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A Rookie Plays EastFront
By Mike Hoyt
The subtitle for this article should be something like "How to miserably fail in invading Russia, lose your entire army and convince yourself that EastFront is a terribly unbalanced game". The following mistakes are presented as hypothetical, but I actually committed all of them during my first several solitaire games.

Rookie German Strategy for Summer '41 Somewhat more experienced commentary

On Blitzing

Blitz everything! Hey, we get to rebuild immediately before the July I turn anyway and we want to do lots of damage right out of the gate right?

On Blitzing

Well yeah, but that means starting July I with no HQ more than 2 steps (after production) and that leaves you looking pretty poor come August. If all of those HQ’s are also used for combat support, they tend to not get very far east in June. Better is too realize that the command span of a 3 step HQ is sufficient to move a lot of people in June. Two 3 step HQ’s can cover almost the entire army. They can also move the un-activated HQ right along with the troops, which lets you start July with a 3 step HQ quite a bit further east.

On Attacking

Make as many attacks as possible in June 1941 to engage the Russians and eliminate their units. The thinking is that HQs are expensive, and supported combat is more effective, so we want to get the most bang for our buck, right? Engage as many Soviet units as possible with supported units.

On Attacking

This strategy produces lots of early Soviet casualties, which is real obvious because you get to remove those 1 and 2 step units from the board. It is not quite so obvious that it also tends to produce a lot of German casualties, but it does. And those German steps are a lot more expensive. This strategy also tends to simply push the Soviets back, but not very far, nor very fast. It is far more efficient to penetrate in a few selected spots, then cut off large numbers of Soviets and attrit them down with supply losses. Minimizes both German casualties and dice rolling!

On the Rairoad Network

OK, it says the railroads are important right in the rules, but hey, look at the map. There are rail lines running through practically every hex! Well maybe not down by Stalingrad, but we probably won’t get that far tonight anyway.

On the Rairoad Network

True enough, but it is surprising how many of those rail lines ultimately narrow down to a choke point or two. Or how easy it is for a unit to slip through and with its ZOC cut rail traffic through a whole area. This is important both ways. The easiest way to kill Soviets is to starve them, but they can also stop an entire offensive if you let them slip behind you.

On Major City Fighting

Tackle cities the hairy chested manly way. Certain cities are key to the rail net and thus any reasonable prospects for an advance, Kiev for instance. Thus the smart thing to do is to attack them as soon as possible, before the Soviets can reinforce them, right?

IMPORTANT: Be sure to learn the distinction between Major/Minor cities. Minor cities do not provide defensive advantages while major cities are tough nuts to crack.

On Major City Fighting

Yes, cities like Kiev are important, both for the rail net and the Production Points. But Double Defense is a real consideration. It is often more effective to isolate major cities and starve them out. May cost you a few PPs, and you have to watch out for a possible breakout (Units can Supreme move right back on top of your own rail net if you're not careful). In the long run you can’t afford to get into too many fights, let alone fights where you’re letting the defender have an advantage like double defense.