The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: August 2018

1942 JAN II Axis Turn

Finland & Army Norway: In the centre the German divisions reach the main rail line to Murmansk but run out of supplies to attack.

The Finns meanwhile attack the left flank along the lake again eliminating a Soviet stack but do not advance trying to maintain sufficient density against a counter attack.

Jan I '42 Soviet Turn

Jan I ’42 Soviet Turn

AGN; Gains the forested hex at the eastern terminal of the Dno limited capacity rail line. Trucks move into position to supply the Valdai defenders which maintain DGS support.

AGC: The North-western hex of Moscow is becoming a real meat grinder as a HX again eliminates a sizable Soviet stack but fails to gain the hex due to fanatical Guards and NKVD defenders.

The Soviet air force however are the heroes loosing 2:1 on machines but keeping sufficient presence over the hex to drop the expected Axis odds one column. 3 German engineers are lost in the exchange.

Jan I '42 Axis Turn

Jan I ’42 Axis Turn

AGS: The German response to the Soviet counter offensive is, of course to counter-counter-attack. The planned assault on Tula is abandoned and the powerful motorised forces including SS units swing throug h 90O and eliminate two soviet stacks from the assault forces at “the hinge”. In the exploitation phase they move to winterise the defence.

Now fully defensive, troops mass to protect Kharkov fearing a Soviet move south. Bemoaning their lack of foresight and overconfidence they re-task engineers from the now postponed assault on Odessa back to the front line to fortify the line. Similarly some artillery assets are re-routed.

11th Army: Troops inch south to invest the outer defensive ring at Sevastopol but are still too weak to attack. Railroad engineers and trucks move to extend supplies for an assault but given the distances involved it will be some months before full supply reaches the citadel.

Air War: Air assets not involved in the Moscow assault continue rail line bombing of the rail net behind the Soviet advance to try to disrupt reinforcements. In the south a medium sized raid on the Baltic fleet eliminates the light cruiserKomintern

 

Battle Report:

Attacks: Diced combats = 5
Losses: Soviet Non-Isolated = 62;   German Non-isolated = 23.

1942 JAN I Soviet Turn

London 15 January 1942 British Broadcasting Corporation:

“We interrupt tonight’s broadcast of The Glenn Miller Sound with an important announcement from the Prime Minister.”

“”I need not tell you that the dark hand of Nazism has been reaching out across Europe snuffing out the lights of freedom to which all civilised men are accustomed.

Our brave Russian allies have suffered much in recent months but stand resolute in the face of the Fascist foe and have been gathering their strength to face their own Darkest Hour.

Today I have received a Communique from them which has lifted my spirit and so I announce to you tonight that our distant allies have launched an attack that has dealt the Nazi forces a mortal blow.

An overwhelming force of arms has destroyed 20 enemy divisions and our allies’ resolution and might is such that they will not stop until the very gates of Berlin are shaken by their vengeful blows.

And so we stand firm with them as beacons of hope in these dark times and wish them well in their endeavour.””

“Thank you prime minister. “And now a personnel message to our continental friends – “The snow is blowing from the East”, I repeat “The snow is blowing from the East.”

Back now to our scheduled program The Glenn Miller Sound……….

 

Finland; Reinforcements delayed by German rail disruptions reach to within 20 miles of Kandalaksha and form up  to block the German advance although Murmansk remains cut off.

Leningrad Front; Partisan reports indicate a build-up of enemy troops to the south of Leningrad and Brandenburger units are identified. As a pre-emptive strike the Soviets launch an attack against Dno cadreing the German infantry division defender and taking the city.

Elsewhere the front is consolidated with new arrivals.

SE AAR 1 Jan I 42 Soviet Turn

Jan I 42 Soviet Turn

Moscow Front: The exposed NW city hex is reinforced and the shattered defending Guards units pulled out of the line to rebuild. Along the line south to Tula fresh troops man the barricades allowing Guards and Winterised units to pull out and move south.

Voronezh Front: The previous attacks on this sector have achieved the objectives of sealing the gap in the front line, securing rail junctions and putting the Axis into a defensive posture.

The Politburo just settling into their new headquarters at Kuybuyshev judges it is time to launch their winter counter offensive. They expend a Resource point to boost rail capacity and the newly designated 1st Shock Army which has been gathering is supplemented by winterised troops pulled out of the line elsewhere and newly arriving reinforcements.

The Army fields 40 divisions and an equal number of brigades and regiments including artillery, rocket, and tank brigades. Approximately 40% of the troops are Winterized.

The Army is arranged in two echelons. The first the Attack Force, the second the Reserves designed as a mobile reserve to instantly replace losses from Exchanges, and with strong mobile formations built around a few remaining Tank corps and motorised brigades to provide an exploitation capability.

The Soviet plan calls for a broad front attack between Tula to a mid-point between the Kharkov and Kursk latitudes.  Like a great opening door hinged at Tula the left flank will wheel Northwest along the axis Kursk, Bryansk, Smolensk securing the left flank while the right flank closes on the Western approaches to Moscow. After the Axis commit their reserves to the main assault a secondary thrust by an as yet unformed army will strike south from Dno towards Veliki Luki and Vitebsk trapping the German attackers.

The Attack echelon launches 3 attacks against triple stacked German infantry divisional Hedgehogs at 2:1 with Half Winterisation.

The attack is a complete success cadering 8 out of the 9 divisions engaged (plus eliminating a Luft AA unit) for minimal losses in a Half Exchange.

Rostov Front; All is quiet although the fortification of the line continues towards he coast.

Crimea: Defenders brace themselves for the Axis attack and reinforcements and resources are railed to Novorossiysk for the sea journey to bolster the defences.

Air War: The soviets are not about to cede control of Moscow airspace to the aggressors and launch an Attack Bomber raid on the German airfields north of the city. German patrol attacks are utterly futile and turn back none of the bombers or fighter escorts. A second large battle forms north of the city with a total of 40 aircraft engaged. In the end 3 more soviet Fighters are lost including the first Guards aircraft casualty of the war; plus 2 aborts. The Axis loose a German machine plus the Italians brought down by an obsolete I-16 brought in the replace last turn’s losses. The Germans also suffer 2 Aborts.   A Yak-4 succumbs to accurate light combat AA. The surviving Soviets however fail to score a single hit on the Airfields!

Elsewhere the Soviets launch a series of long range bombing raids against the German rail net to support the 1st Shock Army’s offensive but fail to inflict a single hit.

Battle Report:
Attacks: Diced combats = 4
Losses: Soviet Non-Isolated = 13
German Non-isolated = 40.

Stonebooks

Reading on anything to do with the Second World War is an intimidating task, since the literature is so vast that it seems impossible for any laymen to identify relevant books or simply those well enough written to deserve notice. Military history remains a topic of high interest, and serious studies often drown in the flood of available popular editions, autobiographies or “collections” of pictures, technical data or battle descriptions.

For those of us without access to a well-stacked library, stonebooks.com is an invaluable source, providing a structured catalogue of publications. Fleshed out with book reviews, a message board and and more catalogues of publishers and authors, stonebooks provides a great service for readers and historians alike.

Our hobby seems for most cases to be stuck in the early 00’s when it comes to design and usability, and stonebooks.com is no exception. However,  we would ask our reader again for leniency: The website proves without a doubt one does not require Bootstrap to provide viewing pleasure. Additionally the author of the page, Bill Stone, is one of the oldest Europa veterans and former editor of E.T.O.  Say Hi and grab a good book!

Date: August 22rd, 2018

URL: http://stonebooks.com

 

 

Iterum ante portas

It is December 1941, (again). An unusually mild winter sees the Germans firmly in possession of Moscows suburbs after a gruelling campaign, while in the North forward detachments have finally reached the Murmansk railway line. Further south the Germans have occupied vast swathes of the Ukraine, though Odessa and Sevastopol still hold out against the fascist invaders…

In other words: we managed to upload Ken Newall’s new game report up to JAN I 1942, and it shows how helpful images are to understand the overall strategic situation – at least for a visual animal like me. Enjoy the read!

After completing the newsletter archive in the Generalstab Library some months ago there was still one issue missing: ETO #57. I have the basic TOC, but no authors, and was unable to find a copy of the newsletter anywhere. Since Arthur Goodwin was the editor at the time, I’ve contacted him directly, and will update if I recieve a reply.

We’re still being plagued by some technical problems, but in the making are two more game reports from War in the Desert, and it might be time for some more link additions soon.

1942 JAN I Axis Turn

Weather; Snow descends across all of the map.

Finland & Army Norway: In the centre the German divisions continue to press forward eliminating another ski battalion and reaching within 16 miles of Kandalaksha with patrols interdicting the Leningrad/Murmansk rail line.

The Finns meanwhile move to a defensive posture to rebuild the army in the south.

SE AAR 1 1942 JAN I Axis Turn

1942 JAN I Axis Turn: German troops block the Murmansk Rail line

AGN. The Axis are completely defensive on this front. The only significant part of the front out of supply is now the line north of the Valdai.

AGC: A large prepared attack is made against a third Moscow hex with engineer and rail gun support now that rail conversion has reached the city but a spirited defence aided by fanatical NKVD political troops allows the two guards divisions to avoid a retreat on a HX result and hold the hex.

AGS: AGS is now completely defensive with a hedgehog defensive line running from the Kursk latitude down to the coast.

Engineers and siege artillery from the Kharkov assault move to the railhead in preparation to move south to support the Rumanians to mount an attack on Odessa and to move north to support planned attacks on Kalinin and Tula both of which are in contact with the Axis front line.

SE AAR 1 1942 JAN I Axis Turn

1942 JAN I Axis Turn: Sevastopol besieged

11th Army: Troops press onto Sevastopol but are not yet in sufficient strength to attack the outer defensive ring. Trucks and rail engineers move south to extend supply.

Air War: DAS is placed along the out of supply defenders in the Valdai.

The Axis mount a massive air operation over Moscow to aid the German assault on the North West hex of the city. 5 JU88s are patrol attacked away but in the ensuing air battle the German Fighter air transfer last month bears fruit as 6 Soviet fighters are brought down in the swirling air battles over the city. Some Soviet fighters survive and penetrate the screen eliminating 2 JU88s and a JU87 falls to soviet AA but the Germans clearly are the overall victors of the battle.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Diced combats = 2
Losses: Soviet Non-Isolated = 26
German Non-isolated = 13.

1941 DEC II Soviet Turn

Finland: Reinforcements are hindered south of Leningrad by Axis rail breaks. The 10th Mech wheels south and cadres another Finish Division but at the cost of cadreing a 7-4-8 Armoured division in the Exchange.

Leningrad Front; Trying to pressure the German line south of the city a scratch attack fails against a German infantry division in an unlucky 4:1 NE result.

Close to Kalinin reinforcements try to bolster the defence but are not strong enough to counter attack the German line.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC II Soviet Turn

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC II Soviet Turn

Moscow Front: Winterized troops are exchanged by regulars in the front line to assemble a counter attack force.  A single attack is lunched against SS Viking succeeding is reducing this and an accompanying Mot divn to cadres but at the cost of two winterised divisions falling in the exchange.

Fearful that they can do no more than watch as city hexes fall the Capital and Factory are prepped for departure.

Voronezh Front: All quiet as the rear defence line continues to be strengthened and spare troops move forward to attack positions.

Kharkov front:  is redesigned Rostov Front following the fall of the city but all is inactive.

Crimea; Troops fall back to Sevastopol for a last stand.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Diced combats = 5

Losses: Soviet Non-Isolated = 21 (from exchanges)

German Non-isolated = 11.  Fins = 3 (Cadred 5-6)

1941 DEC II Axis Turn

Franz looked out across the square from his first floor vantage point in the former office building mid-way along the East side. The snow flurries parted momentarily and he could clearly see the few remaining icicles adorning the statue in the central fountain. He also could also see movement along the enemy position at the far side of the square.  Enemy troops had been moving in from side streets, from doors and cellars and were forming up for an attack.

“Get ready lads!” he called out “But hold your fire till they are at the fountain”. 

A great cry rose up from the enemy ranks as the line charged forward; “hold it, hold it” Franz muttered to himself, “Fire!” he shouted as the enemy reached the trip line. The medium MGs opened up and were accompanied by a hail of bullets from the rest of his platoon. The right end of the line dissolved as the heavy machine guns raked the line. Then the line faltered, some of the enemy took shelter behind, and in, the fountain; some hesitated and stopped and then the line started falling back.

“Cease fire!” Franz cried, no use spending ammo at a fleeing foe, but the noise of machine gun fire continued and the line of fleeing troops who dropped like wheat under a scythe.

“Cease fire!!” he yelled again. It was then he realised the noise was not the steady purr of their own machine guns but the harsh rat-a-tat of the enemy DP28.

A gust of wind opened a view to the far corner of the square where he saw the muzzle flash from a basement window and a group of security officers of the NKVD wearing their distinctive red epaulets.

Fifteen minutes later the second wave started their attack, this time they did not falter, the possibility of death at the hands of the hated fascist invaders preferable to the certain death from the guns at their rear.

He feared his platoon would be overrun as the wave closed when a loud “whoosh!” overhead and accompanying explosion at the centre of the square flattened the fountain and a large circle of the enemy around it.

The promised tank support had arrived and just in the nick of time.

He knew now that they would take the district but he also knew that the cost would be high.

Finland & Army Norway: In the centre the German division continues to press forward eliminating a ski battalion.

The Finns meanwhile eliminate another soviet stack close to the northern shores of Lake Lagoda and push the armoured battalion forward in the exploitation phase.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC II Axis Turn

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC II Axis Turn

AGN: No attacks all defensive.

AGC. Very few attacks are launched but one is made against the North West corner of Moscow. The DR is converted to an EX due to fanatical resistance of the NKVD inspired defenders. The only consolation is that engineer support was not quite enough to gain a modifier and so no engineers are lost in the exchange. However 3 infantry divisions are cadred.

AGS: Kharkov falls to an engineer assisted assault and here a DE silences the defenders despite the NKVD presence.

A second attack takes out part of the soviet attack force pressing the centre of the Axis line.

Further south to the coast the Axis fall back a hex and adopts a “hedgehog” defence on alternate hexes taking advantage of the Soviets lack of exploitation ability and strengthening the points of resistance.

11th Army: Troops seal off the Kerch peninsular preventing reinforcements reaching the defenders and take Simferopol exploiting adjacent to the outer defences of Sevastopol.

Air War: DAS is placed along the out of supply defenders in the Valdai.

Moscow has been a no fly zone for the Luftwaffe due to the masses of soviet MIgs in the city but the capture of a second hex of the city and construction of airfields to the north allows the Germans to transfer hundreds of fighters to prove support and interdict soviet attempts to place DAS on the city defenders in the coming months.

In the south a small raid against the black Sea fleet again fails to inflict any hits on the ships.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Auto Eliminations = 1, Diced combats = 6

Losses: Soviet Isolated = 21 (including from supply checks),  Non-Isolated = 49

German Non-isolated = 28.

1941 DEC I Soviet Turn

I noticed an error in the Oct II, Nov I and Nov II Soviet Turn reports because I inadvertently headed the Soviet front as Voroshilovgrad rather than Voronezh.

Note: To avoid congestion the Moscow Soviet units have been removed to the off map display and locations marked with a red star. Supply Terminals show the furthest Rail/Road limit of the Axis supply line.

December I ’41 Soviet Turn. 

The Soviets prepare to turn their localised attacks into a coherent Winter Counter Offensive. Guards and winterized troops in Moscow are replaced with regular troops where possible and reserves start to form behind the front line south of the city.

In the meantime the series of local attacks increase in size and ambition and the Axis arrogance and overconfidence is repaid by the Soviets giving the invaders a bloody nose as their forces launch a series of devastating counter attacks on the main line penetrations. Over 70 points of losses are inflicted including four Panzers reduced to cadres and four infantry divisions completely eliminated.

Finland: In the North reinforcements arrive to stabilise the line.  Further south the main Finnish/German attack force is counterattacked by the 10th mech joined by infantry forces and a HX eliminates the Axis stack.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC I Soviet Turn

DEC I Soviet Turn: The 10th mech eliminates the Axis thrust.

Leningrad Front: On the Leningrad front The Valdai penetration is nipped off and two infantry divisions eliminated in an exchange.

Moscow Front: The furthest German penetration is again attacked and this time with more success than a fortnight earlier with a HX reducing a two panzer stack to cadres and eliminating the supporting AA units.

Between Moscow and Tula the retreating panzers still just out of supply are reduced to cadres by pursuing Guards, Winterized and regular troops.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC I Soviet Turn:

DEC I Soviet Turn: Devastating Soviet attack eliminates southern hook around Moscow.

Voronezh Front: The Attack Army continues to move west; one attack falls back in disarray but a second reduces two German infantry divisions to cadres. The exchange however removes a large part of the attack line at the southern tip of the army.

Kharkov Front: Very little action is evident as a trickle of in-theatre reinforcements enhance the defence line. The Soviets consider the feasibility of launching a surge to try to relieve Kharkov but the Axis line is now in full supply and there are no spare forces in the south for such an operation.  Two unsupplied divisions in the isolated city dice and one succumbs but is replaced from accumulated IRPs.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC II Soviet Turn

DEC II Soviet Turn: General view of the quiet southern front.

Crimea: In the Crimea forces fall back to Sevastopol and the Black Sea fleet splits to cover Odessa and the Fortress.

Air War. Short range assault bombers provide defensive support while long range bombers launch a series of deep raids onto Axis air bases. Limited results but two point city fields are neutralized and one fighter from each side eliminated in the execution of the operation.

In the south the airlift is continued to provide some supply to the defenders of Kharkov but capacity is limited and two divisions remain unsupplied.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Diced combats = 5

Losses: Soviet Isolated = 11 (from supply checks) Non-Isolated = 45 (from exchanges)

German Non-isolated = 66.5.   Finnish = 5.

1941 DEC I Axis Turn

Commissar Popov shouts out to his men arrayed in a crescent at the edge of the dense forest; a slight mound in front blocked a full view of the horizon which was anyway obscured by driving snow. “Here they come comrades!”

Minutes earlier scouts running full speed and reaching his dug out breathless reported an imminent attack  and their report was joined by the growl and clank of enemy armoured units negotiating the slope just out of view.

Popov’s unit had only arrived yesterday and had barely time to construct anything other some rudimentary dug outs. Despite increasing enemy activity in front of the corps position they had been instructed to march east and take up the position they now held.

The commissar’s war had so far had been uneventful; inserted into a relatively quiet heavily wooded sector on the Leningrad Moscow road most enemy activity had been directed north and south of the corps’ frontage.   He knew his NKVD division was well equipped and ready to die for the motherland – he just had not expected it would be so soon.

The mean looking angular machines of the Fascist invaders crested the hill, the troops huddled behind looked cold and malnourished but just as mean as their machines and just as determined.

The 75mm shell from the lead tank hit his dug out full on catapulting earth, branches, logs and men skyward.

For Popov the war was over.

Finland & Army Norway: In the centre the German division continues to press forward and aided by air support out of Norway eliminates another winterised regiment.

The Finns meanwhile eliminate a motorized division in their march east.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC I Axis Turn

1941 DEC I Axis Turn: The Finns struggle East

AGN: The Germans manage to assemble a scratch relief force and with the help of the isolated troops of the 18th pz and 18th Mot divn break through the soviets via the heavily forested section of the line allowing the mech elemnts to re-join the main force.

In front of Kalinin an out of supply fort is eliminated and a counter-counter attack secures another hex north of the city.

AGC: The German forces contemplate an attack on a second Moscow district but with winter setting in they need engineers and siege guns to do so.  Rail conversion now reaches Moscow and the siege train is positioned for an assault next turn. In lieu of an assault they retract one hex back east of the metropolis to concentrate defences for an expected Soviet counter attack.

Just south of Moscow the Axis are content to eliminate the two isolated forts.

AGS: All quiet on this front. The Kharkov besiegers now in full supply for the first time are enraged that the promised siege gun support has been diverted to AGC but muster engineers and artillery for their own assault.

The line south from Kharkov to the sea assumes a defensive posture

11th Army: The desultory unsupplied campaign continues in the Crimes eliminating a single division and trapping two more. Infantry arriving from other sectors should be in position to assist next turn but no assets are in place for a protracted siege of Sevastopol should the Soviets decide to defend the citadel.

SE AAR 1 1941 DEC I Axis Turn

1941 DEC I Axis Turn. Buildup of forces in the Crimea

Air War; The Luftwaffe provides defensive support to the small portion of the line still unsupplied east of Kursk/Orel but direct their main effort to  fragmenting the soviet rail net scoring 8 hits from 15 sorties. A token dive bomber attack on the black sea fleet is aborted by intense and accurate AA fire.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Auto elim = 3.  Diced =  5

Losses;

Soviet Isolated = 16.  Un-isolated = 32;

Axis un-isolated = 3