I am happy to report Alan Arvold has created a new scenario set for Battle of Kursk: The Southern Flank, covering the four days of battle for Tolstoye Woods.
Alan is a prolific scenario designer to many boardgames, and he's also converted a good number of those to Campaign Series game format, as well as designed completely new ones. Design goal for his scenarios is historical accuracy, and while these have been tested vs a computer opponent, they have not been tested for H2H play.
Regardless, I hope you enjoy them!
I have uploaded the set to The Blitz Scenario DB: DOWNLOAD THE SCENARIO SET FROM HERE
Unfortunately, while I do own the PB Normandy game, I don't have this one. Any errors in Scenario meta data are mine, and I am happy to correct them as I learn the proper values.
Here are Alan's Design Notes, also included in the file archive:
DESIGN NOTES FOR TOLSTOYE WOODS
IN PANZER BATTLES
Alan R. Arvold
I recently did a four scenario series on the battle of Tolstoye Woods for John Tiller's Campaign System. Being satisfied with the finished product I wondered if I could do more with it. I had purchased John Tiller's Panzer Battles: Battle of Kursk; The Southern Front some time ago and had played several scenarios in it. I noticed that the scenarios end with the battle of Prokhorovka, there are no more after that. I found that kind of strange as there were no battles in the Southern Front area after Prokhorovka. Checking various video game sites where scenarios are available for download, I looked at the Panzer Battles listings and found only the scenarios that come with the game. Considering that the game came out in 2015, I was dismayed that no one bothered to create new scenarios for it. So I decided to change that.
Since I had already made the scenarios for Tolstoye Woods, it would seem easy to convert them from the Campaign System to the Panzer Battles System. However, this proved easier said than done. There are vast differences between the two systems, so it took a while to convert. The following sections
below will describe the problems that I had in converting.
It would seem that the mapsheet would easy. Just block out a section of the Panzer Battles big master map which corresponds to the enlarged Campaign System map of Tolstoye Woods. This was easy to do, after all both have a scale of 250 meters per hex. Of course when comparing the two maps, they couldn't have been more different. The Campaign System map looks nice with well defined symbols and the boundaries of the woods and towns closely matching those on a topographical map. In fact, the map was based on topographical maps of the time period of the battle. The Panzer Battle map was on the map from John Tiller's Panzer Campaigns game “Kursk”. On those maps the hexes are one kilometer across and the symbols reflect the predominate terrain in each in question. But that does not mean that that terrain fills every space in that hex. Unfortunately, guys who made the master map for the Panzer Battles “Kursk” game did not realize that. On their maps forests and towns occupy far more hexes than what they would in real life. Clear terrain hexes on the Campaign System map frequently have woods or towns in them in their corresponding hexes on the Panzer Battles maps.
Another difference is the relative elevation of the terrain. The contours in the Campaign System map have a 10 meter interval between them. The ones in the Panzer Battles map have a 20 meter interval. Thus, the Campaign System map should more detail in the terrain. However, the given counters of the 20 meter heights (200, 220, 240, etc.) do not match each other between the maps. Again, this is because of what sources the maps were based on. Also, the roads and rivers don't exactly match in their placement on the respective maps, even though they are in the correct general location.
All in all, the Campaign System map is a superior map. But I am forced to use the Panzer Battles map. It would not be so bad if I could make some changes to the map symbol placement, but alas these maps are written in stone. All you can do is just carve out a section of them for your scenario.
Order of Battle
I made a copy of the main “Kursk: Southern Front” order of battle and labeled it Tolstoye Woods. That way I could modified it at while leaving the original intact. I then proceeded to delete those forces on both sides who were not involved in the battle. I then made several changes to the order of battle which I will describe below in separate sections.
German Tank Battalion Compositions: Using information from my sources, I changed some of the models of tanks in certain platoons within the panzer battalions. These will not agree with the standard order of battle in the computer game. Now I have seen the sources that the designers and developers of the computer game have used listed in their design notes and I am sure that they are reputable. However, my sources are reputable too. Different order of battles sources on the same unit do not always agree.
Differences Between the Panzer Battles and Campaign System Orders of Battles: These two systems seem to use two vastly different sets of orders of battle. In the scenarios I generally went with the Panzer Battles order of battle for both sides. I only made changes in the compositions of some platoons, either changing the number of vehicles/guns or the type of vehicles/guns. Any other changes found, refer to the other paragraphs in this section.
Russian HQ Tanks: While the original designers provided company level HQ tanks for the Russian tank companies, classifying them as “Combat Headquarters”, not full headquarters, they neglected to give the tank battalion and brigade headquarters their own HQ tanks. Considering that German tank battalions have their own HQ Tanks I thought this unfair. In truth, Russian tank battalion headquarters were as much combat headquarters as the company ones were. As the tank battalions took casualties, loosing platoon and company command tanks, the battalion headquarters would take charge of the scattered elements. Tank battalion commanders usually rode in the battalion command tank, leaving the deputy commander to run around in an unarmored light truck. Tank brigade headquarters also had a two-tank platoon, supposedly for the brigade commander and the second one for an artillery forward observer. But tank brigade commanders rarely rode in their tanks, instead using them an armored guard to protect the headquarters. Still they were a combat element and deserved to be included in the order of battle. When a tank brigade had been through some serious combat and was severely reduced, every surviving tank counted and this included the command tanks at all levels.
Obst Decker: The Gross Deutschland Panzer Regiment is commanded by Obst Decker, not Obst von Stachwitz in the Tolstoye Woods scenarios. An Obst Decker unit has been provided for each sub-folder in the German Unit Folder. Players will have to post each one into appropriate sub-folder. Players will also have to make an entry into the German Data File using the Database Editor. Obst Decker has the same values as Obst von Stachwitz. So how did Obst Decker come to command the GD Panzer Regiment? Well, on 10 July 1943 Obst von Stachwitz was injured in combat and had to be evacuated to the rear. Command of the regiment fell to Cpt Witt, the senior most officer in the regiment after von Stachwitz. (It would seem that all of the field grade officers in the regiment were put out of action early in the campaign, as by the 10th companies were being commanded by lieutenants and battalions by captains.) Obst Decker was the commander of the 10th Panzer Brigade, which nominally had the 39th Panzer Regiment in its structure, but it was detached directly to the GD Division, leaving Decker with an essentially empty command. When the division started sending units to assist the 3rd Panzer Division on the 12th of July, they were put into a sort of kampfgruppe of which Decker was put in charge. He made his headquarters within the GD Panzer Regiment's headquarters, effectively putting him in direct control of the regiment. Hence, in Panzer Battles he is in command of the GD Panzer Regiment. Obst Decker did make some questionable decisions during the battle of Tolstoye Woods, which led to a court of inquiry after the battle. One was on 13th of July when he would not let the GD Panzer Regiment attack, requesting numerous delays and later outright refusing to attack until the regiment was reassigned to the attack on the Russian 184th Rifle Division in the late afternoon. Another decision was on the 14th of July when the GD Panzer Regiment was leading the encirclement of Tolstoye Woods. The regiment was on the tip of the advance and had made it to a position behind the Russian 727th Rifle Regiment when abruptly he ordered the entire regiment to withdraw back to the assembly area, leaving the encirclement incomplete. He was however, cleared of any wrongdoing (there were extenuating circumstances in each case, unknown to higher command, that led him to make what were essentially the correct decisions in both cases) and would go on to command a division and a corps later in the war.
In the four scenarios in the Panzer Battles set, I generally set up the units as they are set up in the Campaign System set. They are usually all in the same areas, but not in the exact hexes as their counterparts in the other system. This is due to the differences in the two maps. Also, in the Panzer Battles system, infantry units are presumed to back at 100% strength at the beginning of each day while the strength of vehicular and gun units will go down to account for previous losses. While I agree with the treatment of vehicles and guns, I disagree with their treatment of infantry. While it is true that not all casualties are the standard KIA/WIA/MIA, but also soldiers who got lost or separated from their units, or even those soldiers who reached their fear factor and ceased to fight further, not all of these are going to get back to units by the next morning. There will be steady drain of strength, be it mild or severe, over the course of days, just in the scenarios in the Campaign System set. Therefore, I took beginning strengths the of the infantry units in the Campaign sets, which usually have a original strength of 3, 4, or 6 points, and converted them to percentages. I then apply these percentages to the corresponding units in the Panzer Battle sets. Of course, I will randomly add or subtract a percentage point or two from unit to unit to create some variety.
The weather (visibility) and ground conditions are based on those from the Campaign sets. So are the Objective Hexes, Victory Points per Victory Level, Entrance and Exit Hexes, and Smoke Rounds available. For Supply sources I used a strength of 90 for both sides and for the supply level in the individual hexes I put the strength at 80 for both sides. Because game turns represent 30 minutes of real time, the scenario lengths represent the actual time length of combat during the each, including lulls in the action. As far as aircraft are concerned, it is only in the first scenario that both sides have aircraft coming in to support. In the rest of the scenarios, only the Germans have aircraft coming it. (The Russians were cutting back due to high losses incurred in the first week of the campaign.)
It is my hope that these are the first of many scenarios to come to Panzer Battles: Kursk. There were many battles that were over the two week of the campaign. The original scenarios only scratched the surface and more than half of them concentrated on the II SS Panzer Corps. Certainly The 48th and 3rd Panzer Corps deserve more scenarios and these four scenarios presented here are a step in that direction.