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On 16 October 1942, the Finnish Battalion, part of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking took Hill 701 near a little-known Caucasian town called “Malgobeck.” According to the unit history, as told by Finnish Obersturmführer Tauno Pohjanletho, it was a “heroic fight”. By early June of 1943, the unit had been mustered out, took part in a parade at Tampere, and became part of the Finnish Army a month later.
An Estonian Battalion arrived in the place of the Finns and the rest of WIKING would soldier on, taking part in some of the most difficult days on the Eastern Front.
A dozen years ago, the men of WIKING faced their Russian adversaries after finding themselves trapped in a kessel, or pocket. Surrounded by the iron walls of sheet metal, draw handles and guides; deep inside a filing cabinet. They survived everything Ivan could throw at them during the Winter of 1944. And gave back as good as they could, until the final breakout attempt took place.
You know WIKING historically broke out. And now their map and scenario-based ‘European Volunteers’ are also free of the shackles of file cabinet-hood. Perhaps they heard the shouts of their friends over at the Buna cabinet, and received that extra morale boost required to smash through the enemy. Who is to know. All that is known is that behind the scenes, while other WIP is cooking, the publisher delegated some map, layout and editing work to free some long held modules – and now HELL’S GATE 1-2-3 are here and printing next week for imminent shipment.
Oh, there are more, but these are done so there is no holding them back. Here, from designer’s correspondence notes:
My main source was Hell’s Gate, by Douglas Nash, a very well written and documented book. His style was a much easier read then Glantz or Seaton, and while he covered the upper echelon well he also did very good job of providing many individual soldiers comments from both sides of the battle. I highly recommend you add this book to your reading list/library.
As an example, Nash described in detail a unit the Soviets had called a “Fortified Region”. Later, I was researching through Seaton’s book, looking for information about a different campaign, and came across his reference to a unit called a “Fortified Region”…he claimed he did not know what it was, nor could he find any Soviet sources about the unit.
Simply put the unit is regimental size, with no transportation, comprised of less than fit soldiers, usually positioned in fortifications, with a TO and E of mostly machine guns, and anti tank guns and a greatly reduced number of soldiers. (I envisioned, in game terms; a bunker every 10-15 hexes with a walking wounded crew, manning a fifty cal HMG or AT gun).
The four [macro scenarios] have unique characteristics which make them different. Two of them find Russians are the aggressors and the other two features the Germans as the aggressor. Two of the Campaign games have SS soldiers. The Russians have elite paratroopers, cavalry, Katyushas, and lots of tanks, including the first appearance of the IS-1 heavy tanks. None of the macro scenarios has the “running of the gauntlet” type situations which tend to be boring and one sided, but rather gives the feel of the battle along the Kessel perimeter as well as outside rescue attempts.
I agree with designer Larry that the Nash book is excellent, and of course it is in the CH library. The publisher has long owned “European Volunteers”, a more rare volume not found in the Barnes and Noble segment of sellers. It has that terse style, German to English translations are known for and includes some very micro detail and soldier quotes not found elsewhere.
Here’s the scoop: HELL’S GATE 1: Nova Buda has a two map, 8 scenarios and a macro scenario and includes a FREE bonus counter sheet of classic blau 140 Winter Waffen SS MMC/SMC/SW. Hell’s Gate II: Shenderovka, adds another map, 6 scenarios and another macro scenario, set on its map and includes a FREE bonus counter sheet of 280 classic brown Winter Russian MMC/SMC/SW. Hell’s Gate III: Khilki, adds another map, 6 scenarios and another macro scenario set on its map and includes a FREE bonus counter sheet of 280 classic blau greatcoat Winter German MMC/SMC/SW.
NEW - HELL'S GATE IV brings another set of 6 of scenarios plus a macro scenario - and ASLers as well as ATSers get another FREE bonus counter sheet of Publisher's Surprise counters!
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