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Scenario #2: Operation Barbarossa, June 1941

Soviet Forces:

Armor -(11) Total:
(3) T-26 M33
(3) T-26 M39
(1) T-28
(1) BT-5
(2) BT-7
(1) OT-133 (Flamethrower)

AT Guns -(8) Total:
(6) 76.3 mm P obr 39
(2) others from the period

Infantry and Cavalry - (33 units with 107 "hit points" total):
(3) Paratroopers
(4) Guards squad
(4) Line Squad
(6) Recruits Squad*
(6) Militia Squad*
(6) Cavalry
(4) Partisan Group**

* "Killed" Militia Squads are returned to the Soviet Reserve. For every (2) Recruit Squads killed, return (1) to the Soviet Reserve.

**Partisan Groups begin in Soviet reserve. See rules below for their use.

(4) BA-20

(4) Anti-Tank Rifles

Specials:
(6) Anti-Tank Mines
(5) Bunkers
(2) Foxholes

(1) Sturmovik Air Strike

(2) Rocket Artillery

76 cards plus 8 random special cards

German Forces:

Armor - 14 (20)* total:
(4) Leichter Panzersphewagen
(3)+2 STU-III B*
(1) PzKw II (F1) (Flamethrower)
(5)+3 PzKw 38 (t) A*
(1)+1 PzKw III G*

*(2) STU-III B, (3) PzKw 38 (t) A and (1) PzKw III G are returned to the German reserve when (if) initially "killed".

AT Guns - (10) total:
(5) 3.7cm PaK 35/36
(5) 5cm PaK 38

Infantry and Cavalry - (29) units with 120 "hit points":
(8) Waffen SS
(8) Veteran German Squad
(1) German Line Squad
(2) German Recruits Squad*
(4) German Cavalry
(6) German Luftwaffenfeld Squad (ahistorical - not "officially created until 1942 but included in this scenario to provide play balance).

*"Killed" German Recruits Squads are not removed from play but returned to the German Reserve.

(5) Mittlerer half tracks
(5) German Trucks
(3) SPH 250

(9) Panzerfaust
(2) Panzerschreck

Specials:
(4) Foxholes
(2) Anti-Tank Mines

(3) German Rocket Artillery

(2) Stuka Air strike

(88 cards plus 8 random special cards)

SET-UP

Play on 4x5 grid with Germans occupying two ranks, Soviets three. Roll for terrain, 1 is hill/swamp, 2 is village/balka, 3 is wheatfield/woods (odd/even).

The Soviets draw 45 cards, and must observe an initial 2 unit stacking limit per position. In addition, during this initial set-up the Soviet player must place two units on each position. Once play begins, this limit is increased to the usual 3 units per position, except when new ranks are "created." Place cards face up in first two ranks (closest to enemy), face down in positions nearest the reserve.

THe Germans use the entire deck from the beginning of the scenario. They place cards with a 3 unit stacking limit per position. Only cards in the first rank closest to the enemy are revealed.

PLAY:

The Germans begin play with an initial "free" Air Strike and Artillery Barrage. German Player identifies one enemy position for an Air Strike and one for an Artillery Barrage, then rolls for each position. (German player does not expend cards for these attacks and cannot wait to see results of the first attack to determine placement of the second.)

German player then makes initial "play". On this first turn, German player receives (2) "plays" to simulate the surprise attack. On all subsequent turns, German player rolls 1d10 after first "play". On rolls of 5 or less he may take one additional "play".

The Soviet player plays as usual. At the end of his turn, he draws a card and keeps track of how many turns have passed. When he has taken his 15th turn, a new rank of cards is formed immediately to his rear. Roll as above for placement of terrain. He may immediately fill this rank with cards from his reserve AND those from what was previously the last rank (observing an initial 2 unit stacking limit), thus creating a 4x6 battlefield. "Revealed" units remain revealed.

If the German player occupies one or more of the positions in the last rank with a combat unit (not a truck, half-track, or scout car), the creation of the new rank is delayed until either (A) the Soviet player eliminates the German units in that position (he doesn't need to occupy the position), or (B) the Soviet player has taken his 20th turn and the German still occupies the position (Germans win!).

This exercise is repeated after the Soviet player's 30th turn (creating a 4x7 battlefield, with German victory at 35 turns), and the 45th turn (creating a 4x8 battlefield, with German victory at 50 turns). The game ends after the Soviet player's 60th turn.

To simulate guerilla resistance, the Soviet player gets (4) partisan units at the outset of game in addition to his initial draw. During any of his turns he may attempt to place ONE of these units anwhere on the battlefield with no "play" cost.

Success is determined by the following 1d10 roll:

Position with German Armor and/or any other units - 2 or less.
Position with German infantry/cavalry - 4 or less.
Position with only AT gun or other equipment - 6 or less.
Position empty - 7 or less.
Position with friendly units (including melee!) 8 or less.

Partisan units that fail the roll are not lost but remain in the Soviet player's reserve to be used at a later time. Partisan units that succeed immediately melee with enemy cards in that position. On subsequent turns they behave as normal units. Once "killed" they are removed from play.

Victory is achieved by the Germans if they can capture and hold two positions (survive one counter-attack from an adjacent position or the Soviet reserve) in the last rank of the Soviet position, or win by holding one position for 5 turns as above. The Soviets win by not losing.

Play Notes:

5/19/98 - Played solitiare. Germans were on the left, Russians on the right. The Germans had an ineffectual initial air/artillery salvo, followed by two immediate melee attacks on the top two positions. They quickly took the positions, however Soviet resistance did inflict damage, most notably taking out a tank and two or three German infantry. The Soviets countered by strengthening their second rank. With a swamp and village occupying the two middle positions of this rank, the Soviets placed bunkers filled with a mix of guard and militia/recruit units on the outer two postions, creating a formidable line of defense.

The Germans continued to press the attack and managed to take the village, then concentrated on the swamp. With foxholes dug into the swamp, the Soviet defense was tough, and the swamp made the Germans reluctant to enter with an armored or half-track unit. After several back and forth reinforcement, the Germans were able to take the swamp. They quickly placed their own foxholes and dug in.

However, at this point the Germans were woefully short of units at the front. They had "missed" nearly every extra turn opportunity so had to take a few turns to bring much needed units to the front. Luckily for them, at this point they made nearly every extra turn attempt. They were hampered in this effort by a couple key placements of Soviet Partisan units. They were placed in open spots, thus delaying German efforts to bring new units up to the front. They had to either "waste" a turn fighting them or go around them forcing them into inconvenient traffic patterns. "Hero of the Soviet Union" was awarded posthumously to these fighters, as two out of three of them placed during this resupply phase managed to take a Waffen SS or Veteran unit with them to their graves. Of course, the Soviets reinforced their positions and were also able to make a couple HE and AT attacks on the forward German positions.

Once the Germans had resupplied, they began to attack again using a "leapfrog" method that I think will become the standard procedure. Motorized infantry with half-tracks and armor (A) move through friendly positions (B) and melee with the enemy. On subsequent turns, the friendly positions (B) may then either reinforce the new position (A), or attack adjacent positions. This method makes the German front effectively two units deep. It is very expensive, however, and requires that the player be willing to risk a lot of his trucks and half-tracks.

Another technique the Germans used was to create a "truck depot" near the front. Infantry units rode trucks to the front, then left these trucks and moved into forward positions. During a lull, these trucks were brought back to the rear using one play so that they could be filled again and rapidly bring fresh manpower forward. The (4) German cavalry were also saved so that they could be used later in the game when their increased mobility would be a greater factor.

As the 15th turn approached, the Germans were able to capture one of the positions in the Soviet rear rank. The Soviets immediately countered with a melee of the OT-133 Flamethrower Tank, a Guards Squad, and another tank. Having the ability to immediately counter this assault was crucial. It took a couple of turns, but Soviets were able to repulse this threat and create the sixth rank at the proper time. They pulled the OT-133 back, however they had a little trouble filling all four positions with the required 2 units. However, once again the Germans were short on supply at this point and another respite of a few turns allowed both players to build up and reinforce.

I only played about 5 or 6 turns more, as it was getting late. The Germans took their time and built up an even more massive force ready to assault the Soviet positions. The Soviets continued to attack with HE and AT on the forward German positions with mixed results while they reinforced as well. I didn't play out the assault, but felt that given time, the Germans would eventually triumph. The Soviet reserve was wearing thin, and the Germans had about 2/3 of the battlefield filled with 2 and 3 unit positions, with a good 15 or 20 solid units waiting to be brought forward. It might have been close, especially if the Soviets abandoned their fortified Bunker positions on the flanks to bolster their manpower. However, they did serve to narrow the German assault, so it's a tough call.

5/24/98 - Played Solitiare. Germans on the left, Russians on the right. I gave the Russians a couple more tanks including a T-34. It didn't really make much difference. The game played similarly to the earlier one, with initial German gains that required massive amounts of resupply. One note: I think that giving the Soviets so many bunkers might be a mistake. If they are able to place these cards correctly, they can create a wall that is almost impenetrable. I think I will cut the number of bunker cards from four to two, and add a foxhole or two.

Another interesting development was the Soviets placing two infantry cards in bunkers on some kind of terrain with a powerful AT gun. This was a murderous combination. If you get a couple tanks close, one will inevitably get killed before you can take out the gun with HE fire. And the HE fire is always less than the AT capability of the gun, thus making it likely that you will lose at least 1 and probably 2 tanks to take out the gun. If the position is set up with bunkers, then any infantry attack on the gun gets slaughtered. Not sure how to counter this, but it does make for an effective static defense strategy. Another reason to cut back on the number of bunkers.

I still haven't figured out a good way for the Germans to use their AT guns. It's becoming evident that the AT Guns are best used in a defensive way, as their low speed and suceptibility to HE and SA attacks make them quite vulnerable unless they are protected by infantry in cover. I'm thinking that they might be handy in initial melee attacks against any Soviet tanks on the front lines. However, given the set-up parameters, it would be rather foolish for the Soviet player to place many tanks in the front rank. Also, any position with a tank cannot be melee'd by an enemy force unless it too has a tank. I think the answer is for the Germans to use these cards early to take out as many tanks as possible while conserving their tank assets.

I also think that yet another scenario rule addition should be added. On the opening air and artillery attacks only, the Germans do not need to roll to see if the attack "stays on target". I can see the necessity of this rule during the battle (simulating the fluidity of the battlefield . . . ) but on an opening salvo, the positioning of the front lines is well known. I found myself consciously taking these shots where there was little or no chance of them hitting the Germans positions instead of where they would do the most good in an impending attack.

On the whole, I think this scenario is pretty well balanced. It definitely takes a good 1/2 hour to set up, and at least 2+ hours to play, so the whole "quick and easy game" concept is blown. One thing I noticed was the the German AT guns didn't really come into the picture, since the infantry with the pf's in concert with the German armor were pretty effective at taking out the few Soviet tanks. I'm thinking that next time I might place more of them on the front lines and give the Soviets a few more tanks. In this early scenario, the tanks are pretty easy to kill, so it won't unbalance things too much and it should give the German player more incentive to use those guns instead of risking the higly mobile armor in a melee assault. This is also key because the 76.2mm Soviet guns are a fearsome factor. They are very deadly to both tanks and infantry with their HE attack value.

A last note: Most of the units that I used in this scenario reflect the cards that I have. This should be used as a guide to setting up your own scenario based on the cards that you have. If I had more German Line Squads, I would use them instead of the Luftwaffenfeld squads. I also used the resupply technique of returning a certain number of "killed" tanks to the reserve. This trick can be used in any number of ways . . .

Kursk Scenario
Introductory Scenario

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