#0220_01s_Manstein's Backhand Blow - The German Riposte - PzC 19 Kharkov 43
#0220_01s_Manstein's Backhand Blow - The German RiposteBy David Freer
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Manstein's Backhand Blow (south) - Feb 20th to Feb 28th, 1943. With the fall of Kharkov on Feb 16th, Hitler flew to Manstein's HQ at Zaporozh'ye to demand the immediate recapture of the city. While there a report of Soviet tanks 25km away from the Fuehrer's person suddenly bought the Soviet's threat into perspective. Manstein's proposal to Hitler was to do no less than destroy the Soviet forces between Krasnograd and Slavyansk and ultimately restore the German line along the Severnyy Donets. Manstein's plan called for the flanks to be held by Liebstandarte on the left and III Panzer Korp near Slavyansk on the right. II SS Panzer Korp was to drive south from Krasnograd via Pereshchepino and cut off the Soviet forces heading for the Dnepr crossings. XL Panzer Korp was to encircle Popov's four tank corps while leaving 333rd Infantry Division to clear Krasnoarmeyskoye. 6th & 17th Panzer Divisions were to push north between II SS & XL Panzer Korp from the 23rd Feb and together the German armoured forces were to move line abreast until the Donets river was reached. (Size, Campaign Game) This is a definite HTH campaign. Welcome to the desert in the Ukraine - large distances and low unit density. For the German player the challenge is capturing enough victory points when they are spread so far across the map. Whether the German player chooses to follow history and drive south to protect Dnepropetrovsk or pushes east, potentially activating 6th Army anything is possible. Having a predominantly mechanised force the German player has a large advantage over the Soviets who are either on foot or low on fuel. For the Soviet player, it is important to work out which objectives are going to be defended, while preparing for any contingency. This campaign game is probably the most likely to have a historical play due to the uniqueness of the setup. Couple with that a low unit density and mechanised forces on both sides, anything could happen. Be aware that if explicit supply is not used in the scenario some forces such as 25th Tank Corp may be supplied more quickly than they were historically.