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SOVIET UNION 1941 AAR

 
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SOVIET UNION 1941 AAR - 8/19/2008 9:20:05 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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SOVIET UNION 1941 AAR


This is an AAR for analysis of my test of my “Soviet Union 1941” scenario. As I did with the “France 1944 D-Day” and “Germany 1945 (Last Stand)” AARs, I’ll play both sides in hot seat (“changing hats” each player turn).

Also, my comments about tactics in the “Germany 1945 (Last Stand)” AAR deserve repeating with a few exceptions, so you may wish to review that, first (“Germany 1945” is a companion scenario to this one). That AAR is located here:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1818685

Before we start, Let’s review the scenario a bit.

1. Starting Conditions: The Germans achieved strategic surprise at the start. That is modeled with shock penalties on the Soviet forces. These penalties lessen until they expire on turn 9. Also, the Soviets have no supply points until turn 2 – making all units unsupplied on turn 1. This prevents pocketed units from disbanding that turn. Finally, the Soviets are concentrated and vulnerable near the front & some are in Local Reserve deployment – they should be easy to carve up.

2. The Forces: The opposing forces are radically different. The Germans and their allies tend to have proficiencies in the 80-90s, while the Soviets tend in the 30s. And the Germans have organizational advantages in that their artillery is concentrated in their HQs, unlike the Soviets, plus they have some motorized units. They also have cooperation and Force Proficiency advantages. But the Soviets can expect to ultimately field about twice the quantities of equipment and squads. And the Soviets have some qualitative edges in certain tank designs.

3. The Map: All of the European Soviet Union is depicted. 1000 VPs are spread over the map. The most valuable hexes are found in Moscow, Leningrad, and Baku. But there is a large concentration of VPs in the Ukraine as well. The distance to those locations from the starting front gives the Soviet player a lot of strategic depth to trade for time. He’ll need it. The terrain contains a lot of badlands (now correctly displayed as marsh), that tend to block the German motorized units at critical places. The Soviet player needs to exploit this.

4. Finland/Arctic Circle: Finnish units are restricted by House Rule #3. They can’t attack beyond their limit line. But they can move beyond it – including overruns. So the Soviets still have to garrison the line in strength. Arctic Circle units have only 1 MP – this tends to limit their use to overruns. House Rule #4 restricts them there and keeps other units out.

5. Production/Logistics: This is a strategic scenario and production issues are extensively simulated. Control of Manpower Centers, Factories, Lend Lease Ports, Refineries, and Oil Fields all affect Soviet production & supplies, and some affect Axis supplies. New Soviet armies arrive as shells – to be filled out from the pools. Most Soviet manpower levy units have to be manually disbanded by the Soviet Player. The Soviet rail net can only be repaired at a 25km/turn pace – and only four paths can be focused on. Plus, they are withdrawn when winter hits. Note that engineers are concentrated in the “RES” iconed units.

6. Garrisons/Cadres: The Germans will have to leave some forces behind to deal with rear-area issues. All Soviet dense urban cities require garrisons (by House Rule #5, division-sized, except Leningrad & Moscow require corps-sized). Plus there are Soviet cadres that arrive in the rear that will have to be corralled and destroyed.

7. Ending Conditions: As the weather turns bad, the Germans suffer both increasing shock and, eventually, pestilence penalties. Some minor Axis allies are withdrawn or go into garrison deployment. Plus, the Soviets get shock-army reinforcements from the Far East. There is also a mud phase before winter that temporarily halts most activity. Finally, note that the scenario automatically ends at the end of turn 29 – there are never any extra turns.

Also note that this test was played with a new version (version 2). Version 2 includes a modified equipment file (modeling Soviet warships & German 610mm guns, plus German tanks all have the recon flag set). 270 of the Soviet manpower levy units are now automatically disbanded. Badlands now look like the marsh terrain they were substituting for. It uses a modified Numbers.bmp (adding Army Group & Theater unit sizes). And sets the MRPB to 3, among other minor changes. It should be included in the TOAW III 3.4 update.

Note that the scenario comes with extensive documentation, including a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, and a .SAL file. All are in the same folder as the scenario.

Finally, note that the game was played using TOAW III version 3.3. This primarily affects air losses to AAA.

Let’s get started.
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Turn 1 - 8/19/2008 9:23:27 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 1


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 1. Progress was made in most areas. The Arctic section will not be shown, since little happens there.




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RE: Turn 1 - 8/19/2008 9:27:52 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the main front at the end of turn 1. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. The Germans have had the sort of turn that makes wargamers giddy. Virtually all of the frontier Soviet armies have been destroyed at very favorable loss ratios (about 6:1 total, including about 10:1 in planes & AFVs). In fact, the losses represented 13.67% of the total Soviet squads, 11.25% of their total aircraft, and 23.64% of their total AFVs. (Those percentages are for the entire game, not just the starting forces). This shows how important this turn is to the German hopes. Finally, three manpower centers were captured (Lvov, Bialystok, & Kaunas – reducing Soviet Manpower by 1.14%+0.36%+1.12%=2.58%). Note that Lvov will have to be garrisoned (division strength) from now on. The AGS security corps will be sub-divided for that purpose.

I sometimes think this is why Barbarossa scenarios are so popular: you get an initial buzz from the visceral satisfaction of clobbering the Soviets. But don’t get cocky! Soviet payback will eventually arrive down the road.

Knowing that the Soviet forces had no bombardment support, I chose to attack using Minimize Losses settings. At this AD setting (AD=2), the loss rate is so great that there is some danger of units set to that setting dropping out after the bombardment phase – without ever attacking. But, for this initial turn, that couldn’t happen. As a result, I was easily able to obtain the full nine combat phases, with all the benefits that entails. As I said above, it’s essential that the German player make maximum use of the very favorable combat circumstances of this initial turn.

In their turn, the Soviets released the Riga & Minsk factories (a reduction to Soviet production of 1.99%) and retreated as best they could. They’ll form a defensive line using some river positions. It will encompass Kiev. While that is delaying the Germans, a defensive barrier protecting Moscow must be begun with some of the new armies to come. That will allow them to fill out and train in place.




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Turn 2 - 8/19/2008 9:32:03 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 2


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 2. Progress continues. The top unit has reached the Finnish “Stop Line”. It can’t attack beyond that point (but can still move beyond it, including overruns). The Soviets have a blocking unit in place, but may eventually need more to cover its flanks.




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RE: Turn 2 - 8/19/2008 9:36:32 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the main front at the end of turn 2. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. Two more manpower centers were captured (Riga and Minsk – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.79%+0.86%=1.65% for a new total of 4.23%), and the factories in those hexes were destroyed. (Destroying the factory only gains a VP bonus. There is no extra production hit). Like Lvov, Riga will have to be garrisoned by a division from now on. There wasn’t much combat this turn, except for the reduction of a few Soviet pockets of resistance. And the loss ratios weren’t as favorable to the Germans as last turn (though they were still significantly favorable). AGN has had the easiest time of it, with AGS meeting the toughest resistance. That’s about the same as historical, and the pace has been about historical, as well, so far.

The Soviets continue to try to flesh out their defense line. Of the 40 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 29 were manually disbanded in addition to the 10 that are auto-disbanded (Off-Map, Moscow, Leningrad, Gorki, Yaroslavl, Tartarstan, Georgia, Kharkov, Kiev, & Azerbaijan), and one was denied due to German capture. The Atlantic Lend Lease disbandments were received and auto-disbanded as well.




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Turn 3 - 8/19/2008 9:40:32 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 3


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 3. Progress continues. More units have reached the Finnish “Stop Line”. The Soviets just barely managed to get a blocking unit into the vital “Lagoda Supply” hex before a Finnish unit could cheaply have captured it. There remains a huge gap in the middle that must be filled soon. Viipuri was captured, but that’s as close as the Finns can get to Leningrad actually attacking, and sufficient blocking units are in place to prevent any chance of overruns. Note that since the Viipuri defenders had support, this was one attack where I employed “Limit Losses” tolerance.

The Soviets opted to exercise the TO to mothball the Baltic Fleet this turn. The fleet will be withdrawn in exchange for a dump of squads into the pools.




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RE: Turn 3 - 8/19/2008 9:43:56 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN & AGC fronts at the end of turn 3. (The main front has gotten so large that I have to split its screenshot into two sections.) One more manpower center was captured (Tallinn – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.39%. Little happened this turn on this section except for German forces advancing mostly unopposed, except around Minsk. The Germans have to start worrying about Soviet cadres in their rear now. They’ve subdivided some RES units for that purpose.




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RE: Turn 3 - 8/19/2008 9:47:44 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 3. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. One more manpower center was captured (Kishinev – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.36%. The new grand total reduction is 0.39% + 0.36% + 4.23% = 4.98%). Some of the last Soviet pockets of resistance on the frontier were eliminated, with one pocket left to go. Note that the Rumanians, Hungarians, and Slovakians entered the war and were released this turn. This was the first turn that German rail repair of Soviet rail hexes could be done. Note that the RR units can advance every even turn and repair every odd turn – a 25km/turn rate.

The Soviets continue to try to flesh out their defense line. The TOs to release the Kiev & Odessa factories were exercised (increasing the reduction of Soviet production to 4.91%). Of the 32 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 20 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, and two were denied due to German capture. The Pacific Lend-Lease disbandments were received and auto-disbanded as well.




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Turn 4 - 8/19/2008 9:51:10 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 4


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 4. Progress continues. Most units have reached the Finnish “Stop Line”. The huge gap in the middle of the Soviet defense still hasn’t been filled. The last hex that can be attacked on the Finnish side of Leningrad was captured – at heavy cost, due to the fact that the position was heavily supported.

Note that the Baltic Fleet has been withdrawn (the Soviets got a dump of squads into the pools in exchange).




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RE: Turn 4 - 8/19/2008 9:54:36 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN & AGC fronts at the end of turn 4. Two more manpower centers were captured (Pskov & Vitebsk – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.91% & 0.53%.). The Soviet defense line between Pskov & Vitebsk was heavily assaulted with some success at heavy cost. A Soviet cadre appeared and was destroyed. The TO to release the Smolensk factory was exercised (increasing the reduction of Soviet production to 5.86%).




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RE: Turn 4 - 8/19/2008 9:57:39 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 4. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. Two more manpower centers were captured (Zhitomir & Vinnitsa – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.70% & 1.65%. The new grand total reduction is 0.91% + 0.53% + 0.70% + 1.65% + 4.98% = 8.77%). The last Soviet pocket of resistance on the frontier was overrun. Otherwise, the Axis only advanced unopposed.

The Soviets continue to form their defense line. The Kiev & Odessa factories were transferred to safety in Siberia. Of the 31 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 17 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, three were denied due to German capture, and one was destroyed in combat before it could be disbanded.




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Turn 5 - 8/19/2008 10:00:48 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 5


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the Finnish front at the end of turn 5. Petrozavodsk was captured – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.28%. The Soviets split a tank division to finally plug the gap in the center, somewhat. This front is becoming a “sitzkrieg”.




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RE: Turn 5 - 8/19/2008 10:04:51 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN & AGC fronts at the end of turn 5. One more manpower center was captured (Smolensk – reducing Soviet manpower by 1.16%. The new grand total reduction is 0.28% + 1.16% + 8.77% = 10.21%). The Soviet defense line between Pskov & Vitebsk has been massively breached. Fortunately for the Soviets, the third line of defense is forming rapidly, and the German forces are wilting from the heavy combat. Two Soviet cadres appeared and one was destroyed. The panzers drove around the end of the Soviet defenses and assaulted Smolensk – destroying the just released factory there. This maneuver, coupled with a pincer from the south, also pocketed the Soviet 20th Army.




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RE: Turn 5 - 8/19/2008 10:08:21 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 5. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. No combat took place on this front. The Axis forces continued to advance into position for future action.

The Soviet defense line is beginning to harden. It is becoming formidable. AGS may need help from AGC to clear it. Of the 32 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 18 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, three were denied due to German capture, and one was destroyed in combat before it could be disbanded.




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Turn 6 - 8/19/2008 10:11:38 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 6


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN front at the end of turn 6. The Finnish front is now close to static and will be skipped. One more manpower center was captured (Novgorod – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.68%.) The Soviet defense line has collapsed and now been pocketed. However, several Soviet units for the section have just arrived, hopefully in time to stabilize the situation.

The time has come to discuss the Leningrad defense. First, it contains a rifle army, a NKVD army, and a garrison army, all fortified. Second, those are all supported by two HQs to their rear. Third, the HQs can’t be assaulted by the Finns (due to house rule #3). Fourth, it contains a supply point. Fifth, it is a major city augmented by fortified terrain. Combine all those factors, and it may be considered as impregnable. Barring enormous redirection of German forces to this target, it can’t be taken by direct assault, if it remains supplied. However, the supply point in its hex will be removed four turns after the Lagoda Supply hex is captured. It will then rapidly become vulnerable. So, the key to capturing Leningrad is to first capture the Lagoda Supply hex.

But what’s the key to capturing the Lagoda Supply hex? It’s important to note the placement of marsh (actually badlands) terrain east of Leningrad, and the roads associated with it. The marsh terrain can only be entered by motorized units (both armor and HQs) via those roads. The HQs, in particular are critical to combat success. Note that there is no road path from the outskirts of Leningrad to the east – you have to actually possess Leningrad to use the one road available. So another path east for them must be obtained. One path originates at Novgorod, which the Germans just captured – but that gives a very narrow line of advance. Another originates at Borovichi, and this path will probably need to be included, if success is to be gained. The path to Leningrad probably goes through Borovichi.




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RE: Turn 6 - 8/19/2008 10:14:56 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGC front at the end of turn 6. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. One more manpower center was captured (Mogilev – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.48). Three additional Soviet cadres appeared and all were destroyed. The old Soviet defense line is being rolled up to the south. This is somewhat necessary to help AGS due to the strength of the Kiev defense. Of course, doing so allows the Moscow defenses to strengthen. It’s a strategic decision similar to the one the Germans had to make, historically.




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RE: Turn 6 - 8/19/2008 10:17:51 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 6. One more manpower center was captured (Kirovohrad – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.53%. The new grand total reduction is 0.68% + 0.48% + 0.53% + 10.21% = 11.90%). The Soviet defense has been seriously ruptured above Odessa. Fresh reinforcements (and the timely release of the Caucasus Front) have allowed the breach to be somewhat addressed. But most of the Ukraine is now in serious danger.

The TOs to release the Leningrad 2, Sevastopol and Dnepropetrovsk factories were exercised (increasing the reduction of Soviet production to 14.12%). Note that the choice was for only the smaller of the Leningrad factories to be released. The larger factory will hope that Leningrad can hold out for the duration. (The Leningrad factory was split for just this sort of hedging option.) Of the 33 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 18 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, and five were denied due to German capture. The Atlantic Lend-Lease disbandments were also received.




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Turn 7 - 8/19/2008 10:21:00 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 7


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN front at the end of turn 7. The Soviet forces that had been pocketed north of Pskov have been eliminated. Leningrad has been isolated, although the Soviets could probably have ejected the brigade that was responsible for it. But there was no reason to do so. It was far more important to secure the defense of the Lagoda Supply hex. To that end, more Soviet units have arrived by rail.

This was the turn where the Germans had to make a decision about strategy. Focus on Leningrad? Push on to Moscow? Or put Kiev in a pincer? Like the Germans did historically, I chose to address the Kiev problem first. That means that Moscow has to wait, and the Leningrad opportunity may expire, too. The Germans simply don’t have enough forces to meet all their needs simultaneously. I made that choice partly because I’m testing the scenario, and I need to know how it works under historical choices. But it also may be the most sensible choice. Moscow is well defended, and Lagoda may still be taken despite a delay. Passing on the opportunity to pocket the Kiev forces just looks dangerous.

The neat thing about this scenario is that it allows players to explore the other options for themselves. I think that may be the other reason Barbarossa scenarios are so popular – all the strategic options.




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RE: Turn 7 - 8/19/2008 10:24:25 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGC front at the end of turn 7. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. The old Soviet defense line continues being rolled up to the south. The Germans have had to be careful about this. They’ve had to leave a defense in front of the huge forces gathering in front of Moscow.

Viewers may wonder why the Soviets didn’t rise up out of their trenches and wade into the seemingly thin German defense. After all, the Germans are barely even dug in, if at all, and badly outnumbered. No doubt the situation looked just as inviting to Stalin at about the same time. Those historical attacks – which failed disastrously – were what made Operation Typhoon possible. Yes, the Germans are poorly entrenched, but they are mostly in good terrain. And all are well supported – that’s critical. The German HQs are full of artillery. Add that the Soviets are without support, and are designed to be poor attackers, and it’s likely that these Soviets would have suffered the same fate as their historical counterparts. Finally, there was little to gain in the immediate area, whereas if the Moscow defenses became compromised, the consequences could become catastrophic. For those reasons, the Soviets opted not to attack. Again, other players may have the chance to make a different choice.




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RE: Turn 7 - 8/19/2008 10:27:38 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 7. Two more manpower centers were captured (Odessa & Dnepropetrovsk – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.89% & 1.83%. The new grand total reduction is 0.89% + 1.83% + 11.90% = 14.62%). Like Lvov & Riga, both of these must be garrisoned by at least a division. Capture of these two cities, plus the iron and manganese deposits at Krivoi Rog and Nikopol was a VP bonanza (57 points).

By house rule #1, Odessa had to be assaulted by Romanian units alone. They did so, and managed, eventually, to capture it – at great loss. In fact, Axis squad losses exceeded Soviet squad losses this turn, because of that. Furthermore, a panzer corps managed to storm its way into Dnepropetrovsk. But the (just released) factory there managed to survive and escape, as did the Sevastopol factory. They are now in Siberia.

Three additional Soviet cadres appeared and two were destroyed. Anticipating an escape attempt by the Kiev defenders, a number of bridges (especially rail bridges) were blown by air. As such, there’s little for the Kiev defenders to do but wait to be pocketed (yes, they could be disbanded, but that’s too gamey). It’s just a question of how long it will take. If they tried to run at this point, they wouldn’t make it, and would just lose their fortified status. More forces were rushed to the defense of the Ukraine, but it remains in real danger. Only the fact that the Axis have to multi-task here may allow the front to stabilize.

The TO to release the Kharkov factory was exercised (increasing the reduction of Soviet production to 14.98%). Of the 33 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 17 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, five were denied due to German capture, and one was destroyed in combat. The Pacific Lend-Lease disbandments were also received.




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Turn 8 - 8/19/2008 10:31:00 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 8


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN front at the end of turn 8. The limited forces the Germans have available are being concentrated for an offensive to take Lagoda. In fact, an attack pushed the panzers one hex closer. Furthermore, a couple of rail bridges were blown by air, to make it harder for the Soviets to reinforce the Lagoda battle.

I now have to admit that I’ve misplayed the Soviet side of this battle. I should have blown the bridge in the hex that was just captured when I had the chance. Since it, like many other hexes in the area, contains badlands, this would have prevented the panzers from attacking it, and made the Germans wait for infantry to get there. But I didn’t realize the Germans were in range to try an attack, so I thought further reinforcements might be able to get into the hex, if the bridge was kept up. Earlier, there could have been other bridges blown forward of it, as well. Now, Lagoda is probably doomed. The frontline bridges have now been blown, though.

Furthermore, I’ve just discovered that I forgot about it and left the released Leningrad 2 factory in Leningrad, instead of moving it to Siberia and safety. This is just the sort of stupid mistake I’ve warned players about in the briefing. If Leningrad falls, that factory’s destruction will give the Germans an extra VP boost. I also didn’t start reinforcing this front soon enough. Moscow is now over defended, while Leningrad is too weakly defended. Both sides have this same management problem: too many needs and not enough forces to fill them. It makes for a challenging game, and if you make a miscalculation, it will cost you.

Note that part of the problem here (even if I had played the Soviets better) is 20:20 hindsight. The Germans know from the start that Lagoda is the key to Leningrad. Whereas the historical Germans didn’t figure this out until it was too late. Nevertheless, I think better Soviet play could still have thwarted the German plans.

Note that this turn was the last turn of Soviet ground and air shock. And the Soviet air units have been building to what looks like parity with the Luftwaffe. So, I’ve moved the AS air units up to the front and deployed them into AS from Rest. I hope this can somewhat blunt the Luftwaffe’s ability to blow bridges and conduct combat operations.




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RE: Turn 8 - 8/19/2008 10:34:27 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGC front at the end of turn 8. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. The panzers have almost reached Kiev, with one pocket left to be reduced before it.

If the Soviets didn’t rise up out of their trenches last turn, they certainly weren’t going to this turn. The German defense line is better entrenched, and stronger. But it’s stretched about as far as it can be stretched. The Kiev operation needs to hurry up.




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RE: Turn 8 - 8/19/2008 10:37:35 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 8. One more manpower center was captured (Kherson – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.81%. The new grand total reduction is 0.81% + 14.62% = 15.43%). AGS had to concentrate on the southern part of the Kiev pincer. This delayed any advance further into the Ukraine, except for the push into Kherson. The Kiev pocket is about to be formed, though, with only three hexes between the two pincers.

Of the 33 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 18 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, and five were denied due to German capture. There were no new Soviet cadres, and the only one remaining was destroyed.




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Turn 9 - 8/19/2008 10:40:24 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 9


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN front at the end of turn 9. The German armor next to the Lagoda hex couldn’t attack it due to the badlands. So they attacked the hex to the south, capturing it. Meanwhile, infantry units were moved next to the Lagoda hex, to resume the offensive next turn. It’s very likely that Lagoda will fall then. The only hope for it is that it has some armor in its defense. So the German, all-infantry attack, may founder on that armor. Note that the Brandenburg division, operating under loan to the Finns, has infiltrated to the east of Lagoda. But, due to house rule #3, it still can’t join any attacks, until it links up with the main force.




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RE: Turn 9 - 8/19/2008 10:43:32 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGC front at the end of turn 9. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. The panzers have moved off the map to the south, completing the encirclement of the Kiev pocket. That leaves this section of the front inactive, except for the one remaining pocket, which was partly reduced.

With the end of the shock penalties, the Soviet airforce was put into major action for the first time since turn one. Despite the relative parity of the posted air-strengths, the Luftwaffe manhandled them pretty severely, with a large positive loss ratio. Nevertheless, this did somewhat blunt the Luftwaffe’s ability to operate with impunity. It’s probably a price worth paying for now.




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RE: Turn 9 - 8/19/2008 10:46:36 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 9. One more manpower center was captured (Poltava – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.72%. The new grand total reduction is 0.72% + 15.43% = 16.15%). The Kiev pocket has been formed. The six pocketed armies will rapidly wither in the turns to come. Other AGS forces have reached the entrance to the Crimea.

Of the 32 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 16 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, and six were denied due to German capture. There were two new Soviet cadres, and both were destroyed.




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Turn 10 - 8/19/2008 10:49:44 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 10


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN front at the end of turn 10. The Soviets held on to the Lagoda hex. The armor may have helped, but it was primarily the fact that, with the bridge blown, the terrain costs to enter the target hex that only one attack could be launched. The hex was then reinforced in the Soviet player turn. The Germans may have to try to cut off Lagoda, to prevent further reinforcement. If I had been following this tactic from the start, Lagoda would now be much safer.

One other surprise here. I discovered that the German armor has marched into a hole that it can’t get out of. It is surrounded by badland hexes and can’t move in any direction. The only way out would be if the Finnish RR unit repaired the rail lines out of the hex and they entrained themselves out of the hex. That will take too long, so I’ll have to disband them and wait for them to reconstitute, then move them all the way from the western map edge. What a blunder! Isn’t this my own scenario? The north is turning into a comedy of errors.




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RE: Turn 10 - 8/19/2008 10:52:51 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGC front at the end of turn 10. Note the microscreen in the NW corner for reference. The one remaining pocket has been fully reduced. One more manpower center was captured (Gomel – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.57%.).




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RE: Turn 10 - 8/19/2008 10:56:13 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGS front at the end of turn 10. One more manpower center was captured (Sumy – reducing Soviet manpower by 0.66%. The new grand total reduction is 0.57% + 0.66% + 16.15% = 17.38%). The six pocketed armies in the Kiev pocket have started to rapidly wither, as predicted last turn. Other AGS forces have breached the entrance to the Crimea and threaten Sevastopol. A Soviet unit was rushed into Sevastopol, in a desperate attempt to cling to it. This, in fact, allowed the reconstituted Sevastopol garrison unit to arrive the following turn.

It’s time to discuss the Crimea defense factors. First, the entrance to the Crimea, being two hexes wide with poor terrain, is not worth much of a defense. Second, Sevastopol, while fortified, isn’t worth much more except that it can delay the Axis from the real prize. Third, that prize is the Kerch straight. If the Axis get past that point, they will be very hard to bottle back up, and the whole front will disintegrate. Note that Kerch is not very well defended at the moment. It may be necessary to shift one of the full-strength armies from the defense of Moscow to this point.

Of the 33 manpower levy units scheduled this turn, 16 were manually disbanded, 10 were auto-disbanded, six were denied due to German capture, and one was destroyed in combat. The Atlantic Lend Lease disbandments were received as well. There was one new Soviet cadre, which was destroyed.




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Turn 11 - 8/19/2008 10:59:34 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Turn 11


The attached screenshot shows the situation on the AGN front at the end of turn 11. The Lagoda hex has been captured by the Axis. The defenders were cleared out, but the attackers couldn’t advance. But, there was a Finnish unit that could advance, and did so. Remember that house rule #3 permits the Finns to move beyond their stop line so long as they don’t attack. The Soviets had nothing with enough chance to retake the hex, so it is now lost. After a delay of four turns (on turn 16), the supply point in the Leningrad hex will be removed. There is no provision for halting the removal of the supply point if the Soviets recapture the Lagoda hex. The only way supply can now be maintained to Leningrad would be if it could somehow be relieved. That is very unlikely.

With its supply point gone, Leningrad will quickly become vulnerable to attack. Probably by turn 20, it will fall. The only compensation to the Soviets is that the scenario is designed so that the historical result is rated a marginal defeat for the Axis. Capture of Leningrad should just push the level into the draw category, all else being equal. But that leaves no margin for error for the rest of the game.

Note that I had no choice but to disband the two motorized units trapped by the badlands hexes.




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