is not only effective at bringing down enemy efficiency,
it also causes significant casualties.

Generally Artillery should be used to open a major offensive action, weakening enemy positions before sending the infantry to attack. Or - when the enemy launches a potent attack - Artillery can break their momentum, at the cost of depleting your Ammunition stockpiles.

The Shell Crisis of 1915 was the result of a claim that the British offensive at Neuve Chapelle failed due to shortages of artillery shells. It led to a political crisis and the reorganisation and expansion of munitions factories. 
 

 
Each turn Artillery can either move or fire, but not both. As a result,
it takes at least one turn to get your Artillery into position.

  

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