The Last Hundred Yards Vol. IV: The Russian Front is the fourth game in The Last Hundred Yards series. It covers major campaigns and missions from the second half of the war in the east, introducing the Russian army to the series for the first time. A series of missions simulates actions from the October 1943 fighting in the Ukraine near Krivoi Rog, while others feature fights during the Russian 1944 summer offensive, Operation Bagration. All major Russian armor from late 1942 onward is covered, plus some additional late war German armored vehicles. In October 1943, elements of Konev's Steppe Front (redesignated 2nd Ukrainian Front on 20 October) broke out of their bridgeheads across the Dnepr River toward the town of Krivoi Rog. Spearheaded by Rotmistrov's 5th Guards Tank Army, the Red Army drove a salient 50 miles deep and 20 miles wide into the positions of the German 1st Panzer Army. A major German counterattack in panzer corps strength, including the rebuilt 14th and 24th Panzer divisions (whose originals had been destroyed at Stalingrad), stopped this penetration but not before its threat to neighboring positions to the southeast forced the abandonment of Dnepropetrovsk by the Germans. A series of module missions illustrates different phases of this fighting. Operation Bagration was the Soviet main effort in the summer of 1944, with five fronts participating to eject the Germans from white Russia. Led by Stavka coordinators Marshal Zhukov and Marshal Vasilevsky, it destroyed much of Germany's Army Group Center and advanced 400 hundred miles to the outskirts of Warsaw. Bagration enabled the follow-on Lvov-Sandomierz offensive to the south by Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front, which pushed across the Vistula east of Krakow before the Russian summer offensive paused. Portions of this fighting are also covered in module missions, showcasing some of the late war armor on both sides. If you are already familiar with playing the Germans and the Allies in the previous LHY modules, you are on firm ground. However, be forewarned that the unique feature of this module is how Russian army behavior is modeled at the tactical level, particularly in its lack of local command-and-control flexibility and general indifference to casualties when fulfilling its missions. Make no mistake, playing the Russians will require a different mindset. The challenge will be in understanding the Russian behavior modeled in LHY and transitioning that into solid tactical applications. The Russians need numbers to make up for their lower tactical flexibility, but quantity has a quality all its own, and they generally do get those numbers. While the period of the war covered by the module was one of overall Russian initiative, it still featured numerous German counterattacks, and module missions feature plenty of German attacks against Russian defenses as well as the reverse. Another set of new tactical challenges in the module stem from the frequently more open terrain found in the western Ukraine.
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