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Leningrad '41» Forums » Sessions

Subject: AAR - The Battle for Leningrad rss

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Luca Preda
Italy
Collegno
TO
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INTRO


I was invited by Ultimo to play test his most recent game, Leningrad ’41, now on Kickstarter and still in final development. I admit I have never played a war-game before, I love tactical and strategic games (either on computers or tabletops ) so I accepted the invitation of Ultimo and now I’m here talking about the several matches we played.I have to say that I'm an aggressive player that tends to attack often and put pressure whenever he can. I understood very soon that I had to adapt my playing style to the historical situation forcing me to play a defensive game using the Soviet army.


The beginning of the game is pretty straightforward, although the set up varies in an interesting way. The map shows icons for where types of pieces set up but there is some random draw about exactly which pieces go where. For example, one German corps might have three armor units in it, each of somewhat different strength. The map show three areas where the corps’ armor sets up but which unit goes into what area is random. Likewise the Soviets have some “remnant” units which are very weak when the game starts but could be built up with replacements over time. The Germans see an area with two Soviet “blocks” but have no idea what their strength is—it might be 2 pips or 4 pips or 6 pips. The combination means there is no “perfect first move” like I read about in some other games. This captures the chaos of the campaign at the point where the game begins. Both sides have to deal with some confusion. I read that this was one of the elements of Moscow ’41 which gamers really liked and that concept is here again for Leningrad ’41.

CONSIDERATION PRE MATCH

Having already played with Ultimo some matches using both sides, his play style is aggressive and he tries to create double forks putting in danger different areas simultaneously, that will force me to heavy protect my second line otherwise he will put me in the condition to threat two areas very far and I will not be able to use my HQs if I don't keep them with stars. So guys try to keep the HQs starred without activating them all together. I'm expecting from him an attack on Velikiye Luki in order to get the control of the area and being able to put stronger troops on his draw bag. Even though he could detach the 18th army in order to seize Tallinn and Kuressare (if this is the case I expect an attack on Hanko as well) in order to cancel the Soviet Baltic control. Another possibility could be he adopts the Napoleonic fashion tactic of the central position, aiming to break my center and disrupt the my command chain with the final goal attacking Pskov toward Novgorod, Pushkin and Leningrad. I will have to adapt my strategy to the situation but I'm confident he will push toward Velikiye Luki.

JULY '41

In the beginning of our game, the Axis tramples most everything in its path. Valga and Rezekne are surrounded and have little chance to hold the line, but some good dice leave me with some troops on two key areas. The Finnish army strikes the north but fortunately for some sniping went wrong, I manage to keep some of my troops slowing him down.





First impulse and the Axis shows it has a lot of power.
When I begin, I soon realize the “Defensive Line” will be my best friend through at least the early portion of the game.




In my first impulse, my focus is on making DLs where I can, moving the majority of the troops south to Velikiye Luki in order to intercept Axis’ troops (a decision I will regret later).





The next few impulses will see the Germans to smash down my defensive lines, getting very close to Velikiye Luki and threatening my center.




Thanks to some suggestions of Ultimo, I manage to survive without letting him break me down completely, but Velikiye Luki is soon doomed and his attacks cost me two of my precious HQs. My hope goes to August...

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Luca Preda
Italy
Collegno
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AUGUST '41

With August starting, I know that the Axis will get new Blocks in the game, but I also know that - as I have hold Velikie Luki - the 8th Fliekerkorps with its tremendous Stukas will not be available, nor will be Schimdt and his precious extra armour Blocks. Also, holding Velikie Lukie grants me that new German reinforcements will be deployed in G1, G2 or G3, thus far away from the frontline.

I use my 12 Logistics points to replace losses, stars and get 12 Blocks in. I must as soon as possible form a continuos and reliable line, able to sustain the German attack. I also must deal with the Finns, as they threat my back door, and keep an eye on Dietl if he stars moving on the Trail to Murmansk.

I must not give any of Novgorod or Ostashkov in August. If I can hold them both until the end of September, then with the Lend Lease in, I will have enough Logistics Points and Blocks to strengthen my lines and prepare for the winter offensive.

Ultimo restores his commanders and - instead of concentrating his axe on one direction, he spreads his effort along three different axes: the 18th army supported by the Luftwaffe goes for Tallinn, the bulk of his army concentrate on Velikiye Luki, while launches a diversionary attack toward Novgorod.

I know that attacking along divergent axes is not a smart choice, so I expect to hold them all.

Instead, the Germans show up all their superiority: my lines are heavily pounded and Tallin, Velikie Luki and Novgorod all fall, leaving me to defend Leningrad Ostashkov and Tikhvin.



Only Dietl and the Finns are not attacking, but I'm sure they will as soon as they find the right time..

My next few impulses focuses on building the defense in order to slow him down on the rush to Leningrad (I should have left my troops there from the beginning instead of moving them south) and to reinforce Ostashkov which has already been engaged, even if is still holding on.



With the beginning of September, my draw bag for reinforcements received a batch of new and some powerful troops, Fortunately I draw some of the new ones and I get to choose one because I still control Leningrad. My pick goes to Zukohv, which is my most powerful HQ.



His next move will extend his strength towards Ostashkov. I know the Germans are still powerful, but I am getting stronger. We will see what September’s combat brings...
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Andrew Migliore
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Thanks for sharing!
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Luca Preda
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Collegno
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SEPTEMBER '41

With my freshly new troops just deployed during the Logistics Phase, I set up a strong line to protect Leningrad using Gatchina and Pushkin as nodes. This will leave Liuban vulnerable, but he has to pivot around to use the Schlisselburg bacdoor, and if he overextends his spareheads, I will immediately launch a reliev counterstrike with Zhukov.

The other Area I'm worried about is Staraya Russa, as from there, he will set his troops up to renew the attack on Ostashkov or even encircle it. However I can stand it, whilst my main concerns remain around Leningrad (losing it means give the Finnish army the freedom to attack me behind the Svir, I would lose the Baltic Control with Oranienbaun and I would lose the possibilty to choose a Block from the draw bag. Too much at stake). On the other hand losing the control of Ostashkov would let the Germans go free on the southern part of the map and - as I have already seen in the past - they will then pivot around Lake Ilmen for a mass encircling manouver toward Tikhvin.

Whatever the case, I'm confident I can hold the Germans for the last month of good weather.


With the first impulse of September however my worst feelings come true: the Germans unleash their power along both the above mentioned directions!

Ostashkov and Liuban are in danger.

The terrain around Ostashkov grants me protection from blitz and slows him down, while the city itself protects me from some of his attacks letting me survive his first strike. Not the same fate for the proud Liuban's defenders which are completely erased from the map.



Now the threat on Leningrad is even stronger. If I lose my core city I might lose the game earlier than I thought, and that's exactly what the Germans are doing, they have to put themselves in a great condition before October otherwise they'll lose ground more and more.

My focus is now shifted immediately on defending Leningrad the best I can, reinforcing the defence on Tikhvin. Fortunately I can count on my favourite General - Zhukov - trying to move as many blocks I can. His command ability is outstanding!

All my effort vanished when, instead of going to close the Road of Life seizing all the harbours of Lake Ladoga, he strikes on Leningrad directly and takes it with a frontal assault. The city defenders do their best, but they are overcome by artillery fire and really effective air support.
Now the Finns can cross the Svir and chase me! I'm in the middle of two ferocious beasts!






Then, before September end, the Germans seize Ostashkov. Only Tikhvin and Murmansk are still fighting on, with marshal Zhukov leading the defence from the frontline. However it is too few left, even for the fierce and never doomed Russian soldier...



CONSIDERATION POST MATCH


For being one of the first match I play in wargames I understand I didn't play so bad, but the mistake I made were lethal. Not protecting enough Staraya Russa and not leaving the Dedefensive Lines around Leningrad the first impulse were two things that helped my defeat. In the future I also must not to activate too many HQ when defending, otherwise I will give the Germans too much freedom in the second part of the Turn. Lesson learnt, ready to fight another day!

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