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Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side

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Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 3/31/2019 4:42:33 PM   


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Historically, the Second Battle of Kharkov was a disaster for the Soviets, thanks to poor planning, overextending and badly reacting to German moves. Soviet units were also mostly "green" and poorly experienced. Let's see if I manage to do better; well, MUCH better. Doing worse is impossible.

I immediately decide to pull back from the north of Fedorovka: the German lines seems solid and the forest doesn't help. Shortening my lines will allow me to form a denser MLR and concentrate my forces better for an eventual offensive. Scouting missions discover strong German and Rumanian forces just south and southeast of my lines, so I dispatch some units to form a strong position around Lozovaia.

I do the same up north: with the current density I can't pack enough punch to break through German lines around Ternovaia, so I pull back. I want to trick the Germans to try and cross the river, or at least dispose my numerous artillery battalions to properly shell them from safe positions, instead of cramming more units in the small bridgehead. After that, a counteroffensive could break the enemy and open the Northern route to Kharkov.

By Turn 2 Von Paulus' 6 Armee advances from Kharkov and basically separates the battlefield in two, cutting the lines between the northern armies (28th, 38th) and the rest between Kupiansk and Izium.

West of Fedorovka, however, pulling back has been a success: a few German units try to re-establish contact and advance, but a quick counterattack isolates and encircle them. In Turn 3 a hole has opened between the German lines in the center, and several Soviet armored and cavalry units rush forward.

Post #: 1
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/1/2019 4:35:03 PM   


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The Germans strike in the South: the 9th Army is decimated by quick assaults and encirclements, and German units approach Balakleia. A lone German regiment that plunges too far into my lines, however, is surrounded and destroyed in a valiant effort.

The German 6 Armee has smashed through my lines north of Izium, destroying all my units there. If they push south they can close off my supplies coming from the East and attack the fragments of the 9th Army from the north. They could also turn west and attack Fedorovka from the east: there is currently nothing around Petrovskoe.

Further west the situation is much better: the Germans have tried an assaults toward Fedorovka from the north, but doing so they allowed my mobile forces to invade their backfield. My concentration of troops around Fedorovka repelled all attacks and launched a counteroffensive. It seems it's only a matter of time before I conquer all the center of the map. Armored and cavalry units are rushing toward Krasnodar and Kharkov, encountering no opposition save for a lonely Romanian artillery unit.

In the North, i've succesfully pulled out from the western bank of Donetsk river save for a strong bridgehead, and the German units are suffering greatly from the bombardments made by my massed artillery units on the eastern side of the river. I managed to concentrate some armor just east of Kupiansk, and launch several armed reconneissance missions that threaten to encircle the German units that are facing the southern flank of my 38th Army. A big German Regiment has been already encircled.

Krasnodar falls, and other mobile units encircle the remaining German forces north of Fedorovka.

In the south, the survivors of 9th Army are retreating northwest, with the help of some of my reserves. The strong Lozovaia's MLR is holding well against Romanian assaults, and my artillery shells every stack with dramatic effects.

The German 6 Armee has conquered Izium. Let's see what they do next.

< Message edited by StuccoFresco -- 4/1/2019 4:37:26 PM >

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 2
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/2/2019 4:48:48 PM   


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TURNS 6 to 8
The map is a mess. The Germans have invaded my backfield and i have invaded their. Light forces liberated Krasnodar (halving Germans' supply level, the scenario says) and Kharkov. The 9th Army has been all but eliminated and the 57th Army has suffered heavy casualities. 6th Army is still strong despite losses, as are 28th and 38th Army. The Southwestern Front Reserve is still online, albeit quite depleted, and it's guarding their southern flank.

My position is good in the North and (for now) west of Kupiansk. Just west of Kupiansk i've been able to launch a local counteroffensive that is leading to the destruction of several german infanterie battalions. The 6th Armee of Von Paulus has disappeared; probably it's concentrating its forces north of Izium.

The southern flank is strong around Lozovaia, but given the loss of the whole 9th Army there is an enormous weak point areound Petrovskoe, where only remnants of defeated divisions are trying to form a roadblock. Losing Petrovskoe would mean opening the Germans a road to Fedorovka, where an extremely importan Supply Point resides. It would also give them the means to separate 6th and 57th Army from each other and destroy them piecemeal. German forces are also around the river crossing at Balakleia.

My only option is then to abandon Lozovaia and form a MLR around Petrovskoe and Fedorovka, putting up an hedgehog defense while I try to secure the northern part of the map.

The Germans are concentrating in the southeast of the map, with the XVII and XXIX Armee Korps isolated in the north.

My repositioning is pulled off withouth problems, probably the Germans are reorganizing their messy lines too. I retreated and formed a series of MLRs in places that seem to be good to defend the center of the map and my vital supply point northeast: the 57th Army adn the Bobkin Army Group forms a MLR south of Fedorovka; part of the 6th Army, the remnants of the 9th and various mobile groups form a defensive ring around Petrovskoe, and the Southwestern and Southern Front's reserves form a MLR at Kupiansk. They aren't very strong or deep, but i have nothing else there at the moment.

Part of the 6th Army will try to eliminate the German remnants in the center, and with parts of the 38th Army they will try to take Andreevka.

The main force of the 38th Army will try to force an attack over the Donetsk, targeting the weak and isolated German units near Chuguev; part of the 28th Army will try the same against the German block east of Ternovaia.

The attacks are succesfull, although the 28th Army suffers significant losses trying to cross the river.

< Message edited by StuccoFresco -- 4/3/2019 3:58:01 PM >

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 3
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/3/2019 4:21:12 PM   


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It seems the Germans are done reorganizing, and thus they come back with their southern attack with a vengeance. A late Soviet unit that was retreating toward the Fedorovka's MLR gets swarmed by Romanian regiments and won't make it. German troops arrive at the river crossing south of Petrovskoe. Fresh units show up in front of the 38th Army, far north, and elements of the German 6th Army show up north of Andreevka. All in all, however, only bombardments hit my lines. 21St Army has to reorganize, however.

When it's my turn to move, i find more reinforcements has been sent by the STAVKA: truly their trust in this battle is heartwarming. Two strong infantry regiments, one armored regiment and one artillery regiment join the MLR at Kupiansk.

Meanwhile, the 38th Army tries to destroy a couple more German pockets near the center of the map.


The Romanians and the German southern forces makes contact with my MLRs at Petrovskoe and Fedorovka. Several attacks are made, as well as heavy shelling, but my lines hold and the Germans pay a steep cost. Just behind my MLR there are hundreds of artillery piecies supporting the defense: every German attack is met with a bloody barrage, and thus my lines resist the first assault. Worryingly, a tank battalion of the 6th Armee advances to contact just north of Petrovskoe. Is the 6th Army planning a flank attack?

My turn is mostly mopping up a single HQ in the centre, sending more troops to man the MLR around Petrovskoe, and bombarding German troops' concentrations. 250+ guns at the time pound the Germans and exacts a high price from them. During the turn-long shelling, a Romanian regiment melts and two formerly big stacks are decimated. At the same time, i'm trying to make a flanking maneuver to retake Lozovaia and maybe charge the Romanians from the rear...

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 4
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/4/2019 6:35:29 PM   


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TURN 11 and 12
The Germans bombard my lines in retailation for my massacres, but their fire is dispersed, and my units aren't too stacked, so losses are acceptable. Unfortunately, they also manage to break my lines south of Petrovskoe with relative ease... A Panzer Battalions and a Panzergrenadier Regiment cross the river, and other 3 Panzer Battalions along with an infanterie Rgt and a motorized one park themselves near.

Further west, Fedorovka's MLR isn't attacked anymore, and I decide to reinforce the flanking move when I found the Romanian HQ along with three artillery units that seems ready to be engaged.

In the north and center the situation is definitely better: i manage to encircle and destroy a German regiment in the middle, and along with new reinforcements from the Southern Front, I form another assault group that would try to locate the disappeared 6th Armee. I'm close to lnking the Fedorovka-Petrovskoe forces with the Northern forces, but I don't want to be hit in the flank by Von Paulus' troops.

My flanking move in the southwest fails when German motorized troops punch my units in the face and force an hasty retreat. I pull them back to the MLR and abort the idea of a flanking attack.

I decide that Fedorovka's MLR is not in danger, so I relocate around 500 artillery piecies to the Petrovskoe's one and I shell enemy troop's concentrations for the whole turn, badly mauling them. Once again, the sheer numbers of Soviet artillery proves itself very effective.

Given how devastating my artillery concentrations are, I decide to use them in the northern front too. I'll bomb the Krauts for a couple turns before trying a full breakout from my bridgeheads. Meanwhile, my armored units hunt German artillery in its backfield, and makes me pondering if a run for his supply point may be worth the risk.

In the center, I decide to form a new MLR south of Kupiansk, closer to where I think Von Paulus' 6th Armee has "vanished". With this move, i manage to link up with the 6th Army. A lone armored battalion runs south just east of the "danger zone" and opens a path for supplies coming from the point east of Izium.

Remember when I said Fedorovka's MLR wasn't in danger? I was wrong. Several German strong regiments advance from the south and makes contact. Other enemy units keep advancing toward Petrovskoe. The III Motorized Korp punches a hole in my MLR just south of Krasnopavlovka and threatens the whole MLR. Fortunately, several frontal assaults are repulsed with heavy losses.

I manage to isolate the northern German troops from their supply point with an armored spearhead, but when I try to do the same to the 6th Armee, my tanks spot the XXXXIV Korp guarding the Donetsk River line...

What's worse, when I try to move some cavalry over my left flank, I found a German flanking move that threatens Fedorovka's MLR. I order a quick counterattack to isolate and destroy the Panzergrenadiers that broke my lines: I can't allow them to engage my artillery.

The situation looks dire.

< Message edited by StuccoFresco -- 4/4/2019 6:41:36 PM >

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 5
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/6/2019 9:40:10 AM   


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The German III Motorized Korp hammers away at Fedorovka's MLR, decimating my units. I have to redeploy several divisions and armored regiments to try to reinforce the defenses.

In the North, however, I'm able to surround and destroy an infantry regiment and an artillery battery. Other two regiments are decimated in the attacks, and it looks like I can finally achieve a decisive victory in the area, thanks to a wide encircling move done by my armored units. The Germans should be now out of supplies.

TURN 16 and ending
Another hole is punched in the Fedorovka MLR, but I am able to plug it with second-line troops. The constant assault is wearing down my forces in the south, but the Germans are suffering too, and the scenario is about to end. I have the time to make another encirclement in the North before time is up.

In the end, it's an overwhelming victory for the Red Army! The enemy suffered grievous losses despite its armored power and the destruction of the entire 9th Amy in the first breakthrough. Kharkov is liberated, as is Krasnodar. The 6th Armee and the I Panzerarmee will be forced to withdraw from their positions and retreat. The Rumanian and Hungarian forces has been so decimated they will likely be disbanded.

Had the scenario continued, the Germans could have overran the defenses in the South, although i'd be able to annihilate their remnants in the north. Overall, i'm lucky it ends now. Despite the low proficiency and experience of my troops, along with the bad strategic situation, I've been able to carve up a victory from the hands of defeat. When the 1st Panzerarmee destroyed 9th Army I thought all was lost, but i managed to destroy the last German troops in the center and thus use all available units in the area to form two strong MLRs.

The 6th Armee did very little: they achieved an initial massive success, then parked themselves north of Izium and did nothing for the rest of the battle. Maybe my troops placed just north of their position convinced Von Paulus that he risked a flank attack if he attacked Petrovskoe. Honestly, that was my intention, but the Germans did not attack and I didn't want to risk an open battle with it.

My artillery was the king of the battlefield. Using concentrated barrages made with 300 guns at once, I inflicted horrendous losses to every german fat stack, de facto making almost all their attacks fail miserably. It was only when I moved most of my artillery in the Petrovskoe's MLR that the enemy was able to easily punch through Fedorovka's MLR. But every time I was able to use my artillery freely, it did wonders. The Germans had hundreds of guns too, but almost never concentrated their fire and ultimately the losses they inflicted never bothered me that much. Soviet artillery doctrine is clearly superior.

Cavalry and armored units were useful for their hardness in battle and strategic speed: it was them that slipped through the German lines and took Kharkov and Krasnodar. Taking those two cities triggered serious malus on the Germans and may have played a big role in my victory. They also proved very valuable as tactical reserves or to close encirclements. While they weren't as dominant on the battlefield as I hoped, they were an invaluable resource nonetheless. Mobility is king.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 6
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/19/2019 9:34:39 PM   

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Nice AAR. Sounds like you were playing against the AI? Would be a fun one maybe to PBEM?


War in the East/War in the East II - Alpha Test Teams
WarPlan Beta Tester
DG CWIE2 tester/SPWW2 and SPMBT playtester/scenario & campaign creator

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 7
RE: Kharkov 1942 - Soviet side - 4/26/2019 11:00:42 AM   


Posts: 534
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Italy
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Yes, I'm still playing against the AI, trying to expand my understanding of the game itself. Despite playing various scenarios, some of the finer aspects still elude my comprehension.

Also, doing the Hungary 1944 scenario kinda worn me out so I'm taking a big pause from the game.

(in reply to Zovs)
Post #: 8
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