Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Battle for Moscow 1941

I went over to Friendless' house on Tuesday evening for some gaming. Our first game was Memoir '44 playing with the Eastern Front expansion. We played The Gates of Moscow scenario. Friendless played the Soviets and I played the Germans.

The Battle for Moscow - 18 October 1941

Historical Background:
In October, the German High Command launched the final offensive of 1941 - Operation Typhoon. The initial German success on the Eastern Front had put them deep into the Soviet Union on all fronts, but the advance slowed before they could reach the key cities of Mother Russia. The Soviets used their large population to continuously produce more military forces. Although poorly equipped and inexpertly led, the Soviet soldiers were deployed in a last desperate line of defense to keep the German army from reaching Moscow.

Mozhaisk, the last major town on the direct road to Moscow was captured but the German advanced stalled. The exhausted army had no additional reserves for the final push on into Moscow.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

Axis Player: Take 5 Command cards
You move first.

Russian Player: Take 5 Command cards.

Conditions of Victory:
7 Medals
An Axis unit that captures the East bridge or the town of Mozhaisk counts as one Victory Medal. Place an Objective Medal on each hex. As long as the Axis unit remains on the Bridge or Town hex, it continues to count toward the Axis victory. If the unit moves off or is eliminated, it no longer counts.

Special Rules:
Blitz Rules are in effect (see p.4).

Russian Command rules are in effect (p.3).

My main problem as the Germans was that all my forces were grouped together on my edge of the board. In Memoir '44 a unit suffers a hit for every retreat move it cannot make. This made my force very vulnerable in the opening stages of the battle.

I had mainly Right Flank cards so pushed forward there. Unfortunately, the terrain was against me as I had to push through forests which really hampered my movement. Friendless played Air Power for his first move, hitting four of my units in the Centre. He rolled well and reduced two of my Armoured units down to one tank each as well as reducing an Artillery unit to one piece and reducing an Infantry unit by half. This effectively blunted any German threat in the centre.

Although I pushed the Soviets out of Bryansk on my Right Flank, that's pretty much where my attack stalled. I then decided to transfer my schwerpunkt to my Left Flank. My Armoured units were able to take the high ground and push back the Soviets in this sector. One tank unit even made it behind the enemy lines and was able to destroy a Soviet Artillery unit on the Soviet rear board edge.

The final placement at the end of the battle. Viewed from the German side.

However, my push only made it so far before I suffered at the hands of a valiant Soviet counterattack.

It was to be an historical result to the battle with Friendless winning the game with 7 medals for the Soviets versus my 4 medals for the Germans.

After that we had time for a quick game of Dominion. We played with the 'First Game' deck. Friendless did give me some tactical advice - the Villages were key to winning he said.


And Friendless was right. At one point he pulled off an awe-inspiring run of cards, using his entire deck on one turn. Friendless went on to win 31 - 28.

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