Fire in the East review

updated 031124

Pulled from Web Grognards and credited to the original author.Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1991 13:02:00 GMT
Subject: Fire in the East

Hi There all,

This is yet another review of a Europa series module, this time one of the biggest.

Fire in the East is published by GR/D, who still claim to have a few copies of this mammoth games left. Originally published by GDW as Drag Nach Osten (Europa I), it was renamed/modernised in 1983, and reprinted in 1985, 1989.


The game comes in a large (about A3) size box which is fairly deep (6-8cm). Box art is a map of Europe with the area covered by the game highlighted. Over all colours are a red (maroon) background, with yellow art. Inside the box are 6 21 by 27" maps covering E Prussia/much of Poland, E Rumania, bits of Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. Finland is there in its entirety, along with parts of northern Norway and Sweden. The USSR stretches east to the Gorky area in the centre, and just as far as Stalingrad, and Krasnodar in the south. As many as 8 counter sheets have 2000+ counters, from the following nations:

  1. with white SS, pale blue with black Luftwaffe, feld grau(ish) with black or white, or black and white for Wermacht and Wermacht foreign contingents, and dark blue with white and/or black for Kriegsmarine.
  2. Rumania...royal blue with white.
  3. Slovakia...royal blue with black.
  4. Hungary...RAF blue (smokey blue/blue-gray) with black.
  5. Finland...white with royal blue.
  6. Italy...pale green with black.
  7. USSR...with brown and black for regular army, red with black for Guards units, a slightly lighter brown for VVS/PVS, a slightly darker brown for lend lease air units, marroon with black and/or white for Soviet Navy, and red with white for NKVD units.

Additionally, a three ring punched set of rules ( ^ 50 pages), and charts for corps markers, combat tables, terrain effects are provided. The charts are duplicated, with one set for each side. Separate victory charts are provided.


These are of the normal high standard, and are in full colour. White represents clear terrain, Green squiggles reps. forest/woods dependant on intensity of the colour, medium brown reps. rough ground, while dark brown is mountainous. Clear with large blue speccles is lake intensive (cf Karelia), while cities and towns are represented as :

Hex size is 16 miles across.


As the Axis (Germany, Rumania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia) the player must capture every major city hex inside the 1939 (pre invasion of Poland) borders. As the Soviets, the game is a lot easier; you must prevent the Axis from attaining their victory conditions.


Units come in a number of sizes:

Regimental Equivalents (REs) are a way of sizing units. A regiment is taken to have a size of 1RE, and all other units have sizes based on fractions of this as can be seen above.

Unit types are varied, but here is a list of major/important types:

  1. Infantry....self explanatory
  2. Tank/panzer...the weapons of blitzkrieg
  3. AA...anti-air units, come in two flavours,
  4. Artillery...provide support for the rest of the units, excepting divisions, which can do their job, or supported units which have integral support units within the counter, but which can't support other units.
  5. Engineers...come in 4 main types,
  6. Security/Police...are able to fight the Soviet partisan's, and are good for
    providing garrisons in rear area due to their low cost in
    strength points.
  7. SS...have the same properties as their face values, but van also fight partisans, and may (optional rule) have a "hold/take or die" ability which alters the die role/CRT effects on that specific combat. Soviet NKVD political police have similar properties.
  8. Air units....3 main types here, with some sub-types. main types are:
  9. Naval units...basically are able to move ground units arround on the sea, and may either provide gun support for land units, or may launch amphibious attacks.


Europa is based on fortnightly turns, with each player having a series of phases in which he may move ground units, allocate air/naval units to operations, partake in combat, and then any units which have an exploit capability may move again.



All Divison sized unit excert ZOCs in every hex arround them. All units have ZOC in the Arctic. A maximum of 3 divisions, 3 smaller units (eg AT batalions) and 2 additional artillery units may stack in one hex. In mountain hexes this is reduced to 2 divs., 2 supporting units, 1 additional artillery unit.



FITE runs from June II 1941 to April 1942. Scorched Earth, Europa II extends the game farther, so it runs from June II '41 to Nov II 1944. Some 3-4000 additional counters, tidier rules, revised OBs (up to Nov '44) and 4 1\2 maps are provided. The Urals module farther extends the map area beyon the Ural mountains, and farther refines the rules, and the Soviet OB. SE/TU also include rules for the defection of Germany's Allies and father Soviet unit types such as the massive Tank Corps etc which they built.


FITE cost me arround 60 pounds. It cost about $65. SE was similarly costly, with TU weighing in at about $20. It is a very expensive game, but the cost is definitely worth it as the modules easily show how the war in the east was almost won by the germans, along with the long, hard slog of the Russians back from near defeat, to eventual triumph. The rules are clear and concise, with excellent OBs and high map and counter qualities. The only glitch in the eastern front scenarios is the immense length of time taken to play the game.... over an 8 month period, I ground my way up to mid 1944......Additionally, the shear counter densities can put people off this module. I couldn't reccommend FITE as an introduction to wargaming, but for any hardened addict I reckon that it is a MUST. Balkan Front and the upcoming First to Fight/Second Front will probably offer easier introductions, and the play test of Supermarina has the germ of a better air combat sytem within it. I hope I have tempted some of you to try and get these games. SE/TU ARE NOT PLAYABLE WITHOUT FITE.

May all your wars be with card board....


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