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RE: Turn 90: 4 – 10 March 1943

 
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RE: Turn 90: 4 – 10 March 1943 - 1/11/2016 10:07:42 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flanker Leader

i played lots of War in Russia a looooong time ago so have an appreciation for the east front. never owned this game (although just got Decisive Campaigns Barbarossa to screw around with), almost never go on the WitE forums but today decided to click on a random AAR for fun

WOW!

after spring '42 i didn't think the front would look anything like it does now, but now i'm hooked - can't wait to see how this ends!


glad you like it, think if you are prepared to work your way into it this is still the best east front game available. I remember when I bought it, reading the manual, reading AARs, loading up 'Road to Minsk' (a short 3 turn scenario) and closing the game in panic (this was repeated a number of times). It does click over time and becomes relatively intuitive to play.

A problem (to me) is there are some hard wired aspects to fit the generic game engine around historical outcomes. Some are pretty standard stuff like some sort of German bonus in the opening turns to simulate the Soviet command collapse or a bonus to the Soviets in the first winter. But others impose a rythym on the game outside player actions - so the very low morale of the Soviet army in the summer of 1942 is correct but in reality it was the consequence of the defeats at Kharkov, Voronezh and Rostov not (as it occurs in game) the cause. Equally it is feasible that there was a perception shift on both sides post-Stalingrad (for the Germans that the best outcome was some sort of armed stalemate and for the Soviets it was now about more than mere survival).

In game that shift is just imposed and its one reason why I can now beat vigabrand if he has a defensive stack <75 that I can reach from two sides. 2 stacks of Guards Rifle Corps have an effective combat value of about 70-90 and I can back it with about 5-8 specialist artillery divisions. I win about 60% of those attacks and can do 1 a turn with my main fronts. Doesn't sound a lot but in poor terrain he's struggling to take those hexes back and my next attack is feasible from 3 sides at which stage he needs around 90+ to be safe. He doesn't (I think) have the formations to do that so every now and then a defensive line collapses - this is what has been going on around Moscow all winter.

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RE: Turn 90: 4 – 10 March 1943 - 1/12/2016 12:00:04 AM   
JagdFlanker


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i'd LOVE to get my hands dirty in a game like this, but my short attention span gives me a hard time trying to sit playing any game for more than 30min at a time - same for watching TV even. but after reading this thread
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4005320
i might dip my toe in sometime and see what happens!

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 422
RE: Turn 90: 4 – 10 March 1943 - 1/13/2016 10:02:24 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7463
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flanker Leader

i'd LOVE to get my hands dirty in a game like this, but my short attention span gives me a hard time trying to sit playing any game for more than 30min at a time - same for watching TV even. but after reading this thread
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4005320
i might dip my toe in sometime and see what happens!


its worth the investment. In terms of price paid/hours played this is probably the best value I have ever had out of a game. It takes a while but after a while most of the gameplay becomes more intuitive and you develop your own logic - key is to see the battlefield not as a random set of counters but in terms of the command hierachy and try to operate within that framework

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Post #: 423
Turn 91: 11 – 17 March 1943 - 1/13/2016 10:06:52 PM   
loki100


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Turn 91: 11 – 17 March 1943

As it appeared as if the Germans had been placed on the defensive, Soviet propaganda not only made links to earlier victories in Russian history but also the devastating French retreat from Moscow in 1812


(translate as: let the courageous images of our ancestors inspire you)

Voroshilovgrad

Here both sides committed more of their forces as the struggle to either seal or break the pocket on the Donets intensified.



The latest round of successful German counter-attacks led Stavka to blame Khozin and he was sacked as commander of the Southern Front.

Even so, a successful series of Soviet attacks again cut off 8 German and 1 Hungarian division.

Смольный offensive

Here, for the first time South-Western Front failed to even break out. This defeat led South-Western to request that Stavka suspend the offensive as it seemed to be clear that the Germans had limited Soviet gains to the west bank of the Volkhov.




(Il-2s deployed to support the Volkhov battles)

Operation термит

Oddly it was the one offensive that had developed almost by accident over recent weeks that continued to offer the prospect of real gains.

термит entered a new phase as Bryansk Front went over to the offensive. The goal was to try and disrupt the German defences to the south of Tula. In turn, Western Front had re-organised in the previous week so as to attack Tula rather than Kaluga.



To the north, Kalinin Front followed up the retreating Germans and reached the outskirts of Kalinin.

As far as Stavka could estimate, the equivalent of 3 Panzer Armies had been pulled into the fierce fighting at Voroshilovgrad opening up the potential for substantial gains on the front north of Orel.





Losses followed the pattern of recent weeks. The Germans lost 44,000 men and the Soviets 58,000. In addition German tank losses were higher (122) due to a number of Soviet counter-attacks but the Red Army lost 660 tanks. In the air the Germans lost 110 planes for 200 Soviet aircraft.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That was probably the worst day of the war for me. I mean I had dealt with the signals indicating that Leningrad was cut off, and later that the city had been captured. I had seen the chaos caused by the German offensives in September 1942. But nothing quite as personal.

The evening started badly. I arrived to begin my shift and was pulled aside. My immediate thought was that this was a security issue but they wanted to tell me that Sacha had been killed. His Sturmovik was shot down near where he had been hit in late 1941. This time there was no doubt, other pilots from the squadron saw the plane hit the ground and there had been no parachutes.

They offered to let me go home … but to what? My mother and sister were in Leningrad (if they were still alive), Vladimir was with 40 Army at Voroshilovgrad.

But it was Zakharov's message that almost finished me. The idea that the offensive to liberate Leningrad was declared a failure was too much. All we had captured in 7 weeks was a strip of land 50 miles long and 10 miles deep on the west bank of the Volkhov. My only hope as I walked home in the morning was the tone of Zhukov's reply. Zakharov had been ordered to hand over sections of his defensive line to the Leningrad Front and adopt new tactics in an attempt to break out.



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Post #: 424
Turn 92: 18 – 24 March 1943 - 1/15/2016 11:01:22 AM   
loki100


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Turn 92: 18 – 24 March 1943

Voroshilovgrad

The commanders of Southern Front had been worried for several weeks about the build up of German armour on their northern flank. On the 18th the Germans struck and inflicted severe losses on 42 and 49 Armies.



40 Army and elements of the North-Caucasus Front managed to reseal the pocket but a number of German divisions slipped out of encirclement, though at the cost of heavy losses.



On the Aidar, Stavka was content to let Southern Front fall back to a more defensible line but 1 and 2 Tank Armies counter-attacked and inflicted heavy losses on incautious elements of 24 Panzer Corps.




(elements of 2 Tank Army moving up to counter-attack 24 Panzer)

Operation термит

As winter came to a close this fragmented into three separate offensives. термит never had a clear goal other than to pin the Germans down and relieve the pressure on Moscow. Now Stavka wanted to exploit the lack of German reserves as most had been sent south to the Voroshilovgrad-Aidar battles.

The northern thrust, using North-Western and Volkhov Fronts had managed to clear the Germans from the Valdai hills and forced them to give up Rzhev as they fell back to avoid encirclement.



In the centre and south, the Germans pulled back. Kaluga and Tula [1] were liberated without any fighting. Kalinin Front swung so as to attack south of Vyazma while Western and Bryansk Fronts steadily pursued the retreating Germans.



An offensive that had commenced with no clear plan had liberated three major cities (Rzhev, Kaluga and Tula) and pushed the Germans over 100 miles to the west of the front line in mid-January [2].

Смольный offensive

On the Volkhov, South-Western and Leningrad Fronts re-organised after the defeats in the previous week. The result was the 470,000 men, 7,000 guns (plus additional artillery from the Stavka reserve) and 1600 tanks of South-Western Front were concentrated on a 30 mile front.

This time the German defences that had held last week collapsed.



To make things worse for the Germans, this time 5 Shock Army was able to exploit the gap with 2 Rifle Corps creating a massive breach in their front [3]


(riflemen of 5 Shock Army having a meal as they advance west of the Volkhov)



Losses of men and in the air were relatively equal. The Germans lost 42,000 men and the Soviets 54,000 and the Germans lost 70 planes and the Soviets 150. The Soviet tank formations continued to take very heavy losses (even if mostly in light tanks) and the Germans lost 120 tanks for 660 Soviet.

[1] I could understand pulling out of Kaluga, it was threatened from 4 sides and not really worth clinging onto. I was really surprised to be given Tula for free. I think vigabrand could see the armoured stacks behind my front but didn't know they were just tank brigades. It would have looked like the bulk of 2 Tank Armies from the number of counters.

[2] I'll do an overview and broader discussion once the AAR reaches April and the end of the winter battles

[3] So far, I've only been able to exploit with mobile forces. Although I've managed defensive cv of around 60, each time vigabrand has managed to find enough strength to push me back (inevitably creating a rout). This time he has a solid block of 80 cv wedged into his lines. Looking at his forces, I don't think he has the strength to deal with this. Next turn I can then attack key hexes from three sides.

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Post #: 425
RE: Turn 92: 18 – 24 March 1943 - 1/19/2016 10:14:20 AM   
Powloon

 

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Wow great AAR Loki (as always)! It has made want to pick up the game again. Now I need to work out everything that has changed since I last played.

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Post #: 426
RE: Turn 92: 18 – 24 March 1943 - 1/19/2016 8:34:24 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Powloon

Wow great AAR Loki (as always)! It has made want to pick up the game again. Now I need to work out everything that has changed since I last played.


thank you

from the Soviet point of view I think there are 3 main changes. HI is now more important than arms pts - but in truth this is a bit cosmetic, you don't need to evac much more industry (in terms of rail cap), just in a different ratio and it takes a bit more planning. Related, rail cap is harder to come by, so this makes 1941 more of a juggling act and the days of players leaving entire fronts on the rails are over (its hard to move the equivalent of 3 tank armies). Finally, it seems as if more elements actually fight, this means from mid-game you can attack at 1.2/1.3-1 and have some chance of success (as opposed to 1.4-1 early game).

For the Germans, its mostly about HQBU and air re-supply. Sillyflower's current AAR is a bit of a masterclass in how all this slots together.

For both sides, most people have dropped the +1 and gone to the mild winter rules. I like the combination as it hopefully means few German players now just run away in the winter of 41/2 (no need) (Stef78 and 821Bobo is good on this). The no +1 probably means a German player can be less cautious in 1941 but then the new supply rules partly offset that.

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Post #: 427
Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/19/2016 8:45:07 PM   
loki100


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Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943

The last week of March saw relatively limited fighting as both sides adapted to the likely end of winter conditions. In the south, the Germans launched another major set of attacks to drive the Soviets behind the Aidar and to break open the pocked east of Voroshilovgrad. Soviet commanders were content to restore the encirclement and elsewhere went over to the defensive.


(ok have noticed I've messed up the description, as you maybe able to guess the front lines are the other way around)

Apart from some fighting in the Valdai, this effectively marked the end of the three major Soviet winter offensives. Two of these had developed without prior planning.

The counter-attack at Rostov commenced in late November primarily to try to force the Germans to remove formations from their Ryazan offensive. It was not till early January that it became a wider offensive when 3 Tank Armies from the Voronezh Front (1, 2 and 4) were committed to the north of Voroshilovgrad. By early February the Germans had become increasingly worried at the Soviet gains and by early March it appeared as if the bulk of 3 Panzer Armies were in action.

By the end of March it was clear the Soviets were not going to be able to make any more gains towards the Dombas. However, the fierce struggle over the Voroshilovgrad pocket was not yet resolved.

At Moscow, operation термит had also commenced in an attempt to draw off German forces at Ryazan. At times involving 4 Soviet Fronts, this had opened with no geographical goals. Early gains were minimal, but gradually Kalinin Front in particular made steady gains. In the end, three major cities had been liberated (Rzhev, Kaluga and Tula) and the Germans had been pushed back over 100 miles from Moscow.


(SU-76s in action near Kaluga [1])

In the north, January had opened with the Germans on the offensive and making steady progress around Lake Ilmen. By 20 January they were threatening Vyshny Volochek, Torzhok and Kalinin even as Soviet resistance east of Ilmen intensified. The Смольный offensive developed out of this defensive victory and was the only one that was planned from the outset. However, despite massive artillery support and the use of some of the elite formations in the Red Army by the end of March the front line was a maximum of 20 km west of the Volkhov river.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some comments on losses etc.

As is obvious I've paid a high price in destroyed tanks for limited gains.





But digging in a bit its not as bad as it looks. I've effectively emptied my pool of T-26s etc as out of 7,000 lost AFVs, 3,300 were obsolete in any case. Another 2,200 were modern light tanks (T-60/T-70/Stuarts). Even so, I have taken heavy losses in T-34s.

This provides a bit more information. No idea how serious any of the German losses are but have destroyed a lot of Pz-IVs.

Looking at infantry losses, the situation is better for me. I've lost around 25,000 combat (rifle, smg, cavalry) squads and the Germans 15,000.

Soviet army is starting its evolution to an offensive force.



Far more rifle corps (almost all Guards) and a few more yet to be formed. Due to the losses in medium tanks, I've built quite a lot of Gds Heavy tank regiments. The KV-1 is not that useful but they otherwise sit in the pool and it reduces the demands on my T-34s. The formations will switch to IS-2s in 1944 and will have high experience and morale.

Some of the brigades are ski formations. I've found these useful as they easily have a cv of 3 (when most rifle divisions are at 2) and as brigades are good for reserve re-actions. Bit of a short term bonus as they are pretty useless after the end of winter.

Perhaps the main change is the increase in artillery.

This gives some idea of the evolution of the Red Army since June 1942 (in these tables all the fixed units are excluded).



Despite large reinforcements, my infantry have never recovered from the losses during the 40NM period. In June 1942 I had the equivalent of 500 divisions, even now its just under 400. I've not really gained that many armoured formations either.

In the air, have pulled all the Yak-1s (and earlier models from the front). All level bombers are in reserve (very little use under the current rule set).


(Lend Lease P-39s[2])



[1] For complete trivia, while looking around I found a photograph of SU-76s in service with the Afghan army in the late 1960s.
[2] As a further aside, hadn't realised just how much the VVS liked the P-39. So went off to check out the stats and the 1943 versions are pretty good – probably better than the 1943 P-40s.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/22/2016 12:10:48 PM >


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RE: Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/19/2016 8:47:33 PM   
morvael


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100
[1] For complete trivia, while looking around I found a photograph of SU-76s in service with the Afghan army in the late 1960s.


Good climate to preserve old equipment, this is (was) even better:
http://www.mfa.gov.pl/en/news/historic_tank_to_return_to_poland_from_afghanistan

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Post #: 429
RE: Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/20/2016 6:01:41 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100
[1] For complete trivia, while looking around I found a photograph of SU-76s in service with the Afghan army in the late 1960s.


Good climate to preserve old equipment, this is (was) even better:
http://www.mfa.gov.pl/en/news/historic_tank_to_return_to_poland_from_afghanistan


that is an impressive story, that tank has clearly travelled well and really wants to survive

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RE: Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/20/2016 8:59:12 AM   
ericv

 

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just waiting for the moment that some russians pull another PzKmpfwagen III out of the Nord Russian Mud, (the railroad track,built by WW I german POWS, between Tichwin and Kirishi, where the 12.Panzerdivision lost almost all of its vehicles, comes to mind) restore it and send it to fight in Syria as a command tank. That would be nice, apart from the war, the fighting, the death and destruction that is.

I would insert a youtube link where an actual Panzer III gets pulled out of the mud, but I need a couple of more posts before I can actually do that.



< Message edited by ericv -- 1/20/2016 9:59:54 AM >

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RE: Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/20/2016 9:06:36 AM   
morvael


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Don't want to hijack the thread of loki100's superb AAR, but you don't have to go as far as Tichwin to pull something nice out of the mud:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5Re-Qun7-Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbBTCMz1r_M

quote:

SU-76s in service with the Afghan army in the late 1960


what about this, then: http://www.janes.com/article/56911/paraguay-keeping-m3-stuart-m4-sherman-tanks-in-service

< Message edited by morvael -- 1/20/2016 10:20:07 AM >

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RE: Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/20/2016 9:19:27 AM   
ericv

 

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Both vehicles are in remarkable good condition. a bit of paint and wd-40 and they are good to go!

Amazing story about the M3 and M4. They probably read George Wahlen's account of how he won the MoH as a Pharmacist's mate on Iwo Jima (a really good read) and thought, what's good for the USMC, must be good for us as well.

But you're right, I have been enjoying this great AAR for a couple of months now, let's not clutter it with offtopic comments.



< Message edited by ericv -- 1/20/2016 10:23:18 AM >

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RE: Turn 93: 25 – 31 March 1943 - 1/20/2016 11:37:20 AM   
loki100


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I guess the logic is that any tank is a bonus if all you are doing is either fighting lightly armed opponents or essentially using it for population control. Hence the number of states still using variants of the T54/55, its scrap metal on a modern battlefield but it gives the illusion of prestige and power and pretty handy for controlling the populace.

As ever, the British worked this out very early and used them to put down a rather lively party in my home town in 1919;








Attachment (1)

< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/20/2016 12:41:20 PM >


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Turns 94-100: 1 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/20/2016 8:45:53 PM   
loki100


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Turns 94-100: 1 April – 19 May 1943

With the coming of the spring rains both sides suspended major operations. However, the weather proved to be highly changeable, leading to a number of localised clashes.



In the south, the Soviets made a few attempts to push the Romanians back towards Taganrog but with no success.



Of more importance, the Germans managed to evacuate all their trapped formations near Voroshilovgrad with the exception of one Hungarian division that collapsed when it was asked to operate as their rearguard.

In the centre, mid-May saw a minor Soviet offensive around Vyazma. The Volkhov Front put the northern flank of the German line under pressure but the main focus was a series of hammer blows by the Kalinin Front.

The German line to the south of the city was blown apart




(Soviet artillery in action near Vyazma)

Koniev then released his armoured reserve. 31 Army struck deep into the German rear leaving Vyazma almost completely cut off




(KV-1s from 31 Army moving through the gap in the German lines south of Vyazma)



On the Volkhov, the Germans had surprised the Soviets by pulling back and splitting up their army. At least 12 German divisions were now cut off defending Leningrad and the northern bank of the Neva.





< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/20/2016 9:51:47 PM >


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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/20/2016 8:54:49 PM   
morvael


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So those Germans in Leningrad will stay there to help Finland, or is it possible that they will evacuate via ships?

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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/20/2016 9:37:45 PM   
Peltonx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

So those Germans in Leningrad will stay there to help Finland, or is it possible that they will evacuate via ships?


I think - no I know this is one area German players really mishandle manpower- they waste it horribly and so have I to-date - but no more.

Generally we all try and save Finish manpower and Finland ends up surrendering with 300,000 men and they have higher morale then most of German Army.

I will use them like a pack mule in future games, if you do not win out right Finland gets rolled late 43 -44, so why waste them.

I be attacking like crazy 41-43 with them-same goes for Romania and Huns.

Push as hard as you can with then, they good for nothing by 43 other then digging fox holes.


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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/20/2016 9:41:10 PM   
chaos45

 

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ya interesting leaving 12 german divisions in finland...will make leningrad a pain in the butt to retake im sure lol

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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/20/2016 10:59:13 PM   
M60A3TTS


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I doubt there's nearly enough Baltic shipping available to evacuate many German units from Finland/Karelia.

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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/21/2016 12:16:10 AM   
chaos45

 

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Im sure over a number of weeks he could evacuate them but to be safe would have to move into finland otherwise soviet air is sure to sink some of them as they leave.

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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/21/2016 7:22:48 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

So those Germans in Leningrad will stay there to help Finland, or is it possible that they will evacuate via ships?


He set it up deliberately, that isn't the result of me breaking through and cutting them off. He had me blocked on the Volkhov but chose to pull back and has set up 3 defensive lines - there is something guarding the entrance to Estonia (only done some small recon but I am going to screen/ignore that), something on a line from Lake Ilmen to Pskov (I need to think about this) and this defense of Leningrad/Finland.

I think as he had some success in leaving boxes where I could advance into in 1942 its an operational set up vigabrand is now using all over the map. I'm less sure it is such a threat given the difference between the Red Army in 1942 and in mid-43?


quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

ya interesting leaving 12 german divisions in finland...will make leningrad a pain in the butt to retake im sure lol


the bit I am not sure about is the long term value. This clearly protects Finland now ... and as you say makes retaking Leningrad very hard (a concept I am going to test empirically as well as theoretically). But that is the equivalent of an army (there are also a couple of cavalry brigades) effectively isolated. One option is to simply screen them and maybe return to the problem in the winter of 43/44 when the Neva freezes again.

I think I can block them in with about 8-10 divisions so that is a trade off that suits me?

Wondering what happens if I simply treat it as an early version the Courland pocket - annoying, a theoretical threat (but only with the Finnish armoured division) to my rear, but in the end a bit of an open air prison camp?

I've not seen anyone try this before, if anything most games seem to be incredibly disinterested in protecting the Finns once the Soviets regain the initiative?

< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/21/2016 9:31:11 AM >


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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/21/2016 6:39:58 PM   
STEF78


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Never seen such a move to protect Finland and I think it's a mistake. I would ignore them and push west. The aim is Berlin not Helsinki

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RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/21/2016 8:35:54 PM   
SigUp

 

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As far as I can see seven of those divisions are Luftwaffe divisions. They are pretty much useless, at least offensively, so you shouldn't have much issue sealing them off. Agree that it's a mistake. I'd prefer using those divisions as diggers for fallback lines on the road to Berlin (before disbanding them to gain the manpower).

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Post #: 443
RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/21/2016 9:08:24 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: STEF78

Never seen such a move to protect Finland and I think it's a mistake. I would ignore them and push west. The aim is Berlin not Helsinki


The only thing in my mind against this is I wonder if not retaking Leningrad and the Finns still being in the war will make it hard to reach the Berlin + x VP cities for the victory conditions?

My other fear is he has hidden a Pzr Corps up there to attack if I just leave a screening force?

quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp

As far as I can see seven of those divisions are Luftwaffe divisions. They are pretty much useless, at least offensively, so you shouldn't have much issue sealing them off. Agree that it's a mistake. I'd prefer using those divisions as diggers for fallback lines on the road to Berlin (before disbanding them to gain the manpower).


I've had a few goes at dislodging them and you are right. I reckon there are 12 German divisions and 7 or 8 are Luftwaffe or security, but in cities and well dug in they are effective as a static defense. I think the key is I can screen off that sector with the equivalent of a couple of under-strength, second rate armies. I can spare 12 rifle divisions far more easily than the Germans can.


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Post #: 444
RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/21/2016 10:09:11 PM   
SigUp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

My other fear is he has hidden a Pzr Corps up there to attack if I just leave a screening force?

I don't think he does and if, it would be a significant error. Considering the quality of the other divisions there it's hardly possible to generate enough force to break through and exploit even against a screening force.

Generally said I'm a bit puzzled by that voluntary retreat since it didn't appear from your earlier reports that the German positions were collapsing. By retreating (and on top of that splitting the forces) the lines are now longer than before. Unless a breakthough south of Lake Ilmen occurs I'd think it more beneficial to fight for every hex up north while slowly swinging back the door to the Luga with Novgorod as anchor point. The terrain, at least until reaching the patch of clear terrain from Oranienbaum south, is pretty favourable for defensive purposes.

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Post #: 445
RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/22/2016 7:43:47 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp

...

Generally said I'm a bit puzzled by that voluntary retreat since it didn't appear from your earlier reports that the German positions were collapsing. By retreating (and on top of that splitting the forces) the lines are now longer than before. Unless a breakthough south of Lake Ilmen occurs I'd think it more beneficial to fight for every hex up north while slowly swinging back the door to the Luga with Novgorod as anchor point. The terrain, at least until reaching the patch of clear terrain from Oranienbaum south, is pretty favourable for defensive purposes.


Me too. My understanding was that he was locking up my Volkhov offensive with about 20 infantry divisions (incl LW etc) backed by 3 Pzr/Mot divisions. The result was it was taking me about 2 turns to take and secure a hex. One turn I could put together a strong enough attack to dislodge his defenders but had to use so much that my advance was weak. Second I could make a weaker attack and secure the hex as a result.

So every now and then he had to give up some of the flanking hexes to restore his front but it was taking say 4 turns to secure a hex row. This was tieing down 2 shock armies stuffed with Gds Rifle Corps, lots of specialist artillery and 2 tank armies.

My fear was if I pulled this lot out, Leningrad Front was too weak to actually hold the gains and I could be forced back behing the Volkhov.

At some stage, on the original model I would reach the clear terrain but it could easily take all summer.

As it is I now reckon he has 12+ divisions on the Neva, 6-8 guarding the entrance to Estonia (I'm not quite sure what is here but it is a strong line) and has to guard the long line between Lake Ilmen and Pskov. So he's not freed up defensive formations.

In addition he's not really solved the key problem which is that the sort of offensive power in my SW Front can take almost any hex on the map if it is concentrated. I think this is a major shift and one that German players in the mid-game for the first time perhaps don't expect. But even in 1943 its easy enough to get a Gds Rifle Corp to 16-17 cv, so a two sided attack can have around 90 cv (assuming some loss for more than 1 army) and be backed by a lot of artillery (which improves the effective chance of winning due to the number of disruptions). That makes any hex <70cv at risk. By the time you can attack from 3 sides, a defensive stack of 90-100 is potentially vulnerable.

My guess is he is hoping to stretch my supply lines and perhaps rout/surround formations that move too fast. But my instinct is that time is now very much on my side. My only real geographical goals between now and April 1944 is to be securely over the Dneipr and preferably the Berezina. In both cases, I suspect the actual crossings would have been winter projects in any case. As it is, with the road to Pskov now open, I suspect I can turn the Berezina before the autumn muds and due to its east-west orientation the Dauga is not really an effective barrier if I am attacking both from the north and the east.



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Post #: 446
RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/22/2016 8:59:22 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

As it is I now reckon he has 12+ divisions on the Neva, 6-8 guarding the entrance to Estonia (I'm not quite sure what is here but it is a strong line) and has to guard the long line between Lake Ilmen and Pskov. So he's not freed up defensive formations.

He's also given up the Luga line?

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Post #: 447
RE: Turns 98-100: 29 April – 19 May 1943 - 1/22/2016 11:58:41 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

As it is I now reckon he has 12+ divisions on the Neva, 6-8 guarding the entrance to Estonia (I'm not quite sure what is here but it is a strong line) and has to guard the long line between Lake Ilmen and Pskov. So he's not freed up defensive formations.

He's also given up the Luga line?


we are a few turns ahead (I've just sent him T107), but yes he'd pulled back to somewhere around Pskov giving up all the woods/marshes and rivers to the north. Not sure where he is as I am following up relatively slowly

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T101-103: 20 May 1943 – 12 June 1943 - 1/22/2016 12:06:18 PM   
loki100


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T101-103: 20 May 1943 – 12 June 1943

The highly variable spring weather dominated military planning in the period from late May to mid-June. Among periods of rain and mud, at times the ground dried out to enable localised offensives.

In the south, late May saw a period of clear weather that allowed the Cavalry-Mechanised formations of North Caucasus Front (Coastal, 37 and 38 Armies) to over-run the sector held by Romanian and Italian formations. In what became known as the 'Mius gallop' a series of strong points were simply overwhelmed as a retreat escalated into a rout.





After five days, the Soviet mobile units pulled off the line allowing the Rifle Divisions of Trans-Caucasus Front to dig in on the east bank of the Mius. Rokossovsky was promoted for his role in this sudden victory.



In the north, the reality was much more grim. Spread out over a number of weeks, South-Western Front made 4 major attempts to storm Leningrad.


[1]


[2]





However, the main feature had been a major German withdrawal across the front from north of the Dombas to just east of Orel and to the gates of Novgorod.



However, the lull in combat operations was matched by intensive planning for the Soviet summer offensive. Unlike in 1942, this time the Red Army intended to press the advantage it had gained in the winter battles.

In addition, the fall out from the September 1942 disasters and the hard winter fighting had led to the emergence of a small elite cadre of formations supplied by a large bulk of rifle divisions. Stavka divided up the Fronts into one of three categories:

a) Elite – Kalinin, Western, South-Western, Voronezh. Each of these had very few non-Guards formations or contained the great bulk of the Soviet armoured might;
b) Mixed – North-Western, Volkhov, Bryansk, Southern, North-Caucasus, typically these had 2-3 elite armies but the balance was made up of regular rifle divisions;
c) Weak – Leningrad, Central, Steppe, no Gds formations, purely rifle divisions, many of low experience or morale. Useful for holding a defensive line but lacking any offensive capacity. In addition Volga MD retained operational control of the two armies that maintained the limited Soviet presence in the Crimea

In addition, the Stavka reserve (actually these report to either Volga or Moscow Mds) consisted of 4 artillery corps. These deployed around 15 artillery and rocket divisions and were allocated to support major operations.

At the moment, Steppe, North-Caucasus, Voronezh and Bryansk Fronts were all pulled back into reserve and each of the other fronts had detached formations to rest and recover. The main debate was the future use of South-Western Front. Its mix of elite Shock and Tank Armies made it a powerful force but it was wasted if it had to fight in the marshes and woods on the Luga-Pskov sector. Orders were sent for it to disengage from the attempt to take Leningrad and prepare to move back into the Ukraine. Its place would be taken by the freshly raised formations of Steppe Front.

Basically Stavka identified two plans that made use of the current location of the main offensive groupings. Which was chosen would be left till after the current front line was broken and the relative strengths of the German army identified. At the moment, it was clear that they had retained a substantial armoured reserve at Kursk. The primary goal was to reach a line from Velikie Luki to Smolensk and then the east bank of the Dneipr down into the Ukraine by the end of the summer.

New equipment was arriving.




(although increasingly outgunned by the new German tanks, the T-34/76 remained the core of the Soviet tank force)



And the VVS was able to deploy its most modern fighters and bombers at the forward airbases. Even the Yak-1, the mainstay of 1942, was now treated as a training aircraft and left in the rear bases in the Urals.




(The La-5F was now the main VVS fighter)


[1] With hindsight that first attack misled me. As a result I believed that if I could get very lucky (say 1/5) the city would fall. In truth it looks as if that first attack was the one in which everything went in my favour and the more usual outcome was to end with a 1-1 result.
[2] That cheered me up, as well as eliminate any real threat of a German breakout (Leningrad is screened to the south by two city hexes)

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RE: T101-103: 20 May 1943 – 12 June 1943 - 1/22/2016 2:14:05 PM   
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I will follow the development in the north with much interest. As it stands I consider it nigh impossible to hold the line Pskov - Lake Ilmen without massive panzer backup. Breaking that line will jeopardise the entire front from Lake Ilmen southwards. The only way such a retreat will save troops is by pulling back to a line Velikaya - hills/forests/marshlands west of Velikiye Luki - landbridge east of Vitebsk. Depending on how much you focus on it I would estimate it possible to reach the Daugava in the winter of 43-44.

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