Part 30: Turn 5 - Axis Detraining Phase: Third Leningrad. German Winter Offensive.
4th Panzer, 18th Army vs Leningrad
Combat odds: 8/3 = 2:1, shifted -2 for Turn 5 winter, -1 for City, -1 for Objective hexside for a total of 1:3
Roll: 6 - CB
The Germans push hard in Leningrad, but their assault is quickly stymied by the awful weather and difficult terrain. However, after nearly three weeks of relentless attacks the Germans hold several key jump-off locations that will make it necessary for the Soviets to either strike against them or face an offensive that they simply won't be able to stop.
4th Army vs South Front
Combat odds: 4/3 = 1:1, shifted -2 for Turn 5 winter for a total of 1:3
Roll: 1 - CA!
Combat odds: 3/4 = 1:2, shifted +2 for Shock! for a total of 3:2
Roll: 2 - no effect
The Soviets in the Velikiye Luki pocket quickly realize what's going on and they won't stand for being encircled. When the Germans move to eliminate the encircled forces, they quickly get a bloody nose and have to fall back to their initial positions in complete disarray, compounded even more by the horrible weather. However, the Red Army troops soon find themselves overwhelmed with the task of breaking through the Wehrmacht lines and their attack is abandoned after a communications breakdown causes several spearhead units to lose contact with the second attack wave and end up encircled by the Germans returning to their positions.
2nd Panzer, 3rd Panzer vs Southwest Front
Combat odds: 12/5 = 2:1, shifted -2 for Turn 5 winter, +1 for Armour bonus for a total of 3:2
Roll: 2 - no effect
The Germans mass their Panzer armies for a major push east in order to secure critical jump-off positions around Rzhev. The Soviet Southwest Front puts up a brave defence of the area and the Germans simply cannot endure the endless technical problems caused by the freezing tank engines. Guderian is frustrated and eventually abandons the offensive. His later memoirs note that he "didn't believe in it at any point and was glad to call it off".
1st Panzer, 6th Army vs Volkhov
Combat odds: 11/4 = 2:1, shifted -2 for Turn 5 winter, +1 for Armour bonus for a total of 3:2
Roll: 3 - CB
The Axis forces around Kharkov attack the Soviets massing near the city, but even so close to their supply sources they simply cannot overcome the weather. The 2nd Battle of Kharkov is a protracted series of engagements that get them nowhere, but leave their position vulnerable.
I honestly have no idea what the Germans wanted to achieve by those attacks, other than at Rzhev. Luckily for them, they didn't take any serious losses, but it remains to be seen if they're any better off than they were a turn ago.
Axis Removals Phase
Out-of supply removed from 3rd Panzer.
Axis Detraining Phase
The Axis may now detrain the 9th Army, while the Soviets can do the same with their Strategic Reserve, the Bryansk Front. The decision in both cases is up to the top commander for the side (Herpicle and Fangz).
They can only be detrained in either a friendly overland-supplied City (even in an enemy Zone of Control) or an overland-supplied hex not in EZOC within 3 hexes of such a City or of a friendly map edge. Enemy Cities and hexes adjacent to them are also ineligible.
If there's any conflict about who should go first, it's the Germans.
The deadline for this is Thursday, January 2 2014, 7 PM GMT.
Happy New Year to everyone reading this!