Another Finnish assault on the southern shore of the lake is rebuffed. Finns lose 3119 men, 29 art while the Russians lose only 651 men, 11 art, and 5 AFVs
What does it look like? See above.
At the Baltic coast the SS Polizei Div crosses the Narva and attempts to bridge the Luga unsuccessfully against the 126th Rifle Div.
Two German assaults at the Leningrad-Pskov railroad bridge also fail, the second led by the 6th Pzr Div and 36th Mot Div.
Germany again shifts to driving east to the outskirts of Novgorod.
This push is led by 1st Pzr Div and 14th Mot Div.
The first German trains arrive in Pskov this week and partisans report next week that the trains will be dumping supplies less than 50 miles from the Luga River Line. Zhukov appeals to Stalin to seize the initiative. He proposes a double envelopment of AGN by Northern Front and Northwest Front.
23rd and 28th Armies (Northern Front) shift west, crossing the Luga and isolating the SS Polizei while establishing blocking positions on the still operable railway east of Lake Peipus. This includes 2 Cavalry Divisions, who will either push the line farther east, or potentially link up with 27th Army behind AGN's center of gravity. The key will be pushing the cavalry as far west as possible before reinforcements can be railed in.
125th Rifle Div has been sea-lifted to Tallinn in order to try and move east to link up with 23rd Army.
The Germans are holding the Shelon River line with just two divisions, broken down into regiments to try and cover roughly 100 miles of front line. Zhukov's plan sees 55th Cav Div (27th Army) move through a 20 mile gap between elements of the German 12th and 58th Inf Div, taking up positions with a band of partisans in the swamps east of Pskov (and forcing the hasty relocation of some Luftwaffe). 5 more Cav Divs are railed into place on the east bank of the Shelon river and assigned to 27th Army. 22nd Army (Reserve Front) moves three Rifle Div through the swamps north of Velikie Luki, cutting off 1/12th Rgt. Next week as broad as possible a push will be made by the cavalry to cut the Pskov railway along the Vlikaya, and quite possible isolate the whole of AGN engaged on the Luga river.
22nd NKVD Div is ousted from Riga by 3 German Inf Div with heavy artillery and pioneer support. Instead of evacuating by sea the defenders march west. Lamentably this will free up divisions to reinforce Pskov at exactly the wrong moment.
Germans continue to move forward along two axes. The northern pincer is infantry heavy, with no signs yet of pzr/mot support.
The southern pincer is pzr/mot heavy, with the AGC units supporting the Bryansk pocket finally resuming the offensive.
Reserve Front hits the 110th Inf Div with 10 Rifle Divs and a supporting Cav Div, compelling their retreat in the northern spearhead.
Several Divisions reporting to Moscow MD are re-assigned to 20th Army (Western Front) as the line retreats and is reinforced to accept the blow of AGC's southern pincer, west of Tula.
In retrospect, my withdrawal under this looming threat was far too mild. When the Soviet's flank is turned in '41 they simply need run back and create a new MLR. Anything less is a recipe for disaster.
Pocketed elements of 13th Army (Western Front) continue pushing east, trying in vain to link up with friendly cavalry units of Bryansk Front. Arb Bdes of 4th Arb Corps (Western Front) keep in contact with 17th and 18th Pzr Div, holding the SE corner of the pocket.
Supplies for XXXXVII Pzr Corps are still very stretched, as the rail construction won't cross the Dnepr toward Gomel until next week. The HQ is separated from rail head by a major and minor river, while the Pzr Divs have a major river and two minor rivers between them and the rail head depots.
Bryansk Front takes up more positions behind the rivers to hold the line from Chernigov to Bryansk. 5 Cav Divs in the lower section of this line stand ready to harass and potentially cut off any German units that venture unsupported to the SE.
Apparent disaster as AGS uses seven Inf Divs to force a crossing at the Dnepr rail bridge NE of Kirovograd.
9th Pzr, 11th Pzr, 14th Pzr, 16th Pzr, 16th Mot, 25th Mot, Das Reich SS, Viking SS, and LAH SS Mot Div follow up, trying to widen the bridgehead and linking the northern spearhead. This effectively pockets 17 Rifle Divs and 1 Tank Div, almost exclusively reporting to Kharkov MD (19th and most of 43rd Armies).
Two weak links are perceived, in the north a 20 mile stretch of the kessln is held by 111th and 299th Inf Divs. On the eastern edge of the pocket 14th Pzr Div holds a 10 mile stretch on the banks of the Psel river.
12th Army (SW Front) hits the 111th Inf Div with 57th Tank Div supported by 214th & 289th Rifle Div and forces them back.
12th Army and 32nd Army (SW Front) coordinate a failed attack on 299th Inf Div by three Rifle Divs. This is immediately followed up by another attack with 3 Tank Divs which succeeds, creating a 20 mile gap in the pocket and allowing supplies to again flow to Cherkassy. The 299th takes a new position on the eastern side of the pocket, where it is promptly engaged by 3 Rifle Divs and again forced to retreat.
14th Pzr Div is attacked by 5 Rifle Divs and 1 Mtn Div, retreating to the southwest. It is then hit by 4 Rifle Div and 2 Mtn Div, retreating to the safety of Das Reich SS Mot Div's position, this time with only 5 AFVs left.
With the holes created on either side of the pocket the tables are turned on AGS. Kharkov MD units that were pocketed move to pressure their erstwhile captors and abandon most positions on the Dnepr. Supplies are airlifted to most of the formerly pocketed troops to bring them over 50% of needs.
Attacks are also made against the northern Dnepr bridgehead, and German regiments are forced back in two places, allowing the 52nd Cav Div to take up a position close enough to harass the river supply crossing.
In the Dnepr pocket are:
1st Pzr Group HQ, XIVth Pzr Corps HQ, III Pzr Corps HQ,
24th, 44th, 68th, 257th, 262nd, 299th Inf Div, and 1st Mtn Div
10th, 16th Mot Div, Viking SS Mot Div
9th & 11th Pzr Div
Across the Dnepr, just 10 miles from the south end of the pocket is a strong relief force: 14th & 16th Pzr Div, Das Reich SS, LAH SS, and 25th Mot Div.
These elite units should be able to crack the southern edge of the pocket without a problem, even if it rains.
The 35th Reserve Rum Inf Div is spotted only 10 miles from Krivoi Rog. Two Rifle Divisions move forward to greet the invaders and the Rumanian reservists route like roaches under fire.
With the Germans having restored LOC to 13th Pzr Div on the southern banks of the Dnepr the decision is made to abandon Nikolaev, lest the better part of 9th Army find itself trapped against the Black Sea. Defensive positions are established leading into the Crimea by 9th Army and a cavalry screen is setup to defend the approaches to the Molochna river and Zaporozhye (40th Army, North Cauc. MD).
If the opportunity presents itself the cavalry will seek to isolate any German units that get too adventurous, and or push back against Rumanians assigned to guard the flanks of the lower Dnepr bridgehead.