Saturday, August 21, 2021

Memoir 44 - Battle of Prokhorovka (Kursk, July 1943) 'Overlord' Version

As I stated in my previous post, this was a massive game with 25 units per side.  This particular battle was the one of the largest tank actions in modern history.  Some say the largest but others, including historian David Glantz, say it was the Battle of Brody in 1941.

Anyway, it was the largest one we've fought.  The German 2nd SS Panzer Korps had (or would have had if we would have counted properly) 48 armored vehicles and 44 infantry stands [92 in 14 armored and 11 infantry units].  The Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army had 47 armored vehicles, 32 infantry stands, and 4 artillery stands [83 in 15 armored, 8 infantry, and 2 artillery units].  As an interesting note, the 5th Guards Tank  Army went on to increase its stature and ended up as one of the Soviet armies in the Belorussian Military District where it formed part of the strategic second echelon armies against NATO forces in western Germany during the Cold War.

Now on to the battle.  There were six of us which just the right number as the Memoir 44 board is divided into three sections -- left, center, and right.  Jay (Lord Sterling), Ed, and Steve started out with the Germans while Mark, Phil, and I had the Soviets.  Jay and I were the two overall commanders who got to hand out the action cards.  In the 'Overlord' version, each side can play up to three cards per turn and at the end of each turn draws two replacement cards as long as your "hand" doesn't exceed your starting number, which for this scenario was ten each.  Victory was measured in units killed with 12 being the magic number.

I only took four pictures at the start of the first game, but they will give you a good appreciation of the games.  We played in my church's library on a table that is 10' long and 4' wide, which was just about perfect for the layout.  The two battle mats are from Cigar Box Battle [shameless advertisement] and were printed with 4" hexes.  I've also used these for a large number of Commands & Colors - Medieval battles.

Please click on an image to get a larger picture.

Here is a long view of the entire battlefield.  The Russians are on the left (Where else would they be!) while the Germans on on the right (Undsoweiter for them as well).  As you can see with the Russian tanks in the foreground, there are four 3-tank units with one of them down to only one tank as is the German tank unit directly in front of it.  Prokhorovka is in the middle of the battlefield on the left beyond the stream.

Here we are looking towards the German attack from behind the Russian center.  As you can see, we're using whatever we had available, including armored vehicles that had not even been fielded yet.  Here also you can see the losses.  And some of the cards available to me as the Russian commander.  Plus you'll notice a visitor to the battlefield.

A good view of the German command team with Steve pondering the mass of Soviet tanks bearing down on him while Jay (center) and Ed try to decide who gets what command/combat card.

Another shot of the Doctor facing down the German panzers.  But unfortunately for the Soviets he was neutral in the battle.

Things began going downhill swiftly for the Soviets who ended up losing with 5 or 6 victory medals to the 12 that the Germans got to win the first game.

At this point we reset the battlefield, went to lunch (at the Quiznos sandwich shop down the street, and returned, switching sides.  Then Mark, Phil, and I showed that since we lost with the Russians in the first game, we could just as easily lose with the Germans in the second, 12 Soviet victory medals to our 9.  It was a little closer but still no "cigar."

Overall it was a fun game and we plan on doing some more of these 'Overlord' variants, maybe one from the Battle of the Bulge.  There are many. many scenarios for Memoir 44 and all its iterations on the Days of Wonder web site.

1 comment:

Old Nick said...

Beautiful set up and a most interesting battle. Well done!