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Subject: Fine game but a couple of question rules + strategy rss

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olivier R
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This is one fine game, it slipped under the radar and I am probably late to the party but hey never too late to enjoy a good wargame. And I like it so much I found a way to get a copy of Kasserine. Anyway here are my questions :

1/ First scenario Soltsy strategy question :

I don't understand how the Germans can reach the northern Zvad-Utorgosh-Medved road without being out of supply.

Ok the first turn you find yourself out of supply, you get a free pass so to speak and are in emergency supply, I get that. But if I understand the supply rules correctly, the 3M division has only motorized infantry, so it can't use trails to trace its supply. It can only trace it either from its entry point or from the main Soltsy-Shimsk road crossing the map in diagonal.

So if it heads north, which seems crucial if one wants to get the VPs for Gorodishche and Utorgorsh, it will find itself out of supply roughly halfway between that northern road and the main road leading to Soltsy. (7 hexes from the road unless it rains).

And since the Soviets can block this northern supply source easily with the infantry motorized batallion that starts there or with the 21 Tank reinforcements before the German can reach it, (even if they get lucky with the activations) then the 3M units will have their attack strength halved. And thus find it really hard to clear the road and the supply source.

Am I missing something here?

2/ Can a HQ advance after combat if stacked with the attacking units? The rules mention a leader being able to do it, but say nothing for HQs. I suppose they can, but it is not obvious to me.

3/ Can a HQ and a leader both spend command points on the same ER check or only on two separate checks?

4/Not really a question but it bothers me that the KV and KVII have such a weak attack and defend strength, but seeing as their stacking value is really low, I suppose it is because the counter only represent a small number of tanks, right? Does anyone know how many?



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Ryan D
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Roads to Leningrad is a great game. One of my favorite WWII operational games to be sure. As for your questions:

1.If you look at the map, you will notice that the Germans can trace supply on the secondary Zvad-Shmisk road. Initially there is a Soviet unit blocking it, but it is easily dispatched by 3M (or more sensibly will retreat), opening the road as a LOC for the Germans.

2. Yes, HQ's can advance under combat with their stack.

3. Only on two separate checks. A leader and HQ can be used together for the same hex during an action (eg HQ for air support and leader for artillery), but they can't both be used simultaneously on an artillery check for example.

4.Yes, the KV tank units are small--only company sized units. Early war, a heavy KV tank company would only field 5 KV tanks. So it is tiny compared to the German panzer company. Individually,KV tanks were monsters during 1941. But at the operational scale, the Germans hardly found them to be a problem.

I hope this answers your questions.
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olivier R
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Thanks Ryan but I still don't get how the vanguard of the German 3M division can get there before the Soviet 21 tank division.

The Soviets get reinforcements on the 13AM and 13PM turns entering on the north edge.

This is maybe where I am doing it wrong. But I place the 21 Tank division's activation marker in the cup right away since they arrive during the first turn. The armoured car unit is fast (7MA) so it can reach Zvad in two turns.

The vanguard of the German 3M division on the map at the beginning is kind of weak : 1 HQ + 1 motorized infantry battalion + 1 motorized anti-tank battalion and the anti-tank with a movement of 5 will lag behind. The rest only arrives as reinforcements on the first turn. But it says, 13 AM second activation. The way I see it, it means they only enter on the map on the second 3M division activation.

So a weak vanguard, (only two combat units) has to either defeat the soviet units behind the Mshaga river that are blocking the trails to Zvad, or go wide along the western map edge where there is no road, only woods which slows down motorized units a lot. And then they have to get rid of the 21 tank division's units that a smart Soviet player will send to Zvad.

If the vanguard waits for the arty and the second motorized battalion, which only have one activation on the first turn, then it will definitely be too late.

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Ryan D
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21 Tank deploying to Zvad isn't as big a threat as you think it to be.

The forward detachment of 3 Mot. should make for the Mshaga river, seeking to cross it wherever 3 Tank leaves gaps (which it has to, it is too thinly spread to cover everything). Encircle and destroy the 3 Tank AT battalion if you can, as it is weak enough for the lead units of 3 Mot. to deal with. The forward detachment should then remain in its bridgehead, in supply. In the meantime, the trailing mot. battalion and arty battalion should move up to join the forward detachment in the bridgehead. Note that they will arrive there during the first activation on turn 2. Expand the bridgehead.

Now, if 3 Mot. activates again before 21 Tank, it can interpose itself between 21 Tank and Zvad, achieving central positioning. Make use of emergency supply, open the LOC to Zvad with your reinforced KG, and then redeploy to destroy 21 Tank units approaching from the east.

A faster version of this is to race the lead units of 3 Mot. straight for Zvad after crossing the Mshaga. These units have the task of wedging themselves between Zvad and 21 Tank, but don't attack anything yet. Maintain this central position, preferably defending on the strong hill crossroads of hex 1530. Wait for the reinforcing 3 Mot. units, and then defeat the Soviet units in detail.

Now, assuming you did the first (3 Mot waited for reinforcements in the bridgehead) and 21 Tank activates before your second 3 Mot. activation, and forms a strong position in Zvad, you will probably want to avoid attacking it at low odds. You can try opening it once you get further reinforcements. In the meantime, push to the northeast, parallel to 8. PD's drive along the Soltsy highway. Stay close enough to the highway to remain in supply, making the occasional foray north to hit isolated units or cut of Soviet supply to Zvad (remember they only have one road to supply themselves too.) In this operational plan, 3 Mot. screens to the north, practically ignores the units in Zvad, which are too far out of position to threaten anything, and assists 8. PD in smashing 70th Rifle.

The Soviets therefore can't afford to send large forces to Zvad, otherwise a significant portion of their force will accomplish nothing if the Germans simply choose to ignore them--and it is not even a sure thing that the Soviets can link up at Zvad before the Germans achieve the center position. They create no threats to German supply or formations. Instead, it is much more sensible for the Soviets to use their reinforcements to reinforce Soltsy and/or prevent the preemption of 237 Rifle deploying along the Bol. Utorgosh-Lubino-Prussko triangle. They are also extremely vulnerable to being cut off themselves by an assembled 3 Mot. division.

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olivier R
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Thanks for the detailed answer Ryan, much appreciated.

I probably have to start this scenario again and see what happens if I follow this tactic. Because the way it turned out in my test game, the German 3M division was not able to reach that northern road. After the forward detachment failed to secure it or wedge itself between the Zvad defenders and 21 Tank as you suggest, they got stuck behind the Mshaga river which gave enough time for 21 Tank to deploy there in force. On the flipside though, there is no one defending Utorgorsh, so it could leave this avenue open for 8 Panzer, except that without supply source there, it makes the whole affair very unlikely.

A few precisions though :

1/Note that they will arrive there during the first activation on turn 2.

What do you mean by that? On the scenario card, for the motorized battalion and the arty, it says 13 AM 2nd activation. That's the first turn right? I take 2nd activation to mean, the second time the 3M activation marker is drawn from the German cup but maybe I am mistaken.

There is also the problem that they start all the way down on the south west corner, not in the same spot than the forward detachment did. So it will take a few turns for them to reach the vanguard.

Anyway I see what you're saying and I am going to give it a try, but I am still not quite convinced that the Soviets can't stop them from reaching Zvad if they commit to it. It might leave another area of the front open though I'll give you that and it is maybe not the best move. But having this northern supply source not available changes a lot of things for the German player. The CRT results can also vary a great deal with a D10, so with a bit of bad luck I think it is not a sure thing.

2/Lastly, what do you mean ignore the units in Zvad? If the Soviets have a unit there, even if by cutting the road, you put it OOS, it can still block the German supply source by putting a ZOC on it, no?



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Ryan D
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It is something of a chancy affair for the Germans to beat lead elements of 21 Tank, it is true. The Germans need to activate 3-4 times before 21 Tank activates twice (depends where 3 Tank units are on the Msghaga. However, if lucky within 2 activations, the Germans should be able to at least throw a zoc along the road. In 3 activations the motor battalion and HQ can attain the central position, if they manage to avoid 3 Tank zocs.

My bigger point though is that Soviet units piled up in Zvad can be ignored by the German player because they don't threaten German formations with destruction in anyway by cutting LOC, generating many on fews, etc. 3 Mot. easily economize by sending a motor battalion north to cut their supplies. Cycle the battalions used for this task, ensuring that not one is ever out of supply (emergency supply is fine). The Soviets will then be forced to drive east to reopen the road. If they don't, their units will be out of supply and suffer penalties. At this point, gather a couple of regiments from 3 Mot. and venture north the smash them, bagging the Soviet units and opening the road for your own supplies.

Or you can just send 3 Mot. along with 8 Panzer. Forget about territorial objectives. Just focus on smashing 70th Rifle guarding Shmisk and pick off any units from 21 Tank and 237 Rifle that venture too far south. If you kill enough Soviet formations efficiently enough, you will capture the victory villages by the end of the game anyway.

I hope this clarifies things.
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olivier R
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Ok yes get what you are saying, it makes perfect sense.

A smart Soviet player though will not pile up in Zvad but only keep some units on that hill by the road just east of the town and the rest around Gorodishche maybe. The German player can still ignore them like you suggest, but the Soviets can then try to redeploy east if the German player only commits a single unit or two to block them. It then becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game but of course the Germans having two activations have the upper hand.

Having the 21 Tank there is probably not such a bad option for the Soviet though, because it spares this division the brunt of the fighting against 8Pz which is the most dangerous German formation. And it is less likely to lose its tanks units which cost VPs. And the longer you manage to delay 3M, the less you have to focus on defense on the north east corner of the map. Instead you can focus on smashing 8Pz by using all the Soviet infantry divisions for that purpose.

Anyway this is one hell of a game. The CRT is terrific, very unpredictable even though you have many ways at your disposal to influence the outcome of each fight. I Also like how the battle unfolds. There are different fights in several parts of the map which is interesting. The fight for the northern supply road which later on can allow the 3M to drive parallel to 8Pz advance; the fight around Soltsy and finaly the need for the Germans to keep that main supply road open against counter attacks from the south.

Thanks a lot for the insights Ryan.
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Ryan D
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Yes, its an excellent game. If you want to give it a shot over vassal feel free to drop me a line. Its tough to find opponents for this game.
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