Following the defeat of the German Kursk Offensive in July of 1943, the Soviets unleashed a series of major offensives to clear the Ukraine of the German Army. By mid-January of 1944, the Red Army had liberated the area north and east of the Dnepr and seized Kiev. Further south, they crossed the Dnepr bend, capturing Kirovograd and continued deep into the western Ukraine. The Germans, however, maintained a hold on the Dnepr near Korsun in an exposed salient 70 miles southwest of Kiev. Hitler insisted on holding the salient and refused requests from his generals to withdraw to more defensible positions. This exposed salient was too tempting a target for the Soviets and in January, 1944 Stavka ordered the 1st & 2nd Ukrainian Fronts to conduct a major operation; striking against the base of the salient to surround and eliminate two German Corps within. The 2nd Ukrainian Front would breakthrough in the east on the 25th and race westward while the 1st Ukrainian Front would attack toward the east a day later; sealing the pocket at Zvenigorodka. The Soviet offensive was a stunning success, slamming the gate on 60,000 men from six German divisions, including the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. But, the Germans were not about to let the Korsun pocket become another "Stalingrad". Within a week they struck back with eight panzer divisions in a two-pronged counter-stroke of their own; this time to deal the Red Army an unexpected defeat from the Jaws of Victory.
Seven separate scenarios covering the period from January 26 to February 18, including a 25-turn campaign game, allow both sides plenty of opportunities for offensive and defensive action.
As the Soviet player, you begin with a two-pronged offensive, striking hard at the base of the German salient in an attempt to trap as many German units as possible. If you succeed, you must then turn your attention southward to build the "outer ring" in preparation for the German counter-offensive, while systematically chewing away at the supply-starved defenders in the pocket.
As the German player, you must slow the Soviet drives from both east and west by fighting a two-front defense, and if possible bring them to a halt. Once the pocket forms, you must skillfully hang on and preserve as many of the trapped units as possible, and wait for you Panzer Divisions from the south to carve open an escape route.
And both sides will have to contend with overstretched supply line, bad weather, and tank-stopping mud.
|Mechanism(s)||Simulation, Confrontation, Wargame|
|Editor||New England Simulations|
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