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Turn 29: Stalino

 
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Turn 29: Stalino - 12/26/2020 10:12:31 PM   
CapAndGown


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I had some screen shots of turn 28, but apparently I overwrote them, so I will move straight on to turn 29.

The Soviets celebrated the new year by launching the first partisan attacks of the game so far.

Elsewhere, they continued their efforts to encircle Stalino-Gorlovka. We continue to hold the cities, trying to push back their forward elements. Things are deteriorating, however, so we have put together two panzer corps to act as a fire brigade. The mobile units were pulled from sections of the front where the Soviets are not pressing an attack.





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Post #: 91
Turn 29: Tula - 12/26/2020 10:17:04 PM   
CapAndGown


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We have pulled back to Tula and the woods south of the Oka. Our morale is starting to go down so I have launched several counter attacks to raise it.





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Post #: 92
Turn 29: Rzhev - 12/26/2020 10:20:47 PM   
CapAndGown


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We continue falling back in the Rzhev-Velikiye Luki region. Reinforcements are on the way from OKH reserves.





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Turn 30: the battle of Stalino - 12/29/2020 9:45:26 PM   
CapAndGown


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You know, Stalin has too many cities named after him. There is always some namesake city of his we are fighting over: Stalnigrad, Stalingorsk, Stalino, etc. This time it is Stalino that has become the focus of both German and Soviet attention. Along the rest of the front the Soviets were fairly quite, in some cases not even advancing into the voids we left behind our retreating troops. Stalino, on the other hand, is turning into a real cock fight: blood, guts and feathers everywhere. Most of the original all-panzer PzG 1 has been reformed now with three panzer corps loaded up with mobile troops. Meanwhile, the OKH reserves that were originally meant to help shore up the Rzhev-Velikiye Luki area were diverted south to Stalino. As far as I can tell, the Soviets have all their cavalry corps in this region.





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Turn 31: seesaw on the steppe - 12/31/2020 3:22:47 AM   
CapAndGown


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The battle of Stalino continues as ferociously as before. The front along the Sea of Azov has completely collapsed. Nothing but delaying actions there. Elsewhere we continue to put up a fight.

The rest of the front sees little change. Some Soviet attacks around Tula, but we continue to hold the city. The Soviets may be massing for an attack around Vyazma, but there is little I can do about that.






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Turns 32-34 - 1/4/2021 10:14:31 PM   
CapAndGown


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Jan. 22 - Feb. 5, 1942

The game has been moving right along. Much of the front is stable with an occasional opportunistic attack by the Soviets here and there. The main action continues around Stalino where the Soviet's main goal seems to be causing casualties. Territorialy, they have made little progress.




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Post #: 96
Turn 38: after the storm - 1/19/2021 1:56:54 AM   
CapAndGown


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March 5, 1942

The blizzard is over. Below is a map of the post-blizzard positions. The Soviets made the most progress in the Rzhev sector, recapturing the city and pushing us back from the Volga. Around Tula they made little progress. In the south they recaptured Stalino and pushed about 30 miles beyond. I have not seen any guards cavalry corps and only 3 guards rifle divisions. My opponent has pulled his guard units back to rest and refit. In his accounting, our counter attacks drove up the number of losses for his units, preventing them from achieving guards status.

This turn I made a painful decision to pull back in front of Leningrad to shorten and thin the line there, freeing up 10 divisions for use elsewhere. Holding onto the dream of taking Leningrad this year will only weaken up for our summer offensive.

In the Crimea we are pushing towards Sevastapol one hex per turn. I would like to take the city in order to free up forces from the Crimea for use elsewhere.

Since last turn the Wehrmacht has been undergoing a massive reorganization as we gather all our scattered mobile divisions and bring them back together under the command of our Panzer Armies. The infantry corps are on their own when it comes to reserve forces.





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Turn 47: the first sprouts - 2/13/2021 2:08:08 AM   
CapAndGown


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May 7, 1942

The snow has melted. The rivers are almost ice free. The first signs of spring are visible in the buds sprouting from the trees. It is also audible from the loud explosions heard up and down the front line.

Our forces began clearing out Russian fortified positions around Tula and Stalino. These attacks were mostly confined to the infantry. I am keeping the panzers fresh until the end of June. For now it is the job of the infantry to clear out Russian entrenchments, clearing a path for the panzers when we launch our Summer offensive.

I did decide to employ one panzer and one motorized division from 3rd PA to attack a lone tank brigade sitting in a level three fort on the north side of the Oka. Not only was it a tempting target, but by causing it to retreat and eliminate the fortification there, I can force the Soviets to commit some troops hear to prevent us from establishing a bridgehead that threatens Moscow.

Meanwhile, in the Crimea the Soviets evacuated the level 4 fortification next to Sevastapol. Those divisions would have had nowhere to retreat to and so would have surrendered when we defeated them. Now it is just down to Sevastapol itself with 3 rifle divisions. All our divisions participating in the assault on Sevastapol have two pioneer battalions each and the corps they report to have my really big guns in support. Nevertheless, it looks like this will take a while. Our first assault resulted in 2.46:1 odds and took the fort down from 5.1 to 4.9. That was with 7 rested rifle divisions (one division was in reserve). A second attack with only 4 divisions (the cost of moving into the evacuated rough hex prevented all divisions from making 2 attacks) resulted in 1:1.37 odds and only took down the fort another .04. I launched that second attack hoping the engineers and artillery would continue to whittle away the forts, but they did not. So the question is: when we are able to attack again do we launch 2 big attacks, or 4 smaller attacks?





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Turn 49: more fort clearing - 2/18/2021 9:31:49 PM   
CapAndGown


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May 21, 1942

We continue to knock down forts and launch attacks against Sevastapol. Around Stalino I brought in one corps from 1 PA in order to launch a number of hasty attacks on weak Russian positions then pulled it back. I still would rather not commit my panzers until campaigning season begins at the end of June.





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Turn 52: Sevastapol falls, Stalino pocket - 3/1/2021 4:36:36 AM   
CapAndGown


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June 11, 1942

After two consecutive turns of mud, turn 52 saw a good deal of action. From South to North:

Sevastapol was evacuated. We had brought the forts down to 3.8, at which point the Soviets decided retreat was the better part of valor. We did get two interdiction attacks in against he seaborne troops causing thousands of casualties. Other items of note: the three divisions defensing the port all achieved guards status due to their heroic stand. Their unit numbers indicate, however, that the Soviets only have 20 guards rifle divisions right now. (Compare that to my Soviet turn 51 where I have 43 guards rifle divisions.)

1st Panzer Army came out of hibernation and formed a pocket around Stalino. We were not able to close the pocket. Nevertheless, the Soviets are likely to lose a large number of the pocketed divisions. This represents our first objective in phase 1 of our planned summer offensive.

West of Tula the infantry continue to knock down forts.




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RE: Turn 52: Sevastapol falls, Stalino pocket - 3/1/2021 11:34:16 AM   
chaos45

 

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ya the soviet was staying to long at Stalino, is getting what they deserve with that encirclement. Mud even gave him 2 free weeks to fix the situation and they still hung out to die....silly play IMO.

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RE: Turn 52: Sevastapol falls, Stalino pocket - 3/2/2021 2:17:44 AM   
CapAndGown


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quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

ya the soviet was staying to long at Stalino, is getting what they deserve with that encirclement. Mud even gave him 2 free weeks to fix the situation and they still hung out to die....silly play IMO.


I don't know. If it were me I would have held on as well. The Stalino-Gorlovka line is a powerful anchor for any defensive line here. During the Soviet winter offensive (starting at post #91 above) I held on to this line for quite a long time and found myself pocketed twice, though never isolated. Maybe I'm just stubborn that way.

What I would have done differently would have been to reinforce the 4 hexes between Gorlovka and the Donets more. There were too many opportunities for me to successfully hasty attack allowing both my infantry and panzers to advance further than should have been the case. If that means piling 3 divisions into the front line simply to try to get the fort up to level one, so be it.

You can compare the outcome here to my own defensive set up for turn 51 in my Soviet game. I fully expect that I am going to have a number of divisions isolated. I am willing to accept this for the sake of preventing a penetration into the operational depths of my line, which is what happened here.

< Message edited by CapAndGown -- 3/2/2021 4:46:45 AM >

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RE: Turn 52: Sevastapol falls, Stalino pocket - 3/2/2021 4:58:49 PM   
chaos45

 

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soviet play in 1942 = space for time while trying to keep your trained army intact with out how WITE works.

Both games the Germans have done fairly average or below average in 1941 so both games have overly strong Soviet armies going into 1942, which is why your thoughts are sacrificing an Army at Stalino is worth while. Going into 1942 with Soviets at 6+million men = probably a short ending of the war for the Germans. I still think its sloppy play on the Soviets part to lose a trained army there when they had 2 turns to withdraw from the super obvious trap.

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army size comparison - 3/2/2021 6:03:00 PM   
CapAndGown


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Since you mention army sizes, I thought I would post a comparison of the army sizes in the two games.

Bitburger has almost 900k fewer men in his red army and 2.5k fewer planes. (He is also still flying I-16s and I-153s.) On the other hand, he has many, many more tanks in his red army than I have in mine.




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RE: army size comparison - 3/2/2021 9:44:10 PM   
chaos45

 

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you are doing better statistically number wise in both games...you are already over the 100k artillery tubes number....that is very bad for the Germans as soviet artillery actually inflicts most of the German losses in the combats.

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Turn 53: Soviet retreat - 3/5/2021 1:28:03 PM   
CapAndGown


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June 18, 1942

Because of the mud this turn I was not expecting to do much, but then it turned out the Soviets conducted a general withdrawal between the Don and Donets so we are moving into the vacated territory.

The Soviets put some tank brigades up on the front line adjacent to my panzer formations around Stalino. I am not sure what the point of this tactic is. Drive up fatigue? Attrition? Anyway, I knocked aside a few to widen the corridor our panzers are holding.

Heavy, heavy interdiction this turn. Some of it was very far afield. I got lucky that my air losses were not higher. I have now reigned in the level bombers, limiting their range to just 150 miles. I don't need them getting jumped outside of escort range. (This is what happened to Bitburger a few times in my Soviet game.)

Almost all my armies are now significantly overloaded except for the Panzer Armies where I am keeping the number a combat units assigned within the command capacity limit. I have a few corps that are overloaded as well; those that are in quiet sectors. And I don't even have everyone assigned. I have 3 divisions sitting on the Dnepr in OKH reserve digging trenches.

I finally decided to promote Manstein to command of an army: 4th Panzer. Model is in charge of a Panzer corps currently. I am looking around for a likely infantry army to put him in charge of.





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Turn 54: Taganrog - 3/12/2021 10:26:33 AM   
CapAndGown


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June 25, 1942

After a seemingly interminable fall, winter and spring, campaigning season is finally here.

This is just a quick update on the Stalino pocket. Our forces drove down the left bank of the Mius river to Taganrog bay and captured the port, encircling 24 rifle divisions, 3 tank brigades and an Army HQ. I have not finished the turn; there is much more to do around Tula, but I thought I would provide this quick update, being very, very pleased with the results.





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RE: Turn 54: Taganrog - 3/12/2021 4:40:49 PM   
chaos45

 

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An the above screenshot is why i said the soviet play was silly bad. At least 2 entire soviet armies encircled for no real gain. I count at least 18 divisions...that is as huge loss for The start of the summer 1942. Esp now that the Army support units are also destroyed.

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RE: Turn 54: Taganrog - 3/12/2021 9:02:36 PM   
CapAndGown


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quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

An the above screenshot is why i said the soviet play was silly bad. At least 2 entire soviet armies encircled for no real gain. I count at least 18 divisions...that is as huge loss for The start of the summer 1942. Esp now that the Army support units are also destroyed.


I must say, I am surprised that he stuck around. I would have bugged out with everyone I could get out of there. Perhaps he was thinking that a 50 mile advance was beyond the capabilities of the panzers. They were, after all, low on fuel last turn. But they gassed up fine once the ground dried up. I was only expecting to get 10-12 divisions at most last turn. Instead, I have 24 firmly pocketed, plus 3 tank brigades and an HQ. (The HQ ended up in the pocket due to a poor route move. Still, it should have bugged out with everyone else not zoc-locked inside the pocket.)

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Turn 54: Fall Fuchsia - 3/13/2021 12:27:06 AM   
CapAndGown


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Turn 54 continued (June 15)

The Germans launched their main offensive east of Tula: Fall Fuchsia. (It was either that or neon pink.)

4th Panzer Army is now an all infantry army, while Panzer Armies 2 & 3 are all mobile divisions. After the infantry blasted away the Russian front line 3rd Panzer Army headed east from it bases west of Tula to smash through the enemy's second and third lines, achieving operational freedom. It was then debated whether to send 2nd Panzer Army (based to the southwest of Tula) through the same gap and strengthen the flanks of the corridor formed by the 3rd Panzer, or to attempt a second penetration and thus create a pocket. In the end, it was decided to attempt a second penetration. We thus achieved a pocket, though it is not closed as tightly as one might wish. It is possible, though perhaps not likely, that the Russians will be able to open the pocket. Inside are 9 rifle divisions, 2 tank brigades, and one Army HQ. Our northern flank at least benefits by using the Pronya river to help stiffen that front.

I will assure you that Fall Fuchsia has a strategic goal. We are not primarily interested in just creating pockets and destroying enemy formations, though of course we will form pockets when possible. I will not say more just yet about the overall objective of the operation, except to say that it is rather ambitious and I am not sure we can accomplish our goal. So far, however, we are off to a strong start. Reconnaissance indicates that the Russians are most concentrated around Moscow. They are clearly focused on saving that city. I can say that this works to the benefit of our operational plan. (One area where our plan did not pan out was in attracting Russian reserves down south around Rostov. That was one goal of the offensive around Stalino, though our other goal of denying the Russians of these population centers will be achieved shorty.)








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RE: Turn 54: Fall Fuchsia - 3/15/2021 2:11:20 AM   
redrum68

 

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Very nice Stalino pocket. My guess is he just got overconfident and misjudged that you could achieve that large of a pocket. Soviets are still doing pretty well in this game but that's definitely a step in the right direction for ya.

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RE: Turn 54: Fall Fuchsia - 5/12/2021 7:05:28 PM   
CapAndGown


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Due to health issues, my opponent has had to quit this game. Nevertheless, I would like to carry on. If someone would like to take over the Soviet side in this game (and the German side in my other game, perhaps) let me know.

EDIT: We have a taker for this game. My other game is still open.

< Message edited by CapAndGown -- 5/12/2021 8:06:13 PM >

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Turn 55: cutting the red army down to size - 5/16/2021 11:15:13 AM   
CapAndGown


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July 2, 1942

So the game continues with a new opponent.

The pockets we formed last turn were cleaned up, though 3 divisions still remain to be finished off. 30 rifle divisions and 6 tank brigades surrendered for a total of over 400k men. Plus, another division shattered during my offensive operations for a total of 31 rifle divisions destroyed this turn. Another 4 divisions were pocketed and will be destroyed next turn, making for 38 rifle divisions destroyed in 2 turns. That should prove helpful.

Meanwhile our drive east of Tula continues. This turn we made another 90 miles progress. Our flanks are becoming extended. Fortunately, we are not relying on the Rumanians and Italians to guard them.





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Turn 56: drang nach osten - 5/17/2021 12:07:06 PM   
CapAndGown


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July 9, 1942

Not much to report. Destroyed the divisions that were pocketed last turn and continued the drive east from Tula. The Soviets are stripping units from Leningrad and (I believe) Moscow to throw in front of our panzers. The thickness of the enemy defenses is troubling. I need to do something to draw off some of these forces if we are to achieve out strategic objective.

The Luftwaffe took the turn off to reduce fatigue. As a result, our casualties were no doubt higher than they might otherwise have been. The air force will return to action next turn.





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RE: Turn 56: drang nach osten - 5/17/2021 12:25:03 PM   
Grognard1812


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Well done, with the Soviet Army losing over 30 divisions and 400 Thousand troops in two turns.

In my opinion, a very challenging and dangerous situation from the Soviet player point of view this early in the summer of 1942. There are two serious worries at the same time for the Soviet player - one that you continue an advance towards Stalingrad and south towards Grozny (with the threat of many more pockets being created) while at the same time you attempt to capture Moscow from the south - the Soviet player will be challenged defending both at the same time.

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Turn 57: yet another pocket - 5/17/2021 6:06:54 PM   
CapAndGown


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July 16, 1941

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grognard1812
Well done, with the Soviet Army losing over 30 divisions and 400 Thousand troops in two turns.


Thank you. To be precise, that is 38 rifle divisions, 6 tank brigades and over 600,000 men in two turns.

quote:


In my opinion, a very challenging and dangerous situation from the Soviet player point of view this early in the summer of 1942. There are two serious worries at the same time for the Soviet player - one that you continue an advance towards Stalingrad and south towards Grozny (with the threat of many more pockets being created) while at the same time you attempt to capture Moscow from the south - the Soviet player will be challenged defending both at the same time.


Speaking of pockets: The Germans encircled another 25 rifle divisions this turn. The thrust east of Tula was paused this turn (more or less) to give some of my panzer divisions a chance to restock. But 1st Pz Army which had taken up positions in the forests west of the Don (they were heading north while hiding from enemy recon) sprang into action to create a large pocket around Boguchar. They were aided by one Pz Corps from 2nd Pz Army. In the process, we overran a number of Soviet airbases destroying large numbers of their planes on the ground.





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Turns 58-62: the butcher's bill - 6/1/2021 2:09:20 AM   
CapAndGown


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Aug. 20, 1942

It has been a while since I have updated this AAR. For operational security reasons, I do not wish to go into current operations at this time, except to say that the German army is currently grinding it way through heavy Soviet defenses.

Instead of a discussion of operations, however, I thought I would bring us up to date on the casualty reports for our Summer offensive. After creating some more pockets on turn 58, 59 and 60 we have not created any more in the last two turns, a fact that my opponent has remarked on with some relief. The pockets we did create since the Stalino pocket, however have netted a total of 69 infantry divisions destroyed and 1.3 million men lost. The lack of pockets in the last few turns has allowed the Soviets to bounce back somewhat, yet they are still down 300,000 men from where they were when that summer offensive began. Surprisingly, their airforce has not grown any, but their tank fleet continues to grow. (The combat engine is too kind to the Soviets when it comes to tank losses at this point in the war.)





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Turn 63: a new offensive - 6/2/2021 10:53:15 PM   
CapAndGown


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Aug. 27, 1942

Now that I have launched a new offensive I can talk more openly about the progress of this game. (I still can't say everything, however.)

The offensive in the Saransk/Arzamas region was bogging down because of the depth and strength of the Soviet defenders. My own concentration of forces was matched by a Soviet concentration in turn. To achieve such concentration other sectors of the front needed to be weakened, opening them up to a possible offensive. There were several possibilities for a secondary offensive.
1) Saratov. This area is lightly held and at one time had a number of factories that it would have been nice to destroy if our forces were able to reach the objective in time. Unfortunately, the distance to be covered meant it took too long for our infantry to reach this area in a reasonable amount of time, plus there was nowhere to hide the panzers from enemy recon on the open steppe.
2) Ryazan. Not the city itself, but the soviet defenses south of the Oka. This is just a 2 hex deep defense with an open space between it and the Oka. The Oka itself seems as though it is not defended in this area. Yet I question the reliability of our recon since units in forested regions can prove to be exceptionally difficult to detect. Plus, there was the difficulty of trying to hide the panzers.
3) Kaluga/Rzhev. Recon showed soviet forces between these two cities to be rather thin. Of course, I could not be sure about what was hiding in the woods, but it seemed as though there was nothing really behind the front line except some tank brigades serving as reserve forces. What made this area especially attractive was the ability to hide a build up here in the forests. Plus there is a nice open corridor from Rzhev up to Kalinin/Torzhok.

In the end I decided I would attempt an encirclement of the forces between Vyazma and Rzhev. As it turned out, I was not strong enough to achieve an encirclement. Soviet units kept falling back into fortified hexes that did not show up in recon. I guess those forts didn't show up because they did not have any units in them. At any rate, instead of being able to easily overrun the defenders once they were forced out of their front line fortifications, they proved to be rather stubborn obstacles to overcome. In the end, it does not appear we will be able to achieve an encirclement here. But the Soviets now have a second major thrust to deal with, not just the one around Saransk/Arzamas.





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Turn 64: new pockets - 6/9/2021 2:33:55 AM   
CapAndGown


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Sept. 3, 1942

Somewhat surprisingly, I was able to form the Vyazma/Rzhev pocket after all. It is only 8 rifle divisions and two tank brigades. Still, losing 8 divisions is going to sting. Plus, three more rifle divisions were isolated to the east south of Murom. In total, the Soviets will lose 11 rifle divisions and 2 tank brigades next turn. (Since I have already done turn 65, I can say this with certainty.) Indeed, on turn 65 the Soviets will suffer the loss of over 160k men.

Meanwhile, in the east our offensive looks like it has failed. Although a number of Soviet units were sent west to bolster the defenses in front of Moscow, a huge number of forces still face our spearhead south of Arzamas. The prospects of any further advances in this area look poor. As a result, I am pulling back the panzers to rest and refit while we decide on a new course of action. I am still not ready to reveal what the goal of this offensive was, however.





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RE: Turn 64: new pockets - 7/28/2021 9:18:11 PM   
CapAndGown


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Although the game progresses (We are at turn 95 now) I am reluctant to report on my current situation except to say that we are now on the strategic defensive. Beyond that, I do not want to go into my defense philosophy because it might reveal too much.

Rather than talking about my current situation, I did want to clarify what the objective of my summer offensive was. I was aiming for Gorki and its vehicle factories. I did not need to actually capture the city, just as long as the factories were evacuated this would have disrupted Soviet production. My thought was that vehicles are the Soviets Achilles heel. Without them supply becomes more difficult and movement points become restricted, slowing down any Soviet advance.

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