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Posted on Nov 8, 2004 in Armchair Reading

Braunschweig – An After Action Report Part II

By Zachary Hutchinson


The week of August 8th saw several small counter attacks. The 343rd Div of the 21st Army, surrounded and low on supplies, counter attacked von Daniel’s HQ of the 376th Division. To assist, the 5th Gds Cav crossed the Don and hit it from the rear. Several rounds later, and quite lighter, it retreated. Along with stubborn resistance of Danilov’s 21st Army, holding around Serafimovich, these little incursions should keep Matt worried about the upper Don. Three times now I’ve sent raids across the river. There is little doubt that my marauders face a mauling, but the constant hassle ensures that he’ll guard this front and not leave it to the river to keep him safe.

My line holding the very large bridge head over the Don along its twist centered on Novogrigorevskaya hasn’t moved an inch in the last 3 turns or so. I think he’s resting most of his units…content to probe with some worn down tank battalions. The case is quite different farther down the Don. The 15th Independent Bde and an Engineering Bde from the 28th Tank Corp tried their damnest to push back a Pioneer Battalion from the 16th PzD, which forded the Don during Foggy’s half of the turn. You can imagine Stalin’s anger, because this bridgehead, if even slightly expanded, will have outflanked the Kalach bridgehead held valiantly by the 23rd Tank Corp.


He forced another crossing just east of Nizhny Chirskaya. While elements of the 57th Army weren’t able to seal it up, they did evaporate the only German regiment holding the bridgehead. It is certain that the Germans will have trouble expanding it next turn, but they will keep it.

And the last is at Potemkinskaya. They punched across the river using elements of the 24th Division. An AT battalion of the 24th holds Potemkinskaya proper. But my forces aren’t giving up without a fight. They managed to evaporate a German regiment that pushed a little too far into Soviet held territory.

Defenses blocking the southern approach to the city are slowly taking shape, but as of yet, the line is very brittle. I’m only able to divert reinforcements to it, because the Germans along the Don proper are resting. Once they renew in earnest, I see that the Don will lack proper reserves. I think I might be defending too far forward.

The 3rd PzD’s attempt to swing deep toward Lake Sarpa is moderately effective in keeping me up at night. If it weren’t for the Rumanians this wouldn’t be much of a maneuver. However, I’m forced to throw units out for Matt to play with. I think next turn I’m going to evacuate as much as possible to the Aksay River; otherwise I fear his bridgehead at Potemkinskaya, along with the steady northward movement of the Romanians, will pocket more than I care to lose. My hope of holding out against the Germans at Stalingrad is faltering. The next few turns will determine whether I’ll sound a general retreat.

Forward elements of some unidentified German PzD are about to cut the north/south rail line in two scoring places, just north and south of the Kuma River. No loss…it’s already cut at Astrakhan. Speaking of which, all of the 22nd Luftlande have retreated behind the Volga, leaving the upper spur of the rail line free for repair. I’m sending units to hold the Volga…more with each turn.

It looks like it will be up to Koroteev’s 9th Army to hold Makhackkala. Unless he tries a river crossing east of Gudermes, he’ll have to come through the Grozny fortress first. And I think he will…on account of supply lines, but just in case, I’m deploying both Bdes of the 271st Div along the river. Recon from the 23rd PzD are at the west side of the Terrek. I expect an attempt to cross it next turn. I’m moving everything appearing south of the mountains up into the passes. Might as well plan a defense of the best defensive territory. Grechko, having no actual units to command other than artillery, finds himself in command what looks to be the first German attempt to cross the mountains at the Pseaschacha pass. Three miserably out of supply brigades hold it against a mixed bag of German formations. I count six different formations just north of Maykop, readying to brutalize Ryzhkov’s 56th Army. We expect the worst. A small citadel with a radius of roughly 30 kilometers is forming around Taupse. The Kerch defense has been wiped out, with Kotov’s HQ left out in the wilderness awaiting destruction.

All in all, I think this game will come down to one thing…Baku. I can see now that when the Germans take the 11th Army option, negating Erevan, it trims the game down to a German trek with one goal. I hope to move enough up the Makhachkala-Baku rail line to defend along the many rivers that cross this open coastland. Once down here, the Germans will still be spread out, meaning they shouldn’t be able to flank with great strength. And it will all come down to a final fortress around Baku. I’ve been under the impression that with all the options Matt has taken, he should be able to hold against a counter attack and blast his way to Baku, but I’m slowly changing my mind. It all concerns whether or not I can find the stretch he’s left weak.


Turn 7 saw the Germans crashing upon the Terek fortress from the west. Several regiments have cut east across the northern length in an attempt to take Mozdok. He hasn’t breached the river on the west side, but they will next turn. Another host of Germans are cascading directly out of the north down the rail line. Two divisions from Baku moved up by rail to Makhachkala. The passes are sitting tight. All in all, it has been a quiet turn in the south. Maykop held, but not for much longer. The lingering units will hamper further movement south for another turn or two. They’ve really yet to make it to Taupse.

Stalingrad saw the retreat of my southern defense. I’ve pulled out all I can, but I am going to lose a lot. Fresh units have taken up a line north of a small tributary of the Don which runs east to west. I have several elements guarding the passes through the lakes, but eventually it will all collapse on the city and the Volga. All reconstituted units are taking up positions along the Stalingrad fortifications. I’ve had to abandon one bridge over the Don because I wasn’t able to completely close a German bridgehead to its north, which threatened encirclement. Most of these forces are across the river. My territory on the west side of the Don (at its large bend in the north) is holding firmly. Many of my units are coming back into good supply, but so are the Germans.

I only need one thing right now – more bodies.

Turn 8

Figure 8-1

Figure 8-1 shows the new line of defense I’ve constructed from what I could pull from my failing outer line and some reinforcement MG and AT battalions that were manning the inner defenses. It’s weak right now, but I’m hoping it will hold for a single turn allowing reinforcements to arrive. I held the Don and the southern defense too long. It was a mistake. I’ll lose quite a lot in this haphazard retreat, but there’s just no other way. South and east of Lake Sarpa, I have nothing in the way of a solid line. Three divisions of the 57th Army sit out in the vast emptiness while Stavka decides what to do with them. Indecision killed the cat…not curiosity.

[continued on nextpage]

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