Sector: Stalingrad - Astrakhan - OPERATION: HARVEST
So far, so good. The deception is beginning to work, as Mark is funneling almost half the available Luftwaffe squadrons down to this part of the Russian Front. Not only that, but I’ve observed at least two full Panzer divisions being transferred from the Vyazma sector. I’m not going to even begin transferring all the Guards armies back up north until the very last moment before the offensive begins.
Sector: Velikie Luki - Central Russian Sectors - OPERATION: CALLISTO
The air campaign for CALLISTO will begin this turn, mostly focused on bridge-busting the hell out of Mark’s rail network. Hopefully, this will look to him as if I’m cutting off rail access to the south, when in reality it’s designed (obviously) to do the opposite, cutting off his ability to transfer troops out of the Caucasus to counter my offensive in the Baltics.
I’m pulling back from the northern part of this sector. There’s no point in wasting men and material defending something that doesn’t need to be defended. My positions in the south are solid, and I’m not sure Mark is willing to mess with the entire 8th Guards Army, which has been waiting patiently along the supply line.
Sector: Southern Italy
Progress here has been painfully slow, as the British V and X Corps are finally all on the Italian mainland, while the US Fifth Army has yet to bring up any of its infantry corps to the front line. Mark could actually launch an attack (which he won’t, if he’s as smart as I know he is) against the US troops sitting in front of Salerno and destroy almost all of them. It’s just the 2nd Armored Division supported by a few artillery units. The US VI Corps is moving up past the V Corps, and should be in position next turn. After that, the rail line should be rebuilt enough to move the II Corps up from Palermo. At Taranto, the bulk of the British XXX Corps has landed, which includes the powerful 2nd New Zealand, 9th Australian, and 4th Indian Divisions. The 51st Highland Division is still on Crete, since I ran out of sea transport. That unit will end up being redeployed to England anyway. The XXX Corps South African Division will garrison Corsica, which has just fallen to a small expedition by the British I Corps.
Sector: NW Europe - Strategic Air Campaign
Bombings have increased attacking the German industrial centers in the Ruhr and Rhine River Valleys. Mark has moved at least a half dozen (maybe more) Luftwaffe fighter squadrons from this area to the southern portion of the Russian Front (HARVEST is working!) which allows my new P-51s to better protect the bombers.