Korsun Pocket

I’ve bought my first computer wargame, called Korsun Pocket, from Matrix Games. I wanted to share a short section from the manual, because it gets me pretty excited to play and so I thought it would be a good illustration to share:

1. Introduction > > The Object of the Game > >

The Eastern Front - January 1944.

Another severe Russian winter and months of devastating retreats have forced Manstein’s once mighty Army Group South to its knees. Weakened by innumerable losses and defeats, the 8th Army and 1st Panzer Army desperately defend a tenuous portion of the Dnieper River in a salient 50 kilometres west of the city of Cherkassy. OKH demands this portion of river be held as the bridgehead for a renewed summer offensive - an offensive that would never - could never - materialize.

The salient invites encirclement and on January 24th and 25th the Soviets happily oblige. Fuelled by their enormous victories the previous summer, five full armies of mechanised and Armored troops of the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts burst through the tired German defence creating the first major encirclement since Stalingrad the previous winter. Their objective? To surround and crush the German forces against the River Dnieper.

In a flawed strategy only too familiar to his weary generals, Hitler refuses a withdrawal and by doing so, seems to seal the fate of yet another army. Within 4 days the Russians link up near the town of Lysyanko, trapping the German XLII and XI Army Korps, a pocket of 60,000 troops, behind enemy lines.

Centred on the city of Korsun, the forlorn Germans are forced to fight for their lives with only a minor airfield to sustain them. They are trapped without hope of surviving, destined for the POW cages east of the Urals. Or are they? Amongst the trapped units is the mighty 5th SS Wiking Division and they are not going to go down without a fight…

Korsun Pocket recreates the formation of that pocket, and the desperate German attempts to relieve it in the days that followed. Players control brigade, regimental and battalion sized units on a map spanning more than 28,500 km2, manoeuvring and fighting with the historical units present in the campaign. Off-board support, air interdiction and replacements are all faithfully recreated to assist the player in his quest.

The game’s five scenarios cover the most exciting aspects of the battle and include a full campaign game which allows you to re-fight the entire battle. A series of fictional tutorial scenarios take you through the game mechanics and are highly recommended.

Can you as the Soviet Commander create and defeat the German pocket before strong panzer reinforcements intervene?

As German Commander, can you obey your Fuhrer’s orders and hang on to the Dnieper against all odds?

The reason this gets me excited is because I stand to learn a great deal about military strategy and tactics, as well as gaining a more detailed context for my understanding of the 20th century’s wars.

There is a new World War I game coming soon, also from Matrix (they’re the publisher, not the developer), called The Guns of August, which I will definitely also get, since currently I’ve read more about that war.

Machine Learning Engineer

I am a software engineer and mathematician. I work on NLP algorithms for Apple News, and research homotopy type theory in CMU’s philosophy department.