Steel Division 2’s new turn-based Dynamic Strategic Campaign mode! In the Army General mode, you will be able to play through a dynamic campaign that faithfully represents, on a 1:1 scale, some of the most important Operation Bagration battles that took place on the Eastern Front in the summer of 1944. You will be able to pick either side, German or Soviet, and command dozens of authentic battalions and air squadrons. Each campaign covers a different sector of the front and runs for a select number of days.
On the Western front heavy fighting has been taking place for the last two weeks in Normandy While on the Eastern front the situation is much quieter since the end of the Soviet Spring offensive which has brought the Red Army at the gates of Belarus. It is in this sector of the front that the Soviets are now secretly building their strength during the early weeks of Summer 1944. Codename: Operation Bagration.
Its objectives: to trap and destroy the German Army Group Center in order to open the way for the quick capture of Warsaw. To achieve these goals, the Soviet Army intends to crush the main German strongpoints at Vitebsk, Orsha, Mogilev & Bobruisk within the first hours or days of the offensive.
Nowhere more than Orsha are the Germans ready to receive the Soviet assault. Waiting in strong positions they have held all Winter against repeated Soviet assaults and reinforced since then, they are confident they can once more break the enemy’s offensive. Orsha is the main hub and key of the whole German defensive system, and therefore defended by the best troops. But the Soviets have learned from their Winter failures, and devised new tactics especially to crack open this stronghold.
If some German generals had been able to foresee the impending enemy offensive, all are shocked by the violence of the Soviet assault when it is unleashed on the morning of June 22nd. Artillery, planes, rocket launchers, … devastate the German first and support trench lines, while the survivors are immediately overwhelmed by Soviet assault troops.
In a matter of days, Vitebsk, Orsha, Mogilev & Bobruisk, the main strongpoints of the German defense, fall or are surrounded. The 3rd Panzer Army & 9th Army are pushed back in different directions, leaving the 4th Army between them surrounded on both sides and in danger of encirclement.
By then, Minsk is only defended by a string of security troops hastily cobbled together and thrown against the Soviet tanks, while the mighty 5th Panzer Division is dispatched in a hurry, and peace-meal, to stem the Red tide.
On June 23rd, on the wake of an artillery and air bombardment such as the Eastern front as ever seen, elite Soviet assault troops crash into the most determined German resistance ...
On June 24th, general Rokossovsky’s 1st Belorussian Front launches a two-pronged attack against the German 9th Army. The next day, both Soviet attacks have achieved a breakthrough and inserting armored units to exploit them.
By June 27th, half a dozen German divisions are about to be trapped in “fortress Bobruisk” by Hitler’s order to defend the city to the last man. Yet the next morning, he reluctantly authorized most forces but the garrison to break out and reach friendly lines near Marina Gorka, Where the 12. Panzerdivision is starting to arrive to help the “Bobruisker” from outside the ring. By then, the two Soviet prongs are about to meet behind Bobruisk Every hour count, both for the besieged to break out and the besieger to tighten the trap.
While half of general Rokossovsky’s 1st Belorussian Front was attacking Bobruisk and racing North toward Minsk to trap the German 4th Army ... … The other half, led by cavalry-mechanized units, was moving West to intercept any German reinforcements as far away from the Belarussian capital as possible. Meanwhile, Feldmarschall Model was finally starting to receive said reinforcements and organize them to reform a coherent front and stop the Soviet offensive. But his Führer wanted him to throw them into a futile counter-strike towards Minsk to save the surrounded 4th Army. Model, the miracle worker of the Wehrmacht, could accomplish one of his objectives … but both of them? Model & Rokossovsky are both racing against time, with the strategic railroad hub at Baranovichi at the center of the storm.
With Army General, the devs set out to simulate a new game experience: the operational scale of warfare. This is a level that sits between grand strategy (i.e. the management of an army as a whole, economic policy, diplomacy) and the tactical experience (the familiar real-time tactical battles found in Steel Division 2’s Skirmish and Multiplayer modes). The operational scale of Army General simulates four major elements:
- Space: the geographical area measured on a map approximately 100 km by 100 km.
- Time: the period a campaign lasts. Each operation has a beginning and an end and runs for a limited number of days.
- The means: this is the distribution of forces that exist at the beginning of a campaign and any potential reinforcements that might arrive.
- The objectives: the targets both sides aim to achieve, which are defined on a strategic level and include military goals such as bridges, train stations or towns.
During his or her phase, a player can do the following actions:
- Move units (land battalions or air squadrons)
- Order units to use special actions (digging in, deploying anti-air defenses, etc.)
- Initiate an attack, and engage in battle
- Deploy reinforcements
A campaign in Army General ends as soon as the objectives have been met, or when the timer runs out.
Unlike Steel Division 2’s real-time tactical battles, which focuses on individual tanks or squads of soldiers, the formation of choice in Army General is the battalion.
Each land unit that you see on the campaign map represents a battalion. These battalions are authentic representations of real-life formations; they are meticulously researched, allowing each unit to field the appropriate type of equipment or vehicles, as well as the number of soldiers.
The battalion is represented by a lead figurine which gives an indication of its type.
There are three important details to keep in mind when viewing the information displayed under a battalion:
- The type, such as infantry or armored battalion.
- The number of action points.
- The battalion’s fighting abilities across three different colored categories: Melee Combat, Armor Combat, and Support.
The easiest way to understand a battalion is to select it. You are now presented with a detailed overview of the battalion. The top of the interface displays:
- The battalion’s name, type, and parent division it belongs to.
- The battalion’s characteristics, for instance, if it is motorized or not.
- The battalion’s status, such as deployed, fortified, in a forest, out of supply, etc.
The middle of the interface might look overwhelming at first glance, but shows the detailed composition of a selected battalion, as well as its combat values. This is a critical information panel. It allows you to get to know your units in depth and should be studied carefully, as it highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each unit. It was necessary for us to imagine a system that was both simple and also consistent with the real-time tactical battle experience. At the same time, it should show at a glance all the necessary details, including the fighting power of a battalion.
Resupply is represented in Army General as the ability to receive ammunition, fuel, and food for the soldiers. The player does not have to deal individually with supply units or depots. The refueling works as soon as a battalion is in a secure area under your control (the lighter part of the campaign map).
Once per turn, your units will be refueled and resupplied. A unit will regain Action Points once resupplied. When a unit is unable to receive any resupply, it will suffer penalties which will worsen over time, until finally, it will be routed and will be unable to be moved or take part in further combat.
The following table summarizes what happens to a unit out of supply.
|1 turn w/o supply||2 turns||2+ turns|
|Penalty||None||50% malus to AP replenishment||Unit routed|
It should be noted that Soviet partisans are not impacted for being out of supply.
Not all of your units will be deployed on the map at the start of the game. Throughout an Army General campaign, additional forces will become available to the player.
You can view which units will reinforce you at the top of the screen. It will also indicate when these reinforcements will become available.
Reinforcements can’t be deployed straight away, they require Reinforcement Points to be deployed. The number of Reinforcement Points, which increases every turn, can also be viewed at the top of the screen. Reinforcements come as parent divisions, with subordinate battalions under their control. Once deployed, you will be able to command these battalions on the field.
To understand the fighting power of a battalion, keep in mind the following:
- Like during a Skirmish real-time tactical battle, a battalion in combat can only take out a limited number of its subordinate tactical units per minute.
- All battalions will have access to 50 Requisition Points per Phase. This means they will have 150 points for a battle that lasts 3 Phases.
- All tactical units, found in the Company list, are worth either 1 Requisition Point (infantry squads, artillery pieces, etc.) or 3 Requisition Points (tanks, airplanes, large anti-tank guns, etc.). This means that an elite Tiger heavy tank will cost the same to use as an older model Panzer II.
Let’s go through the different aspects highlighted in the battalion overview. From the top:
- The Command Value is the sum of all the tactical units’ Requisition Points. In this example, the battalion has a total of 213 Requisition Points. This means that it has more tactical units than it can use in a 3 Phase tactical battle (which can never be more than the total 150 Requisition Points). We call this surplus “a reserve”.
- Underneath the Total Command Value is a breakdown of the unit’s size across three different categories: infantry (soldiers), tanks and anti-tank guns, and artillery. These are indicative numbers and are not linked to Requisition Points.
Each tactical unit scores points in one of the following categories (units seldom score points in multiple categories):
- Melee combat: This is short-range combat dominated by infantry, light vehicles, crewed weapons such as heavy machine guns.
- Armor combat: This is long-range combat and armored combat. Obviously, this means to represent tank warfare, but also anti-tank guns and ground attack planes.
- Support: This more of an additional bonus than a real fighting category as this category represents suppressive weapons such as flamethrowers, artillery pieces, bombers, and the like.
A final piece of information regarding the staffing of a battalion: We distinguish between a company HQ and other (combat) companies. This mechanic is as realistic as possible, and can be found in real-life companies. This is also a reflection of making sure the game remains compelling, even when playing with historical battalions that were very small. Where possible, Eugen merged these battalions to give players the option to command only the most interesting units. They were kept as close as possible to historical reality, with these merged battalions being faithfully placed in their real-life regiment, brigade or division.
Action Points represents what a battalion can do before it becomes fatigued. Every action taken by a battalion or air squadron causes fatigue and therefore costs Action Points. Fear not, because at the end of each turn (3 hours on the campaign map), a battalion will recover Action Points if they are in the supply zone (see the section refueling for more details). The supply zone is your zone of control; the enemy’s territory is delineated by the darker shade on the map.
Not each battalion comes with the same amount of Action Points. The number of Action Points depends on the type of battalion. This reflects that not all battalions were trained and equipped equally, with some being able to undertake more actions than others. The following table shows how many Action Points each type of battalion has and how many they can recover each turn:
|Type||Total AP||AP recovery/turn|
Moving your land units will take into account the type of terrain crossed, and the level of motorization of a battalion. Moving battalions costs Action Points.
Historically, the countryside of Belarus where most of the fighting happened during Operation Bagration was wild and vast with untamed forests and marshlands. Few roads existed, and the ones that did were frequently no more than simple dirt paths. Only a small amount of roads were paved - these were classified (rather unfitting) as highways.
The following table summarizes the distances that can be covered (in kilometers) across different types of terrain, taking into account if a battalion is motorized or non-motorized.
|Asphalt road||65 km||35 km|
|Paths and unpaved roads||45 km||32 km|
|Forest, marses, etc.||15 km||21 km|
The most important aspect of Army General, obviously, is combat. In our new mode, we have separated combat into three different categories: ground combat, air combat, and air-to-ground combat.
Air combat on the campaign map works in a slightly different way compared to ground combat between battalions. It lasts a single phase on the campaign map.
The objective of air combat is always to hunt down flying enemy aircraft and force them to return to base.
There are two types of air combat. The first one involves airplanes engaging each other, air-to-air combat; the second type is combat between aircraft and anti-aircraft units on the ground, air-to-ground combat.
These two types of air combat are always resolved automatically.
As much as land combat is different from air combat, air units (grouped as air squadrons) are also treated differently in Army General. What actions they can undertake depends on the type of aircraft a squadron fields.
Different types of aircraft can do different things, such as:
- Reconnaissance: Reconnaissance planes can perform a reconnaissance mission anywhere on the map. This is an action that lasts 1 full turn (the player’s phase, then the opponent’s phase as well). The area surveyed is limited to the recognition radius displayed around the aircraft unit.
- Interception : Interceptors have the interception ability which allows them to stay in place for a full turn and do a combat air patrol. They will intercept any enemy air squadron entering their perimeter.
- Bombing: Bombers have the ability to bomb any visible enemy unit. Issuing this order will have the effect of removing all Action Points of the bombed unit if the attacking bombers are successful.
- Ground attack: Ground attack aircraft do not have any special abilities, and as such, are used primarily to support your battalions in land combat.
Remember that air squadrons have general combat values, and can be used by any commander in land combat.
Each combat encounter, be it a real-time tactical battle or resolved on the campaign map (more about this later), is divided into three distinct Phases - A, B, and C. The phase a battalion arrives in depends on how far they are situated from the battle location - or if they are too far away, they might never arrive on time at all.
You should also take into account the amount of Action Points still available (which signifies the state of fatigue of a battalion). For instance, if a battalion is physically close enough to participate in a battle and enter in Phase A but only has 2 Action Points remaining, it will only be able to arrive in Phase B.
In the above image, you can also see that the opponent’s battalions are dug-in (indicated by the orange icon underneath the unit name) as well as being deployed (the grey defensive line around a unit). Assaulting these units will prove to be a tough challenge!
Each battle can only contain three battalions (or air squadrons). This gameplay choice was made to respect the logic of limited battlefield space. It did not seem credible to us to be able to pile battalion after battalion into combat without any consequence.
Once you are satisfied with which battalions you want to do battle, and in which Phase they will arrive, the battle can be resolved. This can be done in three distinct ways.
Tactical resolution allows you to fight the opponent yourself. You will select which units you want to control, and you will be transported to a real-time tactical battle. However, there are some key differences between a tactical resolution battle in Army General and a traditional Skirmish battle.
Before you actually begin the battle, by using the screen seen below, the player can decide if they want to leave the control to one or more of the battalions to the computer. They can even decide to remove certain companies from a battalion. Only HQ companies can’t be detached from one battalion to the other. We feel this gives the player the flexibility to play in whatever way they like, with whatever unit, and not to get bogged down in uninteresting battles (if there are any in Army General!).
During the tactical battle, the goal is to control all the terrain by capturing the objectives found across a map. If successful, it will force the enemy off the map. Which battle format you will encounter depends on the strategic situation on the campaign map. There are a couple of variations.
- The opponent can be fortified or dug-in, which means they will control most of the tactical map from the start and will be able to deploy fortifications and defenses (Breakthrough mode).
- The enemy can be deployed, but not dug-in, which means they will control most of the map but without access to any of their defenses.
- If both the player and the opponent engage one another without any of the above modifiers, they will start equidistant on the tactical map and will move to meet and fight (Conquest: Eastern Front).
Each battalion will contribute 50 Requisition Points per Phase. To be exact, each battalion provides 20 Requisition points and 3 points per minute during Phase A (which makes 20 + 3 x 10 = 50 points in total). The deployment menu has changed a little bit from the menu seen during a typical Skirmish game. The traditional unit categories (reconnaissance, infantry, tanks, etc.) are replaced by a battalion, and features the list of subordinate companies each battalion brings.
As a player, you can choose to fight the battle yourself (choosing which units to bring, and which ones the computer will control) or you can opt for the computer to resolve the whole battle automatically - the Auto Resolve mechanic. The results you’ll get when you allow the computer to simulate the battle should be as close as possible to a tactical battle fought by a human player.
How does it work? For each Phase, the Combat Values for both sides are compared.
- For each side, we sum up the 3 main Combat Values, seen here.
- We compare both sums one by one, for each category.
- +5 Max for Melee Combat
- +10 max for Armored Combat when not in...
- +2 Max for support
- +2 bonus for a deployed defender
- The sums are added together and checked. The difference, in favor of one of the sides, is displayed.
- The outcome of the battle is displayed at the top of the screen, as well as the type of battle (in this case, Breakthrough). If the final result is 5 and above in favor of one of the sides, there are chances that the battle will end earlier.
The result is influenced by the following rules (which serve to simulate a variety of aspects of warfare):
Depending on this final result, losses will be applied to each side according to the following table:
There are also different types of victory conditions:
|Victory type||Attacker total defeat||Attacker major defeat||Attacker minor defeat||Draw||Attacker minor victory||Attacker major victory||Attacker total victory|
Depending on the results per Phase, there is also a chance that the battle will end prematurely. At 10, it's 70%, at 8 50%, and at 5 33%.