Part 6: Turn 3: July 3, 1941
A new month! Tons of new troops being formed this turn, with a handful of already built divisions appearing on the Eastern edge of the map. These units will all be catching trains and railing to the front, the far eastern divisions will take 2 turns to accomplish this. You can't cross Russia in a week no matter how hard the Germans are trying.
Stalin sacks the commander of the Southwestern front for no good reason and sticks this guy in his place. He's not awful so we'll leave him be for now. Commanders have 8 stats, 4 non-combat and 4 combat. All of these values range from 1-9, meaning that this guys standout trait is his high political score. Commanders with political clout are less likely to get sacked and/or executed, so it's a useful skill to have. Shame that 9 isn't in admin.
Turn 3 is our first 'full' turn, meaning the surprise attack is over and our rail cap snaps back to whatever passes for full at the moment. This also means turns are 7 days long instead of the 4 day turns of the initial 2 turns. We're going to begin factory evacuation in earnest this turn and I'm gonna save before doing it this time.
I also really need to get the airforce flying again so it's time to rebuild that whole mess one squadron at a time. About half of the squadrons in the national reserve (~150) get marked to fly out to airbases. Unfortunately you can't see if the squadrons will overload an airbase until the planes land there (next turn) so it's better to send out a smaller wave now and then top off the airbases that can handle more next turn. We also earmark 1-2 squadrons of transport planes and level bombers per front to run night flights to airdrop supplies to partisans.
Well thats a weird looking salient, I wonder if that Panzer corps left support back in that neck to prevent me chopping their supply off? If I had recon planes up I'd just do some flyovers and find out. As it stands we've got to recon in force.
It looks like they just kept driving and didn't leave anything behind to protect their supply lines. Now an entire Panzer corps is cut off, including the elite SS Motorized Totenkopf Division. The AI will almost certainly get them back into supply next turn, but this means they will not be getting any fuel for the next axis turn so they'll likely be unable to do anything but launch 1-2 attacks at ajacent Soviet divisions. If that corps commander was in the Red Army he'd probably be executed, I wonder if Hitler will forgive and forget?
The rest of the units in this front reform themselves into deeper defensive lines. I abandon the fortifications along the Narva river, with the panzers driving up the front so aggressively I cann't risk having the front cut in two if they drive straight for Leningrad. Holding the Narva would prevent forces coming up through the Baltic states from joining the siege but there are so many panzer divisions visible directly south of the city I can't imagine there's anything but infantry coming up through the Baltic region. Infantry march slowly enough that they wouldn't reach the Narva for another 2 turns or so and at that point I would have already fallen back to defend from the Panzer corps, so I'll just remove the risk of getting split in two completely and fall back now.
Nope not invading yet.
My factories... With German bridgeheads across the rivers and no hope of throwing them back across it's time to start slowly retreating east. You can also see here that the Axis divisions that crossed at Mogilev are in bad supply, indicated by their yellow borders. Just another sign that they're right at the edge of what their logistics can support.
Not great, but it will have to do for now. The Germans are gonna drive up to this and punch through, but not breakthrough to the rear. Then I'll just fall back a few miles and do this again, and again. Most of these troops aren't in great shape, the average TOE is probably at about ~70% of theoretical strength. Some of these formations are as low as 50% and they're all fatigued, poorly supplied and have bad morale.
Yeah, not great. Unfortunately there's not much I can do for them. Divisions that are as beat up as this one are going to try to get put in the rear of the formation, but sometimes that's not really an option. Everyone's gonna be in worse shape by the end of the month.
Newly formed divisions dig in on the outskirts of Moscow. Most of these would be even less effective in combat than our frontline troops in this region, so they're going to spend the next few weeks equipping, training and digging. Lots of digging.
My favorite front, this is the only place on the map right now where I don't feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff.
Well first things first, we cut off the overconfident 9th Panzer and 25th Motorized divisions. I also spend about 5 minutes trying to figure out how to cut off the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, but I was always a hex short.
Most of the Southwestern front is now across the river or on it, barring a few stragglers. The time we've managed to buy is really paying off here, look at those defensive values, 7=87 in Kiev proper! This isn't invulnerable, the Panzers can definitely kick me out of the city. What this will do is buy us more precious time, the panzers will have to waste weeks reducing the defenders or they'll have to swing south. Either way I'm ecstatic.
The Southern Front continues to pull back from the Romanians, they'll link up with the tail end of the Southwestern front in a few turns to form a continuous line from the Pripyat Marshes to the Black Sea.
Alright factory time, we've got plenty of rail cap and a freshly saved game, let's do this. Right now only two cities with factories are in imminent danger. Kiev has 4 armaments and 4 Heavy industry factories, and Gomel to its north has 2 of each. To start with I'm going to grab all 6 armament factories and ship them out to the Urals. The heavy industry factories are less important and also take way more trains to rail them out. I've got higher priorities right now so we'll come back for this heavy industry if it's still around next turn.
Here's the big prize the Axis is gunning for right now. That KV-1 factory is absolutely essential to the war effort and cannot be allowed to burn. Vehicle factories work a little differently than armaments/heavy industry. Armaments and heavy industry can be moved piecemeal, if the city has 4 armaments and I move 2 of them there will be 2 in the city and 2 in the target destination.
Vehicle factories have to be moved all in one go, anything left behind is destroyed. The new factory off in Siberia or wherever will eventually regrow back to full size, but it takes months and we'll be suffering reduced production throughout that period. The manual suggests to maintain historical production levels you need to get atleast half of the vehicle factory when you ship it.
To further complicate matters some vehicle factories upgrade themselves at certain times and others don't. This KV-1 M1941 factory in Leningrad is going to turn into a KV-1 M1942 factory come January, which is great. It makes it doubly important to get this factory out because it's going to be useful for the entire war.
Other factories are useless for the opposite reason. 72 MiG-3 factory points in Moscow that are simply going to cease to exist in December of '41, they don't upgrade into anything so they're just going to shut down. If you didn't check this page you could spend something like 120,000 rail cap 'saving' these things, that's basically an entire turns rail allotment wasted.
Also you cannot get into these upgrade paths screens from the 'move factory mode' screen, you must close that screen, change tabs to the info tab, open the production screen then track down the particular model of thing you want from a list containing every vehicle produced in the Soviet Union.
Not pictured: the bigass scrollbar.
Did I mention this games interface is really good?
So let's get back to what we were doing and ship most of Leningrads factories out to Nizhny Tagil, where they'll show up in 20 turns. I also grab the U2VS factory from Moscow because it's tiny and it's all I had railcap for.
Finland declares war and attacks, but does not actually cross the border.
In the north the cut off Panzer corps pulls back from the line to deal with the divisions in its rear, it was so far ahead of its support that it had to free itself. The Totenkopf SS division attempted to do this on it's own but lost to a Soviet infantry division and had to call in help from a Panzer division to re-open the supply route. With luck I may be able to cut them off again this turn. This hubris is costing the Axis dearly and some of their most elite units are being run ragged attempting to win this war on their own.
In the center the twin Panzer armies of Army Group Center shred our line and push for Smolensk. I'm going to have to reform the lines a bit deeper next turn so Smolensk is going to fall.
On the Southern front the Panzers swing south, attempting to link up with the forward elements of the armies invading from Hungary and Romania. Will they turn back towards Kiev once their infantry support catches up with them or will they continue southeast towards the Crimea and Stalino?
With the Soviet airforce back in the skies tons of supplies and materiel are dropped behind enemy lines to equip partisans forming all across occupied territory. Partisan squads properly equiped with rifles, machine guns, mortars and grenades are going to become a larger and larger problem for German security forces.
If I can find a way to cut those overconfident Panzers off for another week it'll take ages for them to recover. The Western Front is a goddamn disaster and if they don't get a break soon that whole line is going to shatter. The Southwestern front is incredible, Kiev is an impenetrable fortress and there's no way the Germans can ruin my day, no sir. With the airforce back in action air losses should begin to climb more rapidly, hopefully not as badly as the first turn. We'll have to keep an eye on them and adjust as necessary to keep things under control.
That was a long turn, I can't wait for the rain to start. Only 3 months away now.