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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar

 
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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/26/2011 4:56:57 AM   
IdahoNYer


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As expected, the Soviets pull behind the Dniepr as the Germans and Rumanian allies reach the river. The lead German division in the Rum 4th Army manages to achieve a crossing, but the swamps will hinder any further gains. I don't expect any rapid progress in the Dniepr Bend area, but will continue to press for a crossing south of the bend.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/26/2011 6:01:39 AM   
IdahoNYer


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With 3x Pzkps given the HQ supply boost, barring a sudden mud turn, "Operation Shark" begins next turn. With about 4+ weeks of good campaigning left, 4th Pz Grp spearheads the attack to cut off Leningrad. Even with the Finns making some progress from the north, it's still a daunting task - some 200 miles!

Here's the plan:

18th Army: Consiting of 4xKorps (1xMot, 11xIN) of slightly over 239,000 men in reasonably good supply. Continue to bludgeon the attack directly toward Leningrad, using Totenkopf to exploit any gains made by the infantry. Expect slow, grueling progress through heavily fortified positions in rough terrain.

16th Army: Consisting of 1xPzKp and 3x Korps (1xPz, 1xMot, 12xIN) of slightly over 285,000 men and 232 AFVs in fair supply for the infantry, poor for the PzKps. Infantry Korps to attack within capabilities north of Novgorod to support 18th Army. Extremely poor terrain and heavily fortified Soviet positions will limit the advance. Pzkps to attack north on the east side of Lake Ilmen to break the stalemate and protect the flank of the 4th Pz Grp. Provide the "inner ring" of the envisioned "Leningrad Pocket" to prevent breakout into 4th Pz Grp area.

4th Pz Grp: Main Effort of the Attack. Initially consists of 2xPzkps (3xPz, 2xMot, 3x IN) of slightly over 156,000 men and 316 AFVs in good supply. Attack in a NE direction east of the Valdai Hills, crossing the Shlina and Msta Rivers to link up with the Finns or reach Lake Ladoga. Can expect a narrow corridor, avoiding expected fortifications to the east for first 40 miles. Once penetration is achieved, expect quick advance as I don't think Scar expects this - most of his forces seem to be arrayed south of Moscow. Can expect to attach XL PzKps upon arrival as well as additional IN Korps from 9th Army.

9th Army: Consisting of 4xKorps (12xIN) of slightly over 219,000 men in reasonably good supply. Assist both 4th and 3rd Pz Grps in penetrating intial Soviet defenses. After panzers exploit to the east, responsible to reduce any pockets and then advance east to establish defensive line between 4th Pz Grp and 3rd Pz Grp, just east of the Kalinin-Moscow RR line.

3rd Pz Grp: Consisting of 2xPzkps, 2xKorps (4xPz, 3xMot, 5xIN) of slightly over 216,000 men and 644 AFVs in reasonably good supply. Attacks ENE to sieze Kalinin and then orients toward Moscow in order to protect the flank of the 4th Pz Grp attacking toward the Finns. 3rd Pz Grp should provide enough pressure on Moscow from the north to limit any assistance to Leningrad. Intent is for Scar to perceive this as the main effort and throw everything against it - at the expense of the attack toward the Finns.

2nd Pz Grp will also attack east - toward Tula-Kaluga to threaten Moscow from the SW. Like 3rd PzGrp, the intent is to give Scar more problems than he can handle, and force him to throw troops against the threat to Moscow. Based on the recon flights, I expect 2nd Pz Grp to have the toughest fight of the three Pz Grps - more troops, more fortifications.

Although Leningrad is the prize for 1941, the pressure on Moscow is real. If the Soviets do not counter 3rd and 2nd Pz Grp attacks with sufficient force, panzers could succeed in reaching capital as well. OK, I'm way too optimistic here....






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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/27/2011 6:22:23 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Turn 11, 28 Aug 41.

Operation Shark achieves tremendous success in the opening week! 18th Army continues its frontal attacks on fortified positions, and surprisingly takes Oraniembaum on the first assault, despite a level 4 fort. Of course, it took 4xIN Divs to succeed. 16th Army infantry does little in the swamps and is repulsed in one attack. XXXXI PzKps acheives a complete breakthrough, but the low fuel level reduces its exploitation to a MERE 40 miles!

The main effort, 4th Pz Grp does even better. First, infantry from XIV Pzkps and 9th Army's II Korps open a breach in the Soviet defenses. Next XIV Pzkps conducts four hasty attacks against retreating Soviet infantry completing the breakthrough. 9th Pz exploits over 70 miles into the enemy rear linking up with XXXI PzKps, while Wiking moves to hold the inner ring on a pocket estabished between XXXXI Pzkps and XIV Pzkps. LVI Pzkps follows unhindered behind XIV Pzkps, advancing largely unapposed up to 110 miles north toward the Finns. The HQ supply buildup couldn't have worked better! The increased mobility for the two PzKps was about as good as the opening stages of Barbarrosa. Of course it helped that there were few fortifications to be dealt with, and even fewer Soviet units waiting in the rear.

Overall, I am thrilled, and very surprised at the breakthrough and exploitation achieved by 4th Pz Grp, especially with the resistance - fortifications and sheer number of formations encountered south of Moscow by 2nd and 1st Pz Grp. I might actually pull this off!




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/27/2011 1:33:21 PM   
Klydon


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I am going to be watching this with a lot of interest. It is off to a good start and one of the big things is getting control of the Valdi Hills (and the rail line there) so you can logistically support the advance north. This is where the Germans typically run into issues.

Tight time table to put him out of supply, hold your lines through mud and clean up the Leningrad area to free the Finns. That is going to be one mega pocket.

The other thing that will be interesting is to see his response. The Russians have a ton of rail cap, so the panzers could see instant armies pop up in front of them on the last rail line to the north.

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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/28/2011 3:20:37 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Klydon - I have two RR repair units in close proximity - one behind XXXXI Pzkps attack and the other behind the 4th Pz Grp attack. That's about the best I can do right now.

Even in the best circumstances, I don't think I'll reduce Leningrad before the mud/snow - I'll settle for isolating it in clear, then reducing it in mud/snow before the blizzard.

But first I have to isolate it and thats still a long way off!

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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/28/2011 3:24:19 AM   
IdahoNYer


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2nd Pz Grp's attack is more of a slugfest - fortifications and plenty of defenders. And no HQ supply build-up. Even so, the panzers manage to claw their way forward, and establish a bridgehead across the Desna R. However, without additional infantry, it will be hard for this attack to sustain its momentum.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/28/2011 3:58:48 AM   
IdahoNYer


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The Soviets continue to pull back rapidly south of Bryansk. They also mass where XXXVI Pzkps established a bridgehead across the Desna R. These two facts pretty much eliminate the possibility of using the Pzkps to encircle Soviets east of Kiev with 1st Pz Grp as initially planned. I may send them further south towards 6th Army, or might even bring them north to support AGC's attack toward Moscow. What still perplexes me is sheer numbers of Soviet units south of Moscow at the moment - at least as compared to what I'm finding in the north.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/28/2011 4:38:35 AM   
IdahoNYer


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1st Pz Grp and 17th Army continue to expand thier bridgehead across the Dniepr, eliminating 3xDiv encircled against the river. Soviets pull back everything west of this bridgehead, and mass forces against it. Another slugfest with little chance of finding, let alone expoiting a breach. I can only hope I can continue to advance until I pass his fortified line - ultimately seizing Kharkov before the weather turns. With the amount of Soviets I'm encountering, and can not encircle in any significant numbers, this may be a reach.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/28/2011 4:55:38 AM   
IdahoNYer


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As 11th Army and the Rumanians reach the Dniepr River in force, we try to establish additional crossings and all three attacks are held. Despite deliberate attacks and plenty of fresh troops, the attacks are held. Why? More than likely it is due to not having engineers - I had committed the majority to the northern attacks, at the expense of the far south. Will have to remedy that, but might not get them here soon enough - and I still need the engineers in the north. In any case, this is a very secondary front, but I would like to force a crossing and press on toward Stalino. With the river, the swamps and the fortifications, not sure even getting across the river in force is do-able.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/30/2011 6:33:07 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Turn 12, 4 Sep 1941

In AGN's sector, Operation Shark achieves it's first, and key objective: Linking up with the Finns! 18th Army primarily rests, while 16th Army near Novgorod is repulsed on two attacks into fortified swamps. 16th Army's XXXXI Pzkps re-establishes contact with 4th Pz Grp isolating a large number of Soviets just below the screen shot (next post). Aerial recon finds Russian reinforcements being brought up along one of two avenues to the Finns, so XIV PzKps takes the less defended route to the west, and 9th Pz succeeds in linking up with the Finns! Wiking shores up the inner cordon which has no major troop concentrations, but does scatter a number of air units and HQs. LVI PzKps has it a bit tougher, as it runs right into the Soviet reinforcements - and estabishes a blocking position as it awaits infantry to come up from the south. The Finns for their part, continue to find holes in the Sec Regs' line and infiltrate south as much as possible.

Overall, surprised at the speed of the German attack - didn't expect the panzers to reach the Finns in two weeks. Couldn't ask for better, but the tough part is that the majority of the infantry is still well to the south dealing with encircled Soviet forces. While the corridor is fairly wide for most of the length, holding it open will be challenging. And I keeping my fingers crossed that the Leningrad defenders will find themselves isolated next turn - that would definately get the 16th and 18th Army's infantry to the west some incentive to attack!




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/30/2011 6:47:57 AM   
IdahoNYer


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The intial attack last turn established two Soviet Pockets. The Soviets succeeded in their turn to re-establish contact with the northern most (and largest) one in their turn. This turn, 16th Army's XXXXI PzKps was able to re-establish contact with the 4th Pz Grp and re-isolate the northern pocket. 9th Army infantry was able to dispatch the southern pocket of about 6 divisions. This of course limited some infantry divisions from moving to establish a defensive line on the eastern side of the penetration. The challenge for next turn, assuming they remain isolated, is the quick reduction of the northern pocket to free up the infantry which I'm sure will be badly needed to defend against the hordes coming from the east




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/30/2011 6:57:35 AM   
IdahoNYer


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North of Moscow, 3rd Pz Grp orients to the prize of Moscow and launches XXXIX PzKps south. Minus 20th Mot Div which is sent north to 4th Pz Grp's LVI Pzkps. The PzKps makes good progress, but is held trying to get around the Volga Res, which forces the pentration to the WEST of Moscow, not my first choice. Still, this should flank the series of fortifications Scar has established west of Rzhev-Vyazma. LVI PzKps is forced to defend the eastern portion of the initial attack until infantry can come up - hopefully they can join in the attack south next week. Now for 2nd Pz Grp to make some progress coming up from the south!




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/30/2011 7:05:38 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Unfortunately, 2nd Pz Grp gains very little ground. Up against a strongly fortified, well supplied, Soviet force, LAH manages slight gains, and XXXXVII PzKps' divisions are brought up while the HQ is provided supply buildup - hopefully that will get things rolling. 4th Army infantry races to fill the void from the Soviet withdrawal between Smolensk and Bryansk. Unlike the situation north of Moscow - the Soviets here are plentiful and well fortified. Still, 2nd Pz Grp will continue to attack toward Moscow.






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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/30/2011 7:23:37 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Although I was surprised with the speed of the success in 4th Pz Grp's attack, I was astounded that 1st Pz Grp made any progress at all. And what progress they made! With the Soviets pulling back quickly from the Ukraine - and out pacing 6th Army, 17th Army infantry opens up the attack out of the bridgehead across the Dniepr and the Soviets start melting away. This was followed by a fairly fresh 1st Pz Grp, beginning with XXXXVIII Pzkps which manages to open up a fairly significant breach in the fortified zone - apparently occupied by very depleted units as they gave way rapidly. Once the breach was made, III PzKps exploited. With the choice of possibly threatening Kharkov, or trying to pocket the Soviets still along the Dniepr, I chose the latter. I'm confident that the Soviets won't be isolated long, and perhaps my lead panzers may be the one's encircled, but the stalemate seems to be broken and the fortified line penetrated. With the large 6th Army coming up fast, I fell alot better of moving the front east in the South. So much so, I've brought XXXXVI PzKps south of the Desna to commit in 6th Army's area - turns out a waste bringing it north of the Pripet to start with.

Further south, off the screen shot, 11th Army manages one bridgehead across the lower Dniepr into the swamps. They will continue to batter their way towards the Sea of Azov and the Crimea as long as the weather holds




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 1/30/2011 9:57:31 AM   
krupp_88mm


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wow awesome job, i logged in to just congratulate you, i was only expecting one pocket but it looks like 3-4 their everywhere i wonder how he will deal with so many crisis all at the same time, keep the pressure up maybe you can make another pocket west of Moscow before mud starts, also when i logged in to comment here i got an omen, id advise you not to underestimate your opponent even after these losses, winter will be bad but the fins will be a godsend



this is what i saw when i logged in on your aar ^^^^ bad omens i say

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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 2:59:48 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Krupp - thats hilarious!

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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 4:15:31 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Turn 13, 11 Sep.

Operation Shark begins it's second phase - holding open the corridor and begin reducing the Lenningrad pocket.

18th Army provides the hammer to reduce the pocket - it's three Korps battering through the previously almost inpregnable Lvl 3 fortifications - now isolated, are not nearly as tough. Once the fortifications are reduced, Totenkopf advances through to the gates of Kolpino. Not all of 18th Army's attacks are successful - L Korps is repulsed twice with over 5000 casualties. Supporting these attacks, 16th Army's western attack near Novgorod is somewhat successfull in taking two of three positions attacked. On the other side of the pocket, 16th Army's II Korps attacks successfully from the south against hasty positions, and XXXXI PzKps moves to link up with the Finns and to begin attacking from the east. Overall, the first week of isolation has about 10 divisions surrender, and several key fortifications taken.

On the eastern side of the corridor, 4th Pz Grp solidifies its defenses with both PzKps as the Soviets begin railing in fresh troops. The corridor itself is at it's narrowest 40 miles wide - which should be more than adequate as long as good weather holds.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 4:30:09 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Reducing the Valdai Pocket takes a Korps from 16th Army and proves a bit more difficult than thought necessary due to the rough terrain. It nets about 11 Divisions surrendered and its rapid reduction allows 9th Army to move in force to secure the eastern "wall" of the corridor. 9th Army also takes over responsibility for the Kalinin area, allowing 3rd Pz Grp to fully orient south toward Moscow.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 5:07:02 AM   
IdahoNYer


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3rd Pz Grp focuses its efforts on attacking south toward Moscow. XXXIX and LVII PzKps combine efforts as both are in need of supply at this point, and crush the Soviet line south of Kalinin. Defenses are unexpectedly weak, and the exploitation element, 14th Mot, seems to have a clear, unobstructed run all the way to Moscow! The attack is clearly well to the rear of established fortifications defending further west. However, the overall attack lacks sufficient infantry to support this kind of advance, although we are now within 40 miles of the Capital. At this point, the overall effort is to reduce Leningrad, and with winter fast approaching, there is just not the time to re-orient a major attack to seize Moscow, although it is very, very tempting to execute some type of "Typhoon". For now, the real objective is to eliminate the Rzhev-Vyazma Salient in order to reduce the frontage. That however, will required some success on the south side of the Salient.....




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 5:17:34 AM   
IdahoNYer


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The plan to reduce the "Vyazma Salient". A bit Kursk like, wouldn't you say?




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 5:29:24 AM   
IdahoNYer


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On the south side of the salient, 2nd Pz Grp is having difficulties. The Soviets counterattacked LAH in their turn, and instead of retreating back to toward German lines, it "advanced" to its present location - cut off by Soviet troops. Despite HQ buildup, 2nd Pz Grp barely manages to re-establish a line of supply corridor to LAH - Soviet fortifications on the shoulder of the German attack were just too strong and the Germans lack sufficient infantry. Still, the attack must be pressed, and perhaps we are beyond the fortified line and some progress can be made.

I just hope Guderian doesn't get relieved for this!




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 5:39:43 AM   
IdahoNYer


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6th Army receives XXXXVI Pzkps from 2nd Army and begins to pressure Soviet defenses southwest of Kursk. XXXVI Pzkps makes modest gains, but looks as though they have penetrated past the defense line the Soviets were attempting to establish. Without the PzKps, 2nd Army is too weak to advance, and can just maintain coverage on the flanks. With infantry still advancing to contact, 6th Army is in good position to either advance on Kursk, or wheel SE to create an envelopement with 1st Pz Army. The question is whether Scar will attempt to hold ground or fall back further east of course.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 5:48:18 AM   
IdahoNYer


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The big news in AGS area of operations is the success of 1st Pz Grp. As expected, the Soviets closed behind III Pzkps lead elements and isolated them, but were not able to extract the majority of troops to the west. The renewed German attack, with infantry and III Pzkps elements opening up a new corridor, allowing XXXXVIII Pzkps to exploit through, creating the sizable Poltava Pocket - which looks to be fairly secure. This also may open the door to Kharkov and even further into the Donets basin. Like 3rd Pz Grps success near Moscow, timing however is running short for such deep advances. Still, there does not appear to be sizable Soviet reserves at hand, and if I'm Scar, Moscow has to be the priority for reinforcements.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 6:00:05 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Very surprisingly, Scar pulls off the lower Dniepr. I figured another 2 weeks or so of attempting to get a solid foothold on the east bank through the swamps. Now, instead of slugging through the swamps against fortified positions, we have some open ground and perhaps a lack of fortifications. 11th and 4th Rum Armies will push east, toward the Donets Basin. 4th Rum Army will push south toward the Crimea and test the defenses at the northern entrace to the Crimea. If I can enter the Crimea proper, great, but my priority is the Donets Basin. Supply however, will be difficult as I push east as the two AGS rail repair units are moving north of the Dniepr to support 6th Army and 1st Pz Grp.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 6:08:59 AM   
IdahoNYer


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With the apparent success of Operation Shark, I'm feeling a bit better of suviving the upcoming blizzard. The vast majority of the 43 divisions destoyed the last two turns were divisions. This number should double over the next two weeks with the reduction of the Leningrad and Poltava Pockets.




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 6:13:47 AM   
IdahoNYer


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Last screen shot for the turn is the casualty report. Over 2 million mark reached for Soviet losses, while Germany is rapidly approaching the 300,000 mark. Very acceptable from my perspective right now - how's it looking to those more experienced folks out there?




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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 7:01:38 AM   
randallw

 

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Letting the Finns march beyond the No Attack line could be a major problem for your opponent.

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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 12:36:24 PM   
veji1

 

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Wow , impressive, You have got your opponent on the ropes. You still have lots of time, this is only september ! counting the mud turns, you really have a good chance of getting Moscow. If I were you I would already start calculating what force you can spare from the Leningrad pocket reduction that could relieve the panzers doing the link up with the Finns, so that you can start moving back the Panzer for a Typhoon type operation in late october. It is late, but with an opponent on the ropes and the urban bonuses you would get if you got Moscow, you could hold during Blizzard.. Worth a try.


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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 9:17:52 PM   
IdahoNYer


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I'm tempted Veji 1 - but not sure I'll have enough time. I'm bringing XL PzKps to 3rd Pz Grp area now - its on the rails. I hope to disengage 4th Pz Grp as soon as practical, but that really depends on whether the Soviets attempt to relieve Leningrad or not. So - perhaps, I can bring 3-4 PzKps to make a lunge at Moscow from the northwest.

However, I don't want to distract from taking down Leningrad - that is my number one priority.

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RE: Return to Smolensk and Beyond, IdahoNY vs Scar - 2/1/2011 10:51:13 PM   
miller41


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From this Russian players prospective your doing great, but I would caution that depending on how many troops you actually pocketed in Leningrad (and how many more you do in other areas) you may not have caused enough casualties to risk attempting to get to moscow and not getting there, because if you don't and he has upwards of 6 mil+ troops, you will get knocked back a long way if not properly dug in. Trust me I have done it to one opponent who didn't and even the one who started digging in in October got pushed back 100 miles. You may even take Moscow but be unable to hold it due to being surrounded. It may be worth a try though, your the first PBEM game I have seen where Leningrad got cut off so early in the campaign. Good luck whatever you decide.

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You have the ability to arouse various emotions in me: please select carefully.

(in reply to IdahoNYer)
Post #: 90
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