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RE: TURN 019: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis)

 
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RE: TURN 019: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 6/28/2020 3:37:51 AM   
mike1984

 

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Ken moved a ton of reinforcements to N. Africa. It was a smart strategy to try to overwhelm me there. And the airborne attacks were genius. I was one or two turns from getting swept across the Suez Canal.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 31
TURN 026: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 6/28/2020 3:39:31 AM   
mike1984

 

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T026. 30 October 1942. (slides have wrong date)

North Africa - Morocco




The Torch landings went off without a hitch, even pushing the Vichy force out of Casablanca on the first attempt. The 1st, 4th, and 46th UK Divisions suffered minor casualties. The 1st US Division landed on the northern beaches and began its march toward Oran. The 3rd US Division and 102nd Cavalry will land next turn, and if necessary, the 5th US Division.

North Africa - Egypt



There will be three attack paths for Operation Phoenix. The main thrusts will be around the flanks of the Axis positions west of Cairo. As mentioned in the previous post, this attack will need to inflict maximum damage on the enemy. The secondary arm of the attack will make its way through the Nile Delta toward Alexandria. There's no expectation of recapturing the city with the northern force. However it's critical to clear the Delta of Axis units while the main attack advances in the south.

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Post #: 32
TURN 027: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 6/28/2020 3:41:01 AM   
mike1984

 

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T027. 6 November 1942.

North Africa - Morocco
Operation Torch




Opening this new front was absolutely necessary if I want to relieve pressure on Egypt. It was predictable that I'd land here, but the early moves in this scenario are mostly predictable on the Allied side. The key battle victory this turn was capturing the port at Oran. That will open up a sea lane through to Algiers, and allow direct reinforcement to the invasion force much further east than the initial landing sites around Casablanca. I'm a little surprised that Ken hasn't sent the Vichy French to block the advance more forcefully.

North Africa - Egypt
Operation Phoenix




The initial attacks in the south have been successful, as the 10th UK Armored and 5th UK Division broke through the thin Italian line and are sweeping the flank northward. On the right flank, the 2nd New Zealand Division and 4th New Zealand Armored Brigade crossed the Nile River and should be able to surround the Nazi 295. Division. It does seem like Ken is sacrificing these units in order to beat me up a bit. He may very well be planning to counter attack sharply once he sees my troops are tired. My hope is that if this attack grinds these front line Axis units into dust, I can take a break for a turn or two. The key is to keep the Axis here occupied while the landings in Morocco establish a solid front and advance toward Tunisia.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 33
TURN 028: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/7/2020 10:29:46 AM   
mike1984

 

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T028. 13 November 1942.

Theater Notes


A major boost to the strategic bombing campaign as been the arrival of three P-51 fighter squadrons of the RAF. Until now, almost all escorts were Spitfires or similar with short range. But now the bombers are getting escorts that can fly all the way to the targets and back. It was immediately noticed when two bombing missions inflicted more damage than any so far, while sustaining very low casualties. The air campaign will still be tough for the next few months, but this is a great shot in the arm for the RAF.

North Africa - Morocco
Operation Torch




Attacks around Oran have been a great success, pushing the Vichy French back with little trouble. Once the Allied forces can break out of the narrow corridor and into Algeria, it should be nearly open roads to Tunisia. Some Vichy forces are moving in, finally, to counter my progress, but it appears far too late.

North Africa - Egypt
Operation Phoenix




Recon has lost track of whether or not the Nazi divisions at El Alamein have been evacuated. But I can see at least one division still there. I must move quickly to destroy all remaining Axis forces in the immediate front of the offensive, while also maintaining a strong left flank in case Ken decides to counterattack with what I assume is still to the west. Once the Allies mop up the stragglers, I'll order a halt and rest for at least one turn. Then comes a likely showdown, again, at El Alamein.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 34
TURN 029: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/7/2020 10:34:40 AM   
mike1984

 

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T029. 20 November 1942.

North Africa - Morocco
Operation Torch





The attack eastward is grinding along, one hex per turn right now. The British on the right flank have reached the end of the narrow corridor, and next turn should be able to break out around the Vichy left flank. The problem is supply. From Casablanca to the front line the supply drops by about 75 percent, causing a severe penalty on my divisions any time they're in combat. But the immediate need is to break out and get to Algiers. Once there, I can give them a short rest before picking back up again.

North Africa - Egypt
Operation Phoenix




Now comes the halt and rest, for at least one turn so that supply can catch up to the main force. The Italians at Alexandria are holding out. I can't imagine them repulsing another round of attacks next turn. I now can spot a Nazi panzer division near El Alamein, along with supporting Italian units. That's infantry and armor spotted in the last two turns, meaning the Afrika Korps is still there, waiting for my attack. The Nazis have been waiting, digging in, for several turns. They're likely rested and strong. I've got some thinking to do.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 35
TURN 030: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/7/2020 10:38:12 AM   
mike1984

 

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T030. 27 November 1942.

North Africa - Morocco
Operation Torch




The main British force has broken out around the right. Things should move quickly from here, except for the supply issue that's holding back progress. Fully supply per hex is around 31, but it drops to single digits as soon as you get away from the west Morocco beaches. As much as I'd love to race to Oran and beyond, lack of supply is going to make these units almost worthless in combat. That means I'll have to slow down and allow supply to trickle in each turn. Very frustrating.

North Africa - Egypt
Operation Phoenix




I'm not entirely sure how long the army will need to rest here, but I want to avoid attacking a well-rested, fortified enemy unless my divisions are at full strength.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 36
TURN 031: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/7/2020 10:40:04 AM   
mike1984

 

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T031. 4 December 1942.

North Africa - Morocco
Operation Torch
Operation Vice




Assuming this is what Patton himself would have thought about doing, I've crushed the Vichy French forces by conducting an end-run amphibious landing, code named Operation Vice, directly into the Port of Algiers. First off the landing craft was the 3rd Carpathian Division of the Polish II Corps, followed immediately by the 2nd US Armored Division. As luck would have it, one of the two Vichy divisions in Algiers was still embarked on trains. The Poles fought their way into the city and cleared the way for Patton's tanks.

Once the landing force was safely ashore, the push west to link up with the main Allied army was underway. That force was pushing east already on the same turn. The amphibious task force slammed into the rear of the Vichy main force, destroying nearly half of it in a single turn. An added bonus was the Nazi 704. Division that was hiding in reserve west of Algiers. The 2nd Armored inflicted nearly 70 percent casualties on it over two assaults, and now the Nazis are surrounded with some Vichy stragglers.

This victory will conclude Operation Torch. But now the difficult work begins of pressing east toward Tunis. Once the mop-up is complete, the Allied army in Algeria will need to rest for at least two full turns. It's been extremely frustrating to know that supply is going to hamper quick progress. The delay will also allow Ken to react more swiftly, possibly transferring more Nazi units into the area.

Eastern Front - Orel
Plans for Operation Pickaxe




The entire Eastern Front has been a staring contest since the failed Operation Tuning Fork south of Leningrad. But now winter has arrived, and with it the chance for an offensive to help shake things loose. The preliminary plans, code named Operation Pickaxe, are to capture the key road intersection at Orel. A diversionary attack from the north to misdirect the Axis and pin down some reserves there, will be launched one turn in advance of the main attack just south of Orel. I've begun transferring artillery into the region, combined with a targeted bombing campaign of the bridges and rail network leading into the sectors to be attacked. To make it somewhat less obvious what I'm planning, the bridge bombing mission has been also spread to other sectors along the Eastern Front. Units for this offensive have also been massed outside of the area, and will transfer to the staging points right before the attacks begin.

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Post #: 37
RE: TURN 031: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 7/8/2020 5:58:07 AM   
StuccoFresco

 

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Why didn't you opt for a push against Kursk? Too well defended?

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RE: TURN 031: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 7/8/2020 9:06:17 AM   
mike1984

 

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I already have a bulge at Kursk. If I were to attack and capture it, it would create a full-on salient. Ken's divisions are much stronger than mine, and could easily attack the flanks and cut off a pocket.

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Post #: 39
RE: TURN 031: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 7/8/2020 2:09:15 PM   
StuccoFresco

 

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True.

I see however another possible attack route if Pickaxe fails or stalls. A breakthrough where the red arrow is placed would put your advancing unit between two defensible barriers on the flanks (forest on the right flank, river on the left) and threaten the encirclement of the town just SE of the penetration. Expecially if the Germans move troops there to resist to Pickaxe.




Attachment (1)

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Post #: 40
TURN 032: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/21/2020 9:07:24 AM   
mike1984

 

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T032. 11 December 1942.

North Africa - Morocco
Operation Torch




With that, the Nazi 704. Division and all but a few remaining Vichy units are completely destroyed, opening what I expect to be a relatively clear road all the way to Tunis. Operation Vice has been closed. There's aerial recon reports of possible small Luftwaffe infantry units near Bone, but I'll deal with that after the army rests for a turn or two. The very important development is the supply increase due to capturing the deepwater port at Algiers. On Jan. 15 (Turn 37) the first Canadians will arrive in England, then immediately transfer to North Africa. Next turn I'll start developing the next stage of the North African campaign. I'm debating whether I should continue on the historical path through Sicily and Italy, not waiting for a breakthrough in Egypt, while adding more forces to Tunisia and send a second army eastward through Libya to squeeze the Axis from two sides.

North Africa - Egypt



The only real move I have at the moment is to keep slight pressure on the Axis defensive line at El Alamein, but not tire or deplete my own forces enough to allow them a chance to launch their own offensive. I'm not mentally ready to reenact the first battle for Egypt. I suffered a devastating naval defeat this turn, as the Italian navy went on a rampage once again, destroying the Royal Navy squadrons in the ports of Palestine. Since there are no replacements for the heavy ships, this is not something I'll be able to recoup from.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 41
TURN 033: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/21/2020 9:08:29 AM   
mike1984

 

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T033. 18 December 1942.

North Africa - Egypt




This was unexpected. One of the probing attacks--they were all limited attacks precisely because I wanted to avoid exposing units to counterattacks--pushed out the Axis units without a fight. That led to another attack, and another. The boys got their dander up. Within a few rounds, the enemy line was breaking apart from north to south. I decided to turn this into a full offensive by committing the UK 10th Armored Division, which had more attack ability than any of the enemy units had on defense in the area.

North Africa - Morocco

Mop up missions continue in the foothills south of Algiers. But elsewhere, the army is staging for the race eastward. Additional reinforcements will be arriving next turn, as army headquarters units, heavy artillery, and more are loading onto transport ships now in England. I'm also planning on sending the US 34th Infantry Division into Algeria, after that unit was crushed in Egypt several weeks ago. That division is now full strength again and ready to leave England for the front lines.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 42
TURN 034: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/21/2020 9:10:15 AM   
mike1984

 

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T034. 25 December 1942.

North Africa - Egypt




What began as just keeping the enemy busy on the front lines has now turned into a full-on rout of the Axis in Egypt. The Nazi 90. Division was overrun, and the 46. and 164. are being squeezed. I couldn't get the attacks in the order I needed to lock them into a pocket, but this is working out well in all sectors. The 1 Commando Group conducted a airborne drop to cut off any supply to the remaining Axis units.

Eastern Front - Orel



I need more artillery to get into position before I order all attacking armies to assemble east of Orel. But the artillery that has gotten to work is doing a good job of softening up the Nazi front line divisions. I've tried to keep a barrage going across the entire Eastern Front, but it's pretty obvious where I'm going to stage an offensive.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 43
TURN 035: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/26/2020 1:12:11 AM   
mike1984

 

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T035. 1 January 1943. (Happy New Year)

*You'll notice I changed the graphics mod to the Best of Both Worlds boardgame-esque style. I'm still getting used to it.

Eastern Front - Bryansk-Orel-Kursk




It's not easy to disguise an offensive of this size. Ken is shifting troops into the Orel sectors, but I'm going to continue preparing for this to launch in a few turns. For the first time in this game, I've run out of rail transport in a turn. Seven armies have transferred into the staging areas, with several more waiting space on the trains.

North Africa - Algeria-Tunisia



It looks like the Axis have already abandoned this part of North Africa, save for some outposts to keep me busy. The British forces have continued advancing east down the road to Tunis, some jumping onto commandeered trains to save their legs and fuel. The US infantry forces are resting in Algiers, and will be ready to support the British if needed, while the US armored units are rolling through the mountain passes toward Kessarine.

North Africa - Egypt-Libya



After the initial breakout from El Alamein, now Commonwealth troops are racing toward Tobruk, pushing aside token Italian resistance and mopping up the two Nazi divisions that couldn't escape. I'd be surprised if Ken tries to defend any part of North Africa now. I expect him to evacuate what's left of the Nazi forces and only leave a small contingent of Italians to force me to sweep the entire region.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 44
TURN 036: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/26/2020 1:13:05 AM   
mike1984

 

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T036. 8 January 1943.

Eastern Front - Bryansk-Orel-Kursk


Nazi divisions keep pouring into the area, possibly reaching a point where this could complicate matters. Though, Stalin never let solid defenses stop a good frontal assault bloodbath, so...

North Africa

For the next few turns, the Allies in North Africa will engage in a massive cleanup operation from Egypt to Algeria. Not much else to report here. Planning will commence shortly of the invasion of Europe.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 45
TURN 037: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/26/2020 1:15:30 AM   
mike1984

 

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T037. 15 January 1943.

Eastern Front - Bryansk-Orel-Kursk
Operation Pickaxe




I need to find some more artillery for this part of the offensive. Right now, a single arty unit isn't enough to bust the Nazis out of their foxholes before the attack begins. The strength seems reasonable for a diversionary action, now that the 2nd Guards Tank Army has arrived. This attacks objective will be to pin down the northern flank and possibly make some breakthroughs along the line. If this assault can force Ken to divert units away from reinforcing the defenses south of Orel, it will be a great success. If there is early success here, and an opportunity to gain more than the original plan calls for, this force will receive reinforcements and press south to cut the east-west rail line to Orel.



The artillery barrage that has been going on for weeks now is taking a severe toll on the front line Nazi divisions, in some cases reducing combat effectiveness by 50 percent. Now with more than six armies assembled on and near the front line, the attack will begin in the next two turns. A late addition to this operation may be airborne divisions that are scheduled to arrive around Turn 40. If the operation is delayed at all, the chances of an airborne attack increase. I don't think it would happen in this sector, as the Nazis are too strong in the rear areas. But I could absolutely see it added to the northern portion of this offensive, in the areas just northwest of Orel.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 46
TURN 038: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/26/2020 2:08:13 PM   
mike1984

 

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T038. 22 January 1943.

Eastern Front - Orel
Operation Pickaxe


Everything is set. All I have to do is activate the shock disbands and give the orders to advance. But I'm having trouble doing it while looking at all those Nazi divisions waiting three lines deep. As I analyzed the situation, I realized how much Ken is devoting to countering this offensive. He's been pulling from all regions on all fronts. Orel is a key to my greater plans after Pickaxe, but the situation has changed enough that I want to consider alternatives that utilized what's already happened. Stay tuned next turn for more. Until then, the artillery bombardment continues.

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Post #: 47
TURN 039: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/26/2020 2:11:07 PM   
mike1984

 

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T039. 29 January 1943.

North Africa - Strategic Update




There's nothing but token resistance left in North Africa, with fortresses at Benghazi and Tripoli the only obstacles before the Allies can claim campaign victory. It wasn't easy, or cheap. The Axis nearly broke me in Egypt more than once, while dealing severe losses to the Allied naval forces in the Mediterranean. But this opens up the famed "soft underbelly" of Europe for invasion. Now I'll have to consult the scenario notes for where supply points are located along the southern European coast, and start planning the next moves.

Eastern Front - Stalino



I've activated a recon disband that will boost theater recon by 20. That should help me better get a sense of what I'm going to be up against near Orel. At the same time, I'll allow a view of this region of the Eastern Front, east of Stalino. It's precariously isolated, particularly the Axis positions immediately facing Rostov. Rail lines are easily cut off here due to the many rivers they cross. As my offensive preparations included a bridge bombing campaign west of Orel, that's diverted Axis repair units up there. It's allowed me to start cutting off rail supply to the Axis forces here. If I can manage it, I'll finish off the bridges circled in red, which would completely cut off the Axis units circled in gray. If I can do that, I'll rush Soviet units down here and launch an attack toward Stalino instead of Orel. Not only would the blown bridges lower supply for the front line Axis units, but--more importantly--hamper Ken's ability to quickly transport units here by rail, forcing them to disembark much earlier in their trip than right up to the front lines.

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Post #: 48
RE: TURN 039: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 7/27/2020 7:37:14 AM   
StuccoFresco

 

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Can't wait to see how Pickaxe performs.

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Post #: 49
TURN 040: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/27/2020 2:25:11 PM   
mike1984

 

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T040. 5 February 1943.

Eastern Front - Strategic Update
Operation Pickaxe, Operation Annoyance


Relying a bridge-bombing campaign was a mistake, mainly because I can't rely on the bridges actually getting knocked out at a sufficient rate. So I've decided to merge the two offensives into a coordinated pair or two operations--the original Pickaxe, and now Annoyance. Pickaxe will stay the same, launching on 12 Feb. I expect losses to be heavy, particularly after the initial wave of attacks. Operation Annoyance will launch the following turn, Feb. 19, and include the paratrooper divisions in an airborne assault cutting the main rail line to the center of the Axis defenses west of Rostov. The objective here will be to break the Axis line, push west toward Stalino, then turn north if the situation allows. There's a good chance, by launching two large-scale offensives so far apart on the front, the Axis will not be able to shift enough troops to meet both at the same time, allowing at least one to succeed and break the stalemate. I've been racking my brain to figure out what was missing for Pickaxe. It seemed destined to fail miserably like Tuning Fork in 1942. But adding now Annoyance gives me much more optimism about this winter offensive season.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 50
RE: TURN 040: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 7/28/2020 10:32:26 AM   
StuccoFresco

 

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If the Axis evacuated a lot of units from Africa, where do you think it placed them? Sicily? Further up along Italy?

Also, we speculated that the Axis devoted a lot of troops in Africa due to the early success. Do you think the loss of the theater will have an historically higher impact on Axis war machine?

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Post #: 51
TURN 042: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/29/2020 4:41:21 PM   
mike1984

 

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T042. 19 February 1943.

Strategic Update


Lots of shifting troops this turn, mainly freeing up units in the north to move south for Operation Annoyance. Around Orel, Operation Pickaxe will launch next turn, 26 Feb. while the first phase of Operation Annoyance will launch at the same time. That will include the airborne assault to cut the rail line from Stalino to Rostov. One turn following, the ground attack will commence toward Stalino.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 52
TURN 043: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 7/29/2020 4:43:20 PM   
mike1984

 

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T043. 26 February 1943

Strategic Update


Due to some logistical and administrative screw ups, the offensive has to launch right now even though everything isn't in place. The airborne transports aren't yet available, and some of the attack forces shifted into positions they weren't supposed to unless all other units were also ready. So, here it goes...

Eastern Front - Operation Pickaxe



The offensive has begun, with three waves of attacks against the dug-in Nazi positions. The artillery bombardment did succeed in knocking some of the defenders out of their positions, allowing the Soviets to punch a hole in the line in at least one spot. This attack area was planned to be more narrow than the main thrust in the south, but will open to focus on three hexes in the next turn. Quick tactical reinforcements allowed Ken to fill the gaps quickly, but casualties were very high, as you'll see in the combat results chart below, hexes 194,117 and the vicinity.



Surprisingly more success here than in the north, despite Ken reinforcing this sector much more than elsewhere. It was obvious from the start that this is where my main offensive would happen, so he has three lines deep. Several attacks were met with tactical reserves coming up to replace retreating defenders, and the Soviets performed very well. Two hexes were cleared of Nazis, one of which was captured outright. The battles were ferociously bloody, as casualties soared into the high 20 percent range, including one where the defenders suffered 35 percent.


(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 53
TURN 044: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 8/6/2020 12:55:51 AM   
mike1984

 

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T044. 4 March 1943

Strategic Update


For some stupid reason, didn't remember to disband the air transport again. So now the airborne assault as part of Operation Annoyance is delayed yet another turn.

Eastern Front
Operation Pickaxe




Northeast of Bryansk, there's still hope of a breakthrough, but it'll take more time. Ken has several good divisions in reserve and they're the biggest obstacle in this sector. The trouble here, as is the case in the south, is that I can't open holes in the defensive line on the first attack. Once I can start doing that, then I can exploit the breach and push forward. Until that happens, I'll have to continue wearing down the Nazis.



I'm transporting fresh armies into the Orel sectors to keep the pressure on there, including a full fresh Guards tank army and three infantry armies. Enemy casualties are very high, one battle hitting 40 percent losses. But my casualties went up each round of attacks. And after all that, I'm unable to get anywhere against the reserves that keep shifting in to replace beaten up defenders when gaps open. This battle is sucking in troops from across the Eastern Front, chewing them up, and spitting them out. The fact that I'm making some headway against the Nazis here is a positive sign that the offensive could succeed. As more armies arrive in the theater, they'll have to move here and relieve the worn down divisions or this will be over sooner than later.


(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 54
TURN 045: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 8/6/2020 12:58:41 AM   
mike1984

 

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T045. 12 March 1943

Strategic Update


Woof. Not good at first, but something decent toward the end.

Eastern Front
Operation Pickaxe




The northern attack is still struggling mightily to break through the Nazi line. I'm running short on reserves to send into this sector, as all available armies are being moved to the Orel sector.



The southern attack is continuing to punch holes into the enemy lines, only to be pushed back soon after. This time, at least, elements of the 4th Guards Tank Army advanced into the breach. As I said to Ken when I sent this turn, this is turning quickly into a meat grinder. But looking more closely, it's more like a black hole.

Operation Annoyance



The airborne operation finally happened, with two divisions landing right on target along the rail line from Stalino. There was no opposition in either air or ground to the assault, so neither unit became scattered during the jump. For the moment, they're digging into the abandoned Axis entrenchments. But it appears they'll soon be needed to march east to link up with the ground force that managed to open two holes in the Axis position west of Rostov. Ken left very few reserves in this area, but one very strong panzer division temporarily halted one emerging breakthrough by the Soviets. This operation, not the originally-planned main offensive up north, could end up yielding the most positive outcome. Knowing there is little in the rear areas to mount an effective counterattack, I'm going to push very hard here and bring up any and all units to help keep pressure on the enemy.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 55
RE: TURN 045: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 8/6/2020 3:14:38 AM   
StuccoFresco

 

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Terrain NE of Bryansk is probably too unfavorable for northern Pickaxe's vector to succeed.

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Post #: 56
TURN 046: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 8/11/2020 6:37:59 PM   
mike1984

 

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T046. 19 March 1943

Strategic Update

The Eastern Front remains mostly a stalemate, despite the offensives ongoing at Orel and Rostov. I'm hoping the constant combat in these sectors wears down the Axis forces and sucks up some replacements they were building while I was assuming Ken would stay on the offensive. Frankly, I'm surprised he only wanted to take Murmansk and Leningrad then go immediately to the defensive in the East. Sure, it seemed he was entertaining the idea of going after Arkhangelsk, but that's all I could see from his strategy. In this scenario, the southern Eastern Front is ripe for the picking by the Axis player early on, as in every other time I played this one. The Soviets are of poor quality and poor strength in the beginning, and the Axis player must take advantage of that. Pushing the front as far away from Berlin is the only way to ensure a chance for victory. And opening a whole new region of action in the Caucuses is typically the best way to do that.

On the Western Front, I'm well ahead of schedule. Too ahead, actually. The X and XIII Corps refit disband is still a few turns away, while the Operation Husky disband doesn't appear until late Spring. So right now I can't do a whole lot in the Mediterranean. Opening up a new front to take pressure off the East is almost out of the question.

Eastern Front
Operations Pickaxe and Annoyance




Pickaxe is still a real brawl. One sector will make a breakthrough as another gets pushed back. Ken is suffering losses he wont' be able to afford down the road, while I can keep throwing wave after wave at the Axis defenders. It's also keeping pressure to a minimum for Annoyance in the south, which is gaining ground, albeit slowly.



The airborne operation was technically a success, ripping up the railroad and delaying reinforcements to the Axis front. But those two paratrooper divisions and headquarters unit were completely destroyed in the process.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
Post #: 57
TURN 047: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 8/13/2020 12:18:44 AM   
mike1984

 

Posts: 476
Joined: 4/6/2009
Status: offline
T047. 26 March 1943

Strategic Update




I'm narrowing down the next steps in the Mediterranean, and the first thing that was cut from the list was an invasion of Sicily anytime soon. The island is too heavily defended, and I can't muster enough air cover with just the air fields in North Africa. Taking Corsica and Sardinia seem like the logical solution, with the closer air fields to Sicily. As for completely different ideas, there is a supply point in Athens, so an invasion of Greece is possible. But it's a serious bottleneck once any invasion force starts to move north. It would have to be coordinated with landings at non-supply point ports elsewhere in Greece, which is risky, and bring overwhelming force to bear so that any opposition can be swept away quickly. The closest major supply point after Athens would be Sofia, which is very far away. I'm also concerned about the rugged terrain in the Balkans. Though it could really destabilize the entire Eastern Front if the West can land and threaten the Nazi oilfields.

Eastern Front
Operation Annoyance




The Soviets are making slow but steady progress, though it appears Ken is setting up a defensive stop line back near Stalino. The number of front-line units still facing my main offensive force leads me to believe he's going to fight this one out, unlike North Africa. Operation Pickaxe is basically the same as it's been. Little progress, big casualties on both sides.


(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 58
TURN 048-049: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken ... - 8/13/2020 12:20:26 AM   
mike1984

 

Posts: 476
Joined: 4/6/2009
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T048-049. 2-9 April 1943

Strategic Update




The mud has arrived across Europe, putting all movement to a stop. That of course didn't discourage me from launching a few more attacks on the Eastern Front just to keep Ken thinking. But overall things are quiet. I've disbanded the early refit options for the British X and XIII Corps. They will be withdrawn on Turn 51. The first squadron of B-17s have arrived in England, giving a nice boost to the strategic bombing campaign. Once the US Eighth Air Force is full strength, those elusive net gains in EEV will start to materialize. Oh, and I got antsy, so this happened in Turn 49...

Mediterranean - Crete
Operation Montauk




The sea transport was available and the Commonwealth had several divisions at full strength. Crete was lightly defended and key to either an invasion of the Balkans or as a diversion for the invasion of Sicily. I set Operation Montauk in motion to land the 7th UK Armoured Division, 4th, 5th, 44th, 56th, and 1st/50th Infantry Divisions, an anti-aircraft battery, and several squadrons of fighter support immediately flew onto occupied airfields. The huge break in this operation was the lack of any defense at Heraklion. The landing forces strolled into port, then moved quickly to attack the other smaller ports on the island. Because the 7th UK AD and 1st/50th Div will withdraw for refitting in two turns, I'm giving those units the quicker missions of taking and securing the eastern portion of Crete. The remaining four divisions will attack west, where most of the Axis defenses are concentrated. Once Crete is secured, I'll ferry different units to garrison the island, as those main line divisions will be needed for larger operations.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 59
TURN 050: Third Reich 42-45 - Mike (Allies) vs Ken (Axis) - 8/28/2020 1:50:40 PM   
mike1984

 

Posts: 476
Joined: 4/6/2009
Status: offline
T050. 16 April 1943

Eastern Front - Bryansk-Orel
Operation Pickaxe




Driving the wedge continues near Bryansk, with the 2nd Guards Tank Army leading the charge. Casualties have been high on both sides, but I can replace them more easily than the Axis. Now that the Soviets have seen months of continuous combat, the proficiency of units is rising. Against stronger panzer and panzergrenadier divisions, the Soviets are making gains on a consistent basis. Reconstituted units are also returning to their formations. They will move into the front line positions within a turn or two.



If I had more fresh divisions at my disposal here and were able to push the Nazis back earlier in the turn, I'd be able to exploit the holes the Soviets are punching in the enemy lines. By the end of this bloody turn, the Soviet armor was able to blast its way to clearing three hexes, easily the largest single-turn gain of the operation. But only one of those hexes was outright captured in the end.

Eastern Front - Rostov-Stalino
Operation Annoyance




Quite the "flying V" here as the offensive continues westward. The northern attack has also made good progress, enough that I've started committing more forces to the sector. One of the notable bits of intel gathered this turn was the participation of the 21. Panzer Division of the Das Afrika Korps. I don't want to read into it too much, but on the face it seems Ken is pulling divisions from other fronts to bolster the defense of the southern Eastern Front.

(in reply to mike1984)
Post #: 60
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