Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

The Battle of Stalingrad: Nov II 1942 (Soviet)

Now that the road/supply situation has been resolved, I am going to try a couple of different things this time around. The general plan remains the same: cut off Sixth Army in Stalingrad and punish the Axis as much as possible. The last game, try as I might, I just could not get that pocket sealed. The addition of the new roads should resolve this problem.

There are two sectors that are being held by the Romanians: the area directly south of Stalingrad, and the area in between Sixth Army and the other Axis Allies (Italians and Hungarians). This center section is thinly held, and where the Soviets are massing for the attack.

Soviet Low Odds Overruns North Sector (click image to enlarge)

Soviet Low Odds Overruns (click image to enlarge)

This time around, however, instead of attacking and blasting a hole in the line, I am going to attempt a series of low odds overruns. The way it works is this: Odds are calculated as if combat were going to occur, and a die is rolled, just like combat. The roll is modified by weather, terrain, fortifications and armor/antitank effects. There is an additional -1 DRM if there is not a combat/motorized corps/division participating in the overrun.

If the result is a Defender Eliminated, an overrun has occurred and the overrunning units pay 3 movement points to execute. If the result is a Defender Half Eliminated or a Defender Retreat result, nothing happens, and the units attempting the overrun stop and forfeit all remaining movement points. If any other result occurs, the overrunning units stop, forfeiting all remaining movement points, AND loses three REs of units (or a division is reduced to its cadre strength). That means you don’t want to try this at home.

Soviet Low Odds Overrun Southern Sector (click image to enlarge)

Soviet Low Odds Overrun Southern Sector (click image to enlarge)

Overall, any overrun at less than 4:1 odds is a risky proposition, and NOT recommended (even though I will do it later). I recommend a minimum of 4:1 odds, with armor to give a +3 DRM for armor effects.

In essence, the phasing player has the opportunity to attack up to three times.

In fact, it gives a (gamey, in my opinion) opportunity to attack stronger units, but if things go wrong, losses would turn out lighter. For example, an attack at 2:1 has the strong possibility that the attacker could be decimated if the result comes up Attacker Half Eliminated, the attacker loses half his stack. Say the Soviets attack with 40 combat factors against the Germans who are defending with 20. If the result is AH, the Soviets lose half their attacking force, or 20 combat factors, or five 4-6 strength divisions. If this were an overrun, they would lose only 3 REs, or a single division, or less if one of the divisions is cadred.

I certainly think this is an abuse of the rule, and not how it was intended to work, but there is no specific rule prohibiting this. As long as the attacker is attacking at 2:1 or greater, it is “legal”.

Five overruns are scheduled against hexes held by a single 4-6 Romanian infantry division (or an infantry division and a non-divisional units. In an attempt to slow the Soviets down, the Axis elect to try harassment bombing in the elbow of the Romanian line. The Soviets lose a Yak-7B fighter trying to bypass Me-109F escorts to get at the bombers. It is shot down. An Me-110E is returned after it attempts to continue it missions and does not jettison its bombs. Five points of AA aborts another Me-100E, while deep to the south, a Romanian Ju-87B succeeds in slowing down some Soviet armor as it starts its movement.

Much to my surprise, every single overrun in the northern sector is successful, and Soviet Armor breaks through the line and into the Axis rear areas. Armor pushes to Millerovo, where two Panzer cadres are refitting (22nd Panzer and Romanian 1st Armored). To the south, however, the single attempt at a low odds overrun (at 3:1 odds) fails as it resulted in a Defender Retreat. The Germans don’t retreat, however, and will be subjected to a second attack.

The southernmost part of the front has a very difficult supply situation. Two hexes, shown on the map, start the scenario out of supply because of the Volga (which counts as an overland hex when not frozen), and the Volga swamplands, as I call them, which counts as two hexes, as do the sand hexes. The maximum overland supply line I can have during frost weather is 6 hexes to a road, and that road is 8 hexes away. Snow weather will help even though it shortens the supply lines. That’s when the rivers and swamps freeze.

Soviet overruns/attacks, part 1 (click image to enlarge)

Soviet overruns/attacks, part 1 (click image to enlarge)

The initial push in the south is not going to be as strong as the push against the northern Romanian Army. The Axis front line is shorter and slightly stronger here, having 8 combat factors in most hexes, compared to 4 combat factors to the north. However, that does not mean they will be able to withstand the Soviet charge. Combat results, from south to north:

  • Voronezh Attack (click image to enlarge)

    Voronezh Attack (click image to enlarge)

    3:1 odds: Exchange. Romanian are eliminated, and the Soviets lose 8 combat factors.

  • 6:1 odds: Defender Eliminated
  • 3:1 odds, +3 AECA: Defender Half Eliminated
  • 3:1 odds, -1 DRM (fort): Defender Retreat (against 16th Panzer Division)
  • 3:1 odds: Half Exchange Axis lose 12 combat factors, the Soviets lose 6
  • 5:1 odds, -2 DRM (AECD): Half Exchange Axis lose 10 combat factors, Soviets lose 5
  • (Millerovo) 7:1 odds, -1 (ATEC): Defender Eliminated
  • 3:1, +3 AECA: Defender Eliminated – cadre cannot retreat and is eliminated
  • 5:1: Half Exchange Romanian 6th Infantry is cadred and loses 5 combat factors, Soviets lose 3
  • 4:1: Defender Half Eliminated Romanian 5th Infantry is cadred
  • (Voronezh): 3:1: Defender Retreat

Soviet long range bombers, including American B-25D Mitchell bombers, take aim at a German airbase outside of Starobelsk (a little NW of Voroshilovgrad, and a bit west of Millerovo) where some Me-109Fs have landed after a mission. Bombers rip up the airfield and abort the fighters sitting on the ground.

By the end of combat, total losses for the turn are as follows (for special replacement calculations):

  • Romanians: 50 combat factors
  • Germans: 25 combat factors
  • Soviets: 22 combat factors, mostly artillery

But wait. The Soviets aren’t done.

Soviet armor can continue to move and  overrun, giving them a third round of attacks.

The reserve units around Millerovo are completely destroyed. The German 22nd Panzer cadre was destroyed during combat, and the Romanian 1st Armor division is overrun by the Soviet 1st Tank Army. A construction unit is also overrun, and supply trucks destroyed as the tanks, having torn up Axis reserves, turn to the south to cut Sixth Army’s supply lines.

The 26th Tank Corps turns towards the rail line that runs west from Stalingrad. They push as far as their supply line will allow, and are met there by the 6th Guards Cavalry Division (cavalry units can exploit in this scenario) to within 100 miles of Rostov. There they destroy an Axis resource point.

Soviet Exploitation (click image to enlarge)

Soviet Exploitation (click image to enlarge)

The rest of the 1st Guards Tank Army, after destroying the Romanian 1st armor cadre,  pushes southeast to put a zone of control on the rail line leading from Stalingrad west and take control of the town of Morozovosk. The 4th Tank Corps, accompanied by the 5th Guards Cavalry Division cross the Chir River and towards the Don, attempting to encircle German units in the area, or at least make it more difficult to escape.

East of the Don, the German 297th Infantry Division that was defeated by the Soviet 13th Tank Corps has retreated to the town of Kalach-na-Donu on the eastern bank of the Don, but is overrun but the 13th. The Soviets choose to not enter the town, because they do not want to abandon a rocket artillery brigade. Entering the town is not required at this point.

Finally, to the north, the 1st Tank Corps continues to pressure the cadres of the Romanian 5th and 6th Divisions, and destroying the 5th in a low odds overrun. Unfortunately, the tanks are running low on fuel and cannot advance further. The gap that started at 80 miles (5 hexes), has now been widened to 144 miles (9 hexes). Tank cadres move forward to cover units that were not able to exploit, to prevent them from being overrun, and to take control of the Millerovo area.

The Romanians lose an additional 5 combat factors, and the Germans have lost an additional 3. All told, the Axis have lost roughly a 4:1 ratio of combat factors compared to the Soviets (84:22).

Dec I 42 Axis Initial, Stalingrad. (click image to enlarge)

Dec I 42 Axis Initial, Stalingrad. (click image to enlarge)

This time around, the Soviets got off to a much stronger start than the last game. I hadn’t done the low odds overruns, but had convinced myself that it wasn’t that big a deal, because most of the results against the Romanians came up Defender Halved.  That, and I did not exploit as aggressively as I did this time around. This time, Axis units in the Stalingrad salient, while not isolated, are out of supply.

The Axis now have a conundrum before them. Where do they apply their reinforcements/replacements?  Do they reinforce the remaining Romanians to the south? Do they try to open a supply line? Or do they reinforce the Italians/Romanians, where the Soviets are preparing a push on Kharkov?

To be sure, the German infantry division can be replaced, and one of the cadres moving north from the Caucasus Mountains can be rebuilt, or the 22nd Panzer cadre can be built, but the important thing is that for every unit that I destroy and the Axis replace, that is one less unit they can replace in the future. Their first turn, they do not have enough forces to do everything, so the (obvious) goal is to delay the Soviets long enough for more Panzer divisions can return.

The Soviets capture the VP city of Voronezh. Soviets: +1 VP.



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4 thoughts on “The Battle of Stalingrad: Nov II 1942 (Soviet)

  1. I thought you must have been overly cautious not to be able to complete the encirclement before, but, as you say, it was a mechanical error.


  2. The Low overrun rule definitely needs work and I would do it quite differently today. But I’m not that happy with the way it works in TW either. But I don’t think its gamey. Armors drives (not least this one) frequently destroyed enemy units in depth during much shorter period of times than 2 weeks (I I recall correctly in games turns During the second turn of the invasion of France, Rommel with 1 division, a Pz II loaned from another division, and a couple ants. destroyed 4 French XXs in four different hexes in about 10 days).


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