Part 110: Turn 117: September 9, 1943
More tank promotions, perfect.
Also I forgot to mention it last turn but I've gotten my 3rd NKPS rail repair unit. This one is racing west to join the other 2 in the drive on Berlin.
OK. I've been driven back across the river everywhere but the Germans were unable to re-occupy Stettin so I think I'm in pretty good shape. The other surprising thing is the amount of fuel coming in to my tanks, I expected them to be dry this turn and be basically useless for another week or two but they're pulling in around 70-80% capacity with a few exceptions.
Goals: Reduce pockets to allow rails through, take and hold Stettin to cut off the northern 8 divisions, get across that river at all costs.
Koenigsberg has been reduced to a single hex with 3 divisions and no port, this will be cleaned up shortly.
The pockets are reduced and Stettin is re-occupied with a tank army sporting 114 defensive CV. The only thing I'm unable to do is expand my hold on the west bank, hopefully the 65th army in Stettin won't be driven back across the river and will have enough fuel to start clearing the river. I've pulled most of my armor back from the line to refit in preparation for filling any bridgehead I make with thousands of tanks.
South of Berlin I work on taking control of the last few hexes of the eastern bank. The Germans were pretty well dug in here but my vast swarms of sappers are able to rapidly reduce fortifications by throwing thousands of men at them. 7,000 men for a level 3 fort? Deal.
Further south the Germans are more dug in than I anticipated which combined with the minor rivers has brought me to a standstill down here. I've pulled the Bryansk front off the line for refit and distribution of on-map artillery. Once they're back in shape they will ship down here to try to break this stalemate. It's also extremely likely I will pull the majority of my armor down here if I cannot rapidly expand the Stettin bridgehead. Breaking out of Stettin could win me the war before the mud hits so I'm aiming for that for now, this will be the fallback plan.
Ehh I guess there's a bunch of Germans here and I'm gonna beat some of them up.
Much better progress overall this turn. German forts are destroyed, territory is taken, battles won. I'm not going into as much detail down here because my only real goal is to tie up as many German counters as possible while the war is won up north. Also nothing really exciting is happening, I'm taking around a hex a turn and just slowly grinding the inferior German forces down.
Further south my elite airborne troops are pulled off the line. Can the war be won before they reach Berlin and their certain doom? I'm also 95% sure I won't be able to fly paradrop missions during a blizzard so they might just get to spend the winter hanging out in an airbase.
I retain control of Stettin and the pocket holds, time to do some work.
So we're coming down to the end here so lets take a look at our options for the approach to Berlin.
North of Berlin is open territory with only a handful of minor rivers in pretty bad positions for defensive lines. Only the Havel river might slow me down and then only if the German line holds further north in the open. If I run a rail across the river through Stettin then Stettin will become the perfect launching-off point for a thrust right at Berlin to win the war. The Oder itself is likely impenetrable, I'll have a better idea after I launch some probing attacks but dug in infantry with an armored reserve will be hellaciously difficult to dislodge from across a major river. (Until it freezes in December.)
South of Berlin is another matter. Light forests and rivers running parallel for good defensive lines means I would have a difficult time down here with my armor. The current plan is to try to break out of Stettin and either win the war or be in position to win the war during the freeze. If I cannot break out of Stettin I'm going to rotate down here and grind my way up to Berlin from the south