Retreat to the Don


Eleven minutes.


Theater of War Mission Pack: Case Blue

Mission: Retreat to the Don

Difficulty Level: General

Commander: You don’t need one, but any commander with mortar halftrack call-in or Riegel mine-laying should be useful.


Another river-in-winter map, though it’s more of a creek than the mighty Don—and the mission is more like a few small skirmishes than a battle. It takes about 11 minutes to win, because you start out owning all three VPs and 11 minutes is roughly the time needed for dropping the Russian point total from 500 to 0 while holding all the VPs.

You start with 2 grens and a pioneer squad. The VPs are close to each other in a triangle arrangement in the upper left quadrant of the map, all on the left bank of the river. Here’s what you do:

  • Send the grens to guard the right VP. They may immediately tangle with (and if so, should be able to rout) Russian engineers trying to take the territory point next to the VP, on the river bank. Note that this riverbank TP is much less important than the VP itself. Upgrade the grens with LMGs (requires battle phase 1) when you can. Keep them back at the southern end of the VP where they are less exposed to sudden enemy attacks.
  • Bring in an HMG and put it in the house at the upper left VP.
  • Use your starting pio squad to crew the artillery gun at the base. The gun should immediately shell the river to the right of the TP next to the right VP.
  • Using grens, build a bunker-HMG below the right VP to cover the N/E approach to the that VP.
  • Reinforce your pios, crew the Pak, and send the Pak to cover the right VP.
  • Build a bunker-HMG, facing north, on the rail tracks just below the path between the two upper VPs.
  • Reinforce the pios again and send them to the lower left VP to build a bunker-HMG guarding that VP.
  • The pios at the lower left VP, once they have finished building the bunker there, should retreat to base and build the tech building for Paks and 251s.
  • Bring in a 251 for reinforcing troops at the right VP.
  • Bring in another Pak for the right VP.
  • Put one of the gren squads into the house across the fence to the W of the right VP.
  • The first Russian armor, two T-70s, should show up at around the five-minute mark, with infantry support. They are strongly buffed, able to wipe your squads in a blink, and when working jointly very difficult for a single Pak to stop—do your best and have at least one of your gren squads use its panzerfaust. You could have two Paks in place by now at the right VP, but if you did, the T-70s would attack the left VP and/or your base. It is far better to deal with them at the right VP where you are reasonably strong.
  • It may be that only one T-70 attacks the right VP and the other attacks your base. The conservative way to deal with this attack on your base is to bring in pios to repair the base building, i.e., to slow down the damage. You lose the mission if you lose your two buildings, but if you have three pios at work repairing, a T-70 will need at least 6-7 mins to do the job, and the Russians will otherwise lose at about the 11 minute mark.
  • If you want to use a commander, now is the time. I like mortar halftracks. Riegel mines should be very useful but the Russian armor usually just goes around them, and you won’t have enough munitions to cover all approaches to your two upper VPs. The use of Riegels is therefore to block Russian armor attacks at maybe one point, allowing you to focus AT resources elsewhere. An alternative is to use the commander with stormtroopers, which have some AT power, although it takes a while to upgrade them with schrecks, and German infantry units generally don’t last long in the vicinity of Russian armor. More HMGs, Paks, or Panzergrens are good too.
  • Around the 8 minute mark, a T-34 will attack, usually at the right VP, often from the river. Be ready with a Pak or two, and be ready to reinforce the crews. The T-34 at close range (and in this game, it’s always at extremely close range) will decrew your crewed weapons almost automatically.
  • Around the 10 minute mark the Russians will bring in a KV-8 (flamethrower tank), again usually to attack the right VP, and that will hurt, but your two Paks (especially if reinforced) should kill it before long. Anyway the Russian points should run to zero before they can capture two VPs.

[updated 15 Feb 2021]