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RE: Turn 6: 24-30 July 1941

 
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RE: Turn 6: 24-30 July 1941 - 4/6/2015 10:11:20 PM   
Peltonx


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: JAMiAM

Nice to see you and your opponent using random weather. I've always hated non-random weather in this game, as it lends itself to a "paint-by-numbers" mentality for the players.


aye, I agree. Fixed weather is completely unrealistic and provides too much certainty. Random favours the Soviets in 1941 but the Germans later on. There was an AAR between Oshawatt and Stef78 that showed how easy it is for the Soviets to exploit perfect knowledge of the sequence of mud and clear turns in May and early June.


Changing over to random weather myself.

Great AAR as always.


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Post #: 31
RE: Turn 6: 24-30 July 1941 - 4/7/2015 9:03:23 AM   
morvael


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Who will tell the story of the brave division near Tallin? It took some ground!

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Post #: 32
RE: Turn 6: 24-30 July 1941 - 4/9/2015 11:10:44 AM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Pelton


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100


quote:

ORIGINAL: JAMiAM

Nice to see you and your opponent using random weather. I've always hated non-random weather in this game, as it lends itself to a "paint-by-numbers" mentality for the players.


aye, I agree. Fixed weather is completely unrealistic and provides too much certainty. Random favours the Soviets in 1941 but the Germans later on. There was an AAR between Oshawatt and Stef78 that showed how easy it is for the Soviets to exploit perfect knowledge of the sequence of mud and clear turns in May and early June.


Changing over to random weather myself.

Great AAR as always.



thank you ..

I think the fixed weather is essential for the shorter scenarios but variable weather is so much better for the campaign

quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

Who will tell the story of the brave division near Tallin? It took some ground!


Ah that was a *good* idea that went wrong. I was hoping that Vigabrand would only commit limited forces to Estonia so left a fairly powerful rifle division in Talinin to catch him out. But he has sent a pretty powerful force that way, including at least 1 Pzr Corps

Now, as will be obvious in the August reports, I've pulled the same stunt at Odessa and that seems to have caused him real problems - probably not helped by the relative lack of rail repair capacity in the Ukraine


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Post #: 33
Turn 7: 31 July – 6 August 1941 - 4/9/2015 11:15:32 AM   
loki100


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Turn 7: 31 July – 6 August 1941

Although the ground dried out from the rains of late July, the first week of August saw relative calm across the front. At Leningrad, the Soviet defences on the Luga were strengthened as it was clear the Germans were building up both north of Pskov and on the Narva. Leningrad Front's assessment was that the opening blow would fall on 33 Army.



At Smolensk the front remained static. The Germans forced the Dnepr at Mogilev but made no attempt to breach the outer Soviet defences on the Oster or the upper Dnepr.

Equally, in the Ukraine, the impression was of the Germans building up for their next offensive. They had briefly encircled Kirovgrad but a localised counterattack by 19 Army in turn threatened to encircle the German spearheads.


(Soviet KV-1 in action near Kirovgrad)

Soviet estimates were that 2 Panzer Corps were still in the Kiev sector. Given likely supply problems, the expectation was that the Germans would struggle to capture the industrial centres in the Dnepr bend and to cross the Dnepr near Kiev.

With this rather optimistic interpretation of German capacity, Stavka ordered both South-Western and Southern Fronts to hold the line of the Dnepr while key industrial centres were evacuated.






Stavka authorised a build up of Soviet units in the southern Ukraine, especially in the Dombas. South-Western Front was reduced to two under strength armies but was expected to rely on the Dnepr to provide defensive cover. The other priority sector was Leningrad were it was clear the Germans were building up for a major offensive.

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

Yes suddenly the war seemed so very personal. Both my brothers were now serving on the Leningrad Front. Sacha's squadron was pulled out of training and committed to the sector. Vladimir was with the 30 Army at Novgorod. Our home city was shortly to be on the front line.




(Stormoviks deployed near Novgorod)

< Message edited by loki100 -- 4/9/2015 12:18:47 PM >


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Post #: 34
Turn 8: 7-13 August 1941 - 4/13/2015 9:45:27 AM   
loki100


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Turn 8: 7-13 August 1941

The relative lull of the last two weeks was shattered on 7-8 August as the Germans renewed their offensives at Leningrad and the Ukraine as well as exerted some pressure in the Smolensk sector. By the middle of August Stavka was facing crises at Leningrad and in the Ukraine. South Western Front had effectively ceased to exist as a combat formation at the time when all reinforcements and replacements were needed in the brutal defensive battles in the north.

Leningrad

The Soviet line on the Luga was breached in the western sector. As the Germans pushed almost to the Black Sea at Pushkin they encircled the bulk of 33 Army. Soviet combat reports suggested that Leningrad Front was facing 3 full Panzer Corps (41, 56 and 57P) and 4 Infantry Corps (38, 50, 2 and 10) indicating the Germans had committed the equivalent of 3 full armies to the battle.

The result was to bring the Germans to less than 20 miles south of Leningrad. However, 30 Army's positions at Novgorod had not been attacked and Stavka was able to replace the losses in 33 Army allowing a new defensive line to be constructed.



At the same time the Finnish army forced back 7 Army, securing control of the northern end of Lake Ladoga.



Stavka's response was to make the defence of Leningrad the priority. If the Germans had committed so much of their elite forces then as long as they were involved in this campaign they were not available to attack Moscow.


(Soviet reserves moving up from Leningrad)

Smolensk

In the centre the Germans completed the destruction of the small pocket on the Dnepr and pushed over the Pronya. However fierce resistance by 13 Army limited their gains.



The result was to stall the German drive on Moscow and allow Stavka more time to build up the defences on the Rzhev-Vyazma-Tula line. The limited German pressure allowed the Soviets time to pull back out of the threatened encirclement and deploy to new defensive positions along the Desna.



Overall it appeared as if the Germans had weakened their forces in the centre, reducing the pressure on Moscow. The bulk of their armour on this sector was in the Vitebsk sector in preparation for an attack on Smolensk. Their main offensive was being led by 4 infantry corps just north of Gomel.

Ukraine

However, the largest disaster fell on South Western Front. 5 Army was encircled at Kiev as the Germans managed to cross the Dnepr to the south and 12 Army was pocketed along the Dnepr north of Cherkassy.

Further south the Germans were less successful. Southern Front managed to fend off a German offensive in the Dnepr bend. German Panzers and motorised troops reached the outskirts of both Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhe early on 12 August [1]. In response, 9 and 49 Armies counter-attacked at Dnepropetrovsk, routing the LAH SS [2] and relieving German pressure on this major industrial city.



In turn 18 Army attack on the Ingulets river, driving back a Hungarian unit and re-establishing communications with units in the Kirovgrad pocket. The only set back was the failure of 19 Army to over-run the 16 Pzr division trapped on the east bank of the Dnepr.


[3]

This left a confusing situation all along the lower Dnepr. At Kiev and north of Cherkassy, the bulk of SW Front was encircled. To the south, Southern Front had managed a series of bruising counter-attacks that had seriously disrupted the German offensive towards Dnepropetrovsk. Even where these had failed, the German forward units east of Cherkassy were now cut off.



Despite the disaster of SW Front, it was clear that all the German motorised formations in the Ukraine were now fully committed. Across the entire battle front from the Baltic to the Black Sea the only German mobile units not fully engaged were the estimated 4-5 Panzer Corps in the Smolensk sector.

Commentary





This turn I spend some of the admin points from the activation of Reserve Front on removing the worst of the army commanders. This does indicate which armies are weak as a full strength army should have 100-120,000 men. Note that 6 and 26 Armies of SW Front have almost no combat units.


[1] – both still full of industry ..
[2] – even better I managed to rout it twice more as it kept on arriving where I could reach with units in the pockets to the west
[3] – the no +1 rule is really changing my approach. Its clear the Germans can push spearheads into what would have been risky situations (of course this is balanced by their new supply problems).


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


Sacha's squadron did their best to support 33 Army. Their first mission on 8 August was swamped by the number of German planes – perhaps fortunately all their fighters were trying to protect their own bombers rather than stop our Sturmoviks



On the 11th it was much worse. This time the Luftwaffe targetted our bombers. Fortunately for Sacha their escorts were using Yak-1s not the I-16s that most of our fighter squadrons relied on.

His plane was badly damaged but he managed to land safely. Whether it was worth the loss of so many new pilots and some of our best planes?




(Sturmoviks in action near Leningrad)

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Post #: 35
RE: Turn 8: 7-13 August 1941 - 4/13/2015 1:40:54 PM   
morvael


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Disaster in the north, disaster in the south, why not launch an offensive?

In my PBEM game cpt flam also approached Leningrad from the west, and even though the front line was at Pushkin and in the rough terrains south, the defenses held in the end. It's tempting for the Axis to go where terrain is more friendly than the swamps north of Novgorod, but this leads to a front based on urban, rough and swamp terrain. End of panzer use.

How's the "fac evac" progressing?

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Post #: 36
RE: Turn 8: 7-13 August 1941 - 4/13/2015 2:41:00 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

Disaster in the north, disaster in the south, why not launch an offensive?

In my PBEM game cpt flam also approached Leningrad from the west, and even though the front line was at Pushkin and in the rough terrains south, the defenses held in the end. It's tempting for the Axis to go where terrain is more friendly than the swamps north of Novgorod, but this leads to a front based on urban, rough and swamp terrain. End of panzer use.

How's the "fac evac" progressing?


aye I think the apparent ease of moving through Estonia really doesn't pay off in the end. I was able to place a decent defence on the SE side of Lake Ilmen and then pour units into the Leningrad-Novgorod sector. We are up to T13 and he's isolated Leningrad but his main assault forces are fully engaged with my units along the Volkhov so I'd be surprised if he could manage to attack the city itself at the same time.

I think I've managed a good trade off of losses for factories. I don't think Moscow is at risk this year now so I can move those factories at my leisure over the winter. Add the Moscow factories to what I've moved and I've saved 55 HI (so only need to move 14 more from the eastern Ukraine for the 200 target), 89 arms pts (50 more to meet the minimum target, but yet to even start on Stalino) and have lost no trucks.

The price is in losses (again for end T12): 120,000 dead, 260,000 disabled/not returned and 1.4m million prisoners. I think he'll get another 300,000 or so before the autumn mud so that is relatively high and going to cause me arms pts shortages in early 1942. But I can replace them by the 'reserve army' trick over winter so would reckon on 6.5-7m by summer 1942. If so, the game is pretty well balanced.

But that will mean, esp with mild winter and no +1, a relatively ineffective winter offensive

< Message edited by loki100 -- 4/13/2015 3:43:49 PM >


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Post #: 37
Turn 9: 14-20 August 1941 - 4/17/2015 10:50:30 AM   
loki100


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Turn 9: 14-20 August 1941

By mid-August the focus for both armies was Leningrad. The Germans made limited gains around Smolensk and destroyed the trapped Soviet forces at Kiev. However, they made no attempt to renew their offensive in the Dneipr bend. The Soviet defence at Odessa was adding to their problems in the south with an entire Romanian army pinned down around the city.




(Soviet Marines in action near Odessa)

The fighting in the north was bitter. On the 14th the Finns launched a massive attack at Hanko and overwhelmed the Soviet garrison following a massive air bombardment.

However, the main action was the area south of Leningrad and north of the Luga. The initial German attacks were designed to secure their rear by eliminating the units of 33 Army trapped the previous week. They followed this by breaking through at Stworzy and Pushkin to reach the outskirts of Leningrad. In turn this trapped a small Soviet force at Oranienbaum and the Leningrad command quickly built up this small bridgehead with sailors from the Baltic Fleet.

Despite the significance of their breakthrough at Pushkin the main fighting took place in the 33 Army sector as they tried to reach Novgorod and cut the Moscow-Leningrad rail lines.

The opening attack was led by their 2 Infantry Corps backed by substantial artillery that managed to dislodge 151 Rifle from Divenskaya despite the intervention of the VVS.



Forced out of its entrenchments, 151 Rifle fell back, only to be overwhelmed by 12 Panzer Division backed by 80 Ju-88s and substantial axis fighter cover to prevent any more Soviet air interdiction.

By the 17th the situation was becoming critical as an SS Motorised Division sought to exploit these gains by attacking at Jamtestowa in an attempt to break open 30 Army's positions.

Again, their attack was supported by a massive air attack but they had become over confident and and had to stop the offensive when it was clear that 187 Rifle Division had made the most of the poor terrain to improvise a make-shift defence.



A follow up attack on the 18th was also fended off when Soviet Il-2s evaded the German fighters and struck their command centres.




(Evacuating Soviet wounded at Jamtestowa)

As a result both 30 and 33 Armies were able to slip out of the threatened encirclements and fall back to new defensive lines. 33 Army held the wooded terrain south of Kolpino and 30 Army hastily dug in along the Oredezh.



Recognising the critical nature of these battles, Stavka allocated all possible reserves to Northern Front. Some were used to improve the Soviet front line positions but most were held back in reserve along the Volkhov.

OOB and discussion



Overall, the destruction of SW Front meant the Soviets lost a net 38,000 men, 2,000 guns and 1,000 tanks (but this was partly balanced as the manpower in reserve increased from 333,000 to 342,000). SW Front itself has now shrunk to 260,000 men compared to 434,000 last week.

The combination of the intense battles at Leningrad, the effective destruction of a complete front in the northern Ukraine and the desire to ensure the defences at Moscow were as strong as possible was putting the Red Army under impossible strain. In the Ukraine the only real hope was that the Germans were facing severe supply problems and would be unable to exploit the situation.

In the meantime, Stavka scraped together a small force to defend Kharkov (which was now the priority for industrial evacuation) [1] and steadily built up a reserve in the Donets under the notional control of the North Caucasus Military District. This would be enough to defeat a limited German attack on this vital region and could be released to either Southern or South Western Fronts in case of opportunity. The reality was that from Orel to the Dombas, there was no structured Soviet defence. What was left was a set of isolated defensive positions around key cities or rail junctions.

German losses in the week were 17,000 men, 56 tanks and 52 aircraft. The Soviets lost 190,000 men (165,000 taken prisoner), 353 tanks and 220 aircraft.


[1] – I'll do a detailed report on the industrial situation once we reach the mud turns, think it will make more sense in that context.

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

How did that affect you?

How do you think. My mother and sister were still in Leningrad. I heard that my sister was drafted to near the front to dig trenches.


(soviet defensive preparations on the outskirts of Leningrad)

Worse news was that Sacha's plane had been shot down on 18 August. All we knew was it went down behind the German lines but in an area only weakly held by their troops.

Did it affect your work?

How, why? Others were from the Ukraine and the Germans had just captured Kiev. We lost the last small area of eastern Bielorussia as they completed their encirclement at Smolensk. We had no time for such indulgences.


< Message edited by loki100 -- 4/17/2015 11:52:13 AM >


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Post #: 38
RE: Turn 9: 14-20 August 1941 - 4/17/2015 6:21:22 PM   
gingerbread


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What units does the Urals MD control?

You are through the reinforcement doldrums, T7-9, so this does not look too bad.

When you do your industry report, please comment on if you think the No Lvow is too much a give.

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Post #: 39
RE: Turn 9: 14-20 August 1941 - 4/17/2015 7:32:57 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

What units does the Urals MD control?

You are through the reinforcement doldrums, T7-9, so this does not look too bad.

When you do your industry report, please comment on if you think the No Lvow is too much a give.


at this stage Urals has the units that I intend to throw straight into the fighting, so they spawn with morale >42 and a decent TOE. South Urals are units I want to hold back, these are either the very weak or the very good, in both cases its a sort of mental reminder not to just link them up to an army and hurl them into the line

I've learnt a lot from my last PBEM and generally got better at managing the arms pts/admin pts/manpower cycle in 1941 so hopefully can get as much into the line for as little investment as possible

re Lvow, more in my favour than I realised when we discussed the game. I hadn't realised the patch removed FBD5 - or more strictly hadn't understood the implication. Lvov is not just a means to cull the SW Front (which Vigabrand now has done) but allows an unrealistic transfer of FBD into Romania. Problem is you sometimes need some unrealism in order to get a good balanced game so I'm really hoping that what I thought was a pretty neutral idea hasn't become a source of long term inbalance.

But we're up to T14 and he's making pretty good progress everywhere apart from the S Ukraine and I don't think that would have been helped, in that instance the loss of FBD5 is fundamental in terms of resupply (but is one reason why I've decided to deny him Odessa as long as possible).

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Post #: 40
Turn 10: 21-27 August 1941 - 4/23/2015 7:28:12 AM   
loki100


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Turn 10: 21-27 August 1941

In the Ukraine, the Germans completed their destruction of the Soviet units around Cherkassy and made some progress to the east of the Dneipr. However, at Dnepropetrovsk and the south, they did not renew their earlier offensive allowing the Soviets to construct defensive lines and evacuate this key industrial region.


(Soviet armour destroyed near Cherkassy)

The main action remained the bitter fighting at Leningrad. 30 Army was relying on holding Novgorod to secure its southern flank. Unfortunately, German units captured the city by the 23rd after 2 days of intensive fighting. Backed by massive air support, their 10 Corps drove back 127 Rifle.



With this defeat, 30 Army's positions on the Oredezh were exposed.


(street fighting in Novgorod)

41 Panzer Corps exploited the situation, driving along the west bank of the Volkhov towards Myashoy Bor while the infantry of 50 Corps struck at Jamtestowe. There was no repeat of last weeks successful defence as the juncture between 30 and 33 Armies was broken open.



By the 25th, 7 rifle divisions of 30 Army were encircled and the army had effectly ceased to exist as a combat formation.



Stavka's response was quick. All available reinforcements were committed as 30 Army quickly strengthened its defences on the Volkhov. Facing the threat of encirclement, 33 Army fell back to Posadnitovo and the lower Volkhov.

To the north, 7 Army had successfully evaded a Finnish attempt to pocket the army and was falling back down the Karelian isthmus. This would help improve the Soviet defences on the northern part of the Volkhov.

The German offensive had suceeded in partially isolating Leningrad but Stavka was able to prioritise this sector due to the lack of pressure on the main Moscow axis.



Overall, the Soviets gained 70,000 men in this week. Despite its losses, Northern Front actually increased by 30,000 men as Stavka poured reserves into the battle. However, South Western Front remained weak, actually losing another 15,000 men (net) and Southern Front lost 40,000 (mainly from 18 Army at Cherkassy).

The Soviet position in the Ukraine remained critically weak as Stavka allocated fresh units to Leningrad and to build up the freshly designated Bryansk Front at Orel.

The casualty ratio favoured the Germans. They lost 17,000 men, 46 tanks and 30 planes. Soviet losses were 160,000 men (140,000 as prisoners), 619 tanks and 257 planes.

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Turn 11: 28 August – 3 September 1941 - 4/27/2015 7:18:29 PM   
loki100


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Turn 11: 28 August – 3 September 1941

The end of August saw the German offensive at Leningrad briefly stall as they dealt with the substantial Soviet forces trapped in pockets in the previous week. Their main gains were to cross the upper Volkhov around Novgorod and cut the land connection to Leningrad as they reached the southern shores of Lake Ladoga.


(Soviet cavalry in action on the Volkhov)

Elsewhere there was relatively limited fighting as they prepared for a new set of offensives. Despite this Soviet losses escalated with another 117,000 lost (100,000 as prisoners) together with 300 tanks and 145 planes.

Despite the loss of the equivalent of another army, Stavka continued to prioritise the Leningrad fighting, sending all available reinforcements to the Northern Front.



August had seen massive losses of men but the Germans were being held at Moscow. In the Ukraine they had run into supply problems despite their victory at Kiev. In the north, Leningrad was isolated but they were in no position to attack the city till they had managed to overcome the fierce resistance of Northern Front along the Volkhov.



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

Sacha's squadron (285 ShAP)was withdrawn, they had inflicted a lot of damage on the Germans but had taken steady losses among their pilots. They needed to rest, and reinforce before being committed again.



No word of him. But then Northern Front had lost almost 200,000 men in the last four weeks in a series of encirclement battles. Not all were prisoners, some escaped into the marshes and woods to join with the partisans and others escaped through the German lines.


(Red Army troops and partisans north of Novgorod)

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Post #: 42
Turn 12: 4 – 10 September 1941 - 5/5/2015 10:21:49 AM   
loki100


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Turn 12: 4 – 10 September 1941

The first week in September saw the Germans take control of the upper Volkhov sector and renew their offensive at Moscow.


(Soviet Marines prepare to defend Leningrad)

In the north, they managed to trap another 6 Soviet divisions (mostly from 33 Army) while their spearheads captured the rail junction at Bugodoshev breaking the direct Tikhvin-Kalinin rail link.

However, 7 Army had completed its retreat from Karelia and was able to replace 33 Army defending Volkhov. In turn that allowed 33 Army to redeploy to screen the German spearheads. 30 Army was again reinforced and handed the defence of the Msta line to North-Western Front's 27 Army.



NW Front also came under pressure as the Germans launched a limited offensive around Staraya Russa driving back 8 Army.


(Soviet artillery in action near Yelnya)

At Moscow, substantial elements of 3 and 10 Armies were encircled around Yelnya. In response Western Front fell back towards Spas-Demyansk and the Bolva river.



The renewal of the German offensive at Moscow started to strectch the Soviet defences. Most of the front to the south of Bryansk was only weakly held as Stavka poured fresh formations and reinforcements into the Leningrad and Moscow battles.

In the Ukraine, only limited combat took place as the Germans hastily tried to improve their supply lines.



Both sides suffered relatively heavy losses given the limited nature of the fighting. Axis losses were 12,000 men, 35 tanks and 45 planes and the Soviets lost 52,000 men, 270 tanks and 230 planes.



Overall, despite heavy losses am gaining strength. In effect at Leningrad I'm replacing my losses each turn while the Moscow defences are being strengthened. Apart from in the Dombas area, the Ukraine is very weak with stronger sectors around Orel, around Kharkov and on the lower Dneipr.

In the air, I'm keeping around 3,000 planes at the forward bases with the bulk at Moscow or Leningrad. In terms of managing the VVS am raising new fighter squadrons, night bombers (I rather like the U2s), and fighter squadrons as bombers. The latter will be the basis for the Il-2 force that you can start to develop in 1942 (after the Mig-3 factories convert) and it helps to have decent morale and some experience.

To improve morale, I'm using Morvael's trick of a reserve air force. In this case a cluster of bases assigned to 4 BAK where I assign the lowest morale units for a turn and then back to reserve. You can push a freshly raised unit to a morale of around 55 in about 6 weeks doing this. This also helps units that have had their morale shattered in combat to recover.

_____________________________


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Post #: 43
RE: Turn 12: 4 – 10 September 1941 - 5/5/2015 1:22:00 PM   
morvael


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It's not a trick, they are just training extensively flying to Siberia and back to Europe on a weekly basis :)

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Post #: 44
RE: Turn 12: 4 – 10 September 1941 - 5/5/2015 1:38:54 PM   
821Bobo


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Why wasting 4BAK for this? I am using for training purposes the Southern Ural Air HQ(or what is the name)

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Post #: 45
RE: Turn 12: 4 – 10 September 1941 - 5/5/2015 5:25:23 PM   
M60A3TTS


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What do you accomplish by sending them to this faux air command instead of straight to the reserve?

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Post #: 46
RE: Turn 12: 4 – 10 September 1941 - 5/6/2015 6:06:12 AM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

It's not a trick, they are just training extensively flying to Siberia and back to Europe on a weekly basis :)


Indeed, its amazing what flying skills you can learn between Magnitovorsk and a field somewhere in the middle of Russia

quote:

ORIGINAL: 821Bobo

Why wasting 4BAK for this? I am using for training purposes the Southern Ural Air HQ(or what is the name)


at this stage it makes little difference. I have spare command slots in all my fronts (and many armies) so no need to leave armies reporting to Stavka. I'll rethink once I have the army built up but by mid-42 you probably won't be recruiting masses of new air squadrons but relying on your existing set

quote:

ORIGINAL: M60A3TTS

What do you accomplish by sending them to this faux air command instead of straight to the reserve?


every time you send an air unit to the reserve you get a morale bonus (I think its +5). So with the gain over time and this boost you can convert a freshly raised unit to decent morale pretty quickly - certainly far better than just leaving them in the reserve. This really works as a large exercise in 1941 when you will be raising new units but at the same time you really don't need most of your airbases for combat operations

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Post #: 47
Turn 13: 11-16 September 1941 - 5/6/2015 10:10:27 PM   
loki100


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Turn 13: 11-16 September 1941

Mid September saw the first heavy rains of the Autumn affecting all of northern Russia and stopping all operations at Leningrad and Moscow [1].



However, the ground remained solid to the south of Moscow and the Germans hit Bryansk Front on the Desna.

This shift presented a direct threat to the major industrial centre at Tula and of outflanking the Moscow defences to their south. In an attempt to disrupt the German offensive, Stavka ordered a series of bruising counterattacks.

13 Army struck the northern flank held by the German 8 Infantry Corps and 21 Army hit the southern flank of their encirclement.



21 Army was allocated substantial air cover and hit the extended German motorised formation opening up the southern sector of the pocket and allowing most Soviet units to fall back towards the Oska and to reinforce the defences at Orel.


(Mig-3 taking off near Orel)




(Soviet AT rifle teams in action near Bryansk)



Again, despite heavy losses, the Red Army grew by a net 70,000 men with almost all of these extra troops thrown into a last desperate attempt to hold onto Leningrad.


[1] – I have been pretty lucky with the weather, this was well timed to rescue my battered defensive lines on the Volkhov.

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Post #: 48
Turn 14: 18-24 September 1941 - 5/10/2015 2:40:43 PM   
loki100


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From: Utlima Thule
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Turn 14: 18-24 September 1941

Mid-September saw a renewal of the German offensive across the front. Soviet forces at Dnepropetrovsk were encircled and Bryansk-Orel sector saw vicious fighting as the Germans pushed for Tula. In the north, they consolidated their grip on the east bank of the Volkhov breaking the front held by 7 and 30 Armies.

Leningrad

At Leningrad, the Soviet positions started to crumble. The Germans were content to screen 27 Army (NW Front) on the Msta and turned almost all their assault divisions north. The rail bridge at Volkhov fell as 7 Army fell back to try and hold the line of the lower Chagodos. The supply line to Leningrad was already becoming stretched, reliant on the small port of Sviritsa and with the nearest major rail junction at Tikhvin.



Orel

The fighting south of the Oka and at Orel was the most intense of the week. Although the Germans managed to destroy the Soviet forces trapped at Bryansk and Yelnya. They also had setbacks. Western Front's 3 Army clung onto Spas-Demensk despite repeated attacks.




(Soviet defensive positions at Spas-Demensk)

Also, the heavily reinforced VVS took the Luftwaffe by surprise. Clearly used to facing little opposition, the Germans made the mistake of sending in unescorted bombers on a sector where Stavka had recently deployed some of the best Soviet fighter squadrons. Some victories raised Soviet morale after the battering the VVS had taken since June.




(Soviet fighter pilot decorated for shooting down 2 German bombers)[1]

However, despite these victories, the Soviets faced a major disaster as the Germans reached Orel and drove back Bryansk Front. In response Western Front abandoned the salient between the Oka and the Bolva falling back to the Oka. This allowed a substantial improvement to the defences at Tula. To its south, Bryansk Front was effectively shattered by the fighting in the last 2 weeks. 10 divisions were now cut off behind the German spearheads and the Front had less than 50% of its notional strength to try and prevent the Germans swinging around to the south of Tula. Its southern flank was defended by a few rifle brigades holding key river bridges and rail junctions.



Dnepropetrovsk

Around Dnepropetrovsk, the Germans renewed their offensive. However, a powerful counterattack by the rebuilt 9 Army inflicted heavy losses on their 16 Motorised division enabling the Soviets to open the pocket and resupply the units defending the key industrial city.



To the south, the Rumanian 1 Armoured Division had become overextended near Armyansk and was driven back with heavy losses by elements of the Coastal Army. After several days of heavy fighting it had lost 30% of its tanks.





This was the only sector where Stavka felt confident it could stall any further German advances. The gap from Orel to Kharkov was held by little more than a weak screen as SW Front continued to be starved of reinforcements.

Even though Southern Front had been battered in the recent battles it was clinging to the lower Dneipr and preventing the Germans from consolidating their recent gains. The longer these battles raged, the more Stavka was building up a substantial reserve under the Caucasus MD in the Donets region.

Equally each small counterattack bought time to continue the evacuation of the massive industrial capacity of Stalino and surrounding cities.

OOB and commentary



Front line strength actually dropped over the week even though total strength went up. New infantry brigades are all at 50% TOE as I'll use them to cover the rear, maintain fort lines and as the core of the 'reserve' army I'll build up over winter. Most new tank brigades are also at 50% as I think I gain more from the attached tank battalions so those have priority. Some tank brigades are at 100% and will go to identified armies to help the winter offensive.

In terms of losses, the Soviets lost 115,000 men (70,000 as prisoners), 240 tanks and 300 planes. Axis losses were 17,000 men, 90 tanks (reflecting the Orel-Oka battles) and 110 planes.

So far I've lost 1.5m as prisoners and another 100,000+ will be lost on T15. There are around 150,000 men in Leningrad, which is now doomed and I suspect there will be more small pockets till mud stalls the German offensive. This is starting to become worrying but I am basically trading off the 1941 army for the survival of my industrial base.

As is clear from the maps – in order to concentrate on key sectors there are huge gaps in my front. It all feels as if I am the verge of a major collapse.

Given the new 1942 rules, I am not that confident I've yet found a good balance. But will persist with constantly trying to open up pockets so as to slow the German advance.

As in this turn, you can attack in 1941 without the +1 rule but you need to set things up with more care. But roughly 1-1 in apparent CV, combined with the likely levels of fatigue for German units at this stage, seems to be a good basis for winning about 80% of your attacks.

[1] – Most female Soviet pilots either flew aircraft being transferred or the U2s on partisan resupply or night attacks. Despite post-war myths, they were not welcomed by male pilots in fighter squadrons. The picture is of Lydia Litvyak one of the few decorated fighter aces from an all female squadron that took part in the Moscow battles at the end of 1941 (they mostly used Yak-1s).

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(in reply to loki100)
Post #: 49
RE: Turn 14: 18-24 September 1941 - 5/11/2015 12:41:55 AM   
Peltonx


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What is your OOB at and what are your total losses to date as far as men go?

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Post #: 50
RE: Turn 14: 18-24 September 1941 - 5/14/2015 9:58:30 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7496
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From: Utlima Thule
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Pelton

What is your OOB at and what are your total losses to date as far as men go?


Losses by the end of Sept were 2.1m but Vigabrand has another 120,000 trapped (and doomed at Moscow), plus about 80,000 in pockets that will be sealed in the next turn or so.

OOB is 4.9m.

So I think I've run up too many losses but, as in the next post, the reward is to have hung onto all the key cities. With only 2 turns till the main mud season, I doubt he'll be able to take Stalino or Tula before the November snows

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Post #: 51
Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/14/2015 10:00:59 PM   
loki100


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Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941

The end of September saw continued German pressure in the same three sectors as the previous week.

At Leningrad, Stavka reluctantly accepted that Leningrad was lost. Major German attacks captured Tikhvin and forced the Syas. This eliminated the final defensive line protecting Sveritsa and threatened 7 and 33 Armies with encirclement.


(exhausted Soviet troops retreating at Tikhvin)

At Moscow, Western Front managed to redeploy and build multiple defence lines covering Tula. In turn Bryansk Front dug in to the south of Tula and launched a series of counterattacks that broke open the German encirclement of units falling back from Orel.






(Destroyed German tanks near Orel)

In the south, the Germans firmly sealed their encirclement of Dnepropetrovsk. However, as at Tula, fresh Soviet units were able to breach a secondary pocket on the Volchya. Again, combat formations were sacrificed in an attempt to slow the German drive on Stalino.





OOB



Overall



September had seen heavy fighting and the Red Army had lost 400,000 men (320,000 as prisoners) as it had tried to stall the German advance. The Axis had lost 57,000 as they tried to eliminate fierce Soviet resistance.

The Soviet tactics of localised counterattacks to try and break open German pockets had probably led to higher losses overall but also had delayed the Germans as each encirclement battle was stretched over 3-4 weeks before they finally managed to eliminate the Soviet defenders.




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Post #: 52
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/16/2015 2:04:51 PM   
lowtech

 

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Wow. Very nice AAR

Hope you hear better news concerning your brother...

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Post #: 53
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/16/2015 6:13:54 PM   
gingerbread


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470k ARM and 1.1M Supply left at the end of T15. Impressive, what tricks are you using? I first guessed on no Art SU in the Armies, but then I spotted some in the battle screen shots.

In any case, 2850 Manpower in your territory is a rather valid indicator that the Axis advance has been stymied.

Eagerly awaiting the evacuation white paper.

(in reply to lowtech)
Post #: 54
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/17/2015 8:20:56 AM   
VigaBrand

 

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From: Germany
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Don't forget, that you save many Arm in 1.08. because of cheap upgrades.
You don't need to built new sapper, the engine upgrade most of them for some Arm.
Maybe that is an explanation.

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Post #: 55
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/17/2015 10:21:36 AM   
gingerbread


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Well at T15, it's roughly 400k more ARM in the pool than in Loki's game vs SigUp. See post #54 here.

The reduced TOE of the 41b Rifle Division would account for some but there is most likely something else as well.

(in reply to VigaBrand)
Post #: 56
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/17/2015 11:16:02 AM   
morvael


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The priority of fac evac clearly shifts from ARM to HI.

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Post #: 57
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/17/2015 8:56:58 PM   
loki100


Posts: 7496
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From: Utlima Thule
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

470k ARM and 1.1M Supply left at the end of T15. Impressive, what tricks are you using? I first guessed on no Art SU in the Armies, but then I spotted some in the battle screen shots.

In any case, 2850 Manpower in your territory is a rather valid indicator that the Axis advance has been stymied.

Eagerly awaiting the evacuation white paper.

quote:

ORIGINAL: VigaBrand

Don't forget, that you save many Arm in 1.08. because of cheap upgrades.
You don't need to built new sapper, the engine upgrade most of them for some Arm.
Maybe that is an explanation.

quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

Well at T15, it's roughly 400k more ARM in the pool than in Loki's game vs SigUp. See post #54 here.

The reduced TOE of the 41b Rifle Division would account for some but there is most likely something else as well.


I'll answer this as a batch. Will do a more detailed post about industry etc as I now have evidence from my AI game to late 1943 - this is interesting about potential choke points and where shortages may be - even if, inevitably, I have more industry and a bigger army than in PBEM.

The main reason for the changes above is the new routines in 1.08 - in particular that SUs default to Stavka not the linear command level. Especially for SW Front that makes a huge difference in terms of re-allocation. My view is that up to more or less this stage in 1941 you don't need to buy many new SUs as you can re-allocate what you have so much more easily.


I have a default structure where each army has 3 artillery SUs, 2 engineers and 1 AA. You can do this quite easily with the at start stock. I also hold back the bigger guns within Stavka till about now. I now start giving those out to the Shock Armies as they arrive or any regular army that has better units/command than the average.

Before, you got a lot of SUs stuck esp in SW Front and it was tempting to raise more to fill out your desired OOBs.

I also am better at managing returning units. If a rifle division comes back with low experience etc I'm setting it at 80% TOE for now, again that saves arms pts. All the rifle brigades and most tank brigades are at 50% (I don't plan to use them in combat so that saves arms pts and manpower over a critical period). Some tank brigades I'll operate with the cav corps so they go to 100%. In turn that allows me to allocate the relatively scarce 1941 tank pool to tank bns (=more power in the cav corps).

Worked out a lot of this in an vs AI game, but its implicit in the 1.08 changes. In effect there are huge admin/arms pts savings in there - if you look for it - that more than offsets the obvious additional costs around new air units/airbases etc.

quote:

ORIGINAL: morvael

The priority of fac evac clearly shifts from ARM to HI.


thats another trade off - I don't think you need to spend that much more rail pts on evac, but you need a different pattern of evacuations. Also I do think you need to be prepared to lose more of the 1941 army while extracting the industrial base that will fuel your recovery from late 1942.


< Message edited by loki100 -- 5/17/2015 9:58:46 PM >


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Post #: 58
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/18/2015 6:10:46 AM   
Gabriel B.

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

Well at T15, it's roughly 400k more ARM in the pool than in Loki's game vs SigUp. See post #54 here.

The reduced TOE of the 41b Rifle Division would account for some but there is most likely something else as well.


Vigabrand did not really put him under the same presure as SigUp.

(in reply to gingerbread)
Post #: 59
RE: Turn 15: 25 September – 1 October 1941 - 5/18/2015 8:03:58 AM   
loki100


Posts: 7496
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Gabriel B.


quote:

ORIGINAL: gingerbread

Well at T15, it's roughly 400k more ARM in the pool than in Loki's game vs SigUp. See post #54 here.

The reduced TOE of the 41b Rifle Division would account for some but there is most likely something else as well.


Vigabrand did not really put him under the same presure as SigUp.


I think he is playing for 1942. While its clear that is now the decisive year (assuming no Soviet collapse in 1941), I personally think he has been too worried about his supply lines and perhaps put too much into Leningrad.

The last few turns, most of my army is exhausted, especially where the fighting has been sustained - I find this tends to happen just at the end of the summer-autumn 1941 battles. Now of course its true the Germans are exhausted too, but they are the side that needs to make things happen - I'm happy enough just to sit back and recover (if I can).

The problem with a '1942-first' mindset is if it means I can build up to the extent that any offensive quickly just runs into a wall of Soviet formations.

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