Korsun Pocket by Jack Radey, the original and the Upcoming Re-Print !!

Easily in my Top Five Most Favorite of All Time, Peoples WarGames "Korusn Pocket" is one of the first Monstergames I bought. I got it from Jack Radey himself at Origins 1980 for the huge price of $28.00. (Yes! Very Expensive ! for that time....what was it? Three SPI games? A Battalion -45 minis- of GHQ Micro Armour ?) And since I was still in high school, I managed to get to play it several times with the WarGames Society.

Based on the SPI "Wacht Am Rhein" system of Company/Battallion-level WWII combat, the game has a great feel to it and is magnificently detailed. I and my friends never had any problems with it; we liked the artillery supply rules (even thought about differentiating the calibres of the Artillery Ammo -despite Jack's warnings about how "That Way lies Madness") and the topic and setting of Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War, January to February 1944 was perfect as the two sides were still somewhat equal, the topic obscure enough so that we had No Preconceived notions about it and lent itself extremely well to multi-player games.

Now, I see that it will -Finally- be Re-Printed by Pacific Rim Publishing. I have already sent an e-mail to PRP, informing them of my great interest and Absolute Intent to buy the game when it becomes available. (and, hell! If they need a $100 NOW, well....where'd I put my checkbook?)

I would really, REALLY like to see the reprint with graphics like "New England Simulations"' "The Killing Ground" and "Overlord Expansion". I do like the old "SPI-look" of the original and if the reprint would be just that, I wouldnt complain. But ! Having NES "The Killing ground" shows me what "Is Possible" and I definitely think that such a Great Game as "Korsun Pocket" deserves the Absolute Best>..and I would gladly pay for that!!

I still have not found a copy of Col. Douglas Nash's "Hell's Gate" for under $100.00. I definitely want to own the book but I havent found a convincing reason yet to go ahead and pay the $125.00 ( + Shipping & Handling, of course). And Not while I still remember onetime just idly searching on Amazon and getting a price of $45.00....No, I didnt. Why? Because I thought I would find that price again. Yes, I know. But that's how it usually works, isnt it?

I also am on the look out for some of the other books on the Battle, like "Krim', Karapati I Dnepr" and Niklaus Von Vormann's "Tcherkassy". (When I served in the U.S. Army, I was a 98 G Russian....very fluent in Russian Military since that was my job. And served in Germany, so I have no problem with that either.) It was intruiguing to us back then, trying to find more information on the battle besides "Paul Carrell"....but then that was pretty much the only thing in all the libraries at the time. Yes, I know, we also had Von Manstein and Zhukov, but as far as what we wanted for details, the two marshals had only a few pages and that covered the actions at their level, that is Army Command. I do know we wanted to know more about the 5th Guards Cavalry Corps and the Heavy Panzer Regiment Baeke.

Right now, these days, I dont have room to put up all four maps. I have found , however, that the one single "One-Map Scenario, #4" is a truly outstanding game. Fortunately so ! I can definitely get my "Korsun Pocket" fix with just that one scenario.

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Dan,
Save your money on Nash's book. I have it. While big, detailed, and with lots of photos, it shows an obvious pro-German bias which is its biggest drawback. Given that there's not much else out there on the topic in English, that may not dissuade you. But if you are a Russophile like me, it will be more than irritating. Jack Radey himself had near apoplexy over that book.

Like you, I have my concerns over a PRP version of the game and hope it will be a first-class graphic effort. Also like you, KORSUN POCKET is one of my favorite monster games and one I hope will see the light of day yet once more in an improved version.
Eric,

If I can find Nash's book for a reasonable amount (NOTHING NEAR $100 !) I want to pick it up, specifically for the minutia of the German side. Due to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic's unfriendly relationship with the Facts, Truth, and Reality, I think a true historical account of the Soviet Side will not be seen for another decade, if ever. And when you consider the Soviet General Staff Study on the battle is found to be near-useless because of the heavy propoganda,
ANYTHING based on actual historical records is okay by me.

AND, not to mention (since you too enjoy the study of our old Russian nemesis) that Zhukov's role in the war was rewritten on J Stalin's orders and Konev was given permission...well actively encouraged... to write about his own role in a manner that reflected well on Konev and poorly on Zhukov, we must not be too critical of any "Pro-German Bias". I have yet to find ANY history that is "Bias-Free".

What would that even look like ? Could we even mange to read it without falling asleep? Would we even retain any of it? Would we even bother to try ?
There is a new book on Tjerkassy but it is in Swedish. Its written by Niklas Zetterling (who worked at the national defence college) and Anders Franksson (whom I knew in the early eighties playing wargames). They have written a book on Kursk as well which is very good but sligthly pro-german. Tjerkassy is less so and I hope it will be translated for your benefit. Zetterling has also written a very interesting book on the Germans in Normandy, in english actually.
Oh Yes ! I see Zetterling's book being advertised on Amazon.com, due out in August '08 and going for near $32.00 (including S&H) . I will defnitely get it, due to the fact that ANY book on the Korsun Pocket is welcome.

I am a little annoyed with Zetterling and his 'critique' on the Soviet General Staff Study that Col. Glantz and Harold Orenstein did. It seems as though Zetterling had a major axe to grind with Glantz and used the fact of the Soviet Staff Study's Communist Propoganda Aspect to try and 'smear' Glantz. (I use the word 'smear' but that -may- be too harsh a word. I do think Zetterling is being disingenuous in his 'critique' of what is obviously Propoganda when Glantz is upfront about it when he states that the General Staff Study on Korsun-Shevchenkovskii is the worst of all of the studies.) .

An example is when Zetterling faults the Soviets for including all the German Divisions in the Pocket, when most were understrength or had only parts of the parent division in the pocket. Well, yes, but in Military Intelligence, you first list the Whole Division to "Cover Your Ass", then as more intell is received, you modify your report. (I served 13 years in the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, having an Above-Top-Secret Clearance;so, Yeah, I am a professional). Plus, you dont say "We had our asses handed to us by a BATTALION" or "A Regiment hacked it's way through 5 of our infantry divisions." -well, you COULD, but a much better way (and the way that they DID do it) is to state that a panzer division shot up 135 of our tanks.

And when the Soviets did have solid intelligence that two or three Panzer Divisions were involved they went with that, like saying, 1st Panzer Divison, reinforced made it to Lysyanka, rather than try and say, accurately, "an Under-strength Panzer Regiment, commanded by Doctor Baeke"...which of course, assumes that they even knew about the sPzRgt Baeke.

But rather, I can see how the Soviets had assembled the german O.B. (1st SS Pz, 1st, 16th, 17th and part of 14th Panzer Divisions -all reinforced with schwehr Panzer Abteilungen, 506th, 503rd and 1/26) and went with that. And since the Study was compiled in 1944, with Comrade Stalin watching, I really DO NOT expect fair and accurate content.

Another beef I have with Zetterling is HIS numbers. I realise that numbers are never accurate. Rarely do you get true totals. With the Soviets, its doubtful that that numbers could have been known; we will have to wait for fuller access to the State Archives. With the Germans, they had a couple of different ways to list their numbers. "Runners" or In Workshops -with two flavors of those; Long Term and Short Term and also WHO was reporting. The Front Commanders who reason "Tell them we only are at 25%, maybe they'll send us more" or the Ordnance Departments "Hey! We sent 260 !!". Plus the Germans always got things running, by what ever means and effort. Also, like Wenck did after 6th Army was surrounded at Stalingrad, "Scrounge Up" a Panzer Battalion !! (and then, if you read Wenck closely, once Manstein found out about the Non-TO&E Pz Bn and Wenck was ordered to send the tanks to real Panzer Divisions, Wenck actually "sent a few tanks to 6th Pz Div and from then on only deployed thier Panzers in Company-Level Strength". Which means, Wenck STILL had the use of a Panzer Bn. But, using Zetterling's methodology, such things never existed, there were NO PANZERS in Wenck's Command.

I say this because in Zetterling's 'critique', Zetterlings uses his own numbers and routinely disregards the numbers of the On-Site, Historical Comanders, Von Vormann and Lieb.

As you can tell, I AM somewhat annoyed by Zetterling. I dont disregard everything he writes, but some stuff does get under my skin. Like saying that 'you know better than someone who was there'. I have seen one modern day 'historian' that was absolutely adamant that there WERE NO SHERMAN TANKS at Korsun. Absolutely Positive ! He had "The Facts" to back him up! Even to the point of telling a Soviet Veteran Tanker who was a Driver of An M-4 at Korsun that he was wrong !!! (Like the Veteran was absolutely incorrect as to the type of tank he was driving?!?!?). I havent seen what the 'historian's' resonse is to the Photograph of the M-4 Sherman THAT IS STILL ON THE BATTLEFIELD near Korsun. The M-4 was dug up out a swamp a few years ago.

I want to see Zetterlings work on the Germans at Normandy. I have heard good things about it; I wont go into it saying "This guy is wrong" from the beginning. I had the issue of "Military Modeler" (or what ever the actual magazine is) that had the Female's work (I forget her name) who did an excellent work on German Tank Number during the Normandy Campaign IN My Hands, looking at it !! I had, unfortunately spent all my money on two S&T's and a wargame. I thought "Oh I can come back for it!"....yep, that turned out exactly how you'd expect. I have never seen that issue again.
Daniel,
I know the reprint is being worked on. I don't believe any of us have seen samples of the graphics yet. As much as I adore Jeff "The Poobah" Tibbetts, I would not expect to see NES level of graphics. Now don't misunderstand me, I think they will be good, just not as "posh" as what the NES team was able to put out.

I too don't know how to put up the entire game except at the Consimworld Expo in Tempe, but with no release date announced, it's pretty moot since I don't have a copy of the original to mess with.
How realistic is it that this game will be republished? I have the old original and agree it's an epic - one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. Also have NES's Killing Ground and would agree that this is an ideal format for a reprint.
I remember playing KORSUN POCKET at one of the earliest MONSTER.CONs in Tempe. Jack tells me the revision benefits from a great deal of OOB scrubbing, with the help of Dave Glantz's access into the Soviet archives since this game was first published, as well as Jack's indefatigable attention to detail. This classic deserves to come back. I was disappointed when L2 didn't press through with it and can only hope that Pacific Rim will bring this title to fruition. If there was ever a game that deserved a remake, this is the one.

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