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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier

 
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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/13/2013 10:11:51 PM   
Bonners


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13th August - forcing the lower Don

Meanwhile to the east of Rostov the Don is now being breached. It is going to be hard fighting but enough units of 17th army are now across the river for the crossing to no longer be in doubt. Even in the bad weather the JU52s are able to get virtually full supply to those units that need it, so next turn I dont think it will be a problem keeping the supply going.

There are no battles on the direct line to Rostov this turn as I move forces up and repair the bridge, next turn I intend to inch closer again.

Further east more units of 17th army will start to fight their way across the Don as well. Again I expect no easy victories as Olivier's defenders are there in force.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/14/2013 9:27:04 PM   
Bonners


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15th August - the lower Don - carnage in/from the air

No updates this turn from the rest of the front as all is fairly quiet and no attacks are launched. Olivier seems to have withdrawn a lot of his forces again on the approach to the Don crossing before Stalingrad. The only way I could spot his tank units would be to use my airforce and I am not in a position to be able to follow up with my ground forces. I continue the advance although most units in the frontlines now begin to slow down so as to slowly recover readiness when the battles start. Olivier has achieved his aim by making me a bit cautious. In fact it reminds me all too well of my hit and run tactics as Germans when playing Olivier as Uranus. I guess he is getting a measure of revenge as I knew he found my armour elusive and annoying in those games.

So the main battles are still based around the lower Don and Rostov. Before I launch any attacks I want to clear the skies for my bombers. As per usual Olivier has his fighters ready and waiting and Luftwaffe fighters are swatted away like flies. After my previous encounters only fighter units with at least 95 readiness and 90aps go into the skies and then with a minimum of two units in each attack. They are still swamped in the air though and the final tally is 35 German fighters for 25 Soviets - not good news at this stage of the game. I have to use pps to play yet another fighter card and get another measly 25 FW190s. Along with the replacements I receive anyway it is still not enough to replace my losses.

But they do their job. With my bombers back in action, refreshed and ready to go another fortification hex is blasted away by 17th army on the route to Rostov. Losses are heavy again, but justified as longas the advance continues.

Next in line one infantry corps of 17th army supported by SS Wiking and the Slovak division are now across the river and waiting to strike south. Again thanks to my fighters' sacrifices the JU52s are able to do their job and give the units the bulk of their supplies. No attacks are made this turn, but next turn I expect to be assaulting the minor river in full.

The last part of 17th army's operations is around Konstantinskaya which is the last obstacle before the river. Another bloody fight ensues which we just win and take the town. The defenders are caught in the open and level bombers come along to decimate them further. Bloody on both sides but definitely worth it from an Axis POV. Next turn this will be another set of assaults across the Don, Olivier's southern Don defence is beginning to crumble.

Lastly, although there are no attacks this turn the movements of 1st Panzer are worth noting. Both panzer corps and most of the supporting infantry divisions reach the Don in force. I dont have any spare aircraft for recon, but initial reports from the ground forces would suggest that this is an area of possibilities, the defence does not look so strong here and even if Olivier rails in defenders it will take them at least a turn or two to get into position.

So not much in the way of attacks this turn, but having pushed across the river in several places my forces in this areas are quite vulnerable to Soviet counter attacks, especially with the amount of tank corps that seem to be defending the line. With this in mind, I come back to the earlier point about the advance slowing down in the Don bend, the reason is that I decide to concentrate all my air forces in one small area. All along 17th army's front all the Soviet armoured units and quite a few infantry units are hit by massed air attack. I had several fully rested Stuka units and the results for Soviet tanks caught in the open are quite horrific. The bomber pilots know that they have to take full advantage of the sacrifice of their fighter pilot brethren and the attacks are driven home with full force.

Once the tallies of the returning pilots are counted up it appears that 120 Soviet tanks, the majority being T34s and KVs, will be left behind on the Steppe as smoking wrecks.

With the devastation I am beginning to think it may be worth resting the majority of the dive bomber force every other turn as even successful attacks give a huge hit on readiness and the units that had rested for two whole turns repaid that rest period in full. I've also noticed that the Stuka divebombers seem to cause most damage, but the other type of divebomber unit recovers its readiness quicker, maybe they dont take as many risks as the Stuka pilots?

Finally this turn it has come to OKH's attention that the Soviet propaganda machine has started whirring out its evil lies. Obviously anything you may read about these battles elsewhere are total fabrications and the product of a desperate NKVD propaganda department

The maps this turn just show the fighting on the lower Don, one showing 17th army and one showing 1st panzer army.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/15/2013 6:58:22 PM   
Bonners


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15th August - the Don bend

This turn I decided after the Luftwaffe's efforts last turn they were going to take a much needed vacation. Also more undamaged airfields start to become available nearer the frontlines so I move my fighter units closer Olivier has continued his retreat and is very obviously going to be defending the line of the Don facing Stalingrad. I follow up and again slow the pace as the infantry nits will soon be earning their crust in blood assaults across the river.

As most of my units are now in place it is time to start thinking just how I am going to go about taking Stalingrad. I have decided that the offensive campaign will be in four main phases which will hopefully negate the need for a costly frontal assault and will then enable me to release more forces into the Caucasus afterwards. The main problem with my strategy is that it will be slow and I definitely wont be taking Stalingrad by the September 8th deadline; I am okay with that, yes I am lacking in prestige but I think that overall the lack of replacements is made up for by having less losses in costly assaults. More experienced players would probably be able to find a way through the defences at a quicker pace, but I'm still feeling my way and trying not to repeat my mistakes of earlier games, so am content to take Stalingrad late at less cost and then play another ambition card to avoid dismissal once my prestige reaches zero.

Anyway, the plan for the assault on Stalingrad:

Phase one will be for 6th army infantry to keep on crumbling the Soviet defences on the north side of the bend. The reason for this is to not let Olivier become too comfortable and try and make sure he keeps decent defences in this area which will drag units away from Stalingrad.

Phase two will be the bulk of the armoured units from 4th panzer and 6th army striking north. Their immediate aim will be for the supporting infantry units to take a couple of bridgeheads in the Kletskaya region. Once that happens the armoured units will then strike out to flank Lowinkskaya to the north and then strike south towards Stalingrad having hopefully isolated the city from the north. The panzer units will then wait for the inevitable counter attack from the Russian armour and the infantry will move southwards to take Stalingrad from the north.

Phase three, which will hopefully coincide with the northern attacks is a straightforward frontal assault on the Don by 11th army supported by LI corps from 6th army. This is going to be tough as this route is littered with fortifications and horrific terrain for the assault. Hopefully 11th army will be able to put into practice their lessons from the Crimean campaign.

Phase four, will be the launch northwards of 1st panzer army to attack from the south. I am still in two minds about this, but a final decision doesnt have to be made until the bridges are repaired and they are over the Don in force.

Map showing rough lines of next offensive (with a bit of luck):




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/15/2013 7:28:43 PM   
Bonners


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17th August - Russian retreat at Rostov

Around Rostov it looks like the Luftwaffe attacks from last turn made their mark as Olivier starts a general retreat all the way from Rostov to Tsmyljanskaya. My first major decision this turn is to rest the Luftwaffe in its entirety, I dont even launch any fighter attacks. The only air activity is JU52s supplying the troops across the Don. Although I lose a few full supply gets through again and I think it was worth giving my fighters a turn to recover their strength. Hopefully from next turn some bridge repairs will start to take affect; once they do the JU52s will be moving north to help with the supplying of the forces attacking Stalingrad.

My second decisions is not to launch attacks on the retreating troops. I have to say this was a horrible decision to make as I knew quite a few units were vulnerable. But my thinking is that by giving my assault troops a chance to recover their readiness after attacking across the Don my troops are in much better state than the retreating Russians, so there will hopefully be better opportunities in future by giving my units plenty of rest. I guess time will tell if I was correct.

As per the previous update about the Don bend, I am still unsure of which way to go with 1st panzer army, or even whether to split them. I still have a turn or two in which to make my mind up though as their first objective is to cut the rail lines around Kotelnikovo, once that is achieved and the bridge is repaired a decision will be made.

Similarly the armoured units crossing the lower Don will have their first objective to cut the rail lines somewhere around Metchetinskaya.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/15/2013 9:55:10 PM   
Bonners


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19th August - overview and the Luftwaffe loses control of the air

Just a quick overview of the the turn really. As per the plans of last turn all units are now marching to their respective start positions. The crumbling attacks on the northern part of the Don by 6th army start this turn and several river hexes have the Soviet defenders thrown back. 4th panzer army and 6th army are also now getting towards their start positions for the assault and a couple of spoiling attacks are launched by Soviet stragglers.

In 17th army sector progress is slow and there are no attacks and it is just a case of gradually moving forward. next turn I am in a positions to attack the road hex to the immediate east of Rostov which show hopefully solve the supply problems for 17th army over the Don, after that it cant be long until Rostov itself falls.

1st panzer army also just moves up this turn, no attacks are launched it is just a case of getting units across the Don and getting the bridges repaired. I neednt have worried about cutting the rail line in this sector as Olivier has already blown the bridge.

That is it really for the land war this turn, both sides are taking one of their periodic rests.

...and so onto the air war, this turn Olivier comes up trumps from all angles. Firstly I launch my refreshed fighters and although Soviet fighters are shot down, the numbers lost are easily matched by the Luftwaffe losses. In the hope that my fighters have at least stopped the Soviets from making more than one or two intercepts against my bombers I then go onto the air offensive, picking at any Soviet armoured units I can see and also using the bombers to slow down the Soviet stragglers.

Unfortunately this turn things just start to go from bad to worse, attack after attack is intercepted by a never ending wave of Soviet fighters, they just keep on coming and I am now slightly worried as to just how many fighters Olivier has left. Only about 50% of my attacks get through unmolested; I kept on going, not through stubbornness, just because I thought his fighters would be running out after each interception, I was proved badly wrong.

Finally I launch my supply runs for 17th and 1st panzer army with my JU52s, surely there cant be many Soviet fighters left? Wrong....yet again about 50% of the supply flights are intercepted.

After this turn I think my bomber force is going to have to have at least 2-3 turns to re-build its strength. I am also wondering if Olivier may go back on the offensive in the air himself. To that end my fighters will be building up their strength for interception duties. So next turn and probably the turn after the skies are going to be clear of the Luftwaffe.

Total Axis losses for the turn were 35 fighters, 55 dive bombers, 50 level bombers and 20 JU52s.....

I am wondering if I should start using my fighters to directly escort the bombers rather than making fighter sweeps? I may give that a go in a couple of turns when the bombers re-launch. I have ben careful with my airforce, but I wonder if I shouldn't wait until all units are at 100% readiness before launching? At the moment I've been quite happy to launch my fighters as long as they are in the high 90s.

I guess this is the first turn where I would say it unequivocally belonged to Olivier.

Anyway, the map update is just a general overview due to there being not much in the way of movement on the frontlines.





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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/15/2013 10:03:04 PM   
Bonners


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19th August - northern front

Although I've not been updating each turn there has been a little movement on the northern front. Basically after the fall of Voronezh I stopped advancing, but then Olivier's forces disappeared completely. So I decided to keep following until the Soviet forces were in view again, they seemed to have stopped on the next river line and quite frankly, as long as I cna see what they're up to I'm happy to leave them there.

However, with that movement my lines looked awfully raggedy and in the interests of aesthetics I have been slowly attacking south to straighten up the lines, this turn taking Bobroff. I am going to keep going until the Hungarian line is nice and straight.

The slightly more serious point to this is that once Olivier starts to attack I dont want to give him any easy hexes to win and also the less hexes I have the more reserves I can create behind the lines.

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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/16/2013 11:09:02 AM   
Bonners


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21st August - northern Don, slow, slow progress

Still not much movement from the last turn. But as in other river crossings I am not going to be rushed. It is definite now that I wont take Stalingrad by the deadline so I might as well make sure the crossings of the Don are done properly.

The Romanians and the XXIX corps of 6th army take the first bridgehead on the flank. These troops will now start pushing east to help the main attacks.

Elsewhere I only launch two attacks both of which are holds by the Russians, these were both clearing attacks. Although it is slightly annoying I am not too worried as the approaches should be cleared next turn. It is just a very slow process with no quick way to do it.

In the air there are very few flights this turn and as an experiment with the couple of bombing attacks I launch I support them with fighters. Too early to say if this is working better, but it would appear that the balance of losses do shift back to my favour. I shall keep trying and see what next turn brings.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/16/2013 11:20:39 AM   
Bonners


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21st Southern Don - more slow progress

I take a couple more hexes around Rostov and will take it next turn. However it is a hollow victory as the majority of Olivier's troops are long gone. The more important attacks are to the south east of Rostov where LVII corps are looking to try and cut the rail line the retreating Soviets from Rostov will be using.

Meanwhile 1st panzer army continue their slow progress across the Don to get ready for their assault north to Stalingrad. Kotelnikovo is taken and a couple more bridges repaired, but apart from that there is not much movement.

The other main point to note is that although I dont have the rail line from Rostov I have a solid road connection with the hexes taken this turn. This should hopefully alleviate my supply problems and not a moment too soon. Soviet fighters again take a heavy toll on the JU52s, but they battle on through and 17th army units across the Don get their full ration of supplies.

The Soviet fighters are becoming a real menace and I have decided that for now, apart form keeping enough in hand for ambition cards, I will be using all my prestige points on replenishing my fighters as numbers are dropping rapidly.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/16/2013 3:20:08 PM   
Bonners


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23rd August - attrition in the Don bend

Well this turn I make one mistake too many in the Don bend, which will lead to my offensive being delayed for at least another turn or two.

Anyway, starting from the north, my offensive to straighten the lines and clear the Russians from the Don continues. Very slow progress and not much else to report - but this is a sideshow to the main events elsewhere.

The Romanians and 6th army infantry across the Don in the northern part of the bend continue their advance eastwards to help with the troops further along. Next along 4th panzer army infantry successfully clear the next stretch of the Don and will be able to start the assault from next turn.

And this is where it all goes wrong. Kletskaya continues to be a blood thorn in my side. I launch a four sided attack and it just holds out. I need this town for a clear run over the Don. Although it holds out there is not much left of the defenders so I decide to launch another attack with the remaining German units. it is a bloody mistake as it just manages to hold out. Net result? A bloody mess of two panzer corps and the town still holding out. this is the worst mistake I have made by far in this game. I will not be compounding the error though. Ignoring the loud-hailers of the Soviet propagandists, the troops will not be having another go. I'll be waiting for the infantry to move up in force and only then will I attack again. All the panzers will be taking up defensive positions to recover their strength for at least two turns.

We'll chalk these battles up to Olivier, still a long way to go though.

Next up in line is Kalatsch on the direct route to Stalingrad. Units from 11th army finally get involved in the fight. It turns out to be another bloody hold for the Soviets though, I was quite confident I would take this one. Looking at it though the losses for the defenders were quite high and I'm confident that the fresh troops moving up form 11th army will be able to take next turn.

Further south is the first bit of good news for the turn. LI corps blast their way across the Don and are able to form a substantial bridgehead around Nishjaja. To make sure Von Paulus gives extra resources in the form of an entrenchment card and I am quite confident that this bridgehead is secure.

...especially as the decision has been made. With the bloody failure of 4th panzer army on the northern flank, 1st panzer army will have to be used to clear the flanks from the south. Fully refreshed the two panzer corps start to make their way north and will soon be directly threatening the defenders in front of LI corps.

Next up is 17th army and Rostov is finally ours - only 20 days behind the schedule set by OKH. In the end it was taken without a fight and Olivier is quick to move most of his troops out before I am able to cut the rail lines. Although it is a tactical victory I am sure Olivier is actually quite pleased as most of these troops will no doubt form the basis of new formations in the Caucasus. There are no attacks in 17th army area this turn, it is mainly a case of moving up and repairing bridges. The race to the mountain will begin soon though. I have never got this far in a game before, but my guess is that my first objective will be Krasnodar or perhaps Maikop.

And finally a note on the air war. As suspected Olivier did think about launching a few air attacks of his own. He did a couple of exploratory strikes with his fighters and then launched one attack. All three attacks resulted in losses for the Soviets and no disruption or losses for me. So I guess I am still fairly safe from the Soviets in an offensive capacity in the air and it was nice to see the Soviets taking losses for a change. I also tried a couple more air attacks with fighters supporting them. Again the loss ratio went in my favour.

I have a theory that at the moment we are at a phase in the air war where no side has outright supremacy, therefore the Germans cant use the Luftwaffe to do the wide ranging offensive fighter sweeps any more, but they are still stronger if they directly support the bombers. obviously this is far less effective as it reduces the effectiveness of my bombers and also means I have to take more risks if I want to launch massed bombing raids. Anyway, not too sure and will continue to experiment with ways to try and get the best out of the airforce.

An overview map of the whole front this turn:




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/16/2013 8:35:53 PM   
Bonners


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25th August - 1st panzer army strike north

Again this turn there was little in the way of attacks, I think I launched about five in total along with a couple of air attacks.

In the north 2nd army continues to push south with one corps, their job is almost done and they will soon meet up with the flank divisions of 6th army.

In XXIV corps' sector, the Russians launch a counter attack with one of their tank corps, targeting the supporting Romanian units. Luckily they have too far to go to their start lines and coupled with a lack of artillery support the Romanians are able to hold for relatively few losses. I immediately launch a couple of air attacks on the Russian tank units caught in the open. These are successful, but the escorting fighters again take about 50/50 losses against the attacking Russian fighters - a couple of divebombers are shot down as well. The ground units themselves continue their push east and should be able to help the units still waiting to cross the Don to expand the bridgehead from next turn.

Around Kletskaya, Olivier retreats and leaves the defenders isolated. I have to say I am happy to see this. Although I dont want my battered armoured units to attack again for a couple of turns, I am happy to grab the opportunity to get a further bridgehead without fighting. I immediately get a wide bridgehead with six divisions across the river. Kletskaya meanwhile is surrounded and finally taken out removing the threat to my communications. The JU52s move up and will start supplying the units across the river from next turn.

11th army meanwhile stay static and replenish their supplies after their long march. I was hoping to replenish the assault on Kalatsch this turn but the troops could do with some more rest.

LI corps are now across the Don in force and have their first bridge repaired so supply wont be an issue. One division strikes south east and links back up with 1st panzer army. Which leads me neatly onto the drive north from 1st panzer. I am sure this has created a few problems for Olivier as there doesnt seem to be much in the way of reserves in this area. I try and catch the defence before it can fully form and decide to push hard with a speed card played on one division form each of the two panzer corps.

The infantry corps from 1st panzer army wont be heading north though. They are there to cover the flank and will push gradually east looking for Soviet stragglers.

Finally in 17th army area the race is well and truly on. I'm still not sure if this is the right tactic, but I dont attack anywhere, I try and move forward at full speed and find any weak spots around the flanks, hoping to make Olivier keep on withdrawing. Another speed card is played on SS Wiking and they push around to the west to try and force a cheap crossing over the next river - The Jeja. I have just been given my next major objective and as expected I have to take Krasnodar. I get the usual impossible timetable so may have to use the ambition card again. Depending on how the advance goes I may try a more time card though, but only if I am right on top of it when the time runs out.

A quick note on overall casualties; for the Soviets these now stand at 420k and for the Axis at 137k. For fighters my total losses are 370 as opposed to 500 for the Soviets, Olivier is certainly winning the air war. Tank casualties stand at 1500 for the Soviets to 965 for the Axis, my losses shot up after the mauling my two panzer corps took around Kletskaya.

Another overview this turn, the map is getting bigger by the turn as the front expands.





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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 8:28:32 AM   
Isokron

 

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Seems like you will be better off than the historical caseblue Bonners, no cosy bridgeheads over the Don to start an operation Uranus from.

A tip is to turn on the automatic screenshot option, then you will get a overview image of the entire map and dont have to stitch smaller ones together.

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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 12:07:44 PM   
Bonners


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Isokron

Seems like you will be better off than the historical caseblue Bonners, no cosy bridgeheads over the Don to start an operation Uranus from.

A tip is to turn on the automatic screenshot option, then you will get a overview image of the entire map and dont have to stitch smaller ones together.


Cheers I went to turn it on....and realised I already had That will make life far easier for the overview screenshots, although I like to do close up shots if there is particular bits of action.

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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 12:27:03 PM   
Bonners


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27th August - missing more objectives

As per usual a mixture of good and bad this turn. Again there is no real fighting on the ground apart from two or three attacks, but there has been a lot of movement around the fringes.

The sudden movement north of 1st panzer army has had a dramatic effect on the Soviet defensive lines around Stalingrad, they pull back from 1st panzer army and LI corps enabling LI corps to take one of the bridges and also get it repaired. The advance from the south is going quite well now. Although I launch no more attacks I continue to push on as far as I can with the armoured units of 1st panzer army, still trying to not let the Soviets get a stable defensive line.

11th army make another attack on Kalatsch this turn and again fail to take this vital bridgehead. These units will be rested again next turn, but the 11th army units further north will have a go at weakening the defences next turn.

Olivier continues to withdraw in front of the 4th panzer army units across the Don and this enables the two bridgeheads to join up. I launch no attacks in this area either but am content to get more units over the river again building up strength for the push back down to Stalingrad.

The main part of this offensive though is trying to keep the units supplied by air and this is the bad again. This round again goes comprehensively to the Soviets as more and more JU52s are shot down. I am hopeful that in a couple of turns I will be able to rest my transport aircraft as I should be able to get a bridge over the river, until then they will have to keep running the gauntlet of Soviet fighters.

It is all very slow going though and at some point I am going to have to play another ambition card, or possibly a more time card if it means that I will get the prestige for taking objectives. Still in two minds and will leave it until the last moment. The more time card is 25 points though...ouch!

Finally onto 17th army; the Soviets continue to retreat, which will probably continue until they reach the mountain passes and river defence lines in the actual mountains. Although there is no fighting in this area I start to take some risks with my armour units by pushing on as fast as I can and cutting the Soviet rail lines in several places. Most of the rail lines appear to be cut so I could end up isolating several Soviet units here in the open before they have a chance to get into the mountains.






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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 4:59:16 PM   
Bonners


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29th August - Stalingrad front

This turn some minor but significant advances are made on all three converging fronts around Stalingrad. To the north 4th panzer army plays a freedom card on one of the corps and this enables them to make a significant push into the Soviet lines. Coupled with this Gross Deutschland plays a speed card to enable them to take the bridge needed to allow supply to flow through to the rest of 4th panzer. I am hopeful that I will begin to breakthrough in the north in the next couple of turns.

11th army continue their slow grind forwards, each turn it seems there is only an attack on one hex either taking the hex or grinding down the defenders.

Finally 1st panzer army and LI corps continue their advance from the south and next turn I would like to try and cut Stalingrad off from the south.

In this sector it has been a bloody turn, but we are pushing the Soviets back.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 5:12:02 PM   
Bonners


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29th August - 17th army - the empire strikes back

This turn is a total disaster for 17th army as 50% of their mobile units are wiped out in one stroke. Little did I realise that Olivier still had the capability to strike back in this area. Olivier reacts very swiftly to the threat to his rail lines and picks off the isolated units pushing forward. 13th panzer division and the Slovak division are attack in force by air attacks and three Soviet tank corps, that if I'm totally honest I did not realise were in the area!

There are multiple attacks and although no units are broken they are pushed away form the German lines and out of supply. Next turn they will be surrounded and finished off. This is a major blow to my advance into the Caucasus and I am the victim of my own hubris in thinking that Olivier would just be thinking of retreating. I've played Olivier enough times to know that he will always try and strike back where possible. A very harsh lesson learnt.

I resist the temptation to strike back as nothing would be achieved so I continue to advance as quickly as possible in the hope that I may get a measure of revenge in future turns.

I am thinking that Olivier has noted the weaknesses of the Russian units in the Caucasus in the Uranus scenario and it could be these mobile units will be staying down there as a potential counter attack force when it comes to the main Soviet attacks later in the game.

Just a quick note on the air war, that is still turning to the advantage of the Soviets. As my units spread out I jsut cant get the necessary air superiority any more. I am seriously thinking about resting the air force in total for a couple of turns. After next turn all bridges will be up an running so I wont have to fly supply flights any more, so it is an option to try and build them back up.

Finally this turn I succumb and play a more time card at a cost of 25 pps...ouch that hurt! My justification is that I have several minor objectives that I think I could take if I have a couple of extra turns and it might also just be enough to get me Krasnodar.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 5:35:08 PM   
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31st August - Stalingrad front

The Soviets launched a couple of ineffectual counter attacks this turn against the 4th panzer army units north of the Don, I guess the Soviet tank corps cant be everywhere at once. This turn 4th panzer's task is killing Soviet units and trying to force the mover the Ilowija. To that end speed cards and played on three armoured divisions enabling them to push and directly take on the Soviet ground forces out of their trenches. Although I do not follow up and take all hexes, quite a few Soviet units receive a battering, but I have enough fresh units left to push on with the attack again next turn. It is bloody again, but I am hopeful of good results for the next turn.

In 11th army's sector Manstein plays a freedom card on one of the corps enabling them to push on over the Don and take one of the Soviet fortification hexes. The other infantry corps of 11th army also takes a hex. The Soviet lines around Kalatsch are definitely beginning to crumble.

1st panzer army plays an attack card this turn on one of the panzer corps, again both panzer corps play a speed card on one of the divisions and the tankers mount up knowing that this could be the push that makes them the first German units to set foot on the Volga. The thin Soviet line is swept aside and the speed card enables the attack to be pushed on into the depth of the Soviet defences. Despite the panzers' willingness to push on, the fact that there are still strong Soviet forces means that the order comes from corps HQ to stop...tantalizingly close to the Volga - hopefully next turn the Volga will be ours and Stalingrad will be isolated from the south.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 5:48:32 PM   
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31st August - 17th army

As expected Olivier makes short work of the remains of 13th panzer and the Slovak division and there is nothing left of them but the battered remains of German tanks.

Because of this set back the advance slows to a crawl and I concentrate on clearing out all the Soviet garrisons left behind and moving up engineers to repair the bridges.

I have decided that I will also draw off at least one mobile division form the battles around Stalingrad as well, just to try and keep the momentum of the attack going.

A quick note on overall losses as with the Soviet counter attacks the Russians have caused some serious damage. German total losses now stand at 158k and Soviet total losses at 448k; although I still have more troops than I started with it should be recognised that a lot of these are lower quality minor allies troops.

My total medium tanks now stand at 1285 with another 180 light tanks. With FOW on I dont know Soviet numbers but their total tank losses stand at just over 2000.

In the air things are looking dire as I struggle to concentrate my fighters into an effective force. My total fighters are down to 245, which is why I am thinking of suspending air operations and using them defensively for a while. I have caused no where near enough Soviet fighter casualties as only 560 have been shot down. I presume that means Olivier has somewhere in the region of 600 fighters still in the air and as he gets replacements most of them will be Yak7s which are a match for my fighters -especially with their numbers.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/17/2013 6:34:08 PM   
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2nd September - Autumn rain

Finally we get a mud turn which is probably a relief to Olivier as much as me. I suspend all offensive operations and start moving the troops up and replenishing supplies. Only two attacks are made this turn, Lowinkskaya by 4th panzer army and Kalatsch by 11th army. Lowinkskaya is a blood failure and has made me realise that I should never use the more time card. I fail to take it, rushed it because I felt I had to because I'd spent 25 pp on the more time card and then failed bloodily. I wont be doing that again. The only trouble is without it I will be back facing dismissal again and will have to play another ambition card which is now up to 17pps. I need to take another objective at some point or the game will soon be over.

Kalatsch finally falls though and 11th army are now beginning to secure their place on the east bank of the Don.

Within 17th army's area there is no real movement this turn, Olivier is firming up his defences so I need to get all my troops forward before launching the next phase. So II take the turn to rest most troops and await better weather.

As there has not really been any movement this turn, just an overview of the whole frontline as it stands.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/18/2013 8:38:58 PM   
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4th September - grinding to a halt

Okay this turn there is very little movement. I take a couple more hexes around Stalingrad and also there is one Soviet hold on the banks of the Volga.

On the southern flank of 1st panzer army I take a couple more objectives which is quite timely as my prestige had just fallen to zero again. That means that I dont have to play another ambition or more time card.

Soviet resistance to 17th army still continues to build up so I take the opportunity to repair a couple more bridges and bring more troops forward.

Apart from that there is the usual amount of Soviet successes in the air. This means that next turn will again see a lack of German planes flying as they take their obligatory two days off after every set of operations.

As there is nothing going on really this turn I thought I'd take the time to do a detailed map update of the whole front. Also I have used all the gaps in the various maps to put a selection of statistics up. I have marked all the attacks I made this turn, but it is mainly to show where I am up to and the defensive lines I am continuing to build down from the north ready for the Soviet counter offensive.

As it is a detailed map I have not embedded in the post. If you want to download it and look you can do.....BUT BE WARNED....IT IS HUGE!!!!!

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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/19/2013 7:42:59 PM   
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6th September - hubris

quote:

This man has lost face; he has realized that his fatal gamble is over, that Soviet Russia is not going to be beaten in this second attempt


Psssh, piffle and poppycock, we are not believing any of that rubbish....the offensive goes on! Stalingrad will be ours, the oilfields will be ours and we will then use the resources to defeat our enemies in the west, we are unstoppable!

.........oops, sorry, getting a bit carried away there

Right, back to reality. Basically the last couple of turns have made the above quote keep coming back into my mind. Has the game reached a turning point or can I really continue the offensive? What reserves is Olivier secretly building up and am I in a strong enough position to deal with them?

This turn three Soviet tank corps, with another one held in reserve go back onto the attack. Although no units are actually surrounded this time and infantry division takes a severe mauling and it is actually Olivier that is starting to make ground.

The loss of the two obliterated mobile divisions from earlier is now really beginning to show.

Although I cant do anything now I start to move as many fighter and divebomber units as I can spare into the Caucasus. Next turn after they are rested up I hope to catch out the Soviet armour. I am also brining in a couple of divisions from 4th panzer army to replace the losses suffered earlier.






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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/19/2013 7:51:05 PM   
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6th September - Stalingrad front

In front of Stalingrad progress is painfully slow. All of the panzer units take another turn of rest and refitting whilst they move up to the Ilowija. 23rd panzer division is actually moved off the line just in case Olivier has some more tank corps up his sleeve as there are a few Soviet stacks to the north as well. 11th panzer division is also pulled off the line and will shortly be heading towards the Caucasus to support 17th army.

In 11th army sector there are three attacks this turn to try and clear out the last remaining Soviet troops on the Don, it is slow progress though and will take at least a couple more turns before they can fully concentrate on Stalingrad itself.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/19/2013 9:44:39 PM   
Bonners


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8th September - stalemate

When I open my turn it would appear that Olivier has gone on the attack one turn too many. He launches some fighter sweeps that are intercepted by my fighters and on this rare occasion I actually come out on top - I am still losing the air war badly though. My other consolation is that Olivier's bombers are still fairly ineffective as he has another go at using them and the main result is Soviet bombers littering the ground in pieces.

Olivier's tank corps are still in place opposite 17th army and although I am not strong enough to attack them my air force is in place to try and take some of them down. I launch several attacks this turn with divebombers and for once Olivier has used his fighters up and my bombers get through and inflict some damage. I dont have the massed air offensives available of earlier turns but I am just pleased to actually be doing some damage.

The motorized division that has transferred to 17th army area will be active next turn as well and in a couple of turns 11th pz division will be arriving. Hopefully this will be enough reinforcements to regain the initiative in this area and restart the drive to Krasnodar. Let's be honest with myself here, at the moment I am very much on the defensive, a very strong defensive now all my infantry have moved up, but defensive none the less.

In the Stalingrad area I now know for sure that I dont have to worry about taking Stalingrad in time. Next turn is the deadline from OKH and it is a sheer impossibility as I am not yet within range to launch any attacks. I certainly wont be taking it two turns after that either, so it is not worth playing the more time card. Once I dont take it I will play another ambition card to keep me in the game - this now costs me 17pp, but still cheap compared to the 33pp that the more time card costs - and that after only playing it once. I really think that it is a bit of a waste unless you are literally on the doorstep of an undefended objective that you will 100% take - apart from that I have no intention of using it again.

I launch the first phase of my 4th panzer attack across the river Ilowija this turn. Two hexes are cleared but I dont take anything as this is merely the softening up before the full offensive next turn. I also launch my remaining divebombers against the Russian tank corps defending the rear of the Russian line in this area. This is unsuccessful as Soviet fighters manage to intercept most of the divebombers and damage to the Russian tanks is minimal.

11th army and LI corps do not attack this turn as they are now in the places where they will be attacking entrenched, fortified positions, each hex will have to be taken one by one with full artillery support.

That is it for this turn, no real movement or advancing, so just an overview map update.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/20/2013 8:19:10 PM   
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10th December - another mud turn

More mud this turn and operations fall to a stop. I forgot to load a map this turn and the overview map would look much the same as last turn apart from the vast amounts of mud everywhere.

In the Caucasus I use the turn to rest most units, a few move one or two hexes but most just recover readiness for what I am hopeful will be the renewal of the offensive.

I also use the turn to give my air power another turn of rest and move a lot more aircraft to forward positions in the Caucasus to hopefully wipe out a few more Red Army tanks. The first of the reinforcements also arrive taken from the formations around Stalingrad, but they wont be operational for a couple more turns.

Around Stalingrad itself, 11th army along with LI corps manage to take three more hexes and cause a lot of damage to several Soviet infantry formations. I played a freedom card using Manstein this turn and that along with the massed ranks of artillery enabled me to get the hexes.

This turn is also significant in that I was supposed to take Stalingrad, so my prestige will immediately be dropping back down to zero. May I take this opportunity to wave my fist in the sky and loudly curse OKH for their impossible timetables.

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Post #: 53
RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/20/2013 8:51:42 PM   
Bonners


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12th December - Stalingrad attack relaunched

After the successes of last turn I decide to relaunch the attack on Stalingrad, I have now been given a new objective.....to take Stalingrad by October 12th....what was I saying about OKH? My mind is made up then, the attacks on Stalingrad will continue Firstly I do a bit of juggling in my bridgehead north of the Don and start to withdraw troops a couple of hexes as I only have infantry there and they are too far from the road to get adequate supply each turn. With the local superiority of the Red air force I cant run enough supply runs, so have to fall back a bit. XXIX infantry corps is moving up to support though and this turn in conjunction with panzers from 4th panzer army they have another pop at taking Lowinkskaya....and it holds again. Olivier knows exactly what he is doing as I desperately need this hex to get supply to my troops across the river. I will take the hex, but not having it is really slowing me up. Next turn two fresh infantry divisions will re-launch the attack and I'm hopeful it will be mine.

The advance towards Stalingrad itself is measure in hex by bloody hex, this turn I take three more hexes and move a little closer to the city. I also clear the last but one hex of Soviet forces still on the west bank of the Don. Apart from assault guns I am trying to not use armour to take the city, I want to have fresh armoured divisions ready to deal with Soviet counter attacks on the flanks as there are ominous amounts of Soviet armoured units building up.

To the south of Stalingrad 1st panzer army have stopped advancing. I have withdraw one of the panzer divisions to 17th army and their task is to stay as fresh as possible to deal with any Soviet counter attacks.






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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/20/2013 9:13:35 PM   
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12th September - 17th army - battle of the Kuban ptII

Well round one definitely belonged to the Soviet tank corps, but it may be time to extract a measure of revenge. Have the Soviets defended the line of the Kuban a turn too long, or will there be another masterly withdrawal - I suspect the latter.

This turn 17th army plays a freedom card on LVII corps, the main reason is to make sure that the line is taken along the rivers directly in front of Krasnodar. By the fact that Olivier's stronger units are slightly to the east I am hoping that Olivier's hold objectives are more to do with the oilfields. If so that will work in my favour and I still have a slight chance of taking Krasnodar by the deadline. SS Wiking, one infantry division and supporting Italian and Romanian troops successfully punch through the first river line, now it is a case of seeing if the Russians decide to hold or retreat further back. I have plentiful infantry in the area and also two fresh mobile divisions, so I think I'm in with a chance of Krasnodar.

My other main attacks are around Tikhoretsk, my refreshed infantry use a speed card and start to push back the Soviet armour and cavalry. There are a couple of attacks, but my main offensive focus is in the air. As I suspected with the massive air superiority Olivier now has over Stalingrad, the skies are empty of Soviet aircraft at the moment, there is also a lack of Soviet AA defences, again I suspect that they are covering the Stalingrad region. On the last turn I moved every divebomber unit forward to this area, consequently I have a refreshed air force ready to pounce. It is like the halcyon days of Summer all over again with German bombers roaming the skies looking for targets unmolested by Soviet fighters. It is carnage amongst the Russian tanks and as the Luftwaffe pilots return to base they dip their wings in salute to the charred remains of 13th panzer and the Slovak division - they have given a measure of revenge.

Next turn is looking hopeful that I might reignite the advance as my forces are now gathered again, it all depends on whether Olivier launches further counter attacks.

A final note on the use of cards. One of my favourites in the care card, it is especially useful in restoring readiness on units that have travelled by rail. On this turn LII corps plays a care card on the newly arrived 16th panzer division and this will enable it to enter the battle far sooner.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/20/2013 10:24:04 PM   
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14th September - more mud - three Stalingrad hexes

More mud this turn and Olivier unfortunately took the sensible option again in the Caucasus and retreated behind the Kuban and also closer to Krasnodar. So I didnt launch any attacks in this area and just moved up as fast I could to follow.

Around Stalingrad I did make a couple more attacks. Two more hexes were taken including another fortification hex by LI corps with some support from 11th army. As I move into the new fortification I immediately play an increase entrenchment card from corps HQ to cover any Soviet counter attack.

I dont attack Lowinkskaya this turn as I decided to clear the last Soviet units away from the Don which means that on the next clear turn I will be able to attack from four sides and finally solve my supply problem. As it is a rain turn I take the opportunity to fly in a couple of supply flights. Although one of them is intercepted they take no losses as they evade the Soviet fighters in the low visibility.

The bridgehead on the north side of the Don is a problem though as with the amount of mud turns I cant supply the troops. I decide to pull back further this turn as Olivier is building troops up for a counter attack here. An extra pz division and infantry division is also pulled in to cover the expected attack. I count roughly two tank corps, two motorized divisions and two guard divisions - I really dont want to be messing with them right now.

Just an overview map again this turn due to the lack of movement. I have also included some statistics, remembering that we have FOW on so I cant be 100% accurate with Olivier's losses.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/21/2013 8:08:19 PM   
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16th September - Stalingrad - Lowinkskaya falls

Finally the thorn in my side has fallen. From next turn I will be able to start clearing the rail line, sort out the supply and link up properly with 11th army. Once that is achieved I intending pulling back from most of the bridgehead north of the Don and keeping a nice defensive line north of Stalingrad. Now I have clear terrain I intend to use 4th panzer to finally push onto the Volga.

In Stalingrad itself the offensive continues with bloody success with three more hexes taken and no holds. Again it is the artillery that makes the difference and my constant rotation of the artillery is what is keeping the offensive rolling. The two 11th army corps and LI corps all play defensive or entrenchment cards on their new gains (entrenchment for the fortification hexes and defence for the clear hexes) to make any counter attack by Olivier more difficult.

Soviet forces are very slowly building on the flanks so on this turn 1st panzer make a couple of spoiling attacks. These are not to gain ground, just to slow down the build up of Soviet forces. I play two speed cards on the panzer corps and combine it with an attack card from 1st panzer HQ. Both attacks do what I wanted and the troops will probably withdraw again. If I take Stalingrad I will be able to release more troops and hopefully advance a bit further.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/21/2013 8:23:25 PM   
Bonners


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16th September - 17th Army - crumbling the Kuban line

It is painfully slow progress in the Caucasus as 17th army move up to take Krasnodar and take the line of the Kuban to the right flank. The last river obstacle in front of Krasnodar is pushed through this turn with successful attacks by German units in conjunction with their Italian and Romanian allies. The line in front of Krasnodar still holds but it is definitely looking a bit shaky.

On the Kuban I take the last town on the north side of the river - Kropotkin. I dont manage any more attacks by the ground forces this turn and most are still moving up in force to the river. After the care card played last turn 16th panzer division is now ready to join the attack next turn.

Finally I go back on the offensive with the Luftwaffe for one last turn before I have to rest them again. This turn there are Soviet fighters in the region but for once they are not massed and the German fighters more than hold their own against them. My basic plan is quite simple, to go up and down the line attacking as many tanks, artillery units and cavalry units as I can. Again I get a decent measure of success and the line will hopefully be weak enough for the infantry to exploit from next turn.




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/21/2013 9:58:53 PM   
Bonners


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September 18th - reaching Stalingrad

Finally we reach the outskirts of Stalingrad proper. LI corps make one more push from the south and take the first light urban hex. We can now say that German forces are on the Volga and there to stay

Next up 11th army has another freedom card played by Manstein. Again, with the massed artillery it means that two more hexes are taken including another fortification hex. Again the losses to both sides are horrific, but it is the Germans coming out on top as Soviet infantry losses rise catastrophically this turn. XXIX corps of 6th army is now on the east bank of the Don in force and the bridgehead around Lowinkskaya is expanded pushing more Soviet infantry back. Finally another freedom card is played, this time by Hoth on XXIV corps; the panzer and the motorized division sweep down and take another couple of hexes. Again the fighting is hard and brutal but the remaining Soviet infantry is again swept aside. Then, as is usual I push the attack a little two far and the remnants of the Soviet divisions manage to hold off a final attack. Their losses are not as high as mine, but I just dont have the action points left to finish them off.

To the north of Stalingrad it all depends on Olivier's next move and what he does with his armour to the immediate north. I am slightly worried that he will counter attack here as not only does he have tank corps but the first of his mechanized corps has turned up on the frontlines. I kind of want him to attack as I've left a gap between my forces and his mechanized forces, which will mean that he will attack with slightly reduced effectiveness. I have four panzer or motorized divisions in the immediate area, three of which are still fresh and I also have extra defence from the freedom card. If he does counter attack I will be pushing north to try and give his tanks a bloody nose. If he doesnt then it will be a case of pushing on to the Volga directly east to isolate Stalingrad from the north.

With the taking of Lowinkskaya I am now able to withdraw to a shorter line north of the Don. From my Uranus games against Olivier I know he likes to have guard infantry for the shoulders of his attacks and mechanized and tank forces to break through. These are all building up to the north so I gradually withdraw to a better defensive line before he can hit me.

As far as I can tell we are now in a race to see if I can take Stalingrad before Olivier's forces are strong enough to mount a major counter thrust from the north. I have already withdraw two corps that should really be fighting within Stalingrad itself, but I need them to defend the line as I really dont want to thin out my Romanian troops.

Although not on the map in 1st panzer's sector covering the southern flank of Stalingrad I get the impression that Olivier is also trying to build up forces here to attack me from the south as well. I have discovered a couple of tank corps hiding around this turn. This all sounds vaguely familiar from somewhere, I just cant think where

Finally with the brutal fighting going on in the last couple of turns casualties are mounting. Soviet casualties have now gone up to 544k and Axis casualties up to 195k - these battles are costing both of us. In two turns I have lost 15k men and Olivier has lost 24k men. My losses are getting higher as I am directly assaulting fortification hexes. Although I am taking them the losses soon mount. I need to sustain these losses for another ten turns if I am to take Stalingrad in time, I'm not sure it can be done and the tanks may end up fighting in Stalingrad yet




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RE: Case Blue Don Waltz - Bonners (axis) vs Olivier - 2/21/2013 10:19:28 PM   
Bonners


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18th September - 17th army in the Kuban

On the eastern part of 17th army's sector there is no attacking this turn as Olivier has withdrawn his forces after the battering they had taken last turn. Again Olivier times his withdrawal perfectly as I am in no position to pursue vigorously and I will have to fight another major battle at the next defensive line. I know I make mistakes, but I think full credit has to go to Olivier for the masterful way he has kept up a fighting retreat towards the mountains, never missing an opportunity to slow me down and giving ground at the right time so I am never able to deliver a killing blow to his forces.

Anyway, slightly better news in front of Krasnodar as I continue to crumble the Soviet line. I dont think it can hold for too much longer. With three mechanized divisions now available (plus the Romanian armoured division) with the help of an attack card from 17th army and an initiative card played on SS Wiking I push hard all along the line taking the opportunity to deliver double attacks on Soviet units where ever I can. I manage to wipe out a couple of units totally and drive south and then push back east towards Krasnodar. To the east of the town itself there are no attacks as I get my infantry in position to start working at the defences. Again it will be touch and go but I should take the town on time. I am presuming that Olivier knows that I need to take Krasnodar as I think it is a scripted objective, which is why I presume he is putting up such a hard defence here.

Finally after an exhausting offensive turn I finally get to play another replacement card. Although it costs 52pp I have to get more fighters to try and contest the air. Again OKH if parsimonious and I get a measly 30 more FW190s. I'm not too sure how much longer I am going to be able to fight an offensive air war. I have already ceded control of the skies over Stalingrad and I may soon have to do the same over the Kuban. Hopefully I can hold on long enough to take Krasnodar though.




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