For the time being, I’m building strength here in preparation for a larger offensive push. I’ve brought up more artillery from the south, alongside the 2nd and 6th Guards armies. Since I have one more turn of 110 shock after this one, I can begin the assault very soon and still get the shock benefit. Air superiority has been outstanding, as Russian squadrons in the entire central regions have destroyed at least three Luftwaffe squadrons, while seriously crippling many more.
Obviously, if I can capture Smolensk, it will be a major victory on the Eastern Front. The Russians also get a windfall boost in replacements via a special disband unit that pops up if the city is retaken by the Red Army. But at Vyazma, I’m going all in, having shipped in two more guards armies from the south (1st Gds Tank, 1st Guards) and pressing the Germans as hard as I can. It seems that the German divisions would rather die than give up an inch of ground (you’ll see an even more extreme example of this in a minute), as I had to completely destroy two full divisions in order to capture two hexes. One of the German units went down to only a few squads huddled in a bush before finally capitulating. Overall, though, it was good progress. As long as I can keep rotating out the very tired units in favor of fresh troops, progress will hopefully continue.
The Herman Goering Division has been completely destroyed, but the town of Salerno is not yet in American hands. The US 3rd Division did succeed at capturing the hex immediately northeast of Salerno, so at least there is a good staging point to descend upon the town. But there are a lot of Germans in this sector waiting to commit to battle. I’m afraid this is far, far from over.