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Subject: Summer of 42 back-to-back double feature AARs (with photos) rss

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M St
Australia
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These are AARs of two games of the EFTL "Summer of '42" scenario played in a single evening. [Originally posted on Consimworld in 2008.] This was actually a pretty hardfought battle. A Russian force with 20 vehicles (including 5 trucks) loaded to the gills with a rifle brigade has to get to the other side of the map without losing more than half their vehicles against a German AT gun and reduced infantry battalion, but the Germans set up hidden and the visibility is 16 hexes, probably the best I've seen in the game. Much of the terrain is variable and when we rolled, we got arid, sparse, flat - essentially a featureless plain with a couple of hillocks and a rough total of about eight hexes of wooden buildings. The Germans set up west of the N-S road running through Leniwka and Belikowo. There are also four random German reinforcement formations.

Game 1

The Russians tried to go the northern route (rear of the map from the camera's POV) and cut across the roadless valley to exit in the northwest.



The road went just far enough west to bring them within range of the AT guns set up around Moltarvoff and the mortars on the back of the hill. (The 120mm mortar was right at the western end of the map). The AT guns and mortars shot up several trucks and the fire zones caused losses among the offloaded but still stacked Soviet mortar units. (One of the fire zone dierolls, with a -9 modifier, rolled the only 18 we had that day, killing its target unit.) The turn 2 and 3, reinforcement cards were no-ops, and three companies of Russian tanks raced westwards to block German road #2 (thus necessarily unmasking the German AT guns by coming back out from behind of the hillock in the northern half of the map). Unfortunately, the turn 4 reinforcements was the veteran StuG III company, which entered exactly at this spot and managed to deploy unharmed despite Russian opportunity fire.



Some of the Russian tanks were taken out by flank fire from the AT guns before the StuGs even opened fire. At that point the Soviet player conceded since he concluded there was no way to break through without losing too many vehicles.

Game 2

In the second game, the leading Russian tank platoons checked out the few building hexes west of the setup boundary and immediately ran into an entrenched MG platoon guarding the road to Belikowo. At that point the Russian player committed to a major assault with a rifle and a tank company instead of blasting the MG's out with mortars. The tanks couldn't overrun and the first morale check turned the MG into a veteran. They lasted several turns and killed two tank platoons in close assaults until they were finally overcome with the help of the rifle and a SMG company.

In the meantime the Soviet infantry had gone to ground in Leniwka and State Farm 79, the mortars were set up, and the trucks hiding between buildings. Another MG was found and promptly turned into a veteran as well but was destroyed by mortar fire. Since the southern pincer was stalled, the other tanks were directed to the north, but at that point (turn 3) a Pz III company turned up in the Soviets rear, right in the northeast corner where some of the untransported infantry units were marching along the road. (Not all infantry units fit on the trucks and tanks.) The Soviets sent the remaining four tank companies racing back east, but they were badly shot up by the Pz IIIs, who killed two light tanks (shaking their formations) and suppressed a couple of T-34s. The T-34 company and KV-1 company kept shooting back, with the help of 120mm mortar fire eventually destroying one PzIII and another one had a catastrophic destruction in a morale check. The Germans became shaken, the use of Parent cards eventually got the Soviet light tank companies (morale 5 after one loss) unshaken, and the last PzIII was destroyed, but two of the light tank platoons never managed to unsuppress to the end of the game and had to be left behind. The next German reinforcement (a green company) rolled a 6 and was left out. The third was a company of StuG IIIs which went to reinforce Moltarvoff.

By the time the tanks went to the northwest again, a German mortar in Moltarvoff had started firing at the infantry, but having given away its position, was quickly silenced. The tanks went to the northwest and were fired on by a 75mm AT gun. This was entrenched but was nonetheless destroyed by the mortars, shaking the AT gun company. The Russian 76.2mm howitzer destroyed one of the StuG IIIs, but by this time we had reached turn 10 and it was obvious that the Russians were running out of time. The southern pincer had started to move again and ran into another MG entrenched west of the Belikowo bridge. This one again turned into a veteran immediately! (3rd in a row) But multiple overruns eliminated it, resulting in a shaken infantry battalion, though it quickly recovered. The last German reinforcement was by now in an ambush position south of the road, but never got to fire - the Russian tanks advanced to just before they'd have gotten into their field of fire, but still promptly suffered a kill by the StuG III's ahead. At that point tank losses were still pretty even (5 Soviet vs 4 German) but as it was clear that there was no way to get a sufficient number of trucks down the road within the 3 turns remaining, the attack was called off and the Russians conceded.

The photo (now taken from the north) shows the situation as the Russians saw it at this point.



Much of the German infantry and AT guns had been set up to cover the northern corridor but would have been out of action due to being shaken. The second photo shows the situation with the undiscovered German units deployed after the game.



Overall, a tough fight that saw the two main German formations shaken, and a quite interesting battle, in particular the tank battle in the northeast showed off the system to its best effect - but still two wins for the same side yet again. It might be interesting to try the scenario again with different terrain, but it seems it then depends almost entirely on the location of the AT guns and (again) on where the reinforcements turn up. The mortar fields of fire are not going to be affected since observers can sit hidden anywhere, and if the tanks come out of a patch of woods in point blank range of an AT gun they'll be blown away. Still, it may be possible to handle that by careful overwatch play. And, although it felt a bit awkward doing it and so probably wasn't done to the greatest extent possible, it is definitely useful to use the infantry to comb the landscape for observers.

German player's verdict: The Soviets came very close to winning, only the fact the terrain was so open allowed the Germans to pick off a few units and prevented him from closing with me using terrain. Had there been more terrain I think the Soviets would have been able to get their forces into a better position, and protected, ready for the late game rush.
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Andrei Shlepov
Russia
Moscow
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We played Star Fluxx, Star Munchkin, Dixit, and, of course, Bomb Alley.
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Many thanks for the AAR!

I bought the game recently per your recommendations and after reading several reviews.

I've been playing Panzer FTF this year and just got tired with hardware comparativistics coupled with an abstract command system which feels no different for both sides. I'm feeling myself not so much as a tank force commander as a memeber of post combat battlefield panel of experts registering hits on destroyed tanks. As a tank force commander, I don't want to hear accounts of each and every shot and hit taken, and I also want to feel the real difference in command between both sides, not just hardware.

Although I understand that at least some background information is obsolete (that Prochorovka description is the funniest since Rotmistrov's memoirs), I'm sure John Hill designed EFTL bona fide, using all the data available to him then. and it's a really novel concept, even to this day.
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M St
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If you bought it on my recommendation then I'm extra glad if you like it.

Yes, the game has rough edges, research and scenario balance being among them, but for me the system feels as fresh as the day it came out. (And these days it does not have to go up against a wargamer community that is hostile to using cards in a wargame, as was the case when it came out.) I ran into it in the 1990s and have found nothing superior since. It was truly ahead of its time.
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Mike Oberly
United States
Columbus
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You finally convinced me to pull the trigger on this on the used market. Reasonably priced. I had hopes for a reprint, but who knows when or if that happens. Very good AAR.
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