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Posted on Nov 14, 2004 in Armchair Reading

Braunschweig – An After Action Report Part III

By Zachary Hutchinson

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

TURN 10

Maykop still hasn’t fallen, although the city is empty. Matt has yet to begin an earnest attack upon my lines around Taupse. Instead, he surrounded the one remaining naval brigade out in front of the main defenses. Next turn he’ll spend trying to eliminate it instead of assaulting Taupse. So my lines should survive through turn 12.  His units around Maykop will be heading south in an attempt to force the passes.

The Terek is collapsing. The front is too large for me to give you a picture of, but he easily blasted holes in the western end, and in some places, around Grozny no less, he crossed without a fight. The Grossdeutschland regiment has penetrated to within six kilometers of Grozny holding a full division of mine against the river. Which brings me to a comment on Matt’s style. He is an excellent surround artist. He’ll push units through and go for the surround almost every time. It’s a good tactic, but it also has its flaws. When you don’t have a lot of extra units, it can slow you down. So instead of breaking my lines with his strong units, and pushing on into my backfield, he’ll push through and use his strong units to surround. Blitzkrieg in TOAW is all about movement…each and every turn. Maykop and the naval brigade north of Taupse are good examples of where he should have moved around these fortified locations and left a few divisions to grind them down. The determining factor will be his overall speed in getting to Tbilisi and then Baku. So far, in spite of my dubious critique, he’s moving wicked fast.

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Figure 10-1

10-1 is a good shot of my Makhachkala defense. I want to hold this city for as long as I can to keep Matt out of the Caspian. If things get hairy I need to be able to ship units over the sea. Two fresh rifle divisions are waiting entrained at Gurbev bound for either Baku or Makhachkala…I haven’t decided. Now that I think about it and look at the picture myself, the line just north of the city could use some more strength. I’m also worried about the distinct lack of armor here. The Terek has exposed to me exactly what Matt is sending to this area – half a dozen panzer grenadier regiments.

The line around Stalingrad held…more or less. A little intrusion by the 15th Reg of the 29th Mtz Div was quickly capped off right around the lakes. Encircled, it lost more than 30% this turn. This situation was possible by the heroic effort of the 2nd Reg of the 65th Tank Bde pushing back the 129th Pz Battalion to close the gate. While the Germans cross the Don south of Golubinsky and clean up what I could not extricate, each turn brings in more and more reconstitutions. Actual reinforcements aren’t all that plentiful yet…perhaps 1-2 division sized units per turn. That may sound like a good deal of troops, but with the vast frontier to guard they easily get lost.

North of Golubinsky, I firmly hold the bend of the Don. His units are rested and should attack soon. If he initiates the Stalingrad bombing which gives him some four shock turns, that could easily change.

And last and somewhat least, the pocket at Serafimovich is slowly decreasing. He pushed to the outskirts of the city cutting off the pocket from escaping over the Don. He opened a hole on the west side, which 1st/293rd Div quickly closed, but not without the loss of a complete brigade on my side. I doubt it will hold much longer. If he hasn’t pushed into the city next turn, I’ll counterattack once the 304th Div stops reorganizing.

And one last note…I have 9999 rifle squads in my inventory. I have roughly 11500 on the ground. It means I can replace my losses indefinitely, but the real problem is that I don’t have enough units to get all these squads onto the field. Almost every category is like this except for T34s.

And Matt lost twice as many planes as I did–taking about 70 to my 40.

TURN 11

The Stalingrad front held‧all except for the collapsing Serafimovich pocket. I’ve pulled back what I could across the river and it looks as if I’ll lose 1-3 divisions depending on how well he can advance toward the bridge.

Three elements of the 24th Army showed up this turn at Frovolo. Since turn 10, I’ve decided that it might be wise to begin building for a counter attack when my shock kicks in around in the 30s. Yes, it is early and the Stalingrad pocket is by no means safe, but I need to start focusing on where this will take place. I’ve come to the conclusion that it will be impossible to hold the Germans in the south. Sooner or later, they will arrive at Baku. I am going to push the north hard with the hopes he’ll have to divert some strength back to protect Rostov. I have a feeling he won’t. If pressed, and if close enough to Baku, there’s always the temptation of simply bulldozing on through even if supply lines start to look constricted. As we know, in TOAW, 1% supply doesn’t include gas tanks. I’m saving everything for a final defense of Baku.

So far all fronts are holding‧Stalingrad, Taupse and the western passes. Terek is no more. Remnants flee the German swarm. Grozny is still in my hands, but I’ll probably lose it next turn. He is several turns from Mackhachkala. These forces dig in further and await the onslaught. He has to take it if he wants supplies beyond the mountains.

[continued on nextpage]

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