May 1, 2018

Panzer Campaign Gold Releases

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.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Tobruk ’41 Gold. Following the British defeat of the Italians in 1940, Rommel would arrive with the lead elements of the infamous Afrika Korps. Tobruk ’41 is an operational level simulation that traces the North African desert campaigns with scenarios covering action from Mersa Brega in March ’41, and finishing at the end of Crusader in December. In 1940, the British had little trouble pushing the Italian army in Libya away from the Egyptian border. However early the next year, General Rommel arrived in North Africa and quickly took the offensive. While the British garrison at Tobruk held on, desperate battles were fought across the desert sands.

 

Panzer Campaigns – El Alamein ’42 Gold. In the summer of 1942, the Afrika Korps was approaching its high-water mark. In a month-long struggle than began at Gazala, Rommel had defeated the 8th Army and driven the British back to Egypt, once again surrounding Tobruk, a prize that eluded him the previous year. Then in a surprise move, he doubled back, and captured Tobruk in a single day before turning his Panzer Army once again toward Alexandria, Cairo and the Nile. But the British would deny him the ultimate prize with a heroic stand at a lonely, unheard of railway stop known as El Alamein.

 

Panzer Campaigns – El Alamein ’42 Gold. Toward the end of 1942, the German High Command saw that the tide was turning in the war. On the East Front, von Paulus was surrounded in Stalingrad. Rommel had been defeated at El Alamein in Egypt and, in October, was retreating with his battered army toward Tripoli. Now the Americans were making their presence felt by landing at various points in Morocco and Algeria, threatening the Axis position in Africa from the rear. The Germans rushed forces by air and sea to Tunisia to counter the threat. They arrived just in time, as the lead elements of the allied forces made their drive to capture Tunis by Christmas 1942. Then the tide turned with the weather, the roads turned to mud tracks and the Allied drive was stalled. Wedged between the on-coming Allied Armies of Algeria and Egypt, a scratch force of powerful Germans panzers, intermixed with available infantry replacement forces, regained the initiative through February, inflicting serious losses on green US forces facing battle against a determined enemy for the first time. But this was only to delay the inevitable loss of the Axis presence in Africa.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Sicily ’43 Gold. By July 1943, the tides of war had turned on the Germans. Tunsia fell in May leaving no Axis territory in North Africa. On July 5th, they launched their last great offensive on the Russian Front at Kursk and were nearing their “highwater mark” when the Allies struck at the “soft underbelly” of Europe by invading Sicily. The Invading American and British forces took 38 days to capture the island due to skillful defense and fighting withdrawal in some of the most difficult terrain in the war prompting one author, Carlo D’Este to call this battle a “Bitter Victory”.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Salerno ’43 Gold. Salerno ’43 – The invasion of Salerno in September 1943 and Anzio in January 1944 were two very different operations. At Salerno the US and British troops ran into a stubborn enemy determine to throw them back into the sea. So, five months later at Anzio, they acted with caution, building up their force before moving inland – but the delay allowed the Germans to pocket them into the beachhead – one that proved difficult and costly to break out of. In this Panzer Campaign title you can try your hand in command of both of these critical Allied amphibious operations that lead up to Normandy. As a bonus you can also play the German Air Assault on Crete in 1941 to round out the action in the Mediterranean.

 

Panzer Campaigns – France ’40 Gold. In early May 1940, the war clouds that started in Poland the previous year blew into France and the Lower Countries as the Germans cross the border thus ending the period known as “The Phony War”. With the opening of hostilities, the Franco-British Armies executed their pre-war plan and marched into central Belgium to meet the enemy and to re-fight the First World War. The Germans however had devised a new attack. A bold and risky plan to push the bulk of their mobile forces through the Ardennes Forest, outflank the Allied forces and pin them to the coast.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Sealion ’40 Gold. It was the summer of 1940. The Germans had already marched across France in a spectacular victory. Now the Wehrmacht faced Britain, with only the English Channel between them. The British Army had been rescued by the miracle at Dunkirk but, as a result of abandoning much of its equipment in France, was a poorly equipped, disorganized force, backed up by untried reserves along with some under trained Canadian and ANZAC units. The Germans facing them were the juggernaut that had won victory after stunning victory, were full of confidence, and had a proven panzer arm—lacked experience in amphibious operations. Sealion ’40 explores “what if” the RAF had been beaten in the Battle of Britain and events had transpired to create conditions where Hitler might have launched Operation Sealion – the invasion of Great Britain.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Normandy ’44 Gold. Normandy ’44 is an operational level simulation of the D-Day landings and subsequent battles to move inland fighting your way off the beaches. This is a battle largely of attrition where you will slug your way through bocage to break the dead lock in one of the best know and record campaigns in history. After 4 years of German occupation, the Allied forces in England were ready to liberate France. An enormous force of infantry, armoured, airborne naval, and air forces stood poised to strike at the German beach fortifications and dense bocage of Normandy. All hopes for the liberation of France and the end of World War II would depend on the success or failure of this invasion.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Market Garden ’44 Gold. By early September 1944, the Germans were in full retreat with Wehrmacht units streaming back to the Fatherland in complete disarray. However, German commanders were beginning to slow the tide of units and to begin organizing a defense line just as the Allied advance stalled due to lack of supplies. By early September 1944, the Germans were in full retreat with Wehrmacht units streaming back to the Fatherland in complete disarray. However, German commanders were beginning to slow the tide of units and to begin organizing a defense line just as the Allied advance stalled due to lack of supplies. Montgomery argued that a single attack should be on his line of advance through Holland and on to Germany. His plan code-named Market-Garden called for the Allied Airborne Army, consisting of the US 101st, the U.S. 82nd and the 1st British Airborne Divisions, to seize a series of five bridges over a one hundred kilometer stretch through Holland. The final bridge, to be taken by the British and Polish paratroopers, at Arnhem, and would give the Allies access to Germany.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Bulge ’44 Gold. It is late 1944 and the Western Allies are catching their breath after racing across France. Standing at the frontier of Germany, the end of the war seems at hand. The Germans have other ideas, however. For the second time in the war, the Germans pull off a surprise attack in the Ardennes. Under the cover of bad weather that grounds Allied air power the secretly assembled Panzer Armees shakes the ground with a dawn attack. Allied units, shocked and alone in their scattered positions are grimly determined to accomplish the impossible. In the desperate hours ahead, these brave and heroic men will decide the war on the Western Front.

 

Panzer Campaigns – Japan ’45. With the capture of Okinawa and the Philippines in 1945, the Allies had captured important territory in the western Pacific from which to base air, sea and land assets with which to engage in an invasion of the Japanese main islands. They called the entire project “Operation Downfall” and the first part of this colossal undertaking was called “Operation Olympic.” The goal of Olympic was to capture airfields and ports in the southern half of the island of Kyushu from which they could use for the next phase of Downfall which was called “Operation Coronet,” the invasion of the island of Honshu.