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Land Without End: The Barbarossa Campaign» Forums » Reviews

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Bob Holden
United States
California
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The designer began with a great idea: the first six months of "Barbarossa" at a division level for both sides.

However, as anyone familiar with that phase of WW II knows, the Soviet Union had the advantage, despite the element of surprise against them and German tactical superiority.

Soviet infantry in this game appear too weak on defense. In real life, the combat strength of a typical Soviet infantry division was not much different than that for the German. The drawback suffered by Russian units was a lack of radios which made movement and artillery support very clumsy. But when defending in forests, hills or cities, the Soviet infantry always fought hard and exacted its share of casualties.

Hence, the Russian infantry divisions should be 1-2-3 or 2-2-3, not 1-4.

The Axis units are about right, although the SS motorized divisions appear a combat point or two higher than should be. 3rd SS was more feared for its brutality of civilians in the rear than its performance on the battlefield.

Where the Germans should excel on attack is in clear terrain where their armor and air superiority was most telling. Rules should allow for the creation of pockets, but also present the German player with the problem of waiting out the end of trapped units, or gaining time by sending in the infantry to mop up at the expense of casualties.

In his book, "Barbarossa", Alan Clark makes a very important point, that even at the onset of the attack, Germany lacked the resources to push strongly everywhere. By August, Army Group Center halted for several weeks, then sent much of its armor north and south to speed up the progress of the other two army groups lagging behind.

Hence, any simulation should reflect this weakness. Furthermore, in real life, the Soviets suffered serious losses from their own counterattacks. So in the game, a Soviet player who conserves his units should be even tougher to beat.

In the final analysis, the game should favor the Soviet player based on his superior numbers, terrain, bad weather and supply problems for the Axis.















 
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Darrell Hanning
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Jacksonville
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Going to this review, I was kind of hoping for a review of the game - how it works, what mechanisms don't work, how the components measure up, what's different from other games covering Barbarossa, etc.

Instead, you've given a quick brief on your opinion as to how effective the two armies are (or should be) in the game. That's a useful critique, in the proper context, but it really isn't a review.

As to Soviet infantry, and their combat effectivness vs. German infantry, about the only thing the average Soviet soldier on the European front (at the beginning of the war) had going for him was bravery. Most of their firearms were inferior to German-issued equipment; most of the command structure was inferior (thanks in part to Pappa Stalin having the good officers executed before this), their logistics were inferior, their tactics and doctrine were inferior, their air support obliterated in the first weeks of the attack, the information given to the frontline units was woefully inadequate, and strong-arm directives from distant commanders made them incapable of timely reaction. Trevor Dupuy has documented relative kill ratios for Soviet infantry vs. German infantry for each year of the war, and even in 1945, the average German infantryman was taking down 4 Soviet soldiers before he, himself, fell. This was despite enormous superiority by the Soviet forces in every measurable category.
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Lindsey Murillo
United States
Pennsylvania
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I agree with the previous poster. You did NOT review the game. You only gave us your infinite wisdom about the Eastern Front.

Maybe you should design a game.
 
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M St
Australia
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I'll disagree. Yes, this was not the usual laundry list review ("here's the counter ratings, this is how many rulebooks there are"), but it did discuss the central issue for any historical wargame, how does it reflect the history. Clearly there can be different views about this (as the second post demonstrates), but any review that attempts to consider these issues is to be welcome, even if it does not tick all the boxes. All too many reviews don't make the attempt.
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