A Campaign Game Spring ’43 Turn for the History Books!
Part IV: Plans and Post Mortems
By Alan Emrich with Jeff Nyquist
In Part III of this cerebral thrill-packed series, we saw the swirling Panzers of a magnificent breakthrough at Kursk meet a surprising counterattack from myriad Soviet Crack troops (both those encircled and those riding to their rescue). Under incessant air attacks, the Reich and Reds clashed and bled, each losing many more steps and Air units than they could long endure. The violence of operations around Kursk, the maneuvers and counter-maneuvers on the map and the player prestige at stake made this a tremendously exciting single game turn (June I ’43) of Frank Chadwick’s ETO vol. I: Thunder in the East.
We would like to offer you our story’s epilogue, bring it to a thoughtful, considered conclusion and ask, “What have we learned?”
This article series was written prior to the "ETO-izing" of the rules. We will try to note the changes as they appear.
Matters did not progress further south along the front line on this June I, ’43 turn (or any of the next several, for that matter). A key Axis strategy was fortifying the Donets River line. Neatly done and strongly built, its mostly-Romanian forces faced off against a hodgepodge of Soviets who merely followed them back every step(pe) of the way from the Don River at Stalingrad. Now, with the Axis smiling back at them from Improved and Fortified Defense markers, the Soviets would require an impressive buildup in this region to open this can of worms and start driving through the Ukraine along the Black Sea – or a maneuver to dislodge them!
The Axis defenses in the south were good… perhaps too good. Since there was no potential weak spot along this, the Axis’ most eastward flank, the Soviets prodded elsewhere and found alternate avenues of advance. The Soviet strategy is to force the Axis to abandon (or at least hollow out) their “Donets Wall” by creating an Axis crisis elsewhere – a crisis of sufficient magnitude to strip away Donets Wall units to put out fires in other, more threatened sectors. Although slow to produce results, by July this Soviet strategy was bearing fruit. The Axis began to withdraw units from this line to shore up assorted calamities brewing thither and yon.
Upon reflection, the Axis has been asking, “Why didn’t we place those defensive works along the Latvian Line at the Baltic States instead?”
Ultimately, this entire June I ‘43 game turn was brought to you by… the weather!
Spring, at last, was ending and finally, there were consecutive turns of Clear weather. This allowed for full-throttle operations by both sides and each planned to land a decisive blow that would send the other reeling. Note on this spreadsheet the dwindling of Soviet stockpiles; Equipment Points (EPs) were particularly affected, causing the Reds to demobilize an “old” Cav-Mech Group to retrieve its 2 EPs that were needed to build and replace better units. The Soviets also went through their sizable stockpile of Fuel Points (FPs) to keep their Fighters and red bolt Strike Fighters flying during the Axis’ turns to nip the enemy’s successes in the bud.