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Subject: BitE Dortmund Campaign AAR, pt 8 October 1941 - Winter is Coming rss

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Chris Buhl
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“Winter Is Coming.”

BitE Dortmund Campaign AAR, pt 8
October 1941



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. This is Part 8.

Past installments: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7


October 1941 brought good weather, giving the Germans more time to consolidate their gains. Having basically driven the Red Army out of Western Russia, there wasn't a lot more fighting to be done. There were still Russian troops near Kharkov, but there were gaps the Germans could exploit to surround them. The move toward Leningrad was in good shape, but the forces heading to Moscow had been depleted by the sudden move south to trap Russian troops near Kharkov.










The Germans had one bold move to make, still. They called on their Airborne forces to make a glider landing behind the Soviet defensive line.




In BitE, airborne assaults can be conducted with an activation by the SHQ. Glider borne troops need to have a bomber escort, to tow the gliders. Paratroops can simply land. However, in the enemy reaction phase, the airlanding force might be intercepted by fighters. When conducting an airborne assault, you have to declare the action. If you don't send a fighter escort, the enemy knows for sure that an easy target presents itself. Air to air combat and AA combat, if applicable, happen as usual BUT any damage done reduces both friendly air units and the airborne units. If the airborne unit drops into combat, combat happens as usual, the airborne troops that have a malus in the first round (dice are halved).

In this case, the drop was not into combat, it was to anchor a defensive line that German troops formed around the remnants of the last Russian defenders in the south. This secured Kharkov and took Dnepropetrovsk, Zaphoreze, and Stalino, all Russian production centers.

Germany also moved into assault positions outside of Moscow, and made initial forays into Leningrad and Sevastopol.










Fortresses are BRUTAL in BitE! ALL dice, including air and artillery, are quartered when attacking a fortress. The fortress fires AA dice and hits on 5-6. Ground units defending in a fortress get a DOUBLE bonus (so hit on at worst 4-6, for armor or elite units on 3-6). My theory about dealing with fortresses is to surround them, so their defenders can't be refitted. Then send a max force, two strong infantry units, arty and air, and try to reduce their forces a hit or two at a time. Be prepared to spend a lot of PP refitting the attacking forces and just keep pounding. Remember that Sevastopol and Leningrad can withstand a seige forever without losing steps from their defenders to attrition, so I think you either bypass them or take your medicine trying to take them down. The only good thing I can say is, fighting for fortresses in winter is no different than summer, except for air unit participation. All units always fire one die, so units with quartered dice are basically shooting 1 die per combat round, no matter the weather.

These two assaults were bloodier, and less productive, for the Germans than even worst expectations. Both attacking forces suffered severe losses, and only caused two step losses to Leningrad's defenders, none in Sevastopol. AND to compound matters, Germany wasn't able to surround Leningrad first, so their forces can be refitted. AND, to FURTHER compound matters, the Germans made a blunder outside of Sevastopol that will slow them down, which we'll discuss soon enough.

Still, as Fall 1941 ends, I think the Germans are in pretty good shape. I've neglected partisan duty in the rear area, and that will cause some consternation.

On the Russian side of the line, things don't look good.




Moscow is weakly defended, and in some danger of being isolated.




More troops have been surrounded and surrendered.




The path to the rich oil fields of Baku is basically undefended.

I decided to change my strategy a bit, and focused on producing more, stronger replacements. In winter, the German forces will move more slowly, and will have trouble sustaining their advance. The first winter optional rule (which some say is too hard, and that may be true, but really there should always be some kind of first winter penalty, shouldn't there) limits the Germans to 1 SRM per snow turn, and gives their forces a malus in ALL combats, attacking or defending. Knowing how unprepared the Germans are, and knowing that strong reinforcements are coming soon, the Russian high command decides to start working toward being able to counter attack and hold gains, even if only locally.

Also, Leningrad has evacuated 2 armor factories, 1 in each of the past 2 turns. They will be back on line soon, and Soviet laborers are working hard on building new ones. The Russians invested maximally in armor factory production the past two turns. By the time this winter ends, they are likely to be producing tanks at a good clip, and have the capacity to hit back at the Germans, at least in small spoiling attacks.

In the Crimea, they did pull off a small coup.




The Germans left a gap in their security, and allowed an army to put their Sevastopol assault forces out of supply! They will easily get back into supply this turn, but it will be an entire turn of not being able to grind out attrition warfare in Sevastopol.

Lieutenant Shultz was, again, confused and frustrated in his confusion. Shouldn't capturing a Soviet Colonel General be a reason for confidence? This General didn't seem to be avoiding answering Shultz's staff's questions. His troops had surrendered south of Kharkov, en masse. He seemed to truly know little about any specifics of the defensive plans for the rest of his country. He admitted that the bulk of the Red Army was either dead or laboring for the Germans. And yet, this General seemed oddly unconcerned for the fate of his country. When any of the, well, Shultz thought of them only as “less sophisticated, but more patriotic” interrogation officers started ranting about how soon the Third Reich would simply lean back in his chair, smoke his cigarette, and allow a slight, wan smile to play across his face. Did this man, Shultz wondered, know something the rest of us don't?



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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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Looking at the title of this thread must get Emanuele thinking of "Blocks in Westeros". whistle

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Chris Buhl
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oneilljgf wrote:
Looking at the title of this thread must get Emanuele thinking of "Blocks in Westeros". whistle



There might be a game in that idea...
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Raoul Netherlands
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Another interesting AAR, thanks Chris. Now lets look how the harsh winter unfolds. I have to admit that the Russians have been decimated.
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Chris Buhl
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Rwargamer wrote:
Another interesting AAR, thanks Chris. Now lets look how the harsh winter unfolds. I have to admit that the Russians have been decimated.


Yes, they have been. There is some time though. The Germans, for all intents and purposes, can't attack much in the first Winter, and they have a malus defending as well (well, they can keep hammering fortresses, but that's about all). If they make advances, they are risking getting closer to the Russians, who have some heavy hitting shock armies on the way.

The good news for the Germans is that their industry is improving. By the end of winter they'll have built 5 armor and 1 oil factory, and have put much of the Russian yellow PP production back into play.

I think the Russians are in a tight spot, but they do still have a huge amount of industry to rely on. It will be interesting what happens next, in any case.
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