February, 1944, the Ukraine. 60,000 troops of Army Group South are surrounded and two Soviet Fronts stand between the relieving III and XLVII Panzer Corps and the trapped Kessel.
Shifting Sands 2011 seeks to faithfully recreate the battle of the Korsun Pocket, using a map campaign to simulate the 15 day relief effort over 5 games.
Players will be using what was available to the actual forces involved, and will encounter temperamental weather, typical Ukrainian terrain and the supply nightmare that affected both sides.
Can you, as part of the relief forces, link up with the Kessel and save your komrades in arms? And will those in the Kessel survive the constant attacks of the Soviet armies until the relief forces get there?
Can you as part of the encircling Soviet forces stop the relief forces in their tracks while at the same time crushing the trapped German forces?
For the event we are giving the Soviets a new Bigger and Badder rocket launcher. Meet the BM-13 this monster has a higher firepower and anti-tank rating over the regular Soviet rockets. All Soviet forces have access to this unit. Look for it listed as "Guards Heavy Rocket Mortar Battalion" in the support section ot the ToEs.
Any special character may be used as long as only one person uses it (first come, first chance to decline use), so only one Bake, or Kastner, etc. So far that is not an issue. Kannone are not special characters.
First thing you'll want to know about this event is that there are different scenario tracks depending on whether your force is part of the Relief Battle or Part of the Pocket Battle. In the Relief Battle, the Germans are always the attacker in the first 3 rounds/scenarios, while the last two are left up to normal scenario company type to determination of who is the attacker. Companies with always attack rules will be ignored. In the Pocket Battle, the Soviets are the attackers in the first 3 rounds/scenarios and then the final two are left up to normal scenario company type to determination of who is the attacker. Companies with always attack rules will be ignored.
Rules for weather will be given out prior to the round starting.
The Relief forces are further divided (for the overall campaign) into Northern and Southern Relief forces. While the Pocket forces are a separate battle, fighting either to hold on and then breakout (Germans) or entrap and then crush (Soviets) the Kessel.
For as long as possible, the Relief and Pocket groups will battle amongst themselves (i.e. face each other in a round/scenario), so Soviet Northern Relief forces will face German Northern Relief forces, etc. With maximum 5 players per side for the Northern and Southern Relief forces, that should be at least two rounds, after which the Relief force players may mix, so any German Relief force player could play any Soviet Relief force player for the 3rd round.
For the final two games (4th and 5th), the first determinant of who will play who will be total Victory points, regardless of whether you were Relief or Pocket forces, because at that point with (historically) the forces being so close and confused, it was literally a free for all. For those rounds where Relief and Pocket forces are mixed in a battle, each table will roll a die, 1-3 it use the Relief scenario, 4-6 the Pocket scenario.
For the Germans to relieve the Kessel, one of the two Relief forces must succeed by winning more battles than the Soviets over a majority of the rounds. In order to avoid the Soviets crushing the Kessel and escape, the German Pocket Forces must also win more rounds than they lose.
This is a generalization and simplification of the overall Campaign, so if a Relief force didn't do as well, but the Pocket forces did exceptionally well, that also would lead to the Kessel escaping. And if the German Pocket forces lose horrendously, no matter how good the Relief forces do, the Kessel has been crushed. Of course if both Relief forces do stupendously, and the Pocket survives, they could surround several Soviet armies and possibly change the course of the war. So it is all here for you to determine, fight out, recapture the glory of the East Front!