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Subject: An odd Southern defense rss

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George Phillies
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Another Novel defense has crossed my desk. I will re-analyze it after I change one feature, but sometimes people have creative ideas as to what they should be doing. The original of the defense was incomplete, in that it was imprecise about where the Finland units were starting, so I took no advantage of the Finland start locations. The new defense and my attack on it may be seen at

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1377344/stalingrad - South

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1377342/stalingrad - North

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1377343/stalingrad - Finland

Yes, there does seem to be a hole in the Russian line, someplace near OO14. The challenge in taking advantage of it is that there is only one usable space two squares from the border, and only three more spaces three squares from the border; the rail positions are then uncooperative.

What does a good German player do with a hole (this also works for Russians on occasion)? #1 is to use the opportunity to surround enemy stacks and make attacks with no retreat. Three German units can reach the rail at LL17 and have one movement point left.

The German here uses single units from this group to surround the Russian stacks on KK14 and EE12, incidentally undoubling the latter. There is a high-odds attack on one 574 on KK14, and a 1-6 soakoff. The other two units are pinned and must attack at 1-5 or worse against the Russian units, all of which are doubled because they are behind rivers while the Russian units are on a river. Against EE12 there is also a high-odds attack, and a soakoff from DD12 against the doubled Russian unit. Alternatively, some players would make a 3-1 on the stack, though that requires at least four armor factors (see prior article) currently used elsewhere. The third Russian unit had several options. I put it at HH14, so that the Russian 4-6-4 in the Carpathians cannot get anyplace where it can do a great deal of mischief by temporarily slowing the German breakthrough.

The 3-3-6 and 2-2-6 on the 11 and 12 rows cannot advance farther. The 4-4-6 at HH14 could have reached EE15 to lock the Russians out of the Ukraine, but if the Russians in this position can be tempted to attack into the Ukraine near EE16, this is a good deal and they should be encouraged to do so.

The units on LL17 could also better be on HH20 or so. The 4-4-6s pocketing Kiev ensure that the Russians cannot reach the Pripyat-Divina line to seal it; indeed, the Germans reach Stalingrad before the Russians can, because next turn the Germans take Kursk and Kharkhov and break the last river line before reaching Stalingrad.

In the North, the 4-6-4 at S18 is hit at 3-1, with a soak off on the 7-10-4, the 4-6-4 at U18 gets a 3-1, the 2-3-6 on X15 dies at 5-1 no retreat, and the two 4-6-4s behind it are hit at 3-1 (note the Rumanian corps doing useful combat work) with a 1-2 soakoff using a 3-3-4. The Russians lose on the average three units. They can counterattack at R18-S18, and if the Russian south were in good shape this would be credible, but they must hit an 8-8-6 at 3-1 and offer a 5-7-4 soakoff from S18 at 1-6. Alternatively, they can pile a 7, the 6-9-6, and a 5-7-4 on S-18, hit a 6-6-6 on S-17 at 3-1, and soak off from R18 (a 4-6-4) and T18 (two 4-6-4s, which can be retreated mischieviously, say to U18). Note that the T18 soakoff units view units on U17 as doubled. The Germans are under no obligation to continue this battle if they face large stacks of doubled Russian units. Even if the Russian Southern defense were more solid, the German Northern offensive gives the Russians some expenses.

Near Warsaw, the Russian leaves a unit at BB13. The Russians could undouble it by advancing to AA14 or CC14, but neither of those positions gets the Russians to Warsaw if the Russian player has heard of the Attack Warsaw tactic.

Observe that the other demands on the German forces are so large that the Germans cannot put units in Finland or on the Hungarian border near MM9. Given the remainder of the Russian position, the benefits of keeping the units as shown appear to be significant.


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Joseph A
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I'm happy to see a revival of one of my all-time favorite AH classics.

Looking at the situation in the south area, I'm wondering how such an advance by the Germans could be possible (to Odessa and Kiev even) given the starting terrain (mountains) and the fact that all Axis units must start no more than a hex of the Ukraine border.

In the north, I never liked starting a Russian unit of any type on X15, especially a mobile 2-3-6 unit that could be better sacrificed later vice having it annihilated early at 5-1 or better. Yet it is a key tactic of both the Roberts and Phillies defenses.

If I am playing Axis, I think I'd like more than that one lonely infantry division (BB13) on the outskirts of Warsaw...
 
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Joseph A
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I forgot to ask, where did you get this updated map and counters? They look really great and very professional.
 
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Lee Trowbridge
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Like you say, an odd defense. I'd suspect that the Russian next move would be to say "Oops. I concede. Let's set 'em up and try again."

Where did the Russian deployment come from?

Incidentally, one of your links has an incorrect image number.
 
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George Phillies
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In some order:

#1 The Germans marched along the shore of the Black Sea through the hole in the Russian lines along the seacoast.

#2 I have fixed the Finland link.

#3 The map and counters are generated using ZunTzu.com software and the Stalingrad game box.

#4 X15 gains a turn worth of delaying positions.

If I remembered where the opening came from, I would not embarrass the author by saying.

George
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James D. Williams
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Many of the color illustrations of game-board close-ups on this site contain modern map coordinate numbers visible in the board hexes.
An older [?] coordinate system is given in The General Vol. 2 # 1.
 
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