Why Are My Panzers Guzzling Fuel?

The Germans commenced Barbarossa with inadequate fuel reserves. Even with their stripped down Panzer Divisions, (after France they had halved the number of tanks in each Division in order to double the number of mobile formations), they had only enough fuel for three months of full tempo combat operations.

They had even less ammunition, especially artillery. Barbarossa was all about encircling and defeating the Red Army within their three month window of opportunity. There was no viable plan B beyond this, due to a looming shortage of both fuel and ammunition, which was made clear by their own internal staff assessments. These were ignored by High Command and the Führer.

Despite destroying the bulk of the Soviet Armed Forces in what was arguably the greatest and most successful (in numbers and territory) invasion in the history of warfare it wasn’t enough. That the Germans managed to persevere for as long as they did is a testimony to their tenacity and resourcefulness.

Even so, there were serious logistical issues that arose very early on in the campaign, fuel use being one of them.

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The Player receives a decision, “Unexpected Fuel Use” that asks them to decide on the level of operational tempo that they wish to maintain.

General Wagner is, as usual, the bearer of bad tidings. As befits the man in charge of Truck columns, depots and fuel, his missives aren’t there to cheer you up.

Gen. Obst. Guderian, the hard charging Panzer maestro weighs in with an opinion. As it’s his Panzers that are doing all the damage he has a point.

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The Reichminister of Economics, Walther Funk pours cold water on any future oil bonanza. Walther is another fun guy who probably drinks warm Schnapps with squinty eyed, flat chested, secretaries on his off days along with his bad news buddy, General Wagner.

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There are three options available with the ‘Do Nothing’ being the same as Maintaining the Offensive Momentum.

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The options are all variations of trading an offensive bonus off against fuel consumption.

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It’s not an easy decision. Aiming to keep your foot firmly on the pedal is a gamble. It’s early in the campaign and it’s the Panzer Divisions offensive punch that enable you to push through enemy lines and race to your objectives.

It’s the option that the German High Command essentially went for. They rolled the dice, hoping that the fuel would last long enough to do the job. It didn’t.

The third option, “Fuel Efficiency is the Key”, is the most interesting. Chose this and you are settling in for the long game. You’re offsetting a wimpy, but still reasonable, blitzkrieg against a more sustainable operational tempo that can be maintained for a longer period. It’s an option that allows you to implement a long term plan knowing that you’ll still have fuel to carry it out.

It offers a different play style to the do or die of ‘Maintain Offensive Momentum”.

With the hindsight of the data available from the Metrics setting, it’s possible to see who aligned themselves with the historical thrust of the German High Command and who opted for the long game?

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Cheers,
Cameron

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One Response to Why Are My Panzers Guzzling Fuel?

  1. Chris says:

    If the purpose of Barbarossa is to role play Halder this decision choice makes no sense. If Halder wants a Guderian or Hoth to adopt a fuel efficient offensive they would just ignore him in the field. I think it should have been the role of Hitler making decisions such as more ammunition or vehicles being produced as Barbarossa approached. Though I would have taken a different approach Cameron has done something no other game designer has done before that I know of. Well done Cameron!

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