The Soviet manpower pool dried up some months ago, but they continue to grow relatively stronger compared to their foes due to their ability to maintain around the 2 to 1 kill Ratio. In armoured and artillery fire power likewise, the prodigious replacement rate of their factories now churn out 12 armoured points per turn and yet this is challenged by the erosion of their armoured force over recent months by the Axis’ hit and run tactics.

Against this background despite Axis Reinforcements and Replacements the rout of Army Group South reaches a crescendo and even the most optimistic analysis will inevitably conclude that the chance of significant Axis forces escaping the Soviet claws which rip into the German lines this turn will be slim indeed.

Turn Report

Partisans: Most have now been absorbed into rear area security and engineer battalions or have gone home to their dachas and farms as there is little Soviet territory left and all is occupied and patrolled by Axis Security, Police and SS units roving the countryside capturing anyone bearing arms or deserters who are dealt with by summary execution.

Artic Front: (3 attacks) With ample Naval Transport capacity in the North RPs are in plentiful supply. Furthermore, General Supplies are landed on Beaches and captured Ports to enable the coastal attacks to go in at full strength fuelling a new drive to Narvik.

Air, Sea and land forces combine to pummel the German anchor on the coast and turn the northern end of the line. A second attack 30 miles north succeeds in piercing the line and isolating a third regiment. In Murmansk Marines plan an amphibious landing at Alta to try and block any German move down the coast.

Coastal transports also provide the assault troops with copious amounts of resource points so a low odds attack with only a with only a 50/50 chance of success is launched against the isolated Port garrison at Vardo. A 3-6 infantry division and 1-8 ski unit is exchanged for the capture of the port completing the Soviet clean-up of their rear areas.

Leningrad Front: (8 attacks). The last attack in the North which eliminated two corps and isolated two others has completely taken the momentum away from the southern thrust toward Bialystok. The northern thrust has also been weakened but is still viable against the thinning Axis defence. It is clear that the Soviets need to concentrate to breakthrough to their isolated comrades whilst at the same time maintaining momentum in the North. Accordingly, therefore they concentrate their armour capable units in these two sectors.  The northern attack succeeds eliminating the first RAD unit before the concrete has set! and the resulting advance isolates Konigsberg and the fortified defensive complex around it. The attack against the German defensive ring surrounding the isolated Tank Army goes in at 4:1 (-1), only viable due to the 1-8 NKVD unit in the pocket which prevents retreat in the event of an AR. Although the Soviets are spared a bounce-off they fail to make progress by rolling a NE.  Elsewhere infantry and artillery attacks hit targets of opportunity along the line, one of which is the cardreing of a 12-10 SS panzer grenadier division.

Moscow Front: (8 attacks) The Division north of Sarna is cadred and slowly advancing infantry penetrate the line in the Pripet and isolate a pair of 5-7-6 divisions.

To the west of Kiev a light division is carded as is a 5-7-6 inf XX.  Further south where the line is held by Panzers a 13-10 pz is herded onto a neighbouring 14-10. Unfortunately for the attackers a crucial associated attack attempting to smash a 54-mile-wide hole in the line meets stubborn resistance where a 5-7-6 xx refuses to fold and a major breakthrough is compromised.

Moscow front accepts the transfer of  five armoured/mech corps transferred from the Stalingrad front who have marched around the enemy’s Western bulge and passed through the rear of their own drive SW to join their comrades in a direct thrust towards Lvov. Although the exploitation is limited by the unexpected resistance of the German infantry division in their path they nevertheless manage to infiltrate past and also past the panzers in reserve further West. They reinforce the combat veterans from Kiev and in total they isolate two infantry divisions and three Panzer divisions and ensure that any counter-attack of their advanced units will be weak and disorganised.

The remaining units who have driven SW from Cherkassy continue their mission to isolate AGS by bouncing a fortified cadre stack defending the South Bug River and exploit into the rear of the mixed ethnic bag of Army Group South units fleeing West. Advanced armour reaches within 30 miles of Odessa and the Bessarabian border watched with alarm by the Rumanians guarding their newly won Eastern territories. This move places the majority of AGS units out of supply. This is a bold move with single stacked Tank units and some cadre/tank brigade/mot artillery stack combinations but the likelihood of any significant German counter-attack is remote and the risk is considered worth the gain.

Stalingrad Front: With most of armoured assets transferred to the north the infantry assault continues eliminating a number of stacks caught between the previous armoured envelopment and advancing infantry and artillery which is now pressing down from all sides on a deflating sack of units. In total 8 attacks are launched along the perimeter including two automatic eliminations of isolated, fortified Hungarian divisions still holding on along the south Dnieper bend.

Air War: A number of battles take place across the front as DAS is applied to forward elements and Harassment placed on enemy units to further limit their mobility. In one engagement a flight comprising a Pe2, a P39Q and a pair of Pe2Bs is escorted by 5x Yak9s and is engaged by 3x Me109Gs and 3x Fw190As. The interceptors bypass the screen and the Yak9s attempt to pick up some Fw190 Kills. They fail and the Luftwaffe Kills one bomber, Aborts one and Returns the rest. This is a somewhat pyric victory however as the likelihood of any attack being mounted against a Tank Corps, even one stripped of air cover, is slim.

Combat Report

Attacks = 27.  Overruns =3.

Losses: Soviets = 26, FC = 1, Air = 1.

Forts = 7, RAD = 1, Garrison = 1 (4pt)
German; Isolated = 10. Un-isolated = 68;
Hungarian; Isolated = 9, Un-isolated = 8,
Total = 95

Loss Ratio Jul I 1944. Axis/soviet = 95/54 = 1.76