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Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK

 
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Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 12:17:31 AM   
MikeJ19


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Having successfully gotten to the Berezina river, it is time to push East towards SMOLENSK. Luckily, my units have been resupplied and are roaring to go.

It is very interesting to see how close I came in the previous battle to the historical finish. I had captured three of the four crossings and had troops on the outskirts of the fourth.

I'm looking forward to seeing my Panzers rushing East!




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 12:20:37 AM   
MikeJ19


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Rob,

Great package on the player notes! It makes the scenario feel even more real! Thanks for putting these together.

All the best,

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 12:52:08 AM   
John B.


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Is this a new scenario that follows directly on the last one?

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 2:15:59 AM   
MikeJ19


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John,

Yes, the last one ended on July 3rd and this one begins the next day. The last one was a lot of fun to play!

All the best,

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 2:19:22 PM   
MikeJ19


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For the most part the terrain is wide open with small towns/villages. There are some forest and light woods. There are few roads and rails – these are important for supply purposes. There are a good number of airports – which will help as I move East.

The main road heads to SMOLENSK and then on to MOSCOW. There is a rail line alongside it.

To the East, the ground starts getting more forested and congested.

Overall, it is a very large area. I may need to do a more detailed look in different areas as the battle unfolds.




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 2:32:09 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at the Soviets




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 2:48:03 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at my forces




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/22/2020 5:56:45 PM   
John B.


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Good luck!

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/25/2020 2:30:43 PM   
MikeJ19


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John,

Thanks! This looks like a very interesting battle.




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/25/2020 6:46:05 PM   
MikeJ19


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Thoughts

I have more time, therefore I do not have to push as hard, nor do I need to rush as much.

The map extends a good distance North and South of the key area – this gives me lots of options to try and swing around Soviet units. It also means that I need to think of flank security more than in the last battle.

There are approaches that do not rely on crossing rivers – this helps for speed and makes fighting easier.

I still want/need to surround and destroy the Soviet forces. I want their units out of the game.

Roads, railways and bridges are going to be important to seize intact – both for speed reasons and for supply. Need to keep engineers engaged on my main approaches supporting this.

Need to remember to move my air force units forward as the battle moves East.

Manoeuvre warfare tenets:

Disrupt – I want to take out the Soviet artillery, HQs and air force early. This will make it harder for them to build a coherent and powerful defence.

Preempt – Speed in this case may be used to exploit gaps and make any Soviet defence lines irrelevant before they are in place.

Dislocate – I want to flank, encircle and cut off Soviet defences rather than conduct frontal attacks. I need to balance this with time. Taking too long to encircle will cause problems with getting East quickly.


Here is a look at Option 1




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/25/2020 6:46:29 PM   
MikeJ19


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Option 2




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/25/2020 6:46:53 PM   
MikeJ19


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Option 3




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/26/2020 9:22:36 PM   
John B.


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I just read a book on this battle and it went into depth about how the Russians really fought hard under Timoshenko and not only stopped the Germans (at very heavy cost) but basically put a wrench into the entire German campaign. It does not appear as if any of your options stands out as the obvious choice. I'll be curious to see what you choose.

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/26/2020 11:21:07 PM   
MikeJ19


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Good day John,

Thanks for your comment. This scenario is so different than the speed fest the last one was. I think that it will be challenging in dealing with all the stuff that the Soviets through my way. Getting across the Dnepr early is going to be important.


Here is my comparison of the my options:

In comparing the options against the current known deployment, I think that all options work.

Option 1 is the most bold, and it follows the historical approach. I’m trying to push both Pz Groups into the Soviet rear areas and hope that the other two Armies can clean up the bypassed mess.

Option 2 is a more cautious approach – taking one step at a time idea. At the same time, it gets the two Pz Groups poised to push East.

Options 3 is a very focused approach – with most of the firepower concentrated in the centre. I like the idea of concentrating all that power in the same place.

If I want to preempt, option 1 is likely the best option, it gives the Soviets a lot of different things to try and block at the same time.

If I want to disrupt or dislocate, all the options are decent. I’m bypassing and destroying forces quickly and from many directions.

Looking at the Soviet options – Sacrifice front line units to buy time, quickly pull back to better defence line and counter attack often and everywhere – all three of my options work, but the second one has more depth and provides more flank security.

Options 1 is the riskiest. If the bypassed Soviet forces are not cleared up, they will cause havoc with my supply situation. Also, the flanks of the two Pz groups would be threatened by Soviet forces coming into the fray

Decision

I think of myself as aggressive, but usually my fighting style is more patient and builds off finding gaps and weaknesses in the enemy approach. This approach is best suited for Option 2, where I have a couple of days to set conditions that I can exploit. The clearing of the Soviet forces along the Berezina River will, I think, be more difficult than over the first 12 days of the Operation.




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 1:48:38 AM   
MikeJ19


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Opening moves/plans in the North




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 1:25:03 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at the Southern portion of my battlefield




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 7:50:48 PM   
MikeJ19


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Opening day




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 8:36:10 PM   
John B.


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And so it continues. :)

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 10:59:17 PM   
MikeJ19


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Yes, it looks like it will be fun


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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 11:22:46 PM   
MikeJ19


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Plans for the North




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/27/2020 11:23:10 PM   
MikeJ19


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Plans for the South




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/29/2020 12:07:49 AM   
MikeJ19


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I have to remember that the heady days of panzers rushing in the wind are likely over. This is going to be a tougher fight. The Soviets have a lot of units heading West.

Yesterday, saw a disappointing set of attacks outside BORIZOV on the division there. I also tried to do too much with the 7th Pz, so it is now spread out.

Time to make some changes.

I have a couple of options at POLOZK, I can leave the current division there to fix the Soviets North of the river, or I can use the newly arrived 14th ID to cross the river and launch a set of attacks to destroy the Soviets in and around the town.

20th ID has also arrived and can just about reach Ulla, This means I could threaten to encircle the Soviet forces around POLOZK. However, it ties up three of my divisions for a couple of days – at least.

In the end, this makes sense though. Also, I get another Pz Div and some Corps troops tomorrow that I can send towards ORSHA. Finally, in two days, I get another PZ Div coming in NW of POLOZK, so I will need to crack this nut soon.

Outside BORIZOV, I will bring in the freshly arrived Div and try to get elements of the two Pz Divs surrounding the Soviet Div to start moving east. It will be an interesting balance.

Finally, I will fix the Soviet division between SENNA and ORSHA. I would like to destroy it over the next couple of days.




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/29/2020 12:32:25 AM   
MikeJ19


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A look at the South




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/29/2020 11:32:04 PM   
MikeJ19


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Things continue to progress slowly. Very frustratingly, I still have not destroyed the Soviet unit outside of BORIZOV. This is slowing my push East.

I’m going to continue to push around POLOZK. The Soviets have four divisions in the area, along with supporting resources. This is an important battle to win. Today, I want to set the conditions for success when the 19th Pz arrives.

So the two divisions at POLOZK, will continue to push, trying to remove the forts. When the Pz Div arrives, it will push to attack the artillery North of the town.

To help isolate them, the 20th ID will push towards VITEBSK – along both sides of the river.

The newly arrived 12th Pz Div will follow close behind them.

Outside BORIZOV, I will continue the attacks ont eh Soviet Div. Hopefully, today will see its end. The 18th Pz got two Regts out of this battle and they will push East towards the Southern part of the defence line that the Soviets are building NW of ORSHA.

They will join the battle that is already developing between the 7th and 20th Pz Divs and a bunch of Soviet units. The Soviets focused their efforts on the German Regt NE of SENNA.

I plan to focus on the Southern end of this line, trying to turn it.




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/29/2020 11:52:01 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look at the South




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/30/2020 12:09:45 AM   
MikeJ19


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I managed to get over the river in two places. Also, knocked off the Soviet division that I encircled a couple of days ago.

Pictures to follow in the morning...

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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/31/2020 11:27:29 PM   
MikeJ19


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Here is the current situation in the North - my last couple of images had the wrong date on them...


The Soviets have reinforced their defence line between VITEBSK and ORSHA. However, it has a bunch of weak points. This gives me some interesting options. The next few days may be lots of fun for the Germans. Not so much for the Red Army!

One thing to that I need to consider is the overextended supply threshold – it is 5 for this scenario. My supply at the moment is okay, but it is down around 6 near VITESBK, so I need to make sure that I am careful in how I push units East.

Let’s look at POLOZK. The Soviets have four divisions and some supporting AT and Arty resources in this area. I want to destroy them all. However, to do so will take a couple of days. I want to push the newly arrived Pz a little North with the idea of setting up to surround the three Soviet divs in the West. I also want them ready to attack the artillery North of the town. I will also juggle the division to the West of POLOZK trying to get another crossing over the river – once again this will make it hard for the three division stack. These operations are going to take a couple of days – but if done properly will result in the destruction of the Soviet units. Along with the capture of the town.

Now a look at the Soviet defence line. The Soviets have sent at least nine divisions into this area. A lot of them are already weak and in the red. I think that more divisions are coming... I want to set up the destruction of the Soviets forces in this area. Encircling and then destroying them. I have to be careful not to get caught in a trap.

Right off the start, I see a couple of weak areas. I have highlighted three areas – Soviet artillery units on their own on the front lines. I think I can push them back and set up the opportunity to encircle the Soviet forces. I might also force the crossing at ORSHA.

I want the two divisions moving up the highway toward ORSAH to get into place to push through the gap made (I’m confident it will be there) at the South end of the Soviet line.

At the North end, the 12th Pz will move into an area South of VITEBSK. This should cause all sorts of issues for the Soviets.




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 5/31/2020 11:40:17 PM   
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A look to the South




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 6/1/2020 2:45:09 PM   
MikeJ19


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A look to the South




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RE: Road to Moscow - SMOLENSK - 6/1/2020 2:45:37 PM   
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And the North




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