Thursday 10 August 2023

Red Typhoon - the Soviet winter counter-offensive

Red Typhoon covers the second Phase of the Soviet counter-offensive against the Germans in front of Moscow in January 1942. The system is covered in just 5 pages of rules, so this is a very easy boardgame to get to the table.

It gets played today as part of the the ongoing list of ten east front games that I am working through that relate to the Dimbleby book (Barbarossa) that I have been reading.

I have covered the game in some depth before on this blog and there is a link below in the Resource Section to that article, which fully describes the game mechanics and includes an AAR.

Rather than repeat that detail, today we will be doing a briefer overview of the game.

Published by Revolution Games, it is a redesign of a game in the Panzer Corps series, originally published by Command Magazine Japan and designed by Shigeru Hirano, it has been developed by Roger Miller of Revolution Games.

For the rest of this post, please use the ‘read more’ tab.

This without doubt is a players game, with a rule book of just 5 pages and game counters that though small, have the largest type font for combat / movement factors that I have come across (thank you).

On with the game. During turn 1, the Soviets get a +2 to the die roll in combat to represent the surprise attack.

I am going with the fixed set-up (there is a slightly looser alternative for anyone wanting to explore that).

Above - starting position. The Soviets (brown counters nearest the viewer) have Moscow behind them, at the far edge of the map (the German Baseline)  is Orsha. The distance to Orsha is 35 hexes or 560 Kilometres (350 miles) in real life!

Above - The large gap in the German line near Kaluga (Soviet left flank) is glaringly obvious and compelling for the Soviet’s to attempt to exploit. 

In the centre the German defence is the responsibility of 4th Panzer Army, a formidable opponent.

You will also note that the German defences against the Soviet right flank are stretched thin, but in a counter to this, the Soviets themselves do not have a lot of strength there either.

The opening of the battle is a little disappointing for the Soviets. They do make some successful attacks, but the German line flexes and remains cohesive.

Above - Worse, at the Kaluga gap, the combat results are ‘Contact’, which is essentially a stand-off!

The assault is renewed, but repelled, with the attackers falling back and marked disrupted. This will mean that these units will need to spend two Activation Points to attack again, one to move up and the other to attack.

A third attack was launched, but as before, the German defences amongst the river and woods held up, all attacks were repelled.

This is a serious set-back for the sector that held so much promise, with three consecutive attacks failing. The clock ticks!

Above - In the centre, 4th Panzer Army had suffered heavy casualties and Soviet success had resulted in the isolation of 35th, 225th and 87th German infantry divisions.


To relieve the pressure there, two panzer corps attacked, but it was a catastrophe (die roll of ‘1’) and those German infantry divisions were destroyed!

Above - With some adjustment, the German line shifted to maintain a cohesive front. The Soviets dropped Airborne behind the German defences near Yukhnov (Kaluga salient) and partisan activity in the German rear started to disrupt supply, but with the Soviet timetable failing, this may have been too little too late.

Above - At last, the Soviet forces in the Kaluga sector looked close to breaking out - helped by an airborne assault in the German rear, that prevented trapped Germans escaping.

Above - To keep their line intact, the Germans have to conduct a slow withdrawal, abandoning several of the cities that they get Victory Points for defending, but still, those cities that the Soviets actually need to capture (red dots) remain far out of their reach.

Above - Another failed German counter-attack to rescue trapped units on the Soviet right. This time they lose two infantry divisions.

AboveThere was alarm at German HQ as the Soviets reached and took Spas Demensk (the red counter above the arrow) on the Kaluga front. Determined to retake it, the Germans mobilised local units to move onto the city while they also attacked below the city with five infantry divisions (see arrow) to tie down Soviet forces.

Once in position at Spas Demensk, the hodge-podge of German units attacked from three sides, successfully re-taking it, only to immediately lose it again due to a powerful Soviet counter-attack, but was to be the high watermark of the Soviet advance.

Above - and that is where it ends really, the last turn (9 turns) has been played and the only objective that the Soviets had managed to take was Spas Demensk (the tip point of that salient above).

The Germans had been pushed back all along the line, but the expected Soviet gains had not been made and when it came to counting out the Victory Points, though the Soviets had inflicted more harm than they received on the German forces, they did not (a) liberate enough front line cities from the Germans or (b) capture the deeper objective cities needed to call a win.

The final count being a German win with 11 points to 4.


This is quite a fun game that is easy to get to the table and plays relatively quickly. I have given it two outings and both times the Soviets have lost, though they did better this time. I really do want to give it a third go, just to meet the challenge that the Soviet side seems to have …. or that I have handling them!

They just never really seemed to get that penetration that would help them tear open the line. It has to be said, they did suffer some bad die rolls, but then of course, the same could be said of the Germans who lost those two disastrous counter-attacks, costing them several divisions.

The game plays smoothly with little reference to the rules during play. The last time I played this, I said it is was a game that could get to the table often …. that was three years ago! I think I need to make some more time for these sort of games.

Resource Section.

A detailed look at the Red Typhoon system, includes replay LINK

My sister webspace ‘COMMANDERS’ is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and gives a flavour of where current projects are up to. Link.