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RE: My D21 attempt

 
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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/29/2018 7:51:00 AM   
700851McCall

 

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June 23rd 1943 (Turn 210)

In Finland the inglorious retreat is accomplished. 6th Geb holds the line whilst the other units in the sector re-supply. The situation is under control now as advances have to stick to the roads, but come the winter everything will freeze over and there's going to be some serious problems up here.




****

The Soviets have been very active with their airborne troops, they have attempted many drops down in the Caucasus but only one got a smattering of troops on the ground, the remainder were shot out of the air before they even reached their drop zones. However in the Moscow sector local German commanders are awoken with the news that a number of Soviet special forces units have landed to the west of the city. I did have some MPs guarding the centre of Moscow after the last paradrop but they were withdrawn a week or so ago and I didn't replace them:




***

At Stalingrad the Soviets continue to attack from the north, pushing the line back. This can't carry on so a counter-attack is organised with 11th, 13th and 24th Panzer doing the honours. We quickly go through the exhausted Soviet assault troops and get to the stacks of arty behind them. These are given a severe drubbing:







And by the end of the turn the Soviet line is smashed. Hopefully this will take the pressure off in this area for a while.




***


Big trouble in the Caucasus near Baku. A Soviet counter attack puts our thinly held lines under pressure, and then somehow a fanatical unit of NKVD manages to get through and cut the rail line. Supply on the front line collapses to zero. Fortunately I did leave one rail engineer down here so the damage can be repaired if we can shift Ivan off the line with the motley collection of troops that can be scraped together.




****

The air war is increasingly brutal. Having my fighters on ignore losses was a disaster, numerous units were destroyed. That's now been fixed but for a while there were no fighter units down south. Every airfield in the south now has piles of flak defending it. The Soviets are making many airfield attacks, usually with a couple of hundred aircraft at a time. These results below are typical. (Soviet report so 'Friendly Losses' are the Soviet). He can easily afford these losses, bad as they are:





****


Operation Thor's Hammer approaches its objective of Saratov. Resistance has been light so far. The railhead has fallen behind the advance. I really need more engineers on it but they are all busy down in the Caucaus. SS Totenkopf and Das Reich divs are re-supplying just to the south of the image, they will move back into the line for the assault on the city.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/29/2018 10:04:47 AM   
700851McCall

 

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The Black Sea fleet is back! I don't know where they have been hiding for the last 18 months, but here they are sailing towards the Kerch Straits, bold as brass. I thought I had sunk them all by January '42.





Stukas are immediately dispatched to sink them. There is a heavy cruiser, 3 cruisers and 12 destroyers. 2 destroyers are sunk and there is damage to the cruisers but despite the fact that the Soviet ships have no air cover they hand the Luftwaffe its ass in a sling. 52 Stukas are destroyed or disabled.




A second attack from two fresh Stuka squadrons sinks the heavy cruiser and another destroyer; our losses were more acceptable this time. The only friendly naval assets available on the Black Sea is the 'fleet' of 4 Romanian destroyers. One was sunk by air attack a couple of months ago but it has since been replaced. Thing is, I can't send them in for a surface attack while the Soviet still has his 3 cruisers as that would get pretty gnarly pretty quickly.

There are almost 1000 Stukas on hand in the replacement pool so we can absorb the losses it will take to destroy them all from the air. Still a bloody nuisance, though.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 4/29/2018 1:30:23 PM   
700851McCall

 

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June 30th 1943 (Turn 212)

The Soviet forces around Stalingrad are destroyed in detail; only two small pockets remain to be mopped up (circled). Now we can begin to roll up the Soviet line along the Don and move on northwards up the west bank of the Volga. Arrows show direction of advance.




***

Saratov, 300 km to the north, and we attack from the east bank of the Volga to the west in an attempt to take the city. It holds out for almost a week! Note the railhead (RH) quite close to the front. No supply problem here so far.






A wider view shows the intended plan of advance; pincers north and west from Stalingrad, and due west from the Saratov bridgehead. Our main lines will advance and the Soviets will be trapped between them and the pincers. It will yield an enormous bag if it comes off. There are still 3 full months of campaigning season left.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/1/2018 9:09:30 PM   
700851McCall

 

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July 14th (Turn 216)

It is starting to feel like victory is slipping away. Our air units are taking a beating, half are in reorg or resting in orange and red status. The Soviet is attacking the airfields with three and four hundred aircraft at a time. There are hundreds of Soviet armoured units everywhere we turn. The main offensive continues but progress is slow and costly. The attack is progressing from the two circles, arrows show lines of intended advance.




Looks good, but the reality on the ground is that our units are worn out. Here is the situation in the Saratov bridge head in the north




And in the south where we are attempting to break out of our main lines and link hands with the attack from Saratov. The two panzer divisions allocated to this offensive are already ground down and we have only just broken through after a week of fighting. There is nothing left to exploit into the breach, and the Soviet will soon seal it.





***

In the Caucasus we discover there are far more enemy units than we had anticipated. Like three or four times as many. Note the Soviet paratroopers circled at the top of the image. They have flown across the Caspian sea, dropped there, and cut the rail line to Baku. There has been no supply down to that front for a week now. The situation is serious.

We are attempting to cut our way down to the enemy supply sources on the Turkish and Iranian borders; once they are seized it should end any serious resistance down here. But I am operating on a shoestring in this sector. It may not actually be possible.

Turkey appears to be thick with enemy units, too. So far we have not crossed or attacked over the border in case there are unknown ramifications.




***


And to add to the problems the drive on the Emba oilfields has ground to halt. No rail here so supply is by road only and is poor. This was meant to be a quick drive on a lightly defended target, but we made a brief pause for re-supply and in that time Ivan gathered in serious force. Note his troops in the Caspian depression. They have no supply but that doesn't stop them.



< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 5/1/2018 9:10:13 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/2/2018 8:12:01 PM   
700851McCall

 

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August 1st 1943 (Turn 221)

Operations continue in the attempt to pocket the bulk of the Soviet forces in the south. There is a lot of resistance. Arrows show the route of advance and intended advance. A sizeable Soviet formation has already been pocketed against the Don and destroyed. We have linked up with the Saratov bridgehead. However to the east (area circled) we have had to retreat and abandon the newly built stretch of railroad to the advancing Soviets.

A bitter blow, the first Axis retreat of the war. Better to retreat than to have units surrounded and destroyed, though. At least I don't have to go to Hitler to request permission to withdraw like the real German commanders did. And probably be refused.





***


The pincer from the MLR of Army Group South finally succeeds in approaching its first objective which is the road and rail junction at Novaya Prokovra (circled). More units are being scraped together and thrown piecemeal into the expanding funnel. The Soviet units to the south are running out of supply routes.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/3/2018 9:48:49 PM   
700851McCall

 

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August 8th 1943 (Turn 223)

The pincers slowly close together, dooming the enemy units to the south. Our river patrol boats have cut Soviet rail lines to the north in a daring raid. The advance west along the Don river continues, another large enemy grouping is surrounded and destroyed. The group circled (X) is the next target.

To the east of the Volga (highlighted, running north-south) we have withdrawn to a tighter bridgehead. Several Soviet Tank brigades have been destroyed as they attempted to penetrate the defence. We cannot hold forever here, the plan is to retreat to a bridgehead just east of Stalingrad to ride out the winter. We will hang on as long as possible here to buy time whilst the Soviets trapped east of the Volga are destroyed.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/4/2018 7:00:18 AM   
Kursk1943


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Very impressing, thanks for your AAR!
After you finished your grand encirclement perhaps you could roll up the Soviet front from south to north starting from the Bobrov area with a comparatively small force by encirceling one small package of Soviet divs after another. Low risk (in comparison to the grand encirclements) and lots of attrition for the Soviets. Should work against the AI. Maybe better to keep him off balance than waiting out his big winter offensive.

< Message edited by Kursk1943 -- 5/4/2018 7:01:05 AM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/4/2018 7:27:44 AM   
700851McCall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kursk1943

Very impressing, thanks for your AAR!
After you finished your grand encirclement perhaps you could roll up the Soviet front from south to north starting from the Bobrov area with a comparatively small force by encirceling one small package of Soviet divs after another. Low risk (in comparison to the grand encirclements) and lots of attrition for the Soviets. Should work against the AI. Maybe better to keep him off balance than waiting out his big winter offensive.


That is the plan! But even against the AI it takes a long time. And while that happens the Soviets just build a new MLR to the east. They have no shortage of units. In truth I made a bad error by crossing the Volga and driving north. I should have just attacked north out of the Stalingrad salient instead.

If I had done that I would have completed the encirclement by now. But I was trying to avoid a head-on attack against what was a solid enemy line, backed with lots of artillery. In retrospect that plan would have been quicker and probably cheaper in terms of losses than what I actually did. And now I will have to give up all the territory I captured east of the Volga. Still, live and learn!

1944 is going to be a tough year and I suspect almost completely defensive. But I am determined to play through to the end. It is such an interesting and challenging scenario and I am very much enjoying the experience.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/4/2018 9:50:21 AM   
700851McCall

 

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More bad news. The Soviets cut the rail line supplying our forces east of the Volga. There is nothing available in the local area to shift them. This makes the position further north untenable and there will have to be a general retreat, which is probably going to be expensive. Note the Soviet units on the trail through the Caspian Depression. The existence of this trail was not picked up in our initial reconnaissance. Another error.




And south of the Depression the situation is just as ... depressing. Holding the line here has become impossible and a withdrawal begins. Arrows show the direction of our retreat.




****

On the plus side further to the west we make more progress towards closing the trap. One more week should do it. The Soviets along the Don river line are now in a poor supply state albeit not entirely isolated. We are rolling them up along the line of the river. Note the Italian units (yellow) doing their bit. They will pack it in in 5 weeks time so, as with a rental car, I want to get as many miles on them as possible whilst I still have them.




***

Overview of the Caucasus front. The Soviet paratroopers were destroyed but not before they ripped up 150 km of rail lines. This is being repaired but will still take another week or two yet. It is also tying up rail engineers that are badly needed elsewhere.

The two enemy supply sources are circled. We have cut the rail leading to the easternmost one and the other one is about to be assaulted by units of the G_D division. We are finally nearing a conclusion down here.

The Soviets are happily defending inside Turkey and Iran. I did accidentally violate Turkish neutrality last turn and nothing happened so I am guessing it would be okay to go in after them; but once the supply sources are taken they should hopefully just wither away.





The front line west of Baku. There has been no supply here for a month due to Soviet paras cutting the rail 300 km north so no offensive action has been possible. Note the arrow indicating the advance from the west. 23rd Panzer division and elements of the G_D division will attempt to break through to them and open up a supply line:





And down on the Iranian border units of the G_D div (circled) will attack the remaining supply source. Once that has gone it is all over for the enemy units still stubbornly defending further west.


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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/6/2018 9:50:29 AM   
700851McCall

 

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August 15th 1943 (Turn 225)

Finally the long slog comes to an end and the Soviets remaining along the Don are pocketed. Apart from a shortage of armour to deal with the enemy's mechanised elements, this is now a formality. The Soviets have lost well over 100 units in this operation with another 30 or so left to destroy.




And an overview where you can see the general dispositions in this sector. The Soviets must have failed force proficiency early in their last turn as it was very short. This enabled some significant gains to be made as the enemy were unable to move up more units to block us. Circle A is the remaining Soviet pocket, arrow shows where the enemy MLR will be rolled up.

Circle B shows Soviet units that have infiltrated through the Caspian Depression and cut the rail line. They have no supply left by the time they make it through the depression. But I made a mistake in thinking that the poor supply situation here would prevent an attack on this flank of the advance, dozens of Soviet units are advancing here.




***

From this view you can see where the projected front line (pink line) will be once the Autumn rains set in and the campaigning season halts. Everyone will have withdrawn west of the Volga except for a small salient around Stalingrad and Astrakhan. The Soviet MLR between the current front line and the new line will have been surrounded and destroyed. That's a lot of enemy units. I am currently re positioning everyone for that offensive, that's a lot of housekeeping! More air units are moving up from the Caucasus as that campaign winds down.



***


And in the Caucasus one supply point is taken and the other is isolated and will be taken down within the week (supply points circled). The NKVD are defending it fanatically, but nebelwerfers and heavy arty have now arrived. To the east a number of units are already on the rail line (now fully repaired) and will be moving north (arrow). Their work here is done.



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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/7/2018 11:44:50 AM   
700851McCall

 

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August 29th 1943 (Turn 229)

August seems to have slipped away very quickly. Here is the overview of the southern front. One last operation is planned to roll up the Soviet line simultaneously from both north and south, arrows show intended advance. There are maybe ten turns left to do this before we will have to pause due to mud.






Close up on the northern pincer.

10th, 18th and 20th Panzer Grenadier divisions along with a regiment of 20th Panzer will spearhead the breakthrough. The enemy have already been softened by bombardments. A quick, clean breakthrough is required. Five recon battalions are with them, ready to exploit through the breach to cut supply roads and envelop enemy formations. Also note rail engineer (circled) ready to get going on repairs.







In Russia, even in the summertime, if you stray too far from a converted rail line supply drops like a stone. So it is essential to plan with that in mind. For the winter defensive line I need to be ensconced along the railroad highlighted (and have it all repaired). The Soviets will easily break a line where the units have poor supply. Romanian army will cover the line of the Volga. Soviets are already giving us problems by crossing the Volga using pontoons and boats, when it freezes they can just walk across. So it needs to be defended properly, a screen won't do.





****


In the Caucasus it is all over for Ivan. What is left of his forces here have retreated into Turkey. We have sent a few units a little way across the border chasing after them, but you can see from this high level reconnaissance photo that there are a more than a few in there, and some of them are a couple of hundred miles inside the boundary.




There does not seem to be a penalty for violating Turkish neutrality but it seems a little too a-historical to enter Turkey in force. Nor can they be put completely out of supply (although they will be in over-extended status) without covering a very long border with zones of control, and there are not enough units for that. Or the time to wait for them to wither away.

It is the Soviet's version of Cambodia. So I will leave the Romanian Security Corps and a couple of broken down German infantry divisions to screen the border and all other units of Army Group Caucasus will rail out to rejoin the fighting in Army Group South 1500Km further north.

However Berlin will make a formal complaint to the Turkish ambassador, addressed in the strongest of terms, concerning his country's willingness to harbour these Bolshevik terrorists.




***


South of the Caspian Depression the retreat got out of hand and went a little too far. It should have stopped at the pink line where the terrain bottleneck is. The Soviets have immediately exploited this by getting around us and into the marshland of the Volga Delta where they will be buggers to dig out. (I know this as I did it once already). Slightly further to the east is the railhead at Astrakhan. Elements of 4th Panzer army have just arrived to stabilise the sector and push Ivan back to where we want him.






***


Overall,things are looking up again. Aside from in the air, Soviet attacks have lessened and they are experiencing more frequent force proficiency issues (although so are we). Some areas of their lines in the north look less formidable than they used to; whilst still solid they seem to have thinned out a little.

I have begun the process of refitting the panzer divisions. There are plenty of Panzer IVH and Tigers on hand, although Panthers are in short supply.

For those of you that like to see the losses, here's the infantry:




Armour:





Aircraft:



< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 5/7/2018 11:50:00 AM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/9/2018 7:01:12 PM   
700851McCall

 

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September 12th 1943 (Turn 233)

The Italians have decided that they don't want to do this anymore, they pack up and depart. Not sure how they are planning to get home as there is no rail capacity spare for quitters and it's a long walk.

In any case there were only 2 divisions in front line spots and the gaps have been plugged. To make up for it the 506th Heavy Panzer Bn arrives with 45 Tiger tanks.






***


Voronezh (circled) is captured! At the start of the year this was 100km behind very strong enemy lines. It is another industrial centre destroyed and another nail in the Soviet coffin.





****



The race is now on to close the pincers on the enormous 'Voronezh Pocket' before rain stops play. There are some large Soviet Guards tank units in there (circled), They are already out of supply and will be left to deteriorate further before any mopping-up commences. There are a lot of enemy tanks in there, good ones, too. Arrows show direction of advance.





****


Southern front from space. You can see how the enemy line is fractured quite badly. The best they can do at the moment is rail in blocking units. When we have to pause due to the mud in a couple of weeks time it will be interesting to see how long it takes them to form a cohesive defence line. Arrows show where we are advancing.





****



South of the Caspian Depression and it is the Soviet's turn to advance beyond their supply and be punished for it. 1st Panzer and 36th Motorised arrive from the Caucasus, fully rested, and smash into the depleted enemy line which collapses without a fuss. A second attempt at driving east to the Emba oilfields may be possible after a pause to re-supply. Soviet armoured units in the marshes are surrounded and are being neutralised by 8th Panzer.



< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 5/9/2018 7:05:02 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/12/2018 8:05:23 AM   
700851McCall

 

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Berlin, 19th September 1943, 1432 hrs.

The Turkish Ambassador is on the telephone to the OKH command in Berlin. His call is answered by a Blitzmädel who puts him on hold. The ambassador is agitated. He draws heavily on his cigarette whilst he waits. Eventually a Leutnant of the Staff comes on the line. The Ambassador begins to explain that he wishes to complain about the violation of Turkish neutrality. The Leutnant interrupts him brusquely.

'The Caucasus is now German territory and as such all operations in that region are considered to be internal security matters and are no longer the responsibility of the Wermacht. You will need to complain to the office of the Reichsfuhrer SS.'

He hangs up.

The Ambassador lights another cigarette and asks the operator to put him through to the RSHA. He waits impatiently. Eventually he is transferred to a Standartenfuhrer who listens to him for a minute then asks him to hold. The Reichsfuhrer SS will speak with him personally.

The Ambassador drags furiously on his cigarette. He had not expected to speak to Himmler directly. His anger is replaced by a niggling sense of concern.

'Ambassador, how good of you to call.' Himmler's voice is cool and calm, with perhaps a slight trace of amusement. 'I understand you are unhappy with the anti-partisan operations we are conducting near your borders?'

'Herr Reichsfuhrer, two brigades of Romanian mountain troops have crossed our border and have been operating in Turkey for over a week! This is unacceptable!'

The amusement in Himmler's tone now becomes obvious.

'Ambassador, I had no idea that you would object so strongly to the presence of the Romanians. Perhaps it would help if I replaced them with other units? An SS Panzer Corps perhaps?'

The Ambassador blusters. He has no idea how to respond. 'Herr Reichsfuhrer, I do not think you understand the point I am making!'

'No Ambassador, it is you who does not understand the point I am making. Good day to you.'

The line goes dead.

The Ambassador stubs out his cigarette and lights another. He stares out of the window. An air raid siren begins to sound. American bombers are approaching. The pigeons on the roof of the building opposite take flight; they know what is coming. The Ambassador consoles himself with the thought that, despite their victories in Russia, the Germans are not having things all their own way.



< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 5/12/2018 8:22:32 AM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/12/2018 12:03:11 PM   
700851McCall

 

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September 22nd 1943 (Turn 236)

Overview in the south. The pincers have almost closed on the Voronezh Pocket. Only 50 km separates them. Stalin's 'Stand And Die' orders mean that no breakout may be attempted. More than 200,000 Soviet troops are thus condemned to death.





***


Enraged by the scale of this defeat Stalin orders attacks all along the line. Backed by masses of artillery and accompanied by thousands of tanks and aircraft the Soviet infantry hurl themselves at the Axis lines around Moscow. Casualties are stupidly heavy but whole German divisions are destroyed where they stand. The struts supporting the German defence line here are beginning to be knocked out. Circles show where holes have been blown in the MLR:





****


In the Caucasus something that might cheer up the Turkish Ambassador.

Over-eager in his pursuit of a Soviet headquarters located inside Turkey, the Romanian Mountain Troop commander inadvertently leaves the road over the border undefended. Soviet units are up it like rats out of a drainpipe. They manage to cut the rail link down from Krasnodar (highlighted) plunging the entire west Caucasus into zero supply. Scratch units mobilise to stop them. Some Recon battalions rail down from Astrakhan to assist:





***


Meanwhile up in the Arctic Circle a squadron of Stukas has arrived. The plan is to have a go at the Soviet ships floating around in that bay.




< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 5/12/2018 12:34:52 PM >

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/12/2018 12:11:49 PM   
MikeJ19


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McCall,

Excellent stuff! It is an interesting read. Well done and I look forward to more updates.


_____________________________

Mike

Retired Gunner

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/12/2018 12:31:01 PM   
700851McCall

 

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Thanks Mike. It is fun to do. There's so much going on on the game at the moment it is taking me a couple or more hours to play each turn. So it's good to have a break in between and write some stuff.

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/12/2018 2:58:45 PM   
700851McCall

 

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In the Arctic spotter plains report the Soviet flotilla is sailing beneath clear skies. 42 Stukas escorted by 28 ME110 fighters fly into the attack. The target is identified as a battleship accompanied by 2 destroyers.





Damage to the Battleship! We make a second sortie:





The battleship goes to the bottom for the total loss of 4 dive bombers and 2 fighters. Clearly the age of the battleship is over!

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RE: My D21 attempt - 5/13/2018 9:41:04 AM   
700851McCall

 

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October 10th 1943 (Turn 241)

Muddy season arrives along with a cold front that sees snow begin to decorate the tops of the mountains. Supply drops, supply radius drops and ground shock drops to 75% for both sides. This signals the end of combat operations until the mud freezes over. Around a month or 8 turns in game terms. There are no winter shock or supply bonuses for the Soviets anymore so I am hoping to be able to continue fighting through the winter.

1943 has been a major success for the Axis. Operation 'Thor's Hammer' was indeed a hammer-blow to the Soviets. They lost a huge chunk of territory and hundreds of divisions and other formations were wiped out in 'out of supply' status and so won't be coming back. On the flip side Axis forces south of Moscow now need to re-organise and re-supply, and the new front line needs to be reinforced some more.

Here's a tour of the critical front line areas:



Moscow Sector. What was a continuous line around the city has been reduced to strong points due to heavy enemy assaults and a lack of reserves to shore up the line. Reinforcements are now arriving, mostly anti-tank units which have been assigned to stiffen up the most vulnerable spots (circled). Refitted panzer divisons are also arriving, these will take the place of the divisions currently holding the line so they too can re-fit.




***


South of Moscow the new front line takes shape, there is very little opposing it right now. This line has been established along the path of the east-west railroad which is currently in the process of being converted. In another couple of weeks there will be a continuous line right across to Saratov.




***


Saratov (circled) at the eastern end of the line. We are digging in along the banks of the Volga. The main Soviet effort is expected here and there are a number of powerful panzer units in reserve in anticipation of this. The Romanians will hold the river line. Some of their units are now veteran with the proficiency of their German equivalents. The Axis forces are pretty disorganised after the exertions of the summer, it will take quite a while for the reminder of the Romanian army to arrive here from all points of the compass.




****


Behind the line a single pocket represents what is left of what was an entire Soviet front just three months previously. There was not time to destroy them before the mud. There are over 400 enemy tanks in the pocket. They will be left to starve during the muddy season and then come winter the remains will be mopped up. In the meantime the rest of the Axis army streams north-east to the new front line.




****

To the east our position between the Volga and the Caspian Depression. Everyone is dug in and backed by artillery and units in tactical reserve. 6th Panzer and Romanian 1st armoured are in position as 'fire brigades' (circled)




***

South of the Caspian Depression a defence line has been established at the bottleneck. Hungarian and Luftwaffe divisions hold the line, stiffened by anti-tank units. 1st Panzer is in tactical reserve. Due to the mud supply is low here despite only being 150 km from the railhead. it was decided that driving further east here was impossible, even in good weather it would not be possible to get more than halfway to the oil fields without running out of supply.




*****


And finally in the Caucasus the last enemy units still hold out thanks mainly to the many interruptions to the supply lines holding up the Axis advance. A single railroad engineer is currently linking the east and west rail lines to prevent this happening again. That should be done by the time the winter freeze arrives.





Front lines October 1943.





The question is, what to do now? The rail engineers are gradually withdrawing which will limit the ability to take new ground and get supply to it. Most (all?) worthwhile objectives have been taken. Whilst I'm not ruling out the possibility of a serious Soviet offensive my suspicions are that they have taken too much damage now to accomplish anything major, like re-taking Moscow. '44 may just be a boring year of defending, straightening the line and local counter-attacks. We shall see.

(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 78
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/13/2018 4:10:32 PM   
DanNeely

 

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If you find yourself looking for an excuse to attack somewhere, the pre-war German planned limit of advance was Archangel-Gorky-Astrakhan, continuing on that objective a repeat of the Saratov campaign aimed a Gorky, or sending a significant force to the Finnish front to take Murmansk and Arkhangelsk reducing lend-lease aid even more and shortening the front the Finns need to hold both seem like reasonably plausible attack objectives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-A_line

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(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 79
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/13/2018 4:57:18 PM   
700851McCall

 

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I've considered the idea of driving on Arkhangelsk and I would go for that option if I had advanced to the Finnish stop lines in the north already. But I opted to stay on the defensive up there so there would be a long way to go along the tracks before getting into the open terrain. Gorky I had not considered but the lack of rail repair units in '44 means advancing the entire front to that line would be impossible.

So in '44 I've decided to go with the plan I was considering for 1943 which is to attack north out of the Moscow salient and pocket the bulk of the Soviet formations between Leningrad and Moscow. I've already begun moving units to the sector. I'm envisaging a massive attack with 20 panzer and 20 infantry and motorized divisions. It will take a couple of months to rail all the units into position for this. The majority of the panzer divisions have now been refitted to '1943' standard so that task is almost complete.

This will be the ultimate, titanic battle that will decide control of the Soviet Union. You need good Wagnerian titles for these final, massive German offensives so I'm going with 'Operation Nibelung'.

< Message edited by 700851McCall -- 5/13/2018 4:59:44 PM >

(in reply to DanNeely)
Post #: 80
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/18/2018 9:37:31 PM   
700851McCall

 

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November 24th 1943 (Turn 254)

The stormy season ends and the ground freezes over. The start of our third winter in Russia.

Preparations continue for Operation Nibelung. Moscow has been evacuated of civilians. Its wide boulevards are now crammed with thousands of tanks and other vehicles. More forces have yet to arrive. Only the 1st, 6th and 23rd panzer divisions are excluded from the operation, they are on defensive duties down south along with 2 panzer grenadier divs. Every other armoured unit in the German army will be part of the offensive, along with all of the Waffen SS units and divisions. All panzer divisions have now been refitted with the latest tanks.

Due to a Soviet offensive just north west of Moscow some of the panzer divisions have already been committed to stabilise the situation. The attacking Soviet armour and infantry have been destroyed and we are into his backline of arty and HQs. (Circled). Note anti tank units (composed of Marders or 88mm AT guns) supporting the infantry on salient points in the line. Most of the German infantry divisions still do not have anything more than a few dozen 37mm anti tank guns so this corset stiffening is necessary as almost every Soviet stack now has an armoured brigade or more in it.






The basic plan for Operation Nibelung. We will attack in echelon on a narrow front, north along the railroad The objective will be the transport and industrial centre at Yaroslavl (circled). Then we drive west, again along the rail line all the way to the shores of Lake Ilmen, pocketing the Soviet troops to the south. The line will then be rolled up from Moscow westwards. D Day is not yet fixed but will be some time in early December.




*****


In the Caucasus the Soviets are still resisting although their units are brittle now and cannot stand up to assault. Iranian neutrality has had to be violated as a stream of enemy units came out of there and attacked towards Baku, then retreated back. So we went in after them. There is no threat here anymore as long as the border is covered. The last major Axis unit down here, Gross-Deutschland division, is preparing to rail out to join operations around Moscow.




***



Up in the Arctic a Soviet battleship arrives. The weather looks good for it so a Stuka attack is launched.




And down it goes. Only 1 Stuka is lost.





(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 81
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/18/2018 10:26:13 PM   
MikeJ19


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McCall,

Great stuff. I'm enjoying your AAR!

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(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 82
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/19/2018 5:43:23 AM   
700851McCall

 

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Thanks Mike. I've owned a copy of the original 'Fire In The East' boardgame for decades but never played it as it is just so big, it isn't really practical. You need a spare snooker table just to lay out the map, and then you need to find an opponent who has (at least) a couple of years to spare. So it's great to be able to finally play it out on the computer.

Even so it has taken me over 4 months of playing at least one turn almost every day to get this far!

(in reply to MikeJ19)
Post #: 83
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/20/2018 10:52:57 AM   
700851McCall

 

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December 1st 1943.

Enraged by continuing Soviet assaults in the Moscow sector, which are causing whole German infantry divisions to evaporate at a rate of two a week, the Fuhrer orders Operation Nibelung to commence immediately. The Generals protest. Not all of the artillery and rocket units are in place yet, the big SS divisions are still re-supplying after their long march north, and the bulk of the Gross Deutschland division has yet to arrive from the Caucasus.

Nevertheless rumours abound on the front lines that the Soviets have developed some sort of 'Death Ray.' In reality it is just that they now have literally thousands of 122mm and 155mm guns and katayusha rocket launchers stacked up behind their line. But something must be done. The code word 'Loki' is transmitted and several thousand Maybach engines growl into life. The heavy Panzer batalions move to the front to commence the breakthrough:




****


After less than a week the enemy front line is shattered and the breakout begins. The assaulting force is almost entirely mechanised, so once the breach is opened progress is fast. Recon battalions drive up the railroad towards the first objective: Yaroslavl. Units of the 1st Guards Tank Corps are about to be surrounded (circled)






***


And just a couple of days later a recon battalion enters an undefended Yaroslavl. The expected slog through a defence in depth has not materialised, beyond the front lines there is nothing but the odd infantry or cavalry regiment, they barely slow us down. 50% of the forces assembled for the operation have yet to be committed. It looks like the enemy are beaten in all but name.




***



In the Arctic yet another Soviet battleship arrives and parks under clear blue skies.




And once again the Soviet's cavalier deployment of their capital ships is punished. It goes straight to the bottom for the loss of 5 axis aircraft:



(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 84
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/20/2018 10:58:19 AM   
MikeJ19


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McCall,

Wow, I'm impressed by those who take on this large scenarios. They look fun, but I can not imagine spending so much time on one scenario. How long is the playback of the Soviet moves. It must take a long time...

I do enjoy the AARs though, so thanks for sharing.

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(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 85
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/20/2018 12:49:20 PM   
700851McCall

 

Posts: 171
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From: Staffordshire, England.
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Hi Mike

Playback takes about 25 minutes or thereabouts, less if they fail force proficiency early on of course.

I've decided I am going to mothball this one for a while. The Soviets are no longer a serious threat so it is now just about finding the quickest and most efficient ways of wiping them out. And after 5 months on this I fancy having a go at something different. Vietnam, I think.

(in reply to MikeJ19)
Post #: 86
RE: My D21 attempt - 5/20/2018 3:39:58 PM   
MikeJ19


Posts: 2704
Joined: 1/29/2014
From: Ottawa, Canada
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McCall,

Wow, I remember when I was playing TOAWIII before work a few years ago and I missed my bus a couple of times because the playback was so long... It is worth it though.

Good idea to switch to a different scenario, I find that I get bored if I have the game wrapped up and there is lots of time left.

I hope you do an AAR for your next battle.

All the best,

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Mike

Retired Gunner

(in reply to 700851McCall)
Post #: 87
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