The Let's Play Archive

No Retreat! The Russian Front

by Tevery Best

Part 28: Turn 5 - Axis Movement Phase: Changing Gears

The German armies and industry have finally realised that rapid victory is not possible and have adjusted accordingly. After half a year, new divisions and equipment are being railed in to the units on the Front. The winter is a good time to regroup and reorganise, seeing as there will be few offensive opportunities for the Axis.

The 6th Panzer Division returns from France after being pulled off the line for refit following the Battle of Zhytomyr. With it arrive, over the course of two weeks, nearly 200 new tanks to replace the ones lost over the course of the war. This is such a great change from sporadic shipments that the 1st Panzer Group is finally able to meet its new (as of October 1941) TOE of the Panzer Army. The commanders are worried, however, that the vehicles they've received - the Panzer IIIs and Panzer IV Fs - are inadequate for the purposes of fighting Soviet armour.

The Panzer IV was originally designed in mid-30s to fit Guderian's concept of how an armour unit should be structured. Back then, nobody anticipated just how important and powerful such groups would become. The tank was supposed to be the heaviest AFV the Wehrmacht would use, with its intended role being fire support and elimination of enemy strongpoints (but it was nothing to scoff with regards to its anti-armour capabilities, either), while the smaller Panzer III tanks were the designated anti-armour platforms. This worked fine throughout the Polish campaign, where enemy AFV activity was marginal, but as the Germans stood to tackle British and French tanks, it was becoming an issue. They needed more powerful AT capability on their tanks. While the Fall of France did not force a drastic overhaul of their AFV designs, by the time of Barbarossa it became clear that the Panzer III was too small to fit a gun powerful enough to counter Soviet T-34s and KV-1s (although eventually the Germans developed tungsten rounds capable of piercing even the latter which could be fired from a Panzer III's 5 cm gun). It was evident that bigger vehicles were needed.

By now, however, this has not borne fruit yet. Krupp and Rheinmetall are working on a solution to the problem - namely, redesigns of the Panzer IV. As it is, the most important tank of the Panzerwaffe is still the Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. F, with the short-barrelled KwK 37 L/24 gun. This will not last long.

The remains of the 9th Army are regrouped in Koenigsberg. Several divisions, recently formed in Germany, join up with the command of the recently crushed unit. It's not fully equipped just yet, but it has become "good enough for the front", in the words of one Heer quartermaster.

The unit should actually be Disorganized, but I forgot about it. Luckily, it's way too far from any enemy units for that to matter.

I need movement orders from Davin Valkri and Logicone. The deadline for these is December 29, 7 PM GMT.

(click for music. Also, why does it seem that every single German war song from the era on YouTube has to be posted by a bunch of neo-nazis )