The mud season has begun, with Shock falling to 50 percent for both sides. This will hamper my ability to stage any counterattacks in the trouble zones. However, I was in no position to do any sort of offensive actions, so this reprieve comes at the perfect time.
Active assaults have ceased, but I’ve committed the 68th Army into battle along the right flank of the salient. This is to shore up the gains made in that section, where a hex sat empty between the lines. With the arrival of the 5th Guards Army at the airfields and rail junctions east of Yelets, I can now begin the plans for OPERATION: MEGAPHONE II, which will incorporate a much larger paradrop and ground offensive. This operation will have to be more carefully planned than the failed MEGAPHONE I, particularly with the buildup of German reinforcements in the area. However, I believe it can work if the timing is right and all the forces are in place.
Sector: Black Sea Coast
The 40th Army and 10th Guards Op Group are now hastily forming a defensive line, using the muddy ground as a buffer between them and any potential German attack. I can still hopefully hold Batumi, but with a lowered supply flow there since losing the rail connection to the city. The 4th Guards Army is now ashore at Baku, staging on the rail line for transport west. It will take more than just that one army, so whatever reinforcements I receive in the next few turns will pretty much all be transported down to the Caucasus. I’m not going to get funneled into a siege at Baku. If that happens, I won’t be able to hold the city, just as I wasn’t able to hold Leningrad.
The Canadians and Americans have finally broken through and captured the main Tunis hex. Gaining control of the city is both symbolically and strategically important, as it gives me the critical supply point (100!) that has been missing for the entire campaign for western North Africa, and also should help now push out the remaining Germans and Italians defending the port hex. That hex is necessary for any invasion of the “soft underbelly” of Europe. In the Mediterranean Sea just off the port hex, the Italian Trieste and Andrea Dorea squadrons have engaged the Gibraltar Squadron of the Royal Navy, as well as the Texas Battleship Squadron of the US Navy.