Roads to Leningrad
From the Publisher...
The Germans chose several roads to Leningrad during the summer of 1941 but found each with its own kind of Soviet defense and counterattack. On the roads through Soltsy and Staraya Russa the Germans encountered not just stubborn defense but large-scale Soviet offensives.
Roads to Leningrad is a package consisting of two separate operational level games on WW II --the Battle of Soltsy and the Battle of Staraya Russa. .Both games take place on the road to Leningrad during July and August 1941 and both simulate the large-scale Soviet counterattacks that the Germans encountered. Each is shown in two scenarios. As part of a series, this game is designed to complement GMT’s East Front Series by presenting a focus on those battles that either were critical or typified action at that time. We hope to present an Operational Series game (or set) around the time each new EFS game appears. The next games in both series are already beyond the planning stage.
This game continues the tradition begun with the popular GMT Operational Series of games, and draws much from the recent GMT Kasserine game. Roads to Leningrad includes an exciting formation activation system to reflect period warfare conditions in Russia. Players quickly discover a game of bluff, counter-blow, ambush, and command failure evocative of the quick-paced battles of those times.
As with earlier games of this series, mechanics feature: supply restrictions, fluid ZOC, combat refusal, defender reaction movement, combat coordination, unit efficiency comparison, ranged artillery, retreat through enemy ZOC, exploitation movement, and fortifications. Air units have a variety of missions and must coordinate with ground action. Players must also choose between Mobile and Assault combat results tables.
As always with the Operational Series, the research is superb. The game maps, at a scale of 2.0 km per hex were developed from a variety of Soviet maps with much cross checking against period maps. Time scale is half a day per turn. The OoBs were developed from archival sources and include surprises. Most units are at battalion level scale although a number of units are shown at company level. This means you will find a wide variety of unit types including: armored, motorized, 88mm guns, artillery, HQs for both sides, rocket units (including one of the first Soviet Katyusha units), road construction troops, armored cars, motorcyclists, even a bicycle unit, and of course a variety of aircraft. Two leaders are depicted: v.Manstein for the Germans and Voroshilov for the Soviets. You will find the same level of high quality production of counters and maps found with earlier games in this series.
#1. The Battle of Soltsy: In early July 1941, German forces of Army Group North broke through the Pskov portion of the Stalin Line along several roads towards Leningrad. One line of advance lay through Soltsy, a small town on the Shelon River, just west of Lake Ilmen. Soviet resistance here was continuous; around every bend of the road sat another large tank. Manstein’s LVI (Panzer) Corps was assigned this road and was told to advance rapidly east and then north to cut Leningrad off from the rest of Russia. Manstein was on such a quick and tight schedule, he had no time to cover his flanks. A fact local Soviet commanders quickly exploited. Here, the Soviet player must use all his means to break and then divert German units from their Blitzkrieg schedule. The German player must exploit a narrow window of opportunity to keep his divisions going.
#2. Counter-Blow at Soltsy: On 15 July, the Soviets launched their main blow. Led by the powerful and highly decorated 70th Rifle Division, they quickly surrounded German armor at Soltsy, stopped German motorized infantry in the swamps to the north, and raided German supply columns to the German rear. When it was all over, the German 8th Panzer Division was routed, permanently losing about 30 tanks (with many others damaged) and retreated 25 miles. It was a victory that might have saved Leningrad.
#3. Battle of Staraya Russa: In early August, the Soviet High Command prepared a surprise counter-offensive south of Lake Ilmen to relieve pressure on the increasingly hard-pressed armies defending Leningrad. For this offensive, they assigned the 34th Army to augment the battered 11th Army then already in position. On 12 August, the attack began initially with eight divisions, but it eventually involved ten divisions. Within two days, Soviet mechanized units had penetrated 35 miles and threatened to surround German X Corps’ three divisions against Lake Ilmen. Time pressure will mount quickly against the Soviet player, and he must deal with the clumsiness of his inexperienced army. The Germans will clearly need reinforcements; can they hold on until Manstein’s motorized troops arrive?
#4. Manstein Attacks: To solve the deepening crisis at Staraya Russa, the German command called on Manstein’s LVI Corps. Manstein, a master of timing in the attack, assembled his corps but could not obtain any armor. On the 19th he struck, crushing the Soviet flank division in one day. In three days, he surrounded Soviet 34th Army, forced most of it to surrender, and then pushed on east. German play in this scenario depends on the mobility and timing of Manstein’s troops. The Soviet player knows he is about to be trapped but maybe one more push would break the German infantry to the north.
· Two 22 x 34 inch map sheets (19mm hexes)
· 2 sheets of 5/8" counters and 1/2 sheet of 1/2" counters
· Rules book, set-up cards, and player aid cards
more information at the Board Game Geek website
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