Part 88: Turn 12 - Soviet Combat Phase
Turn 12, March/April 1943
The Soviets rearrange their troops around Riga, gathering forces closer to the city. Their local advantage in manpower and equipment is absolutely overwhelming. The attackers have about 5 men for each defender, and they have as much as ten times their tanks. They also outnumber them seven to one in artillery pieces, six to one in aircraft and have managed to partially blockade the city from the sea. Unless something unexpected happens, Riga will most likely fall within the month.
New forces flow west from the Moscow region.
The Soviets also shift the 2nd Baltic, one of their larger formations, further north, to be replaced by the Stalingrad Front, which enters the now-undefended city of Kharkov. Soviet VPs now at 19.
Kharkov is nowadays one of the largest industrial and educational centres of Ukraine, with around 40 higher education institutions. OTL it was liberated by the Soviets on 23 August 1943, following Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev in the aftermath of the Battle of Kursk.
Soviet armies approach the city of Dnepropetrovsk as well, but here the defenders are ready for a fight. It remains to be seen if they can win it.
Regardless of it all, the Soviets have already prepared large reserves to exploit any advances they should make.
I need The Sandman to place up to five Target Markers on hexes the Soviets will voluntarily attack this turn. Then, Tekopo may discard any number of cards in hand to place Counterblows. Once we have a full list of battles for the turn, the Soviets may commit cards to specific battles, followed by the Germans. Meanwhile, sector and army group commanders should post their preferred advance and retreat destinations, as well as any particular targets for EX/CB results they may have in mind, and whether or not they would accept a CA result.
The deadline for all this is Friday, July 4, 7 PM GMT. Good luck.
Resistance against the German rule in Europe took shapes other than armed struggle and economic sabotage. What you see above is a leaflet created and printed by the Information and Propaganda Bureau of the Polish Home Army and circulated amongst the Germans. It was a part of Action N, a huge undertaking designed to undermine the German support for the Nazi party.
Of course, doing so in their own name would get them nowhere - Germans would hardly listen to the Poles. This is why they manufactured entire fictitious anti-Nazi resistance groups, gave them aims, target audiences and their own press. By 1944, N had invented over a hundred fake opposition organisations. Real German anti-Nazi groups published their newspapers fairly regularly, even though illegally, so the fake papers could slip under the radar of Germans looking for something of that ilk and find willing buyers.
Some papers, like Der Soldator Der Hammer were addressed to soldiers, fomenting unrest and promoting certain officers (such as Field Marshall von Reichenau, who died of a heart attack, but rumours said he was euthanized for his alleged treason) as allegedly rebellious towards the Fuehrer. Other titles supported the "Hess group", pushing forth Rudolf Hess as the new fuehrer. All periodicals were full of descriptions of "Party swine" and "deserters" living in opulence and usually seducing wives of the soldiers at the front. Caricatures mimicked the styles of most popular German cartoonists of the period and were signed in their name.
The papers were not evenly distributed. The Warsaw offices in charge of printing the fake press had a dedicated analysis bureau, which attempted to asses the political beliefs of specific parts of Germany, even if mostly by comparing 1930s election results. Socialist strongholds received mostly "left-wing" papers, while Nazi regions were the target for most of the "Hess group" publications.
From 1942 onwards, Action N started to reach beyond the Generalgouvernement and into the Reich itself. Sometimes they were delivered by railway workers, who put them on trains, but they also made their way into soldiers' clubs, hospitals, even to the front (mixed in with state newspapers). In 1943, some citizens of Moenchengladbach found them in their mail. On a few occasions, they managed to even fool official newspaper vendors while pretending to be state-run periodicals.
The "biggest hit" of N was the fake April Fool's issue of the satirical paper "Erika", which ran the article about Hitler giving birth to a son. It stayed in Warsaw officers' casino for weeks, and reportedly some Germans were willing to pay 50 times the normal cost to get their hands on it.
N also forged official prints. Many Wehrmacht troops received a leaflet pretending to be a primer on frostbite treatment, which listed medication unavailable to frontline troops as the most effective. Another was a "leaked" report on assuming a triage level after which a wounded soldier would not be treated anymore. Sometimes N would send a bunch of letters to NSDAP officials and entrepreneurs, obliging them to arrive at one office or another to settle a fake official affair, usually calling on them to bring in loads of paperwork, clogging up the office and generally making everyone involved miserable. Or sending them to an "important meeting" on the other end of the country. Or telling factory directors in Warsaw that they had a day off on May Day. In Lodz, the resistance found house addresses of fallen soldiers, then mailed their families with anonymous letters claiming that they died because they refused to comply with criminal orders or because of cruelty of their commanders.
N ended in spring 1944, after one of its printing facilities was busted by the gestapo. By that point, it had produced around a million newspapers, leaflets and other prints. They managed to fool everyone - the gestapo, Goebbels, sometimes even the resistance's own intelligence officers unaware of the operation. To this day, N papers are occasionally taken at face value.