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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR

 
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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/22/2012 10:48:39 AM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: krupp_88mm

The one thing that i think the ai could use improvement on is holding cities and objectives.. it just seems to prioritize surviving its units at the expense of loosing the game or having your units tied down for a few more turns delaying making it too easy to force the ai to just walk out of the way. Might be nice if you could make the ai leave a unit or two behind in difficult terrain especially cities.


For small scenarios, I agree, but in a long Full scenario, it's probably better if the AI concentrates on preserving its forces and keeping an intact front line, at least until it gets pushed back to the really key final objectives like Stalingrad, Baku, etc.

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/22/2012 10:52:49 AM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: british exil

ComradeP, thanks for the AAR. Was a nice read. Keep up the good work and press on to the next scenario.

Just a few questions? Do you carry on with the same units for the next scenario?
And how steep is the learning curve?

Which game should I start out with? WtP or Case Blue?


Mat



WtP is a good way to get an understanding of the game mechanics, although I regard DC:CB as much more sophisticated and a better overall experience.

If you are new to games of this type and can afford to buy two, then starting with WtP wont hurt. However, the East Front has different challenges and DC:CB has some smaller scenarios to help you practice.


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/22/2012 12:00:17 PM   
british exil


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Comrade thanks for your answering.

I've read all the threads, as I had yesterday free. Will purchase next week once my cc bill comes through.
The forum has convinced me that I "need" this game. Just have to convince the enemy with whom I live together. Yeah the GF. Although she doesn't really complain if I also spend time with her.

Keep the reports coming from the frontline, those at home are enjoying the news.

Mat

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 3:49:39 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Mud.

Pyatigorsk has been sort of encircled with a loose encirclement.

The 17th Cavalry Corps was destroyed.

My losses are now at 1000 men.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 3:50:30 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Pyatigorsk was captured.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 3:51:40 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Mozdok is in sight.

Maikop is slowly being encircled.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 3:56:14 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 10 end - victory.

I didn't want to fight for Mozdok as even though only North Caucasus Front HQ was there, it was entrenched and it would have cost me some men. I won on VP's by capturing two more towns and Maikop.

I got lucky with the weather, but in the end more mud would only have bought the Soviets an extra turn or two or not even that: Frontline units got about 2/3 to 3/4 AP's after turn 6 or so until the rail lines became operational. If the units would've been closer to the rail lines, their AP's would've been higher.

The AI's main mistake was keeping way too many units in the northeastern part of the map. Its defense of the Maikop area was capable and if it had not moved 17th Cavalry Corps forwards, capturing Pyatigorsk would've been more difficult.

My losses were 1010 men. Soviet losses were about 42.000 men, the vast majority of which came from pockets.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 5:07:27 PM   
Keunert


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Comrade how many tries do you need to get these perfect results? you make the linked campaign look like a piece of cake but i guess most players will have a hard time getting to the end of the campaign.

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 5:13:55 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Not many, it's mostly a matter of movement. I go for what I view as a good turn 1 which takes a few tries, but I don't reload every single step to make something happen in later turns.

There's not a lot of combat mostly, and it's a war of movement. I can only "manipulate" AP's by playing Speed cards but other than that I mostly move forces around.

How far a unit can move with its AP's isn't variable (as in: you get an X amount of AP's and the only way to raise those is with a Speed card), so aside from my casualties being on the low side due to the turn 1 and avoiding combat, these results should be more or less reproducable (although that would depend on AI action, naturally).

As soon as more combat becomes necessary, things will become more difficult. Things have mostly been going this well because I'm moving around enemy concentrations, let them be out of supply for a few turns and then attacks. I very rarely attack any non-encircled unit.

It was also by no means easy to achieve this, it does require some effort and planning.

Also don't forget that:

-I have 4 extra divisions.
-The AI had only the 51st Rifle Division between Pyatigorsk and Mozdok.
-Capturing Mozdok isn't necessary.
-I had less mud than I should have had on average.
-The AI had a good motorized Rifle division in the northwest that could've been at Maikop.

Without those extra divisions, and with more enemy troops in the Pyatigorsk-Mozdok sector and with Mozdok being a required objective, the scenario might very well be impossible to win.

In fact, I'd say that considering my turn 1 move and extra divisions, it is praise of the difficulty of the scenario that I won on turn 10.

I initially thought I might even win by turn 6, but enemy resistance stiffened. I was within 5 hexes of Maikop by turn 5., but it still took me until turn 10 to capture the place

The first scenario wasn't too challenging after the opening, but this one was a challenge, one of the most challenging scenarios I've played recently.

< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/23/2012 5:40:21 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/23/2012 8:07:15 PM   
Blind Sniper


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Thanks for the AAR

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/24/2012 2:04:12 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Scenario 3: Grozny and the northern edge of the Caucasus mountain range.

This is the start of turn one, after the 101st Jaeger arrived. I couldn't place it at a frontline town/city, unlike in previous scenarios, so it was unfortunately attached to 1. Panzer Armee, which means I'll have to spend some points on reassigning it.

The plan is to cross the Terek with III and XXXX Panzer Korps, with some infantry support from LII Korps. XXXXIV Korps will hold the western flank. There are also units on the eastern flank, but I expect that they'll mostly try to withdraw across the Terek ASAP as there's nothing to defend on the north bank.

I don't have a lot of fuel, only about 11k, so the blitzkrieg will slow down after 3 or so turns and I might be forced to use only one Panzer Korps per turn after that.

I guess this will be another case of "how many tries did that take?" but in this case the answer is: one. The standard problem of IGOUGO games is that the defender is normally forced to stick to a historical setup on turn 1, whilst the attacker is not necessarily forced to stick to historical objectives or even to the historical setup.

The Speed card can be very effective when forcing crossings, and there are arguments in favour and against whether it should be this effective.

On one hand, getting only a 1 hex bridgehead in two days isn't a lot, especially when considering that the defenders have time to move units around and that something like a checkerboard or carpet defensive setup (like in WitE) can be quite effective due to autoentrenchment making attacks costly (in terms of AP's and not necessarily in terms of casualties) even against units that moved into their positions in the previous turn. Crossing a river into ZOC is also very expensive in terms of AP's and the cost doesn't take into account how many friendly units there are in the hex (so the ZOC "pressure" from the enemy defenders is always the same).

On the other hand, a more extensive breakthrough is problematic for the defenders and more difficult to contain, also considering the historical setup. Still, even a 1 turn bridgehead will just mean the attackers will generally be able to move out on turn 2.

Crossing a river into ZOC costs 85 AP's, which means you can't attack after crossing. However, when you play a Speed card you have 51 AP's left so you can attack the defenders you dislodge from their positions at the river again. After you clear up the ZOC, crossing the river costs 65 AP's, which meants some units could cross and move another hex without a Speed card. 23rd Panzer stayed on the north bank of the river, in case the Soviets would attack the flanks and because I forgot to move some of the units.

The 6 units in the west were attacked by elements of Wiking, 16th Motorized, 3 infantry regiments and elements of two Panzer divisions after being shelled by at least 2 artillery regiments each. The Speed card also allowed some of the Panzerartillerie regiments to fire another, short, salvo to remove a few more entrenchment points.

5 out of the original 8 defending units were destroyed in the follow-up attacks, 1 was badly mauled and panicked and 2 were not attacked twice.

The 389th Rifle Division will probably be encircled.

Soviet casualties were 9700 men or so, mostly from the units that broke, mine were 400.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/24/2012 2:08:30 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/24/2012 2:04:55 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 2 start.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/24/2012 2:44:21 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 3 start.

Getting closer to Grozny, but I do have to be careful with the balance of forces, as there are 6 to 7 Soviet divisions on my western flank and possibly more further west.

Soviet casualties 14.400, mine are at 615.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/24/2012 4:40:46 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 4 start.

I have to say: the more I play, the more I'm beginning to dislike autoentrenchment combined with ineffective artillery.

Some people have favourably compared this game with WitE, but I can't escape the conclusion that the game shares some of WitE's problems.

Namely:

-A carpet of units will generally result in an unfavourable loss ratio to the attacker, in this case because the defenders got a pretty decent entrenchment rating after moving in their turn. I can attack a Rifle regiment with 3 of my own regiments, from 3 different sides, with a good leader, and still only kill 100 or 200 men whilst sometimes losing 100 of my own men.

-The benefit the Germans get from superior leaders isn't always clear when it comes to their direct influence on a battle.

-On-counter numerical values are highly misleading. You can attack a unit with 6:1 odds and lose, because autoentrenchment gave it a substantial entrenchment rating. I can literally attack a battalion of AT guns with a company of infantry in support with 2 regiments of Wiking and another infantry regiment, from 3 different directions and lose with regular combat strength odds without modifications ~6:1-7:1 in my favour whilst taking 100-200 losses (I ran a few tests). The casualties small units inflict are disproportionate, like in WitE. I don't expect the Soviets to roll over and die, but autoentrenchment makes their grasp on the terrain they occupy quite tenacious.

-The Luftwaffe's performance in ground support missions is ahistorically underwhelming.

Like in WitE, loss ratios from most regular combat favour the Soviets, in this case due to autoentrenchment. Both sides move some units into difficult terrain and create an instant unkillable stack unless the other side has plenty of artillery to reduce entrenchment levels.

I know you can use cards to help out, but using cards for most battles isn't efficient. And sure, my losses thus far are light, but that is mostly because I avoid combat for the reasons mentioned above.

Soviet infantry units also seem to have the same ratings as German infantry units, which is quite a compliment to the average Soviet soldier and his equipment for 1942.

Some of these problems might be caused by there being more regular infantry units in each regiment than there were historically because support weapons are now abstracted into infantry units.

I'm enjoying the game, and think it's quite good overall, but autoentrenchment combined with the poor performance of artillery and air power is starting to bug me.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/24/2012 4:43:03 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/24/2012 5:20:28 PM   
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ComradeP,

Great comments you give about the system. I really hope Vic is reading this. I'm particularly disturbed by any advantage given for "unit carpets" as that is a horrible problem in WITE. Your example of 3 infantry regiments attacking an AT battalion from multiple sides and not doing well is troubling.

The Soviet infantry in '42 was renowned for being able to quickly dig in. However it does seem like man-for-man the Wermacht infantry was able to outperform Soviet infantry throughout the war although I'm sure this can be disputed. I'm drawing a huge generalization based on my (what I feel is) vast reading of various sources about the Eastern front. So if Soviet infantry is performing at the same level as German infantry that seems like a problem.

The Luftwaffe was as you say very effective when enough planes could be mustered to make an attack. So if it's not effective in the game when able to make an attack that seems ahistorical.

What is really important in the end is that the flow of the campaign (given historical actions) is generally similar I think.

Can you give some specific changes that you might suggest to Vic? He may or may not implement them but I'd like to see specific suggestions from you given your past testing experience with various game systems.

< Message edited by jjdenver -- 7/24/2012 8:58:29 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/24/2012 7:34:42 PM   
ComradeP

 

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A carpet can slow you down whilst nibbling away fighting strength. That is historical, that the Germans were being slowly attrited to death, but keep in mind that you generally need 3 of your own regiments to engage 1 enemy regiment.

There's also a problem with spoiling attacks: any attack that doesn't remove the defenders from their hex result in a drop in morale for the attacking units. I sometimes use the last AP's of some units to attack a weaker unit again, which generally results in 100 or 200 losses for the defender and none for me, but I still lose morale regardless of the favourable casualty ratio.

The relative rate of experience gain compared to experience loss when replacements arrive also points towards sort of a loop where experience will more or less always decrease when replacements arrive, which is only historical up to a certain extent: the replacements might lower the average experience, but over time experience should increase. Currently, the latter is difficult.

Autoentrenchment is mostly a problem because the tools you have to counter it are either available only once per turn (even though the time scale is two days per turn, you still only get 1 air strike per turn per unit) or become very ineffective after one barrage (artillery, 25% effectiveness just doesn't cut it).

The difference between casualties from an attack against an entrenched unit and one that had vacated its hex is also too great in my opinion. In the first case, the Soviets will generally lose only 100 or 200 men. In the later case, the unit usually panicks with significant losses or breaks.

Keeping the time scale in mind, it is somewhat inconsistent that the autoentrenchment feature has a negligible impact on units that vacate their hexes whilst it gives a full bonus to units that move somewhere: the game seems to assume that follow-up attacks against a unit happen shortly after the first attack as the unit has no time to dig in, but every unit has time to dig in after moving. It's a useful tool to limit the problems of the IGOUGO system, but the player needs a more effective counter (such as artillery effectiveness being 50% at the lower, for example).

There's just not a lot of point in attacking with your infantry divisions currently due to there often being no good way of softening up the defenders, whilst in WWII the majority of the fighting was still being done by infantry units.

< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/24/2012 7:35:21 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/25/2012 3:01:05 AM   
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I see you have Wiking up at Kropotkin on turn 1. When I play the card I cannot do in setup and its only placeable Aleksandrovkskaya. How did you circumvent this?

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/25/2012 6:29:14 AM   
Keunert


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i think all basic units are the same for each faction. what sets the nations apart is experience, morale, HQ & staff bonus and other factors (like penalties due to command problems with the soviets), experience growth and other things. all things considered it is not like you will find easily a soviet infantry unit fighting on par with a german one.

the game mechanic is abstracted. not every detail probably feels like historical. but from my limited experience with Case Blue the germans have a good chance of achieving a major victory in this campaign. if you would now alter the game like Comrade P suggests this would probably result in an unbalanced advantage for the Axis. i guess we have to wait for a verdict until we see what two human players can do in the longer campaigns.

i just started a Case Blue Full scenario with Olivier, a DC1 player. we plan to do aar's from both sides. playing the soviets for the first time, the opening turn of Olivier was hard to watch, better than everything i achieved against the soviet AI.

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/25/2012 3:07:49 PM   
ComradeP

 

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quote:

I see you have Wiking up at Kropotkin on turn 1. When I play the card I cannot do in setup and its only placeable Aleksandrovkskaya. How did you circumvent this?


No idea. I could place it there and in the next scenario it was not possible to place a unit in a frontline town, so I'm clueless as to why it was possible in the second scenario.

quote:

if you would now alter the game like Comrade P suggests this would probably result in an unbalanced advantage for the Axis. i guess we have to wait for a verdict until we see what two human players can do in the longer campaigns.


Sure, more testing is needed. Do keep in mind that I'd also be in favour of lowering casualties for unentrenched defenders, which would favour the Soviets. There is currently a significant difference between casualties of battles aimed at (somewhat) entrenched defenders and those in the open without entrenchment.

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/25/2012 6:43:58 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: schmolywar

I see you have Wiking up at Kropotkin on turn 1. When I play the card I cannot do in setup and its only placeable Aleksandrovkskaya. How did you circumvent this?


Hi,
You need to place some other units there first, with no units i could not place either, but with a HQ + Inf unit it was possible. It seems to be a ZOC or control issue due to a Soviet Unit being adjacent to the town.

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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 4:49:41 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Unfortunately, I started scenario 4 after completing scenario 3 and use only 1 turn start save for each turn, so there are no screenshots of turn starts for 5, 6 and 7 for the third scenario.

There were one or two mud turns.

Here's the start of turn 8. The Soviets moved out of Ordzhonikidze and I didn't have to fight for it. The unit in Grozny isn't going anywhere, however.

I encircled the regiment of the 256th that you can see in the screenshot of the turn 4 start, and also encircled the AT battalion, artillery group and the Grozny NKVD division regiment that you can also see in that screenshot. The Katyusha unit broke.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 4:50:20 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 9 start, we're slowly encircling Grozny.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 4:51:20 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 11 start, victory (the game overwrote my turn 10 save when I finished the scenario).

Soviet casualties: 37.7k. Mine: 1490.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:37:50 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Scenario 4: Baku or bust.

Basically a straightforward lengthy push towards Baku. There is difficult terrain at about the halfway point, which is going to pose considerable problems due to autoentrenchment, AI combat bonuses and supply.

The turn 1 start shows that the Soviet units adjacent to mine are more or less begging to be pocketed.

The idea is to use brute force and a massive artillery barrage against the Makhach-Kala NKVD division and break through along the rail line. LII Korps will then clear up the pocketed units over time.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:39:19 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Turn 2 start.

The Makhach-Kala NKVD division was destroyed and a pocket was created. There's another Soviet division on the western edge, but it should not pose a threat.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:41:11 PM   
ComradeP

 

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We keep advancing, some additional units were pocketed.

The 351st Rifle Division that was at the rail line west of Gerbent pulled back to avoid being pocketed/trapped by ZOC.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/27/2012 6:15:54 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:43:01 PM   
ComradeP

 

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The first pocketed Soviet division is destroyed, at a cost of about 300 of my men.

The Blitzkrieg rolls on, Soviet reinforcements are arriving en-masse...

Due to the rather lacking artillery performance, capturing Gerbent is going to be costly and tricky.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/27/2012 5:45:17 PM >


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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:46:13 PM   
ComradeP

 

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...and three of the divisions are pocketed. Total pocketed Soviet divisions thus far:4. Destroyed divisions: 2.

58th Army HQ is destroyed.




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RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:48:35 PM   
ComradeP

 

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The mud slows the blitzkrieg down to a crawl.

Another pocket was cleaned up last turn, at a cost of 400 men.




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< Message edited by ComradeP -- 7/27/2012 5:49:40 PM >


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(in reply to ComradeP)
Post #: 59
RE: 1st Panzer Army AAR - 7/27/2012 5:50:56 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Slow advances, LII Korps is slowly marching towards Gerbent.




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(in reply to ComradeP)
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