From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
Turn 27 – 18 December 1941
One more turn in the Blizzard drama. Q-Ball has counterattacked in various spots with mixed success: 5 attacks, 2 held and 3 routs. He's stung me though, one of the routs was a Cavalry Corps which was very important for my plans in the south. Let's review the situation.
Operational Situation Report
18th Armee is holding east of Vishny:
the Axis can't really give away these positions without risking the flank of the forces fighting along the Torzhok – Rzhev axis. I've brought here three stout Rifle Divisions to apply some pressure and make him feel his position is untenable (which isn't, actually I think it's quite solid).
Q-Ball saw the rather fishy situation that was arising around Staritsa and has deployed there a PanzerDivision
and counterattacked the Tank Brigade which was “exploiting”. At least I'm forcing him to attack me, and the weak Tank Brigades are too tempting a target for such an offensively minded player as Q-Ball.
Northwestern Front forces are quite ragged right now. Attacks are limited by the number of units unready – about one third of the force – and the intervening space between his forces and mine. A pattern in Q-Ball tactics has emerged. Note the two divisions he's left to prevent me establishing contact with his HKL. This poses a significant challenge: I have to balance out the number of units involved in dislodging those forces with the need of moving forward with the most force. If I commit too little to the attack I'm exposed to failure – more wasted MP's – and high losses.
Not a step back in front of Moscow, looks to me that Q-Ball feels his position to be securely anchored on the SS Totenkopf division
which is quite strong, indeed. Time to put the hurt on these elite guys. I'll be stacking Arty and good leaders here.
Very good news for the Tula – Yelets operation. Q-Ball has decided to abandon Tula after having his positions flanked by the advance of 1st and 2nd Shock Armies
I don't if by accident or purpose, he's falling back towards the next objective of 2nd Shock Army, the rail hub at Gorbachevo. I need to break the back of his forces on the Yelets – Gorbachevo sector let's see if the Bryansk Front and Eremenko's 31st Army have enough “oomph” for that.
As expected, the developments to the north have made Q-Ball to consider his position on the Don river to be untenable:
I need to think this better, since I don't want to distract too much from my original operations, but pushing towards Krastornoe along the rail line and Stary Oskol – no rail line here – are certainly very interesting. A push all the way to Kursk or Kharkov is an unreal proposition, unless things to the north further deteriorate.
What seemed a secondary operation – the Rossoh – Valyuki one – which was deemed to be a hard slog forward is taking momentum:
Pushing towards the Oskol, and the cities of Stary Oskol and Novy Oskol seems as the best way, although that axis is a logistic black hole. On the other hand, the best option in the south is to push towards Nizhvaya Duvanka – Dvuerachovo. Valyuki is really important, it sits on the most important rail lines in the area.
The battle lines for January are taking form in the south. Q-Ball really wants to keep me away from his defenses on the Mius. One of the Gebirgsjäger divisions has involved itself quite heavily in pushing back my vanguard in the area of Mateev Kurgan
A setback indeed. But the more I force Q-Ball to counterattack, the better.
The situation in the Crimea is becoming quite clear
major battles will be fought on the Perekop isthmus during January, as far as the supply situation allows. Soft factors shown are Supply status. 51st Army (advancing north from Sevastopol) situation is not that bad yet, due to the stores in the HQ (which shows now orange supply status). I need to pump supplies here, and the only option seems to be air supply (which will be very limited). At least the transport aviation I brought here will do something after all.
Logistics & Organization
This turn arrive 3rd and 4th Shock Armies. There's still some time to change the decision, but these armies will be committed on the Stalino front, waiting for the Transcaucasus Front to become unfrozen (and with excellent morale and experience units, by the way).
My replacement system is getting swamped by the Rifle formations – either rebuilt ones or new brigades. The same priorization I've been doing on Tank Brigades is necessary here. In the last four turns a total of 81 new Rifle formations have arrived (that's a 20% of the overall RKKA rifle formations in the OOB). So you can compare, between turns 20 and 23 I received just 42.
Regarding the influx of new men into the Red Army, this turn I got 79,000 fresh recruits.
This turn I've made the same number of attacks as in Turn 27, and got about the same level of success: 24 out of 29. The casualty ratio, excluding the two divisions at Feodosiya, is worsening and I don't like it at all: 15,000 Axis casualties vs. 60,000 Soviet casualties, a 4:1 in favor of the Axis. Those ghosts haunting my place aren't going to vanish, if anything, they're becoming legion :(
While the attrition battle rages at the strategic level, at the operational level I'm quite happy. This turn I'm forcing Q-Ball hand in the north in a nice way:
15th Infantry Division landsers are getting a free ride on the excellent Soviet railroads to the lands beyond the Urals if Q-Ball doesn't retreat them. His line is broken, though in an actually awkward place.
I think I see the German defenses in front of Moscow faltering, though I'm seeing a second line of level 3 forts behind the one I breached last turn
or perhaps it's not faltering and I'm just seeing what I want to see. German CV's here are indeed going down pretty fast in this area... I'd like to have these guys to keep their heads down before January arrives and some of the blizzard penalties are lifted.
The Tula – Yelets operation has achieved its immediate targets and it's not losing steam any time soon. Both Shock Armies are honoring its title and the shock waves create ripples on German lines
Rather than going after the PzDiv standing in the middle of the Red Tide I've decided to ignore it and keep 1st Shock Army eyes on the prize: Gorbachevo and beyond. Eremenko's 31st Army is indeed losing a bit its steam, but the Germans in front of them are pretty ragged already. I wouldn't be surprised that Q-Ball pulls back hard towards Orel. They can run all they want to, but sooner or later, the pain train is going to arrive at the station, guys.
The Rossoh – Valyuki operation is likely to finish before the New Year, 5th Army is at the gates of the town, and prepared to knock hard on its doors
Not much going on here, besides the roughing up of the Romanians to the north of Valyuki and inviting that Das Reich people to attack my troops.
And on the Stalino Front, not much to report either
Southern Front is hugging the German units here again. Rocky just needs to take another round of pounding before he gets the striking power. And to the southwest, once the Feodosiya affair has been resolved, the nice little walk up to the Perekop isthmus continue.
With luck I will be able to strike there by mid January, too late to achieve anything significant.
More Combat Analysis
Janh and PDH feedback have encouraged me to keep collecting the data on the combats (and to add the data from Turn 25, as well).
I've posted the statistics on this link, since taking screenshots isn't really functional. In general, janh comments were spot on: victories due to the 1:1 rule rise as the Red Army weakens, or I'm forced to try my luck when exploiting a narrow breakthrough.
What I wonder is the following: if there was no 1:1 rule, there wouldn't be Axis bonus to defensive fire either. What does this means in terms of final modified CV? A more severe reduction for the Axis and a milder reduction for the Soviets? Tactical combat has a lot of variance built into it. But I think it's reasonable to apply a constant multiplier to Axis and Soviet final modified CV's.
One thing I've pondering for long is that perhaps the 1:1 rule, besides not being necessary, was actually harmful for the Soviets (increased losses, victories that become defeats, etc.). Somebody (Helpless?) can give a hint on what multipliers should I look into?
< Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 10/23/2011 11:17:07 PM >