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Strategy & Tactics Issue #253 - Game Only
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The Battle Of Kursk
This design is actually the third edition of the "Kursk" game originally published by old-SPI back in the early 1970s, which was later redesigned into a second edition, retitled as: Eric Goldberg's Kursk: History's Greatest Tank Battle, July 1943. The first edition of the game used the proto-system originally devised by James F. Dunnigan for the France 1940 title he published early on in S&T. This new edition is by Ty Bomba, and shares an evolution of the system used in our other Road to Ruin titles: Drive on Stalingrad, and Drive on Moscow.
There's been a lot of excellent new information published on the July 1943 battle since the last edition. In particular, we made good use of 1999's The Battle for Kursk, 1943: The Soviet General Staff Study. The insights provided therein were many, but the one that will – having been translated into the order of battle of this redesign – cause the most eyebrow raising is likely to be the complete lack of separate Soviet artillery units. We took that approach precisely because the Red Army command did too – at least for the part of the overall summer campaign simulated here. Concerned, once the battle got rolling, they'd be unable to shift around their cannon as and where needed, they initially spread that combat arm throughout their defensive belts and units. Only later, once they'd switched to the strategic offensive in August, were the extra guns again brought together to reform artillery divisions and corps.
"Manstein's Gambit" is our title for a scenario describing the alternative scheme put forward for this German summer offensive by Field Marshal Erich von Manstein. He believed the plan, codenamed "Operation Citadelle," as put forward by Hitler and carried out historically, had little chance of success. Manstein therefore argued the attack – once he understood the dictator could not be dissuaded from launching an offensive – should then be made with all available forces. The additional units added to the initial German order of battle represent the scouring of the eastern front, as well as all the other fronts and rear areas of the Third Reich, to bring into this fight virtually all the divisions capable of conducting offensive operations of this scale and ferocity. That option is available to the German player in this new redesign, but with the trade-off of then having to fulfill far more expansive victory conditions in the same amount of time. The Turn Sequence is given below in outline.
I. Mutual Phase Order Determination Segment
II. German Player Turn
A. German Movement or Combat Phase
B. German Movement or Combat Phase
III. Soviet Player Turn
A. Soviet On Map Reserve Activation Phase
B. Soviet Movement or Combat Phase
C. Soviet Movement or Combat Phase
For each of their player turns, both players determine the phase sequence their own forces will use. That is, they may choose to have their movement phase first, followed by their combat phase; or they may chose to fight first, then move; or they may choose to have two movement phases; or they may choose to have two combat phases.
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