Third Battle of Kharkov - March 11, 1943 - March 15, 1943

"Manstein's Backhand Blow"
Eastern Front By: armchairprivate - Last update: 05/19/2014
Axis Player: Allied Player:
x12 x12 x8 x12
first You play first    


Historical Background:
What became known as "Manstein's Backhand Blow" originated from a general collapse on the Eastern Front for Germany's Army Group South. After the Wehrmacht defeat at Stalingrad in early February 1943, the victorious Red Army continued its drive in Southwest Russia, pushing back the surviving German armies and shattering men and morale. Field Marshal Eric Von Manstein, German commander of Army Group South, argued against Hitler's orders to hold every inch of ground. With the 6th Army destroyed and remaining Wehrmacht forces unable to stop the Soviets, the Fuhrer reluctantly agreed to Manstein's plan of giving ground and letting the Russians over-extend themselves, then hitting them hard at their weak points with rested and replenished German formations. The "Backhand Blow" began in late February 1943 and culminated in a furious battle for the city of Kharkov in March, which the Red Army had liberated with ease earlier in their offensive. An SS Panzer Corps battled its way into the city, finally wiping out resistance and putting an end to the Soviet Winter Counter-Offensive of 1942/1943. For the third (but not last) time in the War, the city of Kharkov was the scene of great devastation and bloodshed. Manstein saved the German position on the Eastern Front and re-stabilized the lines, however, a great bulge in the front had been formed around the city of Kursk. Hitler took immense interest in this area and plans were set in motion for a "straightening of the line" in the summer ...

Briefing:
Axis Player
[Germany]
Take 12 Command cards.
You move first.

Allied Player
[Soviet Union]
Take 8 Command cards.

Conditions of Victory:
16 Medals.

The hex marked "Dzerzhinsky Square" is a Temporary Medal Objective worth 2 medals for either player if he has uncontested control of it at the start of a turn. The hex is under uncontested control when a unit is on or in an adjacent hex AND there are no enemy units in any hex adjacent or on it.

The four factory hexes are worth a single Temporary Majority Medal Objective for either player, and the three hexes consisting of the airfield hexes and the field bunker adjacent to the airfield are also worth a single Temporary Majority Medal Objective for either player.

The Soviet player is in control of these objectives at the start of the battle and thus begins with four medals.

Special Rules:
Urban Warfare Combat card rules are in effect (Actions 25 - Combat Cards). Each Field General receives 2 Combat cards at the start of the battle.

All Axis infantry and armor units are Elite units (Troops 2 - Specialized Units). Badges are not required.

The River is frozen (Terrain 47 - Frozen Rivers).

Air Rules are not in effect. The Air Sortie cards are set aside and are not used in this mission.

Scenario Bibliography:
Williamson, Gordon (1995). SS: The Blood-Soaked Soil. London, United Kingdom: Brown Books.

Warning:
Please note that this scenario was not approved by Richard Borg or Days of Wonder, so you have to check yourself about playability, potential gaming issues, etc.

Set-up Order
1
1
2
4
8
24
4
29
4
1
1
1