Autumn for Barbarossa [01]

Situation from BGG:

Autumn For Barbarossa, (AfB) is a Standard Combat Series (SCS) game that was published in Special_Opsmagazine #7 (2017), covering the the struggle to seize Smolensk in the late summer of 1941. This marks the end of the opening phase of Operation Barbarossa and the stabilization of the front until the effort to take Moscow in Operation Typhoon in the fall.

AfB features a small map area and a limited number of units, making it easily accessible for fast or competition play. The entire campaign finishes in 10 turns.

Play begins with the German offensive in full bloom. The German player attempts to rapidly seize as much of the map (in the form of Victory Point locations) as he can. Speed is essential; while he has several cities to reduce, he knows the clock is ticking before Hitler pulls the plug on his efforts. The commanders did not realize this was in the cards, but for design purposes we assume the player feels the pistol pointed at his head. The Germans have copious air and mechanized forces to accomplish their goals…for the moment. At some point determined by the “Hitler Roll”, the German mechanized forces are taken off the map, their air support is cut in half, and the Red counteroffensive strikes in an attempt to turn things around.

The Soviet player stalls, withdraws, and conserves his forces while letting the German offensive expend itself. As the high tide passes, he prepares his rebuilt Red Army for the second half of the game: the Soviet effort to blunt the German gains and recoup their losses as best they can

Inside the magazine/Folio game:

One 16 x 28″ full color mapsheet
One dual-side printed countersheet (280 1/2″ counters)
One 8-page Autumn for Barbarossa rules booklet.

VC: is defined by the capture of cities. The Soviets determine the scale of victory or defeat by counting up what they control.

Blue blocks are worth 2 VP, Yellow 1.

Game metrics:

D result followed by a # is the number of steps lost. R result means a retreat with a # indicating number of hexes. If you are not familiar with SCS you wont know then that advance after combat can be taken, and the retreat result indicates the # of hexes available all while ignoring eZOCS. It is sometimes better as the defender to absorb losses to and stand versus allowing breakthroughs. A delicate thing to balance out.

Game turns are 6 days long and each hex is 7 miles.

German Plan The Germans have 3 main approach routes:

1. Via Mogilev-Krichev-Roslavl

2. Orsha-Smolensk-Vyazma

3. Vitebsk-Dukovshchina-Yartsevo-Vyazma

Ideally assuming the Russians fortify or want to hold the Smolensk Vyazma road then a huge concentration of force will be needed. The German goal is to acquire a broad range of geographic locations. To prevent this the Soviets have to guard many places, but some road junctions will be more important for supply, and troop movement than others. By focusing on route 1 & 3 the Germans can assess encircling Smolensk if the pocket is significant and demolish units at ½ strength at will while they are OOS. Or they can ignore Smolensk, make soviets fight to get out, and focus on the surrounding areas and push thru to Vyazma which will restrict reinforcement entry, and make co ordinated counter attacking very hard for teh Soviets.

If the Soviets spread the defence, or create deep pockets this may in fact be the harder of the two nuts to crack. Then a careful assessment of which VP locations to target and how to best mass force there will be key to a win. The game is just ten turns long. So losses and attrition are going to be something we have to accept and we have no follow on consequence if we neuter Panzer divisions….There is no December here! So losses will have to be taken if they Russkies pocket themselves up and fight to the death.

Initial Russian dispositions

Russian Plan: Collect or gather Armour for counter attacks. Seek to button up in high value hexes or hexes that offer defensive column shifts.

Prepare for a secondary line as soon as possible.

Turn 1 [Late Summer 1941]

Setup and ready to roll.

Movement & Airstrikes

4 out of six hit, none inflict a step loss.

[Note only 1 strike per hex per phase.]


The Germans engage 8 times in the first turn looking to execute quickly to break the line wide open and drive deep in order to force the Soviets to move to avoid OOS effects. It is hoped that catching them on the move will allow for clear terrain combats, and overruns at favourable odds.

In the north near Poltsk [7.25] the german Motorized elements  inflict a d1r1, they force the soviets to retreat towards Poltsk.

In and around Vitebsk area attacks on 13.21,13.20,and 14.19 inflict 8 step losses. With a d3r3 [d3=3 steps lost r3 equals retreat 3] ,d2r2 and a d3r2 result. The 7th, 17th and 20th panzer formations smash the already reduced Soviet armour.

Further south near Orsha elements of 12th Pzr attack in 11.15 the soviets suffer a d2r2.

Across the Dnepr river the key attack to clear the breach in Sklov fails! A1d1! Both sides stay in place and the enemy will need to be dealt with in follow up attacks.

At the bottom of the map near Mogilev hexes 12.08 and 11.08 come under attack and are cleared by 3rd and 4th Panzer along with SS:R.. With d3r3 and d2r2 results.

The opening assault takes ten steps of Soviet forces out in exchange for 1 German step. Air plays a big factor as the successful results half the enemy defense and kill the ZOC’s.

The exploit phases consists of just one attack.:

During the Exploit phase the units of 20th Pzr attack 15.18 with a d2r2 benefiting from a prior air assault

Some armour attempts to fill gaps and keep units in supply. This might be an error. As the Soviet needs to build a deeper defence, with road bumps.

The Germans have lunged deep, knowing that being OOF can be a problem, but hope to shock the Russkies into abandoning posts! None of the first three cities fall in Turn 1. This is a bit sloppy, but we have a break thru across the river, which is now closed off by Soviet Tank forces.

Turn 2 to follow.

2 thoughts on “Autumn for Barbarossa [01]

  1. Excellent look at and turn 1 play of this excellent game.I enjoyed playing itvery much.
    Hope you don’t mind my sharing it to FB.

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