War in the East – After Action Report
German infantry finally begins to catch up with the Panzers. Bob captures Mogilev, an objective in this scenario. Vitebsk, another objective, is in danger of being bypassed. North of Vitebsk the swamps impede the Panzers and channel their advance. This terrain imposes severe penalties on both the movement and combat abilities of mobile units. Velikie Luki, also an objective, lies east of this difficult terrain. The Soviet defense in depth gets shoved back in both areas but cannot be easily pocketed.
The adverse terrain north of Vitebsk continues to stymie Panzer Group 3 despite infantry support. Vitebsk itself, however, is pocketed.
In response, I launch savage counterattacks with fresh forces in Northwestern Front and these restore the line. The exhausted Panzers cannot withstand these and are forced back with heavy losses. I had appointed very strong leaders in this area, comparable in quality to the Germans, and the terrain heavily favored my rifle forces. West of Smolensk, Zhukov leads a counterattack against Panzer Group 2 and succeeds in pushing these back as well. Quite simply, the panzers have shot their bolt and need a rest.
Turn 7 is a quiet turn, as the Germans pull all their armor from the line to rest and refit. Flush with success, I try to sustain the results of last turn and launch one attack on an exposed German infantry division with a half dozen rifle divisions…and fail miserably. The Landsers, unlike the Panzers, aren’t tired and can hold their ground. Duly noting this result, I take a breather myself and await developments.
Bob unleashes his rested Panzers with dramatic results, finally pocketing Smolensk. He concentrates both panzer groups in this direction. Time is running short, and while Velikie Luki is an objective, Smolensk is a bigger prize. This wall of rested Panzers proves to be more than sufficient to overcome raw Soviet mass and pushes back the inexperienced Soviets. The Germans also take Gomel to the south, a victory point objective.
By this time the Germans succeed in taking Smolensk and shove the Soviets back towards the Reserve Front screening the approaches to Moscow. It was, like the real battle for Smolensk, a hard fought battle pitting the nimble and veteran Germans against green, but numerous Soviet reinforcements.
However, I manage to eke out a minor Soviet victory thanks to holding on to Velikie Luki which did fall historically to the Germans. Northwestern Front’s heavy counterattacks on Turn 6 gave me just enough of an edge to pull the win. The game otherwise would have been a draw.
Pages: 1 2