T024 - October 16 1942
No screenshot for this post. With Fall setting in, I gambled on a major offensive (105% shock @ 2 Turns) was planned for October 2nd, mainly for the Grozny Operation. October 9th, mud season hit and that carries over a few turns. A major offensive undermined by weather... that's how it goes sometimes. Very funny for obvious reasons.
The Luftwaffe - (to include Axis-friendly air forces) total losses are at 2,640 aircraft. Mike's been hammering Axis air bases at every opportunity, mostly in Russia and blowing bridges in Europe, so it has been a very active, but not all-out air war. Historically, from July to December, about 2,500 German aircraft were lost in combat. The numbers appear to be fairly realistic. At best, the Axis air forces can claim air parity, superiority has been lost.
France - The full original garrison forces remain in France minus 1 infantry korps and two panzer divisions. Over a dozen reserve divisions have taken their place, however - mostly coastal defense duty. Available AA units have taken up positions on the major bridges which have been hammered repeatedly. How effective they are is difficult to assess, they don't appear to be much of a deterrent, though the Luftwaffe is in good order throughout northern Germany and France, so I suspect Allied air forces are taking significant losses one way or the other.
Norway - Original garrison forces remain excepting the RR Engineer Brigade, the 25th Panzer Division and one Infantry Division, which have redeployed to assist in Finland.
Finland - From Lake Onega to the town of Kem, along the Isthmus and along the Svir, the situation remains silent and static. Kandalaksha is in Finnish hands; Murmansk is under siege by land but capable of being reinforced by Sea. The Kriegsmarine Admiral Scheer group will be available if/when reinforcements arrive to press the final assault on Murmansk. Both Kandalaksha and Murmansk are Lend Lease destinations, holding both will decrease LL by about 50-55%. (A simplified routine).
Army Group North - reinforced by Manstein's 11th Armee, the Assault on Leningrad is well underway. The outermost defensive ring broke placing Axis forces 30 km away from the city center. Tough fighting is still expected, casualties have been high. Otherwise, the whole length from Kirovsk to Vitebsk is quiet.
Army Group Center - The entirety of AGC is static and very quiet excepting periodic exchanges near the Voronezh - Yeletz line.
Army Group South - Upper Don to Stalingrad - Quiet.
Army Group South - Northern Caucasus - The advance on Grozny has gone much slower than expected. While an offensive was planned to start October 2nd, mud season resulted in it being called off. There will be not even the slightest element of surprise.
Besides the shoulder of the offensive, W and SW of Astrakahn is still woefully shy of units. Aside from expendable Russian units probing my defenses, however, there has been no offensive; just ongoing reports of a build-up in the Astrakahn vicinity.
Along the Black Sea, the mixed German-Italian force continues to make slow progress, having just taken Sochi.
The Balkans - The widest mix of nationalities - Italians, Germans, Croatians, Hungarians and Bulgarians have been successful in eliminating the majority of partisan groups in the area. Not all though. The remaining partisan units are very strong and likely beyond the offensive capabilities of the units in the area.
Italy/Sicily - Sicily's defenses have been bolstered by three German Reserve Divisions, a Reserve Panzer Division, and an SS Mountain Infantry Division.
Western Libya - I've been able to muster 7 divisions near Tripoli as a contingency force in the event of Vichy capitulation.
Eastern Libya - English brigades have been baiting Rommel to advance ever since taking Sidi Barrani. The situation here is precarious as the English build-up in Egypt is known to be very significant, potentially even... massive.
Honestly, I really don't see any favorable options. I fear taking a defensive footing and giving Mike the decision of when/where to strike that the Italian divisions will mostly melt under pressure. At the same time, charging headlong into fortified positions, outnumbered and somewhat beyond the reach of the bulk of Luftwaffe FW-190's, would be suicidal.
The best option is to try to get the English to advance beyond their fortification network and "inflict as much damage as possible". Even then, I don't think the Afrika Korps has much of a chance, but this offers at least some chance, small as it may be. Extra bombers have been flown into Crete from the Balkans.
Germany: The only available reserves consist of three reserve panzer divisions and a dozen or so replacement divisions, aside from flak units, reserve center and forts.
Other Notes: Overall infantry losses have been close to par with the replacement rate. This owes to a) very specific, if limited objectives and b) absence of major Allied ground offensives (as yet). Combat activity for many turns focus on fewer than 10 hexes - foregoing anything that doesn't provide the potential for some kind of advantage - whether VP, rail lines, better defensive terrain. Consequently, with most units at full strength; turn by turn replacements are feeding those units doing most of the fighting. Wherever possible, units are rotated in/out of the front as they recover.
Allied Forces hold 275 VP; Axis hold 985; Axis Victory Level is 713 out of 1260 with 3 coming from eliminating the N. Caucasus Front - making for a Significant Victory (same as at start). Reaching, much less holding, an Overwhelming Victory is not easy - would require taking all of the Caucasus and a few other cities.
At this point, I think Baku is more or less out of my reach. Will push as far as I can, but am only confident about taking Grozny - and not expecting it to be easy, definitely not like Maikop.
If Leningrad falls, then I will go after Murmansk. Otherwise, I expect the rest of the game to be mostly defending everything I can.
Game Issues - Fortunately, no further bugs have been encountered (presently @T45). One German Korps has an excessively low supply proficiency which needs to be fixed. Otherwise,
* Weather Severity (particularly snow) needs to be increased by two notches.
* From Justus' game, Bulgaria needs to capitulate if Sofia is taken (currently keys off Romanian capitulation)
* Review Lend Lease whether some portion should be automatically received via replacements vs disband cadres per deliveries via the Pacific and Iran. Not bad "as is" if seen as an abstract for the "whole war".
* Set up a larger range of variables and options relative to Vichy France; probably with an extra honor rule or two.
* Increase the "difficulty" in the Balkans.
< Message edited by USXpat -- 6/20/2012 5:50:48 AM >