Part 71: Turn 68: October 1, 1942
A new month a a new lease on life from the German army, I'd be very excited if there weren't mud turns starting in 2 weeks.
The new month kicks off with a flurry of inappropriate front renaming. The Southeastern M.D. and the Southeastern front become the Stalingrad M.D and Stalingrad Front and the Southwestern front becomes the Don front. I'm not sure why Stalin chose these names, I think he just likes having his name on the map.
A new month means new units and October has one of my favorites. Firstly we get an on map Ski brigade which is... lackluster. I've never been a huge fan of the ski formations and these on-map ones are particularly anemic. If I really wanted ski troops for some reason I'd attach ski regiments to my rifle corps rather than blowing 5 AP on a 3,300 man rifle brigade that fights slightly better when it's snowing.
These however are one of my favorite Soviet units. They have a wide range of gun sizes to nail Germans from all sorts of engagement ranges and they can bring an absolutely devastating amount of guns to bear. This '42 version isn't that great though, only about 250 guns per formation and they're very expensive to make at 10 AP a pop. In the spring of '43 they're going to upgrade to nearly 400 guns per formation and will also bring in some larger gun calibers including some 203mm Howitzers designed for destroying fortifications.
I'm not going to be building any of these just yet, I don't really have the command points to spare to bring these to bear and I don't have the AP to spare while I work on bringing my tank corps up to strength. Once the Tank corps are ready to go I'll start figuring out where I can start deploying this artillery. To condense my CP enough that I can use these I need to turn rifle divisions into corps, which costs 20 AP right now and will be dropping to 10AP in January so I'm not really in any rush.
I'm also planning to spend a bunch of AP this turn to creat a lot more ai controlled RR construction brigades. To be exact I'm making about 70 of the things, bringing the total number of RR construction brigades per front up to ~16 from around 8-10. They may not be terribly efficient but I've got a lot of rails to repair right now and my single player-controlled counter just is not going to cut it. As you can see in the above screenshot this brings the total number of men employed in digging trenches and fixing rail lines up to nearly half a million men, more men than are in the Italian and Finnish armies combined.
With the Finns all rushing back to Finland I really need to get across the border now before it becomes impossible to cross.
Across the border and into Lappeenranta with no time to spare, those are some scary looking Finnish formations.
The rest of the front simply moves forward past the abandoned German fortifications. In the far north the Cavalry attached to the Leningrad front actually makes contact with the new German line and assaults an infantry formation but is repulsed with heavy losses by a panzer reserve activation.
The 2nd Shock army takes advantage of its mobile cavalry formations and pushes out past the line, scouting for German pickets and retaking the city of Novgorod. That single regiment left behind on the right side is the Croatian infantry regiment, it appears the Germans don't much care for their foreign allies any longer.
That's a hell of a lot of ground to cover and not much time to do it.
Moscow M.D., Moscow Defense Zone and part of the Kalinin front push out with the cavalry leading the way. That encircled regiment that was left behind is the French Volunteer infantry regiment.
The Kalinin front captures a Panzer division after 3 bloody battles that cost nearly 3,000 Soviet lives. With the panzer division taking so long to capture there isn't much time left in the week for advancing west but they do make some headway.
The Volga cavalrymen ride up in front of the advancing armies, converting hexes so I can move further next turn and liberating the city of Smolensk. While they're at it they cut off a German infantry that rolled so low on it's MP check that it couldn't make it back to a rail line and was left behind.
Behind the lines the pockets start to reduce but it will be another week or two before I can finish digesting these. It also seems like with the shorter lines that the Western front might get squeezed off the line entirely. I'm going to let this happen, it will give me a chance to refit the front and perhaps equip it with some of the new on-map artillery divisions. It will be nice to have an entire front rested and kitted out with the best equipment I have available come the blizzard.
This front is really a mess, I need to get out of this stupid swamp.
The Bryansk front rolls forward taking empty hexes. I'm taking this opportunity to pull my STAVKA armies off the line, there's no point in them getting sucked into some pointless skirmish whenever I make contact with the German line. I'd much rather pull them back and commit them once I know what I'm up against.
The renamed Don front forces some Germans to surrender then wades further into this awful swamp.
The northern flank here is relieved by the Urals M.D. allowing the Volkhov front to continue to push west. They make contact with the new German line and push it back 10 miles.
Time to invade Hungary I suppose, supplies right now are coming in via the Black Sea which works but is not ideal. In a few turns I'll get the Romanian rail network hooked up to the Soviet one and then I can make some real progress down here.
3 more divisions get encircled as the Crimean front pushes forward and liberates Proskurov. There's also a minor breakthrough by a cavalry force but I doubt I'll be able to exploit it properly with so few mobile units here and the mud so close.
The Stalingrad front takes a few prisoners and enters Romania in force, looking to prevent more Germans from enterting the country. A small pocket of two infantry divisions is left behind the lines, they've got a level 3 fort in rough terrain so there's no point in throwing away lives trying to assault them.
The Transcaucasus front finally captures that stupid Italian mountain division and then pushes on into Hungary itself, taking a series of border towns in the mountains. There appears to be a much larger German presence in Hungary than there weas in Romania, I would not be surprised if I had to take the capital to force their surrender.
With Soviet troops in Finnish territory the Finns decide they have had enough of this German catastrophe and sue for peace. The Soviets keep the territory they've taken, the Finns keep what they have and the Germans aren't allowed into any Finnish controlled territory.
The Germans, where are they?
In the south the German line falls back a few miles to prevent me from biting off any more chunks of it.
German losses are spiraling out of control with over 3 million casualties and their allies abandoning them one by one. Only the Hungarians, the Italians and their Slovakian puppets are left, how long will they last?