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Thread: Permanently Operating Factors - A Soviet LAN AAR

  1. #1201
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  2. #1202
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    23 kilometers south of Grodno
    June 1st, 1942


    Timoshenko massaged his throbbing forehead. For the past several days the Soviets had engaged in a desperate defense of the ramparts they had thrown up around Bialystok. The Germans had been attacking outward from the pocket with feverish frequency and ferocity, and other Germans had been attacking inward toward it with grim resolution to save their beleaguered comrades. Timoshenko shook his head, entire Fronts had been swapping positions daily as Timoshenko attempted to hold the two supremely important provinces of Suwalki and Bielsk, and also keep on the offensive around Konigsberg moving forward so that the pressure on Suwalki could be reduced. Timoshenko nearly envied Vasilevskij. The man had been allowed to leave his post in he Kremlin to command just a single army, at Tarnopol, as it seemed that there was nothing more for Vasilevskij to strategize.

    Timoshenko shook his head. Vasilevskij had been overpowered at Tarnopol. It was a stain on his otherwise distinguished performance during the war as a strategist. The chances of him reversing Ulex’s juggernaut had, however, been slim. Vasilevskij’s 1st Tank Army had comprised a total of twelve divisions, half of them light motorized infantry and only a third of them actual armored divisions with the final sixth comprising mechanized infantry. There was no possible way this force, combined with a very shattered Shock Army, could have held back a tide of twenty armored and ten motorized divisions. Zhukov’s 2nd Tank Army had already withdrawn northward toward Rowne. Vasilevskij’s forces last nearly twenty-four hours before they were pressured into emulating that exodus. Ulex’s thirty divisions, badly battered, were able to advance on Tarnopol.


    The final defense of Tarnopol, in the midst of a Soviet counterattack, at noon on the 26th.

    The next event of note had occurred two days later, as Timoshenko had attempted another assault on Bialystok. This assault was in response to a German push toward Slonim, which to Timoshenko seemed quite counterintuitive. Slonim was in exactly the opposite direction from where the Germans actually wanted to go, which in a sector comprising anywhere between northwest and south. Nevertheless, the Germans gave twelve Soviet divisions a heavy shellacking and forced them to withdraw toward Baranowicze. It, however, did them little good in any other way. In his first attack, Timoshenko had fielded fifteen divisions, in this one he had commanded fifty-seven, which was a very dramatic increase and one his own headquarters could not handle on their own. The German pocket consisted of an amazing forty-eight divisions, which following the standard German practice were 2/3 armored and 1/3 motorized infantry. This allowed for thirty-two armored divisions and sixteen motorized infantry divisions.


    The second attack on Bialystok.

    Following the initiation of this new assault on Bialytok, and the defeat of the previous push toward Konigsberg, Timoshenko ordered all three Baltic Fronts to temporarily focus on that important, troublesome city. Thus, those three Fronts threw forty-five divisions against a mere fifteen German divisions. Those German divisions were already battered from incessant drives toward Suwalki, and even more frequent battles for Konigsberg. The armored divisions were on average at three-quarters strength according to Soviet intelligence, and the motorized infantry divisions as shockingly low as thirty percent strength. Timoshenko shook his head; the coherence of the German units despite such high casualties was frightening and awe-inspiring. There was no hope for them to snatch another victory at Konigsberg. Finally, it would fall to the Soviets for good.


    A final, massive assault on Konigsberg.

    At the same time as the Germans were being shattered at Konigsberg, they were crossing the River Bug into murderous fire at Bielsk. Rommel threw fifteen infantry divisions across the river in an attempt to cut a path to Bialystok through the redeployed 3rd Belarussian Front, which had marched up from Brest-Litovsk. Timoshenko shook his head again at the Germans. Their efforts were strenuous, but coordinated about as well as the limbs of an infant trying to learn to walk. The divisions at Konigsberg were attacking toward Suwalki, being passively watched by their compatriots at Torun and Lomza, whose forces totaled twenty-one vital divisions. Their attack from Lublin toward Bielsk was watched languidly by the eighteen divisions in Lomza, whose help would have undoubtedly prevented Rommel’s forces from being devastated with losses that had begun approaching fifty percent. As all this was going on, the Germans at Konigsberg were indulging in a push toward Slonim, away from both Suwalki and Bielsk! Such wild flailing was dangerous but had very little potential to be fatal.


    Another battle for Bielsk, with the Germans taking extraordinarily heavy casualties.

    Rommel’s offensive petered out so quickly that the 3rd Belarussian Front actually went onto the offensive at Lomza, as some of those eighteen divisions finally began attacking Suwalki as the sun set on the 28th with units from Bialystok, but only because the original attackers, from Konigsberg, had been decimated and routed out of Konigsberg. The Front made little headway for, despite the heavy casualties the Germans had previously suffered and were continuing to suffer in battle, their organization remained quite high and they were able to multitask effectively enough to attack and defend at the same time. Timoshenko was quite heartened by the contents of an intercepted German communiqué from the front to Hitler in Berlin. It concluded by asserting that “it’s about as bad as it can get.” Timoshenko was not going to argue: in the immediate area around Bialystok the Soviets had amassed nearly one hundred divisions and another eighteen were marching toward Slonim at the moment. Additionally, Ulex was pushing forty-five divisions up from the Ukraine which were then at Rowne and the carefully hoarded remnants of the Red Air Force, some ten close air support divisions, had begun pounding Bialystok.


    “It’s about as bad as it can get.”

    Timoshenko suddenly realized that his headache was gone. He was unsure why, but didn’t think about it too hard. He did not want to bring it on again, and certainly not by thinking about something as trivial as that. He’d rather instigate it again by planning for his hopefully final assault on Bialystok, which he had tentatively assumed for the 2nd.
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  3. #1203
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    Sounds like Vasilevskij had a pretty tough time of it. Perhaps he should head back to the Kremlin.

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  4. #1204
    Marshal of the Empire BritishImperial's Avatar

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    are we finally coing to the end? this is certainly past the title of epic, to emerge into new territory the other side.
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  5. #1205
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    Has the tide finally turned in favor of the Red Army? If the 48 divisions pocketed in Bialystok can be destroyed than I think it might be the beginning of the end for the Wehrmact.

    32 Panzer divisions... wow.
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  6. #1206
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    if the rage of over 60 divs is finally relieved of crushing those 40 in pocket then i think discomb will have to prepare new deffence line on... Rhine river

  7. #1207
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    coz1: Yeah, Vasilevskij was pretty well overrun. And yes, the war's turning into a protracted bloody session of whack-a-mole. Hopefully it'll end soon though

    BritishImperial: Glad that other people thought this was an epic war too. I certainly felt it was. As for the end, that depends on Discomb

    VILenin: Yeah, the possible implications of eradicating that pocket are staggering. And don't forget the 15 armored and motorized divisions already destroyed at Luniniec

    Deus Eversor: He might indeed have to withdraw that far to stabilize the line...if he even can. And if he has the oil to retreat that far

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  8. #1208
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    12 kilometers west of Slonim
    June 2nd, 1942


    Nikifor Talenskij shivered in the pre-dawn chill and pulled hi thin blanket tighter around him as he sat up. He had been asleep but thundering from the south and west had woken him; it was artillery. By now, as a veteran, artillery didn’t wake him so he was confused as to why this time it had. Nikifor shook his head and poked at the dying campfire around which his squadmates were lying. It flared upward before resuming its languor, evidently taking the sleeping men around it as its role models. Nikifor sighed and looked around him. The toll of the war was beginning to tell; many squadmates had been left behind on numerous battlefields.

    Vadim Radek, wounded at Suwalki, was in a hospital to the rear, though reports were that the wounds weren’t too severe and he would be back on the line in another week. Dima Kafelnikov had been shattered by a machine gun burst near Suwalki. Afonka Basmanov had lost his life in a field of wheat outside Suwalki. Arsenij Chafirov had disappeared during the first defense of Baranowicze; no body was found when the town and its environs had been recovered. Of his original squad, only Sergeant Andrei Suvorin, Junior Lieutenant Evgenij Bessonov and Privates Ilya Simbirsk, Irinei Bobrov, Valeri Razumovskij and Timur Charpak still breathed. Nikifor had a strange feeling that many more would be gone before the end. He turned to look eastward, allowing the rising sun to illuminate and warm his welcoming face.

    Nikifor must have dozed off, for when he opened his eyes others were also awake and bustling. Someone had revived the fire that Nikifor had provoked with a twig some time before and Ilya was cooking some sort of soup. Both Suvorin and Bessonov had vanished. Valeri and Timur were cracking jokes and laughing as Irinei simply read nearby. Nikifor stretched, causing Ilya’s face to split into a grin. “Finally awake I see! Well your timing is perfect, breakfast will be ready soon. Suvorin and Bessonov went off, they have a briefing of some sort or another.”

    Nikifor nodded wryly and scrambled to his feet before stretching more seriously, reaching for the sun that was climbing through the sky. As he sighed with relief, his muscles aching in a happy kind of way, Suvorin and Bessonov returned in the tow of the battalion’s political commissar, Leonid Brezhnev. The squad immediately went quiet, awed by Brezhnev’s presence. His hard stare seemed to force them closer to the ground as if he was calculating exactly how many ways they might not be good communists. After a dead moment of such staring, he cleared his throat. “Soldiers, we have finally received our orders. We will be moving out in an hour. Our objective will be Bialystok. That is all.”

    With that, Brezhnev was suddenly gone, vanished with nary a trace but a lingering pall of dread surrounding the area. Everyone looked at everyone else for a moment, awe-struck. The name was on everyone’s lips, their eyes betraying their fear. Bialytok. It was sure to be a death trap. Rumors abounded of that place, of the sheer scale of German forces in its vicinity. No two rumors were the same, except in agreeing that attacking it was akin to attacking the Kremlin with a shovel: pure madness. Suvorin and Bessonov awkwardly stood behind the campfire before they began expanding on Brezhnev’s caustic briefing.

    “We will be attacking in the early afternoon, at 1300 hours. As you all know, Bialystok has been surrounded for the past week. Our leaders Timoshenko and Vasilevskij have maneuvered large forces into the area for this battle. Estimates, coming straight from Timoshenko’s order of the day, place our forces at about one hundred divisions. This is a true number, gentlemen. We will have complete, overwhelming strength for this battle. Despite this, don’t expect it to be easy. It won’t be, estimates place enemy tank numbers at over 6,000 at the very least. You’ll have to remember all your anti-tank training for this battle. We can win. If we do, there’s nothing the Germans will be able to do to stop up from winning this war!”

    The squad was shocked alternately by the number of Soviet divisions taking part, as well as by the colossal number of German tanks. They looked at each other in silence, not entirely exhorted by Suvorin’s words. Nevertheless, Suvorin and Bessonov could tell that they would fight. They simply needed to follow his lead; he had proved himself to be invincible in earlier battles despite being in the most active areas of fighting. Also, he was not quite finished yet. “Also, Comrade Stalin has ordered that before we reach the jump-off line we receive a vodka ration to steel our courage and inspire great deeds.”

    This cheered the men up substantially. Suvorin smiled. Napoleon had said that armies march on their stomachs, equally true was that armies found courage in bottles. Stalin was just taking that truth to its logical conclusion. The squad quickly ate their breakfast and began readying themselves to depart. They were preparing in deadly earnest. They knew that it was going to be a difficult battle by anybody’s standards.
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  9. #1209
    Marshal of the Empire BritishImperial's Avatar

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    6000 tanks vs 1,000,000+ soldiers? probably the most epic battle ever. though the tanks are presumably without oil by this stage.

    and brezhnev? i've definately heard that name before...
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  10. #1210
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    That's something like 167 solders per tank.
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  11. #1211
    Outrageously Humorous Title Discomb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritishImperial View Post
    6000 tanks vs 1,000,000+ soldiers? probably the most epic battle ever. though the tanks are presumably without oil by this stage.
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  12. #1212
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    Quote Originally Posted by Discomb View Post
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  13. #1213
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    It must be far more striking to the common soldier this back and forth action. They are not privy to the strategy and meaning behind the various repeat battles you are having, but merely are the fodder for each push. I'm glad you decided to highlight a little of that in this post.
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  14. #1214
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    BritishImperial: It was an epic battle, yes

    4th Dimension: Don't forget the actual German soldiers as well

    coz1: Yes, the common soldier usually has no idea what's going on anyway. In this sort of war, he probably knows even less, except that he marches back and forth on the same roads over and over, and probably knows the area he's fighting in by heart (especially at Konigsberg)

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  15. #1215
    Revolutionary Leader VILenin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BritishImperial View Post
    6000 tanks vs 1,000,000+ soldiers? probably the most epic battle ever. though the tanks are presumably without oil by this stage.

    and brezhnev? i've definately heard that name before...
    Assuming it's the same Leonid Brezhnev, in OTL he wound up as General Secretary of the Communist Party after Khruschev. Much more of a conservative, who backed away from the relative detente with the west that had been achieved under Khruschev and de-Stalinization. Hopefully someone will shoot him in the coming battle.

    Looks like Bialystok is set to take the place of the real-life battle of Kursk as the largest battle in history. Onward comrades, to the victory of communism!
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  16. #1216
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    VILenin: The same, presumably. During the war, Brezhnev was a political commissar, though probably at a higher level than I have him as. During Stalingrad he was with the Southwestern Front. And yeah, Bialystok may be the Kursk of its war.

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  17. #1217
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    23 kilometers south of Grodno
    June 2nd, 1942


    Vasilevskij had had a hard past several days. The Germans had run over his forces at Tarnopol, leaving a stain on his otherwise pristine record concerning the war. While his army withdrew eastward toward Zhitomir he had flown northward to Grodno to be with Timoshenko when the final attack on Bialystok was launched. Thus, he stood with Timoshenko as they both admired the massive wall map of Bialystok and its environs which was being updated by aides in as real-time as could be managed, with radio reports flowing incessantly from corps headquarters into Timoshenko’s. The frontlines were denoted by lengths of string wound around pins. Even as they stood there, a staff member bustled in and repositioned two of the pins. One division had pushed forward several hundred meters. At the same time, another had lost a tactically vital farmhouse in a local action. These events had occurred perhaps an hour ago at most. Vasilevskij felt like he was seeing the first iteration of a revolution in military affairs.

    At the same time, he was concerned. There was no guarantee that the Soviets would win. The Germans were also mounting distractions elsewhere. Field Marshal von Bock was pushing with forty-two divisions, probably about evenly divided between infantry corps and mobile corps, toward Rowne. He was opposed by half his number, twenty-one divisions. Nevertheless, the Soviets were still fighting due to Voronov’s tactical skill. Though von Bock could not hope to effect the battle of Bialystok even indirectly, he was a powerful reminder that even if Bialystok fell the German army remained a powerful entity. Certainly at least locally, it could still inflict major defeats upon the Soviets. The Germans also prodded Soviet forces at Pinsk before abandoning any efforts there; the Germans were outnumbered eighteen divisions to twenty-four.


    Von Bock causes a ruckus at Rowne, and getting away with it too.

    The battle of Bialystok actually opened with a German attack. In their continued attempts to reopen a supply, and perhaps escape, corridor they furthered their attacks on Suwalki. One of the Baltic Fronts had inserted its two mobile corps into the area before noon and the Germans fell upon them ravenously. The entirety of the German host at Bialystok thundered at the Soviet defenders, as did twelve German divisions from Lomza, though the solitary German corps at Torun remained inactive. Sixty German divisions advanced against the six Soviet divisions. At such odds, the results were never in doubt. The Germans crushed any opposition within six hours. The way to Suwalki had been opened again, the Germans just needed to attain it.


    Another battle for Suwalki, and at the worst odds yet.

    As soon as the battle at Suwalki began, Timoshenko threw all his units forward toward Bialystok. An enormous sixty-three divisions attacked from Grodno. Another fifteen drove northward from Slonim. Unfortunately, the Germans had an ace up their sleeve and attacked the eighteen divisions around Bielsk from Lublin, thus preventing them from attacking Bialystok with their compatriots. Vasilevskij and Timoshenko had both grimaced strongly at this news when it had come in. The Soviet advantage has decreased from nearly fifty divisions to just thirty with a single stroke. Thirty divisions remained a substantial advantage, yet both men feared that it was not enough. The German units were in many cases at full strength due to a lack of attrition from combat, and also still well organized despite a constant lack of supply. On the other hand, the attacking Soviet formations were battered and bruised. It also did not improve the situation when Timoshenko’s headquarters could not adequately handle more than forty-eight divisions, or exactly the entirety of the advantage the Soviets actually held over the Germans. Nevertheless, the signs seemed good so far.


    The Battle. Yes, capitalized. It had already reached epic proportions.

    The rest of the Baltic Front, whose mobile corps had been shattered at Suwalki, finally interposed itself between the Germans and the town late in the evening. This amounted to fifteen divisions, or a full fourth of the aggregate strength Germany was pushing toward Suwalki with. This was, of course, a hefty improvement over a mere tenth yet it still represented nowhere near enough to halt the German advance. At the moment they were still fighting, but also losing. They would not be able to hold. Unfortunately, the tides of battle at Bielsk were going the same way. The ramparts were crumbling.


    The second battle for Suwalki in a single day!

    Vasilevskij shook his head. The ramparts were indeed crumbling. Suwalki was being cracked open. Bielsk was becoming a gaping hole in the Soviet frontline. If either fell, the Germans at Bialystok would be relieved. The gulf between substantial victory and effective defeat in battle was shrinking at an alarming rate as the former seemed to b rapidly transforming into the latter. The Soviet armies were on their last legs, particularly in the north. The Baltic Fronts were being slowly bled dry at Konigsberg and Suwalki. The Belarussian Fronts found their ramparts crumbling and their main effort at Bialystok incredibly difficult going. Nearly the entire second strategic echelon had been committed in the north. If the Germans managed to escape Bialystok, the Soviets would be in no position to pursue a battered foe, and barely even to hold the ground they had fought so hard for.

    Victory at Bialystok meant a probable breathing space before the war continued as the Germans redrew their front to go over to advantageous defensive positions and the Soviets reconstituted their battered armies. Defeat at Bialystok, which is what an incomplete victory would really be, meant a Soviet withdrawal, as von Bock’s forces were proving themselves to be dangerous foes. The Germans had enough forces left outside of Bialystok to make the Soviet war effort miserable, with the forces at Bialystok safe and recovering the Soviets could be doomed.

    Everything was riding on the Battle.
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  18. #1218
    Marshal of the Empire BritishImperial's Avatar

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    ...and it still hangs on a knife's edge. i cant wait much longer
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  19. #1219
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    The Germans are fighting back hard. That is one huge battle. Which way will it go? You've been sly to keep us thinking one thing while another happens. Is this full Soviet victory or a German gain? Can't wait to find out!
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  20. #1220
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    BritishImperial: Too bad

    coz1: Yeah, they are fighting quite hard. I almost get the impression that they don't want to lose And good, I've wanted to keep the future as opaque as possible, so when I trick my audience it's always good. You'll just have to wait and see how it goes

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