Braunschweig – An After Action Report Part V
Along the Don, the Rumanians have put a damper on things. The 16th and 4th Tank Corps were still too busy this turn cleaning up pocketed Germans to take them on. Westward, the attack is still moving forward. The Germans and Italians are trying to piece together a line, and they have in most cases. The 6th Army moved off and over the river nicely this turn. No breakthroughs, but acceptable movement. Foggy and I have been discussing whether I should have concentrated my forces and punched a narrow hole in his flank, but thinking back – this whole damned thing was an accident to begin with. I probably will concentrate all later reserves on a narrow axis. In any case, one good thing is that he’s committed all his reserves at this point – or so I think.
Along the Don, I sent my comrades to chew on the German defenses with anything that looked like a sure kill. The Germans widened their thrust on Stalingrad, but made no direct headway. In several other places Foggy pushed into my lines, but I have deep reserves, even if they are low on supply and manpower. The southern offensive met some resistance – enough to slow the whole thing down, but nothing that looks like it will stop me for more than a turn or two. I spotted some grenadiers at Sadovkoye, but one grenadier unit can do little but find itself overwhelmed.
Operation Braunschweig’s Heel is going well. The Germans continue to fall back. Supply for me is bad – at 10 in most places, but it doesn’t seem it will matter in the end result. This is still a gamble in that if Foggy manages to turn this around and somehow trap the task force I’ve sent to retake the city, my utter lack of reserves in this remote part of the map will mean that he can move across the Volga and threaten Gurbev. With each turn this seems more unlikely, but it hasn’t left my mind entirely.
Mackhachkala defense is in the stage of being rounded up. What’s left is valiantly setting up behind the river north of Derbent.
All but the three western passes have fallen. I realize now that I committed far too little in the center. Had I evened out what I decided to sacrifice in the mountain defense, they might still be holding. In the east, I misjudged the weaknesses of the Andiyskoye River valley. These last three turns have revealed just how much Foggy is sending down the eastern side of the map. I know I don’t have enough armor in Baku to keep him out forever. All future shipments to the south must be armor or AT.
The shining star of this whole operation is the BSCD. They haven’t lost an inch since first assailed near Adler.
I forgot to save an end turn .sal from 21 or 22, but bear with me. I’ll get some next turn. I’ll try to be as descriptive as possible.
The two passes leading down into Abkhazia are holding strong, recently reinforced by several roaming brigades. The BSCD held. But the Germans, having broken through in the center are moving southwest and south in greater numbers. Over the last four turns, I’ve been able to inflict wicked casualties on the German infantry facing the BSCD. Because of this, I never made the conscious choice to pull them back once the central passes started to fall. With the Germans being held by the Soviet Marines just NE of Kutaisi, I don’t think I can get them out in time. Since it was with the beginning of this scenario I decided to adopt the Grechko avatar at WHQ, in an act of nerdiness, cowardice and role-play, I pulled his HQ unit back, creeping around the Turkish frontier, hoping to get him safely to set up the Baku defense (since I award him with the successful defense of the Black Sea Coastline). I did get the news that the Turkish intervention is now possible, and I think Foggy has the full opportunity.
The Italian Cuneense Division tried another slick move by leaving the push toward the southwest to several German reinforcements and turning southeast toward T’bilisi. However, it was ambushed on the road just outside of Tori by several regiments hold up in T’bilisi proper.
Miraculously, the Germans moving through the central passes are still bottle necked there. While more and more slip through, they do so with a thin supply line. Had I a few fresh divisions stationed around T’bilisi right now, I might have been able to surround and kill them one at a time as they rolled down out of the mountains alone. They haven’t cleared the southern end of the Andiyskoye River valley. Or the Daryal Pass, held by one routed, half-strength brigade.
Mackhachkala is a wash. Nothing left along the main route south. He’s come up on my skimpy defense behind the river further south, but they won’t last against Grossdeutschland and the like.
Southern Stalingrad offensive moves forward, meeting nothing new. The previously mentioned grenadier unit arrived at the front, but it looks under strength by its numbers and out of supply. The Stalingrad pocket itself looks lighter – maybe that portends reinforcements to the two wing fronts. The southern front moves forward with no real clue as to where it’s headed. I might screen their southern flank and turn them north into the German rear, but that seems like a waste of the initiative honestly.
The northern offensive crushes forward, chewing on the Germans and Italians and Rumanians. From what I can see, German battalions hold the western end of the front. The 203rd RD from the 1st Gds pushed through a short span in the lines held by the Italians and unless they are contained, will pocket some strong German units. The breakthrough ran out of steam along the road heading west out of Chern. The 6th Army was reorganizing this turn. In one sense it hampered momentum, but in another, I am glad they got a rest and will be primed for action next turn. I should mention that recon has reported the appearance of reinforcements at the railhead north of Dagetevo. That would put them in a sweet location to reinforce the tail end of the river. From the large picture in the upper right hand corner of the game screen, it looks to be an infantry regiment, one motorcycle battalion, possibly some AT, an HQ and some artillery.
The German air shock should wear off on turn 25. Hopefully that will allow my air force to come out of eternal reorganization and protect units moving along the rails.
Lastly, I do have this picture of my Baku defense taken from some mid-turn save. I don’t know if it’s wise to put all the cards into one basket like this. Maybe I should have sent more north to delay along the coast. Time will tell. I still have some time before he makes first contact, but once he does, he’ll never be any farther than 6 hexes from victory. If I think his battle for Stalingrad is determined, I bet it will pale next to the coming assault on Baku. Expect a play by play on that one – it’s going to be a blood bath.
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