Part 87: Turn 87: February 11, 1943
The upside to getting the shit beaten out of my rifle corps. Since the guards cap is based on the number of squads that are guards right this second if I lose a bunch of men from guards formations like I did last turn things like this happen.
The Germans are abandoning the Baltic and falling back to Riga. It looks like a few divisions are being left up here to slow me down but they'll probably be able to escape via ports before I can catch them.
The Leningrad front re-encircles those divisions against the river, this time catching 2 infantry divisions and the Arab motorized brigade. The rest of the troops just try to grab as many hexes as possible now that the Germans have fallen back again.
The Northwest and Volkhov fronts are even less exciting with a 20 mile drive west for the lot of them without a German in sight. A tank brigade makes it across the Daugava and I fly a shitload of recon missions which reveal a horrifying number of German counters forming a line from Riga to Brest Litovsk.
I'm actually getting a little nervous about a major counter-attack in the summer of 43. I've done effectively no damage to the German army this winter, I've spent the last few months just taking land and outrunning my supply lines while the Germans train and refit in perfect supply. If I can reach the German line before the mud I should be fine, it will give me a chance to refit my forces for the summer and catch the rails up to the front. Also with the Baltic states abandoned the Germans have neatly shortened the line by another 150 miles which will allow me to employ both incredible density and depth. Achieving a breakthrough against the Red Army is going to be extremely difficult. I've already got 12+ armies in reserve because there is literally no room for them on the line and that number isn't going to get smaller.
I really hope this is the last huge retreat like this, I'm getting really sick of this.
Still running on the ragged edge of what I can supply. Very annoying but there's nothing I can do about this this month.
The Central front forces a weaker German division to surrender and then continues its swing north out of the swamps. This isn't the best axis to come out along but I really want them out before the thaw.
That's a tempting target but I'm not sure I'll be able to bag it in this weather.
Nope! Not enough gas. Poor supply, lack of trucks and the blizzard combine to prevent my cavalry or tanks from being able to take that hex. The plus side is very few supplies are going to get into that pocket on the German turn so some of those formations aren't going to make it out by next week.
And the Southern front joins in on the fun with a pair of divisions. Not encircled but they are cut off and it's unlikely that they'll be able to escape the pocket without outside help.
Well this front might have some action, I hope.
The Transcaucasus front gets one-more-hex'd and is just short of cutting off 2 more divisions. Luckily in the mountain terrain they might not be able to trace supply and get isolated anyways.
An even flimsier almost-pocket forms just to the west as the 5th Shock Army joins the line and relieves the tired cavalry so they can dive further behind enemy lines. I really want to either pocket these Germans or force them to evacuate this area so I can start supplying the Transcaucasus front with Romanian rails rather than shipping supply through the Carpathians.
The Western front doesn't accomplish much this turn, mostly just moving up to engage the German line which is looking rather anemic. The only real gain this turn is taking the city of Szeged again and this time I occupy it so those forces in Yugoslavia can't cross over again.
It's worth pointing out that the northern part of this bulge is becoming scarier and scarier every turn. The Germans are shipping in loads of troops up here and there's even more offscreen that I don't have good recon reports on. I would be worried about them breaking through the weak Volga M.D. up there but another cavalry army arrived in Hungary this turn and all 3 of my tank armies are refitting behind the lines right now, so any German breakthrough would be dealt with instantly. That said I could be underestimating German capabilities, in which case I've got 3 Romanian (heh) armies in reserve if I can't stem the tide.
The Germans attempt to break the Leningrad front's pocket and fail. 2 divisions and a motorized brigade are doomed and their 2 would-be rescuers may follow them.
In the south the near-pocket holds better than expected, all these divisions should be re-encircled next turn barring something hiding in the fog.
These guys however;
And these are all doomed.
Losing divisions to encirclements is exactly the thing the Germans do not need right now. By playing keep-away all winter the German army has been able to rest and recover, many of their formations are filling out again and their armored reserve is starting to rebuild. Losing a tens of thousands to pockets is going to slow that process down dramatically. Anyways a pretty short turn since I couldn't really launch any attacks.
E: Oh yeah, Slovakia surrendered this turn as well.