This situation has gone from stable to disastrous in a matter of just one turn. Not only have the Axis blown apart my defensive lines, but a German naval squadron (!) is blocking the supply route from the Russian ports to the south. Unless I can break the blockade, while simultaneously transporting the 2nd Guards into the port of Murmansk, the city and valuable supply port will be in Axis hands by next turn. I’m not confident right now. Not at all. I’m not even sure that at this point, a rescue effort it worth the risk. What if the 2nd Guards can’t make it there in time, but get stranded at sea with roving German ships? What if the Guards do arrive, but are trapped and squeezed into surrender before firing a shot? Would the Guards be better used to launch an offensive into Finland, or concentrate elsewhere on the Russian Front?
For a few turns now, I’ve built up some strength in the southern arm of the Astrakhan bulge. However, with the loss of Grozny, and the need for help elsewhere on the front, I’m not going to renew the offensive that was started with OPERATION: WATERFALL. The 3rd Guards and 2nd Gds Tank Armies were railed here in case of an attack. Now they are going to be sent to a different sector in the north, where I’m hoping to force the Germans to battle in the open plains.
Was that a glider division I just saw pass overhead? Yes, it seems Mark is getting bold now, sending an airborne operation into the rear area of my Grozny defenses. I’m not sure what he’s expecting to accomplish, but I imagine it won’t last long with little supply and a few decent rear-guard units roaming about. Aside from that little show, the Grozny situation is kind of like cancer. You can slow it down, but it never really goes away. The Germans are slowly eating away at the armies I once had defending the city. Though they are still strong enough to prevent a sweeping breakthrough to Baku, it’s not an improving situation by any means. I’m going to soon have to consider moving some units back to form a new defensive line, before allowing the Germans access to more real estate.
The V Corps is close, but not in battle formation. Much of the II Corps is finally getting some resupply, but they are still very low on the readiness scale. Once the rail line to Algiers is repaired, I can transport the I Canadian Corps by train to the Tunis sector. That will eliminate any attrition that would normally occur by marching/driving that long distance. Fresh, well-rested men and armor should have little trouble bagging the final Axis redoubt in North Africa.