In the summer of 1943, the Red Army of Workers and Peasants launched a massive offensive designed to drive the Nazi invaders out of the Soviet Union. In Ukraine, the Dnepr River presented a vital barrier. To defeat the invaders, the Soviets would have to get across. Seeking a decisive victory, they called on their airborne troops to break this barrier and sustain the offensive.
Red Parachutes: Soviet Airborne Assault Across the Dnepr is based on the September 1943 operation. The Soviet player is trying to get his or her army across the Dnepr River by any means possible. The German player must prevent this.
As with the other games that use this game system, most units are battalions with some companies and small regiments. These usually belong to divisions, and they operate more effectively together with units of the same division.
Crossing the Dnepr is the Soviet player’s objective.
Units are rated for morale, attack, defense and movement. Superior morale will assist a unit in several game functions but particularly in combat. Tank units are rated for armor quality; anti-tank units have a similar rating used to fight tanks.
Artillery is the most powerful weapon on the battlefield. Artillery units may support an attack or a defense; German units are somewhat more flexible than Soviet ones thanks to better communications. But some of the Soviet artillery has massive firepower, especially the Guards rocket units. Artillery must be supplied; running out of artillery ammunition is a very bad thing, and both players must choose where to use their shells.
Each game “day” is divided into three daylight and one night turns. The map is divided into hexagons (“hexes”) shows the area around the Bukrin Bridgehead at a scale of 2 kilometers per hex.
Loading the Red Parachutists.
The Soviet player’s strength lies in his or her rifle divisions: sixteen regular divisions, plus two more of the more capable Guards rifle divisions. There are also three tank corps and a cavalry corps. All of thee are trying to fore their way over the river. Plus there are three Guards Airborne brigades that drop behind the German lines to try to assist the crossings.
The Germans have already been battered before the battle opens, but have some potent formations of their own. The best by far is the 7th Panzer Division, with excellent morale and six tank companies (no other German division brings more than four). There are four other panzer divisions, one panzer grenadier division, six infantry divisions and some independent units. The German side has a definite edge in quality, but the German player will constantly be moving his or her best units from one place to another along the river line in a desperate attempt to fore back the determined Soviet attackers.
Red Parachutes is old-fashioned wargaming at its finest. Entire divisions disappear in a single turn in the fierce fighting along the river line. With fearsome tank battles and parachute landings, there’s also exciting movement and tense decisions to be made.
Red Parachutes includes: