Michel Sorbet
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Lądowa Obrona Wybrzeża 1939 is a game published in the Polish wargaming magazine "Dragon Hobby" back in 1998. I kept it for over 14 years on my shelf and finally it hit the table a few days ago! All due to my quest for playing all the unplayed games that I have!

The game expands Mława 1939 which I played a few months ago. It uses the same rules and some of the counters from it. I wasn’t thrilled with Mława 1939 and the play left me rather flat but I decided to give the system another try.

Lądowa Obrona Wybrzeża 1939 depicts the early stage of WW2 in Poland – the defense of its coastal line.

The magazine has two scenarios – the historical one and “Biały Orzeł” (White Eagle) which covers a hypothetical Polish preventive attack on Gdańsk launched on the 25’th of August.

I decided to play the first one.

Important notes:
1) No aircraft will be used in the game. The German roller-coaster is powerful enough without them
2) Polish units do not start the game fortified.

Here is the initial setup:

The Gdańsk area with the Polish outpost in Westerplatte. Schleswig-Holstein can be seen in the Bay of Gdańsk.


Another look at nearly the whole Polish corridor.



TURN 1

The German forces enter Polish territory. World War II begins... Westerplatte is not attacked this turn – the Nazis reposition their forces in Gdańsk. A strong unit approaches Kartuzy and other ones encircle a Polish Border Guard unit west of Gdańsk. The units cannot retreat so the first combat ends with a strength point lost.


In the south-west German forces from Bytów and Soniny approach the defensive position of Kościerzyna.


In the east the Polizei unit enters Skarszewy. The Tczew position is under threat.


It is time for the Poles to move. The Kościerzyna position is abandoned.


So is Tczew.


Units from Kościerzyna and Tczew are sent east to launch a surprise counter-attack on the Polizei unit in Skarszewy! The German unit, encircled, loses 1 point of strength.


The Polish line of defense in Gdynia and on the Kępa Oksywska. It is here that the German main attack will be awaited.


German counter-attack destroys the encircled Border Guard unit.


The whole battlefield at the end of turn 1.


Losses at the end of turn 1:
Germans: 1, sum: 1
Poles: 3, sum: 3


TURN 2

The German Polizei unit is out of supply but relief forces arrive very quickly. Polish units are surrounded at a speed of lightning.


In Gdańsk German units prepare for an attack on the Westerplatte outpost. An offensive towards Gdynia seems imminent also.


The German attack destroys the Polish cavalry unit. The Poles are trapped and have nowhere to escape.


The 10’th Panzer division has entered the board. It will only make a transit though – it will pass through Gdańsk, Pruszcz Gdański and Elbląg and then quit the board to march south. It can attack Polish units only if it encounters any on its way.


Despite the naval support of the Schleswig-Holstein and numerical superiority, the first German assault on Westerplatte fails.


The Poles strengthen their defensive line south of Gdynia. The infantry unit guarding the Kartuzy-Gdynia railroad retreats to a safer position.


The battlefield at end of turn 2.


Losses at the end of turn 2:
Germans: 0, sum: 1
Poles: 3, sum: 6


TURN 3


The 20’th Panzer Division continues its transit. It passes through Gdańsk and will exit the board next board. It did not find any Polish units on its way so no fighting will occur.


The encircling become the encircled as masses of German infantry prepare for the final attack on the Polish positions in the southern sector.


Westerplatte will be assaulted too.


Meanwhile the position in Kleczkowo is threatened. The first assault is unsuccessful – the Germans take losses.


The attack in Skarszewy destroys the National Defense Battalion of Kościerzyna and one other Polish unit. The only survivor remains an infantry unit from Gdynia.


Westerplatte falls on September the third. Historically the small Polish outpost resisted against all odds until September the seventh (for further information please consult the Wiki entry about the defense).


To protect the Kleczkowo position Polish units counterattack the Germans west of Szemud.


Germans take some losses and will be out of supply next turn.


Meanwhile the Germans eliminate the Skarszewo pocket. The resistance south of Gdańsk has ended.


Losses at the end of turn 3:
Germans: 4, sum: 5
Poles: 5, sum: 11


TURN 4

Now that Westerplatte and Skarszewo were taken the bulk of the German forces can switch their attention to the Kleczkowo-Gdynia sector. The Polish unit west of Szemud are immediately put under pressure


Under threat of being outflanked the Poles retreat to a new position along the Wejherowo-Gdynia railroad.


The German counterattack eliminates the last Polish unit west of Szemud.


Losses at the end of turn 4:
Germans: 1, sum: 6
Poles: 2, sum: 13


TURN 5

Germans rush towards Gdynia. The first assault is unsuccessful though. Once again the Polish right wing seems very vulnerable – if Wejherowo is taken the Poles risk to be cut off.


A closer look at the stacks battling for Gdynia.


The Polish retreat continues towards Władysławowo. At that point I saw something on the board which made further game rather pointless.


A closer look at the Polish forces.


Losses at the end of turn 5:
Germans: 3, sum: 9
Poles: 1, sum: 14


TURN 6

The Germans try to mess up with the planned retreat to Władysławowo but the Poles resist.


The retreat is completed.


The Polish “superstack” in Władysławowo.


At this point the game was completely pointless. Here is the reason why:


The Polish superstack could easily retreat to the fortified area west of Jastarnia (red circle). According to the rules such a position:
1) Causes the strength of attacking units to be halved,
2) Gives a modifier of -4 to the final result
3) Halves the losses sustained by the defenders

The Polish superstack with a power of 24 would then be confronted to German stack of 24 points of strength – the maximum possible limit on one hex. Even with the modifiers granted by artillery support and the presence of the Schleswig-Holstein the final table where the die roll would be made has results beneficial only to the defender.

Conclusion: this game is severely bugged...


The final positions when I decided to call it a day:


Losses at the end of turn 6:
Germans: 1, sum: 10
Poles: 2, sum: 16


Final German combat efficiency: 16/10 = 1,6.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

As I mentioned earlier the game is bugged. The Polish side can immediately retreat to the Hel peninsula. To that point the Germans can inflict only small losses and so playing the game twice, changing sides, is not going to permit a different approach. The Poles are outnumbered so trying a different strategy is just pointless.

In the way the game was published it is unplayable in my opinion. It needs to be fixed in order to make any sense.

Here are my two quick ideas how to do it:
1) Ignore the Jastarniafortifications – this is the major issue
2) Impose a different scoring system – the game should still be played twice with players switching sides but it is not their combat efficiency as the Germans that should be compared but they should gain VP for taking key points on the map – the number of points obtained for each hex should be reduced every turn – this way the Germans have to race against the clock and the Poles have to defend each position to the last man.

Without any of those tweaks Lądowa Obrona Wybrzeża 1939 will remain an unplayable game with a great potential and about a great subject.


+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+**+*+*+*+*+*+*+

My other wargames session reports:
Budapeszt 1945
Paying the Peiper
Mława 1939
Andean Abyss
The Caucasus Campaign: The Russo-German War in the Caucasus, 1942
Grunwald 1410
Normandie 1944 # 1 and Normandie 1944 # 2
Kreta 1941
Silent War
Kircholm 1605
Ardeny 1944
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wojciech zet
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Excellent report, but completely wrong conclusions.
It's the same if instead of defending the French fled to Brittany in 7 days. In this game sets the objectives to be achieved, it is the city and the date of their win over the Germans.
As someone escapes to Hel, it will lose the game. Poles defended the 16 September in Pomerania. Here the player was already 6 on the Hel ....
 
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Michel Sorbet
Poland
Lublin
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wojciechz wrote:
Excellent report, but completely wrong conclusions.
It's the same if instead of defending the French fled to Brittany in 7 days. In this game sets the objectives to be achieved, it is the city and the date of their win over the Germans.
As someone escapes to Hel, it will lose the game. Poles defended the 16 September in Pomerania. Here the player was already 6 on the Hel ....


The rules are the rules
The Dragon version bases on the German combat efficiency to determine the winner.

Without a tweak in the rules and setting a different kind of VC (see my two ideas) the game is not worth playing.
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