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My D21 attempt - 3/23/2018 7:11:05 PM   
700851McCall

 

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'When a man is tired of invading the Soviet Union, he is tired of life.'

Is what Dr Johnson would have said if he had been a wargamer. Probably.

Anyway here is my game so far. We join the action at turn 114, July 22nd 1942.

The Case Blue offensive is over but we have made some significant gains in territory and objectives and much of the summer campaigning season is still left.

Starting with Army Group North, here's the overview:



And a close up of the battle lines:



In my first attempt I was too slow in my advance and was unable to take Leningrad. In my second attempt at the scenario, which is this one, I went like the clappers, got around the city and cut the life road. I also kept all of my Stuka squadrons out of the action except for hitting the Baltic Fleet any time it moved out of port. Having sunk all the Soviet boats the Stukas were then diverted en masse down south to do the same with the Black Sea Fleet.

With no supply at all going in I was able to reduce the defenders with artillery and mop them up. Moping up concluded just before the muddy season. Losses were very light.

I saw no need to advance further here, the terrain is marsh, forest and many rivers, it would just be a slugfest that would cost thousands of rifle squads. No point in attacking where the enemy is strongest unless you have no choice.

We bombard the Soviet lines twice a week with all arty over 100% supply. Ivan always has some juicy orange and occasionally red stacks to aim at. Casualties are in the thirtieth percentile, I estimate the enemy to be losing 2000 squads a week in this sector alone.

The Soviet has given up assaulting this line, all his attacks failed with 100 to 1 casualties or greater.

Army Group Centre (overview)



And a close up of the Moscow sector



Operation Typhoon only managed to get me to 100 km from Moscow, I elected to dig in whilst still strong rather than overextend my thrust and fall prey to the Soviet winter offensive. Consequently Case Blue had two chief objectives: Moscow and the oil fields at Maikop.

As you can see I did manage to bash through to the city centre and the Kremlin. Soviet paras (tough bastards) counterattacked my exhausted troops and drove them out, but were themselves retreated again by fresh German reserves. I was, however, unable to surround the city or push further into the eastern suburbs by the end of the offensive.

This whole sector is now re-supplying. I'm hoping a second push in a few weeks time will clear the remainder of Moscow and its suburbs.

Army Group South:

Overview:



And a close up of the Stalingrad area



I was able to capture Rostov, and convert the rail line that runs like an arrow to the southeast down on into it, prior to the start of Case Blue. Capturing that rail line is essential to capturing Rostov and being able to make a move into the Caucasus, and Ivan knows this and hangs onto it like his balls.

Once that was taken the Soviet front in the south collapsed completely during Case Blue. So I decided to go for broke and attempt a drive on Stalingrad as well as diving south for the oil fields. There is not really enough troops or supply to do both, so it is gamble. I have no idea what sort of strength the Soviets will be able to muster for a winter counter-offensive in this area. If it's a lot then I might be screwed.

Finally, this may look like bugs going after a spill, but it is actually Army Group Caucasus which has achieved its primary objective of capturing Maikop and the oil wells and is now re-supplying before mopping up and moving to defensive positions.



And a close up of the Maikop sector:




One thing I learnt in my first aborted attempt is that you have to pay close attention to the rail lines. Work out which rail lines you are going to need ahead of time and attack to capture them. Planning ahead with regards to the rail and supply is absolutely vital. Otherwise you end up bogged down, low on supply, with Ivan sat on the rail line you need for supply, but you can't shift him because you have no supply. And he gets stronger much faster than you do!

Anyway, thanks for reading, your comments, criticisms and observations are welcome.

< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 3/23/2018 7:19:12 PM >
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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/23/2018 9:18:49 PM   
gwgardner

 

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Great to see the situation so far along. In this scenario do you get increased supply for taking Maikop?

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/23/2018 10:03:02 PM   
700851McCall

 

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You get 1 extra point and the Soviet loses 1 point.

I will try to do some updates as I go along.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/24/2018 12:49:24 PM   
700851McCall

 

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Trouble starts in the South already. 32nd Guards Div and associated units attack out of the mountain passes, pushing a regiment of the 299th infantry back 40 km and handing out a beating to 23rd Panzer as it is attempting to establish a beachhead across the river from Krasnodar:



Slightly further west Brandenburger commandos parachute down and capture the port. Rumanian 2nd Security division crosses the Kerch Strait and engages the HQ of the Black Sea Fleet. The HQ is fairly redundant now as the fleet is decorating the bottom of the Black Sea, but they still won't give up without a fight.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/24/2018 12:58:59 PM   
700851McCall

 

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Where AGS joins AGC we are rolling up the Soviet MLR from the south, surrounding and destroying as we go.



Only problem is that whilst this slow-moving operation takes place a new Soviet MLR is rapidly forming 50 Km to the East.

Note that the new Soviet MLR sits along the line of the North/South railroad.

< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 3/24/2018 1:02:27 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/24/2018 1:57:25 PM   
Jukipo

 

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How much have you taken losses so far? How much do you have heavy rifle squads assigned? Tanks?

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/24/2018 2:59:55 PM   
700851McCall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jukipo

How much have you taken losses so far? How much do you have heavy rifle squads assigned? Tanks?


Heavy rifle squads: lost 69K, assigned 39K and 359 on hand

Tank losses (all types) 2.6K about 500 on hand including 24 Mk1 Tigers! My favourite tank. None are assigned to units yet though.

Aircraft (all types) lost circa 5K - but have over 2K aircraft on hand

I don't know if that is good or bad.

I've tried to keep casualties low with all aircraft on Air superiority or combat support (I halted interdiction once the Soviet air force recovered).

Used lots of massed artillery in attacks and have not fought any battles I did not need to.

However I haven't broken the back of the Red Army like you had at this point, they are still a force to be reckoned with. I suppose that does add an element of suspense to the game.

I've made more than a few mistakes, I'll probably have another go at some time in the future with the latest version and see if I can't do better.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/24/2018 3:37:39 PM   
700851McCall

 

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Ready to resume operations around Moscow. I need to clear the rest of the city so that I am not defending right on the Kremlin come the winter and I also need to take pressure off my weak front line to the north. So an attack is planned with the Gross Deutschland Div and four other panzer divs driving up behind Moscow and linking with the SS Wiking Div and other units which will attack north east out of their prepared positions. Objective: to pocket the Soviet forces in and around Moscow and destroy them.

I estimate 5 weeks (10 turns). After that we will dig in and recover supply before the mud arrives.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/24/2018 6:55:02 PM   
700851McCall

 

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After the first few days of attack we have broken through the Soviet front line. 2 enemy divisions an arty unit, a tank brigade and 2 headquarters were surrounded and eliminated. The infantry were unable to crack the lines on their own so the panzers had to assist the breakthrough, accompanied by barrages from Nebelwerfers. I like nebelwerfers.

Annoying though as it means the panzers have to burn supply before they even get moving. The enemy have defence in depth, which is no surprise. This has to be done, though, as if they recapture Moscow they regain all the benefits they lost in terms of production, supply and rail capacity when it was captured. So that cannot be allowed to happen.

The Soviets have the initiative at the moment, hopefully it will swing back shortly and I will get back-to-back turns. That will help speed things along.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/25/2018 1:54:03 PM   
700851McCall

 

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The Krasnodar sector down in the Caucasus becomes more worrying. The arrival of the fresh 14th Panzer division stabilises the situation but then more Soviet divisions come out of the mountains and attack again. I wasn't expecting to have a fight of this magnitude in this area and there are not enough troops or supply. Rail repair has been diverted to Krasnodar but it will be a couple of weeks before the supply situation there improves noticeably.

I did not want to make the same mistake the Germans did historically and so I have committed all my mountain divisions to this sector. The last of them (a Hungarian div) arrives by rail this turn.

This is the situation before I move. Krasnodar is in the blue circle, arrows show the direction of Soviet advance.



Also concerning is the situation to the North East where the drive on Stalingrad has stalled. Although we are across the river in force we do not have the units or supply to continue the advance, and Soviet resistance, previously almost non-existent, is stiffening rapidly.

Consequently I order in my remaining reserves to the beachhead. They are all Rumanian divisions but are all fully rested and supplied. The railhead made good progress and will be at the river in week. Then we can press on. Capturing Stalingrad will reduce Soviet production (as does capturing any major city) and cut the Volga traffic which gives further penalties (although I can't recall exactly what off the top of my head).


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/25/2018 8:39:47 PM   
Jukipo

 

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quote:

Heavy rifle squads: lost 69K, assigned 39K and 359 on hand

Tank losses (all types) 2.6K about 500 on hand including 24 Mk1 Tigers! My favourite tank. None are assigned to units yet though.

Aircraft (all types) lost circa 5K - but have over 2K aircraft on hand

I don't know if that is good or bad.

I've tried to keep casualties low with all aircraft on Air superiority or combat support (I halted interdiction once the Soviet air force recovered).

Used lots of massed artillery in attacks and have not fought any battles I did not need to.

However I haven't broken the back of the Red Army like you had at this point, they are still a force to be reckoned with. I suppose that does add an element of suspense to the game.

I've made more than a few mistakes, I'll probably have another go at some time in the future with the latest version and see if I can't do better.


Here are my losses on turn 114:
HRS: lost 65K, assigned 41.5K
Tanks: lost 2.2K
Aircraft: lost 6.3K

Looks like you have lost little more ground troops. You are going to have more interesting fall than I did. I played a little too well, the game became too easy and not interesting anymore.

If I’m playing this scenario again, I’m going to try historical approach: all out assault to Moscow November 1941.


< Message edited by Jukipo -- 3/25/2018 8:41:57 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/29/2018 10:23:47 AM   
700851McCall

 

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No plan survives first contact with the enemy and the offensive around Moscow is no exception. Soviet resistance is stiff. Worse still force proficiency check is failed after the first combat round and then the Soviets counter-attack, re-capturing NE Moscow. A brigade of 12th Panzer division, which was supposed to be on reserve to prevent such an event, failed to mobilise. The brigade commander is charged with dereliction of duty and placed under close arrest. A counter attack is quickly organised to retake the lost area. (Circled)

Meantime the thrust behind the Soviet line is also thrown back. (arrow 'S'). We attempt to counter attack to the North from a more easterly position where the defence appears weaker (arrow 'A')



I have 5 days leave from work, starting today, hopefully I will be able to play through to the Fall in the next few days and we will see how interesting it gets.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/29/2018 1:28:04 PM   
larryfulkerson

 

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Really cool. Keep going....please.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/29/2018 2:31:06 PM   
700851McCall

 

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I want to pinch out this bulge in the Soviet lines but I have no panzers available. 80% of the armour is north around Moscow and the rest is down south. Infantry attacks are being made at the corners of the salient but it is slow progress.



At Moscow, two weeks into the offensive, we have finally made progress, despite multiple Soviet counterattacks, some of which were successful. Ivan still has plenty of fight left in him!

The attempt to surround the remaining sector of the city still in Soviet hands proved costly. Ivan had a 305mm railroad gun and eight (!) armoured trains in there which took some killing. Bombardment from heavy mortar 'Dora' and a railroad gun made little impact. SS Wiking assaulted taking heavy casualties and was withdrawn to replace. After repeated attacks by tanks and motorized infantry, and every artillery and aircraft asset within range, the last of the trains is destroyed and eastern Moscow is surrounded.



I expended all remaining on this final redoubt, it finally crumbled in the last combat round. That will conclude offensive operations in this sector, the artillery is out of ammo and almost all panzer divisions are below 20% supply. Objectives have been attained although at a price.

The duplicate 6th Panzer Div has shown up. I will have to disband the old one I suppose.

****

AGS:

The advance stalls. Not enough troops, not enough supply. I was pushing it attempting 3 major offensives I think and have spread myself too thin. Here is the situation east of the Don River:



If we can get our breath back here it may still be possible to push on. Soviet 7th Guards Army has appeared on the scene and is giving us some problems. I have one fresh panzer division left in AGS and it is on the way. There is a signpost up ahead: 'Stalingrad 40Km!'

In the Caucasus a corps of mountain divisions will attack south through the Pseashkha (don't attempt to pronounce it!) Pass in attempt to cut the coastal road and railroad on the other side of the range. This will cut supply lines to the Soviet troops fighting to the North East and will hopefully make rolling them up easier. If we can get through the pass. A brigade of heavy artillery is following them up in case a strongpoint is encountered.




Ironically as the main offensive finishes the initiative changes and the Axis play twice. If that had happened a turn earlier it would have made operations much easier and less costly. As it is I get a breather turn before Ivan counterattacks.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/29/2018 9:19:01 PM   
700851McCall

 

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Turn 117

The Soviets limited themselves to bombardments thankfully. They have stripped their lines in some places to cover other areas which I'm taking as a good sign. They don't appear to have the weight to launch a serious counter-offensive. Yet.

Everyone is taking supply. AGN launches a small offensive to cut rail supply to Soviet units facing the Finns east of Lagoda. All of AGN's units are fresh and reporting full ration strength and 150% supply. They go through Ivan like butter and the key RR junction is captured.

Elsewhere it is re-supplying and mopping up.

In the Caucasus the mountain corps continues its advance through Unpronounceable Pass. No opposition is encountered:




Hopefully the Soviet defence in that area consists solely of that corps HQ unit. But I doubt it.

**

Stalingrad Sector:

A Soviet strongpoint in badlands terrain causes problems. The Panzers cannot get into it and the only German infantry div on hand attacks on the bounce and is repulsed with a bloody nose. Meanwhile 7th Guards army grows larger. We have missed the opportunity for a smash and grab on Stalingrad, the enemy just has too many troops here now.

22 Panzer arrives from the Caucasus, but it has burnt much of its supply on the march, and having to bash through some small Soviet units to reach the beachead. On the plus side the railhead is now only 30km from the front lines.

We carpet bomb the Soviets in the badlands with around 200 Stukas and low level bombers, combined with the railroad artillery firing right from the railhead. The Soviets evaporate.




Do I rail more Panzer divisions down from Moscow and re-inforce here or continue with my plan to pinch off the large Soviet salient south of Moscow? I like a game that gives me these sort of decisions. It's difficult. Once you commit you can't go back.


South of Rostov operations commence to mop up a handful of Soviet units still in the area. Their road and rail supply was long since cut. Most are surrounded and destroyed but this group had a bridging unit and elected to go swimming on one of the lakes:




Over 80 squads with all sorts of artillery and AT guns, horse teams, the lot. Our artillery was out of ammo so low-level bombers and stukas were called in. Everything except the bridging unit goes to the bottom of the pond.

I have 48 Tiger tanks ready to go, but none assigned. Not sure when that will happen but a fresh battalion of Tigers would be real handy right now.


< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 3/29/2018 9:37:34 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/29/2018 10:12:32 PM   
DanNeely

 

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What's your supply look like south of that pass? The road doesn't go through, so I'd expect it to be hideously low, if Elmer has any fight in him you're going to be hurting fast.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/29/2018 11:17:09 PM   
700851McCall

 

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I've got a supply unit with them. For what that's worth. But you're right, it's a raid not an offensive. If they can sit on the rail line for a week or two I'll be able to clean up the Soviets in the northwest end of the mountain range. And I have fresh Italian mountain troops ready to cross the Kerch straights and push down the coastal road from the west.

Low proficiency, I know, but they should have enough in them to do the job if the Soviets cannot re-supply.

Got to take some chances in order to get an edge and keep it. Otherwise it is going to be 'Slugfest '43' and I don't want that. So far it has worked...

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/30/2018 7:50:08 AM   
700851McCall

 

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Damn it all!



NKVD divisions appear in time to block the route through the mountains.

Dan was right about the supply. North side of the pass: 13, South side: zero

The first of the Italian divisons cross the straits and take up positions on the other side. More are to follow. Perhaps this will unhinge the defence instead? I need to get this area cleaned up quickly to free up more troops to go NE to Stalingrad. There's maybe 12 more turns before the mud arrives.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/30/2018 7:59:16 AM   
700851McCall

 

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Front Lines Turn 120

M Moscow
L Leningrad
S Stalingrad
R Rostov
K Krasnodar

Northern sector



Southern sector




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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/30/2018 12:39:12 PM   
700851McCall

 

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0600 hrs at a Soviet airbase 40km to the west of Stalingrad. The pilots and ground crew are sitting down to a hearty breakfast of blinis and vodka. At once there is a noise like a runaway freight train going over their heads. A split second later 240mm and 280mm shells begin falling on the base. The blast blows in the windows of the mess hall and sucks the air from their lungs.

Ten minutes later the squadron CO arrives back. He has spent the night with his mistress at a nearby dacha There is nothing left of the several hundred personnel and 96 aircraft that were under his command except some scattered pieces of fuselage and still-smoking craters in the ground. The entire unit has been obliterated.

He protested the order to move his squadron so close to the front. There were rumours that the Germans had moved long range artillery into the sector. But he was over-ruled. He drags his Nagan M1895 pistol from its holster and shoots himself in the head. His lifeless body topples to the ground beside his jeep. Such is war.



(It did take 3 bombardments to destroy the whole unit; some artistic license is involved. But you can't beat an airfield strike with artillery. It rarely happens and needs to be savoured when it does).

< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 3/30/2018 12:42:53 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/30/2018 1:00:02 PM   
700851McCall

 

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In the Leningrad sector we link up with the Finns. Targeted Soviet units were destroyed by the end of the turn. There's no expectation of a major offensive here, the terrain is too poor, but it may divert some enemy units from other sectors.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/31/2018 7:49:10 AM   
700851McCall

 

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Turn 127. September 6th 1942

Here is a full situation report as we enter the last full month of good campaigning weather

Army Group North:

AGN have linked up with the Finns and are pushing forward to capture the vital road and rail junction at Tikhvin (cirled). Supply is good and most units are at or near full strength. Strategy here is to keep the enemy working and forcing him to re-inforce, taking some pressure off the other sectors.



Army Group Centre:

The front is stable. An attempt will be made to cut out the small Soviet salient west of Moscow (circled). Most units are at full strength and well supplied.



Immediately south of Moscow we have broken through enemy lines and are racing south to cut off the large enemy salient. If all of the Soviet divisions in this salient can all be destroyed before the mud arrives and ends combat operations it will be a disaster for the enemy and enable our front to be shortened by approx ten divisions, which will go into reserve. Time is short, though.



Army Group South:

Although the advance on Stalingrad is progressing well, the front to the North is weak. The river helps at the moment, limiting the enemy to contesting a handful of crossings, but come winter it will freeze over meaning this entire stretch of the front will need to be covered. Historically, this is where the Soviets broke through in the '42 Winter offensive and cut off 5th Army. At the moment we have maybe 10 divisions in reserve to be brought up to cover this line. That's about a fifth of what is needed!

The Soviets have already forced one of the crossings (circled). This was defended by 2 full divisions, in good supply, backed with artillery. Earlier in the war it would not have been possible for Ivan to push them back. This does not bode well.



Stalingrad:

After bitter fighting 170th Div pushes through into the city, splitting the Soviet defence. The south of the city is expected to fall within the week, but in the northern sector are two full strength, fortified enemy divisions. Our troops are worn out, but there is sufficient strength in this sector now to begin rotating divisions so we can keep up a constant pressure. Most of the siege artillery is here too. The plan is to hit them with everything we have and keep hitting them until they break or we do. There's no time to muck about now. If we can't secure Stalingrad before the mud it will be a disaster of epic proportions.



Army Group Caucasus:

Mopping up continues. Novorissisk on the coast is captured by Italian mountain troops. Digging the remaining Ivans out of the mountains is going to be a slow process. Rumanian 4th Mountain advances on Mount Elbrus to discover that the Soviet has an artillery battalion on the summit. At 18000 feet! How they managed to get their pieces up there can only be guessed at. This is the sort of fanatacism we are up against!

To the north a lot of Soviet divisions have arrived in the last 2 weeks and are constructing an MLR to prevent any penetration further south. We do not have the troops or supply to push on south, everything is at Stalingrad. The worry is that the enemy will switch to offence come winter. At the moment our defence here is just a crust.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/31/2018 11:14:14 AM   
700851McCall

 

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Stalingrad falls!

A massive artillery bombardment is conducted using every available asset including 4 of the 5 railroad gun units in the sector. 25th Motorised makes a minimal attack solely to improve our spotting. Amazingly the Soviets retreat immediately. This is unexpected but welcome. 25 mot, barely scratched in the assualt, occupies the city centre and raises the swastika flag over the central square. There is a day of rejoicing in Germany. Stalin orders the commander of the defences to be taken out back and shot. We dig in to await the inevitable counter-attack.




***

The attack on the salient south of Moscow begins in earnest. 36th Motorised captures the town of Plavsk, a vital road and rail junction, cutting off supply to the Soviet troops in the front line. They are not entirely encircled yet, but can no longer receive meaningful supplies of men and ammo.

This is the signal for the main offensive to begin from the west. We have stockpiled supplies for this for several months. Every gun along a 300km stretch of front is ordered to begin firing and continue firing until they report rounds complete. The infantry go over the top. Here is the situation at the end of the turn:



***

On the Black sea coast the Italian mountain corps advance to Tuapse and attempt to take it on the bounce. Soviet infantry retreats but the troops manning the coastal defence installations are fanatics and hang on. The advancing Italians are mown down by fire from the bunkers and break off the attack. Meanwhile a little to the north more fanatical Soviets remain holding out in the mountains despite being completely cut off from supply.



< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 3/31/2018 11:17:27 AM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/31/2018 3:22:07 PM   
700851McCall

 

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Pocketed!

Soviet 11th Guards Army and approximately 30 other divisions, regiments and auxiliary units are trapped. A massive amount of ordnance is poured into the area and the Soviet salient collapses like a punctured balloon. Here's the situation after half a week of advance. Our casualties were light:



And a little later:



Situation at start of September 16th 1942 (turn 130).



You can see how pinching out that salient has shortend the line considerably. The remanants will be mopped up in the first combat round. There are 3 more weeks (6 turns) before I can expect the mud (although it could come a little earlier or later than that). Supply will drop to nothing so battered units will not be able to replenish then, they need to do so beforehand. There should be just enough time to take up defensive positions and stock up on ammo. Especially artillery ammo, which is almost completely depleted in this sector.

However recon units have been sent east up to 70 km from the new front line and reported that there is nothing out there, which is good news.

**

On the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus 23rd Panzer arrives to help the struggling Italian mountain corps. Tuapse is taken. The front lines here are not far off what the Germans accomplished historically. Hopefully it will not be a high water mark this time...

Note the Rumanian 'fleet' getting in on the action. It is only 4 old destroyers but they have built up their proficiency a little shooting at insane pleasure-boating Soviet troops in the Kerch Straits earlier in the campaign and can now actually hit things occasionally


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RE: My D21 attempt - 3/31/2018 11:53:27 PM   
700851McCall

 

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The attempt to turn the Soviet flank in the north and capture the key junction fails. The Finns infiltrate through the dense forest, attack an army headquarters and cut the critical east-west rail line. Large numbers of Soviet reinforcements then arrive and give the Finns a beating. They retreat to the Finnish border to lick their wounds. A tank battalion is split from the main force and finds refuge in the German lines near Novaya Lagoda. Its 45 tanks gain the distinction of being the only armour asset in Army Group North.



**

At Stalingrad we have shifted completely to the defensive. If a Soviet blow is to fall this is perhaps the obvious place for it with the enemy on 3 sides. The railhead runs almost to the city but the engineers are busy working elsewhere to get supply to the bad areas first. There should be time to run the rail all the way to Stalingrad before the winter, though, even taking account of the reduced rate of repair.

I notice that a lot of the rail engineers withdraw in the spring, as do a lot of fighter squadrons. I suppose the fighters go to defend against the Allied strategic bombing offensive. I've no idea where the railroad people are going. But that's several months away.

The one thing that bothers me about this defence is that I am relying a lot on the Rumanians on the southern perimeter. Now when did that ever go wrong? At the moment I have 4 Panzer divisions there as fire brigades but I'm guessing that I will have to divert at least some of them away to wherever there is trouble.

Once the rivers freeze I can't cover everywhere in the south. The line is just too long. I'm using recon units to cover areas in the Don river line that should be okay because the enemy has poor supply to them. They won't hold a serious assault in these areas but at least they will give warning and allow reserve units to be moved there before it gets out of hand.

The enemy are already piling up divisions in the south.




**

The Soviets attempt a crossing of the Volga. They fail to dislodge the Rumainian infantry from the shoreline and are left exposed in the water. Railroad artillery is called in and the entire lot end up decorating the river bed. The Soviets have lost a lot of people with their lunatic amphibious operations already in this campaign. But they just don't seem to learn:




< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 3/31/2018 11:54:27 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/1/2018 1:22:44 AM   
700851McCall

 

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From: Staffordshire, England.
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September 30th 1942 (Turn 134)

The Rasputista storms could happen any time now, killing the supply levels. In around 4 weeks (9 turns) intelligence reports that the Soviet's planned winter offensive will begin. This gives them a shock of 125 for ten(!) turns. Plus they have an advantage now they did not in the previous winter. Lots of artillery. That's what you need for shifting dug in units out of their emplacements and pushing them back.

I have some advantages the historical Axis did not have. The control of Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad and a fairly extensive rail network covering almost all of the front lines with good supply except in the Caucasus and the northern bend of the Don. And that is being worked on. Added to that I have preserved my forces better than the historical Axis did. So confidence is fairly high that the front will hold.

On the minus side I will not be able to attempt any serious combat operations until March or April of 1943. That's a lot of time for the Soviets to build up and recover from two years of beatings. And they start getting better units, better planes, better tanks. Even if the winter passes without disaster 1943 is still going to be difficult.

Here are the overviews of the front lines Sept 30th 1942. This is pretty much the Axis 'hard shoulder' position for the next 6 months (50 turns). That sounds a lot but it doesn't take that long to play through because you're attempting to move and fight as little as possible. Whereas in the campaign season you are doing the opposite and a turn can take a couple of hours.

AGN




AGC

Arrows show where the Soviet is piling up divisions.





AGS

Circle shows where the enemy salient was pinched out. Note that the Soviets are already constructing a new MLR.




More AGS

Note the gaps on the bend of the Don where it tuns west. It doesn't look too bad at this scale but close up that's a lot of uncovered space.



A G Caucasus

Circle shows the railhead moving northeast. Note the Rumanian security regiments guarding the Crimean ports (also circled). I've no idea if the Soviet has any amphibious capability on the Black Sea at this stage but they way I see it, why take a chance? I know the Soviets did make an assault landing at Novorissisk later in the war so perhaps they do get some Sea Cap down here at some point.

We can't go any further down the Black Sea coast road towards Sochi. The Panzers are out of fuel. Everywhere is on the defensive now.




Here are the losses so far. No Soviet data as I don't like to look at enemy stats until the game is over.

Almost 40K heavy rifle squads assigned, doesn't seem too bad.



Engineers have taken a beating. This is due to Soviet attacks, I very rarely use engineers in assaults but they are sometimes pressed into service in a defensive role. Also what is the deal with machine guns? Twice as many medium as heavy? In any case this is the German army so it is the same weapon for light, medium and heavy roles. So who knows how that works.



Tank losses. Doesn't seem too bad considering. Note that 100 Tiger MK1 are on hand. It will be several months yet before they show up in a unit, though.



< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 4/1/2018 1:26:35 AM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/1/2018 2:15:12 PM   
700851McCall

 

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From: Staffordshire, England.
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Leningrad. 1500 hrs October 1st 1942

Oberst Gruber, commander of the 620 Wach Military Police Battalion is relaxing in his office overlooking the Nevsky Prospekt. He is drinking brandy and reading a pulp novella set during the Spanish Civil War. Gruber served in Spain and likes to imagine himself as the hero of the novel, bravely fighting the communists and romancing many women. In reality he spent the entirety of that conflict interrogating suspected partisans in a basement.

The telephone rings. It is the adjutant of Jagdstaffel 54. One of his pilots has reported sighting a Soviet troop concentration in the town of Kolpino just 30 kilometers south of Leningrad. Gruber curses the man for a fool and hangs up. Kolpino is 100 kilometres behind friendly lines and the whole sector was cleared of enemy troops almost a year ago. Snorting indignantly, he goes back to his novel.

Ten minutes later the 'phone rings again. This time it is a full Colonel of Supply Train. One of his locomotives has encountered a section of destroyed track near Kolpino. Whilst investigating they came under fire. The Colonel demands Gruber take action.

Outranked, Gruber cannot refuse. Cursing fluently, he gulps the rest of the brandy and runs down the stairs shouting for his driver. He buckles on his belt whilst his jeep is brought up. They speed off as the rest of the platoon scrambles to mobilise.

Approaching Kalpino there is a burst of machine gun fire from the side of the road. Gruber's driver is hit several times in the chest and is killed instantly. The jeep runs out of control, veering up an embankment and turning over. Gruber is thrown clear but is badly injured.

As he lies winded on the ground a young Soviet soldier, a boy, no older than seventeen, approaches him. The Russian smiles slyly and raises his Kalashnikov. The harsh rattle of the machine gun startles the birds out of the nearby trees. It is the last thing Gruber sees before he dies. The war continues without him.



I mean seriously how does this happen? Where has this Soviet unit come from? Up out of the ground?

In case you are wondering the rest of the MP battalion plus some engineers and tanks arrived and wiped out the Soviets fairly easily. But the rail was cut. Fortunately the Bautrupps have been working hard here earlier in the game and there is an alternative route so frontline supply was unaffected.


**

With that exception the entire front has been very quiet. Even our artillery are not firing in order to conserve ammo for the oncoming poor weather. Only on the Black Sea coast is an attack attempted. 23rd Panzer and the Julia mountain div, assisted by corps artillery, regiment of nebelwerfers and a squadron of Stukas hit a large Soviet concentration and force it back. This will be their last attack of the year.

Meanwhile Soviet troops counter-attack through the passes, throwing back the the Geb Mountain division. The almost fresh Hungarian 1st Mountain Brigade replaces them in the line.



***

October 7th 1942 (turn 136). The mud begins! Headline supply drops to 19 from 27. Shock level is down to 75% for both sides.

I have done most, if not all of the housekeeping I wanted to get done before the stormy season. Most units are fully rested and supplied and dug in to fortified level. There are reserves in all areas except AGN. AGN only has 1 division in reserve and I already need to commit that around Novaya Lagoda. However I'm anticipating the main Soviet thrusts to be around Moscow and Stalingrad, so it should not matter.




< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 4/1/2018 2:20:34 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/1/2018 3:16:20 PM   
MikeJ19


Posts: 2704
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Great job. I am enjoying your AAR. Thanks for sharing.

Have a good day,

_____________________________

Mike

Retired Gunner

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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/1/2018 9:54:17 PM   
700851McCall

 

Posts: 171
Joined: 1/7/2018
From: Staffordshire, England.
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quote:

ORIGINAL: MikeJ19

Great job. I am enjoying your AAR. Thanks for sharing.

Have a good day,


Thanks Mike.


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Post #: 29
RE: My D21 attempt - 4/1/2018 10:30:04 PM   
700851McCall

 

Posts: 171
Joined: 1/7/2018
From: Staffordshire, England.
Status: offline
November 8th 1942 (turn 145)

The cold front comes in and the ground freezes over. Supply and shock values return to normal. Here are the front lines as they would look from space (probably):





Note the Soviet units that have just come out of the woodwork in the south (circled). The Luftwaffe ground divisions (a bizarre concept, but the Nazis were just making it up as they went along) have arrived in theatre and have been detailed to neutralise the threats. No rail has been broken yet.

I also solved the mystery of the Soviet unit behind the lines at Leningrad. There were 5 hexes of the Neva river no-one had been into (it's a super river so you need a unit with amphib capability). He must have been hiding in there. A battalion of engineers is now searching the rest of the river to make sure that was the last of them).

***

As supply is at maximum an attempt is made to attack out of Stalingrad into the Volga Anchorage. This needs to be captured in order to inflict the Volga traffic interdiction penalty on the Soviet. Needless to say they have over ten thousand troops guarding it. (The stack is on red density).

Massed artillery accompanies a probing attack by 170th infantry div. Heavy casualties are inflicted, but the Soviets hang on. 239th Div and 25th Motorised then mount a full attack, accompanied by a bombardment from a Nebelwerfer regiment.

This still fails to shift the remaining 3 Soviet divisions in the anchorage, all from 7th Guards Army. The attack is broken off. Clearly we are not going to dislodge them with infantry assaults alone. The fresh 11th Panzer div is brought up for a second assault that will go in as soon as the railroad guns replenish their ammo.

***

Holding the extreme point east of Moscow is the SS Wiking div. Check out the proficiency, doesn't get much better than that.



***

We can't take any chances once the Don river freezes over. Everyone available who is not part of the reserve is given a rifle and told to stand on the line. This includes the 3 battalions of SS police who are removed from whatever dubious duties they were performing previously and ordered to set up in defence along the river.


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