Version: 1.10 (March 2004)
Engine: Korsun Pocket
AI or PBEM: Both
Download Hells Gate for KP
The best single source on the Korsun/Cherkassy operation is the book "Hell's Gate" by Douglas Nash. When I started reading "Hell's Gate" and comparing the account of the battle to the KP scenario, I began to note many discrepancies. Some of these discrepancies are quite serious, including missing divisions, extra divisions, and units which arrive on the battlefield at the wrong time.
I decided to create my own variant, based on the information contained in "Hell's Gate". I believe this "Hell's Gate" version of the battle will give players a better picture of the historical situation.
Version 1.1 of the Hell's Gate scenario also reflects information I have pulled out of a second source, "Battle for the Ukraine, The Red Army's Korsun-Shevchenkovskii Operation, 1944" (The Soviet General Staff Study), edited by David Glantz.
The major change in the variant is to place two more Soviet rifle divisions on the map for the 1st Ukraine Front order of battle that were Alert status units in the original game (the 74th Rifle, 42nd Guards Rifle), and the removal from the map (to reinforcement status) of two rifle divisions from the 2nd Ukraine Front (the 110th Guards Rifle, and the 116th Rifle Divisions).
I believe the design choice in the original scenario, whereby two divisions from 1UF were restricted to Alert status (which practically removes them from the game), is the primary cause of the difficulties players have experienced in getting the Soviet 1st Ukraine Front moving. The order of battle changes in this new variant should provide a new experience even for veteran KP players, and I hope, a more balanced scenario overall.
The notes below reflect all changes I've made in the variant, and usually, my reasoning for making the change.
1) Gren Rgt 179 of German 57 Inf.Div. is on map in KP, but had been disbanded months before due to losses. Instead, Gren Rgt 676 was attached from 332 Gr.Div. of Korps Gruppe B. I fixed this by changing the name of the regiment.
2) The tank element of SS Wiking was a regiment only on paper. Its true strength during the battle was only that of a battalion, as organized in November 1942. The authorized second tank battalion, and the regimental HQ staff, was still being equipped in Germany, and would not join the division until April 1944. KP shows the unit as a full strength regiment, which it surely wasn't. I fixed this by starting the 'regiment' at half strength. It is only some 25 PzIVs and 6 assault guns.
Also, the armored element of Wiking was active in the area of the 389th Division from the very start of the battle. Historically, they weren't suprised, or left in place, at all. The armored unit was therefore placed near the 389th, just north of Zerdyukovka where they started historically. The other elements of Wiking have been moved to the north, into positions along the Dneipr.
3) Stug Abt 239 belongs to the XI Korps, not the VII Korps. I moved this unit in the OOB.
4) Korps Group B consisted of remnants of three divsions, 112, 255 and 332. In the original game, 255 was not represented, but instead there were two regiments of 112. The contingent from each division was only a two battalion regiment, so one of these regiments from 112 was changed to represent the 255.
5) Historically, the Gren.Rgt. 246 of the 88 Inf.Div. was disbanded. The unit in the game was renamed to Div.Gr. 323 (the remains of the whole division?), which was attached to replace it.
Follow on forces:
6) 26th Panzer Battalion (from Grossdeutschland, by the way) arrived on the battlefield late in the evening of 27 January. It was a very strong unit equipped with 61 new Panthers. This unit originally arrived in KP too late. It now arrives on turn 7, not turn 14. The unit profile was changed to a Panther.
7) 506th Panzer Bn - The only references to the 506th is a Heavy (Tiger) battalion in Hell's Gate are two engagements it participated in with the 17 Panzer Division. The battalion appears to have been attached to the 17 Panzer for the entire battle. It certainly didn't arrive as soon as it did in KP. The first Tigers to arrive on the battlefield historically were from Bake's unit. I changed the unit's arrival time to turn 20, so that it now arrives one turn after Bake's regiment. Combat values were edited slightly to be in line with the 503 Bn from Bake's Regiment, but the unit starts understrength.
1) 40th Army (original KP in-game status in parentheses)
50th Rifle Corps - 38th (reinforcement), 240th (missing), 340th Divisions (reinforcement), 4th Guards Airborne (missing)
51st Rifle Corps - 42nd Guards Rifle (alert), 163rd (missing), 232nd Rifle Divisions (on map)
104th Rifle Corps - 58th (on map), 74th (alert), 133rd Rifle Divisions (on map)
Included in the game as 40th Army units, but not actually a part of the Army, are the 359th Rifle, 136th Rifle and 167th Rifle Divisions.
So, the number of divisions in the Army was correct, but the actual divisions were wrong.
To fix the Army, the 359th Rifle, 136th Rifle and 167th Rifle Divisions were moved out (to 6th Tank Army), and the 240th Rifle , 163rd Rifle and the 4th Gd Airborne Divisions were newly created and added to the Soviet OOB. As a guide, the 240th and 163rd divisions were modeled after another rifle division in the corps, the 58th. 4th Gd Airborne was patterned after the 3rd Gd Airborne.
2) 6th Tank Army - This formation was short three infantry divisions! I found that the 359, 136, and 167th Rifle Divisions were originally part of 40th Army, but were reassigned to the 6th Tank Army. As mentioned above, these divisions were moved into the Army.
3) 4th Guards Army - the 94th Guards rifle division belongs to this army, but is incorrectly assigned to 5th Guards Tank Army. It was moved.
4) All of the Soviet infantry divisions have been renamed as Rifle Divisions, as the Soviets did.
5) 53 Army - 110th Guards Infantry, and 116th Rifle Divisions do not belong to this army. I cannot yet find a reference to these divisions in 'Hell's Gate'. I have changed them to 'alert' divisions.
The 189th Tank Regiment, which arrives as a reinforcement, now starts on the map. (Perhaps the 34th Tank Regiment, which starts on the map, is a unit that should arrive as a reinforcement instead?)
1) I moved the VP location at Kamenovatka ( 55,38 ) to the village of Kapitanovka (previously unlabeled at 51,35). Kapitanovka was fought over time and time again, and figures prominently in the Hell's Gate account of the battle.
1) I does not seem logical that air support is available during Bleak weather turns. When historical weather is used in this variant, air support is unavailable for both sides during Bleak weather. If random weather is used, air support will not be available on historically Bleak days, but may be available on some random Bleak turns.
Changes to Version 1.1
Changes to 1 Ukraine Front OOB:
1) The new units I created, the 240th Rifle , 163rd Rifle and the 4th Gd Airborne Divisions ARE a part of the 40th Army OOB. Upon review of the situation maps in the Soviet General staff study however, it became apparent to me that these units did not actually participate in the operation. They have been changed to Alert status divisions, and moved to the 1UF Reserve in the OOB.
2) Two divisions designated as Alert status divisions in the original KP scenario, the 42nd Guards Rifle and 74th Rifle Divisions, were actually on the map and engaged from the very start of the battle. I have placed these two divisions on the map, and moved them into the 40th Army OOB.
Changes to 2 Ukraine Front OOB:
3) The two units which I had removed from the map to Alert status, the 110 Guards Rifle and the 116th Rifle Divisions, have now been identified as reinforcement units. 110 Guards Rifle now arrives on turn 15, and the 116th Rifle arrives on turn 39.
Thanks to Rob Gjessing for helping me with the technical aspects of the design. Thanks to Brubaker, from whom I borrowed the Axis splash screen (mine went missing) and this readme file. All artwork was created using the lowly MS Paint program.
Cory Runyan (Runyan99) March 2004