A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by Toidi if I would take over a game that he had going with Mike29. You can read his AAR thread here. Toidi had become disillusioned with various aspects of the game, and wanted to quit playing WitE altogether, but did not want to leave his opponent in the lurch. Given that the game was one with Random Weather, Toidi recalled from my various forum posts that I only play random weather games, and figured I was a likely candidate for being a permanent substitute for him in the game.
After reviewing the turn that Toidi had originally sent, of his nearly completed turn 38, I asked him if I could see the start of the turn. I was unhappy with his mass withdrawal away from the Axis units surrounding nearly 200k men in the Ukraine. Clearly his enjoyment of the game, and what I felt to be a failed personal "morale" roll, was due to the situation that he (like so many other Soviet players) found himself in, during "March Madness".
While it was clear that there wasn't anything that I could immediately do to rescue the trapped Soviets, the game, overall, looked to be both interesting, as well as "normal". Interesting in that the Soviets were, in my opinion, operating under their potential, yet normal in that the OOBs, overall losses, and territorial positioning of the forces on both sides were rather typical of most 1.05 games that I've seen. Neither player seemed to have been making any critical mistakes, and the game was at a very good and balanced state for this stage of the game, the last month of the first winter.
I had to first determine the overall state of the Red Army, Air Force, and supporting forces. My main concern was the generally run-down condition of the Soviet front line units, while what I felt to be an over abundance of forces were tied down in the rear, getting fat, dumb and happy, occupying fort lines that I felt were overly redundant.
Now, I realize that the common wisdom is for the Soviet player to build multiple fall back lines, and to maintain large numbers of deep strategic reserves. However, I felt that Toidi had perhaps taken this to an extreme, to the detriment of his front line. What I felt he was allowing was the piecemeal destruction of his front line forces, by not actively committing enough of his reserves to gain parity with, or superiority over, his counterpart. So, what follows will be my chronicle of a massive rethinking of Soviet 1942 strategy and tactics. I hope to add some new twists to Soviet play, and to avoid crashing and burning due to my throwing out the rulebook of conventional wisdom...
This first screenshot shows a zoomed out view of the North, as I got the turn from Toidi. Things are relatively stable, due to the good defensive terrain. German and Finnish forces are making a handful of attacks, driving back Soviets here and there, but no massive concentrations of mobile units are noted.