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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rostov on Don, or Remagen?

This is Steven Petrick posting:

I played a lot of "Squad Leader" when it first came out, and picked up the various expansions as they appeared while I was still in college.

One particular day the senior players in my playing group decided to do the "Rostov Bridge" as a scenario. Their scenario envisaged a German attempt at a "coupe de main" on the bridge, which I was to defend. My orders were twofold: Keep the bridge from falling into fascist hands intact, and hold the bridge until a retreating Soviet column could reach it and cross.

I think the German players honestly thought I would let them take the bridge and hope to retake it when the other Soviet Commander and his forces reached a point where they could attack the Germans that were then on the bridge.

Did not work out that way.

The moment I considered the bridge at risk of capture, even though the other Soviet force was on the map, I blew the bridge.

In my opinion, my own forces were completely inadequate to make any attempt to retake the bridge, once it was lost, from my side, and the other Soviet force would have had to fight through the full might of the German force to even reach the bridge once it was lost. And once lost, the German engineers would defuse the explosives on the bridge, meaning it could not be destroyed even if the other Soviet column somehow managed to fight its way across.

The only way that bridge was staying up at that point was if my political commissar shot me to stop me from triggering the demolitions. Destroying the bridge was, in my opinion at that time, more important than the Soviet force trying to reach the bridge.

In a sense, it was probably closer to a replay of Remagen, except my "game" explosives worked and dropped the bridge.