Xviii. Designer's notes and advice on play of the game: The German Panzer armies were actually "groups" in 1941

Download 23.74 Kb.
Size23.74 Kb.

XVIII. Designer's notes and advice on play of the game:

The German Panzer armies were actually "groups" in 1941. The Soviet Combined Arms armies become an abstraction of the highly mobile Guards and tank armies and cavalry-mechanized groups which mastered the battlefield late in the war. Similarly, the 3-factor Soviet fronts intrinsically simulate the artillery corps and rocket brigades with which the Soviets were able to crack any Axis fortified line.

I omitted the Russo-Finnish Front (and the Axis and Soviet forces thereon) because that was a separate campaign unto itself fought in special conditions toward limited objectives on the part of the Finns. Finland was one of Germany's most formidable, but least cooperative, allies.

The dispersal of tactically retreated defending units (or overextended armor units or fronts), coupled with fortification, achieves many things: 1) it realistically establishes or disrupts operational momentum or inertia, 2) it encourages voluntary "at all costs" counterattacks, and 3) it reflects the mechanical limits and vagaries of mobile warfare.

Other aspects of the campaign -- such as superior Axis airpower, command control, and road-bound mobility -- are factored into CRT A. The differentiated CRTs are much easier to use than most other offensive combat modification schemes.

The absence of the usual board wargame "Zones Of Control"/"ZOCs" has not harmed the game's overall "realism." If anything, the ability to concentrate on strategy without the distraction of that dubious layer of complexity enhances the game's instructional ease and value. See, though, Rule XIII.F.5.d.

The Soviet "emergency call-up" rule helps balance the 1941 Barbarossa invasion scenario. It is also logical: the worse the disaster on the frontier, the more Draconian the initial call-up would have been.

My own favorite (strategic) feature of the game is the Siberian Reserve Gamble. The "double the stakes" aura of risk-taking haunts the game -- before and after the Reserve's introduction. Since a Soviet Player only invokes this playing option when he realizes he has nothing to lose, it is "the great equalizer" in tournaments. A superior Soviet Player should not need it.

Please make copies of the Game Analysis and Results Form and use them.

Advice on play of the game:
At first glance, the 1941 victory conditions would seem to dictate a win or lose decision. Actually, the location of the Victory Determination Phases in the game-turn sequences and the vulnerability of the Leningrad and Sevastopol rail lines make a 1941 draw quite possible.

Remember that the basic principle of Blitzkrieg/"Lightning" warfare was maneuver (and envelopment), not firepower and frontal assault. Hit them where they ain't, and always move east. The isolation of the Bialystok Pocket (402) is an 83.33% certainty with an historical opening and demonstrates this principle.

Do not lose any units. Even the Rumanians are vital to maintain a line.

If a game continues into late 1943 and regular Soviet counteroffensives begin, keep Panzer reserves for counterattacks, in the best tradition of "mobile defense."


In 1941, do not waste good units attempting to save lost ones. When possible, withdraw just beyond the striking range of the German infantry armies. You can then counterattack and disperse over-extended Panzer units. Risks are often worth the chance of destroying one of these.

Draw front units as replacements for the defensive fortification bonus.

Conserve your resources for your winter counteroffensive. Never risk an early introduction of the Siberian Reserve, unless you are desperate and sure you will lose the game anyway.

XIX. Historical notes:
This war caused the deaths of 30+ Eastern European men, women, and children -- Slavs, Jews, and countless others -- and the physical and psychological maiming of many more. If Hitler had defeated the Soviet Union, he would have conquered the world. The Soviet Union's eventual victory gave it postwar control over Eastern Europe.

Militarily, the Nazis' 22 June 1941 invasion of the USSR started successfully. Thanks to I.V. Stalin's purge of many progressive members of the Red Army officer corps in the late 1930s, there was a shortage of trained Soviet officers early in the war.

Distrusting the British and naively hoping that Hitler would adhere to the 1939 Nonaggression Pact, Stalin refused to believe Anglo-American warnings that the Nazis would invade in 1941. On the first day of the invasion, Soviet commanders could not even get permission to shoot back. Stalin then disappeared for a time, apparently in deep depression.

Equally naive were people, who, hating Stalin -- about 20 million Soviet people had perished in Stalin's Great Terror -- initially welcomed the Axis invaders as liberators. Instead, the Nazis racially persecuted Slavs generally and exterminated Jews entirely. 27 million Soviet people died in the campaign.

For example, after the Red Army and people of Leningrad had fought Hitler's armies to a standstill, he decided to destroy them by isolation, bombardment, and starvation. A million Leningraders died. Similarly, Nazis massacred many occupied villages in retaliation for partisan resistance.

Nazi armies maintained the momentum that surprise had given them. In the first 6 months of The Great Patriotic War, the Red Army lost 3 million men killed or captured (then to die in Nazi prison camps) and 22,000 tanks. (300,000 Americans died in combat in all of World War II.) Stalin's own son, Jakov, was captured. He apparently provoked his German guards into killing him, rather than letting his life be used for Nazi propaganda.

However, for the first time, the German Wehrmacht was taking heavy losses and being denied its objectives. The Nazis had laughed at the new Soviet T34 and KV tanks' rough manufacture, but soon respected their superior designs.

The defense of Kiev by Soviet armies under the command of Colonel General M.P. Kirponos forced Hitler to divert his spearheads to the south to take that city. Besides Leningrad, other Soviet cities resisting bravely that first year were Odessa, Sevastopol, Tula, and Rostov. When the German offensive against Moscow finally began, Soviet troops (reinforced from Siberia, since the Kremlin knew the Japanese were about to attack the Anglo-Americans) -- and weather -- stopped and then threw back the Nazis in the Winter of 1940/41. (It should be noted that Germans outnumbered Russians in the final stages of this battle.)

Russians of all ages, and other Soviet peoples, fought the Nazis heroically. (The Soviets also received significant material assistance from the West.) Thoughout the Second World War, the Nazis were forced to commit most of their troops against the Soviets. The Red Army stopped, surrounded, and annihilated the German 6. Army at Stalingrad in 1942-43 -- the most decisive land battle of the Second World War. In 1943 and 1944, the Red Army defeated the Wehrmacht in great battles near the city of Kursk, in Belorussia, and in the Ukraine. In May 1945, the Soviet capture of Berlin climaxed Allied Victory in Europe.

An historical footnote:

Khatyn -- hexagon 403 on the mapsheet -- is the site of a beautiful memorial to the murdered men, women, and children of the Belorussian village, one of hundreds of similar Soviet villages massacred by Nazis during the Great Patriotic War.

Katyn -- hexagon 404 on the mapsheet -- is the site of the execution by Stalin's NKVD of over 4,000 Polish officers and cadets. 21,000 others similarly disappeared. In 1990, the Soviet government acknowledged Stalin's responsibility for the massacre, so that this old wound between Poles and Soviets could heal.

Both Khatyn and Katyn should be remembered, for everone's sake.
XX. Bibliography:

A. Soviet books:

Bednyagin, A.I. Kievskiy Krasnoznamyenniy: Istoriya Krasnoznamyennovo Kievskovo

Voyennovo Okruga, 1919-1972 [Kiev Red Banner: History of the Red Banner Kiev Military District, 1919-1972.] Moscow: Military Printers, 1974.

Eremenko, A.I. The Arduous Beginning [V Nachalye Voina]. Moscow: Progress

Publishers, 1968.

Gribkov, A.I. Istoriya Ordyena Lenina Leningradskovo Voennovo Okruga [History of the

Order of Lenin Leningrad Military District]. Moscow: Military Printers, 1974.

Ivanov, S.P. Nachalniy Period Voini [The beginning period of war]. Moscow: Military

Printers, 1974.

Krupchenko, I.E. Sovietski Tankoviye Voiska [Soviet tank forces]. Moscow: Military

Printers, 1973.

Pospelov, P.N. Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union. Moscow: Progress Publishers,


Radziyevskiy, A.I. Proriv (po Opitu Velikoi Otechestvenoi Voini, 1941-1945 Gg.)

[Breakthrough (on operations of the Great Patriotic War, 1941-1945 yrs.)]. Moscow: Military Printers, 1979.

Samsonov, A.M. Stalingradskaya Bitva [Stalingrad battle]. Moscow: "Nauka," 1968.

B. Western sources:

1. Boardgames:

The Avalon Hill Game Company. Stalingrad. Baltimore: 1964.

Columbia Games Inc. East Front: The War in Russia, 1941-45. Vancouver: 1991.

Game Designers Workshop. Fire in the East. Normal IL: 1984.

________. 1941: Operation Barbarossa, designed by John Astell and Frank Chadwick.

Normal IL: 1981.

Jedko. Russian Campaign, designed by John Edwards. Australia: 1974(?).

Simulations Publications Inc. Barbarossa. New York: 1971.

Tri-Game Enterprises. Russia's War, designed by Lou Coatney. New York: 1987.

Similar in scope to Barbarossa, it uses the ultimate refinement of "zones of control" in a more complex game system. My little solitaire game The Great Patriotic War was included.

Wide World Wargames. Dark Crusade, designed by Lou Coatney. Cambria CA: 1984.

________. Sturm nach Osten [I Shturmi na 3apad!], designed by Lou Coatney. London:


2. Books:

Clark, Alan. Barbarossa. 1965.

Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. 1968.

________. Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. 1986.

Erickson, John. Road to Berlin. 1983.

________. Road to Stalingrad. 1975.

Fitzgibbon, Louis. Katyn: A Crime without Parallel. 1972.

Fugate, Brian. Operation Barbarossa. 1984.

Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust. 1986.

Guderian, Heinz. Panzer Leader. 1952.

Lukas, Richard C. The Forgotten Holocaust. 1986.

Manstein, Erich von. Lost Victories. 1958.

Mellenthin, Friederich W. von. Panzer Battles. 1956.

Seaton, Albert. The Russo-German War. 1971.

U.S. Department of the Army. Effects of Climate on Combat in European Russia. 1952

Federal document D114.19/3: C73/3

________, Terrain Features in the Russian Campaign. 1951. D114.19/3: T27

Young, Peter. Atlas of the Second World War. 1974.
XXI. Examples of play:
A. June 1941 Tournament Game "textbook"/historical opening in the North:
Attack allocations -- no operational movement necessary or made:

The Axis Player attacks the Soviet 11. Army (302) from 301 with his 39. Panzerkorps, 3. Panzergroup, and 18. Army. 4. Panzergroup follows as a second attack wave. The basic odds are (1+2+3):(1+1) = 6:2 = 3:1 on CRT A, down a column shift (to 2:1) because of the Neman River, but back up to 3:1 because of 1st Turn Surprise. 16. Army attacks the Soviet 8. Army (202) at final odds of 2:1 on CRT B, and 9. Army attacks Soviet 3. and 10. Armies (402) on CRT B at final odds of 3:2.

24. Panzerkorps, 2. Panzergroup, and 4. Army (501) attack the Soviet 4. Army and Brest Fortress (502). Basic odds are (1+3+4):(1+1) = 4:1 on CRT B.
Attack and breakthrough resolutions -- after all other German operational movements have been

made and attacks allocated -- all using CRT Index X:

A die roll of 3 for the initial attack on the Soviet 11. Army results in DE, so the German units can move right in (and break through). Breakthrough attacks are immediately allocated and executed: 39. Panzerkorps and 3. Panzergroup attack the Soviet 13. Army in Minsk at final odds of 2:1 on CRT A, and 4. Panzergroup attacks the Soviet 27. Army (already dispersed in 303) at final odds of 4:1 on CRT A. A die roll of 2 eliminates 13. Army without "Refit" penalty. A 5 forces 27. Army to retreat -- the Soviet Player wisely choosing 204 -- but 4. Panzergroup suffers a Refit penalty, as indicated by flipping it upside down and placing a Refit marker on it.

A 6 is rolled against 8. Army for a -/No Effect result which leaves it free to attempt seaborne evacuation. (If it remained -- isolated -- in 202, it would be eliminated by isolation at the end of the Soviet Player's following player-turn.)

The attack on the Soviet 4. Army and Brest is now resolved with a roll of 3, which produces a DR result, and 4. Army retreats into the crucial hex 503. On the breakthrough, 2. Panzergroup will pursue 4. Army (at 5:1 on CRT B, because of the swamp), and 24. Panzerkorps will join 9. Army's normal/initial attack on the 3. and 10 Armies in the "Bialystok Pocket" (402) -- giving it final odds of 2:1 on CRT B. Neither unit could attack 603 -- See Rule XI.E.3. above.

A 6 is rolled against Soviet 4. Army, retreating it again, but 2. Panzergroup thus incurs the Refit penalty. A die roll of 3 against the Bialystok Pocket produces a DR result and the elimination of the Soviet 3. and 10. Armies, in accordance with Rules XIII.E./DR and XIII.F.5.

NOTE: that the Germans did not waste time and distance making a massive frontal attack on the Soviet 3. and 10. Armies (402) from 301, 401, and 501. Instead, the Germans more effectively pocketed/ annihilated those armies.
NOTE ALSO: that the 3. and 10. Armies would never be able to attack Warsaw, because the fortress could only sustain/supply one of these units, and a 1:3 attack on CRT B could not produce the DR result necessary to take it. Rule XV.B.2.
B. An hypothetical Soviet "at all costs" attack:
To attempt to disrupt the Axis onslaught, 21. Army and Bryansk Front (on 504) are attacking (undispersed) 24. Panzerkorps and 2. Panzergroup, which just took Smolensk (404) in the preceding Axis Player-turn of a Good weather turn. The basic odds are 1+2:1+3(+1) = 3:5 which becomes 1:2 on CRT B, which is then reduced to 1:3 (because of the Dnepr River). A 3 die roll produces a D/AE result which eliminates the Soviet units and disperses the German units.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page