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Subject: Illustrated AAR: A very close game... rss

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Menin Gate at Midnight, Will Longstaff, 1927.
"At the landing, and here ever since" - Anzac Book, p. 35.
This is a picture-based review of my second game of A Victory Denied, played solo.
My first game was a bit of a mess – I forgot a lot of rules and the German offensive failed to get anywhere. This game was VERY different and the end result was surprisingly close.

Initial setup (photo courtesy of Arteusz, the other images are mine):

Turn 1
The Germans began well, forcing the Russians back away from the Dneper and West Dvina Rivers. I skipped a few front line cities thinking that my infantry following up could deal with those. Besides, I thought at the time that there was little the Russians could do without their HQ (I shouldn’t be so careless in future, as the Russians can place HQ in victory cities, place reinforcements there, and launched a counter-attack, as it turned out the Russians were busy dealing with other issues so never took advantage of the opportunity). Timoshenko arrived and spread his forces along the southern flank of the German 2nd Pz Group, with two units blocking the Dneper River near Rogachev.

Turn 2
Not much combat this turn but the German units of PzGp 2 and PzGp 3 press further towards Moscow, displacing HQ as they proceed and again by-passing most of the small pockets of Russian resistance. The advance units of 3rd Pz Gp approach Sychevka and Vyazma in the north and are, based on starting positions, most of the way to Moscow already! Further south the 2nd Pz Gp faces stiffer resistance (and more Russian HQ) and so their advance is a little slower. The Russians desperately try to fall back and screen their HQ, and their few, but valuable, reinforcements attempt to delay the Germans, if not necessarily to stop them outright. Meanwhile the German infantry begin their advance with a view to wrapping up the victory cities and small pockets of Soviet resistance left behind by the panzers.

Turn 3
Turn 3 saw the Russians successfully stall the German advance. The 2nd Pz Gp put Smolensk aside for now and instead pressed onwards towards Moscow. The infantry began cleaning up behind the lines and moved to prevent any advances by Timoshenko’s forces, whilst the advance of the 3rd Pz Gp was successfully blocked by some strong and well placed Russian reinforcements.

Turn 4
With increasing numbers of German panzer units being out of supply the German advance stalled even further. Units of the 3rd Pz Gp in the north were split up and redirected to a gap in the south in the hope of being able to press an advantage. Meanwhile some units of 2nd Pz Gp captured Smolensk whilst other units resolved to blocking the southern flank against more Russian reinforcements. Up north the Russians counterattacked (and used artillery) to force the advance units of 3 Pz Gp back. It would seem the northern drive on Moscow had been stopped for the time being.

Turn 5
Turn 5 saw the German advance grind to a complete halt. The infantry moved up from the rear to further consolidate a few remaining pockets of Russian resistance but there was little more the panzers felt they could do. There was a large gap in the centre, but there were Russian forces on either side of that gap and it would have been risky to advance. Meanwhile, the Russians actually began to counter in the centre-north, consolidate a relatively strong force.

Turn 6
Whilst German infantry advanced in the south-west the advanced units of German panzers were forced to withdraw and attempt to form a line against any strong Russian counter-attack. A series of Russian HQ activations in the centre saw two strong units of 3nd Pz Gp surrounded and isolated (but not yet eliminated). At the end of the Hitler’s distraction dictated that the battle would end at the end of turn 8.

Turn 7
The infantry again advanced in the hope of capturing Krich-, and again the panzer units of 2nd Pz Gp were forced to fall back. This time the two isolated 3rd Pz Gp units were eliminated (2x 4VPs for the Russians)

Turn 8
The final turn saw the German infantry capture Krich-, whilst the Russians launched an all-out offensive against the German panzers in the centre. Attack after attack all along this centre area caused only ONE loss against the panzers, with the rest forced back a few miles. The Russians had hoped to grab a few extra VPs in this area, and foolishly missed the opportunity to grab an open victory city in the north. By the end of the turn the German infantry had arrived to begin to consolidate the situation and give the exhausted panzers a break…

I was actually surprised at how close the end game result was. The Germans had captured more than half the map, and all but 4 victory cities. The Russians were significantly helped by the elimination of 3 panzer units, and in the end the Russians pulled off a close victory, gaining 32 victory points against the Germans with 30.
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Jay Sheely
United States
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Wow, the Germans penetrated deeply, quickly! I'm on turn 5 against Steve (on pause for a week) and it took him until trun 5 to get where you German player got on turn 2!

That bodes well for me as a Russian. I've eliminated 3 Panzer units thus far and hope to isolate most of 2nd Panzer on my next turn.
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