Torch is a “go” for next turn. I’ve disbanded the sea transport and the entire invasion force is ready in the ports. As for the rest of the theater, my defenses are much stronger in this game than the previous game. I can’t really chalk it up to any single aspect. However, I can say the replacement rate changes, coupled with a slight strategy change has been the biggest difference so far. If you recall, the availability of the 45th and 46th Russian Armies made an enormous difference in holding the Rostov Sector for much longer than in previous runs. Mark admitted to me in our most recent email that it might be better if he switches over to the defensive at this point. I haven’t analyzed his moves for this turn just yet, but that seems to be a stark change from how things were going in the last playtest. My plans were to shift my own forces to offensive operations within 15-20 turns. Mark may allow me to do so sooner. We’ll see.
The first sector where Mark has pulled back and abandoned his offensive. His lines are restored to basically their starting points. Friendly reinforcements are arriving and plugging up the Russian gaps.
Losing this city would have been a huge blow, but I managed to blunt the attacks just enough to force Mark to rethink the risk-reward of going all-out to capture Yelets. Not much combat other than some simple counter attacks from my side to restore the lines.
Don Front - North
Mark hasn’t retreated back across the river just yet. I wouldn’t either, as the Russian numbers defending the northern side of the Don are still weak. This won’t likely amount to much in the end, but it will definitely suck up valuable reinforcements I need to send elsewhere.
Don Front - South
I’ve recaptured two hexes this turn, as some reconstituted divisions have arrived to relieve the 1st Guards Tank and 2nd Guards Armies. The bulk of my front line is still manned by the Orel and Ukraine Front mechanized divisions, which are pushing back a bit more this turn. I should have more units to send here soon, allowing those Front Group divisions to retire and refit for what should be renewed offensive operations in Central Russia.
The two main breaks in my angled line are giving me a gigantic headache right now. However, losing Grozny would be an even bigger headache, so I’ll just take the flimsy defensive lines for now. The 5th Guards Tank Army has been a great anchor for the center of my line, as I only need to use one division per hex to mount a decent defense. The rest of the line isn’t so strong. Mark hasn’t made much headway on either wing of the line, so just refer to the previous turn’s slide for a general idea of where things are happening.