Narrative: Driving the last Spike
“Okay Hans when I nod my head you hit it.”
“Fritz, that is a bad joke in English and probably completely untranslatable into German”, “Ha Ha” “That is you all over Hans far too Aryan for your own good”. Hans was indeed a perfect example of the ideal Aryan male chosen specifically for his current task for that quality as much as his engineering skills which were nevertheless excellent and well honed from two years in the Railway Engineering Corps. His straight-backed muscular body glistened slightly in the midday watery skies, his shock of white hair blowing gently in the breeze as his deep blue eyes starred eastwards for the cameras. His muscles tensed as he lifted the 20lb sledgehammer over his head and brought it down precisely on the top of the Golden Pin which Fritz was holding above carefully prepared ground. The blow drove the rail-pin neatly through the eye of the cleat securing the line onto the sleeper with one blow.
As he did so the martial music that a military band had been playing reached a crescendo and then faded. A speaker cone crackled into life “Thank you Hans for this demonstration of your skills and those of your comrades”, said the disembodies voice from the speaker. It was addressing not only Hans but an assembled coterie of military and civilian dignitaries and officials teared on temporary staging constructed along the side of a rail line just outside Minsk.
The voice on the speaker cone continued. “With this blow Hans has secured the final meter of railway of our eastern conquests changing the brutish Russian gauge into the civilised gauge of the Fatherland. Supplies for our troops and in time our farmers and settlers can now flow freely to every corner of Lebensraum carved with the blood and sweat of our soldiers and engineers.”
“And now from Berlin our beloved Fuehrer has this message to convey “People of the Fatherland, today…….”
As the Fuehrer spoke a sharp, damp breeze sprung up and the gathering collectively pulled their coats tighter; the chill from the central steppes heralding a far more destructive wind that was also blowing in from the East.
Weather – RAIN! – The skies cloud over and the autumn rains fall across all of Russia except the deserts of the far south which remain dry (G).
Initial phase: German railroad engineers convert the last kilometre of railway to the west of the front line.
Army of Norway: The Petsamo sector remain in supply but in the West supply difficulties plunge the all the troops in the Kautokeino sector out of supply. Nevertheless a 1-8 ski unit is overrun by an adjacent light/mountain regiment combination
AGN: The change in the weather effectively brings large-scale offensive operations to a halt robbing the Axis of their main advantage; – mobility. In any event East of Veliki-Luki the line is in full retreat the changing weather only hastening the desire to move west.
All units except the occupiers of the Riga fort hub and the defenders of Dougavpils are now south of the Dvina. The line holds steady and is reinforced by a number of anti-tank units. 50 miles north of Vitebsk the central swamp hex is retained, and a counterattack recaptures the adjacent hex of Podolsk.
AGC: Along the entire line German forces are in retreat or holding firm without counterattack the only exception being in the south of this sector where near Kursk a counter-attack eliminates a Soviet stack in a 6:1 attack.
AGS: The front here is in full retreat, the high mobility of the Rumanian units helping to move the line westward.
Air combat; Soviet interceptors eliminate JU 88A DAS mission with a double Abort result elsewhere most DAS missions are uneventful as the Soviet advance has outran the Fighter range across swathes of the front due to the speed of the advance.
Attacks = Auto = 1, diced = 1. Losses; German Air = 1.
Soviets = 14, Air = 2.