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Posted on Nov 18, 2004 in Armchair Reading

Braunschweig – An After Action Report Part IV

By Zachary Hutchinson

Figure 18-2

18-2 shows what has become the September offensive’s southern prong. The Rumanian divisions are toast and the broken down German regiment is all but surrounded. How far will it get? I don’t have the units to push too far into the emptiness west of the lakes. I think I’ll end up turning them north into his rear and southern flank if I can make it past the lakes.

The real wonder of this turn was the new northern prong. (Geez, I wasn’t looking for either a north or south offensive and as luck would have it, I wind up with both). I didn’t like how the battle for Stalingrad was going over the last few turns. Carrying on the previous thought of giving Foggy “no worry” flanks, I decided to test the waters by probing his upper Don defenses. Intel frequently showed little to nothing along the upper Don. I was hoping to slip a unit or two in back of this lines bordering on the Don River. Well, the long and short is, he had none and what started just behind his lines spread westward like wildfire.

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Figure 18-3

I caught three fresh German regiments guarding the bridges, but nothing in between. I almost sent the 6th Army across the river as well but there was a slight weak spot in my offense between them and the nearest river crossing. Spotters can see several German regiments plus a corps HQ some 20 kilometers in the rear. I really don’t know what he has in reserve. I can see a full, resting Rumanian Corp down near Kalach [off map]. And I’ll bet there’s more than that. I’m going to let him make the next move. Whatever is in front of the 6th Army across the Don will likely be weaker next turn given he’ll surely shift some to cover part of my break across the river. This isn’t a break for Rostov moment or an attempt to make an early encirclement of the Germans at Stalingrad. I really just want a nice cushion across the river from where a later, fully reinforced Soviet offensive can take off. What started as an attempt to threaten the northern end of his line turned into a limited northern offensive. It won’t get far, given that I have three full strength regiments to deal with in my backfield, but it’s a start.

I lost Mackhachkala this turn to the Grossdeutschland Fusilier Regiment. I surrounded it in the city, but couldn’t evaporate it by the end of the turn. He’s paid dearly in rifle squads, but alas, he is making up for it with a speedy disruption of my defense. The Andiyskoye River valley is lost and I’m pulling back to defend the zigzag pass to its southwest. The rest of the passes in the east and central parts of the highlands are being dismembered as Germans, Rumanians and Italians leak through. The Klukor and Allistrachu Passes in the west are holding. This is excellent. If they fall so does the BSCD as it would be immediately surrounded. The BSCD is looking good. Each turn the Germans push the river and by the end, I’ve knocked them back. My luck in the north is being eaten away by Foggy’s good speed. I don’t have a damned thing worth mentioning between the mountains and Baku.

(To read part five in the series, click here).

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