From: Utlima Thule
T31 – 18 January 1942
One of those phases of the game where I find the wee turn summary particularly useful – at other stages I just click through and carry on.
So, both OOBs were pretty stable that turn, suggests I am stemming the losses (makes sense with the lack of deep snow) and the Soviets have used up their current manpower allocation. I've almost 50,000 missing unit trucks but that will be covered by the repair pool come April/May.
About half my units are understrength/poor supply, not sure how to read that, given a lack of comparison points. So I'll treat it as 'expected'.
I've lost 18 VP off my HWM (that will be Kursk at 16).
The other 2 come from events. Clearly the Soviets lack the assets to fill out their Theatres but are meeting the baseline demands. From my own experience, by 1943 you can set up the Theatres as the Soviets as a nice little side-line of VP with no real hit to on map commitment – but that is for much later.
The non-winter carries on (don't know what all the whinging is about), with snowfall/snow everywhere. As in the last post this generates lower losses, higher mobility and allows me to repair my supply networks.
Next turn looks like blizzards pretty much along the current front line. But then next turn is also the last of the really bad winter effects.
Of my main depots, only Dnepropetrovsk didn't really fill out. If I have a few blizzard turns on the way those advanced stockpiles will make a real difference.
Reset the border depots to pick up freight and see if that works again.
Have a lot of SU that have now recovered their losses in the OKH. No point allocating them back to the front lines till I'm sure I'm not just going to pick up a lot of attrition related losses. Equally now have some Pzr reserve battalions ready for allocation but am going to mostly keep them back for a few more turns, Sent out 2 to my weakest Panzer divisions as they are also on the Vyazma sector.
Given all the discussion above, not a surprise to see the Soviets made little gains and took heavy combat losses.
Given the return to blizzards only did limited counter-attacks, mostly to drive off Soviet incursions on the Vyazma sector (which now seems to be their main focus).
Produces a less enjoyable loss ratio but better to conserve my forces for a while till hitting back produces some sustained gains.
So maybe a good time to pick up on an email discussion we had about the VP situation and implications.
Here's the list of city's on my list.
And their location.
So lets make some assumptions. From where I am, I need a net 210 to win. If I lose Kharkov and Stalino (feasible) then that goes up to +242 (the Soviets again receive +6 for early recapture).
So, assume that 2 out of Leningrad, Stalingrad and Sevastopol are achievable. That is +72 (an alternative is Moscow itself, +66).
Of the rest, there are 2 relatively linked clusters. Rzhev, Orel, Kursk, Tula, Ryazan and Voronezh is one group. Say +75. My identification of that group is a decision to strike hard and with commitment south of Moscow should clear that sector, it also doesn't hinder either a wider southern operation or a sustained gamble for Moscow.
The south is less useful. Again a serious attack gets me Rostov, Maikop, Krasnodar, maybe Grozny. Say +55.
In combination that just eases me over the 750 barrier but at the edges there are serious trade-offs. Grozny is a long reach, as is Tambov, both will demand a lot of sustained effort, so are best seen as one or the other. At that stage I'm short. Also worth stressing, the VP for sudden death has to be held at the critical date (lets say Oct 42), so an offensive that clears out the region to the south of Moscow will need to be protected to make sure its not lost later. Going hard in the south, opens the risk of loss of places like Smolensk.
Which is a long way to say that my less than stellar game play from T12-T18 has cost me any real chance of an automatic win.
Final observation, this is all best case stuff, no reason to think that on any sector I can really fully clean up.