Part 5: Turn 2: June 26, 1941
Well another turn and more fires to put out, before we get to it though we've got some new friends.
As the Axis forces take more and more territory these partisan squads are going to start springing up behind enemy lines. They're not directly under our control, but if we airdrop supplies for them then they'll start blowing up German rail lines and be a huge pain in the ass for the Axis in general. One of our priorities when we reform the airforce will be to dedicate a few squadrons to helping these guys out.
And here's all the new and freshly unlocked counters we've got to play with for this turn. Basically every Soviet unit on the map is unlocked now except for the Northern Front, which is locked to the Finnish border and the Transcaucas Military District, which is guarding the Caucasus. Over the coming weeks we're going to have reinforcements flooding in from the eastern edge of the map, and new units forming in cities and towns across our territory. Most of these units will be empty shells that take a few weeks to get into fighting shape but for now all we want is bodies to throw in the way, winning battles can come later.
In the north we continue to pull back to our lines around Novgorod. The panzers up here have to be running out of fuel which will hopefully give us time to entrench into the forests and swamps along the approaches to Leningrad.
The goal here over the next 2 weeks will be to begin forming a carpet defense, a solid block of soldiers so deep that the Panzers are unable to penetrate all the way through. Although each individual formation won't offer much resistence they will slow the Panzers down through sheer numbers.
South of lake Ilmen we deploy the recently unfrozen 51st Rifle Corps. Their job is to slow down the panzers if they try to swing a right hook around the southern bank of the lake and bypass our defensive lines to the southwest of Leningrad
The industry of Minsk goes up in flames as the 2nd and 3rd panzer groups drive for Smolensk and the landbridge. There is no way we'll be able to prevent them from crossing, but after driving nearly 300 miles through hostile territory in the last week they might be tired enough that we can slow them down.
We add some depth to our wall of men at the landbridge, hopefully the panzers will be low enough on fuel and supplies they will be unable to penetrate this in a single turn.
Further south we fortify the east bank of the Dnepr, with luck this will slow the Germans down for a turn or two. We also leave several divisions in Mogilev in the hope that we'll still hold it next turn. It's got some factories I'd love to evacuate and I don't think I'll be able to get them all out this turn.
The 24th Army on the outskirts of Moscow gets railed north to help in the defence of Leningrad, which is dangerously undermanned. We need more troops everywhere, so these will likely be the last troops allocated to this front for the forseeable future.
Outside Moscow a huge construction project is beginning. Most of the troops we're going to be getting over the next few turns are going to be directed to this area to begin building fortifications in concert with the civilian population of Moscow.
The evactuation of the marshes continues. I'm not going to take anymore pictures of this unless something interesting happens (nothing interesting will happen.)
The Southwest and Southern fronts continue to be the rays of hope in this war. Their withdrawl is orderly, and we're not losing 10's of thousands of troops daily to Panzers or pockets.
The western edge of the theatre is a controlled retreat made up of all the units that were unable to catch a train last turn. The motorized, armored, HQ and anti-tank units here are going to continue walking/riding east while the infantry hops on trains accross the river.
On the approaches to Kiev we deploy a light hedgehog defence. By staggering individual units like this we are able to force the enemy units to move through as many Soviet-controlled hexes as possible. Moving through enemy controlled hexes is more expensive than friendly or pending-friendly hexes so this will slow the Germans down. It's not much, but it might buy us a single turn to dig into Kiev.
The defenses in and around Kiev are shaping up nicely. With any luck the Panzers will be too worn out by the time they get here to mount an effective attack, and will either be stalled out or driven south along the western bank of the river.
The Southern Front begins a controlled retreat from their fortified positions along the Romanian border. Although the Romanians aren't really a threat, there are several elite German units in their ranks that we simply cannot contend with. So we're going to slowly pull back and eventually join up with the Southwestern Front south of Kiev.
Now that we've finished up moving our armies around for the turn, lets take a look at our rail capacity. For these first 2 turns we're operating under a special ruleset known as the Surprise Attack, which basically means the Germans kick even more ass than normal and the Soviets are scrambling. One effect of this is our rail cap, which is what determines how much stuff we can move via rail, is set to a measely 50,000. This simulates the general disorganization of the Red Army during the outbreak of the war, and also the needs of the general mobilization that's going on in the background. The big problem for us is that not only do we need to rail our troops all over the place but we also need to start evacuating factories before the Germans overrun them.
Mogilev is on the wrong side of the Dnepr and is going to be lost next turn barring some kind of miracle. I've left some divisions in the city in the hope that the exausted Panzer divisions will forgoe attacking the city and instead spend the turn resting, but we can't count on that. So what we're gonna do is use our 20k remaining rail cap to get the 3 armament factories out of the city and somewhere safe.
Well, that is what were planning on doing, but I accidentally right clicked on Mogilev after selecting the factories and spent 18k rail points moving the 3 factories from Mogilev to Mogilev. I would have snagged a screenshot of it but I was too pissed at myself to react in time. Not a huge deal and I'm certainly not going to replay the turn for 3 armaments factories. Live and learn I guess, this isn't the first and it certainly won't be the last time that the interface design in this game defeats me.
Maybe the Germans will be nice and let us hang onto the city for a turn?
In the North the panzers drive up to our line and beat it up a little before stopping.
In the center the Panzers drive across both rivers in force, with only a few divisions probing at the landbridge. The industry in Mogilev goes up in smoke.
In the south the panzers scatter our hedgehog formation at the cost of progress. We've succeeded in holding them an impressive 60 miles from Kiev, we've got another turn to dig in.
Buoyed by German success (or my incompetence?) the Romanian army invades.
Well I'm less than thrilled. The southwestern front is exceeding my expectations but the other fronts are disastrous. If you're wondering where all the Germans besides the Panzers are the answer is I've got no real idea. When I re-organize the Soviet airforce next turn we'll get some recon planes up in the air and get a better idea of where the German troops are moving, for now all we can see are the spearheads driving out in front. Will the Panzers ever run out of gas? Will I ever figure out the interface? Find out next time.