Europa Games and Military History

Category: Game Reports (Page 1 of 96)

1944 JUL II Soviet Turn

Turn Report

Losses inflicted on the Axis forces this turn are unprecedented as the Axis Front in the Ukraine collapses completely and Soviet forces overwhelm troops who are too weak to resist or too slow to escape their onslaught.

Partisans: No activity

Arctic Front: (3 attacks) The Amphibious landings at Alta face fierce resistance from shore batteries and are forced to land further from the city than planned. The North-eastern most is displaced into its own advancing front line while the Southernmost force is forced onto a narrow peninsular 20 miles from the planned landing zone. (Ok, I confess, I missed the rule about no landings adjacent to enemy ports in planning. Decided to proceed anyway rather than scrap the landings as this adds some drama and is not an unprecedented occurrence)

On land the broad front advance along the coast road extending 100 miles inland continues and eliminates 3 more regiments/brigades.

Leningrad front: (8 attacks). In the north of this front the attack South of Konigsberg turns through 90° and drives directly South ripping a hole in the German lines. Recon elements of the 2th mech corps reach the outskirts of Danzig but are recalled as Soviet units, still respectfull of the striking power of the Panzers, take a more defensive stance. They content themselves with isolating a single hex of German front line. West of Lotzen a Panzer Grenadier and infantry cadre are eliminated and north of Bialystok a 14-10 Panzer is cardred by direct assault. Whilst this is damaging Axis forces are content that the main drive through the town has been stopped and that the isolated Soviet cardres have been abandoned and will surely be eliminated in August.

The Axis defends East Prussia

The Axis defends East Prussia

A weak infantry/police screen in front of Breast-Litovsk is no match for the advancing Soviet forces who eliminate them and advance another 16 miles towards the former fortress.

Moscow front (6 attacks): The retreat of German mechanised units last turn has exposed the few remaining pockets of infantry to encirclement and annihilation with four infantry divisions succumbing to attacks. In addition, and more distressing, the stack of two Panzer Divisions (14-10 and 13-10) trapped southwest of Kiev is annihilated. Only a thin intermittent screen of retreating Panzer divisions and Panzer grenadier units plus various police and security guards are left between the southern edge of the Pripet and the Rumanian border.

Stalingrad front (12 attacks): The high number of attacks is somewhat misleading as many of these against individual police units and cardres caught in the open by the advancing Soviet hoards. Many attacks are resolved without the use the dice as the high odds and surrounding ZOCs ensure elimination without chance of loss to the attacker.

The retreating units falling back on Odessa are surrounded but not quite isolated by Mech and Tank units driving South West and inserting themselves between Rumanian border and the remains of Army Group South. The trapped units are resentful of the Rumanian forces which simply watch from across the Bessarabian border. Urgent diplomatic missions are sent by Berlin to ensure the solidarity of the Axis Allies and ensure loyalty. At the same time secret Soviet overtures have been made to the Rumanians with a view to seeking early surrender. As a result, Soviet forces are ordered not to cross the border into the country until the Rumanian position is made clear. The Rumanians decide to remain loyal to the German allies but this could easily change when the Soviets cross the borders in force.

Army Group South collapses

Army Group South collapses

The Forgotten Front: On the sand spit in the Crimea the remining Rumanian cadre final succumbs to an attack from 3 Soviet divisions. There is no one left to award them any medals for their unprecedented resistance.

Air Combat: Little change from previous with minimal losses on both sides. The Soviets increasing numerical superiority on the ground however frees up aircraft for other duties and many Harassment missions are flow again this turn to restrict Axis retreats and reduce their ability to shift the panzers to combat the breakout south of Konigsberg.

Combat Report

Many records are broken this turn in respect of Soviet Overruns and Axis combat losses

Overruns = 13, Attacks = 29


Forts = 14 (8 incl abandoned)
German: Isolated = 58, Un-Isolated = 74, 1x pos AA, 1x Air, 1x Air on ground.
Rumanian: Isolated = 2, Un-Isolated = 4
Hungarian: Isolated = 14, Un-Isolated = 10
Eastern: Isolated = 7, Un-isolated = 4
Totals: Isolated = 81. Un-isolated = 92.  Total All Losses = 173

Soviet = 19, 2x Air

Combat Ratio Jul II ‘44: Axis/Soviet = 173/36 = 4.8

1944 JUL II Axis Turn

Narrative: Deserter!

Wilhelm fell back into his newly constructed shallow dugout on the edge of the wheat field. His dark sunken eyes, sallow face and dirt encrusted greatcoat cut a sorry figure. The bright-eyed idealistic youngster who had marched forth from his recruiting station and climbed aboard the train moving East two years earlier had long since gone. His National Socialist fervour, dedicated to the ideals of creating Lebensraum in the East for his Reich and Fuhrer, had since been burned to ash in the forge of war.  His spirit bent to breaking point by the hammer blows of the enemy on the anvil of his soul.

He was part of the 282nd infantry division and they had been mauled six weeks earlier at Kirovograd and had been falling back West ever since. They had been constantly harried from land and air by the enemy and suffered with erratic supplies of food and ammunition.

He settled back into his dug out for some shut eye but it seemed to his sleep deprived brain and exhausted body that only seconds later he was being tapped on the shoulder and told to take watch; and yet, in fact, he had had three hours of sleep.

“You’re up, Will.” “Second platoon reports signs of enemy activity so keep sharp”

As he looked out over the swaying wheat field through the early morning mist which would soon be burned off by the rising sun he thought he saw movement 500 yards ahead. At that instant the whistles blew and the golden wheat stalks were replaced by an equal number of brown clad soldiers. As if with one voice they issued a bloodcurdling cry and charged forward with, it appeared to Wilhelm, only one thing on their minds – his own personal destruction.

As they charged forward, as if on cue, three aircraft came screaming over their heads towards his position. The fighter bombers banked revealing red stars on their wings and the ground in front of him exploded as if a thousand raindrops were peppering the dry Ukrainian soil.

He was lifted skywards by an explosion and fell in a crumpled heap back into his foxhole covered with dirt, debris and the bodies of his comrades.

He lapsed into unconsciousness.

It must have been some hours later when he came back into the conscious world, a world of pain and destruction. He listened for a while, eyes closed shut until he was certain the chaos of battle had moved away and that the Russian “corpse prickers” had gone. The Russians were known not to bother with prisoners or the wounded.  He heard, silence, so he opened his eyes and heaved himself up out of the pit. As he did so the head of his closest friend rolled forward to his feet and the weight pressing on his chest was revealed to be the bent and lifeless body of a new recruit whose name he had never bothered to learn. Slick with entrails it slid off his own bloodstained jacket.

At that point something snapped in Wilhelm; the primitive part of his brain took complete control of his mind, body and soul and his only thought was to flee and to survive, regardless of his love of Fatherland regardless of the pledge to his Fuhrer and regardless of the consequences.

He travelled west, always west, as much as he could by night; hiding during the day. He avoided all forms of human contact, both enemy or ostensibly friendly, and lived off the land; taking hedgerow berries, stealing from the farms he came across and often eating the swill and animal feed as the safest option to avoid detection.

In the early morning of the fifth day just as the sun was rising over the horizon, he found a small shelter at a junction of four fields and, burying himself under a mound of straw, settled in for the day. He lapsed into exhausted sleep.

He was rudely awakened by a kick in the ribs and found himself being dragged backwards and upwards out of his shelter, then beaten back to the ground again. A cruel voice shouted, “What have we here” and then answering its own question “More deserter scum”. Wilhelm opened his eyes despite the large swelling and bruises inflicted by the beating and saw a black clad figure with red piping and shiny black boots standing before him; a coterie of brutish thugs by his side. Wilhelm as if on automatic pilot stood to attention as best he could and shouted his army number.

“Cowardly trash! you insult the glory of our armed forces by uttering your allegiance to it. Riffraff like you don’t deserve to be associated with the brave soldiers of the Reich.”

“Okay boys show him how we treat traitors to the Fatherland.” Fists and cudgels rained down on Wilhelm and he fell to the ground, cowering, his hands above his head in a vain attempt to ward off the savage, sadistic blows.

The beating seemed to continue forever until the captain called a halt to his torment. He turned to his Ukrainian henchmen. “Into the wagon with him, death would be too kind a punishment for filthy trash like this one”

Half an hour later they arrived at a makeshift camp where miserable groups of locals, captured enemy combatants and Germans such as himself had been assembled into work parties. The black clad captain jumped down from the cab and shouted to a lieutenant exiting a nearby hut. “Hey, Dieterich, I’ve got a live one for you”, “The boys have had some fun softening him up so he shouldn’t be too much trouble, I recon you’ll get a couple of weeks work out of him.”

Wilhelm was dragged over to one of the work parties – his life in the 560th penal battalion had just begun.

Turn Report

Weather- Clear

Army of Norway: The Soviet advances in the south force the whole perimeter to shrink a hex as the Axis decide to abandon the Lakselv/Kautokeino line and fall back towards Narvik for a last stand.

AGN: (1 attack) Draining manpower reserves to the last infantry and armour point replacements move in to stiffen the line in the north and reconnect Konigsberg to the rest of the Fatherland.

German armoured forces mass and attack the trapped Soviet Tank Army at Bialystok. Total destruction of the enemy is prevented by the NKVD unit bolstering the morale of the troops and two cardres remain. After heated discussion at Army Group headquarters it is decided to maintain the blockade and attempt to eliminate the rump next turn.

AGC: (No attacks) Army group centre is in tatters and has insufficient manpower to maintain a coherent front line. Infantry units struggle West as best they may to avoid being pocketed and isolated. Many reach a point of supply but will not survive a second blow from the enemy. Mobile units move further West to form a second intermittent line of defence and protect the airfields and small number of Engineer, infantry and Security troops et cetera which have made it to North-western Ukraine.

AGS: (No attacks) Army group South units stream West, many manage to infiltrate between the roving bands of Soviet tank formations in their rear and a defence of sorts coalesces in front of Odessa. (Trapping 2 enemy Tank xxxs). With truck support and sacrificial security units providing supply corridors the Army Group is placed back in supply, but many units are strung out and practically surrounded. In the face of the mass of advancing Soviet units they will have have little chance of surviving the next month of conflict.

Rumanian and Hungarian home defence forces mass at their borders to attempt to protect their homelands from the advancing Soviet tide.

Air Combat: A typical turn of interceptions and Elimination with honours pretty much even although the VVS suffer more Aborts. The different repair rates between the German and Soviet forces consistently means that the latter have a far lower percentage of active units fit for combat at any one time.

Combat Report

Attacks = 1.

Losses: Axis = 1x Air, Soviets = 17 (Isolated), 2x Air.

1944 JUL I Soviet Turn


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

1944 JUL I Axis Turn

Turn Report

Weather; Clear

The massive losses suffered last turn are made good by a flood of reinforcements and replacements and released Allied reserves. In all 90% of June’s losses are made good.  Most of the replacements are directed north.

Army of Norway: The perimeter steps back and plans are made to fall back rapidly toward the narrow neck of land between northern Sweden and the coast.

AGN: The Axis forces here face two parallel thrusts by Soviet forces.  A smaller thrust just south of Konigsberg and a larger thrust at Bialystok. The line falls back leaving the remains of the Kaunas pocket to their inevitable fate. Confident that the reinforcements and especially the new RAD unit are sufficient to hold the Northern attack OKW instructs a change of tactics in the south of the sector. Using their mobility and firepower the German Panzers, Panzer grenadiers and Nebelwherfer Corps strikes at the neck of the Soviet drive towards Bialystok and decapitates the Soviet advance.  Contrary to the previous hit and run attacks on Soviet Tanks the Germans with little space left to run decide to dig in and consolidate their victory. With the southern flank secured in Marsh and Forest and the north by a double row of resistance they reinforce the advance in exploitation and pour DAS onto the forward elements holding the ring around the isolated enemy Tank Army.  With 33 points on defence pure armour they hope this will be sufficient to resist any counter-attack the enemy can mount. Once secured and isolated they can then then deal with the pocket to finalize their victory and check this dangerous Soviet advance.

AGN Counter attack at Bialystok - the pincers clamp shut.

AGN Counter attack at Bialystok – the pincers clamp shut.

AGC: The front arches from Sarny to west of Korosten and thence to Zhitomir in a solid line

The line in the Pripet is rapidly dissolving as units fall back West with a lone infantry 5-7-6 XX holding the road north from Sarny.  West of Korosten German Tanks overrun a Foreign Contingent brigade isolating the infiltrating 5-6 infantry XX which is then eliminated, Isolated, in combat.

AGS: The line continues from Zhitomir and thence to the northern bend of the S Bug. South of Zhitomir full strength Panzer divisions are falling back West on alternate hexes having mauled a stack of Guards infantry.

In the far south troops flee West trying to avoid the roving enemy tanks in their rear. The troops are squeezed by infantry/artillery pressing down from all sides and the retreat is in danger of deteriorating into a rout!

Air Combat: The usual exchanges result in a Ju88A and Yak7B (Guards) exchange as the Soviets learning the lessons of previous turns use their airpower to place DAS on their leading armoured units.

Combat Report

Attacks = 3.

Losses: Axis = 0.
Soviet = 27 (un-isolated), 3 (Isolated), Air = 1

Axis = 1 Air.

1944 JUN II Soviet Turn

Narrative: The Beginning of the End

OKW headquarters is a flurry of frantic activity, the crackle of radio messages, the hurried footsteps of telegraph operators running to and fro and the clatter of Enigma machines issuing their cryptic messages is deafening.  Reports are flowing in thick and fast from the field, each one bringing news of more defeats and disasters.

“Sir, From AGN, General Grasser reports 329th division and the remains of 30th and 602th are isolated in the Kaunas pocket. Strong Soviet forces reported 50 miles East of Insterburg. 20th SS has been heavily engaged by the enemy and is now retreating towards the Konigsberg fortified perimeter.”

Another radio operator bursts into the room. “General I cannot understand this report, not yet verified, but 2nd Police Regiment at Bialystok reports that their patrols have encountered Soviet tanks to their south WEST. “

“Have we news from Army Group Centre?”

35th infantry division who is holding the crossroads North of Sarny advises that they have lost contact with 3rd Panzer Grenadiers who were holding to their north and Army Group Centre units to their south, and there’s this”;

The commander is passed a tickertape.  BEGIN: Kiev lost. STOP. Survivors 262 inf retreating SW. MESSAGE ENDS.

A frazzled radio operator thrusts a transcript to the Commanders still outstretched hand. He throws it back at him and snaps.  “I do not have not the time to read this – give me a summary”.  “Sir, report in from AGS: “14th Panzer isolated at Kirovograd, 2nd Parachute Division reports they are cut off by strong Soviet mobile forces in their rear”, but sir weren’t they in reserve 40 miles behind the Hungarian front lines?

Turn Report

Partisans – No targets so no activity.

Arctic front: (3 attacks). The attack is resumed against Lakelva and this time is successful in taking the city. 30 miles north a second assault eliminates an enemy regiment and the advance isolates a third.  However, an attack at Varo to remove the garrison fails.

Leningrad Front: An Artillery/Infantry assault directly to Konigsberg shatters the 20th SS infantry division. Simultaneously the isolated Guards mechanised Corps is reunited with its comrades driving to the West simultaneously isolating an infantry division and two cadres.

Most Soviet mechanised units are concentrated for a direct drive through towards Bialystok. The duel thrust reduces two infantry divisions to cardres one of which is overrun in exploitation as the Soviet advance reaches the south-western suburbs of the city.

On the northern fringes of the Pripet an SS infantry and cavalry division are both carded by infantry/ artillery assaults. The centre of the marches is quiet as Soviet troops battle as much against the terrain as the opposition in reaching the front line in force.

Moscow Front; The Axis defence is now so porous that a single Guards Infantry Division with a Foreign Contingent Brigade’s assistance penetrates the line north of Kiev and engages a 1-5 security regiment which is eliminated and allows the Guards an additional 16-mile advance West.

The Soviets prepare a massive infantry/artillery assault against Kiev which is now surrounded on five sides. Copious assault engineer brigades lead the charge and the city is taken on the first attempt with a DR result. The remaining defending division is carded as it retreats through the attacker’s ZOCs.

AGC cannot stop the Red Tide

AGC cannot stop the Red Tide

Stalingrad Front: The swirling battles around the Cherkassy bridgehead are finally resolved in the Soviet’s favour as they breakthrough just east of Kirovograd and swing west. Here their forward patrols meet their counterparts from the Mechanized/Tank Army driving north from the bridgehead over the southern Dnieper. This move isolates approximately half the remaining Hungarian army stationed in Soviet territory which occupies a line orientated north-south 30 miles to the East of Kirovograd.

In this move the Soviets have finally accomplished the objectives of the Moscow Front, but the bag of enemy troops is tiny in proportion to those hoped-for in the heady days of March when it appeared that the bulk of Army Group South could be trapped in the Dnieper River bend. That the final result is so pitiful compared to their hopes is a tribute to the fierce and determined counter-attacks by the German armour and the battles for the Cherkassy bridgehead which have raged for three months and have allowed the bulk of the Axis forces to fight in full supply. Indeed, without the southern breach of the river it is possible the vast bulk of the Axis troops could have been withdrawn – except of course those slaughtered on the long, dusty, roads to the West.

The trap is sprung in the south

The trap is sprung in the south

Air Combat: The Soviets decide to learn from their adversaries and add large amounts of DAS over their forward elements rather than using the Assault bombers to destroy infrastructure of /harass the enemy.

The Luftwaffe, however, is still a force to be reckoned with and they concentrate in force against key hexes where they are most keen to minimise the Soviet advance and where they may be able to counterattack. Accordingly, fewer, larger air battles are fought.

The Soviets attempt to increase the odds for their vital breakout attempt from the bridgehead over the southern bend of the Dnieper 65 miles East of Kherson. 7xPe2FTs, A20-G and an Il-2m3 with 5 escorts are engaged by 3 FW190s, a Ju88c and Me109G.

Ignoring the Escorts, the Interceptors target the A20 and 4 of the Pe2FTs achieving 1 Kill and 2 Aborts for the loss of the JU88C. With no AA fire the Soviets deliver 17 points to support the troops on the ground (they needed 8). By contrast the attacker’s AA Returns the Ju88A defender so the final attack is resolved at 6:1 (+3) and smashes the Hungarian defenders.

In another encounter a Pe2B, Pe2FT, and a A20B escorted by a Yak7B and Yak9D are intercepted by 2x ME109Gs, a Ju88C, Me210C and a pair of FW190As. The Fokker Wolfs take on the Escorts allowing the weaker interceptors to engage the bombers.  The Yak9D is Aborted, the 7B Returned as are all the Bombers but lucky defensive fire from one of the bombers Aborts the Ju88C.

Combat Report

Attacks = 27 including 3 Auto eliminations. In addition 7 overruns eliminate 8 units and some Pos AA this turn.

Soviets = 23,
Air = 4

Forts= 7
German Isolated = 14
Un-isolated = 87
Pos AA=8
Air = 3

Hungarian = 13
Eastern = 6.

Total Axis = 120!

Combat Ratio: Axis/Soviets = 135/68 = 1.98

1944 JUN II Axis Turn

Weather Roll: Clear throughout the Front.

Another SS panzer withdrawn from the north this turn.

Army of Norway: The line shrinks again slightly and the Mtn XX withdraws to Alta and prepares to embark for the main front.

AGN: Germans start this turn with four infantry divisions and a Panzer division together with five REs of supporting units trapped in a line extending as far east as Kaunas. They also face a significant drive by Soviet forces towards Bialystok.  Despite these multiple threats only one attack can be mounted this turn and the decision is taken to drive east from the region of Konigsberg to break through to the surrounded troops in the Kaunas Pocket.  The attack is mounted with whatever panzers can be scoured from front lines together with the Nebelwerfer Corps. The surrounded 14-10 Panzer strikes West to link with the rescuers. The attack is successful annihilating a 15-12-8/3-2-8 combination but this comes at the cost of an SS Panzer Grenadier cadre/AA Regiment.

After the battle panzers dispersed back to the front lines but whole sections sectors are now held by cardres and secondary troops. Against better judgement but as a necessary expediency the Nebelwerfer Corps is split up and some units put in the front line.

AGC. In the north of the sector the 1st SS Mot Inf Brigade reports that they have lost contact with AGN units on the left flank and begin falling back southwest. The attack pattern of AGN is repeated here where Army Group Centre can only mount one significant attack against the Soviet advance from the direction of Kiev. Initially the surrounded pair of Panzer Grenadiers and light infantry division move one hex west and are sufficient to eliminate the NKVD regiment which is patrolling and interfering with supply lines. Next the main attack is launched towards the advance unit of the Soviet penetration, a 16-8 Gds Mech XXX, which is attempting to hook east and south around Kiev. The attack annihilates the enemy. As in the North this victory comes at a cost; with a half exchange resulting in the loss of a 6-8 Panzer cadre and 2-10 AA unit.

AGS: This Army Group also mounts only one attack, a target of opportunity against one of the Soviet tank Corps driving southwards from Cherkassy. In this they are more successful cadreing the 15-12-8 for no loss.

Outside the main battle area troops are desperately fleeing West to escape the impending jaws closing from the north and the bridgehead over the Dnieper in the South. This latter is contained only by an Hungarian division and cadre barring the way of the Soviet advance. The bridgehead is further East than the attempted crossing at Kherson and poses less of a threat to the retreating units but nevertheless a breakout from this position could cause serious problems for the Axis units in the South.

Air Combat: A few large battles occur this turn as the Axis fly GS to support their attacks and are intercepted by Soviet fighters.  In one around Kiev a mixed flight of 3x Ju88A, 1x Me110E, escorted by 3x Me109G and a FW190A is intercepted by a Yak9B, Yak9 and a P-39N.  The Yak 9 is Eliminated, the P39-N Aborted and the Yak9B Returned. No interceptors reach their targets although the Me 110E is Returned by AA fire. Despite this there is enough GS to influence the battle and result in the destruction of the defending 16-8 Mech Corps.

Combat Report

Attacks = 4

Losses: Abandoned Forts = 15, Axis = 15, Air = 1.

Soviets = 45, Air = 2.

1944 JUN I Soviet Turn

Narrative: A time to drive, a time to die?

STAKA while pleased with the relief bought by the transfer of Panzers to the new Western Front opened up by the Allied landing in Normandy realises that it is now a two-horse race to Berlin and orders the Leningrad Front to drive West with all speed. This is not entirely without operational consideration because most Axis transfers have been from this sector and the swirling tank battles at Cherkassy together with the breakout north of Kiev assure them that no support for their enemy will be coming from the south.  The multiple holes made in the enemy lines also offer up the possibility of wholesale isolation of numerous enemy divisions and will stretch the ability of the Axis to counterattack all breaches. The Soviet calculation is that they will lose no more than one Mobile corps in any riposte, a price they deem acceptable for the territory gained and the promise of further enemy losses as the noose tightens around the surrounded troops in their struggle to escape the net closing around them.  Meanwhile in the south the Tankers at Cherkassy continue to be stuck in the mire of German defensive moves and counterattacks and make little progress.

Turn Report

Partisans: No targets

Arctic front: (2 attacks) The fleet is now supplemented by a number of River Transports who have been wintering south of the A line and now ferry RPs and reinforcements forward. Two attacks are mounted in this theatre. In the first Lakelva again denies the Soviets entry (NE) while a secondary mop up operation mounted against the by-passed coastal towns results in the capture of Vadso.

Leningrad Front: The Soviets launch 5 attacks against the German perimeter, the central section escaping simply due to the precipitous retreat providing no targets reachable in mass. Still along the north facing line between Konigsberg and Kaunas 3 successful attacks produce two breakthroughs. A third division is eliminated but the attackers do not have enough strength to overrun the resulting cadre. The holes are exploited resulting in a ZOC pocket containing 1x Pz xx, 5x infantry xx, 5 regiments/cadres of various kinds. Here the Germans faced a dilemma, do they retreat a cadre into the open to certain death by overrun while limiting the Soviet advance, or onto a nearby cavalry unit, safe from overrun but leaving a two-hex route of advance for the Soviets. They decide on self-preservation but the breakthrough immediately south of Kaunas makes them question the wisdom of this move; allowing as it does for their troops to be surrounded.

On the eastern facing section, the powerful drive towards Bialystok pushes a further 30 miles due West and in exploitation overruns a cadre and security unit.

The Soviet offensive into East Prussia

The Soviet offensive into East Prussia

Within the Pripet the Soviets press the loose line of units guarding the swamps, there are limited ZOCs here and only the harsh terrain prevents the Soviets from penetrating the line.

Moscow Front: (10 attacks) North of Kiev the 15-8 mech unit reunited and reinforced leads the charge driving west from the bridgehead. In exploitation the mechanized forces consider whether to fan out westwards overrunning security units and occupying small cities. The experience of the 1943 breakouts prove that even wounded the Germans are capable of great concentrations of force and the mechanized units decide instead to limit their advances and maintain contact with their supply lines. They split; one moves one hex north and the other one hex south. A bolder NKVD regiment breaks through the marshlands to the north and hooks south. It places itself between its own lines and the unit moving north from Kiev and becomes the last link in a ZOC ring around 2x PxG xxs and a fortified 6-8 lt inf xx who are now isolated.

An infantry stack adjacent to Kiev attacks the clear hex west of the city which after the advance is now surrounded on 5 sides. This advance links with the exploitation to the north sealing a 14-10 pz xx, a pz cadre and 2x inf cadres in a second ZOC’d pocket.

At Cherkassy the swirling tank battle continues with the Soviets turning through 180 degrees and attacking the ring isolating them. In this they are helped by new forces attacking over the river and from the established bridgehead. They easily clear the Pz and PzG cadres occupying the crossing. This sacrifice by the Germans does however limit their advance this turn and after all combats and exploitations the leading edge of the Soviet advance is no further to its objective than a fortnight ago. In secondary actions at the southern edge of the bridgehead a fortified 5-7-6 inf xx is trapped against the river and completely surrounded.

Tank battle at Cherkassy

Tank battle at Cherkassy

Stalingrad Front: (5 attacks) At the easternmost limit of the Axis forces infantry attacks continue to harry the retreating foe.

A factory in Berlin is brought on stream to mint a vast quantity of Iron Crosses for the defenders of Kherson who once again beat off a massed attack by tank and mech corps, artillery and infantry/cavalry as the Soviets strive to gain a foothold over the southern sweep of the Dnieper to pincer the forces remaining in the river bend.

A secondary attack is successful in a 3-hex attack to the east but the defending Hungarian 5-6 infantry division retreats in good order. The fort is lost but the Soviets gains no exploitation opportunities.

Air Combat: A few GS missions are executed and two Harassment missions in the north seek to limit the retreat of forces just outside the northern Pripet.  The Soviets try to pressure the Luftwaffe by launching a series of raids on airfields by fighters. They are met in the sky by FW190s in large quantities and come off badly.

In the south there are few aircraft left over after most aid the ill-fated attack on Kherson but some attempt rail hits and are mauled by interceptors. The total tally in the air this turn is 5 Soviets losses for 2 Luftwaffe and one Rumanian loss.

Combat Report

Attacks = 22 (including one auto elimination), 8 overruns (2 in initial, 6 in exploitation).

Soviet = 23, Foreign Contingents = 2, Air = 5

Forts = 14 (including abandoned), 1 Res pt;
German = 57,
Pos AA = 5,
Air = 2,
Garrison = 1 x 4pt.

Hungarian = 13,
ET = 1,
Rumanian = 1 Air.

Axis = 71,
Soviets = 25,
Loss Ratio Axis/Sov = 23/71 = 0.35


1944 JUN I Axis Turn

Turn Report

3 pockets formed this turn with a total of 10 divisions and 9 cadres/regiments Isolated.

Weather Roll: No change so Mud in A and Clear elsewhere.

True to Mr Churchills vow the Allies land in Normandy this month which requires the withdrawal of a Panzer xx and cadre and other much needed troops that are pulled from the north.

Army of Norway: The line shrinks back again as the German forces consider if they should abandon their current perimeter entirely and falling back SW to free up troops for the main front so desperate is the situation there.

AGN: Two attacks are mounted again in this sector. Neither have any strategic import but are attacks of opportunity. The first is disappointing simply retreating an infantry stack. The second is more effective cadreing two Guards rifle divisions and a14-6 and 9-6 Artillery division but the unlucky HX cadres a 14-10 panzer division in a costly exchange.

In exploitation the German panzers move 65 miles west to join the infantry line of rebuilt and fresh units rushed to the front; away from Soviet artillery and to better terrain/their fortified line.

AGC: The line steadily retreats though the Pripet giving up the Eastern marshlands and covering main roads and junctions against any Soviet breakthrough. North of Kiev they contain the retracted Soviet advance content that their last turn attack forced the enemy to retrench but in doing so two forts are abandoned.

AGS: There is more need for strategic direction here as panzers, panzer grenadiers and other mobile elements mass to attack the body of the Soviet tank corps snaking towards Kirovograd. A successful attack eliminates a 15-12-8 and 3-2-8 tank unit combo and severs thee more corps from the main body of Soviet forces.

The Axis units trapped in the pocket at U1 attack north and recapture the Soviet crossing and Cherkassy town making reinforcement more difficult for the Soviets and at the same time extending their own supply East but this is a tentative reoccupation and a temporary one.

Axis attacks against the Cherkassy breakout

Axis attacks against the Cherkassy breakout

This success however is too late to stop the shaky, mainly Hungarian, infantry in the easternmost part of the Dnieper bend who, against the standfast order of OKW, flee west.

Trucks move to link the easternmost Axis units to the Odessa Supply net so all Axis will be at full supply at the start of the Soviet turn.

Air Combats. All Luftwaffe and Axis air units go on DAS missions. Now the bulk of the Soviet forward airbases are operational there are numerous encounters across the front. After all air combat is executed and tallied the Axis come out slightly on top with 2 Eliminations each but 3 Aborts on the Soviets and 2 on the Axis.

Combat Report

Combats = 4

Soviets = 50, Air = 2
Axis: German = 12, Air = 2

1944 MAY II Soviet Turn

Turn Report

Agony and ecstasy on the Dnieper.

This turn brings the long-awaited Soviet breakout from the Cherkassy bridgehead on the North bank of the Dnieper but in a cruel twist of fate typical of the vagaries of war a matching attack from the south through Kherson delivers unmitigated disaster to the attackers and threatens to sets back the Soviet cause by at least a month and to allow Axis forces to flee West.

Partisans: With Axis security forces guarding all rail lines, cities and airfields in the German rear areas partisan groups make their way back though the lines to bolster the troops, or dissolve away back to their farms and dachas.

Due to extra burden the Cherkassy Operation is putting on the Administrative and Staff officers the boundary of the Moscow front is moved south. With the Gomel parallel as the northern boundary and moving the boundary with Stalingrad Front south East 50 miles to include the secondary breakout south of Cherkassy and enable better co-ordination with the main assault.

Arctic front: Two attacks are mounted in this theatre both ineffective. The attack on Lakelva results in a retreat, that at Kautokeino a stalemate.

Leningrad Front: The slow grind continues with 7 attacks. 4 result in DRs, one DE which annihilates a ZOC’d 5-7-6 and a DH and HX. Kaunas is liberated. Mech units consider exploiting through one breach but the presence of powerful panzer divisions and the feared Nebelwerfer Corps persuades them that discretion is, for the moment at least, the better part of valour.

SW of Minsk the secondary road and lack of effective ZOC control by the German defenders allows two Mech Corps to move West rapidly overrunning, in exploitation, the cadre created by their attack on a 5-7-6 inf XX. However they then pull back and consolidate rather than press forward.

Moscow Front: (7 attacks) North of Kiev the isolated 15-8 mech unit desperately attacks back towards the Soviet lines aided by the units he was separated from and reduces to cadre the 11-10pz xx barring the way. Adjacent to that the fortified hex immediately north of Kiev is reduced and occupied, widening the breach. The Mech unit examines the possibility of moving deeper into enemy territory but cowed by the German panzers the 15-8 re-joins the main body of Soviet forces.

At Cherkassy the tip of the advance tackles the 9-10 Rumanian panzer xx. The ½ ATEC of the Rumanians is no match for three 15-12-8s and support units and it caves and its cadre retreats. The cadre is overrun in exploitation and the Soviet tankers form a solid wall from Cherkassy to the outskirts of Kirovograd

In order to strengthen their position, the breach is widened by one hex to the north and a further fort removed from the map together with the 4-6-6 occupant but it does not go all their way for a second hex repels the attackers.

To minimise the risk of a pincer attack against the breakthrough the bridgehead 50 miles south masses and smashes through the German ring holding it against the river where another 4-6-6 meets its end. The exploiting units consider various options but in the end swing in north in a tight loop to hug the units holding the river and form a  ZOC ring with their comrades in the north, isolating 3TK (18-10 ss pz xx),  the Hungarian 7-10 pz xx, a 5-7-6/1-8AT and a 6-8 pz cdre/4-8 Mech panzer.

Breakout from Cherkassy

Breakout from Cherkassy

Stalingrad Front: (6 attacks) Dnipropetrovsk is assaulted in a massive set piece attack involving Artillery, Combat Engineers and infantry. It falls to the 8:1(-1) attack which eases out the 5-7-6 defender and catches two Me109Gs on the ground.

Around the bend and south side of the river three attacks are mounted by Stalingrad Front forces. At the south-eastern tip a Rumanian 4-6 is eliminated and the river crossed but with infantry only no exploitation is possible. An adjacent attack fails to make any progress and the attack is abandoned (NE).

A third cross-river attack is launched approximately 60 miles East of Kherson this time with armoured assistance. However the attack is repulsed with ease by the Hungarian defenders (AR).

The third assault is a direct assault on Kherson. The attack is at low odds requiring air cover. Problems start on the ground where units fail to reach their jump off points due to stretched supply lines and difficulties navigating the marshy terrain adjacent to the river. Then as if the fates are against them some Soviet aircraft fail to reach the attack zone. With no effective enemy activity, it seems this will still allow the attack to continue but the city is defended by 3 AA points which deliver withering, well targeted and deadly fire against the GS bombers. Fully 1/3rd are removed from the strike. The final 2:1 (-1) odds is less than planned for and the resulting low dice roll seals the fate of half the attacking force. The carnage results in the single highest losses in a Soviet attack of the war. 3 Guards Cavalry Divisions, 2 Guards Infantry, a 13-8 Mech, a 9-6 artillery and numerous support troops lie reduced to cadres or eliminated. A full 50.5 points loss requirement. It is doubtful that the attack can be repeated next turn because there are few replacement troops of that calibre in range. Not only is the loss of troops a blow but had the attack succeeded in capturing Kherson and eliminating the defenders the route would have been open to exploit north sealing the fate of all Axis troops in the Dnieper bend. But this was not to be.

In a pitiful side show compared to the attacks further north in the Crimea the 4-8 Rumanian occupying the sandbar is attacked and retreats north. This will allow the Soviets uninterrupted passage from Kerch.

Air combat: The Soviets suffer badly in the various GS assists and 6 aircraft are lost for none of the enemy. The only consolation is the failure of two Me109gs to escape the capture of Dnipropetrovsk which sends them straight to the Remnant pile.

Combat Report

Attacks: 22 (including 1 Auto)

Soviets: 43, 6 x Air

Forts (including abandoned) = 9
German = 5 (Isolated), 35 (Non-isolated), 10 pos AA =2
Air (on ground) = 2
Rumanian = 13.
Total = 53

Combat Ratio: May II ’44 Sov/Axis = 53/79 = 1,5

1944 MAY II Axis Turn

Turn Report

The Axis response to the Soviet breakthroughs is rapid and decisive with 4 attacks against the major incursions over the river defences or where the Soviets have stuck their necks too far out. The Axis aim to contain or sever the heads from the body of the beast.

Weather Roll: No change so Mud in A and Clear elsewhere.

Army of Norway: The line contracts and moves north one hex along the southern perimeter; Kautokeino is now on the front line.

The situation in the south either side of Kiev in the Axis May II ’44 Initial phase

The situation in the south either side of Kiev in the Axis May II ’44 Initial phase

AGN: Two attacks are mounted in this sector. This army group enjoys the services of the Nebelwerfer Corps which adds a full 22 attack points of AEC Neutral firepower to any armoured attack. They add their strength to an attack against the infantry corps which has crossed the river between Wilno and Kaunas. The defenders are forced to retreat and being surrounded by ZOCs are eliminated. 3×1-6 Guards Infantry Corps cadres being all that remains from this fully stacked force.

Further east the second attack in this sector is against the vanguard of the Soviet penetration West of Minsk where an 11-8 Mech Corps is retreated and again, being surrounded, is forced to cadre.

AGC: Army group centre concentrates its counterattack against the three hex penetration North of Kiev. They strike at the centre of the line of advance completely eliminating 14-8 Guards mechanised unit. A critical component of this attack is that the Guards A20-G DAS unit is aborted by well-aimed anti-aircraft fire from the attackers increasing the odds from the planned 4:1(-1) to a 5:1(-1) attack.

The situation north of Kiev after Axis Exploitation May II ‘44

The situation north of Kiev after Axis Exploitation May II ‘44

Encouraged by the reports of successes to their north Army Group South tries a similar attack against the breakout from Cherkassy attacking a 15-12-8 Guards Tank Corps and its supporting Tank Battalion and 5-8 Cadre. But to their dismay the attack fails to make any headway against the solid wall of Soviet tanks, and they are forced to call off the attack with no result. They desperately redeploy in exploitation to cover the elongated penetration of their lines and contain any Soviet breakout.

All units in the Crimea sector now move North of the Dnieper River abandoning the Fort line linking the South bank to the neck of the Crimean Peninsula. In this they were unnerved by the German infantry division’s forced retreat from part of the fortified line earlier in the month.  Because the peninsular is now evacuated and they are being pressed from the East there seems little point in remaining South of the river.

Air Combat: As reported north of Kiev exchanges of fire between DAS and ground force AA changes the odds to the favour of the attackers. Elsewhere exchanges of fire between DAS and Soviet Interceptors results in both sides suffering two casualties each.

Combat Report

Attacks = 4

Axis = 2 x Air
Soviets = 36, 2x Air.

« Older posts