The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Author: chef (page 1 of 27)

Christmas in Velikiye Luki

After the conclusion of this years staff rides to the battlefields of Bennigton, Fort Henry and Prospect Park, we now return to our regular schedule with news from Ken Newalls Scorched Earth game. Three turn reports in a row means we’re approaching the end of 1942, and the chickens have finally come home to roost for the Axis, with the 11th Army being in grave danger of being encircled around Velikiye Luki by a resurgent Red Army.

After this, we will take a break to recuperate from our excursions and march off some of the excess baggage we collected as a result of the excellent food found in New England.

Bleak Years

After two years and uncountable losses and destruction, neither side can claim victory in the East.

The Axis still flies the swastika from the towers of the Kremlin, and their spearheads repeatedly cut the last rail line to Leningrad in summer.  In the South, the Germans repeated last years successes on a smaller scale, repeatedly encircling and crushing large Soviet Armies. 6th Army finally captured Rostov, the gate to the Caucaus, after a swirling, gruesome campaign across the vast plains between Dnjepr and Don that lasted the better part of the year.

However, the Axis failed to reach its declared campaign goal of cutting of Leningrad, Russias second largest city, starving it to death and thus securing its Finish ally. In frozen Karelia, the Finns are fighting a desperate rearguard action, their divisions reduced to regiments, regiments to bataillions, the army ruined along with the burning wrecks of 19th Panzer XX sent to stop the Soviets. During Autumn, the Soviets pried the Panzers from the last open rail line before the German infantry could close up, reestablished supply and secured the continued flow of reinforcements to the cradle of the revolution. Now, its winter, and the Soviets grow stronger: The new tank corps armed with the T-34  rolling of the assembly lines in the Urals that now are back into production managed for the first time to take on a German Panzerkorps head on and force a retreat. The Germans frantically equip their famed Panzer divisions with newer and better tanks, but there are never enough of them around.

The parade to commemorate the October Revolution is a grim specacle this year. In Kubychev, a small crowd is commanded to watch the parade, its listless cheers saluting regiments that will be committed to battle barely two days later.  However, the German soldiers guarding Moscow’s Red Sqare can already hear the rumble of tanks and artillery as  the First Guards Tank Army advances through the  eastern and northern suburbs, poised on liberating the capital.

Despite the exhaustion, neither side seems yet approaching collapse.

Ken Newall takes a look at his truly epic Scorced Earth report after two years of campaining: 1942 Game Commentary

 

The Axis Allies in Barbarossa

The last essays from Jason Long’s defunct website “Panzerkeil” have now been published in the Academy, with the kind permission of the author:

The Axis Allies on the Eastern Front

 

 

In Memoriam Panzerkeil

Jason Long is a household name to many Europa players. Jason did a lot of historical research centered on the war in the East and the Balkans and published numerous articles in TEM and various Newsletters. He also created several Europa scenarios (“Clash of Titans”) and designed the unpublished Peace in Our Time game on the invasion that almost occurred, the planned German assault on Czechoslovakia in 1938.

For a long time, Jason ran two websites dedicated to the Axis air forces (Sturmvogel) and Axis armies (Panzerkeil). Both are offline or archived now, but Jason kindly gave permission to us to re-publish some of his materials. Since “Total War” will most likely never see the light of day, we’ve decided to include some of Jasons research on the Hungarian Army during Barbarossa, which you can now read in the Academy. In the comming weeks, we’ll add some more material.

Three Turns in May (On Christmas Day)

Our first “Fall of France” game report has arrived, belatedly in two ways, first because the game is now quite old, and second because the game was played in 2012. However, we think it will make for a nice addition to the War Archive, and its author, Mike Willner, has allowed us to publish it here. Mike is from the “Metropolitan Wargamers” from Park Slope. I could share some fond memories of my visits to Park Slope and Brooklyn in summer, but I will offer something much more interesting instead and encourage you to have a look at their website & associated Yahoo Group: www.nycwargames.com.

Oh, and the game report? Here you go: Fall of France – Game Report No 1.

 

 

After Barbarossa – The status of Ken Newalls Scorched Earth game

Those of you following us on Twitter or are members of the Yahoo Europa Group will have recieved the biweekly updates to Ken Newalls ongoing game of Scorched Earth. All others hopefully will have taken a look at the expanding game report in the Archive now and then. For those who missed it, here’s a short summary: The game has reached May 1942, with the Axis having occupied Murmansk, the Baltics, and successfully conquered most of Moscow. The Soviets still hold out in the ruins of the eastern part of the city, and have successfully pushed from Leningrad to Narva and into the gap between lake peipus and the Valdai hills.

Now both sides evaluating their strategies for the upcoming summer, and since so many games of FiTE have ended at this point, Kens writings on the matter make for a facinating read we can only recommend. You can read the Soviet side here, and the Axis deliberations are part of the May I turn report.

Valencia, dear Valencia mine

Dan Waldstein graciously shared his report of a full game of FWtBT using a variable beginning of the revolution. The biggest upset during the start of the game was that Valencia also declared for the insurgency, and the Spanish Republic never recovered from that. In September 1937, all was over. How it happened, you can read here. We say thank you, and hope you’ll enjoy the read!

 

 

1942 APR I Axis Turn

Snow melts bringing relief to the Axis forces

Prokhor looks out from the crow’s nest on the destroyer moored up in Murmansk harbour. The weather has been warming and there was a definite feeling that the icy snows of winter were receding. He recently heard that they were to prepare to make steam post haste and obtain much needed supplies from Archangelsk, formerly icebound to the east. He had observed the narrow channel to the harbour had widened considerably over the last few days and only small chunks of ice remained littering the calm waters of the channel. Within a day they would no longer pose any threat and they could sail.

Enemy activity had been constant and currently their guns were trained to the city outskirts anticipating an enemy attack. Their large guns would help to break up any assault and cause losses to the enemy but he also knew that hunger and lack of munitions was degrading the defenders morale and ability to resist the invaders and feared an assault may cause the city to fall; all the more important that they set sail soon. He heard a drone in the distance from the west and swung round to take a closer look. Air raids were rare and he feared this presaged the much anticipated assault on the city. 

But the enemy aircraft were already over the front lines and he heard no explosions? Too late he realised the enemy airmen’s intent. His arm reached for the siren and he tuned the handle furiously with all his might. As the wail rose up from the siren the first bombs were falling. A near miss showered him with still icy cold water, the second landing in front of his position blew the forward gun turret in to the air and an explosion ripped through the ship as the ammunition exploded. Prokhor was hurled into the air and down into the icy depths, the momentum of his fall propelling him deep below the harbour surface. He rose a few seconds later already shivering from the icy slivers of cold water piercing his core. He trod water for a couple more minutes not noticing the chaos all around or the vast wall of steel turning toward him. He slipped below the water as the blackness enveloped him dulling his senses as he slipped into unconsciousness.

Above him the bombs fell silent as the vast steel hulk of the once proud ship settled onto the harbour floor.

Weather: Warm winds melt the ice in A, B and C. turning the ground to Mud. Clear elsewhere.

Army Norway and Finland: Henkel’s out of Norway bases sink the destroyer support at Murmansk and ground troops follow up with a desperate low odds assault. The attack is a success and a HX eliminates the defenders and grants the Germans access to the city.

Apr I 42 Turn: The Axis take Murmansk

Apr I 42 Turn: The Axis take Murmansk

The Fins eliminate a Soviet stack but suffer a divisional to cadre loss in the exchange of fire.

AGN: An attempt to nip off the Soviet advanced guard fails (NE) so armour redeploys to a defensive posture along this sector.
The success at Kalinin continues to widen the breach as four more out of supply stacks of Soviet troops are eliminated.
Panzers on the right flank fearful of the Soviet build up NE of Moscow pull back and consolidate.

Apr I 42 Axis Turn: The Kalinin Breach widens

Apr I 42 Axis Turn: The Kalinin Breach widens

AGC: The isolated Soviets outside Moscow West are eliminated.

AGS; The front is defensive except at Kursk where two exposed Soviet stacks are eliminated.

11th Army & the Crimea; The Rumanians finally stage an assault on Odessa but are repulsed and retreat leaving a small rear-guard.

Air War. The Luftwaffe mainly occupies itself with rail bombing and DAS but the usual harassment raids around Kalinin stifle Soviet reaction to the widening hole in their front lines.
In the south large raids are mounted against bases that reconnaissance has determined host the transport fleet but with little success.
As reported above the Soviet destroyer squadron at Murmansk is eliminated in an air raid.

Battle Report:
Attacks: Auto = 4, Diced = 9
Losses: Soviet Isolated = 7. Un-isolated = 67
German = 9    Fins = 3

World War II Armed Forces – niehorster.org

Dr. Niehorster’s website on the Armed Forces of World War II needs little introduction I presume, being around even longer than the Generalstab and having itself established as one of the most important sites on TO/Es on the web. His thorough research has been the base for countless wargames, and his books are an established reference for scholars interested in the organisational details of armed forces in the Second World War. His Website provides extensive information about all participants at various stagtes of the war, while his books provide the background to the snapshots shown online.

As additional goodies, since Sept 12th the complete German WWII Organizational Book Series are now available for free as pdfs from its site. I can only strongly reccomend stopping by and grabbing a copy.

Date: Oct 15th, 2018
URL.: niehorster.org

The Year of the Gold Dragon

We’re grateful for being able to provide you with yet another War in the Desert game report. This one was played and written up in the summer of 2018 by Bill Jenman. Since the game was mainly played to test some modifications of the Malta status number, the second half of the game report, from March 1942 onward, is summarized, nevertheless it makes for a good read. You can find it as WitD AAR No 3 in the archive, as always.

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