|Note the Soviet and German attacks for Turn 6. Kastenwalds is over and was a German victory today.|
Here is the report sent to the players from XXXXI Corps Headquarters:
ALL UNITS SHOULD PREPARE FOR LARGE SCALE SOVIET ATTACKS OCCURING AT DAWN ON JULY 10th.
Soviet columns have been detected by aerial reconaissance and confirmed by ground recce this morning.
XXXXI Corps is preparing to receive 18th Panzer as a reinforcing panzer division however the current Soviet attack will delay the move over to the offense.
Units should expect strong attacks with heavy artillery support in their assigned sectors. Units shall make all necessary arrangements to consolidate and improve their positions in order to set conditions to successfully defend and transition over to the offense.
Armor has been detected in assembly areas in the vicinity of SHIROKOYE BULOTEV and is positioned to assault KASTENWALD at first light.
Soviet forces are massing on 1 MAY and are positioning to strike PONYRI STATION with large amounts of artillery in support at first light.
Soviet Defensive preparations have been detected in the vicinity of BUTYRKI and BEREZOVETSKOYE.
The Duc de Gobin has already completed the battle of Kastenwald (Kastenwald Crucible) with a massive armored meeting engagement this morning, as elements of the newly released 18th Panzer Regiment were moving south east to reinforce their Kamaraden in vicinity of Ponyri. The ensuing clash ran headlong into Ken's attacking force of KV-1s and T-34s and the fight, using the Iron Cross rules, was something to see!
Still to fight is Jack's battle of Ponyri Station with the Soviet airborne troopers fighting to get their way into the town. Tomorrow in the gaming bunker we will fight the battle of Berezovetskoye with the Germans attempting to outflank their critical objectives from the south instead of the north and also lock down a Soviet supply source.
The campaign is getting desperate now and not to mention VERY exciting as we wrap up the battles from turn 6 and get ready to head into the final turn, turn 7.
It should be obvious now that large-scale Soviet reinforcements are on the scene and their ability to launch attacks almost as big as the Germans is throwing a wrench in German planning. But the Germans still have alot of combat power and if they can seize Berezevetskoye and hold Ponyri in turn 6, a victory is still within their grasp, potentially altering the history of the battle and Operation Zitadelle!
Some Thoughts on the Campaign at Turn 6:
I've admitted on the blog now that I've actually enjoyed organizing the campaign as much, if not more, than playing in the battles. Not only did this inject new life into my wargaming hobby, it has also been a great excuse to get together with good friends both online and in person, and as a result, scores of battles have already been fought over the last 6 -8 weeks across the ocean and halfway across the United States!
Originally I was not sure how a "firestorm" campaign would have worked but it has actually worked out beyond my expectations. There was no muddling with points or "branches and sequels" and coming up with a million different potential situations to cater to. The use of the sectors has been super easy but also the design of the map lent itself to fierce battles over key pieces of terrain that were historically fought over by the Germans and the Russians. I could not have planned that better.
I think if I could do things differently, I would have invited more folks to play in the campaign. The original intent was to get my small gang here in southeastern Pennsylvania a way to play games.
When Jack and Darren saw what we were doing and realized that we were throwing dice to determine the outcome of the battles we didn't fight on the table, they immediately volunteered to fight them out for us. How many of you out there would like having battles complete with maps and OOBs delivered to your email inbox for you to fight on a weekend, no strings attached? That's exactly what has happened with Darren and Jack participating almost weekly with us. The outcomes of their battles are discussed while we are fighting ours, and they've been incredibly entertaining to read. It's also been a great excuse to catch up with both of these guys and I hope to continue this trend into the next series of campaigns. You didn't hear this from me, but we're thinking Fulda Gap next, and then back to World War II but over in Normandy in the British sector, somewhere near a town called Caen...
Anyways, I guess the whole point of this rant was to talk about what I've learned in the campaign so far. I've learned that the Firestorm model is incredibly effective at generating battles with a purpose, that running an easy wargaming campaign is a great way to stay connected to friends, and that having battles linked to a strategic or operational goal makes their results more important than a simple pick up game. For you "grognards" out there that's probably pretty obvious but for me it's been a joy to discover on my own.