Sunday, September 23, 2018

Smolensk 41 Gold: Part 2: Counterattacked

Well I can tell I under estimated the PC AI because apparently the Soviets are able to mount some large counterattacks to unravel all the work I have done.

I stormed east with a large force to capture Gorki, only to find it undefended.

Meanwhile the Russians have moved massive amounts of armor south of Orsha and are mounting a fierce attack to retake the city. My only problem is I had moved the majority of my strength east expecting resistance near Gorki. Now I have units racing BACK west and meeting Soviet infantry reserves and being delayed. How long can Orsha hold now? It is turn 14 of 25 and I have a victory if I can just hold on.

The 15th Infantry is the closest to help at Orsha but they are meeting a defense picket on their way north now. 


Saturday, September 22, 2018

John Tiller's Panzer Campaigns Smolensk 41 Gold: Part 1

Got the gold version recently and old addiction kicked back in. The scenario I picked was a 25 turn monster called Orsha Crossing. I would need all that time. The gold version features updated unit graphics and art as well as sound and some game mechanic changes.

70km SW of Smolensk: On July 7th, 1941, elements of PanzerGruppe 2 force the Dnepr between Orsha and Mogilev. The Russian forces are strung thinly along the Dnepr River while firmly entrenched and anchored at Orsha and Mogilev. The Germans have the option of assaulting these cities, or striking across the Dnepr penetrating deep into Russian territory. This is a medium sized scenario that covers the south area in the early part of the campaign, from Mogilev in the south to Orsha. [9000 sq Km - 25 Turns]

The vast distances I had to cross to get across the map were insane and I really needed to conserve my strength. My forces were strong and well to go being 1941 the Wehrmacht was at the height of its power.

The map though was so daunting.

My first target of course was Mogilev and getting across the Dnepr. Many turns passed before I was finally in the thick of things but pushing forward I managed to get two bridges laid across the Dnepr: One mid map near Kopys and then one way south of that with no town to be named. To the north my units were storming toward Orsha and the fat 100 point objective there. Elements of the 39th Panzer and 63rd Infantry had already made contact and were working toward the downtown part of the city.

The 11th SS had taken Mogilev already and I was working on clearing out surround Russian units. You can see this below. This part of my attack had the least to gain and was rather disorganized. 

Way up north I was banking on taking Orsha. It was being a bit stubborn but I had most of the Russian units cut off and had a bridgehead established. My units were across the Dnepr in two places and ready to plunge into the heart of the Soviet Union. At Kopys I had a bridge established as well and was sending recon units far ahead. A little south of that was another bridgehead. I had to move fast as I only had 25 turns. You can see the engineers below with the tiny bridge icons allowing my tanks and artillery to cross over. I pushed the Soviets aside, made a corridor and raced through it into the open steppes. More to come later!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Kiev to Rostov Nov. 27 - 28th Soviet Offensive 1941 Final

The Germans are in a bind. Out of supply and not able to use artillery, one hex move or infiltration plus at low movement rates they pull out of Chaltyr and move north to occupy Sultan Sally for some defense of the last objective. The Waffen SS is cut off and abandoned, as is the west end of Rostov. The 4th Armor Reg of the 13th Panzer Division hunkers down in Sultan Sally with other German units in retreat. The SS LAH battalion cannot move out due to being in a enemy ZOC and having to enter another enemy ZOC.

There are no attacks planned by the Germans, no other movement. The supplies are so low they have to save every single bullet. The Soviet forces spring into action and move to mass tanks and men to make the final assault into Rostov and eliminate German forces north of Sultan Sally. The Soviet 54th Tank moves up 5 miles to prepare for the assault. The 56th HQ activates the 78th Naval Brigade to the west and they cross the small river near the Don. The Russians open up their last offensive drive with attacks on Rostov West with air and artillery support. Then 10 miles north of Sultan Sally they assault German straggling units. Desperate they are issued no retreat orders by Franz Halder. 

The Soviet air attack easily gets through and several bombers smash West Rostov with ordinance. Soviet 515th and 526th Artillery shells the town as well and with odds of 17-2 the German defense in Rostov is shattered as the German infantry disintegrates. Advancing into the city Rostov is liberated!. 

North of Sultan Sally the initial odds are 7-3 for a 2-1 attack. Due to out of supply German defenders there is a -1 DRM. 

A 0 is rolled which is devastating (becomes -1). The German 66th Motorized Regiment and 627th Engineer Battalion is eliminated and the Russians move to within 5 miles of Sultan Sally. At this point the game ends due to it being a slaughter. The German cadre box is littered with smashed units and the Russians will easily take the last objective spot next turn. With the liberation of Rostov and all victory locations taken it is safe to assume this offensive has been a major success.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Kiev to Rostov Nov. 27 - 28th Soviet Offensive 1941 Part 2

The Soviet offensive releases their attacks on the unsuspecting Axis defenders. The first to feel the brunt of the Soviet fury are the German units to the north of Rostov. Tired and at low strength the Germans give way and are routed. 

Russian bombers pound the German 160th Recon Battalion and their anti air is weak as the Russians lose few bombers and drop ordinance on the hex. German and Soviet artillery thunder toward each other as the attack commences and the Germans fold, their unit evaporated as the Soviet 6th Armor Brigade and 68th Cavalry advance. The German men flee into the Russian steppes as their defense folds.

Just 5 miles to the south the German line is further attacked by the Soviets and the German 120th is forced to retreat, but they take more losses pulling out of combat and find their fighting efficiency destroyed as they are effectively eliminated as a combat unit. Russian forces advance. 

Further south around the bend in the Don River the Soviets throw themselves across the bridgehead known as Bridge 1, number 2 being one that leads into Rostov East defended by the Waffen SS. At 9-2 odds the Russians smash across the bridge even when the attack is poorly coordinated. The German 92nd regiment is overwhelmed and they falter, being eliminated as the Russians storm across the Don bridgehead. 

Next up the major assault into Rostov east against the dreaded but weakened SS Adolf Liebstandarte. Included in the attack is a fearful unit of Soviet rocket artillery, the 6 guards rockets. With Soviet artillery shelling the city the Waffen SS, though causing casualties, is forced to pull back but they are cut off and decimated as they retreat being eliminated. The Soviet units advance into the east half of Rostov liberating half of the major city. Following these attacks the Soviet forces fan out and secure their front, reinforcing the front lines and starting to cut off the defending German forces in and around Rostov. 

This ends the Soviet turn and we start game turn 81 next, which takes us into November 29th and the 30th. 


The next turn sees a weather determination and a aircraft readiness determination. The weather continues to be frost for the next two days, and the skies are clear. The Soviet bombers find safe skies and prepare to run more sorties. The German supply situation is now critical as all axis forces find themselves almost cut off and with no fuel or enough ammunition to mount counter attacks. A general retreat is in order. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

GMT Games Eastern Front Kiev to Rostov Part 4: HQ Units

Kiev to Rostov Nov. 27 - 28th Soviet Offensive 1941 Part 1

The Soviets have the initiative on the eastern front and are driving on Rostov. 

"On 27 November the 37th Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Anton Ivanovich Lopatin, as part of the Rostov Strategic Offensive Operation (17 November 1941 – 2 December 1941), counter-attacked the 1st Panzer Army's spearhead from the north, forcing them to pull out of the city. Adolf Hitler countermanded the retreat. When Rundstedt refused to obey, Hitler sacked him, and replaced him with Reichenau. However, Reichenau saw at once that Rundstedt was right and succeeded in persuading Hitler, via Franz Halder, to authorise the withdrawal, and the 1st Panzer Army was forced back to the Mius River at Taganrog. It was the first significant German withdrawal of the war" 

The thunderous roar of artillery from the Soviet side of the Don signaled the offensive.

The Soviet 16th INF brigade, 64th CAV division, 1st RAU regiment, 353rd INF division strike into the German 92nd Motorized INF of the 60th Infantry division to drive on the roads east of Rostov (in game terms this is hex 4128 on the Rostov Redeemed card).

The German 60th Infantry division was organized as follows:

60th Infantry Division: Mobilized on 10/15/39

1/,2/,3/ 92nd Infantry Regiment
1/,2/,3/ 243rd Infantry Regiment
1/,2/,3/ 244th Infantry Regiment
1/160th Artillery Regiment

The 54th Armored Brigade, 56th Cavalry Division, and 3317th Infantry Division strike the German 120th regiment of the 60th motorized division. The 68th cavalry division and the 6th armor brigade attack the 160th German recon battalion. Elsewhere across the bridge directly into the city of Rostov to the south the Soviet 8th guard artillery regiment, RUPU regiment, 347th infantry division and 203rd NKVD security regiment throw themselves against an under strength SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler brigade.

The German High Command had to react fast. The 93rd motorized infantry regiment (13th Panzer Division) moves to reinforce and the 66th motorized infantry of the 13th Panzer Division occupies Chaltyr. The 612th artillery regiment is committed to the combat to support the defense of the 160th recon of the 60th motorized division.