The Let's Play Archive

No Retreat! The Russian Front

by Tevery Best

Part 81: Turn 11 - Soviet Detraining Phase: Chicken and Luftwaffles

Turn 11: January/February 1943

Operation Razrusheniye Centre: 1st Baltic vs 4th Rumanian
Combat odds: 7/2 = 3:1
Roll: 2 - EX
1st Baltic Front takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box. It is replaced by an Ostatky unit.
4th Rumanian takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes back to the Turn Track and will return on Turn 15.

Operation Razrusheniye South: Stalingrad Front vs 3rd Panzer
Combat odds: 4/6 = 1:2
Roll: 6 - DR

In the central part of the front, the Soviets proceed to attempt to push back the German forces attacking towards Smolensk. Their success is partial: they manage to destroy the 4th Rumanian, but their valiant defence not prevents the 1st Baltic Front from taking advantage of that fact due to the huge casualties that force has taken. The Soviet soldiers begin to speak about the "Rumanian tenacity", and the prospect of attacking a Rumanian line becomes something many troopers dread. Further south, the 3rd Panzer Army unexpectedly has to withdraw after the attack of the Stalingrad Front, but has not lost too many men and remains fully combat-capable.

Operation Sonic Games Suck: 2nd Baltic, Voronezh Front vs 16th Army
Combat odds: 9/3 = 3:1, shifted -1 for City for a total of 2:1
Axis play Hedgehogs - odds are irrelevant now!
Soviet roll: 5
Axis roll: 6!
The Voronezh Front takes a step loss and is eliminated. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box.

In order to prevent the Soviets from taking Kharkov, general Ernst Busch orders his men to form concentric defence zones in key parts of the city and the surrounding area. These heavily fortified and armed strongpoints would force the Soviets to either engage them head-on or risk leaving a dangerous enemy force behind, but they offered little opportunity to withdraw. This, however, would prove enough. Even with the best Soviet snipers prowling the ruins of the city, the Germans hold, causing huge losses to the fairly inexperienced troops of the Voronezh front. After a few weeks of fighting, the Soviets pull back to their jump-off positions to wait for reinforcements.

We're going to talk about one of the most accomplished snipers in Red Army history. Three guesses as to who it is. If you answered "Vassily Zaitsev", why don't you go back and watch Enemy at the Gates again if you love it so much, huh?!

Jokes aside, we'll be talking about Lyudmila Pavlichenko.

Before the war, she was a history student and a member of Osoaviakhin, a paramilitary organisation, where she had learned to shoot. When the war broke out, she joined the Red Army, but refused to accept the role of a nurse. After some deliberation, the recruitment committee accepted her request to become a sniper and assigned her to the 25 "Chapayev" Rifle Division fighting in Odessa. She was one of the first (of many) women to become Red Army frontline troops, and she did it to be with the man she loved.

In the early days of the war, Odessa was stormed mostly by infantry, with a scant few dozen tanks in support. It was a dream situation for the Soviet snipers, and Pavlichenko used it to the fullest. Within two and a half months, she had 187 official confirmed kills and many more unconfirmed. After Odessa surrendered, Pavlichenko boarded a ship and headed for Sevastopol. In March 1942, her count was up to 257. Every day, between 3 and 4 AM, she would leave for the German front line, hide somewhere and stay there for long, long hours, waiting for the perfect shot, and return to base 18 hours later. Reportedly, she had married her longtime love, Leonid Kutsenko, in Sevastopol, but he died soon after that.

A story has it that at the time she hunted a German sniper for several days. When they finally confronted one another, the story goes, they saw one another through their scopes at the same moment. But when the German saw a woman, he hesitated, and that was enough. Pavlichenko found a note where he noted his kills, with 400 recorded on the Western Front and 100 in the USSr.

Pavlichenko became a star of the Soviet press and a terror of the Germans, who allegedly called her "The Black Witch". Until June 1942, she killed 309 enemy soldiers, including 100 officers. No woman in no army ever had a larger kill count. But she was hit with shrapnel and landed in a hospital. She never went back to frontline duty. Instead, she was given a very different mission.

In Autumn 1942, Lyudmila toured the US, Canada and the UK, promoting the alliance between the Soviets and the West. She met with workers, university students, prime ministers and presidents, asking for the opening of a second front in Europe. "Gentlemen," she spoke, "I am 25 years old and I have already killed 309 fascists on the Front. Gentlemen, don't you think you've been hiding behind my back for too long now?"

Once she returned from her tour, Pavlichenko spent the rest of the war training new snipers. She was promoted to major and became a Hero of the Soviet Union. She was not met with the fate of many female soldiers, who were treated like freaks or prostitutes after the war, the Party did not forget about her. She spent the rest of her life in relative comfort and actively participated in public life. She died in 1974, at age 58, to a sickness most likely caused by her old wounds.

Of all the people she had met in America, she had only become friends with one: Eleanor Roosevelt. Years after the war, the then-former First Lady had visited Pavlichenko in her apartment in Moscow. They had even managed to talk in private for a second, without the vigilant ears of the Soviet security services.

Operation Chicken and Luftwaffles: Crimean Front, Sevastopol Front vs Luftwaffe
Combat odds: 5/2 = 2:1, shifted +1 for Shock! marker for a total of 3:1
Roll: 6 - Defender Shatters
The Luftwaffe retreats two hexes and shatters. It goes to the Shattered Units Box.

Operation No Stalingrad for You: 3rd Baltic, N. Caucasus front vs Kampfgruppe 1, 6th Army
Combat odds: 11/5 = 2:1
Roll: 1 - no effect

In the South, the Soviets manage to press against the weak Luftwaffe Ground Forces and scatter that unit. Oberst MithosKuu himself is nearly killed when his Kuebelwagen drives to close to the front and has a mortar round explode beneath it. It is a miracle how he managed to avoid more serious injury, but without his leadership the unit is routed and has to reorganise behind the lines.

The operation east of Dnepropetrovsk, supposed to complete the encirclement of the city, fails utterly, however. Two entire Fronts fail to make headway against the 6th Army and the remnants of other German formations defending the way west. But the Soviet casualties are not as prohibitive as they are elsewhere, and the attack can and will most likely resume soon.

Operation Razrusheniye North: 5th Guards Tank, Don Front, Reserve Front vs 11th Army
Combat odds: 16/3 = 5:1
Roll: 4 - DR

Near Riga, the Soviet onslaught quickly overcomes the 11th Army's resistance. The general in charge is quick to realise that he cannot hold such a powerful enemy at bay and begins an orderly retreat west. However, what he did not anticipate is that General-mayor HipsterRooster, in direct command of the operation, would fail to organise a logistics base for his advance. Pretty soon, the armies assigned to the area start to run out of supplies as the strained supply structure cannot take such a weight. As a desperate measure, the Don Front is pulled back from the line to reorganise.

As per Spookydonut's advance order, the Fronts ended up in excess of the stacking limit and one of them had to be Shattered. I picked the Don Front, since it has the least strength.

I need The Sandman to place any number of units from the Rail Movement Box back on the board. They have to appear in either the Soviet-controlled Cities or on overland-supplied hexes within three hexes of those Cities. In the latter case, they may not appear in an EZOC, an enemy-controlled City or adjacent to one. The deadline is Tuesday, June 3rd, 6 PM GMT.