From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
B-G, just reading your scenario notes. Nice research you have done there.
Thank you for the kind words. I think it's far from perfect. I've been working with one single source (the book by Kamenir) which furthermore is a secondary source, and a somewhat vague and self-contradicting source at times. I need to cross reference that with Glantz's work, and I would like to find some German scholar who has wrote on this topic based on German archival sources. Initial deployment and TOE's were near perfect. TOE's tended to iron out some of the quite stark contrasts in readiness and equipment of some Kiev MD units, but still almost perfect. Deployment was also almost in line with Kamenir's, with the exception of bunching 22nd Mech Corps on top of Kovel and some other minor discrepancies with Kamenir.
It might be nice simple fix for the first turn. I still hope they will address the fundamental issue of the static U-Go phase with some game mechanics in the next title (hopefully much like the reaction setting for naval in WitP). I know people like Pelton or kirkgregerson don't see it this way and perceive the whole discussion as being about taking away the tool they think they need for reasonable chances later, but it really isn't about Lvov, which just stands by its name for the first evident appearance of that phenomenon. Thus it is good that your approach still allows the Axis to attempt a Lvov pocket, but doesn't give the appearance that the Soviets remained idle and did not fight AGS fiercely as they in fact did in the first weeks.
The discussion we had on the Reaction rules was the fundamental inspiration for this. In order to account - at least during the first Axis turn - for those mechanisms which we don't have in the game was to tweak MP's and initial deployments, to navigate the problems of the strict IGOUGO turn structure. Note that these MP's will go away after Axis turn, as soon as the 22nd June Surprise Rules kick in during the Soviet logistic phase executed after first turn Axis moves.
Regarding the Lvov pocket, that's more of an hypothesis than a statement. I have played 10 times first Axis turn in the south without using 2nd PzGruppe at all. And reached in every instance an advance similar to that of 1 PzG and 6. Armee in the period of 23rd June to 26th June. Losses also felt about right. On average, the Axis lost about 6,000 casualties and about 100 AFV's, while the Soviet losses where in the range of 150,000 casualties and over 1,000 AFVs.
So I'd like to invite crafty Axis player to try to replicate the Lvov Opening committing 2nd PzGruppe there. I don't see at the moment any reason for it not being feasible, and further tweaks might be needed in order to make it feasible. The goal is to make that decision to be as unsound as - I think - it seemed to OKH during Barbarossa planning. I'm pretty sure the generalstab guys discussed that, they were professionals though lacked the hindsight and ability to have perfect information on Soviet dispositions, but obviously, it was discarded.
I wonder whether these changes will have the side effect to induce the breakdown of the Southern Soviet a few turns later than turn one, and closer to the Dejnepr, which could give the the Germans the necessary chaos to rush deeper and faster towards Rostov and Voroshilovgrad than seen now. I wouldn't be surprised. My impression is that the so much earlier breakdown of the Soviet Southern Front causes Soviet players to bring more reserves down south (and sooner, which they can they will be less pressed by a weakened AGC) than AGS faced historically. These have time to stiffen resistance around the Djenepr again after a few turns while the Axis is still digesting Lvovs gains. And once the Soviets regain balance at this excellent position deeper in the rear, they can give ground in ordered fashion, thus disallowing a adventurous drive of Kleists tanks. It is possible like other players say, that the low-hanging Lvov fruit distracts from far more better German long-term strategies. Too bad it is almost a scripted first turn move by now, and the Soviets will soon also find an optimum counter-move.
As such, I begin to agree with Tullius and others. It could be a one-shot "benefit" for the Axis. Unfortunately no 1.05 AARs have reached 44 and the breakdown of the Axis army yet, which could actually turn the same benefit around at a larger scale since the Russians have a greater number of mobile formations, and the Germans lack the number to defend in great depth -- so the Russians, once wider breakthrus are possible, might be able to administer many Lvov-pockets to the Germans, which could lead to a quicker disintegration of the Axis Army. But that would be fair game then. Since I am not a fan of the Russian side, though, I still think giving a more plausible representation of the fighting south without an easy fruit for the German players makes more sense and in turn would also allow the Axis late war to ask for the same benefits. They later will need them much more than the Soviets on turn 1... So I believe B-Gs changes do make much sense from a fundamental point of view.
Very well written janh. I couldn't write this better. Do I have your permission to quote/paraphrase your thoughts on the scenario notes?
Late Edit: Yeah, why not -- mods like B-G's will allow everyone to enjoy WitE in their own taste, and will show which way people prefer to play out the game. It will settle itself, so why discuss it anymore. If the game engine allows a move, then let be fine -- for both sides.
Just something to add: if the game engine and the scenario designer allow for a move to be done, then it's fair game.
Wite2 - Lead Tester