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In May of 1942, portions of the Red Army were to attack the German 6th Army, as mandated by Stalin. This was to be a pincers type attack, enveloping Kharkov. The Germans coincidentally were planning an assault in May against the salient which formed the southern base of the Soviet May offensive. The Red Army struck first, and five days later the German attack commenced. These double offensives are what are covered in “Pincers” and “Operation Fredericus”. As the German Zitadelle offensive of 1943 was winding down, the Soviets launched a major attack of their own on the northern part of the Kursk area. Then on August 3 the Soviets attacked the southern part of the Kursk area. “Orel Salient” and “Operation Rumiantsev” cover these actions.
Eastern Front Operational Battles use the same basic rule set in all four games as one would expect in a quad game. The rules are accessible and straight forward for playability, and at the same time, all aspects, such as movement rates, combat outcomes, and so on, are based on historical analysis. All of the games play at the operational level. Units are mostly regiments/brigades and divisions in the 1942 games, and divisions and corps in the 1943 games.
There are also a few interesting small units in the mix. In the 1943 games, the Germans have a small number of the “animal” units available: Hornisse, Tiger, Brummbar, as well as Ferdinands (later called Elefants). There are a few Hungarian, Romanian, and Italian units that take part in the action. Both sides have a number of armored, motorized, and cavalry units in their orders of battle, so that movement and breakthroughs are frequent possibilities. Headquarters allow units within range to benefit from a number of characteristics. Airpower is represented with players able to give CRT column shifts and to attack various ground targets. Some randomized special events affect play. The system isn’t complex, and there are a few optional rules that are available if players want to add some chrome.
Gamers should find that ease of play and realistic modeling coexist in this system. All four games in Eastern Front Operational Battles can be for two players, and they are also readily accessible for solitaire play.
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