Go West! Operation Barbarossa Demo

By Kieron Gillen on November 26th, 2009 at 11:27 am.

Man, I didn't even try to get a sexy screenshot.
I appear to be coming over Tim Stone. And before a horrible image is conjured in the communal RPS-reader mind by that sentence, I better progress to the point quickly. A demo for Operation Barbarossa – The Struggle For Russia is now available. There’s over 150 upgradeable units in the full game and prominently features hexes – which will be a theme for my blogging today. If the demo takes your fancy, you can buy it from Matrixgames’ site. As per-usual for wargames, there’s no video available. Instead, let’s show some colour footage of the actual Barbarossa invasion, which is disturbing for at least two reasons. Firstly, it’s footage of the invasion, complete with lingering shots on corpses. Secondly, the Nouveau nazis in the video comment threads.

Nazis. I hate those guys.

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49 Comments »

  1. Smee says:

    Where is my RPS slash fanfiction?

  2. mechanoid says:

    Over 13 million people died as a consequence of that “operation”, the majority of them (over 10 million) were poorly equipped Sowjet soldiers. The US and UK commanders let Stalin do the dirty work: to progress into German territory, without caring for losses. Because they were afraid that greater losses amongst their own soldiers could turn the opinion in the US.

    Stuff for an “interesting” strategy game? Definitely not. At least for people who know how the real war was like. That kind of pushing virtual armies over hexes has nothing to do with it (not even with the strategies of the real generals of that time). But of course this applies to most of the WWII games. There are enough scifi and fantasy games if you want deep strategy, I don’t see the point in playing the greatest mass murder in human history over and over again.

    • ChaosSmurf says:

      Haven’t you heard? It’s okay to kill russians in video games.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      @Chaossmurf

      Since when are we taking lessons from THAT game?

    • PHeMoX says:

      “Because they were afraid that greater losses amongst their own soldiers could turn the opinion in the US.”

      You’re mixing things up with the Vietnam war here. The US were very eager to fight once they were attacked at Pearl Harbor. Public opinion really didn’t even count until very late in the war and even then the US gov decided to throw two nukes anyways. Really, not much opinion turning stuff they feared for sure. :p

      Also, it’s ridiculous to state we shouldn’t play WWII themed games. Then we also shouldn’t watch Saving private Ryan and all those other movies. Then we also should make art, listen to music and so on. These games are virtual and not real, why categorize this as mass murder gaming? Mass murder happens in any game where you can kill virtual people, just think of how many times people respawn in a multiplayer game. It’s nuts to even consider that a bad thing, when it’s all FAKE and shouldn’t be associated with real life.

      Even for a die-hard pacifist as yourself, that’s just plain ridiculous.

    • Shalrath says:

      “The US were very eager to fight once they were attacked at Pearl Harbor.”

      I’m sure the Jews appreciate that.

      “Welcome to the war, you’re only three years late!”

    • Pod says:

      Over 13 million people died as a consequence of that “operation”, the majority of them (over 10 million) were poorly equipped Sowjet soldiers. The US and UK commanders let Stalin do the dirty work: to progress into German territory, without caring for losses. Because they were afraid that greater losses amongst their own soldiers could turn the opinion in the US.

      You appear to be mixing up different parts of the war. Operation Barbarossa is 1941. USA entering the War was 1942. Dunkirk was 1940. The Soviet push into german territory was around 1943+.

      In 1941 there weren’t a lot of US or UK troops around to help in Barbarossa ?

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      Due to a lot of people not reading any more and falling asleep in history classes, WWII-based movies and computer games are actually an important (if often inaccurate, stylized and melodramatic) way of keeping the details of the war in the public imagination.

      In addition, the West was deeply concerned about the Russian juggernaut overrunning Germany, to the point where at the end of the war Churchill anxiously pushed for the Brits and Americans to get to Berlin first and ensure the demarcation line between the Allied and Russian areas of control was as far east as possible. He was overruled on military grounds (by Eisenhower, who deemed Berlin of no strategic importance) and on political ones by Roosevelt and later Truman, who were both very heavily blinkered when it came to Stalin and his motives.

      Certainly in Barbarossa Britain and later the USA (who didn’t enter the war against Germany until six months after Barbarossa began, in fact not until four days after the Russians halted the German advance on Moscow and forced them to retreat) were unable to send much help to the Russians that made much of a difference at the start, only later on when the Russians were grateful for the American-built jeeps and trucks and the British-built Spitfires they used to equip several squadrons (but not the American Sherman M4s, which they thought was some kind of joke and left behind to guard their rear supply areas whilst their proper T-34 tanks did the heavy work on the front).

  3. Acidburns says:

    Is this more Hearts of Iron (but less broken I hope) or more Steel Panthers?

  4. Javier-de-Ass says:

    are you guys going to do anything for armada 2526? writingwise

  5. Mr.Bigglesworth says:

    The only thing truly disturbing about this flick is the Irish music. It doesn’t even fit with the war theme.

    • Jonas says:

      Oh. It’s Irish? You sure? Not that I don’t believe you, it’s hard to tell old folk music apart, but I wouldn’t expected something… well, not Irish on this video, heh. Either way I thought it was great.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I wouldn’t mind getting an artist/album on this one. I also liked the music. In fact, I’m going to leave the video running in a tab just for the music.

    • luckystriker says:

      I think it’s music from one of the scenes in the Scorsese flick Gangs of New York

  6. Jonas says:

    Wow, I really love the music in that video. Is that some sort of modern interpretation of Russian folk music?

  7. Siantis says:

    The music is from the movie Last of the Mohicans.
    Trevor Jones – 6. Promentory

  8. Rovenkar says:

    mechanoid, I find your readiness to speak about things you do not have a slightest clue about disturbing.

    > Over 13 million people died as a consequence of that “operation”, the majority of them (over 10 million) were poorly equipped Sowjet soldiers.

    Soviet military losses amount to about 8 millions for the whole war. Germans lost around 7 millions. Dunno anything about German civilian losses, but for Russians the number is around 20 millions, the majority of them inflicted not during the military operations themselves, but on the territory already occupied by the Germans.
    The troops lost by Russians in the first year of war were actually the best-equipped. Poor supply had been the issue in 42-43 due to the need to push as many people into service as possible. It has nothing to do with Stalin’s bloodthirstiness – he just needed to replace the losses sustained in 41. Poorly equipped soldiers are better than surrender, don’t you think?

    > The US and UK commanders let Stalin do the dirty work: to progress into German territory, without caring for losses. Because they were afraid that greater losses amongst their own soldiers could turn the opinion in the US.

    UK and US allowed Germans to progress ’cause they wanted it to get rid of Russia, not being glad to have a competitor with developed industry and superior ideology. Actually, they encouraged Hitler to attack Russia. If my memory serves me right, British Prime Minister said that they’ll see who’s winning and aid the losing side, so that both Germans and Russians would have lost the greatest deal possible. Unfortunately, it worked. Seeing that now they try to pin the blame on Russian military command for going for Berlin in the end is really amusing.

    • aldo says:

      ,blockquote>UK and US allowed Germans to progress ’cause they wanted it to get rid of Russia, not being glad to have a competitor with developed industry and superior ideology. Actually, they encouraged Hitler to attack Russia. If my memory serves me right, British Prime Minister said that they’ll see who’s winning and aid the losing side, so that both Germans and Russians would have lost the greatest deal possible. Unfortunately, it worked. Seeing that now they try to pin the blame on Russian military command for going for Berlin in the end is really amusing.

      It’s worth remembering that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact before WW2 was signed by Stalin in order to encourage a UK/French war against Germany, thus weaking/destroying those countries prior to future Soviet expansion.

      (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8218887.stm)

    • aldo says:

      I fail at quoting :(

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      “Soviet military losses amount to about 8 millions for the whole war. Germans lost around 7 millions. Dunno anything about German civilian losses, but for Russians the number is around 20 millions, the majority of them inflicted not during the military operations themselves, but on the territory already occupied by the Germans.”

      The USSR officially lost 27 million combined military and civilian dead, although given the number of unregistered and undocumented settlements in the Ukraine and Belorussia, that number is generally believed to be conservative. German losses are disputed, ranging from a rather low-sounding 6 million to a rather high-sounding 14 million.

      “The troops lost by Russians in the first year of war were actually the best-equipped. Poor supply had been the issue in 42-43 due to the need to push as many people into service as possible. It has nothing to do with Stalin’s bloodthirstiness – he just needed to replace the losses sustained in 41. Poorly equipped soldiers are better than surrender, don’t you think?”

      The troops lost by Russia in 1941 were actually relatively poorly equipped, with few units equipped with the T-34 tank (which scared the hell of the German high command, as even Panzer IVs had to score half a dozen direct hits at medium to close range to be sure of a kill and could be picked off in turn from long range), few airfields equipped with modern aircraft (the Luftwaffe mostly encountering Yaks in Barbarossa until they had a nasty surprise when MiG-5s and Sturmokovics entered the fray) and few units equipped with modern artillery or rocket batteries. Actually, the troops lost in Barbarossa were the ones that Russia could most afford to lose, as if they’d lost all their T-34s, decent aircraft and heavy artillery in the opening weeks of the war they’d have been really screwed when the Germans reached Leningrad and Moscow.

      “UK and US allowed Germans to progress ’cause they wanted it to get rid of Russia, not being glad to have a competitor with developed industry and superior ideology. Actually, they encouraged Hitler to attack Russia. If my memory serves me right, British Prime Minister said that they’ll see who’s winning and aid the losing side, so that both Germans and Russians would have lost the greatest deal possible. Unfortunately, it worked. Seeing that now they try to pin the blame on Russian military command for going for Berlin in the end is really amusing.”

      This is nonsense. In the late 1930s Churchill was deeply suspicious of Russia and Stalin and regarded them as an eventual threat, but his opinion (irrelevant at that point as he was not in government) was in the minority. Most of the British and American governments were favourably inclined to Russia because they had helped out the underdogs in the Spanish Civil War and there was a lot of admiration for Russia’s economic redevelopment (the cost in lives not being known outside of Russia at that time). They did not regard Russia as a military threat because of the way it had its ass handed to it by Germany in WWI. They also regarded Communism as a more beneficial ideology than Fascism, which the West was extremely suspicious of. British policy in the late 1930s was to maintain a three-way alliance with Russia and France to contain Germany.

      The reason this idea collapsed was because France and Britain refused to invade Germany in 1938 after Czechoslovakia fell when Russia was willing to go in, and because their ally Poland would not allow Russian soldiers to cross its borders. At that point Stalin came to regard the West as too weak-willed to stand against Hitler, so when Hitler came calling with the olive branch Stalin was receptive to the idea. Stalin’s theory was that Germany would not be able to defeat France and Britain until 1941 or so, and would then take another year or two to rebuild and attack Russia. As a result, Stalin didn’t reorganise the Red Army as urgently as he should have done.

      “It’s worth remembering that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact before WW2 was signed by Stalin in order to encourage a UK/French war against Germany, thus weaking/destroying those countries prior to future Soviet expansion.”

      Actually, Stalin thought that France and the UK would not fight without Russia’s aid, so when he signed the pact he was guessing that France and Britain would sit out Germany’s invasion of Poland (which was blatantly imminent) and wouldn’t do anything until/unless Germany attacked France directly. Neither Stalin nor Hitler were expecting them to declare war over Poland, although given they didn’t do anything to help Poland either, this was a bit of an empty gesture.

      At the time of the Pact, Stalin thought a showdown with Germany possible but was still a few years away. In the meantime, and this actually seems to have become a stronger view the longer the Pact went on, he actually quite liked the idea of Germany and Russia fighting as allies, as he thought that together they could conquer the world or something. Even after Germany turned on Russia Stalin had a tendency to say things like, “Ah, what great things we could have done had we stayed friends!” An odd display of sentimentality and lack of realism from the man.

    • Kanamit says:

      “Most of the British and American governments were favourably inclined to Russia because they had helped out the underdogs in the Spanish Civil War and there was a lot of admiration for Russia’s economic redevelopment (the cost in lives not being known outside of Russia at that time). They did not regard Russia as a military threat because of the way it had its ass handed to it by Germany in WWI. They also regarded Communism as a more beneficial ideology than Fascism, which the West was extremely suspicious of.”

      Rovenkar’s completely wrong, but this isn’t correct either. The only western government that was sympathetic to the loyalists in the Spanish Civil War was France; the UK and others adopted a stance of false neutrality which starved the loyalists of supplies. The west was deathly afraid of communism spreading, even more so than fascism up until the late 1930′s.

  9. Antsy says:

    Rovenkar your first sentence has sent you into an unrecoverable ironic tail-spin. Obviously, its just goes down from there. Your last paragraph must have been lifted from some dimension hopping history book.

  10. jRides says:

    While it does look interesting, I’ve been reading those AARs that Railick pointed out in the forum, and I might just be more interested in going for HOI3.

  11. D says:

    On the topic of talking about the war on the eastern front, allow me to plug the excellent audio show Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History which has just finished a 4 part show going from Barbarossa to Stalingrad. It’s great for an introductory view on the conflict. Here for part 1:
    http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/hharchive#Show-27—Ghosts-of-the-Ostfront-I

  12. Shadrach says:

    Why do they have those silly tanks/soldiers/plane icons insted of real military symbology, it just looks like a childs game :D At least HoI3 gives you the option to choose.

    One I’m really looking forward to from Matrix Games is “War In The East”, the spiritual successor to SSclassic “War In Russia” – now theres a “hardcore” wargame. Ah the memories!
    http://www.matrixgames.com/products/372/details/Gary.Grigsby’s.War.in.the.East:.The.German-Soviet.War.1941-1945
    http://www.matrixgames.com/products/236/details/War.in.Russia:.Matrix.Edition

  13. LEEDER KRENNON says:

    The next patch will have NATO symbology.

    The game is like Panzer General more than anything else mentioned in this thread. It’s good.

  14. Jimmy says:

    It’s a ballad by Doug McClean called “The Gael”. He is Scottish, although there are no large differences between Scottish and Irish music, as both are based on Gaelic culture.

  15. Drag D says:

    Operation Barbarossa – The Struggle For Russia is a game in tradition of Panzer General series from the nineties (last century). It was a time when people had longer attention span and Panzer General & Steel Panthers ruled the ww2 themed strategy games.

  16. Tei says:

    This type of games hare for…

    Wen you read Sun Tzu, you feel the irresistible urge to play a Hex game.

    • Drag D says:

      Yes but very few people know who is Sun Tzu or what is a Hex game…

    • Tei says:

      I think that Sun Tzu is more popular that what you can think. I think there are lots of “pop” references in hollywood movies and book. Is a text, you see on all filesharing services. Also, hex games are very popular, because of these tabletop rpg games about big mechs, and the videogames like pacific general.

    • Baris says:

      I’ve got to agree with Tei here, a surprising amount of people know who Sun Tzu is.

  17. Jeffthewonderbadger says:

    Is there something about WW2 hex games that makes everybody fail at grammar?

  18. Serenegoose says:

    Go west! Operation Barbarossa!

    Ho ho ho, how witty. It’s funny BECAUSE that’s the wrong direction!

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      I guess I need to hand in my armchair historian card because I didn’t even notice that. :(

      And the music is entirely inappropriate and yes it’s from Last of the Mohicans.

  19. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Demo was interesting, failed the first non-tutorial mission though, ran out of turns. I can’t for the life of me find something that tells me how much “resources” I have though. Nor can I figure out if I’m allowed to purchase units or upgrade them or not.

    • Alastayr says:

      But you still have an idea of what to do, so it’s definitely too easy. ;)

  20. MadMatty says:

    Gaelic music? Well that would be inapropriate, although it sounded great on the vid- if only it´d been hi-res. I really marvel over the nazi-colour shoots from WW2.
    As for the game, im not much into hex-pushing, since, yeah, Panzer General.

  21. Foo says:

    Actually, that piece is from the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans which can be had many places including here: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Mohicans-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B0000042MY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1259349401&sr=8-1