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Guards Tank: The Battle of Prochorovka, July 1943» Forums » Reviews

Subject: I'm speechless!! Guards Tank review rss

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paul hixon
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1=worst to 10=best
Counters; (6)
A first look at the counter sheet shows good clear markings and symbols. I like the different colors on the German counters. It makes them readily identifiable. Since the designer used the German SS “Lightning Bolts”, the historical SS regimental names should have been used. Might as well have went for the “Full Monty”. The Russian counter colors should be more disernable between formations. It was the 375th Rifle Division not 375th Guards. The Russian tank brigades appear to be historically named. Why not the same for their rifle regiments? That info is easily attainable.
(+)Counter markings clear and easy to read.
(+)German units distinguishable
(-)Unit ID errors
(-)Historical unit ID not used throughout

OOB; (3)
The OOB is not bad. This is a glass half full perspective. A lot of the represented units and formations are included. However, the designer got the Russian command structures wrong. This game begins on 5 July not 10 July. Command structures need to be present IAW what was historical in place on 5 July.
Big problems to follow. The 5th Gds Army is missing as a formation. 5th Guards Army divisions are lumped in with the 6th Guards Army. Why? These divisions were not subordinate to 6th Gds Army. 5th Gds Army was SS-Totenkopf’s primary antagonist when that division was shifted from the Corps right flank and put back into the Corps main effort. This is a major oversight on the designer’s part.
There is the 23rd RC HQ, but no 33rd and 32nd Gds Rifle Corps Hq's for the 5th Gds Army divisions. Several divisions are missing that weighed into the II SS sector (i.e. 6th Gds Abn, 66th Gds, 97th Gds, 93rd Gds). Several tank formations are just lumped in with the 5th Gds Tank Army (5th and 2nd Gds Tank Corps). Background; Both these Corps were subordinate to 1st Tank Army around 5 july. It wasn’t until 11 July that 2nd Gds Tank Corps was attached to 5th Gds Tank Army. Again the game does not start on 10 or 11 July. Why are they lumped in with the 5th Gds Tank Army? Both of these Corps operated and had an impact in the II SS Corps’ area. As did the 31st Tank Corps, which is also missing.

The Russian 6th Gds Army’s command structure is all skewed. As it stands by the rule book, the 6th GA HQ and 23rd RC HQ control 28 Russian formations/units(see rule snippet). How is that supposed to be accomplished within their command ranges? Russian divisional HQs should have been included. Not to mention 5th Gds Army’s, 32nd GRC, and 33 GRC HQs. I see major handicaps for the Russians that should not be there.

C2 rule snippets;
7.3 Command Structure: Each scenario has a “Command Structure” section for each side. This will delineate which HQ can provide command for which units.

7.5 Units Without HQ: In certain cases, a unit may have no HQ assigned to it, which means that unit is always OOC. ??????

24.7 Soviet Deployment
Soviet Command Structure
6 Guards Army (6GD) and 23 Guards Corps
(23 GD) command all units of:
the 42 Guards, 51 Guards, 52 Guards,
95 Guards, 183 Rifle and 375 Guards Rifle Divisions; 9 Guards Airborne Division;
6 Guards Army (6 GD) non-divisional units.

How is this supposed to be accomplished by these two HQs?

FYI: The 183rd Rifle Div. was part of the 48th Rifle Corps which was subordinate to the 69th Army not the 6th Gds Army. We have another formation present that is lumped into the 6th Gds Army from the start.
Also, a regiment of the 183rd rifle was deployed in the second defensive line. The rest of the division should be deployed in the games third line along with another missing rifle division (305th)from 69th Army's 48th Rifle Corps. Missing elements of the 89th Gds Div in the second line also. Not even included in the game.

It appears that SS-LAH and SS-Das Reich each have (two) panzer battalions. Historically each of these division had only one. Did the designer not research their OOB's? Or are they representative of panzer Kampf Gruppen? They are mark as a battalion and not a (KG). SS-Totenkopf had (two) panzer battalions.

A regiment from the German 167th ID is present for the start of the game, which is good. Where is the rest of the division? The 167th ID relieved SS-Totenkopf from the Corps right flank around 8-9 July. The rest of the division should have been included and scheduled to arrive as reinforcements.
(+)(-) OOB is OK, just not complete or structured correctly
(-)Missing Russian Army/Corps/Division HQs
(-)Missing formations that are critical towards the latter half of the offensive.
(-)Appears to be an extra panzer bat for the SS-LAH and SS-DR
(-)Total of SIX russian rifle divisions and one Tank Corps missing from the OOB.

Map/Scale; (2.5)
This map is so lacking I am stunned. Not much effort appeared to go into any research of the terrain in the sector. Even a good portion of the Bykovka-Pokrovka road is missing. That was directly along SS-Leibstandarte's axis. A portion of the map sheet is taken up with charts and tables. These tables could have been put in the magazine. That would have fixed areas that are lacking in regards to the map coverage of the II SS sector. The map is labeled with the wrong scale, however that is minor. I disagree with a map scale of 1 km for regimental sized units. Background; Historically the 52nd Gds Rifle Division covered roughly 14 kms of the first defensive belt. They had eight of their nine battalions in the forward line. In order to cover that same frontage at game scale leaves some mighty big holes. I could provide a deployment example for the 375th (Rifle) Division for 5 July if needed. This information and deployment maps are easily found even on the internet. This does not make the Russian defensive line(s) very formidable nor realistic. Again it would seem the Russians are unnessisarily handicapped by the designer.
(-)Not much effort into the map
(-)Regimental units and 1km map scale unrealistic.
(-)Game tables should be elsewhere instead of map.

Rules/Tables; (5)
The rules are well laid out and very readable. Some minor typos in the tables and rules text do appear. As already stated the charts and tables should not be on the map. There's just nothing really new here.

Game Play; (5)
The system appears to work rather well. I didn't encounter any major flaws other than the Russian Command units. This needs to be fixed IMO. The sequence of play is rather standard fair. The second wave attack is a good inclusion. I would have liked to have seen a second movement/exploit for the phasing player and maybe a reactive phase for the non-phasing player. Russian unit density can get alarming low. This didn't appeal to me. The CRTs can be nice and bloody, a good thing. I believe this game would have done good with a formation activation type system. The zone of control rules IMO are too restrictive at this scale and unit size. Perhaps a facing rule would having been better. All in all I beleive the designer tried to accomplish too much and in the process short changed what could have been a good game. He should have just went with the actual Battle of Prokhorovka starting from 10 July.

One of the reasons for playing wargames is to figure out what happened historically. That is not represented by Guards Tank. This game is not about the battle of Prokhorovka. It is a game covering the portion of II SS Panzer Corp's assault with in Operation Citadel. It's doesn't even represent that very well.
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OK, looks like a good start to a great review, but why publish this incomplete? I'm surprised the moderators allowed this, maybe they didn't read it?
 
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paul hixon
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Eh, the rest will be added shortly. Even if this is all I saw on a game it would be enough.
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paul hixon
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Done with the review and all I'm going to do with this game.
 
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paul hixon
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Working on a scenario for this, but this games map is irritating me.
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Mauro Bertolino
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11B4V wrote:
Working on a scenario for this, but this games map is irritating me.


I totally agree.
When I opened the magazine, and I tried a couple of games, I was negatively impressed by the map: half of it is occupied by charts, but the historical path of advance of Leibstandarte was left out of it! The game map is even contradicted by the historical maps that appear in the magazine.
It seemed to me that this new "eastern front battles" could be a new and interesting adaptation of the old "Modern Battles" system to WWII Eastern Front, but I decided not to go on with the series after trying the 1st volume.
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paul hixon
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I got the write up for the scenario. Was playtesting and not happy with the results. So I diverted my time from trying to make a broke game work, to playing other games.
 
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M Stumptner
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albaron wrote:
I was negatively impressed by the map: half of it is occupied by charts, but the historical path of advance of Leibstandarte was left out of it! The game map is even contradicted by the historical maps that appear in the magazine.

Excellent observation; such an occurrance is almost always indicative of deeper problems.
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