Panzer Campaigns – Smolensk ’41 Gold was the first Panzer Campaigns title published and it is fitting that it is the first game to be upgraded to the new Gold standard. Covering the German operational level attack on Smolensk, this was the critical engagement for the gateway to Moscow in July 1941. The Gold treatment is a complete updating of the game in terms of graphics, sound and game engine.
In Panzer Campaigns – Moscow ’41 Gold, the German orders to capture Moscow in October 1941 specified the use of 51 divisions, including 13 panzer divisions, to encircle the city. As the Germans closed in on the capital, the fighting got fiercer and more desperate. The delay of the German forces after Smolensk left little time for the drive to Moscow before the onset of winter. And while both German and Russian High Commands were well aware of this, nevertheless, “Operation Typhoon” went ahead as planned. The attack was costly and first bogged down in endless mud, making the roads impassable. Next, the offensive was literally “frozen in its tracks” when the harsh Soviet winter set in. The Germans were not provided with winter clothing, and their vehicles and equipment were similarly not prepared. Yet despite all this, they reached the western suburbs, barely 17 km from the Kremlin, but before they ever encircled the city Soviet reinforcements arrived. Some of these new Russian troops were Siberian divisions, equipped and trained for winter fighting.
Panzer Campaigns – Moscow ’42 Gold simulates the historical Soviet 1941/42 winter counter offensive that almost destroyed Heeresgruppe Mitte in front of Moscow. In addition the hypothetical Fall Kreml (Operation Kremlin in English) is included. Operation Kremlin was an extensive deception campaign that the Axis enacted to distract from Fall Blau (Operation Blue) the German 1942 summer offensive in the Ukraine and Caucasus.
In Panzer Campaigns – Kharkov ’42 Gold, the Soviet Spring Offensive to reclaim Kharkov from the Germans in 1942 is not very well known. This battle was neither exploitation nor attrition, but a nasty combination of both. Each side took turns with mobile offensives that lead to surprising outcomes sure to challenge the serious wargamer. In the summer of 1942, Stalin planned an attack that he was certain would thwart the expected German offensive. From a bulge in the line formed by fighting that previous winter, he launched a mobile assault with armoured and cavalry forces with the goal of taking the key city of Kharkov. However, the German 6th Army had other ideas, and their panzers were poised to counterattack.
Panzer Campaigns – Stalingrad ’42 Gold is the upgrade to the popular Panzer Campaigns title set in Southern Russia. Covering the German strategic level attack on Stalingrad and the subsequent Soviet counterattack culminating in the destruction of the German 6th Army this was the critical engagement in 1942. The Gold treatment is a complete updating of the game in terms of graphics, sound and game engine.
Panzer Campaigns – Rzhev ’42 Gold covers the other Soviet offensive in the second half of 1942. In late September 1942, all eyes were focus on the titanic struggle taking place at Stalingrad. Stalin, Zhukov, and the STAVKA met to plan the upcoming winter operations. Zhukov convinced everyone that the Red Army had amassed enough strategic reserves to conduct two major counteroffensives. Here at the Rzhev salient Zhukov planned the second, lesser known strike. Operation Mars was meant to destroy the German 9th Army.
Panzer Campaigns – Kharkov ’43 Gold commences on February 2nd, 1943 – a significant day. Field Marshal Paulus surrendered the German 6th Army in the ruins of Stalingrad and Stalin launched Operation Star and Gallop, 1,000 km’s to the west. This latest Soviet operation had a much more ambitious goal than those that preceded it – the complete destruction of German forces in Southern Russia and the Ukraine.
In Panzer Campaigns – Kursk ’43 Gold it’s the summer of 1943 and the line has stabilized with a huge bulge in the lines. Hitler can’t resist one more drive, one more push to pinch off a bulge and capture a mass of soviets troops in another pocket, like in the early years of the war. But the Russians knew that script, they knew where the Germans would strike, and they waited. Hitler wanted his new “superweapons”, the Panther and the Elefant, to debut here. Consequently, the start date of early May was pushed back, and then further back, until it ended up in July. During all this time the Russians dug in, deeper and deeper, on both shoulders of the salient. By the time the attack started, there were seven defensive lines, including dug-in anti-tank strong-points, anti-tank ditches, and millions of mines had been laid. This was to be the biggest battle of the war, if not in all of time.
Panzer Campaigns – Mius ’43 Gold is the free Demo available for those that want to try the Panzer Campaigns series. A few days after the opening of the German attack on Kursk the Soviets began preparation to attack the heavily fortified German “Mius Line”. The Mius River flows south through the Ukraine in the area north Rostov, where it empties into the Sea of Azov. Here, after the failure of the Kursk Offensive, the Soviets are ready to attack this heavily fortified sector of the “Mius Line”. The goal of the operation was to threaten Stalino. The sector selected for the attack was 25 miles long and defended by the new 6th Army. The plan was to break the front line with the 5th Shock and 28th Armies and then to exploit any success with the 2nd Guards Army that was standing by at the ready.
Panzer Campaigns – Korsun ’44 Gold. By the end of December 1943, with Kiev retaken by the Soviets, Hitler ordered the German Army in the bend of the Dnepr to hold at all costs. The front has stabilized somewhat and the German Army is clinging to its last toe hold on the Dnepr River that forms the Korsun Salient when the Soviets strike. Even Mother Nature gets into the act with a February thaw that turns the ground to gumbo and makes mobility the Germans rely on an impossible feat. Among the units given these desperate orders to hold are the 11th and 42nd Corps whose positions formed the large bulge in the front line. Attacking on January 24th, 1944 on both sides of the bulge, Soviet forces encircled over 60,000 German in the Korsun Pocket, – the little Stalingrad on the Dnepr.
Panzer Campaigns – Minsk ’44 Gold. In June of 1944 Adolf Hitler was expecting the coming Soviet summer offensive to be launched against the German front line south of the Pripet Marshes. Instead, Stalin unleashed a massive attack on the very cornerstone of the German Army–Army Group Center which held a massive salient to the north. This was Operation BAGRATION, an all-out offensive to crush Army Group Center, concentrating armor, artillery and aircraft. The Red Army quickly broke through the thinly held German lines and encircled the fortified cities of Vitebsk, Orsha, Mogilev, and Bobruysk. Then the Soviet tank and mechanized formations swept on westwards towards the very heart of the Third Reich. Taken by surprise, the majority of the German Fourth and Ninth Armies were trapped between Minsk and the Berezina River. It was a catastrophic defeat, destroying 28 of 34 German divisions from Army Group Center’s order of battle. So complete was the Soviet victory that five weeks later the Red Army was on the banks of the Vistula River and the borders of East Prussia.
In Panzer Campaigns – Budapest ’45 Gold it’s dawn on New Year’s Day in the last year of the war. The enemies of the Reich were closing in on both the East and West Fronts. The Germans had squandered much of their last panzer reserves against the Americans at the Battle of the Bulge. In the east, the lines were holding pending the next major offensives by the Soviet juggernaut, and while Stalin continually hounded his generals to finish off the pocket of German and Hungarian troops holding Budapest, the Germans still had another offensive in them. They launched Operation Konrad – an offensive that almost succeeded in relieving the surrounded troops.