The Let's Play Archive

No Retreat! The Russian Front

by Tevery Best

Part 45: Turn 7 - Axis Detraining Phase: Fourth Leningrad, Ukraine Offensive

AGEM vs Leningrad

Siege Artillery is played to flip Leningrad to its Regional Infantry side.
Not a Step Back! is played to convert any potential DR results into EX results.
Stalin's Interference is played to cancel Not a Step Back! and take the card into the Axis hand (giving them Operational Reserves).

Combat odds: 13/5 = 2:1, shifted +1 for Shock!, -1 for City, -1 for Objective Hexside for a total of 3:2
Siege Artillery flips Leningrad to its Regional Infantry Side!
Recomputing odds: 13/3 = 4:1, shifted +1 for Shock!, -1 for City, -1 for Objective Hexside for a total of 3:1

The Germans want Leningrad for real this time. They pull all available forces for this offensive, as well as hundreds of artillery guns from all across the front line. It is estimated that 85% of all Axis heavy gun battalions have either been stripped of some part of their arsenal or simply moved north in preparation for the assault. Even the huge Schwerer Gustav rail howitzer has been deployed to the area. Fort after fort crumbles under the Axis barrage. Panicked civilians flock to underground shelters.

The Schwerer Gustav was an incredibly insane project. It was a cannon designed with the express purpose of smashing the forts of the Maginot Line. To this end, it was designed with an 32,5 metres long 80cm calibre barrel capable of firing 7 tonne projectiles at targets up to 38 kilometres away. The shells came in two variants: heavy AP shells, which could pierce up to 7 metres of concrete or one metre of steel armour plate and lighter HE shells, which had a range of 48 kilometres and created a crater 9 metres across.

The guns were designed by the famous Krupp metalworks. The first one, the Gustav, was named after Gustav Krupp, the senior director of the family enterprise, while the second, the Dora (the model of which you can see above), was named after the senior engineer's wife. The Dora cost the Germans seven million Reichsmarks. The Gustav, in keeping with the company tradition, was delivered free of charge.

However much destructive power the things had, they were hugely impractical. It took about a month to set them up to fire. The Gustav was only used during the Sevastopol campaign, firing 48 rounds, after which the barrel had to be replaced (although in fairness, it had also fired 250 rounds during testing). Later on it was placed in various sectors of the front, including Leningrad. It was also allegedly primed to fire at the Warsaw Uprising, but the thing only lasted 63 days, so between ferrying it from who knows where and having to design a special railway spur just for it, the gun never got a chance. The Dora's record is even worse, it was almost deployed against Stalingrad, but had to be quickly withdrawn once the Red Army started to encircle the city.

Oh, by the way, this is a Gustav projectile. In the background is a T-34 tank.

Stalin's commanders demand more and more materiel they could use to strengthen their defensive works, but Stalin is adamant. He's convinced that the real offensive will be coming in the south and this is just a diversion, and he vetoes each and every attempt at bringing more forces to Leningrad. Meanwhile, the Germans press on and on towards the city.

Roll: 1 - CB
A CB marker is placed on 2nd Hungarian and 16th Army.

And they fail.

The Soviets fight like men possessed, not willing to let the Germans in. Week after week they soldier on, despite having seven hundred tons of shells lunged at them every day. The Axis troops probe their defences and push on, and on, and on, but eventually the offensive peters out. Despite taking several key objectives and sealing off the land supply route to the city, the Axis forces are simply in no shape to press on. They have to rest and prepare for their further strikes.

Leningrad holds.

1st Panzer, 2nd Panzer, 17th Army vs Bryansk Front
Combat odds: 18/3 = 6:1, no shifts
Roll: 5 - DD
Bryansk Front retreats two hexes and takes a step loss, and is thus eliminated. It is placed in the Destroyed Units Box.

Around the central part of the front, the Germans have less of an issue breaking weak Soviet infantry divisions. Their advances are timid, however, as if preparing for a further offensive down the line. This gives the Soviets time to reform their lines, but will it be time enough?

2nd Army, 6th Army vs South Front
Combat odds: 8/3 = 2:1, shifted +1 for Shock! for a total of 3:1
Roll: 1 - CB
A CB marker is placed on 6th Army.

Axis offensives in the south, towards Stalino, are less successful. Indecisive commanders and lack of heavy artillery hamper the German push and eventually stop it. The fights are protracted, and there is no clear winner.

I should have asked where should the markers be placed in case they are placed, but I didn't, so I used the sequence I usually apply for EX results. Axis commanders, if you want those CBs elsewhere, let me know.

Axis Removals Phase
Nothing to remove.

Axis Detraining Phase

The Axis can now detrain the 8th Italian in any German-controlled City or on any hex within 3 hexes of such a City that is not a Soviet-controlled City, adjacent to one, or in an EZOC. The Soviets may then do the same with their Moscow Regional Infantry unit.

However, I have news.

While Generalmajor Valkri's troops were making their way into the streets of Leningrad and promptly getting a bloody nose, Rommel was busy smashing the British line at Gazala. He's managed to take Tobruk, but his exhausted forces cannot properly exploit this victory. He was quick to blame it all on General Herpicle taking his troops away for a failed offensive towards Leningrad, and this time Hitler listens. He is furious at such incompetence.

Congratulations, you've made Hitler mad!

By his order, General HerpicleOmnicron5 is demoted to Generalleutnant, while Generalmajor Valkri is demoted to Oberst. What is more, he's reshuffling your commands!

Every Axis commander can now choose two commands: the one he wants the most and the one he wants the least. Based on your track record in the thread and in the doc (including, but not limited to, in no particular order: an evaluation of your competence, reliability, general entertainment value and a random factor) you will then be reassigned.

Any Axis fluff commanders (i.e. Omobono) can also take part in the reassignment, if they so desire. Anyone who signs up right now can also declare their willingness to join the raffle. The effects of the reassignment will not be effective until the next update, so until then HerpicleOmnicron5 is still in command of the OKH and it is his job to detrain those Italians.

The deadline for all this is Sunday, January 26, 7 PM GMT.