From: NYer living in Boise, ID
Turn 50; May 28, 1942........Mud with clear in North Soviet Zone
Continued mud keeps the majority of AGS from making any progress in reducing the Stalino Pocket, but the snow near Moscow lets AGN's 18th Army, AGC and AGS's 6th Army make some prelimary attacks to set conditions for the Summer Offensive.
18th Army continues to battle in tough terrain near Kalinin, attempting to "turn the shoulder" of the Soviet defenses here. Tough going. Soviets are dug in with level 2 forts, combined with rivers and swamp terrain - and yes, the Soviets are making good use of reserves. Still, 18th Army has good infantry and force three hexes from the Soviets at reasonable cost. This allows 3rd Pz Armee's XXIX PzKps to push past the Volga Res. This Soviet position, with major rivers, swamps and the reservoir itself is a very tough nut to crack. Therefore, its essential the Germans can penetrate it prior to the Soviets locking it down with level 3 forts. XXXIX PzKps does well, attacking level 1 forts in swamp that aren't ready to defend, and gains 20 miles north of the reservoir.
3rd Pz Armee infantry reduces the two trapped Soviet Rifle Divs, which allows LVII PzKps to make a narrow penetration of 20 miles behind the Soviet main line - not enough to link up with XXXIX Pzkps - but perhaps enough to collapse the Soviet level 3 forts south of the reservoir. If he trys to hold, he's likely to get cut off. If he pulls out, this greatly simplifies the area in which 3rd Pz Armee will attack next month as the northern axis to take Moscow.
9th Army doesn't do much, supporting the LVII PzKps with some infantry and taking a well defended level 3 fort, straightining out its front just SW of Moscow.
Lastly, 4th Army finally managed to pull its XXXX PzKps out of the line near Tula, where it was supporting 2nd Army's attacks. It will now rest and refit for a week or so before attacking north of Kaluga.
Overall, the area west of Moscow is, as expected, well defended. Numerous level 3 forts, backed by reserves which do commit and in places, really bad terrain to attack through. There is no question the Soviets know the Germans are coming through this area, and have prepared well. The best we can hope for is avoiding a grinding attack by attacking with the panzers to form narrow corridors, forcing the Soviets to abandon good positions - with the intent being that subsequent positions aren't as ready to defend. I don't see a major breakthrough likely initially - perhaps, just perhaps, if I can push far enough north of Moscow, across the Moscow-Volga Canal, I'll get some running room.