Part 70: Turn 67: September 24, 1942
Lots of AT support units are getting promoted, this is because all my AT regiments are attached directly to rifle corps and are seeing a ton of action. The rifle corps themselves won't promote until the cap on guards rifles rises again in 1943.
This guy is up on the Northwest front which is seeing approximately no action, has a horrible W:L ratio, is garbage and has a Hitler 'stache. How did he get promoted?
The rails into Leningrad have finally been repaired, now I just need to push to the Finnish border.
Vyborg falls, I may be able to cross the Finnish border next turn.
Still making steady progress at Leningrad, the German line is really starting to falter here. Once I force Finland out those 3 armies are going to swing back down here and blow this whole mess wide open.
I take a few hexes on the Volkhov front and German defensive CVs continue to drop. Those 2 =X hexes have dropped below =90 without me launching a single attack on them.
This front is becoming shorter and shorter as the Bryansk front continues to roll up the line. I might be able to reach Smolensk before the mud but that is on the outer edge of what's possible.
Near Smolensk the Kalinin front goes around a panzer division in their drive for the city, a small prize but I think this division has over 70 tanks in it.
The Western front on the other hand is set on bigger pockets and bigger gains. The 2 cavalry armies break through the shattered German line and link up with the Kalinin front, cutting off another 8 infantry divisions and 2 understrength panzers. The pocket from the previous turn is still too strong to reduce but look at the number of panzers in that division.
I'm endlessly entertained by the fact that this front was not brought to a halt by logistics or German force of arms, but a huge fucking swamp.
The Bryansk front forces 2 divisions to surrender and then advances against the shattering German line. In another few turns they're going to reach the Dnepr and the landbridge at Smolensk.
Into the Pripyat Marshes I guess. This is kind of an overcommitment of forces but what I'd like to do is just cut across the edge here and come out the northern side while leaving a picket line behind to keep the Germans from retaking the land I've occupied. They also force the surrender of what was probably about a quarter of the Slovakian army. The southern pocket holds for another turn, they'll surrender in a week or two.
The Urals M.D. has arrived to reinforce the Voronezh front. The troops here are all pretty tired, poorly supplied and really need a break. I'm not going to give it to them just yet, they can hang on for another week or three for the mud to hit. The tank corps get pulled back to Kiev, they're useless with no supply so I think I'm going to let them rest, refit and I won't redeploy them until after the mud ends.
Recon flights show groups of Germans building up behind the lines, the question is how many and are they strong enough to stop me.
A Hungarian screen appears out of nowhere as I advance, recon flights are kinda useless if you don't have any ground troops near what you're flying over. It's looking more and more like there's a screen with a serious line behind it down here but I might be over-estimating German capabilities.
The southeastern front continues to hook around the flank of this over-extended German line, cutting off more divisions and threatening the rest.
That Italian Mountain division is still too strong to assault in this rough terrain so the 60th cavalry army simply surrounds and and settles in to wait. In the meantime the 1st Shock army becomes the first Soviet army to enter Hungary when the 1st Guards Cavalry crosses into the Carpathian mountains and engages a German infantry division.
In Romania the Transcaucasus front moves to secure the oilfields at Ploesti and the final mountain pass leading into the southern half of the country. Now it's up to the 4th shock to rush west and reach the Danube before the Germans can overwhelm the 1st Romanian Army.
At Odessa the ragtag group of divisions sent to reinforce the Romanian armies reaches the end of my rail network, the rest of the trip will be on foot. You can also see the Transcaucasus front's tank corps enjoying the newly repaired rail lines as the rail repair corps speed past. They should be able to run a line into Romania by the start of the mud turns.
Near Moscow I invest some of the Admin points I've been saving up and build the shells necessary to form 8 new Mechanized corps. These forces will be ready to go by the time the mud ends and will be slotted into my existing tank armies to give them some extra punch for this winter. My mobile forces were absolutely devastating this summer and with mechanized infantry and the possibility of having a rail network to resupply from they should be able to achieve decisive results during the blizzard.
The Finns are abandoning Karelia and pulling back to the pre-war border, any land I want to grab I'm going to have to grab now.
It looks like Hitler has been arrested and executed by OKH because the Germans have finally done what their generals have all likely been screaming about for the last 3 months. The entire frontline from Leningrad to the Pripyat Marshes is abandoned with the German army retreating up to 200 miles in some places. With the mud fast approaching this will give the German army 6+ weeks to rest, refit and dig new fortifications along a much shorter front than they had before.
Although I may be able to reach the new German line by the end of the mud actually assaulting it will be another matter entirely. These Germans will be much better equipped than they were last month, much denser and my supply lines much much longer. 200 miles of rails is a lot to repair when I'm already scrambling to repair rails in the south.
This is little comfort to the Germans caught behind enemy lines, who are now stuck over 200 miles from the primary German line with no hope of rescue.
With the Northern fronts shortened the Germans finally are able to shore up the fronts in the south, railing in dozens of divisions to take up positions along the line and to keep me out of Germany.
It also looks like any hope of reprisals against Romania have been abandoned with the Germans pulling out of Romanian territory to garrison the Hungarian border against Soviet incursions.
A dramatic 180 from the German army as they scramble to come up with a way to stop me. With their allies falling one by one can Germany stand alone against the Red Army in the coming winter?