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Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Weather and wargame campaigns: Including the rasputitsa

It would seem to me that the most difficult season of the year during the Eastern Front/Grand Patriotic War was the season when the rain and melting snow turned the mainly unmetalled Russian roads into mud. This is referred to in Russian as the rasputitsa, and it occur twice during the year, namely in the autumn (when it rains) and the spring (when the snow thaws).

The summertime seems to be a time of dry and dust, whilst the winter is a time of cold and snow. During the former, normal movement is possible, but can cause things like vehicle engines to suffer excessive wear if they are not fitted with filters, whereas in the winter, snow and ice can impede movement and cause fuel and lubricating oil to freeze.

Bearing this in mind, I have decided that:
  • During the summer (the hot and dry season), each campaign move would each last three days
  • During the winter (the cold and dry season), each campaign move would each last six days
  • During the rasputitsa (the wet and muddy season), each campaign move would each last fifteen days
  • Each of the terrain types (Arid, Grass Steppe, Deciduous Steppe, and Coniferous Steppe) would experience the seasons (and thus the impact of the resultant changes) at slightly different times of the year.
Bruce Quarrie produced something along these lines in his book TANK BATTLES IN MINIATURE 2: A WARGAMERS' GUIDE TO THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN 1941-1945, and I intend to produce something very similar for my campaign.

(It is worth noting that I also consulted the relevant chapters or sections in Donald Featherstone's ADVANCED WAR GAMES* and COMPLETE WARGAMING* [Revised Edition], Lionel Tarr's MODERN WARGAMING RULES 1939-45*, and Tony Bath's ANCIENT WARGAMING*, but decided that Bruce Quarrie's solution was closer to my own thinking on this topic.)

* These books are all in print, thanks to the work of John Curry and the 'History of Wargaming' Project.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Bob,
    This is the first time I've ever read about the Seasonal changes that affect Armies on the move -or their performance over time. You certainly are leaving no stone un-turned when it come to starting your Barbarossa Campaign - all looks to be very involved and interesting too. Cheers. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      I think that it is only during relatively modern times that armies have fought all year round. Previously, the campaigning season took place during the months when the weather was generally good, and armies would go into winter quarters when not on campaign.

      Weather played a very important part in the war between the Axis Powers and Soviet Russia, and that is why I thought that it needed to be included in my campaign.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. Glad that Bruce Quarrie book came in handy.. Many thanks again for the 'Portable Wargame' books you gave me!

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    Replies
    1. David in Suffolk,

      Thank you, the book has been extremely helpful ... and i am pleased that you’ve enjoyed the PW books.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. In AHGCs The Russian Campaign, the arrival of the autumn mud generally spelled the end of Operation Barbarossa!

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    Replies
    1. Martin Rapier,

      Judging by the photographs I’ve seen, it’s not difficult to see why the mud basically stopped movement.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete

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