Scenario Review – Dzerzhinsky Square – with video!

Scroll to the bottom for a video play-through in two parts.

Dzerzhinsky Square is an interesting scenario set towards the end of the Second Battle of Kharkov, in 1943.  Once again, the author is the estimable jdrommel.  This battle is interesting for both players.  The Germans face a difficult opponent, but have a distinct advantage in force quality.  The Russians have to make the best of their strong defensive position, and their sniper.  While Russian favored, a good hand can turn into rapid German progress.

Due to the Soviet winter offensive which followed the fall of Stalingrad, German troops were obliged to evacuate Kharkov in mid-February 1943. But only one week after, they counter-attacked the Soviet forces in South Ukraine.The SS PanzerKorps, spearhead of the German offensive, was composed of three SS divisions : “Leibstandarte SS”, “Das Reich” and “Totenkopf”. At the beginning of March, SS troops surrounded the city of Kharkov before to enter in the northern suburbs. The capture of the Dzerzhinsky Square after numerous street fighting symbolized the end of the battle for Kharkov.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

Dzerzhinsky Square

The key engagement in this scenario could come from any side, depending on where the Germans make their push.  However, they can’t sit back and wait for too long, as the German units on the baseline can quickly come under fire from the Russian forces, especially if they are given time to move up and position their tanks.  A quick and overwhelming attack by the Germans is best, as they may be able to take advantage of the Comissar, and have enough force to overwhelm either flank.

We played this twice, and I lost both times as Russians.  As you can see if you watch the video, my luck has been pretty awful of late, and these losses do not mean the map is German favored.  Rather, it took a pretty extraordinary German hand to win.

General Evaluation –  4/5 – It may be difficult for the Germans, but it’s likely to be interesting.

Balance Evaluation – Russians favored.  It’s not overwhelming, but good Russian dice can make it almost impossible for the Germans to win.

First-Turn Win Possibility – None.  This is not that kind of map, at all.

Plink-Fest Danger – Minor.  The Russians can pull back enough to avoid distance attacks by the German armor, and the Russian sniper and artillery allow them to fire back enough to discourage a painfully slow attack.

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