Much of the action has shifted south, as the Axis breakthrough along the Don River has set up a very dangerous situation for my defense of the Caucasus. Mark continued to press where he could, but my forces have held up extraordinarily well in the face of extreme pressure. I’m expecting the majority of the Russian sectors to quiet down for a while, except in the Caucasus, where I’m looking for Mark to make a dash for Maikop and eventually Grozny.
I’m only updating this sector to report that I’ve pretty much mauled the 2nd SS “Das Reich”, while the 1st SS “Totenkopf” is also pretty worn down. Those two divisions were the key to any farther advance in this sector for the Germans. Now they have been effectively neutralized.
Yelets - Voronezh
The span between these two cities is very strongly defended. Mark’s strategy here seems to be focusing on my flanks. The German attacks have come north of Yelets and south of Voronezh at Svaboda. The breaks in my line were able to be plugged, but not before losing a few hexes in the process. Now that the 60th Army has arrived in the center to relieve the 1st Shock Army, I’ll have some more room to play around with how my formations are deployed here. If all goes well, I might have to send the 1st Shock down to the Caucasus to prepare that defensive line well northwest of Grozny.
With the battle now moving away from Rostov, I have to make a decision whether or not to continue my defense along the Don River, or pull back to Stalingrad. Right now I’m leaning toward holding my forward position, forming a new defensive line that bends southeast along the river, anchored by the newly-arrived 64/7th Guards Army, and eventually bending back southward right into the mountain range. This position would significantly shorten my line, allowing me to focus on strengthening the front, rather than covering more territory. Plus, it will keep the German divisions as far away from Grozny as possible. Even if they to make for another offensive, it will be similar to the Kalinin Front offensive, where I’ll force them to fight for every hex. The 1st Guards Tank Army arrives next turn. Along with the 1st Shock from the Ukraine Front, it should give me enough to hold on for a few more turns.