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Korsun Pocket - 10/29/2008 11:29:23 AM   
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Both Hitler and Stalin expect a second Stalingrad.
Konev wires Stalin, "There is no need to worry, Comrade Stalin. The encircled enemy will not escape."


Operation Watchword Freedom

16th Panzer Division
Spearhead of III Panzerkorps

The German commander briefs his troops on the upcoming battle.

"We will be entering heavy combat. Gruppe Stemmermann is surrounded in Korsun by a Russian force of 200,000 infantry and 500 tanks. Our trapped force includes the SS Wiking and SS Wallonien divisions with loyal Russians who have joined us in fighting Bolshevism. The Waffen SS units have only 43 armored vehicles remaining and are running low on supplies. The Russians we will fight are mostly new recruits, like most of you, who have refilled the ranks of their formations which were savaged in earlier battles against our forces. They are inexperienced, but make no mistake. They have been whipped into a frenzy of hate by their political commissars."

"Hitler wants a second Stalingrad, and instead of ordering a relief effort, has ordered us to surround the Russians surrounding Korsun in a huge encirclement which he knows cannot succeed. Our 11th Panzer Division has already burnt itself out trying to carry out this order. We are the next spearhead of III Panzerkorps but have been ordered by Manstein to ignore nonsense orders and to attack directly towards Korsun to rescue our comrades. Between us and our objective are 4 Russian Tank Corps supported by infantry, bunkers, mines, artillery, bombers and plenty of mud. We must ignore the odds and hurry before our comrades are overrun. Speed is of the essence!"
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RE: Korsun Pocket - 10/30/2008 5:21:28 PM   
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The German Kampfgruppe begins the breakthrough operation after a brief artillery preparation. Recon units are fired on as they speed forward. A platoon of tigers leads the assault ahead of one company of infantry, a platoon of motorized engineers, self-propelled guns and AA support.


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RE: Korsun Pocket - 10/31/2008 1:35:46 AM   
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Several SU-152s charge into the German flank in a sneaky attempt to smash the artillery battery. Shrugging off 88 rounds fired by Tigers, the 152s' heavy calibre rounds pound the defenders causing casualties among gun crews and blow up a truck and a Panther tank. A pair of 88 flak guns are trucked in, and together with a Nashorn, 2 of the SU-152s are destroyed and a rifle squad finishes off the crews. A third 152 charges in to continue the flanking action.



The main assault is bogged down by unseen Russian positions which rake the soft-skinned German vehicles and soldiers causing some losses. On the left wing, a flamethrower engineer squad scrambles out of an APC when is it hit and the squad is then wiped out by a single burst from an unseen heavy machine gun. A second APC is struck and the driver panics before the onboard engineers can disembark. T-34s rush for the hilltop and rain fire down upon German recon and SPG vehicles.

A Tiger tank drives up to take on approaching enemy soldiers in the centre but gets stuck in a swampy forested area. The stuck Tiger's guns tear into the enemy troops causing some of them to scatter in panic.



A wooden bunker is discovered and engineers are moved in in preparation to clear the obstacle. Enemy fire over this area is very heavy and almost every unit is shot at including the Tigers being hit by tank rounds. Return fire destroys a BT-7 light tank and a Russian armored recon unit. The inexperience of the German crews shows when a second BT-7 spotted driving through the forest to the near east requires no less than 3 German tanks to destroy it. The haze is making it very difficult to spot Russian units which seem to have fortified in advance to block our approach. German artillery can only guess at where the enemy positions may be and fire blindly into the haze.

Far to the west, several foot patrols along with a sniper, forward observer and 2 Panther tanks sneak towards the flank of the Soviets in the hope of setting up observation posts to direct artillery into their rear areas. It is a possible forming up area for an enemy counterattack and therefore needs to be put under fire.

So far, the fight has been hard but was expected to be so. The enemy has only just begun to join battle with it's mobile units, and the situation is likely to get a lot more violent as both sides rush for the control of the hills and the road going east to west.

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/1/2008 12:48:15 AM   
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P39 Airacobra goes down. The P39 sent from America was the favorite fighterplane of Russian aces so they drew a lot of fire whenever they sortied over ground troops.



The third SU-152 on the right flank is finally destroyed after a shoot-out with 3 German tanks backed-up by infantry. The Tiger's 88 cannon was damaged from a turret hit and one rifle squad was hit when it tried to rush the Russian behemoth. A KV-1 to the east also traded shots with the German tanks during the fight.



Artillery on both sides is accurate and deadly. Light Russian artillery rounds walk their way across the German positions reducing infantry squads and gun crews. The German 150mm battery directs it's 4 guns towards the Russians rushing towards the German left flank. Rounds drop into packed ranks of soldiers on the road and a fresh platoon moving over the hill to the west is culled by shrapnel rounds.

A short, intense exchange of fire results in several AFVs on both sides being destroyed. The Russians lose a couple of T-34s while the stuck Tiger in the swamp is easily destroyed by a perfectly placed 76mm anti-tank gun fortified in the nearby north. It becomes apparent that the Russians built the dirt road which dead-ended in the swamp among the trees as a trap to catch a German tank. The ATG sandbagged nearby the swamp trap was waiting for prey and scored just as planned. The clever defensive preparations by the Russians is a warning of more nasty surprises in the tough fighting coming up.

The hill the to west is named Horseshoe Hill by the troops. The culprits responsible for the mysterious fire coming from that direction are finally brought under fire including a log pit bristling with heavy machine guns which is finally destroyed after it caused so much damage to German recon units and motorized engineers.



The hill north of the road is named Top Hat Hill and the Russians uncannily recognize it as one of our prime objectives in securing a breakthrough path. An enemy armored counterattack starts to form-up on Top Hat hill including more of the dangerous SU-152s which caused damage to the German right flank. The burning fortified position is the suspected site of the 76mm ATG which destroyed the Tiger stuck in the swamp. Vengeful indirect fire from tanks is poured into the position, and although damage cannot be assessed, there is a report that 2 of the ATG crewmen are heard screaming in the flames.

The Russian actions are so exact in countering our plans that it seems likely that a captured 'tongue' has given them detailed information about our operation. Given the record of Russians torturing POWs and drowning them in cesspools, the talkativity of terrified captured troops is understandable.



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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/1/2008 2:57:33 PM   
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The German schwerpunkt is still bogged down in the center while tank shells and light artillery rain down constantly.  The Tiger just east of the swamp trap is rattled by tank shells bouncing off of it's thick armor fired by Russian tanks hiding in the safety of the haze, and a precious Nashorn is destroyed by heavy calibre HE rounds from an unseen SU-152.  

The log bunker blocking the way is still resisting as well as helping to call down the nagging artillery which continues to whittle away at the strength of the Wehrmacht troops trying to work their way through the mud, snow and tangled undergrowth while under fire.  Two engineer squads failed to blow-up the bunker with satchel charges and had to retreat when some of them were wounded by friendly shrapnel after a siG33 auf 38t fired a 150mm shell at the rear of the bunker to 'support' their assault.  The siG33 auf 38t finally manages to start a fire in the bunker and the engineers, who are wisely resting in the safety of a grove of trees, pick off the escaping Soviets.



Another siG33 auf 38t was destroyed while approaching Horseshoe Hill but 2 more fire on the hill turning the peak into a smokey hell for the Red Army troops trying to encamp there on the key point among the trees.  The raw recruits are pushing themselves deep into the snow and mud to make poor targets for the German units trying to clear them out.  

In the northwest, the foot patrols and 2 Panther tanks finally spot two T-34 tanks in the distance heading south towards Horseshoe Hill.  One Panther fires three 75mm rounds to destroy both T-34s.  The Soviet crews bail out and the Panther commander elevates his turret-mounted machine gun to send the crews into disarray.  When this news is radioed to the 16th Panzer command post in the south, the response given is, "Good.  We finally got something for nothing."

From that reply they learn the assault is not going as well as planned.




The Casualty Problem

This battle was never intended to be a battle of attrition by either side.  The Germans want to form a corridor for the trapped Stemmermann group to escape through while the Soviet agenda is to rebuff all rescue attempts.  For the Germans, their heavy losses in AFVs is slowly rendering them impotent.  Only two operational Tigers, one Panther, one Nashorn, three siG33 auf 38t SPGs, two APCs and two recon cars (one damaged) remain in the south to continue the attack.  In the northwest, the two Panthers there continue to support the foot patrols moving east to keep watch on Russian redeployments.  

On the Russian side, they have been weakened around the central road and Horseshoe Hill but have very solid control of Top Hat Hill which is the vital north side of the corridor required by the Germans.

HQ has been hit by shellfire with one officer down and the rest taking cover so the command post by the artillery battery does a quick estimate of casualties so far.  In this early report, AFV losses are confirmed kills and casualty figures (infantry, crews, etc) are considered to be conservative guesswork.

German Losses:

3 tanks destroyed and 1 damaged
4 light armor destroyed and 2 damaged
1 truck
various heavy weaponry damaged
50 casualties

Russian Losses:

8 tanks including 5 T-34s and 3 SU-152s
3 light armor including one recon car and 2 BT-7s
2 log bunkers
1 P39 fighter
one damaged ATG
100 casualties



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Korsun Pocket

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/3/2008 2:17:02 AM   
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In addition to the confirmed armor kills, the Soviets also have two tanks which engaged us and fled after taking hits: a T-34 maybe lurking in the forest on Horseshoe Hill and a KV-1 which was part of the flanking attack escaped to the east after being fired on.


Strategy

Top Hat Hill is the prime goal now but first the Germans must clear Horseshoe Hill and secure the crossroads in order to safely move up troops and to reduce the number of Soviet eyes calling in barrages all over the German staging area.

The crossroads have some suspicious bushes leading south from which heavy machine guns are firing on troops and recon units trying to move up the road from the south. Two 81mm mortars will be assigned to work on these bushes until troops can finally claw there way up to clear out whatever is hiding there.

The Tiger next to the swamp trap is likely to take damage from all the shells hitting it so the Tiger with turret damage from the flank fight will move up to try and provide another target for the heavy Soviet armor on Top Hat to shoot at. A truck is now moving an 88mm gun and an MG42 up as well in case any enemy targets are spotted in the north.

All the heavy guns including the artillery battery and 3 direct fire self-propelled guns will continue to reduce the defenders of Horseshoe. There is so much smoke on the peak from a burning T-34, canisters and HE rounds that the hill is looking more and more like a volcano.

While the sluggish attack tries to move up from the south, the northwestern scout mission will continue to move east towards Top Hat Hill and hopefully spot the armor on it that is hiding in the haze. This patchwork recon force includes 3 foot patrols with 4 riflemen in each team, 1 forward observer, a sniper and 2 Panther A tanks. This group's mission has been upgraded from observation to a skirmishing attack on Top Hat Hill from the rear and has been renamed Kampfgruppe Jackboot. The tank crews are nervous about attempting tank sniping against SU-152s while operating large armored vehicles painted in colorful summer camouflage and framed on a snowy background. The crews are trying not to think about the effect of a Soviet 152mm shell impacting a Panther designed to sometimes deflect 76mm shells on a lucky day.

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/4/2008 9:08:10 AM   
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Here is the strategic map showing the directions of attacks. The arrows in the northwest indicate Group Jackboot's advance as well as the enemy infantry counterattack it faces to it's northeast.



The next wave of fighting is begun with a squadron of Russian fighter planes performing strafing runs over the German positions. Flak claws at the planes and one goes down in flames while it is machine gunning defensive positions near the command post.

Fire is traded all all over the battlefield. Red Army tanks and troops making a run for Horseshoe Hill to reinforce it are stopped by long-range fire from Group Jackboot. In response, the Soviets try to remove the Jackboot threat with an infantry counterattack staged from the town northeast of Jackboot's position. The sniper carefully picks off a couple of Red Army soldiers with his scoped Kar98 while tank machine gun fire repels the Soviet infantry forcing them to retreat back into the town leaving a heap of dead and wounded on the road behind them.





Horseshoe Hill is pounded by all types of weapons but the log bunker resists all attempts to destroy it while the infantry on the peak finally retreat after a long and murderous barrage. Two more German light armored vehicles blow up on mines while trying to climb Horseshoe Hill. Another APC hits a mine near the swamp trap, adding to the mess of burning vehicles in the area. The engineer squad on Horseshoe Hill runs out of satchel charges and grenades in failed attempts to destroy the bunker and the Panther's 75mm gun malfunctions. The APC with them tries to open fire and it too has it's MG42 malfunction while mines take care of the reinforcements sent to help them. This combination of bad luck renders the German force on the hill impotent.

Soviet light artillery continues to rake the entire German staging area bogging everything down and causing casualties in many units. The HQ unit itself loses 3 more officers leaving only Colonel Steigel and one staff officer unwounded. As a wave of regrouped heavy Soviet armor slams into the German right flank and artillery and tank fire pepper the remains of his forces, Colonel Steigel sends a message to the CP to be transmitted to III Panzer Corps which starts out, "Tell my wife I love her..." In response to this message, the last APC in the area dumps out the two half-strength squads it was carrying into the mud and rushes to pick up the colonel and bring him back to the command post amidst a rain of artillery shelling. The upper brass order Colonel Stiegel by radio to stay in the CP for the remainder of the battle with a stern threat of court action if he gets himself killed while trying to lead from the front.

The Germany artillery battery prioritizes Top Hat for fire missions and saturates it. An SU-152 is seen to explode but another SU-152 on Top Hat Hill scores a hit on a Tiger near the swamp trap and destroys it. The damaged Tiger next to it is pounded with shells from T-34s hidden in the haze and it is not expected to survive with it's main gun smashed and unable to reply. Only one operational Tiger is left and it continues pound the Soviet machine gun positions in the bushes along the southern road. A Soviet log bunker in the bushes fires without rest at anything that moves on the road and successfully destroys another recon vehicle. No less than 6 German units are firing on the log bunker expending large amounts of their dwindling munitions before a 20mm AA gun finally takes it out.

On the right flank a brutal fight rages when a half dozen heavy KV-1 tanks counterattack. The tanks survive several close assaults by German infantry hiding in the trees and return point-blank fire forcing the Germans to retreat. The last precious Nashorn destroys a KV-1 but it's high velocity 88mm main gun is damaged and the other KV-1s quickly dispatch the thinly armored German vehicle. The last German recon unit dashes amongst the trees trying to escape but it is unable to dodge all the heavy tank rounds fired from the Soviet tanks and it joins the other burning wrecks littering the forest. Having overrun the infantry and armor protecting the German right flank, the KV-1s set upon the gun emplacements and artillery. Heavy fire is exchanged and the KV-1s come off the worse losing 3 more tanks.



The lastest combat has doubled the losses for each side. Armor losses for the Germans have reached a critical point. The main schwerpunkt is virtually impotent and has become completely bogged down. In the latest fighting the Germans have lost a Tiger, 4 light AFVs and suffered moderate casualties (infantry, crews, officers, cooks etc) with a Panther and an APC damaged. The Russians lost one SU-152, four T-34s, four KV-1s, a log bunker, and one airplane with moderate infantry casualties.



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Korsun Pocket

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/4/2008 5:37:18 PM   
Alby


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nice job,  this is one of my favorite campaigns........you should try out SP Enhanced sometime....noticed you are using Standard SPWAW


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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/6/2008 12:41:05 AM   
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The mod probably good but I want to stick to the orginal version for these custom campaigns so my units are compatible with the intended designs. I made small edits to infantry units and weapons using military books I've read as references.

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/7/2008 7:16:55 AM   
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Horseshoe and Crossroads Secured


The broken remains of 16th Panzer's schwerpunkt cautiously limp up to the crossroads and the peak of Horseshoe. Instead of the expected fanatical last stand by some Red Army remnants that bleeds both sides of their last drops of blood, both locations are taken without further resistance.



In the picture above, the burning T-34 north of Horseshoe is actually a mangled mess of 4 tank hulks. In total, six T-34s were shot-up while trying to reinforce Horseshoe. Many of their crews along with supporting infantry also were cut down by the long-range fire coming from Group Jackboot. The destroyed remains of German armored cars which hit mines can be seen on Horseshoe and near the swamp trap.

The only observed Soviet forces north of the road is a routed SU-152 from Top Hat and small bands of retreating soldiers heading away from the battlefield through the town. The last German Tiger bounces shell after shell off of the stubborn frontal armor of the SU-152. It's gun too weak to hand the Soviet armored monster, the Tiger can only hope the crew will panic enough to abandon the SU-152.

Two more light armored vehicles are found to be damaged from earlier fighting leaving the Germans with a total operational armored force of only one Tiger, two Panthers, two siG33 auf 38ts (1 damaged), and one APC (held at the CP in reserve). The armor losses are especially distressing considering how each valuable tank produced in Germany is desperately needed by hard-pressed, depleted units all down the Eastern front. With the Western front now the priority for reinforcements, most Eastern front regiments never will receive a new Tiger or Panther. In most cases, defending groups trying to hold off brutal Red Army assaults have only a couple of Stugs, or if lucky, a platoon of Panzer IVs to support their troops with.


Battle in the East




The breakthrough in the north is offset by a violent struggle to the east. The Soviets have selected the German right flank as the soft underbelly to be attacked without pause. A mixture of KV-1s and T-34s yet again charge the same place as before and exchange fire with the defenders. At least 2 of the tanks are destroyed in the latest engagement but 6 more undamaged tanks continue on with the apparent goal of overrunning the artillery battery. It is feared that this may only be part of a major counterattack. The lead KV-1 is doused in 20mm fire from AA guns to provide some meager coverfire for the German guns and infantry moving in to stiffen the defenses.



The German defenses facing the tank onslaught include two 88mm guns, two MG42 heavy machine guns, one siG33 auf 38t, two 20mm FlaKvier38s, and four squads of infantry depleted from the previous armored assaults. Almost all of the gun positions have been hit by both artillery and tank shells during the earlier fighting. One 88mm crew even abandoned their gun for sometime before an officer got them back on the gun.

Colonel Stiegel's order to the defenders is to, "Destroy the incoming tanks and wrap up the crews if possible without pursuit."

The Germany artillery halts their barrage of Top Hat and are reassigned to putting down a screening fire on the right flank. The four guns will likely do little damage with indirect fire against the fast-moving Soviet tanks, but everything will help in this desperate fight.

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Korsun Pocket

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/7/2008 8:01:18 AM   
forgorin

 

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God, this makes me want to lay the game again.  It has been over a year since I even thought about it!

Maybe I will start with this one.

Forgorin


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Stress is the confusion created when ones own mind over rides the bodies desire to choke the living **** out of some asshole who really deserves it!

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/7/2008 5:39:55 PM   
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This is called 'Watchword Freedom'. Good campaign cause it's unpredictable and realistic.

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/11/2008 11:44:07 PM   
forgorin

 

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I started a game and just got hammered into the game.  Talk about getting beaten like a rented mule!  You are doing way better than me!

Forgorin


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Stress is the confusion created when ones own mind over rides the bodies desire to choke the living **** out of some asshole who really deserves it!

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/12/2008 1:45:18 AM   
Alby


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From: Whiteland, Indiana
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quote:

ORIGINAL: forgorin

I started a game and just got hammered into the game.  Talk about getting beaten like a rented mule!  You are doing way better than me!

Forgorin


heheh good ole Wild Bill


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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/15/2008 9:01:48 AM   
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The 76mm anti-tank gun hidden north of the swamp trap is apparently still in action despite being set on fire for a short while. The German AA truck sent to secure the crossroads is hit and explodes. Ever the irritating gnat, a German infantry squad is fired on while trying to approach and identify the extremely well camouflaged AT gun position but fails to see anything and is too suppressed to get any closer.

The tank assault against the right flank rushes the German defenses. Shots are exchanged and rounds bang off the sides of the Soviet tanks causing several to explode. On the German side, a truck attached to an 88 blows up and more German infantry get shot up while trying to close assault the fast approaching tanks in amongst the trees. A back-up squad with only 4 soldiers left in it jump out from a gnarled mass of frozen undergrowth to destroy a T-34 just before it breached the defensive works protecting the trucks and artillery. Crews exiting their burning machines are cut down by a combination of MG42 and 20mm AA fire. This latest round of fighting leaves another four Soviet tanks burning on the wreckage and corpse strewn road.



Some of the burning tank pyres in this photo contain more than one destroyed tank hulk. It is hard to see the exact number of destroyed tanks here.

Colonel Steigel is informed by the CP staff that Russian morale is showing signs of breaking. Now all depends on the two Panthers along with their infantry patrols taking Top Hat hill while some brave troops from the ravaged staging area try to take control of the eastern part of the road.

The sniper approaching Top Hat spots retreating Red Army soldiers and kills one with a well-placed shot. The sniper's position is sprayed with angry return fire while the two Panthers in Gruppe Jackboot mow down the enemy troops before they can run for the safety of the northern town. The Panthers move on to discover a fresh log bunker on the approach to Top Hap but reserve their fire for the still dangerous SU-152 approaching the crossroads. The Soviet beast is well within range to deliver accurate, penetrating shots. Two Panthers versus one SU-152 could go either way so the Panthers hope their enemy has been hit enough times already to cause some systems damage.

At the same time, the hidden swamp trap AT gun continues to pop rounds at the German infantry who are trying to work their way through the frozen undergrowth, mines, wrecked vehicles and diminishing Soviet artillery fire. The Germans realize they had better hurry up and destroy that gun before it earns a Hero of the Soviet Union medal. A German APC which had been transporting engineers is discovered still in operational order within the dense brush and wreckage next to the destroyed Tigers. The APC tries to move out from the hell of fire and smoke but immediately blows up on a mine. Apparently this is not APC-friendly terrain.

The biggest problems now faced are the rampaging SU-152 from Top Hat and an unchecked KV-1 which is moving up to finish off the German remnants near the swamp trap. The KV-1 is very close to the declawed Tiger which has no main gun. A depleted infantry squad stalks the KV-1 through the trees to it's rear and the last siG33 auf 38t timidly makes it's way north on the perchance it can get in a lucky shot. Lacking AT weaponry besides 1 remaining panzerfaust round, the Germans may well get shot-up in this area in the next few minutes.


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Korsun Pocket

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 11/28/2008 2:26:49 PM   
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Stalemate and Slaughter in the Mud




The last undamaged Tiger roars out to take on the SU-152 and is nailed by the hidden swamp trap anti-tank gun but the shell does not penetrate. The Tiger fires repeatedly at both the SU-152 and the now visible ATG but misses both targets. German riflemen open fire on the ATG and they are blasted in return by accurate HE rounds forcing them to retreat while dragging their wounded comrades along.

The two remaining Tiger tanks are each hit by at least eight 76mm shells each. The last remaining operational 88 gun on the Tiger is wrecked and both of the Tigers retreat into the trees to avoid another hail of fire. Once in hiding behind a building, one Tiger blazes away at some Soviet infantry on the road with it's machine guns.

Soviet artillery rains down over the German crews and depleted infantry squads. Some infantry squads having only 2 or 3 soldiers still able to fight. The SU-152 and KV-1 head unchallenged towards the crossroads firing big rounds into the German infantry and also hit a siG33 auf 38t and it explodes. The two last siG33 auf38ts head towards the crossroads from the south to defend it but one gets stuck while other realizes it's out of HE ammunition. The crew are saved the bother of returning for resupply when a round from one of the enemy tanks scores a direct hit on their tiny vehicle.

The Russian tanks continue to mow down German troops around the crossroads when they fail to destroy the tanks with close assaults. An MG42 machine gun is run over. Finally the SU-152 blows up during a final desperate charge by a German squad. The KV-1 still charges into the crossroads while Soviet artillery rakes the area over.

Kampfgruppe Jackboot in the northwest gets caught in a nasty crossfire from bunkers, hidden ATGs and Soviet infantry still on top of Horseshoe Hill. The German sniper kills another soldier but when he dives into a house to avoid the return fire he is cut down. A flurry of anti-tank shells bounce off both the Panthers which return ineffective fire. This continues for some time with little achieved other than one Soviet bunker destroyed and the infantry who killed the sniper are shot-up by the vengeful German tank gunners.

The German assault has become completely bogged down in the mud, craters and bitter fighting. Just as despair sets in, the Soviets jolly up the Germans with a spirited counterattack. T-34s fire from the fog of war and one is spotted and destroyed. M5 halftracks charge towards the German command post but the thinly armored vehicles moving along the roads are shot full of holes by the heavy weapons and their onboard infantry suffer heavy losses.



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RE: Korsun Pocket - 4/4/2009 6:01:15 PM   
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With heavy losses on both sides in men and equipment, the large set-piece battle has degenerated into more of a pick and peck kind of fight. The Germans have expended all their offensive potency so Colonel Steigel orders his troops just to hold the crossroads and eastern flank against counterattacks in order to protect the crowds of crew members from destroyed vehicles who are streaming southwest to take refuge in the relative safety of the forest. The only problem with this is the frozen treetops offer little protection against incoming shells, though it's looking as though the Soviets are running down their munition stocks.



Four Soviet tanks with some infantry counterattack again from Top Hat hill in the north towards the crossroads. German riflemen shoot down Russian troops on the road and they break off their attack. A KV-1 tank drives up behind the wreckage from earlier fighting while German engineers drop smoke and prepare to close assault the heavy tank. A Tiger with an inoperable 88 makes a run behind some buildings to escape the nearby KV-1 which hits the rear hull of the fleeing Tiger with all its weapons but fails to damage it.

The two Jackboot Panthers west of Top Hat blast away at the T-34s at extreme range causing the crew of one tank to panic and bail out. Follow-up machine gunning catches one crewman climbing down from the turret and he topples down the side of the tank and into the mud.

Meanwhile on Horseshoe Hill to the west, a damaged Panther and a scout team fight non-stop with Soviet infantry still in the hilltop forest. A German engineer squad is left without orders right on top of the Russian log bunker and they are mowed down in a hail of fire from the bunker.




The German troops defending the crossroads close assault the KV-1 several times and finally destroy it after taking some casualties from the tank's machine guns. More T-34s are approaching from the northeast and it is hoped the two Panthers will be able to stop them before they rip into the reduced, exhausted German troops who are running out of ammunition.

The rest of the battleground is quieting down. The Soviet assault from the east has broken off and the AA guns continue to shoot down any escaping Soviet vehicle crews they see. One of the 88 AA guns protecting the flank against tanks is packed into a truck and shipped north towards the crossroads while being careful to avoid the swamptrap. The truck crew recites Hail Marys so that a Soviet shell does not hit the soft skin vehicle with its vital cargo onboard.


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Korsun Pocket

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 4/5/2009 5:34:30 PM   
Alby


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You're back!


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RE: Korsun Pocket - 4/6/2009 9:52:48 AM   
SS Hauptsturmfuhrer


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Hi, my internet was down for some time cause my computer needed some repairs. I fixed my computer and now it's okay.
---------------------------------------------------


A Shoot-out During the Lull

The Germans use the relative lull in the fighting to snipe at retreating Soviets and try another attack on the sandbagged anti-tank gun watching over the swamptrap area from a carefully camouflaged position among the dense forest. The carnage of so many destroyed vehicles in the area provides an excellent smokescreen to further enhance the invisibility of the Soviet gun. This is the same gun, a solid candidate for the Hero of the Soviet Union award, which has destroyed a Tiger and fired upon many other vehicles and troops causing grief far out of proportion expected from a single medium fixed gun position and all this despite being fired on numerous times by troops, tanks and artillery. A fire earlier in the gun pit caused by 88mm Tiger rounds did some damage but apparently failed to silence the weapon.

German infantry firing on retreating Soviets invites opportunistic fire from the hidden ATG which kills another two German soldiers. Rifle shots are returned and one of the ATG crewmen takes a round and flops down behind the sandbag wall. Artillery support is called in to hit just north of the ATG to avoid hitting nearby friendly troops to the south. In this latest exchange with the heroic ATG, the Germans defending east of the crossroads are down to only 4 soldiers and confirmed a total of 3 casualties among the enemy ATG crew since the start of the battle. It is unsure what effects artillery has had on the position as it is almost impossible to spot.

Soviet Counterattack on the Crossroads

The lull was short and ended with a strong Soviet counterattack coming down from Top Hat hill. Six tanks in all have been spotted and they are supported by infantry. Some of the units moving on the hill have yet to be spotted. Just as the counterattack got rolling, the last siG33 auf 38t was hit and destroyed while trying to support the crossroads. The damaged Tiger just north of the crossroads is hit by two 76mm shells from fast moving T-34s at a range of less than 700 meters and the Tiger explodes. Only 2 of the Tiger's crew survive to bail-out leaving 3 of their comrades screaming and dying in the internal fire. It was hoped that the Tiger would occupy the attentions of T-34s at long-range giving time to the two Panthers to get shots off and reduce the attackers. This plan did not work.



Facing this Soviet counterattack, the Germans are left with two Panthers, one damaged Tiger with no main gun and three badly depleted infantry squads in and around the crossroads. Crews of 2 or 3 men who had their vehicles destroyed earlier are now being used to test possible deployment sites for the 88 being trucked in. Viewpoints and protection provided by the terrain are the main interest. A favorable spot is selected and the truck drives off the road and into the trees as indicated by a scouting crew.

The last Tiger tank hunkered in among the trees and burning wreckage east of the crossroads, left with only machine guns, hoses down the approaching T-34s and their accompanying infantry in order to delay them long enough for the 88 to deploy. Deployment of the 88 is quick when a round from a T-34 hits the truck killing one of the crew and destroying the truck. Due to severe shock and disorganization, the 88 remains inoperable at this time.

The two Panthers from the original Jackboot group, fire non-stop from extreme range at the Soviets moving southwest. Hits are few and ineffective because of both the extreme range and the way the Panthers drive around constantly to dodge the hail of incoming rounds. A camouflaged 76mm anti-gun in a sandbag pit west of Top Hat hill bounces rounds off the Panthers. The Panthers return machine gun fire but with no success. These two Panthers, the damaged Tiger and an AA truck are the last mobile units available. The AA truck is hidden in some trees nearby to the south of the crossroads providing sanctuary for retreating crews and protection against incoming Soviet aircraft.

< Message edited by SS Hauptsturmfuhrer -- 4/6/2009 9:55:12 AM >


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Korsun Pocket

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Post #: 19
RE: Korsun Pocket - 4/10/2009 8:31:43 AM   
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Soviet Breakthrough

The Germans try to provide a line of defense on the front from Jackboot in the north through Horseshoe Hill and the crossroads in the middle and eastwards along the road. Wehrmacht forces are battered, depleted and liable to fall apart at any point on the line.

The Soviet attack is fast approaching the crossroads. There is only token German resistance from a few rifle shots and inaccurate tank rounds supported by the four 150mm guns of the artillery battery which provide a constant reduction of Soviet infantry with accurate overhead bursts.

The leading two T-34s drive through the smokescreen at the crossroads and survive several close assaults by German infantry and engineers. The return fire from the tanks mows down the German troops at point-blank range and the tanks pursue the retreating survivors into the trees to finish them off with machine gun fire. The loss of these troops means the loss of any organized German resistance at the crossroads.



The Germans respond to the loss of the crossroads by mounting a weak counterattack with troops from the south and tanks from the north, but lose a rifle squad in the swamp trap which is overrun by the next wave of T-34s, and one Panther in the north gets stuck in the mud and dense forest where it is hit in the side hull and explodes. The crew escape the Panther but are shot down to a man. The last Panther in the northwest spots a T-34 through the trees and knocks it out with an accurate long-range shot. The crew from the T-34 are killed off by a combination of artillery and fire from the Tiger in the south.

The ongoing fight in the trees on top of Horseshoe Hill takes a turn for the worse when Soviet infantry finally succeed in approaching the Panther and blow it up with satchel charges. The Germans have only 2 recon teams left on Horseshoe to contest it with. One recon team comes around the south of the hill and hit a mine which blows off one soldier's foot, but the remaining 3 troopers carry on and destroy the infamous log bunker on the south side of Horseshoe Hill. The other recon team sneaks up behind the destroyed Panther and sets up an ambush which ravages the jubilant Soviet infantry causing them to disperse.

With crumbling defences and rampaging T-34 tanks approaching their rear areas, German moral plummets. The 88 gun which barely survived when it's transporting truck was destroyed, is abandoned by it's crew just as the T-34s break through which means the end of any kind of German anti-tank capability in the crossroads area. With the German infantry overrun and dispersed, crews from the many vehicles destroyed in the opening stages of the battle are now coming under fire from the T-34s and other Russian positions which cannot be spotted.

German Schwerpunkt Attacks Eastwards

With crippling losses, the original German schwerpunkt is no longer a viable force so a new assault group is cobbled together to renew attacks to break through to the Korsun pocket before it is too late. This new battlegroup is made up of two rifle squads, both slightly reduced by Soviet artillery which ravaged German positions earlier in the battle. The schwerpunkt of the attack is to be towards the eastern crossroads which has not yet been reconnoitred but is expected to be lightly held. With this battlegroup formed, the only German forces left uncommitted to the battle are a fresh squad of riflemen kept in reserve near the CP and another squad with 4 soldiers left which is sent east to blow up an abandoned M5 halftrack so that the Soviets cannot recover it after the battle.

The troops in the schwerpunkt use trees and buildings as cover and avoid the open fields on the approach to the crossroads. There is no organized resistance and the some crew moving through the area are picked off by German riflemen. Once the road junction is secured, one German infantry squad notices a fast-approaching T-34 and fires a panzerfaust at it with no effect. The other squad pops smoke and a deadly ambush along both sides of the snow covered road is prepared for the enemy tank and whatever else comes with it. The Germans point their panzerfausts at the smoke and stop breathing to steady their aim and reduce the shaking from the cold and fear of the clanking tank treads coming at them from just meters away.



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Korsun Pocket

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 4/13/2009 3:43:02 PM   
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The End Phase

The T-34 drives through the smoke and panzerfausts are fired at it from both sides of the road. The German troops are green recruits and fail to stop the tank which fires into the shrubs on both sides of the road at the Germans who suffer casualties and retreat. More T-34s further to the north also open fire from unspotted positions.

Over on the west side, the last Panther is hit by a round from a T-34 and the crew panic and bail. Soviet infantry, backed up by the Top Hat anti-tank gun, move in to wrap up the crew. The German battery puts in a barrage on both the ATG and the infantry to protect the Panther crew while they try to regroup.


This photo shows the Russian infantry climbing through large craters and past a destroyed T-34 and Tiger on their way to attack the Panther crew. The cratering is from German artillery providing protection for the crew.

The battle ends and Germans take a roll call and count the casualties in the field. Russian radio transmissions are listened in on, and using all this information, a casualty list is put together.



The bulk of German losses were suffered by the original schwerpunkt trying to drive through the heavily mined swamp trap and getting hit by counterattacking armor. More reconnaissance may have helped in spotting the Russian heavy machine guns, bunkers and anti-tank guns which did so much damage. And attacking from a less obvious route could have avoided some of the terrain and spotting problems. The Soviets took special care in using the terrain to give advantages to their defenses.

A report is sent to OKH and they transmit back the following message...



And the next mission orders from OKH.



Our tired and depleted troops cannot rest after the battle and now must prepare a defense. We know the Soviet counterattack will be big so we will have to dig in on the good defensive ground.

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Korsun Pocket

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Post #: 21
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/20/2009 10:15:51 AM   
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Defensive Action on Horseshoe Hill



After the battle for the crossroads, German recovery teams work miracles on the tanks lost in the fighting. While tanks can be recovered, the lighter vehicles are mostly write-offs, but Colonel Stiegel is not new to the Eastern Front where constant degeneration of combat potency is the norm.

With the news of the coming Soviet counterattack, the troops of the 16th Panzer Division dig in on Horseshoe Hill and the surrounding hilltops to the west and south. These positions need to be held to ensure the supporting grenadiers can be safely trucked in to beef up the defenses.


Strategy

Horseshoe Hill is the only secure ground facing the Russian front so a defense in depth cannot be arranged without giving up key objectives. Instead, Colonel Stiegel decides on a classic rigid defense in the middle on good defensive ground while putting his mobile units on the north and southern wings to put the enemy under fire as they become engaged in the fight for the center hill feature.

The hill itself is wooded and covered in snow. With a smoke screen provided by the artillery, troops with panzerfausts and anti-tank mines can wait entrenched and hidden for the assorted Soviet armor to roar up the slopes and into the teeth of the ambush. MG42 heavy machine guns on top of the hill will prevent Soviet infantry from supporting the tanks. While the Germaninfantry close assault the surprised tanks, support fire from the two Nashorns, two Panthers and two surviving siG33 auf 38t guns on hilltops to the south will contribute to reducing the enemy. For defending in the hilltop woods, 3 platoons of infantry, 2 panzershrek teams, and two 75mm Pak40 anti-tank guns are deployed with another platoon, two mortars and Colonel Stiegel himself with his staff held in reserve on the reverse slope.

In the north, there is a smaller hill and the town where Kampfgruppe Jackboot attacked through in the previous battle. OKW has listed the town as an objective, but with it still not secure, there is little choice but to first let the Russians take it and then try to counterattack and drive them out of it. For this task, the Tiger platoon and mechanized engineer platoon are deployed on the northern hill. Due to losses in the previous battle, some of the engineers will have to go into battle on foot instead of on APCs. It is hoped this assault group will catch the attacking Soviet troops and tanks on their flank as they swoop south towards Horseshoe.

The artillery battery and the command post are positioned to the west of Horseshoe protected by a section of Flakpanzers. The CP sees little of Colonel Stiegel during battle according to his creed, "If I can't smell the cordite and blood, then I'm not close enough to the action."

OKW has also listed the crossroads east of Horseshoe and the road leading to it from the southwest as objectives to be held but that is dangerously exposed ground. Instead of a determined defense, a pair of four man recon teams and a panzershrek team are hidden in the trees and rough ground near the road to act as security posts. The idea is for them to retreat back to the main line of defense after contact with the enemy is made and the armor on the southern hilltops can put the enemy under fire. Slowing down the enemy's advance along the road will give time for the supporting grenadiers to take up positions blocking the road who will go on to retake the crossroads.


Battle

A horde of cavalry rushes west taking the crossroads and the lower southwestern road in one wild dash. The only resistance offered is from one security post of four German troops who put up a spirited defense. Repeated cavalry charges are repelled by small arms fire mowing down the brave horses and their riders. The soldiers take turns ducking into the cabin to reload their weapons while the others keep up a withering fire against the oncoming animals. After a hard fight, the post is overrun killing three of the defenders and capturing the fourth who faces an uncertain future after the losses inflicted.

After the cavalry clears the security post and charges southwest, the main Soviet assault of tanks and trucks loaded with troops steams straight west against no opposition at all. Only one recon unit is hit by a shot from a Panther. The tanks carry on through the smoke screen on the hill and into the trees as expected.

German troops deploy panzerfausts, anti-tank mines and grenades on mass against the BT-7s and T-34s but their inexperience shows with no results but one immobilized light tank. The Russian tanks overcome their surprise and return merciless machine gun and cannon fire cutting down scores of the defenders. The Germans take even more losses from their own panicky use of grenades and explosives which do little to the enemy tanks but blast their own troops apart who are trying to close assault the tanks. A 75mm Pak40 ATG is overrun because it cannot see through it's own smokescreen and it is run over by a BT-7 without having fired a single shot. The Russian tanks take the northern objective of Horseshoe and according to their orders to push on, they drive down the back of the hill into the German rear areas to finally be stopped by accurate deadly fire from the Nashorns on the southwestern hilltop. In total, the Germans lose 3 squads of troops, one panzershrek team and an ATG during the fight on the northern half of Horseshoe. The MG42s are barely able to retreat on time into the trees and smoke.

The picture shows the start of the Soviet attack on Horseshoe Hill. Note the smoke screen from the German artillery on the hill and the lack of long range defensive fire because of the intent to defend using an ambush by the infantry.





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Korsun Pocket

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Post #: 22
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/20/2009 10:32:27 AM   
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In the picture below, the Russian tanks have just taken the northern part of Horseshoe and are about to breakthrough to the west side of the hill. To the north of the hill, the Tigers move east to take up positions where they can put fire on the T-34s loaded with troops which have taken the town and are moving southwest to put more pressure on Horseshoe.

The Tiger crews are just as inexperienced as the troops and their shots mostly miss or bounce off the T-34s. Stuka divebombers are called in to pound the Russian tanks while two MG34s rake the Russian troops with cruel fire as they dismount the T-34s as well as the crews from destroyed tanks. The German heavy machine guns kill up to 6 men with each burst.




The cavalry charge has overrun a security post and is charging west down the road having grabbed two objectives already. The grenadier reinforcements deploy as close as they can to set up a roadblock while MG34s and the siG33 auf 38t guns cull the herd in an appalling massacre of man and animal. Note the Nashorns on the hilltop to the northwest and the Panthers to the south. The two burning vehicles in the south are hulks leftover from the previous battle.


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Post #: 23
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/20/2009 10:46:02 PM   
jackx

 

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I'm not even sure what made me click on the link to this AAR in the first place, I normally stay away from most things WW2, but this turned out to be quite an enjoyable read so far. Thanks, and keep up the good work. :)

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/22/2009 2:59:11 AM   
VictorInThePacific

 

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Great report, Captain.

Looks like you're getting pwned by the computer. Congrats on your willingness to post this. Most people only post when they win.

But it's not unrealistic. The Germans don't have qualitative superiority, and they are heavily outnumbered. So why are they attacking? Because they were ordered to, by someone who doesn't understand the situation. And the obvious result is that the objectives are not obtained, and the force is destroyed. Just like the historical result.

To generalize, I have found, when I play the campaigns, that I can usually put together an attacking force that gets the job done AND keeps the core alive, which isn't a requirement for historical realism, but is necessary in order to play the campaign game. Otherwise, even if you win a scenario, you will be playing the next one with recruits or nothing, which means you will not survive the campaign.

The exception is the German campaign, where, after the invasion of Russia, the Germans are generally numerically and qualitatively inferior. This becomes an unmanageable crisis after El Alamein.

I have also found that the computer defenders generally pot my scouts (light or heavy) with one shot and remain concealed, while it takes me many hits to kill the computer units (and the opposite is true when I am defending). Therefore I have evolved the following attack procedure.

I sneak my units forward, using maximum cover, along unexpected routes. This is usually along the edge of the map and over poor terrain. I take care to NOT CAPTURE any victory hexes. When I am ready to strike, the bulk of my force falls on an objective area (better than falling on my swords, eh what?) and immediately assumes a defensive posture. At this, the computer forces all break concealment and rush forward across open terrain and (hopefully) get cut down. This seems to be the only way that I can win. It also lets me control how well I win (the level of win or loss affects what the next scenario is).

So am I speaking the truth, or am I just a noob?

< Message edited by VictorInThePacific -- 7/22/2009 3:01:04 AM >

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RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/22/2009 7:54:56 AM   
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Thanks for the comments gentlemen.

Victor, you understand well why Germany had such a hard time on the Eastern front.  This Korsun relief operation, after several failures, was actually a sensible attack ordered by von Manstein to rescue the people in the Korsun pocket.  Hitler had ordered a huge encirclement of all the Russians in the area so he forced the pocket to be formed and then several attacks were put in just to prove how unrealistic Hitler's idea of enveloping the Russians was.  So this attack was done with altered orders by von Manstein hoping for a direct punch through the southwest part of the pocket siege instead of another futile encirclement attempt which Hitler still demanded.  Unfortunately mud and Soviet air attacks wrecked it.

For recon, slow and careful like you recommend is of course good.  It is risky though because it is slow when you have a time limit to beat with artillery raining down on your troops as they grind their way through unpredictable mines and hidden bunkers, and your troops can get slammed on the flanks by surprise counterattacks while you are trying to circle around objectives.  Sometimes wild counterattacks can hit your lightly defended 'safe areas' where artillery and support units are like in the previous battle several attacks were put in on my fire base.  The wily designer Wild Bill makes these battles quite challenging.


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Korsun Pocket

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Post #: 26
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/22/2009 2:45:29 PM   
SS Hauptsturmfuhrer


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Oh ya my Jasc paint program just ran out yesterday cause I was using a 30 day trial to do this story so far.  I reinstalled my OS after the first battle so I could reuse the trial but now I need to look elsewhere for a paint program I can use.  I'll try and get it working in the next few days to continue the battle.

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Post #: 27
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/22/2009 2:47:42 PM   
jackx

 

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I'd suggest using GIMP - it's free, and while its layout may be different form commercial mainstream products, I still think it's quite easy to use.

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no truth - no justice
all false belief
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there shall be ... no peace

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Post #: 28
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/22/2009 3:30:02 PM   
SS Hauptsturmfuhrer


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Thanks jackx.  I will have a look at that Gimp utility and see if I can figure it out.  I'm not too familiar with paint stuff as you can probably tell from my graphical additions to my photos.

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Korsun Pocket

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Post #: 29
RE: Korsun Pocket - 7/22/2009 4:35:17 PM   
VictorInThePacific

 

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I don't know if this will be helpful for you, but this is what I do:

Aside: I am posting mostly in the "Larry Bond's Harpoon" area.

I simply take screen captures and paste them into MS Paint, which comes with Windows, I believe. Then I mostly just save the raw data as PNGs. It is also simple to crop the raw data. Adding stuff using a bitmap editor is not something I know much about. I use Adobe Illustrator if I want to make any substantial revisions. Of course, that program will probably cost you money. Fortunately, I have access to a "free" copy on a high-end machine.

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