Shock and Awe before we knew all that! [2]

I am playing out a solo campaign of Blocks in the East using all optional rules. As I play, I’m taking photos for a session report, which I hope will function also as a review of this game that I have become enthralled by. Part one of this project can be found here, this is part 2.

In this installment I’ll try to show how I utilized different types of movement and combat to surround many Russian troops, more about supply and being out of supply, and we’ll start talking about the strategic aspects of BitE, a little bit. And of course, we’ll talk about combat.

Here again is the sequence of play:

7.1 Strategic Warfare Phase
7.2 Supply Phase
7.3 Production Phase
7.4 Strategic Rail Movement Phase
7.5 Movement Phase
7.6 Defender Reaction Phase
7.7 Combat Phase
7.7.1 Air-to-Air Combat Step
7.7.2 Anti-Aircraft Fire Step
7.7.3 Air-to-Ground Combat Step
7.7.4 Artillery Fire Step
7.7.5 Ground Combat Step
7.8 Blitz Phase
7.9 Final Supply Status Phase
7.10 Armor Exploitation Phase
7.11 Victory Phase

Private Shultz was amazed the Field Marshall von Leeb could be so calm. Nearly everyone else in the command center was visibly on edge, but not the Field Marshall. Shultz had heard von Leeb tell his staff officers that once their plans were in place, no amount of fretting would influence the results. It was now up to the troops in the field.

Here is AGN’s situation after their movement phase:

Those black cylinders mark units that have been designated for exploitation. You’ll see my armor and air HQ’s have been activated. I’ve followed the pre-designated movement plan, making an additional attack with some spare infantry to the left of the German artillery unit. In face to face play only the HQ’s would be turned up at this time, I’m doing this to show what’s happening. The artillery on stacked on top of the two detachments.

Here is AGS:

The units with green dots in the corner are the AGS units, and the units with the black cylinders (oil barrels) are also AGS. The yellow dots are AGC units, from 2nd PzG’s element. The Purple People Eaters are the mighty Slovakians. I’ve made some additional infantry attacks with AGS, because these Russian units are not going to be surrounded after this turn, so I want to eliminate them while my first turn bonuses are in place.

And now, AGC:

The units with yellow dots are AGC. Moves here were according to plan, and moving up the infantry that started set up in the rear.

I haven’t yet moved any air support into battle. Let’s look at that, and talk some about strategic bombing, but that will be a larger topic on a later turn.

This is post combat. The units in red circles were used as ground support. The units in yellow circles, though, were used for strategic bombing. In this case, it was interdiction. I sent some bombers out to bomb rail yards, looking to reduce the Soviet Strategic Rail Move (SRM) capacity next turn. They were successful, scoring more than 5 hits, so eliminating all Soviet SRM next turn. With Russian unable to fire any AA on the first turn, no air steps were lost. SRM are what they sound like, and common to games at this scale. The Soviets have 5 per turn, the ability to move units anywhere by connected rail links except into combat or enemy ZOCs. I think they’ll be important for the Russians early on, but not in June of 1941.

Some of the combat was a bit bloody for the Germans, but the Wehrmacht won all of its battles in June. AGS had some tough fights, losing a total of 2 armor and 3 infantry steps. That might not seem like a lot, but Germany starts the game with the ability to replace 3 tank steps every two turns. Until they build more tank factories and/or capture some from the Russians, replacement tanks will be hard to come by.

Now to exploitation movement. Here’s the situation after blitz combat:

The white barrels indicate units which are OOS units. Can you figure out how we got from there to here?

Here are the exploitation paths. Infantry units were placed in reserve mode, armor were activated during the armor exploitation phase.

Finally, how did the Germans do at sticking to their plans? Pretty well I think.

Here are the Russian dead, I think that’s a pretty good kill count.

The final tally won’t really be known until we see how many units the Russians can get back to safety, and how many surrender.

So now we have to see what the Russians have to say for themselves. I’ll be back with part three as soon as I can. As a sneak peak, let’s take a look at the situation in the North. Finland is gearing up for war, and the Germans have occupied Petsamo with some tough mountain troops. The game’s designer has said that he doesn’t think the Axis can win without taking Murmansk, so that will be on the agenda.

Corporal Shultz moved with a purpose through the streets, warily looking around corners, behind doors. He realized by now, though, that Petsamo was abandoned. He thought of his excitement, and his fright, when his unit first sailed. “How will I handle myself in combat,” he wondered? He still did not know, but didn’t expect to wait long for the answer. He wondered how his brother fared, far away in Prussia.

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