A Victory Denied AAR, by Steve Foren
Steve Foren, Fascist Invaders vs Mike Sosa Communist Thugs
Standard opening of 2 Pz Gruppe crossing the Dnepr River in three places followed by 3 Pz Gruppe attacking the Rifle Corps in their sector, and moving southwards towards the city of Vitebsk.
My initial plan was not to drive on Moscow, but instead destroy Russian forces in a broad advance that I hoped would find me within striking distance of Moscow on turn 6 or 7, with few remaining Russian defenders. However about turn 3 it was obvious that Stalin was heavily defending the south in front of the city of Krichev, and was putting only 2 Pz Gruppe units OoS, so I changed tactics and sent 3 Pz Gruppe streaking along the roads towards Moscow, XXXIX Korps on northern route and LVII Korps on central road. XLVII Korps from 2nd Pz Gruppe also came from the south towards Vyazma to assist, but that Korps was OoS for almost the entire rest of the game. I guess he was thinking that I would use 2 Pz Gruppe for the drive due to flexibility of Guderian chit and the 3 Pz Korps in the Gruppe, so I used 3 Pz instead.
On turn 3, I was able to get the 9th Army units all connected via 1 HQ from Vitebsk all the way down south to Rogachev, and I was judicious with my Minsk releases and 9th Army chits, so that on turn 4, there were still 3 HQ counters to be released, meaning that all three 9th Army chits were at that time added to the cup, giving me 5 activations, and the ability to move almost every single infantry div on the map three times that turn, surrounding and capturing Krasnoye and Rogachev on turn 4 and 5.
The fight for the city of Krichev in the south was prolonged and bloody, with 2 Pz Divs eventually succumbing to repeated Russian attacks while variously being OoS and/or Isolated, but I was able to get enough infantry forward to support the beleaguered Panzers and push the Russians past the Krichev river line on turn 6, while 3 Pz Gruppe XXXIX Korps (now the focus of Russian OoS efforts) pushed the last few kilometers towards Moscow from the northern road, and the Panzers on the central road were busy fighting through Russian reinforcements and infiltrators from the south. Smolensk fell to 9th Army attacks on turn 7, and Vyazma was captured by 2 Pz Gruppe and 3 Pz Gruppe panzers, as XXXIX Korps moved to within 5 hexes of Moscow. Hitler directive was Guderian’s Choice, and I chose Hitler Distracted due to the short time frame left to complete our game before the Ironman deadline, but still managed to capture a hex in Moscow on Turn 7 to end it with a glorious victory for the Fatherland.
We had a repeated VASSAL issue with trying to flip VP counters over when Mike recaptured a city, and were never able to get that to work properly.