Stalingrad Pocket II setup and plan of defense for Axis.

Well as we get organized to play, a few little items are popping into my thoughts about this game.

Is this battle a slam dunk for the Russkies? Well it looks grim to stay the least. The Rum Corps are weak, with brittle ( I really like that word when used to describe the condition, capabilities and survival likelihood of a unit ) Axis reserves. The line is spread thin. Lots of breaches, lots of gaps. Too few men, too many opportunities for pockets and encirclement. Wow.

Especially the North West Corner. These Romanians are going to get eaten alive I think.

Historical Setup.

The NW is the far end of the map in the above image. So I am considering what the Germans can do as a strategy to eek out a win?

In the mean time some funky hex sides are cause for a pause to re read the Volga rules (1.5b). Some hexes there are inaccessible.

Volga

For sure 50.30 and 45.30 as well. The other ‘hex sides’ are obviously not passable either. So, if the Axis wanted to press forward to finish the job they cannot. The Red Stars indicate Soviet only pontoon bridges.  Not that I think the Axis has the capability to move the Russians back, but it would have been nice to be able to try? Perhaps not!

The 64th Army optional rule will be used when I play. Meaning that we will not allow the 64th to wander off and do its ‘thing’ elsewhere. In fact if the Axis could regain control of 45.29 it could bottle up the 64th pretty nicely.

I’m hard at work assessing how to play the Axis. Whilst the Soviet approach seems best put at mass, barrage, attack, exploit with Reserves. The Kill Everything That Moves strategy.

It may be viable for the Axis side to retreat to more defensible areas and secure enough victory hex locations. The Axis player needs 10 for a minor victory.

These are the at start positions:

At start historical locations overview

Proposed Axis Plan and key hexs to hold as I see it:

The big concern for the Axis is the areas either side of Stalingrad proper. Its a challenge for forces there to hold and not leave Stalingrad closed off and out of supply as happened historically. But with only a few hexes crossable and x4 for defense IF the barraging of the Axis forces by the Soviets allows for any units to still be standing, then the could possibly hold for a quiet a while.

The Stacking in  Stalingrad is unique also,  we can pack guys in there willy nily. This may aid holding the pontoon bridge hex sides whilst avoiding losing ‘high value defense factor steps! I need to re read the rules for how that all works. As I recall any unit can take a loss, but only the top ‘eligible’ factors count for defense.

I imagine also that given the Axis have this unique reaction phase “inside” the Soviet turn that we will need to be able to accurately use this modoule specific feature and the Deliberate Attack mechanisms will likely drive things if used carefully.

More to come.

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