A 6-10 Mot XX was replaced at Minsk (along with various ants), and an Inf XX cadre there rebuilt. Infantry divisions were also rebuilt at Branowcze, Loetzen, Sheptovka, and Chisinau.
A 3-6 Rifle XX directly east of Pskov was overrun at 10:1 (+1), halving the overrunning units for the rest of the German player turn.
The orphan Panzer stack (3 XXs) that began the turn near Minsk moved in the direction of Polotsk, but unfortunately won’t be able to make an attack. The Panzer group moving on Moscow was put in temporary supply by a truck (which was able to move back towards the rail lines through a gap in the Soviet encirclement. Overrus against most of the Soviet stacks to its east would be 6 or 8:1 (+2 or +3), which actually would most likely put the overrunning units at a disadvantage in combat strength for the rest of the turn, so the only overrun these units made (8:1 +2) was against a 3-6 in a woods hex near Rzhev, which on the fortunate roll of a 6 was DE+; other units were then able to move adjacent to the city (and more pointedly, the rail junction). In general, with the resumption of full Soviet ZOCs, it was very hard to navigate out of this pocket so other attacks were only able to be lined up against two Soviet stacks that had had been at the northern edge of the encirclement (2 hexes SW of Rzhev and 1 hex to the West).
In the Ukraine two Pz XXs and Viking move to cross the Dnieper south of Kiev. Three more Pz XXs and LSSAH overrun the 4-6 SW of Vinnitsa at 9:1 (+3) for DE+.
And in the Murmansk sector against a 5-6 and an AA X went off at 3:1 killed the lone Mig-3 at Murmansk in air-to-air combat, and resulted in DH, cadreing the XX. A Finnish division was railed north reinforce the Suomussolami sector and the frontier with Leningrad was closed in on. The only Finnish attack was against an encircled 4-6 (6:1), resulting in the Finnish G-50 (while it was reduced from flying a bombing mission) aborting a Mig-3, and DR with a ZOC kill.
The U-2 division in Talinn was destroyed. An attack against the forest Hex SW of Narwa entirely across the Narwa River was supported by fire from 4 RR gun IIs, which seemed a bit gamey to me, though it is certainly allowed. The raw odds were three to one, but the Soviets committed air. The basing situation for the Luftwaffe is becoming a serious problem. The air battle resulted in 1 Stuka killed and brought the odds to 2:1 (-2), for AL, cadreing an 8-6 division. The weakened Mech Corps SW of Prague attacked in conjunction with an infantry division against a 4-8 mot Rifle XX at 6:1 (+1) for DE. The attack on Pskov, supported by considerable air, had to use a 110 as escort; it managed to kill the intercepting LaGG-3, however. The resulting attack went off at 5:1 (-2), for DR, which the defenders (minus the Stalin line fort) were safely able to do into the adjacent swamp hex. An attack against the now surrounded 3-6 in the swamp hex W of Pskov went off at 8:1 (-2) for DE.
The 4-6 Rifle Division defending the rail line to Veliki Luki with a 3-2-8 art X was attacked at 5:1 (-1) including air, for DE. The 3-6 Rifle XX/2-6 Art X stack NW of Polotsk was attacked by 2 7-6 inf XXs, drawing defensive air from the bases around Smolensk. One of the Intercepting Soviet fighters was killed by an escorting 109 at extended range, while the other was aborted by a Stuka. With no AA, the attack went off at 3:1(-1) for HX. The rail junction hex NW of Vitebsk was attacked (re-attacked) at 4:1 (-1) for AS. The 3-8 Cav XX in the woods hex W of Vitebsk was attacked at 3:1 (-1) for DR, which it could safely do.
The 4-6 Rifle XX on the Minsk-Moscow highway 1 hex E of the Berezina was attacked at 6:1 +1 (assault guns) for DE. The more heavily defended swamp hex SW of there (2x 3-6 Rifle, AA X, which aborted an HE-111) was attacked at 5:1 (-2) with considerable air, for an EX. The Swamp and forest hexes closest to Minsk to the South (both occupied by a lone 4-6 Rifle XX) were both attacked at 6:1 (-2) for DH and DR respectively. Some passing infantry to the East of there eliminated a Stalin line fort.
This map illustrates the attacks of the main Panzer Group. The Ar-2 dive bomber was sent to fly DAS over Rhez, but was aborted by AA fire. The Luftwaffe losses in the middle attack were terrible with 2 unescorted Ju-88s killed outright. The Eastern-most attack had a huge advantage in DAS.
I must say that breaking through this crust of Rifle XXs seemed much more difficult than I suspect it would have been historically. One could try to rebalance the rules so that this penetrating group could break through, but might have taken some losses and would have some supply difficulties, but that would mean tinkering with the whole game.
An attack on the last Soviet stack in the Pripiet resulted in AS. An attack across the river from Moyzr was increased to 3:1 (-1) with air, for another AS.
The division east of Korotsen suffered a DR, otherwise the pocketed units around Zhitomir and to the south were liquidated. The attack across the Dnieper had the largest single air support yet used; even though its CAP was flying at extended range, the 109s managed to shoot down the Pe-2 flying DAS and one of its escorts. It is executed at 6:1 for DR. Of the two stacks pinned in Stalin line forts along the Dniester, the northern survived with an AS, but the southern one saw another huge air battle (an Il-2 killed and a Stuka aborted). The defenders in that case were eliminated, as well as a 4-3-8 Cav XX just to the east.
During the Exploitation movement, the mech corps near Pskov split up. The Pz XX headed toward the Luga River, one 6-10 sealed off the units that retreat from Pskov, and another headed toward the Narva, getting adjacent to the stack in the forest that resisted attack before.
The Pz corps near Polotsk split up, two of the divisions striking out to Veliki Luki and just beyond, and third going somewhat south to deploy a line of ZOCs.
In Panzergruppe Guderian (as we may as well call it), a stack overran the lone 3-6 that had been able to retreat, then being joined by another division, overran the hex just south of the source of the Volga River at 6:1 (+3) for DE- (which does limit the possibilities of the add on XX making another overrun). The next hex to the south was overrun at 9:1 (+2) for DE+. The one still further south was overrun at 11:1 (+2) for DE+. A 6-10 was left in Rzhev and another sent to block the rail hex in the Valdai Hills, although these units will go to U-2 next turn without the trucks. It seemed advisable to block Soviet movement, esp. rail movement, in these sectors. This operation breached the “Vyazma line” and destroyed 5 Rifle XXs. Depending on Soviet reaction, these units may be back in regular supply relatively soon.
The Cavalry XX in Mozyr snuck across the Pripyat with quite a few motorized ants.
The 3-6 on the southern flank of the base of the Dnieper bridgehead was overrun at 10:1 (+3) and the Rest of the Pz group moved to secure the area, while Viking moved across the river to strengthen the bridehead.
Turning to the Soviets, losses from the previous turn amounted to 71 strength points, besides 3 engineer brigades and a Stalin Line fort, besides 62 additional strength points and 4 more Stalin Line forts that were isolated.
During the Supply determination phase, the 6-10 in the Valdai was judged to be back in regular supply.
The small stack along the Narva south of the town pulled back one hex, joining a weak but more or less solid line behind the Luga. A relatively strong stack railed into the Valdai to attack the motorized division there; the cavalry corps that had been lurking in the forest West of the Valdai also moved in for the attack.
Panzergruppe Guderian was again surrounded, with what is effectively an old style NODL between it and Moscow (at least overrunning the first line would be highly perilous for the Panzers, risking DE- results). Almost all reinforcements were thrown into the Moscow area, with the ring fortification begun.
The perimeter around the German Bridgehead south of Kiev was only lightly reinforced (available rail assets were shipping units to the Moscow region), though a mass of locally raised forces in the Southern Ukraine lurched forward. The defenses around Odessa were greatly increased.
The Soviets attack Orsha at 3:1 for DR; since the defenders are German C/M they are able to retreat without loss onto the adjacent divsion. The attack in the Valdai received considerable air support, with some rebasing. It’s final odds are 4:1 (-1); with the result of AS.
The Germans control the Proud Monster victory objects of Kaunas, Vilnius, Talinn, Minks and Kishinev (5 total) as compared to 14 in the historical situation, and 22 calculated to cause Soviet collapse. That historical total includes everything in the Ukraine up to the Dnepr bend and even Dneprpetrovsk. I’ve never seen a game in which these were captured so early. I suppose the Soviets must have left the area completely unguarded and the German occupation to consist of only the most superficial German motorized patrols. The German Army simply can’t move fast enough to occupy that area.
Situation at the end of the turn: