Part 19: Turn 3 - Soviet Combat Phase: Springing the TrapBefore the update proper, I've got two important things to communicate:
- Tekopo was right when he said that the Sudden Death victory triggers only after passing the number of VPs listed for a given turn. However, he did not take into account that we're playing with the optional "No Surrender" rule (15.6 in the rulebook, if you're curious), which prevents winning via sudden death and instead makes SD cause nothing more than loss of card draws. This is in place to prevent the game from ending too early and, due to a less decisive effect, triggers when the side has as many VPs as listed. Passing the listed number of VPs makes the effects more severe, however.
- It's not exactly the clearest thing in the game, but at the start no side controls Finland. To gain a VP for controlling it, you need to have a unit placed there and will keep that Victory Point for as long as you have a unit controlling that space. This unit cannot be a cadre or an Axis Ally - which means that gaining a VP for the control of Finland is an option for the Germans as well, if they move an army there.
As dire as the situation has been for the Soviets thus far in the conflict, the Stavka remain vigilant and always on the lookout for any weaknesses in the enemy line. They have noticed that the flanks of the German advance on Moscow are very weakly protected, with most of the attacking force concentrated at the spearhead. A bold decision is made to drive a wedge between the Axis armies marching on the capital and their supply base in Smolensk.
Most of the operation is carried out by the forces of the northern sector, with two Fronts from the southern sector providing additional insurance from the south. Soviet positions rapidly envelop the Axis force, with the strongest Southwest Front pinning down the defenders of Smolensk. The Red Army is still weak: all the forces taking part in the actual pincer manoeuvre are just strong enough to meet the Axis troops in the pocket on equal terms, but nothing more.
In the south, Bryansk Front repositions to cover the approaches towards the important industrial centre of Stalino. Their chances of standing against the onslaught of the Army Group South seem minuscule (unless the Germans push into the Crimea), but it is hoped they can at least hold the enemy off for a while. The divisions earmarked for the defence of Leningrad load up on their trains in a hurry, hoping to make it through Moscow before the Germans will be able to threaten that critical railway junction.
The OKH is aware of the threat and reacts swiftly. It orders the 2nd Panzer, still under Heinrici, to shift north immediately and make a surprise attack on the flanks of the Soviet forces holding the pocket.
Available Cadres: SV Ostatky 1 (2-3, white strength)
Fangz has already told me he's not going to place any Targets, so all I need is Counterblows from HerpicleOmnicron5.
Once I have that, Fangz will commit cards, followed by Herpicle.
Meanwhile, applicable sector and army group commanders will list which units attack whom, if necessary, as well as where they would like to advance and retreat. Counter-attacks are quite likely this turn, so remember to plan ahead for those.
Deadline for all this is Thursday, December 12, 7 PM GMT.