special report by Soviet commander TVD South and South-West
Jul II 42… The Don Front commander surveys the scene and notices that the mixed bag of Axis allies have not yet reached the river. This gives him the opportunity to cross in force with 7+ Tank Corps plus support units. Large air battles erupt over 3 axis hexes, resulting in roughly equally losses, although somewhat to the favor of the Axis (I think something like 1 or 2 kills each, 2 or 3 aborts each, but the Axis did come out ahead by one or two plane losses.) Regardless, the Axis DAS gets through and the southernmost Don Front attack results in a DR (5 or 6:1, +3, but a one is rolled).
The Rumanian troops back up into two hexes, preventing any overruns or breakout opportunities. The northern and middle attacks both get possitive results (DE’s both I believe) and something like 11 pts of Rum & 1 Ital die. All are rebuilt the next turn, but the Rums go into garrison. Unwilling to give up the ground gained, but unable to properly exploit, the Don Front commander forms a hedgehog wedge, with the base against the Don river, the northern line 4 hexes long running east-west, and the southern line 3 hexes long running NW-SE. The hexes each have 12 or 13 pts in the north, 9 pts to the south, plus additional pts in the two pointy nds of the hedgehog.
Aug I 42
3 Armored divs rebuilt (1 completely, 2 from cadres)… Sov cap is flown over the two front hexes of the hedgehog. Don Front gets what it wants, and attracts the attention of the mobile forces of AGS. At the southern base of the hedgehog, and infantry and an armor Corps form up facing a 9 pt Army. To the north, two large armored corps with infantry support face off against a 12 pt
Army. If attacks are completely successful, all but one of the 7 hexes forming the hedgehog will be cut off. Don Front CC laughs off the threat confident that at most DR’s will result… Axis cap is flown over the two flanking hexes, plus over 2 more hexes along the northern Don River that were essentially given up to the axis (6 or 7pts each in forts, but surrounded on 4 sides.)
After figuring out the likely odds, the Don Front commander decides to commit his remaining air force in an attempt to shift the odds back in his favor. In the southern hex, only two fighters remain for escort. The four Axis fighters ignore them, successfully bypassing and shooting down 4 of 5 DAS (one 3 Tac air IL-2 (4?) gets through. Losses are Russian 2 K and 2 A, Axis, 1 A. In the north, 5 unescorted bombers attempt to get through the 5 Axis fighters on cap. Once again, 4 plow into the earth, flaming. One however makes it through (2 tac air). Results Russ: 2K, 2A Axis: 1 Italian K. Following these air battles, free from Sov interrferrence, much Axis GS is brought in… In the south, the 2 pts of flak is unable to drive off the one soviet DAS, Sov flak pushes one off, for little effect. Attack goes in at 8:1, -1 for a DH (the one plane was critical, as the odds would have been 9:1 and a DE would have resulted, leaving behind an
overrunnable stack… even so, there was a 50-50 of the DE.) One Sov armored corp is cadred, and two art III retreat. The northern attack also goes in at 8:1 -1, with an unsuccesfull attempt at a commando raid… 7pts of flack fail to drive off the bomber but it doesn’t matter… A DE is rolled. Only the cadre of the Sov corp remains.
Northward, an attack against the infantry 92 Army is launched with air support, 3:1 +2 for a DH. Against the two semi-surrounded hexes a 7:1 -1 gives a DE against 7 pts, and a 6:1 -1 results in a nasty exchange (only a 1 in 6 of that, argh). A single German inf div is cadred for the loss of 6 sov pts.
An attack against the 91 Army, 19 pts strong in a fort is called off for insufficient air. (4:1 -1 couldn’t be improved upon, and I wanted to limit losses this turn).
Lastly, a surprising attack against the 1st Guards Tank Army is launched… it had been left in the front line in a fort, so there was no AECD. With a mere 3 pts of air support, (1 pt over the
requirement for 5:1), there was a lousy 3% chance for a 6:1… and a 02 was rolled! Still, with a decent shot at an DE, the 6:1 -1 attack results in a DH. One Corps is wiped out, a motorized div is cadred, and an Art III and inf brigade are destroyed.
All told, this turn 95 pts of Soviets were killed, vs 4 pts of Germans. (No losses in AGN or AGC that I’m aware of… AGN’s one attack resulted in an AS, which necessitated the cancelling of a second attack…. AGC pushed back on a number of hexes, all for no losses as well… WWI on the Eastern front.)
In the mech mov’t phase, on the north side of the hedgehog the armored cadre is overrun as is a pile of russian artillery backing up the pointy part of the hedgehog. Unfortunately, the cadre and artillery in the south (5pts) are strong enough to withstand an overrun, so the axis distribute troops for defense. The five hexes in the hedgehog will have supply (drat… foiled again.)