3 August - 23 November 1943
Beginning with the Soviet operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev to liberate Kharkov, this scenario includes the southern front along the Mius. The Soviets must push hard to liberate Kharkov quickly and then push along the entire front to the Dnieper. "The Belgorod-Khar’kov operation would be the largest Soviet offensive since Stalingrad and would involve literally hundreds of units. For the first time, Soviet front and army commanders had well balanced mobile groups to conduct operational maneuver and Soviet mobile forces fought German armored units to a standstill and were not forced to make significant withdrawals." - David Glantz
The German army after suffering high casualties during the battle of Kursk will be hard pressed to contain the Soviet offensive. However with numerous, yet woefully under strength, panzer divisions and three SS panzer divisions acting as fire brigades cutting off and eliminating Soviet army spearheads your goal is to buy time and slow the Soviet advance while inflicting as much damage as possible. Even weakened the panzer divisions properly utilized can still very effective. The Soviet player cannot expect to steamroll to the Dnieper. You need to stretch the German lines to the breaking point so your mobile forces can exploit. Keep in mind that you can probably push the German's back anywhere you choose, but his counterattacks are going to hurt. Try not to allow him to mass his panzer divisions by keeping multiple threats of advance.
Scenario Length: 17 turns
Axis Admin Points per turn: 25 Soviet Admin Points per turn: 25
There is no Axis player-turn on turn 1.
I was inspired to create this scenario because of the great enjoyment I had with a GMT boardgame, Ukraine '43. It was enjoyable to play either side. The victory points encourage the German player to hold onto Kharkov as long as possible (at least as long as historical, turn 3 or 4, Aug 23rd) and the Soviet player is also pressed by time to capture cities by the end of the scenario to win which force them to do deep historical armor thrusts. I believed I have captured that spirit of the game here. The OB of the Kharkov front comes from David Glantz's "From the Don to the Dnepr" where he provided specific details of all units involved (both Soviet and German) and the southern front OB is from George Nipe's "Decision in the Ukraine Summer 1943 II SS and III Panzerkorps". Where I had some gaps between the two, I used the OB from GMT's Ukraine '43 and some other resources. The OB may not 100% perfect, but it's as good as I could make it with materials I had access to. I have soloed it at least 25 times and have tweaked it and it feels right compared to the GMT boardgame I have played so many times.
Make sure to check out the reinforcements for both sides because the German side is desperate for units to plug holes and the Soviet player needs the extra infantry to hold up the flanks as his armor advances. Both sides will not have enough front HQs to handle all units on the map, unless you overload your HQs and suffer penalties. Probably the best idea is to assign non-essential units to Higher HQs. For example, German rear security divisions to Army Group South. Rail units for the Soviet player will be available starting on turn 10 to simulate fuel issues they had. As the Soviet player you really won't have a fuel issue unless your offensives are so successful you reach the Dnieper before turn 10.
There will be several turns of mud in October by default of rules. Randomized weather may change this - see weather rules.
The scenario is highly playable solo just like the board game was with or without FOW. I generally lock the HQs so the computer doesn't redeploy the few Tigers/Panthers that are deployed on the Kharkov front to another hot spot.
I have tried working with the AI to make it possible to play single player against the AI. I have recorded a pretty good Soviet first turn which creates several issues for the German player to deal with and creates some holes for the AI to work with. I haven't had much success though with Soviet AI, even using waypoints and turning attack to maximum, so if you are going to play with the AI you should play the Soviets. Even doing that don't expect too much, unless you turn up the difficulty.
Soloing is fun, as I am interested with the situation after Kursk and historically it is an interesting situation for both sides. Human vs Human is probably the best choice.
If anyone has some talent with programming the AI be my guess to edit and improve it and share it with us. If anyone sees any glaring issues also please let me know. Any feedback is welcomed. I initially made this scenario for myself, but after several months of working on it I decided to share the fun. Enjoy.
Author: Scott DeMonte - firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Thanks to Gary and his 2by3 Games team for a another great game war game. I have been enjoying his war games for over 20 years. Thanks also to John Duquette as I was able to use one of his scenarios as a starting point so I didn't have to create every unit from scratch. By the way, as I researched for this scenario I came to see how very impressive his OB work was.
Unzip Ukraine 43.scn and Ukraine 43.txt into your C:\Matrix Games\Gary Grigsby's War in the East\Dat\scen directory. The Ukraine_notes.txt is just a copy of this post.