Part 73: Turn 70-73: October 15 - November 5, 1942
The autumn mud turns begin and I am not prepared. On the plus side I get a new Guards army on the Bryansk front.
I'm going to be doing these 4 mud turns all at once so strap in.
Behind the lines I'm setting some of my mobile units static. They're going to be hellaciously expensive to unlock again when the mud stops but I need trucks and this is the only way I can get them right now.
In the north I cut off a trio of motorized divisions, including the Wiking SS.
In the south I work on getting my line under control, having units isolated by being too far from a railhead is something I'd like to avoid.
A new front arrives this turn, the southwestern. This is likely going to be slotted in near the Kalinin front, take over some of the armies there to finally bring Kalinin under its CP cap.
In the North I come into contact with more and more of the German line as I continue to push forward.
The pockets behind the line continue to be reduced, slowly. Assaulting these in the mud is extremely difficult.
The Don front surrounds a hungarian division but doesn't advance much. From here south to Romania my supply lines are stretched to their absolute limit, I cannot advance anymore until the railes get pushed out.
The limit of my advance, the Germajns are staying just out of reach so they don't take attritional damage. Fine by me, most of my troops down here are exhausted and a few weeks off will do them all some good.
A new guards army forms this turn on the Don front, the extra movement should be useful as they wade through the swamps.
In the north my forces actually caught these guys last turn but I missed taking a picture of it. The Wiking SS motorized and 2 other motorized divisions were caught trying to escape from the Valdai hills. I won't be able to force their surrender until the mud dries out so for now I'll just surround them.
Near Smolensk the new Southwestern front starts to take up the line between the Kalinin and Bryansk fronts. This new front has taken over 2 of my STAVKA infantry armies and 2 armies off the Kalinin front, finally bringing Kalinin under its CP cap.
New month means new units and this month we get an on-map rocket brigade. These guys are pretty neat and I'm probably going to building a few of them but not just yet. Since they're rockets they also get automatic guards status, rocket and heavy tank formations are always guards.
In the north I take possession of 2 panzer divisions that were stranded by the mud. It looks like a panzer corps was up here but got trapped in this terrible terrain during the retreat.
Another pocket is finished off finally. These have been around entirely too long, it's getting a little silly.
To facilitate its new role as a siegebreaking/breakthrough front the Western front upgrades nearly every counter it has to corps size. Next turn the conversions will finish and I'll strip the tanks out of the front in exchange for more artillery. Then they'll reduce these two stupid pockets before refitting and then shipping out to the frontlines to put a very big hole somewhere the Germans weren't expecting it. When then conversions are done the front will consist of 12 rifle corps and 8 artillery divisions with room for 4 more division sized formations or 8 brigades. I'll likely fill in the remaining space with rocket brigades since my preferred on-map brigade formation ('43 mortars) won't show up until spring of next year. In numbers this front will have roughly 500,000 men and around 8,000 artillery pieces, or nearly 1 gun for every 60 men and about 1,000 aircraft.
Eventually almost every front is going to look similar to this but for now I'm going to concentrate force rather than disperse it along the entire front. If I can only convert a handful of armies to corps with divisional artillery backup I want all those armies in the same place.
The snow is here and the mud is gone! The Germans don't launch any attacks so instead I'm going to post some pictures of how the front looks after the mud turns since it's been 4 turns since the last frontwide picture.
The current extent of the Soviet rail network. The far north is doing well, the large numbers of rail repair units have been able to keep up with the pace of my advance to an extent. The only exception is the AI's preoccupation with fixing the lines north of Leningrad where there are no Soviet or German troops any longer. From Smolensk through the Pripyat marshes is really bad and my advance there is going to be slowed down by a lot while I wait for the rails to catch up. The number of major rivers in that area makes tracing supply to a far away rail heads really difficult.
South of the marshes is really really bad but getting better. The AI rail repair units are going to get a rail into Kiev in a turn or two which means I won't have to trace supply across a river anymore. Finally I'm 5 hexes from linking up the Romanian rails to the Soviet ones, the mud slowed me down a whole bunch here but I should have it done within a few turns. Once I get Romania hooked up I'm going to swing north and run a rail up towards Tarnpol which should hopefully alow the Stalingrad and Crimean fronts to start making good progress again.
And the current frontlines before the winter campaign starts. I've only been able to catch up to the Germans in a few places, the extreme north and south of the area above the marshes. In the marshes themselves I'm at the end of my supply and can't make any progress until either the marshes freeze or I run a rail in. South of the marshes I'm nearing the edge of what I can keep in supply and the Germans are pulling back again. There's a lot more German counters south of the marsh now and with a whole month to rest and entrench they might be able to form a real line down there.
The month off has given the Axis OOB a chance to recover a little with over 2,000 tanks on-map for the Germans. Their problem is the Red Army has rested up as well and is now just 8,000 men short of breaking 9 million men and has over 11,000 tanks ready for combat. This huge number of tanks is split pretty evenly with about 1,600 T-60s, 2,600 T-70s, 2,200 T-34 M1941s, over 2,700 T-34 M1942s with a scattering of lend-lease tanks, older models and 500 heavies made up of mostly the brand new KV-1s. Even discounting the light tanks I've got 2 and a half T-34s for every tank the Germans can field or 1 heavy tank for every 4 Germans. I like those numbers.
For extra comedy I have more KV-1 M1941s in my pool than the Germans have tanks period. I may have been a bit overzealous in saving KV-1 factories.