A Victory Lost_BGG

By Tapio Talvisalo

Original report in Finnish language at our clubs webpages: http://www.nopat.fi/2011/lautasotapelit/peliraportti-a-victo…

I am also testing how well the google translates my texts to english. my opponent Sami, is a wargamer from our club. There is also some general info about the game-system as introduction to people that do not know this great game.

I’m now playing the Russians and Sami got to play the Germans. We had time to play two rounds. I have this game a couple of half-back exercises, so a small advantage from it. Russians have more units, but the German HQ’s and units, as well as stronger, are the more mobile. Especially the German armored and mechanized units are dangerous and are able to move the front areas of concern and to hit hard.

The game began with STAVKA-chit and the whole Russian front line attacked further. As expected, the German allies, the Italian troops that was helding the center broke down as the Russians attacked, and large bulge was formed in the middle.

It also caused the German’s Romanian allies problems and threatened to leave them in the pocket (=motti) (partly indeed occurred in the second round). Russia advanced to the south, strong, and Germany was forced to retreat. In the north, little was done in the first round. Few Hungarian Division had to retreat the Russian invasion.

(photo: The situation at the end of Round 2. Red line = starting line, thinner red line = the front at the end of round 2. Axis new defencive positions. Orange arrows = russian attacks)

In the second round i proceeded through the center hole and attacked the Romanian and the Italian rear. I made it to the north and south. German units moved north to strike against. The idea was to fill the gap quickly. Rapidly worsened the overall situation and the encirclement of the Romanians forced the German retreat also in center sector. With the last HQ activation in the south, I managed to encircle the two German divisions, and with no possibility of retreat, these divisions experienced a disastrous end.

Second round reinforcements were low, only a couple of divisions. Germany backed down on all fronts and Vanaja weight (:) google) behind. Slow Romanian, Italian and Hungarian troops were slowly stuck as the advancing Russian steam roller moved forward, and losses occurred in each sector, German core units, however, managed to avoid bad losses.

At the end of the third round, second Russian Guards Army and Fifth Panzer Army managed to encircle the four German Panzer Army divisions. Two armored divisions were forced to retreat with losses. Also, a Romanian mechanized division was destroyed by the Russians and the pressure on German infantry division forced it to withdraw leaving other division to the small pocket (doomed). In the north Russian troops followed the retreating Germans / Hungarians, while a few Hungarian divisions were encircled.

In the middle sector, Russia destroyed three Romanian/Italian pockets. Overall Russia’s progress seemed like a good and losses so far have been limited. In the south the long attack to Rostov however appeared to take place too slowly. For the Southern Russian armies, the task will be to slow down the fleeing army of the Caucasus group A. This will give northern armies time to penetrate German defences.


(Brown line in the picture below the original starting line, red line, the situation in two rounds and a lighter red situation at the end of Round 3. Black stars are the battle grounds)

At the end of the third round came the Russia’s big reinforcements (2 armored divisions, two strong (3-5, 3-4) division, and four normal division (2-4). The German retreat and a few battles in the north had opened up the railway lines to the front. Reinforcements reached a wide area immediately behind the front lines.

(Reinforcements marked with green triangles and dashed line railway track.)

Fourth round: first, Russia continued to attack the northern sector. 1st Guard army led the attack succesfully and with Stavka -chit command, Russia would have been likely to penetrate Axis defences, and encircle many northern Axis divisions.

But Manstein’s orders reached Pico HQ and the German troops were pulled back and regrouped to the new line of defence.


(German Movements in blue, three possible pocket-locations, all lost, because manstein-chit and next is pico-chit.) 

(We had to pause the game here,we continue it soon, more report then…)

Picture: End of round 4 (green = reinforcements, blue
circles = axis “speedpumps”

Round five. Russia advanced to the north. The Front had broken out there. First Guards Army was advancing on Kharkov. Russia’s rapid progress was hindered by retreating German troops. German 385 Division fought in several battles. It slows down nicely for several divisions of Russian progress.

Picture: Russians advance toward Kharkov.

http://www.nopat.fi/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/kharkov_push….

Russia’s race to Rostov in the south was a bit incomplete. German armored divisions slowed down the progression there. Central sector, the Red Army pushed constantly to contact with German line, but they often managed to retreat before getting surrounded. Some of the successes, however, came here and there.

Retreating German South Army managed to escape through Rostov. Russia tried to slow the escape, by sacrificing one mechanized division, but it only slowed the escape, although the division fought well.

The northern part of the Russian troops was left behind (marked on the map in orange circle), when spearhead mainly consist of armored forces drove past Kharkov and then turned toward the south. The aim was to prevent german reinforcements coming to the north, and this was done by cutting the railways in two places.

Picture: Begin of round 6 (Kharkov captured! Four others (marked in blue) are still held by the Germans.)

The sixth round started with Stavka-chit. The entire Russian line was pushing firmly to German defenders. In the north, troops clustered to the roads near Kharkov to speed up the movement.

Russia raised a one more chit but with no significant results. Germany has a total of six HQ-chits, so they got the next 3 chits. Wehrmacht retreated from Rostov and moved troops to the west, to protect the Dnepropetrovsk approached by the Russian armor spearhead.

The next two chits was Russian againm and one of them was 3 Guards Army. When I looked at the situation in the region, I found a really bad mistake. I had left a hole in the line and it was also too weak near sides of the hole. This was not a bad thing alone, but when I saw that the railway line passes through the opening up to the Russian supply source, i began to feel edgy. Germany also had still three Chits in the bowl, I myself had no.

Two of those were even Manstein-chits. Germany would be able to hit a large number of my troops near hole and break through it and then use reinforcements to drive near my supply source.

I did then what I was able to do and moved the two units to protect the track and I stayed back to wait for Manstein’s Backhand Blow…

Picture: gap in the russian line, and railroad to supply source (in blue).

I had luck. Sami had not noticed this opportunity and instead focused on the destruction of my motorized units near gap. VPs from those would have helped him, so he missed this greater opprotunity. huh. Three successive German chits however delivered some punishment to my units, but i managed to survive and next i destabilized my front.

Pictures: Manstein’s Backhand Blow

The seventh round started with 2 GDA-chit and I got to remedy this situation adequately. German Chit-Advantage (6 vs. 4) however, ensured that Germany was able to controlled withdraw and to move troops to the west.

Just when I recovered the first threat of the situation I found that the Red Army in the western edge was pushed too fast and too deep, while the front line was stretched and thus become thinner.

Picture: German re-deployment to west 

Sami moved many armored and motorized divisions to West, and there I had a problem again. It seemed that Germany might push north to near Kharkov, and even could take it back. When Germany made a few attacks, and destroyed a few units in the west, the front there looked really weak. I was forced to withdraw to the back a little.

At this stage, i think that by keeping the pressure in south near Rostov direction and locking german troops there I could then pierce in the center towards Stalinoa. This would deliver me a instant victory. Howerver i should not lose Kharkov, so when i pulled the Popov-chit i
pulled back some units back to Kharkov and hills near it.

Picture: Round 8

Round 8: At the beginning of the round Germany still did some damage to the west, and clearly aimed at the Kharkov, so when I pulled the Stavka chit i formed a deep defence formation in Kharkov area. That would give me time to push to Stalino.

I had put in a chitpool 1 & 3 Guard’s HQ. Those had the largest concentrations of forces in their command areas. So after Stavka i then pulled 1GDA and pushed towards Stalino and managed to get it. Instant victory rule ended the game and Germany no longer had time to attack toward Kharkov.

VPs in the end was 32-14

Picture: the end

From The BigBoard, “But wait I hear you say”. That is right the game is not over. A mis read of the VC’s or a translation error caused the  players to end EARLY!!!!

Oh no’s…..

Should we try to finish it?

I think we could!

With an expanded image we could get 90% of the units in the right place.  When we come across some spare time it is on the list to be done!

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