Saturday, February 16, 2013

TR 42-45 1.8 ALLIED T054

T054. 05.14.43

The mud has finally dried up, so I'm expecting a storm of action over the next few turns.

I need to open up another front somewhere. Since the Murmansk garrison held strong early in the game, I have the chance here to pump reinforcements into the port and launch an offensive southward. It seems far-fetched, but if I can knock Finland out of the game, it will really change the dynamic in northern Russia. The first wave consisted of the 4th Guards Army. Waiting back at Onega and Archangelsk are the 6th Guards Army and a bunch of artillery divisions.

North Caucasus
After sitting around for a few turns not doing much, it took a few good pushes to get things rolling again here. Three attacks broke through front line German divisions, but I'm afraid Mark has "double-fronted" his position here, forcing me to fight through lines twice as deep as elsewhere. My reserves are nearby, in case of a counter attack. Mark has had some time to rest, which was much more beneficial to him than to me.

Once the Mareth Line was broken, things started moving much more quickly in North Africa. The British X Corps has moved west to assist the clean-up efforts at Kessarine Pass, relieving the US I Armored Corps to advance east to link up with the lead elements of the British XXX Corps. I've initiated the very first paratrooper drop of the scenario, as the US 82nd Airborne was flown over the top of Tunis, cutting off the eastern approach to the city. It wasn't a very dangerous or critical operation, but necessary to get this division some experience in advance of the invasion of southern Europe. Meanwhile, the Canadian I Corps and Polish II Corps moved in tandem to contact the defenses outside the western limits of Tunis. I expect the city to fall within a few turns. The Royal Navy has cut off all evacuation routes.

Friday, February 15, 2013

TR 42-45 1.8 ALLIED T048

T048. 04.02.43

Surprisingly, not much has changed since the last update three turns ago. The battle lines in Russia have been tough sledding, particularly in the tempest around Yelets. I'm shifting fresh formations up there from the south, which has not seen nearly as much fighting as earlier in the scenario. The Caucasus lines are moving steadily northwestward, as Mark is executing a managed withdrawal with great skill. I've not been able to take advantage of his mobile formations that are now out of strong fortifications. Supply has become a significant issue in that area.

North Africa

The British have now done their main job of breaking through the Mareth Line. The secondary line south of Sfax was broken with one try, though I didn't have enough in the tanks to advance into the gap. I'll need to call up the III Corps from Egypt--waiting in reserve for months--to take up the offensive northward, hopefully linking up with the Americans in central Tunisia. Capturing the port at Sfax is my main goal at this point. I'm not sure if I'll need the III Corps to make a landing directly into the city, or approach it from the land. Either way, the Americans to the north are moving at a snail's pace, so help from them might not be readily available for some time. The Canadians in Algeria are an option, but I don't want to waste them here. They will likely take the lead in the north from the Americans, once the rail line from Algiers is repaired.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

TR 42-45 1.8 ALLIED T045

T045. 03.12.43

Svir River

I'm cancelling this offensive due to lack of supply to the bridgehead force, and lack of reinforcements. The net gain wouldn't be enough to warrant the loss of so many men and machines. I'll keep the pressure on here, but can't commit to another river crossing until I'm sure it'll be worth it.

Fighting has been heating up for a few turns here, but now it's really starting to flare up, as Mark is committing several Panzer divisions to push back the main point of the spear. Fortunately, I've brought in reinforcements from the south, so I'll have enough manpower to keep the fight going. This could end up being costly for both sides, but I have a distinct advantage: replacements. The Russians can afford the losses, while the Germans cannot, especially if it's over a long period. One of my main goals is to sever the rail line directly behind the German main line. This would reduce supply to a several-hex-wide swath of their line and allow me the opportunity to widen this offensive to the south.

Central Caucasus
The western German flank is beginning to bend, but I'm concerned it won't break quickly enough for me to sweep around into the interior. The biggest problem here is supply, as I don't have a direct rail line to the front. Once I can get the Axis forces moving back, it will push them out of their prepared positions, giving me a chance to fight them on open ground. There are now two more armies waiting at the supply hub just south of my lines, but they won't be ready for another turn or two.

North Africa

The Americans are pushing eastward toward Tunis, while the British are on the verge of breaking through the Mareth Lines. I'm expecting a more detailed update next turn.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TR 42-45 1.8 ALLIED T044

T044. 03.05.43

Strategic Outlook

I'm fully expecting things to heat up, now that the spring thaw is approaching. Mud season will likely throw a wrench into my plans for a few turns, but can easily be overcome with some planning. It also seems Mark is staging managed withdrawals at various points along the Eastern Front, concentrating in the south where he's most vulnerable and overextended.

Svir River
 The 2nd Shock Army unexpectedly shot across the river here, but I doubt I can develop it enough to hold a bridgehead into Finland. Controlling the rail line to the east will be critical to moving supplies here. If I can't, my units on the other side of the river will quickly fade away.

Mark has some pretty strong reserves in this sector, but I have to keep pushing here because it's the only place along the main Eastern Front that isn't static. My main goal right now is to open up the hold a little more, allowing more units to funnel in and keep the main attack force fresh.

Central Caucasus
Before my flanking move could even get off the ground, Mark has begun his managed withdrawal to the north. As his forces fall back to the more secure position on the northern banks of the river, I'm keeping close and harassing him at all available opportunities. This doesn't preclude my original idea for moving around his western flank. It just complicates it a bit more, since I now have to move much more quickly to achieve any of the ambitious goals I had set for myself. The big one--trapping a few divisions and completely destabilizing his southern armies--may be gone before I could even attempt it.

North Africa - Mareth

Punching a hole in the Mareth Line was a huge development in North Africa. The "vice grip" can now begin to close tighter and more quickly, as the Americans and Canadians are once again on the move in Algeria. I'm hoping this breakthrough at Mareth can provide a window of opportunity for the strong British armored divisions to finally start the advance north to Tunis.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

TR 42-45 1.8 ALLIED T043

T043. 02.26.43

Strategic Update

I face a difficult decision: Strike now, with adequate force, but risk a sputtering offensive; or, wait a bit longer, strike with much stronger forces, but risk Mark's defenses getting more time to prepare. I'm most optimistic in three sectors--North Africa, Yelets and the Central Caucasus. Launching forceful offensives in at least two of these sectors would greatly strain Mark's resources. In turn, that would hopefully open up other areas of the map I can exploit. As I approach Turn 50, a large wave of reinforcements are due my way, particularly in terms of Russian airborne units. But the time to strike may come before I get those units.

Provided I can open up this crack to at least another hex or two wide, this is starting to look like a decent breakthrough. I'm tempted to use the 68th Army's airborne divisions to supplement this attack, but my air transport capabilities are not high enough at the moment to lift the necessary men and equipment. It'll be tough to squeeze so many units through such a tiny corridor, which is why I need to quickly expand the salient.

Central Caucasus
For some time now, I've envisioned my divisions here sweeping around the western flank of the German lines, hugging the mountains and storming down onto the plains below. But it's taken a while for me to get enough strength back to mount such an attack. The breakthrough in the middle of the lines is offering some hope of, at the very least, a diversion to keep Mark occupied while I prepare the flanking maneuver to the west. Ideally, this new offensive will launch by Turn 45.

Monday, February 4, 2013

TR 42-45 1.8 ALLIED T042

T042: 02.19.43

Strategic Update

Well, I'm back. There isn't much of a chance I'll get back all my saved turns between T033 and this one, so I'm just going to pick up here. Believe it or not, there wasn't a whole lot of action. Mark is digging in where he can, while I try to keep the pressure on his forces on all fronts. I'm very close to the point where I can launch more major offensive operations. It will take a bit more time, though, to prepare and soften up Mark's fronts.


I've managed a small breakthrough here, but I'm not sure if I can develop it into anything more substantial. While I have airborne divisions ready to the south, it would be a significant risk to drop them behind this minor success. The 69th Army arrived this turn, but is about 2 turns away from being combat-ready. If I can keep pressuring the German lines here, and maybe push through a little more, then I might want to commit more resources into this sector. Might.