Howdy Grogs of War,
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to play Red Winter’s full 32 Turn (Dec 8-12: We played 14/15 turns and had to leave due to scheduling) Campaign.
This was the first time I had the opportunity, and it went rather well for the both of us. Red winter is published by GMT games and covers the Soviet-Finnish Conflict of 1939 in the area of Tolvajarvi, Finland.
Things I love:
- Rules are great for beginner to grog level.
- Adding the optional rules make the game more fun, I use about 4 to 5 of the options, and I recommend you find your favorites too. It adds to the game.
- The map is easy to navigate.
- The Soviets. Maintaining control of the roads is imperative – and armor/arty rocks – Mass waves of Soviets. Bonfires…
- The Finns. Hit and Run tactics, the satisfaction one would get from sacrificing to the war gods a company of Finns to destroy an artillery park.
Things I dislike:
- There are little things you need to be sure of, assaults – they are not as great as one would think…
- Dug-In Finns
- Soviet Artillery is a multiplier…at times could make it a quick win under the right circumstances, and coordination with armor and infantry, it can be devastating.
- Terrain visibility: You can see the edges of some hexes – sometimes trying to explain this to a new player can be difficult for them to fathom…I am glad I highlighted it.
Summary: Buy the game if you can, when you can or pre-order it as a p500 asap.
If you want to play a fun magazine game, check out an oldie but goodie from Command Magazine Issue No. 31. Budapest 45′.
Super short Intro to Budapest 45′:
The situation in Budapest in January 1945 deteriorated for both sides – The Nazi’s taking the brunt from all Theatre’s, and the Soviet’s high command hesitant of funneling a massive amount of resources into a large city, by-way West through dense forest, wet ground-near-freezing, narrow roadways with minor rivers and the Danube (major) crossings that branch out across > than 150km+ distance W-to-E of Buda.
Hitler ordered Budapest a ‘Fortress’, and with the onslaught of overwhelming forces in the north, and the south of Hungary crumbling, supplies were becoming scarce. Especially fuel*. Units were being moved from sector to sector to help support the recovery of Budapest in this fourth period of the siege.
** Wiki overview: Link** “The Fourth Period (1 January 1945 – 26 January 1945) was marked by a series of strong counter-offensives launched by German reinforcements in an attempt to relieve the siege of Budapest. Some German units managed to penetrate deep into the outskirts of the city, with the most successful ones only 25 km away from the Hungarian capital. However, the Soviets managed to withstand all the German attacks and maintain their encirclement.”
Command Magazine’s Issue Nr. 31 Budapest 45′ covers this period of the battle, which gives you command and perspective on the seesaw battle for Budapest, and coordinated Panzer Drives to relieve the fortress of Buda and Pest (Castle Hill too) as well as the Soviet elastic-defense to bleed the Nazi’s drive for Budapest.
Pro’s and Cons on the game…
- The Rules/Errata are clear and easy to pick up on. Turn sequences are somewhat asymmetrical.
- Special Rules for the Nazi’s such as Heavy Support and Surprise Attacks & for the Soviets, Artillery Bombardments makes the game pace better than I expected.
- Panzer Division Detachments are very valuable to cover ground quickly. Their significance is important in feint attacks which can throw off the Soviet Player.
- Balance: It is somewhat even keeled in terms of unit count and att/def ratios…The map terrain is the true differentiator.
- Bridges! I love destroying bridges…
- The map and counters are clear enough to enjoy the game
- Concentric attacks can be good…however, they are trite. Since this is operational, it feels like two Goliath’s are smashing each other…You’re smashing defensive lines > than 4:1 odds and with these DRMs, it is almost excessive. There is definite positives to this to..
- The Map – For the time, it is great! Today, meh, somewhat lacking in details.
- Artillery bombardments are not as effective as I expected them to be.
Overall, a fun game. Once you get through a couple turns you’re spending more time book keeping step losses than re-reading rules for clarification. It is definitely a fun game and there are assault tactics that need to be employed at the start for the Nazis, and defensive flexibility/terrain reading/planning for the Soviets. Last words: Keep moving, and you may win…Get stuck, you’re dead.
Panzer Battles, Author: F.W. von Mellenthin
Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 12, 1985)
Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1.2 inches
You can purchase Panzer Battles at Amazon
Panzer Battles, A Study of the Employment of Armor in the Second World War – By F.W. Von Mellenthin.
The book follows FW Von Mellenthin’s experiences from the beginning of the war, from Ic-Intelligence officer to the General Chief of Staff in Poland, France, the Balkans and in Greece.
Mellenthin’s transfer to Africa as the Third General Staff Officer (Ic-Intel) to Rommel from 1941 June to 1942 September, at this time he was to have had been diagnosed with battle stress, but in actuality contracted amoebic dysentery, thus relieving him for approximately one month back home for recovery. By November of 1942 he was transfered to the Eastern Front until May of 1944. From May until August, General Hermann Balck was promoted to commanding 4. Panzerarmee in Ukraine, and South-East Poland.
In September of 1944, transfer (or the luck of “promotion”) to Eastern France with his commander Hermann Balck, who was now promoted to commanding Heeresgruppe G. From September 1944 to December 1944 both men operated in France, during the month of December, Mellenthin and a large number of Staff Officers were relieved due to an unauthorized retreat, during this same month, General Heinz Guderian had him reinstated as a Staff Officer, 28 December to February 1945. During that year as Ic to the 9th Panzer Division, he had the opportunity of participating in the Battle of the Bulge.
Between March and May of 1945 he was chief of staff to General Manteuffels’ Fifth Panzer Armee. Comprised of piecemeal units defending the Ruhr against American and British Forces, Mellenthin was captured by the British at Hoxter, on the Weser River 3 May, 1945.