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Most fluid PzC East Front games?
12-02-2019, 06:50 AM,
#1
Most fluid PzC East Front games?
I've got a few of the PzC East Front games, including Smolensk, Minsk, Moscow 41, Moscow 42, and Budapest.  I've found that I hate playing the ones with a lot of fortifications, which seems to include most of them other than Smolensk.  

I've also found that I don't particularly enjoy winter games, because the snow limits mobility so much...

As far as I can tell, the best one for me to pick up next would be Kharkov 42, which looks pretty good.  Can anyone confirm, or provide other recommendations (I generally only play East Front but I guess would consider something else).
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12-03-2019, 08:39 AM,
#2
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
(12-02-2019, 06:50 AM)76mm Wrote: I've got a few of the PzC East Front games, including Smolensk, Minsk, Moscow 41, Moscow 42, and Budapest.  I've found that I hate playing the ones with a lot of fortifications, which seems to include most of them other than Smolensk.  

I've also found that I don't particularly enjoy winter games, because the snow limits mobility so much...

As far as I can tell, the best one for me to pick up next would be Kharkov 42, which looks pretty good.  Can anyone confirm, or provide other recommendations (I generally only play East Front but I guess would consider something else).

I'm playing #a0106_06 Rzhev: Fording the Volga and it is more fluid than I expected and of course we have snow. 
The Russians have 5 Ski Battalions plus 3 very small Light Tank units (you can't call 6 tanks a Battalion?). Each Russian Infantry Division has a recon horse company (100 men) which are very mobile but only in T mode. 
The trick though is to batter a hole in the German lines and get these small units through. 
The Germans have some mobile units but as usual they are small. Anything with tracks (eg flak units) are good cross country units even in snow. And if there are roads then anything with wheels will do. 

Now if only I had the time to try this from Moscow 42.....

[Image: Jump%20map.png]
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12-04-2019, 03:31 AM,
#3
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
Have you tried the Fall Kreml scenarios in Moscow '42? There are a lot of fortifications and the weather is not perfect - some rain and the occasional storm to deal with. But no snow or mud! I just mention it as I get the impression these scenarios do not get that much attention...
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12-04-2019, 08:17 AM,
#4
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
I am actually playing the Fall Kreml center campaign right now...it is absolutely massive (thousands of units and 250 turns), but is starting to drive me crazy...

The Russians have two layers of bunkers all along the front. Artillery has little effect on the bunkers. Air has no virtually effect on the bunkers. Assaulting undisrupted units in bunkers has little effect on them. Then, once somehow someway you manage to isolate and disrupt a bunker with a couple of Russian battalions, it takes several turns of assaulting with several battalions to take it, as the Russians defend to the last man. Always. And then on to the next bunker, two hexes away. Oh, and about 95% of the front is completely static because there is no way I (as Germans) can even make a dent in the Russian defenses. I find this kind of game very frustrating and not very fun...hence the request for more fluid games!

I played the Moscow 42 Russian attack campaign and it was more or less the same experience in reverse--the Russians battering through the German defenses. Minsk is pretty much the same. I wouldn't mind playing the occasional game with fortifications but playing three huge campaigns with fortifications in a row is getting a bit old.
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12-04-2019, 11:37 AM,
#5
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
Hi All,

As the designer for Moscow '42, I thought it opportune to comment based upon some of the commentary in this thread.

Firstly, on the Eastern Front there was rarely an action that wasn't into some for of fortifications. Exploitation battles such as Smolensk '41 or the approaches to Stalingrad in the early scenarios in that title were the only exceptions. Both sides took the opportunity to dig in whenever possible and the front lines reflected that. In Fall Kreml, the front line had been static for three months allowing some fairly established positions, coincidentally this is the same time that Kursk took to be fortified the following year. Add to the fact that the Soviets expected the Moscow sector to be hit and it had priority on resources.

Now that said, look at the scenario setup. You are not expected to attack all along the line. It's right, 95% of the front will in the main be static (one of the reasons we included the smaller mini-scenarios), so you need to determine where you will focus your attack. Look at the scenario setup, there are clearly areas with additional engineering resources and they should guide you on where to mass your effort. The problem with a linear defence is that it has to be strong everywhere, the attack has to be only strong at the point of focus. Once you break through the bunker line, I can promise you that the game becomes overly fluid. That's due to the fact that a bunker line is easy to roll up once the enemy penetrates it and any units that remain in it run the risk of isolation unless the breach is covered quickly. German Panzer units have a habit of making that much more difficult for a player.

Talking of breaking through bunker lines, Ricky B has a good primer here; http://www.theblitz.org/message_boards/s...?tid=70529

My only regret with the Fall Kreml scenarios is that I didn't do more post breakout. The three included (Bokhino, Efremov and Moscow), show the effect of no fortifications and more mobile troops. There is a very solid range of (winter) fluid scenarios in the earlier Russian counterattack though.

David
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12-04-2019, 01:06 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-04-2019, 01:20 PM by 76mm.)
#6
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
Hi David, thanks for your comments; I totally understand that this type/number of fortifications are realistic for this type of scenario...I just don't find these battles especially fun. To make matters worse, I only have 1 km visibility, so I'm kind of stumbling around blind. That said, I'm only 15 turns in (only 235 to go!), so hopefully things will open up soon.

I've read the primer on bunker lines, but found that I'm already doing most of that.

My one question about assaults is that they never seem to result in quick a surrender or reduction of the whole position, which seems like it would happen every now and then, especially when a bunch of disrupted units are surrounded and assaulted by several battalions. While presumably some of the massive casualties suffered by the "assaultees" represent prisoners, usually large numbers remain fighting, and have to be assaulted over and over again to take a position. Of course sometimes you can just push them out of a bunker, but in these initial stages if you let them leave one bunker they just end up another hex over in another bunker, so you have to repeat the process...

Also, it can get frustrating to pound bunkers with heavy artillery turn after turn only to receive one "No result" after another...do these bombardments really have no effect at all, or do they incrementally increase fatigue, reduce the bunkers a bit, or have some helpful effect?

Also, any thoughts on Kharkov 42? I'm not completely familiar with the campaign, but my impression was that it was fairly fluid as well, if not as fluid as Smolensk...

[EDIT] I wanted to add that the Gold editions of these games are absolutely beautiful, so thanks for putting them out. They are head-and-shoulders above the original games, at least in terms of visual impact.
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12-04-2019, 02:42 PM,
#7
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
Kharkov '42 was one of my early favorites along with Smolensk. I like the campaign because both sides can attack, and with an effective Soviet player, it can turn into a free wheeling context, even where the Axis have decent fortifications. I do believe by default it favors the Axis a bit, and the Soviet player must be aggressive - the better Soviet strategy may be to hunker down and fight defensively, in the default campaign. But both sides have won the stock campaign.

There are also variations, one of which I added with explicit supply and other tweaks that may favor the Soviet a bit, that are listed and available. I don't remember now if the one I added includes a variation, but I added a lot of additional major objectives in the German rear, and boats, so the Soviets could cross the Dnepr off to one flank - the original campaign focused objectives in Kharkov making the Axis player's job easier.

Anyway, I still highly recommend K'42 for fluid battles - it has some gems of smaller scenarios too, such as Charge to Chuguev, that are challenging for both sides.

Rick
[Image: exercise.png]
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12-04-2019, 02:51 PM,
#8
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
(12-04-2019, 01:06 PM)76mm Wrote: Hi David, thanks for your comments; I totally understand that this type/number of fortifications are realistic for this type of scenario...I just don't find these battles especially fun.  To make matters worse, I only have 1 km visibility, so I'm kind of stumbling around blind.  That said, I'm only 15 turns in (only 235 to go!), so hopefully things will open up soon.  

I've read the primer on bunker lines, but found that I'm already doing most of that.

My one question about assaults is that they never seem to result in quick a surrender or reduction of the whole position, which seems like it would happen every now and then, especially when a bunch of disrupted units are surrounded and assaulted by several battalions. While presumably some of the massive casualties suffered by the "assaultees" represent prisoners, usually large numbers remain fighting, and have to be assaulted over and over again to take a position.  Of course sometimes you can just push them out of a bunker, but in these initial stages if you let them leave one bunker they just end up another hex over in another bunker, so you have to repeat the process...

Also, it can get frustrating to pound bunkers with heavy artillery turn after turn only to receive one "No result" after another...do these bombardments really have no effect at all, or do they incrementally  increase fatigue, reduce the bunkers a bit, or have some helpful effect?

Also, any thoughts on Kharkov 42?  I'm not completely familiar with the campaign, but my impression was that it was fairly fluid as well, if not as fluid as Smolensk...

[EDIT] I wanted to add that the Gold editions of these games are absolutely beautiful, so thanks for putting them out.  They are head-and-shoulders above the original games, at least in terms of visual impact.

Are you playing these vs the AI? I'm curious to know if the massive scenarios are even an option against the AI seeing as how that many units under AI control could get interesting.
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12-04-2019, 05:33 PM, (This post was last modified: 12-04-2019, 05:36 PM by Strela.)
#9
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
(12-04-2019, 01:06 PM)76mm Wrote: Hi David, thanks for your comments; I totally understand that this type/number of fortifications are realistic for this type of scenario...I just don't find these battles especially fun.  To make matters worse, I only have 1 km visibility, so I'm kind of stumbling around blind.  That said, I'm only 15 turns in (only 235 to go!), so hopefully things will open up soon.  

I've read the primer on bunker lines, but found that I'm already doing most of that.

My one question about assaults is that they never seem to result in quick a surrender or reduction of the whole position, which seems like it would happen every now and then, especially when a bunch of disrupted units are surrounded and assaulted by several battalions. While presumably some of the massive casualties suffered by the "assaultees" represent prisoners, usually large numbers remain fighting, and have to be assaulted over and over again to take a position.  Of course sometimes you can just push them out of a bunker, but in these initial stages if you let them leave one bunker they just end up another hex over in another bunker, so you have to repeat the process...

Also, it can get frustrating to pound bunkers with heavy artillery turn after turn only to receive one "No result" after another...do these bombardments really have no effect at all, or do they incrementally  increase fatigue, reduce the bunkers a bit, or have some helpful effect?

Also, any thoughts on Kharkov 42?  I'm not completely familiar with the campaign, but my impression was that it was fairly fluid as well, if not as fluid as Smolensk...

[EDIT] I wanted to add that the Gold editions of these games are absolutely beautiful, so thanks for putting them out.  They are head-and-shoulders above the original games, at least in terms of visual impact.

Firstly, thanks for the kudos for the Gold editions. The game system is too good to allow to fade away. We've been lucky that the series can be very easily modded which has allowed a level of upgrade-ability along the way. Pulling together some of the excellent work done by the community as well as art changes etc has given additional life to games that really have had a huge amount of research to get them released. If you look at the equivalent hex and cardboard games, the Panzer Campaigns series is an absolute steal. I shudder to think how much it would cost to get a Moscow '42 published with physical components.

As far as artillery barrages and assaults - here again is one of those fine lines we walk. It has been shown in real life that artillery barrages will only severely impact units that are out in the open. Units with overhead cover and/or prepared positions will dramatically reduce their losses. Actions in the First World War as well as set pieces in WW2 have demonstrated this. That said, artillery has a chance to increase the disruption chance on units in bunkers or pillboxes. It also a very useful to harass units particularly during night turns to prevent them recovering fatigue. So there is a use for it, it just won't kill units by itself. 

For assaults, I tend to try a few things. One is to isolate a unit and hopefully get it to go low ammo as Rick suggests, but then before I assault it, I move back to allow a retreat path for the defenders. They are still down two morale levels at this point and that will usually induce them to probably retreat when immediately assaulted. Any retreat will usually be into an open hex (due to bunkers being two hexes apart) and their maybe a chance to trap the unit in the open by moving exploiting units forward. If in the open, the unit is now vulnerable to artillery, so this is an ideal time to hit them. Engineers can also have a big impact in any assault, but if there is one thing you could use more of its engineers in Fall Kreml. Keep the non-combat engineers for only mine-clearing - never use them in assaults.

Finally, if you know there is a single disrupted enemy unit in a bunker, you can break down your battalions into companies (or pairs of companies) to increase the number of assaults on the hex. Each assault will induce half the defenders to surrender and a couple of broken down German battalions can kill even a full Soviet battalion in fortifications in a turn or two.

The bunker line become much more brittle once one of the front hexes is taken and there is actually limited options for the Russians to counter this. Counterattacking Germans in newly captured bunkers is immeasurably harder, so there is a lot less options for any Russian player.

It's worth soldiering on - I promise it!

David
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12-05-2019, 12:17 AM,
#10
RE: Most fluid PzC East Front games?
Thanks again for the comments.

(12-04-2019, 05:33 PM)Strela Wrote: One is to isolate a unit and hopefully get it to go low ammo as Rick suggests, but then before I assault it, I move back to allow a retreat path for the defenders. They are still down two morale levels at this point and that will usually induce them to probably retreat when immediately assaulted.
This is a clever idea, I hadn't thought about that they'd still be isolated even if they have a retreat path.

(12-04-2019, 05:33 PM)Strela Wrote: If in the open, the unit is now vulnerable to artillery, so this is an ideal time to hit them.
My standard SOP is to open the artillery dialog and fire off all of my artillery at the beginning of the turn against the bunkers, but maybe I will have to reserve a few batteries for this kind of attack.

(12-04-2019, 05:33 PM)Strela Wrote: Engineers can also have a big impact in any assault, but if there is one thing you could use more of its engineers in Fall Kreml. Keep the non-combat engineers for only mine-clearing - never use them in assaults.
heh, I didn't realize that the bau-pioneers sucked at assaulting for a couple of turns--sorry guys!

(12-04-2019, 05:33 PM)Strela Wrote: Finally, if you know there is a single disrupted enemy unit in a bunker, you can break down your battalions into companies (or pairs of companies) to increase the number of assaults on the hex. Each assault will induce half the defenders to surrender and a couple of broken down German battalions can kill even a full Soviet battalion in fortifications in a turn or two.
Interesting...my experience has been that there has to be a certain "critical mass" during these assaults, or they have little effect, although I'm generally talking about assaults where there are 2-3 defenders, rather than single units. Also, I have been generally reluctant to break down units during these huge campaigns because it is so easy to lose track of the subunits in the huge scrum of units, but I will have to experiment with this.
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