Sunday, July 29, 2012

TR 42-45 1.5.2 - ALLIED vs Mark - T059: 06.18.43

T059: 6.18.43
Sector: Batumi - Black Sea Coast
Mark pulled back on some of his advanced Panzer divisions on the outskirts of Batumi. However, he was unable to shuffle in some fresh units, leaving me some prime real estate to advance the 53rd Army and regroup with the Guards Armies on its right flank. The 1st Guards Tank Army was building a strongly fortified line north of Baku, to act as a last-resort stop line should the Germans try to make a run on Baku. Now that those fortifications are complete, the 1st is available to bolster the defenses west of T’Bilisi. The 1st is a very powerful formation, one that might be able to lead a decent counter offensive in the region.

I’m trying my best to keep the buildup of forces quiet by transferring formations in pieces to areas just outside the Rzhev salient. The one thing that might somewhat blow my cover would be the artillery buildup along the front lines. However, I’m not concentrating the guns at any specific point.

The plans for invading Sicily will be altered from the historical American-British joint effort. This time, I’m going to use a plan more similar to what George Patton proposed, assaulting both ends of the island simultaneously. The key here will be to land as much firepower on the beaches as quickly as possible. But that’s much easier said than done, since I know that Sicily has a very good number of Axis defenders. The first wave of landings will come ashore between Pachino and Syracuse, hopefully drawing reinforcements away from the western portion of the island. Even if one division is diverted away from the other beaches, this move will be worth it. Next will be the landings at Agrigento and airborne assault at the rail junction between Palermo and Agrigento. It will be up to the VI Corps to hold its right flank while pressing west to link up with the 82nd Airborne. The final assault will be right into the gut of Palermo, where I’m hoping to gain immediate benefit of capturing the port city. Once that beachhead has been established, the II Corps will move south to clear out and link up with the other side of the 82nd. This operation is designed to land as much as possible as quickly as possible. There is no other way for this to work.

My most recent addition to the threatre-wide offensive is the invasion of Crete and Rhodes. The Allies historically ignored these two places, instead concentrating on Italy and France. But in my quest to keep Mark guessing, the capture of these islands will be critical to any plans for an invasion of the Balkans. Rhodes will be the first assault, carried out by the XIII Corps. This will allow the RAF to move fighter squadrons to within range of Crete, as they are currently out of range in Africa. Following will be the airborne drop on the road and airfield west of Iraklion coinciding with the landing at the port itself by the heavily armored X Corps. The last beaches will be optional, with the XXX Corps tentatively scheduled to land on the eastern tip of the island. From there, if they are given the “go” for this part of the operation, the XXX Corps will work west to link up with the X Corps.

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