Scenario Review – Red Barricade Factory Complex OVERLORD

Red Barricade Factory Complex, by independent author Winter Storm, is a good Overlord scenario about a classic East Front battle for Memoir ’44.  It takes the classic Red Barricades official scenario as its inspiration, expands the map, and gives the battle a slightly different flavor.  For the sake of balance I suggest a fairly major change to the opening setup, but in general I can recommend this map.

By mid October the fighting amidst the rubble of the Red Barricades Factory Complex in the northern section of Stalingrad had drawn in more and more of the German 6th Army’s forces. On the 22nd the 79th Infantry division, supported by engineers, tanks and artillery, launched an intense attack over the Railroad embankment toward the Barricades Factory.

Under heavy fire from dug-in tanks and Russian snipers, the German troops slowly made ground toward the Factory. The Soviet line finally broke, but by day’s end only a corner of the factory had been taken.

The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

The opening setup shows the overwhemling German force massed on the far side of the railroad embankment, facing a dispersed Russian force in good defensive terrain.

Red Barricades OverlordThe Russians can quickly take up to four area control medals, but may find it hard to keep them in the end due to the horrible attrition they are bound to suffer.  The German player is strongest on their left flank, while the Russian player is strongest in the center.  There is no one key engagement on this map.  The battle is to 17 medals, and the Germans are going to need to mount an offensive in every sector to rack up that many kills.

In my opinion, the opening setup makes it too easy for the Germans to use their firepower advantage without fear of retaliation.  Notice the multiple German artillery units in 2-dice range of the Russian frontline.  There is nothing the Russians can do about this, except to abandon their forward positions and retreat.  But if they do, the German player can move his guns up in almost perfect safety.  The German armor advantage means that any attempt to advance on the German guns can be cut down pretty quickly, as the Russian player would have to leave his dug-in positions to advance.  Firing from safety, there’s little reason for the Germans to ever advance, and a brutally slow win via plinkage is entirely possible.

This is why I recommend a change in the opening setup.  Move the Russian guns two spaces forward (don’t put them on the sector line – that’s too brutal – and don’t put them in a town), and dig them in with sandbags.  Now, they’ll be able to fire onto the German baseline.  This will encourage the Germans to move their units up quickly and start the real fight.  This doesn’t put the German player at much of a disadvantage, as they have the quantity and type of units to knock out the Russian front-line defenses, and the flexibility to choose the point of attack.  Moving the artillery up also makes the Russian guns tempting targets, and might lead the German player to make interesting gambles to take them out quickly.

General Evaluation – 4/5 – With a slight alteration, this is a pretty fun map.

Balance Evaluation – Even – With the altered artillery position, it is not likely that the German player will be able to pull off an easy win, even with excellent cards and dice on their side.

First-Turn Win Possibility – None – This should end with a nasty exchange between weakened units not far from the Russian baseline – entirely appropriate for a Stalingrad scenario.

Plink-Fest Danger – Moderate – With the original setup, this would be High, because there is nothing the Russian player can do to force the German player to advance beyond the embankment.  But with the altered setup, the German player will get mauled pretty badly on the baseline by the Russian artillery if he/she does not advance, and once the advance begins, the Russian player is going to have more important things to do than plinking German units on the baseline.

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