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On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:08:10 AM   
thedoctorking


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Back in September of 2017, I was new to this game, and I was invited to join a newly formed multi-player game to be called the 2by3+ game. As the least experienced player on the Soviet team, I took the northern sector. My teammates were also inexperienced, and among the four of us we managed to screw things up quite thoroughly against an expert Axis team. The story of the game has been told in other places in this forum, so I don’t need to go into it at great length, but to recap:

By the beginning of the blizzard, in the north, we had lost the northernmost of the Volga cities, Yaroslavl, as well as Leningrad. My boys held the line of the Volga up to Rybinsk, and then an arc through the swamps (with no supplies) and up to Lake Onega.





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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:08:43 AM   
thedoctorking


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Farther south, the Axis had managed to cut off Moscow and reduce its garrison, wiping out most of two fronts as well as taking our capital along with much of its industry.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:09:13 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the south, a huge pocket around Voronezh saw the destruction of Southwestern Front. We were able to evacuate the critical IL-2 and T-34 factories, though only one point of each, in part because the Axis placed a lower priority on this sector. They did not get to Rostov or across the lower Don. A chaotic screen of our boys faced a similarly scattered Axis force in this sector.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:10:01 AM   
thedoctorking


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Deployed manpower for the USSR was 4.4 million, with 6800 AFV’s and 6800 aircraft. For the Germans, there were 3.4 million men, 4000 AFV’s and 2900 aircraft (and about 1.4 million Axis allied manpower with 350 AFV’s and 800 aircraft).

Most Soviet players would have lost heart at this point. I confess that I was merely hanging on out of natural stubbornness. Some of our players did leave. But we recruited some new talent, and those of us who stuck with it at least learned something.

I learned about guard farming. I learned about supply delivery difficulties. I should say that we started this game under 1.11.0 and by turn 38, we were using 1.11.03. Axis supply east of Moscow was nerfed in one of those patches, just about the time in our game that it became very helpful. I also learned about optimizing the Soviet air force. We had a long time with almost no IL-2 production, and so we used U2VS NBAP squadrons (set to day missions) as our principal ground attack weapon. They proved to be quite effective.

The blizzard turns were very productive for us. We were playing with reduced blizzard effect, but our counterattack was effective. We massed our cavalry in the south-center and managed to cut off and destroy about seven German divisions and the Gross Deutschland regiment. In the north, I pushed the Germans back from Yaroslavl and chewed up Finnish manpower south of Lake Onega. The Finns suffered especially because they were relying on supply from their own homeland and had few rail repair units to bring supplies down to their far-flung front. They were not in normal supply until quite late in the blizzard season. Since Finnish manpower replenishment is low, they never really recovered from the losses they suffered in December-February.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:10:35 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the center, our successful offensive around Tambov killed some German divisions and rolled the Axis lines back about 100 miles. We never really aimed to capture Moscow, and the Germans spent a lot of resources fortifying their position there to no effect.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:11:10 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the south, our lines were pretty much static, though we took the opportunity to punish the Romanians as much as we could. They get more replacement manpower than the Finns, though, so we were not able to weaken them permanently.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:11:48 AM   
thedoctorking


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You can see the changing fortunes of the two sides in the bulk of our lines at the end of February when compared to December. By the numbers, we were up to 4.9 million deployed manpower with 6800 AFV’s and 7500 aircraft to 3.4 million German manpower, 3900 AFV’s and 3400 aircraft (Axis allies had 1.4 million men, 300 AFV’s, and 820 aircraft). So we were up by a half a million with a very significant increase in quality against an Axis force about as strong as it had been in the fall.

It was at this point that the multi-player game broke up, as these things sometimes do. I was interested in continuing to play, though. I wanted to see if the Soviets could come back from such a bad start. One person who had briefly been on the Axis team, Weinsoldner, was willing to play on as a one-on-one game. And so, on March 1, 1942, I became the Chief of Staff of STAVKA and Weinsoldner took his place as Chief of Staff of OKH. I thought that some of the players in the former multiplayer game might be interested in knowing how it has played out through 1942.

My first task was to reorganize the Soviet forces. We had several Front HQ’s that were grossly overloaded, while one had no units assigned to it at all. We had promoted some of our best generals to Front command – Mr. Z, Georgi Zhukov, was in command of Kalinin Front and Ivan Konev was in command of Western – and given the enormous overloading of their fronts, their command abilities were wasted. Breaking the excess armies away from those overloaded fronts was a matter for several turns’ worth of AP that could have been spent on building tank corps. I thought it was worth the investment.

I also wanted a reserve mass that could face potential Axis armored breakthroughs once spring came. I used the empty Front, Crimean, for my strategic reserve. I gave it three shock armies (and ultimately one Guards army) and a collection of my best units. I put them back behind the front and put them on refit mode to build their TOE, morale, and experience.

I wanted to reorganize my air force to be able to concentrate my best planes in one sector to gain air superiority over the critical battlefield. I assigned one of the corps-level air commands to Crimean Front and gave it a good leader, Golovanov, and a selection of the best fighter and ground-attack bomber squadrons in my inventory. I used the “mad bomber” approach across the whole front, so there was plenty of churn, but as I developed new squadrons with high experience and morale levels, I would transfer them to 6 IAK PVO corps.

By the end of mud, turn 47, you can see how my units are better organized. In the north, three fronts face relatively weak Axis forces presenting no threat of offensive action. Our supply situation is still poor, though, with Northwestern Front in particular as much as ten hexes from its railhead.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:12:29 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the center, we are presenting a credible defense to the east of Moscow, but with our mass of reserves located to the south near Tambov. It was there that I expected the biggest Axis push, with about one Panzer Army located in the Lipetsk-Voronezh sector.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:13:08 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the south, we had an early clear turn and a broad-front German offensive is developing in the Donbass aiming at Rostov. The earlier Soviet team had already built a powerful defensive line around Stalingrad, and so I aimed to channel any German attack in that area to the north if I could, strengthening Southern Front with good units and plenty of support and thinning out Southwestern (soon to be Stalingrad) Front to the north.

Behind the lines are hordes of STAVKA divisions at 20% TOE max. My goal was to have these guys dig fortifications while their EXP and Morale go up. When they get to Morale 40, I march them up to the front and merge them into front-line divisions that have fallen below 70% TOE. This way they don’t pollute the front-line units’ morale too much, and I can direct the replacements where I think they are needed. You must spend all your AP in a turn before you do any merges, though, because if you don’t the system will charge you the AP cost of the division you merged immediately. But this proved to be a very useful way to keep Soviet units up to fighting strength. The destroyed division will come in a few turns later and can get back to digging and training up.

Turn 47 numbers were 5.5 million Soviet soldiers with 6300 AFV’s and 7100 aircraft against 3.6 million Germans with 4100 AFV’s and 3500 planes. So the mud allowed us to go up another half million.

It was just about at this point that we shifted over to 1.12, and the German supply problem got a lot worse. Our supply situation was challenging as well, but we were retreating onto our supplies while they were advancing away from theirs. Always the German problem in the early game, but much worse when you are well past Moscow.





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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:14:01 AM   
thedoctorking


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The 1942 summer battles did not feature a lot of armored breakthroughs. We got no use at all out of the fortified lines that my predecessors at STAVKA built during the winter (at Stalingrad, Gorky, and north of Baku). Instead, the Axis big push in the south turned into a World War One style slugfest, with two months of fighting moving the lines maybe 40 miles to the east, from the Mius to the outskirts of Rostov by July 4th. To the north, Axis forces and my big Crimean Front fought a series of bruising tank battles east of Voronezh. At the end of June, I decided that the situation there was not too threatening, and I withdrew Crimean and repositioned it to the south for a counterattack across the Don.






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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:14:48 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the center, Kalinin Front absorbed some German shoving and built its strength near Ryazan. The German offensive north of Lipetsk was making some mileage, but I judged that Bryansk Front could afford to give some ground until the counterattacks to the north and south distracted the German armored mass of maneuver.




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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:15:35 AM   
thedoctorking


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The northern sector was very stable during this period. I used it as a place to train up new air squadrons and to continue to harass the Finns.





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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:16:19 AM   
thedoctorking


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On turn 58, though, I launched my planned offensives in the center, recapturing Ryazan, driving ten hexes to the west across the Don, and wiping out ten Axis divisions including three German Panzer divisions and 6th Army HQ. Early Stalingrad. Kalinin’s offensive was able to capture Ryazan but could not go further. There were still powerful German defenses in the vicinity of Moscow, including a huge anti-aircraft trap. Without air superiority and facing equivalent numbers of German armor, we were happy to just distract and regain an important city.




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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:17:07 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the north, much to my surprise, my harassing attacks against the Finns succeeded in breaking their front and allowing me to advance to Lake Ladoga and cross the Svir River to the north and the Volkhov to the west. German armored reinforcements stopped my advance towards Leningrad, but the Finnish army between the lakes barely escaped being pocketed in its entirety. If I had known how weak they were and sent some more mobile assets up there, I might have bagged them all and knocked Finland out of the war.




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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:17:56 AM   
thedoctorking


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We’ve played up to the mud in 1942 and are currently on turn 72. In the north, we’ve rolled the Finns back to close to their 1939 borders and are massed to push on to the west south of the lakes. The supply situation in the far north is critical until we can repair the rail line. Holding the critical rail junction at Volkhov is essential in this regard – we cannot even harass the enemy up there until the rail lines are rebuilt. The Finnish air force is down to 37 planes, though – our fighters are not going to get much live ammo training in up here any more.




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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:18:53 AM   
thedoctorking


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In the center, we have an arc around Moscow. Several important cities lie within that arc and could be targets for a winter offensive.




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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 3:19:45 AM   
thedoctorking


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To the south, our offensive into the Donbass ended just short of Stalino. The Germans are giving up their hard-won gains near Rostov, though. I hope to regain the Donbass cities in the coming winter, as our production is now most limited by resource shortages.

This is an interesting and unanticipated development. When I realized on turn 25 or so that we only had 236 armaments factories left, I assumed that we would suffer from armaments shortages for the rest of the game. There have been some shortages. We didn’t build nearly as many artillery SU as I normally would. Occasionally, looking over the logistics phase record, I would see that some aircraft or tanks had not been built because of shortages. But much more commonly, the shortage is in resource production. Recovering the big resource factories of Stalino and vicinity holds the promise of restoring that situation.

Manpower and armaments appear to be pretty well balanced – on turn 72, I have 70000 manpower and 10000 armaments in my pool. I’ve got a moderate vehicle shortage – about 40k in units and 10k in the general pool. Starting in 1943, the Yankees will be giving me 4500 a turn, so that means about 10 turns will resolve that problem. I built three mech corps for a new tank army, that ate up a whole bunch of vehicles.

The numbers for turn 72 are encouraging: 6.9 million Soviet soldiers with 10700 AFV’s and 10800 aircraft confront 4 million Germans with 6500 AFV’s and 2200 aircraft (and 1.5 million Axis allies with 450 AFV’s and 470 aircraft). My biggest gains have been in the air, as I have now gained effective air superiority across the entire front. There is still a long way to go before I get to Berlin, though. I’m excited to see what comes next. I’ll keep you informed.





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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 10:42:20 AM   
Fetterkrolle

 

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I am excited to see more of this! Could you also show a list of units destroyed and losses in total?

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 11:21:45 AM   
EwaldvonKleist


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Respect for continuing in this situation.


quote:

But much more commonly, the shortage is in resource production.

You explicitly mean resources, and not supply (produced by heavy industry factories)?

I am very surprised there are resource shortages given the wrecked industry leads to lower consumption.

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 11:58:57 AM   
weinsoldner

 

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Will show losses for the Axis as soon as I open the game later today

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 11:59:04 AM   
weinsoldner

 

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Will show losses for the Axis as soon as I open the game later today

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 4:56:45 PM   
Crackaces


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quote:

ORIGINAL: EwaldvonKleist

Respect for continuing in this situation.


quote:

But much more commonly, the shortage is in resource production.

You explicitly mean resources, and not supply (produced by heavy industry factories)?

I am very surprised there are resource shortages given the wrecked industry leads to lower consumption.


The game forked into two games as far as I can see. One of the versions (the original game) is now on turn 51. TheDoctorKing as taken a version with German players that know the password and our working their way through. This can present a problem in that the Soviets post information pertaining to the original game that is not as far along might be ruined either intentionally or unintentionally. The DoctorKing has been advised before by Slitherine.

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 10:40:03 PM   
thedoctorking


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quote:

ORIGINAL: EwaldvonKleist

Respect for continuing in this situation.


quote:

But much more commonly, the shortage is in resource production.

You explicitly mean resources, and not supply (produced by heavy industry factories)?

I am very surprised there are resource shortages given the wrecked industry leads to lower consumption.


It says a shortage in resources hindered supply production. Yeah, I thought it was weird too.

I'm thinking it is maybe because we evacuated too much HI and not enough Armaments? We didn't really lose too many resource production hexes - the Axis never got across the lower Don and into the Caucasus or Kuban region.

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 10:42:33 PM   
thedoctorking


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Destroyed units from the pockets I got in 1942:

262nd Infantry Division
111th Infantry Division
17th Finnish Inf Div
2nd Finnish Inf Div
6th Army HQ
III Panzer Corps HQ
23rd Panzer Division
75th Infantry Division
255th Infantry Division
298th Infantry Division
56th Infantry Division
4th Mountain Division
24th Panzer Division
9th Panzer Division
1st Fortress Rumanian Inf Div
52nd Torino Italian Inf Div

And a bunch of SU. I can list them if anybody's interested.

< Message edited by thedoctorking -- 2/8/2020 11:03:16 PM >

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 10:57:25 PM   
thedoctorking


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Total losses as of turn 73:

Axis 2,106,549 men (of whom 742,324 dead, 290,319 captured, 1,073,906 disabled and 302,646 returned), 42,001 guns, 4,282 AFV, 1,319 AP and AC, and 8,009 aircraft
USSR 6,284,648 men (of whom 1,528,486 dead, 2,681,621 captured, 2,074,541 disabled of whom 389,397 returned), 67,336 guns, 20,688 AFV, 4,995 SP and AC, and 26,652 aircraft


< Message edited by thedoctorking -- 2/8/2020 11:04:01 PM >

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/8/2020 11:18:32 PM   
thedoctorking


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Resource shortages on turn 74.




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RE: On to 1943! - 2/12/2020 4:45:18 PM   
MarauderPL

 

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Hi, why was thedoctorking banned from the forums? I wasn't an active member recently (guess why?) but what is happening in this community is sad and is getting sadder. I do not think that thedoctorking has violated any of the forum rules in this thread.

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RE: On to 1943! - 2/13/2020 12:21:19 PM   
weinsoldner

 

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Yes because of this censorship(in lack of a better word) I haven’t posted anything yet in this thread.

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RE: On to 1943! - 4/30/2020 9:13:12 PM   
thedoctorking


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To continue the story of our version of the 2by3+ game, Weinsolder and I have played through the winter of 1942-43. Weinsolder used a flexible fall-back defense that avoided major disaster. I formed a second “shock front” in addition to Crimean, using Southwestern and staffing it with a Guards Army, two Tank Armies, and a regular army. I relocated both armies to the central sector, with Crimean driving towards Orel and Southwestern moving on Moscow. The relocation took time, by the way, with the newly-limited (in v 1.12) Soviet rail capacity and the enormous lift cost of armored units.

Here’s the situation on turn 87:





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RE: On to 1943! - 4/30/2020 9:14:02 PM   
thedoctorking


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You can see the Southwestern Front spearheads (they’re the guys in pink) near Moscow. They started out driving in from the southeast, from the direction of Ryazan, headed for Kaluga with the intent of turning north. Strong resistance there led them to loop around to the north of the city, cutting off a couple of divisions from the heavily fortified line that the Germans had constructed last winter in front of the city. The heart of SW Front is four mechanized corps, created in the fall. By the time the offensive was over and they withdrew for refit, they had experience ratings in the 50’s, but they started out pretty clumsily. The offensive could also have moved more quickly with better supply. A combination of these two factors prevented me from trapping many German units in this sector, though I did take the objective; Moscow fell on turn 89. Heavy fighting to the south of the city was inconclusive, but did allow me to wrap up one Panzer Corps, my biggest gain to that point.

In the image, you can see the Crimean Front guys pushing towards Orel. This is a more conventional force centered around Guards Rifle Corps. We started to be able to build Heavy Tank and Assault Gun Regiments using the KV-1s and very helpful SU-122 platforms. These give the Rifle Corps a solid armored punch allowing them to engage German armored formations on equal terms. I’ve noticed in many playings of Barbarossa in this game that Soviet infantry attacking German tanks in the open often fail even when the displayed odds are much better than 2:1. This doesn’t seem to be a problem when your attacking infantry unit has a couple of hundred AFV’s backing it up.

Another key aspect of our newfound offensive punch is the use of artillery divisions (and some brigades). You can start building light gun brigades back in the fall of 1941, and they are useful, but the guys with the real big clubs are the Artillery Divisions and Rocket Divisions. I have tons of rocket launchers in the pool and so can get at least one of these divisions into each of the armies in the offensive fronts. This means that even if the defenders are in level 3 forts, I can normally break them down (sometimes by using more than one artillery division) and bust defenses that look pretty powerful going in.

The downside of all this mechanized stuff is the use of vehicles (artillery units take lots of trucks too). I think I mentioned last time that the Americans started giving me 4500 vehicles a turn in January 1943, and I expected to have my vehicle shortage sorted in a couple of months. Well, it didn’t work out that way. Turn 91, I’ve got a shortage of 54,000 vehicles in units and 40,000 in the pool. Supply deliveries are averaging like 40%. I put the three northern fronts (and the guys in Crimea) on static mode at the beginning of the winter and that helped a little, but now that the Germans are withdrawing in front of Northwest Front, they had to go back on mobile mode. I can’t put the southern fronts on static until they get to fortification level two, which will take at least six or eight turns.

So here’s the overall position, starting with the south: After busting through the Stalino sector, and pocketing a few more divisions, we pushed forward against light resistance as far as the Dnepr. The Germans are obviously not willing to see us cross the river and they have put powerful defenses in our way. To the north, we got Kharkov and rolled westward, again against a flexible fall-back defense.





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