Barbarossa's Climax: Moscow 1941 - Game Design Commentary, Advice on Play of the Game, and Bibliography

Barbarossa's Climax: Moscow 1941 - Game Design Commentary, Advice on Play of the Game, and Bibliography

Game Design Commentary:

I was drafting a division level Battle of Moscow (1941) game as far back as 1972-73, when I was a student in the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library Science (GSLIS). My first wife dutifully spent an entire Illinois Saturday playing it with me. As I remember, the strength factors of both German infantry and Russian rifle divisions, for example, were just 1, with different combat results tables to replicate the differing sides' strengths. In Barbarossa's Climax, the strength factors are still small, but there is strength reduction for German units to model the terrible attrition of the battle historically.
I have long had a copy of David Williams early and still excellent Battle for Moscow (Strategy & Tactics 24) game and then the later, 10 miles per hex division level SPI game Moscow Campaign.

The map:
Using the Univ.'s excellent Map Library and the definitive German and Russian history sources in the Main Library, I long ago drafted a map which is basically similar to what I have re-drawn using other authoritative sources since. I have also looked at virtually every commercially published wargame about the Battle of Moscow - in my personal game collection - especially Joe Youst's possibly definitive maps at 5 miles per hexagon - making that roughly 48 hexes from Smolensk to Moscow - in his own regimental level Spires of the Kremlin (3W, 1995) and his more general maps in Vance von Borries' Typhoon (GMT, 1995).
For my new map, I used as a basis an excerpt of the Wehrmacht's 1943-44 European Russia campaign map, which I found in the Western Illinois University map collection, had privately scanned, and then offered to the Combined Arms Research Library digital library at Ft. Leavenworth. This shows the road - what "roads" there were - and rail net in exhaustive detail.
There are ambiguities and significant differences among topographical maps as well as game maps. As just one example, there is some question as to whether the Istra reservoir has a river link directly east or southeast to feed into the Moskva River. Sokolovsky's NEMETSKO-FASHISTSKIKH VOISK POD MOSKVA map album maps show it as a Moskva tributary so it is. Then too, I had to re-check city centers, to see which side of a river a city should be on. For this, I used Russian maps as an authority.
For vegetation, I used 1950s-drawn 1:250000 U.S. Army topographical maps, based on Russian and German sources. There are also WW2 era as well as a Soviet-era map of partisan activity - forests being vital for partisan operations.
As to swamp, that varies on maps, so I used Russian 1:1000000 maps. They are since the war, but swamps seem to remain where they have been.

The units:
For the Germans' list of units, I used the Kriegtagesbuch's orders of battle and those in Haupt's Assault on Moscow and Stahel's Typhoon (2013) books. And the panzer divisions' starting operational&repairable tank strengths were provided to me by Col. David Glantz (U.S. Army, retired), the foremost authority in the West on the World War 2 Russian Front, no less!
For the Russians, I used the monthly (official/definitive) Boevoi Sostavs for October 1, November 1, December 1, 1941, and January 1, 1942, which I counter-checked against the highly detailed maps in Sokolovsky's Razgrom Nemetsko-Fashistskikh Voisk pod Moskvoi and Glantz's maps in Stahel's book.
Not all Russian units are there - most lost Russian units are recycled/replaced to the force levels historically maintained.

Advice on Play of the Game:


More, later.