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Panzer Expansion Set 1 The Shape of Battle – The Eastern Front 1943 – 1945 from GMT Games

Panzer Expansion Set 1
The Shape of Battle
The Eastern Front 1943 – 1945

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Designed by Jim Day

Panzer Expansion Set 1, The Shape of Battle – The Eastern Front 1943 – 1945, adds a large number of new units, maps and documentation to the basic game of Panzer that was previously reviewed on Mataka.ORG. To read the full review please click here.  Please note, it is required to own the base game of Panzer to use and enjoy this Expansion.

When discussing armored warfare during World War II on the Eastern Front, there is one battle that is immediately recognized by most people and that is the Battle of Kursk. It was here that both the German and Soviet High Command committed a large portion of their armor to this one large battle for supremacy. On the open fields of the Russian steppes of Kursk each side placed the bulk of their tanks, assault guns and other self-propelled weapons to this historic battle. The entire outcome of the Eastern Front War hinged on who would win this battle.

Box Contents

One of the first things that you notice when you pick up the first expansion for Panzer is that if you thought that the base game was a heavy box, the first expansion is even heavier. This is because you receive a number of new items that expands the basic game into new directions and adds depth to the game play. In the box players receive:

  • 1 Reference and Scenario Book
  • 2 full color counter sheets
  • 1 German TO&E (Table of Organization & Equipment) Book
  • 1 Soviet TO&E Book
  • 4 two-sided 10”x27” geomorphic maps with 1” hexes
  • 38 two-sided Unit Data Cards (12 Soviet and 26 German)

In the Reference and Scenario Book the gamer is provided with 4 German and 1 Soviet TO&E. The German TO&E’s are broken down into their organizational Regiments and Battalions. The TO&E’s presented in this book are:

German

  • Grossdeutschland Panzergrenadier Division, 1 July 1943
  • 1st SS Panzergrenadier Division Leibstanarte SS Adolf Hitler, , 1 July 1943
  • 2nd SS Panzergrenadier Division Das Reich, 1 July 1943
  • 3rd SS Panzergrenadier Division Totenkopf, 1 July 1943

Soviet

  • Independent Heavy Tank Brigade, mid 1942

Also included in this book are the Kursk Orders of Battle (OB’s) for both the German Army Groups and the Soviet Fronts. These OB’s are presented as they existed when the battle began. All of the major Army, Corps and Division formations plus some significant attached assets are included. So, as you can see, a lot of information is provided to the gamer in the basic Reference and Scenario Book.

The dedicated German TO&E book is 36 pages long and is jam packed with additional useful information regarding different units. You are provided with Organizational and Equipment information on some Regiments, Companies, Kampfgruppes and Battalions that saw action between the years of 1940 and 1944.

The dedicated Soviet TO&E book is 28 pages long and is also packed with incredible information that the gamer can use regarding different units. Here again, you are provided with the Organizational and Equipment information of Divisions, Corps, Battalion and Regiments that participated in the War in the East from 1941 through 1944.

The combination of all the TO&E content in one Expansion is invaluable and can lead to all types of possibilities within the gaming system.

Unit Data Cards

Seventy six new units are introduced into the game. The 12 new Russian Data cards below cover the following Tanks, Vehicles, Guns or Planes that are used to expand the base game. Some of the Data Cards can have more than single unit defined on the card. The Soviet Unit Data Cards included with Panzer Expansion 1 are:

T-60 M42 T-34/76 M41
T-34/76 M42 KV-1 M42
KV-2 M41 KV-85 M43
IS-3 M45 SU-122 M43
ISU-152 M44 ISU-122 M44
OT-34 M42 BA-64 M43
M3A1 Scout Car M2 APC
M17 MGMC 45mm M37 ATG
45mm M42 ATG 76.2mm M36 ATG
85mm M44 ATG 100mm M44 ATG
37mm M39 AAG 85mm M38 AAG
76.2mm M27 IG
Su-2 Pe-2

The 26 new German Data cards below cover the following Tanks, Vehicles, Guns or Planes that are also used to expand the base game. As with the Soviet cards, some of the Data Cards can have more than single unit defined on the card. The German Unit Data Cards included with Panzer Expansion 1 are:

PSW 233 PSW 231
PSW 222 PSW 221 sPzB
PS 221 SPW 250/10
SPW 250/9 SPW 250/8
SPW 250/7 SPW 250/1
SPW 251/10 SPW 251/9
SPW 251/2 PzKpfw III (Fl)
Grille 33 Brumbar
Jagdtiger Elefant
Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer Nashorn
Jagdpanther Jagdpanzer IV/70
Jagdpanzer IV STuG Iv
STuH 42 STuG IIIF
STuG IIIB Marder III Pak 36(r)
Marder III Panzerjager I
PzKpfw IVJ PzKpfw IVF2
PzKpfw IVF1 PzKpfw IVE
PzKpfw IIIN PzKpfw IIIG
PzKpfw 38(t)E-F PzKpfw IIF
SPW 251/17 3.7cm FlaK Zgkw 5t
2cm FlaK Zgkw 1t Mobelwagon
Wirbelwind Limbers
7.5cm lelG 2cm FlaK 38 AAG
8.8cm PaK 43 ATG 5cm PaK 38 ATG
3.7cm PaK 36 ATG 2.8cm sPzB 41 ATG
15cm sIG
Ju 87B-1 Ju 87G-1 Kanonenvogel

Scenarios

There are a total of 7 new Scenarios presented in this Expansion Set #1. These Scenarios present different situations that occurred during the Battle of Kursk or on the Eastern Front. The 7 Scenarios are:

  • Scenario 11 – 3rd Mechanized Corps Operations: Ukraine, August 1943
  • Scenario 12 – Battle of Ponyri: Kursk, 9 July 1943
  • Scenario 13 – Twilight: Silesia, 1945
  • Scenario 14 – 3rd Mechanized Corps Operations: Kursk, 10 July 1943
  • Scenario 15 – The Turning Tide: Ukraine, late-1943
  • Scenario 16 – Southern Exposure: Kursk, 12 July 1943
  • Scenario 17 – Land of the Giants: Hungary, March 1945

Summary

While your first inclination may be to think that you are not receiving a lot for your money as this is only an Expansion, let me say immediately, nothing is further from the truth. What you are receiving in the Expansion is INFORMATION. This is INFORMATION in the game format that you can use immediately. If you combine all of the Unit Data Cards from the Core Game and the First Expansion, players can fight some very sophisticated battles. The real bonus with the Expansion is that players can begin to create their own historical or “what if” Scenarios. Combine this with the geomorphic maps and you are working towards an open ended gaming system that can and will grow quite large. There is one other Panzer Expansion currently available and another in the GMT Games P500 pipeline. Also, I am sure that if interest continues, there will be additional expansions as the game takes a turn West. While I am a convert to the Panzer system, my only wish would be to have mounted maps in the series to replace the paper map in the Core Game and the four cardboard maps in the First Expansion. GMT Game Fans I believe, have grown accustomed to mounted, sturdy maps with their games. So, having said that, send snailmails (write), call, send faxes or send emails and request that GMT provide mounted maps for the Panzer Series of Games. So far, this is my only negative critique of the series that I feel will go on to find tremendous popularity just as its predecessor Panzer Blitz did for Avalon Hill all those many years ago.

This game expansion is available from GMT Games

MSRP $67.00

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