The Germans have renewed their push to capture this vital Lend Lease port, with early success. It won’t be so easy, however, to just waltz into the city. I’m planning on shipping an entire Shock or Guards army up to fortify the defense, in cooperation with a demonstration in the southern portion of Finland.
The city has fallen with a clap of thunder. Mark even said he didn’t expect to capture Grozny in one turn, but that’s what he did, going for broke and attacking directly into the city. The original German plan was to capture the adjacent hexes to cut the defenses in two. But that was tough sledding. Now I’m left to scramble the defenses and plan my next move. The next likely Axis target is T’Bilisi, then Baku. But both are very tough to get to, compared to Grozny, which was in a terrible defensive position. I’m probably going to stay put next to Grozny, in order to keep the Germans guessing and prepared for a counter offensive. Of course, that’s unlikely to happen here, but you never know. Northwest of Grozny, I’ve spotted at least two airborne/airlanding divisions resting on airfield hexes.
Sector: Libya-Tobruk - OPERATION TURNPIKE
The battle is moving west, as Rommel is making a run for it to Tobruk and mainland Europe. The Italians are fighting to cover the withdrawal, aided by the remaining German units. Much of the DAK is trying to get to the port, which I briefly blocked with the Royal Navy and Allied naval squadrons. The Italian Navy sortied into the area, knocking out two battleships and at least a few cruisers. It was a rough loss for the RN, but not one that can’t be absorbed in th end. Now that I know where the Italian squadron is (in Tobruk, protecting the troop transports), I can order a naval air attack on the big boats.
Approaching the border was slower than expected, as the 51st Italian Division held Phillipeville for two full turns before the V Corps overwhelmed the fortified town. The 2nd Armored rolled toward the border, with the V Corps recon screening the southern flank. Farther south, the British II Corps is approaching Tebessa and Kessarine Pass, where at least two Italian divisions, and a mechanized German division are digging in. I’m not concerned with dislodging the Axis units down here. Rather, my goal is to capture Tunis as quickly as possible. The British 1st Airborne Division is resting and ready at the Algiers airfields, and will likely see its first action in the next few turns. OPERATION: TORCH has been a success.