From: Utlima Thule
30 September 1944
The recent gains have again stretched my supply lines. The most ready view on this is trucks/unit as the combat formations use their trucks to gain the supply they need.
Elsewhere, mostly a case of small scale operations and 1 Baltic finally started to arrive in its assault positions at Koenigsberg (and received substantial reinforcements of heavy artillery and assault guns).
The exception was 2 Blr with a decent supply net so was able to break the German defensive lines. Soviet tanks captured Torun and established a bridgehead over the Vistula at Grudziadz.
September sees a continuation of the limited gains of recent weeks.
Starting to have predictable problems in Hungary. Most of the mobile formations are resting in Moldavia so 3 Ukr reduced to marginal gains. I need to clear several passes, repair the rails and set up some super-depots on the western side before I can regain much mobility.
Elsewhere, usual pattern of counter-attacks and small gains, starting to encircle Warsaw, collapsing the Lublin pocket and some gains in the Baltic region. Really, all about restoring my communications links and taking key locations for the next major offensives.
Going back to my original notes – this turn was all about supply. In Poland and East Prussia finally rebuilding a useful network, in Hungary 3 Ukr is still fighting on the Carpathian line. 4 Ukr is on the Serbian/Hungarian border but in a dire state for supply. To manage this I have placed it on priority #1 (ie severely constrain demand) as I'm hoping this will stop me losing so many MP as it sheds trucks looking for supply. Some (very limited) improvement in its local supply net. 3 Ukr is on #2 and now has a super depot (admittedly at the end of a single track rail) and seems a bit better (helped by a massive air lift of supply).
In Hungary, 4 Ukr started an attempt to take Szeged despite supply problems (one tank corp had 13 MP almost all due to trucks gone off to find fuel). In effect, any attacks here have to be linear with almost no scope for exploitation – but I don't think the situation will improve, so may as well make the best of a bad situation.
In some ways this was the reward for all that fussing over logistics, Pretty much 1-1 truck/unit ratio and a lot of trucks in the pool. Even in Hungary, my armour has 30 MP (& cavalry up around 16-22).
E-Stalin congratulates his logistics staff. Useful as an extra 200,000 Germans have just been recruited.
Big set-piece assault on Koenigsberg. Well prepared and the Baltic fleet air-arm has isolated the city. Still didn't expect it to fall all at once. But at a cost of 10,000 men, city fighting in WiTE2 can be brutal.
On the main sector, 3 Blr captured Gdansk and 2 Blr secured the west bank of the Vistula. With Koenigsberg now in my hands, I can commit quite a powerful force along the Baltic coast.
Elsewhere, 1 Blr surrounds Warsaw and make some small gains in Hungary. Finding it impossible to replace combat losses for 4 Ukr so pull out some divisions from the reserve. They can act as replacements when they reach the front by being merged into my under-strength Rifle Corps.
End of September brings a number of issues to consider. First, the weather going forward is going to be much more unpredictable than it has been before. Less severe, but with more rain/mud.
Second, the Germans may be losing but remain horribly effective. A massive counter-stroke in Hungary wiped out all my recent gains by 3 and 4 Ukr and left me with a problem of how to replace my losses.
A problem that will emerge soon is that the 1939 German-Polish border region has relatively few air bases. This will reduce the value of the short ranged VVS, even if I now have the slightly longer ranged Yak-9M/U to add to the Lend-Lease planes.
First decision is to remove 4 Ukr from assault status and allocate that to 1 Baltic instead. Then create more air support for 3 AA (1 Baltic) by transferring LB and fighter assets from other fronts. Also allocated more air assets to 17 AA (2 Ukr Front). Ran down allocation to 4 AA (4 Ukr) as I can't see how to supply much in that sector (and there are not many air bases) with this being split between 3 AA and 15 AA (1 Blr). 8 AA (3 Ukr) lost assets to 2 AA (1 Ukr).
Basically no sense holding air power back for action in Hungary, its hard enough supplying my combat formations.
5 GTA has been sat in reserve waiting for a move to Hungary, doubt that is ever going to be feasible so given to 1 Ukr for operations in Poland.
My wider view is that I have more chance of reaching Vienna and Prague via Moravia than via Hungary itself. But also an offensive towards Krakow may encourage the AI to fall back in Hungary in any case.
I'll let the formations in S Hungary rest, it maybe I can do more to improve their supply situation. I still have Army HQ in the reserve and they can improve depot capacity and the rail net SE of 3 Ukr is still broken. But my main view is that 2 Ukr can screen NE Hungary and Slovakia while 1 Ukr goes for Moravia. So am going to try and take Krakow in the next few weeks as a starting point.
1 Blr needs to take Warsaw for its logistics, I'll then use it into Lower Silesia, Dresden and towards Berlin from the south. My assumption is the Allies won't help undermine the German NSS network so I need to do it myself. 1 Baltic can clear the coast to Stettin.
Which probably assigns Berlin to 2 Blr but that depends on when I reach the Oder and the strength of the German defences. Apart from improving my starting position, all this can wait till the snow returns – though the better roads might make an autumn offensive feasible. I really need to invest in my logistics system here if I can.
Roughly this sector has 3m men, 60,000 guns, 8,500 tanks and 4,000 aircraft.
So about 40% of my on-map manpower, 50% of the artillery and guns and 45% of the airpower.
So Warsaw taken with a massive artillery bombardment – and a comprehensive air victory too. Pity my bombers had completely wrecked the rail yards. But that, as a super depot, will support the next major offensive.
More generally, both 1 and 2 Blr cleared out bypassed formations and co-operated in a secondary offensive designed to eliminate the German positions NE of the Vistula.
1 Ukr's offensive towards Krakow opened with massive air battles. However, relatively quickly the local VVS assets were able to drive the LW from the skies gving Soviet bombers free reign over the battlefields.
Where the main blow fell, the German front line simply collapsed under the weight of artillery as cavalry and armoured formations ran deep into their rear. The first organised resistance was encountered almost 60 miles behind the original front line as the Soviet armour ran into Pzr divisions held back as the main reserve.
A combination of the defeats in Hungary and 1 Ukr's rapid breakthrough produced heavy tank losses for the Soviets.
Matched by the cost borne by the VVS (almost all from 2 AA behind 1 Ukr).
OOB after all the re-organising. In addition to the comments earlier, 4 Ukr shed a lot of SU (that I didn't replace) and sent a number of weaker formations back to the reserve. A cluster of fresh units ordered out of the reserve but it will easily take 2 (prob 3) turns before they available.
< Message edited by loki100 -- 3/6/2021 10:45:53 AM >