Part 17: Turn 14: September 18, 1941
Less troops this turn now that the intial waves of tank brigades have slowed down.
Near the German border 2 partisan brigades blow up parallel rail lines running east. I really doubt that the Germans are relying on just 2 rail lines this far into the war but fixing 2 lines this close to the border is going to be annoying.
Stalin knows who to blame for the mess near Tula and takes steps to correct the problem.
Pavlov was a marked man, with 200+ defeats to his name and a political score of 1 he's been walking a razor's edge for awhile now. He wasn't an awful commander, he just had the bad luck to have no political clout and be put in charge of the Front that's been taking the most punishment.
The Germans have nearly cut off the city. Our goal now will be to make a direct assault on the city impossibly difficult, forcing the Germans to push east and take the south-eastern bank of Lake Ladoga.
We launch a single attack on a lone division and dig in. The goal here now is to buy as much time as possible for the rain to start.
The front with units turned off so we can actually see the terrain. The city is already cut off by rail and the overland route will but cut off in another turn or two, so the city will be supplied via ports on Lake Ladoga from now on. Kobona is the best port to hold because it has a rail line coming directly into the city, the other two don't have rail lines and so we'll lose a little bit of supply efficiency due to having to transport supply via trucks before sending it accross the lake. If we can hold onto the highlighted hex we can keep the distance the trucks have to travel down to 10 miles, if we lose that hex then the distance is going to grow and grow until we can no longer keep Leningrad in supply.
If we lose all 3 ports, or the last port gets cut off then Leningrad will fall in a matter of weeks, the 2 armies entrenched in the city will be captured and the Finns will pour in from the north and free up Germans to reinforce the rest of the line. Unlike the other Axis allies the Finns are goddamn terrifying and I would love to avoid having to fight them.
Recon flights indicate that the Germans have nearly abandoned the line directly in front of Moscow in favor of the flanks, which makes sense.
Rather than wade through level 2-3 forts that are 60+ miles deep only to run into heavy urban hexes with level 4-5 forts on them they'll try to cut the city off. The flanks aren't nearly as well entrenched as the army is in front of Moscow and there's simply less men there. So what I'm going to have to do is strip some of the depth out in front of Moscow and use it to reinforce the flanks.
North of the city we shift in an extra Moscow MD army to add some depth around the Kalinin rail line. I'm less worried about the Panzers driving driectly over the river here because they'd be about 80 miles from the nearest rail-head. They absolutely need to take the rail line running through Kalinin to maintain the offensive.
Like so. The red rail line would allow them to be supplied, but it's much longer and it runs alone for the entire way which gives me plenty of opportunities to cut it. The blue rail line would be ideal but they'd have to take the heavily defended eastern bank near Kalinin, after which the rail makes a direct run for Moscow.
Outside Moscow the very tank-heavy 54th Army takes up position to prevent the Germans swinging back around and blasting through my lines while they're thin.
Probably the most dangerous stretch of the front right now, we've got to stop this push for Tula.
Fall back, add depth, buy time.
Falling back to Kursk. The terrain around here is absolute garbage for defending in, our only real defense is to stick to rivers and urban areas while giving up ground where threatened.
Still not a whole lot of Germans around here, more than there were last turn but they're not pressuring me much.
First off the 18th army gets pulled off the line, I want to use them to shore up the defences down south next turn or to patch a breakthrough if they make a bridgehead onto the eastern bank.
After that we fill out the gaps left by the 18th and fall back into the fortifications they dug along the river.
Shitloads of units here but no armor. With no risk of encirclements all we have to do is keep slowly falling back to major rivers.
Falling back. We form a new army, the 19th, and charge them with fortifying the eastern riverbank. I think we've got another turn or two here before we get pushed accross.
The far south along the river. The Romanians have not even tried to cross and I don't think they're going to be able to try unless some Germans come down to help them. I try to throw a few attacks accross the river at the weaker formations but even with a 4:1 advantage in projected CV the marshes and major river crossing make attacking almost impossible.
We fully evacuate Zaporozhye continue to evacuate Kharkov. Leningrad is cut off so the last Heavy Industry factory is stuck there until the city falls or we retake the rail line into the city. Next turn I think I'm gonna grab the rest/as much as I can out of Kharkov and then swing north and start grabbing some of the stuff closer to Moscow.
The Germans clear us out of the city of Kolpino but lack the MP to move in and occupy the hex. We could move back in to retake the hex but since the forts were destroyed by the Axis winning a fight in the hex there's really no point.
I really hate to do this but I'm going to have to send some troops to stop this. If they march another 60-70 miles north they will cut literally the only rail line feeding the entire Leningrad and Northwestern fronts.
The offensive towards Tula continues. Unable to take the city proper they start to loop around, stretching my lines.
At Kharkov the germans blow a 20 mile wide hole all the way through my lines and breakthrough to the rear.
The flanks of Moscow are continuing to bend under German offensives, do the Germans have the stamina to keep the pressure up until they snap?