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A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Germans can actually win this thing! rss

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Daniel Jacobsen
Denmark
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Having played three games where the Germans were soundly beaten by the end of turn 3 or 4, we were surprised to see that it is actually possible to win for the Germans.

In the first game, the Germans used their panzers aggressively up front from the start, only to get slowly but surely surrounded and worn down.

In the 2nd game, the Germans tried to retreat but still found it difficult to resist attacking with the panzers. Again, the Russians were able to destroy some of them eventually.

The 3rd game saw the Germans carrying out a more coordinated retreat, but the Russian HQ's were highly coordinated and focused, breaking into the center around turn 4 and leaving the Germans cut in two for turn 4 when no regular reinforcements arrive (an important lesson!).

In the fourth game, sides were switched and the new German player decided to collect the panzers and tandem the hq's for them so as to punch the advancing Russians hard in the face in selected areas while trading space for time everywhere else. This turned out to work really well. At one time, the Germans got careless and almost got 2 panzers reduced, but lady luck was with Mannstein this time. The Russians instead got their tank divisions reduced and lost some infantry on the Northern front.

In the south, the Germans were in full retreat and lost some units as well, but that is almost inevitable with this strategy. The panzers were now moved to the center to kill some exposed Russians there and reestablish a front line.



Soon, the 1st panzer army entered and the Russians in the south got into trouble. The Russians almost managed to take Kharkov, surrounding the lone panzer defender, but got surrounded in turn by hastily redeployed panzers instead, including the shiny new 9-4-10 divisions - which are truly nasty.




With the 6 activations now available to the Germans, and outnumbering the Russians 14-8 in panzer divisions, the end result was clear. There was no way the Russians were going to take any cities, and several of their remaining panzer divisions were about to be surrounded anyway. So we called it a night (it being 2:30, perhaps we should have called it a morning).

The main lesson from these 4 games is that the Germans need to get clever about combining their HQ activations to really get the most from their panzer divisions, punching the Russians before they are able to respond. They must retreat and not stand and fight. Panzer counterattacks must not go to far, as the Germans can't afford to loose any panzer divisions. Trading space for time where the panzers are not figthing is a good strategy, even if it costs some infantry. The Russians were a bit defensive in this game, but it's hard not to fear massed panzers in open ground. The Russians can't afford to play reactively to the Germans, as they are much too slow. They have to push ahead very directly with everything they've got and basically just go full speed ahead in the first 3 moves. If they haven't made serious headway in the first 3 turns, they probably never will.

What a tremendous game, by the way! Perhaps it is not super realistic, but I believe it does model many important aspects of this conflict. Most importantly, it is insanely fun and we can't wait to play it again.

Playing time was around 7 hours for 6 rounds, even using a chess clock! I don't think we'll ever manage to get under 8 hours for the full game. There are just too many deliciously tricky decisions in this game :-)

Please excuse the poor image quality.
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Steven Isaak
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How do you put pictures into your posts?
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Jon
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Yep. The lessons you came away with are very similar to the ones I picked up as well. Grouped panzers along with at least two German HQs (if not more) are deadly and can punch through any Soviet push across the river. I also subscribe to the retreat strategy although there has been some debate here about that approach. The only time I have seen it not work was when the chit pulls were definitely pro-Soviet, which prevented the Axis infantry from getting away and leaving the defense on the river crossings up to the panzers (which dispersed them).

I too found the playing time to be about 9 hours...
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Daniel Jacobsen
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alaskaspi wrote:
How do you put pictures into your posts?


First add the pictures to your My Geek -> Gallery.

Then just use the 'insert geek image' icon in the post editor menu bar, copying the image ID number from your gallery.
 
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