Federation (od04)

by Theo Kermanidis

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Australia became a federation on the 1st of January 1901. So our history books tell us. The colonies came together, united into one nation. Not by an act of war, nor through violent action was a nation forged. How boring! No wonder I fell asleep in those Australian history classes.

This is your chance to rewrite a nations history. Federation had failed. Instead of peaceful unity, war between the colonies is declared. All agreements between the colonies have been dissolved.

It is Spring 1901. The divisions between the colonies is fuelled by a hunger to gain control over the continent. You are the colonys’ governor and have already instructed the militia forces to be mustered and ready for action.

Who will succeed to unify Australia? Who will forever be doomed to oblivion? What will you do to unite the colonies?

1. The eight colonies are:

New South WalesN
South AustraliaS
Western AustraliaW
Northern TerritoryY
New ZealandZ

2. Each colony had managed to muster the following forces in Spring 1901:

New South WalesSydney (Fleet)Bourke (Army)Goulburn (Army)
QueenslandBrisbane (Fleet)Cairns (Army)
South AustraliaAdelaide (Fleet)Port Augusta (Army)
TasmaniaHobart (Fleet)Launceston (Army)
VictoriaMelbourne (Army)Geelong (Fleet)Ballarat (Army)
Western AustraliaPerth (Army)Albany (Fleet)
Northern TerritoryDarwin (Fleet)Katherine (Army)
New ZealandWellington (Army)Auckland (Fleet)

3. Each colony begins the campaign with the units deployed as shown in the above table. As the campaign progresses and supply centres are acquired, further units may be built in each colonies home supply centres, provided the colony has control of them.

The Map

The total number of supply centres is 51. Of these, 33 are initially neutral though some of them will eventually become home supply centres for the colonies.

There is a major water way system (Murray-Darling) which allows navigation by fleet through the south east region of Australia. This is represented as a canal system that branches into two directions. One branch extends into Queensland, while the other branch borders between New South Wales and Victoria.

Also, army movement is permitted between Nelson and either Auckland. No convoy is required for this type of movement. Note that no fleet movement between West Cook Strait and East Cook Strait is permitted. The fleet must pass through Nelson.

There are three no-go zones where units are not permitted to move. These areas are Snowy Mountain, the Great Victorian Desert, and the Great Sandy Desert.

Note: Lake Eyre is not a designated body of water, though it is called a lake. The reason for this is that it is a large dry, salt lake accessible to movement by armies.

Victory Condition

The victory condition is to capture 26 supply centres.

Design Notes

This variant was designed in an attempt to portray Australia at the time of Federation. At that time, as much as it is today, the main power base is in the south east. Hence the majority of supply centres are located there. Those colonies in that region also start with an advantage in units. Each colony has the potential to acquire up to 6 home centres with the exception of North Territory, Tasmania and New Zealand. This takes into account the relative state of development that had occured at the time of Federation.

Supply centres are distributed to regions where history has shown some economic benefit has driven the development of colonies into statehood. Also some strategic considerations have been taken into account with regards to supply centre placements. Because the high ubanisation factor, the initial allocation of units was centred primarily on the capital cities.

In case you were wondering about the flags of each colony. They are historically accurate, and are the respective flags of the colonies at the time of federation. However exception to this is the flag of Northern Territory which wasn’t establish until 1975. In addition, some colonies had changed flags in 1901. In such cases I chose the flag that the colony changed to, rather than the original flag.

A few islands in the Pacific as well as Dutch East Indies, Timor and Irya Jaya/New Guinea as well as the Antarctica were included to add some spice to the game. The two islands in the Bass Strait was added to reflect the subsequent economic importance of the strait wereas Kangaroo Island was added to provide South Australia access to at least one nearby neutral supply center.

Australia is certainly a country of vast expanse and extreme conditions. There are three impassible regions. Two are desert regions: Great Sandy Desert and Great Victoria Desert; as well as an impassible region in the Snowy Mountains. Initially I was also going to convert Lake Eyre into an inland Sea however I felt that was too restrictive, as well as having two impassible regions bordering on each other being very impracticle. Besides, it is dry most of the time.

Water, water everywhere… and not a drop to drink!” so goes an old saying. Australia and New Zealand being surrounded by water will make it tough when it comes to deciding building armies or fleets. This was deliberate. Initially Tasmania and New Zealand start with an army each which potentially has limited use. This was to compensate for their advantageous position in being separate from the mainland. Possibly it may take some time for those armies to come into play offensively, however they could prove to be invaluable defensively. The choice is yours.

With such a vast land mass to cover, there is much vacant land. This will most probably restrict the possibility of stalemate lines from occuring, however it would be possible for limited lines of defense to occur.