Part 61: Turn 58: July 23, 1942
More guards cavalry, 20 out of the 25 cavalry corps are now guards.
Promotions are starting back up, this guy is actually pretty good but is being held back by being on the northwest front with no action.
Still the strongest German force on the map, I'm only able to gain local superiority in a handful of spots.
No land is gained this turn but I destroy a level 3 fortification in exchange for 4,000 lives. A good trade, I'd make more trades like this but I've only got 3 rifle corps and they're the only way I can muster up enough men to even scratch these hexes.
If the Germans want to hurt me this is the place to do it, the Kalinin front is by far the weakest part of my line. On the other hand I still have nearly 50 divisions of high morale, highly trained, completely rested infantry and cavalry in reserve so the chances of the Germans accomplishing a breakthrough anywhere are pretty much nil.
North of Moscow there's not much I can do, the Germans are well entrenched and most of my formations are pretty tired.
Near Orel the twin cavalry armies of the Volga Military District encircle two infantry divisions that the Germans cannot afford to lose. With the lines just south of this failing catastrophically 2 reasonably well equipped divisions or 6 regiments if the AI broke these down could make a huge difference.
Speaking of failing catastrophically, I think I might be able to take and hold Kiev this turn. If I'm able to get into the city itself and the Germans do not immediately kick me out I'm going to be able to take the entire western bank. They're never going to able to evict me from a heavy urban hex once I get a rifle corps into it in a turn or two.
The Bryansk front continues to make steady progress. I've got 2 armies of STAVKA rifle corps on the southern end of the front and they're doing an incredible job rolling this line up, the Germans have nothing that can slow them down and any unit that doesn't abandon the mud fortifications is going to get encircled.
A German panzer division and a Hungarian tank division. The difference is that Hungarian tank division is at basically full strength with nearly 50% of the tanks in the entire Hungarian OoB in this one formation. The panzer division is at about 10% tank strength and falling.
Advancing along the rivers, the front is getting incredible long now and the Germans don't have the forces to man the whole thing properly.
I'm not able to actually take the city but I do get a tank corps across the river. I also occupy the entire eastern bank south of Kiev and get several bridgeheads across. The Germans need to throw me back across immediately, any Soviet controlled hexes on the west bank means I can just keep this offensive rolling without giving the Germans the 2-3 week break they'd get if I had to force a crossing.
3 more counters off the map, the Germans will be back to the frontlines in 2 months but the Hungarian counter is gone forever.
And then I put another cavalry corps and 2 infantry divisions across the river. There's no way this force is getting pushed back across, next turn these troops will start pushing west and claiming more and more of the Dneipr. Even if the Germans push my tank corps across this cavalry army will be able to reach Kiev before the mud.
It's all Romanians.
The Crimean front makes a little progress, most of the divisions need a rest so I give them a week off to refit.
I almost feel sorry for this panzer division, almost.
Without Germans to stiffen the line most of the Romanian formations rout, allowing the southern front to start a huge breakthrough. Unfortunately I stripped all the mobile reserves from this front a few weeks back so I can't exploit this to the fullest. I'm going to rail a cavalry army down here before I end this turn and the next tank corps that forms up will be earmarked for this front.
With the front line of forts destroyed the rest of this front begins to collapse. Odessa is taken and the 1st and 4th shock armies are finally free to rip into these weakened formations in the clear. With no fortifications and no visible reserves I should be able to just keep pushing to the Romanian border.
I rail down a reserve cavalry army to Odessa and they should be on the frontline in 1-2 turns. I also start building a new tank army, these guys will be down on the southern front in 4-5 turns.
This corps of panzers keeps moving further and further north along the line, looking for somewhere to breakthrough.
At Orel my pocket is broken but the divisions don't escape, they will be re-pocketed and they won't be breaking out again.
At Kiev I keep all my important bridgeheads, I may be able to take the city this turn.
And at Odessa the Romanians abandon their line and run for the rivers. It's a smart move, there's absolutely nothing they can do to me in clear terrain. Their only hope for staying in the war is to get to the rivers ahead of me and fortify them.
Just to give you an idea how badly the Romanian army needs a few weeks off: This turn alone I routed 15 Romanian divisions. If any of those counters rally they're going to get put right back on the line next turn and are going to be routed again and again until they shatter.
German AFV numbers continue to plummet, how low can they go?