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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier

 
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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/23/2012 8:28:38 PM   
Bonners


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16th & 18th December

A very quiet run this turn. I think Olivier's tanks are suffering with readiness issues as I am able to plug the gap before he resumes his offensive. There are strong Soviet forces there though, could this be a northern thrust down to Rostov? But, although I have strong forces covering he could also still be going for the straight route to Rostov?

But, on the very northern front around Voronezh Soviet forces are gathering and I'm sure some of those artillery units look familiar from Stalingrad. Olivier now has his rail net up and running behind the lines and with good north to south connections the next blow could fall anywhere, I really am guessing.

On the Rostov front I do some little attacks on his mech units again but there is a disturbing trend, more and more of my bombers are being intercepted by Soviet fighters despite the best efforts of my fighter pilots. If the Soviets wrestle control of the skies as well we are in real trouble.

As a final point on this turn I thought I would look at the total losses that my transports suffered in the Stalingrad airlift. The staggering losses prove that it wasnt for lack of trying that enough supply didnt reach the ground troops.

I didnt do a screenshot for 18th December as it really was the quiet before the storm; there were only a couple of minor skirmishes whilst Olivier moved up and prepared his forces for the next assault and I tried to second guess him and move my panzers into the right positions to counter-attack. The screen shot is an overall view of 16th December:




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/24/2012 4:28:54 PM   
Bonners


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20th December -calm before the storm

Again it is another turn where Olivier does not launch the full forces against me. I am beginning to worry as there is a lot of movement going on behind the lines and some of his tank units seem to be disappearing, but where are they going to attack? I am beginning to think I am wrong with my earlier foreboding about Voronezh. Although artillery is building up in the north I think that the main attack will fall elsewhere first, it is just that I dont quite know where?

Meanwhile the retreat carries on in the Caucasus, again the Germans are just managing to keep ahead of the Soviets and not giving them enough time to build up their offensive forces. It is still a long way to Rostov though and more than a few heads are looking uneasily over their shoulders.

Because of this my main panzer forces are still covering the shortest route to Rostov and there seems to be some of the Soviet mechanized units still in place. Again they break through my weaker units on the Don and again I push the spearheads back with the panzers. Each little attack and breakthrough leads to a further whittling down of my weaker units to hold the line and my German panzer units ability to cut off the breakthroughs. Also I am noticing stronger units are pushed into the breakthrough gaps now and the panzers are more than not having to deal with bespoke anti tank units.

Again we retreat a little nearer to Rostov. But this turn really did feel like the calm before the storm........




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/25/2012 3:25:31 PM   
Bonners


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22nd December - Voronezh - Olivier wont attack at Voronezh

.....er wrong actually, so much for German intelligence, are they really working for the Soviets? Despite their assurances that the next offensive would no doubt be central, despite the lack of tank or mechanized corps the Soviets breakthrough either side of Voronezh in a totally surprise attack. I have to be honest and realised Olivier was building troops up in the north, but I thought it would be an attack taht would take place after his main efforts on the central front. Therefore for once I have no mobile reinforcements to hand apart from the Hungarian panzer division.

The Soviet troops are really building up their offensive capability and Olivier very skilfully manages the weaker infantry units by shoring them up with tank brigades, what they may lack in divisional integrity is really made up be the added offensive punch the tanks bring them.

On a wide front the night sky fills with flares and katushyas that signal the start of the Soviet offensive. The bombardment that follows litter grinds several Hungarian units into the dust and the Soviet tanks and infantry pour through the gap. Although the tougher German units do better to the north the 385th division is caught doing exercises and not in their defensive positions, it is a scramble to get back and defend and the Soviets push a gap through the lines. Voronezh is threatened with encirclement along with the whole of VII Corps which represents the best German infantry corps left to the army group.

In these circumstances there is only one choice really, we have to stand and fight, if the northern part of the lines goes so does the rest of the front.

SS Wiking is rapidly entrained for the north and the reserve army - 12th Army - that had slowly been building up is rushed to the front. 12th Army was really supposed to be used to build up the central part of the front, but I am presuming that Olivier is about to launch his tank corps through the gap. Air units, tanks and infantry, the same old story, everybody that can carry a gun is farmed out from the rear areas to build a counter-attack force that will push this thrust back.

In the mean time the Hungarian panzers along with support from infantry, engineers and rockets from VII corps desperately fight to fling the spearheads back, although their losses are heavy their heroic efforts help to push back the southern thrust. Similarly XIII corps manage to push back the northern thrust.

The front line is now just about stable, but will it be enough to hold on before the inevitable Soviet tanks push through the gaps. I still cant see any tank corps, but I am sure they will soon be pushing through the gap, it is now a race to see who can get their reinforcements in place in time.

Total Axis troops has dropped to 482,000 - down from 605,000 at the start of Uranus.




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/25/2012 3:33:57 PM   
Bonners


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22nd December - Rostov Front - counter-attack by 4th Panzer

Meanwhile on the Rostov Front 4th Panzer has been slowly gathering itself for another counter offensive against the Soviet mechanized troops. Despite the threat to the northern flank it is decided by OKH that the offensive potential in the south must be blunted now or never so authorisation is given for all the panzers to launch their assault.

Lemensen's 48th Corps is given complete freedom by 4th Panzer. Although there is not the opportunity to encircle them, this means that 4th mechanized corps meets three fully fresh and supplied panzer divisions head on. There can only be one outcome and they are pushed back and for once it is the Soviets taking the heavy losses.

Similarly, Mackerson's corps employ a tank drive and with the help from 6th panzer and some Romanian troops another Soviet mechanized corps is given a bloody nose. These attacks should hopefully give me a bit of breathing space in the race to Rostov, especially if more troops are needed around Voronezh. The tally comes in from the counter-ttack in the north and 4th Panzer's attack and German intelligence reckons that the Soviet's have suffered 1600 motorized casualties in the last two days.




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/26/2012 7:33:17 PM   
Bonners


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24th December - time to put up the decorations

It would appear that the Soviet offensives are running out of steam. I am now happy that the decision to stand and fight at Voronezh was the right one. I have some strong German infantry forces in place with attacking abilities.

12th Army is almost in position and will be shoring up the lines from next turn and SS Wiking will finish off the Soviet spearheads. The only surprise is that I was expecting to see more Soviet tank units in play, could he have given up on Voronezh and want to use them elsewhere on the front? I dont think it is a problem if that is the case as I am fairly confident that I will have the time to clear up the breakthrough here and the re-position my mobile units for the nest assault. The only place where Olivier does look strong is around the straight route to Rostov and I welcome an attack there as my fresh panzers are ready to meet him.

In the Caucasus the withdrawal continues , again no major scares to report and I am still fairly confident that I will reach Rostov intact.

Safe in the knowledge that Olivier is at least a couple of turns away from his next offensive, the troops are given orders to rotate troops off the frontlines and rebuild their strength. The troops all prepare for a quiet and peaceful Christmas knowing it will be a calm and peaceful night......................




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/26/2012 10:47:19 PM   
Bonners


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26th December - Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, Alles schläft..............

....and the front explodes...in the north, in the south, in the centre. This is no longer fire fighting, this is a raging inferno blazing down on my troops.

So Christmas was not so quiet after all. That is the very last time that I listen to an Italian.

Olivier is doing exactly the right thing, keeping me guessing as to where the next blow is going to fall and then once my reserves have been drawn away letting the main blow fall. It is now patently obvious that the pre Christmas attacks at Voronezh were just to try to get me to divert my mobile troops and he has succeeded all too well.

Starting from the north the Hungarians south of Voronezh and smashed aside by tank brigades and infantry. By itself this is not too much of a problem, but I still need to plug the holes. Last turn there were two German infantry divisions in place with one available to counter-attack..where has he gone? Oh just cleared off in the direction of Voronezh...and they will soon be marching back having achieved nothing.

The next in line is the Italian 8th Army (remember them? The ones who wanted to sit in their bunkers at Christmas eating turkey) a huge hole is blasted through the lines with what looks like two tank corps and accompanying cavalry. Not only this but Soviet guard divisions follow through to make sure any counter-attack is going to be a bloody affair.

Further south it is the turn of XXIX corps to feel the blow. The weaker Soviet units are swept aside, although the Soviets get a nasty surprise when they realise just how good Tiger tanks are on the defensive. They keep getting pushed back yet do not break. More worrying is that due to the fragile nature of my lines 11th panzer was on the front lines. Well it is on the front lines no more, in fact it is sitting behind them watching two Soviet tank corps motor past. The situation is fairly catastrophic. Behind the Italians there is just a big open gap with nothing but the Steppe in front of the Soviet tanks.

Further south, although not quite as successful the Soviet also punch through my lines where my tank forces are the strongest. If I counter-attack here then I could push them back but without covering the northern flank the whole of the Eastern Front could be about to come crashing down.

When I opened this turn my first comment back to Olivier was along the lines of ...this is madness and great fun! Full hats off to Olivier, the size and the areas of this offensive caught me totally off guard.

Time to break the troops out of their Christmas slumber and work out if there is anything I can do to halt the advance.

I've tried to put some screenshots together to give a flavour of the attack I was presented with:






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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/26/2012 11:06:42 PM   
Bonners


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26th December - any cooks or clerks left?

...so how do I respond to the attack? I have to admit it took me a while to work out how to cobble together a response.

Firstly, around Voronezh I counter-attack with SS Wiking and begin to push the Soviets back, they are in place so they will do their job before being sent elsewhere on the front.

Despite my inclination to attack everything the Italians make my decision for me as they would appear to be in a running race to the west. Despite my best efforts there is still a gaping hole in the lines at the end of the turn. The question is now what forces Olivier has left to push on after the offensive. I have got 16th motorized in place and they will be looking to counter-attack depending on where the next Soviet thrust falls.

Again on the main central thrust I have to withdraw. 11th panzer plays a speed card and breaks out of the pocket before the lines solidify. I have learnt my lesson, on the first turn of encirclement it is possible to break out of the trap, once the Soviet infantry come up to reinforce the ring, the units are as good as dead.

17th panzer which is still fairly fresh is moved up to cover the gap and to look for possible counter-attack opportunities. Meanwhile poor old 3rd Panzer is railed in from the Caucasus yet again to act as a reserve. I keep mentioning this, but it is worth pointing out again. At the start of the game the best thing I used my cards for was to increase the German rail capacity, the mobility of the rail net is the only thing keeping the Germans going.

Meanwhile to the South I have to also pull back with my strongest panzer corps. 48th corps again reminds the Soviets that there are still strong German forces around by blunting the spearheads yet again before withdrawing.

I now wait to see if the Soviets have enough offensive potential to keep going or whether I will have time to plug the gaps. The game has really heated up again.

Also this turn I finally get the chance to play another card; for the first time I play an infantry card and due to the crisis at the front OKH lets me have every spare man they can lay their hands on - 11,800 infantry reserves join the front line troops.

This turn also saw a turnaround in casualties for tanks. In previous turns the tank losses have generally been in my favour, but now the panzer divisions are beginning to get worn down I notice that Axis tank losses for the turn are higher than the Soviets. Infantry losses for the turn are 14,000 for the Soviets and 24,000 for the Axis. It should be pointed out that the majority of Axis losses are Italians and Hungarians which in earlier scenarios would not be a problem, but in this scenario they are now an essential part of my front line.

On the screenshot I realised at the end of the turn that Rostov is now almost showing on the front lines; the race is well and truly on!

Overview of German front at end of my turn:










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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/27/2012 7:43:51 PM   
Bonners


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28th December - Voronezh

We now have strong forces around Voronezh so I continue with pushing back the bulge and getting the lines back into order. I attack and surround the Soviet spearhead and then wipe it out with SS Wiking. This is the one portion of the front that I feel happy with and will continue the attacks on the position held by Soviet 49th infantry to straighten the lines back up.




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/27/2012 7:47:20 PM   
Bonners


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28th December - central front

As units are rushed in to plug the gap where the Italian armies used to be Olivier makes a reconnaissance effort with a tank destroyer unit. Unfortunately he gets caught between 16th motorized coming in to plug the gaps and the retreating Italians. The unit is wiped out. In the context of 1 million Soviets it may not seem like much, but as the Germans every little victory has to be celebrated.




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/27/2012 7:54:55 PM   
Bonners


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28th December - Caucasus

Again it is noticeable that the Soviet offensive soon dies down. Although numerically superior it would appear that Soviet troops soon lose their offensive capability and Olivier is left with a choice of either pushing out with exposed spearheads or resting up and also letting me rebuild my lines. Strange as it may sound I'm beginning to think that the Soviet player in some ways actually has the harder task in this scenario. From messages I've received from Olivier he is still okay with prestige as there have been a couple of instances where he has taken a town needed for prestige just after I have withdrawn. Obviously the early taking of Stalingrad will also have given him some prestige. But, if Stavka are anything like OKH, then he will no doubt get some crazy objectives at some point.

Anyway, even though I am beginning to stabilize the front I realise that I need to speed up the retreat in the Caucasus as I need to shorten the lines to release troops for a reserve to be rushed to threatened sectors. I have marked where I hope to have my final lines, it is now a case of seeing if I can reach them in one piece.




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/28/2012 8:02:28 PM   
Bonners


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30th December

A bit of a quiet turn. Olivier never seems to panic, he finishes his offensives, makes me withdraw and then starts to build his forces for the next attack. I never quite know where it is going to fall and just have to try and marshal my reserves to the right spot.

The only attack of note happens around Voronezh where I try and dislodge the remaining Soviet breakthrough units. Although I inflict some losses attacks against dug in infantry are tough and the Soviets refuse to budge.

As it is a quiet turn I thought I'd take stock of the overall position.

Firstly a comparison of losses. In game turns we have been going about a month and a half and although there has been lulls, there has been a lot of heavy fighting.

Axis losses to date (including those encircled at Stalingrad and minor allies losses):

249,000 infantry
3,000 guns
55 light tanks
790 medium tanks
5 heavy tanks
3390 motorized
325 fighters

Soviet losses to date:

150,000 infantry
1495 guns
545 light tanks
695 medium tanks
235 heavy tanks
5150 motorized
515 fighters

Of the Soviet losses I am most pleased with the fact that I am slowing down his motorized divisions, thosetank and truck losses must hurt him at some stage! Soviet fighter losses are actual very much in Olivier's favour, maybe not now, but in a month or so he could really begin to get air superiority. I really need to get a 2:1 loss ratio in the air.

I cant tell Olivier's total troops as we have FOW settings on. I have to say, although the AAR loses a bit, I can thoroughly recommend that setting. It is nerve racking as the Germans not knowing how many tanks and troops the Soviets have at their disposal.

It being a quiet turn I also thought it might be interesting to have a look at the overall strategic situation. I've put two maps up, one of the current position and one showing the dispositions at the start of the game. I havent really felt like I am retreating far in the Caucasus, yet looking at the map that is a fair old way I have fallen back.






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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/29/2012 9:43:32 PM   
Bonners


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1st January - Happy New Year!

Well, it is a quiet New Year anyway. Olivier's forces are building up far faster than I can build up my defences, but I keep trying. Apart from the gradual withdrawal in the Caucasus there is actually no real fighting on the front lines, perhaps an unofficial front lines truce has taken place? No map update as nothing really to show.

The only activity is in the air where I try and bomb some of the Soviet front line tank and mechanized units. Although I again manage to take out 80 Soviet fighters (getting back to 2:1) there are still enough to get through and intercept some of my bombers. Time to rest the Luftwaffe back up.

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/30/2012 6:13:05 PM   
Bonners


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3rd January - no step back

The order I have been dreading arrives from OKH. Not realising that it is the fact that I have been able to fight a fluid defence that has led to the lines becoming stable, I now need to look at the implications of this order.

Well the overview in the screenshot shows the problem. I reckon that Olivier has his forces now gathered for breakthroughs in at least seven different places. I have to admit that if I hadnt received the no step back order this turn virtually the whole line would've been shuffling back.

Now, unless I give up the major objectives this order generally means a loss of 1-2 prestige a turn - obviously I'm hoping for the odd good turn when I lose no prestige. Added to this is the fact that I have three minor objectives to keep, all of which it is definitely possible to keep and I am not out of the game yet.

The worry is that if Olivier builds his forces up for a sustained attack. I have been able to keep the lines solid and counter-attack when the offensive only lasts a turn or two. Olivier is obviously resting forces to make sure that the next attack counts. I need to really carefully plan in which areas I retreat from now on.

I just have to hope that I have enough mobile reserves north of Rostov to hold the line as the obvious solution is to shorten the line in the Caucasus to try and create a reserve.

The task has just got a whole lot tougher, but the Germans still have a chance, it just depends on where and how Olivier attacks with his next offensive.




< Message edited by Bonners -- 11/30/2012 6:27:01 PM >

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 11/30/2012 6:24:25 PM   
Bonners


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3rd January - try and put the map in properly

Deleted the map from the last post as it was huge!!!! Hopefully this one works.




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 1:23:36 PM   
Bonners


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5th January - breathe deep, dig deep, sit in your foxhole and prepare

Not a lot I can do really but sit back and await the inevitable attack. I have done all I can, the airforce is rested and ready, the panzers are sat behind the frontlines fuelled and ready to go with action cards in hand. The next move is all down to the Soviets. I am sat watching the forces build up and up not being able to do anything about it, I must save my forces for the attack, I cant afford spoiling attacks.

So I wait and hope against hope that the attack will be delayed by another few days to give me chance to reinforce some of the more vulnerable parts of the front.

We wait......

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 4:16:22 PM   
olivier34

 

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Some news front the soviet side. What a game ! I am learning slowly how to use the powerful red army. Bonners analyse perfectly the situation. We are the 5th of January and for the past turns I have mostly moved my forces and concentrate in some area, preparing a major offensive that will destroy for sure the ennemy front.
Here are my losses so far and I have left : first number, my losses, the second at start and the last what I have at this date.
Inf 157 000 925 000 955 000
Guns 1570 12 000 13 200
Light tanks 550 965 825
Medium tanks 715 1340 1025
Heavy Tank 235 500 355
Motorised 5300 29800 30600
Fighters 595 1035 930
The reinforcement per turn is good and some fresh units has been sent (from Moscou). I have played three times the more fighters card, twice the more tank and if I remember I have ask some more trucks and AA guns.

More men and guns, less tanks and fighters...The red army is less powerful..I don't think so. I have check the morale value of my troops, much better than the average 50 at start of the game and they have better experience. The staff has gain experience has well and a few capable officers have join the front.

Stats FOG on. Here are the numbers that I get about the axis losses.
Inf 250 000
guns 3010
Light tanks 55
Medium tanks 790
heavy tanks 5 tigers I am very proud
Motorised 3390
Fighters 365

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 4:48:12 PM   
olivier34

 

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I have been lucky to close the Stalingrad pocket so quickly...the next step of the campaign is much harder. I haven't check the reinforcement schedule of the Axis side to had some flavour to this game. How many panzer divisions am I facing ? I have conduct a lot of small offensives, firing my artillery, taking a hex, exploiting with mobile forces and each time a strong counter attack will cut my troops that have drive behind the front, isolate them and massacre them. Is there a FOG when you check the results of your opponent attacks ? How many time I have seen thousands of soviets down, 60 or more tanks destroy and the germans suffering little .
The german side is more powerful, better officers and cards and more experienced troops but can they resist to an attrition war ?
In the air, Bonners has been abble to keep the initiative. I have expected to strike his panzer formation from the air but the Sturmovik aren't good for the job. Bonners keeps his panzer div in a single hex (something that at start I thought to be a mistake) but doing so, the AA fire is intense...

Voronezh : I have sent an army and four artillery groups after the fall of Stalingrad to launch a minor offensive with the goal to divert some german motorised divisions from other part of the fronts. After four days, it turns to a disaster. I moved the artillery groups south...

Caucasus :
Bonners has retreated most of the time. My forces there have not been abble to attack clearly a front line. The good thing is that my objectives there were achieve a week earlier, giving me some prestige points. My troops are runing and are now so weak...they never get a chance to rest. Readiness below 60, 70 APs average...I have decided to let them rest. When an infantry in this shape get close to the german unit, it is immediatly vaporated. [X(
I have try an amphibious assault (Novorossisk was an objective 2 pps) but failed...(something wrong with the supply...)
I had not pay attention to this front the first 5 turns, just pushing the counters when I realise that there is not enough ENG units to follow the armys.
(Caucasus MAP the 7th of January.)





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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 4:52:47 PM   
olivier34

 

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I made a few screenshots of the front between Voronezh and Rostov (7th January and 9th January main offensive "cold hammer" (I am very bad when it turns to find a name to an offensive but I kind of like this one ). Should I post them now Bonners ?

looking at your losses (that you had the 30th of December), I realise that they are the statistics that I get the 5 of January, three turns after !

< Message edited by olivier34 -- 12/1/2012 4:55:44 PM >

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 5:01:34 PM   
Bonners


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Cold Hammer eh? Sounds appropriate! Go for it, be interesting to see what you thought from your side on a major offensive.

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 5:03:27 PM   
Bonners


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...and those losses compared to actual troops...sheesh....I've hardly made a dent

I have made an executive decision not to tell my troops on the ground, it'd be too depressing for them

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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 5:12:19 PM   
olivier34

 

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January 7 :




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 5:13:35 PM   
olivier34

 

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7 January





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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/1/2012 5:15:10 PM   
olivier34

 

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January 7, "COLD HAMMER", sounds like the name of a beer !




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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/3/2012 8:44:53 PM   
Bonners


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From: Stockport, UK
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7th January - Hammer of the Gods

'We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our tanks to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!'

With apologies to Led Zep, but when I opened my 7th January turn that was the song that came to mind....and now far too late German intelligence inform me that it is Operation Cold Hammer...so doubly appropriate.

Little do I realise that 7th January is just the prelude to the main attack. As mentioned before our intelligence service has a spy in the Soviet ranks, but he seems fairly useless as he gives us information several days after things have happened.

Anyway, the opening moves of the Soviet offensive still leave me fairly hopeful that we can contain it, the Italians are brushed aside in several spots. I realised that they were the weak part of the front and was trying to rush in armoured reserves, I just ran out of time. At this stage I do not realise the full extent of the Soviet offensive in the centre, I half expect the main blow to fall further south and I am hopeful that I will do the usual of a slow retreat, counter attacks from panzers and then take the main Soviet thrust head on opposite Rostov.

The Soviet airforce is blasted aside and the rested and ready Stuka pilots go about their business inflicting a bloody mess on the Soviet spearheads. Meanwhile elements of 12th Army rush southwards to counter-attack the northern bulge of the Soviet breakthrough. With my building counter attacks and the Stukas the Soviet losses for tanks in the turn are 145 including 75 T34s. High Command has every confidence that these attacks will be repulsed which will enable the slow retreat to continue whilst the reserves being released by OKH join the line.








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(in reply to olivier34)
Post #: 54
RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/3/2012 9:22:49 PM   
Bonners


Posts: 470
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From: Stockport, UK
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9th January - Cold Hammer in full

...and so it begins. Every Soviet offensive so far has been ultimately containable, but now Olivier has used the week of rest to bring his forces up to strength and what is becoming apparent is that there are full reserves in place to take full advantage of any breakthroughs and breakthrough there are...breakthroughs a plenty.

Starting from the north working the way down. Firstly against the remaining Italians. They had already taken the first blows and now the full force of the Soviet hammer falls upon them. Units are split asunder and Italian units begin to dissolve in the snow. With the full force of the Soviet offensive falling on them for four days in a row the Italians dissolve completely. Any remaining Italians either down arms or retreat from the front in full flow. Their spirits sink to zero and I am left with a huge Roman sized hole in my lines. Looking at the main Soviet thrust it is fairly obvious that the spearhead units are still fresh and will be able to continue the advance, this is no mere spoiling offensive.

South of the Italians one of my armoured reserve units, 16th motorized will not be able to help plug the gap. The Soviets are no longer going around the German panzers but are beginning to take them on head on. Despite some desperate defence 16th motorized is pushed back. They may be able to hold the line but are no longer of use in an offensive capacity.

The next offensive to the south concentrates on the weaker Kampfgruppe and Romanians surround 57th Corps. Unfortunately the armoured reserves have already gone to the north, there is the 1st Romanian armoured division and that is it, the strong 11th panzer is unfortunately holding the line.

Further south, directly opposite Rostov the Soviets make three further breakthroughs. This is where my main panzer forces are still based along with a trickle of reinforcements from the Caucasus front. What I dont realise, due to my tardy spy again, is that this is actually the main Soviet thrust and he is aiming for Rostov by the straight route.

What it means in the short term is that the strong panzer forces defending the direct route are pinned in place and they will soon be taking on the strong Soviet mech corps head on in a bloody battle to the death.

What is fascinating, is that looking at Olivier's plans above this was always going to be main offensive. As it runs out, although his forces further north were not as strong, by pinning my panzers in the south it meant that the northern thrusts would have greater success than I think even Olivier suspected.

One thing that was obvious to me was that this offensive would not be stopped in a couple of quick blows, the breakthroughs were too numerous. Decisions needed to be made on the no step back losses in the negative column along with minor objectives in the positive column. Tough choices ahead, this time Olivier is playing for keeps, he has planned and executed the offensive brilliantly.....and this is merely the beginning.

< Message edited by Bonners -- 12/3/2012 9:23:01 PM >

(in reply to Bonners)
Post #: 55
RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/3/2012 9:24:29 PM   
Bonners


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From: Stockport, UK
Status: offline
9th January

Screenshot showing Olivier's offensive moves:




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Post #: 56
RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/4/2012 12:26:16 PM   
olivier34

 

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From: montpellier
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I spent an hour and half playing the "9th january" turn, a lot of attacks to conduct ! Near the end I made a few mistakes (tactical ones) in the south...and I will again the next turn (no undo button !! harghhhhh) but this is part of the game. The first results of this offensive in the north made me change my plan. The 6A and 1GA have done great, they need some back up and fresh troops but I don't have a rail line available in this sector. What I do have is new fresh tank corps and some infantry divisions arriving as reinforcement that I can place in a town 100 kms behind the front line.

(in reply to Bonners)
Post #: 57
RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/4/2012 6:56:41 PM   
Bonners


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Joined: 8/24/2012
From: Stockport, UK
Status: offline
9th January - Cold Hammer response

Again starting from the north I try to deal with each attack in isolation, if I look at the state of the whole front I tend to hide under my desk. I have the Slovak division and 3rd Panzer in play ready to shore up the southern shoulder of the bulge, 401st motorized are available to hold the line I jsut have the small task of finding some units to shore up the northern shoulder, easy

Meanwhile in the central part of the front, those dastardly Italians have left me with no possibilities of a counter-attack so I have to withdraw. In the south I realise that I have to at least try to blunt the offensive though. Once more the panzers roll out across the steppe, although I have a feeling this could be the last offensive on mass that I manage.

As mentioned before, Olivier has used his rest and refit time wisely and it soon becomes obvious that the Soviet spearhead units are hardened veterans dug in and fully comfortable in taking the German panzers head on. All three rested panzer corps of 4th panzer army charge in for the fight, cards are played and there is a high degree of confidence in the assault. Previous results are not to be had though. Despite inflicting heavy losses the Soviet units manage to hold on whilst surrounded. It is also fairly obvious that although the Soviet troops end the day encircled, that it will be the Germans at risk soon. Through recon and the attacks the scope of the Soviet offensive is now becoming abundantly clear. Every breakthrough in the south looks like it is going to be followed up by fresh reserves to keep the momentum of the attack going.

To further compound my difficulties, Soviet partisans strike in the Caucasus. With my withdrawals I only have one working rail line and this has now been cut. I need the Romanians to delay with them very quickly or I could have a disaster in the making, or at best have to transfer my air force to protect the sea lanes.








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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/4/2012 7:23:44 PM   
Bonners


Posts: 470
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From: Stockport, UK
Status: offline
January 11th - no let up, no Romanians

The worst case scenario comes to pass. Although I suspected that there was a second line of Soviet reserves, I did not suspect that they would be so numerous or so mobile. In the centre they crash through my remaining Romanians leading to the Romanians taking on the same disappearing act as the Italians. This is more serious as not only does it leave me problems on the front lines it means I have to speed up the withdrawal in the Caucasus and I have to cobble together some units to deal with the partisans in the rear and also transfer units to the Crimea to hold against possible flanking amphibious attacks. Another consequence of this is that I decide to rest the Luftwaffe on mass. I will need them fresh if Olivier does decide to try a rear attack.

The only consolation in all this is that the Hungarians dont look to be going the same way, they have fairly high spirits and most of the units are dug in in good defensive terrain or have German units buttressing their lines. I did know that the Romanians would be going next but I was hoping against hope that they would last another couple of turns.

What this means to my forces in the north is that there is now no possibility of trying to hold the bulge so I gradually give up the shoulders, but with cavalry units to the fore the Russians are advancing faster than I can get a front line together.

Just south of this there is a similar breakthrough and as well as wiping out the Romanians several German units now also suffer heavy losses.

What is less expected is the amount of units that come through the next thrust to the south. The remains of the German Kampfgruppes are swept aside. The Soviets also are advancing on a lovely East to West rail line and for once I have not been able to blow the bridges in time, so it will be up and running very shortly. This thrust is the biggest danger as the units fighting directly in front of Rostov could be cut off from the north. Directly though the German Kampf units will probably not escape encirclement, they can fight on an entrenched front line but once out of their trenches they are collapsing rapidly. I am more concerned that 17th panzer escapes the trap.

The Soviet forces opposite Rostov meanwhile have to be stopped and the bloody tank battle continues. I no longer have fresh and rested tanks, but the Soviet units are similarly getting worn down. I also realise that I have to fight here as otherwise several of my panzers will be cut off completely. During his turn Olivier was true to his word and continued the battle, this time not being afraid to take the panzers on. We will both look at losses once the battles have died down, but I think it is fair to say that tank and motorized losses have been very high for both sides in the Battle for Rostov. Despite the ferocious nature of it, there has to be only one outcome and it will now be a case of trying to extract as many as 4th Panzer's tanks as is possible, the battle can just not continue.

So, Operation Cold Hammer reached a sixth day. Before this operation Olivier gave me several turns to get my front rested and refitted, but I absolutely think he made the right decision in waiting. He was able to fully deploy his forces and make sure that each attack could be reinforced with breakthrough reserves including cavalry. After the first two turns my front was teetering and by the third turn of the offensive I was left with big holes in my lines. My only worthwhile counter attacking forces had been ground down in a battle of attrition. Even if I do manage to get a new front line together a lot of the Panzers will now have to occupy front line positions rather than acting as tactical reserves. The Luftwaffe has similarly been ground down, as the offensive heated up my fighters were less and less effective at stopping the Sturmoviks in getting through and in some parts of the front it is fair to say the Soviets have gained tactical superiority, even if there is still an overall contst for the skies.

This offensive has been brilliant fun to try and defend against and full credit to Olivier for organising the Soviets into an efficient killing machine, but combined with the no step back order it is going to be really difficult to try and not be dismissed. But...but...there are a few little rays of hope on the horizon...we fight on!




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(in reply to Bonners)
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RE: Fire fighting the Red Hordes - Uranus vs Olivier - 12/5/2012 8:25:55 PM   
Bonners


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From: Stockport, UK
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13th January - the Soviets throw more reserves into the attack

Now things are getting desperate. The Soviet horde is showing it has learnt lesson in 18 months of fighting the Germans. On this turn the Soviets no longer batter through the lines but start to surgically strike through.

The decisions has already been made to give up the Caucasus and with spare rail capacity the remains of 1st Panzer Army are rapidly railed towards Rostov. Half of them go this turn and the rest should make it by the next turn.

Meanwhile 4th Panzer Army is rapidly retreating itself towards Rostov. When both armies get there I am hoping to release some reserves to other parts of the front. But the Soviets are now looking as mobile as the German units, Mackerson's and Lemerson's corps take heavy casualties as they try to fight their way out of the enveloping Soviet wings. In a reversal of fortune that will not be lost on the panzer troops it is now Soviet dive bombers swooping over the retreating columns. The battered Luftwaffe can temporarily put up no resistance. The Soviet Sturmovik losses are high, but they are relentless in their attacks and large numbers of tanks now litter the battlefield.

North of 4th Panzer up as far as Starobelsk there actually isnt much of a frontline left, just a huge gaping hole. The Kampfgruppes that have been holding the line all the way from the Chir in the initial phases of the Soviet offensive now lose their race to safety and most of them will soon be encircled. The only troops who will escape from the pocket are 17th panzer and even for them it will be a close race. Their high readiness and integrity mean that the Russians still treat them with respect though.

Further north the next Soviet thrust is still going. I still have fairly strong troops around though and 7th panzer turn up in the nick of time from the western front to bolster the defence.

What did shock me on this turn was that Olivier still had units available to create another breakthrough to flank Voronezh. Again he makes good use of tank brigades to smash through the defences. Looking at the situation though I think I may have a small opportunity to actually cut off some Soviet units. I finally withdraw over the frozen Don from Voronezh (another city given up without a fight), but in doing so I create a small number of reserves that just may be able to give the Soviets a bit of a shock here.

Again this was another tough turn, but remembering that Olivier does not know what reserves I have (and the fact I can rail units to threatened sectors) he picks the right moment to take a few chances with his spearheads cutting through and making sure that my panzers cannot counter-attack but have to retreat to stop themselves from being encircled.

Operation Cold Hammer has now lasted for four turns and has put the game right in the balance. I am now at the stage where each loss of a city has to measured in terms of the no step back order and then calculated against the prestige I will be gaining from minor objectives. What would have been nice would to have had the odd realistic major objective to hold. I had one major objective and that was Stalingrad, since then all the objectives have been minor, so I have had no opportunity to build up a prestige reserve for the no step back order. It would be nice to have a couple of major objectives, such as Rostov, Kharkov or Voronezh that I had say a 50/50 chance of keeping.

Anyway, the game now stands on a knife edge, my comments to Olivier were that the next three turns would probably decide if we end up going through to March.

For a change I've put the situation map that greeted me on opening my turn to give an idea of the breakthroughs that Olivier had managed.




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