Part 34: Turn 5 - Soviet Detraining Phase: The Battle of Volkhov. Battle of Kharkov.
Leningrad Front, Bryansk Front vs 4th Panzer, 18th Army
Combat odds: 8/8 = 1:1, modified +2 for Soviet Shock! marker (bonus doubled on the first Snow Turn of the game) for a total of 2:1
Roll: 2 - CB
A Counterblow marker is placed on the Bryansk Front.
The Bryansk Front engages the German forces besieging Leningrad in the nick of time, smashing into their flank with nearly complete strategic surprise. Panicking Germans have to leave the streets of Leningrad as their corridor towards it comes under a ruthless Soviet advance, but they regain their composure quickly. One thing is certain: from its current position the Bryansk Front can easily threaten any manoeuvre that the Army Group North may attempt and will have to be dealt with - or avoided.
Caucasus Front, Crimean Front, Kalinin Front, Volkhov Front vs Kharkov
Combat odds: 14/11 = 1:1, modified +2 for Soviet Shock! marker (bonus doubled on the first Snow Turn of the game) for a total of 2:1
Roll: 3 - EX
6th Army takes a step loss.
Caucasus Front takes a step loss and is eliminated. It is replaced by a cadre.
The 2nd Battle of Kharkov continues, with the Soviets seizing the initiative. After a long, long grind they butcher many Germans, but casualties mount up on their side as well. The Caucasus Front is down to a veteran core from the battles up north, around Moscow. The situation is not looking very good for the Germans, either - their 6th Army is severely depleted, and with supply lines cut off it's unlikely to be reinforced any time soon.
For a good summary of the circumstances of the historical 2nd Battle of Kharkov, check out this post by 1stGear in his wonderful Unity of Command LP!
Soviet Removals Phase
Disorganised marker is removed from Northwest Front.
As the men of the unit slowly rallied around their new commanders and bonded with their new comrades in arms, the Northwest Front was once again approaching a combat-ready state. It was, however, at that point that something unexpected happened.
Lieutenant General Kurochkin had set up his headquarters in an abandoned sovkhoz complex. The place was fairly nice, having been built in the last Five Year Plan, even though the soldiers had to clean it out a bit. The two-story house where the map room and communications station were set up was stripped bare of anything worthwhile - the soldiers swore they found it like that and Kurochkin didn't care if they were telling him the truth or not. As he sat on the rickety wooden chair and examined his force's positions, someone knocked at the door frame. A young man in a Red Army officer's uniform stood in the hallway, looking inside a bit meekly.
"Come in," said Kurochkin, waving his hand at the soldier outside. The man - who failed to introduce himself, Kurochkin noted, and failed to even look at his hands, much less into the eyes - quickly walked up to the table and nervously placed a piece of paper on it. The general took the note, unwrapped it and started to read.
"This is bizarre," he remarked, eyeing the paper incredulously. "That's the first time I've seen a Front command be passed to a Polkovnik." The newcomer did not reply.
"Very well, I believe there's little I can do about it. I hereby leave my men under your command, while my staff and I are relegated to wherever the high command sees fit. Dasvidania, comrade." With that, Kurochkin grabbed his coat and left, followed by dumbstruck members of his staff.
Once outside, the general smiled. "See?", he asked. "You didn't believe me when I told you I could get us pulled out of this shithole, and now we're all going to Sochi! Let's just hope that this polkovnik guy doesn't cause too much of a mess. What kind of a name is MonotoneMorgan, anyway?
MonotoneMorgan has just become our first fluff-only commander. He has no actual responsibilities (and no prerogatives, he cannot push markers around), but he's now officially the commander of the Northwest Front and will be mentioned in the updates as such. He has been given access to Stavka doc and can be promoted to actual command, should he wish so in the future.
Fangz can place any number of units from the Rail Movement Box on the main map. These units have to either be placed in Soviet Cities which can trace an overland supply path or within three hexes away from such a City. If not placed in a City, they cannot be placed in EZOCs or adjacent to enemy-controlled Cities. If I get no answer after 12 hours, anyone on the Soviet side can place those units, if I don't get an answer at all, they stay in the Rail Movement Box. Bear in mind that the South Front is a Strategic Reserve unit and as such it can also be detrained in the Axis Detraining Phase.
Meanwhile, Herpicle has to discard one card from hand due to having more than 2. If he doesn't respond in 12 hours, any German commander might pick the card to be discarded. If I get no reply at all, I will discard a card at random.
The deadline for this is Tuesday, January 7, 7 PM GMT.
Soviet card hand: 2
Axis card hand: 3