Megagame: Iron Dice – Turn 1
The first turn of this megagame covered the first three weeks of August 1914. During this turn the British decided on their plan (K) and mobilised the BEF to France.
British Strategic Discussions
There were three plans considered. Plan F was a landing at Ostend to directly support the Belgians; Plan K landing in France and joining battle in Belgium to the left of the French Armies; and Plan W which had the same landing as Plan K but supported the French on their border with Germany.
Plan F was ruled out as too close to the likely focus of a German attack and if the Belgians overwhelmed there is a very high risk of being cut off and having to conduct an emergency evacuation. The consequence of this would be many casualties and the risk of the BEF as a force in being with an evacuation under egregious conditions.
Plan W was not recommended because both flanks would be under control of the French Army whcih would be a risk that we need to conform to their plans rather than act independently as directed by the War Office. Additionally we would not have a secure flank.
Plan K was recommended because it keeps us with a close link to the channel ports, allows independent operation of the BEF and allows us time to find the Germans and engage them on our own terms. Base at ROUEN and railhead at BAPAUME. We will have a secure flank and gives the option of supporting the Belgians and keep contact with the French.
This was approved by the War Cabinet.
BEF Report to the War Office 23rd August 1914
Concentration movements successful, left flank consisting of I Corps & Cav Divn is at ARRAS. Right Flank with II Corps at CAMBRAI. BEF HQ is at PERONNE.
We intend to advance through LENS to the East of LILLE. Both Corps will maintain contact. The right flank will rest on VALENCIENNES with the left on LILLE. Cavalry Division will carry out forward recconaissance towards GHENT. RFC will carry out air recconaissance towards BRUSSELS.
We are expecting III Corps and the Heavy Artillery to concentrate at ARRAS.
Information has been received from the French press that British troops have been reported, we would like the War Office to liaise to ask the French not to report British troop movements in the press.
Team Control gloss
After the players complained about the reports of their movements in the French press the Foreign Office lodged a protest about the egregious breach of operational security and asked the French to censor future reports.
At this stage the BEF was doing some liaison with the French, who were initially reluctant to provide them with enough rail transport to move their entire force, but this was overcome when the matter was escalated to command level.