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Kharkov, May 1942 - The Last DisasterClick to magnify

Kharkov, May 1942 - The Last Disaster


May 1942 saw the first major, considered offensive by the Red Army in the war against Germany. Expectations were high, with four Soviet armies aiming to encircle the German Sixth Army and to recapture the fourth largest city in the Soviet Union. Those expectations were dashed within a fortnight by the German Army’s ability to absorb the offensive and launch a counteroffensive of its own which, in its turn, encircled two Soviet armies. 

“Kharkov, May 1942 – The Last Disaster” is a miniature wargames campaign system, designed for two to four players, covering these events. It is designed for games in which a stand represents a platoon or in which the main unit of manoeuvre is the battalion. Suitable rules would include ‘Spearhead’, ‘Blitzkrieg Commander’, ‘Command Decision: TOB’, ‘A Fistful of Tows’, ‘Rapid Fire Reloaded’ and others, including those which wargamers may have written themselves.

The system generates fifty or so hours of gaming spread over ten to fifteen individual battles which are fought over six to fifteen daily campaign turns. The number of turns is flexible and determined by whether either player can encircle the enemy’s forces. Progress in the campaign is measured along campaign tracks representing the two major axes of attack with a number of battlefield ‘spaces’. Each turn players decide whether to attack or not and then which parts of their total forces they commit to any ensuing battle. Battles will generally be around a brigade or regiment of four to eight battalions on each side. The results of each on table battle determine the speed of advance on the main campaign map. 

The book includes

  • a brief history of the campaign
  • background information useful in adapting the system to different sets of rules and suggestions for additional optional rules
  • a comprehensive set of Appendices covering
  • the Tables of Organisation and Equipment to platoon level for all divisions and regiments involved (around forty regimental sized formations)
  • a record of the At Start forces and reinforcements
  • a chart to track the position and composition of forces on each attack axis
  • 19 colour terrain squares of the battlefields (based on nearly 600 square miles of original 1930s maps) which can be used to generate 570 six feet by four feet tabletops
  • a Campaign Quick Reference Sheet
  • a colour A4 Campaign Map
  • a set of suggestions to convert the system to Bob Cordery’s Portable Wargames rules

100 A4 pages with 20+ colour illustrations.

If you buy the hardcopy of this title I recommend you buy the bundle, incorporating the PDF for free as well. The colour conversion required to make the hard copy version has not treated the table layout colours very kindly. Regardless of the hours I have spent on them they remain a little garish and difficult to read. The digital layouts will produce better printed results on your home PC.

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Discussions (1)
Customer avatar
Gilles D September 15, 2023 4:49 am UTC
After a first quick reading, I can say right away it is a very strong and well researched product. A lot of work must was put in this and it looks suitable for any set of rules that as a platoon as the base element. My scale of predilection!

Question to the author: will there be another volume?
Customer avatar
Andrew R September 15, 2023 10:08 am UTC
Thx for your comments. I hope you enjoy the book. Re a sequel...Well, there are two further Eastern Front books of mine on Wargames Vault, one of which is, similarly, a campaign. If I were IT competent I could probably add links here, but I'm not. You may, therefore, want to search for Grey Steel, Red Storm and Barbarossa - Kicking in the Door, if you have not already seen them.

Beyond that I have been mulling a 10 or 20 turn similar campaign on the first ten days experience of Army Group South's Motorised Corps' during Barbarossa. Until I have worked out the campaign system, however, I can't start writing, and progress on that system has been very much in fits and starts. Also I have been struggling with table set up. I like the Kharkhov system, in principle, based on the real terrain, but I think it's actually impractical for most gamers. Anyway I've worked out a modified version, which will work better...but I need a 1:250000 (or maybe 1:100000) map of western Ukraine to do some further...See more
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Silver seller
File Size:
9.54 MB
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File Last Updated:
April 26, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on May 22, 2021.
Andrew Rolph
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