Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

Lost Victories: The Battle of Stalingrad; Jan I, 1943 (Axis)

It has been well over a year since anything was posted about this game. Several things have contributed to this, but the battle has raged on. Slowly, but it has raged on. Now I have to try to sort through the turns and remember what happened.

The German Sixth Army has been swept from Stalingrad, and the Soviets are starting to squeeze the pocket. In the north, parts of the Soviet line were starting to give under German pressure, but the Soviets poured reinforcements into the line to shore up the front lines.

In the end, the Soviets continue to put pressure on the Axis. The line in the northern sector is cracking. The south is completely vulnerable if the Soviets can reduce the Stalingrad pocket quickly.

Northern Sector

After hard fighting and continuous pressure, the Soviets break through the Axis Allied lines, pushing through and attempting to surround the Italians. Click here to see the end of 1942 positions in the northern sector.

Axis move and combat, northern sector, January I, 1943 (click to enlarge)

The Axis scramble to shore up their own lines as the Soviets are threatening to come through in several places. As determined as the Axis are to plug the gaps, they are also weakening their lines. Reinforcements and replacements are harder to come by. The Hungarian army is starting to get spread thin. The Romanian army has virtually ceased to exist. All the Axis are trying to do in this sector is slow the Soviet advance and buy some time.

Axis post-combat movement, Jan I 1943 (click to enlarge)

After some intense fighting, the Axis push the Soviet 5th Mechanized Corps out of the hex, forcing the corps to retreat. However, the Germans are exerting a Zone of Control into the Soviet rear, reducing the corps to its cadre strength as it retreats.

With the 5th Mechanized Corps pushed back, and the Hungarians sealing the front line, the 7th Panzer Division and 901st Lehr Motorized Infantry Regiment move south to bolster the southern flank. The 7th Panzer breaks down to move to multiple hexes.

Southern Sector

Axis attacks in the south, January I, 1943 (click to enlarge)

West of Stalingrad, the Germans mass their Panzers to counterattack the Soviet armor that has perhaps stayed too long at Glubokiy on the Donets River. The Panzers include a killer stack consisting of 3 Panzer Divisions (one being the SS Wiking Division), and a Panzer cadre.

Surprisingly, the Germans only attack a Soviet armored corps with their killer stack, while units in the Stalingrad pocket attack an infantry corps that has pushed to the east bank of the Don River.

The Soviets face long odds, but half of the 26th corps is destroyed, forcing the survivors to retreat.

Axis breakthrough in the southern sector (click to enlarge)

This breakthrough allows the three German Panzer divisions to squeeze through and begin surrounding the Soviets.

On the banks of the Don, the Germans are unsupplied for their attack, and the Soviets hold their ground, stopping the Germans from advancing. The Germans took a chance at causing some casualties near Stalingrad, but failed.

The Post Turn

The Soviet armor near Millerovo are in deep trouble. I  left them there a beat too long, and now they are in danger of being destroyed.

The Soviet Air Force continues to take a merciless beating at the hands of the Luftwaffe. The number of Soviet fighter air units is dwindling. The Soviets have 9 active fighter air units, and 10 fighter air units in the replacement pool. It makes the Soviets have to be more discerning about what missions they choose to fly.

While I generally do not fear the Axis army as the Soviets, I know the Luftwaffe is much stronger than the VVS and something to be feared. I have pretty much come out on the short end of every air combat.

Referring back to the picture of the northern section movement, I marked two sets of rail lines as broad gauge. I am currently fighting over the first rail line, and need to push to the second rail line.

I will discuss this further during the next post. Right now, the Axis are doing everything they can to slow the Soviet offensive. The Soviets are, I think, getting the upper hand despite the setback of this turn. The thing holding the Soviets back at this point is a supply line.

And the Soviets are beginning to run out of time.


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