Europa Games and Military History

Month: October 2020 (Page 1 of 2)

1943 JUL I Axis Turn

COUNTTER ATTACK! The German forces do what they know best utilising their mobility and concentrated firing power they carry out series of counterattacks to check the recent Soviet advances. 

Turn Report

Weather: Automatically clear

Finland and Army of Norway: The supported 3-8 mountain regiment which is west of the river adjacent to Murmansk decides it is too exposed and moves into the city contracting the perimeter to only three occupied hexes.

At Alta a fresh Mountain division broken down to supported regiments arrives with Res Points and moves towards the western end of the front line closest to the Swedish border.

AGN; Narva Sector: Units full back to Forested and Swampy terrain screening Tallinn and widening the perimeter as the right-hand flank moves to defend the river line at Tartu. The gap between these two forces is plugged by a 1010 mech xx

Pskov/Veliki Luki Sectors: Two Panzer divisions are transferred south to loop around the Soviet breakthrough by Strategic railing via Kharkov. Meanwhile weakened by weeks of battering and winkled out of their forts only terrain is now available to augment the defences’ Das Reich & Viking Corps therefore stay in the line adding the panzers to the defending forces.

Kalinin Sector- A defensive posture is still taken here.

SE AAR Axis Jul I ’43

AGC; North Moscow Sector; Just north of the city the unassailable Soviet drive is cut off at the base in a brilliant move which catches the Soviets completely by surprise, The Moscow city panzer defence force strikes directly north into the flanks of the Soviet advance while simultaneously from the west strong Panzer forces assembled from the Kalinin defence force and aided by part of the Moscow reserves attack the north flank.

Both attacks are completely successful smashing the Soviet Guards infantry defenders completely The panzers advance trapping the two Soviet tank Corps, a 14-6 artillery division and their NKVD political advisors.

South Moscow Sector: As expected the Axis forces crush the southern penetration using the balance of the Central Reserves. A 16-10 xx pz advances and stays in the line.

Orel Sector: A 13-10 pz XX loops around the westernmost units of the advancing Soviet units and Totenkopf Corp concentrates and strikes south from Oral. In the resulting combat a 12 8 Guards mech division is completely eliminated and the panzers advance south towards kursk. In this manoeuvre they are joined by the only German Mech unit south of the A/B weather line which has moved from Voronezh. In Exploitation a solid line of Mech and Panzer units isolate four Soviet tank corps west of the newly formed defensive line.

Counterstroke II: The Ais cuts off the tip of the Soviet assault

Counterstroke II: The Ais cuts off the tip of the Soviet assault

Southern Sector; Infantry and support units flee south trying to re-form the line together with units peeling off from the Voronezh defences. These units join the Security divisions along the Voronezh/Kursk rail line unsure at this stage where the Soviet intensions ultimately lie.

AGS: Only the Rumanian Tank division with an Italian Mot brigade and cadre are left as a mobile reserve in the south so the Axis units can do no more than contain the Soviet bridgehead over the upper Don.

Air Combat: A black day for the Luftwaffe; –  Most missions are DAS but Soviet air activity is intense and effective and in the worst week of exchanges in the war so far the Luftwaffe lose 6 air units for a single kill of a Soviet fighter. In other news west of Pskov a Harassment mission is Returned despite Fw escort which leaves a gap in the lines.

Combat Report

Attacks = 4

Losses: Soviets = 62. Air = 1
Axis:  German Air = 6

Loss Ratio for Jun II ’43 (omitted from last report) Axis/Soviet = 137/102 = 1.34

 

1943 JUN II Soviet Turn

Narrative

The door to the billet crashed open, waking the sleeping occupants with a start. The large bulk of the tank commander filled the door. Silhouetted by the low early morning sun he cast a long shadow down the length of the room.

“Hands off cocks!”, he bellowed, “Hey Yuri, wipe that smirk of your face Its the last time you’re going to park your tankette in the baker’s daughter’s garage for a while”.  “Grab you gear, you’ve got 15 minutes before we roll – this is the big one lads, the wait is over. Now we give fritz a taste of his own medicine!

10 minutes later Yuri lowered himself down into the driving position of the T-34, started the 500hp engine and tested the drive controls. The commander sat in the “pirozhok” above and to his rear. Both were waiting for the signal, Yuri caught sight of the flare from his vision slit and slammed the T-34 into gear. Lurching forward the machine kicked up a shower of stones leaving a billowing dust cloud in its wake from the dry earth.

They had been billeted behind the front lines for three months, much longer than expected. The newspapers and official reports spoke of victories at the Front but Yuri had been around long enough to know that all had not gone strictly according to plan and he had witnessed for himself the horse carts moving back east carrying the streams of wounded and the panniers of the dead.

He paid silent tribute to the courage and determination of his comrades in clearing the way for his tank and the many others like it which now moved rapidly west across the steppe. They soon were passing over the remnants of the enemy positions, a network of earthworks and fortifications which had been built up over the last six months or so. Churned and pounded to rubble by the artillery and assaulted by infantry and rocket fire the fortified zone now resembled a lunar landscape. The drop down into ditches and climb up over mounds, passing dragons teeth and logs sticking out at crazy angles and rolls of tangled barbed wire which they crush beneath their steel tracks. Soon they are clear of the erstwhile fortified zone and back on the level. Charging between small groves of trees set in fields of rye and winter wheat they catch up with the enemy a few miles later. A rudimentary rear-guard proves no hindrance to their advance as they charge onwards catching many units in column and crushing all before them leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake.

Eighty miles further on they met the only nest of resistance on the route so far when they came across a small village where the remnants of shattered German infantry division had decided to make a stand. The desperate foe had taken up residence and fortified the hamlet as best they could with logs, carts, some wreaked vehicles and the bodies of their dead comrades. As Yuri’s tank approached the village the commander suddenly screamed “Panzerschreck right”.  Instinctively Uri pushed forwards on his left stick and pulled the right towards him pivoting the tank to face the oncoming threat. To his great relief the trail of smoke passed off to his left and impacted a small group of trees to the rear. Before his commander could give the order to load and fire a return shot the small building from where the smoke trail emanated exploded showering them with the timbers, plaster, thatch and the remains of the recent occupants. One of his fellow tankers had taken the shot. The enemy had no appetite for anymore of such an unequal fight and the survivors, their hands held high, shuffled out from the remaining buildings, ditches and hastily prepared barriers. Soon they were rounded up and passed back down the line to the security guards and a fate only marginally less certain than the one they had just avoided.

“Ok lads” said the commander that’s enough for one day. We are to form up with the rest of the platoon and spend the night here. After all it is only fair that we give our infantry boys a chance to catch up!

It has been a great day for the motherland, now get some rest, you’ve earned it!”

Turn Report

Partisans: Increased Axis patrols restrict activity to 2 rail breaks this turn.

Finnish front. The Soviets continue with their operation to retake Murmansk. Two attacks are launched with assistance from air power most by long range IL4s flying from Archangelsk. Another Mountain division is eliminated whose cadre has no retreat path and is lost. The second attack fails to make progress (NE).

Leningrad Front:  Narva Sector; Three attacks designed to break out the Mech/Tank units fail in their intent and accumulated MP costs prevent any meaningful exploitation despite a HX and DH result inflicting heavy losses on the German defenders.

Pskov Sector; Two DEs from 7:1 attacks inflict losses and eliminate a fort but with no armour and the presence of strong enemy tank formations in the area only one advance is made.

Veliki Luki Sector: The attack on the “shoulder” of the previous hole is successful in widening the breach in the fortified line covering the main rail south. A second attack from the swamps unseats an infantry division and the consequent advance places another fort in a exposed position. The Soviets expect it will be abanded so the occupiers can keep their flanks in contact.

Further east the newly supplied defensive line strikes back in revenge for recent losses retreating an infantry unit and the victors advance towards the east/west rail line from Veliki Luki.

Kalinin Sector: The grind west continues and like a slow-motion car crash the Soviets bend and buckle the German line and cadre a 7-6 inf xx in a DH result.

Moscow Front; Northern Sector; Just north of the city the attack continues pressing forward and threatening the whole Moscow defence. This is an unsung advance without the dash and flare of armoured conflict but just as effective as the NKVD presence so far deters a riposte.

Central Sector: The right flank of the main southern thrust presses forward with a infantry/artillery attack but a HX drains strength and only a token advance to restrict enemy mobility is made. The units are not expected to survive the Axis’ next combat phase.

The Axis have made a tactical error on the approach to Orel where a 14-10 panzer/6-8 light inf division occupies a corner fort which can be assaulted from 3 sides. The Soviets mass and a HX at 5:1 (-1) cadres the occupants and takes the fort.

The Desctruction of Army Group Center

The Desctruction of Army Group Center

Southern Sector; BREAKOUT!. What began as a holding action against the fortified line linking Orel to Voronezh becomes the focus of Soviet attention and the main assault. A three hex wide break has been made on previous turns by infantry and artillery eliminating the fort line for 60 miles of width. The Soviets swing all their armoured formations against the line held by infantry units without armour or AT support. The line is crushed. Massed armour formations burst through; some are tasked with overrunning the surviving cadres but most dash across the open territory beyond.. The advanced guard cannot believe their eyes as they reach the fort line between Kursk and Orel – it is empty! So complete is the pace and surprise of the attack that other than an ET security unit which is overrun the whole fort line is unoccupied Tank and Mech corps exploit to occupy this line and eliminate the empty forts. Some curve back north pinning the Germans at Orel, others enter the outer fort line at Kursk

Fortunately for the Axis a large anti partisan operation utilising 4 Security divisions strung out along the Kursk – Voronezh road prevents any exploitation south of the weather-line else Voronezh would be threatened with isolation.

South of Voronezh:  Although deprived of armoured support sheer momentum carries the attackers across the Don just south of the city. Further south the Rumanians hold the river line against a second attack and force a retreat on the Soviets.

Soviet Mechanized Troops overrun Army Group Center

Soviet Mechanized Troops overrun Army Group Center

Stalingrad Sector: No significant activity.

Air Combat: The pattern of previous turns repeats itself with a series of rail attacks and GS. The Soviets do initiate an air attack against an aborted aircraft west of Moscow where a battle develops over the airfield and a YAK7B and Hurri 2 are lost for an Abort on a FW109. A Me110E is eliminated by a IL2m over the field but the attack succeeds is achieving a Hit eliminating a ME109G on the ground and sending it straight to the Remnants box.

A series of long-range raids over Eastern Poland and the Baltic states causes 2 hits with 3 more inflicted by Assault Bombers in the Veliki Luki region.

Combat Report

Combats: = 21
Overruns (in exploitation) = 5 plus 5x Forts and 1x Res Pts

Losses (including overruns)
Axis:
Forts = 16,
German Isolated = 6,
Uninsulated = 125,
Air = 2,
Eastern Troops = 6
Total 137

Soviets = 31 Air = 3.

 

1943 JUN II Axis Turn

The Axis forces encouraged by the lack of Soviet progress and empowered by the cessation of the interminable rains put their defensive plan into action. The various Panzer Corps each formed around a SS Panzer or Mech Division move to engage the enemy. The tactics are to hit the infantry/artillery stacks which have penetrated the fortified line. The mobile units move in for the kill. The primary targets are stacks where the Soviets have been rash enough to advance through ZOCs. Here odds as low as 3:1 can annihilate a stack or at least reduce it to a pitiful few cadres. But these odds are safe anywhere there is no enemy AT/ACED capability and so elsewhere they attack the Soviet line hoping for a high roll and half or full elimination.

The aim is not to take back territory or expose the Panzers to attack themselves. Thus in exploration the plan is to move back into reserve or fortified city redoubts.

Weather: The skies finally clear across the whole front signalling the end of one of the wettest winters on record.

Finland and Army of Norway: More units arrive by sea transport strengthening the right wing in the far north of Finland. The left flank falls back to the coast; the link with Murmansk broken. With two transports bringing 10Res of supplies each month to the city all but one regiment of the city defence perimeter is fully supplied.

Double attacks at Pskov and Velikije Luki

Double attacks at Pskov and Velikije Luki

AGN; Narva Sector: A low grade infantry division reinforces the centre but the left wing battered by land sea and air, its fort eliminated, falls back along the coast to the forested hex east of Tallinn. The rest of the line holds in swamp and the one remaining fort. A 6-6xx in reserve bars the one-hex wide clear route south.

Pskov Sector: Das Reich Corp attacks a stack which has penetrated the line. A 6 at 3:1(+3) eliminates 2 Guards xxs and a Rocket xx. With nowhere to run they are completely eliminated.

Veliki Luki Sector: Viking Corp attacks the right shoulder of the penetration south of Leningrad and reduces to cadres 3 guards inf xxs and a 9-6 art xx.

Due to the thinness of the infantry line in the above sectors the corps do not retreat back into reserve but fill the line in concentrations sufficient, they calculate, to avoid a viable Soviet attack.

Kalinin Sector- A defensive posture is taken here.

Axis counterattacks south of Moscow

Axis counterattacks south of Moscow

AGC: North Moscow Sector: The presence of a NKVD unit dissuades the Germans from attacking as the inexorable creep of the Soviet blunt force attacks roll on.

South Moscow Sector: The Moscow Defence forces merge now that the threat is clear and form up under Liebenstandart – they attack the soviet bridgehead west of the river sending it reeling back east. 2 Guards infantry and a Guards artillery are cadred in the retreat.  However elsewhere the Germans are forced to evacuate a salient in the line and abandon a fort there.

Orel Sector; Totenkoph Corps detaches a panzer division to Voronezh to herp with the recapture of the SE approaches to the city. The rest of the corps attacks an infantry/artillery stack approaching Orel but the enemy pull back from the assault. Without a kill the tankers return to their fortified positions around the City.

The forts which linked Orel to Voronezh are starting to be eroded and infantry reinforcements arrive to bolster the line with DAS concentrates further enhancing the defence.

Voronezh Sector: The arrival of the 13-10 pz xx from Orel allows a 4:1(+1) attack to take back the ground in front of the city.  Fortunately, there remains a concentration of Siege Artillery in the area which is retained and fires over the river from the north further aiding the attack. A DH forces loss and retreat on the defenders and the ground is retaken.

Its job done the 13-10 returns to Orel.

AGS; South of Voronezh the East bank is fully evacuated. To aid the defence the ground immediately south of the city is evacuated which exposes the road running into the city from the Southwest for the Soviets to regain at no cost which some at High Command think is an error.

West of the Don Engineers move to complete the fortified line and Rumanian artillery transfers in from further south to bolster the defenders.

Air War: Apart from a couple of raids on rail lines south of Voronezh all air power is directed towards bolstering the defence via DAS missions with some brave Luftwaffe units entering the ”No Fly Zone” West of Moscow. Soviet fighters engage where they can and a series of low level engagements swirl along the front.

Despite the mighty FW109’s full spirited escorting skills when the contrails clear the count is 4 Soviet fights for a Ju87D and a pair of JU88As a rough exchange the Luftwaffe can ill afford.

Combat Report

Attacks: = 5

Losses:
Axis; German Air = 3
Soviet; = 71,  Air = 3.

1943 JUN I Soviet Turn

Disappointed with results last month and with the timetable slipping before the offensive has barely begun the Soviets decide to focus their attacks more. Rather than build on last turns breaches in the Axis fortified line and in accordance with their plan they seek to enlarge the breaches to expose the Axis to armoured attack when their second echelon passes through when the forts are cleared.

Turn Report

Partisan Attacks: 4 hits are inflicted on communication lines.

Finnish front. In association with the increased tempo on the main front the Soviets open their operation to retake Murmansk. Two attacks are launched against the perimeter eliminating N6 and forcing the cadre into the city. An adjacent attack stalls but to the west, over the river, an attack northwards severs the link between the garrison and Norway thus Isolating Murmansk.

XXXVI. Mountain Corps surrounded at Murmansk - Soviets march into Norway!

XXXVI. Mountain Corps surrounded at Murmansk – Soviets march into Norway!

Leningrad Front:  Narva Sector. – The Soviets shift their attack to the rail line held by 2x 6-6 Fortified inf XXs. They launch a co-ordinated assault using all three Service arms. A ground assault utilising a combined arms force of artillery, Guards infantry and armour, an air attack of Assault bombers and finally a shore bombardment by the Soviet Fleet making its first appearance since being trapped at Narva by German torpedo boats and mines. One division is cadred and both retreat exposing the fort to capture but holding the road and preventing any exploitation by the advancing Reds.

Pskov sector; The German line running north/south is again assaulted in two places but German solidarity is upheld and all defenders retreat maintaining contact with their neighbours. Two more forts however are surrendered.

Veliki Luki Sector; The Soviets seek to expand the breach held open by the advance last turn and the shoulders are attacked.   The righthand attack succeeds and a further fort is cleared (HX) but the other stands defiant (NE).

Kalinin Sector – Another bloody exchange in this sector clears a hex of Axis. The Soviets now control 3 adjacent hexes of the Forested crossroads in the northern tip of the salient but as summer has arrived this crossroad no longer holds the key to German supply at Kalinin which can be fed by the road from the Moscow highway.

Third Guards Army breakes through at Narva , June 1943

Third Guards Army breakes through at Narva , June 1943

Moscow Front; Northern Sector; Just north of the city the attack continues widening the breach by a further hex. Once again however the Germans manage to retreat without loss and fall back to a second fortified line behind the fort that is removed.

Central Sector: The right flank of the main southern thrust concentrates and makes two assaults in the NW direction where last turn they tried three. Once again lady luck favours the Axis who retreat away but two more forts succumb, and the river line is crossed.

The approach to Orel is assaulted at the point where a sharp river bend places the defenders east of it. The hex is cleared the defending infantry retreating over the river. A recon Motorcycle regiment probes forward eliminating the fort but on making contact with Totenkopf pulls back to the main line. Forewarned by this intelligence the main body decides not to put their head in the noose and does not advance.

Southern Sector: The secondary assault against the fortified line running from Orel to Voronezh is again assaulted in two places. One defending unit retreats the other is cadred (DH).

Voronezh Front:

A move to encircle the city from the south is started and an assault pushes NW some 30 miles to the SE of last turn’s advancing column which is now stalled outside the city.

South of the city the units take up the positions evacuated by the Axis. They catch a mixed stack of stragglers still east of the river. Two German infantry cadres, a Rumanian AA unit and a Luftwaffe ground regiment are assaulted as they que to cross the river. Caught in the open none survive the onslaught.

Stalingrad Sector: The two reserve Tank Corps are upgraded and move North. Local commanders discuss whether they should press SW over the Don to try and trap the Axis forces in the river bend. They are tempted to open up a diversionary assault towards Rostov arguing that the enemy has no reserves in the area.  However true to their rigid command structure and training thy instead choose to continue to move north to joins the assault on Orel.

Air Combat; The Soviets launch a massive three mission attack against German airfields west of Moscow. Each raid consists of 6 Il2m’s with fighter escorts, The German fighter defence masses against one of these raids to protect an aborted unit on the ground. The unassailable FW109s eliminate two Yaks (a 7B and 9B) while other fighters tear into the Il2ms. The bombing mission unsurprisingly fails. The second unmolested raids has two of the assault bombers Aborted/Returned by flak and the third force with a clear unopposed run at the target from both air and ground fire fails to deliver a hit. Across all raids of the 18 assault bombers employed not a single hit is inflicted!

The Long-Range Bomber Flight now based at Leningrad launches 4 deep raids inflicting 3 hits on the rail network and almost isolating the battlefield in this sector. Luckily for the predominantly German defenders one route from Germany still remains open.

Further north a pair of Yak7Bs out of Helsinki avoid all patrol attacks from the two the Tallin based ME109G squadrons and catch a Ju87D on the ground at Parnu aborting it.

Battle Report

Attacks = 17

Losses;
Soviets =32,
Air=4

Axis:
Forts = 9,
German = 45,
Air = 1,
Eastern Troops = 1
Rumanian = 1,
Hungarian = 5

1943 JUN I Axis Turn

Narrative

Across the entire front from Narva to the curve of the mighty Don river the quiet before the morning’s dawn is shattered in a cacophony of artillery, rocket fire and tank engines. Troops surge forward to contact the enemy line and ……stop!

Out of 18 attacks (over 3 times as many as recent turn averages) fully 4 are NEs and 8 are DRs. This does not bode well for the Soviets who are comforted only by the fact that much of their mobile elements are held back in cloying mud with some larger artillery mired up to their axles and so the full weight of their force is not yet deployed.

The Axis for their part are comforted that the much vaunted Soviet attack is not a firestorm but a damp squib. True, 7 forts are lost, but while their line has bowed it has not broken and losses have been light, just under half occurring in the established battlegrounds north of Kalinin and at Voronezh.

The same mud which prevented the Axis feeling the full weight of the Soviet might now serves to limit their own response. None of the reserve forces have the mobility to effectively engage the enemy and only one reaches a meaningful defensive position where Group Wiking laagered at Veliki Luki detaches panzer divisions and support units to seal the breach south of Leningrad.

Turn Report

Weather = 6! Against all odds it continues to rain in the North.

Finland and Army of Norway: More small units are drip fed into the Norway defences.

AGN; Reserve and replacement infantry divisions move to reinforce the breaches in the fort line and bolster the shoulders where the Soviets have advanced. The Narva line breach occupied by the cadred remains of the defending infantry xx is reinforced by an engineer regiment and a flak unit. A JU87R completes the defence by surviving Soviet intercepts aided by two squadrons of Me 109Gs.

Retreat in the North and counterattacks

Retreat in the North and counterattacks

Group Wiking detaches units to enclose the Soviet Army moving south down the rail line from Leningrad but does not reach the lines in time to mount an attack. Meanwhile Group Das Reich to the West moves towards the front line but awaits developments.

Further East the German line faces a thin screen of U3 Soviets and as a target of opportunity again eliminates an enemy infantry stack and decides against advance. The attack is aided by flak Returning a A20B defending air unit.

In the Kalinin area the southern penetration of the line is counter attacked by the powerful units stationed along the line. Here there are sufficient mobile units to counter-attack intrusions and fall back into the line again. The attack is successful and only a single cadre limps back across the line to the Soviets starting position of a fortnight earlier. The northern intrusion however cannot also be attacked and the slow grind west by the Soviets finally persuades the Axis to give up ground. Two hexes in the extreme northern tip are evacuated. This exposes the junction between the Kalinin/Leningrad rail line and the east/west road to Pskov and will bring supply relief to some Soviet units being punished by the current series of German opportunistic attacks in that sector.

The Axis evacuate the area south of Voronezh, a counterattack East of the city fail

The Axis evacuate the area south of Voronezh, a counterattack East of the city fail

AGC: The central reserves move from Vyazma toward the points of main Soviet effort.

The presence of an NKVD unit occupying the Soviet spearhead immediately north of the Moscow lodgement dissuades the Axis from attacking because the risk of an Exchange is too high at the estimated odds.

At the southern end of the Front Group Totenkopf occupies Orel while just to the Southeast. Infantry reserves and units shuffling from the Voronezh sector seal the line against the Soviet forces occupying the former fortified position left by the retreating divisions.

At Voronezh the Soviet drive to the city is attacked but the attack fails to make any headway against the stalwart defenders (4:1 – NE).

AGS: South of the City the mixed Axis force moves to the relative safety of the West bank of the Don most of which is fortified, Engineers and Res Pts are positioned to complete the line by the end of the month. Some units are left East of the river and DAS concentrates to protect these units.

Air Combat: Most units fly DAS missions except in the Moscow sector which has become a no-fly zone for the Luftwaffe due to the concentration of VVS fighters based in the city and nearby airfields. Few of the DAS units are intercepted and where this occurs the results are generally ineffective.

Battle Report

Attacks = 3
Losses: Soviets = 19

1943 MAY II Soviet Turn

Narritive

STAVKA decides it can wait no longer to launch the Summer ’43 Offensive. Almost all formations are in place and Partisan bands and locals are reporting a build-up of enemy defences and have identified at least 4 assembly areas for powerful enemy mobile forces. The meteorologists predict with 100% certainty clear, dry conditions in the south and are 85% confident that the northern rains will cease within the next 2 weeks. With this assurance the Soviets feel they have no choice but to launch the attack……..

The 1st Tula Shock Army commander, Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov climbs up the steps provided onto the front deck plate of a T-76 main battle tank. For the benefit of the cameramen and news film crews he stands in the centre of a crescent 50 such tanks; machines capable of beating all but the most recent models of the enemy. Batting away the megaphone offered to him by an aide he turns to face the assembled tankers and infantrymen arrayed before him.

His deep heavily accented peasant voice bellows out across the step

“Comrades, the moment we have been waiting for has arrived. Today we take our rightful vengeance against the fascist invader and his lapdogs!”

“We fought them on the borderlands, we fought in the forests and the hills, in the swamps, on the plains and on the landing fields but we did not surrender!”

“Do not deceive yourselves, this will not be easy, and we have many months of hard fighting ahead. This is not the end, that will not occur until we place the Red Flag on the ruins of the Reichstag. This is not the beginning of the end, that will not occur until our tanks cross the borders into the enemy’s heartland. But this is the end of the beginning for comrade Stalin has decreed that we will not take one more step back. Now we take the fight to the oppressor!”

“Obedience to our glorious leader, Stalin, and devotion to the Motherland will secure us the victory we deserve.

So, comrades, start your engines, place one more round into the breach and cry havoc for Stalin and the Motherland!”

Turn Report

Partisan Attacks: Are ramped up to cause chaos in the rear of the enemy and 6 hits are inflicted on communication lines.

Finnish front.  Despite the massive commitments of arms further south the Soviet army finds enough capacity to rail reinforcements and Res Points north to prepare to reduce the Murmansk pocket. To the West the line slowly advances north towards the Norwegian border

The Leningrad Sector

The Leningrad Sector

Leningrad Front:  Narva Sector. – The central German Hex, a 7-6 inf XX in swamp is assaulted with a combined arms force of artillery, Guards infantry and armour. The division is cadred and falls back. Due to the mobility limitations of ZOCs, terrain and mud no overrun is possible.

Pskov sector; The German line running north/south is hit in 2 places, a 5-6 is unseated from a fort but retreats in good order, just south of this action a 7-6 inf xx is cadred and the fortified position overrun. The mech forces are still wallowing to the rear in mud and cannot exploit.

Veliki Luki Sector; A 16 mile advance is made down the main rail line south and a brave stack exploits to occupy the vacated fort left by the two retreating 7-6 inf XXs.

Kalinin Sector: The probing/pinning attacks continue north of the city and two parallel 16 mile deep incursions are made into the enemy lines.

North of Kalinin

Combat North of Kalinin

Moscow Front; Northern Sector; Just north of the city a pinning attack unseats a fortified position and pushes unto the German lines threatening the left flank of the Axis’ last toehold in the metropolis.

Central Sector: The right flank of the main southern thrust moves west and north and conducts a three-hex assault against the riverine defences south of Moscow. While the left flank moves to contact and attacks before the artillery can be properly registered the right has been in contact with the enemy for months so attacks at full force. In the central hex swarms of Stormaviks blacken the skies and fighters clear away any opposition from the Luftwaffe increasing the odds by one column. The central attack is launched first with the right and left flanks following a day behind. The German defences; fortified, behind a river and manned by front line infantry divisions hold firm denying the Soviets their river crossing. Only on the extreme right flank is a fort captured at some cost (HX) widening the breach begun last month.

Southern Sector: The Army Group tasked with the capture of Orel is slowed by the mud and neither the artillery nor armoured units are able to contact the enemy line, moving as they are across the widest area of no man’s land of the entire front. On the southern flank, however, the fortified line is attacked in two places by second line infantry units; it bends but does not buckle only one fort is eliminated with the defenders retreating away in good order.

Mixed results in the Tula Sector

Soviet attempts to break the Tula sector meet with mixed results

Voronezh Front:

A direct assault towards the city from the North-East along the narrow peninsular between the flanking rivers pushes back the Hungarian defenders and brings the Soviets once more to within view of the city suburbs.

South of the city the drive to the Don is sustained.  The Axis line, weakened by months of attritional warfare, breaks, allowing a one hex exploitation by two tank divisions.

Stalingrad Sector: The two reserve Tank Corps move to Stalingrad for upgrading.

Attacks south of Voronezh

Soviet Attacks Attacks south of Voronezh

Air Combat;

South of Moscow the Luftwaffe makes a rare appearance here to try to deny the Soviets an odds shift against the central defended hex but strong fighters drive them off sufficiently to allow the attack to be enhanced at a cost of one aircraft. Elsewhere a mix of railine bombing missions and some DAS complete the air operations for this turn.

 

Battle Report

Attacks = 18! (three times the recent turn average)

Losses
Soviets =16, Air=1
Axis: Forts = 7, German = 45, Italian = 2, Eastern Troops = 2
Combat Ratio; May II, Axis/Soviet, 56/64 = 0.88

1945 May: Surrender

The house of cards finally collapses. The remnants of the Wehrmacht desperately tries to shore up its increasingly precarious position. Concluding that northern Germany is a completely lost cause Hanover is abandoned so its garrison can scramble southward to join the line protecting the northern side of the south German defensive position. With Vienna, Prague and Berlin in Soviet hands the only viable defensive position left is a lodgement running along the Rhine.River before turning toward Mannheim and encompassing Munich and the northern Approaches to Austria the Ruhr is now completely sealed off and half in American hands. The southern lodgement also must be defended from the East as American and British Armor had been running wild seizing one city after another. The eastern line is thin and most ominously Munich is only garrisoned by a number of assorted units, only one of which has any sort of intrinsic artillery support. The southern end of the German position is very vulnerable from both the east and the west where the defense line has already been compromised.

In Italy most of the Axis forces scuttle north to form a new line behind the Po in expectation of falling back to the Alpine passes in the second half of May.

The collapse starts at isolated and out of supply Hamburg. The northern section of the city is already in Allied hands with the surviving German units in the region taking refuge in southern Hamburg and Lubeck. Hamburg is stormed by a force built around an American airborne division and various other Allies units that have entered the region. The garrison is wiped out.

In the Ruhr the U.S. army attacks the northern and eastern ends of the German position In both cases the fighting is bloody with heavy losses for the American engineers and infantry, but retreat is impossible and the garrisons are destroyed. A American motorized infantry corps with two brigades of tanks storms Munich. Again the Americans take losses, but the German garrison is destroyed. The road to Stuttgart is open and the city’s garrison has been diverted to the frontline. Now a British armored division exploits its way into the undefended city.

The Allies are already negotiating their surrender with the Allies. Facing the destruction of what little they still hold on May 15 OKW agrees to unconditional surrender.

At the end of the May I turn, the Germans only held Mannheim and two completely surrounded hexes of the southern and western Ruhr. Since the government had already relocated falling below six major cities was sufficient to trigger German surrender. In the end the destruction or withdrawal to the East of most Germany’s mobile units made Wehrmacht’s defensive positions completely untenable.

1945 April

Command is shuffled again in the West.  After the American’s overran northern German Model took a Luger from his desk and ended his career before Hitler could do it for him.  Kesselring is brought up from Italy to take charge.  He throws together the paper thin North German Emergency line from garrison troops from Denmark and whatever odds and ends can be shifted into the area.  Even on the map it’s not very reassuring, more a series of disconnected strong points at major road junctions.  With some division covering almost fifty miles of front he knows it will not survive any serious attack.  A single panzer division was freed from the Italian Front and hurried by rail to Stuttgart, but soon it will turn out it’s services will be badly needed elsewhere.

The blows begin in the north.  Patton takes one look at the map and directs the tanks of the 6th Corps southeast.  They smash a blocking.force made up of a lone infantry division and a panzer brigade before thundering  into the heart of Germany.  A few days later OKW is getting a panicked phone call from the police chief in the town of Stendal, a major rail junction only about 50 miles from Berlin.

“There here,” says the chief

“Who there,” asks the duty officer in the OKW communications center.

“The Americans, and they have panzers, lots of panzers.”

Along the Dutch German Border another American corps .breaks through another hastily formed line wiping out a hodgepodge of resrvists and supporting units.  The Americans head south soon their tanks are driving past trams full of stunned workers in the suburbs of Dortmund, they encounter little resistance as they spread out to take control of barracks, communications and transit centers.  Other American mechanized units set up a blocking position in Dortmund.  The British break through the German center by finishing off two depleted infantry divisions before spreading out to seize Koln, Koblenz Frankfurt and Bonn.  Just north of the British breakthrough in the hills of Ardennes, two American corps with heavy air support fight it out with the 2nd SS Panzer corps, now really a single Panzer Grenadier Division with several assault gun and armored reconnaissance units in support.  After days of bloody fighting the survivors of the Panzer Grenadier division stagger off to the East.  American tanks push forward isolating one stretch of the Westwall between them and the British.

At the southern end of the Westwall another German corps is pulverized by American firepower and in the Blackforest the remnants of three German infantry divisions are hit hard by the advancing Americans.  Two of the divisions evaporate while a third falls back to temporarily block the Americans from bursting out onto open country and heading towards Munich.

In Italy the Germans take two heavy blows. The CEF continues its advance through mountains towards the Adriatic pushing the German and RSI defenders back until the French can see the Adriatic only 16 miles away.  Three German corps are now in danger of being cut off.  On the west side of the peninsula the American drove back another German corps clearing the wooded rough country southwest of Firenze.

April II

Kesselring is left to view the wreckage.  Many of his surviving troops have had their supply lines cut.  Even deep in Germany there are few reserves left ot be called up and the replacement system is rapidly falling apart.

The field marshall looks at the wall maps in his office in a former Innsbruck hotel, now OKW.  The pins marking the progress of the British, Americans and French forces multiple across the map of Germany.  The  pins marking the German forces form a series of disconnected blobs across the map.  The field marshall calls to his aid “Hans, you been saying I need to take some leave.”

“You are very stressed, Herr Field Marshal.  The doctor says your blood pressure is very high.”

The Field Marshal nods in response.  “I hear Argentina is beautiful at this time of year.”

“I will start packing our suitcases at once and call the airfield.”

“Be very discreet Hans>”

“Yes Herr Field Marshal.”

The German government has evacuated to Innsbruck with the increasingly incoherent Fuhrer being dragged off by his aides .  Hitler is in some sort of nervous breakdown that even Dr. “feelgood ” Morrel can’t cure.  The German army has broken up into a series of pockets. The northernmost around Hamburg is already in a state of collapse with American airborne troops seizing the northern half of the city from the remnants of a panzer training division that has retreated there earlier in the month.. A line of third division still stands south of the city, but the Allies came in from the north.

A hodgepodge of out of supply and isolated German units is halfway through being mopped up in the northeastern Netherlands.  Another pocket has formed around Hanover and includes some decent, intact divisions, but the Americans just keep going around them to seize real estate further south and east.

The Soviet assault on Berlin and the evacuation of the German Government has lead the hard charging US 6th Corps to shift south to roll into undefended Leipzig, Chemnitz and various smaller cities.  There is simply no one around to stop them as the last garrison troops were sent off to the front weeks ago.  The British have continued to push into west central German isolating the Ruhr from the south while continuing the smash up the hapless german infantry.

The Americans have.sealed the Ruhr pocket and cleared the northern half of it.  In the far south the Americans have broken out and thundered into undefended Nurnberg with a motorized infantry corps and two brigades of tanks.

In Italy the stalwart defence collapses in a welter of bloody disasters that lead to three German corps being wiped from the order of battle.  The only bright spot is Torinas defenders manage to fend off an attack by an Franco-American force coming down from the Alps.  Bologna is overrun by the British and Canadians who round up the rump of an infantry division and several squadrons of fighters with the bad fortune to be caught on the ground.  There are no more lines of fortifications.left to fallback on.

1945 March

Hans Dorfmann, a 58 year old Bremen Traffic cop scanned the sky over his native city.  The skies were  gray but clear of American bombers.  HIs attention was caught by a distant metallic clank.  The noise grew louder, new panzers headed for the front, he thought.  Which front, he wondered, they both seemed to be getting closer to Breman by the day.  A few minutes later he saw it , tanks, at least a company of them accompanied infantry filled half tracks.  He realized these were no Panzer, they were American Shemans.  The Americans were driving right into Breman and there was no one to stop them, even the Hitler Youth had been sent to the front.

All hell has broken loose in northern Germany.  In early March the few reconstituted units Had been strung out around the area where the American 6th Corps had crossed the border from the Netherlands.  Some units had been sent to block the road to the Ruhr, others the road towards the Baltic Coast and Germany’s Great ports of Breman and Hamburg.  The key position was a few miles west of the Ems River.  A single front line infantry division and a Panzer brigade, both hurriedly rebuilt with replacements took position with swamps on their left making it difficult for the Americans to bypass their position.  Instead accompanied by clouds of Jabos they came right at them.  In the heavy fighting the German defenders cracked, the badly outnumbered Panzers wiped out, but not before inflicting some losses on the attackers while the rump of the infantry division retreated to the east behind the Ems river hoping to block further movement eastward.  The Americans simply flowed around the survivors spreading out to seize Wilhelmshaven, Ems and Breman.  German demolition teams blew the port facilities before fleeing, but the undamaged airfields soon greeted clouds of  C-47s bringing SAS battalions, a Norwegian Mountain Brigade and anyone else within shouting distance of a British airfield.
Along the Westwall fighting continued.  The Americans made more breakthroughs in the Netherlands with armored forces streaming through gaps in the German lines flowing behind the segments of the broken German lines.  A second American attempt to seize Aachen failed with the American attackers retreating in disorder.  Further south the British and French captured another segment of the Westwall while at  the southern end the Westwall, the Americans destroyed another segment of the Westwall along with its defenders.  An American armored force begins to push through a gap in the German lines threatening to break out toward Stuttgart.  In Italy the CEF destroyed the remnants of a German RSI corps and threatened to cut off the eastern wing of the German army.  An American attack in the center failed to make headway.

1945 February

The new German defense line runs along the Albert Canal in the north through the eastern Ardennes, along the old maginot line defenses into the Vosges.  In places the Germans are defending the rebuilt Siegfried Line defenses in other they are defending a few miles forward of the line while it is rebuilt, it’s a desperate effort to buy time.

Things start to unravel almost immediately.  Two American armored corps teach through the very northern end of the German line and overrun the missile units right behind it.  Armored spearheads exploit all the way to Rotterdam where elements of two airborne divisions are flown into the newly captured airfields.  In front of Brussels the fight gets bloody with an understrength German corps being taken down at the cost of an American division and some supporting units.  A second stronger German corps including a panzer division manages to find off two American corps.

In the center of the old Maginot line the British roll through the German defenders then their armored divisions roll into unimproved sections of the Westwall overrunning an engineer regiment and an infantry division cadre.  The British have now captured a 32 mile stretch of the line.  A little further south the British cleaned up a static division and a static cadre that never made it back to the main German line.

At the southern end of the line the three American divisions supported by three powerful artillery brigades and two mechanized cavalry brigade move to finish off the defenders of the Belfort Gap. . Americans cross the Rhine eliminating the cadre of one of the divisions they had smashed at the end of January while the other cadre retreats a few miles up the Westwall.

In Italy the Americans break another German corps and now there is only a thin line of second rate units between the American spearhead and Firenze.

In the last weeks of February the Americans continue their offensive at the southern end of the Westwall.  They easily grind down a corps just north of their Rhine bridgehead. The single German corpse is flanked by Americans working their way through the Black forest and along the west side of the Rhine.  The Americans unleash more than two corps including six top of the line artillery brigades against the second rate German defenders.

In a stunning blow the Americans storm one of the strongest sections of the Siegfried Rhine smash the strongly built but undermanned fortifications at Aachen. Two American corps supported by hundreds of aircraft join the battle.  The Luftwaffe commits every fight and bomber they can find to the defense, but even with Jet fighters overhead the the Germans can barely make an impression on the waves of American aircraft.  When smoke clears the Germans have lost all the defenders at the cost of a cadres U.S. infantry division and a couple of supporting units.  For the moment the Rhineland is exposed to an American advance.

In the North, the Americans breakthrough a hodgepodge of German naval infantry and training units just south of Amsterdam.  The Germans fumble their efforts to flood the battle area. American armored forces exploit far to the east threatening to head down the undefended road to Breman.  In the meantime one of the German rearguards in the southern Netherlands is mopped up by the Americans.
In the Alps a Franco-American force captures the northernmost pass between France and Italy threatening Torino. RSI and Luftwaffe fighters disrupt, but don’t completely stop Allied air support for the attack.
In Italy the Americans and British launch separate assaults against the German line grinding down two German and RSI corps and pushing another few miles into the Axis defences.
Looking at the wreckage of the Western Front the only solace for the German command is it has a lot of “special replacements” to rebuild some of its shattered infantry divisions. Smart party officials are packing their suitcases and making discrete inquiries with Swiss bankers.
« Older posts