Designer's Comments, Advice on Strategy and Tactics,
Historical Background, and Bibliography
(Copyright 2007 Louis R. Coatney)

Design of the Game:

I have been designing military history boardgames about the Battle of Moscow since 1973. This game is the littlest brother of two larger scale games. MD!'s scale is 60 miles -- or 100 kilometers -- per hex, and its Russian order of battle (roster of units) especially is greatly abstracted.

Discarding the use of "zones of control" -- hexes adjacent to a hex occupied by a unit -- for stopping enemy movement for korps level units works. Just the prohibition against retreating into hexes adjacent to attackers -- reminiscent of Robert Bradley's old classic, FALL BARBAROSSA -- is adequate for surrounding and annihilating enemy units in combat conditions.

The air rules are similar to those in 1st ALAMEIN, my also-free desert game on my webpage -- insisted upon by my aeronautical engineer son Robert. ("Airpower Joe" Miranda is also partial to air units being included in Russian Front games.)

Of course, the key to this comparatively simple wargame system is that German armies and corps are mutually supporting in defense, but this is not true for the Russians. This reflects the better, radio-facilitated defensive/artillery coordination of the Germans, and it enables the German Player to penetrate deeply with narrow breakthroughs made by spearhead -- Schwerpunkt -- units, like the Panzer groups/armies.

Advice on Strategy and Tactics:

For the Germans:

For the Russians:

Historical Background:-- More to come.
Historically, the Nazi Germans' offensive against Moscow -- "Operation Typhoon" -- started on October 1, 1941, and stopped with Stalin's unleashing of Marshal Zhukov's massive counteroffensive on December 5, 1941 (only 2 days before we Americans were shocked into the war by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor).
Although the Russians' opening losses were horrendous -- estimates are as high as 800,000 men killed (or captured and then mostly killed in German concentration camps) and thousands of tanks and guns destroyed or captured -- the Russian people had now realized that the Germans were killers and enslavers, not liberators, and those soldiers fought stubbornly, diverting the attackers from a straight advance to and capture of Moscow.
Thereafter, the Russian winter offensive railed against the German outposts until casualties and the spring thaw forced its complete cessation on April 30, 1942.
In fairness, it should be noted that contrary to general impression in the West, German troops outnumbered Russian troops, especially after the Russians' fearful opening losses.



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