Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (Full Version)

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IdahoNYer -> Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 3:19:23 AM)

Taking the plunge on the campaign with my old nemisis, Scar. We started PBEM with PzC Smolensk as playtesters I guess over 10yrs ago. Now the stakes are higher, not just the Smolensk battlefield but all of Russia. I've got the Germans and Scar will defend the Motherland. Should be an interesting show.

IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 3:27:28 AM)

German Plan:

AGN: Main effort for the attack in Russia. Objective to isolate and take Leningrad before the winter hits. To accomplish this, I'll reinforce 4th Pzgr with a PzKp from AGS and, hopefully, up to 10 infantry divisions. Not sure where I'm going to find them just yet. AGN will also have priority on replacements across the front.

AGC: Drive on Moscow supporting the AGN drive on Lenningrad. This will lead to a slightly more northerly approach toward Moscow - at least in theory. Focus on pocketing as many Soviet elements as possible with the two PzGrps. PzGrp 2 will lose XXXXVI PzKp to AGS, but eventually gain LAH.

AGS: Reinforced by one Pzkp, initially drive SE towards the Rumanian frontier to attempt to pocket Sov's around Lvov. Focus on destroying Sov units primary, secondary taking cities to deny industry and population. Likely to lose one Pzkps once clear of the Pripet Marshes to protect the flank of AGC.

IF Leningrad can be taken prior to weather setting in, dig in for the winter counterattack and focus on taking Moscow in '42.

IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 3:32:01 AM)

Initial air attacks seemed to go fairly well. Just wish I could have hit the airfields in the nothern Baltic States a bit more and those around Leningrad. Is it worth while to hit airfields after the initial turn?


randallw -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 4:22:12 AM)

Many people say no ( there are less targets left )

IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 4:22:43 AM)

AGN's attacks penetrated into the Baltic States, forming a number of pockets, but being repulsed at Riga. With a little luck, the pockets will remain isolated. Both PzKps will drive east, heading for Pskov, leaving the infantry to mop up.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 4:42:55 AM)

AGC's two PzGrps close the trap on a huge Soviet pocket west of Minsk. PzGrp 2, with only two Pzkps, barely manages to linkup and fails to push SE of Minsk. PzGrp 3, completes the linkup with Guderian just west of Minsk, and also isolates a number of smaller pockets near Kaunas with PzGrp 4 of AGN. Overall, as long as the pocket remains isolated, a very good beginning for AGC.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 5:03:48 AM)

AGS encountered extremely heavy resistance from the outset. Two Soviet Rifle Divisions in the penetration zone refused to shatter, and conducted a skillful retreat slowing the progress of the entire 1st PzGrp. 11th Pz finally broke though and conducted a panzer raid through Tarnopol up to 30 miles south, but withdrew after cutting rail lines. One panzer division that far south would have been hopelessly isolated with the Soviet armor in the area. Hopefully this raid will prevent major elements of Soviet forces, under pressure from 17th Army, to withdraw effectively from Lvov. Even so, XXXXVI Pzkp, attached to 6th Army, linked up with 1st Pz Grp east of Kovel, isolating a number of Soviet units near Kovel. With luck, by month's end, most of the forces in the Lvov area can be effectively isolated and destroyed.


Scarz -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/28/2010 6:30:26 AM)


Several people have indicated that they wanted to make comments, so the Russian portion of this AAR will move to its own page.

Scarz -> Soviet Turn 1 (12/28/2010 6:41:54 AM)

Russians are defending the motherland on a different page now.

IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/29/2010 8:35:57 PM)

Turn 2, Germans continue to drive into the Soviet heartland. In AGN's area, the Baltic Pocket nets over 82,000 troops in 10+ divisions and over 1050 AFVs. Reducing the pocket does slow the infantry armies up, and the panzers get their first rebuff - first at Riga were a quick thrust by 1st Pz Div is repulsed, and then LVI PzKps is held up by resolute airborne units defending in the swamps. Overall, fair progress, and the pocket is a bonus. However, the attempt to penetrate the line south of Pzkov will be tougher now that the panzers have been held up. Scar is placing his units to good effect in the swamps, denying likely avenues of approach. I'm also, a bit concerned by the distance from the panzers to the infantry. AGN did recieve its first reinforcements as I sent 4xIN Divs and the XIV PzKps (Wiking, 9th Pz and Lehr Bde) - but these units will take up to two weeks to move to the front.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/29/2010 9:01:31 PM)

AGC continues to push east, as both the terrain and Soviet resistance gets more complex. The Panzer Gruppes converge again, this time east of Minsk, just short of Dniepr in an attempt to pocket another 10 or Soviet formations retreating east. Once again, like in AGN area, Scar's delaying tactics take their toll, as lead panzers are delayed again and again by airborne brigades effectively placed in swamps. 4th and 9th Army's infantry are delayed significantly reducing the Minsk Pocket, which nets over 20 divisions destroyed and more than 200,000 men surrendered and 1600+ AFVs. Minsk itself however, still holds. East of Brest-Litovsk, XII In Corps moves rapidly into the Pripet Marshes - surprised at the lack of defense encountered so far in the marshes.

Although I want to keep the pressure on, and move forward, I'm concerned that my panzers are beginning to distance themselves too much, and after this latest attempt at a pocket, both PzGrps are two close together. The beginning of Jul should see 3rd PzGrp moving NE while 2nd PzGrp attempts to get a bridgehead across the Dniepr near Mogilev. This may lead to another attempt at an encirclement near Smolensk if Scar decides to hold firm.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/29/2010 10:12:42 PM)

AGS has the greatest success during turn 2. 1st PzGrp drives south past Tarnopol and links up with Rumanian and 11th Army forces moving north, cutting off the sizable Lvov Pocket. After liquidating the Kovel Pocket, netting another 50,000 troops in 7 divisions and over 600 AFVs, 6th Army supports this attack with its XXXXVI PzKp penetrating the defensive lines being established, and perhaps setting the conditions for further encirclements if the Soviets decided to stay in place or even counterattack to relieve the pocket. 17th Army shifts some forces east, north of the Lvov Pocket, and prepares to assault and reduce the pocket next turn. Other than limited attacks across the frontier, the 11th Army and the Rumanians focused on linking up with 1st Panzer Group. Future AGS operations will be dependent on whether Scar attempts to hold or fall back to the Dniepr (which I think is more likely). In any case 1st PzGrp will attempt to head east toward Vinnitsa, then turn north toward Zhitomir-Kiev, hopefully forming a new pocket with the help of 6th Army pushing from the west.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/29/2010 10:40:22 PM)

Overall, satisfied with the initial progress over two turns, I know it gets harder each turn. German casualties have been acceptable, and Soviet losses have been staggering - which of course, the Russian Bear just shrugs off.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/30/2010 12:20:54 AM)

General Mud has just arrived to help the Soviet cause on turn 3 in the Soviet Southern Zone!! Arghhh.... Not totally unexpected, but not welcome either. Fortunately, the zone is just behind my panzers in the center and north, but the Ukraine is socked in. My question to those in the know is this - other than the additional movement points needed per hex, are there any other ill effects (such as to combat or to the general motor pool) to where I wouldn't want to continue pressing the attack across the front??

IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (12/30/2010 11:27:54 PM)

Well, General Mud certainly put the brakes on the German Offensive - as did increasing resistance and increasing fatigue. Although the mud was not across all of Russia, it heavily effected 18th Army in the Baltic States, 4th Army still in Western Russia after clearing out the Minsk Pocket, 17th Army was prevented from aggressively reducing the Lvov Pocket, 11th Army advanced across the frontier at an extremely slow pace against no resistance, and III PzKps of 1st Pz Group was truly stuck in the mud. Other units attempted to advance at best speed, and 9th Army infantry actually began to approach Vitebsk. Limited gains to the Panzer Gruppes due to lack of supply and fatigue, and some increasing resistance. Nothing exciting, and no encirclements were achieved. Had my first leader losses, as the Slovakian Corps commander was KIA - must have been a terrorist. Also the LV Korps Cdr was also KIA - at least that was close to the front! Hoeppner was dismissed from 4th PzGrp after failing to take Riga and being repulsed in probing attacks south of Pzkov. I reinstated him at the high cost of APs.

Fingers are crossed that the mud will dry out for the next week of the campaign and some major progress can be resumed. AGN begins its thrust east, past Pskov before turning north with the panzers, and the infantry needs to come up as quickly as possible. AGC must get across the Dniepr and develop the situation near Smolensk. In AGS, 1st PzGrp needs to strike further SE toward Vinnista, which was mudded out, then swing ENE toward the Dniepr. Lvov Pocket needs reduction to bring up infantry to the Ukraine. I'm going to reinforce 11th Army a bit with a few German divisions in order to take Odessa.

Will see how it goes.....

IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/1/2011 12:55:36 AM)

For Turn 4, the weather clears and the advance resumes! Although its more of an attack vs an advance at this point. Scar is rapidly digging in along the Dniepr and every swamp, city and rough terrain hex he can find. The mud certainly hurt the Axis cause, as can be seen by the lack of destroyed units:


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/1/2011 1:05:05 AM)

Overally, Turn 4 wasn't bad by any means....just hope its not too little, too late. Started off with Gen Hoeppner getting KIA - the turn AFTER I reappointed him after being dismissed of course. So, now, I have Manstein moving over to 4th Pz Grp and the AI put Model in Manstein's LVI PzKp. Maybe this can get them moving....

In AGN area, 18th Army takes Riga and begins to move toward Talinin, but is still lagging. I've placed Totenkopf in 18th Army to blaze the trail, and make Scar think I've got a major effort moving directly toward Leningrad. I'll pulll Totenkopf back to 4th PzGrp next month.

16th Army's infantry begins reaching Soviet positions near Pskov, enabling XXXXI Pzkps to attack in an attempt to flank Pskov. The flanking move succeeds, but just not enough movement to close the pocket against the lake. I'm sure Scar will be able to pull out. At this point I want Scar to think I'm making a direct attack toward Leningrad, and hopefully this attack has set those conditions.....


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/1/2011 1:11:46 AM)

4th PzGrp's main thrusts aim toward Veliki Luki with the LVI PzKps and the XIV PzKps encircling a few units between them. 3rd PzGrp just to the south, attacks north and south of Vitebsk in an attempt to encircle significant forces around the city. Despite good penetrations, the pincers just fail to close - more due to terrain than anything else. Still - a good solid punch in the lines before they begin to solidify. It's through this area, between Veliki Luki and Smolensk, that my main effort is heading before turning north to link up with the Finns. In theory, I hope to have Scar think this is an effort aimed at Moscow and defend accordingly. That's the plan at least...


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/1/2011 1:18:07 AM)

Of course, to make Scar think I'm heading for Moscow at all costs, I kinda need to get across the Dniepr - and quickly. Guderian's first attempt at crossing is repulsed south of Mogilev - it was a hasty attack by XXIV PzKps, the only effort I could muster. Now, will have to batter down the defenses with 4th Army infantry, which is just arriving. If I don't get 2nd PzGrp across next week, I will have a MAJOR problem - regardless of how well 3rd and 4th PzGrps do. On a positive note, 2nd Army and its lead Korps arrives at the railhead north of the Pripet Marshes.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/1/2011 1:26:10 AM)

In AGS, things become....."fluid"....

Released from the mud, 1st Panzer Gruppe lunges forward, deep into the Soviet Rear areas, displacing airfields and HQs. Between the two PzKps, a small pocket is formed, but the real goal is the major concentration of armor west of Zhitomir. XXXXVIII Pzkps gets very close to closing the pocket with 6th Army's XXXXVI PzKps, but 6th Army's forces are held up in one key fight, preventing the linkup. Still, the front is broken wide open, and I still may be able to destroy significant forces WEST of the Dniepr. You might also notice, I've placed the Rumanian Armored Div with III PzKps.....will see how well that works out.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/1/2011 1:31:10 AM)

The last screen shot from turn is for those who don't think pocket's can last.....The Lvov Pocket, at the end of its third week! Now, mud did certainly help it hold out, but its going to take another week to fully destroy...Isolated in turn 2, and will (hopefully) will be destroyed at the end of turn 5.

Elsewhere, the Finns attack across the boarder and push a few units back, nothing significant. Likewise, the Rumanians advance across a broad front into Bessarabia as the Soviets pull back. Most of 11th Army's weight is in the north until 17th Army comes up, and I've sent a few German divisions to reinforce 11th Army and assist in the capture of Odessa - I have no confidence that the Rumanians can do it alone.

Now to wait the next turn....


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/2/2011 5:11:50 AM)

Turn 5, 17 July....Tough fighting all along the front. The Russians are digging and digging...

In AGN, 18th Army, led by Totenkopf, cuts the Talinin-Leningrad RR, but its infantry is still a long march away.

Supporting 16th Army, XXXXI PzKps penetrates to isolate Pskov, but again, fails to close to the lake by a few miles. If nothing else, the position is turned, and Scar should have his indicator that this is a major thrust to Leningrad.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/2/2011 5:27:30 AM)

4th PzGrp is starting to show signs of fatigue and lack of supply - it can't generate enough MPs to conduct a deliberate attack on Veliki Luki. So, XIV PzKps regroups and waits for infantry to come up. LVI Pzkps sees a potential opening and moves through the swamps to the north - surprisingly not defended. With some luck, the panzers can flank the Soviet position, and infantry brought up can clear the Russians from the swamps.

Note the mud to the east behind Soviet lines!


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/2/2011 5:38:50 AM)

I had intended for 3rd PzGrp to cut NE and link up behind Veliki Luki, but it is just too fatigued and low on gas....literally. Eastward progress is shut down by the Soviet fortifcations as well as the mud just behind the Russian lines. 4th and 9th Armies are finally coming up in strength, but RR repair is still well to the west (nearest is in the NW corner of map). Assuming I can rest and resupply, I intend to continue 3rd PzGrp east in support of 4th PzGrp.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/2/2011 5:47:11 AM)

AGC finally gets across the Dniepr as 4th Army infantry clear Mogilev and assist 2nd PzGrp in crossing the river just south of the city. The key in crossing was that the hex SE of Mogilev on the east bank was unoccupied, greatly facilitating the crossing. By turn's end, 4 panzer divisions and LAH were firmly across the river. With some luck, 2nd Pzgrp can now have some running room.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/2/2011 6:01:20 AM)

In AGS area of operations, the Soviets are withdrawing at speed behind the Dniepr. They abandoned Zhitomir with haste, and 6th Army attempts to cut off the withdrawal with the XXXXVI PzKps - but the infantry is lagging, and I expect the Russians to reach the river. 1st PzGrp finds the Dniepr already being fortified, and needs to concentrate and reorganize. 17th Army finally reduces the last of the LvoV pocket, and begins moving east at best speed. Supplies are running low across all units, the nearest RR repair is in the NW corner of the screen. Still, will attempt to cross the Dniepr near Cherkassy.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/2/2011 6:07:29 AM)

Nothing much exciting in as the Rumanians advance on a broad front against negligble resistance. Doesn't appear that the Soviets will attempt a stand west of the Dniepr, Odessa does not appear to be have much defenses established.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/6/2011 2:09:53 AM)

Turn 7, 31 Jul and the Germans manage to gain some forward momentum as infantry begins to arrive in strength along the front. While the Pz Divs are generally fatigued, low on fuel and some showing less than 100 runners, the infantry is pretty fresh and just about full strength.

18th Army secures Talinin and drives north of lake Peipus, meeting little resistance. One Korps, assists 16th Army in isolating a few units agains the lake. Was fairly surpised that Scar hadn't fortified the strip of land north of the lake - the shortest and most direct, as well as very defendable - route to Leningrad.

16th Army, after securing Pskov was going to be changing its main effort to drive east, south of Lake Ilmen to link up with 4th Pz Grp advancing from the south. However, after I pulled XXXXI PzKps out of the line north of Pskov, and moved infantry in their place, a few hasty attacks by the infantry apparently collapsed the entire Soviet line - ultimately resulting in a very surprising gain of 40-50 miles! Was unfortunate that I had already moved the panzers east! They could have possibly isolated of Novgorod.

Perhaps Scar has pulled some troops away from Leningrad to bolster Moscow where I am fighting for every mile gained? This lack of dug in Russian infantry between Pskov and Novgorod has really surprised me.

18th Army will continue to drive directly to the Leningrad defenses while 16th Army will have two objectives - isolate and secure Novogorod and drive east to link up with 4th PzGrp, ultimately cutting off Leningrad.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/6/2011 2:55:44 AM)

In front of 4th PzGrp, the Soviets appeared to be attempting to pull back after Veliki Luki fell. This was perfect timing as fresh German infanty in the form of 9th Army began arriving in force, and 4th PzGrp was not overly fatigued - low of fuel, yes, but strength and fatigue weren't too bad. The arriving infantry bulled open a penetration anchored in swamps, and the panzers poured through. LVI Pzkps was first through the breach, scattering retreating units and finding little evidence of a fallback line. XIV Pzkps exploited the penetration, attempting to link up with 3rd PzGrp pushing north. And that was the problem, while 4th PzGrp was fairly fresh, 3rd PzGrp was very exhausted. 9th Army infantry replaced 3rd PzGrp formations as well as attacked into the "pocket" to widen the "corridor". This freed up about 2 worn out Pz Divs and 2 Mot Divs which managed to stumble forward perhaps 20 miles - fortunately, the Soviet defensive belt expected 3rd PzGrp to continue to drive east, not north. With a bit of luck, the "pocket" can be contained and then reduced. Regardless, 4th PzGrp will attempt to continue to drive NE, east of the Valday Hills in order to isolate Leningrad. 3rd PzGrp is going to have to halt and rest - at least for a week, maybe more. With time running out, I just find it extremely hard to "halt" panzers, regardless of how much they need it.


IdahoNYer -> RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar (1/6/2011 3:37:50 AM)

After getting a bridgehead across the Dniepr near Mogilev on 17 Jul, 2nd PzGrp and 4th Army expected a brutal fight to expand the bridgehead. Surprisingly Scar immediately fell back 30 and 50 miles to a prepared defensive line. In many ways, this faciltated AGC's attack. Instead of having to expand the bridgehead against prepared positions, both infantry and panzers advanced unhindered to the second defensive line. After a week of moving forward and preparing, the blow fell on 31 July. 4th Army infantry attacked, with Korps strength each, two key level 2 fortified positions at the point of penetration. One was pushed back, one routed. The door was open for XXXXVII Pzkps which used infantry to push the retreating Russians further back. Then the panzers advanced - low on fuel, but reasonable in fatigue and runners. XXXXVII Pzkps brushed all aside, enabling XXIV Pzkps to exploit the gap, advancing until out of fuel. And like 3rd PzGrp, that is the major issue, the panzers need a rest. My intent is to continue 2nd PzGrp due east to seize Bryansk - forcing Scar either to abandon ground north and south of the penetration, or risk encirclement. But with rest needed, I'm running out of time.


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