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Subject: Summer '44; second game with Jim P. rss

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Sam Carroll
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(The first game's report can be found here.)

Second game with Jim P, one week after the first (learning) game. Jim stayed with the Soviet side, but we took on the Summer '44 scenario, which is almost the mirror image of Summer '42, our last game. Our initial deployment:



I placed my strongest troops (both SS corps, and plenty of armor) in the center, hoping to push south if Jim over-extended himself attacking from his big salient. I also put reasonable strength into Romania, because I was very concerned about losing Ploesti's oil.

As it happened, Jim did attack from the salient on the north side of the Carpathians, pushing towards Krakow, and also in Romania. The north side of the map was quieter, though after a couple of turns I pulled back to Riga and the Daugava River line. He made a lucky roll (1 in 6 odds) for Romanian surrender, which hurt my southern flank, but he wasn't able to exploit much, due to lack of HQ steps in that sector.

I made one really strong counterpunch in this session; I had pushed in and retaken the Pripet Marshes at great cost. Then Jim left a hole in his defenses, and I was able to push four blocks through his lines and get in the way of his rail supply, causing supply attrition to about 10 blocks.

He quickly restored supply there and started grinding in the northern sector. Around October he finally pushed me out of Minsk; then as the weather turned snowy he was able to make a devastating blitz which cut off some of my blocks, took Riga, and damaged my Army Group North HQ. The scenario ended with the front stretched from near Konigsberg to the Pripet Marshes, then to the Carpathians and Romania.

In the final scoring, the generous scenario handicap gave me the win, but I think that if the game had gone on to Winter '45, he would have gotten to the western map-edge by February. He hadn't taken that much territory yet, but he had really mauled my army. There were a few meatgrinder-type battles, and given the low Soviet rebuilding costs, attrition heavily favors them. I had lots of blocks in the deadpile or down to one pip. I also think if Jim had pushed harder in Romania early, he could have taken Ploesti and put a big hurt on me that way. (That Ploesti oil penalty sounds very painful!)

I like the scenario; it's a tough one to play as the Germans, but full of interesting problems. It seems like the Germans have only enough strength for one really good counterpunch, using their SS units and saving the good armor, so they need to make it a good one! Jim also enjoyed the game, and wants to play again - maybe changing sides next time.
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