Odessa Storyboard? I don't think so. Long post to follow.
We need to make sure Odessa should be a tough nut to take. That’s what happened historically. However, I find Odessa near impossible to take, so I decided to look at the odds. And this is what I found.
I don’t see it as even remotely reasonable to invest into the city.
Let’s see what it takes for the Germans to capture Odessa.
First, there are only TWO hexes to attack from. The River Crossing Event Card can bring it to three, but we will handle that event later.
From what I’ve seen for the Soviets, it is easy to get an 8-4, a ?-5 (assume an ubiquitous 3-4 Corps), and a Garrison (2 SP) into Odessa. Any losses incurred are easily replaceable. Of course, an IP (but not a Fort) is there, so only -1. They can base the BB with the red bolt there, too. So, USSR has 13 SPs there to defend. If you make the Corps a Guards, then you have 14 SPs. But Let’s stay with 13. This is an easy average to get there.
The best Germany can do (forget any Axis … they don’t have the firepower) is place two 12-4 Armies there. However, you must move four 6-4 Korps there to make the armies, so this won’t happen often. The South doesn’t start with that amount of 6-4 Infantry. But for arguments sake, lets say we do, and this will have NO IMPACT on the North/Center forces (I know it does hinder the German advance elsewhere, but again bear with me). Let’s throw in the Romanian Armor units (so I can get that armor support with the CAS), because we really need to keep the German Panzers pushing elsewhere, as we’ve already invested 4 German 6-4 Korps to the south. You also need to somehow get an HQ there to at least supply the area. I’ve found this tough, to get an HQ here in ‘41 that is within 6 hexes, but I can keep one at 8, so we’re at least supplied … but no attack shifts due to range.
Germany can get 26 SPs with Romanian Armor if they can move 6-4s from the north/center to the south. So 2-1 attack … move that to 1:1 with the IDM and Heavy City drms. The Axis come with Stuka +1 white bolt and the ME-109. USSR defends with 1 red bolt (the BB) and the Yak/LaGG.
The dogfight commences and there is a 17% chance the Stuka can’t even get through (based on current Air CRT, but this will change in next revision). A 33% chance it gets damaged and Suppressed. Assume it gets through, so I have a 1:1 attack with only +2 CAS dice. An average roll will get me 3:2. Final Result? A 33% chance to take Odessa. If the Stuka doesn’t get through, then 1:1 with a 1/6 chance to take Odessa. 5/6 chance to suffer losses.
However, all this requires a German commitment that is basically unattainable. We can typically see the Romanian army with 8 SPs. And you can get a 10-3 German army there, too. The Romanian Armor can still come and play. So, most likely, I’m starting at 1:1 (if the Axis are supplied). Move that down 2 shifts for the drms, and it is 1:3, with the +2 CAS. Now we're not even close to Fantasyland anymore, and it gets really scary, doesn’t it? your actually less than a 1/6 chance due to the dependence of all the air results turning your way completely giving you 2 combat shifts. Not a good feeling, eh?
So you are saying, I know how to make it work Doc, you have to invest in cards. Okay, let me use River Crossing (small). River crossing will allow me to attack across but at ½ FP. Maybe I can get another Romanian Army so that is 4 more FPs…. that can get me to 3:2. Doesn’t change the real odds. The above still applies again.
And German Generals (medium)? For a one-time chance this season (it is Set Aside), you can cancel the 2 shifts down, so you’re back to 1:1 OR 3:2 (if both used at same time) with a +2 CAS, or that 33% chance.
To me, this isn’t the “storyboard” I expect to see historically. I see a possible siege at Odessa. I see some bloodletting on both sides. I see the Axis preparing for the siege and spending the RPs. Right now, it's hold out into perpetuity.
This storyboard indicates to me, Odessa can’t be taken without sacrificing the war effort in the East. And even that they don't get it 66% of the time. Losses are tremendous, firepower required is not available. That's why I just blow by and leave a dug in screening force.
I think Odessa shouldn’t be a Heavy City (take away that -1 drm and allow armor to attack at full strength) Or ... I think that the “storyboard” should be an event card that says Odessa cannot be reinforced. With 5 steps there, it’s impossible to take the city. But if we allow them to whittle away without Soviet reinforcements, then it'll take a few weeks for Germany to capture. Realistically, the Soviets did a lot of evacuations. They weren't throwing troops into places like Sevastopol and Odessa for months or even years. That wasn't their doctrine.