But to demonstrate that historical case would require a German player who arbitrarily decided to siege Leningrad instead of storm it early on, as well as a German player who decided to divert AGC south while it outnumbered the defenders between it and Moscow, only turning back toward Moscow when the calendar was too far along to complete the task. In short, historical outcomes rely on historical behavior by BOTH sides. Pardon me, but I never thought that was the point of these types of games. The point is always to try and do it better.
No, it is not the point to repeat history, but in principle it should be possible to see something like this, whatever the probability. You are of course right that also the Germans have to play along the same lines, or have to be forced to play along the same lines (i.e. if the Soviet be forced to defend forward by unrealistically slowing HI evac, you could also make a point for a rule forcing the German player to go for Leningrad each time -- but exactly this is not what anybody wants; let it all be possible within reason, but no "soft-factors" forcing anything).
However, you also seem to believe that the Germans did send part of the two Panzergroups of AGC south to Kiev without considering advancing further towards Moscow. But as far as I can judge, this was not the case. They hand their hands full defending from very heavy counterattacks in the Yelnja bend, and southwards, which even required them to give up the Yelnja bridgehead after three weeks if I recall correctly. After the jump over the landbridge late July, AGC was short on supply (particularly artillery ammo) and fuel, not to mention replacements. AGC was in no state to advance further until mid September; I believe also Glantz wrote so in one of his analysis.
Meanwhile PzGrp. 3 had already send about a corps to AGN to help defeat or stop the dangerous Soviet counteroffensive south of lake Ilmen (Staraya Russia), while AGC had run into serious trouble and had suffered substantial losses at the hands of those forces, which commonly in this game get eliminated in the Lvov pocket. The advance of AGS into the Russian grain belt and towards the coal and ore mines was not getting ahead as fast as planned and was almost stalled in early August.
The OKW staff writes in his daily reports of a briefing, in which this was discussed with Hitler, and the chances weighed whether the possibility to relieve AGS, or even destroy a part of the opposing forces could be justified by a delay in the AGC sector. There obviously was a meeting scheduled with Guderian, Hoth and Hitler as well, who concluded that AGC couldn't make use of the armor anyway until the logistics and the infantry had caught up fully.
So it would seem it was not a totally arbitrary decision, but one that made best use of time and means.
Also for Leningrad I am not so sure where the true argument really lies. The books propagate the story that Hitler decided on a siege instead of taking it. But at the time, when this decision was made, AGN was fighting off the counterattacks in its right flank, with help of Pzgr. 3 elements, was stemming a counteroffensive beyond the Volkov, and yet had already attempted to assault both the southern defenses of Petershof, and Leningrad. However, there was barely any progress towards both of these objectives between mid/late September and early October, while the Soviet counteroffensives were blunted. But that time weather had worsened substantially and the focus had shifted to Typhoon. To me it seems the Germans tried, and tried hard to grab Leningrad quickly, but refrained from too costly assaults after being stalled for weeks. Also this doesn't strike me as an arbitrary decision, but a quite causal one.
Clearly, in all cases the Germans were pushing hard, and they did suffer substantially (though numerically much less than the Russians). But I cannot see any of those dire situations for the Germans happen in this game, the German player hardly gets into such reversing troubles except if he gets his spearheads isolated by accident. And even then usually reserves are still sufficient to resolve the situation. The Russian counters seem weak, barely enough to hold tight if not surrounded. Apparently not strong enough to counterattack forcefully, suffer 4-6M casualties, and yet still hold back the Germans, drive wedges into their front, and mount a blizzard offensive. This wouldn't replicate any of the reasons why Germans stopped assaulting Leningrad, had to take an extended pause on the landbridge before advancing towards Moscow, while at the same time grinding only forward slowly and costly near Kiev. I think this would look very different in most AARs if a halfway competent Soviet player had the means to cause only a single one of such delays/troubles.
< Message edited by janh -- 7/3/2012 4:24:35 PM >