Disbands for T026:
Recon +15 @ 2T
The line has somehow held against a half-dozen German assaults. My defenders took severe casualties in the process, losing a tank brigade and two smaller infantry brigades. But the 1 Heavy Tank brigade stormed into battle and would not relent. They literally saved the entire Leningrad perimeter from collapse. I'm not sure they could replicate that kind of gallant stand if the Germans, as expected, renew the attack with the same force. However, the Leningrad defenses have held longer than anticipated. Eventually, there won't be any more rested units to send into battle.
I've now assembled (1) five Guards armies and one Shock army south of Astrakhan. It was a gamble to keep them on the trains so close to the enemy positions, but with screening units out front (2), the odds were on my side that the embarked force would remain safe. As expected, Mark is being forced to send German line units to this area to help bolster the Romanian defenders, taking away his strength from Grozny. Even if it's only a small contingent sent north to meet my armies, it places the enemy in a Catch-22. Does he remain focused on Grozny, allowing a large Russian force ready to attack a weakly-defended left flank? Or does he send reinforcements in force to keep my Astrakhan force bottled up and away from the Grozny assaults, in turn weakening his chances to capture Grozny in any reasonable amount of time?
The 60th and 54th Armies held strong against a very formidable German attack. Now with no fewer than three SS Panzer divisions, and two Panzer Korps, supported by regular infantry corps, it's obvious Mark is putting all his eggs in the Grozny basket. Surprisingly, the German attack has been concentrated on my strongest point, just west of the city. At that section, I have good interior lines that allow reserves to shuffle between spots that are buckling, as happened during the first wave of assaults. Even though it's more heavily defended on a single-hex basis, it would probably do well for the Germans to go right at Grozny itself. But who am I to suggest how to defeat my positions?
Sector: Black Sea Coast
The bulk of the 45th Army that was cut off has now surrendered. But the 46th Army is holding its ground, trying to delay or prevent the German advance on Sokhumi. I'm very stretched for units at this point. If I were to reinforce this area, it would have to come all the way from Astrakhan by sea, then by rail from Baku. It would take at least three turns/weeks for help to arrive. So I'm kind of risking my butt here by not calling for reinforcements just yet.
Sector: The Caucasus - OPERATION: WATERFALL
This is a double for theatre update and operational plans. As suggested, the idea behind this offensive is to break through the Romanian defenders (1), screened on the right against counterattack (2), while holding firm at Grozny (3). This should hopefully disengage the Germans that are trying to capture Grozny, forcing an about-face to confront my charging attack force of four Guards armies and one Shock army.
Sector: El Alamein - OPERATION: TURNPIKE
Plans for this operation have been in the works for over a month now, as I've hinted at the strategy you see in this slide. It will be one big wheel maneuver, designed to take advantage of the weaker Italian units screening the southern flank of the Afrika Korps. I do know that there is at least a mechanized DAK division in the southern section, but if it can be surrounded and quickly dispatched, success here is at least likely. The first wave (1) will be the X Corps tanks supported by the I Corps infantry, attacking westward into the Italians. At this point, the V Corps will move west from El Alamein (2) to act as a quick-strike reserve should a counter attack come from the western flank of the I/X Corps. Finally, should this first part work well enough, the assault force will wheel again (3), this time to the north and into the rear of the DAK and Italians along the coast.
Sector: Morocco - OPERATION: TORCH
The Yanks are getting into the action next turn/week with this operation. There will be four task forces. The British will be landing in North/South task forces along the Moroccan coast (1). That will be the first wave, landing on Turns 027 and 028. This should force the Vichy French to capitulate within a few turns. The Americans will land in West/East task forces on the Algerian coast (2). Those landings will start on Turns 028, after the British landings. Once ashore, the US forces will move to link up quickly at Algiers. At some point following the Vichy surrender, the British force will move back to the port hexes, recoup supply and readiness, then shuttle around Tangier to support the US force advancing on Tunisia. The British 1st Airborne will remain on an airfield hex at Casablanca, for later use.