in Red God of War
By Doug McNair
Continuing in the tradition of America
Triumphant (the subject of a
previous strategy article) and Alsace
God of War lets players fight a very
different “battle of the bulge.”
Unlike the better-known Ardennes campaign,
Operation Mars threw ten Soviet armies against
an already established, north-pointing German
bulge west of Moscow. Ten German corps held
a line 335 miles long, and certain sections
of that line were weaker than others. The
Soviets were able to penetrate the line in
more than one place, but superior German organization
and operational flexibility allowed Army Group
Center to pull back and re-establish the line,
avoiding destruction at the hands of numerically
superior Soviet forces.
Factors Driving Play
Like the other games in the series, Red
God of War uses a classic zone of control
(ZOC) system, where each hex that’s
occupied by at least two regiments or brigades,
or one division, exerts a ZOC into the six
adjacent hexes. ZOC interferes with enemy
movements and blocks supply lines.
Also like the other series games, each turn
the players must spend one supply point (SP)
on each headquarters they want to be in combat
supply that turn. HQs in combat supply can
make the units they command move and fight
at full strength, as long as they’re
within four hexes of the HQ and not cut off
by enemy units or ZOC.
The players then put chits representing those
HQs (and other, unsupplied HQs if desired)
into a common container, and draw them randomly
one at a time, moving and fighting with each
HQ’s formation as its chit comes up.
Activated units get a movement phase (during
which tank and mechanized units can perform
overrun attacks) followed by a combat phase,
and then cavalry, tank and mechanized units
can move (and overrun) again in the mechanized
Units which can’t trace supply lines
to their HQ (due to blocking enemy units and
ZOC) are isolated, and move and fight at greatly
reduced capacity. Units which can trace a
supply line to their HQ but are outside its
four-hex range are unsupplied. So are units
within range of an HQ that’s cut off
from its own supply source on the board edge,
or which didn’t get an SP spent on it
this turn. Unsupplied isn’t as bad as
isolated, but it’s not good.
The flow of new SPs each turn is unreliable.
Plus, after a certain number of chits have
been drawn, each player must roll a die after
drawing another of his chits to see if his
side experiences “operational halt”
(due to exceeding his quartermaster general’s
capacity to supply the battlefield that turn).
If it does, the rolling player must remove
all his remaining chits from the container
and can’t activate any more formations
that turn. So, players must only spend SPs
on, and put in the container the chits of,
their most critical formations. To do otherwise
is to risk running out of SPs before reaching
one’s objectives, and to risk not being
able to activate one’s formations in
crucial areas of the battlefield when needed.
Finally, the weather plays a big role in
Red God, with snow cutting the movement
rates of all units (except ski units) in half,
and mud cutting all movement rates to 1/3
Together, these factors give Red God
plenty of fog of war, since players don’t
know when their formations will activate (if
at all), how far they’ll be able to
move, and how well they’ll be able to
coordinate with other formations from turn
to turn. They also put a premium on maneuver,
with units moving to cut enemy supply lines
so that enemy units will be slower to move
and weaker when attacking or defending.
Beyond these universal issues, many factors
make Red God a very different game
depending on which side you’re playing
— and make it an incredibly cool solitaire
Divisional Flexibility: The Germans
are holding a very long line, and that line
is thin in some areas. There are places where
only a few German divisions are expected to
hold a line many hexes long. Luckily, they
can do this by breaking down divisions into
their component regiments, and spreading out
the regiment counters along their assigned
front. The German player even has control
over how strong those regiments are and can
create a few strong regiments or many under-strength
regiments from one division as needed. The
German player can break down divisions into
regiments whenever he wants to, and can recombine
regiments back into division counters later,
Command and Control: Each German corps
HQ can supply and command any German units
which are closer to it or equidistant from
other German HQs (not just the units assigned
to its corps at game start). So, if a headquarters
gets eliminated or cut off from its units,
the next HQ up the line can take over immediately
and direct the lost HQ’s units. German
HQs have a movement allowance of 12, so they
can relocate quickly to get within supply
range of the units that lost their HQ. Alternatively,
German reinforcements can enter the board
and use rail and strategic movement to dash
across the board to the sector where they’re
most needed, and immediately get supplies
and support from whichever German HQ happens
to be there.
Don’t take rail movement for granted.
Toughness: Each German division can
take anywhere from three to five step losses
before being eliminated. In contrast, many
Soviet units are brigades or regiments and
have only one step, while no Soviet division
or tank corps has more than two steps. So
in addition to being able to break down into
individual regiments, German divisions can
keep taking step losses and retreating to
new defensive positions for a long time, while
each attacking Soviet unit can only take one
or two step losses before dying.
Supply Points: The German player
starts with only four supply points, but he
gets to roll a die to receive one to six additional
supply points each turn. By contrast, the
Soviet player starts with 14 supply points
but gets a maximum of three more supply points
each turn. In addition, if he fails to make
gains soon, Stalin’s attitude toward
Operation Mars will deteriorate and new supply
points per turn will be reduced or cut off
completely, with Soviet units being withdrawn
from the battlefield. The Soviet player has
to ration his supply points carefully to avoid
running out of them before he reaches his
objectives, while the German player can spend
his supply points freely to put his corps
at full strength and give them extra bonuses
Inflexibility and Slowness: In contrast
to the Germans, each Soviet Army HQ can command
only the units of its own army. So, if units
get outside the four-hex range of their army
HQ, they’re going to be unsupplied no
matter what. Also, most Soviet HQs have movement
allowances of just 3, while most other Soviet
units have movement allowances of 6 or 8.
This means that when the Soviets make a breakthrough,
their units often can’t exploit the
breach to the fullest for fear of outrunning
their supply lines. This is tough because
the Soviets must take at least three specific
town hexes on the board to win, and German
units are faster than Soviet units on average.
Short Soviet supply leashes often keep them
from reaching their objectives before the
quicker Germans fall back and re-establish
Red Army Bureaucracy: Appropriately
enough for a Communist army, bureaucratic
inertia causes problems for the Soviets in
Red God. Each turn, the Soviet player
must put in the container the same chits he
put there last turn, with just one exception.
He may delete one of the chits or put
in an additional one. So he must give “stand
ready” orders in advance, putting in
the container the chits for formations he’s
supplied and wants to use this turn, plus
other formations he may need to use on the
next few turns. This also means that after
some Soviet armies have bogged down or taken
too much damage to be an effective force,
their chits will keep going in the container
and being drawn. So on average, more Soviet
than German chits will go in the container
each turn, and some of those will be useless
Soviet chits. The Soviets therefore run a
greater risk than the Germans of hitting operational
halt and not being able to activate all the
formations they want to each turn.
Roza Shanina killed over 100 Hitlerites.
Offensive Limits: Due to supply issues,
each Soviet mechanized corps can make only
one overrun attack per turn, and each Soviet
army can only attack two German-held hexes
per turn. By contrast, every German unit can
attack an adjacent Soviet unit each turn.
The Soviets have to pick their targets carefully
and maneuver their forces to provide maximum
punching power at critical points.
Superior Numbers: On the up side,
the Soviet player has a huge numerical advantage
over the Germans. The weakest German Corps
(the XII) has only two infantry divisions
with which to hold the line, while the most
powerful German corps (the XXVII) has nine
infantry divisions. In contrast, the weakest
Soviet army (the 29th) has four infantry divisions
plus four infantry brigades, and the most
powerful Soviet army (the 20th) has two mechanized
corps, one cavalry corps, eight infantry divisions,
ten tank brigades, two infantry brigades,
and a ski brigade. The Soviets can hit the
German line hard with lots of cannon fodder
to absorb step losses and allow other units
to advance. And once they’ve created
a breach, they can flood it with lots of units
that the outnumbered Germans will have a hard
time containing before they reach their objectives.
Then, once the Soviets reach an objective
hex, they can stack it with units and surround
it with others, making it tough for the Germans
to dislodge them before the end of the game.
The following summary of a recent game illustrates
In the historical scenario, the Soviet mission
is to break or circumvent the German line
and move beyond it to take control of at least
three hexes in the towns of Belyi (a one-hex
town on the west (left) flank of the bulge),
Olenino (another one-hex town behind the center-left
of the line), Rzhev (a two-hex town on the
center-right) and Sychevka (another one-hexer
five hexes south of Rzhev). They must do this
by the end of the eighth turn (December 9-10).
The German objective is to make sure the Soviets
take only one or none of those hexes. Two
hexes is a draw.
On the extreme southwest flank of the bulge,
the Soviet 41st Army sets up in line that
starts just west of Belyi and runs southwest.
There’s nothing of value south of Belyi,
so the 41st concentrates its units in the
northern part of its set up zone. However,
they do have to extend their line to the southwest
somewhat, because the German VI Corps is stationed
5+ hexes southwest of Belyi. If the 41st doesn’t
cover its southwest flank, the VI Corps will
encircle them from the west and cut off their
supply lines, making it much harder to take
To the north of Belyi and curving northeast
beyond Olenino, the German left-center is
weak. The four infantry divisions, one mechanized
division, and one Guards mechanized division
of the German XXIII Corps are charged with
holding the 14 hexes of that line.
German mechanized divisions whose component
regiments stay stacked together in the same
hex have divisional integrity and fight at
double strength. The German player wants to
keep that advantage, so to cover the other
12 hexes the XXIII Corps must break its four
infantry divisions into several under-strength
Luckily for XXIII Corps, the north-facing
part of their line is behind a creek (across
which waits the powerful Soviet 39th Army).
Also, the Soviet 22nd Army which opposes the
less-defensible west-facing part of the line
is only moderate in strength. The German 1st
Panzer Mechanized Division is also in a reserve
position three hexes southwest of Belyi, and
can move north quickly to reinforce the line
The German line running east of Olenino to Rzhev and southeast
of Rzhev is strong, until it passes a bend
in the creek at the town of Karmanovo. The
remaining third of the German line (running
due south to the board edge) gets progressively
weaker while the Soviet forces there get progressively
In addition, the Soviet 3rd Tank Army holds
a reserve position behind the Soviet line
at the extreme southeastern flank of the bulge.
If the Soviet 5th and 33rd Armies can break
the German southeast flank and drive to within
two hexes of the town of Viaz’ma (deep
in the south-central section of the board),
Red Army Command will release 3rd Tank Army
for duty. It can then plunge in after the
5th and 33rd and help them drive northward
on the road from Viaz’ma to Sychevka,
and finally Rzhev.
Turn 1: 25-26 November
The weather on Turn 1 is snow (half movement
for all but ski units). The German player
rolls and gets five supply points (which is
very good). The Soviet player gets his standard
three, so he now has 17 supply points while
the German has nine. The Soviet player spends
five supply points to put half his armies
(at the various weak points in the line, plus
the creek bend to the east at Karmanovo) in
supply. The German, not knowing which of his
corps will hold and which will falter, spends
only two SPs to put the VI Corps (which may
try to encircle the Soviet southwest flank) and the
XXXXI Corps (defending Belyi in the west)
in combat supply. All units of both sides
can trace supply lines to their HQs, and all
HQs can trace supply lines to their supply
sources on friendly board-edges.
The Soviet player puts the chits for all
five of his combat-supplied HQs in the cup,
plus the chit for the weak and unsupplied
29th Army, which is just to the north of the
weak southeast German flank (he’ll need
to activate in later turns to exploit any
breach the Soviet armies to the south make).
Due to poor German preparedness on the first
two days of the campaign, the German player
can only put six chits in the cup on Turn
1. So, he puts in the chits for his HQs on
his two flanks, plus the chit for the reinforcing
XXX Corps which will arrive at the southwest
board edge this turn.
Chit #1 — Soviet 33rd Army (extreme
southeast flank): It activates and destroys
both divisions of the weak German XII Corps
during the combat phase, and its two component
tank corps (the 9th and 10th) overrun and
wipe out the XII Corps HQ during the mechanized
movement phase. The XII Corps HQ goes on the
turn record track two turns in future, when
it will reappear at the southwest corner of
the board. The 33rd’s other tank units
use the mechanized movement phase to solidify
their northern flank, encircling and cutting
off the German 137th Division from the XX
The next chit drawn is German, but once again due to poor
preparedness the first two German chits drawn
go back in the cup so another chit can be
Chit #2 — Soviet 41st Army (extreme
southwest flank near Belyi): Their attack
on Belyi bogs down.
Chit #3 — Soviet 39th Army (at the apex of the bulge
west of center, north of Olenino): They
attack south but kill only one German regiment.
The Soviet player then draws another German
chit, which goes back in the cup. After that,
any German chits drawn will be played.
Chit #4 — German XII Corps: This
is the corps the Soviet 33rd Army just wiped
out on the southeast flank, so no German units
Chit #5 — German XX Corps (just
north of deceased XII Corps): The encircled
137th Division has its supply status downgraded
to unsupplied. It can’t move due to
enemy ZOC and only attacks at half-strength
because it’s unsupplied, so it doesn’t
break out. The other units of XX Corps pull
back westward to try and block 33rd Army from
moving up the road to Viaz’ma.
Chit #6 —Soviet 5th Army (directly
east of just-fled German XX Corps): They
attack and force XX Corps to retreat farther
Chit #7 — German XXIII Corps (weakly
holding long line from Belyi north to Olenino):
They pull some of their under-strength
regiments back from their setup hexes to more
defensible and consolidated positions.
Chit #8 — Soviet 29th Army (to
the north of the southeast flank breakthrough):
They’re unsupplied, so they hold position
and wait for a German retreat.
Chit #9 — Soviet 20th Army (just
north of 29th, at the creek bend at Karmanovo):
This is the most powerful Soviet army
on the board. They attack southward toward
Karmanovo, but make only a one-hex breach
due to strong opposition and the Germans’
defensible position in woods, the town, and
behind the creek.
Chit #10 — German XXXXI Corps (defending
Belyi on the southwest flank): They bring
in the German 1st Panzer Division to reinforce
GERMAN OPERATIONAL HALT! VI Corps on the extreme
southwest flank can’t activate to move north
and encircle the Soviet 41st Army attacking
Belyi, nor can the reinforcing XXX Corps enter
the board. All Soviet chits have now been
drawn, so the turn is over.
Turn 2: 27-28 November
The German gets six SPs (good, he needs them
. . . ). The weather improves
to frost, so all units now move at full speed.
Stalin is happy with the campaign thus far,
so the Soviets get three more SPs. The Soviet
player puts three of his armies in combat
supply: The 33rd and 5th on the crumbling
southeast flank, and the 20th attacking south
toward Karmanovo. The German puts the HQs
on his extreme southwest flank, his right-center
(to counterattack the Soviet 20th Army), plus
his remaining HQs to the south (so they can
pull back at full speed and make a new line)
in combat supply.
The Soviets receive the 19th Rifle Division
as a reinforcement, and they assign it to
33rd Army on the extreme southeast flank to
help exploit the breakthrough. The Soviet
player withdraws the chit for the 39th Army
(which didn’t do much as it attacked
south toward Olenino) and puts the rest of
last turn’s chits in the cup. The German
once again puts the chits for both his flanks
in the cup, plus the chit for the reinforcing
Chit #1 — German XXXIX Corps (right
of center, opposing the Soviet 20th Army north
of Karmanovo): They attack but each side
scores just one step loss.
Chit #2 — German XX Corps (on the
extreme southeast flank, just north of Soviet
breakthrough): They pull back to block
the road running northwest to Viaz’ma,
plus the woods area north of the road.
Chit #3 — Soviet 29th Army (north
of southeast flank breakthrough): They’re
still unsupplied and had hoped to follow a
German retreat. But they’re sick of
holding position, so they make a half-strength
attack on the weak south flank of the German
XXXXVI Corps (which has most of its units
positioned to the north to oppose the powerful
Soviet 20th Army attacking Karmanovo). They
do surprisingly well, eliminating a German
division and sending the powerful Soviet 3rd
Guards Motorized Division through the breach
(the German units around the breach are single
regiments and exert no ZOC). Third Guards
Motorized ends up northwest of XXXXVI Corps’
HQ, cutting it off from its units to the north
(which will have to rely on XXXIX Corps HQ
to their north for supplies).
Chit #4 — Soviet 41st Army (on
southwest flank at Belyi): They’re
unsupplied, but the Soviet 1st Mechanized
Corps blows a hole in the German line south
of Belyi and advances southward behind it.
It then tries to break back west to 41st Army’s
HQ with an overrun attack during the mechanized
movement phase, but fails. It will be isolated
Chit #5 — Soviet 5th Army (just
north of 33rd Army on southeast flank): They
attack and eliminate the German 183rd Division
and push back XX Corps HQ and another German
division while the two tank brigades reach
the road to Viaz’ma. Then, during the
mechanized movement phase, a tank brigade
charges up the road at full speed (due to
the improved weather) and gets within two
hexes of Viaz’ma. This releases the
Soviet 3rd Tank Army, which can join the advance
from behind the 33rd next turn!
Chit #6 — German VI Corps (on extreme
southwest flank): The Soviet 1st Mechanized
Corps’ penetration of the German line
south of Belyi puts Soviet ZOC between the
German units in Belyi and VI Corps HQ. So,
VI Corps HQ can’t supply the powerful
German 1st Panzer Division that moved to reinforce
Belyi. The German 1st Panzer has to stay in
Belyi to defend it from the Soviet tanks,
and VI Corps by itself isn’t powerful
enough to do much damage to the Soviet 1st
Mechanized Corps. So, they just make a token
attack on 41st’s infantry brigades holding
the end of the Soviet southwest flank. They
do very well, however, and force a breach
in the Soviet line.
Chit #7 — German XXX Corps (the
reinforcing corps at the southwest board edge):
There are three German mechanized divisions
with XXX Corps HQ. They enter the board in
the road hex seven hexes east of the southwest
board corner. All three use strategic movement
to race down the road at 1/2 MP per hex to
Viaz’ma and beyond. The HQ and one mechanized
division move to the road hex one hex south
of Viaz’ma, while the other two mechanized
divisions move northeast of Viaz’ma.
Then in the mechanized movement phase, the
HQ and its mechanized division move southeast
and overrun the Soviet tank brigade that got
within two hexes of Viaz’ma. The German
player spends an extra supply point to increase
the odds on the attack, and it kills the Soviet
tank brigade. They then drive farther southeast
to block the road against the yet-to-move
Soviet 33rd Army on the extreme southeast
flank. Then, the second German mechanized
division moves offroad and east of Viaz’ma
to save the fleeing German XX Corps HQ, attacking
the pursuing Soviet 5th Army units but doing
little damage. Finally, the third German mechanized
division moves offroad and NE of Viaz’ma
to block Soviet units that will likely go
north of XX Corps HQ and advance through the
Chit #8 — German IX Corps (north
of where XX Corps used to be): They’re
unsupplied, so they pull back southwest to
help oppose the breach. The HQ spends all
12 of its MPs to get within supply range of
the newly-arrived mechanized division NE of
GERMAN OPERATIONAL HALT! XXXXVI Corps can’t
activate to oppose the breakthrough of the
Soviet 3rd Guards Motorized Division which
cuts its HQ off from most of its units.
Chit #9 — Soviet 20th Army (attacking
south toward Karmanovo): They hit Karmanovo,
spending a Soviet supply point to bolster
the attack, and push the German mechanized
division out. They advance south to occupy
Chit #10 — Soviet 33rd Army (on
extreme southeast flank): Where there
was once a clear road to Viaz’ma before
them, there is now the German XXX Corps HQ
with its mechanized division blocking the
road. The Soviet 9th and 10th Tank Corps head
off the road and north, to overrun the Isolated
German 137th Division. They inflict enough
losses so only a small under-strength regiment
remains. This exerts no ZOC, so the rest of
33rd Army can bypass it and surge northwest. The
infantry advance behind the tanks and wipe
out the remaining German regiment, but the
German mechanized division stops the Soviet
advance up the road.
But then, 9th and 10th Tank Corps plunge
through the one-hex ZOC gap between XXX Corps’
mechanized division on the road and XX Corps’
mechanized division to the north. They encircle
XX Corps HQ and the mechanized division from
the west, cutting them off from the German
supply sources on the west and south board
edges. XX Corps and the mechanized division
are now also surrounded by Soviet ZOC from
5th and 33rd Armies, so in addition to being
unsupplied they can’t move. Finally,
the three other tank brigades in 33rd Army
move offroad to surround XXX Corps and its
mechanized division, cutting it off from supply
All Soviet chits have been drawn, so the turn
Turn 3: 29-30 November
The Germans roll and get three supply, as
do the Soviets. The weather changes to snow,
which will slow down the Soviet advance. The
Soviets spend supply points to put the entire
east half of their line in combat supply,
while the Germans put their eastern flank
and their extreme southwest flank in combat
The Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps south of
Belyi is isolated because it failed to break
back through the German line from the east.
The German XX and XXX Corps HQs and their
mechanized divisions are both unsupplied and
surrounded by units of the Soviet 5th and
33rd Armies (the divisions aren’t Isolated
because they have their HQs with them providing
supply). The Soviet player puts all of last
turn’s chits plus the chit for the newly
released 3rd Tank army in the cup. The German
puts in the chits for all his HQs on both
Chit #1 — German VI Corps (on extreme
southwest flank): They are supplied now
and attack northward at full force, pushing
the Soviet 41st Army’s flanking units
back west of Belyi.
Chit #2 — German XXXXI Corps (NE
of VI Corps, at Belyi): The German 1st
Panzer Division and the SS Cavalry Division
move south from Belyi to hit the isolated
Soviet 1st Mechanized Corps that’s trapped
east of the German line. The Russians are
unexpectedly tough, and only the Germans take
damage. The German units move back up to Belyi
in the mechanized movement phase.
Chit #3 — German XXX Corps (blocking
the road to Viaz’ma): It is unsupplied
and surrounded. It can only attack at half-strength,
and determines that it can’t break out.
So it stays put to defend itself and block
the road as best it can.
Chit #4 — German XXXXVI Corps:
Its units are largely up by Karmanovo,
but its HQ is south of the breaching Soviet
3rd Guards Motorized Division. Since the HQ
can only supply the units to the south of
the Soviets, it takes those units and pulls
back to block the Soviet advance.
Chit #5 — Soviet 33rd Army: They
surround and pound the Unsupplied German XXX
Corps HQ and its mechanized division on the
road southeast of Viaz’ma.
Chit #6 — Soviet 5th Army: They
surround and pound the German XX Corps HQ
and its mechanized division north of the road
and east of Viaz’ma. They eliminate
all but one regiment of the mechanized division.
Chit #7 — Soviet 41st Army (west
and southwest of Belyi): Their southwest
flank has been badly mauled by the northward-advancing
German VI Corps, so they pull farther northward.
Other units near Belyi hit the German line
separating them from the isolated Soviet 1st
Mechanized Corps. They blow a hole in the
line, and 1st Mechanized straggles back westward
to rejoin its HQ.
Chit #8 — German XXXIX Corps:
It hits the northern flank of the Soviet 20th
Army (which just attacked southward and took
Karmanovo) but does little damage.
GERMAN OPERATIONAL HALT! The surrounded German
XX Corps can’t activate (it couldn’t
have done much anyway).
Chit #9 — Soviet 3rd Tank Army:
It moves west from its reserve position
and follows the 33rd and 5th Armies west toward
SOVIET OPERATIONAL HALT! The 20th and 29th
Armies up by Karmanovo can’t activate,
so the weakened eastern section of the German
line is safe for now.
Turn 4: December 1-2
The Germans roll and get four SPs. The weather
stays snowy, which continues to slow the Soviet
advance. Stalin’s attitude stays favorable
so the Soviets get another three SPs. The
Soviet player puts his HQs on both flanks
in combat supply, plus the HQs for the Soviet
20th Army at Karmanovo and the Soviet 22nd
Army facing the weak German west-central line
between Belyi and Olenino. He places the chits
of all his supplied HQs in the cup, and the
German supplies and places in the cup the
HQs on both his flanks.
Chit #1 — Soviet 29th Army (north
of breakthrough and south of Karmanovo): They’re
unsupplied, so instead of attacking they start
to move forward and encircle the German XXXVI
Chit #2 — German IX Corps (just
north of the breakthrough to the southeast):
They pull back farther to block the Soviet
5th Army from advancing westward through the
woods east of Viaz’ma.
Chit #3 — Soviet 5th Army: They
finish off the last regiment and HQ of the
German XX Corps and advance westward into
the woods east of Viaz’ma.
Chit #4 — Soviet 33rd Army:
They surround and pound the German XXX Corps
and mechanized division on the road southeast
of Viazma. They reduce it to one regiment
(with no ZOC), so the tank units bypass it
on their mechanized movement phase and resume
the advance on Viaz’ma.
Chit #5 — Soviet 22nd Army (west
of Olenino): They break through the weak
German XXIII Corps’ line in the Combat
Phase, and the Soviet 3rd Mechanized Corps
plus the 39th and 104th Tank Brigades advance
three hexes eastward toward Olenino. They
move again on the mechanized movement phase,
and the 3rd Mechanized Corps enters Olenino.
Chit #6 — Soviet 20th Army: They
surround and pound the isolated German 36th
Motorized Division at the creek bend NE of
SOVIET OPERATIONAL HALT! The 41st Army by
Belyi and the 3rd Tank Army following the
Soviet breakthrough to the southeast can’t
activate. This is a big break for the Germans!
Chit #7 — German XXXIX Corps: They
attack the northern flank of the Soviet 20th
Army again, trying to break through and encircle
them from the north to stop their drive south
at Karmanovo. They wear them down somewhat.
Chit #8 — German XXXXI Corps (around
Belyi): They send the units on their northern
flank plus the German 1st Panzer Division
from Belyi northward to hit the southern flank
of the Soviet 22nd Army that just broke through
to Olenino. They wipe out the southern Soviet
flank in the Combat Phase, and then the 1st
Panzer Division moves northwest in the mechanized
movement phase to cutoff the 22nd Army from
Chit #9 — German XX Corps (east
of Viaz’ma): They are surrounded
and unsupplied, and can’t break out.
They stand and defend.
Chit #10 — German VI Corps (southwest
of Belyi): They destroy one brigade of
the Soviet 41st Army and move north to cut
off another from its HQ.
Chit #11 — German XXIII Corps (which
just had the southwest section of its line
destroyed by the eastward-advancing Soviet
22nd Army): They pull back part of their
line from north of Olenino, sending their
HQ and the Guards mechanized division west
and behind the eastward-moving Soviet 22nd
Army to cut off their supply lines, and sending
the 14th Motorized Division south to attack
the Soviet 3rd Mechanized Corps holding Olenino.
They eject the Soviets from Olenino and retake
The Guards counter attack.
Turn 5: December 3-4
The Germans roll and get only one SP this
turn. That’s bad. Stalin’s attitude
stays positive so the Soviets get three more
SPs. The weather, however, stays snowy, so
the Soviet advance will still be slow.
The Soviet player puts several HQs in combat
supply, including the 39th Army north of Olenino
(now that the German XXIII Corps has pulled
back some of its forces there). The German
player has only four SPs left, and he discovers
that the German XXIII Corps HQ, which just
moved west to cut off the Soviet 22nd Army
from supply, has had its own supply line cut
off from the east by 22nd Army units and ZOC.
The HQ and its units (including the German
14th Motorized Division which just retook
Olenino, and other XXIII Corps units defending
the line to the north) will be unsupplied
The Soviet 22nd Army, on the other hand,
still has a one-hex-wide supply line to the
west, between the Guards Mechanized Division
in the north and the German 1st Panzer Division
that moved up from Belyi in the south. The
only way the Germans will hold onto Olenino
is if the 1st Panzer and the rest of the XXXXI
Corps units moving up from the south can smash
the Soviet 22nd Army. So, the German player
puts his three west-flank HQs’ Corps
plus the XXXIX Corps (the one that’s
been hitting the flank of the Soviet 20th
Army north of Karmanovo to the east) in combat
supply and their chits in the cup. The Soviet
player puts as many chits in the cup as he
can and supplies as many of them as possible.
Chit #1 — German XXXIX Corps: The
two mechanized divisions in this corps hit
the north flank of the Soviet 20th Army again,
and wear them down to one tank corps. If they
can break through next turn they can get behind
the southward Soviet advance.
Chit #2 — Soviet 22nd Army: They
back up westward from Olenino to hit the eastern
flank of the German XXXXI Corps advancing
northward to close the pincers behind them.
They damage it but don’t destroy any
units, so they may still be cut off from behind.
Chit #3 — Soviet 3rd Tank Army:
They advance northwest and destroy the
German XXX HQ and its mechanized division
on the road to Viaz’ma. They advance
farther northwest toward Viaz’ma in the mechanized
Chit #4 — German VI Corps (southwest
of Belyi): They destroy the brigade they
cut off from the Soviet 41st Army HQ, and
then pull back south so they’ll be free
of Soviet ZOC interference and can move quickly
east or west of the Soviet line as needed
Chit #5 — German XXIII Corps (west
of Olenino): They are unsupplied, so they
move one hex eastward to try to pick up their
supply line again, while the unsupplied 14th
Motorized Division moves southwest and kills
the weak Soviet 39th Tank Regiment from 22nd
Chit #6 — Soviet 33rd Army: They
drive northwest up the road and take Viaz’ma.
Chit #7 — Soviet 39th Army (north
of Olenino): They blow a hole in the weak
northern half of XXIII Corps’ line,
and cross the creek and move south toward
Chit #8 — Soviet 29th Army (north
of breakthrough and southeast of Karmanovo):
They are unsupplied and were only put
in the cup due to Soviet restrictions. They
continue to slowly maneuver around the German
Chit #9 — Soviet 5th Army: They
keep pounding the XX Corps HQ and its mechanized
division east of Viaz’ma.
Chit #10 — German XXXXI Corps:
They move north and close the pincers
behind the Soviet 22nd Army from the west.
Chit #11 — Soviet 20th Army:
They kill the last of the surrounded German
mechanized division at the creek bend northeast
of Karmanovo, and send units south across
the creek to reinforce their forces at Karmanovo.
Chit #12 — Soviet 41st Army (at
Belyi): They hit the units which the German
XXXXI Corps left behind to guard Belyi when
they went north to save Olenino. The 41st
Army takes Belyi.
All chits have been drawn, so the turn is
over. The Soviets now control one objective
Turn 6: December 5-6
The Germans roll and get four SPs. Stalin,
who expected to have taken Rzhev by now, starts
rethinking his plans, and the Soviets only
get two SPs this turn. The weather is still
snow. The Soviet player spends all his remaining
SPs to put his eastern flank in supply and
support the drive northward on the road behind
the German lines from Viaz’ma to Sychevka
and Rzhev. The German spends SPs on HQs in
hotspots, and has only two left. The Soviet
player puts all of last turn’s chits
in the cup, except for the Soviet 22nd Army
which is now Unsupplied west of Olenino due
to the pincer movement behind it to the west.
Chit #1 — German XXXIX Corps: They
start pulling units back to protect the bridge
southwest of Karmanovo from the expected southwest
advance of the Soviet 20th Army. Their continued
attacks on 20th Army’s north flank do
Chit #2 — German IX Corps: Pulls
west to block the road north from Viaz’ma
Chit #3 — Soviet 41st Army:
They are unsupplied but are able to push another
German division northward away from Belyi,
and pile in to consolidate their position
Chit #4 — Soviet 39th Army: They
push south and wrap around Olenino and the
XXIII Corps HQ from west to east.
Chit #5 — Soviet 33rd Army: They
push north from Viaz’ma and up the road,
but the German 7th Luftwaffe Division (which
IX Corps sent to block the road) stops 33rd
Army cold, all by itself!
Chit #6 — German XXXVI Corps (southeast
of Karmanovo): Pulls back west to avoid
encirclement by 20th Army from the north and
29th Army from the east.
Chit #7 — Soviet 5th Army: Bypasses
the reduced German XX Corps HQ and mechanized
division and moves west, but is stopped in
the woods by the remaining German mechanized
SOVIET OPERATIONAL HALT! The Soviet 20th
Army can’t hit the bridge southwest
of Karmanovo, and 3rd Tank Army can’t
advance up the road toward Sychevka.
Chit #8 — German XXXXI Corps (southwest
and west of Olenino): The HQ supplies
the 14th Motorized Division from the south
and sends it into Olenino, while sending 1st
Panzer eastward to reinforce it.
Chit #9 — German XXIII Corps (around
Olenino): Does some damage to advancing
Soviet 39th Army units from the north.
All German chits have been drawn, so the
turn is over. The Soviets still control one
objective hex at Belyi.
Crushing the fascists.
Turn 7: December 7-8
The Germans roll and get four supply points,
and the weather turns to frost, so the Soviet
advance can go full speed now. The Soviets
only get two supply points from Stalin (plus
the two they got back from not being able
to activate 20th Army and 3rd Tank Army last
turn), so they put their entire eastern flank
in supply. The Germans do the same. The Soviets
put all of last turn’s chits except
for 41st Army (which is now holding Belyi
comfortably) in the cup.
Chit #1 — German IX Corps: They
retreat the 7th Luftwaffe Division north to
keep blocking the road while outdistancing
some slower Soviet units. Their mechanized
division is stuck in the woods to the east
opposing Soviet 5th Army.
Chit #2 — Soviet 3rd Tank Army:
They drive north at full speed, overrun
the 7th Luftwaffe Field Division on the road
and kill it, and send two mechanized units
northward on the road during the mechanized
movement phase to take Sychevka. They will
be unsupplied because they advanced beyond
their HQ’s range, but they can still
defend at Sychevka at full-strength.
Chit #3 — Soviet 20th Army:
They attack southwest of Karmanovo but are
stopped at the bridge.
Chit #4 — German XXXIX Corps: They
abort their attack on the Soviet 20th Army’s
northern flank and pull their two mechanized
divisions back to block the road north from
Sychevka to Rzhev.
Chit #5 — German XXXVI Corps (southeast
of Karmanovo): They escape from being
encircled by the Soviet 20th and 29th armies,
and send tanks westward toward Sychevka.
Chit #6 — Soviet 33rd Army: They
drive north along the road from Viaz’ma
and get to within two hexes of Sychevka, but
can’t go farther because their HQ has
a movement allowance of 3 in each movement
and mechanized movement phase. To go farther
would make them unsupplied and useless against
the mechanized divisions converging on Sychevka.
Chit #7 — Soviet 39th Army: They
are unable to amass enough force to make an
effective attack against the two German mechanized
divisions now defending Olenino.
The turn ends with no more significant activity.
A Happy Valentine. Fraternal assistance
from the workers of Great Britain.
Last Turn (December 9-10)
The weather remains at frost, but the two
mechanized corps in Sychevka are unsupplied
because they are outside 3rd Tank Army HQ’s
range. Their movement rate is cut in half,
so they get to Rzhev.
The two German mechanized divisions on the
road to the north of them are also unsupplied
because the advancing Soviets cut them off
from XXXIX Corps HQ to the south, and the
HQs to the north are too far away. So, they
can’t attack the Soviet mechanized corps
in Sychevka effectively.
The Soviet 33rd Army is too far to the south
of Rzhev to be able to get there this turn,
and the river to the north of Rzhev is wide
and will prevent the Soviet 30th Army’s
tanks from attacking across it. Olenino is
under solid German control, and Belyi is securely
in Soviet hands. There’s no way any
objective hex will change hands before the
game is over.
The Soviets control Belyi and Sychevka, which is two hexes.
Soooo . . .
IT’S A DRAW!
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This piece originally appeared in February 2006.