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JasonC

Operation Kutuzov at TPG

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I am pleased to announce that my Operation Kutuzov scenario pack is now up at the Proving Grounds and ready for playtesting.

This scenario pack contains 10 scenarios set during Operation Kutuzov, the Russian 1943 summer offensive against Army Group Center that ended the German Kursk offensive and drove the Germans from the Orel salient.

Frequently called "the Orel offensive" by German side sources, it has curiously received scant mention in most histories compared to the famous Kursk campaign.

The fights were comparable in scope and immediately adjacent in time. In Kutuzov, the Russians had the initiative throughout, and despite large losses and skilled German defensive fighting, succeeded in the

end.

The campaign is divided into two major theaters, the northern and eastern faces of the Orel salient. Minor actions on other portions of the front are omitted.

The Russian main effort began on 12 July, with 11th Guards Army spearheading the northern attack for Western Front, while 3rd and 63rd Armies led the eastern attack for Briansk Front.

After the initial breakthrough fighting, the Russians committed numerous armor formations to develop each attack. In the east they used the 1st Guards Tank Corps, followed by the 3rd Guards Tank Army. In the north they first used the 5th Tank Corps, and later the 25th Tank Corps and 4th Tank Army.

The German defending force was the 2nd Panzer Army, initially mostly an infantry force. The 5th Panzer division was committed against 11th Guards Army early in the offensive, on the northern face. Later, additional reserves arrived from the south as the Kursk offensive was called off. In the east, the German defense was originally led by the 35th infantry corps under General Rendulic. The 8th Panzer division

was brought up from reserve to support them. Against the northern prong, thin screens were used to contain exploiting Russian armor, later thickened by mobile divisions draw from the Kursk front. Late in the campaign, even forces from Army Group South, notably Gross Deutschland, arrived to hold the door open for the withdrawing units of Army Group Center.

The terrain in the area of the two prongs of the

Russian attack differed dramatically. The northern drive was launched in a heavily forested zone, stretching south then southwest in a long arc from Ulianov to Karachev, midway between Orel and Briansk. 11th Guards Army channeled its attack through this forested zone, while its supporting armor occasionally attempted to widen the penetration to the more open farmland on either side of it. The eastern prong, on the other hand, drove through open farmland, seamed with wooded draws in the low ground dividing the fields. The Germans were also considerable better prepared for

the eastern attack than for the northern one.

I have tried to depict a variety of tactical problems presented by the different terrains and the different force types the sides had to use in different phases of the battle. I have not attempted to get exact incidents or placements, and the maps are of my own construction (though based partially on google earth impressions of the different sectors).

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Yes.

I also dislike the TPG form full of minutae questions that give everything away (do you really need sewer movement rules in the meta data? My favorite has to be the requirement that one fill in the wind direction...)

If anyone is counting. Filling out one of them is OK, but filling out 10 in a row takes an hour.

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Originally posted by JasonC:

They are best head to head, but you can try them against the AI. They should be interesting enough...

H2H takes me about a year to complete a standard game of between 30 to 45 turns, due to my limited internet access (2 files a week at max). Let me know which one of your games you would be interested to have tested vs. the AI!

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Played the first one as Russians against the AI with a +3 CEB. Ended with a tactical victory.

Just about waited to long to start for the exit zones. It was a close run thing, but provided some nice CM time.

When you look at the map closely, you get an idea what is waiting for you. The path I chose to take offered plenty of action and yet was believable as a light defense position. You have to break through and keep moving to make the exit in time.

If there would have been one more bump in the road then it would have been to late for my slow playing to have made it.

Looked at the second one from the russian side. I had given it a +3 CEB as well, but after looking things over decided that might be to much. I play basically for fun, so getting the CEB right helps the AI keep it interesting, but not impossible.

lee

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Rockin Harry - try the northern sector ones in sequence as the Russians. You will get a varied set of tactical challenges and enjoy it.

There is one that is rated Huge and indeed "plays" large - Rendulic the Ready, the opening battle on the east face. If your playing time is a factor you can skip it - and as mentioned, it is on the east face. Normally I'd scale something like that down, but the particular mix of arms relevant in that tactical problem require a certain scale, too.

The rest should all feel somewhat smaller and play faster than their absolute length or size might suggest. Play a few and you will see why. Forces come on the scene gradually in many of the scenarios. This gives you a finite group to command early, and you can plan the new arrivals as they come, and frequently won't have to adjust them every turn.

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I suppose the AI would have trouble in the last fight as the Germans, since it can't really understand the tactical situation. That one is probably better played with the lone human as the Germans. I mean "GDHoldstheDoor". Because it is a fight with an exit VC and a division of roles within the German force, that the AI can't be expected to appreciate.

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