Version: 1.01 (July 2008)
AI or PBEM: PBEM Only
Author: John Schettler
In mid-September 1942, after driving to the outskirts of Stalingrad the Germans launch their first major assaults to take the city. In the center, the 51st Korps shock group composed of 71, 76, and 295 infantry divisions surged towards Mamayev Kurgan. In the south, the 48th Panzer Korps of Hoth’s 4th Pz Army sent the 29th Motorized, 24th Panzer and 94th Infantry divisions against the suburbs of Yelshanka and Kupersnoye. After promising initial gains by the Germans, Chiukov landed reinforcements in the nick of time, bringing 13th Guards, 92nd Naval Marine Bde and the 95th Rifle division across the Volga to try and halt the German attack. The bitter street fighting that ensued has fascinated historians and researchers ever since. (Not to mention game designers.) And in this expansive battle players will see just how brutal urban warfare can be, with casualties mounting, battalions withering away to company strength, ammunition shortages, and key terrain features changing hands as each side feeds in new units.
All the major Victory Point objectives are labeled in red: The Tractor Factory, Barricade Works, Red October Plant, Lazur Chemical Works, Mamayev Kurgan, Red Square, The Grain Elevator, the Rail stations and many others.
In this battalion/company scale battle, the entire city from Rynok in the north to Kupersnoye in the south is presented, covering all the action from Sept 13 to the battle for the factories in later October with fifty turns of one day each. Beyond this, the Beketova Bridgehead region is also mapped south of the city, and Shumilov’s the entire 64th Army is deployed on its historical positions, offering additional objectives in a “Little Stalingrad” option on the lower Volga. This was the only way to adequately portray why Hoth was not able to bring the full force of his Army to bear on the city from the south. Shumilov was also tasked with the planning of a major counterattack to help relieve pressure on Chiukov’s beleaguered army.
There are 13 full German divisions and over 30 Russian formations modeled on this battalion/company scale, with a unique approach in crafting the board based on an accurate digital map that was then textured in Photoshop. With this number of units, the command control formation editor was altered to make each formation a Korps, with up to six divisions in the lower level slots.
A host of new units types are included in the countermix: Infantry guns, Heavy Weapons “Schwere” companies, MG companies, Russian ATR companies, German Mobile Flak modeled as combat units for heavy support fire, and a wide assortment of different tanks, Stug and sIG support vehicle types, with new counter artwork.
Rather than splitting the assault in the south and the battle for the factories into separate smaller scenarios, (because of assault timing decided by the German historically), I opted to create one large integrated battle, with units established on the Sept 13 start line as Chiukov takes command. The Germans begin their historical southern attacks, and I throw a grudging bone at history by freezing the Orlovka salient sector for 2 to 3 turns. But thereafter, the players are free to operate freely, planning the attack and defense of the city as they see fit. An extensive ferry system, including pontoon bridges allows Russian reserves to be deployed to the west bank, and the Battlefront OMAs permit some shifting of units to different map sectors.
The struggle for the city became an obsession for Hitler, and served to eventually consume the bulk of two full German Armies, marking the turning point for the war in Russia. By denying the German Army mobility, and offering a battle of attrition in the sewers, streets and factories, the Russians bought valuable time to build up powerful reserves that would be unleashed in November’s “Operation Uranus.” The resulting battle pocketed over 300,000 troops, shattering the front and sending the Germans into a desperate defensive retreat that was only stabilized by the genius of Eric Von Manstein in the spring of 1943. This was the battle that broke the back of the German Army in southern Russia in 1942. Germany was never able to recover from the disaster of Stalingrad. But can you prevail where the Germans failed?
Download the executable linked at the top of this page, and run it (you may need to run it in administrator mode).
Test your will as much as your skill when you dare set foot in “Stalingrad.”
About the Designer:John Schettler has been an avid simulation gamer for over 25 years and also designed professionally for five game companies over that time. His ten published board game credits include Clash of Arms Games award winning title “Edelweiss” and he has also served as a scenario designer for Talonsoft’s popular “Operational Art of War” series, and numerous other titles. John’s opinion of Battlefront? “Simply the best simulation game engine ever designed for the computer.”