WEEKS 27-30 DECEMBER 18 1941- JANUARY 8 1942
Six weeks into blizzard and I've surrounded and destroyed one security regiment.
The reoccupation of our territory has proceeded at a fast pace where Mehring feels he can give it up, while resisting in a very historical manner by setting up strong defenses where he feels he can.
In the north, a slow process of driving the fascists from the Valdai continues without heavy casualties. The Volkhov Front is applying due pressure while Northwest and Kalinin Fronts push in their sectors. Ultimately I would like to make it to the key rail hub of Staraya Russa, that would give him some potential supply challenges in the north.
In the center, Nikolai Vatutin's Western Front continues a steady pace to the west and over the Dnepr, with Mehring staying carefully out of bear hug range. I think he would be delighted to see me try and retake Minsk, which wouldn't be an impossible task, if not for the fact that my conquering units would likely be pocket bait come summer. The Berezina looks like the limit of advance in this area, with a subsequent pullback east of the Dnepr in late February.
Continuing down to the south, Andrei Eremenko's Bryansk Front liberates Gomel. Three of our cavalry armies are no longer pushing east, but south as the infantry closes up to the Dnepr. Lead cavalry units are 80 miles from Kiev.
Mikhail Kirponos and Southwestern Front liberate the cities of Sumy and Belgorod. The next objective will be Kharkov.
Semyon Budyonny's Caucasus Front reaches Stalino-Gorlovka-Makeevka.
At the Taman Peninsula, the Germans have held off three successive attacks, extracting heavy casualties among Red Army units. The Transcaucasus Front is ending 44th Army to replace Southern Front's 18th Army in that area.
The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Shock Armies are consisting of tank brigades that are getting valuable experience for future battles. There should be a few guards tank brigades coming by the end of blizzard. There are now 3 artillery armies with their 3 assigned light howitzer brigades which hopefully will see a little action before the Red Army offensive comes to an end.
The overall appraisal of the situation is that from a standpoint of territory, the northern and central territory that I want to bring under Soviet control will be achieved. The southern area is the larger challenge. I will clearly not push Mehring back over the Dnepr there and in fact thid is where he will likely mass for the summer offensive. Rail repair is very spotty and the situation becomes more problematic the farther I advance. At this point, I will probably take Kharkov, and start digging in. If he chooses to try to subdue the Caucasus. or push on Stalingrad in summer, I will try to replay history and give ground there while remaining fortified where possible. Hopefully his lines will be strung out in time for the winter of 42-43 when Red Army 2.0 will begin flexing its muscle.