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This was a do-nothing day today so we fired up the Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin game and tried out a couple of scenarios against the computer.

Our favorite part of WWII on the eastern front is the Battle for Moscow in December,1941 to March 1943. It is so because this was the first time any nation of earth was able to press an offensive against Nazi Germany, and it was also the last stand for Soviet Russia. We gained a keen interest in this period from reading Col. Albert Seaton's excellent description of the battle, The Battle for Moscow.

Seaton's work is especially useful since he gives the reader the strategic view as well as the operational view of this mammoth battle. It is because of this book and Paul Carrell's series we discovered military gaming.

One of the scenarios which come packaged with the game is named The White Wave, and it about a small Regiment size assault of a Russian town held by a single, lightly reinforced German rifle battalion. The scenario is a night assault in the snow.

This is significant because the game had visibility limited to 60 meters. And how the game render this environment is simply a work of computer gaming art.

The scene is eeiry. At the lowest level of resolution you can see the town but visibility is reduced to only 60 meters and in the sky is snow falling.

In WWII a German infantry battalion was an awesome fighting formation. Awesome because of the training standards and the doctrine passed down to this generation of fighters. Each battalion had an 81mm mortar unit of four tubes and a machine gun platoon of eight weapons. Place this unit in a tiny hamlet along with a section of 150mm infantry guns and you have what we call a tactical situation: a difficult problem with a difficult solution.

Opposing it is a Russian rifle regiment, nowhere near the unit a German equivalent is because of the great terror which consumed the very best of the Russian warfighters, which also meant the doctrines for fighting the Red Army pretty much went into the toilet as well.

Learning how to fight a Russian infantry unit is difficult because unlike virtually every other army on the face of the earth, the Soviets relied on their officers and their political element to fight the unit, instead of letting non commissioned officers determine tactics and gunnery.

We will finished this at a some later date, but for the spoiler, the AI defeated us.


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