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Tag: Game Report (page 2 of 85)

1942 OCT II Axis Turn

Weather Roll: The rains have come, covering the entire landscape in a sheet of mud (except G).

Finland & The Army of Norway: Murmansk front no activity.

In the centre the Axis brace for the inevitable Soviet attack and shorten the lines in a few places.

In the south the battered rump of the main Finish army struggles backwards moving northwest at a crawl inhibited by terrain, weather and Soviet ZOCs.  Meanwhile the 9th Pz takes position in the forests 16m south of Joensuu to hold open an escape route for the hapless Finish forces.

AGN. With the Soviet main line in full supply and their own attack floundering for lack of it the German forces call off all offensive action and reposition trucks to try to bring supplies forward but the difficult terrain leaves hundreds of miles of front unsupplied and thus exposed to Soviet counterattack

The better supplied main drive to Vologda however mounts two attacks advancing in two parallel columns 16 miles closer to the objective and causing some losses to the defenders.

German counteroffensive north of Moscow

German counteroffensive north of Moscow

AGC No action here

AGS. ROSTOV FALLS!!. Not by a tactical pincer surrounding and isolating the city as planned but by a brute force frontal assault. A Rumanian/Italian army stiffened with some German infantry divisions and well equipped with artillery and a concentrated assault Corps and a number of German Assault and combat engineers.

The success comes too late to call off attacks south of the Don which proceed as planned eliminating a number of low grade Soviet units but the Axis do not advance after the combats and consolidate the bridgehead in exploitation. The raison-d’etre for the forces south of the Don is no longer valid so they plan to withdraw as soon as possible – trucks move in to provide supply to cover the withdrawal.

Rostov falls

Rostov falls

Air War: Rostov based fighters take to the skies to defend their air bases in the city. They fail to inflict any hits on the dive bombers aiding the attack but one Yak is aborted by a Ju87. Rostov’s anti aircraft proves a much more formidable defence, aborting one bomber and returning 3 more but the survivors are able to provide enough support to mount a viable attack on the city.

Elsewhere 3 rail hits are inflicted.

Combat Report

Attacks: Diced = 7
Losses: Soviet Isolated = 7 (the Mech xx in the Don bend), Un-isolated = 41
German = 4,
Italian = 3,
Rumanian = 6

1942 OCT I Soviet Turn

Narrative

Reuters Moscow 20th October 1942:
Report from front STOP Jubilant crowds in Moscow suburb of Istra STOP 1st Shock Army recaptures NW of city STOP Soviet forces claim advance N eliminates 5 enemy divisions STOP Peoples Commissariat For Information reports huge advances against Finland STOP Expect Helsinki by March 43 END

Turn Report

Partisans: 4 rail hits inflicted

Finnish Front:  Resource points arrive at the neck of the Kola peninsular ready to push back West towards Salla against the mixed German/Finnish forces. However the Soviets decide to wait until all forces are in place to maximise the effect of the precious resource points so no attacks are made this turn.

In the south the drive north from Lake Ladoga continues eliminating two cadres and the Finish armour brigade.. A full strength division is eliminated in its entirety as its cadre is pushed back against the unfrozen lake and has nowhere to retreat.

The destruction of the Finnish Army

The destruction of the Finnish Army

Leningrad/North Moscow Front. A Soviet push West along the Vologda/Leningrad rail line removes the Germans from the rail hex they so recently captured (cadering a Panzer xx in the DH) and relieves the out of supply section of front. Still two hexes of the line remain firmly in German control approx. 100 miles further west.

At the Leningrad/Valdai railhead under cover of darkness two tank corps (one a 9-7-8) joins the 11-8 mech xxx already in theatre as forces are built up for a surprise offensive designed to drive south towards Kalinin and capture the vital rail junction at  Vyshniy Volcheck which supplies the entire German drive to Vologda.

East of the German schwerpunkt newly arriving troops reinforce the defence and release more tank units into reserve.

1st Shock captures Moscow NW suburbs

SE AAR Oct I Soviet

Army of Moscow: The new army group strikes simultaneously north and south as it comes up against stiff German defences to the west. The northern hook cadres an infantry xx and a mot xx and eliminates a construction unit and light flack battalion, captures an airfield and traps a further 7-6 inf xx against the lakes to the north.

The southern attack achieves an even more successful result as lead tank elements bolstered by Guards infantry and an impressive battery of Katyuskas drive into the NW suburbs of Moscow recapturing the hex after 10 months of occupation.

Voronezh Front. All quiet here.

Rostov Front: Unimpressed by the single German pz holding onto a narrow 16 mile strip east of the Don near Stalingrad the soviets contain the unit with infantry and AT units and transfer all armour south. These units join others and drive into the eastern edge of the German bridgehead south of the Don driving it back 16 miles and eliminating two stacks of units with cadres fleeing back across the don and west. Meanwhile an NKVD regiment enters the southern defensive ring just one hex short of the city. It is hoped it can provide ideological resolve before the Axis can mount a major assault – It may be too late.

Don bridgehead under pressure.

Don bridgehead under pressure.

Air War: An airfield building program around Moscow starts to tip the balance of fighter air cover over this area. The northern attack goes in unmolested with GS raising the odds one level.

The southern Soviet attack into Moscow however is heavily contested by 8 German fighters (a mixed force of 109s and 110s) who attempt to bypass 7 Soviet fighters of Laggs, Miggs and Yaks

Of the 8 German units 1x ME109m is aborted, 1 Returned.. The 6 survivors attack the bomber stream inflicting 1 Kill, 2 Aborts and 2 Returns suffering no losses themselves thus only one of the engaged bombers gets through.

The Soviet bomber commitment however is more than sufficient even with these losses to raise the attack to the viable 4:1 (-1) needed and a HX captures the hex.

Battle Report

Diced Combats: = 7

Losses:
Soviets = 7, Air = 2

Axis: German = 42,
Eastern = 1,
Finns = 12,
Rumanian = 3 (Tk Reg)

1942 OCT I Axis Turn

Weather Roll: No change still clear except Zones A and B = Mud.

Finland & The Army of Norway: In the far north German forces lead by SS Nord and with air support retreat a Soviet division and advance to within 16 miles of the rail loops at the neck of the Kola peninsula.

The centre remains quiet.

In the south Finish forces struggle to retreat ahead of the Soviet advance and escape total annihilation. The Soviets are taking no chances and keep sufficient density to prevent any intervention by the 9th Panzer which is not prepared to risk an exchange.

Northern part of East Front

Northern part of East Front

AGN: Troops mass to engage the section of Soviet line which has had its supply cut but being themselves out of supply cannot get sufficient odds for a viable attack, so the Axis await the full effects of the Soviet supply difficulties to hit home. Lets all be out of supply together!

In the main drive German forces mass and push back a Soviet stack gaining a further hex towards the ultimate objective of Vologda, still 70 miles away. They also nip off a one hex bulge to the south of the main advance.

Against the Soviet drive north of Moscow the German forces are not yet sufficient to muster a counter attack but reinforcing reserve divisions and rebuilt Panzers move into the line as engineers start fortifying the current defensive positions. The fight-back will begin later.

AGC: No action

Southern part of East Front

Southern part of East Front

AGS: Axis units attempt the destruction of the Soviet troops in the great bend of the Don.  The mech division however survives an assault but is surrounded in exploitation.

The German panzer trapped near Stalingrad battles back to the main lines but remains east of the river. This move is intended to discourage the Soviet tank forces from moving south where they could strike against the main bridgehead east of Rostov.

That bridgehead does some tidying up, operating against weaker Russian stacks and consolidating their firm hold in the South.

Meanwhile to the north of the river Italian forces arrive from the Stalino assault and join a mainly Rumanian assault on the last remaining Soviet forces north of the Don. Except for the city itself, surrounded now on four sides, no Soviets remain North of the river in this sector.

The brave defenders of Stalino fall to a Hungarian assault bolstered with some German Rail Gun support (including Dora)

Air War: In the south Soviet fighter defenders achieve a rare victory when a large flight of Yaks lead by a Lend Lease P40E. Intercept a raid by Ju88As escorted by a ME110. Two of the mission force are eliminated and one aborted. The fourth turns for home. No soviets squadrons are lost although 2 return for extensive repair. (Aborted)

In the north Soviet fighters mob selected German DAS flights eliminating three more JU88As for the loss of two Laggs.

Overview over the Eastern Front

Overview over the Eastern Front

Battle Report:
Combats: Auto = 3, Diced = 9
Losses: Forts = 2, Soviet Un-Isolated = 47, Soviet Isolated = 6, Air = 2
German= 7, Rumanian = 2, Eastern Troops = 2, German Air = 5

1942 SEP II Soviet Turn

Narrative

“Yuri, pass me some of that gut rot you call vodka.”   “Hey!! who’s calling my vodka gut rot it’s made from the finest potatoes peelings money can buy! I made it myself only last week!”   “Yes but it stinks and tastes of the tank fuel you boiled it up with!”

“Don’t worry my friend, a fascist bullet will get you long before my vodka will.”

“That’s what I like about you Yuri, always the optimist!”.

“Boys – keep your voices down, The fascists don’t know we are here yet. Keep quiet and keep moving”.

“Don’t worry serge Yuri whispered back, almost there and those pampered fools are too fond of their comfort to be out on a night like this; Still holed up in their bunkers I wouldn’t wonder”.

Yuri and his vodka swilling comrade moved further forward. Damp cold and hungry they slid rather than crawled down the ditch that the rain has turned into a small torrent.

Only the sergeant at the rear occasionally ventured to peep up over the ravine sides to ensure they remained unspotted. “Faster, daybreak is only three hours away.” He urged.

Their target was a small mound a few thousand yards ahead barely perceptible above the plain. The Germans had ignored the slight rise concentrating instead on the main defile which lead straight from the airfield perimeter toward the rapidly approaching Russian line.

Yuri and his comrades were the advance party of a company which had been ordered forward to infiltrate enemy lines and occupy the high ground. There they would wait until their strength had built and they could engage the enemy from his vulnerable flank.

Just before daylight the operation was complete.  Yuri and his comrades had occupied the slight mound and dug in. They camouflaged themselves behind the light scrub and the small ravines that coursed down from the centre and they had welcomed a light mortar squad into their ranks.

Seemingly oblivious to the cold and damp they waited.

At daybreak the sergeant, looking out through his binoculars, confirmed their infiltration had gone like clockwork. The German flack unit and the shattered German division which had moved back onto the airfield three days earlier were completely oblivious to their presence on the flank.

Two hours later the whistles blew, and they rose from their hiding places – “Here goes Yuri! Now we will see if a fascist’s bullet is deadlier than your vodka!!

Turn Report

Partisans:
Inflict 5 more rail hits this turn; some close to the front lines which together with strategic rail bombing has caused delays and frustration for the German quartermaster and transport corps and is holding vital reinforcements from reaching the defenders north of Moscow.

Finish Front:
In the far north lack of resource points prevents attack despite numerical superiority.

In Southern Finland it is a different story as the front explodes shattering the former Finnish main front line.  Advance Soviet armoured elements penetrate the line and trap two infantry divisions struggling through the mud to reach safety further west. One is smashed to a cadre the second, surrounded, is forced into a complete surrender. The Soviets now seem unstoppable on this front and the Finns urgently petition Berlin for more assistance.

1942 SEP II Soviet Turn: Collapse of the Southern Finnish Front

1942 SEP II Soviet Turn: Collapse of the Southern Finnish Front

Leningrad/North Moscow Front
The German occupation of a second Leningrad/Vologda rail hex is a blow lessening the chance of a Soviet re-occupation of the line. They fear the 50 miles of unsupplied front could develop from a sore to a festering wound as happened at Kalinin last year. Units are tasked to move towards the sector to bolster the front but few are free to take up position in force and although they hope to have sufficient strength to resist further gains by the out of supply attackers they do not have enough strength to mount any sort of a counter attack.

On the main front units move to a defensive posture and brace for the inevitable German continuation of their main drive.

Army of Moscow
A new army group is designated under Timoshenko as the advance over the upper Volga continues. Unfortunately the initial hope of a drive into the undefended plains between Moscow and Kalinin is frustrated by the changed weather conditions. That same weather which stopped the German response to the attack now serves to prevent  the Soviet Tank corps from inflicting great damage on the mainly infantry defenders. Likewise the reduced mobility restricts the advance to 2 hexes. Nevertheless another fort and infantry division succumbs.

Voronezh Front
STAVKA realise a drive north from Tula at this point would put pressure on the German defenders and threaten Moscow but they simply do not have any spare offensive capability.

In time Infantry and AT units can replace the Tank corps defending against the main enemy drive to Vologda but currently the tanks need to remain to bolster the defence in this critical sector. For the moment, therefore, this Front remains quiet.

Rostov Front
The smashed force West of the Don flees back East but the single Mech division struggles to escape encirclement and reach safety. Doctrine prevents the unit retreating in the exploitation phase and its fate appears sealed.

Sep II '42: The Rostov Front

Sep II ’42: The Rostov Front

On the East bank however the Soviets counter attack with vigour. They eliminate the German bridgehead close to Stalingrad and trap once again the 3rd Panzer xx (16-10). Further south they drive into the weak German screen between the small lake system and the river Don and eliminate two Rumanian divisions pushing through and ZOCing 3 more Axis stacks. Units moving north from the Caucuses reach the Axis lines in force and clamp tight against the shrinking bridgehead immediately east of Rostov.

At Stalino the two surviving Guards cadres gain some reinforcement by organising other stragglers and survivors from the rubble of the shattered city into the equivalent of an infantry regiment. They brace themselves for the next, and final, attack.

Air War
In the north there is considerably more activity this turn as the Soviets send long range bombers against the rail net and try to eliminate Axis dive bombers and fighters by launching attacks against Moscow and Kalinin air bases. This new higher level of engagement is facilitated by an earlier period of airfield construction which places a large fighter and short range bomber force within striking distance of the front lines and enemy air bases.

To their great shock the Soviets encounter the German FW 190 fighter which eliminates and aborts two of the three squadrons sent to engage them without loss.

In the south activity is more muted due to few air bases and the bulk of the force transferring north to try and wrestle local air superiority from the Luftwaffe.

Battle Report

Attacks: Diced = 7
Losses; Forts = 1,  German  = 19,  Rumanians = 8,  Finns =  8  Air =  2 (one destroyed on the ground)
Soviets Air = 2

1942 SEP II Axis Turn

“The most common Russian form of combat was the use of mass. Human mass and mass of material were generally used unintelligently and without variation but, under the conditions, they were always effective. Both had to be available before they could be used so lavishly and were therefore dependent upon limitless Russian supplies. The Russian disdain for life, always present but infinitely heightened by communism, favoured this practice. A Russian attack which had been twice repulsed with unheard-of losses would be repeated a third and a fourth time at the same place and in the same fashion. Unimpressed by previous failures and losses new waves always came on. An unusual inflexibility of mind and unimaginative obstinacy lay in this use of mass and was dearly paid for. It is not possible to estimate Russian casualties in World War II with any degree of accuracy there will always be a potential error of many hundreds of thousands. This inflexible method of warfare with the objective accomplishing everything through the use of human mass is the most inhuman and costly possible.”

Extract from Fighting In Hell – the German ordeal on the Eastern Front edited by Peter Tsouras first published in Great Britain in 1995 c Greenhill Books.
Originally published in the early 50s from the US Department of the Army pamphlets “German Report Series”

The Soviets achieved all of their objectives last turn. Attacks pinned the German main thrust to Vologda and the penetration gained the bonus of eliminating half the German Rail Siege Guns. Elsewhere massed ranks of katyusha and Tanks corps forded the Volga canal and threatens German communications around Moscow. In the South the drive over the Don cut off the German spearhead probing towards Stalingrad and other units isolated German forces South and East of Rostov placing the city back in supply.
But now the cost is to be paid…

Turn Report

Weather Roll = 6.  Zones A and B now Mud!

Finland & The Army of Norway: In the far north and central Finland troops move into a defensive posture as Soviet forces slowly increase.

In the south Finish forces move back into the centre as fast as possible. The 16-10 panzer unit is impotent on its own against the solid ranks of Soviet armour, artillery and infantry slowly moving forward and harrying the retreating Finns.

AGN A low odds, out of supply attack thrusting directly north dislodges the Soviet defenders and allows advanced elements to occupy a second hex of the Leningrad/Vologda rail line placing 50 miles of Soviet front out of supply.

The combination of persistent rain turning the roads to a thick cloying mud and the Soviet penetration of the front to a depth of 30 miles halts the German move east. Forces organise local counter attacks and eliminate the two 6-4-8 Tk corps which overran the Rail Guns and the 9-7-8 Tk corps tethering them to the main Soviet lines.

The infantry probe westwards towards Kalinin is also eliminated by local forces at hand.

However the main Soviet thrust west of the Volga canal north of Moscow remains a serious threat. Two infantry divisions and a few flack and construction units are all that are at hand for the defence to supplement the cadred remains of the fortified line. A hastily rebuilt 12-10 panzer helps stem the tide but with most mobile units embroiled in combat and/or mired in the mud no other help is at hand.

AGC: Units shuffle north but reduced mobility limits the help that can be transferred to Moscow.

'42 SEP II Axis Turn: Army Group South strikes back

’42 SEP II Axis Turn: Army Group South strikes back

AGS: A second attack is launched against the now weakened defenders of Stalino. Most are eliminated but Soviet Commissars lead surviving guards units into the cellars and rubble of the city which remains in Soviet hands.

A mixed force of Axis Infantry and artillery reduce another fort adjacent to Rostov and a low odds attack pushes further into the swamps south of the Don.

The deep German probes into the Caucuses are recalled against the threat of the building mass of Soviet troops moving north.

Further north the Axis mobile forces east of the Don fight for survival and a swirling battle develops on the East bank and the victorious but weak German mech forces re-establish a line screening the Don south of the city from the Soviet tank corps which are now released back into supply.  The armour probing towards Stalingrad executes a fighting withdrawal and reaches the single hex bridgehead held by infantry and a Mech division. Between these two actions two trapped panzers manage to engage a Soviet mountain division and reach the relative safety of the Don crossing back west in the exploitation phase.

However it is in the great bend of the river Don that the Axis force s extract their most devastating revenge. The Soviets had established a screen line across the river in an attempt to isolate German forces east of it and the Axis infantry lining the west bank. This they achieved but in a tactical move for which they are famous the Axis forces execute a backhand blow against the overextended Soviet forces.

The infantry detach from the river and move west and German reinforcements and the last reserve units moved east trap the Soviet advanced forces in a vice. Two tank divisions are eliminated along with a number of tank and motorised infantry regiments. An old style Mech division is isolated and the majority of the Soviet forces west of the river are removed as an effective fighting force.

Air War: Although not without activity with a number of fighter/bomber interactions especially on the main Moscow Front little losses are inflicted and both sides loose just one unit each.

Battle Report

Attacks:  Over-runs = 3, Auto attacks =  6  Diced Attacks =  11
Losses:  Soviet Forts = 2; Soviet Isolated = 18; Soviet Un-Isolated = 88;  Soviet Air = 1
Total Soviet Losses = 106
German air = 1

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

 

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

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

1942 AUG II Axis Turn

Narrative

Breakthroughs and Breakout: Against all expectations the Germans attempt a breakout of the southernmost of the two groups of surrounded panzers north of Yaroslavl through a two deep line of Soviet armour – read below to see how this goes.

Simultaneously using newly arriving infantry corps transferred from the southern front the German forces strike directly north into the swamps and eliminate an enemy infantry stack with mobile units gaining a further hex of advance toward the Leningrad rail line.

In the far north German units out of Murmansk turn the left flank of defending Soviet forces and in the far south the Axis pull back from their adventure south of the Don and form a tighter cordon just on the south bank to use as a bridgehead for launching a more sustainable attack when the slower infantry arrive in force from their mopping up operations on the approaches to Rostov.

Turn Report

Finland & The Army of Norway: In the far north troops moving south from Murmansk now operating past the end of their supply lines attack a lone 2-6* inf reg in the mountains eliminating it and advancing towards the narrow strip of land at the south of the lake system. They are assisted by aircraft from Murmansk and Norway bases.  Immediately to the south two Soviet regiments are eliminated aided by a newly arriving infantry regiment from The Reich.

North of Ladoga the 9th pz eliminates a 4-6 xx in wooded terrain then transits west to help contain the rogue Tk xxx still operating well behind the lines.

Battles along the Arctic rail line

Battles along the Arctic rail line

AGN: With two whole infantry corps arriving from the south the Germans strike into the swamps at a corner hex at the neck of the bulge extending north to the forces holding position on the Leningrad/Vologda rail line. Reinforced by panzer and mech units the defenders are eliminated and advancing C/M troops exploit further threatening to take a second hex of the railway line and cut off a whole swath off defenders. At the same time another hex is gained close to the existing line-occupying forces helping to consolidate the German’s hold on this important railway.

The Germans revised tactic of a broad front approach in the drive on Vologda bears fruit as a 3 hex assault can be mounted on one of the larger Soviet defending stacks. With massed rail gun support the hex is taken troops advancing to within 16 miles of the isolated panzer force to the east. Then in a desperate move to be freed from encirclement the surrounded troops attack west!. The Soviets deemed this a suicide mission against an 8-6-8 mech xx plus rocket regiment over a river into woods. However the 3REs of supplies air dropped in by the Luftwaffe are enough to put the 12-10 panzer in supply and gain +1 AECA (the rest of the force having no AEC due to their U2 status). The key to the attack however is the massive GS delivered by the Luftwaffe which is just sufficient to mount a successful 7:1 attack!. The tankers, tired and battered, underfed and low on ammunition are safely reunited with their compatriots but choose to remain in place forming a bridgehead over the river to the north of Yaroslavl. The second group a few miles north are not so lucky.  Herded into a swamp with a wall of Soviet armour supplemented with massive DAS their fate appears sealed, particularly due the miserable effort by the  Luftwaffe to supply them. (see below).

A further attack is launched on the northern tip of the Soviet fort line still occupying100 miles of front on the East bank of the upper Volga between the German drive and Moscow. It fails; the fortified defenders hold firm and after a sustained assault on the fort the Germans call off the attack and await further reinforcement.

AGC: Nothing to report.

The Axis pushes past Rostov

The Axis pushes past Rostov

AGS: Rumanian, Italian and Hungarian forces with a leavening of German units mop up most remaining enemy forces north of Rostov. Stalino remains to be assaulted in due course as does Taganrog. A surviving fort on the Donets completes the list of Soviets outside the city north of the Don.

Advancing infantry establish positions on the west bank of the Don bend except in the east where the line falls short of the river to prevent Soviet infiltration tactics against the intermittent line.

Out on a limb and surrounded by Soviets ZOCs the motorised forces which crossed the Don a fortnight previously are pulled back in a tight cordon to the east of Rostov where an attack punches a hole in the defenders lining the swamps on the south bank of the river to establish a supply line.

A single mech division exploits south to block the rail line to Stalingrad and slow any Soviet relief effort. The surviving 2-8 mot cadre immediately south of Rostov moves further south into the steppe to occupy a rail junction and halt rail movements from the Transcaucuses. Both these blocking moves are aided by a series of lone wolf bombing runs which adding to previous unrepaired damage decimates the Soviet rail net south and east of the city between Rostov and Stalingrad. Air attacks from the AGC sector attempt to hinder transfers south by the enemy.

Air War: As reported in the north GS is the main effort. An air drop to the northern isolated group goes drastically wrong. Early morning fog and mis-direction by Soviet flares and fires scatters 5 of the 7 REs dropped. The two getting through being effectively worthless for the two surrounded divisions.

In the centre and north other than some “topping up” of mopping up attacks by AS all efforts are against the Soviet rail network.  Of the 22 attacks two are driven off by the VVS and the aircraft remaining on target inflict 5 hits.  The Soviets lose 2 aircraft across the front.

Battle Report
Attacks: Auto = 6, Diced = 9
Losses: Soviet Isolated = 33, Un-isolated = 50.  Forts = 5, Air = 2
German. Un-isolated = 8

1942 AUG II Soviet Turn

Narrative

Anton paused for a moment from bailing straw at the back of the small store attached to the farmhouse he had lived in all of his 18 years. He was helping his father at the modest abode he shared with his father, mother and older sister. Theirs was a simple subsistence existence well off the beaten track, or to be more precise some 20km at the end of it; so the war to date had completely passed them by.  He gazed out across the vast plain of central Ukraine the “breadbasket” of the nation. A solitary hawk was circling in the distance. Today was a good day.

The rare sound of a motor vehicle approaching caused him to look up, his father gestured for him to stay hidden while he walked to meet the vehicle as it slewed to a halt in front of the farmhouse.

Four soldiers all dressed in black got out and walked towards the house. Peeping from around the barn Anton saw his father remonstrating with the men, unfortunately he was still carrying his pitchfork and made the mistake of raising it. The leader of the group reached into a leather holster pulled out his pistol, raised it to head height and shot Anton’s father who dropped at his feet.

Panic gripped Anton and with a shame that remained with him and shaped him for the rest of his life; he turned and fled. He ran to his hiding place, a small hollow under an overhang in the bank of the brook that ran along behind the barn. He had used it often as a child when his father’s wrath had spilled over following some misdemeanour or other.

He heard the screams and pleadings of his mother and sister as they were dragged from the house.  The cries were soon muffled and replaced by the laughter and grunts of the men in black. After some time two more shots rang out across the steppe.

Curiosity getting the better of his fear Anton peeked out above the bank. He saw one of the men pull out a gasoline can from the rear of the car and douse a stick with some hessian sacks bound with twine they had gathered from around the farmyard.  The man lit the impromptu incendiary device with his cigarette butt and tossed it onto the farmhouse roof.  Dried from the summer heat the thatch caught and burned instantly. Then one of the men started walking towards Anton. Had he been discovered? Anton ducked down and into his hiding place. Moments later his hair and face were splattered by warm piss cascading down the bank. Was this a ritual humiliation before his own death? He pressed his face tighter in to the now moist earth and held his breath. Moments later he heard the man walk away and then the car engine burst into life as it moved off back down the track. He lay there frozen for 15 more minutes before emerging from his hiding place. The farmhouse was now well ablaze far beyond his abilities to save it. He fell to his knees and vowed that he would never run again and that he would not rest until the Motherland was rid of every last one of these enemy animals.

He moved north for three weeks; on his back a pack containing all that was salvageable from the farm and his father’s old hunting rifle.  Living off the land and avoiding the main towns and occasional enemy patrols he took succour and shelter where it was offered.  Late one night he reached his objective, a swath of dense forest where it was rumoured some men had formed a small resistance group. They made contact an hour later…

The Soviets defend the supply line to the Arctic

The Soviets defend the supply line to the Arctic

Turn Report

Partisans:   2 Rail-line Hits

Finnish Front:  Now the blockage is cleared to the south the Soviets rail a large force of primarily infantry type units north to occupy the rail line east of the 9th pz thus re-establishing the supply to Leningrad. Troops also move north with some Res Pts to renew the central push into Finland.

The isolated cadre trapped against the lakes to the north of Leningrad finally surrenders. (DR, no retreat route)

Leningrad/Moscow Fronts: The Soviets content themselves with reinforcing and consolidating the front line and tightening the noose around the trapped German mobile corps. They do manage one attack against one of the northern panzers but it manages to retreat onto its compatriot following a DR result.

Voronezh Front – No activity other than forces in transit and new recruits moving to the front.

The Soviets desperately hang on to Rostov

The Soviets desperately hang on to Rostov

Rostov Front:  With the crisis abating in the north this Front receives all forces arriving from the East this turn.

The troops fleeing towards Rostov take advantage of the Axis pull-out from north of the city and forces fleeing south occupy/transit through the city and mass to attack a 6-10 mot/AA combination at the western end of the ring which is isolating the city south of the Don. A 2-8 Mot cadre is all that remains after the attack and supply is restored to Rostov and to the light screen remaining to the north and west of the city.

The Axis have bridged the Don to the east of Rostov and formed a chain of C/M blocking forces.  This chain prevents relief forces reaching Rostov from the East but the Soviets surround the block with ZOCs in the hope that the Axis will be forced to withdraw by the end of the month and Rostov can be retained.

Air War: Around Moscow new airfields receive fighters transferring in from other theatres. A flight from Moscow is turned back by aggressive German Patrol attacks.

Most Assault Bombers provide DAS at the narrow points between the trapped Germans and their main front line.

In the north the Leningrad Air Division launches a full scale assault on Finish air fields and knocks out Kotia, Kuopio and Joensuu forcing Finnish fighters out of range of the front although this is at a cost of 1xIL-4 from AA and 1xIL-4 from Fighter interception.

Battle Report

Attacks: Auto=1, Diced = 2
Losses:  German Isolated = 6.
Finish Isolated = 3.

Soviets Air = 2

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