by John Pankonien
note: just for some insight I am soloing this but I try to be as good as possible about remembering what I should and shouldn’t know about the opposing team.
From my first look at it I’m already picking up more mistakes. In moving out the 17th and 23rd I could have killed trace supply for the Russian forces still guarding my right side. More oh wells. If the Germans lose it’ll probably be more because of my inabilities as a strategist than anything else. Moving on though, I’m unsure of what to do next. The major issue that keeps inhibiting me is that I don’t want to move my forces in a position to be countered attacked. For this turn I’m going to move my forces up echelon left. 6th Panzer will clear the river of the 85th Russian Tank brigade and hopefully gain an exploitation point allowing them to fall back to the German side of the Askai. Meanwhile the 17th will attempt a similar maneuver against the forces on the center of the Askai. Finally the 23rd will knock out the Russian 13th brigade, but hang back to watch the Right side. Meanwhile the Rumanians will move up to begin forming the front line on the water front. The idea is to use it to screen our advance and simply move up river to river towards Stalingrad.
German turn 2
Like I discussed, the divisions move towards their objectives. The Romanians move up as well. Units are encircled.
Russian reaction phase
Well funky monkey, the fights starting to shape up. More to luck than design, I actually have a nice cadre of armored reserve units set up. Some tank units near 13th Motor Corps are available, as are some units from 7th tank corps. However, more to design than luck, the positioning of my reserves is pretty poor. In my head I didn’t move them so they could remain in reserve. The result though is that only the units near 13th Motor actually have the ability to disrupt the German plans this turn. At only a total of 9 factors though (base value, 18 on assault), best AR 2, there’s not much I can see them doing. Additionally they have a move value of 5. There are commando units that move faster. They’re too weak to fight on their own, too stupid to take ar5 Germans by surprise, and too slow to cut anyone off. With a spoiling action out of the question, I instead release the 7th Tank units to move up to join 4th Motor waiting for a counter move next turn and send the tanks near 13th motor to actual join the 13th. It’s a good guess that the 17th division was either going to hit the 13th or the tanks next to them. While I’m risking more of my offensive tools in battle, I think the 13th will hold better fighting together than apart. “Smack it don’t pat it”, only this time in reverse. I guess that would make it, “He who defends everything defends nothing”, but I like the other maxim better for this case.
On a side note, the supply depot at Kapkinskiy is only at 3 SPs. I’m considering it a secondary objective for personal pride to neither lose nor be forced to destroy any of the supply at that depot. Also with 7th tank now with 4th motor, the possible soviet counter offensive has a considerable amount of teeth.
Continuing German Turn 2
Starting my turn again, I double check to make sure I wasn’t supposed to receive three more panzer divisions during the reinforcement earlier. No worries, I didn’t and won’t for the rest of the game. Wouldn’t want this to be easy…
I start off and in the center, 17th’s dedicated artillery begins a bombardment on the 5 step stack of the Russians. The German forward observers call it in, “20 barrage, 5 step, shift 2 right, roll 9, ½, roll 6”, and score 1 kill and a dg. The Russians remove the Stalingrad railroad unit and begin to wonder if they should’ve saved the extra armor instead. I could, but choose not to bombard the weak targets of 23rd and 6th panzer. My SP count is unnerving me and I’m afraid I’m overspending as it is. The 23rd begins their assault but poor staff work nearly results in a 5 for the surprise roll. The 23rd recovers however and presses on thanks to the superior troops of the 23rd (ar5 to ar2; 5+3=8; no surprise). The 23rd attacks with a total 38 factors to ruskies 6.
It comes out to 6.3:1 odds so I rounded that to 7:1. Someone let me know if that’s the correct procedure since there are no 6:1 odds on open terrain? Please and thank you!
Rolling at 7:1, the 23rd executes the plan with professional air pulling off the expected Ae4DL1o2; bye bye 13th tank brigade. On the left side the 6th panzer goes in for their kill as well and fares much better! Unlike their cousins, the 6th has excellent staff work and achieves surprise, a shift of 6, and a score of 13 on the roll! Ae3DL2o2. Too bad 6th Panzer doesn’t have any AR3
Now the real show begins. 17th Panzer rolls out ready to crush the combined might of 13th Motor Corps. DGed but reinforced, the Corps presents a stern 11.5 and 17th, originally my favorite division (I like the red & white color combo) disappoints me greatly with only 31 factors of strength. The fight is 3:1 odds, with no surprise, the Russians saved by having one single AR3 in the stack. The 17th makes a good show scoring a 10 on the combat chart, Ao1DL1o2. It’s not what I wanted, not even close. The fact that 17th panzer has to take a loss to inflict damage? That’s practically the OPPOSITE of what wanting. I choose to take the loss, lose a 4-5-18 recon unit from the 17th. The Russians lose a mechanized brigade, a larger loss than my recon, but still I’ve lost more force. However! While I consider this a minor catastrophe, I see opportunity in it! The 13th has fallen back to Kapinskiy, along with a few other units and the supply depot. They’re all DGed. All of the 23rd, 17th, and 6th are in full exploit mode. Time to exploit.
I send the remnants of the 17th and complete 6th towards Kapinskiy while the 23rd takes station up on the right of it some 20 miles. The two units move in and with no possible reserves, the 13th and Kapinskiy’s fate are nearly certain. German AR is at 5 and Russians are at 3. The German combat group achieves surprise, a 4 column shift (11-1 odds) and drove the attack home at a combat result of Ae2DL2o2DG! Through adversity the 17th regains its honor (the lead AR unit was from the 17th)! The Russians lose a 5-3-3 motorized infantry brigade and a 75-1-3 artillery battery. The Germans also captured 25% of the dump and took 2ts of supplies! Hoorah!
End of German Turn 2
Russian Thoughts Turn 2
Tactically this is a setback. 13th Motor Corps is virtually destroyed. All that is left is an armored soviet brigade that in no way should carry the 13th’s flag. Strategically though, this is a godsend. The 6th and 17th are all stacked up at Kapinkskiy. The 2nd Guard Motor and 4th Motor are waiting in the wings to close the steel jaws and swallow jerry whole. Part of my brain says that doctrine dictates I surround the 6th and 17th, but to prevent a breakout I would rather crush them in battle. Sadly for the Germans, my lessons from attacking the 13th Motor ensure I’ll have the 6th and 17th completely surrounded with nowhere to run when the skirmish begins. If this goes as planned I very much believe this game will be decided right here. Also, to be noted, as if the coffin isn’t nailed shut already, as the Russian player I’m pleased to announce the arrival of 6th Motor Corps.
Russian Turn 2 Thoughts
Okay quick correction. 2nd Guard Motor is just five miles out of range of the 17th and 6th. Instead they’ll go engage the 23rd Division to the south and the 4th Motor reinforced will engage the 17th and 6th.
Okay quick correction. I’m completely lost in my own grandeur. Do I really want to send 2nd Guard Armor (AR3 at best) to attack a German division at its own? Disregarding surprise? Disregarding it’ll probably be lucky to get 3:1 odds with a -2 dmr? Also, do I really want 4th Motor to engage with a best AR4 and probably 2:1 odds? Okay, 2nd Guard Motor will restrain, however, the 4th Motor, 7th Tanks, and the remnants of the DGed 13th Motor will assault the 6th and 17th. Is it Risky? Yes. Expensive? You betcha. Hold the fate of the game in its hands? Big time. But isn’t this a simulation? Yep, let’s simulate.
Russian Turn 2
All the previously mentioned forces move for their destinations. Artillery preps the 17th and 6th with a DG, no step loss. The Russians attack with a total supply usage of 5 ½ SPs, not including the artillery. The Germans, though cut off, did capture 2ts, paying for their defense! The Germans, DGed, come up with AR 5-1, 23.5 factors of defense. The Russians attack with an AR4, 87 factors of attack. 4:1 odds. Let’s see what the surprise roll does. Surprise roll was a 6, no surprise: c
Combat roll of a 6, Ao1Do1, Russians lose a mechanized unit; Germans lose their last recon unit. It’s a stalemate really, but it doesn’t matter. The 17th and 6th are surrounded and out of supply. Shit. Unless the 23rd makes something happen they’re in trouble, to put it lightly.
Rest of the turn ends, no reserves, no exploits, little clean up, end of turn.
two and one day and we’re back on track! Staff work, staff work, staff work; the thing that makes armies move. I am however sad to inform you that I saved over my 2nd to last picture, sorry about that. Also I think this AAR is a bit more sloppy. Hopefully this’ll only give me a standard to improve. More tomorrow!
- Operation Winter Storm [OCS] (meshtime.com)
- Dragoons and Panzers partners in Grafenwoehr Training Area (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Background to the Stalingrad Pocket – Prelude to Uranus (meshtime.com)
- Stalingrad Pocket II [turn 3] (meshtime.com)
- Thoughts on Combined Arms (xbradtc.wordpress.com)