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  Leningrad The Advance of Panzer Group 4, 1941 W. Chales De Beaulieu Translated by Linden Lyons  W. Chales de Beaulieu was the Chief of Sta...

Leningrad: The Advance of Panzer Group 4, 1941 by W. Chales De Beaulieu translated by Linden Lyons Leningrad: The Advance of Panzer Group 4, 1941 by W. Chales De Beaulieu translated by Linden Lyons

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

1941





 Leningrad


The Advance of Panzer Group 4, 1941


W. Chales De Beaulieu


Translated by


Linden Lyons





 W. Chales de Beaulieu was the Chief of Staff for Panzer Group 4 when it and its commanding unit Army Group North invaded Russia. Army Group North's main job was to take Leningrad, and hook up with the Finnish troops. The book was first published in German in 1961. This was part of the series "Die Wehrmacht in Kampf" Battles and Problems of the Second World War. These are being published in English for the first time. The series is edited by Matthias Strohn, Head of Historical Anlysis at the CHACR, the British Army's strategic think tank, and Reader in Modern war Studies at Buckingham University, and an expert on the German Army.  

 

The book is short at 133 pages, but does come with eighteen appendices. It was written by an army officer, not a writer, so that is how it reads. The author explains in great detail about all of the Panzer Group's actions, and more importantly why those actions were taken. 


 Incredible as it seems, on the 10th of July 1941 two-thirds of the way to Leningrad had already been covered by the Panzer Group. That means on that date only 300 kilometers were between it and the city. The author believes that the OKH is to blame for most of Army Group North's stops and starts in the coming weeks and months before it arrived before Leningrad. He believes that the Panzer Group could have been at the city on August 18th. 


 One surprising thing about the author's tale is his views on Field Marshal Manstein (Manstein was in command of Panzer Korps LVI that was part of Panzer Group 4). It is clear from the text that he is not a fan at all of his. He also takes him to task for some of his writings. He believes either Manstein's memory had failed or he simply made up some of his remarks about the charge of the Panzer Group to Leningrad. 


 Thank you very much Casemate Publishers for allowing me to read this refreshing look at one large part of Army Group North's history in 1941.


Robert


Book: Leningrad: The Advance of Panzer group 4, 1941

Author: W. Chales De Beaulieu

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

Kiev '41 by VentoNuovo Games  The Germans have come a cropper against the Soviet Union in the southern part...

Kiev '41 by VentoNuovo games Kiev '41 by VentoNuovo games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

1941




Kiev '41

by

VentoNuovo Games





 The Germans have come a cropper against the Soviet Union in the southern part of their Barbarossa attack (the invasion of the Soviet Union) in 1941. The strongest elements of the Red Army are deployed here below the Pripyat Marshes. Even a few books have been written that put forth the idea that Stalin was getting ready to attack into Poland, Romania etc. If so, that would explain the huge amount of soldiers, planes, guns, and tanks to be found in the Southern area. The German intelligence before Barbarossa was either non-existent or denied, again depending upon what book you read. The commander of the German Army Group South, von Rundstedt, was in for a rude awakening as far as Soviet might. Contrary to most histories, the largest tank battle on the Eastern front was not at Kursk in 1943, but around Dubno in 1941. The Germans were faced with what seemed like the zombie apocalypse. No matter how many Soviet tanks or soldiers they destroyed, more seemed to rise from the ground itself in front of them. The German Luftwaffe was the only part of the German war machine that successfully completed most of its task. The Soviet Air Force was almost completely destroyed, mostly on the ground, during the first month of fighting. This allowed the Luftwaffe almost free reign to assist the German ground forces in the South for a few months. Enough of the background; you are given the task to defend Mother Russia, or as the German commander to kick the rotten door in. The only thing is the door has been reinforced by iron bars behind the rotten facade. On to the Game!






 This is the third part of VentoNuovo Games trilogy of Operation Barbarossa in 1941. The other games are Leningrad '41 and Moscow '41(they also released a game on the Stalingrad Battle - Stalingrad Inferno). Kiev '41essentially uses the same rules and precepts of the other games. The rules have been continually updated, but if you have played either of the other two games you will be up and playing in no time. The timeline of the game is from June to December 1941. It comes with five scenarios. These are:

1. Les Preludes - July 1941
2. The River - August to the end of September 1941
3. The Pocket - September to the end of October 1941
4. The Snow - November to the end of December 1941
5. The Southern Struggle Campaign Game - July to the end of
     December 1941





 The map is a large card stock one of the Southern area of operations in 1941. The map goes from Tarnopol in the Northwest, to Maykop in the Southeast, and from Constanta in the Southwest, to Novi Oskol in the Northeast. The map (86cm x 62cm) is colorful and is like a cross between a glossy and flat finish. You do have a choice of buying either a Mounted Map or a larger (103cm x 77cm) Gortex Map. The normal map is just as good looking as the other maps that VentoNuovo produces, and I have almost all of their games. It is an area map, and for the most part you will have enough room in each area for both side's units to be in. There are some choke points that you will have to squeeze the units in if you have large scale battles in them. The blocks are small at 15mm x 15mm, which is almost too bad. The reason being is that the stickers are very well done and a pleasure to look at, especially if you invest in the Icon Stickers. I realize that the size of the blocks is so you do not need a map that takes up an entire table. You have to make some adjustment somewhere. All of the components are up to the usual great standard of VentoNuovo Games. The player's aid cards are all card stock and done up the same way as the map. When you open the box you will be happy if not delighted with what you find. This is what comes with the game:



 1. 1 Mapboard (heavy stock, laminated 86x62 cm)
 2. 1 Rules manual
 3. 2 rules Summary and Player's Aids
 4. 151 PVC Stickers
 5. 2 Orders of Battle/Scenario Setup Aids
 6. 56 Wooden Markers: 1 Weather Forecast Marker (yellow
      cylinder); 1 Initiative Disc (large green disc); 2 Weather 
     Markers (white discs); 4 Soviet Supply and Control Discs 
     (1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 light blue, 1 blue); 13 Artillery Fire
     Markers(squares, 2 blue, 4 black, and 7 red); 20 Area
     Control Markers (cubes, 10 red, 10 black); 5 River
     Crossing Markers (blue cubes); 10 Out of Supply Markers
      (white cubes);

 7. 112 wooden Block Counter Units (black, blue, brown, green, 
      tan, and red blocks)
 8. 8 Luftwaffe Bombers (8 black discs)
 9. 2 Soviet Fleets (red plates)
 10. 4 Dice 









 This is the scale of the game:

Map: 1:1,000,000 (1cm = 10Km)
Unit Size: Axis Corps/Divisions; Soviet Armies/Corps/Divisions
Time: 1 turn = 1 Month
Players: 2 Players, with excellent solitaire suitability







  Sequence of Play

1. Logistics Phase (2,3,4,5, and 6 turn)
2. Impulse Phase (player with the initiative first)
    Bad weather Check (2nd impulse of October)
    Supply Check (always)
    HQ Activation Segment (TI only)
    Command Segment (always)
    Combat Segment (TI and SI only)
    Blitz Segment (TI only)
    HQ Deactivation Segment (TI only)
    Isolation Check (always)
    Exploitation (playing the Initiative Disc after a TI)
3. Final Phase

 I will use their own words to describe a turn:

"A Turn is made up of a variable number of Impulses, from a minimum of two, up to unlimited. When a new Turn starts, the player with the Initiative plays the 1st impulse, followed by the other player, and so on.
  A player may:
a. play a Strategic Impulse (SI) or
b. play a Tactical Impulse (TI) or
c. Pass
After two consecutive Passes (by the two players. one per player), the Turn ends and a new one begins."








 The game mechanics of the series is a lot different from what you have been used to in Eastern Front games. In other games there is a sheet where you place all of your reinforcements and they come automatically at the appointed time. In these games the reinforcements are randomly drawn from the Reinforcement Pool in a number equal to the player's Logistics Value. A lot of people might call this heresy. However, the one mechanic that this does enforce is complete randomness to every single game. It also makes it easier to play it solitaire. You will have no idea of what you are going to pull, or more importantly, not pull from the Reinforcement Pool. You check for reinforcements during the logistics phase, or you can use the Initiative Disc. There are Logistic Phases on turns 2,3,4,5, and 6. You have to choose to activate your Supreme Leader (Hitler or Stalin) to be able to draw reinforcements or replace steps on the HQ or unit blocks. Your Logistics Value is calculated by the Supreme Leaders points and your non-exhausted HQs along with enemy losses etc. Each block unit is also color coded as far as their strength. They can be either black, white, or red. Depending upon the unit's color, the cost for Replacement Points is different (1 for black, 2 for White, 3 for Red). One part of the rule is that, say you have 6 as your Logistic Value after calculating it. You then have a total of 6 for HQ regeneration, AND 6 for replacement points, AND 6 for reinforcements, not just 6 for all three. The weather will also affect your Logistic Value. For example, a snow turn will halve the Axis Logistic Value once you have added it up.  The Initiative Disc is pretty much a Nuclear Option for the player controlling it. Using it allows the player to 'play a Strategic Impulse', and 'play an Exploitation Movement after a Tactical Impulse'. This can easily be a game changer. The only problem being is that once used, the enemy player now gets control of the Initiative Disc to use at his discretion. This is also a big change from most games where initiative is determined at the beginning of each turn. So, the big question is, do I just hoard the Initiative Disc and not use it for fear of what my opponent can do with it, or risk using it?





 And the verdict is (drum roll please), another winner from VentoNuovo Games. This game, while using the mechanics of its older siblings, is in most ways a lot tougher nut to crack, at least in the beginning. The player will get to see exactly what Amy Group South was up against during Barbarossa. The components are second to none (especially if you avail yourself of the more expensive options). The gameplay is as usual a winner (when you have a winning combination, why change it). The addition of all of the randomness in the games, as mentioned, lead to each game being different. It also lends itself to solitaire play. This is a great selling point in this day and age. Thank you VentoNuovo for allowing me to review this game. Owners of the first two in the Barbarossa trilogy will be pleased to know that work is being done to make all three playable together. What a monster that will be!




 A whole slew of YouTube videos about the game:

VentoNuovo Games Kiev '41:

Robert


Panzer Battles North Africa 1941 by   Wargame Design Studio   Now that I have caught your attention, "...

Panzer Battles North Africa 1941 by Wargame Design Studio Panzer Battles North Africa 1941 by Wargame Design Studio

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

1941


by










 Now that I have caught your attention, "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus". Or at least a few elves working hard on the above game. This would be Wargame Design Studio's third 'Panzer Battles' game. The first was 'Battles in Normandy' followed by 'Battles of Kursk Southern Flank'. These are both excellent games in their own right. Now they are going to be joined by their younger brother, North Africa. I have said this before in reviews, and I will probably say it again. I am not a big North African campaign fan, at least once the Germans show up. I do like wargaming the early battles with the Italians and British. There is however, one campaign that sets me to drooling like Pavlov's dogs and that is the airborne invasion of Crete. So this misnamed game has not only the early North Africa battles, but it also has the battles for Crete. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that it has battles from Crete!!!




Game screen showing terrain

 This is a list of some of the battles and operations included:

North Africa:
Compass
Sonnenblume
Tobruk
Brevity
Battleaxe
Crusader
Beda Fomm
Bardia
Sidi Barrani 

Greece:
Corinth Canal

Crete:
Maleme
Retimo
Heraklion
Galatas



Italian Division break down

The Panzer Battles games are meant to be the midway games between John Tiller's 'Panzer Campaigns' and their 'Squad Battles' games. Much like Goldilocks, many of us wargamers have found a sweet spot in this third helping from WGS and JTS. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the other games. It is just the 'Panzer Battles' games are small enough at times to wet that whistle, and large enough at others for those cravings. 



Different Nationalities in the game

 Now, we can get into the long running argument. The AI in John Tiller Software is no good. If you are still spouting off that mantra please crawl out from under your rock and take a look again at all of the games mentioned circa 2018 and not 2001. Just like every other game designed recently, or retrofitted, North Africa has been developed with a ton of players against AI scenarios that will fit anyone's bill. There are also a large number of games for people who only want to play by PBEM or Hotseat etc. There are plenty of demos for a wargamer to try now of the different JTS products, so do yourself a favor and come back to the light.


First Turn In One of The Heraklion Scenarios

 From the newer graphics to the battle sounds that will blow you away, (literally if you turn the sound up too loud in Panzer Battles Kursk), you would be amazed how these 'old' type of wargames play today. Yes, this based on a two dimensional map with hexes. No, this does not have cute tanks running through the desert wastes. Yes, this game is great and deserves all the praise it gets. The one thing about WDS is that they are constantly working on and upgrading many of the various JTS products. The only thing I would have liked them to add was more battles from Greece, both from the Italian and then subsequent German invasions. 



First Turn In One of The Maleme Scenarios





First Turn Corinth Canal Scenario


 Look for a review of this game once it has been released. So as a wrap up, it has tons of scenarios, many that are meant to be played against the AI. The sound and visuals are up to today's standards, and you can make your own or fiddle to your heart's content with the scenarios it comes with. It also has campaigns or separate battles both large and small. To top it all off, it has scenarios from Crete!

This is a link to an article about terrain in NA 1941:
 https://www.wargamedesignstudio.com/2018/11/01/north-africa-getting-started-terrain/

This is a link to an article about the Compass scenarios:
https://www.wargamedesignstudio.com/2018/10/18/north-africa-player-notes-operation-compass-scenarios/

This is a link to an article about the Italian forces in the game:
https://www.wargamedesignstudio.com/2018/09/28/north-africa-player-notes-the-italians/

Robert
PixelPLaybox.co.uk