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Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex

 
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Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/7/2012 4:17:24 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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This is my second game (the first was against AI).

As I will publish only facts which are outdated in our ongoing game, Alex can read and write here as he likes. Maybe he will contribute his side of the ongoing fighting.
The German plan I try to implement in the beginning is based on proposals laid out by the German Generals Reinhardt and Nehring after the war, for instance in Nehrings book ‘History of the German Panzer weapon’)

The Prolog is fictional.

Suggestions, critics, comments by anyone are very welcome.

Please take into consideration that I am not a native English speaker, so there may be a lot of language errors. I apologize for that.

Tauroggen





Prolog

It is the beautiful morning of March 22 of 1941. Generaloberst Halder, Chief of the General Staff of the Army (Oberkommando des Heeres, OKH) enters his office in the “Maybach 1” facilities at Zossen, near Berlin.
His aide Hauptmann von Bülow awaits him, holding a paper in his left hand.
He clicks his heels, greets militarily: “Good morning, Herr Generaloberst.”
“Morning, Bülow. What is it? There must be something important.” He points towards the paper.
“Von Manstein, Sir. A position paper…”
“What?”
“A position paper of the coming Eastern front. Manstein wrote an exposé of his differing views.”

Halder takes a deep breath. He looks at von Bülow.
Finally he says: “Manstein again! Like 1939 when he presented his “differing views” of the offensive plan against France.
I wonder if he’s not afraid of getting an Infantry Corps again, like 1940?
“This time it’s different, Sir”, von Bülow dissents.
“Why?”
“It’s the whole gang of Heeresgruppe Mitte and almost all leaders of the Panzertruppe, with the one exception von Kleist. They all support Mansteins view and signed the Memorandum.”

Halder can not conceal his astonishment, pauses, looks out of the window, looks at von Bülow again.
“It’s too late for differing views. We cannot postpone the date of Barbarossa. The machine is running already.
What does he want?”

“Manstein argues that the essence of tank warfare lays in gathering momentum by concentration of forces. It is a wrong approach to split the Panzers into 4 columns and spread them along the whole Eastern Front. There is the danger of loosing momentum everywhere, and failing everywhere.
Manstein quotes Clausewitz: ‚Who wants to defend everything, defends nothing.’
Which means in our case: Who wants to take all objectives equally and simultaneously, has no objectives at all, and could fail everywhere.“

“A-ha.” Halder nods sarcastically.
“So I am the fool who has no objectives at all. Just using brute force. And he’s the genius who knows better.
Does he know that it’s the Fuhrer who wants us to take out Leningrad, but also to take out the Crimea as soon as possible, and Moscow too, everything as soon as possible…?
So it’s the Fuhrers directive we followed when we planned our 3 axes of advance.
So let me see who wants to join the Fronde against the Fuhrer.”

Von Bülow looks at the last page of the Memorandum:
“Bock, Guderian, Hoth, Höpner, Reinhardt, Geyr, Wietersheim, Vietinghoff, Mackensen, Kempf, Kluge, Rundstedt…”

Halder laughs. He has found his good humour again:
“Even Kluge joins the party, surprising, did he sign before or after Guderian? And Rundstedt! Old warhorse Rundstedt agrees? That must be a marvellous plan!
What exactly can we do now, at this late stage of preparations, to come to the needed ‘momentum’?
And even more important: Who will convince the Fuhrer of the changes?”

Von Bülow: “Second question is short and easy to answer. They suggest that the Chief of General Staff should communicate the paper to the Fuhrer. That’s you, Herr Generaloberst.”
Von Bülow smiles at Halder.
Halder looks at von Bülow. These young aristocratic officers have a self-confidence and rhetoric elegance he can not cope with. “True, Bülow. That’s me. At least, for the time being.”

Halder knows that Bülow knows that Halder has planned to kill the Fuhrer several times. Halder has said several times since 1938 to the group of conspirators in the General Staff: ‘We have to shoot the mad dog’.
And now his duty should be to change the Fuhrers mind, to eliminate his interferences, for a better chance of success in the Fuhrers attack of Stalins army?

“What exactly does Manstein propose?”
Von Bülow stiffens, then recites in short and clear phrases, as any member of the German General Staff is trained to do:
“After a first, deadly thrust of Panzergruppe Kleist - the Lviv pocket- , only one motorized corps stays in the South, as spearhead for the infantry Armies.
Objectives:
Bluff the enemy into German strength in the South.
Reach the Dnjepr if possible.
If things go very well, take the Crimea, as the Fuhrer finds it necessary.”

He coughs slightly and pauses, implying that the Crimea is not a real goal in Mansteins plan at all. It is merely mentioned to gull the Fuhrer.

Von Bülow continues:
“Hopners Panzergruppe at Army Group North gets a third motorized Corps, from Kleists Panzergruppe.
Objective: Leningrad. It must fall quickly.

Panzergruppe Hoth of Army Group Center also gets a third motorized Corps, again from Kleist.
Objective: Fast advance to the area Vitebsk, Velikie Luki and Rshew, together with Panzergruppe Guderian. Threaten Moscow from Northwest and secure the right flank of Hopner.
The infantry Armies of Army Group Center reach and hold the Dnjepr line.

After the fall of Leningrad, the three Panzer Groups take Moscow from the Northwest.

After the fall of Moscow, they roll south to unhinge the Soviet Dnjepr line. If Stalin is mad enough to hold, they will create a pocket from Tula to Rostow.
If he withdraws his troops, they follow and beat them on the run.
That’s the plan.”

Halder:
“What about the supply situation? Is it possible to supply three Panzer Armies that concentrate in the wilderness at Velikie Luki and Rshew?”

Von Bülow shrugs:
“It is not possible – if they get into a battle of attrition.
The idea is that they will fight it through in a Blitz against weak forces.
Concentration plus speed creates momentum, which acts like a snowball effect for the strength ratio in our favour. The Panzer strategy, as laid out by Guderian in theory, and as practised in the West 1940.

Halder sighs:
“Well, Bülow, then would you be so kind and make an appointment for me at ‘Maybach 2’ for, let’s say, this afternoon, if possible. Tell them it’s very urgent.
I am really curious how the OKW staff and the Fuhrer will respond to this development of affairs.”
Von Bülow clicks his heels and greets militarily: “Melde mich ab, Herr Generaloberst.”

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/7/2012 5:51:38 PM   
glvaca

 

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Nicely written. Interesting strategy too.
Good luck!

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/8/2012 8:53:03 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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I. Act

Lvov Pocket. Raid to Leningrad. Raid to Witebsk and Velikie Luki.


The Lvov (or Lviv, as the Ucrainians say) pocket after turn 2.
Kempfs XXXXVIII Panzerkorps (13. Pz, 14. Pz. 16. Pz) is already east of Proskurov, threatening Vinnitsa.
These three Panzer Divisions are the show of strength in the South,
meant to convince STAVKA that a whole Panzer Army is on the way, so that the Soviets hopefully make an “orderly retreat” to the Dnepr instead of trying to stop Rundstedt.

The highlighted “Reich” and 10. Pz. Div. had been borrowed from Guderian for 1 turn, they are already on their way back to Army Group Center, waiting here for their train coming…

11. Pz. Div. at the Romanian border will also soon leave to the North.








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< Message edited by Tauroggen -- 6/8/2012 10:52:50 PM >

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/8/2012 9:35:32 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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The situation in the Center.

As usual, the pocket of Bialystok and Minsk.
Panzer spearheads near Mogilev and at the Dvina.
Hoths Panzergruppe 3 will operate north of the Dvina, while Guderian will advance to the landbridge.
Notice the highlighted 9. Pz. Div and Wiking of the XIV. Panzerkorps on their train to the North: They come from Kleists Panzergruppe 1 and will soon be part of Hoths Panzergruppe 3.







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< Message edited by Tauroggen -- 6/8/2012 10:52:14 PM >

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/8/2012 9:45:03 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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Situation at Army Group North.

The highlighted XXXIX. Panzerkorps of Schmidt, still part of Panzergruppe 3 (green), is in fact spearhead of Höpners Panzergruppe 4 and will be under Höpners command from now on.

The operational idea behind that deployment is to have immediately a third Panzerkorps advancing and fighting here, to break the Luga line as soon as possible








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< Message edited by Tauroggen -- 6/8/2012 10:54:19 PM >

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/9/2012 12:56:23 AM   
hfarrish


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Will be watching this - always interesting to see new strategies, despite the constraints that make it difficult to implement...

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/9/2012 11:52:24 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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Turn 4 start

In the South, STAVKA has ordered a withdrawal from western Ucraine, making a stand at the Sinyukha river and lower Bug river, and at the Dnepr.
This plays into the cards of the new OKH plan. The one Panzerkorps in the South could just be sufficient to break the line at the Bug river, while at the Northern part of the map the infantry march without enemy interference to the Dnepr.





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/9/2012 11:57:09 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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Turn 4 end in the South
Bug line is broken by the Panzerkorps.
Infantry Divisions cannot reach the enemy at the Dnepr, the Soviets withdraw too fast…





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 12:07:36 AM   
Tauroggen

 

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The situation at the Center turn 4 start.

STAVKA withdrew to the Dnepr.
It is no surprise that it makes a strong stand at the landbridge.
North of the Dvina, the Soviets withdraw far enough to make a hasty Panzer attack costly.



After studying the situation OKH decides to wait for the infantry.
In both areas the success of a hasty attack would be doubtful, in the North because of the hexes the Panzers have to roll before they can attack, and at the landbridge because the Soviets are very strong here.
So the much needed rest for the Panzers will be now.

This is well done by STAVKA!





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< Message edited by Tauroggen -- 6/10/2012 12:08:41 AM >

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 12:18:56 AM   
Tauroggen

 

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North: Turn 4 start.

STAVKA quite passive here, gives up the land southwest of the Luga river, makes a stand at the Luga, and presses from the East to the right flank of Army Group North.

OKH decides to get one foot across the Luga at all cost…






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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 12:32:35 AM   
Tauroggen

 

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End of turn 4 in the North:

The Luga line is unhinged, Nowgorod has fallen.

To acknowledge the boldness of the decision to attack the Luga line we have to look at the supply situation of Panzergruppe 4.

The dark green hexes are out of supply, so no HQ can stay there.
The two divisions at the Northeast are out of supply, but they hold Nowgorod and have unhinged the Luga line.

Transport Staffeln of the Luftwaffe have been ordered to air-supply the two Divisions.

The flanking pressure from the South of Lake Ilmen is no problem because one Panzerkorps is resupplying near Pskov and several infantry Division have arrived at Pskov.






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< Message edited by Tauroggen -- 6/10/2012 2:05:13 AM >

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 1:04:43 AM   
Tauroggen

 

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Here you can watch original German movie documents of the Wehrmacht advance between Lake Peipus and Lake Ilmen in 1941.
But remember it's also a Propaganda movie of the Nazis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVtMfe6jgfc&feature=related


And the Fall of Nowgorod in documentary movie filmed by German soldiers, but also cut for Propaganda effects:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR9xpJypubM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfFfOa7_eGo

< Message edited by Tauroggen -- 6/10/2012 12:56:13 PM >

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 4:27:31 AM   
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As I am supreme commander of Soviet forces in this campaign I should add some notes as to my strategies and ideas for the game.

First of all thanks to my opponent Tauroggen for making an AAR of our game as its a lot of work on top of playing each turn! And thanks to all the guys who have been posting AAR's on this forum, they are an enjoyable read and have helped ma alot in learning how to play and some of the main strategies to expect from a human opponent, Lvov pocket etc.

I am also a beginner to WitE so please excuse any obvious mistakes in my defense of the motherland!

My initial strategy for this campaign was to focus on the defense of Leningrad and Moscow, and attempt to hold them for as long as possible, the south would have a very small force and be used mostly as a skirmish line to delay the Axis advance over the Dnepr.

As you can see so far the bulk of the soviet forces have been pulled back to the Dnepr and far north to Leningrad to begin digging and fortifying. In the early stages of the game I was quite paranoid about the Axis achieving a large encirclement that would cripple my armies ability to defend the major city objectives, because of this I may have withdrawn too quickly in some areas where I could have defended and held the germans for longer, eg. particularly in the north on the Luga river area.

Most of the strong divisions in the southern fronts were being railed north at this stage, balanced with the need to rail industry and factories away from the Axis advance.

More to come as Tauroggen adds more turns...


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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 2:44:28 PM   
Klydon


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Nice prolog writeup. Very enjoyable!

Will be an interesting game to see how it goes for both sides. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 5:13:06 PM   
HITMAN202


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Goodness gracious !! Novograd in the Axis clutches on Turn # 4 !!! In my opinion temporarily forget about Leningrad and charge up the Volkov and pocket the entire Soviet AGN. Go for it. I would without a doubt. The Volkov also will serve as a protection to your very exposed R flank. Go for it !!

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 10:34:39 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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@all: Thank you for your comments!

@Hitman202:
I wanted to cross the Wolchow and go to the Finns at the river Svir, as I always prefer encirclements instead of frontal attacks, but there is no way. STAVKA reacted immediately and made the Wolchow a heavy defended line. And there are still supply issues not solved for Army Group North...

Turn 6 start:

In the South the troops are marching eastwards almost without contact to the ever withdrawing enemy. No map foto.

In Center area the pause in turn 4 has played out to be right. On turn 5 the infantry could attack the frontline, and the Panzerdivisions attacked further, exploited and made two little pockets around Vitebsk and South of Velikie Luki. They are still there on the map.
STAVKA did not make an attempt to rescue these units, but ordered withdrawal to the red line in the picture, far enough to make a hasty attack impossible, with one exception: the bulge at Smolensk.

STAVKA gives up much ground, but is strong where it defends. For example the hex south of Smolensk has 13 strength!






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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 10:39:48 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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Center end of turn 6:
STAVKA does not loose many units and makes attacks costly, but gives up ground.
I don't like that, because I fear the Soviets won't have many losses and will be very strong in the endfight at Moscow.





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 10:43:56 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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Turn 6 start in the North:
He does not fight for the Luga line, but withdraws without one single battle to the outskirts of Leningrad.
And he heavily stands at the Volchow.
Same tactics as in the Center:
He seldom stands to fight, but where he fights, he is incredibly strong.





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/10/2012 10:48:50 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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Look at that strength: 10, 7 and 6. Not possible to attack those hexes hastily. Better avoid attacking them at all.
I managed to make two hasty attacks at the outskirts of Leningrad where he was weaker.
Also the fortresses 4 and 3 are impressive.
He has left the whole Baltics, concentrated all units in Leningrad and at the Volchow.





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/11/2012 3:02:32 AM   
Klydon


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While the 4 and 3 level forts SW of Leningrad are impressive, they are in the wrong spot of where you need to go, namely the back door and the port. His forts on this side of the river are not good there, so you may be able to push in there and make short work of the defenders, which is part of your plan after all.

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/12/2012 1:26:43 AM   
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STAVKA Intelligence report:

As you can see I have been implementing the fall back plan, I actually had a fright in the centre when my defense line at Vitebsk was encirlced, I pulled back to form a new line at Smolensk and this was then immediately encircled again in the following turn.. still learning about threat distances of the panzers. And north I can see I should probably have tried to hold the Luga river line for longer.. but I had decided to dig in at Leningrad and the Volkhov river and hold the line there.

The first few turns as the soviets is quite terrifying as the panzers seem to be able to move so far and there is very little you can do to stop them,I can now see where I made mistakes though and could have created a better defense.

And finally the southern front was being bled dry of troops to send north so I rapidly fell back to the Dnepr planning to slow the Axis for at least a few turns, at this stage I was unconcerned about Axis advance in the south as I hoped to have enough rail capacity to evacuate any factories. Trading time for land seems a solid strategy on the vast open steppe!

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/12/2012 11:52:38 AM   
Tauroggen

 

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turn 8 start Center
von Bock ordered a few Divisions eastwards last turn, to clear the way (change the hex ownership) for the main Army.
This turn Rzhew and Wjasma should fall or be isolated. Almost all units are ordered to attack.





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/12/2012 11:58:51 AM   
Tauroggen

 

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end of turn 8 in the Center:

Borodino has fallen, the historical battle place where Napoleon fought his way to Moscow.
It is obvious that STAVKA has ordered her Armies to stand here and fight.
There are severel level 2 forts, and STAVKA is defending in depth here. This will not be easy.







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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/12/2012 12:04:17 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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start turn 8 in the North:
von Leeb orders to clear the startline for an attack across the river Neva. There is a discussion ongoing in the Army staffs of Army Group North if we should attack the part of Leningrad south of the Neva, to be able to attack across the Neva from 3 hexes.





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/12/2012 12:06:16 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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t8 end North:
the Southern bank of the Neva has been cleared

@Klydon:
While the fort is only 2, the strength at the backdoor is 9
I am not sure what the easiest target is:
the backdoor, or
fort 3, strength 6, the middle hex
fort 4, stength 3, the city hex





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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/13/2012 7:44:53 AM   
cpt flam


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in my view you'd better look at their def value
that's 29, 52 & 84
your problem is this one
good advance in front of moscow

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/14/2012 4:39:02 AM   
notenome

 

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You've already won the battle of Leningrad, and by consequence, the battle for Moscow. Send the panzers to army group center, use your infantry to take Pavlovo. Once that falls its all over for Leningrad. Your opponent has made it all to easy with the sir Robinsky stategy. You'll take Moscow and Rostov this game.

Also: Spend your ap points. Reassign better leaders etc.

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/14/2012 7:27:34 AM   
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Just a quick heads up to everyone, we are currently playing in October 1941, this AAR will be running behind where we are playing so advice is great but it wont help Tauroggen much now! ;)

But Im sure Tauroggen would appreciate any comments on strategy and I certainly will to as we are both fairly new to WitE.

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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/14/2012 10:34:00 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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@cpt flam:
I think the numbers you listed are the movement points, not the fighting strength.

@notenome:
Please have in mind that I am a beginner...
You will see what mistakes I made...


Turn 10 start North

Commander of Army Group North von Leeb decided in turn 9 to attack the city and not the landbridge, because he feared the attack across the river with a only 2 hexes wide front.
This provoked much opposition. Critics argued it was a wrong calculation to think that the city hex 7, fort 4 would be more easy to attack than the backdoor.
On August 20th, turn 10 start, von Leeb had to go as the OKH overruled his decision.
Precious time has been lost. The defence at the "backdoor" will be even stronger now.

Field Marshall Kesselring took over command of Army Group North.
He ordered, in consent with OKH, a well organized attack against the backdoor: many airforce waves and at last the main 3 waves of ground attack forces.

South of Lake Ilmen, Mansteins LVI Panzerkorps has taken position to break through the weak Soviet defences and reach Vishni Volochek in one big leap.







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RE: Barbarossa, a changed plan, Tauroggen vs. Alex - 6/14/2012 10:42:37 PM   
Tauroggen

 

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The attack against the Leningrad front was successful.
Mansteins attack also was a full success, the target V.Volochek was not in the movement radius this turn.





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