From: NYer living in Boise, ID
Despite the Soviets best efforts to withdraw before an offensive can be launched, AGS manages to hit the Soviets hard, breaking through the lines south of Poltava.
6th Army, with its fresh XXXXVI PzKps, was supposed to be one side of the pincer, but the Soviets managed to withdraw some 60 miles to the Psel River line, leaving a small screen to their front. This effectively negated the ability of 6th Army infantry to attack the their new line before the panzers exploited through. Instead, infantry barely managed to establish contact with the new Soviet line, giving the Pzkps at least some idea that a line had in fact been re-established on the Psel River. XXXXVI PzKps now attacked the screening forces out of the way, and attempted to force a hasty crossing of the Psel with its two lead divisions. Three holds later, they were still on the west bank of the Psel! Calling up the 16th Pz to brush aside the now weakened 271st Rifle Division, the 16th Pz - fairly fresh and with over 120 panzers - also failed in their hasty attack! Only a deliberate attack by 16th Pz pushed the rifle division aside - but this left the 16th Pz without any abilty to cross. It would be up to 1st Pz Grp to salvage the situation!
Assisted by 17th Army's IV IN Korps, 1st Pz Grp's infantry expanded their bridgehead first - using deliberate attacks to gain the first 10 miles of Soviet dug in defenses. Then III PzKps opened up the gap, widening the penetration for the following Pzkps. XXXXVIII PzKps wheeled SE, a turning movment on a large concentration of Soviet forces along the Dniepr, and pushing recon/mot elements eastward finding no subsequent Soviet positions. One Pocket established! XIV PzKps, the only of the three benefitted by an HQ Buildup, exploits last, and heads first toward Kharkov, scattering cavalry remnants and airfields. Then, its best unit, SS Wiking, swings around Poltava advancing some 120 miles to eventually link up with the stalled 6th Army, still on the Psel River. 2nd Pocket established!
Both of these pocket, definately the Poltava Pocket at least, the Soviets will be able to re-establish contact. However, this attack looks to have broken the Soviet's back here along the Dneipr. The Soviets knew this was coming and read it right - and tried to delay/withdraw, pivotiing on the Dnepr Bend. However, 1st Pz Grp was able to concentrate and cut them off before the withdraw toward Kharkov could be effectively completed. I don't think not much of anything is between the Germans and Kharkov right now (industry looks to have been withdrawn however). Re-establishing the pocket will take a week, so this isn't quite over yet, but with some luck, AGS will have Kharkov in the bag with a few weeks of good campaigning weather remaining - to seize the Stalino area and to begin driving north toward Kursk-Orel-Tula and linking up with 4th Army. Still some good summer campaigning left if the cards play right - and mud stays away!
< Message edited by IdahoNYer -- 10/27/2012 2:01:22 AM >