Scenario Review – Operation Seydlitz

Operation Seydlitz is a scenario from the Equipment Pack for Memoir ’44.   This is a battle on the East Front, taking place during the German drive towards Stalingrad.  As with many of the scenarios from the Equipment Pack, it has its problems, but manages to be a bit more fun than many of the others because it is quick, and has lots of cavalry.

July 1942 – Having survived the Soviet winter offensive, the Germans set about eradicating enemy forces far in their rear. Assembling a formidable collection of Infantry, Armor and Mounted units near the River Luchesa, they opened the attack with an intense Artillery bombardment on the dug-in Russian defenders. The German Cavalry brigade, assembled from reconnaissance battalions, used its superior mobility to outflank the Russian line, while German Armor and Infantry were able to successfully negotiate the Russian minefields. Caught in the middle, the Soviet forces soon began to collapse.

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

Like all the scenarios from the Equipment Pack, the map is not available online.   Here’s a bad photograph.

Seydlitz

There are two important things to note about this setup.  First, the Germans have a nearly overwhelming firepower advantage against an enemy in fairly fixed positions.  The German artillery and mortar can plink the Russian front line to death with minimal risk.  The second thing to note is that the German player has three cavalry units on his right flank.

Cavalry is one of my favorite units, because they can do absolutely nothing but charge.  Thanks to their 2/1 attack rating, Cavalry are totally useless at range – but the itch to use them is so great that many players will throw them forward at the enemy even if that’s really not the best idea.  I’ve played this map a few times, and have not once seen the Cavalry held back.  Furthermore, they can actually accomplish quite a bit, all on their own.  With a little bit of support, the German cavalry can roll up the Russians on that flank, and go straight for the artillery.  With our House Rules in effect, Cavalry are the single best unit for killing Artillery, and knocking out the Russian artillery will almost guarantee a German victory.

So, this map can go one of two ways.  A cautious and serious German player will slowly move up units in the center, and plink the Russian front line to death.  A crazy German player will open up with a Cavalry charge.  In either case, the Germans are likely to win.  It’s just horribly imbalanced.

However, the odds are so obviously stacked against the Russians, especially given the 5 medal victory count, that there’s little incentive for the Russian player to be conservative.  Any map that creates a situation where both sides are crazily aggressive is bound to be fun, and this map delivers.

Operation Seydlitz is a quick and silly refresher between more serious maps.

General Evaluation – 3/5 – This can be a quick and fun map, or it can be a painfully brutal slog of attrition.

Balance Evaluation – Strongly German Favored – The Russian player has little prospect for victory no matter what the Germans do.

First-Turn Win Possibility – Minor – I suppose that the Germans could open with a Direct from HQ, take out the Russian bunker with their cavalry and artillery, and start the game with 2 medals.  But that’s pretty unlikely, and there are no other quick winning moves available to either side.

Plink-Fest Danger – High – A boring German player could use his mortar and artillery and tank to slowly batter the Russians to death, and there’s little the Russian player could do about it.

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