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Europa Games and Military History

Month: July 2018 (page 1 of 2)

1941 NOV II Soviet Turn

November II ’41 Soviet Turn. 

The growing strength of the Soviet army is demonstrated this turn as they inflict the largest defensive losses of the war on the Axis and nip two penetrations off trapping a panzer division and motorised division the “wrong” side of the front line.

The Soviets however have no strategic reserves and Winterized troops are stuck defending Moscow with Guards and Navy troops scattered up and down the line where the defensive situation has demanded their deployment.

 

SE AAR 11941 NOV II Soviet Turn

SE AAR 11941 NOV II Soviet Turn

Finland:  Reinforcements are sent north to stop the slow but inexorable move east by the Germans and their Finnish partners. In the south a reinforced 10th Mech strikes at a Finish 2 division stack but only retreats them and the supporting artillery.

Leningrad; To the south of the city the German penetration out of the Valdai is attacked at the neck by two armoured divisions and a massive air flotilla out of Leningrad. The defending German mech division is cadred and supporting rkt and artillery units eliminated. The armour advances to snap the door shut and reseals the front line leaving a pz division, mot divn, AT and AA unit trapped in the rough terrain to the East of the Soviet line. With more Soviet reinforcements approaching they face an uncertain future.

In a second major offensive move arriving reinforcements allow an attack on the small bulge north of Kalinin and cadre two infantry divisions, straightening the line.

SE AAR 1 1941 NOV II Soviet Turn

SE AAR 1 1941 NOV II Soviet Turn

Moscow: Troops feed into the city to reinforce the defenders and units to the east consolidate to pin the Germans tight against the city. To the south the Soviets press hard against the Panzers but cannot take them on in direct assault and the fortified pockets remain as a breakwater for the new line forming behind.  Tula is determined not to go out without a fight and is reinforced.

Voroshilovgrad:  The Soviet attack force continues west hitting three German stacks and cadreing another infantry division. The Army is now detached from the MLR on both flanks but continues to press forward while the line is reinforced behind.

Further south the fortification of the line continues and secondary reserve stacks start to form ready for any future Axis moves west.

Crimea: Odessa MD spends all accumulated IRPs forming 3 divisions and ships excess troops to Sevastopol while newly arriving troops from Kerch block the peninsular west of the city.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Diced combats = 5

Losses: Soviet 6 (Cadred 6-4-8 tk) Axis = 3

Axis; Non-isolated = 27 including 3 x cadred Inf divns and 1x cadred mot divn

1941 NOV II Axis Turn

Alarmed by the Soviet counter attack at Moscow the panzers plan to retreat but the rains cease and are followed by a hard frost. Supplies, mobility and armour fully restored the Germans plan their last hurrah! before the predicted snow fall.

SE AAR Nov II Axis Turn

Nov II Axis Turn: The Finns push slowly East along the north shore of lake Lagoda

Finland & Army NorwayThe winterized troops of Army Norway push over the frozen river in front of Murmansk with Soviet defenders pulling back intact. In the centre the German infantry eliminate a second regiment and push East while in the far south the Finns fail to eliminate the Soviets but gain more ground in their attack along the north shore of lake Ladoga.

AGN: The Germans reduce a Soviet guard division and burst out East from the north of The Valdai overrunning the shattered remnants in the exploitation phase.

In the centre of their operational zone the advance East is halted by fresh Soviet troops but the shoulder of the penetration is widened, reaching the NW outskirts of Kalinin which is temporarily placed out of supply.

SE AAR Nov II Axis Turn

Nov II Axis Turn:Axis smash the line between Moscow and Tula.

AGC; The panzers in the northern hook around Moscow turn inwards and push the defenders out of the NE  part of the city. With horror Moscow realises that the artillery syphoned off for their own hapless attack has weakened the defenders who could not withstand the massed ranks of Panzers and newly arrived Neblewerfers.

The Fuhrer’s allowance of an active retreat to the south of the city proves its worth further cementing his grip on his generals as the “retreating” panzers smash into the rear of the Soviet fortified line between Moscow and Tula.  Aided by infantry arriving from the West and outflanking the river defences the line is shattered along its entire length between Serpukhov and Tula.  Only two surrounded and isolated fortified hexes remain of the once defiant Soviet defensive line.

Immediately to the south of Tula retreating panzers and SS motorized divisions halt their retreat to hold the rail line denying the out of production Tula factory an easy escape south.

SE AAR 1 NOV II Axis Turn

NOV II Axis Turn: The Germans capture NE hex of Moscow

AGS: Other than a couple of spoiling attacks on over extended soviet attackers the front is quiet with the Axis moving west to avoid direct contact with the soviet line as the rains continue to prove a barrier to getting supplies to the front line troops. Only along the river to the e ast of Kharkov is the line held toe to toe with the Soviets to give separation for the besiegers.  Artillery and engineering assets are moved into place to await the arrival of full supplies and rail artillery to enable an assault.

11th Army: A mixed 6 division group of Italian, Rumanian and specialist German troops move south from the storming of Zaporizhzhia to join the 11th Army in the Crimea, while the armoured elements already present concentrate on eliminating the border force at the gates of the peninsular.

SE AAR 1941 Nov II Axis Turn

SE AAR 1941 Nov II Axis Turn

The Luftwaffe decide on a massive air attack on the Black Sea fleet calling in all available air squadrons.  Of the 26 bombers employed 3 are driven off by AA fire and 4 hits are inflicted sinking the CLs K.Krim and Ch.Ukraine. Goering examining the situation reports decides this is an inefficient use of assets and orders no more massed attacks on this scale. Future attacks are to be directed against the port installations at Odessa which is still a defiant redoubt far to the west of the front line.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Auto eliminations =4.   Diced combats = 8

Losses: Soviet Isolated = 18, Un-isolated = 45.

Axis = 3

1942

Jan I 42

Malta status = 6

The Allies sit tight, but the Axis figures that they have air superiority on the front line (rough parity in good fighters, with Axis actually having slightly better aircraft, the Axis with many more and much better bombers and dive bombers, plus as many obsolete Italian fighters again). A sustained airfield bombing campaign is launched, with the dual purpose of forcing the inferior Hurricanes to duel with Me109s and MC202s and of bombing out the airfield capacity.

Also part of the Axis thinking is that Malta is muddy and bound to grow more powerful, but there are plenty of AS already ashore in N Africa, while more critical reinforcements and replacements may be turned back but only have a 1 in 6 chance of actually being sunk if the NT is hit by Malta Status anti shipping forces. So the Malta bombers and Italian anti shipping aircraft are also pulled off naval duties to join the assault. The initial results are inconclusive, but the Axis wears down the allied air forces over the next few turns.

Jan II 42

Malta status = 5. Attritional air warfare continues.

Feb I 42

Malta Status = 3. The first of the Australian withdrawals happens

Feb II 42

Malta Status = 2. 7th Armoured division is no more; down an armoured brigade, its SG also turns into a 2-10 Mot Inf and a HQ.

Note; while conversions are not compulsory, it feels too contrived to spend the game keeping the 7th Arm SG and a 1-8 AT II, or all 1-10 SG and the 3-8 Gds Inf X, etc apart to artificially postpone the conversions until convenient. So as a house style I try to complete conversions on schedule as afar as practicable.

The Axis decide its time to take a risk and attack the forward Allied stack of 37 points (1x Arm Xx, 2 x Inf XX Incl the NZ, 2 x 6-4-6 tk X, an AA X, and 2 x 3-8 Art X). They take care to avoid invoking ATEC for just a -1 from the Allied fort (who knew that a 2-6 Inf XX could be so handy?) . In huge air battles a lone SA DB-7B, unescorted, makes it through fighters and flak – DFCs all round. The Axis bomber armada lifts odds to 2-1 (just – a very close run thing) and the result is EX.

The Axis loose 5Le entirely (they already have the replacement points to rebuild it), 21Px and Ariete are cadred, an Italian 2-6 Inf XX, 2 x 3-4-X Art (one It, one German) and assorted ash and trash are lost.

A very bloody result all round, but the front is opened up..

Mar I 42

Malta status = 1

The Allies cannot fully rebuild their airforce (ARP restrictions) and they lose 2 more Inf XX to the Far East. So they re-jigg front line forces, bringing up 2 engineering X to quick construct a new fort in the hex the seaward XXX retreated to last turn. Cadred British Inf and Arm XX are pulled back, out of any ZOCs, for speedy rebuilding with accumulated replacement points.

DAK, despite last turn’s losses, sees an opportunity for an armoured attack on the now fortless front line attack; the Allies have some armour but the attack will still go in at +2. Again the application of maximum airpower lifts 27:20 to 2:1 odds. The result is DH and the Allied line has been decisively broken; the two turn run of risks taken has paid off. 1st SA Inf XX is eliminated entirely in its first engagement along with a Cons X that would have been doomed in the retreat anyway.

The airforces of both sides are badly damaged; the LW has 1 Ju88 k, and another 3 aborted, 1 x Ju87D a, 1 x Ju87B k, 1 x Me109F3 k, 1 x Me110D a, the Italians have an SM 79-2 k, another aborted, along with a BR20M and a CR42AS. There are a killed Hurri 2C and Blen 4, plus aborted Well2, A22 x 2, P40E (aborted by a Ju88 on its first mission !), a P40C, and the DB7B.

Mar II 42

It is time for the great Allied runaway (again). It is also the turn, ironically, when the railway reaches Tobruch. The cadred Inf and Arm XX are rebuilt and airfield construction turned to airfield destruction before everyone heads east.

The biggest Allied XXX is partially trapped 16 miles inland. The Indian Division retreats north east to ZOC in the road; DAK can get past it but the Italians can’t, greatly increasing the chances of a successful withdrawal.. The 2nd SA Inf XX, the NZ cadre, and all the surviving artillery (the original W brigade has never entered the replacement pool for removal!) take a different path, risking a terrible fate as they try to escape SE around the Sebchet el Gheneien saltmarshes. They do at least have a couple of AS with them, so they will remain supplied for a month.

1st and 2nd Arm XX screen south of Msus. At the start of the Axis turn the RAF lays down maximum harrisment south of Agedabia – the first harrisment missions of the desert war – protecting both the armoured divisions and the 2nd SA XX.

The Axis start their turn by rebuilding 21Pz. The Allies may have miscalculated…

Final Remarks

I’m afraid I stopped keeping detailed records of my game because I needed to clear the room by this weekend. The switch to using the Malta repair rate in the OB but requiring 2 hits be Malta Table column shift worked well, and the Malta number in the game was then broadly comparable to that recorded as historical in the Torch scenario instructions. There were some exciting swirling battles on the Tunisian border, with DAK being nearly surrounded, breaking out and in turn ZOC killing a British armoured XXX in the process, then a slow fighting retreat past the various bottlenecks. Meantime Torch benefited from the best weather I’ve ever seen – I kept rolling 1s – so instead of the usual advance stymied by mud the Allies advanced east at a good clip up to the Tunisian border. Here, however, there were just enough Axis forces to block the advance until airfield building finally allowed the Allies to gain air superiority then supremacy over the battlefield.

Bizerte was bombed out and Tunis’ port badly damaged (I love having the actual B17 counters to play with in this game!). At that point, in Jan II, the weather was again clear, allied reinforcements were starting to tell, and the Axis didn’t just have enough forces to hold an extended perimeter any more. DAK had to fall back from its strong blocking position or be cut off from the rear. A much smaller but more solid perimeter around Tunis/Bizerte was established.After a couple more turns, and as the US began to assemble divisions, the LW and RA largely gave up the fight only leaving a few fighters behind.

The Axis started evacuating rather than reinforcing. The cadre of 21st Pz, Trento (as an unmotorised 5-8 Inf XX), a 4-3-6* Italian Arm X, and the LW parachute units were the principle units saved by the end.The Allies steadily ate away at the perimeter forces, aided by generous replacement rates, while the Allied airforces continued to bomb the hell out of Tunis’ port turn after turn despite the 13 AA points there. Which is where my house rule (or maybe RAW) query comes in. In one interpretation, as long as there is a Supply Terminal in Axis hands, there is no surrender. So even if the Supply Terminal is in a port that’s totally bombed out, and so all the units are unsupplied, no surrender.

This interpretation, which I think is RAW, leads to an Axis strategy of maxing out the defence of Tunis (something like 40 def, 10 – 13 AA is quite possible) with enough AS to convert to general supply to last for months, and abandoning or evacuating everything else. The Allies will struggle to get a 2:1 -1 attack on such a strong stack entrenched in a city, leading to turn after turn of repetitive battering and perhaps even a drawn out stalemate . Such a long siege in a Tunis with no functional port seems very unlikely to me, and certainly not how the historical campaign ended.The other interpretation of RAW – or maybe just my house rule – is to require a supply terminal to be functioning to count. So the Axis surrender when they lose their last supply terminal or that last supply terminal is in a non-functioning port at the start of their (or the Allies – can’t remember when surrender is determined just now) initial phase. Regardless of how much AS they have stashed. That’s how my game ended, at the end of March 43, with no port cap left but two It Armoured XX plus 15Pz still in the field and Tunis still occupied.

Commentary and Questions

If we follow RAW, does a supply terminal have to be in a functioning port to count? And if RAW pays no attention to whether the port is working or not, then any thoughts on my house rule as an alternative surrender condition? It was a great game with many twists and turns – I particularly like the way that the Italians finally get to field a 3 XX armoured XXX worth the name – and I feel that the way I ended it avoided a boring and ahistorical slugfest hammering a fortress Tunis turn after turn. But you may think different! Ps I thought about carrying over into SF but it seems that the historical limiting factor on timing was the availability of landing craft, so with no possibility of an early Husky and a slightly stronger Axis force, with more saved replacements in place, to oppose the landings I didn’t bother.

1941 NOV I Soviet Turn

The Kharkov factory arrives in the East and is immediately put into production.

Finland: 10th Mech pulls back as the line is straightened and stretched to accommodate the recent finish success.

Leningrad : Forces south of Lake Ilmen which are now U3 pull back north to straighten the line and shorten their supply line. Elsewhere the defenders attempt to limit and contain the two small Axis bulges in the line by reinforcements but still are not strong enough to counter attack.

Moscow:. German defenders receive word from their meteorologists of a fair chance of a cessation of rain and a cold snap and so orders are issued to the quartermasters to release Truck held supplies so that the entire northern prong is in supply.

In the belief that the Germans are running low on supplies and emboldened by the retreat of the units to the south of the city and the reduction in length of the northern Axis hook the soviets mount an attack from both inside and outside the city which hits the 29 point German stack at the extreme tip of the German northern hook around the city at 2:1. Germanic luck holds again and the “1” rolled results in a Soviet retreat.

To the south of the city Soviets pursue the retreating Axis forces but do not attack.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 NOV I Soviet Turn

SE AAR 01 – 1941 NOV I Soviet Turn

Voroshilovgrad:  The westward surge continues and the wide front Pursuit Army attacks along the front hitting vulnerable out of supply units. The attacks meet with general success with one AR but reduce a mech division and eliminate 14 other factors of German and Slovakian units.

The Soviet attack force has orders to hit any target of opportunity to thin and attrite the enemy forces. With the line between Moscow and Tula cut the attacks also aim to clear the rail line south from Tula to allow the evacuation of the factory.  A small pincer south of Tula isolates a fleeing SS Division, 2 Panzer Divns and miscellaneous support troops with these attacks but the Soviets lack the exploitation capability to surround them completely.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 NOV I Soviet Turn SE AAR 01 – 1941 NOV I Soviet Turn

Crimea: A 4-3-8 Cav XX in the pocket trapped against the Shivash perishes the rest of the stack is left to its fate as Soviet units fall back on Kerch and Sevastopol.

Battle Report:

Attacks:  5 Diced.

Losses: Soviet: None.  Axis 21 (Reduced 6-10 Mot divn plus support troops and the 2-1-10 Slovak armor)

1941 NOV I Axis Turn

No! not one step back, those are my orders!  The commanders of any unit which retreats will face the firing squad!”

“But Mein Fuhrer!” protests the assembled top brass at the Wolf’s Lair situation table, “We have lost contact with an entire corps who are very low on supplies and we fear are surrounded. The Bolsheviks have already overrun the 17th. Now the 1st, 11th, 17th, 5th and 29 Mot div are cut off.”

Cowards! they have no backbone!  They should stand and die for the Fatherland!

But mein Fuhrer! they may short of supplies but I assure you they are not on short of National Socialist Fervour!

Guderian leans forward over the situation map, “If I may, Mein Fuhrer, we can break the Soviet line here at Podolsk and demonstrate once again our superiority of arms and will.   I have the 24th Panzer division with artillery support and infantry divisions”, Guderian’s hand hovers over the map then jabs at a spot 20 miles North West of Podolsk,  “here,  awaiting your orders.”

“The corps to the East will strike from behind, eliminating anything in their path and join with the 24th from the West. We cannot fail to smash the line and link up with the missing corps and secure our position.

Hitler studies the map and ponders for a second. “Permission granted – but do not ask again.”

Finland: The Finish front after months of relative inactivity bursts into life. The arrival of a German infantry division marching overland from the Helsinki front, a fresh replacement division and a reserve infantry division released now that the Soviet 20th Mech  is made impotent by the mud, allows the Fins to launch a massed attack against the south anchor of the soviet line on the north shore of lake Ladoga eliminating the stack.

Further north an Army of Norway attack wastes precious resources pushing back a lone bdr regiment while in the centre a soviet winterised regiment is eliminated.

AGN: AGN is transferred responsibility of all action south from the Baltic coast to the lakes north of Moscow. This will allow co-ordinated action to eliminate resistance between Dno and Kalinin.

The mixed armour and infantry assault through the Valdai cannot progress further East but continues to enlarge the foothold on the Moscow Leningrad rail line.

Similarly the penetration of the Soviet line just north of Kalinin is also stalled in it’s Eastern advance and is content to widen the breach.

The southern tip of the line is nibbled further to widen the bulge between Moscow and the lakes to the north.

In all 4 hexes and 3 forts are gained/eliminated as the out of supply Soviets around Kalinin weaken.

SE AAR No1 - 1941 Nov I Axis Exploitation

SE AAR No1 – 1941 Nov I Axis Exploitation at AG North

AGC: The panzers north of the Soviet link up to Moscow pull back northwest 2 hexes to consolidate. They hold there as supplies are moving west and they are only a month away from full supply with trucks available to fill the gap.

To the south the cut off corps realise that they cannot hope to survive as the Soviet troops mass and close. They thus move west eliminating a lone Soviet mountain division caught in their path. In a surprise move the 24thPanzer with fresh infantry and artillery support eliminates a soviet fort in the MLR just north of Podolsk and pushes through to link with the beleaguered panzers. Still unsupplied the nemesis of elimination from isolation is averted.

Further south around Tula other stragglers from the bold but over extended German advance manage to reach the main lines and all formations are accounted for.

SE AAR No1 - 1941 Nov I Axis Exploitation

SE AAR No1 – 1941 Nov I Axis Explitation at AG Center

AGS: Minor actions up and down the line keep pressure on the soviet replacement system by eliminating a couple of stacks where targets of opportunity present themselves. One such is the elimination of the Orel garrison and the city’s capture.

The Soviets outside Kharkov are eliminated and a tight ring around the city established. Still unsupplied the Axis await rail conversion, supplies and rail guns before considering an assault.

Axis forces eliminate the garrison at Zaporizhzhia and capture the city, leaving Kharkov as the only island of resistance west of the Soviet main line.

11th Army; The Axis manage to breach the line at the neck of the Crimea but exploitation is minimal simply encircling a stack in the front line and pinning them against the sivash.

With reinforcing cavalry divisions crossing the Kerch straights the Axis realise that the resources allocated to the 11th army are not sufficient and make preparations to reinforce this sector.

SE AAR No1 - 1941 Nov I Axis Explitation

SE AAR No1 – 1941 Nov I Axis Explitation at 11th Army

Battle Report:

Attacks: Auto eliminations = 6.   Diced combats = 7
Losses: Soviet Isolated = 36, Un-isolated = 42.
Germans = 7 (Cadred Infantry division and rocket regiment in an exchange)

1941 OCT II Soviet Turn

The conference room in the Kremlin is thick with cigarette smoke, sweat and desperation.

The top officers are huddled near the large wooden doors at the end of the room.  A mid ranking staff officer has his ear to the door.

Kliment Voroshilov, the defence minister enters and marches forward. Any of you girls gathered up enough courage to knock yet? He demands.

“Not me” answers Mikoloyan the trade minister. “The Boss is still in his chambers no one has seen him for three days now.”

“Berea, can’t you go in, you have his ear”.  “No comrade, I may have his ear but he would just as soon have my head!.”

“Zhukov what news from your new command in the North?”;  “My orders are to hold so hold I have. Not a step back but the fascists are pushing to the north and south of Kalinin. “

“How can I mount an attack with no reserves and everyone in the front line?”

“Well I have moved some forces forward to engage the fascists south of Tula”, Timoshenko adds “but like you we have few reserves and dare not thin the main line too much that would be suicide both militarily and dare I say personally.”

Suddenly the conversation is halted by the rattling of locks and the large wooden doors at the end of the conference room swing open. Comrade Stalin advances, tired and dishevelled but with determination in his eyes.

“Gentlemen my most reliable officer general Rasputitsa has arrived and achieved what you did not. He has halted the enemy advance East of Moscow.”

“Is the line elsewhere held?”

“Yes comrade” the assembled officers cry in unison.

“Then the time to strike has come. Fresh troops have been arriving which I have held for this attack They are now yours, use them wisely.

Don’t disappoint me, the gulags are a lot emptier than in ’36 so there is plenty of space for failures.”

Finland: Fresh troops bolster the line at Murmansk.

The Soviet 11th Mech corps pulls back to the line by the lakes which is now stabilised.

Leningrad: To the south fresh troops are fed into the shells around the two small bulges across the Leningrad /Kalinin rail line but cannot yet mount an effective counter attack.

Moscow: A succession of localised counter attacks are mounted against the German defence ring around the city.

Here and further south a succession of 1s and 2s on the dice rolls give very disappointing results with a total of 1x AR, 3xNE, 1xDR and only two DEs and a HX.. The one big success is against 17th Panzer, just south of the capital, which is reduced to a cadre and the city is again relieved from isolation.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 Oct II 41 Soviet Turn

SE AAR 01 – 1941 Oct II 41 Soviet Turn

Voroshilovgrad:  The forces which surged west attack an SS Motorised division but simply push this unit back and fail to achieve any meaningful results.

Around Tula however some support troops are eliminated and further penetrations break the German line into two sections.

Kharkov; is surrounded but freshly raised troops take advantage of a small gap in the ring around the city to form a defence hex adjacent to the city. (no doubt short-lived)

South/Crimea: The line holds and continues to fortify awaiting the arrival of the Axis forces.

Losses: Soviet: = 6

Axis Non Isolated =10; Isolated =  6.

1941 OCT II Axis Turn

Weather: A&B  = Mud, C,D,G =  Clear.

Finland; Offensive operations grind to a halt in the far North for lack of supplies. The Kreigsmarine ferry more across the Baltic for railing to the front.

A standoff continues further south.

AGN Unable to progress further over the railine in the face of Guards division entering the Soviet line the Germans simply widen their grip on the Valdai by a DH on a weak Soviet stack.

Just north of Kalinin a pure infantry/artillery assault pushes one hex further East towards the rail line from the East to the forested junction NW of the city.

AGC; Mired up to their axils the Panzers just manage to destroy the Soviet force holding the supply line to Moscow open and Moscow is Isolated for a second time.

Forces further West reach Bryansk in force and destroy the token resistance left in the fortified city.

Orel is now the only city in the sector west of the front line still in Soviet hands.

AGS The majority of the Panzers are stuck East of the Moscow/Tula fortified line as each side plays “isolate and relieve” with the other. The mud in sector B has frustrated any attempt at supplying the units who try to maintain contact and pull back to a tighter line.

Mobile and infantry units move as fast as they can north to re-establish contact and manage to eliminate 2/3rds of the Soviet blocking force which had been thrown across the breach.

Kharkov is again surrounded but now with a ring of continuous divisions. Infantry and artillery move into position but per the Fuhrer’s Directive make no attempt to storm the city.

Dnepropetrovsk falls.

11th Army: The arrival of the Rumanian Armoured division allows the Axis to attempt to breach the Soviet defence at the neck of the Crimea but the defenders earn their pay by retreating in good order and maintaining the line preventing a breakthrough to the interior.

Despite a pounding from the Luftwaffe which inflicted hits on most of the Black Sea fleet the ships still ferry supplies to Odessa which remains unassailable.

Attacks: Auto Elim = 9, diced for = 4

Losses; Isolated = 28. Unisolated = 20. Axis = 0.

1941 OCT I Soviet Turn

The autumn (fall) rains bring relief to the Soviet Armies struggling to contain the mass of Axis armour thrusting around Moscow.

Finland: All quiet on this front as parity of numbers means that neither side feels confident to attack.

Leningrad; The lone Luft AA unit is overrun and  other units rush past to bock the Axis advance but are not in sufficient strength to mount any form of counter attack against either of the breaches North of Kallinin.

Moscow; The Soviets infiltrate through the 16 mile gap East of Moscow and re-establish supply to the beleaguered city. Fresh troops rush in from the East but do not close waiting for numbers to increase.

The main line to Tula does not waver – holding position.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 Oct II 41 Soviet Turn

SE AAR 01 – 1941 Oct II 41 Soviet Turn

Voronezh; In a bold move the entire Soviet line from a point roughly East of Kharkov to the tip of the German breach moves NorthWEST seeking to close the gap and engage the weak German defenders on the flanks of the penetration. The weather is still clear in the South so they move cautiously trying to stay out of range of the bulk of the Axis infantry marching East from Kiev.

The line cadres an impudent 6-8 light infantry ahead of the German pack and mops up 20 points of mobile support troops. A weak line is thrown across the breach to cut the German spearhead from supply.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 Oct I 41 Soviet Counterattack

SE AAR 01 – 1941 Oct I 41 Soviet Counterattack

Crimea: The Crimea is held at the Shivash as cavalry from the Trans Caucuses drip feeds across the Kerch straights to reinforce the defenders.

Losses: Axis Non isolated 24.

1941 OCT I Axis Turn

Hans Gruber scans the distance through his Zeiss optics.  His black tankers uniform is a dull brown from the dust of the steppe; that same dust covering his improvised facemask and turning his hair the colour and texture of straw.

His attention is caught by a chevron of shapes cresting a hill with a scattering of birch in the mid-distance.

“Armour piercing!” He yells to the gunner below. “Five remaining” is the reply. Damit, that engagement two days ago had taken its toll, and supplies had been patchy of late. The Ruskies now seem better trained and lead and more resolute. The tanks better employed in nimble regiments, not the unwieldy divisional mass they had out manoeuvred so easily over the previous months.

As he pondered his possible fate, a trail of smoke arched up from the lead shape and drifted down in a green haze. Just at that moment the radio cracked to life.

It was a German voice “Unit to our north, unit to out north, are you receiving this?”

Could it be, yes!, they were German.  As the dots resolved themselves he saw the familiar shape of a Panzer IV.  It was a breakthrough unit from Army Group South. They had done it!  although 16 miles ahead of the main body their recon mission was accomplished.

 Moscow was surrounded!

Surely now the Russians would accept defeat and perhaps there was time for him to be sitting around his home fire with Greta and the kids for Christmas.

Then it started raining.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 OCT I Axis Combat Phase.

SE AAR 01 – 1941 OCT I Axis Combat Phase.

Finland: Despite the mist and rain the Mountain divisions of Army Norway press home their attack to Murmansk forcing the 2 brigade defenders West of the river over the river/into the city.

The Fins are completely defensive on their front.

AGN: The push through the Valdai to the Mosow/Lenningrad road breaks through a Guards division cadreing it and eliminating the cadre in the exploitation phase. The Panzer/Motorized divisions decide not to exploit but sit on the trail line. A lone AA regiment moves along the rail line towards Leningrad.

An infantry attack tries to breakthrough just north of Kaliningrad and whilst the defenders evacuate their fortified defences they retire in good order stopping any exploitation by the motorized support troops.

AGC: The panzers mass into the one hex bridgehead over the Volga canal and strike at the Guards/Tank Regiment defenders who are eliminated. The cadre is overrun in the exploitation phase and the panzers reach the Gorky/Moscow road.

In the rear of this attack other units eliminate the Soviet “peninsular” south/West of the lakes on the Moscow Kalinin road.  Meanwhile the last Soviet Mech corps West of the MLR is finally eliminated.

AGS: The mass of Panzers at Kursk drive forward and slam in to the Soviet line between Tula and Voronezh ripping a 50 mile wide hole in the line and exploiting north and west. The Northernmost Panzer unit crosses the river at Kolomna and the whole soviet line between Tula and Moscow is surrounded and cut off. However the heroic Guards unit who fell defending the Volga Canal bridgehead has prevented a full link up and only an empty ZOCed hex seals the pocket East of Moscow.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 Oct I Axis Combat Phase

SE AAR 01 – 1941 Oct I Axis Combat Phase

11th Army: The Odessa defence is reduced to the city only and the Luftwaffe causes more damage to the fleet. The single Panzer attached to the army (U1) drives East pursuing the fleeing Soviets from the Dnieper line and with advanced infantry units eliminates the fleeing remnants. The Crimea continues to be simply contained until sufficient troops arrive to push through the bottleneck at the entrance to the region.

SE AAR 01 - 1941 OCT I Axis Exploitation Phase

SE AAR 01 – 1941 OCT I Axis Exploitation Phase

Attacks: Auto eliminations = 9. Diced attacks = 10

Losses: Isolated = 66;   Un-isolated = 56; Axis = 0

1941 SEP II Soviet Turn

“Georgie, you filthy swine go and loosen your bowels over the side not in the dug-out.”

“What! and let some fascist put a hole in my head while I’m squatting for the motherland!”. Anyway it smells better than you, you lice infected dog!.

 “Now then boys save your anger for the Rumanians – they will be coming soon, and take this”.

“Sargent what do we do with this? eat it or throw it at the fascists; it’s hard enough!.

“Be grateful for what you’ve got, it’s all that there is…. and clear that stinking mess up –now!”

Odessa The supplies delivered by the fleet are insufficient for the troops defending the perimeter. Dysentery and malnutrition sweep the ranks and claim 4 divisions and 5 support units; almost half of the entire garrison!

Moscow: Newly raised Guard units rush to contain the German breach in the line north of Moscow. The soviets evacuate the fort line south of the lakes which is almost surrounded leaving a minimal garrison to staunch the flow of German infantry reaching the front. The main line is reformed east of the river.

Elsewhere; The line is organised and reinforced with newly arriving troops and the gap between Voronezh and Satlino starts to solidify. The stay behind garrison at Bryansk is thinned as the demand for troops at the main line becomes paramount.

Soviet aircraft fly defensive support up and down the line.

The Soviets hold their breath, awaiting the expected assault south of Moscow – and those who still do; pray for rain.

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