Europa Games and Military History

Month: November 2020

1943 SEP II Soviet Turn


Scenting their enemies of blood and the change in the air due to the dampness of Autumn the Soviets decide to change their tactics this turn by reducing the attack odds to the minimum necessary to avoid any AH results. (3:1 un-modified) They do this in order to maximise the number of attacks and damage on the Axis forces ignoring any losses they may suffer from exchanges.

As a result, the Soviets manage to mount 35 attacks; another record. They also dissipate many of the armoured corps into smaller packets and team them with artillery divisions for greater punch anticipating mobility limitation in the coming winter. Exceptions to this process is a massing in the north to affect a breakthrough at Veliki Luki and two attacks on the Moscow front against lone Panzers.

Turn Report

Partisans: Partisan activity scores 4 rail breaks.

Finnish Front. Soviet forces continue to inch forward lugging their supplies with them. They reach the defensive ring South East of Kautokeino by the lake and launch two attacks eliminating an artillery and ski battalion. The loss is minor but the key in this theatre is frontage. The side with the most troops can infiltrate around and through the lines and so the loss of two hexes will force the Germans to withdraw or feed more troops into this sector.

Leningrad Front: The advance to Vitebsk is channelled between the remains of the fortified hub of Veliki Luki and the Dvina river. The direct route south is blocked by a well defended forest hex and a panzer division. The right flank over the Dvina is backed by full strength infantry divisions in swamp and forest terrain. The decision is therefore made to smash through the V.L fortifications. Most of the Soviet mech hits the forts with artillery division support. The Luftwaffe Harassment impedes but does not stop the re-orientation of the major assets.

The Forts are hit at 9:1 and 7:1 with a DE and DH result respectively. German interception and Flack almost eliminates sufficient GS to drop the odds but in the end the VVS manages to enable the attack to go ahead as planned. In exploitation a two hex advance is made eliminating the 2-3-6 cadre and 0-1-10 AA survivors with other participating units moving in  to support.  The move threatens to open up this entire flank and if developed has the potential to trap the units along the VL- Kalinin rail line.  Two adjacent attacks cause more losses and remove the remaining forts.

Elsewhere on this front a second attack is made against the coastal fort of the Riga fort ring and again it is repulsed. (NE)

VL-Kalinin Line: three attacks in this sector fail to inflict losses simply retreating the defenders.  Kalinin surrounded and isolated automatically falls to a concerted attack. Three more attacks in this sector eliminate forts one defending stack dies to an exchange another surrenders due to lack of retreat options.

Moscow Front: A massed attack concentrates on eliminating a 13-10pz XX which is cadred in the DH that results. An adjacent attack captures an airfield and sends an ME109G straight to Remnants when it fails to escape. Four more attacks round off the activity in this sector.

The Soviets liberate eastern Ukraine

The Soviets liberate eastern Ukraine

In the Orel/Kursk Sector a strike eliminates a 13-10 Pz again by a DH result but an attack against a 6-10 Mot XX with supporting units fails as it and its comrades retreat to safety.

The Isolated Soviet pocket is easily restored by overrun and reinforced from outside the pocket continues to drive south eliminating a fort and some scratch units supporting a Rumanian 5-6 inf XX which withdraws successfully (DH).

At Yelets a pair of Tank Corps commanders face the firing squad for ignoring orders to move forward and engage the enemy preferring instead to hide under a fighter squadron during the movement and combat phases.

Stalingrad Front: All along the front from the Donets to the curve of the Front west of Voronezh the Soviets continue to press the Axis hard with 11 attacks in total. Almost as a side issue Voronezh itself falls to an engineer aided 4:1 attack but the HX costs 4 engineers.  The last Hungarian troops in Russia perish in the rubble or are marched into captivity.

Air Combat: Long range bombers operating mainly in the North take a pounding from interceptions. The bombers lose four of their number for only four rail hits. The Axis lose a one aircraft and one Abort. The VVS places a number of harassment hits around the Veluki Luki area to impede the Axis response to their breakout and on selected units on the Axis line in the South to hinder their retreat.

Combat Report

Attacks: Auto = 1, Diced = 34, Overuns = 2.


Soviet Army = 38. Foreign Contingents (Rum) = 1. Air =4

Axis: Forts = 17 (Including abandoned captures),

German Isolated = 11, Non Isolated = 80, Pos AA = 3, Air = 2 (including one on the ground)

Rumanian = 20, Hungarian (Isolated) = 12, Eastern = 5.

Axis Total = 128

Loss Ratio: Sept II 1943 Axis/Sov = 128/97 = 1.32

1943 SEP II Axis Turn

Weather – No Change – Rain/Mud in A. The remainder Clear.


The Dvina line is now secure and looking like a 1942 line rather than a ’43 one. Full strength Infantry divisions fortified behind the river with panzers as fillers ready to counterattack any breach. This is as much a product of the Soviet’s disinterest in breaching this line as German engineering skills but does appear stable for the moment.

At Vitebsk the German forces have stopped the Soviets cold and last turn’s counterattack although very costly has halted any move south at this point.

In the centre of the front West of Moscow the line is buckling and no significant counterattack can be mounted. In the far south the mainly Rumanian army continues to fall back West, securing the Donets line.

The really telling action this turn which ironically signifies the decline of the Axis forces is a successful counterattack which isolates a significant Soviet force at Kursk.

It is here that the Soviet advance points into the German lines effectively splitting it into two segments; the northern between Orel and Kursk and the southern between Kursk and Voronezh.  This drive is threatening the important rail line nexus between Kursk and Kharkov.

The German see an opportunity to deal the Soviets a blow and counterattack from two sides. The attack is successful with two DEs and an opportunity to surround 3 fully stacked infantry armies. The thinning limes, the need to cover the retreat in the south and the need to man the Kursk Orel line to the north persuades the German panzers not to penetrate the Soviet line to any depth. They fear Soviet reprisals and just do not have the resources to mount a sturdy enough defence. So instead of a wall of steel a lone stug Battalion races into the gap to Isolate the Soviet advance guard for a turn.

Is this the swan song of the once proud German Army? Counter attacks will, of course, continue but it seems clear that the Axis forces are no longer in a position to mount and sustain any sort of major offensive and it determines if nothing else that the Soviets are now feared by the German armour who are moving rapidly to a defensive posture.

Turn Report

Army of Norway: Still inactive and stalemated but the Soviets continue to pour troops and Res Pts into the area – The question for German High Command is; Do they do the same? Or is this an unnecessary drain on resources? Narvik needs to be defended but does Northern Norway? The question for the moment remains undecided.

AGN: A few hexes on the north bank of the Dvina remain unoccupied ahead of the Soviet advance. the German forces take advantage of this and mount two spoiling attacks against lone Guards infantry units annihilating one and forcing another to cadre.

Along the VL/Kalinin line Axis forces counterattack a weak Soviet penetration of the line eliminating the spearhead.

The first bound of the retreat has reached the fortified line running through the Valdai in a SE direction and the occupants prepare to receive the Soviets who are relatively weak in this sector and unlikely to cause significant difficulties for the defenders.

AGC; A single counterattack against a Soviet penetration between Kursk and Orel forces them back taking heavy losses (DH)

German Panzerkorps stall the Soviet advance south of Kursk

German Panzerkorps stall the Soviet advance south of Kursk

Just south of Kursk the German see an opportunity to cause the Soviet Advance a severe blow by cutting off 3 hexes of fully stacked infantry hexes and eliminating them in an isolated pocket. The glory days appear to be repeating themselves as both stacks are eliminated with only a 1-8 cav cadre surviving. The Panzers advance. In exploitation however a reality check forces caution. German intelligence has lost track of the powerful Soviet corps identified in the Voronezh region last month and last reported moving NW. The Axis realise they cannot interpose enough strength to survive a counterattack and more importantly the outer edge of the surrounded Soviets cannot be contained sufficiently to prevent them surging on regardless. Thus, reluctantly, the Axis content themselves with the losses inflicted and the likelihood of stalling the Soviet advance for another turn.

AGS: The rush West continues and for the most part the Soviets failed to pin many units last turn, so the move West is uneventful and swift. Rumanians with a stiffening of German infantry XXs hold the Donets. The Germans send a panzer division south to support the Rumanian 1st Armoured and where possible snipe at any Soviet advances. In fact, one such advance is attacked en-route annihilating a 5-6 Guards xx which has advanced too recklessly SW of Voronezh.

Air Combat: Not much to report. AGC orders 6 harassment hits to slow the Soviet advance Only one air loss (Soviet).

Combat Report

Combats: Auto Elim = 2, Diced = 5; Total = 7.

Losses: Axis = 0

Soviets = 59. Air = 1.

1943 SEP I Soviet Turn

Turn Report

Partisans: Partisan activity is low this turn with only two rail breaks.

Finnish Front. Soviet forces from Murmansk move NW to set up an attack on Petsamo. In the Western edge of the line reinforcements arrive with attack supplies and prepare to fight towards Kautokeino.

Leningrad Front: The Soviets consider how best to break out the two 11-8 Mech units Isolated 50 miles north of Vitebsk. The Axis have placed an armoured ring around the trapped units and even if they could stage a breakout there is nowhere to go to link up with the main line.

The only other option is a frontal assault against the 18-10/16-10 Panzer XXs barring the way back to the Soviet front line.  The Soviets are conscious that this will take all their forces and air power but calculate that a total commitment will produce a viable attack. They allocate all their forces and local air power to the task. German Patrols, Interception and Flak whittle away the air cover but with just one point spare enough survives for the attack to proceed. It does with a HX as the result. A great outcome for the Soviets who cadre two full strength Panzer Divisions for the loss of a 9-7-8 tk xxx reduced to cadre and some rocket/artillery regiments/brigades. The 11-8s move back to the main line. Although successful the Axis have checked the Soviet advance to Vitebsk which is being reinforced daily with fresh troops. (A parallel attack does unseat a fortified defender and infantry advance along the north bank of the Dvina.)

The Soviets launch an attack against the North bank Fort in front of Riga but the 5-7-6 defender stands firm.

Veliki Luki is assaulted by powerful infantry/Artillery forces and another fort falls.

The VL/Valdai rail line is breached again with a weak probe south to the East of V.L.

Kalinin Sector: Kalinin is bypassed and surrounded as forces try to reach the second fort line. For the most part here and south to Kaluga Axis rear-guards prevent any significant pressure being brought to bear against the secondary fort line.

Moscow Front: A small breakthrough is made south of Kaluga and a number of penetrations of the Axis line south of here. One defensive position which has withstood repeated attacks finally falls and the river bend directly East of Bryansk is crossed. The Soviets however fail to eliminate a 6-10 mot xx/SS Regiment combination which retreats to safety.

A narrow front attack in the Kursk area retreats the defenders and a tank Regiment advances to clear the fort. However on hearing reports of powerful enemy tank forces in the area it withdraws in exploitation.

Voronezh Area: Realising that they have led themselves down a strategic dead end the Soviet tank and mech corps from the Voronezh battle transit back through friendly lines to reposition themselves for a push directly on Bryansk. This move takes them close to a 16-10 Panzer unit holding a return frontage of the Axis line as it transits from an E-W to a N-S orientation to the West of Voronezh. In early morning fog a confused meeting engagement occurs with 5 Tank and Mech Corps engaging the Panzers. When the fog clears the bulk of the Panzer division lies shattered on the steppe with a remnant withdrawing SW.  In exploitation the Soviet Tanks continue on to prepare for a major assault next turn.

Voronezh itself in besieged and the Soviets press on West puncturing the mainly German line in three places.

The Soviets cross the Don in Force

The Soviets cross the Don in Force

Stalingrad Front. In the bend of the Don the Soviets smell blood and except for a small force guarding the rail crossing at Stalingrad abandon to a man the fortified position they have held for over a year They charge over the river and catch up with the fleeing Rumanian Army before it can reach the safety of the Donets river. In the south the Rumanians acquit themselves admirably repulsing the attackers on three separate occasions but it is a different story at the north of the line where 50 miles of front ceases to exist. Only the complete absence of any exploitation capability in the Russian Stalingrad Front Army prevents a complete disaster.

(Ed Note: it seems that in their haste to leave their foxholes the Soviets have displaced some of their forts eastwards. All Soviet forts along the wide part of The Don are adjacent to it except the two running E/W at Stalingrad.)

Air Combat: As reported above most of the Medium range aircraft in the Leningrad front assist the breakout of the surrounded mech corps.

In the Kaluga sector to support the intrusions in the Axis line and in an effort to limit German Panzer mobility a large Harassment raid is launched with 13 hits spread over 8 hexes. Elsewhere 3 DAS missions are made supporting the T code aircraft and the Long Range Bomber (LRB) force achieves 5 rail hits mostly in the North to try to isolate the Vitebsk area from the remaining rail net.

Combat Report

With the opening of the Stalingrad Front a record 32 attacks are made this turn.

Losses: Soviets: = 29, Air = 2

Axis; German Isolated = 6, Un-isolated = 87, Pos AA = 1, Air = 5

Rumanian = 18, Slovakian = 4, Eastern = 3

Total Axis = 118

Loss Ratio Sept I 1943 Axis/Sov = 118/81 = 1.46

1943 SEP I Axis Turn

Weather – Rain/Mud in A. The remainder still Clear.

Turn Report

Down but not out: The Axis side has suffered a massive blow. Last turn saw record losses of over 150 points and this initial Phase sees the surrender of Italy which loses them a further 40 points worth of units. But if the Soviets think this will in any way beat the Axis into submission, they are very much mistaken. This turn the Axis strike back with 9 attacks. They isolate 2 Soviet Mech Corps and raids over the Dvina near Riga eliminate/cadre two Guards infantry. Despite this show of bravado large sections of the Front are in full retreat and 18 forts are abandoned in the movement phase.

Army of Norway: Little action here. There is an argument for pulling the line right back to the Swedish border region compared to the current dispositions spread out along the Norwegian/Finish border with units split both sides of the large lake. But the Soviets are not in a position to menace the line at all and troop levels are quite low. Nevertheless, a contraction could release perhaps 3 divisions for the main front and the exact strategy is under review. (answers on a postcard please!)

AGN: The Axis pull the battered remnant of 2DR back towards the Dvina providing cover by moving forward some previously retreated units and hold 2 hexes north of the river held by Panzers and their remnants plus the bold 5-7-6 infantry which provided valuable flank support.

The bulk of the Panzer forces look to eliminate the forward stack of two 11-8 Mech Corp 50 miles north of Vitebsk but cannot amass enough strength for a direct assault. Instead they attack the hex linking the enemy spearhead to the main front. Lady luck is absent and the 6:1 (-1) attack only manages to retreat the defenders. The German attackers now face a dilemma; should they advance and with what force? In the end they decide that the prize of two Mech Corps is too good to miss and both a 16-10 and 18-10 pz xx advance. The Axis reason that 34 points of pure armour will be too tough for the Soviets – will they be correct?

Counterattacks still happen, but the reserves are dwindling fast

Counterattacks still happen, but the reserves are dwindling fast

On the Veliki-Luki/Valdai rail line a weak Soviet advance is eliminated but this only staves off the inevitable as the line is constantly being punctured.

From Kalinin to Moscow the retreat continues with stay-behind units providing a screen Kalinin is all but abandoned with a lone 8-6 denying Soviet entry and helping to break the tide of the advance.

AGC; South of Moscow another counter strike checks the Soviet advance with 3 adjacent hexes being attacked. The subsequent advance re-captures Kaluga.

In Orel Kursk AA fire drives off a T code DAS securing a +3 DRM for the attackers and carrying the day with an elimination.

Along the Kursk/Voronezh line the Soviets fall back in good order (DR).

AGS: The loss of the Italian forces confirms to the Axis if any such confirmation were needed that it is time to “bug out”. The retreat here across the featureless plains in the Don river bend is a far more ordered event than it has been in the north where terrain breaks up the withdrawal.

In the south the whole, mainly Rumanian, line moves back and maintains cohesion. The right flank is anchored at the confluence of the Don and Donets and runs north in an arc mirroring the river until it picks up the few remaining forts lining the upper Don south of the main Soviet drive at Voronezh.

Air Combat: Not too much to report but the Axis lose their T code aircraft (the HS 123 A) to interception.

Combat Report

Attacks = 9
Losses; Axis;   German Air = 1.
Soviets = 52.

1943 AUG II Soviet Turn

Moscow Liberated! Moscow is now entirely back in Russian hands. Pressure north and south with the threat of a third direct assault “persuaded” the Germans to withdraw their main forces and the city fell easily to the assault. Elsewhere the Russian Steamroller ploughs on eliminating a massive 151 points of Axis units this turn.  These losses are not sustainable, but time is running out this year for any dramatic Soviet link up at Smolensk as the advance falls far behind schedule. This is particularly true in the south where a lack of Strategic focus has lead them down a cul-de-sac at Voronezh.

Turn Report

Partisans: Partisan activity peaks and 8 hits are achieved against rail lines.

Finnish front. At Murmansk the Soviets assault the city where the single mtn cadre folds without resistance.

Leningrad Front: In Latvia the disposition of the retreating Panzer Corps centred around 2 DR presents the Soviets something of a dilemma. They do not seek an armoured fight but the deposition of the defenders and difficult terrain would mean an entire turn out of action to circumnavigate the force to the north. On the other hand trying to slip between 2DR and the Dvina to the south would invite counterattack. They therefore decide that if they cannot go around they will go through and 3 corps with artillery and rocket support attack the powerful Panzer division in a head on assault. A DH cadres the unit. Others attack and eliminate the adjacent infantry cadres.

In the Veliki Luki sector the full force of massed infantry and artillery smash the outer fort line and an infantry division/6-8 panzer cadre are totally eliminated with another 7-6 inf xx cadred.

Vitebsk menaced. The lead Soviet Mech/Armour funnelled between the Dvina and the Veliki Luki fort complex attacks south eliminating the opposition and advancing to within 30 miles of Vitebsk. This offers masses of options in the exploitation phase such as overrunning engineers, security units, swinging West to threaten an encirclement of Veliki Luki or a tight curve trapping an 16-10/18-10 panzer group. In the end however mindful of last turn’s disaster at Voronezh they opt for the safer option of a one hex advance to hold the ground (although a security unit outside Vitebsk is overrun before the forces return to the conservative endpoint.)

The Soviets advance to the gates of Vitebsk

The Soviets advance to the gates of Vitebsk

In the VL-Valdai sector a small advance is made over the rail line hindering east/west movements.  North of Kalinin the Soviets pursue the retreating units achieving a DH against an 8-6 caught in the open.

Moscow Front. The evacuation of the Panzer element of the Moscow defence allows the city to fall easily to the third assault and church bells are allowed to be rung in the city to mark this special occasion. Not only is this the former capital it is the first Major City to be won back from the invader. Immediately to the south 3 x 4-5 divisions are eliminated in separate attacks.

The constant pounding of the Moscow/Orel sector of the line is beginning to bear fruit as more and more defending hexes comprise cadres, reserves or low quality local Eastern draftees. The Axis however are not the only ones to suffer manpower shortages and the high number of exchanges and constant armoured counter attacks have thinned the Soviet ranks with the result that they often cannot advance in a single hex thrust with sufficient force to withstand a German riposte. 2x 5-7-6 inf xxs are cadred from direct assault.

Kursk Sector . Kursk is liberated!

Voronezh Sector. The Soviets decide not to attempt an encirclement of the German attackers but attack and cadre a 11-10 xx Pg before withdrawing east passing through the large infantry force moving west.

Stalingrad Front: In the tip of the Don a 3-6 Rum inf xx is eliminated as it tries to slip away to the fort line. South of the river the toe hold the Axis maintained to facilitate any future operations to the Caucuses is reduced by one hex exchanging against a 4-6 Rum inf xx.

Air Combat: 3 attacks are aided by GS and air battles develop over two of these but in both cases the intruders maintain sufficient support to achieve their goals.

The Soviets mount two large Harassment raids one over the panzer thrust to Voronezh, attempting to hinder re-deployment of the German panzers, and another west of Kalinin designed to prevent units reaching the prepared fort line further west.

One new feature over the battlefield is the arrival of the Tank Busting Code T fighters. These really are valuable assets adding 3 REs of ATEC to a stack. The Soviets make sure these units are escorted by at least 3 other fighters (more in an area of multiple German airbases) to ensure they are protected.

The Long Range bomber force is boosted by the transfer south of the squadrons which had been supporting Arctic Operations. Not accustomed to facing significant fighter opposition and certainly not the indominable FW190 three of the four transferees are lost on their first sortie in the south.

Combat Report

Overuns = 2.  Automatic attacks = 6. Diced attacks = 20 (A new record total of 27)

Losses: Soviets = 18, Air = 7

Axis; Forts = 12. German Isolated = 6. Un-isolated = 129, 2x AA pts, Air = 2.

Rumanian = 7, Hungarian = 4, Italian = 4, Eastern = 2.

Total = 152 (Record Losses)

Loss Ratio August II ’43 is Axis/Sov (152/59) = 2.58


1943 AUG II Axis Turn


Hans Baur head of the Fliegerstaffel des Fuehrers pushes forward on the stick and drops the nose of the personal transport aircraft “Immelmann III” downwards. In so doing he sets off a chain of events that will seal his fate along with those of his passengers, family, Germany and the world. He does so out of respect for his precious cargo, none other than the Chancellor of Germany, the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Administrative duties now take up most of his time and he rarely flies the Fuhrer himself but occasionally, like today, he takes a trip to keep up his flying skills and credentials.

On first name terms Hans had been ferrying the Fuhrer and his entourage between various locations for over a decade now and he reckons he has got to know the Fuhrer’s moods. Today he is in a particularly dark one, troubled, no doubt, by reports from the Eastern front of Russian advances in Latvia and a breakthrough at Voronezh.

Hans reasons that a low-level flight over the picturesque countryside of Bavaria will lighten the man’s mood.

The Fuhrer’s personal secretary moves forward to speak to Hans about the deviation from the flight plan and ensure that the Chancellor will not be late for his meeting with the Hungarian ambassador later that evening. Just as he does so, two vials of frozen liquid of British manufacture, located in a briefcase in the hold, thaw; warmed by the Bavarian summer sun. They mingle and in so doing create a thermal reaction which ignites a larger mass of explosive compound in which they are embedded.

The resulting explosion engulfs the aircraft in a fireball which scatters fragments of the plane, its contents and occupants over a 10-kilometre radius of the Bavarian countryside.

Two days later Acting Fuhrer Martin Bormann receives the news that an examination of the charred remains of one of bodies has determined, from dental records, that it is indeed the mortal remains of this beloved Fuhrer.

After the confirmation of the Fuhrer’s death is announced there follows a chaotic period of reprisals and recriminations, at least one attempted coup and the settling of many old scores some tracing their history back to the start of the National Socialist movement.

The purge of middle and high-ranking civil officials and army officers that follows results in equal chaos in the field. Order and counter-order are confused and entangled as the various parties vie for the new leader’s favour or try to avoid his attention.  Whereas the new Chancellor does not share the same grand delusions of strategic military genius as his predecessor he needs and demands a victory to secure support irrespective of the feasibility or wisdom of such an operation.

As a result, the Eastern front in mid-August of 1943 is plunged into command paralysis and uncertainty resulting in a mishmash of moves and countermoves.

In Latvia Das Reich is offered no support and is forced to fight itself out of encirclement despite powerful friendly forces nearby. On the Kalinin front some units break and flee West while others stay to fight.  At Moscow the Moskauer Stadtpanzerverteidigungstruppe leves the city in order to attack a local breakthrough to the south but the odrers to return to the city (and certain anihilation) convieiently “fail to reach“ the Corps commander.

At the southern end of the active section of the Front, west of Voronezh however the demands for a victory result in desisive action

The Panzer forces in the Orel/Kursk sectors combine and hit the western flank of the Soviet armoured advance . Crashing into three Soviet Tank/Mech Corp and supporting arms they cadre one and completly eliminate two others by co-ordinated assaults and overuns. They press onwards linking with the Hungarians trapped 30 miles south of Voronezh

Despite this setback the Soviets are by no means a spent force and the world holds its breath as it waits to see who will emerge victorious from this clash of steel.

Turn Report

Army of Norway: The 6-8 mtn xx and a Res pt are evacuated leaving a 3-8 SS mtn cadre and some static AA as the only occupiers.

At the other end of the front a Soviet 1-8 ski is overrun by a light inf regiment.

AGN: The Axis receive orders to counterattack the Soviet Mech cops pinning 2 DR but these orders are countermanded and a 15-10 pz, 11-10 mech and SS Viking (14-10 pz) move over the Dvina to secure the route SW against any Soviet moves in that direction. A 5-7-6 inf however does advance to a forested hex to secure the flank of the surrounded divisions and cadres which are ordered to break out SE.

At Veliki Luki a newly arriving 16-10 pz from the Kalinin sector takes up position south of the city filling the fortified line together with the 14-10pz and 6-10 mot divisions trapped last turn. An 18-10pz from Kalinin moves into reserve at Veliki Luki.

At Kalinin some local commanders, in the absence of orders from Berlin, take matters into their own hands and begin to pull back to the fortified line built 100 miles in their rear. Some units though stay behind.

AGC: The corps commander of the Moscow forces, unnerved by the constant bombardment form Soviet rockets and artillery, the threats of breakthrough to the north and south and the constant harassment from the air decides to evacuate the city. One pz XX moves to Rhzev for refit while two others use the excuse of a counterattack against the 14-8 Guards Mech advance south of the city to leave and not return. In doing so the fate of the remaining troops in the city is sealed.

Together with other units the attack succeeds cadering the Soviet Mech xxx.

Battle of the Ukraine continues with an Axis riposte against the Soviet penetration

Battle of the Ukraine continues with an Axis riposte against the Soviet penetration

From there to Kursk the line is quiet with the mobile forces moving East just south of the weather line to strike at the Soviet advance West of Voronezh. The Soviets here were lured by the thrill of an overrun spree last move and have exposed themselves to attack in turn.

Single stacked in open country they present an ideal target for an armoured counterstroke and play right into the Axis hands. In a well-co-ordinated series of three 5:1(-1) attacks the Axis strike and after the dust clears from the dry Steppe the hulks of two Soviet tank corps, a 3-2-8 Guards tank brigade, 4-1-10 mot rkt reg, 3-8 mech brigade and 1-8 NKVD brigade lie in ruins. Not content with this victory, great in itself, the panzers press on overrunning the surviving cadre of one of the attacks and connecting with the Hungarian fort south of Voronezh. This move was ordered in an attempt to maintain the increasingly shaky support of Hungary who before the attack had no un-isolated ground forces left in Russia.

AGS: The mainly Rumanian/Italian sector in the Don bend prepares to move West and evacuates the extreme Eastern tip of the river. They formulate a plan to stage a phased withdrawal to the Donets river. This river is not currently fortified and will be a less secure position than the fortified “Stalino line” further West but has the advantage that it will allow Rostov to be maintained. Indeed it will be less secure than their current location but the Axis forces are increasingly concerned about the great imbalance in the Northern and Southern sectors of the front the latter of which is 100s of miles further East. It is also in danger of being split off from the rest of the front and isolated by a serious Soviet move SW from their current location at Voronezh.

The Axis attempts sealing of the Soviet breach at Voroneszh

The Axis attempts sealing of the Soviet breach at Voroneszh

Air Combat: Nothing significant. The Luftwaffe suffers one lost air frame on a DAS mission and the Soviets two interceptors.

Combat Report

Attacks: Overuns = 3 , Attacks = 4

Losses: Axis = 1 air.

Soviets 41. (40 of which are CM units, air = 2.

1943 AUG I Soviet Turn

Turn Report

Breakout and Pursuit – In Estonia Soviet troops pursue the Axis forces to the Dvina line surrounding and eliminating the stragglers with overwhelming force. They contact the temporary Axis mobile defence line West of Veliki Luki and penetrate the line with an attack on a Panzer unit and push through. Exploiting from the West Soviet mobile units move through a gap in the Axis line and together these two arms catch the bulk of the German mechanised forces north of the river putting them out of supply.

In the south the Axis line is again demolished a few miles West of Voronezh where Soviet tanks exploit SW and overrun numerous regiments and a Security division. The exploiting units also move to connect with the infantry army pressing West out of the bridgehead on the West bank of the Upper Don and surround and isolate Voronezh and a nearby fort.

Soviet Pincers trap the remnants of First Panzer Army

Soviet Pincers trap the remnants of First Panzer Army

Partisans: To support the renewed offensive partisan activity is stepped up and 7 hits are achieved against rail lines.

Finnish front. At Murmank the Soviets take the offering of the single mountain cadre remaining outside the city and eliminate it. Only the city itself now remains in Axis hands east of the estuary.

In the West fresh infantry divisions laden with attack supply move up the road from the south to deploy towards Kautokeino.

Leningrad Front: Estonia: With only one ZOC the infantry division and cadres straggling back to the Dvina are surrounded and eliminated. From the Baltic coast west, the Soviets form a line just short of the Dvina at the limit of their movement range. In the West of this sector they move artillery divisions into place against the Veliki Luki fortified hub but do not attack. Their focus is on the Axis line set forward of the river. Designed to protect an infantry division and cadre moving south the Axis are confident the Soviets will avoid direct combat against their powerful defences. The Soviet tankers have other ideas. 3 Tank Armies combine their best units and attack a 12-10 pz cadering it. The advance pins a 14-10 pz, 6-10 mot stack to the East of the breach isolating it and the attackers have enough strength in the advancing stack to overrun the retreated cadre in exploitation. But here lady luck favours the Axis. The Infantry division which indirectly had offered up the panzer target now redeems itself. The division is attacked but only a retreat results. The unit is cadred due to ZOCs but ends its retreat on top of the Panzer cadre, thus denying the Soviets their prize! Such are the Fortunes of War.

Nevertheless, the resulting hole in the Axis line allows a further hex of exploitation. The Soviets swing in behind the German line and additional mobile units rush in from the West between the Dvina and the German panzers. In the resulting pocket they isolate (by ZOC) 2DR SS pz xx, 10-10 pz Gren xx, 5-10 SS pz gren, 6-8 pz cadre, 3-6, 2-6 inf cadres, 4-2-10 tk reg, 2x 1-10 mot ATs. The move caries some risk of a counterattack but most of the German units will be out of supply and Viking is out of position at Riga There is only a single 15-10 pz xx available outside the pocket to mount any counterattack so the risk is considered acceptable.

In a separate operation the Tallinn pocket is eliminated.

Kalinin Sector: The advance at the extreme NE tip of the German front continues to gain a hex a turn but a move south against the rail line east of Veliki Luki fails to make progress.

Moscow Front: With Artillery and Rocket Divisions now emplaced the Soviets again attack Moscow and again fail to make any progress due to the beefed-up defence which nullifies the Artillery point gain.

South of the city however cracks begin to show in the Axis line and with the bulk of the German armour engaged in the Orel/Kursk sector the Soviets are emboldened to advance and in one case exploit with a 12-8 Mech corps isolating a 7-6, 3-6 infantry fortified infantry stack. Kaluga is liberated.

Orel/Kursk Sector: Orel is assaulted and taken together with an adjacent fort.

In front of Kursk the advance is stopped dead by the German counterattack and units form a double defensive line.

The Soviet Breakthrough at Voroneszh

The Soviet Breakthrough at Voroneszh

Voronezh/Kursk Rail line:  West of the city of Voronezh the mixed Axis line is assaulted on 4 adjacent hexes all of which succeed in eliminating the defenders. Retreating cadres, security units and reinforcements in transit are all crushed in a series of exploitation over-runs. (Total Over-run haul is 1×3-5 sec xx, 1-5 sec reg, 1-8 Pol, 3-6 inf cadre, 0-1-5 eng, 1-6 Hung eng, 1-8 it cadre,.). The Soviet tanks form a defensive ring which extends to the Infantry Army advancing south of Voronezh moving West from its bridgehead over the Upper Don. This cuts off Voronezh and a nearby fort which together trap the bulk of the Hungarian army. These units will not return to active service when replaced until released so this is a great bonus.

Stalingrad Front: As the threat of any serious Axis armoured assault in the south recedes AT units are stripped from the front line and move north.

Air Combat: The Soviets employ air combat for 4 attacks this turn to nudge up the odd; the most for some time. Their preponderance of airpower and the dispersed nature of German Fighters in any one area allows the VVS to calculate quite accurately the number of aircraft needed even assuming maximum loss from interception. Only AA fire is less predictable but where present they add extra bombers to make the contribution from air power a near certainty.

An example of one such attack is against Moscow where German fighters decide to engage. 2 FW180s attempt to bypass the 6 strong fighter escort. One is aborted and the other Misses its target! 10AA factors obtain 2Aborts and 3 Returns but the 5 survivors of the 10 strong flight of Stormaviks, are sufficient to reach the required odds.

The Long-Range Bomber force operating out of Leningrad bombs the Wilno- Polotsk line adding 4 breaks.

Combat Report

Auto Attacks = 6, Diced Attacks = 19 Total = 25 (Highest so far)

Loses: Soviet = 15, Air = 2

Axis: Forts = 7, Res pt = 1, German Isolated = 19, Un-isolated = 73, 2xPos AA, Air = 1

Rumanian = 4, Hungarian = 12, Italian = 5, Eastern = 4 (Total = 117)

Combat Ratio Axis/soviet Aug I ’43, 80/128 = 0.63

1943 Aug I Axis Turn

Turn Report

Weather = Clear across all zones.

Finland and Army of Norway: A 3-8* Mtn regiment and a Res point are transported from Murmansk to Petsamo as the perimeter contracts.

AGN: Run away! As attribute to the Soviet tactic of targeting Infantry units there are only two weak divisions and 3 cadres which are not combat motorised across the whole front from the coast west to Veliki Luki. The Axis reluctantly decide they cannot hold the line forward and retreat to man the defensive fortified line (still under construction) on the SW of the Dvina. However, in true Germanic style they do not do so without mounting two “safe” attacks against the pursuers one each in the Pskov and Veliki Luki sectors. In exploitation a division and two cadres are abandoned to their fate but the mobile units closest to Veliki Luki decide to cover the retreat of the second division and a cadre closest to the town and form a temporary line. This also serves to give engineers an additional turn to complete “The “Dvina Line”.

The Axis evacuate the Baltic

The Axis evacuate the Baltic

Further west the line is thinned but an attack is mounted north of Kalinin to check the Soviet advance and eliminates a Soviet stack.

AGC: The audacity of the Soviet attack on Moscow unsettles the base commander and the occupants of the Wolf Lair who authorises a refit of one of the 12-10 panzers in the Moskauer Stadtpanzerverteidigungstruppe which pulls out to Rhzev and is replaced with a 16-10 panzer xx and an additional artillery unit.

At Kursk the Axis decide to launch an co-ordinated attack on the point of the Soviet wedge advancing towards the city. Two attacks are launched. The first cadres a 12-9-8 tk, 14-6 artillery and a Guards infantry but Totenkoph is cadred in the HX. The Axis advance.

The secod attack however against a softer infantry target obtains a DE and with the retreat being blocked by the advance above totaly eliminates the stack.

Battle of Kursk

Battle of Kursk

AGS: The Don bend is stripped firther with large sections being held by a single axis division however the soviets are also quescent on this front and the Axis feel safwe behind the river in thier forts.

At Voronezh units rush to contain the Soviet bridgehead over the Don and pull back into the city which is now the northern end of the front line before it turns West to Kursk.

Air Combat: Little to report as the Axis place almost their entire bomber force on DAS.

This is prooving rather expensive in air frames however because there are not enough fightes to effectivly cover the bombing force dispersed in this way and the Soviets can “mob“ chosen targets and/or pick off stragglers devoid of fighter escort.

Combat Report

Diced attacks = 4.

Losses: Axis: German = 11, Soviets; = 82