The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: September 2018

1942 FEB I Axis Turn

Franz Grubber walked up the two roughhewn steps from his command bunker, ducking instinctively under the low log roll door lintel and out onto the boarded observation platform.

Rubbing sleep from his tired eyes he gazed out over the snow laden fields to the north.

His platoon had been stationed here for over three months and they had settled into a steady routine of observation, occasional patrols and foraging in the local woods and villages to supplement their supplies.

Leningrad lay some 160 miles to the north, but high command had decided to leave it be for the moment and Franz felt the war had passed him by and that his part in Final Victory would be slight.

Something seemed odd this morning but his sleep befuddled brain took a while to realise what it was.

Normally his gaze fell upon a vast grey whiteness of fields merging into an equally grey expanse of sky stretching across the horizon but today a thin black line separated the two.

“Glasses!” he shrilled.  A crash, bang and curse behind him announced the arrival of his adjutant who stumbled forward from the darkness of the bunker his outstretched arm thrusting a pair of field glasses into his commanders waiting hand.

Wide awake now Grubber put the glasses to his eyes. The line resolved itself to a thousand or more charging Soviet troops. As he watched, temporarily frozen into inaction, larger shapes within the pack discharged a ripple of flashes.  “Mien Gott!!” He exclaimed “Get me Command, Now!”

Before his assistant could turn back toward bunker to carry out the order the tank shells crashed around them covering both in a shower of snow and dirt.

It seemed at last the war had found Franz Grubber.

Finland & Army Norway: The Soviet defenders around Murmansk with low effectiveness through lack of supplies succumb to German mountain divisions who advance another 16 east miles south of the city.

The infantry division straddling the Leningrad/Murmansk highway itself cut off comes a step nearer to relief as German units eliminate the 1-8 ski battalion which had slipped in behind it.

The Finns infiltration from Ukhta is halted by Soviet reinforcements barring the advance but further south the Finns main advance again strips a stack of units from 10th Mech’s flanks which is looking exposed but still beyond the Finns capabilities to take on in a head to head clash.

Feb I '42 Axis Turn

Feb I ’42 Axis Turn

AGN: Last turn’s cadred divisions and the line facing the Soviet advance fall back towards Veliki Luki, Fortunately for them the German forces receive a fresh Panzer division and infantry units this turn which are railed to the front in support to halt the rout.

Arriving siege guns from Kharkov allow a direct assault on Kalinin which is saved only by the NKVD and a two division cadred rump. However with no nearby replacement Political Troops or first line divisions this out of supply bulge in the line will safely be in German hands by the end of the month.

AGC: In an effort to wrong foot the Soviets the Germans launch a panzer/engineer/artillery attack against the central Moscow hex but after initial success the assault gets bogged down and after three days the operation is called off (NE).

Axis Feb I '42 Turn

Axis Feb I ’42 Turn

AGS: In front of the advancing Soviets infantry falls back to Kursk and Orel. Motorized units launch successful part winterized counter attacks against two stacks then fall back to stiffen the defensive line.

North East of Kharkov a fortified line begins to form a shield against a Soviet wheel south.

11th Army: Little ground action this turn and air raids directed against the river flotilla which the Soviets are now relying on to ferry supplies to Sevastopol fail to inflict the single hit needed to sink it. But at Odessa a hit cripples the Voroshilov.

Air War: The Luftwaffe launch a comprehensive series of air missions against the rail network behind the Soviet advance devastating the net with 6/10 successful raids.

In the north a similar operation north of Kalinin inflicts 2 hits out of 5 missions but operations south of Leningrad prove less successful with no hits being achieved.

Battle Report:

Attacks: Diced combats = 7

Losses:
Soviet Non-Isolated = 57;
German; Non-isolated = 7.
Finns; Non-isolated = 1.

1942 JAN II Soviet Turn

The Winter Offensive intensifies with 6 attacks on the main front and now that the vast majority of German panzers are engaged here and in the Moscow assaults a second front is opened south of Leningrad.

On the main front west of Voronezh a Guards Cavalry unit penetrates the German line and the subsequent unmodified 3:1 attack (against Das Reich, an infantry XX and supports so ½ winterised) results in a EX eliminating the stack completely due to the Guards penetration.

Elsewhere two 1.5:1 +2 attacks are stalled by NEs and the other three attacks result in two retreats by the Axis and an HX cadering another three infantry divisions.

South of Leningrad the Soviets take advantage of the weak German line in this hitherto quiet sector and putting all 10 Special Replacements into the city and releasing the reserves already in place strike south and cadre two infantry divisions.

This much smaller right hook is in fact far more dangerous given the lack of German forces in the area and the potential for a swift advance south.

Finland; Reinforcements reach the German blocking force near Kandalaksha but cannot attack for lack of Attack Supplies.

Leningrad Front; Forces drawn from replacements, the Leningrad Defence Force and railed from the Valdai reach the front and the Soviets judge it time to attack before the Germans detect the build-up and send reinforcements to this quiet sector of single defending divisions on alternate hexes. The attack is launched on a much smaller frontage than at Voronezh and the attackers are regular un-winterised troops but both attacks result in the cadreing of the German infantry defenders.

Jan II 42 Sov Turn

Jan II 42 Sov Turn

Moscow Front: The exposed NW city hex is reinforced and the shattered defending Guard unit is pulled out of the line to rebuild. Along the line south to Tula fresh troops continue to pad out the defenders as a Tank and Mech Corps move south and attack the German line.

Voronezh Front: The main attack intensifies (as detailed in the introduction.) Meanwhile a night transfer of Transport aircraft lands into Voronezh while airborne troops are railed in under cover of darkness to conceal their presence from the Axis. Plans are drawn up for an airborne assault on Bryansk and the adjacent clear hex with a follow up transfer of para infantry into the airfield. This is scheduled for the Feb II turn dependent upon the pace of the advance and partisan reports of a continued absence of Axis units in the area.

 Jan II '42 Soviet Turn

Jan II ’42 Soviet Turn

Rostov Front; All is quiet although a few winterised regiments are released and moved north.

Crimea/Odessa: Defenders begin to fortify the line but the loss of the Komintern requires the transfer of a vessel to Odessa to maintain supply to the City.

An RP is landed at Sevastopol for fortification use and the River Flotilla/capital ships bring in supplies to the outer ring.

Air War: Expecting another assault on the NW hex of Moscow the Soviets task all medium range assault bombers to provide DAS over the hex. Another whirling battle occurs over the city as the Germans patrol and intercept the bombing stream despite the numerical superiority the soviets enjoy in fighters.  In the resulting melee 8 German fighters mostly BF 109G patrol attack 2 of the assault bombers then intercept over the target hex. They by-pass the 11 Soviet Migs, LaaGs and Yaks who only manage to Eliminate 2 fighters and Abort a third. The 8 surviving German aircraft attack the 8 strong bombing stream with devastating effectiveness; Eliminating 3 of the eight, Aborting another 3 and returning the seventh. A lone SB-2 1 factor bomber makes it over the target zone. – will it survive the flack?

One of the Soviet Voronezh Front attacks requires long range bomber support which fly un-escorted to provide AS. 5 German fighters completely fail to engage the bombers despite regular patrols on the area but do intercept over the target hex only managing to Return 2 of the enemy. The squadron commander is “re-assigned” to a Penal Battalion.

Battle Report:
Attacks: Diced combats = 8
Losses: Soviet Non-Isolated = 20;   German Non-isolated = 42.