Tag Archives: Video

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.

Scenario Review with Video – Breakthrough to Kovel

Live playthrough video on YouTube, embedded at the bottom of this post.

Even the best map designer has his off days, and in my opinion, jdrommel had one when he designed Breakthrough to Kovel.

On March 1944, the city of Kovel, important railways and roads junction, south of the Pripet swamps,was surrounded by 47th Russian Army (2nd front of Bielorussia) during Operation “Polessie”. The German command of the area ordered to a Kampfgruppe of 5.SS Panzer Division “Wiking” to breakthrough the Russian lines and to deliver the surrounded garrison. Panther tanks of the 8/5.SS Pz Rgt and panzergrenadiers of SS Rgt “Germania” advanced along the ballast of the railway to cross the swampy area which parted the enemy lines. In spite of numerous minefields and anti-tank guns, the breakthrough was a success and Kovel garrison was delivered on the 05th of April.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. the rest is history.

Breakthrough to Kovel

The key feature on this map is the causeway of hills running down the center.  At first, this does not look at all like an appetizing avenue for attack – it’s a narrow passage surrounded by swamp, and with defenders on all sides.

However, the key to this scenario lies in a special rule – the Germans automatically win if they get a tank into the Church square inside Kovel.  Thanks to the causeway, and the placement of the Russian defenders, this is not too hard.  A single tank unit has a chance to make it down that causeway, driving right past the Russian defenders and into the town.  That’s exactly what happened on my first playthrough.  Five turn victory.

We don’t like quick and cheap victories, especially when they’re on a map that has such a cool looking terrain setup, and took so long to setup.  So, we tried it again, and decided to play without that rule.  At first, it seemed like a dramatic improvement.  The Germans needed to make a careful advance and flush out the Russian defenders in the towns and forests, slowly making forward progress.

A few turns into the game, though, it became clear that it was not really possible for the Russians to adequately defend themselves given the terrain and the units available.  Their own mines block the from making any sort of counterattack, and they are too out-matched by German firepower to survive a long-distance engagement.  The only thing for them to do would be to pre-emptively withdraw to behind the forests, leading to a miserably long game.

Unbalanced, in an uninteresting way, and incredibly complicated to set up.  Not recommended.

General Evaluation – 1/5 – Not fun for either side.

Balance Evaluation – Germans strongly favored.  Not heavily played on DoW Online, but jdrommel himself seems to think it’s Russian-favored.  I guess he must have seen something I didn’t, or he was just out of it that day.

First Turn Win Possibility – No.

Plink-fest danger – Maybe.  See what I said above.

Video Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivoeV2Y4kco&feature=youtube_gdata

Video Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPDCmL_rCoA&feature=youtube_gdata