Turn 3 End, Centre
if I were the Soviets I would not defend the landbridge that way, first I would not stick my neck out like that attacking the panzers spearheads and I would put most of those units on the Dvina line around Vitebsk and same for the Dnepr and Smolensk, and I would leave the landbridge only lightly defended, the units stationned there only job being to delay a bit the germans for a turn. It will funnel the attack in a place where the german doesn't have a choice to guard his flanks if he wants to bypass, and where he will also be very near the end of the supply leash. Of course the west-east path to Velikye Luki should be well guarded too, not open like in the Brief encounter game.
The standout feature was to open the turn finding a motorised division and motorised regiment isolated. I had banked on one rescue not two, so could only get to the motorised division - the others will be remembered in Valhalla! Supplies are flown in to give them a glorious death! Indeed the regiment had actually been herded back by making it retreat eastwards during the Soviet phase. It took my opponent several weeks to do turn 2 so there was obviously a lot of time and thought put into it. I have never seen that on turn 3 so really well done. I have never lost a unit on turn 3 before - this will be a battle honour I will wear with pride!
It is clear units have been railed in, I guess with Tolbukhin and other commanders appointed to these armies. A lot has gone into this. These units are now mano a mano with German infantry. They will not be digging lines further back to their rear, let alone on the Luga, in front of Kharkhov etc. So strategically I am not too displeased. Perhaps this is better thought of as a deliberate Soviet sacrifice to capture and destroy a motor regiment which could be a good idea. But to continue a theme of this AAR, but this time from the perspective of the other side, should pockets always be prioritised? The regiment will come back with manpower reinforcements and in sufficient time it will be back to the morale of the unit it replaced - but I suspect their sacrifice will save many others from perishing by a quicker win in the war? It also makes me wonder if Axis players are too risk averse. You will see games where the Axis player will resign if they lose a unit in summer 41. Does such risk aversion lead to using motorised units less adventurously and ultimately less advantageously (in terms of losses too?).
It was very surprising though that the Panzer corps just north of the marshes was not the main target of isolation during the Soviet turn!
2nd Army has been unfrozen, but rather than marching them directly east next to the Pripyat Marshes I am railing them. They will arrive on the front lines turns earlier this way, and in the gap opening up between army group north and army group centre. Ultimately I will be looking to reassign 2nd army to Army Group North by winter. Transferring infantry and maybe a corps HQ from 9th army to 2nd army before 2nd army is moved to AGN will take fewer points than reassigning them directly to somewhere in Army Group North. However again for a couple of turns rail capacity needs to be rationed. Some have to remain on the sidings watching the trains go by...
< Message edited by Telemecus -- 6/5/2019 4:22:40 PM >