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The Caucasus Campaign» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Leroy Learns and Solos the Caucasus Campaign rss

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Mark
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I though I would share my first solo play-though and learning game of the Caucasus Campaign by Mark Simonitch. I have condensed the first few turns due to limited change in the state of the board.

Turns 1 through 3

During these turns, the action mainly consisted of the Soviets trying to rush their reinforcements to the front and the Germans working to establish their bridgehead at Rostov. There was quite a bit of back and forth and the elite Soviet cavalry did a honorable job of trying to hold the line but in the end, they were just no match for the SS, German armor, and Panzergrenadiers.

The Soviets were able to push the low quality Romanian troops back into Rostov after they appeared, but it is unlikely that they will be able to hold this position very long. The German 3rd and 16th Armored divisions now occupy key railroad junctions that are going to severely disrupt Soviet supply. All Soviet armor has been eliminated, so they are at the mercy of the Lend/Lease program before they can gain that advantage back.

As for Victory PointsThe Germans have taken Elista (out of frame), Savropol, Tikhoretsk, and Salsk for a total of 4 VP going into Turn 4.


The Soviet units south of German entry hex C should have an Out of Supply marker on them.

Turns 4 and 5

Germans continue to push southwards but valiant Soviet cavalry and some accompanying infantry have dug in near Rostov, slowing the Wehrmacht reinforcements. In addition, they have now cut the supply lines.

Soviet infantry has also moved to surround the German armor at Savropol, hoping to put them out of supply and possibly force attrition. Soviets also acquired Lend/Lease tanks, bringing some armor back into the mix which will hopefully help hold Krasnodar.

Yeisk fell on Turn 5, yielding to the Slovenian and Romanian troops, giving the Germans 5 VP going into turn 6.

Krasnodar is a 2 VP city and will be they key to a Soviet win or a German loss, since the Germans will need to have 7 VPs at the end of next turn. Each side will be sending everything that can get there into the city.

The 5th SS and 13 Armored Division are at full strength and Romanian cavalry are in range to support. It all hinges on the Battle of Krasnodar.


After Turn 5

Turn 6

Turn 6 was a very fortuitous one for the Germans. They not only managed to eliminate the Soviet units that were clogging up their supply lines near Rostov, but they also were victorious in the Battle of Krasnodar, gaining 2 VPs to bring them to 7, and stretching the game out into the later turns.

The Weather was good, which allowed all sides to get their Secondary Impulse. With bad Weather and a few more pips of dice on the Determined Defense rolls, the Soviets would have most likely won on this turn, but such is war.

To the Soviet’s credit, they have forced step losses on the 5th SS and the 13th and 16th Armored Divisions at Krasnodar and Savrapol respectively.

Now the Romanians are looking toward taking some 1 VP port cities and Maikop is not out of the question; as you can see, the Soviets have left a very large hole in their line north of the city.



After Turn 6


The situation near the Kalmyk Steppe. Not much action over here yet, but thought I’d include a photo.


Outcome of the Battle of Krasnodar

Turn 7

The Germans waltzed right into Malkop with little trouble; the lone HQ blocking the path melted away. Bad Weather only gave each side a Primary Impluse so the Soviets did not have that extra chance to move some units closer and possibly retake the city. The Germans raised some Ost units who will not come onto the scene until later turns.

The Soviets are trying to hold the Germans in the pocket at Savropol and mustering replacements at Novorossiysk and Tuapse to hold off the eventual attack by the SS and 13th Armored.

Germans are going into the next turn with 9 VPs.

I forgot to take a picture of the board in my eagerness to get to Turn 8

Turn 8

Bad Weather continues. The Soviets had some luck on this turn. The Romanian attacks on Primorsko-Akhtarskaya and Temryuk were repelled by the Azov Flotilla and the Soviet Naval troops respectively and they suffered some step losses in their attacks. The poor troop quality does not help them here and they should have been accompanied by better German infantry. This could prove fatal to the German push into the Caucasus.

Elsewhere, the German armor and Mountain troops have received replacements for a push onto Tuapse and the SS and 13th Armored have moved to make an assault on Novorossiysk. They will need to take either this or Primorsko-Akhtarskaya or Temryuk on the next turn to continue to Turn 10, but the Soviets have two Black Sea sorties available to help with the defense of those two costal towns.

The Unfinished Railroad is completed, putting the remnants of the 51st army back into supply.

German VPs: still at 9.


After Turn 8


Near the Kalmyk Steppe.

Turn 9

Bad Weather continues on into the final week of September.

The Germans throw everything they have at Temryuk and Novorossiysk (I realized the attack on Primorsko-Akhtarskaya would have been at less than 1-2, which is not allowed) but the valiant Soviets defended bravely with the help of some Black Sea sortie defensive support.

The Germans end this turn with 9 VPs and a Benchmark of 10. Soviet Victory due to the German being relieved of command!


After Turn 9


The German Cadre Box


The Soviet Cadre Box

Afterthoughts:

I really enjoyed this game. As other people in this forum have said, it solos remarkably well. The gameplay is pretty quick compared to other Simonitch games and the counter density also lighter. The VP Benchmark is what really makes this game for me. It adds a level of suspense and tension that without it, would just a slow grind. This one might not be as exciting for the Soviet player but for those who enjoy playing defense more than offense, I think it could be an exciting challenge to see if you can hold back all that monster German armor with some scrappy infantry and cavalry just long enough to deny him reaching a VP benchmark.
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Chris Friend
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Really nice write-up and photos. Thanks.
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Krister Dahlgren
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Very nice!

I recently got stuck around turn 10 as the Germans as well and was sacked due to a lucky Russian cavalry charge on Elista. I find that the Russians, when huddled up along the Sea of Azov are a tough nut to crack. Since they are in limited supply, you have to attack to eliminate them and take control of the VP city. Also, I definitely did not use the Panzer divisions very efficiently. I believe that the secondary movement phase is critical to German success and you need to setup properly for it during the primary phase.

Just one thing: I believe the Black Sea fleet only allowed to support the Russians along the Black Sea coast, and not into the shallow Sea of Azov? That might have made it a bit easier on your Germans.
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Matt Irsik
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Great write up. I've found that getting through the first two turns is the big challenge for this game as that is where the unusual sequence of play and retreat rules really come into play. After that the turns go by pretty quickly, although the pressure is really on the German player to do well quickly to avoid the automatic loss.
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Roger Hobden
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Nice AAR !

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Mark
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Thank you for the kind words, guys.

Yes, the first two turns were indeed the hardest. The Germans had some sub-par dice rolls and it took them a while to break out.

Next time I solo this, I will likely forego Elista altogether. It is too far off the supply line and the resources you need to take this, especially if some of Soviet troops retreat there to defend, are hard to justify for the value of the city. Better to send that Armor south and get a good flanking attack/support on Savropol for a break further south and use the infantry to keep the Soviets from disrupting supply too much.

kadavriak wrote:
Just one thing: I believe the Black Sea fleet only allowed to support the Russians along the Black Sea coast, and not into the shallow Sea of Azov? That might have made it a bit easier on your Germans.


Yes, that is correct and almost missed it. Luckily, the attack on Temryuk did not succeed (A1) and the Black Sea support was used to cancel a DR on Novorossiysk, so it worked out.

 
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