I remember the first title being very easy to play, much like a Panzer General/Panzer Corps kind of game, so I decided without much research into it, I’d go ahead an play a short scenario and document my progress. I chose the first scenario The Battle of Dubno-Brody.
Looking at the Briefing, its obvious theres a push needed, southwards to Brody and Eastwards towards Dubno.
The game even provides you with the a complete list of objectives for the missions (even if the English is a little iffy).
The objectives seem to place a wide variety of victory conditions in front of you, and at the beginning I just wasn’t sure about which one, or perhaps a combination of them to try and aim for. So I went with my own personal planning team of killing all in my way, and capturing any base that had a Soviet flag flying over.
At the beginning of Turn 1, here is the lie of the land. There are two bridges I need to secure to allow the flow of my troops across the river Styr and into the Dubno and Brody heartland. The southernmost bridge is contested and is in enemy hands. I have in my control the bridge to Kozyn. I’m a bit light on the ground, but do have 4 units from the Luftwaffe to help out.
As the turn begins, I thouight I’d switch on the 3d model troops, just for a brief moment, to show you the default mode in which the game plays. The models are nice enough, animations are a bit stiff, but I prefer the much clearer view of the NATO symbols, so I play the rest of the game in that mode. You can flip between the two, with a single keystroke anyway. The NATO symbols also adopt a pseudo-3d mode when you zoom in anyway, which is impressive and disconcerting in equal measure.
My initial thought is to get my Junkers 88 “Edelweiss” over that contested bridge and wither the enemy holding the place. Obviously I didn’t consider the fact that my bombs may destroy the bridge (I don’t know if thats possible in the game!).
The air attack thins them out a little. Down to 7 strength.
So I roll my Panzer II’s in the 9th Panzer Division along the road, to give support to the attacks taking place, along with my armoured recon (PSW 222).
As the 9th Panzers setup to attack, the game displays an ‘odds’ screen showing a lot of detail, about combat strengths and modifiers, entrechment and what not, with the important factors being the golden “loss” predictions. You can see that attacking the 5th Cav involves a bombardment in support from the Russian 655 Artillery Regiment perched on the hill just out of the shot above (bottom left).
Ultimately, we might lose 1 strength point to reduce the Soviet Cavalry by 3 strength.
After I initiate the combat, another odds screen is displayed with the results of combat.
I quickly move my recon unit in place to capture the bridge for my Axis forces.
And I continue to roll my armour and an infantry division across the Southern bridge to stem the flow from the South, and to hopefully secure a corridor into the East and South to push onto Dubno and Brody respectively.
I set my infantry onto the broken Cavalry unit.
With really good odds, even with Artillery support against them…
We manage to destroy the Cavalry unit, and ultimately the immediate threat near the Southern Bridge.
Stepping back in time a little, whilst I was involved in the hot pursuit and destruction of the Soviet 5th Cavalry, I used the range of my Panzer force from the Bridge to Kozyn, to acutally speed down the undefended road and into Kozyn itself. Securing a key objective without any resistance.
Looking Southward at the end of the turn, you can my spearhead Panzer force at Kozyn, and the situation with Soviet forces amassing to attempt a counter push. With the Soviet Air force coming in from the Southeast.
I still have to crack Brody, just South of my PanzerKampfwagon unit, defended by Soviet Regular infantry. And I’ll have to start to think about shifting my focus northwards to attempt some sort of attack on Dubno – all the while holding back the suffocating Soviet Armour and air power.
Join me next time for Turn 2..