The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: February 2019

The Hungarian 2. Army in Russia

The Germans began negotiations during the winter of 1942 to secure more troops from their allies to complete the conquest of the Soviet Union. The Hungarians were persuaded to send some 200,000 troops in their Second Army for front-line duties to supplement the troops on occupation duties, but the Germans would have to replace the equipment lost during fall campaign by the Mobile Corps (Gyorhadtest). Former Belgian and Czech equipment, as well some of German manufacture, was transferred during the early winter of 1942 to the 1 armored and 9 light divisions that comprised the Second Army.

Structure

Light Division

A light division had 2 infantry regiments and a field artillery regiment as well as a hussar squadron, a 40mm AA battery, and an AA machinegun company under command. Each infantry regiment had 3 infantry battalions as well as a company of 81mm mortars, an anti-tank company with a mix of 47mm and 50mm guns, a motorized machinegun company, an pioneer company and a battery of 80mm field guns. Curiously these latter units weren’t organized into a heavy weapons battalion like most other armies. Each rifle battalion had three rifle companies and a heavy weapons company equipped with platoons of medium machine-guns, 81mm mortars and 47mm AT guns. The field artillery regiment had 2 battalions, one with a battery of 76.5mm field guns and a battery of German leFH 105mm howitzers and the other with four batteries, two with 100mm Skoda Model 14 howitzers and two with 150mm modernized Skoda 14/39 M. howitzers. Each battery had four guns.

One source states that a reconnaissance battalion was added to the infantry divisions after November ’42. Due to the language difficulties, I’m not yet able to confirm this.

I’m not exactly sure why the Hungarians called their infantry divisions “light (könnyu)”, but it’s probably because they only had two regiments rather than the three found in most other army’s infantry divisions. The “light” name wasn’t used for the three regiment divisions organized from mid-1943.

Armored Division

The 1st Field Armored Division (1. tábori páncéloshadostzály) had the 30th Tank Regiment and the 1st Motorized Rifle Regiment as its primary components. The 30th Tank Regiment comprised a company of engineers and two tank battalions, each with one heavy tank company of 11 Pz IVs and two medium tank companies of Pz 38(t)s. The 1st Motorized Rifle Regiment consisted of three motorized rifle battalions and a motorcycle company. Each battalion consisted of three rifle companies and a motorized machinegun company with platoons of medium machineguns, 81mm mortars and 37mm AT guns. Divisional troops were the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, consisting of a light tank company of Toldi I tanks, a company of Csaba armored cars, a motorcycle infantry company, and a platoon of 50mm AT guns and the 51st Armored Anti-aircraft Battalion with 3 companies of Nimrod self-propelled AA guns. The divisional artillery consisted of the 1st and 5th Motorized Artillery Battalions, each with three four-gun batteries of 105mm leFH 18M howitzers and the 51st Anti-aircraft Battalion had two batteries of 80mm Bofors Model 29 AA guns. One source, however, gives the designation for this last unit as the IInd. As deployed it totaled 108 PzKw 38(t)s, 22 PzKw IV (kurz), 17 Toldi Is, 19 Nimrods, and 14 Csaba armored cars, though some sources claim tht it had only 89 Pz 38(t)s.

Corps Troops

Each corps was organized identically, I think, with a bicycle battalion of two bicycle companies, a hussar (cavalry) squadron with an organic battery of 80mm horse artillery, an anti-aircraft battalion with a company each of 40mm and 80mm AA guns, and an engineer battalion of two companies. Artillery support was provided by an artillery battalion of two four-gun batteries of 149mm Skoda M14 howitzers and a motorized heavy battalion with two four-gun batteries of 150mm Bofors Model 31 howitzers.

Army Troops

The 101st Towed Heavy Artillery Battalion initially had just one battery of Italian 210/22 modello 35 howitzers, but added another battery of 150mm Bofors Model 31 howitzers by the end of the year, possibly acquired from the 150th.

The 150th Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion initially comprised 3 batteries of Bofors 150mm howitzers, but by 1943 had managed to acquire a battery of 305mm Skoda siege guns (German aid?), a battery of Soviet 203mm B-4 howitzers and a battery of 152mm Soviet howitzers.

The 101st Antiaircraft Battalion had three batteries of 80mm and one battery of 40mm AA guns. The 151st Motorized Engineer Battalion was only partially motorized as two companies of its engineers were motorized while the other two were mounted on bicycles. It also controlled two assault boat companies. There was also the 101st Motorized Chemical Battalion that had a company of 72 flame-throwers. The 106th and 107th Independent Automatic 40mm AA Batteries were also assigned to the 2. Army.

Equipment

The Hungarian Army used the progenitor of the MG 34 as their LMG and modernized Austro-Hungarian Schwarloze 07/12 machine guns were used in the medium/heavy MG role. Some engineer and signal units used ex-Yugoslav Bren guns. Mortars were a mix of German and Hungarian-manufactured 50mm and 81mm models. Company-level anti-tank defense was provided by two 20mm Solothurn s18-1100 anti-tank rifles. Anti-tank guns were a hodgepodge of Czech 37mm, Belgian 47mm and German 50mm guns. Artillery was a grab bag of partly modernized Austro-Hungarian weapons and modern Swedish, Italian and German guns. Sweden provided all of Hungary’s AA guns, including the famed 40mm Bofors.

Hungarian production of armored fighting vehicles was a relatively recent development with Swedish-designed Csaba armored cars and Toldi light tanks in service. The Csaba was an design of which little information has survived. The first versions of the Toldi were armed with a 20mm gun, probably adapted from the Madsen 20L65, but later models were armed with a cut-down Bofors 40mm. The evidence is uncertain, but most, if not all the Toldis in use in 1942-3 were early models with the 20mm gun.

Hungary requested a license for the PzKw III and IV, but was turned down to avoid upsetting the Romanians. A license was granted to build a Czech medium tank design, the Skoda T-22, as this was less provocative to the Romanians; and they had the oil.

Called Turans by the Hungarians, the first T-22s weren’t delivered until late ’42 and the Germans delivered 108 PzKw 38(t)s and 22 PzKw IVs to allow 1st Field Armored Division to deploy to the Eastern Front. The precise models of both tanks are unknown, but the PzKw IVs were definitely armed with short-barreled guns. Whether the PzKw 38(t)s were delivered fresh from the factory or refurbished is also unknown, but the Ausf G model was in production when they were transferred to the Hungarians. Photographic evidence indicates that at least some PzKw 38(t) Ausf Gs were in Hungarian service. The Nimrod was a Swedish-designed self-propelled 40mm AA gun that used the basic Toldi chassis. The Hungarians, desperate for anti-tank vehicles, used them as such.

41M Turán II – Hungarian Medium tank at Kubinka Museum. Credit: Alan Wilson, 2012

41M Turán II – Hungarian Medium tank at Kubinka Museum. Credit: Alan Wilson, 2012

The Hungarians called their ordinary infantry division-equivalent light brigades, but the units of the Second Army were heavily reinforced and termed light divisions with 14,000 men assigned. They seem to have been influenced by the Italian model as they were structured much like Italian binary divisions, as you can see from the unit organizations above, and normally totaled about 12,500 men without the reinforcements attached to the divisions of the Second Army.

The divisions of III Corps, being the first to arrive in theater, were less well equipped than the later arriving units. They had a 47mm AT gun rather than the 50mm in the regimental AT companies. Similarly the battalion level AT guns were 37mm rather than the usual 47mm. By November ’42 the Hungarians fielded 43 75mm Pak 97/38 (75L36) AT guns. My guess is that they were distributed pretty evenly between the divisions.

Unit Designations and Assignments:

Generally, only the infantry regiments had designations different from the parent brigade. Only non-divisional units corroborated by two sources are shown below. However I feel fairly confident that each corps did field a cavalry squadron.

III Corps

  • 6th Light Division; 22nd and 52nd Infantry Regiments
  • 7th Light Division; 4th and 35th Infantry Regiments
  • 9th Light Division; 17th and 47th Infantry Regiments
  • III Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion
  • 5/II Artillery battalion
  • VI Bicycle Battalion
  • III Engineer Battalion
  • III AA Battalion
  • 1st Cavalry Squadron

IV Corps

  • 10th Light Division; 6th and 36th Infantry Regiments
  • 12th Light Division; 18th and 48th Infantry Regiments
  • 13th Light Division; 7th and 31st Infantry Regiments
  • IV Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion
  • 24/III Artillery Battalion
  • VIII Bicycle Battalion
  • IV Engineer Battalion
  • IV AA Battalion

VII Corps

  • 19th Light Division; 13th and 43rd Infantry Regiments
  • 20th Light Division; 14th and 23rd Infantry Regiments
  • 23rd Light Division; 25th and 51st Infantry Regiments
  • VII Motorized Heavy Artillery Battalion
  • 21/II Artillery Battalion
  • IX Bicycle Battalion
  • VII Engineer Battalion
  • VII AA Battalion

Sources:

Abbot, Peter and Thomas, Nigel. Germany’s Eastern Front Allies, 1941-1945; Osprey, 1982
Dombrády, Lóránd and Tóth, Sándor. A Magyar Királyi Honvédség 1919-1945; Zrínyi Katonai, 1987
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Feszerelése és Fegyverzete a Frontra Kivonulása Idején: 1942 Aprilis-Május”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1985/3
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Kiszállítása Ukrajnába és Elonyomulása a Donhoz: 1942 Aprilis-Augusztus”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1986/3
Tóth, Sándor. Magyarország Hadtörténete; A Kiegyezéstol Napjainkig, 1985

1942 AUG II Axis Turn

Narrative

Breakthroughs and Breakout: Against all expectations the Germans attempt a breakout of the southernmost of the two groups of surrounded panzers north of Yaroslavl through a two deep line of Soviet armour – read below to see how this goes.

Simultaneously using newly arriving infantry corps transferred from the southern front the German forces strike directly north into the swamps and eliminate an enemy infantry stack with mobile units gaining a further hex of advance toward the Leningrad rail line.

In the far north German units out of Murmansk turn the left flank of defending Soviet forces and in the far south the Axis pull back from their adventure south of the Don and form a tighter cordon just on the south bank to use as a bridgehead for launching a more sustainable attack when the slower infantry arrive in force from their mopping up operations on the approaches to Rostov.

Turn Report

Finland & The Army of Norway: In the far north troops moving south from Murmansk now operating past the end of their supply lines attack a lone 2-6* inf reg in the mountains eliminating it and advancing towards the narrow strip of land at the south of the lake system. They are assisted by aircraft from Murmansk and Norway bases.  Immediately to the south two Soviet regiments are eliminated aided by a newly arriving infantry regiment from The Reich.

North of Ladoga the 9th pz eliminates a 4-6 xx in wooded terrain then transits west to help contain the rogue Tk xxx still operating well behind the lines.

Battles along the Arctic rail line

Battles along the Arctic rail line

AGN: With two whole infantry corps arriving from the south the Germans strike into the swamps at a corner hex at the neck of the bulge extending north to the forces holding position on the Leningrad/Vologda rail line. Reinforced by panzer and mech units the defenders are eliminated and advancing C/M troops exploit further threatening to take a second hex of the railway line and cut off a whole swath off defenders. At the same time another hex is gained close to the existing line-occupying forces helping to consolidate the German’s hold on this important railway.

The Germans revised tactic of a broad front approach in the drive on Vologda bears fruit as a 3 hex assault can be mounted on one of the larger Soviet defending stacks. With massed rail gun support the hex is taken troops advancing to within 16 miles of the isolated panzer force to the east. Then in a desperate move to be freed from encirclement the surrounded troops attack west!. The Soviets deemed this a suicide mission against an 8-6-8 mech xx plus rocket regiment over a river into woods. However the 3REs of supplies air dropped in by the Luftwaffe are enough to put the 12-10 panzer in supply and gain +1 AECA (the rest of the force having no AEC due to their U2 status). The key to the attack however is the massive GS delivered by the Luftwaffe which is just sufficient to mount a successful 7:1 attack!. The tankers, tired and battered, underfed and low on ammunition are safely reunited with their compatriots but choose to remain in place forming a bridgehead over the river to the north of Yaroslavl. The second group a few miles north are not so lucky.  Herded into a swamp with a wall of Soviet armour supplemented with massive DAS their fate appears sealed, particularly due the miserable effort by the  Luftwaffe to supply them. (see below).

A further attack is launched on the northern tip of the Soviet fort line still occupying100 miles of front on the East bank of the upper Volga between the German drive and Moscow. It fails; the fortified defenders hold firm and after a sustained assault on the fort the Germans call off the attack and await further reinforcement.

AGC: Nothing to report.

The Axis pushes past Rostov

The Axis pushes past Rostov

AGS: Rumanian, Italian and Hungarian forces with a leavening of German units mop up most remaining enemy forces north of Rostov. Stalino remains to be assaulted in due course as does Taganrog. A surviving fort on the Donets completes the list of Soviets outside the city north of the Don.

Advancing infantry establish positions on the west bank of the Don bend except in the east where the line falls short of the river to prevent Soviet infiltration tactics against the intermittent line.

Out on a limb and surrounded by Soviets ZOCs the motorised forces which crossed the Don a fortnight previously are pulled back in a tight cordon to the east of Rostov where an attack punches a hole in the defenders lining the swamps on the south bank of the river to establish a supply line.

A single mech division exploits south to block the rail line to Stalingrad and slow any Soviet relief effort. The surviving 2-8 mot cadre immediately south of Rostov moves further south into the steppe to occupy a rail junction and halt rail movements from the Transcaucuses. Both these blocking moves are aided by a series of lone wolf bombing runs which adding to previous unrepaired damage decimates the Soviet rail net south and east of the city between Rostov and Stalingrad. Air attacks from the AGC sector attempt to hinder transfers south by the enemy.

Air War: As reported in the north GS is the main effort. An air drop to the northern isolated group goes drastically wrong. Early morning fog and mis-direction by Soviet flares and fires scatters 5 of the 7 REs dropped. The two getting through being effectively worthless for the two surrounded divisions.

In the centre and north other than some “topping up” of mopping up attacks by AS all efforts are against the Soviet rail network.  Of the 22 attacks two are driven off by the VVS and the aircraft remaining on target inflict 5 hits.  The Soviets lose 2 aircraft across the front.

Battle Report
Attacks: Auto = 6, Diced = 9
Losses: Soviet Isolated = 33, Un-isolated = 50.  Forts = 5, Air = 2
German. Un-isolated = 8

1942 AUG II Soviet Turn

Narrative

Anton paused for a moment from bailing straw at the back of the small store attached to the farmhouse he had lived in all of his 18 years. He was helping his father at the modest abode he shared with his father, mother and older sister. Theirs was a simple subsistence existence well off the beaten track, or to be more precise some 20km at the end of it; so the war to date had completely passed them by.  He gazed out across the vast plain of central Ukraine the “breadbasket” of the nation. A solitary hawk was circling in the distance. Today was a good day.

The rare sound of a motor vehicle approaching caused him to look up, his father gestured for him to stay hidden while he walked to meet the vehicle as it slewed to a halt in front of the farmhouse.

Four soldiers all dressed in black got out and walked towards the house. Peeping from around the barn Anton saw his father remonstrating with the men, unfortunately he was still carrying his pitchfork and made the mistake of raising it. The leader of the group reached into a leather holster pulled out his pistol, raised it to head height and shot Anton’s father who dropped at his feet.

Panic gripped Anton and with a shame that remained with him and shaped him for the rest of his life; he turned and fled. He ran to his hiding place, a small hollow under an overhang in the bank of the brook that ran along behind the barn. He had used it often as a child when his father’s wrath had spilled over following some misdemeanour or other.

He heard the screams and pleadings of his mother and sister as they were dragged from the house.  The cries were soon muffled and replaced by the laughter and grunts of the men in black. After some time two more shots rang out across the steppe.

Curiosity getting the better of his fear Anton peeked out above the bank. He saw one of the men pull out a gasoline can from the rear of the car and douse a stick with some hessian sacks bound with twine they had gathered from around the farmyard.  The man lit the impromptu incendiary device with his cigarette butt and tossed it onto the farmhouse roof.  Dried from the summer heat the thatch caught and burned instantly. Then one of the men started walking towards Anton. Had he been discovered? Anton ducked down and into his hiding place. Moments later his hair and face were splattered by warm piss cascading down the bank. Was this a ritual humiliation before his own death? He pressed his face tighter in to the now moist earth and held his breath. Moments later he heard the man walk away and then the car engine burst into life as it moved off back down the track. He lay there frozen for 15 more minutes before emerging from his hiding place. The farmhouse was now well ablaze far beyond his abilities to save it. He fell to his knees and vowed that he would never run again and that he would not rest until the Motherland was rid of every last one of these enemy animals.

He moved north for three weeks; on his back a pack containing all that was salvageable from the farm and his father’s old hunting rifle.  Living off the land and avoiding the main towns and occasional enemy patrols he took succour and shelter where it was offered.  Late one night he reached his objective, a swath of dense forest where it was rumoured some men had formed a small resistance group. They made contact an hour later…

The Soviets defend the supply line to the Arctic

The Soviets defend the supply line to the Arctic

Turn Report

Partisans:   2 Rail-line Hits

Finnish Front:  Now the blockage is cleared to the south the Soviets rail a large force of primarily infantry type units north to occupy the rail line east of the 9th pz thus re-establishing the supply to Leningrad. Troops also move north with some Res Pts to renew the central push into Finland.

The isolated cadre trapped against the lakes to the north of Leningrad finally surrenders. (DR, no retreat route)

Leningrad/Moscow Fronts: The Soviets content themselves with reinforcing and consolidating the front line and tightening the noose around the trapped German mobile corps. They do manage one attack against one of the northern panzers but it manages to retreat onto its compatriot following a DR result.

Voronezh Front – No activity other than forces in transit and new recruits moving to the front.

The Soviets desperately hang on to Rostov

The Soviets desperately hang on to Rostov

Rostov Front:  With the crisis abating in the north this Front receives all forces arriving from the East this turn.

The troops fleeing towards Rostov take advantage of the Axis pull-out from north of the city and forces fleeing south occupy/transit through the city and mass to attack a 6-10 mot/AA combination at the western end of the ring which is isolating the city south of the Don. A 2-8 Mot cadre is all that remains after the attack and supply is restored to Rostov and to the light screen remaining to the north and west of the city.

The Axis have bridged the Don to the east of Rostov and formed a chain of C/M blocking forces.  This chain prevents relief forces reaching Rostov from the East but the Soviets surround the block with ZOCs in the hope that the Axis will be forced to withdraw by the end of the month and Rostov can be retained.

Air War: Around Moscow new airfields receive fighters transferring in from other theatres. A flight from Moscow is turned back by aggressive German Patrol attacks.

Most Assault Bombers provide DAS at the narrow points between the trapped Germans and their main front line.

In the north the Leningrad Air Division launches a full scale assault on Finish air fields and knocks out Kotia, Kuopio and Joensuu forcing Finnish fighters out of range of the front although this is at a cost of 1xIL-4 from AA and 1xIL-4 from Fighter interception.

Battle Report

Attacks: Auto=1, Diced = 2
Losses:  German Isolated = 6.
Finish Isolated = 3.

Soviets Air = 2

1942 AUG I Axis Turn

Narrative

In a series of political gestures of no real military significance or effect Stalin announces that the small settlement at the rail junction at point 2107 which saw the elimination of the 14th panzer is to be elevated to the status of “Hero Hamlet” and renamed “Little Stalingrad”

Hitler meanwhile promotes the previously unremarkable commander of the isolated spearhead to Field Marshal declaring “Never has a commander who has not had the guts to stand up to my inane and military incompetent commands ever surrendered”.

Not to be outdone Herman Goring declares that if requested he could supply the whole Front from the air so a few panzer divisional should be a doddle.

Turn Report

Finland and Army of Norway: Troops south of Murmansk with air support eliminate a 2-6* Naval brigade in the mountains in a move to outflank the main line of resistance East of lake Imanada.

In southern Finland now the crisis north of Leningrad is averted the 9th pz moves back to attack East and ZOCs the main N/S rail again. Caution prevents the unit occupying the rail because the Finns are just not strong enough to provide any sort of support or relief should the 9th become embroiled in a Soviet counter-attack.

Collapse of the summer offensive

Collapse of the summer offensive

AGN: Group Frederikus NE of Moscow (named after the disgraced former commander) reaches German lines in force and adds its strength to an attack on the northernmost fort adjacent to the German forces East of the upper Volga, eliminating it and widening the bridgehead.

The stalled southern drive to reach the trapped spearhead turns through 90 degrees north into the flank of the southernmost of the two forts which formed the hole in the middle of the German “doughnut” of occupation. The attack eliminates this island of resistance. Simultaneously its adjacent twin to the north falls to an attack aided by massed rail guns where fanatical NKVD supported defenders take their toll on the aggressors. (DR converted to EX).

North of this action the top part of the donut attempts to make contact with the surrounded north fragment of the spearhead but fails 5:1(-2) = NE.

The surrounded southern fragment also fails in its attempt to drive north through the separating screen of Soviet armour. Here gallant and relentless Soviet fighter interception drives off most German air support albeit at some cost (2 downed fighters) dropping the odds to 5:1(-2) where a poor roll produces another NE result.

AGC: All quiet on the Eastern Front.

Germans battle for Rostov

Germans battle for Rostov

AGS: The drive Southeast continues apace. The Soviet armoured corps fleeing to Rostov is eliminated. Mech units cross the Don River East of Rostov and in the exploitation phase swing in behind the city where a tenuous blockade is created. Meanwhile the mainly Axis Allied assault continues to harry the fleeing Russian hoards taking Makeyevka and Gorlovka.  The 3 panzer units north of Rostov pressed between the city and the units fleeing East extract themselves and move to form an inner wall east of the city preventing any breakout in that direction.

Air War: In the north most air is again used as flying artillery to try and break through to the spearhead.

A large air drop is attempted to supply the southern group of trapped Panzers to the north of Yaroslavl. High cross winds over the drop zone causes many of the supplies to be hopelessly scattered much falling into the hands of the Soviets. Out of 7 drops only 3 REs reach the troops in the pocket.

In the south once again rail interdiction is the major activity aiming to isolate Rostov from reinforcement and minimise interference to the blockading forces.16 missions produce 5 hits.

Battle Report

Attacks: Auto = 5, Diced = 11

Losses:
Soviet Isolated = 21 Un-isolated= 60,   River Flotilla = 1,   Forts = 8 (including 2 abandoned)
German = 13

Air losses:
Soviet 3 (including one under repair overrun on the ground)

Hungarian Order of Battle for Barbarossa (inofficial)

Note to reader: this Order of Battle accompanies a series of esssys by Jason Long about the Axis Allies during Barbarossa and is not official)

Initial Forces

None

Reinforcements

Jul I 41

2x 4-3-8* mot Inf X                1, 2
1x 5-4-8* Cav X                      1
1x 3-4-8* Mtn X                     1
1x 1-2-8* Bdr X                       8
1x 1-8 Bicycle X                      1 Hdsg
1x 1-8 Art X                             Karpat
1x 0-1-8 Eng II                         Karpat
1x 1-8 mot light AA X AA=3  Karpat

Sep I 41

2x 1-5 Sec X                             121, 124
Replace: 1x 1-8 Bicycle X        1 Hdsg

Nov I 41

2x 1-5 Sec X                               105, 108
1x 0-1-8 mot lt AA II AA=1       MC

Nov II 41

Return all initial forces to Hungary

Dec I 41

1x 1-5 Sec X                                102

Replacement Rate:

No replacement points are received. Special replacements generated by the loss of any initial force units are retained in Hungary itself and are unavailable to the Axis player. Special replacements for the units of the occupation force, namely the security brigades and the AA battalion, are handled normally

Special Rules

Only the motorized infantry brigades, the cavalry brigade, and the bicycle brigade of the initial forces may move east of the Dneister or north of the 3C:02xx hexrow (exclusive). Other units may move freely in weather zones C and D.

  • The cavalry and motorized infantry brigades have ZOCs.
  • With the exception of the bicycle brigade, the initial forces are fragile and may not be replaced in the context of Total War.

Designers Notes:

I decided against treating the cavalry and motorized infantry brigades as divisions based on the treatment of the Poles in FtF. A Hungarian cavalry brigade is actually marginally larger than their Polish or Romanian counterparts, but was not reclassified as a division, unlike the latter. These units are larger than normal brigades, but smaller than most divisions and you can justifiably argue in support of either classification.

1942 JUL II Soviet Turn

Commentary

The Soviet counter attack in the north hits home with full force. Significant pure armour attacks are launched on the single remaining supply line to the German spearhead north of Yaroslavl and at the rump of the column fleeing north from Moscow.

In addition a mixed force of reserves, new arrivals transferees and air power strikes at the eastern tip of the German advance. (The 14th pz a 16-10 unit placed on the critical crossroads at point 2107.) The results of these engagements will decide the outcome of the German attempt to isolate Leningrad and the north if not the entire war.

Turn Report

Partisans:  3 rail hits but against little used spurs or unconverted lines as increased security now covers all the main arterial routes.

Finnish Front: No action north as at half strength due to supply difficulties and with no RPs arriving no attacks are allowable anyway.

North of Leningrad forces fall back in front of the assault by 9th pz. The breakthrough Tank xxx desperately seeks escape and moves north away from the nearest route home which is now blocked.

 

German Panzer army destroyed east of Kalinin

German Panzer army destroyed east of Kalinin

Leningrad/Moscow Fronts: Targeted attacks eliminate the tail of the German column desperately seeking escape NW from Moscow. An Inf XX and 2 artillery units are eliminated.

Forces move into the void where the Germans have retracted over the river eastwards just north of Yaroslavl.  Strong mech forces with artillery and katyusha support smash into the remaining German supply route tethering the spearhead to the main front. Forces also attack south from the north; some from an out of supply position; some moving west from positions just at the extreme tip of their supply lines around Vologda. The two forces meet engaging two Axis stacks. When the dust clears the battle field belongs to the Soviets who now have an armoured wall two hexes deep separating the German spearhead from the main body of troops to the west. The Germans loose another truck counter. Two surviving stugs are overrun by exploiting Soviet tank xxxs which stream east bisecting the cut off German spearhead.

The crowning glory of the counter offensive is the attack on 14th pz at point 2107. A supporting 1-10 AA unit is overrun and, completely surrounded, the Panzer unit is utterly annihilated. The first outright kill of a full strength panzer in clear weather in the war. Does this mark a turning point or is it just a bump on the Axis road to victory?

Voronezh Front: No action although a couple of Tk corps with support units previously ordered north have those orders countermanded and move back south due to the emerging battle at Rostov.

Chaos on the Southern Front while the German Sixth Army heads East.

Chaos on the Southern Front while the German Sixth Army heads East.

Rostov Front: It is clear to the Soviet high command that the Stalino line cannot be held. To slow the Axis Stalino itself is fully stacked with NKVD “encouragement” the adjacent city of Makeyevka also stacked. Elsewhere minimal strength is left on alternate hexes to slow the pursuers as the bulk of the forces flee east effectively abandoning the fortified line.

The panzers blocking the hoard are reached and partly enveloped but at half strength the forces are incapable of mounting any sort of attack. In the eastern end of the river bend the isolated Tank corps extract themselves and one moves NE into the river bend and the other towards Rostov to help to counter Axis moves to develop and reinforce the encirclement.

Air War: Leningrad aircraft provide DAS as far east as they can reach. Further east all soviet air power is again directed at GS to aid the crucial attacks.

In the south air raids are carried out against Axis airfields and Valuyki airfield is put out of action. Over Mariupol a battle develops which claims 3 Soviets for one German fighter. Short range Assault bombers provide DAS over the retreated tank corps and some other key hexes.

Battle Report
Overruns = 2.   Combats; Diced = 6

Losses:
German Isolated = 16. German Un-isolated = 29. French = 2
Air Losses: Soviets = 4. German = 1.

Stacking in Europa

In this article we wil take a look at just how the stacking rules have changed over time.

Drang Nach Osten/Unentschieden [1973]

The very first two games in the Europa series introduced the first version of stacking rules. These rules were significantly different from most other Wargames available at the time – revolutionary in fact. Remember that at the time, most games just used a system in which you could stack 1, 2 or 3 units in a hex – regardless of the size of those units. So a Corps could take up as much hex “space” as a Battalion. Obviously, this was a very simplistic approach and DNO/Unt used a significantly different set of rules.

First of all, we have to introduce the concept of Stacking Points [SP]. While these are used for some other purposes, we’ll just look at SP with respect to stacking.  In the main, you can think of SPs as largely equating to Regimental Equivalents [Res].

Each side has different maximum totals of SP which can stack in a hex, and for both sides these maximum totals change over time. I won’t be addressing stacking in the Arctic since it is based partially on values printed right on the maps for cities north of the A weather line, and otherwise is just one SP or one unit per hex for both sides, for the entire game.

For the Axis side, from Jun II 41 until Jun I 43, they can stack 10 Stacking Points per hex; from Jun II 43 until the end of the game, they can stack 11 Stacking Points per hex.

SP values for German [not Axis-Allied] units;

  • 0 SP Railway Artillery
  • 0.5 SP Battalions [totals for Battalions round DOWN, so 3x Battalions = 1 SP, etc.
  • 1 SP Kampfgruppen [what would later be termed Cadres], Headquarters, Brigades, Regiments
  • 2 SP Motorized XXs w/fewer than 10 combat factors, Mountain & Jaeger XXs
  • 3 SP All other XXs.

SP values for Axis-Allied units:

  • 0.5SP Battalions [see note above re: German battalions]
  • 1 SP Headquarters, Brigades, Regiments, Finnish Ski Patrols
  • 2 SP All XXs which are NOT Hungarian or Romanian Infantry XXs
  • 3 SP Hungarian & Romanian Infantry XXs

For the Soviets, they have four different maximum SP per hex, as well as exceptions based on on-map city size.

  • Jun II 41 – Sep II 41 6 SPs
  • Oct I 41 – Sep II 42 7 SPs
  • Oct I 42 – Jun II 43 8 SPs
  • Jul I 43 –  End 9 SPs

Note that the Soviet player can stack up to 10 SPs in any Full hex city and up to 8 SPs [9 after Jul I 43] in any Partial hex city or printed fortification.

SP values for Soviet units:

  • 0 SP Railway Artillery, Partisans
  • 0.5 SP Battalions [see note for German battalions] [I’m not sure that they HAD any battalions, but…]
  • 1 SP Headquarters, Brigades, Regiments
  • 2 SP All XXs OTHER THAN Artillery, Rocket & Antiaircraft XXs [So Rifle, Cavalry, etc]
  • 3 SP Tank XXXs, Artillery, Rocket & Antiaircraft XXs
  • 4 SP Mechanized XXXs [Sov may always stack 1x Mech XXX w/ 2x Tank Corps as the only 3 units in a hex, otherwise normal stacking limitations apply]

All in all a pretty comprehensive, but perhaps overly complicated system with too many sets of values and time-dependent special cases to be playable. The designers must have thought that this level of detail and complexity was more trouble than it was worth, since they abandoned this system with the very next game using standardized stacking rules in the series,  Case White. [We can skip over both Narvik (I) and Their Finest Hour (I) since both used game specific stacking rules, due to alterations in time scale for both, and for TFH (I) alterations in map scale as well.

Case White [1977]

Starting with Case White, the SP system was dropped and a much simpler stacking rule was implemented. This system differentiated units by whether or not they were Divisions, non-Divisional non-Artillery units or non-Divisional Artillery units – so only three categories to remember, rather than the many categories to remember in DNO/Unt.

Regular Stacking Up to 6 units, no more than 3 of which may be divisional units, plus 2 Artillery units.

Note that you could legally stack 3x XXs + 3x non-division units + 2x non-divisional Artillery units, regardless of the size of those non-divisional units and/or non-divisional Artillery units. So a battalion would count as one unit for stacking purposes. So 6x battalions + 2x Artillery battalions would be maximum stacking in a hex. Moreover, 3x battalions would count as 3x non-divisional units, even though battalions are at most only half of the size of your average Brigade/Regt.

Note also that Railway Artillery now have unit sizes [they didn’t in DNO/Unt] and count for stacking as a non-divisional Artillery unit.

Marita-Merkur [1979]

This system would be modified in Marita-Merkur with the addition of a special case to the rules with regards to stacking in Mountain hexes.  Also the phrasing of the stacking rule would be tweaked from what it had been in previous games, although this tweak was absent from subsequent games in the series.

Regular stacking Up to 3x XXs, up to 3x non-XXs plus up to 2x Art units.
Mountain stacking Up to 2x XXs, up to 2x non-XXs plus up to 1 Artillery unit.

A big change here was the change in phrasing in that you no longer can stack up to 6 units, no more than 3 of which may be XXs, but instead have in effect two stacking “slots” which you can fill up with the specific units listed.  So for example, if you don’t have any XXs in a hex, you would be limited to ONLY up to 3 non-divisional units plus up to 2x Artillery units, for regular stacking. So while in CW you could stack up to 6x non-divisional, non-Artillery units in a non-Mtn hex if you had no divisions present, in M-M you could only stack 3x non-divisional units in that hex if you had no divisions present. In this stacking system, one could consider a Divisions-Gruppe [DG} or Cadre to be a divisional unit OR a non-divisional unit, at player’s choice.

Thus, in CW a stack of 6x Brigades/Regt [ignoring Art units here] would be a legal stack while it would NOT be a legal stack in M-M. For a side with relatively few divisions, this change could have pretty significant consequences.

The wording of the stacking rules would change back to what they were in CW, when FoF was published in 1981, with the addition of rules for Mountain stacking as well. Thus;

Regular hexes Up to 6 units, no more than 3 of which may be divisional units, plus up to 2x Artillery units.
Mountain hexes Up to 4 units, no more than 2 of which may be divisional units, plus 1 Artillery unit.

Note for FoF and all subsequent games, a Cadre/DG is considered to be a non-divisional unit for stacking purposes – it may not be treated as a divisional unit as in M-M, but then there is no reason to do so under any other stacking system.

Fire in the East/Scorched Earth [1984]

This system, would remain standard Europa for TFH (II) and WD, until Fire in the East/Scorched Earth were published in 1984.  The big change here was that the game had to account for hexes in the Arctic, on or north of the A weather line. Note that mountain hexes in the Arctic use Arctic stacking and NOT Mtn stacking limits.

A new category of units was mentioned in FitE/SE which had been missing from the system since DNO/Unt, the Artillery division. These had to be accounted for re: the stacking rules since they couldn’t count the same as non-divisional Artillery units for stacking, although technically they were “Artillery units”. So the wording for the Regular stacking category had to be changed to account for Artillery divisions. No change was needed for Mtn and/or Arctic stacking since Artillery divisions could NOT be used in place of 1x Artillery units in either Mtn or Arctic hexes.

A new unit size was also introduced in FitE/SE, the Corps [XXX]. This is a real unit with Corps as its size and not the non-unit stacking aid, the Corps counter. Units with a unit size of XXX are treated for all game purposes as a division, so in effect there are no needed changes to the stacking rules to incorporate Corps sized units, other than noting that they stack like a division.

  • Regular Hexes Up to 6 units, no more than 3 of which may be divisions, plus 2 Artillery units or 1 Artillery division.
  • Mountain hexes Up to 4 units, no more than 2 of which may be divisions, plus 2 Artillery non- divisional units.
  • Arctic hexes Up to 2 units, no more than 1 of which may be a division, plus 1 Artillery non- divisional units.

Another change in FitE/SE was that for the first time, the number of units which could attack a particular hex were limited by the terrain of the hex they were attacking. So one was limited to Mtn stacking when attacking a Mtn hex, regardless of the hex that the attacking units occupied. So each hex from which attacking units were attacking units in a Mtn hex would be limited to Mtn stacking with regards to how many units could attack that Mtn hex from any adjacent hexes. For example if attacking units were attacking from one hex into an adjacent Mtn hex, then no more units than are allowed for Mountain stacking could participate from that hex.

The same applies to attacking into a hex in the Arctic, except that in that case the attacker is limited to the Arctic stacking limits, rather than the Mountain stacking limits.

Obviously, this made attacking into either Mtn or Arctic terrain more difficult even when attacking from non-Mtn and/or non-Arctic hexes, than it had been previously. This limitation on stacking for attacking units, based on the terrain occupied by the defender would remain as part of the rules for all subsequent games with such terrain.

Balkan Front [1990]

1990 saw the publication of Balkan Front [the Marita-Merkur re-issue] and more changes to the stacking rules. Now the wording had been changed to;

  • Regular hexes 3 units of any type & size + 3 non-divisional units + 2 Artillery units
  • Mountain hexes 2 units of any type & size + 2 non-divisional units + 1 Artillery unit

This change doesn’t so much change the actual stacking in a hex, vice FoF et al, rather the change clarifies the rule and makes it clearer in its intent. Note how the wording is similar to that present in M-M but also radically different in effect – You are not limited to only up to 3x Divisions, but rather to up to 3x units of ANY size & type. So as with FoF et al, you can stack up to 6x non-divisional units in a hex, rather than M-M’s limitation of only 3x non-divisional units, in cases when you have no Divisions present.

A Winter War [1992]

A Winter War had to account for Mountain stacking [referred to as “Reduced” stacking in game], Arctic stacking and the re-appearance of Artillery divisions.

  • Regular hexes 3 units of any type & size + 3 non-divisional units + 2 non-divisional Artillery units OR 1 Artillery division
  • Reduced stacking 2 units of any type & size + 2 non-divisional units + 1 non-divisional Artillery unit
  • Arctic hexes 1 unit of any type & size + 1 non-divisional unit + 1 non-divisional Artillery unit

For AWW, “Reduced stacking” applied both to Mountain hexes [as per normal] but it also applied to all Soviet stacks, unless in the Arctic, to show Soviet ineptitude from various causes, from the start of the game. As the game progressed, the Soviets would get a growing number of Army counters with which they could stack normally. Thus they gradually get more competent and better able to form regular stacks.

Note also that Artillery units now have to be specified as “non-divisional” or “divisional”, to account for the sole Soviet Artillery division, which doesn’t get to stack the same as what used to be called just an Artillery unit.

Second Front [1994]

Second Front, published in 1994, made a small but important tweak to the stacking rules. For the first time, the concept of Regimental Equivalents [REs] became important for stacking in the same way that SPs had been used for stacking in DNO/Unt. Note also that Artillery divisions return and have to be accounted for in the stacking rules. Thus;

  • Regular hexes Up to 3 units of any type & size + up to 3 REs of non-divisional units + up to 2 REs of Artillery units OR 1 Artillery division
  • Mountain hexesUp to 2 units of any type & size + up to 2 REs of non-divisional units + up to 1 RE of Artillery units

The main influence of this change in wording is that now Battalions, which are only ½ RE in size, count, in effect, as only half a unit when judging non-divisional unit stacking.  Whereas in BF, 3x Battalions would “fill up” your 3x non-divisional units “slot” for stacking, now 6 Battalions would equal 3 REs of non-divisional units.  This change made Battalion sized units much more efficient in play and easier to use. Note however that for the first “slot” stacking is still based upon “units”, rather than REs, so for that “slot” 1 Battalion would stack the same as 1 Division.

Thus, as a fairly ridiculous example, if you wanted to make a maximum stack and had NOTHING but battalions with which to do so, you could stack up to 3x Battalions + 3 REs of Battalions, i.e. 6 Battalions + 2 REs of Artillery units, or 4 Battalions of Artillery.  If you ever actually find a reason to do this in an actual game, please let me know!

The Introduction of Overstacking

Overstacking appears under the Advanced Rules section, rule 43.C.2 in Second Front. [Note that Advanced Rules are not Optional rules and as per JMA instructions, should be used by experienced players.] In an overstacked hex, a player may have up to normal stacking present in the hex, but may also have an unlimited number of units which are considered to be in the overstack.

An overstacked condition can be declared by a player regardless of whether or not normal stacking in a hex are violated. A player can create an overstack while advancing after combat, or while retreating after combat. [This replaces the normal requirement that retreating units continue to retreat until they would no longer be in violation of normal stacking; an overstack is formed involuntarily in this case.]

While units which are NOT in overstack while in the overstacked hex can operate normally, units which ARE in an overstacked condition in the overstacked hex suffer from a number of limitations. Units in an overstacked condition can do NOTHING other than trace supply and spend 2 MPs to leave the overstack. Thus they can not voluntarily participate in combat, i.e. they may not attack. When defending, they suffer the results of that combat but contribute no strength to the defense and are not counted for exchange losses. They do not contribute anything towards AEC/ATEC calculations when defending. Further they can not fire AA strength and may not perform any construction tasks. [note that as an exception to the rules, 0 movement and rail-only movement units may leave an overstack at no MP cost]

Overstacking is present, IMO, to solve one issue which while it comes up rarely, is still very important. This is the situation during Allied amphibious landings. To account for the large numbers of units which the Allies were historically able to deploy into their beachheads, some alteration to the normal stacking rules is absolutely necessary. While the utility of overstacking in normal circumstances is limited, the situation during and following amphibious invasions, like the historical D-Day for example, is very different and the need for the overstacking rule is self evident.

Games released after Second Front

With regards to published games, there have been no changes to the stacking rules since SF in 1994. So For Whom The Bell Tolls, War in the Desert, Storm over Scandinavia [non-Narvik scenarios] and Wavell’s War all use the same system as in SF.  For those who have learned the Europa system with any of these games, using this stacking system in older, pre-SF games keeps you from having to learn a new system and shouldn’t  cause any problems while playing.

Personally, I hate having to “unlearn” a newer rule and relearn an older rule just to play an older game, so I always use the most up to date rules where applicable. Stacking is certainly a rule where I would choose, unofficially, to use the SF rule regardless of game I’m playing. Officially, however, you are supposed to use the rules provided for each game, without “mixing & matching”.

In the draft rules for Barbarossa Unleashed, one seemingly small change to the stacking rules could have a big impact in certain situations.  For Regular stacking, the rule changes “3 REs of non-divisional units of any type” to   ‘3 REs of units of any type”.  That means that a 3 RE division could stack in what used to be the “non-divisional stacking slot”.  So you could legally stack 4 divisions + 2 REs of Artillery units [or 1 Artillery division] in a single hex, under normal circumstances.

I doubt if this change would have a big impact on most games but it does seem to me that it could help out the Soviet player early on in BU, what with them having a great many divisions, relatively fewer non-divisional units and of those non-divisional units, most are very weak.  So rather than stacking 3x divisions and 3x weak, 1 strength non-divisional units, it might well be a better trade off to stack 4 divisions in a hex.  As stronger divisions AND non-divisional units become more available to the Soviets, I imagine the utility of this rule will be reduced, but early on it could make a real difference.

It also might be useful later in the game when the Soviets have their stronger versions of Tank and Mech Corps, i.e. stacking 4 of these together might be better than what they can manage using non-divisional units, but that’s very speculative. More playtesting needed!

Printing Errors

Please note that some Europa game charts were printed with incorrect values for the “Units (any)” column intersecting with the “Regular hex type” row – some charts say that the value here should be “6”, when in fact it should be “3” instead. If you have any misprinted charts, please amend them to the correct values. A value of “3” here is correct and will insure that the chart is in accordance with the rules.

1942 JUL II Axis Turn

Narrative

A knock at the door. “Come in”.

“The car is here for the airfield sir”.

Thank you Walter. Walter step inside and close the door will you?

“Sir”.

“Please call me Frederick we have campaigned together long enough now to drop the formalities.”  “Why oh! Why did we come to this godforsaken country?”

“The Fuhrer willed it?”

“The Fuhrer, the Fuhrer that jumped up little corporal.   Don’t be alarmed, we can speak freely, we are alone here”. “Remember Poland, France.  Remember that summer in Paris, Ah! Paris; the food the wine and the women?”

“Yes Sir, er Frederick I remember a certain little French restaurant off the cobbled square with the fountain and a certain waitress you spent quite a bit of time with. What was her name? Feefee, yes, Feefee Labonc”.

Ah!, Feefee, love was in the air that summer, indeed I seem to remember you caught the eye of a certain Mark I tank commander“

“Er, some of us have fonder memories of Paris than others.”

Yes Walter, only teasing, and then we went on to Yugoslavia and Greece. So how was it that with the Low Countries at our feet, France, the Balkans, Poland did we try for more, didn’t we have enough?  And so now we have to deal with the Bolsheviks.

When I was young, growing up in Duisburg my father would take me to the traveling fare. It came round every six months or so. There was one stall I visited every time – the shooting range. The top prize was a large bear as big as I was at the time. All I needed to do was shoot down all the metal ducks. I tried every year for 6 years and every time just as I thought I had them all another duck would appear.

These Russians are like those ducks, it does not matter how many of them we kill, how many we surround and capture, how many our SS “comrades” torture there are always more of them just over the horizon That big Russian bear is always just out of reach.

I tell you what the problem is with these Russians Walter they don’t know when to give up. The Poles did, the Greeks did and the French practically begged us to occupy them. Even the British went back home with their tails between their legs; but not these Russians, – has no one told them they’re defeated?

“The car, Frederick”

“Ah yes the car, we must not keep the men in leather waiting must we?”

“But answer me one thing Walter –honestly please. I did do right by the men didn’t I, ordering the retreat?

“Yes, Frederick you did right by the men.”

“Good, good that is the main thing although I do not think Berlin sees it that way.”

“I will give you one last order before I go Walter, the most difficult of orders, Will you promise me you will carry it out to the letter?

“Yes, of course as always”

“Please go now to the radio room and send this message. It denounces me as a traitor and coward.

“Never!, please do not ask me to do this.”

“You must for your own sake, my fate is sealed but there is still hope for you, after all you were just “following orders””. “Go now and do this for me – if the time we have served together means anything.”

A few moments later Walter is leaning over the radio operator dictating the message to the shocked orderly.

A single shot rings out.

Walter turns to the guard at the front door and commands.

“You there, please go and advise the men by the car outside that their services are no longer required”

Turn Report

Finland and the Army of Norway:

Armoured RPs arrive from Germany at Helsinki and the Finnish 2-10 Arm X is rebuilt.

Little action in the far north as the Germans hold fire and conserve ammunition/RPs for when the Soviets are weakened by supply shortages.

Just north of the lakes in the south however the Finns surround the Soviet XXX behind their lines and block all escape routes. 9th Pz thus attacks due west in support of this operation to push back the Soviets holding the southern end of the causeway over the lakes so that the fate of the XXX is assured.

AGN: A stay behind brigade is eliminated north of the Valdai where the Soviets straightened the line.

On the main front the Germans resolve to reconnect with the isolated spearhead.  Two large stacks attack either side of the soviet “doughnut” centred on the rail crossing.  The trapped forces are given permission to try and connect with the relief force. The northernmost attack is successful and supply is restored but no further progress is made eastwards.

Disaster strikes at the southern edge of the ring however where the stacked Soviet tank corps resists the German attempt to break through and the attack is stalled (5:1-2)=NE. The trapped forces move back East after the failed attack to gain the protection of the river bend just north of Yaroslavl and hope that the northern supply line can hold.

The maverick commander of the attack NE from Moscow is now trapped behind lines. Ignoring orders to fight his way east he turns his forces west and attacks the Soviet fort line on the East bank of the upper Volga. Aided by help from outside the forces connect with the main lines again. However his troops are spread out along an 80 mile long column hindered by slow moving artillery and infantry in the rear so only a single Panzer division crosses the river westwards.

Axis assault repulsed by Soviet armour

Axis assault repulsed by Soviet armour

AGC: All quiet. Fortification and rail conversions continue, the latter to speed the arrival of forces moving north to assist the struggling Operation Meatgrinder.

AGC: In classic Blitzkrieg style the German armour concentrates and eliminates one of the corps formations at the “bottom” of the deep pocket in the great river bend. Armour pours through the gap swinging NE to trap two more corps and SW to reach the Sea of Azov just west of Rostov thus trapping and isolating a vast swath of Soviets and the  major city of Stalino. Meanwhile further north a mixed Axis force lead by Rumanians breach the fortified/river line gaining a bridgehead north of Gorovka.

The isolated U2 fort further north falls to an automatic victory.

Breakout in the South, Stalino isolated

Breakout in the South, Stalino isolated

Air War: In the north all air activity centres on GS to bolster the desperate attempts to re-connect with the spearhead.

In the south the air war sees a more balanced mixture of activity. Some GS assists the Rumanians to break the fortified line and lone raids target some aborted aircraft on the ground with an unrepaired transport succumbing to one such mission. More rail lines are targeted but out of 10 raids only 2 succeed. Seemingly a lot of effort for such a small gain however last turn a single strategically placed un-repaired hit held up 5 or 6 tank corps transferring north so such raids continue.

Battle Report
Combats:  Automatic = 2, Diced = 8

Losses:
Soviet: Isolated = 7. Un-isolated = 55.
Fins = 3

Air Losses: Soviet 2 (on the ground – one overrun).  German = 1 (Ju88a raider).