Part 37: Turn 6 - Axis Combat Phase: Kharkov Pocket Reopened
The Germans shuffle their troops in the north to free up some formations. This means less pressure on Leningrad, but allows them to rotate the 16th Army out of the front and strategically move it elsewhere.
Their plans near Moscow are also quite conservative. They pull their armour a bit back and set up against the Northwest Front guarding Bryansk. The Soviets are set up in heavily defensible terrain and the weather is in their favour - will the Germans attempt to secure the shoulder of their penetration towards Moscow, or is it just a redeployment to protect their flanks better?
The Soviet encirclement around Kharkov provokes a decisive response from the Wehrmacht. The 17th and 11th Armies reopen the supply lines to the cut-off Germans in the city, while the 2nd Army positions itself to form a strong line from Dnepropetrovsk to Kharkov and beyond. The 3rd Rumanian moves to protect the city.
The Axis discard Soviet Logistic Problems to put 2nd Hungarian on a train.
The 2nd Hungarian is also moved into trains and shifted towards the distant front. Between it and the 16th Army, the Germans have a solid (although not overwhelming) reserve they can call on if needed.
Right, first things first. Since nobody but Davin Valkri was present with prepared orders for this turn at the time of the deadline, I've allowed him to post provisional orders in the doc for everyone else (since there was an hour until the designated moment and no-one else posted anything). I even went as far to authorise him to make a discard for the entraining purposes. For his initiative and alertness he is awarded the Awakening of Germany Medal. In the same box he also got a belated Wounded Badge, since he was the first Axis commander to have a German unit under their command eliminated. It's probably supposed to serve as a sictransit.
Given that the Germans have been having problems with responding to recent deadlines in a timely fashion (and have stated little to no reason for it, and even less warning), this deadline will be longer than usual. Should, however, anyone on the Axis team fail to make it on time with their posting, there will be consequences. Moustached consequences with a poor spatial sense.
I need up to three Target Hexes from HerpicleOmnicron5. Once I have these, Fangz may discard cards to place additional Counterblows. Once the list of battles for the turn is thus concluded, Herpicle may commit cards and/or his sole Blitz! token to given battles. Meanwhile, Army Group commanders decide which of their units attack which Target/CB hexes. Both the Axis Army Group leaders and their Soviet counterparts also post their preferred advances and retreats (and if they will accept to participate in a counter-attack).
The deadline for this is Tuesday, January 14, 7 PM GMT. Of course, both parties are encouraged to send at least parts of their orders as early as possible so that the other side may respond.
The German equivalent of the Mosin rifle was the Mauser Karabiner 98K. In many ways this weapon is similar to the Mosin: it's a rehash of a late 19th century rifle that was made shorter (the "k" at the end stands for "kurz", which is German for "short") and easier to produce. Both rifles are made largely of wood and thus look quite cool. If a rifle turned out to be extraordinarily precise during factory testing, it was fitted with optical sights and given to a sniper. The rifle was not designed for those, though and it required a skilled armourer to fit the sights. It really wasn't an outstanding weapon (at least more so than you'd expect from a rifle that throughout its various iterations remained in service since 1898) - it was reliable and precise, but it was hardly something to write home about. It was remarkable for two things, however. It was very versatile, with attachments allowing the user to mount rifle grenades, or a suppressor (with subsonic ammunition available as well), or a bayonet. There were also versions for paratroopers, some with a folding stock or a detachable barrel.
The other important thing is what the rifle will be replaced with - we'll come back to this matter.
Also, the Soviets seized enormous quantities of the Kar98k throughout the war and have later exported them all over the globe. It has been used in so many conflicts since that it's not even funny. It's being used in Syria as we speak. It's standard equipment in a modern country in Western Europe (it's San Marino, but it's still a country and thus counts). This is quite outstanding.
Axis card hand: 3
Soviet card hand: 2