Hi all. I'm in April 1942 in my first full campaign (Bitter End). I took Moscow in 1941 before the mud hit, isolated Leningrad and finished it off during the blizzard, and pushed to the Tula-Orel-Kursk-Voroshilovgrad line, taking Rostov as well. I walled off Crimea with the Romanians and Hungarians.
I lost a bit of territory during the winter but retook it and then some (Ryazan, critically) with a March offensive that also bagged almost 600,000 men. The Germans outnumber the Soviets by about 400,000 at this point, and have about 5,000 more AFVs. They still outnumber me by about 5,000 planes since I haven't quite figured out the air war yet.
I've read that even with Moscow in the bag, the Soviets will become unbeatable sometime in 1943. To prevent this, I assume I need to deal a knockout blow in 1942, leaving only scraps for 1943. To this end, I am planning the following:
4th Panzer Army supported by 16th and 9th Armies will push from Torzhok to Yaroslavl, then south to meet up with 3rd Panzer Army, pushing north from Ryazan with the support of 9th Army and 4th Army. This should bag the substantial Soviet buildup from their failed attempts to retake Moscow during the Winter, with the ultimate goal of taking Gorky which has a huge amount of industry. After accomplishing the pocket, 4th Panzer will push north to cut the rail lines so the 18th Army can advance east, shortening the line and relieving the (probably overstretched at this point) 16th Army.
Meanwhile, 2nd Panzer will push east from Orel, taking Voronezh, Tambov, and Saratov, supported by the 2nd and 16th Armies. I'm debating whether to push further if the opportunity arises, or simply using 2nd Panzer Army at that point to focus on pocketing Soviets that show up.
Finally, 1st Panzer Army will pocket Stalingrad before moving southeast along the Volga to Astrakhan, then to Baku. They will be supported by the 17th and 11th Armies (the 11th is now substantial, having received the vast majority of reinforcements during the winter). The southern flank will primarily be held by the Italians, Hungarians, and Romanians, who should do well enough with forts in mountains.
My questions are as follows:
1. Is there anything glaringly bad about this plan? I know the supply situation south of Stalingrad is dicey with the lack of rail lines.
2. What does it take to deal a killing blow to the Soviets in the Bitter End campaign? They have nearly endless reserves of manpower and a huge amount of industry left. Should I accomplish the above objectives, where should I be looking next? Should I expect a crushing counteroffensive?
3. Where should my airbases be? I have the north and south figured out, but the center is a mess since the army-level commands both withdrew, so all I have is one corps-level air command that can't actually command all the airbases in the area. It also forces me to keep them close to it, so even with staging bases at Moscow and Orel it's hard to project range to support the areas around Kursk and Ryazan.
Thanks for the help.
< Message edited by warintheyeets -- 5/16/2019 8:00:27 PM >