It wasn’t the greatest turn in the world, but it was a far cry from the near-disaster that was the previous turn. Mark has a great shot to make it farther in this initial push than he did in the last game. His offensives are moving along nicely on multiple fronts, while putting pressure on me in sectors I hadn’t needed to defend before. However, I’m actually doing a bit better than the last game, too. Much of my positive outlook comes from the southern Don Front, where I’m making a significantly better defense of the region, thanks to more troops being available this time around. As for the air war, I took a break for one turn. It might not be a smart move to let up at all on the German industrial regions. But the RAF Bomber Command needed to rest.
Unless I make any significant gains here, I won’t be updating this sector with a screenshot following this one. All it’s been is “Russians attack, Germans counter.” That’s not to say this sector isn’t strategically important. As I’ve stated, holding Leningrad for as long as possible is critical to keeping German divisions out of Finland.
Scraping together as many divisions as I could, it seems as though I’ll be able to contain both breakthroughs in this sector. The one half of the 34th Army that did not get shipped down to the Yelets sector has moved into position on the western side of the Rzhev salient, but it’s not in combat deployment just yet. The German attacks have slowed here, while my defenses have toughened a bit.
Orel - Tula
Quick reaction here has helped avoid seeing Panzers running wild in the open plain. The Orel Front mechanized divisions, along with the Moscow Defense divisions, have come crashing down from the north, forming a defensive line to hopefully keep the German advance to Tula in check, for now. The big news here is the arrival of the entire 44th Army from the Caucasus. The 44th moved in quickly from east, putting up a wall in front of the main spear of the German attack force. In the process, I’ve cut off and surrounded the 24. Panzer division. Destruction of an entire Panzer division would be a nice prize here.
Yelets - Voronezh
Ah yes, this deadly stretch of land doesn’t look like it will be any less bloody this time around. Right now, it’s easily the most chaotic sector on the entire Russian Front. I’m desperately trying to get a defensive stop anywhere I can, while hoping to keep the front formed loosely along the stop line illustrated in the screenshot slide. In the whirlwind battle, the Bryansk Front HQ unit was caught in a pocket with the 13th Army. Losing a Front HQ is bad news for me, as it takes away a valuable unit for my side, while giving a VP boost to Mark. I’m hoping the 1st Shock Army can blunt the Panzer spearhead so that I’ll have a bit more time to deploy my reinforcements from the 54th and 34th Armies. I just don’t have enough divisions in this sector to really put a halt to the German offensive. But I do have enough to slow it down.
Don Front - Rostov
Oddly enough, I don’t have a screenshot slide for this sector because not much happened. The 14. and 22. Panzer divisions of the III. Panzer Korps have crossed over the Don in front of the 51st Army, but took moderate casualties doing so. Plus, the 54th is in good condition to stop this crossing, with support from the 3rd Guards Tank units in tactical reserve nearby. My rear guard units are able to handle the Brandenburgers, eliminating one completely, while crippling the other as a fighting unit. Rostov, surprisingly, is still holding out.
Not much to report here, as the Italians and Germans are advancing east toward Egypt. The siege of Tobruk has begun, as the XIII Corps is entrenched with good supply. I’ve transferred out much of the X Corps to Alexandria, as it was very beat up from its open-field battles with the Afrika Korps a few turns ago.