GMT Games – Invasion: Sicily

A GMT/Vance von Borries creation – Invasion: Sicily is a series game that covers the Allied invasion of Sicily from July-August 1943, Codenamed “Operation Husky”.

This series game consists of Four Scenarios (1 learning – Gela Beachhead), one that covers the Operation Husky, a historical Campaign for Sicily July 10 – August 17, and a wide open Scenario that gives you more flexibility to either invade Calabria first, or stick to the plan, invade Sicily.

A total of 240 Full-Color die-cut counters, and a single map (and aid cards). Unit scale is in the Regiment/Battalion size. Time-scale of 3 Days per Turn, and a Map scale of 5.5 miles per hex.

Invasion: Sicily plays very much like most traditional wargames, however, invading scenarios give it a bit more flexibility in decision making. And since I regularly play EFS, von Borries’ system/rules are very close to one in the same, with their slight nuances to the game, theater of operation, and style of warfare. Invasion: Sicily’s focus is heavily driven to what decisions are made by the Allied invader, the Axis, however, decide on a defensive stratagem to position for stopping that very invasion; factors that give the Axis defender the advantage is the terrain, the maneuverability and supply lines they have, and most of all, the potential to evacuate (which some would say is generally bad, but hey, lets live to fight another day people.) from Sicily.

The variability for this game gives both sides to aid, and or, handicap. Point being, for both sides; The Fall of Mussolini, Fascist Revivals (Italian), Air and Naval Transport Determination/Transfers, and Supply.

Given that these rules provide the variability one would often run into in the face of an operation, the other factor of this game that makes things real interesting is the implementation of Efficiency Ratings for units, Beachhead and Port Supply lines for the Allies, capabilities to blow up Port’s, and the seizure of airfield and gun emplacements make Invasion: Sicily a fun, and often focused game.

One recommendation I’ve heard from many to compliment this game is to look into OCS Sicily ii (We’ll see…)

Getting a little into the structure of the game:

The Sequence of Play (Short)

A. Strategic Segment

  1. Special events Phase
  2. Weather Phase
  3. Supply Determination Phase
  4. Air/Naval Readiness Phase
  5. Pre-Invasion Actions

B. Allied Operations Segment

  1. Allied Transport Phase
  2. Allied Movement Phase
  3. Axis Reaction Phase
  4. Allied Combat Phase
  5. Axis Counterattack
  6. Allied Mot. Movement Phase

C. Axis Operations Segment

  1. Axis Transport Phase
  2. Axis Movement Phase
  3. Allied Reaction Phase
  4. Axis Combat Phase
  5. Axis Mot. Movement Phase

D. Reorganization Segment (both players)

  1. Replacement Phase
  2. Special Movement Phase
  3. Engineering Phase
  4. Victory Conditions/Turn Record Phase

 

For those that own the game, I recently threw together some of the on-map rules in an XLS. (The extended play rules will be in another file)

On-Map Rules

I have also submitted it to BGG here

 

 

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A fun day for Red Winter.

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 chance to play the campaign which 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.

Budapest 45′ – Command Magazine

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…

Pros:

  1. The Rules/Errata are clear and easy to pick up on. Turn sequences are somewhat asymmetrical.
  2. 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.
  3. Panzer Division Detachments are very valuable to cover ground quickly. Their significance is important in feint attacks which can throw off the Soviet Player.
  4. Balance: It is somewhat even keeled in terms of unit count and att/def ratios…The map terrain is the true differentiator.
  5. Bridges! I love destroying bridges…
  6. The map and counters are clear enough to enjoy the game

Cons:

  1. 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..
  2. The Map – For the time, it is great! Today, meh, somewhat lacking in details.
  3. 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.

Book Review: Panzer Battles – F.W. von Mellenthin

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Panzer Battles, Author: F.W. von Mellenthin

Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 12, 1985)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345321588
ISBN-13: 978-0345321589
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.

Background:

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: Panzer Battles – F.W. von Mellenthin”