Fire in the East review
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
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:
- Germany...black 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.
- Rumania...royal blue with white.
- Slovakia...royal blue with black.
- Hungary...RAF blue (smokey blue/blue-gray) with black.
- Finland...white with royal blue.
- Italy...pale green with black.
- 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 :
- a) small (Reference) cities are hollow dots,
- b)medium (point/dot) cities are round dots,
- c)conurbations (major cities) are partial, or full hexes of black speccling
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:
- a) Divisions (3RE)
- b) Brigades/regiments (1RE)
- c) Batalions (1/2RE)
- d) Company/Battery (nominally 1/2RE)
- e) Air units of 30-50 aircraft per counter
- f) Naval units of 1 capital ship/transport/ cruiser + escorts/destroyer
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:
- Infantry....self explanatory
- Tank/panzer...the weapons of blitzkrieg
- AA...anti-air units, come in two flavours,
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.
Engineers...come in 4 main types,
- a) Light..can fire on any air unit bar Heavy Bombers.
- b) Heavy..can fire on any air unit including Heavy Bombers. Have ATEC.
Security/Police...are able to fight the Soviet partisan's, and are good
- a) Construction..the navies that build forts, airfields, repair damaged
rail, air, port installations.
- b) Combat..as construction, but are stronger, faster moving, and are
good at attacking fortified positions.
- c) Railroad..can reguage USSR's broad guage to standard guage or vice
versa...vital for any offensive.
- d) Assault..not able to construct things, but excellent against fortifications.
providing garrisons in rear area due to their low cost in
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.
Air units....3 main types here, with some sub-types. main types are:
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
- a) fighters...provide escort/interception/ground attack (with modification
if against enemy air units on ground) if they are capable.
- b) bombers...able to perform specific attack missions using a tactical
or a strategic attack factor. Dive bomber units have a +1 DRM. Attack
unit generally have poor strat values.
- c) Transports...shift units not dependant on heavy equipment such as
trucks, tanks etc. arround. Can also move supplies, and are capable of
launching parachute/glider borne air assaults.
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.
- Movement is governed by terrain costs, which are detailled on the terrain
charts mentioned previously. Weather (such as mud, or snow) also affects movement
(usually adversely) although certain unit types retain mobility longer than
most others. Combat/motorised (armour and motorised unit types) units may
move in the exploitation phase which follows combat.
- Combat is dependant on the ratio of attacking strength points:defending
points. CRT results range from A\DE (attacker\defender eliminated) through
assorted exchanges to NE\AS (No Effect\attack stopped [from BF]). Die role
modifiers (DRMs) result from AEC/ATEC, terrain, fort counters, and weather
effects. Air power is exerted here via offensive/defensive air support up
to the value of the attacking/defending units' total combat strength. Air
to Air combat is based on comparisons of attack and defense strenghths of
attacking/defending air units. Bomber units are disadvantaged by DRMs. Soviet
NON GUARDS air units are also disadvataged by DRMs against German, Finnish
and Italian air units.
- Armour effects AEC/ATEC were explained previously on the net.
- Supply for the Axis comes from any western map edge, or for co-belligerants,
from any two cities linked by rail lines. Soviets need three major cities
to be joined to gain supply from them. Once a "supply terminal"
has been captured by an enemy it never regains "supply terminal"
status. Supply may travel an infinite distance along a friendly controlled
and guaged (eg Standard guage for the axis) rail line. Supply may also move
finite distances along other transport lines such as roads, or cross country.
Truck counters may extend these supply lines by up to 3 hexes.
- Replacements(RPs)/Reinforcements. This is complex. (!!). Axis units may
be rebuilt using same nation INFANTRY RPs and GERMAN armour RPs (if armour
RPs are called for that is). They are placed EITHER in the country of origin,
or at any axis owned city on the board. Weakened units (those at cadre strength)
must be at a friendly owned city before they can be rebuilt. Only a limited
number of Rumanian/Hungarian units may be at the front (as defined inthe rules)
and any units wiped out are then moved back to "reseve status",
ie ; they cannot be used outside their own borders until released by the OBs.
Axis reinforcements arrive either in their country of origin, or at various
places, as defined in the OBs
- Soviet RPs are generated at any Soviet owned city. There are specific Military
Districts (MDs) and infantry RPs generated within a given MD must be spent
within the bounds of that MD. Armour RPs are generated at various factories
positioned arround the map board, which may be overrun by the Germans. These
may be moved East by using some rail capacity. Artillery RPs are also produced
at these factories.
- Special reinforcements are generated as a result of combat losses. Basically,
a percentage (dependant on the nation) of total strength points lost are given
to the various sides to represent casualties returning to the front after
treatment. Only 10 such RPs may be spent in a specific Soviet MD.
- Air units are deployed against a given Group Allowance (GA) for each nation.
The GA is basically the total no. of air units allowed for each nation on
the map at any one time. It is affected by combat, and by the area (friendly
or enemy territory) over which combat took place. Every 6 turns an air phase
is run, at which new GA/air units are recieved, destroyed ones are processed,
and the GA is adjusted to suit.
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.
- The Double Whammy: on the first turn (JunII, 1941), German units receive
a surprise attack turn, in which air units may attack enemy air units, German
Ground units in Poland/Greater Germany may attack across the border into Soviet
held areas, all of which is before the normal June II turn. Rumania enters
the war at this time, with Hungary and Finland following on July I, 1941.
Soviet units suffer reduced ZOCs, Rail Capacity etc for 3 turns.
- Balkan Hatred: Hungarian/Rumanian units may not stack together or participate
in the same attack together as a result of the two nations "rivalry".
- Finnish limitations: Finnish units may not cross Finland's pre 1940 borders
in the south, or out of the Archangel MD in the north. Only a limited no.
of REs of German units may be deployed in southern Finland.
- Arctic: Limited stacking (50% mountain limits) and reduced movement combine
with no AEC/ATEC to limit combat eficiency.
- Corps/army/air markers. Due to the high unit densities, a marker may be
placed on the map in place of the units in that hex. The units in the hex
are put into a marker display box relating to the marker used. Axis units
have corps markers and air markers, while Soviet units have Army markers and
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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