If the Axis thought that the Soviets would halt their offensive with the onset of the Autumn rains they are very much disheartened by the continued Soviet attacks. The offensive has for sure been slowed but the steamroller ploughs on. Emboldened by the lack of Axis mobility and the reduced number of forces in the field Soviet armoured units penetrate the fleeing Axis forces and drive West, in some cases overtaking the fleeing defenders who are divided and placed out of supply in a number of small pockets. It remains to be seen whether the Axis can recover sufficiently to repeat the response to such penetrations that they achieved earlier on in the offensive when such impudent advances by the Soviets were constantly nipped off and eliminated. In general, the best ally of the Axis is the fact that they are falling back onto their supply lines while the Soviets with relatively limited number of rail engineers are exceeding theirs allowing a small breathing space for some sectors of the line.

Turn Report

Partisans: 4 rail strikes and an airfield hit are recorded this turn from partisan activity.

Finnish Front: Soviet attacks continue, and two tactically important hexes are captured. First in the Petsamo sector the mountain hex which dominates the harbour falls to a low odds attack and secondly in the Kautokeino sector the Soviets manage to turn the Axis line which was anchored on the lakes system to the south east of the city. Although the Soviet penetration is limited with no follow-up forces it threatens to split the Axis front in two.

Leningrad Front: The last of the fortified ring hexes north of Divina is captured.

In the Vitebsk sector strong mechanised forces with artillery and rocket support breach the river line running around the city and eliminate a fort to the east of Vitebsk advancing south over the river. From here all the way around the great arc of the retreating front line to the Moscow Highway the Soviets attack targets of opportunity; where possible selecting the mech units wallowing in the mud and stripped of their AECD.

Moscow Front: In the area west of Moscow Soviet mech and tank corps break through the fracturing Axis line and drive parallel to and south of the Moscow highway. Bypassing infantry and tank formations they pocket small groups desperately trying to move West.

From Bryansk to south-west of Kursk advancing Soviet forces butt up against the Axis fortified line. Where the Soviets are themselves now out of supply, they can do little to penetrate the line but their rail engineers are not far behind and any pause will be momentary.

Soviet Mech forces advance west parallel to the Moscow Highway

Stalingrad front: The advance continues across the open plain between Voronezh and Kharkov. The majority of the advancing Soviets are now out of supply so can only concentrate and attack a reduced number of hexes. Nevertheless, there will be few of the original Axis units which started the withdrawal two months ago who will reach the Kharkov line intact.

Air Combat: In a rare show of force 5 Axis Interceptors bypass an equal number of Soviet fighters to engage a flight of Assault bombers on a Harassment mission NE of Bryansk. The skies are completely cleared of intruders but at the cost of one ME109G as well a FW190A downed by a lucky defensive shot.

This turn the Soviets succeed in the following missions 1xDAS 1x GS, 7x 1Hit Harassments and 3x 2 Hit Harassments. These latter target fleeing troops aiming to reduce their retreat to a single hex each.

Combat Report

Attacks; Auto = 1 Diced = 21

Losses: Soviets = 20, Air = 4.

Axis = Forts = 6, German = 75, (including 2x Pz cadred, 2x Pzg cadred and 2x 4-2-10 pz reg.) Pos AA = 5., Air = 3.  Rumanian = 10, Eastern = 3.

Total Axis Loses = 88

Loss Ratio; Oct II ’43  Axis/Soviet =  88/20 = 4.4