8. The Weather System

Focus: This section provides more information on how weather affects both ground and air operations and how it changes from turn to turn.

Key Points:

  • How weather in a given turn is determined
  • Estimating weather conditions for the next turn
  • The impact of weather on air operations
  • The impact of weather on ground operations
  • Special rules for the period between December 1941 and February 1942 and for the December-February periods in 1943-44

8.1 Generating the Weather Conditions

The weather for every hex is determined once a turn during the Soviet logistics phase. This is important as it means that the weather in the next German game turn will be the same as Soviet weather in the previous turn.

Weather is determined using a larger map area than is actually playable in WiTE2. The weather will change throughout the year as temperatures rise and fall and weather fronts form and move onto the playing area. Most of the fronts that affect game play in WiTE2 will originate in Siberia, the Arctic or the North Atlantic but each of these will change the weather in different ways.

8.1.1 Climate Zones and Dominating Weather Conditions

Each hex is allocated to one of eight different climate zones. The climate zones are Polar, Humid Cold, Humid, Humid Warm, Temperate Humid, Temperate Dry, Arid Steppe, and Arid Desert.

The division of the wider game map into these zones can be found by using the ‘Climate Zones’ tab on the Weather Conditions screen (36.6).

In addition the weather zone for a given hex will be shown on the pop-up that appears when you mouse over that hex, as:

The actual weather is partly determined by the Climate Zone. This indicates the type of weather that might be expected to dominate in that zone at that time of the year. The chart can be accessed by clicking on ‘Show Dominating Weather Table’ on the Current Weather Conditions screen.

Expected conditions are Clear (C), Rain (R), Heavy Rain (HR), Cold (Co) or Snowfall (Sf).

These default weather conditions are then modified as weather fronts move across the map. A front can bring a different weather type to that expected so the actual weather may improve, or worsen, compared to what is expected.

The current air weather condition determines the amount of moisture (water level) is added each turn to a hex, which over time will determine and modify the ground condition and ice level. Thus the ground conditions will move between Clear, Light Mud, Heavy Mud, Light Snow, Snow and Heavy Snow depending on recent and current air weather.

The current ground conditions and moisture levels for any hex can be found by right clicking on the hex (see figure 8-3).

8.1.2 Weather Fronts

There are five types of weather fronts that can enter the map and alter the dominating air weather. Weather fronts will impact all hexes they moved through during the turn (i.e. the hexes where it started on the previous turn and those where they are in the current turn, and hexes in between).

The fronts are Polar Maritime (mP), Tropical Maritime (mT), Arctic Maritime (mA), Polar Continental (cP) and Tropical Continental (cT).

For example, the Polar Continental Front (cP) will change a hex that would have been Clear to Cold in November to February but will leave the weather as clear at any other time of the year. If the hex would have had Rain in the period November to February this will change to Snow. In the same period, if the hex would have had Snowfall, a Polar Continental Front will replace this with Blizzard conditions.

However, an Arctic Maritime Front (mA) will change an otherwise Clear weather hex to Rain at any time of the year and will convert a hex that would have had snowfall to Blizzard conditions.

8.1.3 Moisture and Water Levels

The air weather influences the ground weather as the moisture level of each hex alters according to atmospheric conditions. The following table shows the impact of various air conditions on the moisture in a hex and on ground conditions.

8.1.4 Changing Snow Conditions

The Snow Level in a hex will never reach 8 or 9 unless the air condition for the hex is also a Blizzard. Snow in a hex will never be 7 unless the air condition is Snowfall or Blizzard.

Once the snow level reaches 8 or 9, it is treated as Heavy Snow for ground movement purposes slowing movement and reducing attacking CVs.

All Snow converts to water if air weather changes to one of: clear, rain or heavy rain.

8.2 Estimating the Weather Conditions

Since the weather system is dynamic it is also possible to estimate the likely weather in the following turn. In effect, the combination of the Dominating Weather table and the movement of Weather Fronts will allow an estimate of the likely impact on a given hex in the following turn.

However, this estimate maybe inaccurate if the Weather Front either disperses or does not move as predicted.

Equally, the estimate made available to the Soviet player is more reliable than that for the Axis player as most Weather Fronts affecting the game map originate from regions where either the Soviets or Western Allies had better weather forecasting capacity than the Axis.

An estimate of next turn’s weather can be found by clicking on the date for the following week at the top of the Current Weather Conditions screen.

8.3 Weather Displays and Graphics

The Weather Screen allows the player to toggle on information for the Climate Zones, the Ground weather conditions, the Air weather conditions or the Road Systems.

The weather condition in each hex can be found in the hex pop up text. The weather can also be seen in the artwork on the main map. By using the tab (or the Map Information button) the player can toggle between showing both Air and Ground conditions; Ground only; Air only, or, no weather art on the map, with the button graphic displaying the current state.

This shows the four ways the map can display the weather conditions (in this case during the autumn rain turns). Image 1 has both ground and air conditions shown, 2 is ground conditions only, 3 is air conditions only and 4 disables the on-map graphics. While most of the time you may find 1 the most useful, in particular in winter turns 4 can be useful to check underlying terrain.

8.4 Impact of Weather Conditions on Air Operations

Although atmospheric air conditions create changes in the overall weather, the resulting Air Weather only affects air operations. The air weather conditions over an air mission’s flight path are used in determining the amount of cloud cover and the overall air mission weather. There are six Air Weather Conditions as follows:

As indicated above, the air mission weather is classified as very poor, poor, fair, good, or excellent, with this being determined by the aggregate cloud cover over a particular air mission’s entire flight path. When setting an air directive (17.4) the player can indicate the worst conditions it will take place under. Even if the mission is ordered, if the weather is poor or very poor it maybe cancelled, or relatively few planes will complete the mission and there is a risk of high operational losses (19.5.2).

The air weather condition in each hex sets a percentage of cloud cover for the hex. There is some randomness in this setting, but the worse the air weather condition, the more the cloud cover effect.

In turn this creates a Weather Value scaled from 0 to 100, with the higher score reflecting worse weather and thus a higher chance of adverse effects, up to and including mission cancellation and will lead to higher operational losses (18.3.11).

If a mission does take off and reach its target then the weather in the target area will impact the effectiveness of the airstrike (bombing or recon). Ground Support missions in particular will be significantly reduced during bad weather such as heavy rain, snowfall, and blizzard.

8.5 Impact of Weather on Ground Operations

Ground operations are only affected by the ground weather in a particular hex.

There are six Ground Conditions ; clear, light mud, heavy mud, light snow, snow and heavy snow.

Ground conditions are determined by the current air weather condition and the cumulative amount of moisture (water level) in the hex. For example, consecutive periods of heavy rain will turn clear ground condition to light mud and then heavy mud. Cold, snowfall, and blizzard air weather conditions, will freeze the moisture and result in varying amounts of snow. The current weather condition and moisture levels in any hex can be seen by right clicking on a hex.

8.5.1 Impact of the Road System

Each hex is rated for the quality of its road system as: Good; Average; or, Poor. The quality of the road system helps to offset the impact of poor ground conditions on movement and combat. Basically the better the road system, the less impact weather has on movement and ground combat.

8.5.2 Impact of Weather on Movement and Combat

The ground condition in a hex, when combined with the type of road system present, determines both whether there is an additional tactical ground movement cost (38.6), which can also affect supply, and whether the combat value (CV) of attacking units are modified (23.8.4).

When attacking, any modifications are based on the ground weather conditions in the hex occupied by the attacking unit at the time of combat. This is also true for attacker reserve units that are committed to the battle (CV weather effect is based on the hex they are physically in on the map) and support units that are directly attached to a combat unit.

Attacker support units in HQs are affected by the ground weather in the target hex.

In poor weather, especially blizzard turns, the weather will mean that a number of combat elements are not available. This will particularly affect the attacker and means you may want to ensure the likely odds are around 4 or 5-1 before launching an attack to take this into account.

8.5.3 Ice Levels and Frozen Lakes and Rivers

As the weather becomes colder, lakes and rivers may start to freeze . Once they are frozen, movement costs will be substantially reduced.

Ice levels range from zero (none) to ten (frozen solid). Ice levels will never exceed ten or go below zero. Ice levels from one to four for minor rivers and from one to seven for major rivers are defined as loose ice and this will increase the movement costs as the ice level increases up to seven.

Minor rivers with ice levels five through 10 are defined as frozen as are major rivers with ice levels eight through ten. Frozen rivers will have little impact on movement costs. The Ice level is determined individually for each river hexside using the warmer weather of the two hexes to which a river hexside is adjacent with changes as follows (from warmest to coldest). Each turn the air weather will change the relevant ice level by:

  • Clear: – 3
  • Rain: – 2
  • Heavy Rain: – 2
  • Cold: 0
  • Snowfall: +1
  • Blizzard: +2

As with ice free movement across rivers, MP costs are different depending on whether the unit is moving into an EZOC or not (38.6.1). Note that ice level costs are cumulative with the regular cost to move or attack over river hexsides.

Frozen ice levels (5 or more for minor rivers, 8 or more for major rivers) causes all river hexsides (including impassable) to have much less impact on movement or combat (and this is the only time a unit can attack across an impassable river hexside).

As ice conditions do not occur in full water hexes, tactical movement over such hexes (including small lakes, large lakes, and sea hexes.) is not allowed, regardless of ice level. In addition, neither strategic naval transport nor amphibious transport is affected by ice levels except as stated below in Lake Ladoga and the Sea of Azov.

8.5.4 Supply When Lake Ladoga and the Sea of Azov are Frozen

These two bodies of water have slightly different supply rules when frozen.

During certain times the ports in Lake Ladoga and Sea of Azov sea zones will be impacted by ice. There are two levels of ice - Thin Ice and Frozen Solid. When Thin Ice is present, all ports have their port points /10 each turn. If they are Frozen Solid, then no freight shipping is possible (although this will not shut down ports when determining isolation status). The ice-state can be accessed by right clicking on a suitable hex.

In addition special rules apply to reflect the Ice Road that was used to resupply Leningrad in winter. If Lake Ladoga is Frozen Solid, freight will attempt to move through port source depots to port depots via trucks instead of ships. For this to happen, there must be a functioning port source depot for the goods to pass through and the move is shown as a rail not sea move if you mouse over the affected hexes.

Note that this supply line is subject to interdiction and will be hampered (or broken) if the key ports are damaged.

The timing of the ice conditions in the two sea zones is as follows:

8.6 Special Winter Rules

8.6.1 First (Harsh) Winter Rules

Impact on movement
These rules apply in any turns from June 1941 up to the end of March 1942 but will have particular effect during the winter turns.

Resupply. When carrying freight, Axis vehicles pay double the normal weather movement costs. They also pay an additional 8 MPs for each Blizzard hex entered.

Rail System. When Axis trains are moving freight by rail, the MP cost for each hex is increased by 10 plus the snow level in Blizzard hexes. In non-blizzard hexes if the snow level in a hex is over 5, then the MP cost per hex will be increased by the snow level/2.

Note that both these rules apply from 22 June onwards, just they become more of a problem once snow and blizzard conditions start to occur.

Impact from attrition
These rules apply in any turns between 1 December 1941 and the end of March 1942.

Frostbite/Weapon Malfunction. Ground elements can suffer increased fatigue and/or damage (but not destruction) during the logistics phase if in Blizzard hexes or in hexes with snow levels of 6 or more (the more snow the more fatigue/damage). Support elements are much less likely to suffer fatigue/damage, while infantry type elements are more likely to suffer fatigue/damage. Extreme cold will affect ground elements, aircraft and AFVs. Both aircraft and AFVs will be particularly vulnerable to breaking down. AFVs also have an increased chance of breakdown (damage) during combat when the combat is in a blizzard or snow level 6 or higher hex.

Units in protected hexes suffer less damage (protected in this sense is one of: a fort level 2 or more, city, urban, heavy urban hexes).

8.6.2 Mild Winter Rules

The winter of 1943-44 was relatively mild so the basic winter rules are amended between December 1943 and February 1944 as follows:

  • If a weather front will shift the weather to blizzard this only applies for the first turn the front is on the map. In subsequent turns, it shifts weather to snowfall instead.
  • Snowfall generates +Die(2) snow level instead of +1+Die(2) per turn;
  • Snow levels during snowfall can decrease by 2 instead of 1 if already above 6.
  • There is a 25% probability that Polar Continental and Arctic Maritime weather fronts will be canceled.