Wargame Design Studio is proud to release Panzer Campaigns - Orel ’43. This is the twenty-eighth game released in the Panzer Campaigns franchise and will not be the last.
We are excited to publish this second title from Daniel (Dani) Asensio. Dani has previously released Panzer Campaigns - Rumyantsev ’43 in November 2022. Orel ‘43, also known as the Operation Kutusov, was one of several major offensives fought in the Summer of 1943. Both Rumyantsev ’43 and Orel ‘43 are the first two titles of our Panzer Campaigns - Donets Front ’43 series where we plan to link the series titles to give the definitive coverage of the Soviet 1943 summer offensive.
Orel ’43 is a fascinating title, simulating a rarely covered campaign. Most histories have focused on the Soviet and German efforts at Kursk and discounted the challenges and opportunities that were available to the protagonists after Zitadelle was called off. Many are not aware that Operation Kutusov was launched on July 12, the day the SS and 5th Guards Tank Army were clashing at Prokhorovka in the south. While the offensive on the southern flank were still in doubt, the Soviets were launching the attack that would ultimately convince Model to abandon the northern assault at Kursk. With the Panzer Divisions increasingly released from offensive operations, it became a challenge to see which side can get to the battlefield with the right forces to prevail.
It has been said that the Summer of 1943 was when both sides were equivalent in capabilities and Orel ’43 will give players a chance to test that theory.
Below is the information that will be up on the WDS Orel '43 web page.
For the Germans the Battle of Kursk was to be the premier summer operation in 1943, slowing the building Russian momentum. The battle was an Axis failure, and the Germans considered the operation finished by the middle of July.
For the Soviets, the early July battles were but the defensive phase of the Battle of Kursk, designed to wear out their German opponent. The Russian offensives that followed, first, Operation Kutuzov in the north, lasting from 12 July to 18 August, and Operation Rumyantsev from 3 August to 23 August were the culmination of the Soviet summer strategy.
Facing the Soviet Union's forces to defend Orel were the post Kursk, depleted Second Panzerarmee and the Ninth Armee. Crisis both to the north at Smolensk during Operation Suvorov and on the Mius River to the south on the Azov Sea, saw the Axis forces at their weakest as the Soviets had just captured Kharkov in the fourth and final battle for the largest city in Eastern Ukraine.
In Orel '43, as the commander of the three Russian Fronts - Western, Bryansk & Central, you have multiple armies at your disposal to defeat the vaunted but battered German Wehrmacht. As the German commander you will have at your disposal the still powerful panzer forces able to wreak havoc upon their Soviet foes. Included are scenarios that let you recreate all the major phases of the campaign from the initial German assault on the northern flank of the Battle of Kursk, to the culmination of Operation Kutusov, approaching the critical city of Bryansk. The stage is set! All that is lacking is for you to kick off one of the most significant campaigns of Summer 1943 on the Eastern Front!
Panzer Campaigns: Orel ‘43 covers the major actions of 21st Army Group between July and August of 1943, including:
- The Zitadelle Northern Flank assault: July 5-12 1943
- Operation Kutusov: July 12 - August 22 1943
- Operation Kutusov - First Phase: July 12 - 31 1943
- Operation Kutusov - Second Phase: August 6 - 18 1943
There are 58 scenarios in total including the above-mentioned campaigns. Campaign scenarios range in length from 65 turns up to 417 turns. Smaller scenarios ranging in length from 6 to 109 turns, will provide players with plenty of challenges and battles of variable length and size.
Game features include:
- Game scale is 1 hex = 1 km, 1 turn = 2 hours, with battalion and company size units.
- 58 Scenarios – covering all sizes and situations, including specialized versions for both head to head play and vs. the computer AI.
- The Master Map covers 76,360 hexes and includes much of Southern Russian and the Ukraine, centered on Orel and Bryansk. Other major centers include Msensk, Efremov & Lyudinovo.
- Four Order of Battle files covering the Soviet Western, Bryansk and Central Fronts and opposing elements of Heeresgruppe Mitte during the period July-August 1943, including ground forces from the Soviet Union and the German Wehrmacht.
- Order-of-Battle and Scenario Editors which allow players to customize the game.
- Sub-map feature allows the main map to be "chopped" up into smaller segments for custom scenario creation.
- All new images for unit art on both sides, including guns and vehicles.
- Extensive Designer notes providing historic background to the scenarios and explanation of design decisions.
Orel '43 provides multiple play options including play against the computer AI, Play by E-mail (PBEM), LAN & Internet "live" play, and two player hot seat.
You can get the game now from Wargame Design Studio on this link; Orel ’43 Product Page
You can also get more information on the game as well as several free downloads under the ‘Updates and Downloadable Files’ tab at the bottom of the product page.
We hope you enjoy this latest Panzer Campaigns title and a big thank you to Dani and all in the team again.
We have updated the WDS menu program to support Orel '43. You can download from the WDS Other Downloads page here.
Foreign Currency purchases is now enabled on the WDS Shopify site. You have the option of buying in your local currency in many countries around the world. To see whether your currency is supported, go to the very bottom of our web page and you will see a currency tab. If you click on that you will see a list of countries and the currency that will be used if you select that country. See the image below. The store prices will be changed to the currency you choose and all purchase transactions will be charged in that currency. If you have any questions please have a look at our WDS Support page and how to contact us.