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Posted on Nov 8, 2004 in Armchair Reading

Braunschweig – An After Action Report Part II

By Zachary Hutchinson

(To view part one of the Braunschweig AAR series, click here).

TURN 4

The assault on Serafimovich continues, but with little progress. I moved the 33rd Motorized brigade of the 21st army across the Don at Yelenskaya in an attempt to draw him over the river and trigger the entrance of the 6th Army. (If the Germans cross the Don west of the point where it begins running horizontally, the Soviets get a strong reserve army along the northern edge of the map). He’s not made much progress in front of the Don elsewhere. He’s moved several units onto the river and has met strong resistance each time. His swing to the south is slowing too. The Rumanians are swinging the farthest east, but to little avail. I’m not quite sure what he’s planning, but I count at least 4 panzer divisions heading for the 22nd Luftlande at Astrakhan. Granted they will probably turn south once they hit the sea, but something will have to pick up their rear/northern flank. I predict that over the next few turns, I’ll be able to see where along the southern Volga his flank ends.

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I began pulling my units from the defense out of the Kirch Straights. He’s circling around and will cross the Kuban to the east. Next turn I probably won’t be able to get them out.

Ryzhkov and his 56th Army have dug in around Maykop in a fight to the death. The 22nd Panzer division, along with a host of infantry divisions, is headed that way. I’ve also taken note of the German 4th Mountain Division crossing the Kuban at Kropotkin. I’ll have to watch them and commit extra units to whatever pass they decide to tackle.

Grechko made it to the Pseaschcha Pass. The 1st Rifle Corps holds the Allistrachu and Klukor Passes. The Terek stronghold is slowly (an emphasis on slowly) growing in strength, but I fear it won’t be able to hold the Germans for more than a turn at the river.

I’ve moved several units down the rail line to take on the 22nd Luftlande. One battalion is on its way to Gurbev. The good news is they are pretty easy to kick around. Two tank brigades of mine are lookng like they might have a field day with the two battalions attempting to hold the victory objective north of the Volga. Hopefully he’ll see how weak this defense is and the one battalion headed to Gurbev will call off its march. I see little hope in retaking Astrakhan. The Germans will arrive in force too soon, but I can hold the Volga…god willing.

TURN 5

I wrote to Matt that I think I illegally evacuated a unit by sea from the defense lines north of Anapa, which was north of the Soviet sea limit. I evacuated an Azeri Brigade that was down to about half its equipment. However, before that, 4 combat rounds evaporated a German HQ, which was holding open a breach in the line. The first victory!

Figure 5-1 (Click to enlarge).

5-1 is a look at the western end of things. Top left you can see what remains of my defense against the 11th Army. The Germans have easily crossed the Kuban in quite a few places. You can see the 1st Mountain Div circled in blue and what I can see of the 4th circled in red. Next turn will see the opening shots for Maykop. Just off to the right of the shot, the 22nd pz Div is flanking Maykop.

Figure 5-2 (Click to enlarge).

5-2 is an overview of the Terek Stronghold. Pretty sparse, eh? Some Corps showed up as reinforcements this turn in Grozny. I could do with some more of that. I have to decide what to do about Makhachkala. Right now I just have a lousy armor train defending it. I might have to pull something out of the Terek to tack that down for the time being. A military police unit and some arty are moving up the line from Baku, but it’s slow going.

Figure 5-3

5-3 is a look at the southern flank of Stalingrad. I was half expecting to see this deeper swing of the flanking units. While those close to the river are making slow grinding progress, these have the chance to do some maneuvering. The direct assault on Stalingrad has stopped completely.

Serafimovich is still holding its ground, but my units are fading and will give ground next turn. The longer I can keep him from sealing up this bridgehead the longer these units will stay out of the fight for Stalingrad.

Oddly enough the Germans lost around 50 planes this turn to my 50. To give you a little of the taste of the manpower I enjoy here are some raw figures:

Rifle Squads: 7500+ On Hand; 9601 Assigned; 2400+ lost

German loss penalty: 149
Soviet loss penalty: 0

Granted…the first 3 turns of this game were played with 1.06 and that might account for some of the German losses (I don’t know how many tanks he’s lost so far), but in general his direct assault on Stalingrad ate a good deal of his lunch. Like an EEV in my brain, with each turn that passes I am seeing the opportunity for a future counter attack on the forces around Stalingrad.

[continued on nextpage]

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