Table for One: Revolt in the East (SPI/S&T) After-Action Report Part Two

Standard

Revolt in the East (SPI/Strategy & Tactics 56, 1976)
Standard Scenario After-Action Report
Part Two: Turns Seven through Twelve

Overview

Please see Part One of the Revolt in the East AAR for a detailed breakdown of the first half of the scenario.

The Soviet Union currently holds fifteen of the twenty-one victory cities, leaving six for the Warsaw Pact/NATO side. With only a simple majority needed for victory, the WP/NATO side has quite a bit of work to do, but their faster unit replacement rate should help even the odds a bit. The map currently favors the WP/NATO side as well, with the Soviets spread out all over; if the Soviets can consolidate these disparate forces, however, they should be able to hold their current gains.

(Combat results are EX—Exchange; DE—Defender Eliminated; DR—Defender Retreat; AR—Attacker Retreat. Phases with no significant action omitted.)

Turn 7

WP/NATO Reinforcement Phase:

A well-armed West German corps re-enters after absorbing replacement troops and materiel.

WP/NATO Movement Phase:

With all Soviet troops evicted from East Germany, NATO forces may spread out as they wish. The Turks and Greeks stream into Bulgaria, in an odd reversal of the Balkan wars at the beginning of the century, and fortify Sofia and Plovdiv. The considerable mass of troops in East Germany heads south and east, hoping to secure Poland up to the Vistula and Czechoslovakia down to the Danube. Overextending could be costly, as Soviet armies destroyed the last several turns have been reconstituting themselves, albeit more slowly than their NATO counterparts.

Revolt in the East, Turn 7, NATO Breakout from East Germany

WP/NATO Combat Phase:

The rampage of the Boleslav Army comes to a close, as five NATO corps, supported by the largest air armada yet seen in this conflict, surrounds the battle-tested warriors. [25 attack strength against 3 defense strength for max 7:1 odds. Combat dr=4 for DE.] The US 7th Corps has the honor of marching into a liberated Prague.

Soviet Reinforcement Phase:

Two rebuilt armies return to the battlefield, again concentrating in Bulgaria. Without a solid base from which to strike, the Soviets will wind up destroyed piecemeal, so securing these southern countries remains paramount.

Soviet Movement Phase:

The Soviet Hungarian Army in Brno receives assistance in the form of the 57th Army, recently freed from Hungarian garrison duty, while those troops involved in the pacification of Romania flood into Bulgaria, cutting off supply for the Turkish troops holding Plovdiv.

Soviet Combat Phase:

18th Guards leads the assault into besieged Plovdiv, assisted from the air. [20 attack strength against 3 defense strength for 6:1 odds, shifted to 7:1 by airpower. Combat dr=2 for DE.] The Turkish corps melts away under the withering firepower, and Plovdiv returns to Soviet control.

820bulg

Further north, the 57th Army takes point against the remnants of the Czech Army outside Brno. [14 attack strength against 6 defense strength for 2:1 odds, shifted to 4:1 by airpower. Combat dr=5 for DR.] The Czechs wisely quit the field before they can suffer grievous losses. NATO troops can be heard in the distance, so no sense in needless losses.

[City Count: WP/NATO 6, Soviet 15]

Turn 8

WP/NATO Reinforcement Phase:

With their more agile repple depple system, NATO brings five depleted corps back into the fight in West Germany.

WP/NATO Movement Phase:

Intel reports that a massive Soviet force will be entering soon, so shoring up defensive lines becomes the order of the day. A small force pushes towards Brno, while other units head to the Vistula in an attempt to secure Warsaw and Lodz prior to the onslaught.

Revolt in the East, Turn 8, NATO defensive lines on the Vistula

WP/NATO Combat Phase:

The West German 3rd Corps attacks into Warsaw from now-freed Lodz, faced only by a Soviet airborne corps. [8 attack strength against 2 defense strength for 4:1 odds, shifted to 6:1 by airpower. Combat dr=1 for DE.] With the Polish capital liberated, the rest of the country follows suit, returning all Polish cities to Revolt.

Four NATO corps strike into Brno, where a substantial force sits in defense. [21 attack strength against 14 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 4:1 by airpower. Combat dr=6 for DR.] Wave after wave of ground attack planes push the Soviet defenders back.

Soviet Reinforcement Phase:

Seven full armies, as well as two airborne corps, return to the field for the Soviets, all massing on the Polish border.

Soviet Movement Phase:

Encircle, attack, and repeat must be the mantra for the Soviets at this point. The airborne corps will attempt to cut supply lines, allowing for decisive combats. If the NATO forces can be pushed out of the cities on the Vistula and kept out of Hungary and the southern Warsaw Pact countries, victory should be in reach. If, of course, pesky Bulgaria can be finally brought under control…

Revolt in the East, Turn 8, Soviet Counterattacks along the Vistula

Soviet Combat Phase:

The strikes take place all along the Vistula. Four Soviet armies throw considerable weight into encircled Warsaw. [28 attack strength against 5 defense strength for 5:1 odds. Combat dr=2 for DE.] The West Germans cannot hold the city, and Warsaw returns, after the briefest of respites, to Soviet control.

Further north, the Soviet 2nd Guards Army strikes cross-river against the cut-off Belgians. [7 attack strength against 3 defense strength for 2:1 odds, shifted to 3:1 by airpower. Combat dr=5 for DR.] With no safe haven, the Belgians wither away under the fire. An airborne corps just south of that position attempts to take on the Danish contribution to NATO’s war effort. [2 attack strength against 1 defense strength for 2:1 odds. Combat dr=4 for DR.] Another encircled NATO unit falls to the Soviet advance.

Gdansk sees the final attack of the Soviet Polish pincer movement, with 31st Guards leading the charge into the surrounded city. [9 attack strength against 5 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 2:1 by airpower. Combat dr=4 for DR.] The city repulses the attackers, but at the cost of the defending West German corps, which has no where to run.

In Sofia, the impatient Soviet armies gathered there attack from all sides, with a mass of air support to assist. [21 attack strength against 4 defense strength for 5:1 odds, shifted to 7:1 by airpower. Combat dr=3 for DE.] Grand, defiant Sofia finally succumbs to the mass of metal and men, suppressing Bulgaria and freeing most of those troops for action further north.

[City Count: WP/NATO 11, Soviet 10]

Turn 9

WP/NATO Reinforcement Phase:

A Turkish corps makes a timely arrival, hopefully tying down one or more Soviet units in Bulgaria by its mere presence alone.

WP/NATO Movement Phase:

As the situation currently stands, the Soviets hold ten cities to NATO/WP’s eleven, but two of NATO’s holdings (Lodz and Gdansk) sit precariously next to large Soviet concentrations. At a minimum, NATO must hold everything, or sacrifice one of Lodz/Gdansk and take another city, likely in Hungary. The decision is made to go all out in the plains of Poland, with a small force shielding the Czech border.

Revolt in the East, Turn 9, Combat in Czechoslovakia

WP/NATO Combat Phase:

The remaining Soviet forces in Czechoslovakia are surrounded and engaged in the sole WP/NATO joint attack of the conflict, the better to give NATO a protected rear flank. [16 attack strength against 7 defense strength for 2:1 odds, shifted to 3:1 by airpower. Combat dr=3 for EX.] The assault wipes out all units on both sides, not quite what NATO had in mind regarding flank defense…

On the North Vistula, both Soviet airborne corps take the brunt of the onrushing NATO forces. [8 attack strength against 2 defense strength for 4:1 odds, shifted to 5:1 by airpower; and 10 attack strength against 2 defense strength for 5:1 odds, shifted to 6:1 by airpower. Northernmost Combat dr=6 for DR; Southernmost Combat dr=4 for DE.] One corps escapes to the Baltic coast, the other perishes before a foe it was never meant to face alone.

Outside Warsaw, a multi-national NATO force wades into battle against a pair of surrounded Soviet armies, the open plains proving deadly for both sides in this contest of encirclements. [21 attack strength against 6 defense strength for 3:1 odds, shifted to 5:1 by airpower. Combat dr=4 for EX.] Another costly combat for NATO, operating far from its supply and reinforcement bases.

Soviet Reinforcement Phase:

Only two armies return. With the Czechoslovakian front blown open by the sacrifice of the 57th Army, they muster near the Czech border, intent on exploiting the gap.

Soviet Movement Phase:

Units stay behind in Bulgaria to garrison all cities, just in case the Turks and Greeks try to steal one away. The new arrivals stream towards vulnerable Krakow and Ostrava, while the sole remaining airborne corps reconstitutes its airborne capability, the better to strike deep in a completely unprotected East Germany next turn (should they survive the expected NATO reprisal, of course.)

Revolt in the East, Turn 9, Soviet Counterattack in Czechoslovakia

Soviet Combat Phase:

Undaunted by the presence of nearby NATO troops, 31st Guards and the reconstituting airborne corps attack Gdansk again, hoping to secure it to the Soviet cause [9 attack strength against 1 defense strength for max 7:1 odds. Combat dr=6 for EX.] The worst possible outcome, with the city resolute in defense and the airborne troops taking the brunt of the damage. Further down the Vistula, two Soviet armies strike at the BAOR, holed up in beleaguered Lodz. [16 attack strength against 5 defense strength for 3:1 odds. Combat dr=3 for EX.] Yet another costly battle, as the BAOR takes with it the 1st Guards Army. The attrition of these last few turns begins to weigh on both sides.

The 28th Army winds up an assault on Krakow, a city NATO did not anticipate having to defend. [7 attack strength against 1 defense strength for 7:1 odds. Combat dr=1 for DE.] The city falls to the determined attack. To the west, the mighty 38th Army attacks the last remaining Czech unit in Ostrava. [8 attack strength against 8 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 2:1 by airpower. Combat dr=6 for DR.] A small setback for the Czechs, who are sure to return to Ostrava’s defense shortly.

[City Count: WP/NATO 10, Soviet 11]

Turn 10

WP/NATO Reinforcement Phase:

Five more fresh corps, but can they get into place in time to secure the freedom of the Warsaw Pact? With the seizure of Krakow, the Soviets now hold eleven cities to WP/NATO’s ten, and Lodz and Gdansk remain up for grabs.

WP/NATO Movement Phase:

The new arrivals stream east, with a pair of West German corps headed towards Wrocław and Ostrava. In a rare show of amity, the Greek and Turkish corps move to engage Plovdiv in Bulgaria. A success there could tilt matters into NATO’s favor.

WP/NATO Combat Phase:

The commander of the US 5th Corps calls in almost all the airpower in Europe to oppose the 20th Guards holed up in the ruined outskirts of Warsaw, in the hopes that the sheer weight of shells can turn the tide. [5 attack strength against 8 defense strength for 1:2 odds, shifted to 4:1 by airpower. Combat dr=3 for EX.] The gambit proves costly, but 5th Corps liberates Warsaw all the same.

Revolt in the East, Turn 10, Greco-Turkish Attack on Plovdiv

In Bulgaria, the joint Greco-Turkish investment of Plovdiv goes in. [6 attack strength against 2 defense strength for 3:1 odds. Combat dr=3 for EX.] A valiant effort by the fast friends sees all combatants reduced to ineffectiveness. Since Sofia still remains in Soviet control, the loss of its garrison does not return Plovdiv to a liberated state.

Soviet Reinforcement Phase:

The largest remaining tranche of reinforcements arrives for the Soviets, a full five Armies, all destined for the Polish front.

Soviet Movement Phase:

NATO’s attacks thinned out the armies holding the Vistula considerably, so all the new troops head directly there. Warsaw will have to be re-suppressed, but if that and Gdansk can be taken (and held), victory should be assured.

Revolt in the East, Turn 10, Soviet Encirclements around Warsaw

Soviet Combat Phase:

Again focusing solely on cities, the Soviets attempt to take stubborn Gdansk once more. [14 attack strength against 2 defense strength for 7:1 odds. Combat dr=2 for DE.] Successful, finally, the 31st Guards moves into defensive positions in the now-leveled Baltic port. Warsaw, too, sees a renewed attack on its ramshackle defenses. [7 attack strength against 1 defense strength for 7:1 odds. Combat dr=6 for EX.] In a possibly crucial rebuttal, Warsaw sends the 3rd Shock Army packing.

All Soviet eyes turn towards neighboring Lodz, where two Soviet armies encircle the French 3rd Corps. [13 attack strength against 2 defense strength for 6:1 odds, shifted to 7:1 by airpower.] Combat dr=3 for DE.] Lodz changes hands yet again, putting the count of cities at twelve to the Soviets, nine to WP/NATO. Only two turns to hang on for the Soviets…

[City Count: WP/NATO 9, Soviet 12]

Turn 11

WP/NATO Reinforcement Phase:

A solid half-dozen corps rally to the NATO colors, though they’re likely not close enough to engage with Soviet forces this turn, setting up a decisive final turn.

Revolt in the East, Turn 11, NATO forces rush towards Poland

WP/NATO Movement Phase:

Those refreshed units move as far as they can towards the Vistula. Other units seek to secure the Czech frontier—and possibly make a break for Debrecen (named Obderlin on the map) if possible. It will be a close run thing, in the event.

Revolt in the East, Turn 11, NATO Assault on Gdansk

WP/NATO Combat Phase:

At Gdansk, a hodgepodge of nationalities crashes into the positions of the battle-hardened 31st Guards. [13 attack strength against 7 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 4:1 by airpower. Combat dr=6 for DR.] Not the most textbook of operations, perhaps unsurprising given the four nations involved in the assault, but the job is done and Gdansk, free once more.

Hoping to protect Gdansk’s southern flank, the West German 1st Corps smashes into the Soviet 13th Army. [8 attack strength against 7 defense strength for 1:1 odds. Combat dr=4 for DR.] Trapped between Gdansk’s new guardians and the West Germans, the 13th succumbs to encirclement.

At Krakow, the 6th West German Corps goes up against the Soviet 28th Army, aided by a spot of air support. [7 attack strength against 7 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 2:1 by airpower. Combat dr=EX.] Both combatants dwindle to ineffectiveness, but it’s sufficient to allow the citizens of Krakow to take up arms once more. Meanwhile, the 3rd West German Corps pushes from rough terrain against the 8th Guards Army, holding the north bank of the Danube on the Czech/Hungarian border. [8 attack strength against 7 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 2:1 by airpower. Combat dr=6 for DR.] The West Germans decline to follow the Soviets into Hungary, keeping their options open for the crucial final push.

Soviet Reinforcement Phase:

A paltry single Army musters on the Polish border. Enough, hopefully, to flip the slim edge in cities (now eleven NATO/WP, ten Soviet).

Soviet Movement Phase:

Units previously gathered around Warsaw leave the 11th Guards to attempt to take the Polish capital, heading instead to assist the 38th Army down around Krakow and Ostrava. A rearguard unit occupies Plovdiv to prevent Greco-Turkish predations there.

Soviet Combat Phase:

Much hinges on these attacks; success in all four cities earmarked for attention could easily put out the flames of this revolution. 11th Guards start at Warsaw. [8 attack strength against 1 defense strength for max 7:1 odds. Combat dr=5 for DE.] The Polish capital falls, restoring the Soviet lead. Krakow next encounters Soviet armed might. [6 attack strength against 1 defense strength for 6:1 odds. Combat dr=5 for EX.] A determined defense pushes away the Soviet army assigned the task.

Revolt in the East, Turn 11, Bitter fighting on the Czech/Polish border

38th Army fixes bayonets against unconquered Ostrava and its plucky Czech defenders. [8 attack strength against 8 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 3:1 by airpower. Combat dr=4 for DR.] Again, the Czechs are bounced from Ostrava, bruised but not defeated, but the city itself remains inviolable.

Aided by airpower, the 5th and 31st Guards Armies punch across the Vistula into Gdansk, where British defenders await. [14 attack strength against 12 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 3:1 by airpower. Combat dr=2 for EX.] An expensive battle, one that empties the city of defenders but also eliminates a now-irreplaceable Soviet army.

[City Count: WP/NATO 10, Soviet 11]

Turn 12

WP/NATO Reinforcement Phase:

Yet more refreshed Corps, though other than those on the Bulgarian frontier, too far from the front to make an impact now.

WP/NATO Movement Phase:

The Turkish Corps takes advantage of sparse Soviet numbers in Bulgaria—all occupied holding cities—and finds a path into Constanta, in Romania. The Greeks shift to occupy the defenders of Sofia and Plovdiv, preventing them from responding. Other units finally manage to reach the area of Lodz and Warsaw, where they will make one last attempt to break the Soviet stranglehold.

Revolt in the East, Turn 12, Last gasp NATO attacks into Lodz and Warsaw

WP/NATO Combat Phase:

The BAOR once more leads the charge, attacking Lodz alongside the US 7th Corps. [10 attack strength against 3 defense strength for 3:1 odds, shifted to 5:1 by airpower. Combat dr=1 for DE.] A clean victory for the Anglo-American force, once that sees Lodz freed. Warsaw sees potential liberation in the form of the West German 2nd Corps, which attacks with substantial air cover. [8 attack strength against 8 defense strength for 1:1 odds, shifted to 4:1 by airpower. Combat dr=5 for EX.] A bloody affair, but Warsaw is liberated.

Soviet Reinforcement Phase:

A single airborne corps enters play. It can potentially cut supply lines, but it by itself, it’s not sufficient to take a city. With the current count standing at thirteen WP/NATO cities to eight Soviet, a cut supply line might not be enough.

Soviet Movement Phase:

The airborne corps joins with the erstwhile garrison from Varna, in Bulgaria, to mass on the Turkish corps at Constanta. Together, they hope to clear the city of the Turks and the revolutionaries. Elsewhere, all other Soviet units are either tied to garrison duty or fixed in place by opposing NATO troops.

Revolt in the East, Turn 12, Battle of Constanta

Soviet Combat Phase:

All available Soviet airpower joins in the 31st Guards cross-river efforts to clear a city they know well, Gdansk, now defended by the Belgian Corps. [7 attack strength against 8 defense strength for 1:2 odds, shifted to 4:1 by airpower. Combat dr=3 for EX.] Though they gave their all, the 31st could not force the Vistula crossing under fire, and Gdansk finishes as a free city.

38th Army turns its attention to Krakow. [8 attack strength against 1 defense strength for max 7:1 odds. Combat dr=1 for DE.] Krakow breaks under the strain, putting the count of cities at twelve WP/NATO to nine Soviet with only one attack to go.

For the honor of the Soviet Army, the 17th Army, assisted by the 103rd Guards Airborne Corps, makes a last-ditch assault on sleepy Constanta. [7 attack strength against 2.5 defense strength for 2:1 odds. Combat dr=2 for EX.] The Turks are evicted, but the city remains unpacified.

[City Count: WP/NATO 12, Soviet 9]

Game End

The WP/NATO forces control twelve cities: Rostock, Berlin, Leipzig [East Germany]; Gdansk, Lodz, Warsaw, Stettin, Wrocław [Poland]; Prague, Brno, Ostrava [Czechoslovakia]; Constanta [Romania].

Revolt in the East, Game End, Northern disposition of forces

The Soviet forces control nine cities: Krakow [Poland]; Budapest, Debrecen (Obderlin) [Hungary]; Cluj, Brason, Bucharest [Romania], Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna [Bulgaria].

Revolt in the East, Game End, Southern disposition of forces

In the final count, the WP/NATO forces edge the Soviet forces by three cities, a deceptively wide margin of victory secured after much back-and-forth fighting in Poland. The lucky late addition of Constanta helped cement the victory, but the determined defense along the Vistula by NATO forces did the lion’s share of the work in liberating the Warsaw Pact countries from Soviet control.

I was pleased with the back-and-forth action here, as well as the many strategic puzzles. Figuring out how many units, as the Soviets, to send to pacify and then garrison Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary was a difficult decsion, one I ultimately misjudged. A quicker, more forceful strike down there, even at the cost of initially ceding ground in East Germany, followed by a more robust presence to fend of the pesky Greeks and Turks, would have secured the victory.

For NATO, managing the breakout from East Germany seems key. Keeping the individually-brittle corps bunched up, and employing air power to allow them to punch above their weight class, helps put the fight on a more even plane.

As a pure wargaming experience, Revolt in the East plays smoothly and with little fuss. I’m as big of a fan of chrome and complexity as the next gamer, but sometimes you just want to push the counters around in a game whose rules get out of the way and let you play.

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