Just as I became more confident in my situation, things get scary in a hurry. Mark has launched new offensives in the Smolensk and Baltic regions. Now this entire battle on the Russian Front has become about buying time until turn 10, when I’ll get a massive wave of reinforcements over two or three turns. Once I can get those reinforcements to the front lines, I’m hoping to slow down Mark’s progress to a near stop. If I can get him into a defensive trench war on the Russian Front, I’m very confident I can start swinging the battle toward my favor. Everywhere else is quiet, even in Africa, where the British buildup in Egypt is hoping the Tobruk garrison holds out.
It’s not a permanent gain, for sure, but I’ve managed to push back the Germans in two hexes in the corridor between my main lines and the Leningrad pocket. The 2nd Shock Army has gone into reorganization, so it was unavailable for this turn. If it emerges next turn ready for action, I can send them into the breach and follow up on this small success.
Smolensk - Velikie Luki
If my memory serves me correctly, Mark has done this before. He’s pulled back several line divisions north of Orel, leaving gaps in his line in favor of recuperating some divisions’ losses. I’m not going to fill those gaps, however, as it will needlessly expose my units to his counterattacks. My best bet here is to just dig in until I reach fortified status up and down the line. When the time is right, I’ll launch any offensives. If this is turning out how I expect, this sector will be quiet for a while.
Yelets - Voronezh
As the battle has shifted south toward this sector, I’ve had to shift my Orel Front mechanized units down to counter Mark’s advance. Much of the reinforcing units from the Front group have been placed in tactical reserve status to support the main line. At this time, the entire Ukraine Front is stable, but dangerous. I’ve spotted what appears to be a large Panzer korps arriving 75 miles west of Voronezh. The rail lines end there, so it’s only natural that this means Mark will make a dash for Voronezh in the next few turns. Fortunately I should get some help by the time he stages for the assault.
Don Front - Rostov
The III. Panzer and LII. Korps bridgehead over the Don gained some ground last turn, but the 3rd Guards Tank was able to counterattack and push back three German divisions. Obviously, this won’t be the last of Mark’s efforts here, since I’ve seen at least two SS Panzergrenadier divisions in the area. One was badly damaged and retired to the rear for a while. The other hasn’t been committed yet to the battle. I’m afraid any reinforcements to this sector will arrive just too late, should the offensive resume with the fresh SS division at its spearhead.