Part 72: Turn 10 - Soviet Detraining Phase: Hold at All Costs!
With a round of powerful Soviet attacks all across the front, Axis commanders become desperate. They do not wish to concede any further territories for fear of a collapse in the line and the destruction of supply lines, leading them to issue an order to defend to the last man, if necessary. No retreat is permitted unless under threat of complete encirclement and destruction.
Operation Snegurochka: Crimean Front vs Kampfgruppe 1
Combat odds: 3/2 = 3:2, no shifts
Roll: 2 - no effect
Soviet attacks turn out to be less than impressive initially. The attempt to dislodge the reserve forces guarding the western side of Dnepropetrovsk collapses quickly in the face of stiff resistance. Supplied only from sea, the Crimean Front lacks means to force the retreat of the German veterans.
Operation Iolanta: 2nd Tank vs 4th Army, 9th Army
Combat odds: 5/6 = 1:2, shifted +1 for Armour for a total of 1:1
Roll: 1 - CA!
CA opportunity refused.
Operation Shchelkunchik: 1st Byelorussian Front vs 2nd Hungarian, 4th Rumanian
Combat odds: 8/4 = 2:1, shifted +1 for Shock!, +1 for the use of a Shock front for a total of 4:1
Roll: 2 - EX
1st Byelorussian Front takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box.
2nd Hungarian takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes back to the Turn Track and will return on Turn 12.
Operation Iolanta, designed to deal with the surprise German move on the Soviet flank, is even more disastrous. Wave after wave of Soviet armour is repulsed by the entrenched Wehrmacht troops. The Axis leadership opts not to push their advantage, however, hoping that the Soviets will simply collapse soon and willing to preserve their force.
Even Operation Shchelkunchik, performed with the forces of the elite 1st Byelorussian Front, seems to have overextended its goals. Although the Hungarian 2nd Army is demolished in the process, it manages to not only keep the Soviets at bay, but also expire their artillery assets and run down their breakthrough forces. With the lead elements pocketed by an unexpected counter-move of the 4th Rumanian, the Soviet unit has to be pulled off the line.
Operation Nevsky: 5th Guards Tank Army, Don Front vs 16th Army
Combat odds: 12/3 = 4:1, shifted +1 for Armour, +1 for Shock! for a total of 6:1
Roll: 5 - DD
16th Army withdraws two hexes and takes a step loss, eliminating it. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box.
The big success, however, comes in the frozen north. The 16th Army cannot withstand the brutal onslaught of the Guards Tank Army and smashes to bits at their advance. Thousands die or are taken prisoner, whatever is left does not even begin to resemble a military unit, much less a coherent fighting force. Two more armies are now in danger of encirclement, with little hope of rescue from it.
Operation Ded Moroz: 4th Tank, 3rd Baltic vs 11th Army
Combat odds: 12/3 = 4:1, shifted +1 for Armour for a total of 5:1
Roll: 4 - DR
Hold at all costs! converts the DR result into an EX!
4th Tank takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box.
11th Army takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box. It is replaced by the Kampfgruppe 2.
A major communications breakdown along the southern arm of the push means that it collapses as well, with the 4th Tank and 11th Army slogging it out with huge casualties to both sides. The salient around Kharkov ultimately holds, however, meaning that a lot more troops are saved. But the tidings are grim.
Soviet Removals Phase
Disorganized marker is removed from Stalingrad Front.
The Sandman may now place any number of units from the Rail Movement Box on the board. They can either be placed in a friendly City hex or on a supplied hex up to three hexes away from one. In the latter case they cannot be placed in an EZOC, an enemy-controlled City, or adjacent to one. The deadline for this is Thursday, May 1, 7 PM GMT. After that we'll have a year summary post for 1942... and then the fight will go on.