Rich played Russian v. Jim's Germans to get a handle on the strategic side of the upcome campaign. The game lasted aabout 1 1/2 hours including set-up. It's a bit dicey in this form - you dice for how many battles per turn & I think it's a big advantage to the Russians to get more, plus the battles are determined with 1 dice each with some modifiers. But it was good fun - easy to play & there is scope for skill. The Germans retook Vitebsk in a counterattack, but that didn't make up for losing Orsha, Mogilev, Bobruisk & Minsk. Minsk with it's +/-80 VPs is the vital spot that makes a huge difference in the level of victory.
No Retreat Mission:
Rich's Tankovy (HQ Sherman + 5 Shermans + 10 T34 (5 85s) + 6 Stuarts + Strelk = 1500 pts + Firestorm Howitzer troop) attacking
Jim's Panzer (2 HQ MkIV, 5 MkIV, 5 Stug, Panzer grenadiers, 3 Neblewerfers - no Firestorm troops) defending.
The Germans put their Panzer Grenadiers on the forward objective & Stugs in Ambush. The Russians put the Honeys on their right, Strelk & T34s in centre, Shermans on their left & Howitzers in rear. They advanced on the whole front. The Stug ambush was placed in a wood on the left and wiped out 5 of the Stuarts - the commander survived but retired to save a platoon loss. The MkIVs arrived early and moved to the right to engage the Shermans from a hull down position behind a ridge (while hidden from the T34s by anotehr ridge). With some help from the Stugs firing from the left flank they soon destroyed the Shermans. While all that was happening the Strelk had advanced within assault range of the Panzergrenadiers. The Panzergrenadiers fwere pinned by the Howitzers & fell back from the assault allowing the Strelk to take the objective (see pic - the brown bits are woods). But the Nebelwerfers had arrived the turn before & the Strelk copped a rocket barrage, fire from the unpinned Panzergrenadiers (with MGs), then were assaulted by the Stugs. They were totally destroyed in one turn. Meanwhile the MkIVs had redeployed behind another ridge and were pounding the T34s. The T34 return fire was pretty ineffective & in the next turn the combined fire of the Stugs & MkIVs destroyed the T34 platoon plus the Russian HQ. The Russians failed Coy Morale. German losses were 1 Stug & 2 Infantry.