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Europa Games and Military History

Month: March 2019

1942 SEP I Soviet Turn

Summary

The soviets have suffered countless blows at the hands of Germany and her allies but are certainly not out of the game yet.

Local counter offensives across all of the active theatres inflict heavy losses on the Axis forces. Among the highlights:

  • Finland offensive gathers pace as two divisions and 2 artillery regiments suffer elimination together with German allies.
  • Pinning attacks in the north yield unexpected dividends as Soviet Tank Corps overrun the German rail-siege train.
  • Volga Canal breached – 3 forts cleared and 2 German divisions cadred.
  • Offensive launched across the Don German Division cadred Rumanian division eliminated.
  • Panzer division is cadred south of Stalingrad – 3 others isolated.
  • Anti-rail air attacks inflict 8 hits from 15 missions and Partisans break 5 more lines.

Turn Report

Partisans: Inflict 5 more rail hits this turn although not all are against converted lines most of which are held by security forces.

Battle for Karelia turn in Soviets' favour

Battle for Karelia turn in Soviets’ favour

Finish Front: North of the Arctic Circle a smattering of reinforcements fill gaps in the line stiffening resistance.

North East of Lake Ladoga Soviet mech and infantry forces advance to surround and pin a mixed German and Finnish stack which is eliminated while a Finnish cadre is also wiped out,

At the Northern tip of the lake forces driving from Leningrad eliminate another stack cadr eing an infantry division and taking an artillery regiment out of the game. As previously the Soviets know time is on their side in this theatre as Finnish losses mount well past their ability to replace them. The Soviets therefore do not risk a deep penetration.

Soviets Launch Offensive over the Volga Canal

Soviets Launch Offensive over the Volga Canal

Leningrad/Moscow Front. The Soviet Strategy on this front is to mount an offensive operation over the Volga Canal immediately north of Moscow. German entrenched divisions across the river are caught by surprise as a thousands of rocket tubes in the largest concentration of the war fire from their lines on the East bank of the river along a front 80 miles wide. Their fury is unleased as 6 tank corps including 3 upgraded 9-7-8s launch across the river.

One attack north of the lakes is simply designed to pin German opposition. It eliminates a fort and cadres the defending division but only a lone 3-6 inf xx advances across.

Directly north of Moscow the attacks cadre two divisions. Both retreat, one onto a 1-10 AA regiment guarding the airfield beyond. This stack is overrun by the Soviet Corps in the exploitation phase as second echelon troops fall in behind and drive 60 miles into the German rear.

On the Vologda sector two further attacks are launched designed to pin the German spearhead and limit the redeployment of forces to counter the Soviet advance. The attack south of the bulge 50 miles West of Yaroslavl drives 12 miles into the front before being halted by stiffening German resistance.

North of the bulge however confusion reigns in the German rear as a panicked panzer division flees 30 miles as the front collapses and Soviet tanks breakthrough the German line. They exploit a further 16 miles before being halted by the now halted panzer but their drive yields a spectacular dividend. Caught completely unaware is the main German Rail Assault stack comprising 1x 4-0-R, 2x 3-0-R and 4x 2-0-R which is overrun; the sole Flak battalion defending the stack from air assault offering little resistance to the massed guns of the two stacked tank Corps.

Soviet pinning attack eliminates German Siege Train

Soviet pinning attack eliminates German Siege Train

Voronezh Front – The Soviets contemplate a general assault to support the moves to the north and south but the forces have already been stripped of all offensive capability which makes any such move unviable so the sector remain quiet.

Rostov Front:  In a move designed to ease the pressure on the cut off forces south of Stalingrad the Soviets launch a limited offensive over the Don north of Stalingrad. Cadreing a German division and eliminating a Rumanian 3-6xx they advance in an arch from the breakout point in a South Western direction. Rumanian and German infantry lining the West bank ensure supply is still fed to their troops but the move is such that they will in their turn need to decide if they fall back or seek to hold the river. Axis reserves are limited in the area of the Soviet breakthrough and so the Soviet General Staff anticipate a general retreat by the enemy.

The cut off forces south of Stalingrad coalesce around the German units trapping them and launch local counter attacks where they can. The swirling battles on the open plains eliminate 2 x 2-1-10 Stugs and cadre a 12-10 pz division. The freed main Soviet force exploits back into supply. The two German Mech divisions who penetrated deep into the North Caucuses and a further panzer division around Stalingrad a re in turn trapped East of the Don.

The Rostov Front

The Rostov Front

Air War. In the south the Soviets aid attacks where needed out of range of German fighter cover still West of the Don.

In the north one large attack supports the soviet mechanised attack to the north of the main German bulge but German fighter opposition is poorly co-ordinated and no losses are inflicted to either side.

Otherwise the VVS concentrates on interdiction and flies 15 raids against the rail network inflicting 8 hits and limiting Axis response to the breakout north of Moscow. Critically two hits are on the rail line through Kalinin the main route for German forces transferring south from their heavy concentration in the north.

With no massed air battles taking place losses are light and each side loses only 1 aircraft.

Battle Report

Attacks: : Auto = 1, Diced = 12, Overruns = 2
Losses: Soviets =0
German Isolated = 3, Non-Isolated = 55
Finnish Isolated = 5, Non-Isolated = 5
Rumanian Non-Isolated = 3.
Total Axis Losses  = 71

 

The Axis Allies in Barbarossa

The last essays from Jason Long’s defunct website “Panzerkeil” have now been published in the Academy, with the kind permission of the author:

The Axis Allies on the Eastern Front

 

 

1942 SEP I Axis Turn

Weather. Rain in the Arctic (Zone A = Mud) presages the start of winter.

Operations Meat-grinder and Fishhook operate true to their names

This is a turn of slogging and slicing as AGN and AGC grind forward at a snail’s pace while AGS bursts out of its bridgehead south of the Don to the east of Rostov and wheels…….?

Finland & The Army of Norway: In the far north and central Finland troops slowly move into attack and/or blocking positions. German forces welcome what meagre reinforcements OKW deem to spare for this theatre. (a few ski and high mountain battalions). No attacks are made.

In the South of the country north of Lake Ladoga the brave Soviet Tk xxx motti, out of fuel and hope finally succumbs to a combined Finish and German assault. The main Finish line however continues to pull back fearful that a breakout by Soviet forces could trap them as the gap between the ends of the U shaped defensive line grows shorter.

AGN:  German forces gain another hex directly north pressuring the rail-line to Leningrad still further and threatening to cross it 80 miles east of the existing occupation. A Mech and Panzer division are sent to help with this drive.

In the main drive East directly north of Yaroslavl, Axis forces are content to eliminate a one hex bulge in the line and widen the bridgehead from the bend north of the city by two more hexes. One of these attacks offered the opportunity for a further hex advance by overrunning a Guards Cadre in the exploitation phase but the force needed to achieve the required odds would leave no backup or follow up forces so the move is considered too risky given the preponderance of Soviet armour in the area.

The force which failed to eliminate the fort east of the upper Volga NE of Moscow is redirected 40 miles NE and eliminates another one hex bulge in the line.

AGC: No activity other than the final completion of the cross rail project linking north and south in a complete rail network – however security is not sufficient to protect the whole network and engineers are positioned to repair partisan damage as it occurs.

AGS: A Hungarian attack seizes Taganrog while Rumanian/German forces eliminate the other islands of resistance north of the Don outside of Rostov’s fortified ring. One Rostov fort is taken by direct assaults but the defenders fall back in good order into the city.  Only Stalino remains defiant brushing off a combined Rumanian/Italian assault. (4:1 (-1) = NE).

South of the Don the middle of the doughnut of the Axis two pronged Don crossing which is held by a 5-6 Guards infantry is eliminated by infantry who crossed and massed artillery on the north bank with some armoured support from the advanced force turning inward.

The Axis break out!

The Axis break out!

Then in a surprise move the remaining panzers in the southern bridgehead instead of turning Southwest again to attempt a second, more sustained investment of Rostov turn instead Northeast toward Stalingrad. They smash into the hastily prepared Soviet line along the river formed by the outflow from the lake to the south. A 5-4-8 Gds Cavalry holds up the drive momentarily but the cadre is overrun in the exploitation phase as panzers move behind the Don river defenders and reach the Soviet reserve/strike force of three Tk corps and their supporting rocket, motorized and tank brigades. Simultaneously the Germans commit their last mobile reserves save for the Rumanian 1st pz and a tank division arriving in theatre and force a further crossing of the Don at a point 80 miles south of Stalingrad. One panzer swings north to ZOC the gap between the Don and Volga just south of Stalingrad to prevent Soviet counter thrusts from that direction. A mech division holds the bridgehead with a lone Stug Battalion holding a supply route open.  This move places almost the entire Soviet force south of Stalingrad out of supply.

This is not sustainable but is hoped to break up any Soviet counter attack and buy the Axis an extra turn to enable infantry and other troops to cross the Don and assault the city of Rostov from the south.

Supply via the Caucuses is frustrated by a mech division reaching the duel rail lines at Armair

Air War: The air war follows the usual pattern of AS and DAS in the north  and wider ranging rail attacks in the south achieving 3 hits  in an aim to frustrate Soviet reinforcement movements. In a rare victory intercepting fighters sallying from Rostov down two ME110s for no loss.

Battle Report

Attacks: Overruns = 1, Auto = 2, Diced = 11
Losses: Forts = 4 Soviet Isolated = 22    Non Isolated = 38,  Air = 2
German Air = 2

Hungarian Weapons Statistics

1941 Hungarian Unit Manpower and Weapon Totals

 Bdr XMtn XSec XCav XMot Inf X
Men700067005300?70008500
Officers250250200?350375
LMG180159few228192
HMG4538few8270
20mm ATR1512none5133
37mm AT2020none2020
40mm AA66666
51mm Mtr30241432
81mm Mtr2016none2824
75mm Guns2024none8none
76.5mm Gunsnonenonenone8none
105mm Hownonenonenone1624
149mm How22nonenonenone
Arm Carsnone5none1212
Tankettesnonenonenone3030
Lt Tanksnonenonenone2020

Abbreviations:
LMG-Light Machinegun; SMG-Submachinegun; MMG-Medium Machinegun; ATR-Anti-tank Rifle; AT-Anti-tank; AA-Anti-aircraft; XX-Division; II-Battalion; Bttys-Batteries; Eng-Engineer; Art-Artillery; Arm-Armor; Cav-Cavalry; Chem-Chemical

Sources:
Dombrády, Lóránd and Tóth, Sándor. A Magyar Királyi Honvédség 1919-1945; Zrínyi Katonai, 1987
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Feszerelése és Fegyverzete a Frontra Kivonulása Idején: 1942 Aprilis-Május”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1985/3
Szabo, Peter. “A 2. Magyar Hadsereg Kiszállítása Ukrajnába és Elonyomulása a Donhoz: 1942 Aprilis-Augusztus”; Hadtörténelmi Közlemények, 1986/3
Tóth, Sándor. Magyarország Hadtörténete; A Kiegyezéstol Napjainkig, 1985

Hungarian-built AFV Specifications

NameTurán ITurán IITurán IIIToldi IToldi IIToldi III
Typetanktanktanklt. tanklt. tanklt. tank
Weight (mt)18.219.223.38.79.39.4
Armor, in mm8-608-5035-95?-13?-2323-35
Main gun, in mm40L5175L2575L4320L6540L5140L51
muzzle velocity (m/sec)812400550735812812
ammunition carried1015632?54?
Machine-guns2x 8mm2x 8mm2x 8mm1x 8mm1x 8mm1x 8mm
Max road speed (kph)47.24340504848
Range, road (km)165150120220220220
Ground pressure (kg/sq cm)0.780.830.880.62?0.68??
Number built285139None???
NameZrínyi IZrínyi IINimrodCsaba
Typeassault gunassault gunSP AA gunarmored car
Weight (mt)22.021.510.55.9
Armor, in mm25-10025-75?-137-13
Main gun, in mm75L43105L20.540L6020L65
muzzle velocity (m/sec)?448850735
ammunition carried7052148200
Machine-guns1x 8mm1x 8mmnone1x 8mm
Max road speed (kph)40406065
Range, road (km)220220250150
Ground pressure (kg/sq cm)0.930.91??
Number built466??

Note: Prototypes are not included in the numbers built.

Turán I deliveries commenced June 1942 and were completed in late 1943. By 30 October 1943 242 had been delivered.

Turán II deliveries began 15 May 1943 and were slow to increase. By the end of September, only 49 had been delivered, but a month later numbers had increased to 74. Production ceased after the German occupation in mid-1944.

Only one prototype was completed of the Turán III.

Sources:
Dunigan, Paul. Letter
Kliment, Charles K., and Francev, Vladimír. Czechoslovak Armored Fighting Vehicles 1918-1948; Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1997
Niehorster, Dr. Leo. Personal communication.
Probst, J.C.M. “The Hungarian Turan Tank and its Variations”; AFV News, Jan, 1977

1942 AUG II Soviet Turn

Narrative

Anton lifted his ear from the rail track. “It’s coming, get ready” he shouted..  His jumped down the embankment and sprinted to the cover of the treeline along the side of the railway.

The train came pounding along the track, steam belching, for all it was worth. These woods were a perfect ambush site and the engineman was taking no chances. It was a troop transport, Anton’s favourite target. Stealing the enemy’s supplies was one thing but he had vowed revenge.  Anton watched as the engine and first flatbed with its antiaircraft guns pointing skyward passed; counted three more carriages, then shouted “Now”. A plunger was pressed. The explosion lifted the fourth carriage two feet into the air. It dropped back toward the rails but they were now so twisted out of shape that the wheels found no traction and the carriage started to slide sideways. As it twisted the coupling to the front gave way. The engine and front of the train sped on to safety.  The momentum of the last five carriages drove them forwards thrusting the middle two skyward till they in turn fell back and slid down the bank turning as they went. “Fire” shouted Anton.  The forest treeline erupted into a hail of fire pouring into the carriages. Soldiers that had been “lucky” enough to be thrown free were the first to be cut down.

Some of the group used captured machine pistols but Anton still favoured his father’s old hunting rifle. He raised it, saw a soldier struggling to get out through a window and shot him dead.  A few stray bullets whizzed over the heads of the attackers but they did not pause. Inevitably the occasional shots became denser and steadier as the defenders got organised. Anton glanced up the track and saw more soldiers running back down the tracks from the engine which had stopped a few hundred yards away. “Time to go comrades” he cried. . He turned and joined his fellow partisans as they melted away into the dense forest undergrowth. The enemy would not stray more than a few yards after them for they knew that to do so was suicide.

Later that night the group sat around the campfire exchanging stories of their daring deeds of the day. It was six months since Anton had joined the band. His fearlessness and daring ruthlessness fuelled by his need for revenge and redemption had soon got him noticed and now he led a Section. Indeed the band as a whole was beginning to be referred to as “The Anton Brigade”.

He carved a sixth new notch on the butt of his father’s hunting rifle and wiped it clean. Today was a good day.

Soviets assault Finland.

Soviets assault Finland.

Turn Report

Partisan Attacks = 3 Rail hits

Finish Front:  The line in front of Murmansk is now stabilised and reinforcements continue to flow from the south strengthening the central front and allowing some fight back but the Soviet advanced forces are now out of regular supply so progress is slow targeting weak units such as lone bdr regiments.

Around the shores of Lake Ladoga attacks east to west and west to east damage Finish defenders but the victors content themselves with a pair of strong one hex advances. These threaten to trap the Finnish main front line without the need to expose Tank units to a riposte by the powerful 9th Panzer.

Leningrad/Moscow Front. A great victory!!!.

The stack comprising a 16-10 and 12-10 panzer cut off and surrounded is finally eliminated and with no retreat route the battered survivors trapped in the swamps NE of the main German lines surrender. This assault however takes the whole striking power of the Soviet Tank Corps in the area so little other activity takes place here other than strengthening and consolidation of the line; with DAS where needed. A hex of forces jutting into the lines is evacuated save for a lone 6-4-8 acting as a breakwater to split the German tide of advance.

Soviet attempts to relieve Rostov fail.

Soviet attempts to relieve Rostov fail.

Voronezh Front – No activity other than rail repair and a small number of troop movements south.

Rostov Front: The Soviets assemble an armoured strike force to engage the Axis forces south of the Don but fail in their assault against the northernmost panzer (NE).

Forces from inside and outside Rostov finish off the cadre of the 6-10 motorised infantry division positioned south of the city.

Along the north bend of the mighty Don a spoiling attack by a tank corps fails to inflict losses against a Rumanian infantry division which retreats in good order. The Attackers withdraw back over the river in the exploitation phase.

Air War: As previously most Soviet air flies Defensive Air Support in the Moscow area. In the south a navigation error places a flight of 3x ME110s within striking distance of powerful Soviet fighter forces and two of the three are eliminated in the engagement. In the north a mutual elimination is achieved by a pairing of a ME109F and I-16.

Battle Report

Diced Attacks = 7
German Losses – Isolated = 30.  Finish Losses = 6