Part 89: Turn 12 - Soviet Detraining Phase: The Liberation of Latvia
Operatsiya Volk: 1st Byelorussian, 4th Tank, 5th Guards Tank, Reserve vs 2nd Hungarian, 17th Army
Combat odds: 25/5 = 5:1, shifted +1 for Shock Front for a total of 6:1
Roll: 4 - DS
The 2nd Hungarian and 17th Army withdraw and are shattered. They go to the Shattered Units Box.
The Soviets begin their campaign season by hurling unprecedented numbers of soldiers across the Dvina and into the unprepared AGN defensive line. Their victory is swift and decisive: the Hungarians and Germans attempting to safeguard the southern approaches to Riga are quickly scattered all to hell, earning several soviet commanders - most notably General-mayor HipsterRooster, the executive officer in charge - commendations and favourable mentions in the despatches. As a silver lining for the Axis, however, their forces are disorganised and thrown apart, but not destroyed outright - they may still be salvaged, reorganised and sent back into the fray.
Operatisya Utka: 1st Tank, Leningrad Front vs Riga
Combat odds: 9/3 = 3:1, shifted -1 for City for a total of 2:1
The Soviets play Ivan Konev to automatically cause a DR result.
The 11th Army has no legal retreat path and is eliminated. It goes to the Destroyed Units Box.
The same cannot be said about the defenders of Riga. Seeing how their corridor to the west is rapidly closing with the advance of the 1st Byelorussian Front, they decide to withdraw while they still can - some forces still kept the road west open. This was, however, an illusion, expertly maintained by general Ivan Konev, overseeing the operation. As soon as the Germans start their full withdrawal, he notifies General-mayor Gradenko of the 1st Byelorussian, who quickly moves to seal off the way. Some troops of the 11th Army manage to break through his lines at a high cost, others are evacuated by sea, but without most of the heavy equipment. The army is, in any case, reduced to a degree where it can no longer present effective resistance. The Soviets triumphantly enter Riga. Soviet VPs now at 19.
OTL Riga was liberated on October 13, 1944.
Ivan Stepanovich Konev was one of the most successful Red Army commanders of the war, and one of the most ruthless people in the Soviet Union. Originally he commanded the fighting retreat of the Soviet 19th Army from Smolensk to Moscow, then the Kalinin Front in the autumn and winter. At this point, he came very close to facing a court-martial and execution following the defeats of the Barbarossa and the German push for Moscow, but was saved by Zhukov's intervention. Instead, he was thus promoted to Front command and allowed to take part in the winter offensive, but he didn't get another shot at a fully independent command until August 1942.
His greatest successes came during and after the Battle of Kursk. He was one of the main proponents and greatest practitioners of maskirovka, or military deception. During the battle, he used dummy units and defence systems, camouflage and deception, reportedly causing the Germans to estimate his forces at being only a fourth of what they really were. In 1944, he engineered the Korsun-Cherkassy pocket, destroying a large part of Army Group South. He gained a grim reputation for reportedly killing prisoners of war.
At the tail end of the war, he commanded the 2nd Ukrainian Front in its push into Germany and raced Zhukov to Berlin, with Stalin openly encouraging both commanders by shifting front borders to allow Konev into Berlin. However, Zhukov eventually won the race, which marked the high point of his career. Konev, meanwhile, was not done yet, eventually becoming the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact. His last military operation was the ignominious suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising.
Operatsiya Ptitsa: 2nd Tank vs Luftwaffe
Combat odds: 5/2 = 2:1, shifted -1 for River for a total of 3:2, Armour bonus shift prevented by Mud
Roll: 2 - no effect
Down south, however, the situation is different. Stripped of all the best gear, which was earmarked for the operations in the north, the Red Army find facing even weak enemy forces to be difficult. Due to fuel and spare part shortages, the planned attack on the Luftwaffe positions blockading the approach to Odessa is called off at the first sign of serious resistance.
Operatsiya Koshka: Kursk Front, Stalingrad Front vs 16th Army
Combat odds: 7/3 = 2:1, no shifts
Roll: 6 - DR
Following the German retreat from Kharkov, the Red Army decided to safeguard the City by pushing back the meagre forces the Axis had deployed to maintain their line. Their commander refused to put up much of a fight, and thus quickly surrendered the indefensible terrain and pulled back west, across the Dneper.
Operatsiya Petya: 3rd Baltic, Sevastopol, N. Caucasus vs Dnepropetrovsk
Combat odds: 13/4 = 3:1, shifted -1 for City, -1 for River for a total of 3:2
Roll: 2 - no effect
The Soviet offensives in the south have all brought little change to the overall picture. Filled with high hopes for their attack on Dnepropetrovsk, the Soviets have not, however, managed to provide sufficient force to take over the City. Their push broke down quickly, as they failed to secure any crossings on the Dnepr, and spring tides made fording it impossible.
The Sandman may now detrain any number of units from his Rail Movement Box. They must be placed either in a friendly City hex with an overland supply path, or in such a way that they can trace a supply path or three hexes maximum to a friendly City or map edge. In the latter case, they may not be placed in EZOCs, enemy-controlled Cities or adjacent to them. They may also not be railed to Kharkov and Riga, or hexes tracing overland supply only to those Cities, since they were only captured this player turn. The deadline for this is Sunday, July 6, 7 PM GMT.