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Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies)

 
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Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 6:42:03 PM   
USXpat

 

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Turn 003 - May 22, 1942.

Finally, a chance to play this monstrosity against a human opponent - Mike. Part play and part test. As we're posting retroactively (up to T12 presently), no bugs have been encountered as yet. In this version, aside from hopefully having killed the bugs and implementing the Strategic Warfare Component from the Axis PO version - Axis replacements have been reduced by as much as 33% (mainly infantry, aircraft, and certain heavy weapons).

I'll start this with giving a snap shot of several areas, even if they won't be particularly active for a while.






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 6:44:08 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

Full coverage of 16th Armee is from the flank of Army Group Center to Staraya Russa.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 7:11:46 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

The Soviet withdrew what they could from the most extreme positions of the Rhzev Salient. This is not altogether unexpected - I'd do the same, except more incrementally. A fast evacuation only leaves one army at risk. The question is whether to stop at the river live, or put forth a maximum effort to force a straight line from Rhzev to Kholm?




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 7:28:49 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

The last quiet area on the Eastern Front.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 7:53:14 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

Another withdrawal from starting positions allows large portions of the Soviet 13th and 40th Armies to be cut-off beyond hope of rescue. The question here is whether to push forward to a line from Voronezh to Orel, or to push toward Yeletz for the sake of having of having rails all the way to the front line?




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 8:16:05 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

(Not very artistic... heh)

While there is a 25 VP bonus if the Soviets can take Kharkov by T6, the Soviets withdrew from their starting positions here, too. In the haste, large portions of the 6th and 57th Armies were sacrificed.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 8:38:27 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

Here, again, the Soviets withdrew from most of their starting positions, but somewhat more methodically. Only a few units were sacrificed outright. Further, the Second Shock Army was spotted by Finnish aerial reconnaissance boarding trains heading south. While the Luftwaffe caught wind of their movements, too, 13th Panzer Division was the first to verify Rostov as its destination. It is also known that a full Russian Tank Army is in the immediate area, so the fighting here is likely to be intense.

Further south, in the Crimea - 11th Armee is contending with finishing the Siege of Sevastopol. A large portion of the Russian defenses of the eastern Crimea have already crossed the isthmus and were spotted railing up to, and somewhat beyond Rostov.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/8/2012 9:27:16 PM   
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T003 - May 22, 1942

Elsewhere - without screenshots...

North Africa - If there's any place I am ambivalent about, it is North Africa. Every play test failed to dislodge the English from Tobruk. That's not saying it is not possible, only that I haven't been able to do it. That could be the consequence of being too conservative, it can be done - it's just how high of a price is the Axis player willing to pay for it?

That said, Tobruk is effectively the Key to North Africa. It is the only port whereby the Axis can receive reinforcements without the long, grueling road march from Tripoli. For the English, it matters, but not quite as much.

The Balkans

This is one of my favorite parts of the scenario. There are more partisans in these mountains than you can shake a stick at. A completely tragic section of history, but it's the one part that I feel modern day politicians and generals still do not understand.

My strategy here is going to clear two or three areas at a time while trying to minimize wear and tear on the fragile Italian, Croatian and Bulgarian units in the area. It's not so much that these units are fragile as they have low replacement rates, below average proficiency, and low supply proficiency. And, excepting air units, no Italian units reconstitute, most Croatian units won't either.

Mainland Europe

Fortress Europe. Every reserve infantry division available is being sent to provide coastal defenses in France, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Sicily and the Baltic States. That's what a lot of them were used for anyway. Otherwise, there's nothing to worry about here... yet, and hopefully not for a long-long time.

Norway, is also quiet.

Finland - I suspect the Karelian area of operations will turn into a stalemate. I'm keeping most of my garrison forces in Norway - Narvik is too important to risk. Only 25th Panzer Division and the Norway Army Engineer Group can be spared to make their way over to support any fight against Murmansk and Kandalaksha. Taking one or both will prevent (or at least delay) the arrival of a portion of the LendLease equipment arriving each month. Later a mountain infantry division will be available, otherwise the Karelian offensive is scrounging for anything "fit for the job" to reinforce this area.


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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/10/2012 11:52:51 PM   
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T004 - May 29, 1942 - Army Group South (Sixth Army +)

The most active area by far, showing current dispositions and preliminary stop line for Phase I of Case Blue. In summary, Push to the Don. This could set the stage for a long, drawn out essentially static fight. While not very exciting, the Don provides the best defensive positions available.






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 12:02:28 AM   
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T004 - May 29, 1942. North Africa.

The hardest nut to crack for the Axis. Only the German 15th & 21st Panzer and 90th Leichte Divisions are fully reliable. The 10th Panzer Division is also being sent down along with additional Italian infantry but mostly to keep Tripoli secured until Tobruk falls.

There is a very good chance that Tobruk will not fall.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 12:22:48 AM   
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T005 - June 5, 1942
Army Group South 17th Armee.

Rostov is a fortress city and without it the whole Kuban and Caucasus Region becomes much more difficult to supply. SS LSSAH Division was able to puncture the Rostov northern defenses to take the bridge and advance across the river unopposed. 13th Panzer moves in to secure the bridge itself.

At this point, it is clear that several panzer korps will be completing their initial assignments and will be available as follow-up forces, first of which is the XLVIIIth Korps sporting Grossdeutchland and 24th Panzer.





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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 12:38:35 AM   
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T006 - June 12, 1942.

The continued offensive by Fourth Panzer Army, elements of Second and Sixth, plus Hungarian 2nd Army hammered the Soviet lines pretty hard. Altogether, this threatens the destruction of large portions of the 9th, 28th, 37th and 38th Armies along with the 1 Guards and 3rd Cavalry Corps, 8th Guards Mechanized Corps and 11th Guards Tank Corps.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 12:48:57 AM   
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T006 - June 12, 1942.

Tobruk is cut off, but is still receiving supplies by sea. Bardia is cut off. A large portion of the English 8th Army withdrew leaving only elements of the 1st and 2nd South African Divisions to hold Tobruk. As significant reinforcements have been reported to be en route by sea, units have halted at the Bardia Line. Supply is very low even at this distance from the supply head. The closer the English Eighth Army is to Egypt, the greater its advantage and the greater the disadvantage for the Axis.






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 1:30:19 AM   
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T006 - May 29, 1942
Overall dispositions...


Finland:
The Karelia and Finnish fronts are likely stalemated at this point, however, the rail from Kandalaksha to Murmansk is tenuously severed. 25th Panzer Division is en route, but will require several turns of rest before it will be ready for combat. Likely to be a lengthy wait.

Army Group North - Leningrad to Velikye Luki:
Probably the quietest area, overall. Forces are digging in and will remain in static for a few months yet.

Army Group Center:
The Rhzev Salient is in a far less tenuous position than it was. Both the Axis and Soviet forces benefit from a shortened defensive line. The decision to shorten the line further -- to a line parallel to Rhzev and Kholm -- has been postponed pending the outcome at Sevastopol and 11th Armee's follow-on objectives, concurrent with the progress of 17th Armee.

Army Group South:
As historically was the case, AGS is being divided into two operational groups. The first is led, in the main, by Sixth Armee. The second falls to the Seventeenth Armee. First and Fourth Panzer Armees, along with the Romanian 3rd Army, and Italian 8th Army will be supporting these two missions, but in different stages. The first stage is for Sixth Armee to secure a perimeter along the entire Don River, the Seventeeth has as its goal the Kuban Region and the Caucasus. Ultimately, the majority of the First and Fourth Panzer Armees will be dedicated to supporting the 17th Armee along with "other such assets that may be required."

Both groups have seen the majority of the fighting thus far and have fared well.

11th Army - Sevastopol:
At this point, two of the three outer perimeter defenses have been severely punished. They are still likely to hold for a few turns. Cnce the first collapses (likely the center), the others can be expected to give way much faster.

The Balkans:
A few partisan groups have been eliminated in their entirety, but there are a lot more to go. This area requires very careful attention to cooperation levels -- as there is no cooperation between Croatian, Italian, Bulgarian or Hungarian units. Combining a German infantry division with one of these allows for limited cooperation, but is still subject to some penalty. The Hungarian units are only contending with the two partisan groups closest to their borders. The Hungarian divisions are really about the best in the area aside from a handful of German divisions - which are pretty much 2nd rate units themselves. Reasonable progress is being made though.

North Africa:
The maps pretty show the situation for what it is - not much to add here except that I'm not optimistic about taking Tobruk.

The Luftwaffe and Allied Air:
Presently, the Luftwaffe is managing to hold onto about + 5 to +20 edge vs the Allied Air Forces (from 95 - 90 to 110 - 90, give or take). Supply and readiness are the key factors I'm watching, followed by aircraft type. I'll need to start withdrawing certain types of aircraft from combat exposure to let them reach full strength. Some aircraft types also go out of production - impacting their long-term usefulness. Casualties have exceeded replacement rates especially on bombers and non-German fighters. Allied attacks evaporated one air group, though it is expected to be reconstituted very soon.

Allied of non-military targets has been constrained to the Hamburg Oil Facilities - pushing the EEV to 5, but no further.

Numerous bridges, however, have been blown - in France and in Russia, which has constrained some troop movements and in some cases, supplies. All engineers, numerous headquarters and just about anything else not engaged but in a position to lend a helping hand are repairing the bridges. As yet, I've not launched any bridge blowing operations of my own - as the Soviet-held side of the rail net is better, has fewer bridges and the ones I need to hit are out of range. For now...




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 2:09:23 AM   
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T008 - June 26, 1942.

Skipping T007... Army Group South continues to be the center of attention. Sevastapol is still holding, so is Tobruk. Allied bridge bombings also continue.

While there are no outright rules regarding the usage of airborne units, I'll be observing some fairly tight provisions: 1) one drop per year per unit maximum, 2) within 8 hexes (120 km) of the nearest friendly unit. Frankly, I don't expect that airborne operations will be viable in 1943, at least outside the Balkans or Western Europe. The Italians still have three units available for air drops, and Germany - two.

Cutting the rail line out of Stalingrad was an imperative and while the Brandenberg Commandoes are small units, they can add a decent punch to any defensive stack - they are on Free Support; plus have decent recon ability. They don't reconstitute, however - so they are best deployed in cases involving minimal risk.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 2:51:38 AM   
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And Houston, we have a big problem. Up until the most recent turn received, Axis supply was 27 --
on T015, it jumped up to 77%.

I just went through the scenario dump file and isolated the problem to the DAK Axis Supply Point Reduction using the wrong trigger (Supply 1+ vs Supply Point 1). Where the supply point should be just 50% of regular -- the trigger effectively added +50 to axis supply.

I don't see a fix for this. The event is #849 - one of the last few and one of the last added.

My apologies to everyone -- I'll have a fix out later today (Friday).


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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 8:37:06 AM   
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Hey Mark,

what's your MRPB in this game? I've been playing with maximum rounds at 4 and that resulted with quite a few turn burns especially early in the game. I think I'll start my next game with MRPB=3.

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/11/2012 2:59:43 PM   
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Hi Justus,

The initial version had maximum rounds per battle at 4; the most recent versions have reduced it to 3. On average, I've been getting 3 combat rounds per turn. Had one early turn ending in 14 turns, and have had as many as 6 combat rounds in a turn. Very important to watch formation cooperation levels which can contribute to turn burn. Hope that helps. Will have the update posted in a few hours...

Mark

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/26/2012 3:03:34 AM   
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Okay, rolling again. The first test got through Turn 15; we are now back at Turn 15. Rather than restart the AAR, I'll pick up from where I left off.

For the most part, everything is pretty close to being the same. Some objectives were taken somewhat faster than the first time around. Significantly fewer Soviet Armies were encircled owing to a faster withdrawal. The first phase of Case Blue started a bit northeast (vs. southeast) of Orel/Kursk - leading to two different Soviet Armies getting caught up in the advance.

My previous stop lines were "Orel-Kursk-Voronezh-Don River". This time, they are "Orel-Yeletz-Voronezh-Don River". Main interest here is a better supporting railhead for the front lines.

There are four significant differences as of Turn 7 compared to the first run;

A. Finnish-German forces take Kandalaksha.
B. Rostov-on-Don captured significantly earlier.
C. Tobruk captured for the first time in 20+ play tests.
D. The Soviet 8th Army evacuated from its positions near Leningrad.

At this point, I don't mind detailing my overall objectives for the Scenario.

#1 Prevent the Allies from establishing a presence on Continental Europe.
#2 The capture of Maikop, Grozny and Baku.
#3 With the fall of Kandalaksha, to go ahead and press for Murmansk.
#4 With the fall of Tobruk, keep the English Army bottled up in Egypt and hold Tunis for as long as possible.
#5 Methodically eliminate the Partisan forces in the Balkans
#6 Take Leningrad.

Anything above and beyond these objectives will be on a more measured, opportunistic basis.

----------------------------------------------------
Justus has shown me his Axis turns up through Turn 141 under the original PBEM version -- without the strategic warfare component and with substantially higher Axis replacement rates - and it is very interesting. It's at a Draw and will likely end at a Draw, but the Allies have cleared North Africa, taken virtually all of Italy, the majority of France and are in the Balkans. The Soviets managed to tear up Army Group Center - but are about 3-4 months behind their historical objectives - at the gates of Kiev and along the Dnepr R., Neva, the Pripyet, etc.

Justus' game showed, however, that the Soviets and the Allies overall, could take a sound thrashing and another, and still be very much in the game. Turn 141 shows a wild difference compared to where things stood at Turn 90.
----------------------------------------------------

In this game however, the Strategic Warfare component plays a very large variable, but Axis replacement rates are considerably lower. As yet, the Allies have not fought aggressively on the ground - force preservation appears to be the name of the game so far.

Anyways, I'll pick up again with T7 or so.

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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/28/2012 1:11:15 AM   
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Will try to take things up to Turn 10... Starting first with the situation in North Africa.

The Axis start off with a forward supply point at Derna at 100%; this drops to 80% on Turn 6, then 50%, I think on Turn 12. With Tobruk in hand - 100% supply - the DAK is no longer fighting against the clock on supplies. It's more a question of how strong the Allied presence in Egypt is. I count 5 Infantry and 2 Armored Divisions -- plus 3 hexes where I strongly suspect there are units, but can't see them; and six more hexes where there might be units that I can't see. Add the English Navy and Air Force... and the simple fact that the Italian Army cannot reliable stand up against a heavy attack.

Left to my discretion vs. the Fuhrer's orders, my plan is... Censored.

Appropriate to note that it can take several turns for a unit "digging in" to reached (D)efend status, longer for (E)ntrenched or (F)ortified. Fortified zones like Tobruk automatically bring in a unit from Mobile to Defend in 1 turn. This makes for a conscious decision to play offensively or defensively - as in other scenarios one can attack with a unit and be guaranteed to make it back to (D)efend.

Taking the Suez will cut 4 Allied Supply Points for the time it is held, but -- far easier said than done.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/28/2012 1:25:29 AM   
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T010 - July 10, 1942

Sevastopol - After 7 turns of repeated attacks supported by the heaviest artillery the German Army could bring to bear, the center of the defensive perimeter finally collapsed. The northern flank followed suit, after only 1 week. At this point, only a battered fortification and tank regiment hold the actual port. Petrov's Primorskaya Army was battered back from the port - this is one army that will not be able to evacuate.

Given the inevitable collapse of Sevastapol, Manstein's 11th Armee receives orders that it will be redeployed to the north once the city is completely in his hands.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/28/2012 1:59:36 AM   
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The hardest, sustained fighting of the First Phase of Case Blue, has been, is (and continues to be) around Yelets and Voronezh. The area has received a significant amount of reinforcements in the way of 3rd Guards Tank Army, a number of Operational Groups (Tank, Rifle, Cavalry and Mechanized Corps). 9th Guards Mechanized Corps holds Yeletz - it has the highest apparent combat value of any Soviet unit seen to date (17/20). Immediately to its north are the 2nd, 4th and 12th Guards Tank Corps - or what is left of them.

I've defined my goals here down to each individual hex - all in the name of controlling the rail line and having it meet up with the defenses of the Upper Don. Ideally, I would like the rail line plus one hex, to give any units arriving in this area by rail a bit of a buffer against being immediately attacked. The screen shot shows the dispositions of what I can identify of the Red Army. Behind the front lines, there is significantly more - much of it on tactical reserve.

The defense here has proven quite rugged, large, deep and including some of the very best Russian units available.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/28/2012 2:35:34 AM   
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Turn 010 - July 10, 1942
Maikop


Progress toward the Caucasus has proceeded much faster than before as Rostov was not nearly as heavily defended. Fresh panzer divisions have been railed in from Army Group Center as tired units, still very much operational but needing a break for Supply/Readiness have taken their place.

The Red Air Force has been hammering my rail bridges left right and center, hard to tell how bad they are suffering at the hands of the Luftwaffe... but much of the Luftwaffe's southern air contingent shows signs of significant wear and tear. I'm rotating them in and out of range of the front line every few turns to keep them operational. The Luftwaffe, overall, has just about a 10% sometimes a 20% edge over the Allied Air Forces. This fluctuates, but by the end of 1942, I'm guessing the Axis will be lucky to retain air parity.

As can be seen - the defenses between the Lower Don and the advance on Maikop is... light. As yet, I've not encountered nor seen signs of significant enemy activity, except on the approach to Stalingrad. While I have forces designated for the assault on Maikop and the follow-on effort at Grozny, at least 2-3 more korps (and probably 4) will be needed to keep the eastern flank secure. In the meantime, this task will fall to Wiking, 19th Panzer and 36th Motorized Divisions.

At least two Romanian corps will be freed up and available to assist in this task - the struggle is finding a full German Korps to give the flank additional substance. Other reserves are available, but mostly in the form of security divisions --- meaning that once they can be deployed to take the place of regular infantry divisions in "secure areas" - that a korps might be pieced together. I do prefer to keep the units of each formation together, but German units have full cooperation with each other - so it's not a vital issue.

Overall infantry losses are running at a deficit of about 5% - losing about 2400 more basic Rifle Squads than have been received as replacements. Acceptable for the gains made thus far.









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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 5/29/2012 2:12:57 AM   
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T011 - July 17, 1942
Murmansk


Kandalaksha to the south fell a few turns previously and the Russian 19th Army retreated toward Murmansk. While I do have 25th Panzer Division and its assortment of mixed French/German tanks as this area's strategic reserve - anything else will require pulling divisions out of Norway.
Narvik is important to the Axis and while Norway may have an excessive garrison (over 10 divisions) - not all of them are front line material.

It likely that Murmansk will be reinforced beyond the present Axis capacity. In some ways, this is advantageous if only that it ties up units that would be deployed elsewhere. On the other hand, if Leningrad falls -- Murmansk will eventually receive much more attention.

LendLease "disband cadres" are spread out across the ports of Archangelsk (late Spring to early Fall), Kandalaksha (early Spring & Late Fall), and Murmansk (Winter). If any of these ports are takne, the Lend Lease units are ** only delayed ** until the corresponding city is captured again. I think to do it otherwise would have taken up too many events.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 6/1/2012 6:49:52 PM   
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Turn 12 - July 24, 1942
Maikop

The oilfields are the primary objective. The distances involved in trying to secure all three amount to adding on an 1100 kilometers to the Russian Front, plus an additional 500 km in southern frontage. But, the terrain makes it much easier - a division is not required for every hex across these 1600 km.

Though possible, invasion by the Black Sea is unlikely. To the east, there's the Volga and the Caspian Sea. Good defenses are needed for a few river crossings and some anchorage points. Then, to the south - the mountains - requiring forces for each major crossing.

The same principles that apply offensively, apply defensively, too - so this is not to say that it is an easy affair. Historically, Maikop fell and the Axis were very close to Grozny. Eight Divisions were pulled from the Caucasus to reinforce the situation at Stalingrad -- but if a large part of the effort that went into taking Stalingrad, was instead applied to taking the oilfields first, Grozny would have been taken. Baku - is a different story.

And of course, all those oil wells would have been blown, but Germany had 15,000 oil industry technicians, specialists and engineers on hand to begin immediate repairs. Germany also commissioned several oil companies to further facilitate oil production from these fields. They had the technology, they had the maps to the fields, they even had some of the people who were working in the same fields during the First World War. Baku is the birthplace of the modern oil industry and it was an objective for Germany and the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, too.

Given sufficient time, could have drilled new wells, repaired some refining facilities while starting up smaller interim refineries. Well within their means as we are talking about 40 octane fuel vs 80-90 used by modern cars.

(Come to think of it, a routine should be added that in the event Germany does capture any of the oilfields, that they also become subject to "strategic bombing" - but that's a bit more complex than I know how to implement easily).

Anyways -- that's my theory and I'm sticking to it. The vast majority of my defensive line in Russia is holding to static positions - which would have been necessary in order to keep AGS supplied with sufficient oil.

Skirmishes continue around Voronezh-Yeletz which has the largest accumulation of Soviet hardware of any place on the map. The scope of reinforcements channeled into the area has convinced me that my intended stop lines are slightly out of my reach.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 6/3/2012 5:09:09 PM   
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T014 - August 7, 1942
North Caucasus

Screenshot shows the situation the second turn after the initial penetration of the Maikop defenses. I'm pretty religious about resting up units after one offensive before throwing them into a second. Following the cleanup - it'll take 3-4 turns for XLI and LXVI Korps to rest, gain supply and readiness. LSSAH, Das Reich and Totenkopf will be supporting them on the Grozny offensive.

Presently II & IV Romanian Corps have the task of screening the flank of the upcoming Grozny offensive. They have the initial support of 36 Motorized and 13th Panzer Divisions with SS Wiking as the area's strategic reserve.

It's difficult coming up with enough units to cover the large gap between Stalingrad and Astrakahn. An extra Romanian division or two and some security forces are being diverted into the area. The only major relief in sight is over a month away with the arrival of V Korps.

This effort is simply to contain the Russians geographically to the Stalingrad and Astrakahn defensive positions. Further reinforcement of the Caucasus will have to be done via a combination of rail and sea transport. Not a large help given Allied rail and sea transport capacity.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 6/4/2012 9:29:02 PM   
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T016 - August 21, 1942
Yelets-Voronezh

The fighting around Voronezh-Yeletz is drawing down, screenshot shows my desired line (+/-) compared to where things stand now (and more or less remain for several more turns). The stopline is only concerned with grabbing some rail line so the entire front would be on or adjacent to railhead level supply. Major Soviet reinforcements to this area gave me cause to pause to consider the costs and value.

The Eleventh Armee recently took Sevastopol, so it is being railed north to lend support to the upcoming assault on Leningrad. That's an extra eight divisions and all available rail artillery. This decision is based partly upon the Soviet withdrawal of the one army that had a chance of opening up a corridor to the city. I don't expect for Leningrad to fall easily or fast. If the Karelian operation is to have any real chance of success, it will need reinforcements.

Collapsing the Leningrad pocket will free up the Finnish Ishtmus Group, XXXIX Panzer Korps, L and XXVI Korps, plus 11th Armee.

The Allied Forces have, thus far, not engaged aggressively except against the Luftwaffe and bridges. Gradually, the Allied Air Forces are coming closer and closer to air parity. Turn by turn aircraft losses are fairly high for some units - leading them to get "lots of new aircraft" the next turn - taking them from veteran to green status. Where most units started around 75-80% proficiency, a number are now in the 50 - 65% range. Conversely, I do have one fighter unit at 100% proficiency and a number of bombers in the high 80's.

Tank losses have been relatively light:
1x Pz35, 29x Pz38, 109x PzIIIH, 166x Pz IIIJ, 10x PzIIIN,
50x PzIVE, 40x PzIVF2, 32 STGIII, 12x Marder I, 22 Marder II/III
10 M13/40, 10 M13/41, 7 TK





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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 6/9/2012 11:27:53 PM   
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T018 - September 4, 1942
Leningrad


With Manstein's two additional korps and heavy artillery in place, the assault on Leningrad began (T17). As can be seen, XXX Korps went into reorganization from the losses received in the opening assault. Still, that leaves three more infantry korps plus XXXIX Panzer Korps to continue the assault - taking turns in repeated waves so as to not wear any one division down more than necessary. The typical pattern is to attack twice at minimize losses, then escalate to limit losses, and finally, if still able, ignore losses.

While the defenders of Leningrad do receive replacements, they are on 50% supply and likely will not receive reinforcements. Where the Axis heart is being thrown at the oil fields, its soul is thrown into taking Leningrad. This comes at the cost of two korps not being thrown into the Grozny offensive.

There are two aspects to the Grozny Operation. The northern screen is a hodge-podge of whatever could be hastily assembled to break the north-south rail line from Astrakahn to the Caucasus; while also trying to "contain" any Russian offensive that might be mounted from that area. Observing the build-up at Astrakahn is the most worrisome segment of the front.

Every able and available reserve is being diverted to support the defense of a probable 450 km front (30 hexes) held together by the stitches of 10-11 divisions. If reserves cannot be found - they'll be created!

No less than a 1200 tanks and assault guns have staged for the Grozny offensive. The defenses there are building up and they'll have to be hit hard and fast. Supporting this, is a single infantry division. My hope is that by the time the final push comes for Grozny that additional infantry will be available.




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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 6/11/2012 5:56:06 PM   
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T020 - September 18, 1942
The Lower Don


Despite promises from Keitel to Army Group South, reinforcements to bolster the flank of the Grozny offensive have been slow to arrive. A Romanian Mountain Division, a battalion of Brandenburgers, and a Flak regiment. The newly raised V Korps, however has reached Salsk and is preparing to disembark from its trains. A significant help, but not enough.

Army Group Center reluctantly gave permission for 14th Panzer to redeploy to the South. Second time it's been diverted to support Case Blue. Aside from perhaps another Romanian Division and perhaps two Security Divisions, the only other relief to be expected is an SS Cavalry division that might arrive in a month.

More could be raised by thinning the lines from Army Group North to the Northern Don - Kuchler and Kluge have blatantly refused on the basis that there is no immediate threat, the Soviets have been sticking to a purely defensive footing, "If there was that much concern over the flank, 11th Armee would not have been deployed to Leningrad."

Eyes turned further West -- Rundstedt offering to free up an extra korps, possibly along with 6th Panzer Division. Plus another korps would be forming in France within six weeks; it was agreed that it too would be allocated to the Stalingrad-Astrakhan area.

Reichsmarshall Goehring then chimed in something about creating some Luftwaffe Field Divisions...






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RE: Third Reich 42 - 45: Mark (Axis) vs Mike (Allies) - 6/11/2012 6:21:57 PM   
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T020 - September 18, 1942
The North Caucasus


As noted above, but shown here in the area noted "The Weak Link" - a major Soviet build-up around Astrakhan has been observed over the past few turns. Expendable Soviet units have been scouting my lines for a few weeks. I have no doubt that an attack will be coming here, sooner or later. I can count on the Romanians to hold the line one turn, maybe two.

The Grozny offensive hasn't been launched yet, units are staging and trying to max-out their supply levels. If the situation truly looked desperate, units could be diverted - but every ounce of discipline is being used to stick to the plan. I expect Grozny to be a much tougher fight than Maikop. The Soviets know my objective and they've had time to prepare, dig in and reinforce while I await the panzers to fill up their tanks.

The rail line is gauging forward steadily, but it won't be able to reach Grozny.

XLVIII Panzer Korps and XLIX Mountain Korps with the Italian Alpini Divisions continue to make headway along the Black Sea. Just when I think they've stalled, they manage to surge forward.
This can only be credited to the Grossdeutchland Division - the "go to division" when everything else fails.





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