After several games ( 8 ) it is maybe time for define allied strategy. This strategy is based on “Anaconda“ style, which is perfectly suitable for Allies. This article is divided into four sections for better understanding.
OPENING – 1756
Opening is the most important part of the game for both sides, mistakes made here have often deadly impacts in later parts of the game.
1/ Don´t try to help Dresden
Dresden can be defended with maximum effort and sending Austria units from Prague to Dresden will help Prussia to destroy relatively big allied force very easy and leave Prague without sufficient troops, so keep your commands and army for better purpose.
2/ Defend Prague at “all cost“
Group units in Prague from surroundings excepts units in Budweiss and Freistadt, which are very important for further secure of supply lines. You can oversize command limits of Browne but at the end of year 1756 you have to recruit Loudon to minimize effect of winter quartering or if you have no “3“ card, you can send “oversupply“ units to the path towards enemy – making a “road block“. If Prague will fall, Frederick wil probably have six - seven victory points ( Dresden, Prague, maybe Olmutz ) so your further game will be on the edge with great risk of prussian decisive victory. Try to avoid this.
3/ Two big armies
If you want to be successful in year 1756 against Prussia, the best strategy is make two big armies: one in Prague ( Loudon + Browne ) and one in Brunn ( Charles + Daun, always use units from Pressburg and Budapest ). These armies defend important places and are in good positions to help each other. So if Frederick attacks on one of these armies you have to chance to finish his weakened army with second army or to roll back weakened prussian army and maybe liberate Dresden. Don´t be outmanoeuvred by Frederick´s army, secure your supply lines. This year is your task to defend Austria. If Frederick make mistake you can attack him with both armies, but remeber, that Austrian armies are key for victory in further parts of the game, don´t use them imprudent.
Brunn is better place for grouping army then Olmutz. Distance from Vienna, Charles possibility to move and Daun starting position favour Brunn. If you have second big army in Prague, the road to Olmutz from Koniggratz is restricted, which is very limited for possible counter-attack from Prague. So leave Olmutz fortress with one unit. If the whole army with Frederick chooses to go for your supply lines ( Budweis, Freistadt or threaten Vienna ) Brunn is better place to react. Main defending line Prague – Budweis – Brunn provide more possibilites then any other.
5/ Secure your supply lines
Make sure that you control your supply lines, because damage from loss of supply line is vain. Optimum is two units in Budweiss, one in Freistadt and one in Vienna, this will not protect you against Frederick´s army but it prevents from break-out of some single cavalry units to cut your supply.
MIDDLEGAME – 1757 - 1759
First half of the year 1757 you have to strengthen your position and wait for France. If I mean strengthen it does´t mean stay in Prague and Brunn, Frederick will be active, so you have to react on his moves- remember: don´t be outmanoeuvre and save your units for further parts.
Of course, if you have good battle cards or Frederick make mistake, attack him.
Use first possible command to move to Wurzberg ( becuase of Bretlach supply line ) and than you can continue to Chemintz. Now you can threaten Dresden or Berlin. If main prussian army with Frederick is far from Berlin – take a chance to cut prussian supply lines.
Use second possible command to attack Konigsberg. Don´t try to assault fortress it is wasting units, better is besieging. After successful besieging build your army on maximum ( this is only time to do it ) and recruit Fermor. Then, under Fermor´s command go towards Prussia.
Swedish army has only two choices: wait for Russian army or you can attack Stetin if Prussia weakened his northern positions. He must react on this situation, and Prussia in this time will need commands elsewhere. If you are lucky you can be in Berlin during winter. Of course this leave Stralsund forttress alone, but if Prussia wanted to spend his commands and units for such “irrelevant“ target - it is good for you.
On the southern front use capability of three big armies and try to provoke Prussia into making a mistake. You have to begin to put Prussia under pressure, be with your armies in close contact to help one another. March together slowly to the north. Remember: Prussia has worse potency to compensate losses, so the equal losses are better for you. On northern front, you have to move with Russian army as often as possible.
ENDGAME – 1760 - 1762
This is time for slow general attack. Use your armies to squash Prussia. Even if two of your armies are defeated, you have the other two to make it. The good coordination of your armies is the key to victory. But don´t be slow - remeber for Tsarian health – if Russian army is gone without battle, the victory will by very difficult. When Russian army comes close to Prussia you can use Cossacks to cut prussian supply lines ( move 3 with force march 4 ). After first causalities you can add Swedish forces to Russian army – using Swedish force for causalities and recruit them is the only way, how to maintain Russian army far from home.
Protect your generals, troops can be raised again generals not. Donť remember possibility to disband very weakened leader while in supply and recruit him at full strenght.
Calculate battle statistics, if Prussia make mistake use your chance – Prussia has worse capacity to compensate losses.
Always secure you supply lines.
Because of rule placing new-built units of Russian and French army, these armies are often “armies of one strike“, so use them when you have possibility to continue attack with another army or you have important reason ( cut supply lines, gain decisive victory ). If Prussia can restore losses without further effect it is bad for you. On the other side Austria could attack everytime when statistic favour them, Austria losses can be replaced very fast. If the roll for Tsaria health is near, use Russian army even in inefficient battle, Russian army can´t leave table without battle !!
Venice - Treviso
Nice article! I completely agree on the "one strike" french and russian armies (more on the second one, frenches can be again rapidly useful if Soubise survives): to be effective they have to be used at the right time and supported by an austrian army (maybe smaller but heavier in terms of CPs) who can give soon after a subsequent hit to a mauled prussian army, destroyng the officer.
I've never really tried to sistematically let go isolated cavalry units around to cut supply lines: at the end of the day a player tend too stubbornly to concentrate on a decisive battle; the "attrition" strategy you suggest could be a good alternative, at least to prepare a decisive battlestrike against a weakened army.