Continuing from the previous entry, welcome back to the line of departure of Army Group North. A short refresher of the plan of operations follows.
|Please click the image for a more detailed view.|
The next screenshot offers a close up of the area of operations just beyond the line of departure of the Army Group North. The yellow arrows were added with an image processing software.
To truly enjoy this game, I suggest you keep your order of battle in mind. Depending on which side you are playing and the time period of the scenario, your operational "atom" formation (smallest formation to be tasked with a mission within the operational realm) is the Corps (German side) or the Army (Russian side). Keep these formations together and task them with missions that are coherent with the ones of Armies, Fronts or Army Groups. Careless "counter pushing" will most likely lead you to failure. Just a reminder, in the game, units belonging to the same army have the same color. Purple for the 9th Army, fucsia for the 4th PzGrp and pink for the 16th Army. In the image above, the yellow arrows represent the planned axis of advance for every army. Note how the 4th PzGrp axis of advance coincides with a railroad line that runs west-east towards the Western Dvina river (AKA Daugava river). Railroads play a crucial role in this game as they transport the bulk of supplies, ammo and fuel needed for your operations. So, you better have railroads thought of when you make plans.
The hour of battle has come, let's wake the Juggernaut!
In the game, attacking is a simple matter of selecting the attacking unit(s) and left clicking in an adjacent enemy unit. There are two types of attack: hasty and deliberate (you have to hold the shift key besides the right mouse click to activate it). Your unit(s) in a hasty attack will use only a fraction of its/their assets, but its/their mobility after the attack will be bigger than after a deliberate attack in which all the unit(s) assets will be used. In the image below, all infantry divisions in the I Corps/16th Army (12th, 32nd and 121st Inf Div.) are conducting a hasty attack on a hapless Russian infantry division. The decision of conducting a hasty or deliberate attack is upon your shoulders and you should consider the defending forces, their fortification levels and the terrain. More or less, the borders battles are a cakewalk and the Russian defenders retreat, rout or surrender in mass. So all my attacks on the border were hasty. And successful.
|I Corps, 16th Army hasty attack. Note the circular icon over the defending unit.|
|4th PzGrp units start rolling. The black and red lines indicate air support. The green line represents the route of enemy airplanes arriving to the battlefield. Click the image for an expanded view.|
And before we continue rolling up the frontier defenses one more word about air support and the air war in general. The air warfare aspect of the game is handled almost automatically. There is a an "air doctrine" page in the game in which you can specify how much of your assets will be devoted to ground combat support, enemy airbases and cities bombing, interdiction escorting, and air superiority.
|The air campaign is for the most part in the hands of the computer.|
By a series of front-wide hasty attacks with units from all my armies, the front is ruptured and the flood gates are open for my troops. Time to move on those boots, wheels and tracks!
This is a turn based (IGOYOUGO) game with turns that simulate one week of operations. It also uses hexes that represent 10 miles of terrain.
|Military geography. Click the image for an expanded view.|
These movement points are specified in the right side number at each unit counter.
|This is the counter of a German infantry division. It has a total of 16 movement points. The number in the left is the total combat power of the unit.|
For comparison purposes, this is the counter of a German panzer division. It has a total of 50 movement points. The number in the left is the total combat power of the unit.
The previous counter images are intended to give an idea about the mobility and firepower these two types of combat units have. Each unit will loose movement points as they move through different types of terrain or hexes that are enemy-controlled. All of these mechanics and design are pretty much standard in turn/hexagon based war games. The question is: how it works for a theater of war like Barbarossa?
In the screenshot below, the 6th Panzer Division (XLI Corps, 4th PzGrp) is attacking a Russian infantry division. Through a combination of combat (combat uses movement points) and movement (of course movement uses movement points, meh!), the 6th Panzer Division has advanced some 70 miles from the line of departure and still has 31 movement points (out of 50) left. Lots of punch left in this unit and in my opinion this kind of in-game mobility simulates the real life one pretty well.
|Click the image for a better view. The 6th Panzer Division (highlighted yellow) is halfway towards its objective. Note the advance of 18th Army (purple counters) and how the 16th Army is knocking the door of Kaunas.|
|End of first week of operations.|