SPII_Redux T10/11

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Soviets Declare Axis the winner.

Whilst I have played a number of East Front games that are theater wide this is my first or one of the first games I have played at this scale that I  recall in any case, that is Operation specific or dealing with a segment of a front other than GD ’42 which was company/platoon level anyway.

Games that evoke the “right feelings”, for a given situation are my favorites. Here we are dealing with an obviously well documented piece of history. The ebb and flow of this war overall and the command decisions that lead to this Pocket around Stalingrad are sweeping and epic in nature. Games which provoke some thinking about how to best manage the situation are favorites too. Games which create the desire to explore “what if ” are favorites.

SPII does a nice job of capturing the events that lead up to the choking  off of supply, the wholesale destruction of Corps, and the desperate defense and counter attacks that represent Operation Uranus.

In my game having that birds eye view and looking at the situation I chose to retreat early, and try to keep the Soviets moving thus avoiding as many breakthrus and reserve movements as possible.  This worked very well for the Axis.  The Soviets were unable to bring the right forces to bear at the right time in and around Stalingrad. The forces attempting to cross or already across the 2 pontoon bridge heads were blown away, and the Axis did a good job of keeping capable fighting units DG’ed most of the game.

The Soviets tried to stretch the Axis line, which worked but could not followed up upon in any depth. The  entire South Eastern sector really milled about aimlessly.  The real battle ended up being fought out around the junction of Chir and Don Rivers near Nizhne.  Attack after attack went both ways, with forces crossing the rivers, then re taking territory. Epic stuff.

It is my understanding that I did not do a credible enough job as the Soviets. I dont think I got the most out of the units as possible.  I am seeing some nifty and aggressive Soviet attacks in my PBeM game , and I hope to learn a little more when we play a Side by Side session with the Austin war gamers in a few weeks. I’ll check in then with more details.

There is as with most SCS titles lots of action. Each side can be on the offensive and there are lots of choices to be made along the way. The Soviets must husband what they have, and the Axis must hang on for reinforcements mid game.

I can see a lot of replay value here. Crazy considering the game can be had for $10 2nd hand.

Post Script  June 18th/2012 After now playing this for a fourth time (once face to face) the game is excellent. There are some minor issues with the Germans amazing exploit capabilities. It come to bear if HQ’s are not protected and the Soviets fail to use Reserve movement well enough.  We will post a Side by Side Play soon of 2 games run side by side between four players.

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5 thoughts on “SPII_Redux T10/11

  1. I’m doing a Vassal game of this myself and the pocket is about to be closed after Turn 3. 5T and its companion are heading for the Chir, splitting half the Romanians on each side. I used a few Overruns, Barrages and Reserves to gain the most ground. The Russians are having trouble keeping the artillery up.

    One thing the T1 line ruptures did is that everyone needed to cover more space right away, thus making it hard to organize a major counteroffensive. The airports needed to be covered and a rear line set up first.

    I think I have found (to the Germans cost) things that -don’t- work for the Mobile Reserve. Like holding the line with them. That lost me the ones on the left side of the map. Using the mech phase to hit something, then retire behind a screen of infantry might keep what’s left going for a while. I did something similar in the proto pocket and killed to infantry units, but the armor was down the line out of reach.

    HQ hunting as a tactic I think I will just forbid. If one gets lost, maybe I will just bring one in a few turns later as a replacement. Its not like either side couldn’t scrounge up a general and some tents easily enough.

    If you like this you might like “The Mighty Endeavor”, France 1944-45. Invade anywhere and try and cross the Rhine. Its another SCS game.

    1. Right. I opted to retreat aggressively and sacrifice Rumanians to slow the advance. My Germans got lucky and cracked the bridge head that supported the army over the Volga… That helped, and allowed me to peel units out of Stalingrad.

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