1941: Race to Moscow

Created by PHALANX

How to plan and execute the largest military campaign in history? Find it out in 1-3.5 player, 90 minutes logistic take on Barbarossa.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Extended Pledge Manager and miniatures designs
about 2 months ago – Sat, Apr 11, 2020 at 07:50:12 AM

Hello everyone!

The pledge manager is extended to until further notice, the delivery date remains unchanged.

Work on 1941: Race to Moscow is going the right way, and the results are satisfactory for us. However, we still need some time to complete a few items.

The situation in the world in recent days is definitely not the most desirable, many people stay at home, and the work of some companies is suspended until further notice. The spread of coronavirus has not stopped our business. Of course, we maintain all security measures during this time. Our store works and fulfills orders, games are developed and we are constantly improving the graphic layers. At the moment, there is no indication that we will have a delay in the release of the games.

The bunker design is almost ready, below is a 3D prototype printout.

In addition, we still develop car (Volkswagen Kübelwagen and Mercedes-Benz W31) designs. We printed the 3D versions of the initial version to see what they look like on the board. 

These are homemade trial versions. The quality of the final miniatures will be much higher.

Keep up to date with PHALANX

It’s worth subscribing to the newsletter, PHALANX Club and FB to keep up to date with what is happening in our publishing house and what we’re currently working on.

This year we will also launch a new campaign - Domination. The game is a new, improved and extended edition of Mini WWII.

If you’re interested in the game and don’t want to miss the campaign, click the "Remind me" button that will remind you about the project after it has started.

This is the preview page: http://bit.ly/dominationonks

Happy gaming!

PHALANX Team

PLEDGE MANAGER AND PRE-ORDER ARE LIVE
4 months ago – Mon, Jan 20, 2020 at 01:57:29 AM

Hello Everyone,

The Backerkit Pledge Manager (PM) is now open, and you should receive an email invitation soon. If not, please check your SPAM folder. If you still can’t see the invitation, please go directly to  https://1941-race-to-moscow.backerkit.com/sign_in  and use your Kickstarter registration e-mail to get your invitation.

After you click the invitation link, please choose your country [Select your country for shipping BUTTON]. This will set up your shipping charge.

Next please choose your language edition [switch your pledge level BUTTON] if your pledge and/or language is wrong.

When your pledge level, language edition and shipping destination are OK, please proceed by clicking [Get Started BUTTON].

Now you will see the instructions of checking and changing your pledge level, if you haven't done this in the previous steps. When everything is fine, mark the Understood point and move next.

Next step is important only for backers who have also ordered Fire in the Sky game during our pre-order:

We've transferred your orders to yours Race to Moscow Pledges in order to reduce shipping costs. The fee for this game is marked as a negative complimentary credit. We will close yours orders in the pre-order store and charge your money for both games (Race to Moscow and Fire in the Sky) only once in this pledge manager.

Please mark the Understood point and move next.

Then continue with the add-ons. Please add to your cart the additional items you wish to have in your order - as it is done in a regular web shop. Your pledged amount is your available credit (reduced by the pledge you have choosen, that you already have in your basket, including the game itself). But you can purchase any extra items, and total to be paid will be created indlucing the shipping price.

Finally, enter your shipping address, pay the balance, and click "Place Order" and you'll be all set.

Once you respond to your survey, you can still go back later and change your choices until we close the surveys and get our final counts. If you need to review your information or pledge status, you can return to your survey by clicking the link in your survey email or requesting your survey link under "Lost your survey?" on our BackerKit project page at  https://1941-race-to-moscow.backerkit.com/

If you used your Facebook credentials to log in to your Kickstarter account, the BackerKit survey is sent to the email address you use for your Facebook account. If you have another email address that you prefer to use, please contact support at  https://1941-race-to-moscow.backerkit.com/faq

If you have any questions about the Pledge Manager or how your order is processed, please make sure to contact Backerkit Support first, as the tool is very user-friendly and has a solid helpdesk. If they can’t help you, please contact Agata Jurczyszyn, our BackerKit Manager: agata.jurczyszyn[at]vertima.trade

The pledge manager will be open until the end of March 2020.

PRE-ORDER

The Pledge Manager is open for anyone who would like to receive the game at the same time as the Kickstarter backers. Here is a link to the preorder page (it works like a regular web shop):  https://1941-race-to-moscow.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders

Please note that the Axis Aircraft Expansion Pack is available in pre-order as an add-on - it was free for KS backers only.

Martin Wallace’s Rocketmen

Next week we are starting our new Kickstarter campaign, for a fast-paced deck-building tabletop game of modern space exploration. Please click on the image below and check out Martin Wallace’s Rocketmen! 

Happy gaming!

Michal & PHALANX Team

P.S. And this is a final article written for this campaign by Dr. Eric G. L. Pinzelli. We kept it for today, as it is a great follow up of the entire campaign. Enjoy!

OPERATION BARBAROSSA IN POPULAR CULTURE, FROM RUSSIA, AND FROM GERMANY

In Russia:

The “Great Patriotic War” or the “Great Fatherland War” of 1941-45 in Russia is nowadays, more than ever, a centerpiece of the nation’s consciousness. During and since the end of the war, the USSR perpetrated the "hero myth" about the Red Army soldiers that became folk heroes fighting in a just war. In reality, the Eastern Front came down to a gruesome war of extermination, with maybe as many as 27 million Soviet casualties on this single theater, accounting for half of all WW2 losses. The Eastern Front was notorious for its ferocity, destruction, mass deportations, brutal weather conditions, and immense loss of life. Consequently, it is considered the single most important event in Russian history, binding the people from all ages and origins. The veterans are celebrated as heroes who sacrificed their youth and limbs for the future generations. Since Leonid Brezhnev, May 9 became a public holiday which is always celebrated across the country every year with pride and much patriotic fervor. Many movies set during WW2 were realized this past decade. These often epic productions have in common to idealize the proverbial Russian tenacity and underline civic responsibility in the face of ultimate evil, the “Fascists”. They often receive the Russian Federation (or Belarusian) Ministry of Culture’s sponsorship and stamp of approval. Here is a list of some of the most recent Russian movies about the “Great Patriotic War”, and Operation Barbarossa in particular:

-T-34 (same title in Russian of course), 2019, set during the Battle of Moscow (1941) and its aftermath.

Tankers aka Indestructible (Несокрушимый), 2018, which is based on the feat of a KV-1 tank next to Rostov in 1942.

-Panfilov's 28 Men (28 панфиловцев), 2016, is set during the Battle of Moscow (1941).

-Battle for Sevastopol (Битва за Севастополь), 2015, set during the siege of Sevastopol (1941-42), in particular the story of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the most successful female sniper in history.

-White Tiger (Белый тигр), 2012, actually takes place in a later phase of the war since the crew of the Soviet T34-85 battles against a mysterious Panzer VI “Tiger” that only saw action on the Eastern Front from September 1942.

-Burnt by the Sun 2 (Утомлённые солнцем 2), 2010, is set during Operation Barbarossa, it is a sequel of the 1994 Burnt by the Sun (Утомлённые солнцем) which takes place during the purges of the 1930s.

-Fortress of War (Брестская крепость), 2010, filmed in Belarus, presents a gripping version of the siege of the fortress of Brest during the early phase of Operation Barbarossa.

-Dot (Dot), 2009, set during Operation Barbarossa, when a handful of Soviet soldiers soon find themselves deep behind enemy lines.

-Attack on Leningrad (Ленинград), 2009, which takes place around the start of the siege in 1941 and follows the plight of British foreign correspondent Kate Davis.

Operation Barbarossa and the Eastern Front seen from Germany:

Since decades now the myth of the “honorable Wehrmacht” that began in the immediate aftermath of the war has been shattered. In the 1950s, in Western Germany, there was a wide political consensus around the view that it was "time to close the chapter". Then came a wall of silence in the following decades, and German filmmakers avoided the subject. From the early 1990s, German public consciousness about the war crimes committed by the German army gradually became more widespread. All the German historians now acknowledge the scale of Wehrmacht's involvement in the crimes of the Third Reich, and not only perpetrated by the SS. In the German bookshops the shelves are overflowing with new publications on every imaginable aspect of the 3rd Reich period. Newspapers and TV channels are running dozens of documentaries on WW2. Germans are constantly reminded of the facts, the country still has to carry the burden of its recent past, the collective guilt survives among the population but it is now commonplace. Germany's Nazi history is also firmly entrenched in the national school syllabus. Nowadays, German cinematic productions about WW2 have often a common narrative, depicting a generation of ordinary disenchanted youth, that had been brainwashed by Nazi totalitarian propaganda, and often come to a character arc, eventually rejecting the evil system, thus reaching their redemption. These movies, dealing with the dark side of Germany’s recent history, often depict the main characters as involuntary victims of Nazism themselves, and not only as perpetrators of war crimes. There are very few recent productions and even less about the Eastern Front:

-The Captain (Der Hauptmann), 2017, a Franco-Polish-German biopic about Willi Herold, a particularly vicious historical character who became a wanted war criminal.

-My honor was loyalty (Leibstandarte), 2017, an independent production from Italian Director Alessandro Pepe, which follows Untersharführer Ludwig Herckel, initially a devoted soldier of the elite 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler fighting on the Eastern Front, and later on the Western Front. He comes to openly question what he and his comrades are fighting for.

-Land of Mine (Unter dem Sand), 2015, is a Danish-German film about the aftermath of the war and its consequences through very young German POWs who are tasked to clear mine fields.

-13 minutes (Elser – Er hätte die Welt verändert), 2015, tells the story of Johann Georg Elser who failed to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1939.

-Generation War (Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter) 2013, a miniseries that follows a group of five German young adults during the entire course of the war. Two of the friends are brothers who are sent off to the Eastern Front with the Wehrmacht. This series points out that not only the SS, but also the regular Wehrmacht was involved in the killing of Jews and other civilians. However, it is the Ukrainian peasants who are depicting clubing Jewish men, women, and children to death.

-March of Millions (Die Flucht), 2007, which focused on Germans fleeing from the Red Army. The film was controversial for portraying German war-time suffering during the forced evacuation of East Prussia.

Thanks for reading!

It's time for Schnapps!
6 months ago – Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 09:23:11 PM

Hello Everyone,

Thank you very much for bringing the campaign to such a spectacular finish! You have taken all game related stretch goals, completing the box with every piece that we have imagined! Your combined efforts have brought this product to the highest production level - congratulations on such great teamwork!

Please note that the game will be published in three language editions: English, German, and French. Unfortunately there are not enough backers from Italy and Poland to publish stand-alone Italian and Polish editions. Nevertheless we appreciate the support of the Italian and Polish wargaming communities and encourage you to keep your pledges, as we are going to publish PDF rulebooks in Italian and Polish languages so that  you can enjoy the game in a similar way as backers of other editions. Thank you!

A word from Waldemar:

I would like to personally thank each and every backer for supporting this campaign. I never thought I might have my own regiment of backers :) I am very happy that the most important stretch goals have been founded. Now, after a short celebration, I have to rewrite the rulebook a little bit, to describe and include the new components. A new variant, “General Winter,” will also be added. We will keep you updated about the progress of this project.

What is more, I feel now more confident about finishing my other Race… projects, but this is the plan for the upcoming year. You may want to join our Phalanx Club group on Facebook, I will be posting some sneak peeks from time to time. Stay tuned!

The Next Steps

Please read the following info, as this is very important post-campaign data that all of you need to know:

1. We will be setting up the pledge manager as soon as possible - we will use BackerKit.com. It will allow you to:

  • manage your pledges (check your items, add or remove items from your pledge, choose language editions of your items),
     
  • purchase extra copies of the game, add-ons, etc.,
     
  • enter your delivery address(es).
     

Please do not send us messages containing the above information, as we will be unable to process it. These kinds of choices are made in the pledge manager ONLY.

2. People who have missed the campaign will be able to pre-order the game in the pledge manager. You will be able to buy the add-ons as well.

3. Once the pledge manager is open, you will receive an email notification. There is also going to be a separate update. You really can’t miss it, although please check your spam email from time to time. ;)

4. The pledge manager should go live 1-2 months after the campaign is finished, as we need to make the final quotes for shipping based on the number of backers from each country, and set up all the products in the manager. It will be live for another 2-3 months. The pledge manager works like a standard webshop where you choose the items you want to get for your credit (the amount pledged during the campaign). You will be able to increase your credit, to pay for shipping and any add-ons you have chosen.

5. Current payments are processed by Kickstarter, so please contact their help desk if you have any problems with charging your cards. Sorry, but we can't help you in any way, as this is run solely by Kickstarter and we have no influence over this process.

6. We will keep you updated about game development and production status. We won’t be spamming, but we will try making at least a single update each 2 months, or more, if there is anything important to share.

And now, without any further ado, we can announce you our next project, a game that will bring you closer to the stars…

Martin Wallace’s ROCKETMEN

Immerse yourself in a fast-paced race to the final frontier: space. A deck-building confrontation of swift decision-making and tactical estimates, Rocketmen gives you the feel of taking a front seat in a technologically wonderful spectacle of space exploration.

Click here to visit the campaign preview page!

Please visit the ROCKETMEN preview page to find out more about this project and click NOTIFY ME ON LAUNCH button. This way you won’t miss the moment when the campaign starts!

If you want to know more about our future plans, please join Phalanx Club - our Facebook group - and you will be among the first to know!

Thank you!

Is that’s all for now? No! The offensive has ended, so the counteroffensive begun!

THE FAMOUS 24th ANNIVERSARY OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION HELD ON THE RED SQUARE DURING THE BATTLE OF MOSCOW

“Comrades, men of the Red Army and Red Navy, commanders and political instructors, men and women guerillas, the whole world is looking to you as the force capable of destroying the plundering hordes of German invaders. The enslaved peoples of Europe who have fallen under the yoke of the German invaders look to you as their liberators. A great liberating mission has fallen to your lot. Be worthy of this mission!

Death to the German invaders! Long live our glorious Motherland, her liberty and her independence!” - Stalin, Speech at the Red Army Parade, Nov. 7, 1941.

Though Stalin’s regime was brutal and caused the death of millions, his name came down in history as the leader who led the Soviet Great Patriotic War’s effort that eventually crushed Nazi Germany. By the middle of October 1941, as the German war machine was rolling on towards Moscow, rumors spread that the country's top leadership, Joseph Stalin and members of the Politburo, had left the city. Chaos and looting were rampant. On October 19, a curfew was nstated, the NKVD was unleashed to restore order.

To dispel the rumors, attempt to raise the morale of the population, and give a powerful symbolic show of determination, on October 24, generals Pavel Artemyev and Pavel Zhigarev were tasked by Stalin to take care of the preparations of the 24th anniversary of the October Revolution in complete secrecy. Marshal Semyon Budyonny, who had previously participated in many parades, personally chose four marches from the compositions proposed by quartermaster Vasily Agapkin, the head of the orchestra of the Separate Motorized Rifle Division for Special Purpose. The combined orchestra assembled for this purpose consisted of about 200 people, with musicians from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 10th regiments, the cavalry regiment of the division, the Moscow mortar division, and the Leonid Krasin artillery school.

Against the advice of some government officials and generals, and with the Germans so close from Moscow, Stalin insisted to hold the military parade in  Red Square on November 7 to mark the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. It had a tremendous impact on morale in Moscow and throughout the Soviet Union. The parade became the symbol of Soviet valor and tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds. Stalin's willingness to take such a risk was a show of strength as the leader who remained in control of a nation under siege. As the fate of Moscow and indeed the whole nation was still hanging in the balance, from the grandstand on top of Lenin’s Mausoleum, Stalin gave some stirring patriotic speeches to troops on their way to the front. Stalin's speech was recorded a second time indoors because the recording crew arrived too late. The video was edited. The parade was distributed worldwide, showing that the capital would not be surrendered under any circumstances, and that the Soviet Union had enough strength and will to continue the fight.

During the night of November 6, the weather worsened. The temperature fell to -2 ° C, the sky was shrouded with clouds, and thick snow began to fall. Not a single German plane would dare to take off in such a weather. In any case, on November 7, the parade started two hours earlier than usual, at 8 o’clock in the morning. It lasted a little more than one hour. The march was opened by students of the Artillery School. With banners deployed, the gunners, infantry, tanks, cavalry, anti-aircraft gunners, and sailors crossed the Red Square. The parade was also attended by battalions of cadets of the District of military-political school, two artillery regiments of the Moscow Defense Zone (140 guns), two tank battalions of the Headquarters’ reserve (160 KV-1 and T-34 tanks, some fresh out of the factory). Altogether, 28,467 soldiers participated. The bad weather prevented the participation of some 300 Soviet combat aircraft. Straight from the parade, many of troops and tanks were sent to the front, just a few kilometers away, to be distributed among the divisions.

Apart from these units that were sent directly to the front and were often annihilated soon after to save the capital, many divisions transferred from “Siberia” (actually from the Transbaikalian and Far Eastern Front) participated in the critical phase of the Battle of Moscow: 1/3 of all Soviet losses was from Siberian, Transbaikalian, and Far-Eastern divisions. Some were veteran units from the Far-Eastern theater (battles of Khalkhyn Gol), about 123,000 men out of total 1,250,000 fighting in the Battle of Moscow (about 10%). Siberians were excellent ski scouts and forest hunters (many became snipers). The arrival of these “Siberian” troops did help to raise the moral of the Red Army units already involved in the fighting since the summer. On 5 December 1941, while the temperature had fallen to a glacial -40 degrees, these reinforcements and new units assembled by Stavka attacked the German lines around Moscow, supported by new T-34 tanks and Katyusha rocket launchers. These divisions were better prepared for winter warfare than their foes, and they also included several ski battalions. By January 7, 1942, the exhausted and freezing Germans were pushed back 100–250km from Moscow.

Written by  Dr. Eric G. L. Pinzelli

See you in the comments section and in the next updates!

Thank you, and happy gaming!

Jaro, Waldek, Michal, and the entire PHALANX Team

The Final Race... in Style!
6 months ago – Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 01:57:52 AM

Hello Everyone,

Today we celebrate the final day of the 1941. Race to Moscow campaign. Your recent support unlocked two new stretch goals that will add extra style to our final ride! Mercedes and Volkswagen staff cars will be useful tools for keeping track of player turns and your visits in HQ. Thank you for bringing them into the game!

And what about tanks? The next two stretch goals are adding extra sculpts for your Panzer Groups miniatures, to provide you even more punch when closing towards the main game objectives. So, if you want to get them, please ask your friends to support the campaign, share its link on your social media channels, and consider taking some add-ons from the list on the main campaign page! Thank you!

And speaking of tanks… These steel monsters are the most prominent symbols of Blitzkrieg (OK, alongside the Ju-87 dive bombers that you are getting here for free in Axis Aircraft expansion!). We haven’t spoken about them yet, so now is the best time to remedy this shortcoming:

Germany’s Main Tanks During Operation Barbarossa

PANZER II

The Panzerkampfwagen II entered service in 1936 with 1,856 being built between 1935 and January 1944 under one form or another. It had a wide array of variants and shapes, as development of the light tank, or for specialized tasks. Many Panzer II chassis, particularly those of early versions (Ausf. A to C) were used for special versions. The Pz. II was basically an enlarged and upgraded Pz. I light tank. It remained the mainstay of the panzer divisions during the first two years of WW2, because of delays encountered in building the more powerful Pz. III and IV. The Panzer II was intended as a temporary solution to fill the gap until these tanks could come into full production.

Because of the Treaty of Versailles’ restrictions, which prohibited the design, manufacture, and deployment of tanks within the Reichswehr, in 1934 it had initially been designed by Heinrich Ernst Kniepkamp’s team of engineers of the Waffen Prüfwesen 6 under the code name “Agricultural Tractor 100” (LaS 100). It had a weight of about 8 to 11t, depending on the version. Its main armament was the 20 mm Rheinmetall KwK30 L55 quick firing autocannon, with its secondary armament two MG34 machine-guns. It could reach a speed of 40 km/h on roads and was manned by a crew of three: the commander, the driver, and the radio operator.

The Panzer II Ausf. A to C had 14mm of slightly sloped homogeneous steel armour on the sides, front, and back, with 10mm of armor on the top and bottom. Starting with the D model (1938), the front armor was increased to 30mm. The tank’s armor could protect its crew from small arms fire, and 7.92 mm S.M.K steel-cored armor-piercing machine gun bullets fired from a range of 30 m. The Pz. 20 mm autocannon armor-piercing rounds could go through 23mm of armor from a distance of 100m and 14mm of armor from 500m, but the light tank was designed to engage enemy machine gun nests and destroy them to enable the infantry to continue to advance, not to engage in tank-vs-tank combat. Along with the Panzer I, the II made up the bulk of German tank forces during the invasion of Poland and France. When Operation Barbarossa started in the summer of 1941, 782 Pz. IIs were used, organized in scout units, and 461 were recorded as total loss that year. In 1942, most of the survivors were removed from the frontline, or given to satellite states.

PANZER 38 (t)

After WW1, Arms firms Škoda, Tatra, and ČKD began designing light tanks and armored vehicles for the Czech army. The German 3rd Reich seized a large amount of the Czechoslovakian designed tanks and armored vehicles when they occupied Bohemia-Moravia in March 1939. The policy of appeasement practiced by France and Great Britain allowed the Germans to gain control of Czechoslovakia's arms industry without firing a single shot. ČKD was renamed BMM (Böhmisch-Mährische Maschinenfabrik AG) and manufactured arms for the Wehrmacht. The LT vz. 38 became the Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) as it was adopted by the German Army. The “t” stands for “Tschechisch”-Czech. In 1941, at its peak of production, 78 tanks left B.M.M. factory per month.

The Pz. 38 (t) had a conventional prewar design with a riveted hull and turret. Under German supervision, modifications included a larger turret for a fourth crew-member, the commander being spared any other tasks. Also added were an intercom system, a new German radio set, a revised commander cupola, modified sights, and new external fixations. Armament consisted of  the fast-firing Škoda A7 37,2mm gun with 90 rounds that could penetrate 57mm from a distance of 500m. It was flanked by an independent ball-mounted compact Škoda vz.38 machine gun, a second one being mounted in the bow. Total provision for these was around 2,500 rounds.

The Pz. 38 (t) were light 9t tanks capable of reaching 42 k/h on roads. They served during the Campaigns of Poland (1939), France (1940), and Operation Barbarossa. The Panzer 38(t) was noted to be highly reliable. The drive components of the 38(t), engine, gear, steering, suspension, wheels, and tracks were perfectly in tune with each other. The 38(t) was also considered to be very easy to maintain and repair. Although it had a narrow hull, it was a well balanced vehicle with a good tank gun, relatively thick armor (30 mm for the side of the turret, up to 50 mm for the lower and upper front plates), and good maneuverability. There were 746 Pz. 38(t)s on the Wehrmacht’s inventory in June 1941.

During the first days of Operation Barbarossa, the unexpected appearance of the Soviet T-34s made the Pz. 38(t) obsolete as a gun tank, as its armor couldn't stand up to the T-34s gun and its 3.7cm gun was powerless against the KVs or T-34s. During 1941, nearly 800 Pz 38(t)s were destroyed or damaged beyond repair. In 1942, they were relegated to reconnaissance missions and/or rearguard actions. The chassis were later used for two tank destroyers: the Marder III tank destroyer (1942-1944), with c. 1,500 Marder III produced. After Marder III, c. 2,800 Jagdpanzer 38(t) were also produced by Škoda and ČKD, based on altered Pz. 38 (t) chassis.

PANZER III

The Panzerkampfwagen III (official ordnance designation Sd.Kfz. 141) was a 23t medium tank produced between 1939 and 1943. It was designed to be the backbone of the Panzer Groups and was deployed on every front, serving as the main battle tank of the Wehrmacht during the early years of WW2. By the start of Operation Barbarossa, the Panzer III was the most numerous of the German main battle tanks. During the second half of 1943, as the T-34 outclassed the existing models of Panzer III and IV, it was largely replaced by later versions of the Panzer IV and the new Panzer V "Panther." Altogether, some 5,774 were built between 1937 and 1943.

On January 11, 1934, following specifications laid down by Heinz Guderian, the Army Weapons Department drew up plans for a medium tank. The Panzer III, Germany’s first medium tank, entered production in 1935. A number of prototype vehicles were tested, before the design was standardized in September 1938. Guderian wanted it armed with a 50mm gun instead of its 37mm one. The Panzer III was intended to fight other tanks. However, the infantry at the time was being equipped with the 37-mm PaK 36, and it was thought that in the interest of standardization the tanks should carry the same armament. The upgrade took place only in late 1940. By December 1939, only 157 Panzer IIIs had been built. The majority of Panzer IIIs were produced by Alkett along with Daimler-Benz, FAMO, Henschel & Sohn, MAN, MIAG, Waggonfabrik Wegmann and MNH. Each Panzer III cost 103,163 RM. During Operation Barbarossa, over one third of the units were still equipped with the outdated 37mm gun-armed Panzer III. Even though the 37mm cannon possessed an outstanding muzzle velocity of 762 m/s, the weapon's small caliber made it impossible to penetrate T-34s and Kvs armor, regardless of the angle or distance. Eventually a 50mm L/42 gun would be replaced by the even higher velocity 50mm L/60 gun that went into production in April 1941 with a vastly improved muzzle velocity (1,180 m/s with armor-piercing PzGr. 40s).

The interior design of the Panzer III was exceptionally well designed for a crew of five. A distinct feature of Panzer III was its three-man turret. The tank commander and gunner sat in the revolving turret compartment. The driver sat forward on the left side in the main hull; the radio operator to the rear. The loader had sufficient room to stand and move the heavy shells from storage bins to gun. Radio was part of the equipment from the start, and the commander was directly informed by the platoon commander, also easing coordination with other Panzers. Top speed varied depending on the transmission and weight, but was around 40 km/h while its range was about 155 km. After various upgrades, the armor was brought to 70mm on the front hull and turret. The sides remained vulnerable to many enemy weapons, including anti-tank rifles at close ranges.

The Panzer III was intended as the primary battle tank of the German forces. It saw action in small numbers during the invasion of Poland in September of 1939. On May 10th 1940, at the start of the Campaign of France, the Panzertruppe had only 381 Panzer III models in service. On the eve of Operation Barbarossa, the Panzer III upgraded Ausf G to J series served as the majority of medium tanks in Germany's inventory (1,090 of 1,440 Panzer III). Against the Soviet Union, 973 Panzer III and 439 Panzer IV were deployed out of a total of 3,500 tanks and assault guns. At this time, the majority of the available Panzer IIIs (including re-armed Ausf. Es and Fs, plus new Ausf. G and H models) had the 50mm KwK 38 L/42 50mm gun. However, when it initially met the KV and T-34 tanks, the improved Panzer IIIs still proved to be inferior in both armor and gun power. The Panzerkampfwagen III’s production was slow and ceased in August of 1943. The Panzer III’s proven chassis would still be used for the successful Sturmgeschütz III assault gun-tank destroyer, Germany’s most produced armored fighting vehicle of the era, with more than 11,000 built until the end of the war.

PANZER IV

The Panzerkampfwagen IV was a 25t medium tank produced from 1936 to 1945. While the Panzer III had been designed to deal with adversary armor, the Panzer IV's short 75mm cannon was supposed to support infantry attacks. These roles evolved during Operation Barbarossa when German forces met the Soviet T-34 and KV tanks and were often unable to penetrate their armor, forcing design and production changes. It became the most common German tank during the war. All variants included, a total of 8,569 were built. Hundreds were exported to Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain.

In January of 1934, the German Army Ordnance Department decided to plan for the creation of two future medium-class tanks for the Panzerwaffe. Colonel Heinz Guderian envisioned two tanks operating side-by-side with different roles. The first became the Panzer III, a lighter smaller design intended to fight enemy tanks and designated as a "tank killer". The second design, larger and heavier than the Panzer III (with a 24t weight limit however), would become the Panzer IV: a fire support vehicle, fulfilling the role of escort tank, and set to become the fourth tank company of each tank battalion. Krupp-Grusonwerke design, under the designated VK 2001(K) code name, won the contract.

The Panzer IV’s production began in 1936 at the Krupp-Grusonwerk AG factory situated at Magdeburg. It was designed for a crew of five, composed of commander, gunner and loader in the turret and driver along with machine gunner / radio-operator in the front part of the hull. The communication between the crew was made by intercom. The Pz. IV had a cupola, offering the commander 360 degree vision. But the German commanders almost always fought head out, giving them better vision, hearing, and situational awareness. The first models were armed with a short 7.5 cm KwK 37 L/24 close-support infantry gun. The short barrel (only 1.7 m long) howitzer of the Panzer IV firing high explosive shells was deemed suitable against antitank guns, fortifications, blockhouses and pillboxes, it could penetrate 43 mm of armor at 700 m. Secondary armament comprised a 7.92 mm MG machine gun in the turret, and another 7.92 mm MG mounted in a ballmount in the hull front. It had a top road speed of 42 km/h. It’s asymmetrical hull received up to 80 mm of armor on the hull front in the later variants. Panzer IV Ausf. D was the first production model and remained in service until 1944.

Production was slow. The Panzer IVs were first employed during the Campaign of Poland in September 1939 were only 211 (Ausf A/B/C) were available. The following spring, for the Western Campaign, the Wehrmacht could count on 278 Pz. IV, the majority of the tanks used against France were still light Panzers I and II. Against the B1 “bis” or the Matilda II, the 75 mm guns of the Panzer IV showed its limitations. After the successful campaigns in the West, 332 new Panzer IVs were built July 1940 and May 1941, including 223 Ausf. E models, that had armor increased to 50 mm, which were distributed in the armored divisions of the Panzerwaffe. A total of 439 Panzer IV were deployed for the invasion of the Soviet Union. During early stages of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, some Panzer IVs were equipped with single-axle trailers carrying two barrels of fuel in order to increase their radius of operation. After meeting with the outstanding T – 34s and heavy KVs, the Panzer IVs were given an anti-tank role, but only after being up-gunned and up-armored. From March 1942, new variants of the Panzer IVs and StuG IIIs received a derivative of the 7.5 cm PaK 40 anti-tank gun, the longer-barreled 7.5 cm KwK 40. In 1944, the Krupp-Grusonwerk AG plant was the victim of extensive bombing, but was able to maintain its production output. The production eventually came to a halt after the devastating RAF bombing of 16th January 1945. The Sturmpanzer IV, Jagdpanzer IV and Flakpanzer IV were some of the derivatives based on the proven Panzer IV chassis. Some Syrian Panzer IV tanks would still fight in the Six-Day War (1967).

Written by  Dr. Eric G. L. Pinzelli

Thank you very much for your generous support!

Michal & PHALANX Team

Final Days!
6 months ago – Mon, Dec 09, 2019 at 04:12:00 PM

Hello Everyone,

We are entering the final days of our project, so today, based on the results of the final poll, we can arrange the order of all the stretch goals that are left. Thank you for using this democratic way of choosing the game content to be unlocked. Your preference of improving the gameplay (through new game content & components) than improving the visual aspects of the game (through upgrades of game pieces) have been confirmed with more than 1,000 votes, and this is an important clue for our future campaigns. OK, so here is the final list:

The money is added to the upgrade budet with each pledge. Similarly, every interaction with our campaign banners is counted - for now you have collected 685 interactions. Thank you for that - it is a fantastic feeling to work for such a supportive community! If you want to join our common effort, please like, share, and comment on this final list of social media banners:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/RacetoMoscowFB5

Twitter: http://bit.ly/RacetoMoscowTT5

Instagram: http://bit.ly/RacetoMoscowIN5

New Preview and Solo Runthrough

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… and a solo playthrough: 

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We have discussed the land campaigns already, so to keep the things complete, today let’s check the...

KRIEGSMARINE AND AXIS FORCES vs RUSSIAN NAVY IN 1941

The Baltic Sea

The Kriegsmarine’s naval campaign in the Baltic Sea was one of Germany's most successful military efforts of WW2. The German navy’s main task was to prevent any attempt by the Soviet Navy to break out and operate in the Baltic, and for most of the war, it remained a virtual German and Finnish lake. Rapid Army Group North advance forced the Soviet Navy to abandon its bases along the Baltic coast and evacuate towards Tallinn and Kronstadt. At the end of August 1941, Soviet Vice Admiral Vladimir Tributs was authorized to evacuate the Tallinn naval base surrounded by German forces. Trying to break out through minefields without air cover and constant attacks from the Luftwaffe and torpedo boats, they lost more than 60 ships and 12,000 men. “The passage of the Baltic Fleet from Tallinn was extremely difficult and dangerous. The crews and evacuated troops displayed indomitable courage and bravery. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of officers and men performed heroic feats.” - Admiral Kuznetsov, Memoirs. In December 1941, the Soviet garrison on the Hanko Peninsula withdrew. They had been under siege by Finnish troops assisted by a Swedish volunteer battalion. During 1941 alone, the Soviet fleet lost 217 ships while Germany lost 52 ships. During 1942, both the German and Finnish naval forces retained full control of the Baltic Sea except for the direct approaches to Kronstadt and Leningrad subject to Luftwaffe’s intense bombardments. The German navy was able to safeguard the iron ore shipments from Sweden and transport supplies across the Baltic for Army Group North, that included mine clearance along the shipping routes. The most successful year for the Germans in the Baltic Sea was 1943. In that year, not one Soviet ship or submarine made it past the anti-submarine net that the Finns and the Germans had erected from Helsinki to Tallinn. The final objective was to capture Leningrad. Once the area had been seized, the Russian Baltic Fleet would have been deprived of all its bases.

The Black Sea

On June 22, the Romanian Royal force bombed Soviet airfields. Romania had been a member of the Tripartite Act since November 1940. As a response, on June 261941, a task force of the Soviet Navy attacked the Romanian port of Constanța. The Red Fleet’s raid did not meet its objectives, losing a destroyer in the process while the cruiser Voroshilov was damaged. From that moment, while retaining naval superiority in Black Sea, the Soviet Navy's surface ships focused more on amphibious operations and ground support during the siege of Odessa (August 8 – October 16, 1941) by the Romanian 4th army and elements of the German 11th army. The Soviet Navy was mostly restricted to a purely defensive strategy: protecting the Army's flanks, insuring the Soviet Union’s sea communications, defending key cities, supporting besieged ports, and later evacuating them. During the siege of Sevastopol (1941-1942), the Black Sea fleet played a valuable part in defeating the initial assaults. Sevastopol had a powerful coastal defense system. As many as 50,000 sailors and marines of the Black Sea Fleet under Vice Admiral Filipp S. Oktyabrski participated in its defense. Although the city was not effectively blockaded from the sea, the Luftwaffe's supremacy gravely endangered every ship that attempted to enter the harbor. The siege lasted 250 days. The Germans had planned to take Sevastopol in October-November 1941 but they were not able to capture the city until July 1942. Between 1941 and 1944, Romania held control over much of the Ukrainian Black Sea coast east of the Crimea. Romania had also acquired two new sectors of coastline: the Bessarabian coast and the Transnistrian Coast. The German naval presence in the Black Sea was minimal during the war, owing to Turkey’s neutrality.

We have already mentioned Admiral Kuznetsov  a few times. Who was this important Soviet commander?

The father of the modern Soviet Navy, Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov led his country's seaborne forces to victory in WWII and set them on a course of maritime superpower far beyond their native shores during the early phase of the Cold War. During his roller-coaster career, he was rear admiral twice, vice admiral three times, admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union twice, and minister (commissar) of the Navy once.

Kuznetsov was born on July 24, 1904 to peasant parents in a village of the Arkhangelsk Oblast in northern Russia. His father died when the boy was 12 years old. During the Russian Civil War in 1919, Kuznetsov became a volunteer crewman on a river flotilla of barges and tugboats and was later sent along with other promising sailors to the Leningrad Frunze Naval College, from which he graduated in 1926. He was assistant commander on the Krasny Kavkaz (“Red Caucaus”) of the Black Sea Fleet, before being assigned to command the light cruiser Chervona Ukraina (1934-36).

As a captain, he was sent to Spain as naval attaché and adviser to the fleet of the Spanish Republicans during the civil war. He was particularly unimpressed by the Republicans and recalled that there was much talk but little action. During a visit to the battleship Jaime I he noted that “the phrase ‘conquer or die’ was heard everywhere, but the anarchists neither conquered nor died!” He also led Soviet “volunteer sailors” fighting alongside the Republicans against the Nationalists.

Kuznetsov rose to vice commander and commander of the Pacific fleet as the purges eliminated top ranks throughout Soviet society and opened opportunities for swift promotion to young officers deemed reliable by Stalin. In March of 1939, at the age of only 34, he was appointed as the first deputy and commissar (minister) of the Navy. By 21st June 1941, Kuznetsov was convinced of the inevitability of war with Germany, but on the same day Chairman of the Stavka Semyion Timoshenko and Chief of the Red Army’s General Staff Zhukov prohibited Soviet commanders from responding to “German provocations”. The navy, however, constituted a distinct ministry, and thus Kuznetsov held a position which was technically outside the direct chain of command. On the morning of 22nd June, he ordered all Soviet fleets to battle-readiness, and a few hours later Operation Barbarossa began.

During WW2, the Soviet retreat from the Baltic Sea during the summer of 1941 proved to be a fiasco, but the Navy performed better in the evacuation of Odessa and the defense of Sevastopol. During the rest of the war, the navy was in a defensive posture, serving mostly as a fire support for the Black Sea’s strongholds such as Sevastopol, or the Baltic as Leningrad. The only units massively deployed and in direct contact with the enemy were hundreds of armored fluvial gunboats on the Volga, the Amur, the Western Prut, the Dnieper, and the Don. From the autumn of 1944, Soviet naval forces made a major contribution to the recapturing of Estonia and Latvia, supporting landing operations against Tallinn, the Riga Bay, and the Moonsund archipelago. At the end of the war, the Soviet Pacific Fleet supported the Red Army’s operations against the Japanese.

Although Kuznetsov was also declared a Hero of the Soviet Union on September 14, 1945, Stalin, who complained about Kuznetsov’s “rough talk” had him reduced to the rank of rear admiral on February 3, 1948, and sent to the reserves. Kuznetsov was called back and appointed as deputy commander in chief in the Far East for the Navy on June 12, 1948 (In 1956 Stalin’s son would claim that Beria was behind his rehabilitation). Kuznetsov was again demoted by Zhukov to vice admiral in February 1956 and forcibly retired.

Written by  Dr. Eric G. L. Pinzelli

Happy gaming!

Michal & PHALANX Team

PS. Please have a look at Glory: A Game of Knights from our friends at Strategos Games during the last day of their campaign. It's a blend of euro-game and dice-based combat with lots of risk & resource management and also medieval history. We have played their prototype and liked it a lot!