As I mentioned in a previous post, I love the Barbarossa game system. On the other hand, I'm not totally sold on OCS (Operational Combat Series). While it is engaging and fun, it also has a kind of free-wheeling gaminess that I find unappealing. Hard to explain, but when I'm gaming I like to feel as though I'm not wasting my time. To me, that means historicity and realism are the important elements.
Despite some misgivings, in the end I get that from Barbarossa: Kiev to Rostov. My gaming time with OCS, on the other hand, is full of nagging doubts: artillery sits there unused, mech units cannot move even a single hex without a massive supply effort and mainly just sit there too, and armored divisions pirouette deftly through every crack and crevice of an otherwise solid defensive line. Yes, it's fun and challenging, but it doesn't feel quite real.
I'm all about second chances, so I've started a new game of B:KtR, this time playing "Scenario 2: The Kiev Pocket." (I'm actually itching to play the full campaign of Beyond the Rhine, too, incidentally.) In this one, as in the campaign (which adds another map and more time), the Germans have advanced into the deep bend in the Dnieper River but have run into supply problems. They are attacking the fortified city of Kiev and the Russians are holding all the bridges over the river. The following pictorial shows the progress of turn 2.
Map 1 (above): An overview.
1) The Germans have destroyed a Russian strongpoint. The Russians should easily be able to fill the gap during their half of the turn. But pressure is pressure. The Germans hope to apply it everywhere possible.
2) Two German units cross the Dnieper, and a third is poised to cross. To keep supply flowing, the German will put up a bridge or two on the following turn.
3) German infantry close in on Cherkassy. An SS stack smashes through a line of strongpoints in the north. The German supply problem starts here and works its way east (top of the map).
4) The Soviets leave an open flank and German panzer divisions move to cut off a salient.
5) Protecting the panzer divisions flank and rear.
6) City surrounded. The defenders survive a "surrender check." The German will probably have to assault it.
1) This is where German supply enters and the route it takes by truck. Slow going.
2) A small German supply dump awaits potential transport by air. Air Transport allows city-to-city movement. The Germans only have 3 missions to use in the entire game, so you don't want to waste any. Also in this circle is the extent of the German rail conversion.
3) Rail conversion moves 4 hexes per turn. In two turns, the railhead will reach the main road, at which time the entire area fed by the green line (4) will be in supply.
1) Motorized units suffering from Fuel Shortage. These units cannot move at all.
2) Blown bridges.
3) Threatened with encirclement, Russian cavalry will have to retreat across this pontoon bridge.
4) With the bridges blown, the Germans turn their attention to Cherkassy.
1) Stalin mandates an attack. The Soviet armor (the 4-2-5 stack) succeeds but is left out of position, exposing the Russian flank.
2) The German 9th Pz Division cuts off the Soviet salient. Russians, when out of supply, immediately start rolling for surrender. They will have to reopen a supply line before the end of the turn.
3) Other German mechanized forces surround the Soviet armor, pinning it in place. If it doesn't surrender, the Germans will attack it from three sides next turn.