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Subject: Leningrad - chances of isolating in 41? rss

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Paul Lags
Australia
Parramatta
NSW
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Hi all,

Me and my regular opponent have been playing a lot of ef2 lately. I think we have played half a dozen games swapping sides regularly. One thing that has happened ever game in memory, has been that the soviets have easily been able to keep Leningrad from being isolated.

In our most recent game I as the Germans made a determined effort to see if I could break this outcome. Unfortunately even with the best German armour and hqs and the threat to Moscow the Germans couldn't break the defensive terrain up north in 41. Now there was some luck involved (double mud etc.) but even still it seems like as big effort to give it a serious go.

I wonder how much luck those players with a lot of games under their belt have in isolating Leningrad? It seems like a no brainer for the Soviet to defend up north enough to make either a large German effort up there required with a healthy dose of luck for the Germans to do what they did historically.

Cheers,
Paul
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Cezary Domalski
Poland
Szczecin
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I think, that this game is at its best in term of "game of tricks". Soviets MUST defend Leningrad, so they must send proper forces there. Germans did not, but they may want to force Soviets to send there too much units, so they will be weaker in other places. That's how I see main strength of this game - "outtricking" our opponent.

There is obvious thing - we all know by hindsight all historical issues of East Front campaign, so players will be tend to "solve" game in other way, but historical lines are more or less viable and possible.

Similar question may be asked about Summer'42 scenario and possibility of taking Oil field in Caucasus. Is it doable? Is it worthy? What will Soviets do?

In my games as a German player I do not bother too much about isolating Leningrad, because too much focused operations on Leningrad axis will hinder operations in other axes. But, if situation (and my opponent posture) looks favorable, there should be no hesitation to isolation try.
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David Stoffey
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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I've come to see that the German line doesn't reach Leningrad because of over defense by the Soviet player. It's typically not because of the German's lack of trying. To prevent the German player from moving against Leningrad, the Soviet needs to have 8+ blocks in the area (otherwise the German player should be able to break a pocket and move on Leningrad without issue).

If the Soviet player uses 8+ blocks to defend Leningrad (which they typically do). That means I, as the German, basically have Rostov guaranteed, and I'm going to take that.

So the problem isn't that Leningrad is "easy to defend," it's that the Soviets typically over defend it and either leave Moscow or Ukraine much more open. The German will respond to the opportunity at other targets and attack accordingly.

I'd argue the Soviet player typically over defends Leningrad because of all the good terrain in the area. There's just something that makes a Soviet player really like forests and marshes in 41+42 and who can blame them? Of course, with the Germans holding Rostov at the beginning of 1942, the Soviets have other problems.

In the end, the Soviets can't have it all, the German can typically make one of the following things happen in '41:
Leningrad isolated
Moscow surrounded on three (or terrifyingly four) hexes
Rostov captured
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I was Paul's opponent in that game. Things could easily have gone the other way--the Soviets twice had units survive in forest hexes at half a step, which bought them time to reinforce the area. We also rolled mud for both October turns. By that point the Soviets had no more reserves in the north, and I think the Germans would have isolated Leningrad with good weather and a blitz. Applying that much pressure took a major German effort, however.

Because of terrain, isolating Leningrad can be close to impossible if the Soviets defend it heavily. One nasty Soviet defense from the historical setup (that I stole from RedPlanet) is to rail Moscow infantry reserves into the the swamp hexes W and NW of Valdai Hills, move the Vitebsk units to the forest hexes south of Valdai Hills, and pile the Dnepr with everything else. It makes the north very tough to attack before the Germans even do their July I turn.

It's somewhat ahistorical, but the best German counters to a strong Leningrad defense IMO are:

Hit the Soviets in the Bologoe/Kalinin area to threaten Moscow and Leningrad at the same time. When the Soviets defend one (usually Moscow) the other may be vulnerable.

Focus on taking the Ukraine, apply pressure in the north just to engage the Soviets in double defense terrain and shoot for the win in 1942. In 1942 the Germans can either go for the Moscow knockout or attack more in the south--Stalingrad and Astrakhan (control of N. Caspian Sea) are worth 7 PP combined, which is more than Leningrad.

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Cezary Domalski
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I don't recognize Bologoe/Kalinin area as somewhat ahistorical. I recommend David Stahel book "Operation Barbarossa" and Jack Radey "The Defense of Moscow 1941", especially this second book, which shows how important was Kalinin area to both sides.
Stalingrad axis in 1942 is as worthy and tempting as vulnerable to strong Soviet counterattacks, especially when Soviets will build up on Voronezh area. All you need is to guess where opponent put his strongest forces/HQ's.
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John Spicer
United Kingdom
Gerrards Cross,
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If the Soviets are determined to hold Leningrad then they will. But at a cost elsewhere, as per the other threads.
So in a recent EuF game against RedPlanet and the Dniepr defence mentioned earlier I ran all the way to Voronhez and Rostov by September as the south was so denuded of units.
It meant a headlong southern advance with no combat using two HQ's and ignoring Odessa completely, but that's historical as Odessa didn't fall till May '42 I believe.
And as he tried to react I managed a sneaky blitz into the Leningrad forest hex, stormed it and subsequently Leningrad, all in '41.
I am convinced there is no right way to play S41. Lots of options for both the defender (a Soviet blitz to Ploesti can work in July1 if the Germans get it wrong!) or attacker, and as per other comments it's partly about reading your opponents intentions, and then about using your resources effectively.

20 years on and I keep coming back to this game. But as RedPlanet has seen I've got a bit of work to do to learn how to play MF effectively (in EuF) as the Germans. Too late for me in our current game, but if anyone wants to give me some tips please start a thread on EuF.....
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RedPlanet
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john s wrote:
but if anyone wants to give me some tips please start a thread on EuF.....


No.

after an absence from EUFront, you beat me twice, and early on!
and me playing the Allies - which I thought was my strong suit!!!

(although your demonic 666 airstrike was no help to my cause)

so I wont give you any tips!
 
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