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Freeing the Ukraine - Offensive - The Matrix Games version of East Front II

Freeing the Ukraine - Offensive Image
Campaign Series Ladder

Freeing the Ukraine - Offensive

By Larry Reese
Russia 0 - 1 - 0 Axis
Rating: 5.05 (2)
Games Played: 1
SM: 10
Turns: 75
Type: Stock
First Side: Russia
Second Side: Axis
Downloads: 37
March 4, 1944
(Best played against human opponent or as a team game) - March 1944 - In the vicinity of Proskurov, Ukraine - The Red Army continues its series of offensives to clear the Ukraine and force the Germans and their allies back into Romania. On March 4th, 1944, the First Ukrainian Front under the direct command of G. Zhukov commenced offensive operations towards Proskurov as the opening move to the next in the long series of Soviet offensives in the south bridging the years 1943/1944. German intelligence and Erich von Manstein had been fooled into thinking the Soviet point of main effort would be further south, nearer the coast, as it had been previously. As was somewhat usual for the war in Russia, the Germans had completely missed the movement of three entire tank armies and an infantry army group northward into the Proskurov area during the weeks preceding the attack (quite a feat of "maskirovka" indeed). However, even German intelligence eventually noticed that 600,000 men were missing in the south and alerted von Manstein to the northward movement. He immediately gave orders for his most powerful mobile striking force, 1st Panzer Army, to move north to counter any Soviet move. Unfortunately, the Soviets launched their offensive (the first of four in a staggered series along the entire line) before the 48th Panzer Corps lead elements had even entered the area. The German frontline infantry units were shattered by the Soviet attack and Russian formations began pushing west on the first day of the attack.

Zhukov, who had taken over from Vatutin after he was injured in the leg by Ukrainian partisans during the move northward, committed his first two tank armies almost immediately. As they neared Proskurov three days later, (March 7th) the German 3rd and 48th Panzer Corps counterattacked these units. The Germans were able to halt the Soviet advance, on this axis, in very heavy fighting. However, in less than two weeks, the Soviets had regrouped and again smashed through this new line on March 21st. Soviet forces sped deep into the German rear, often advancing at night with headlights on and sirens wailing. In three days (by March 24th) they had reached and crossed the Dnestr river, moving to cut the rail link to First Panzer Army. By March 27th, the entire First Panzer Army was encircled and cut off (21 divisions). Manstein ordered First Panzer Army to abandon its positions and fight its way west on March 25th, and, in conjunction with a counterattack by 2nd SS Panzer Corps, First Panzer Army was able to break out to the west in the first week in April, much reduced in strength.

The scenario presented here compresses in time and space the opening assault and drive on Proskurov by the Russians, and the movement of 48th Panzer Corps to halt them. While 48th Panzer Corps at this time consisted of 17th and 7th Panzer Divisions, the Artillery Division, and the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, the two full strength panzer divisions and artillery units used in the scenario accurately represent the total aggregate fire power of the real 48th Panzer Corps which in reality was under strength. A full strength German infantry division represents the German units holding the front line in the assault sector. Interestingly, and as was their custom, the Soviets had ended their previous offensive by grabbing bridgeheads across the major river in the area (something the Soviets regularly did, the Western allies did sporadically, and the Germans rarely did).

Similarly, Soviet forces are represented here by elements of two tank armies only. The line rifle formations that would have opened the attack have been removed (in part to make the game more playable and in part to represent Zhukov's early commitment of his mobile forces to the breakthrough). Although the Germans have blown the river crossings, the Soviets have constructed several heavy tank-capable pontoon bridges and identified areas for several more. The option for the Russians to bridge the river under fire is here represented by river hexes representing shallow water. These hexes are mined in order to force the use of engineers for several turns, this delay representing what would in actuality be the time spent constructing pontoon bridges across the river. German player should use first turn to set opfire and otherwise make minor disposition changes. Neither side should exit empty trucks on VP Exit hexes. Russian maintenance units remove wrecks (to unblock roads). The Germans have exit VP hexes, as they will get credit for any units retreating to safety (but remember do not exit empty trucks!). This is a mixed blessing - if the German retreats too soon, Russians will flood the exit VP hexes. The German needs to inflict as many casualties as possible on the Russian and preserve their own forces; the Russian needs to smash as many German units as possible and drive hell for leather to the south west. Both sides can abandon, fight for, or bypass Proskurov city as they see fit.
Player Voting Stats
Member Balance Enjoyment
Tiger 88's ProfileTiger 88 Totally Pro Russia 4
Von Earlmann's ProfileVon Earlmann Slightly Pro Russia 8
Gaming Records
1st Side Player 2nd Side Player Result Score
Axis Tiger 88's Profile Tiger 88 vs. Von Earlmann Von Earlmann's Profile Russia Draw 60 60
Von Earlmann
1st Lieutenant
Von Earlmann Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:46 pm
It is big and does well depicting the Russian ability in late 1944. Some of the commands are a bit confusing and the reinforcements arrive in huge blocks which can be hard to get into hq commands. Early it is good fun for Russian player but not sure how enjoyable it was for Axis player
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