Below you can find the latest AAR for Lost Battles. The scenario is Smolensk 1941 (July 10 to September 17 1941, 10 rounds ) with the player as the Germans against the AI as the Soviet Union. The weather conditions are historical. The player and creator of the AAR is Carl "Carlkay58" Kleihege.
It is only the third week of the war. The Axis forces have reached the Dnepr and have crossed the Dvina in the Vitebsk area. Smolensk is the next objective before Vyazma and then the final objective of Moscow. While the Soviet forces are reeling backwards and being repulsed by the Axis, the Axis forces have reached the end of the line for supplies.
The Axis will get the majority of their VPs from Soviet losses and have to maintain a 3:1 edge in order to get more VPs than the Soviets. The Soviets will gain the majority of their VPs by holding onto VP locations each turn. The Axis will have to take those locations as quickly as possible to slow the Soviet VP gain while inflicting massive losses to gain their own VPs.
4th Army (dark blue) is to guard the southern flank with help from the 102nd RHG Command (red). Next to the north will be the 2nd Army (light blue) aiming to help the drive on Bryansk. Continuing north, the 9th Army (dark green) will aid in capturing Smolensk and Vyazma. The 16th Army (pink) will drive on Velikie Luki. The 101st RHG Command (yellow) will become the strategic reserve after helping form and reduce the northern pocket on Turn 1. Panzer Group 2 (aqua) and 3 (light green) will act together to pocket Soviet units. The first pocket for the panzers will be around Vitebsk.
The maps show the entire area of the scenario with flags in the victory locations. Victory point totals at the start of each turn are Axis VP/Soviet VP.
Turn 1 (VPs 1/1):
I start by changing the Air Doctrine “Percent Required to Fly” setting to 5. This will allow more flights from my air units each turn. I assign the available Transport air unit in the National Reserve to the 6th LW Airbase concentrating the air transports into the same unit. This airbase will be my primary refueling unit each turn. The resupply is very important as the front line is at the limits of the supply line. I also transfer a squadron of ME-109s from the 6th LW airbase to the 9th LW Airbase. This will lower the support needed at the 6th LW to keep all of the planes flying. Planes which cannot fly do not help much.
The first air missions to fly are recon flights. I am primarily searching for Soviet units behind the lines which may get in the way of my advancing troops. I do discover some additional troops behind the front lines that I will have to take into consideration with my movements.
I fly my resupply missions at the start of the turn, flying fuel into the Panzer HQs. The majority of the fuel is going to the 57th and 39th Panzer XXX of Panzer Group 3 and the 24th Panzer XXX of Panzer Group 4 as they are going to be the more advanced groups at the end of turn one. While the Panzer units all start at about 100% fuel, the HQs only have a single fuel dump each. Flying the resupply to the HQs at the start of the turn will allow the use of bombers to resupply as their first flight and allow them to fly their normal ground support during the rest of the turn. It is important to remember that only airbases within five MPs of a rail head will be able to fly a supply mission. The Axis needs every bit of attack support that they can get during this scenario.
I then move up the rail heads so I do not forget them. They are vital to the chance of success by the Axis. The northern one starts out southeast of Shumsk. I turn them to the north of Vilnius and repair three hexes of rails towards Postavy. The southern rail head starts west of Ivatsevichi. I use it to repair four hexes towards Baranovichi.
The 16th Army combines with the 101st RHG and the 9th Army to form a pocket north of the Daugava River. The 9th Army also forms a line on the western edge of the Vitebsk pocket which is formed in the north by Panzer Group 3 and in the south by Panzer Group 2. The 7th Panzer XX is not needed to form the Vitebsk pocket and captures Velikie Luki. The 4th and 2nd Armies advance towards the Dnepr River and eliminate pocketed Soviets on the way. I assign the 32nd Corps to the 4th Army.
I succeeded in forming both the North and Central pockets that allow the Axis to keep the mobile battle going in this scenario. I am pleased with Turn 1, but the fuel supply next turn will be slim for the panzers.
The Soviets respond with little action. With the majority of their units pocketed in the North and Central portions of the map, they build defensive lines to hold me back.
Turn 2 (VPs 100/175):
The Panzer units are, as I had figured, short on fuel which leads to small MPs for the turn. They will not be going far at all. The major goals for the turn are to reduce or eliminate the two pockets while also advancing the infantry into positions to blow holes into the Soviet lines for the panzers to exploit next turn.
I start by moving up the rail heads. The northern one gets close to Vorpaevo. The northern rail head is getting close enough to the front lines to improve the supply situation. The southern one turns east from Baranovichi.
My first air missions are resupply to the Panzer XXX HQs. This is to allow the HQs to spread the fuel better rather than concentrate the fuel in individual units. I need the punch from the panzer XXXs in general - not just a few XXs with good movement. Also the Panzer units are spread out too thin for effective resupply. I concentrate on spreading the fuel among the five Panzer XX HQs as evenly as possible. I then fly my recon missions - specifically in what may be holes in the Soviet lines and to determine the depths of the lines in the avenues towards Gomel, Smolensk area, and Vyazma. The Soviet lines are thin in the Propoisk area, now it is to be seen if I can exploit that hole with the 2nd Army.
The 101st RHG Command starts off by reducing as much of the Drissa - Polotsk pocket as possible. The 16th Army commits the 50th XXX to aid them. They succeed in eliminating the pocket. The 16th Army then moves up to secure the Velikie Luki area. Next is the Vitebsk pocket. The 6th XXX of PG 3 clears the portion of the pocket north of the Dvina River. The 9th Army attacks south of the Dvina River but fails to clear the pocket. The 2nd Army tries to exploit the hole near Propoisk, but the MP cost is too much. It does form the front line from Gorki south to Zhlobin. The 4th Army extends the front line south to Domanovichi. The 102nd RHG Command starts to sweep the Pripet Marshes to prevent a Soviet counter attack from forming in the area.
The Panzer forces do minimal movement and combat. The little bit of movement is to consolidate and rebuild the XXs and to exploit the infantry attacks around Velizh. There were a couple of Hasty Attacks aimed at further consolidation of the Vitebsk pocket. Hopefully the rest will help them improve their supply situation for next turn.
This has not been the best turn for my forces. I would have liked to have eliminated the Vitebsk Pocket and done better on exploiting the hole in the Propoisk area. I would also have liked to gotten further penetrations and such from my Panzers - but the fuel situation is too bad for that. Next turn I hope that the supply heads will be close enough to help out the general supply situation.
The Soviets mount a single counter attack west of Smolensk and manage to open the Vitebsk pocket. This puts a serious crimp into my plan to eliminate that pocket. I need the Soviet losses for VPs to keep up with the Soviet VPs for holding onto locations.
Turn 3 (VPs 248/352):
The Panzer forces are beginning to get better supplies. I actually have a few XXs with 30+ MPs. It is time to start to spread them out and get some of them towards the south to help driving down that way. They also have to prepare to generate more pockets in the Smolensk axis where the Soviet strength is. Unfortunately, I will have to reform the Liozno - Krasnoe pocket (formerly the Vitebsk pocket) and kill them off next turn. This will absorb the major efforts of 9th Army.
The northern rail head reaches Glubokoe while the southern one reaches Slutsk. I spread out the air supply of fuel among the Panzer XXX HQs once more. This is probably my last turn of doing so. After this I will probably be supplying specific XXs at the end of the turn as the supply heads are beginning to catch up to the panzer forces. Air recon shows that the Soviet front line is thin and has few reserves. The reserve armies are on the Rzhev - Vyazma - Kirov - Bryansk line.
The 16th Army is helped by the 57th Panzer XXX and reaches Toropets. The 101st RHG Command captures Vitebsk and holds the northwestern portion of the Liozno - Krasnoe pocket. The 9th Army invests the pocket and starts to relieve the 39th Panzer XXX from front line duties. The 2nd Army forces itself over the Dnepr and closes up with the Soviet front line. The 4th Army is massing for an attack on Gomel. The 102nd RHG Command continues to sweep through the Pripet Marshes to deny the area to a possible Soviet counter offensive.
Panzer Group 2 continues to hold the southern and eastern sides of the Liozno - Krasnoe pocket. There are now at least two hexes occupied by Axis troops sealing the pocket to the east. Hopefully this will hold and I can eliminate the pocket next turn. Panzer Group 3 sends the 57th Panzer XXX to help the 16th Army and pulls the 39th Panzer XXX back north of Vitebsk for refitting.
The Soviets respond by pulling back around Gomel behind the Sozh River line. They also pull back near Smolensk in order to keep from getting cut off. Next turn will release two of the Soviet Reserve armies.
Turn 4 (VPs 276/524):
The pocket has held and should be eliminated this turn. I have Panzer Group 3 in pretty solid shape. A good drive forward should attract some Soviet attention to the north and away from the southern victory locations such as Gomel and Chernigov which I hope to capture before the end of the game. Smolensk is looking weak right now so I will push to capture or pocket it. The 4th Army will go for Gomel and hopefully have a good chance of capturing it next turn. It is also time to try and rest or refit Panzer Group 2 and head it towards Bryansk or pocket the Soviet defenders on the road to Vyazma.
The northern railhead heads towards crossing the Dvina River near Polotsk. The southern one continues due east and reaches Starya Dorogi. Air recon shows the Soviets massing in the north against the 16th Army and around Smolensk. I will do air supply at the end of the turn now to refuel specific XXs for next turn.
The 16th Army recaptures Toropets and the 57th Panzer XXX tries to skirt the northern edge of the map and fails to blow a hole through there. The 101st RHG Command reduces the pocket except along the Dnepr River. This makes it easy for the 9th Army to finish the clean up using only the 20th XXX. The rest of the 9th Army pushes eastward and blows a hole in the Soviet line near Demidov. This hole is exploited by a tired Panzer Group 2 which begins to threaten to pocket Smolensk and a possible pocket in the Demidov - Prechistoe area. The 2nd Army advances across the Sozh River in two places. The 4th Army is able to capture Gomel this turn and reaches the Sozh River line south of the Besed River. And the 102nd RHG Command continues to slog through the Pripet Marshes . . .
I decide to commit the 39th Panzer XXX to further exploit the hole in the Soviet lines north of Smolensk. This completes the pocket of three Soviet XXs north of Smolensk while threatening the victory location at Vladimirskoe and forming a pocket around the massed Soviets fighting near Toropets. I use air supply to drop more fuel to the three lead XXs raising the 18th and 20th Motorized XXs to over 60% fuel and the 20th Panzer XX to 16%. Air supply of fuel always helps the Motorized XXs more (less gas guzzling vehicles).
I am pleased with this turn. The 4th Army carried Gomel a turn ahead of what I figured and the penetration of the Soviet lines and exploitation will force the Soviets to continue to concentrate in the Smolensk area, although it will hopefully force a withdrawal from Smolensk itself.
The Soviets respond by recapturing Toropets with a counter attack that sends an infantry XX back. The Soviets also pull back where I had threatened to pocket them while launching a serious threat towards cutting off my Panzer forces that exploited the hole. The Soviets in the center continue to fall back in front of 2nd Army while building a good line behind the Dnepr and Sozh Rivers in the south.
Turn 5 (VPs 432/689):
My plan has worked as the Soviets have fallen back away from Smolensk. The Soviets are proving willing to fight over Toropets while it has no real interest to me other than distracting the Soviets. It is time to pull the 57th Panzer XXX back to resupply and refit for action elsewhere. My exploitation from last turn has the possibility of becoming a good launch pad for further advances towards Vyazma and Moscow. Vladimirskoe is close by and is a good VP location so it is also a tempting target. My forward chugging 2nd and 4th Armies could use some panzer support but they seem to be able to keep nibbling up the Soviets facing them as the majority appear to be countering the threat in the Smolensk - Toropets area.
The northern rail head is now north of the Dvina and moving east from Polotsk. The southern rail head continues east and reaches the Berezina River at Bobruisk. Air Recon is important this turn and indicates the Soviets are massing south and north of Smolensk. I will have to be careful not to allow them to cut me off in the area.
The 16th Army is able to recapture Toropets and relieve the 57th Panzer XXX. The 9th Army advances into the exploitation area and helps to form a pocket of six Soviet XXs. The 101st RHG Command takes Smolensk. The 2nd Army also flows into the exploitation area and helps free up the Panzers to continue cutting to the northeast and threaten to cut off more Soviets. The 4th Army closes up on the Sozh River and forces a bridgehead over it near Gomel. The 102nd RHQ comes up and extends the 4th Army's flank to the south.
I have taken the 57th Panzer XXX out of the north and have the two Panzer XXs refitting in the rear. The 47th Panzer XXX has also been pulled back west of Smolensk for a badly needed refit. These two XXX will give me some ability to move my offensive further to the south. Which points out a problem with my air resupply which is too far south (traveling along with the southern rail head) and is out of range of my spear head and unable to fly supplies this turn.
Overall a good turn. Not as great as last turn, but a solid one. Smolensk is now mine and I threaten Vladimirskoe. I am able to continue my offensive in the south using just infantry while I am also managing to refit two Panzer XXXs without weakening my front. I have pocketed an additional six XXs which may be reached but I also threaten a large pocket in the north. The mass of Soviets south of Smolensk should at least be slowed by the 2nd Army.
The Soviets mass two offensives. The one in the northern edge of the map forces back some Axis XXs but the Soviets are not able to advance into the hexes. The offensive in front of Smolensk, however, allows the Soviets to reach the southern outskirts of Smolensk. This will be a tough offensive to stop and looks to be the major push by the Soviets.
Turn 6 (VPs 491/811):
The game is half done now and it is time to solidify my objectives to try and win it. The first observation is that my supply situation has stabilized. The rail heads in both the north and south have gotten close enough to the front lines to give me a solid supply situation. My front line forces (just about every unit in my command) have been worn down in strength in the Smolensk area but seem to be holding okay in the other sectors. I will have a fight on my hands in the Smolensk area. This could be the make-or-break sector for the game. Velikie Luki is safe - I should be able to hold on to it with just the 16th Army. A drive to the southern edge of the map with some Panzer support could capture Chernigov and Makoshino - but those will probably only allow a draw assuming I continue to hold Smolensk. So I need to keep driving for Vyazma and/or Bryansk while pocketing and destroying more Soviet units for a chance at the win.
The northern rail head has reached the other side of the Dvina River from Vitebsk. The southern rail head moves east of the Berezina River and heads for Zhlobin. Air Recon shows massive Soviet forces in depth from the north edge of the map south to Klimovichi. South of there the Soviet line is thin with little to no reserves. This is a great area to attack with some Panzer forces for creating pockets and driving on Chernigov and Makoshino with possible threatening of Bryansk and Orel. The massive Soviets in the north will require some good defensive tactics to hold on to Smolensk.
The 16th Army does some controlled attacks at large odds and advances a few hexes, threatening to cut off two Soviet XXs. The 9th Army eliminates the pocket of six Soviet XXs and routs 3 more XXs while advancing to cover the northern section of the bulge towards Vladimirskoe and sending two XXX to help in the defense of Smolensk. The 101st RHG Command is dedicated to helping defend Smolensk. The 2nd Army helps push the Soviets back from Smolensk while advancing where it can with high odds attacks. The 4th Army increases the size of its bridgehead over the Sozh River. The 102nd RHG Command has found some Soviet units in the Pripet Marshes and attempts to contain them.
The major portions of Panzer Groups 2 and 3 are involved in the fighting in the Vladimirskoe salient. Vladimirskoe falls to their attack. The 47th Panzer XXX is committed to the fighting around Smolensk while the 57th Panzer XXX is able to relieve its two Motorized XXs and refit them for future fighting.
I started the turn with the evaluation that I need to send some Panzers south and yet I still have not managed to do so. Smolensk is too important and the continued push to Vladimirskoe will keep the Soviets pinned to the northern sectors - at least that is my hope. The Pripet Marshes have some Soviet units in them, but they do not seem to be a major force.
The Soviets counterattack the 16th Army for minor gains. Another offensive on the northeastern corner of the salient is stopped with the first HOLD result against the Soviets. Attacks against the 2nd Army does yield some more hexes being captured but only one near Smolensk. The Soviets have reacted to the southern push by 4th Army and capture a single hex of the Sozh River bridgehead. The Soviets in the Pripet Marshes successfully attack one of my SEC XXs.
Turn 7 (VPs 607/941):
The supply situation is good - only the very eastern tip of the Vladimirskoe Salient is not in primary supply. The 9th Army is in position to relieve both Panzer Group 2 and 3 in the salient and that will allow me to reallocate one of the Panzer Groups. The 16th and 2nd Armies will try and go over to the defense as they construct some fort lines. I currently hold 4 of the 11 victory locations and I need some offensive punch from the Panzer Groups to get more. My options are creating some pockets near the Smolensk counter attacks, in the south, or possibly a pocket in the Vyazma area.
The northern rail head crosses the Dvina River and reaches Liozno. The southern rail head reaches Zholbin on the Dnepr River. Air Recon reports solid Soviet defensive lines along the majority of the front. The exceptions are the very southern portion and a section to the north of the Sozh River bridgehead. There appears to be a Soviet Army facing my two SEC XXs in the Pripet Marshes - a great place for them as I do not worry that they can do me much harm there.
The 16th Army holds the line while digging in and pulling a XX back for refit. The 9th Army takes over the front line in the salient and prepares to dig in and hold. The 101st RHG Command is once again the AGC reserve as it deploys to defend Smolensk. The 2nd Army does some shifting around to allow a few XXs to refit and hold the line. The 4th Army expands their bridgehead over the Sozh River. The 102nd RHG Command continues to attempt and keep the Soviet Army deployed in the Pripet Marshes busy and out of trouble.
This is a turn for the Panzer Groups to fall back for refit and reorganization. Panzer Group 3 is now in the Gomel area with the 57th and 47th Panzer XXXs. Panzer Group 2 is in the Smolensk area with the 24th, 46th, and 39th Panzer XXXs. All of the units are on refit and should have better numbers and mobility next turn. They will be in good shape for the final push of the last three turns. I advance the AGC and OKH HQs to the front and recall their construction units to help spread out the railheads near the frontlines.
There is not much to say about this turn. It is a preparation turn for the final three turns. I did finally get some panzers south which is a good thing. Only two corps, but they should be able to do the job for me.
The Soviets respond with attacks on the Vladimirskoe salient and in the Smolensk area. They also recapture some hexes in the Sozh bridgehead. They also make a few opportunity attacks at high odds for minor advancements. In the center they pull back behind the Sozh River.
Turn 8 (VPs 643/1038):
Last turn hurt with my lack of VP production. But I hope that the preparations I did last turn will help in producing a large enough amount in the next three turns to make up for it. If the current front line holds, the Soviets will gain 550 VPs from locations while I will gain only 400 VPs - which will be a Soviet victory, possibly a Major one. Not good. If I can capture Chernigov and Makoshino, the Soviets will be down to gaining only 250 VPs and I will increase to 850 VPs - probably good for a draw. So I need at least those two locations. Either Vyazma or Bryansk will have to fall for me to have a chance at a minor victory.
The northern rail head is now only three hexes from Smolensk. The southern rail head advances to the edge of Gomel. Air Recon shows very few weak areas in the Soviet defensive line. I will have to work at anything I gain now.
The 16th Army advances to keep in contact with the Soviets. The 9th Army expands the salient in the south east to the Dnepr River line. The 2nd Army pushes the Soviets back from near Smolensk and opens a hole near Propoisk to the Besed River. The 4th Army expands the Rozh River bridgehead with the help of the 102nd RHG Command which also is hunting down the Soviet forces in the Pripet Marshes still.
This leaves me with what to do with the Panzer forces. Panzer Group 2 pockets four Soviet XXs while threatening more and aiming a drive on Bryansk or Kirov with the additional threat of turning towards Vyazma. Panzer Group 3 sends its two Panzer XXXs towards Chernigov and Makoshino. The 47th Panzer XXX runs into a buzz saw defense and is stopped dead by massive Soviet reserves and defensive units. The 57th Panzer XXX is more successful and drives to within two hexes of Chernigov. Air supplies are flown in to the advanced units in Panzer Group 2.
A turn that was not fantastic but fairly solid. While the stonewalling of the 47th Panzer XXX in the south hurt I was still able to advance with some forces and Panzer Group 2 is threatening several areas that the Soviets will have to concentrate on defending. I hope that the threats from Panzer Groups 2 and 3 will force the Soviets to shift troops around and maybe give me some openings to exploit.
The Soviets push in the northeastern edge of the Vladimirskoe salient. Other attacks push advanced panzer units back including the 47th Panzer XXX. A partisan attack near Vilnus cuts the rail line in the north. This puts everyone north and east of Smolensk out of supply.
Turn 9 (VPs 687/1181):
I am down to hoping for a draw. The counter attacks were brutal and definitely shows a weakness on my part in defending the salient. While this is not a game breaker the amount of Soviet forces in the south will probably stop me from taking both victory locations there. My best bet may be to force some big pockets and reduce them next turn.
The partisan attack near Vilnus stops the northern rail head from any ability to advance this turn. The southern rail head switches back to Zhlobin and begins to advance north toward Bykhov and Mogilev. Air Recon shows that I may have some hope in the south after all. The Soviets seem to have railed most of their units back to the north to protect Vyazma and Moscow. GENM Balck takes over the command of the 47th Panzer XXX as Lehmann is sent to the rear for 'rest'.
The 16th Army advances some but mostly to keep the Soviets honest in this area in an attempt to relieve the pressure on the salient. The 9th Army consolidates its forces for a better defense of the salient and to hold on to Vladimirskoe. The 2nd Army reduces the pocket I created last turn and advances to free up Panzer Group 2 as much as possible. The 4th Army relieves as much of Panzer Group 3 as possible while also moving units adjacent to Chernigov. Air supply is sent to the spearheads to maximize my movement for the final turn.
These actions free up Panzer Group 2 to head to the south and combine with Panzer Group 3 heading north. They meet at Unecha and form a large pocket of about 35 Soviet XXs. I doubt the pocket will hold but it will attract a lot of Soviet attention and I may still be able to do something with Chernigov ad Makoshino and pull out a draw.
The turn was a bit more optimistic than what it started off looking like. The huge pocket will help, but I will be surprised if it holds. I just hope something else opens up for me.
The Soviets continue their attacks on the north east edge of the salient and then concentrate on opening the pocket. They manage to not only open the pocket but also isolate two Panzer XXs.
Turn 10 (VPs 768/1297):
I still have no supplies in the north. The partisan attack last turn destroyed too many hexes of rail for my HQ rail construction units to fix. It is definitely looking like a Soviet Major Victory now.
The north rail head is once again stuck. The southern rail head advances north to Mogilev. Air Recon shows an outside chance of gaining the two southern VP locations. That will have to do.
The 16th Army bolsters its defensive positions to hang on. The 9th Army does the same thing, Vladimirskoe is in the front line still and I will have to hold it for any hope at all in the game. 2nd Army advances and attacks in high odds attacks to get the VPs for losses, but I have to be careful because I need a 3:1 loss ratio to gain VPs. 4th Army combines with the 102nd RHG Command to take Chernigov.
It all comes down to whether or not Panzer Group 3 can take Makoshino. I attack with Panzer Group 2 and I am able to extricate my two isolated Panzer XXs. Now for Panzer Group 3 and my last hope of a draw. 4th Army detected a single weak Soviet XX across the Snov River. This is my hope. I force it to retreat a hex into the swamp near Makoshino. I then force it to retreat again, this time into my objective Makoshino. Fortunately there are no other Soviet forces in the hex. So a single motorized XX attacks it and forces it to retreat which gives me Makoshino. I am able to move my last two Panzer XXs into Makoshino and hope that it is enough to hold during the Soviet turn.
I don't have too much of a hope in the game other than a draw. I will have to see what the Soviets leave me.
The Soviets counterattack the salient, toward Smolensk, and by Panzer Group 2. The AI is unable to really do much against Makoshino and I hold on to it.
End of Game (VPs 1664/1620):
I got my draw and actually scored more VPs than the Soviet AI. I view this as a win - especially after Turn 8.
I definitely made many mistakes during the game. Correcting some of those mistakes MAY allow me to do better in my next game. I will have to try it again and see.
I should have had at least one panzer XXX in the south as soon as possible. I needed all of the panzer units in Panzer Group 2 to do the central pocket on the first turn. Without this pocket, the Soviets have too many units and are able to stop any mobile combat by the Axis just by cluttering up the map. I got close to, and then captured, Vladimirskoe by accident. While it gave me 95 VPs over the course of the game and denied 45 VPs to the Soviets, my fixation on the salient was a mistake. I tied up too many of my Panzer units there and did not finally get any to the south until the end of Turn 7. Three turns were barely enough to capture the southern VP locations.
If I had pulled out of the salient earlier, I may have been able to do a huge pocket like I did on Turn 9 earlier. This would have paid off more VPs and opened the game up more than what I did. As it was, if the game were longer, I could have solidified the huge pocket on Turn 10 and reduced the majority of it on Turn 11. But then if the Axis had had two more months of summer . . .
I am sure that others will find other major mistakes - I can think of a few myself - but the delay in shifting to the south was probably my major one".