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Thread: History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR

  1. #161
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    Can we get a map detailing current positions, and plans.

    The invasion of the Romania troubles me. Wathc out, lest you be thrown back, and pinned to the Black Sea coast, and subsiquently encircled, and destroyed.
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  2. #162
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    This offensive in Romania, if successful, could change a lot of things, the Germans are surely not prepared to defend South-Eastern Europe.
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  3. #163
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    Going to knock Romania out of the war, or trying to draw off German strength from the North?
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  4. #164
    Colonel quaazi's Avatar

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    3rd-5th July

    The sudden offensive into Romania unleashed a flurry of activity at the previously dormant Ukrainian Fronts. The First CAS Fleet under Air General Novikov was earlier ordered to move their base of operations from Kiev to Odessa to support the attacks. No significant enemy air activity had been sighted over Romania or Moldova. The air fleet, equipped with Il-2s, was expected to contribute greatly to the operation, mostly keeping german panzer forces from interfering in the attack from Stryj.

    During a nighttime meeting (not a rarity in the time) of the Stavka on the 3rd, Meretskov, in conjunction with other army officers, finalized the Romanian offensive plans, now codenamed Operation Impaler. The plan called for a "raid" into Romania, using the few mobile assets available to the two Ukrainian Fronts (them being the few Front formations to receive a significant amount of mobile units before the start of the war) to make a quick dash towards the vital oilfields of Ploesti. The 2nd Ukrainian Front would support the advancing mobile units - 212th, 210th Motorized Divisions of the 11th Army, 2nd Ukrainian Front; 198th and 163rd Motorized Divisions of the 14th Army, 1st Ukrainian Front; the 81st Motorized Division, 2nd Ukrainian Front reserve, total of 5 motorized divisions - in the strike. The 1st Ukrainian Front would in the meanwhile conduct flanking attacks against any german formation in the Stryj area that would try to counterattack the Soviets in Romania. Once Ploesti had been captured, it would be sabotaged and the 2nd Ukrainian Front together with the mobile formations would slowly retreat back to Moldova. The attack was to be conducted on the narrow strip of flatlands between Transylvania and the Danube. The most optimistic hopes estimated Ploesti to be captured in a week, although realistically the whole Romanian operation, together with the retreat, would probably last the whole month of July.


    The valuable oil industry of Ploesti


    Another important factor to consider was the effect of the operation on the Wehrmacht. After reports of the massive Soviet attack reached the OKW, pressure on Soviet units in Lithuania and Western Ukraine decreased. Valuable time for the battered formations, especially the 8th and 9th Armies of the Western Front, which needed at least a week before they could be deemed as combat-worthy. The inevitable happened in the evening of the 3rd of July - the Romanian troops cracked.



    Despite hopes that Operation Impaler would delay all german attacks elsewhere, the offensive into Latvia continued on the 4th after a brief one day rest. The 2nd CAS Fleet and 1st Bomber Fleet in Riga were exhausted after continuous missions since the start of the war, and couldn't support the defense. Konev's Mechanized Army was still regrouping in Kaunas, so for the moment, the 10 Soviet divisions at Jelgava would have to face the 10 attacking German divisions on their own. However, General Kolpachki, the commander of the Baltic Front, nonetheless ordered his 2nd Army to retry their attack on Siauliau, which had failed days earlier, to throw the attacking Axis units off balance.

    The 2nd Army had little offensive strength apart from two polks of KV-1s. These spearheaded the flanking maneuver against the Axis troops in Siauliau. The largest confrontation happened near Joniškis, just at the pre-war Lithuanian-Latvian border, where a polk of KV-1s collided with the 11th Panzer Division's rear guard, with the whole division striking northwards. The rear guard held the vital Siauliau-Jelgava-Riga highway, and conquering the town of Joniškis would distrupt the logistics of the 11th Panzer, forcing it to fall back, effectively blunting the whole Siauliau approach to Jelgava.

    The KV-1 brigade approached Joniškis during dusk. A fierce, but brief engagement with the infantry of the 11th Panzer resulted in a defeat for the Germans, forcing them to retreat back to Joniškis itself. The division was streched on 15 kilometres of road, engaged to both Soviet infantry defending the approach to Joniškis as well as the attacking KV-1s, and as such, was badly overstreched. Despite this, the battle raged on during the night, with the Soviet KVs pursuing the retreating germans, inflicting considerable casualities. This was yet another example of how technologically superior the KV-1s were, as well as a show of their performance on the battlefield - in 10 hours during the night, they had broken their enemy and struck 25 kilometres deep into hostile territory.



    The dawn of the 5th saw more news reach Stavka. Yet again did the Wehrmacht try to cross the Bug at Kowel - and with only Zhukov's Mechanized Army still in fighting condition, it was merely a matter of time until this happened. Returning to Operation Impaler, the 212th Motorized Division had struck over 60 kilometres deep into Romania, but now fell under a strong counterattack from Romanian divisions. It'd need a full day before reinforcements could catch up. Stryj had been occupied by a sizable army during the day, making it the second large Soviet town to fall to the Axis... Another piece of important news was that the finnish ships were now in Leningrad, requiring some repairs. The crews had to be fetched from the Black Sea Fleet personnel, who had been informed of it during the finnish surrender, and being only days away from Leningrad. Soon the Baltic Fleet would have extra firepower.
    Last edited by quaazi; 28-11-2010 at 15:11.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  5. #165
    Colonel quaazi's Avatar

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    I'm afraid there hasn't been much change in the positions, other than the ones I've brought up in the update. Same goes for plans. As for romania, it's obviously just an expedition to damage the Axis in a long-term view. Any positive short-term effects that come with it are only good.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  6. #166
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    You can probably smash and annex Romania right now. You won't be able to hold it, you can knock out around 15 axis divisions at the beginning of the war.
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  7. #167
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    Even though the German advance is not as quick as it maybe should have been, it's interesting to note that your units are usually at much lower ORG levels than the German ones. I'm wondering whether it will affect combat performance of your army. Do you have enough reserves?

  8. #168
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    6th-7th July

    At midnight, German formations swung around the Bug to the south at Lvov. Whether this was caused by their constant inability to capture Kowel or the newly launched Operation Impaler, was unknown, but to General Vlassov, commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, it didn't matter. The force defending the area, the 4th Army, was short 3 divisions, who were reorganizing at Tarnopol. Vlassov spared no time and called both these divisions (the 38th Corps) as well as the strategic reserve rapidly approaching Kowel, to help defend Lvov. His role in Operation Impaler was to distract the Axis units and buy enough time for the motorized divisions to reach Ploesti.



    The attacking troops were spearheaded by a German Panzerkorps, commanded by General Guderian himself. However, Soviet intel informed Vlassov the the auxiliary units were Bulgarian. Indeed, the whole force occupyign Styrj was Bulgarian. Immediately did he order 14th Army on his flank to engage the Bulgarians on their flank, calling for the 2nd Ukrainian Front to spare all it could to help. This counterattack hit the bulgarians during the day, but failed to gain significant ground.

    Seeing the battle unfolding to his south, Zhukov realized he now had a good chance to start his retreat eastwards without sustaining heavy casualities. The Western Front had been decimated in the Battle for Kowel that had lasted for two weeks, and it was time to let this sector rest. The 9th Army at Brest soon followed Zhukov in the retreat, leaving Brest empty, after having continuously pounded the opposing german formations with artillery fire.


    Burning BT-7 in the outskirts of Kowel.


    In Lithuania, the 11th Panzer Division was forced to call off its attack towards Jelgava after having its lines of communications jeopardized. This snowballed into the collapse of the German attack despite their superiority. The Baltics fell into an eerie peace that was not to last long, although rest only benefitted the Red Army, who needed time for the Leningrad Front to arrive and reinforce the defenders. The counterattack against Siauliau was also called off.



    Operation Impaler was slowly going forward. The 212th fended off a poorly-led Romanian counterattack and struck southwards, clashing with the battered Romanian 20th Infantry division, which had been retreating from Jassy. Both sides poured in more troops into the engagement, but the Soviets had fresh men while the Romanians could only hope to defend with their exhausted divisions. The road southwards towards Braila was now open.

    However, the battle in Lvov was gaining steam on the 7th, and not in the Soviet's favour. The counterattack at Styrj had bogged down and was making little progress other than pinning down a few Bulgarian divisions. By nightfall, German frontal units were within eyesight of Lvov (or Lemberg, as they called it). At dawn, two German Panzer divisions, the 5th and the 7th, began the assault on Lvov, defended by the Soviet 9th Corps, which contained four infantry divisions. Without numerical superiority, the Germans were finding it hard to gain ground, but they did nonetheless, capturing vital logistic links outside Lvov, including an airfield at Sknitow. At 11 o'clock, they had seized control of some outer parts of the city, but failed to capture a sizable chunk of the city or destroy its defenders. As a result, both sides wished to break the stalemate, and by midnight, the attack was joined by another German Panzerkorps and supporting infantry, and the defense by the Soviet 38th Corps and the five cavalry divisions of the strategic reserve. Lvov would become a large battleground.




    please pretend the 9th Corps has three x's, not three i's, on it
    Last edited by quaazi; 05-12-2010 at 12:06.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  9. #169
    Colonel quaazi's Avatar

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    The update's a bit laconic - I had a far longer update written up, but for reasons unknown to me, I at some point managed to close the window without saving my progress. Which is MADDENINGARGHLABLARGH.

    Porkman - I had thought I needed to move into Transylvania to get the Romanian VPs, but apparently all they've got are Ploesti and Bukarest... so if I make it to Bukarest and there isn't some big stack in Bukarest, the Romanians are going down.

    Cybvep - None in the north, some in the south. The north just has to hang in there until the Leningrad Front arrives. The south can afford to give a little territory away anyway.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  10. #170
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    8th-9th July

    Operation Impaler suffered its first setback when the 212th Motorized Division took heavy beating in defense of Jassy, knocking it out of the spearhead towards Ploesti. The whole offensive was beginning to slow down as the Romanians frantically scrambled all available units to defend the important routes to Wallachia. Still, the Soviet motorized formations were making steady progress despite stiffening resistance.



    In the Ukraine the battles around Lvov continued. With the arrival of the Soviet strategic reserve, the attacking germans pulled out their panzer forces from the city itself and replaced them with infantry divisions. Among there were the 373th Croatian "Tiger" division as well as a hungarian division, giving the battle a multinational feeling. Further north, Kowel was fully evacuated at dawn, with Zhukov retreating eastwards to Tarnopol with Kleist's Panzergruppe hot on his heels. Southwards Meretskov had to abandon the counterattack against Axis formations in Styrj, leaving Lvov open for a flanking attack. This however did not cause too much concern, as it was expected to happen at some point anyway.

    Lvov itself saw brutal battles throughout the 8th. The Croatian 373rd was engaged with Soviet forces inside the city in fierce close-quarters combat, but had little success against the sturdy Soviet defense. However, on the flanks of the city, two german divisions engaged the Soviet flank guards, while sending their armoured car brigade to flank around even further. This maneuver proved incredibly successful, despite the fact that Lvov was not encircled fully, as the Soviet divisions that had been nearly encircled (117th and 130th) retreated unorganizedly, leaving the job of filling the gaps to the cavalry divisions. Lvov would fall at some point, but for now, Soviet units were still desperately holding on to the city in hopes of inflicting severe casualities on the attacking Axis troops.



    Back in Romania, the First CAS Fleet, while bombing the retreating units from Braila, received word from their recon aircraft that Ploesti itself had no enemy formations within 50 kilometres from it. This was extremely welcome news, as it meant that the only threat to Operation Impaler would now come from a possible counterattack from Transylvania. The Soviet 6th Army did not share the optimism, or at least was not in the mood to, after being ripped to shreds during their diversionary attack towards Tulcea. They could draw some consolation from teh success of the motorized spearhead, however, as it meant they could resume their offensive once the spearhead hit Ploesti, with hopefully greater effect. This time the Black Sea fleet would also participate, having sailed out of Sevastopol on the 8th.



    The day was ended by an unwelcome but foreseen message - Kowel was now occupied by the Wehrmacht. The Red Army was definetly on the retreat now.



    Casuality report

    A document reaching Stavka on the 9th of July summed up the numbers of the war. According to the document, "as of 00:00 AM on the 8th of July, 1941, Soviet losses in the German-Soviet war are as follows - 79 406 men, 207 fighters, 108 bombers, 540 trucks, 450 tanks. Estimated damage inflicted on the enemy on all fronts - 100 515 men, 318 fighters, 152 bombers, 495 trucks, 489 tanks.". The Red Army, despite losing territory, was inflicting heavy casualities on the attacking Axis formations.
    Last edited by quaazi; 07-12-2010 at 20:11.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  11. #171
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    Just came across this last night - very enjoyable - reads just like a history book.

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  12. #172
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    Right-o, been very busy lately, but time for another update. Glad you like the AAR, prawnstar. Tee-hee, it rhymes!

    Hopefulyl I'll pick up the pace of uploading between Christmas and New Year, because there'll be more free time then.
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    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
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  13. #173
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    10th-11th July

    The steady retreat continued everywhere except Romania. Orders to evacuate Bialystok was given to the 22nd Corps, which was retreating without any german harassment towards Grodno to take up positions on the northern flank of the 2nd Belorussian Front the Corps was designated under. And still, despite the retreat, the 13th Army was ordered to counterattack the german troops who had recaptured Suwalki earlier in the week to keep the Axis advance into Byelorussia off balance. The result of this was a collision between the two infantry corps' of the 13th Army and a Wehrmacht Panzerkorps lead by General Geyr von Schweppenburg. Upon learning of the crack formation defending Suwalki, Marshal Chuikov immediately called the First Bomber and Second CAS Fleets to halt repairs and aid the counterattack in every way possible. As ordered earlier by Stavka, "All opportunities to inflict materiel losses to Axis armoured formations must be seized. These operations are top priority...", although the defending Panzerkorps was well-dug in and awaiting reinforcements, meaning that there was little chance of actually reaching Suwalki itself once more. This was one of many counteroffensives in that period of the war.

    On the 10th, the Black Sea Fleet, lead by Vice Admiral Dolonin, entered the war when it located a romanian small ships flotilla mining the naval route to Odessa. The fleet was on its way to support the offensive in Romania, but destroying enemy heavy assets was a chance Dolonin could not miss. However, the Romanian torpedo ships were maneuvered expertly to a position where the NMS Viforul disabled the bow guns of the Soviet heavy cruiser Krasnyi Kavkaz. Despite this seeming Romanian success, the Soviet cruiser Profintern sunk auxiliary mining ship NMS Admiral Murgescu at ten o'clock. The only destroyer of the somewhat inaccurately named destroyer group, the NMS Regele Ferdinand, started charging southwards, attracting the attention of the whole Black Sea Fleet with it, speeding away from the confused cruisers and slow battleship while also allowing the rest of the smaller auxiliary ships to flee westward. By one o'clock, the distance between a Black Sea Fleet ship and a Romanian ship was 25 kilometres. Technically this naval skirmish ended in a draw if not a Soviet victory, but the damage on the Soviet heavy cruiser meant that it'd be useless during the planned mission to support advancing Soviet units in Romania, leaving only the heavy guns of the Parishskaya Kommuna to help.


    The (operational) Krasnyi Kavkaz


    In Romania, Braila was occupied by the Soviet spearhead of four motorized divisions at dawn of the 10th. With the route to Ploesti seemingly clear, the 81st Motorized Division was left as the rear guard to guarantee a safe retreat back to Bessarabia once Operation Impaler was finished. The 81st fended off minor counterattacks from bulgarian forces, with the help of the First CAS Fleet. Finally, just after midnight on the 11th, Ploesti was reached. The Romanian oil was captured faster than anyone could even hope.



    Meretskov once again had no time to sleep. After the arrival of news about Ploesti, Soviet intel from the field and from diplomatic sources indicated that Bukarest itself was defended by a mere two romanian divisions. This was an opportunity that could decide the future course of the war! Meretskov immediately ordered all the troops that had been on standby to make the final push - the 210th Division would move to occupy Bukarest itself while the two motorized divisions from the 43rd Corps had to support the attack and fend off any counterattacks against Ploesti, until the sabotage was done.

    Elsewhere, another major engagement began. Marshal Konev lead the 1st Mechanized Army on a massive counterattack against Siauliau, in hopes of stalling the Axis offensive in Lithuania long enough for the Leningrad Front to finally arrive. The attack, which was supported by the 3rd Army, pit 22 Soviet divisions against a german 5. Although the attacking Soviets were disorganized from continuous warfare, they could still make the Axis units suffer massive casualities in the counterattack. The 11th Panzer division, the only armour as well as the only german unit defending Siauliau, clashed with a full Soviet Mechanized Corps at dawn. The 11th Panzer struggled to hold on to Schadow, but was thrown into a slow retreat throughout the day until they finally created a coherent line of defense around Radviliskis, about 25 km from Siauliau. However, the Soviet attack had completely demolished the supporting Axis formations, leaving the 11th Panzer at the mercy of Lady Luck.



    Perhaps in a reaction to the sudden counterattack at Siauliau, Jelgava was once again pressured by German troops at noon. The defenders of Jelgava were completely demoralized and tired, and needed reinforcements soon. General Boldin, commander of the 12th Army defending Jelgava, decided he'd hold on for 24 hours, after which he'd pull back to Riga itself - the first defense region of the Stalin line. The first formations from the Leningrad Front were due to arrive to Riga at the middle of the month, so Boldin had just this final challenge ahead of him.

    Stavka received more news at dusk - the forces in Romania had engaged enemies in the outskirts of Bukarest.
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  14. #174
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    great job with romania, will you know move to rip german ranks around lvov or will you just flood german allies?

  15. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Eversor View Post
    great job with romania, will you know move to rip german ranks around lvov or will you just flood german allies?
    After taking Bucharest he'll get stuck if he tries to advance. Going south means that he'll have to cross the river into hills, even if he does that successfully Bulgaria's vp's are too spread out to knock out quickly. If he goes west, he hits the Carpathians which, with even 1 or 2 divisions, will slow him down or even stop him. If he does cross successfully, he still has to go incredibly far to hit Hungary's Vp's.
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  16. #176
    Colonel quaazi's Avatar

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    Porkman's right. If I can capture Bukarest at all, I'll definetly want to get out of Romania before the Germans encircle me. I'm lucky that I've had this much success.

    Update following. Just one day, but a lot of combat.
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  17. #177
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    12th July

    In accordance with Stavka's orders for a slow retreat, the 4th Army defending Lvov began its retreat under the cover of midnight on the 12th. This was not a spontaneous decision, and as such, another counterattack to cover northern flank of the retreating 4th Army, was launched at morning of the 12th. Zhukov's 2nd Mechanized Army hit the Axis units that had earlier occupied Kowel with overwhelming force. By now, every man in the 2nd Mechanized was completely familiar with Kowel and the nearby areas, having spent weeks in combat around it. Just another day of business for them. An unit that did not take part in the retreat-counterattack operation in western Ukraine was the strategic reserve. Knowing the importance of Lvov to Operation Impaler, Stavka ordered Gorodovikov's cavalry to move southwards into Bessarabia to assist fending off the inevitable counterattacks once the Soviet motorized spearhead started retreating.

    At Bukarest, the Soviet advance was halted by a desperate combination of civilians and few army troops. The Soviet forward units were disorganized and low on supplies after the mad dash to Ploesti, and their attack was intended to probe rather than to conquer the city itself. 24 hours would be given by Meretskov to the troops to prepare for the real attack. Already underway was the 81st Motorized Division which would replace the battered 163rd Motorized Division in the eventual assault against the Romanian capital.

    Zhukov's attack against Kowel clashed with Kleist's 1st and 2nd Panzerdivisions at dawn. It was obvious that Kleist could not hold the city against the sheer mass of Soviet troops attacking, so he would attempt to withstand the onslaught until reinforcements arrived. It was obvious to Zhukov, however, that the defending formations were barely fit for combat duty - both divisions had lost one fifth of their resources fighting for a beachhead at the Bug, and were starting to run out of ammo quickly (especially the tungsten-filled AT rounds that gave the panzers a small fighting chance against the Soviet newer models).



    Kleist accepted the inevitable and retreated from Kowel at 12 o'clock. Zhukov would be hot on his tails, seeking to reoccupy Kowel and destroy the beachheads on the Bug in the vicinity. Although this did not put the Soviet units in a better strategic position, it was a great opportunity to inflict more and more hardware and manpower casualities upon the Wehrmacht. Once Lvov was occupied by the Axis further south, Zhukov would conduct yet another fighting retreat back to Tarnopol. These kinds of operational movements based on the principle of attrition were extremely prevalent in the summer of 1941.

    In the Siauliau offensive, the 30th Romanian Infantry Division was completely decimated by the onslaught of the 1st Mechanized Army. Only the German 11th Panzer Division and the 27th Romanian Division (equipped with heavy AT weaponry) could barely hold the Soviets back outside Siauliau. But the resistance was little more than a formality, as the units would be encircled if they did not start to retreat immediately. To add to the chaos, the First Bomber Fleet embarked on a massive sortie against the communications of the defending troops on the morning of the 12th.

    At dusk, Siauliau was almost abandoned by the Axis troops. Only the 11th Panzer put up some kind of resistance, and it was on the thin line between a retreta and a rout. Siauliau was not to be reoccupied for long, however, as positioning troops there would've made them easy prey for encirclement. Konev's 1st Mechanized was to move in, loot and evacuate everything that was missed the last time, then bug out back to Kaunas.



    When occupying Kowel, Zhukov's advance units were attacked by three German panzer divisions. Led by Feldmarschall von Kluge, the 3rd, 3rd SS Totenkopf and 9th Panzers attempted to cover the retreat of the 1st and 2nd Panzers by defending the vital routes to the Bug. These divisions had also taken heavy casualities earlier, and Zhukov did all he could to engage them for as long as possible. Northwards, Siauliau also saw three German divisions engaging the 1st Mechanized that was halfway done occupying Siauliau. After this day of fighting, the two Mechanized Armies had to start over again.
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  18. #178
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    13th-14th July

    It seemed that Kluge was suprised by the sheer amount of Soviet troops involved in the Battle of Kowel. With the sheer weight of the Soviet 2nd Mechanized Army pressing down on mere three panzer divisions, Kluge was caught offguard. The German casualities were horrendous - a thousand Wehrmacht troops of Kluge's formation lay dead after a brief but fierce night battle. The three german tank divisions had also taken terrible material losses, and each division was now at 75% of their strength on the 22nd of June.

    With the twelve divisions of the 8th Army finishing their reorganization, Southern Ukraine was absolutely filled with Soviet troops. As the war had been raging for nearly three weeks, not a single decisive breakthrough from the Wehrmacht had been accomplished, in stark contrast with the quick Fall of France a year earlier. If anything, despite the slow retreat and loss of territory, the red Army was starting to feel itself in control of the course of the war. Stavka could take further liberties due to the fact that the Soviet 7th Army of the Leningrad Front would be fit for duty in Riga in under a week's time. As a good example of Soviet boldness, a Fighter Fleet that had crossed into German-controlled Poland, utterly ripped to pieces a full German Luftflotte of Ju-87s and support aircraft. Deciding to push their luck, a final assault was ordered in Romania to take the capitol Bukarest.

    At 7 o'clock, the Romanian 1st Division was crashed into by the Soviet 210th and 81st divisions, and was swept away in a matter of hours. Of course, the 1st Division was already exhausted from earlier battles and was starting to run low on ammunition, so it was the 26th Division on which the Romanian hopes lay. But they could not fend off the mobile Soviet troops, and by the dawn of the 14th, there was no more organized resistance within Bukarest. The dusk was still in the air however, as the Soviets frantically searched for the Romanian cabinet inside Bukarest, hoping that their search would not get interrupted by a Romanian counterattack.



    At the same time in Siauliau, von Salmuth's troops were getting brutally pounded by Konev's 1st Mechanized. Again the Soviets would learn of supply shortages amidst the German units, showing how intense the combat during the past few weeks had indeed been. The German 10th Motorized Division took very heavy casualities, losing about 10% of their personel in the fighting. However, the decisive factor in the speedy purging of Siauliau was the Soviet Air Force, as the First Bomber and Second CAS Fleets would continuously attack German supply lines and communications. Von Salmuth's three divisions fled the area during the night, covered by a late reinforcement of two Axis divisions, allowing the Soviet troops to reorganize from their offensive.

    Perhaps the biggest shock of the 13th of July was discovering the true nature of the German Panzergruppe trying to cross the Bug in Southern Ukraine. At dusk, four Wehrmacht Panzer divisions (the 12th, 5th, 7th, 8th) moved in to hold the bridgehead against Zhukov's offensive, putting the total count of German tank divisions in the area to ten, equal to the amount of tank divisions in Zhukov's Mechanized Army. All divisions except the 12th were heavily damaged from earlier attempts to cross the river, but the Soviet intelligence gave Stavka an interesting tidbit of information - the leader of the German Panzers defending the Bug was Feldmarschall Alexander von Falkenhausen, perhaps the man in the Wehrmacht with most experience of mdoern combat. Falkenhausen had earlier conducted the succesful attack on the Maginot line and beyond, and also led a German Army into Poland, but his real threat came from his time in China. While commanding troops of the KMT in the Sino-Japanese war in epic battles like the monthlong struggle over Changzhi, he fought alongside the Soviet troops in help of China, gaining valuable insight into the combat performance of Soviet technology.

    At midnight of the 14th of July, the Wehrmacht startled the Soviets even further - von Falkenhausen was reinforce by two Panzer and three motorized divisions, all fresh and ready to fight. Zhukov, after a heated debate with Stavka (which was missing Meretskov, who was eagerly awaiting the result of the Romanian offensive) was authorized to call up the twelve divisions of the 8th Army to support. Kowel would, once more, become a huge battlefield of utmost importance - defeating the Germans here would give the Panzergruppe a defeat it would take weeks to recover from - precious, precious weeks. By early dawn, the struggle had excalated into the biggest battle of the war so far.



    The German defenders were reinforced by a Romanian cavalry division, further highlighting the need to knock Romania out of the war. The 1st and 2nd Panzer Divisions also came back for more, despite their earlier defeats. Recognizing the magnitude of the battle, Stavka ordered the half-complete Third CAS Fleet to start provifing aerial assistance immediately, yet they would take hours to arrive. In the meanwhile, the three divisions equipped with T-34s (18th, 20th and 21st Tank Divisions) formed a spearhead that attempted to reach the Bug itself. This was fierce armoured battle, the largest seen in the world so far, and the T-34 showed itself as a fearsome weapon in the most critical position and phase of the engagement.

    At the town of Ljuboml, about 20 kilometres from the Bug, the Soviet 18th Tank Division clashed with the defending 12th Panzerdivision, which was forced on a slow, but organized retreat. Northwards, the Soviet 21st and 20th Tank divisions tried their strength against the German 6th Panzerdivision and the Romanian 7th Cavalry division. Predictably, the light cavalry cracked and fled towards the Bug, resulting in a dangerous breakthrough for the Soviet T-34s to exploit.



    While attempting to destroy the battered Romanian 7th Cavalry, Lt. General Katkov's 20th Tank Division was suddenly greeted by three hungarian infantry divisions. Reinforcements were finally pouring in for the Axis, and now it seemed that the battle was about how long could the Red Army destroy Wehrmacht heavy equipment before the Wehrmacht could respond. By 15 o'clock, the Soviets had pulled back into a relatively even frontline, to engage the enemy in a gigantic battle of attrition.

    But all of this became suddely unimportant, as Stavka were radioed an hour later - the Soviets had found the Romanian cabinet, including the young king Mihai I himself. Bukarest was completely occupied - Romania had fallen.

    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

  19. #179
    The Avatar of Time 4th Dimension's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be difficult for tanks to fight in that marsh. They would need to stick exclusivly to the roads.
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  20. #180
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    Well, the actual ability of the T-34 (and other Soviet tanks, including the heavies) to traverse through difficult terrain would suprise you. But the real deal here is that the Germans recognized it too, and put their weakest unit to guard that area... a gamble that apparently didnt work out. The marshes did impede the 20th enough to stop them from going to encircle the 6th Panzer and cut off the retreat of the 12th Panzer, though.
    History of the Modern Red Army - Soviet Union Total War AAR
    Military only style AAR, detailing the battles of the Red Army
    Currently at Update 44 - 13.03.11.

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