The Axis are feeling more confident as they reach their fortified line and begin to form up their defences. This may well be a false sense of security because for the most part where the Soviets are in supplied contact they are not attacking (Riga and Rostov Sectors) and elsewhere they are still East of the line in pursuit of the diminishing number of Axis forces fleeing West.
Whether or not this increased confidence is justified remains to be seen and there are still some forts currently out of reach of the Soviets which are thinly manned and which will require additional manpower to be combat ready in due course. The Axis hope these areas will be filled by reinforcements and replacements rather than by thinning of the established MLR. This in turn relies on them minimising losses in the units moving westwards. The pursuers of course have other ideas.
Weather – No change Mud everywhere except G.
Army of Norway: The decision is made to evacuate the Petsamo area and units start moving towards Kirkenes where Naval Transports await. Others begin the trek south down the Norwegian coast.
In the Kautokeino sector troops move to staunch the leaching of Soviet units around the exposed left flank by the lake.
AGN: The Axis would dearly love to eliminate the Soviet bridgehead south of the river adjacent to Vitebsk but the powerful Soviet Mech and Artillery forces are too strong for a direct counter-attack. Instead the Axis content themselves with forming a strong ring around the incursion.
Retreating units which are fleeing from the Valdai and Kalinin sectors take revenge on the 3rd Soviet Tank Corps who has dogged their progress for many months. In a rare show of bravado, the Corps has broken ranks with its infantry support and lunged south-westwards in an attempt to pin the retreating units. These units turn and attack reducing the U-2 Corps to a cardred rump.
AGC: Unfortunately, the Axis are not strong enough along the Moscow road to repeat the above feat against the advancing Soviets in this sector. The defenders here are mainly carded and ZOCs are insufficient to guarantee the Soviets will be held back. A number of Harassment missions are initiated to compensate for this.
The Axis have now amassed sufficient strength particularly with the arrival of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler to mount a counterattack against the large infantry stack which has penetrated the main line of resistance west of Kursk. The attack is successful with only two Guards carders surviving the attack.
AGS: Little activity here as the Axis fall back on to the Donets and their fortified line.
Air combat: Little interception is possible by the Soviet’s until their airfields are constructed closer to the front line. They do however manage one interception against a stack of DAS bombers with escorts. The resulting conflict eliminates a MIG-3 who throws “snakes eyes” to bring down a Ju88A in turn. In the same battle a Lend-Lease Hurricane is Aborted.
Diced attacks = 2
Losses: Soviets = 29, Air = 1
Axis Air = 1.