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RE: T101-103: 20 May 1943 – 12 June 1943

 
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RE: T101-103: 20 May 1943 – 12 June 1943 - 1/25/2016 8:02:12 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp

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.


I think you are right, its the only place where the front is shorter allowing for either a stronger front line or some reserves. But it gives me a lot for free, and if I break it then the Germans will need to abandon Estonia and be defending the Dauga in the winter of 43/44 ..

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Post #: 451
Turn 104: 10 – 16 June 1943 - 1/25/2016 8:05:38 PM   
loki100


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Turn 104: 10 – 16 June 1943

The highly variable weather again dominated planning and limited the scope for major offensive operations.



To the south of Kharkov, both sides remained stuck in the spring mud. Here the Germans continued their recent retreat towards the Donets. Soviet formations of the Southern Front followed up cautiously in case this was a trap.

East of Smolensk, Kalinin Front launched a limited offensive designed to establish a bridgehead over the Dnepr and to threaten the German rail connection at Yelnya.

In turn, North-Western Front made some gains north of Velikie Luki primarily designed to test the location and strength of the German reserves. This also saw a limited paratroop operation designed to cut supply to the German formations east of the city.



However, Orel was the main Soviet target. It was protected by strong German defences and prevented any attempt to attack towards Bryansk or south towards Kursk. To overwhelm the German defences,the bulk of 3 Soviet Fronts (Western, Bryansk and Voronezh) commenced an attempt to encircle the city.


(SU-152 in support of 13 Army)

The offensive opened with Western Front breaking the German front between the Oka and the Zhizdra to the north-west of the city. Backed by specialist artillery formations and supported by Heavy Tank regiments the Soviet offensive was strong enough not just to breach the German lines but also fend off a counter-attack by 18 Panzer division.



After several days fighting, this had disrupted the western flank of the German defensive lines. Bryansk Front then struck southwards trying to cut off the rail line running west.



At the same Voronezh Front attacked to the south-east of the city. Again, a limited paratroop operation tried to disrupt the German communication and supply networks as 1st and 2nd Tank Armies overran their front line.



After a weeks fighting, the German front had been broken to the north-west and east of the city but the Soviets had been unable to exploit their gains. Limited information about the location of the Panzer reserves left Stavka cautious about exposing the Soviet armoured formations to the risk of encirclement.


(Soviet infantry and armour in action near Livny)





Due to the limited scope of the actual fighting, losses for both sides were relatively light. The Germans lost 26,000 men, 13 tanks and 80 planes for Soviet losses of 47,000 men, 60 tanks and 260 planes.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/27/2016 6:56:41 AM >


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RE: Turn 64: 3-9 September 1942 - 1/25/2016 8:57:45 PM   
c00per


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Excellent AAR

< Message edited by c00per -- 1/25/2016 10:16:41 PM >

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RE: Turn 64: 3-9 September 1942 - 1/27/2016 7:59:49 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: c00per

Excellent AAR


thank you

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Post #: 454
Turns 105-107: 17 June – 7 July 1943 - 1/27/2016 8:05:11 AM   
loki100


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Turns 105-107: 17 June – 7 July 1943

A combination of periods of rain on different sectors, the Germans pulling back on parts of the front and Stavka needing to reinforce some Fronts led to a lull in combat in the early summer. As the war entered its third year, the only significant combat was at Leningrad where South-Western Front made a final attempt to storm Leningrad.


[1]

In turn, North-Western Front's offensive in the Valdai provoked a massive German counterattack as the bulk of a Panzer Army cut off the Soviet spearheads.



Later in June, the Germans hit elements of Volkhov Front advancing to the north of Smolensk.



The strength of the German defences on the Smolensk-Velikie Luki line led Stavka to cancel the orders to South-Western Front to move to the Ukraine. Instead, the summer offensive was re-organised.



In the north, Steppe Front took on the role of screening the German forces along the Neva. To assist, most of the VVS' U2s were sent to this sector and commenced a regular campaign of bombing Finnish airforce bases and combat units.

The rest of the Leningrad Front was deployed to screen the Finns in the north, the Germans blocking the direct route into Estonia and as an advanced guard for the main advance. Stavka intended to use the assault formations of South-West and North-West fronts north of the Dauga with the goal of reaching Riga.

For the moment, the Volkhov Front was ordered to threaten the German positions between Vyazma and Orsha but it was expected this would be too strongly defended for a single front to attack.

To the south of the Dneipr , Kalinin and Western Fronts co-operated on a planned offensive towards Mogilev and Gomel. Actually crossing the Dneipr was unlikely until the river froze but it was hoped that Soviet operations north of the Dauga might force the Germans to send their mobile reserves north. If so, the opportunity to force the last major barrier on the road to the Reich might occur in the autumn.

In the northern Ukraine, Central Front had a similar role to Leningrad Front. It was essentially a defensive formation designed to hold the quieter sectors of the front. The main offensive power was provided by Bryansk and Volkhov Fronts and these were ordered to push southwards towards Sumy, Chernigov and ultimately Kiev. In doing so it was hoped this would force the German to abandon Kharkov and the Dombas.

In the far south, Southern and North Caucasus Fronts provided the main offensive power. At this stage, Stavka was unsure whether to attack across the Donets to cut off Stalino or to drive due west crossing the Donets to the south of Kharkov.

As Soviet armies reinforced and redeployed, little sustained combat took place. The main exception was the early July clashes on the Bryansk-Smolensk sector as Kalinin and Western Front's probed the German defences.




(Bridging equipment moving up to support Kalinin Front)

In the meantime to the north of the Dauga it became clear the Germans had pulled back to the Poltava and the rough ground to the west of Velikie Luki.





My overall plan is to stop building new combat formations once I reach 8 million. I then need to revise my support units, in particular to assign the plentiful SU-76s to replace a variety of older units (like the ski battalions that were effective in 1941-2).



Losses reflected the relative lack of combat in these three weeks. The Germans lost around 20,000 men a week and Soviet losses averaged 39,000 per week.

Gradually, US lend-lease trucks improved the mobility of the Red Army as well as the ability to resupply those formations pushing west.




(Trucks supporting the advance of Leningrad Front)


[1] My gamble has been to see if one of those rare combat results occur where all the luck goes my way and none to my opponent. As it is, all I am doing is shedding morale and taking losses from formations better used elsewhere.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/29/2016 6:56:33 AM >


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Post #: 455
Attacks on Leningrad/ - 1/27/2016 7:17:29 PM   
BrianG

 

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You said it was your final attempt to storm.

Do you have other idea on how to rid yourself of the Fins?

btw, I liked the very large CV for the defenders.


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RE: Attacks on Leningrad/ - 1/27/2016 8:30:38 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BrianG

You said it was your final attempt to storm.

Do you have other idea on how to rid yourself of the Fins?

btw, I liked the very large CV for the defenders.




I'll return to the problem in the winter. My feeling is I can bring 2 powerful armies (6 Gds corps of 20+ each) plus a mass of artillery against the non-urban hexes. That should put me in the range where a lucky attack will succeed (and I only need to get lucky once), once I'm over the Neva its a matter of time.

Basically my view is get to the west bank of the Dneipr first in the winter 43/44 and then I'll have a chance to do some redeployments.

At the moment, its a trade off of manpower that suits me. 3 Armies (two under-strength and freshly raised) have him as boxed in as I am boxed out. There also seem to be about 12-14 German infantry divisions up there (ok mostly LW and security) and they are probably doing less good than if they were digging fall back fortification lines on the road to Berlin?

I think Pelton is right about the error of saving the Finnish manpower 'for later', but in this case he can't make any real use of it even if he tried to go back onto the attack now.

So I really am not sure, I think the situation on balance favours me. But there was no gain to pounding 2 elite Shock Armies on a hex where the best I got was 1.5-1 ... the odds against ever reaching 2-1 were far too small to be worth carrying on with.

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Turns 108-110: 8-28 July 1943 - 1/28/2016 10:00:02 PM   
loki100


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Turns 108-110: 8-28 July 1943

A combination of the weather and a German retreat limited the amount of combat in mid-July. Bryansk was abandoned on 9 July, Kursk on 14 July without any fighting. Apart from the VVS campaign aimed at weakening the Finns, most of the long front was quiet till 21 July.



22 July saw the start of fierce fighting north of Belgorod. Voronezh and Bryansk Fronts combined in an offensive designed to capture Sumy and unhinge the German defences at Kharkov and the Dombas.

Elements of Central Front opened the offensive. As was usual the intent was to draw off German reserves and confuse them as to the direction of the main attack. To everyone's shock, the attack by 12 Army actually suceeded as it caught the Germans completely by surprise.


[1]

However, the Germans had become used to the pattern of a Soviet offensive and kept their main reserves back.

The main attack commenced on the 23rd as the two Combined Arms armies of Voronezh Front (34 and 46), backed by a massive artillery bombardment, captured Prilepy despite the intervention of 22 Panzer Division [2]. In turn, the freshly raised 6 Tank Army went into action for the first time only to be caught by a massive German counter-attack.



Despite this set back, Soviet tanks captured Prokhorovka on the 24th and drove south towards Belgorod. With the German infantry falling back in panic, Tolbukhin released his elite 1 Tank Army. By 28 July, Soviet tanks had reached the northern edge of Belgorod.


(SU-122s in action north of Belgorod)

At the same time, Bryansk Front struck along the gap between the Desna and Seym. Strong German resistance limited gains but for the first time in a year, Soviet forces held a small portion of the Northern Ukraine.




The other major battle was the attempt by Kalinin and Volkhov Fronts to force the Germans back towards the Dneipr.

Volkhov Front opened the battle by trying to force the Dnepr and cut the German lines of communication. Although, their initial attempt failed, a renewed attack allowed them to cross the river.


(Soviet artillery crossing the Dneipr)

In turn, Kalinin Front managed to establish a small bridgehead over the Sozh, threatening the German salient at Smolensk with encirclement.





Losses for the final week in July increased as the tempo of combat picked up. The Germans lost 27,000 men (12,000 kia), 20 tanks and 130 planes for Soviet losses of 43,000 men (24,000 kia), 270 tanks and 290 planes.

[1] – that left me a bit open mouthed when the Germans actually lost. I guess that is the sort of extreme luck I was hoping for at Leningrad.
[2] – I've been converting regular rifle divisions to corps in key formations. By late summer the Combined Arms armies in my main offensive fronts (South-West, Kalinin, Western, Voronezh and North-Cauc) will all be based around Rifle Corps. My logic is these have a cv of around 10-12, so two stacks give me about 55 (with a malus for more than one army), enough to clear out a weaker defensive stack or provide decent flank support. As the main front starts to shorten, I need less rifle divisions to spread out.

edits: having problems with the interaction between this forum software and the image hosting site I use ... things seem to work fine when first posted and then disappear into the ether



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by loki100 -- 1/29/2016 6:53:33 AM >


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Post #: 458
Turn 111: 29 July – 4 August 1943 - 1/31/2016 7:14:28 AM   
loki100


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Turn 111: 29 July – 4 August 1943

The period from April to late July was one a of a relative lull across the front. Fierce battles had flared up around key cities only to die away as the weather intervened or the Germans redeployed. However, late summer was to see the first major Soviet offensive on a line stretching from Lake Peipus in the north to the Black Sea. Even as the final orders were sent out, news reached Moscow that Italy had surrendered to the Western Allies.



The result was to convince Stavka that the Axis defences in the Dombas had been weakened. The result of this over-optimism was to be a major Soviet defeat.

The Dombas Disaster

After the German defensive victory at Voroshilovgrad and the brief Soviet Mius offensive this sector had lain quiet. The Germans had withdrawn to the line of the Donets-Mius and were facing three Soviet fronts. Trans-Caucasus was drawn up on the Mius, Southern guarded the east and north bank of the Donets and North Caucasus was in reserve.

Some early Soviet plans had considered committing North Caucasus in an attack aimed at Kharkov but this would have left a powerful German army around Stalino and the two screening fronts would have lacked significant reserves.

Accordingly Stavka set the Dombas as the primary objective. The Soviet offensive opened by attacks by Trans-Caucasus and Southern Front to force the Mius and Donets respectively.

By the start of August, it was clear the Soviets had badly under-estimated the strength of the German reserves. Trans-Caucasus Front had had to suspend its offensive with its few first rate units badly battered. Southern Front at least inflicted heavy losses on the Germans but failed to cross the Donets.


[1]

In desperation, on 3 August, the mobile formations of North Caucasus Front were committed, not to exploit the initial victories but to actually cross the Donets.



The result was to carve out a narrow bridgehead 20 km wide but no more than 10 km deep. An attempt to deepen the bridgehead met with bloody failure.


(evacuating wounded troops from the Dombas fighting)

The Psel-Seym operation

Here the Soviets had more success. The Germans had made a local counterattack north of Belgorod and had sealed off the direct route south. In response Voronezh Front swung north and drove into the rear of the German units defending the line of the Seym.

Voronezh Front's offensive was supported by the Bryansk Front. Operating between the Svapa and the Desna. 40 Army pushed south and started to threaten the rail junction at Vorozhba that was one of the main connections between AGS and Kiev.



The Dauga/Dvina Offensive

The final sector with sustained fighting was north of the Dauga/Dvina. North-Western Front struck towards Polosk where the German line was weaker.



Initially this was designed to support the main attack on the Poltava and to threaten the northern flank of the powerful German line between Vitebsk and Orsha. However, the relative success of the initial attacks encouraged Stavka to plan to reinforce this with the addition of airborne assets and the newly raised heavy artillery corps.

The intention was to land the main blow on the Poltava, South-Western Front had moved up in the previous week and the two Shock Armies quickly established a bridgehead.




(elements of 5 Shock Army over the Poltava)

The northern crossing was exploited by elements of 3 Tank Army and Soviet patrols reached the southern edge of Lake Peipus. While of little military significance it was the first time that the Red Army had occupied any part of Estonia since August 1941.



To the south of the Dvina, Soviet patrols found a strong German defensive line between Vitebsk and Orsha and that the Germans had pulled back to the west bank of the Dneipr. For the moment, no attempt was made to force either of these defensive lines.



The growing intensity of the fighting led to increasingly heavy losses. The Germans lost 33,000 men (15,000 kia), 50 tanks and 130 planes. Soviet losses were 53,000 men (25.000 kia), 700 tanks and 300 planes.


[1] Typical of most of this sequence of attacks, at least I have done some damage but ...

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Post #: 459
Turn 112: 5 -11 August 1943 - 2/1/2016 11:12:54 AM   
loki100


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Turn 112: 5 -11 August 1943

Early August saw major German counter-attacks in the south. The limited Soviet bridgehead over the Donets was eliminated but of more concern, the bulk of 1 Tank Army was cut off south of the Seym. In the north, the Germans forced the Soviets back over the Poltava.

In effect all the gains of the previous week had been lost.




In the north, since a land invasion of Finland was impossible, Stavka ordered the VVS to conduct a campaign against industrial and population centres. The opening phase was a series of raids on Helsinki as well as continued attacks on the Finnish airforce.


[1]


(Lend-Lease B-25 preparing for the raid on Helsinki)

In the south, the Seym-Desna battles continued and Voronezh Front managed to force the Germans back, allowing 1 Tank to escape encirclement.



To the west, the Germans pulled back enabling Bryansk Front to threaten their western flank.

At Kharkov, elements of Southern Front managed to force the Dnepr near Kharkov. Despite this gain, most of North Caucasus Front was kept in reserve as it recovered from the losses of the previous week.

In the north, North-Western Front made more gains to the north of Vitebsk as the German V Corps was forced back over 20 miles and took heavy losses.




(3 Shock Army moving forward north of the Dvina)

In turn South-Western Front shifted the angle of its attacks and struck south, threatening the rear of the German units facing NW Front.



Of more importance than any fighting in this week was a major re-organisation of front boundaries. Kalinin Front, heavily reinforced by fresh artillery moved north of the Dneipr so as to attack the German line between Vitebsk and Orsha.

In turn, Volkhov Front moved to the south. Its rifle divisions moved up to east bank of the Dneipr around Mogilev while the mobile and assault formations of 1 and 2 Shock Army deployed on the intersection with the Western Front. Soviet reconnaissance reports indicated that the Gomel-Chernigov sector was only weakly defended.

Stavka was determined to use the offensive to the north of the Dvina in order to break the German defences on the upper Dneipr. If possible, the intention was to have some bridgeheads over the Dvina before winter, capture Riga and reach the Berezina. This would make a winter offensive to liberate Minsk the main focus of the Red Army.


[1] – I tried this a few more times with similarly dismal results. Clearly the VVS is not set up for an independent strategic bombing campaign.

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RE: Turn 112: 5 -11 August 1943 - 2/1/2016 1:22:28 PM   
jwolf

 

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The optimistic interpretation of your "bloody failure" is that if you don't have any failures, you're being too conservative. In this case it looks like the Germans overreached as well in their counterattack and they lost a lot of good tanks and good men that will be hard to replace. Overall, it looks like you're caught for the time being in a very bloody phase where you have to attack hard, for a long time, until the Germans are worn down enough to make their front lines more brittle. In this your game is capturing the brutal nature of this conflict very well, but it's going to be really rough for both sides for a long time.

Kudos for the great AAR -- your pictures and your maps are great as usual!

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Post #: 461
RE: Turn 112: 5 -11 August 1943 - 2/1/2016 3:14:59 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jwolf

The optimistic interpretation of your "bloody failure" is that if you don't have any failures, you're being too conservative. In this case it looks like the Germans overreached as well in their counterattack and they lost a lot of good tanks and good men that will be hard to replace. Overall, it looks like you're caught for the time being in a very bloody phase where you have to attack hard, for a long time, until the Germans are worn down enough to make their front lines more brittle. In this your game is capturing the brutal nature of this conflict very well, but it's going to be really rough for both sides for a long time.

Kudos for the great AAR -- your pictures and your maps are great as usual!


yes this is very much the attrition phase, I'm too weak to win and the Germans are too strong to lose ... key is when and where we pass into the next phase.

broadly, I'm trading off losses (both combat and destroyed units) to gain space, seems to be working but its a grim process.

I *like* it that vigabrand looks to counterattack, it makes for a more interesting mid-game than someone setting up exactly straight lines and counting off the hexes to Berlin. I don't like it so much when it pays off for him (as it will ... spoiler alert), but his losses hurt, mine just dictate my admin pt allocation strategy for a few turns. I have pretty much the army size I want at this phase (around 8m) so no longer having to pour every spare admin pt into simply filling out the gaps in my armies.

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RE: Turn 64: 3-9 September 1942 - 2/1/2016 6:52:46 PM   
c00per


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: c00per

Excellent AAR


thank you


your welcome

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Post #: 463
Turn 113: 12 – 18 August 1943 - 2/2/2016 8:36:26 AM   
loki100


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Turn 113: 12 – 18 August 1943

As was the nature of the summer fighting. Sectors flared up into vicious combat and then went quiet as either the Germans retreated or the Soviets switched targets [1].

The Battle for Kharkov

After the defeat in the Dombas, Stavka turned its attention to the idea of an offensive aimed directly at Kharkov. Strategically this would have the advantage of combining with the attacks of Voronezh and Bryansk Fronts to the north. Tactically, the small bridgehead carved out the previous week gave an excellent jumping off spot for the cavalry and mechanised formations of North Caucasus Front.

In addition, Soviet reconnaissance indicated that the German Panzers were still in reserve in the Dombas.

Southern Front opened the offensive and quickly carved out a 30 mile long bridgehead over the Donets. The infantry of North Caucasus Front then deepened the gap in the German lines.



With the German front line broken, and no local reserves available. the Soviet mobile formations struck.



By the end of the week, the Soviets were up to 20km to the west of the Donets and had reached the outskirts of Kharkov.




(Soviet tanks advancing near Kharkov)

The Battle for Sumy

To the north, the Germans had pulled back after failing to destroy 1 Tank Army. While Central Front was able to screen the northern flank of their forces at Belgorod, the rest of Voronezh Front struck towards Sumy.


(SU-85 in action near Sumy)

To add to the threat to the German communications back to Kiev, Bryansk Front was able to cross the Seym.

The mounting Soviet threat to their communications increased when Volkhov and Western Front commenced an offensive towards Gomel.





The Dvina battles

In the north, Kalinin Front launched its first attack on the German defensive line between Vitebsk and Orsha. However, an attempt to exploit this failed when the German reserves intervened.



North of the Dvina, North-Western Front was again able to disrupt the German front. However, South-Western Front again ran into fierce resistance and was unable to break the German lines along to the Poltava.



OOB



As the fighting spread, the losses increased. The Germans lost 34,000 men (15,000 kia), 50 tanks and 170 planes and the Soviets 54,000 men 929,000 kia), 560 tanks (mostly T-70s) and 400 planes (100 U2s in a disastrous attack on the Finnish airbases).


[1] – my logic is that on one sector I will have the advantage (and of course this will shift), on another the Germans will be strong enough to stop me from even attacking successfully and on the others I'll make gains and lose most of them to counterattacks. Roughly at the moment, along the Poltava I'm not even really making gains (but there are a lot of German troops there), on the other hand NW Front seems to be facing little resistance and I was very surprised at the gap/lack of troops around Gomel-Chernigov.

With this point of view, I don't expect to hold onto my gains at Kharkov, but it stops the Germans concentrating on the Sumy offensive (which is more important as that is the direct route to Kiev).

I'll take the losses where I either fail to make any gains (or am driven back) in return for the geographical gains elsewhere. In my view, this phase is all about setting up the winter 43/44 battles with the frozen rivers.

< Message edited by loki100 -- 2/2/2016 9:40:49 AM >


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Post #: 464
Turn 114: 19 – 25 August 1943 - 2/3/2016 7:20:36 AM   
loki100


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Turn 114: 19 – 25 August 1943

At Gomel, the Germans struck back at Volkhov Front but perhaps under-estimated the threat posed by Western Front. By concentrating to the west of Gomel, they had exposed not just Chernigov but potentially Kiev.



To the north, the German lines between Vitebsk and Orsha were battered by the elite formations of Kalinin Front. Backed by the largest artillery barrage of the war, 24 Army managed to advance to the northern outskirts of Orsha itself, despite counter-attacks by elements of 57 Panzer Corps.




(elements of 24 Army near Orsha)

North of the Dvina, the Germans had pulled back, allowing North-Western Front to push some 50 miles along the river, threatening to isolate Vitebsk. However, South-Western Front was still unable to force the Poltava.

Despite the importance of the gains along the Dvina, the main drama was around Gomel. Volkhov Front regained the ground it had just lost and cut the Gomel-Minsk rail line. In turn, Western Front struck to the east of the city and slipped mobile formations around the exposed eastern flank of the German infantry.



In turn, 40 Army was hastily redeployed and almost surrounded the weak German garrison at Chernigov.


(Soviet cavalry on the Dneipr west of Chernigov)

Taking a major risk, the inexperienced 6 Tank Army tried to outflank the entire German position in the eastern Ukraine. By 25 August, their advanced guard was only 30 miles from Kiev.


[1]


[1] Seems the easiest way to show the overall situation in the Ukraine. The Germans pulled back a bit at Kharkov but have a strong defense – I didn't really attack this turn as I wanted to let my mobile units rest. On the northern flank I pulled Bryansk and Voronezh Fronts to the west leaving Central Front as a defensive shield. South of Stalino the Romanians have pulled back,

6TA is a gamble as it is exposed but if the Germans move their armour from the eastern Ukraine to deal with it then I can attack with ease both towards Poltava and at Sumy. In effect they are cheese bait, if eaten I hope the trade-off is significant gains in the eastern Ukraine. I still think the most important thing at this stage is that I am over the Dneipr by the end of winter 43/44. The closer I start to it, the better.


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Post #: 465
RE: Turn 114: 19 – 25 August 1943 - 2/3/2016 8:11:01 AM   
SigUp

 

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Well played, slogging forward one hex at a time. Would be a nice bonus if you could hold on to that little pocket east of Gomel. I'm somewhat surprised that your opponent is holding onto that gigantic balcony in the Ukraine while allowing you a free run at the Dnepr up north.

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Post #: 466
RE: Turn 114: 19 – 25 August 1943 - 2/3/2016 8:37:05 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SigUp

Well played, slogging forward one hex at a time. Would be a nice bonus if you could hold on to that little pocket east of Gomel. I'm somewhat surprised that your opponent is holding onto that gigantic balcony in the Ukraine while allowing you a free run at the Dnepr up north.


he has me blocked on the Poltava/west of Pskov but he can't cope as easily with the attacks by NW Front (basically along the north bank of the Dvina). Think its the core problem for a German player at this stage - you can't be defensively strong everywhere and still keep your Pzrs as a mobile force?

I think at this stage the Red Army is well suited to this approach of just grinding out a hex a turn. Its almost unstoppable, even with reserve reactions when you have 6-8 Gds Rifle corps backed by 6+ artillery/rocket divisions. I'm at the stage where anything under 100cv defensively is beatable (ok it takes me 2 armies to do this but I'm in no hurry ). As his infantry shed morale, strong points are simply either bypassed or squashed.

Since once lost its near impossible to regain a hex, then every now and then the Germans have to pull back. The wider situation along the Dvina/Dauga is now rather tense - come winter that barrier falls away and he is running out of space just to trade off.

In the Ukraine, the Chernigov-Gomel situation is going to become very complex and very costly. But at this stage, I regard the army as expendable, its all about reaching the Dneipr - I can recover my losses up the point the river freezes in December.

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Post #: 467
RE: Turn 114: 19 – 25 August 1943 - 2/3/2016 1:33:58 PM   
jwolf

 

Posts: 2493
Joined: 12/3/2013
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quote:

But at this stage, I regard the army as expendable


Very chillingly Stalinesque! But I understand your point. Good luck as you churn forward.

(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 468
RE: Turn 114: 19 – 25 August 1943 - 2/3/2016 4:30:52 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: jwolf

quote:

But at this stage, I regard the army as expendable


Very chillingly Stalinesque! But I understand your point. Good luck as you churn forward.


must admit this game does tend to make you think that way, very goal orientated and so on ...

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Post #: 469
Turn 115; 26 August – 1 September 1943 - 2/4/2016 8:00:59 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online
Turn 115; 26 August – 1 September 1943

The end of August and early September saw the two provincial cities of Gomel and Chernigov dominate the plans of both sides. Essentially a strategic backwater as the massive Pripyet marshes to the west created a formidable barrier to military operations for both sides. For a brief moment this sector appeared to be critical.

While Stavka had fully expected a German response, the scale of their redeployment exceeded both the most optimistic hopes and worst fears of Soviet planners.



The Soviet forces around Chernigov and south of the Desna had been splintered into three pockets. The bulk of 40 Army was cut off to the west of Chernigov, 6 Tank Army was isolated to the east and 28 Army had been surrounded. In addition, German motorised troops had struck north creating chaos with the Soviet command structure and airbases.

Initially it appeared as if the Germans had over-reached themselves. 4 Tank Army managed to restore communications with 28 Army and 2 Tank Army followed up and routed the 27 Panzer Division. Despite this 6 Tank Army remained trapped.



From the east, 28, 34 and 46 Armies managed a series of attacks and threatened the rear of the German armour on the Desna. Around Gomel, Volkhov and Western Fronts managed to restore the Soviet front line and encircle several German divisions. Finally 40 Army managed to capture Chernigov and pull back the units to the west of the city.




(Soviet troops fighting near Chernigov)

At the same time, Kalinin Front liberated Vitebsk and continued to make steady progress through the German defensive belts between the Dnepr and the Dvina.



However, despite the threat to 3 armies, the Soviet lunge at Chernigov paid off on other sectors. The Germans pulled back in the north abandoning eastern and northern Estonia.




(Soviet infantry pushing into eastern Estonia)

In the south, Soviet troops entered the industrial cities of the Dombas as the Germans fell back.



As a result North-Caucasus Front hastily redeployed from Kharkov to provide additional support to Voronezh Front attacking between Konotop and Romny.



Losses matched the extent of the fighting. The Germans lost 39,000 men (17,000 kia), 105 tanks and 100 planes for Soviet losses of 47,000 men (25,000 kia), 600 tanks and 300 planes (many destroyed when their airbases were over-run).

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Post #: 470
Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 11:45:18 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943

The Germans carried on their massive counter-attack at Gomel-Chernigov. This time more of 40 Army was cut off and 28 Army was again isolated. 6 Tank Army was destroyed.


[1]

Two major relief operations were launched. Voronezh and Western Front tried to carve a way through the German defences north of Chernigov. Despite inflicting heavy losses, they were unable to break through to the trapped units. The critical battle was the failure of 2 Tank Army to dislodge 39 Panzer Corps just north of Chernigov.

To the east, the Combined Arms Armies of Voronezh and Bryansk Fronts tried to reach 28 Army. Again, the Germans took substantial losses but were able to bring the Soviet offensive to a halt short of its targets.

Stavka then ordered North-Caucasus Front into action between the Pselm and Sula rivers. This was an attempt to take advantage of the commitment of the German reserves to Chernigov and to try and disrupt any attempt by the Germans to make a stand east of the Dneipr.



Despite this, the battles between Orsha and the Dvina were of more importance in the longer term.

The Soviet spearhead west of Orsha just managed to fend off a massive German attack. Critically the German counter-stroke was undermined by a lack of available Panzer formations and poor communications between the different attacking formations.




(SU-85 taking up a defensive position west of Orsha)

In turn, Kalinin Front stormed Orsha, undermining the German defences on the upper Dneipr, even if the Front suffered a rare defeat when it tried to outflank the German lines to the north.




(Soviet infantry fighting in Orsha)

Overall the summer battles had shifted the advantage to the Soviets. Formations that had started the summer fighting near the Don or the Oka were now approaching the Dneipr and the Berezina. In the north, the German front line was no longer anchored on Novgorod but stretched along the Dvina/Dauga. However, as at Chernigov, it was clear the Wehrmacht was not beaten and that over-confident Soviet offensives ran the risk of a major defeat.



The substantial geographical gains had been bought at a high price. The Red Army had seen almost 500,000 men killed and a further 300,000 permanently injured (Axis losses were 220,000 and 200,000 respectively). The Soviet armoured formations had take brutal losses of nearly 6,500 tanks and self-propelled guns. For this, the Germans had lost close to 1,000.



In terms of overall numbers, despite the heavy losses the Axis armies (apart from the loss of thei Italian contingent) were as strong as at the end of the winter battles. The only difference was that the Germans were now more reliant on their allies and the Finns were effectively isolated from the main battlefields.



Soviet industry continued to support the growing Red Army, assisted by the welcome increase in the number of lend-lease trucks (for comparison I had just under 92,000 in the pool at the end of March).



Also both on ground and in the air, the Soviet forces continued to modernise.



The main problem with the available tanks was that the T34/76 was now badly outclassed. The new Su-85 and the few KV-85s were an attempt to give the tank and mechanised formations more firepower to cope with the heavier German tanks.


[2]

[1] With hindsight, last turn I think I should have just concentrated on protecting 28 Army (I had enough units to do this) but the temptation to try and rescue the other cut off units was too much. On the other hand, the Germans have paid a high price for this victory and while I have lost some good units, I can mostly replace them fairly quickly.

[2] I'm running out of recon planes, hence the usage of R-5 and R-10s. One grumble is with the modelling of the Yak-9T. It was designed as a more agile tank destroyer than the Il-2 but you can't use it in that role, as a conventional FB its actually slower and less mobile than most of the other modern fighters, especially the rather good La-5F.

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Post #: 471
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 1:02:06 PM   
jwolf

 

Posts: 2493
Joined: 12/3/2013
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Ouch. I'm assuming the trapped units were quickly destroyed -- how much exactly did you lose?

I can see your point that the heavy German commitment near Chernigov allowed you some freedom of operation elsewhere. It was still expensive.

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Post #: 472
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 3:30:12 PM   
Peltonx


Posts: 7250
Joined: 4/9/2006
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Great AAR as always.

Wow that's a HUGE German Army 4.6 million late 42, most I ever had was 3.9.

Looking back over numbers he had 4.1 million in spring of 41 that's HUGE also massive.

I have to look things over, but that seem amazing huge. He should have been hitting you harder as he could easly have traded blow for blow until he got down around 3.8 million over 42/43 winter.
That would have really delayed things for you even with the 2 to 1 ratio.

Losses and a few other things have been tweaked so that's not possible now, but I have to look at his style of combat, because that's a real savings.

< Message edited by Pelton -- 2/5/2016 4:33:33 PM >


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Post #: 473
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 3:31:39 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: jwolf

Ouch. I'm assuming the trapped units were quickly destroyed -- how much exactly did you lose?

I can see your point that the heavy German commitment near Chernigov allowed you some freedom of operation elsewhere. It was still expensive.


well that turn he destroyed a complete tank army, so I'd say that would be about 35,000 killed or captured (plus all the tanks), next turn he'll get 4 rifle corps, 2 more tank corps, a cavalry corps and a couple of rifle divisions (plus all the SUs).

So I've paid a high price for pushing it too far. But he now has a real problem, he's in the middle of the eastern Ukraine with no pre-built fort lines. He could engage in a mobile running battle (where he'd win 80% of the engagements but burn out his Pzrs) or carry on back to the Dneipr.

If he does that then I reckon I have to December to recover and train up my losses. I doubt I can cross the river before then, so may as well build up and let my supply lines repair themselves.

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Post #: 474
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 3:34:37 PM   
Peltonx


Posts: 7250
Joined: 4/9/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: jwolf

Ouch. I'm assuming the trapped units were quickly destroyed -- how much exactly did you lose?

I can see your point that the heavy German commitment near Chernigov allowed you some freedom of operation elsewhere. It was still expensive.


well that turn he destroyed a complete tank army, so I'd say that would be about 35,000 killed or captured (plus all the tanks), next turn he'll get 4 rifle corps, 2 more tank corps, a cavalry corps and a couple of rifle divisions (plus all the SUs).

So I've paid a high price for pushing it too far. But he now has a real problem, he's in the middle of the eastern Ukraine with no pre-built fort lines. He could engage in a mobile running battle (where he'd win 80% of the engagements but burn out his Pzrs) or carry on back to the Dneipr.

If he does that then I reckon I have to December to recover and train up my losses. I doubt I can cross the river before then, so may as well build up and let my supply lines repair themselves.


Not sure what he has done but his army is very strong and to your credit your still driving him west.



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Post #: 475
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 3:39:49 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pelton

Great AAR as always.

Wow that's a HUGE German Army most I ever had was 3.9.

Looking back over numbers he had 4.1 million in spring of 41 that's HUGE also massive.

I have to look things over, but that seem amazing huge.

Losses and a few other things have been tweaked so that's not possible now, but I have to look at his style of combat, because that's a real savings.


I think vigabrand has basically traded off terrain for losses - early Summer every time I started to push into a defensive line and start an attritional battle he pulled back.

On the other hand - the Finns are out of the game as are around 12 German infantry divisions (his units on the Neva).

Its his chosen strategy but I have my doubts. My feeling is that my Gds Rifle Corps are never going to be as weak as they were in early summer 1943 (we are just into November and they are now easily at 22 cv ... some more). And he has the various hardwired NM hits (which I am really going off as a game mechanic), so he may have saved a lot of manpower and notionally strong units only for them to weaken both absolutely and relatively.

I think I could still be fighting around Novgorod-Velikie Luki and Bryansk-Donets but he would have suffered far more losses.

My interpretation of the big picture is that the Dvina/Dauga can't hold over the winter 43/44 and that puts me on the German border in summer 1944. In the south, the Dneipr can't hold and that puts Romania at risk etc ... as well as opening up the southern route into Germany. Somewhere he needs to fight hex by hex but at worst odds than were available.

On the other hand, he's saved so much that any progress once the front shortens is going to be exceptionally slow, so it may pay off as a means to delay the Soviet advance once we are into Germany.

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Post #: 476
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 3:53:02 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pelton


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: jwolf

Ouch. I'm assuming the trapped units were quickly destroyed -- how much exactly did you lose?

I can see your point that the heavy German commitment near Chernigov allowed you some freedom of operation elsewhere. It was still expensive.


well that turn he destroyed a complete tank army, so I'd say that would be about 35,000 killed or captured (plus all the tanks), next turn he'll get 4 rifle corps, 2 more tank corps, a cavalry corps and a couple of rifle divisions (plus all the SUs).

So I've paid a high price for pushing it too far. But he now has a real problem, he's in the middle of the eastern Ukraine with no pre-built fort lines. He could engage in a mobile running battle (where he'd win 80% of the engagements but burn out his Pzrs) or carry on back to the Dneipr.

If he does that then I reckon I have to December to recover and train up my losses. I doubt I can cross the river before then, so may as well build up and let my supply lines repair themselves.


Not sure what he has done but his army is very strong and to your credit your still driving him west.




what he seems to have no answer to is I have 3 fronts that are formed around Gds Rifle Corps and masses of on/off map artillery. He can usually block one of them by concentrating and moving in his reserves but he can't stop all three.

Kalinin Front is basically 3 armies of 4 * Gds Rifle, 1 army of 4 * tank/mech corps and 1 army of 8*on-map artillery (and there is an airborne corps of 4 more artillery divisions working with it).

What that means is each turn I can set up a couple of attacks that are likely to come out around 3-1 if there is no reserve reaction .. and have a reasonable chance to win if the reserve reaction is a single Pzr division. The artillery is stripping out 10-20% of his defensive cv before the fighting as it wrecks his fortifications.

I was never convinced by Chaos45's claims that cavalry corps were the thing to build - I think they are incredibly useful but by 1943 are a dead end. The real striking power of the Red Army is in the Gds Rifle Corps and you just need to build enough, early as you can, to generate the wins to gain Gds status. Oh and build artillery, you can never have too much artillery.

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Post #: 477
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 5:20:35 PM   
Peltonx


Posts: 7250
Joined: 4/9/2006
Status: offline
quote:

Its his chosen strategy but I have my doubts.
My feeling is that my Gds Rifle Corps are never going to be as weak as they were in early
summer 1943 (we are just into November and they are now easily at 22 cv ... some more).
And he has the various hardwired NM hits (which I am really going off as a game mechanic),
so he may have saved a lot of manpower and notionally strong units only for them to weaken
both absolutely and relatively.


This is what I was getting at NM hits.

As Germany its important to keep attacking as long as possible,
then hold the lines as long as possible. He could have inflicted allot more loses on you while his lines were solid still buying more time.

He did a great job during blizzard also conserving his tanks and keeping his loses to a mini,
but I think he should have done better trading loses for time.

Its uber important to keep Russia as far from Berlin as possible.

I don't like his over all defensive strategy. Allot of German players that are amazing attacking 41-42,
some of the greats are horrible past 42 and I mean bad as can be seen in a few AAR's

Its important to use reserve mode and have defense in depth. Having one big blob of panzers is not going to cut it as your proving.
Its more important to spread them all along the front so they can quickly react to any break through.
Infantry in front, panzers or high morale infantry in 2nd line and then FZ's OKA north.

You simply can not let units get pocketed in 43 as things can quickly snowball out of control.

At some point sht will fall apart, but hopefully its east of Poland then you can trade some space for time until front shortens and then you can fight it out the rest of the way.

You still have a long ways to go and January 45 your trucks will very quickly dry up.

He still got a chance at a draw if he can hold things together over the winter.



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Post #: 478
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/5/2016 5:49:06 PM   
chaos45

 

Posts: 1853
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Loki---Guards rifle corps are needed but you get them automatically anyway.

Its why I concentrate AP on cav corps early then tank corps as they become available.

Once they patch will see if my army building tactic worked or not. As me and Pelton haven't played a turn in a month or two now. The issue with lots of infantry is the Germans can just run from you. They cant do that against massed Cav Corps--plus that's an extra 20-30 mobile corps to help exploit breakthroughs or assist in guard armored breakthrough flanks.

As you can see up to our last turns I was using the Cav units to move up and hit his lines every time he fell back this keeps pressure on the German OOB...not to mention makes it harder for a line to get firm again as units entrench slower next to enemy units and all that. Plus trucks....ya trucks....cav corps take very few trucks for the amount of added mobility and until 1944 a Cav corps was about as strong as a tank corps...now with the morale change they might not be...but that wasn't the case when our game started.

Still think those cav corps are going to be useful up until Germany basically when the front condenses massively and even then massed cav should allow the infantry to hit then the cav pull forward and hit due more MP.

Maybe my strategy is wrong only time will tell--not doubting or slighting Guard rifle corps---but 2 guards div+ 1 rifle bde makes those and well u have tons of them sitting around. In fact im to the point of not using BDEs to make corps as I don't need/want tons more infantry to feed. Eventually just like M60 game ill be disbanding corps/armies.

(in reply to Peltonx)
Post #: 479
RE: Turn 116: 2 – 8 September 1943 - 2/6/2016 7:02:58 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7074
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Pelton

quote:

Its his chosen strategy but I have my doubts.
My feeling is that my Gds Rifle Corps are never going to be as weak as they were in early
summer 1943 (we are just into November and they are now easily at 22 cv ... some more).
And he has the various hardwired NM hits (which I am really going off as a game mechanic),
so he may have saved a lot of manpower and notionally strong units only for them to weaken
both absolutely and relatively.


This is what I was getting at NM hits.

As Germany its important to keep attacking as long as possible,
then hold the lines as long as possible. He could have inflicted allot more loses on you while his lines were solid still buying more time.

He did a great job during blizzard also conserving his tanks and keeping his loses to a mini,
but I think he should have done better trading loses for time.

Its uber important to keep Russia as far from Berlin as possible.

I don't like his over all defensive strategy. Allot of German players that are amazing attacking 41-42,
some of the greats are horrible past 42 and I mean bad as can be seen in a few AAR's

Its important to use reserve mode and have defense in depth. Having one big blob of panzers is not going to cut it as your proving.
Its more important to spread them all along the front so they can quickly react to any break through.
Infantry in front, panzers or high morale infantry in 2nd line and then FZ's OKA north.

You simply can not let units get pocketed in 43 as things can quickly snowball out of control.

At some point sht will fall apart, but hopefully its east of Poland then you can trade some space for time until front shortens and then you can fight it out the rest of the way.

You still have a long ways to go and January 45 your trucks will very quickly dry up.

He still got a chance at a draw if he can hold things together over the winter.




He's not lost anything, the two times I have really encircled a block of divisions he has reacted by pulling 75% of his Pzrs into a block and counter-attacking (here and earlier at Voroshilovgrad). Guess that has the advantage that he doesn't have manpower and equipment flowing into what Stef78 called 'zombies' in his AAR with Oshawatt.

My truck pools are at 95%, as the front shortens a lot my second rate rifle divisions will find themselves on 50% TOE and guarding Moscow. If need be I'll disband but my preference is to keep them around as a shell formation in order to maxmise the % of Gds in my main combat formations.

I think a draw is quite feasible at the moment, the next phase will be important. If he manages a fighting retreat in western Bielorussia and Lithuania/Latvia he'll secure the northern way into Germany. If he pulls back under pressure then I think I can push on to the Vistula in mid-44.

The south is more interesting in a way. Although its a longer way for me to Lvov etc, that is always an easier way into Germany proper due to the river network.

I think vigabrand mistimed his retreat to the Dneipr. If he'd held me for 3-4 more turns then my supply lines would be weak even when the river freezes. As it is, by December I reckon my railheads will reach the east bank every except in the far south.

quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Loki---Guards rifle corps are needed but you get them automatically anyway.

Its why I concentrate AP on cav corps early then tank corps as they become available.

Once they patch will see if my army building tactic worked or not. As me and Pelton haven't played a turn in a month or two now. The issue with lots of infantry is the Germans can just run from you. They cant do that against massed Cav Corps--plus that's an extra 20-30 mobile corps to help exploit breakthroughs or assist in guard armored breakthrough flanks.

As you can see up to our last turns I was using the Cav units to move up and hit his lines every time he fell back this keeps pressure on the German OOB...not to mention makes it harder for a line to get firm again as units entrench slower next to enemy units and all that. Plus trucks....ya trucks....cav corps take very few trucks for the amount of added mobility and until 1944 a Cav corps was about as strong as a tank corps...now with the morale change they might not be...but that wasn't the case when our game started.

Still think those cav corps are going to be useful up until Germany basically when the front condenses massively and even then massed cav should allow the infantry to hit then the cav pull forward and hit due more MP.

Maybe my strategy is wrong only time will tell--not doubting or slighting Guard rifle corps---but 2 guards div+ 1 rifle bde makes those and well u have tons of them sitting around. In fact im to the point of not using BDEs to make corps as I don't need/want tons more infantry to feed. Eventually just like M60 game ill be disbanding corps/armies.


Unlike you I don't think that strategies are right or wrong, I think there a number of ways to solve the issue of first how to survive 1942 and then attack in 1943/4.

But you don't get the sort of OOB I have in some fronts
quote:

automatically anyway
, you get it by spending a lot of admin pts re-organising. I could say the same about your cavalry corps, simply spend 46 Admin Pts and you have a new cavalry corps filled with support units. ... automatically as you say

In terms of hitting power, by mid/late 43 nothing matches a stack of well led Gds Rifle Corps + on-map artillery. You have no problems with level 3 forts (which wreck the impact of mobile units ... incl cavalry once they are treated that way), and if your opponent pulls back well you get to advance for free. You need mobile units to shake things up and for exploitation

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