The Let's Play Archive

No Retreat! The Russian Front

by Tevery Best

Part 73: Year Summary: The Tide Turns Early

Having fought hard to destroy so many Soviet units, the German troops are less than excited to see a huge influx of manpower reserves basically flowing through the cracks in their extended line. It appears that the entirety of the front may suddenly collapse if no decisive action is taken.

While people frequently imagine that the Soviets could afford the enormous casualties they took throughout the war, that is only true for the first three years. The USSR was an enormous country, and there were always men and women to be conscripted or enlisted as volunteers, but it can only last for so long. Eventually, the Stavka had to turn to other sources of manpower: some of them were foreign volunteers (or "volunteers" in many cases), but the other major contributor was the Gulag system. Throughout the previous two decades, the Soviet Union was the world's largest prison. A third of all trains were used to ferry hapless prisoners to their new places of residence in the Siberian wilderness, or in the steppes of Kazakhstan, or the islands of the White Sea. The war offered them a chance to make it out of there - for some, it was only temporary, for others, it was a gateway to greater things.

Meanwhile, the Soviets ensure that taking such an action will be much more difficult by restaffing Stalino with another overwhelming concentration of firepower. The Germans' future appears grim.

With this we conclude Turn 10 - and 1942 with it.

1942 is the year when the Soviets stop being complete pushovers, and if played right, they can form a coherent defence on some parts of the front. But it is rarely enough, if the Germans know what they're doing, they can still punch through - if they focus on their objectives. In fact, with the many Axis Ally counters coming in throughout the year, they can afford to make tremendous gains - the largest in the whole game period.

The problem here, obviously, is that the Axis continued to perform a misplay after a misplay after a misplay. Whenever they could advance, they were timid and held back, when it was unwise, they lunged forward and basically assured they would spend the rest of the year unsuccessfully trying to unfuck themselves. I'm not going to mince words, this year has been an unprecedented disaster, as they failed to gain any VPs. I wanted to hand them a medal for it, but in the end I've decided that there can't be a reward for incompetence - and I don't really need to punish them for it.

The front lines for 1942. Yellow is February (Turn 5), green is April (Turn 6), purple is June (Turn 7), khaki is August (Turn 8), dark blue is October (Turn 9) and red is current. Yes, I know it's a mess. Sorry.

Casualty report
Casualties on both sides have risen in comparison with the previous year, but given that 1942 was a turn longer, that is not all that surprising. This year the Axis have lost 325 000 wounded, 140 000 dead or missing and 50 000 prisoners of war. The Soviets, in turn, have lost 725 000 wounded, 360 000 dead or missing and a similar number of POWs. The Axis casualty totals approach one million, the Soviet - three million.

The docs
Last year, I provided you with choice quotes from the 1941 docs. This year this won't happen: the docs (particularly Soviet) have become enormous and I just can't sift through them effectively. What is more, the discussion became more "professional" in most cases and jokes became far fewer.

But I have another gift for you, my dear readers: declassified docs for both sides for 1941!

Turn 1 (June 1941): Axis Soviet
Turn 2 (July/August 1941): Axis Soviet
Turn 3 (September/October 1941): Axis Soviet
Turn 4 (November/December 1941): Axis Soviet

A column of Hungarian soldiers riding bicycles

Next update: soon!