From: Rochester, New York
On turn 4, the Finns were having a lutefisk celebration and forgot to move, but this turn they advance to the Lake Janis line.
In the north, I opt against the right hook around Lake Ilmen because I haven't devoted a lot of resources to Army Group North and I am worried I will get stuck. LVI and XXXXI panzer corps approached Leningrad. Thankfully, I could cross at the north end of the Luga, where it looks like the defenses are thinner and the terrain more friendly to panzers. My goals are to avoid the swamps as much as I can. I don't think I will pocket anything at the Luga line but hope to break into the fort line to make the rest of the line untenable.
In my game vs. the AI, I took Leningrad by crossing the Volkhov and taking the border ports. That seems more difficult vs. a human opponent, so I will potentially try and cross the Neva with brute force. I understand that there is also a strategy where you bomb the port down, but that it is risky and you can lose a lot of planes if the opponent sets up flak.
In the south, I don’t fight. My opponent has chosen to save his forces and is defending the Dnepr in force. I try to move as many infantry as I can close to the river for a bridgehead next turn. My understanding is that infantry is much better at attacking across the river than tanks, so next turn I want to be able to set up stacks of infantry for a prepared attack. I try not to move my tanks much, except for moving the tanks near Kiev south and as close to the rail line as they can go, so that they can pick where to exploit next turn. It seems like a large portion of his strength is near Kiev so I don’t think I can take the city without much pain and heartache. My other tank corps are idling near Cherkassy and in cities for now.
The best for last: I am very proud of this pocket. I know that destruction of the Soviet army is the German’s #1 goal, and that pockets are normal for experts, but this came off well. It is the first real pocket since the rush at the beginning. Gassing up the panzers last turn came off well, and I was able to surround Smolensk, breaking the line above and below it with massed infantry. By my count I have 3 panzer corps and 12 infantry corps, so a significant portion of the German army is here in force. I expected to get only the pocket around Smolensk, but found that I had panzers left (one was in reserve at Vitebsk and I believe had 50 MPs) and was able to attack the Dnepr line from behind, allowing 2 divisions in the 4th Army to come behind.
However, there is one weak spot in the Smolensk pocket, which I circled in the close-up picture. I have concern that units could potentially rail in close to the weak spot, where they only have to win 1 battle against a regiment to open the pocket. Thankfully, the strong local mech/tank units are inside the pocket.
The Germans have good morale and the quartermasters send home shipments of boots and winter clothing, because what could go wrong?
< Message edited by Girshwin -- 6/29/2016 12:42:45 AM >
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