Turn 5 - Jul 20 1941
"Not great, not terrible" is my verdict for this turn.
Fairly quiet up here, as the first probing attacks across the Neva are holds for the Soviets.
Jubjub's comments on the 5 hexes west rings true, as I'm feeling uncomfortable with the salient emerging west of Velikie Luki. Will need to remedy that.
As you can see from the screenshot below, a large number of rifle divisions have arrived back on map from the strategic reserve. They're getting split almost equally between Leningrad and the centre, as they're still the two areas I'm most worried about.
Still a bit of a mess here, but I think I can salvage something. Current thinking is to look to reposition as much as possible to the north and north-east of Smolensk, and refocus what's left around Bryansk. I am writing off the pocket south of Smolensk.
There might be the scope for some nice counters here, as there's the odd component of a panzer division that looks very overstretched and very low on combat value
You can also see the crop of Moscow militia divisions getting deployed out to the field in preparation for the battle to come, which I hope will be a ways off yet. The units fresh from the reserve will be railed in to Vyazma this turn to fill out that sector of the front. I quite fancy the terrain to the south-west of Vyazma as a means to block the highway to Moscow, so we will see how that turns out.
The orderly withdrawal continues here, which is very satisfying for me. At some point I am going to need to break the link between South-western and Southern Fronts to pivot South-western along the Dnepr and get Southern Front back further east, but I want to hold off on that for a turn or two if possible.
In short, I just need to accept that I won't be able to keep a continual front line in this region with unit density being what it is.
Odessa held out against the first attack, but I only put a single rifle division in it, so it won't hold against a substantial attack. Bit of an oversight, and will need to learn how to use the city forts for maximum effect for Kiev, Leningrad and elsewhere.
Red Army & Logistics
I had a bunch of rifle corps disband, as well as conversions into combined arms armies so I will need to take a look at the OOB and see what needs done there. So far, Southwestern and Western fronts are my assault HQ's. There are a bunch of battered shell HQ's that are wandering about and will need sent to the reserve to refill and generally just a lot of unready units.
I'd appreciate any advice or being pointed to a primer on (1) Soviet logistics and (2) rebuilding the Red Army. Manpower feels okay at 237k. Total men under STAVKA is a tad under 3 million, but need to keep driving that up.
I have a further question on trucks. That they are important goes without saying, but what should I be looking out for and keeping track of?
To be honest, this already looks lost for the Soviets. Northwestern Front is completely out of position and there seems to be little in the way of an Axis advance to Leningrad.
The center is... well I'll just say I've seen this before. Western Front will disappear, then the nice green divisions (Moscow MD?) and then the Stavka ones. All will be fed in turn into the Axis gristmill before having had a chance to build up on both men and prep points.
In light of the first two issues, I don't think the south will save your bacon.
Primer on Soviet logistics- Rely on your existing depots. Those on the front lines need to be priority 4, not 1 like you have at Kiev. Set Leningrad priority 4. Refit divisions on depots and obviously set on refit. Don't count on a lot of reinforcements otherwise. Try to keep units on map so they can build prep points, Use the transports of the VVS to resupply units refitting on depots where needed.
Rebuilding the Red Army. Again, I fear that boat already sailed. But as you asked, refit rifle divisions with emphasis of experience levels 50 and above. You need good commanders like Tolbukhin and Rokossovsky in the Western Front armies. Give the assault HQ armies the best artillery. For other info, see my stickied Ten Pearls of Wisdom for Soviet Players in The War Room. I'm told that it has a few redeeming features.