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Posted on Nov 6, 2004 in Armchair Reading

Braunschweig – An After Action Report

By Zachary Hutchinson

Figure 1-3

1-3 shows where I’ve pulled back from the Kirch Straights. I know he’ll get ashore, so I’d rather hold him at the river than lose these units to encirclements. I thought about this choice for a while, and decided that if I stall at the river, once the push across it begins, I can probably still save half of them for defense further south; which is, I think, a better choice than losing them all in a defense of the coast.

Rail capacity is ridiculous. I can move two divisions if I am lucky to the south…and two only if they are significantly under strength. Two divisions from the 51st Army successfully made it to Grozny this turn. I plan on shipping all I can to the south until the rail line is cut.

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Plans: I plan to defend the Terek River with all I can push behind it or to it. The weak point is if he avoids it altogether. I feel there is sufficient force along the Black Sea coast to trip him up for a quite a few turns to come, given the harsh terrain.

Turn 2

Figure 2-1

Figure 2-1 shows an enlarged version of the previously shown front. You can see how neatly my opponent has pocketed most of 62nd Army and 13th Corp. Some units escaped and are now at the Kalach bridgehead. The lines are generally holding. Already the German units are exhausted. He may have to rest them before trying to even push to the river.

Figure 2-2

But here is what worries me–picture 2-2. This is the southern flank of Stalingrad–you can see the Don at the top of the picture. That’s a lot of German muscle. While some is bound for the south and some is bound for the rail line and Astrakhan…most I fear is a giant flank of the city. There isn’t much I can do against a German advance on the rail line. I have just a few units out in those vast wastelands, which will have to stand against at least one panzer div.

I was able to move an engineering brigade from the 52nd Army and a recon battalion to Grozny by rail this turn as well as several armored train units. The Germans have crossed the Kirch Straights, but have yet to reach my line of defense. I’m thinking about where to set up a defense around Maykop and Taupse. I’ll probably leave an entire corps to hold Maykop; although I fully realize that it is a suicide mission to leave them standing out there all alone. And I’ll hold the mountain passes to the south. Two cavalry brigades have taken up positions in the two passes north and south of Sochi. I hope to do a defend-withdraw tactic around Taupse, moving back into the city itself, and then south toward Sochi. This might work because the Germans will be restricted by the rough terrain and unable to easily engulf my units. But it will only work if Maykop is a big enough headache and the passes around Sochi hold.

TURN 3

Last turn I moved a small battalion across the western bend in the Don and occupied a town called Kletskaya just behind the German lines. It was promptly beaten back, but I’m wondering if it had anything to do with the sudden assualt on my large bridgehead at Serafimovich. By the looks of it, 3 German divisions are determined to close down this intrusion into their backfield. I don’t blame Matt for seeing the dangerous possibilities, but don’t expect me to give it up without a fight.

My lines before the Don are still holding. The Germans it seems are just too tired to punch holes in my defenses. He’s pushed a tiny foothold at Potemkinskaya, but I doubt he’ll make much headway here.

As I feared the swing to the south is a massive flank of the city.

[continued on nextpage]

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