Barbarossa is a five-turn introduction to the land and air system. Think a short game can't be fun? It's not just fun but also intense. The text is presented as it is in the rules book or the official errata. My remarks, insightful commentary, and opinions will appear inline and be clearly marked.

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Designer's Notes

My Notes

German German
Russian Russian

Barbarossa ~ "One Kick..." May/Jun 1941~Jan/ Feb 1942 [Top]  

Operation Barbarossa was the greatest land campaign in the history of the world. This game starts with Germany poised to launch its drive against the massive Soviet army.


Germany vs. the USSR.

First turn:

May/Jun, 1941

No. of turns:


Maps used:

Eastern European, but only north of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey and Persia.


Axis +1 box. The Axis starts with the initiative and must have the first impulse.

Last weather modifier:

None. The die-roll for the first impulse of the game is an '8'.

War status:

Germany must declare war on the USSR on its first impulse.

Entry Chits:



Germany has called out its reserves, the USSR hasn't.


As specified on the map except that:

  • the USSR has conquered Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland (east of the partition line) and controls the Finnish border lands and Bessarabia;

  • Germany has conquered Poland (west of the partition line) and is aligned with Czechoslovakia and Rumania; and Transylvania is part of Hungary.

Intelligence points:


Off-map production:

Germany ~ 19 factories, 1 oil & 17 other resources off the western map edge.

USSR ~ 4 factories, 6 oil & 11 other resources off the eastern map edge. Furthermore, from Jul/Aug, the USSR receives 5 resources via Archangel (while not frozen) and/or Murmansk (Soviet player's choice), if that port is Soviet controlled.

Special rules:

All Italian units are German controlled and count against Germany's activities limits. Italian reinforcements arrive in Warsaw.

Soviet factories can be shipped off-map by railing them to the eastern map-edge for 3 rail moves each.

Hungary and Finland may be aligned (see 9.8) by Germany from the first turn of the game.

Special victory conditions:

In addition to the 9 on-map objectives (see 13.8), each city in the East European map portion of the USSR is an additional objective (e.g. Leningrad counts as 2 objectives).

Historical objectives:

Germany ~ 21, USSR ~ 20.

The "One Kick" set up. I know it's hard to see but you may get a sense of the Russian forces. The Germans have two assault groups: One in the north and the other in Rumania. The put upon Russian leader before the game starting.

[Top] [Allied Player's Notes]

Barbarossa - German setup
Our group does not play with SiF (Ships in Flames) or PiF (Planes in Flames).


Land units




(except East Prussia)

1 INF,


1 FTR-3,
1 NAV-4

1 Gun,
1 Eng,
4 Oil

East Prussia, Poland, Rumania

von Bock,
von Leeb,
4 ARM,
3 MOT,
11 INF,


5 FTR-2,
3 LND-2,
4 LND-3,
1 NAV-3

4 Gun,
2 Inf,
1 Arm,
1 Mech,
1 OC



CL~Dest Flot (R)

1R LND-2

1 Gun,
1 Mtn

Baltic Sea ports


CA~Adm. Hipper;




1It INF,


1 LND-3,
1 ATR-3



1 ARM,



1 Synth

Barbarossa - Russian setup
Our group does not play with SiF (Ships in Flames) or PiF (Planes in Flames)


Land units




(note 1)

Timoshenko, Yeremenko,
3 ARM,
3 MOT,
9 INF,
6 GAR,
2 Cav,

Sub, TRS, 5 CP

4 FTR-2,
1 LND-2,
3 LND-3,
1 LND-4

5 Gun,
2 Inf,
3 Oil
1 Ski
1 OC

Baltic Sea ports





Black Sea ports


BB~Paris Commune; CL~Chervona Ukraina



Construction pool









Cav, Fort











Note 1: At least 10 corps/armies must set-up within 2 hexes of German controlled Rumania, and another 10 within 2 hexes or German controlled Poland.

[Top] [Allied Player's Notes]

Russian Players Notes

USSR: You are forced into the dangerous front-line, historical set up that Stalin was caught with in the summer of 1941 ~ but donít despair, Russia won that war and you can, too.

You have two assets: your army, and the large size of the USSR and you must use them both.

Your set-up is extremely important. Itís best to set up all your front line units in stacks 2 high. If you canít afford 2 unit stacks in every border hex, you need to set up 1 hex back from the border to stop your units being infiltrated.

Preferably, place as many units as possible under the shade of a good forest or in a swamp. Put your slowest infantry and garrison units in the Lvov mountains and the front line cities of Kaunas, Vilna, Brest-Litovsk and Lvov ~ they canít be blitzed and donít need to move. 1 or 2 CAV in the Pripet Marshes is probably also a good idea.

Your goal is to prevent the Germans from crossing the Neman or the Dneister during the surprise impulse when the river defense is ineffective. If Germans set up in Memel, it could be difficult to hold the Neman, but you should be able to hold the Dneister. Defend hex E2740 strongly; it is forest so you are safer from ground strikes, and it is the best hex the Germans can attack on during the surprise impulse in this area to unhinge the Neman.

In the south, you will be forced to defend some clear terrain. Do so with two infantry type units in each defended hex to deny the Germans any easy attacks and in the hope of disrupting some of their units. Your units will be easy targets for ground strikes, but if they spare your precious ARM, MECH, and HQs (which should all be in forests or swamps if possible) then itís worth it.

Timoshenko should be set up in a southern Pripet marsh hex, such as E2134, where he provides supply to the Lvov to Brest-Litovsk region. Provided he is not ground-struck on the first impulse, he should then run like the clappers for Kiev and the Dnieper, surrounded by whatever of their forces escape the maw of Army Group South.

Yeremenko should set-up in the north, in the forests around Vitebsk (outside stuka range). You will also need 2 armies in Leningrad, another 2 armies in Murmansk and at least 1 in Archangel.

Your air force should be set-up outside enemy ground-strike range, 1 per hex, and again in forest, wherever possible. You should keep them in a position to cover the Dvina and Dnieper river crossings.

Once the onslaught starts, the worst mistake you can make is to send your front line units into headlong retreat. A stubborn front line defense will cause heavy loss of Russian units, but may keep the Germans busy and unable to penetrate as far as Vitebsk or Kiev until late in the July/August turn.

Withdraw gradually, one or two hexes per impulse, defending every other hex with two units wherever possible to minimize breakthroughs. Remember that you are trading both space and your army to keep the Germans from getting at your vital interior hexes (factories and resources) for as long as possible. The key is knowing when to sacrifice a unit and when to yield ground.

If this isnít possible, leave garrisons in (automatically supplied) cities to distract the Germans and then fall back with the remainder of your forces. Your aim is eventually to reach the Dnieper and Dvina river lines and to make a stand there with your reserves, reinforcements, and the units not required to start near the front.

Your air force will help you hold these river lines, as you should have complete air supremacy that far back, at least until the German air force can reach the front. Use your LND bombers wisely to reduce German attack odds in an effort to disrupt German units. If the Germans use up many of their HQs early in a turn, it might be worth a chance to try to ground strike the remaining HQs ~ if you succeed, German supply lines will be locked and their units will be unable to advance. Your FTRs should be used firstly to cover your HQs and secondly to contest key defensive hexes.

If those lines just canít be held, fall back with what you can to hexes outside of the German supply range (6 hexes from the furthest hex an Axis HQs can get to in the following impulse) and defend with 1 unit in every second hex. Being out of supply, the Germans will be able neither to attack nor overrun your weakest unit. Unfortunately, this last resort forces you to give up a lot of the mother country.

With luck, you will get some rain in the Arctic zone (which covers most of the northern front), slowing up the Germans there, making it possible to reach those lines with some sort of intact force.

Your HQs are vital ~ without them your armies will be out of supply and dead meat. After the surprise attack try to give them FTR cover and do not use them to reorganize anything until at least three impulses have past ~ you cannot afford to lose these units lest an entire front crumble due to lack of supply, and if they are flipped over they canít move! Their job is to lead an organized retreat. One of your back line HQs could be used to reorganise some bombers.

From the time your army has reached good defensive positions, you may want to pass to hasten the end of the turn.

Donít forget to rail your factories out of danger of German capture. You probably wonít need much rail for your units, so you should dedicate most of the first 2 turns rail moves to factories.

Eventually, the horrific May/June turn will come to an end. Your reinforcements in Jul/Aug will exceed 20 units (13 reserves, 4 from set-up & 7+ militia) giving you a huge draft of fresh troops. Rush them to the front. If you can get them to the Dnieper before the Germans get across, you have a good chance of holding them there permanently. If not, you must continue to retreat keeping your stacks as strong as possible in order to disrupt as many German units as you can.

Be very careful about any attacks in this scenario during the first three turns ~ a bad die roll could cost you far more than you stand to gain. The rule of thumb to remember is: can I afford to roll the worst result on this attack? If not, donít do it.

Once bad weather begins, the front should stabilize, and you should begin to look for opportunities to strike. The scenario is too short to organize any large counterattacks, so be on the look out for German ARM which have spearheaded an attack but were left face down; they may be ripe for counterattack ~ assault them to try to kill them, if you can afford the extra losses yourself. Take advantage of the winter to try a modest offensive or two to regain lost resource or factory hexes.

Your production should be targeted towards building units which arrive quickly: MIL, GAR and INF are your best builds, along with the odd aircraft or two.

If you are playing with optional rules, you will have a lot of artillery units at the start. These are outstanding units for holding static defensive positions, like the Dneiper river, and they should set up there. Their slow movement means that positioning them near the front will ensure their doom, sooner or later, and their high cost will be prohibitively expensive to replace for years to come, so donít fritter them away.

You may wish to build a SKI division ~ this nifty unit will give the German fits once the snows begin to fall. Breaking down some other corps into divisions will give you added flexibility, but this need not be done at set up.

[Top] [Allied Player's Notes]

German Players Notes

Germany: This is your dream scenario: the Russian army at the front, surprised by your attack. WiF players wonít often make this mistake. Make the most of it!

Your most important consideration is to set your objectives and keep them clearly in mind. Reasonable objectives in this scenario are either to capture cities in the Moscow region, or to cross the Dneiper in force to capture as many factory and resource hexes as possible in the southern region. Recognize that you wonít be able to do both in the time allotted to this scenario, and a mid-game change of focus can lead to a disaster. Make a plan and try to stick to it, although you have to respond to Russian tactics as well.

Set up your ARM, MECH and MOT in 2-unit hunter killer stacks, spreading them out along the border to maximise your flexibility. If your goal is Moscow, you must concentrate more of them in northern Poland. The rest of your forces should also set-up 2 high as close to the border as possible (especially your ridiculously short ranged air force).

The first big question you have to decide is whether to use your offensive chit on the first impulse, and if so, on what action.

One option is to use an offensive chit on a super combined to allow you to ground strike, invade and attack at will.

However, if the Russians are set up 1 unit a hex, speed bump style, it may well be worthwhile to spend a chit in a land action to double a couple of your panzer stacks to overrun the speed bumps. 18 factors doubled can overrun 5 factors of Russian land units, and a few judicious overruns adjacent to flipped enemy units can quickly rip a front apart.

Use your best four LND bombers to ground strike. Russian HQs, ARM and MECH make the best targets, but they may be out of range or hiding in forests and swamps. If so, you may prefer to hit the units in Kaunas, Vilna and Lvov. These can be difficult defensive positions to take and will anchor the Russian defense in eastern Poland and the Baltic States. If you can seize them quickly by ground striking the defenders and isolating them (so that they are face down and out of supply), the defense lines around them will falter.

As a third option, if the Soviets are set-up 1 hex back from the border all in stacks 2 high, you might do better to try an air action on the first impulse, perhaps even using your offensive chit to turn your bombers into lethal disruption machines.

ďBut waitĒ, you cry, ďif I do an air action on the first impulse, I lose the surprise impulse benefit of ignoring rivers?Ē. This doesnít matter. Because the Soviets have set up 1 hex from the border, they have already given up the Dniester and much of the Neman. Since you will successfully ground strike most of the Russian army (particularly in the wide-open steppes of the south), there ainít going to be much left for them to reorganise. Then the ground striking aircraft can all return to base near the activating HQ and most of them can be reorganised.

If the Russians form pockets on sideline locations, such as in the Pripet marshes, along the Baltic coast, or in the Carpathian mountains ~ leave a minimum of screening units and ignore them. Focus on cutting their supply lines instead, and they will be rendered harmless, then dead, at your convenience.

Generally, make fewer attacks at high odds (4:1 or better blitz attacks are the best) rather than more low-odds ones.

If you have used your offensive chit, you will only have 2 active German HQs left (plus Antonescu and Mannerheim who can at least provide supply, if not much else). Be wary of using these HQs early in the turn to reorganise units, as they will be needed to continue the advance, ensuring that your panzers donít run out of supply.

There are 2 keys to capturing Moscow: making sure the Russians cannot set up a strong defense line between Smolensk and the Dneiper River; and attacking the cities around Moscow before winter sets in. Preventing the former requires a headlong, crushing advance to unhinge the northern Dneiper defense line before it gets set up strongly.

Once that is done, secure your flank by taking Tula if you have time, and then throw everything at Moscow fast and hard. You probably wonít have much time (if any) before bad weather sets in, reducing your attacks but encouraging white print Russians to counter attack. Be careful to keep your supply lines secure, particularly from counterattacks from the Voronezh and Kursk region (which you might not get to if you are concentrating on the Moscow area).

South of the Pripet Marshes, be sure to at least clear all Russian units from west of the Dneiper river. If you wish to seize objectives in the southern sector, your goal must be the rapid crossing of that River. If the Russians are allowed to create a solid defensive line here, it will be difficult to crack. Try to ensure that the forward-deployed Russian units are not able to escape backwards to form this line. Ground strike the fast ARM and MECH and all HQ units, and try to entrap (surround and cut supply to) as many Russians as possible. Once you reach the river, use an offensive chit to break it. A good ploy is to use it to attack hexes E1432, and E1429 after taking Kiev.

Taking Dnepropetrovsk first is not necessary here ~ your aim is to outflank that troublesome city to both its north and south. If successful, the Russian will have a tough choice between standing and defending that city (which you are sure to surround soon) or retreating and sparing their army. Alternatively, you could have some units doubled in the attack on Dnepropetrovsk when you use your offensive chit. With luck, you may turn the Russian retreat from the Dneiper into a rout.

As always, focus on bagging the Russian HQs. Russian mobility is hurt almost as badly without them as your own would be without yours.

Be wary of Russian LND bombers. Make sure your HQs have FTR cover, and try to reserve 1 or 2 of your air moves for rebases to keep some FTR cover and some bombing threat on the front lines. Building some FTR and LND, as well as infantry type units, will be useful as they can be rebased to the front fairly quickly. You might consider building another HQ-I on the first turn, too, or even an offensive chit.

The Finnish front should be played cautiously. Precipitous attacks by the Finns might lead to a Russian winter counter offensive that could threaten Helsinki. Place 2 units in Finnish off map hexes at Petsamo for defense. If Russian play in the north is incautious, Mannerheim could lead a charge towards Archangel. In a campaign game this can be very important, but within the confines of this scenario it is merely good practice.

Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula, is a heavily fortified city, and probably not worth the trouble of taking. You can overrun the Crimea easily without taking it; this will nab a resource and possibly threaten a quick breakthrough over the Kerch Straits into the Caucasus. It is unlikely you can make much of such a breakthrough in this scenario, but the threat will probably draw off Russian ground troops from more active theaters.