Unternehmen Barbarossa! | A Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa AAR | Part 1

Published: 2017-02-10, edited: 2017-02-10
Hello and welcome to my DC: B AAR. This is a turn-based, hex-grid wargame with a focus on the politics between the branches of the German military during World War 2. Ensuring that your troops are in supply, fighting and moving as well as ensuring your generals and higher-ups are happy with your command is required to prevent your sacking (and thus losing the game). Unhappy generals may ignore your orders entirely and instead go about their own business, and Hitler himself may meddle in your grand plans. I hope to introduce many new players to this series that I believe straddles the line between Paradox grand strategy and the war gaming world.

Part of the campaign:

Unternehmen Barbarossa! | A Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa AAR

Hello and welcome to my DC: B AAR. This is a turn-based, hex-grid wargame with a focus on the politics between the branches of the German military during World War 2. Ensuring that your troops are in supply, fighting and moving as well as ensuring your generals and higher-ups are happy with your command is required to prevent your sacking (and thus losing the game). Unhappy generals may ignore your orders entirely and instead go about their own business, and Hitler himself may meddle in your grand plans. I hope to introduce many new players to this series that I believe straddles the line between Paradox grand strategy and the war gaming world.
In the game, we will be playing Generaloberst Franz Halder, one of the senior commanders who planned Operation Barbarossa. Unlike most war games, we are merely playing a cog in the machine of the supreme leader, and unlike in real life, we will be trying to prevent war crimes as much as possible, only doing so when the situation absolutely demands it.
The basic rule-set for this AAR includes fog of war, the removal of strict decision choices (for a more unique campaign), the ability to break the Geneva Convention and the removal of "past history", which determines the relationship you have with other characters in a historical manner. Whilst Halder was caught Hitler's ire in real life, here we can start off our friendship anew.
The game begins on the eve of war: three army groups, North, South and Center, stand prepared to launch the greatest land invasion in human history. We are the commander of all three Army Groups, second only to Field Marshal von-Brauchitsch and Hitler himself. Our command will dictate the victories and losses, but first we have been summoned by Hitler himself to determine what the strategy to defeat the Russian giant will be.
Hitler's strategy is currently unknown and may be open to numerous faults: this dictator has no military experience and his strategies so far, though successful, have been entirely predicated on luck. French unwillingness to forget the Great War have cost them their nation, but the Russians will not be so easy. Intelligence is minimal and we have no knowledge of how capable the Soviet Bear is. Moscow is, however, the center of the Soviet railways and capturing it will deal a massive blow to their morale and military capability. Damn Hitler's wishes, the man knows nothing of war!
Korber reports that Hitler sees no good in my plans, but our expedience will prove him wrong. He will give us minor support, though our relationship will be strained and bring trouble further down the line. Moscow may have to wait until 1942, but if our Panzers fight hard enough we might be able to destroy the Soviets enough to ignore it entirely.
We will encounter numerous problems though. Russian rail is not equipped for our needs. The decision to emphasize work on the Kaunas-Luga and Brest-Minsk rail lines will be essential to enable supplies headed for Army Group Center to arrive. The push for Moscow cannot happen, but AGC will still need to endure a harsh battle. Moscow controls the Soviet railways and the center is where their forces are amassed.
Foreign Minister von-Ribbentrop has managed to bring the Finns and Romanians closer to us, enabling our militaries to strike together earlier than expected. The combined forces shall make it easier to tie the Soviets down on multiple fronts, freeing up our manpower elsewhere. It is now time to end the first turn and begin the invasion of the Soviet Union. Vorwarts Panzers!
A very nice feature of this game is the post-turn diary extracts. Franz Halder's diaries have been one of the most heavily cited and documented through historical academia due to their insider nature into the machinery of Nazi Germany.
It would seem as if Hitler has taken a priority to ensuring an attack on Moscow fails. There is strategic merit in taking Rostov due to it controlling all lines into the Caucasus (and thus the Soviet's oil drilling and supplies), but favoring it over the terminus city of Moscow is simply absurd. It would appear as if Hitler plans AGC to simply be a shield over AGS' head, protecting them from any northern sweeps.
The dispositions of the important characters to us. Our relationship with Hitler at the moment means we will have no permission to distribute winter clothing, a failure to do so may destroy us in a prolonged campaign. Wagner has the ability to remove trucks from the sectors he does not wish them to go; he will have to be moved closer to us. However, Army Group South is totally loyal and we can expect the trains to run on time too, unlike Mussolini.
The battle plan of Army Group South. Von-Kleist's 1st PanzerGruppe and von-Reichenau's 6th Army will advance on Kiev from the West before wheeling around to the rear from the north. At the same time, Stulpnagel's 17th Army will advance on Lvov before meeting Kleist and von-Reichenau from the south. From there, Kleist will have free reign in Ukraine to surround and batter whatever Soviet forces continue to fight on. Both armies will split to capture the rails and then meet with von-Schobert's 11th and the Romanian Army to assault Rostov. Once all enemy combat troops have been killed or captured, a defensive line will be set up on the Donetsk river to hold the Ruskies should they counter attack and the Romanians will surround Sevastopol in Crimea. If no counter attack commences, AGS will prepare for an assault on the Caucasus and Volga river. The allocation of extra fuel has made Rundstedt very pleased and may win us this campaign.
The opening assault on the 14th and 3rd Cavalry divisions has resulted in entirely lopsided casualties, a very hopeful result and one that earmarks our future success. A hole has been punched in the lines to the west of Lvov and soon Rundstedt will be able to surround the Soviets there.
Two infantry divisions are exploiting the hole made in the line, with the Soviet cavalry retreating at break-neck pace. To show their loyalty, two (German equipped and trained) Slovakian divisions are advancing to reinforce us where needed.
The 1st PanzerGruppe has advanced too quickly and the troops are fatigued: the push into the Soviet lines has stopped with an attack on the 212nd Motorized Division. Though the SS 'Wiking' is made up of crack troops, too many battles have already occured this week and the advance had to be stopped before the battle was won. The infantry were pushed hard too and failed to reinforce them on the other side. The rail lines between the 17th Army and the Panzers have not been connected, however the Soviets must rely on trucks as Lvov can no longer supply them west of the city. A pocket is sure to form within two weeks.
Now is a good time to see a comparison of the average German (non-SS) Panzer Division, and the average Soviet counterpart. As you can see, sheer numbers are currently on the German's side: More than 50 more tanks, 4000 more infantry and the addition of half-tracks and artillery pieces gives us the edge. However, in the coming months the Russian Bear will begin to mobilize and soon will have almost double our tanks, mostly the up-to-date T-34, whilst we still have to use out-of-date Panzer II's and III's. They will also receive the same 122mm howitzer used on the SU-122 armored vehicle.
The low quality of Soviet troops and equipment means that even our lightly equipped Romanian allies can punch holes in their tanks. Numerous pushes have begun all along the Prut river in Bessarabia. This is clearly a front the Soviets care little for and that can only help our advance. Perhaps Hitler was right to emphasize Rostov-on-the-Don... is he omniscient? We can only hope.
The 11th, along with the Romanian 3rd and 4th, has made a large offensive, sweeping the Ruskies off of the Prut river. Two Motorized Divisions have been surrounded and it would appear as though the possibility of 5 more divisions being cut off could occur. The bridge over the Dniester has not been captured and Odessa is far off, but the Romanians have more than earned their medals today.
The battle plan of Army Group Center is, much to the chagrin of von-Bock, not one that will involve a sweeping attack on Moscow. As much as we'd like to, our fuel reserves have been allocated to AGS and the center simply cannot afford to advance that far. Colonel Hoth's 3rd PanzerGruppe and Strauss' 9th Army will instead attack Minsk from the north whilst Guderian's 2nd PanzerGruppe and Kluge's 4th Army hits it from the south. From there, and ad hoc campaign of station-jumping will occur, with piecemeal formations taking the railroads as necessary. If the campaign here is successful and a joint attack with Reichenau in the south against Kursk can occur, then an assault on Tula in anticipation for an attack against Moscow in Spring 1942 may happen if fuel supplies allow.
The battle plan for von-Leeb's Army Group North is much like AGC's: rather than an all-out assault on Leningrad, a campaign of encirclement and the capture of strategic bridgeheads and railways will occur. The goal of destroying the Soviet armies in this area takes first priority, however, and the capture of Riga is necessary to do this. Busch's 16th Army will push for the Kaunas-Dunaburg-Ostrov line whilst Hoepner's 4th PanzerGruppe will push north for Riga and Windau, surrounding the Soviet's in a pocket made up of Lithuania. The 18th Army under von-Kuchler will then kill or capture the Ruskies wherever they hide. A simple plan, but the success points to it being a highly effective one.
Join me in the next installment of Unternehmen Barbarossa, as we put AGN and AGC into action against the Soviet hordes!
Steam page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/454530/
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIeADJwi4dk

Next chapter:

Game: Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa

Unternehmen Barbarossa! | A Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa AAR | Part 2

Images: 40, author: throwthetrash16, published: 2017-02-11, edited: 2017-02-14

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