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Posted on Nov 18, 2004 in Armchair Reading

Braunschweig – An After Action Report Part IV

By Zachary Hutchinson

The Stalingrad front is returning to active duty. Damned Huns are punching holes in the whole length of my line. He’s losing a lot in the attack and even more in my counter attack, but the effect is in his favor. With all reconstitutes and reinforcements being sent to the upper Don staging area or on their way to Baku, I’ve starved Stalingrad for fresh reinforcements. There’s no immediate threat, but if I don’t start moving in new stuff along this whole front, it is going to break – especially in the south.

The passes are holding nicely while the Germans pick and scratch their way up the northern face looking for holes I’ve missed. The Andiyskoye River valley is worsening. I clearly underestimated how important this was to Foggy. Four German artillery regiments are decimating the NKVD and the 2nd/349th at Botlikh. I’ve moved in another reserve tank regiment to confine the Germans to the valley itself, but I may have just wasted that regiment as the valley defense is being driven backwards without remorse.

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The Battle for Mackhachkala will begin in earnest, for sure, next turn as about half the German units are at the front. The Grenadier and Fusilier regiments of Grossdeutschland are present, as well as a medley of other divisions. There’s also the SS LAH from Leibstandarte and the SS Germania from SS Wiking. Funny thing is, Wiking’s 5th SS Aufklar is assisting the assault on the BSCD all the way on the other side of the map. Blessed opportunism!

TURN 17

A company from the 46th AC battalion reconstituted south of German occupied Astrakhan. I assume that is how it got there. Who knows? This gave me the idea I should have had all along: to kick the crap out of the arrogant paratroopers holding this swampy triangle of land. Instead of crossing the wide Volga, I slipped south through the swamps where the Volga ceases being a super river. This may be a fool idea, but I just realized by looking at the expected reinforcements, that his possession of Astrakhan is holding up a sizable Soviet army, which is supposed to appear there as reinforcements. If I can take the city, I have an unexpected weapon at what I’m now calling the heel of Braunschweig. It is miles from anywhere. It seems like a useless plot of land by all accounts, except that if left unguarded, the Germans could cut off all sea access to Baku. I’m convinced that if I can release these reinforcements I have a sizable pin to stick in his side.

Ugh. The Germans are going full steam into Mackhachkala. I have some reserves, but if it gets worse, if they take the city, with each round, I have to ask myself, “should I counterattack and bleed the enemy or retreat while not yet engaged and fight farther down the coast.”

The passes are starting to look like they won’t hold. My divisions can’t stand up to the German armor forever. And the Italian Alpine Corp crossed the mountains just northwest of Mt. Sugan and there’s little I can throw at them given that I don’t have any mountain divisions handy. Over the next couple turns I expect the passes to crack and break.

Along the Black Sea, the Germans aren’t making any headway. They push into my lines and I throw them back with massive artillery and naval support. Of all the defenses spanning the two seas, I am most confident of this one. Foggy hasn’t included any armor in this sector and I have the significant artillery edge. So long as it is infantry vs. infantry, it’ll hold.

Foggy is pushing hard toward downtown Stalingrad. The 124th Pz Reg has taken Pitomik, but is surrounded on 5 sides. The German 92nd Schutz Reg pushed into my lines, but is now surrounded. I don’t know if I have the strength to evaporate it. Foggy isn’t neglecting the southern flank. His Rumanians are also knocking holes in my line. He’s in desperate need to reinforce the units which he swung south through the lakes and met the Soviet juggernaut just west of the Volga. Two Rumanian divisions, one German regiment supported by an artillery regiment and a motorcycle battalion are going to get eaten alive. Several turns ago, Foggy moved one of his recon cavalry units across the Volga (I should say, upon the Volga given that TOAW does not use hex side rivers), and as far as I can tell triggered a host of reserve divisions arriving at Zlbton. What was initially just a forward defense has turned into a legitimate offense over an army in size supported by three tank brigades and elements of Shapkin’s 4th Cavalry Corp.

TURN 18

Figure 18-1

Here’s a shot of Enemy at the Gates. His two pronged attack on the city set off the city reserves this turn (the red, well-supplied regiments). Even in more danger is my northern flank which is wearing rather thin as I have still failed to send the bulk of the reconstituted units toward the city. The Rumanians are driving the southern flank back against the lakes and river. I don’t want him to take the city, but I have a feeling this game is going to come down to a race toward Baku and Rostov. It might not matter.

[continued on nextpage]

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