Megagame: Iron Dice – Turn 9
Second week of October 1914.
BEF Report to the War Office
BEF’s part of the front aint as big as we thought it would be, we cover it to Bapaume.
Team Control Gloss
Well this was where I stopped following the team very closely and handed over to Paul, one of the map umpires, for about 45 minutes. The reason for this was that I was a combined Team Control and High Command Control, and there was a set of private peace talks sponsored by the US President Wilson in the US Embassy in Switzerland.
Present for the UK was the Foreign Minister, with a remit to ensure that Belgium was reinstated as per the status quo ante bellum. The other delegates were the German CINC, the Austrian Foreign Minister, a representative of the Czar, the Belgian Foreign Minister, the French Foreign Minister, and the US Secretary of State. (other minor powers were probably represented there also by the game designer, but those mentioned were all player roles).
The military situation at this point was that the Germans were losing in the East, having used most of their military effort in the West. East Prussia had been captured by the Russians. Despite this the Germans were very bullish about their progress and believed that they could hold what they’d taken in the West while re-capturing East Prussia if the war was to continue. Reason wasn’t a key feature of these talks, and in the end Russia and France decided not to pursue them further and walked out. This was after a number of reasonable compromises had been tabled by the British, the Americans and the Belgians. The Austrians were also keen on an immediate armistice and said so at the time.
The conclusion was that the war continued, and the Italians declared war on the allied side when the news of the behaviour of the Germans was made public by the press.
While the talks were going on the BEF used the opportunity of a stablised line to absorb a dozen replacement Territorial Force battalions and managed to rotate its Corps out of the ine to rest them too. In addition the Belgians negotiated a deal to re-equip their shattered forces on the French Channel coast with British equipment so that they could share lines of supply with the BEF. The Royal Navy also arranged to deliver these supplied and maintain contact with the Belgians in Ostend and Zeebrugge.