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DvD-IT

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The Front Thickens

0600 August 19th 1944
Europe

With the recent Allied defeat in France, orders were set to redeploy those forty-seven divisions that served in France in more useful places.​

026-1-France.jpg

Six of them, however, would enjoy a vacation in France and would take immediate action in case the Allies decided to visit once again.​

026-2-ItalyRedeploy.jpg

Six divisions would be sent in Italy; Ringel would not attempt an offensive with them as it was not possible, but it was possible to maintain a strong defensive line with them that could last for months. They would arrive in one week, a reasonable time for Ringel.​

026-3-SovRedeploy.jpg

The same could not be said for the forty divisions being transferred in Warsaw. They would be reassembled in a time that ranges from September 16th to September 20th; in any case, more than a month, and always before Winter. They had to turn the tide on the Eastern front, but everyone asked if they could hold without reinforcements for more than one month. The answer was probably on those divisions who were attacking Stryj.​

0800 August 19th 1944
The skies above Stryj

The tired German soldiers would salute those planes flying over their heads with hope and trepidation, as they could slowly alter the odds in their favour. After two months, the whole Luftwaffe saw service back again in the East; and it would only focus at one piece of battlefield at time. This time was that of Stryj.​

026-4-LuftwaffeStryj.jpg

It would take long, however, before they could make a difference.​

026-5-LuftwaffeAir.jpg

Lufwaffe was not only bombers. It was also fighters, albeit not very equipped ones. The struggle with the USAF was not easy and German fighters paid their death toll. Fortunately for them, this battle resulted in German victory with few casualties, but some German commander in the high floors of power would make sure he would keep the most damaged squadrons at bay, next time, before committing once again the mistake of sending flying carcass against the enemy.​

1300 August 19th 1944
III. Panzerkorps, Zamosc, Poland

"You can do it, Field Marshal. This is not suitable terrain for me. I say you take command of the attack."

"I see that you had to command those divisions in haste and hurry, Field Marshal. Now that the whole Heeresgruppe Mitte has arrived, I'm delighted to accept this change of command you propose."​

026-6-Stryj.jpg

Model could do great in a defensive position, but he preferred letting the more ambitious and more aggressive Rommel take his place in attacking Stryj. The attack was reorganized, many divisions called off to resupply, and Rommel put in command. Eighty-seven divisions - plus almost forty undersupplied divisions - against seventy-five Soviet divisions, who were starting to suffer the first signals of deterioration.

In all response, the following day the Soviets brought an additional ten divisions to the front, weakening the balance once again. And, while Rommel already managed to ambush part of the Soviet forces, the odds were now almost fair. It was once again time to question whether the Wehrmacht had to continue the attack, now with air support, hoping that that would wear down the Soviets and give relief to Heeresgruppe Nord and the vacant Mitte, or to stop the attack to save futile casualties and wait until the under-redeployment reinforcements and winter come, in the hope that the three Heeresgruppen could now halt the Soviet advance, and hopefully avoid another Stryj. The debate was highly flammable.​
 
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That battle looks to be very much a make or break situation, like 1944's Kursk. The victorious armies in France can't arrive soon enough.
 

Deus

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HKslan said:
That battle looks to be very much a make or break situation, like 1944's Kursk. The victorious armies in France can't arrive soon enough.

I believe that he has some resources to cover some of the losses. But I agree that his options are certainly limited.

[Cheermode on]

Go do it, go do it, go do it!

D-V-D I-T, Go!

:rofl:

[Cheermode off]

Certainly there are options left. What are your naval options? I would divert some troops to the north (Leningrad sector) via an bogus amphibious assault.

That would make the soviets reshuffle their troops. Most likely that sector is lightly defended if defended at all.
 

Enewald

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Let us hope that the new divisions arrive enough fast and Stryj will not be the Verdun of WW2.... Make it a Stalingrad for the russians! ;)
 

dublish

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Have the Russians pulled any divisions out of the salient to help defend Stryj? If there's nothing left to pocket, it might be better to stop the attack and let them send more divisions through your lines into Poland.
 

Miihkali

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Looks good so far. SMASH THEM!
 

Minarchist

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Do you think that you are in a better position now, or two months ago, before the huge Soviet advance?
 

DvD-IT

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rcduggan, Deus - Indeed the Allies have been driven out of France just some days ago :)

Deus - I tend to dislike unfair tactics. Making a shore invasion near Leningrad is close to gamey to me, and so it won't happen. I will try to smash them the old way... or die trying :)

HKslan -Indeed it is much like a sort of last desperate attempt like Kursk... just one thousand kilometers West :) I am not too confident about victory, however.

Enewald - This is going to be a battle of attrition too huge for me to sustain in the long run. I could afford it against smaller numbers in France, now it will be a bit - and that's an understatement - more difficult.

dublish - They did pull many divisions from their surrounding provinces, but still not enough for my limited forces to counterattack. I am committing two Heeresgruppen to the attack of Stryj, and even then I don't know if I can win it. If I withdraw from the battle, I don't know if my forces will be strong enough to face the subsequent breakthrough. I don't think I'd be able to pocket them.

Minarchist - At least they took that much land without any fighting, so yes it's surely better than two months ago, with France all grey and troops under redeployment. It's a critical phase however, because the Soviets have the power to break the whole front, and I need to hold for one bloody month before forty divisions are finally reassembled in Warsaw.

Sorry for the short update this time, but I had to play it in a laptop. That wouldn't be the problem - I have constant backup of my savegames there - if not for the fact such laptop has that thingy called Windows Vista, which treats files like a Prussian Old Guard general. A hell of a management.
 

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The Front Thickens

1300 August 20th 1944
Stryj, Poland

On August 20th the Soviets had evened up the numbers: eighty seven against eighty seven. The Germans only had a slight advantage over organization.​

027-1-Stryj.jpg

More and more would ask whether they could hold for a month without new troops.​

027-2-Lvov.jpg

Some good news came from the skies above Lvov, as the Luftwaffe, despite lacking organization and strenght, grounded some Soviet aircraft​

027-3-Zamosc.jpg

Soon after, other Soviet airplanes would join the fun in Zamosc. The fun was all for the Luftwaffe.​

0000 August 21st 1944
Stryj, Poland

027-4-Stryj2.jpg

The battle of Stryj was a standstill. Rommel committed five more divisions from the rearguards into the battle, but this did little to alter the odds; not even another breakthrough gave any success. At least the Germans weren't losing either, but this was slowly grinding any chance of victory to a halt - and the shadow of a possible renewed Soviet counteroffensive was looming.​
 

Lord Finnish

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Whoa Soviets have command limit of 424!
 

Enewald

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If you had a nuke, now would be the perfect time to use it..... :D
But if you don't have nuke... you must pray Luftwaffe to turn the tide.... or something else, maybe peace?
 

Deus

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I can see how a shore invasion near Leningrad might seem gamey. :)

This battle is a very difficult one, since even if you win it the losses to attrition will be horrible. I presume you don't have a million men waiting to be armed and sent to the eastern front. :)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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At least the Luftwaffe is not doing badly.
 

Karelian

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Grim situation indeed. Despite the outcome this battle is going to bleed Wehrmacht white while the Red Army still has massive reserves available. :(

It´s still a great AAR, and it shall be entertaining to follow whether you will be able to turn the tide in Poland or not. :D
 

DvD-IT

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Lord Finnish - At least that's not the number of divisions.

Enewald - This update talks about something similar to deal with the situation... er, well, you'll see shortly :)

Deus - Indeed that is quite gamey and yes, Germany is exhausting his youth.

Kurt_Steiner - I'd prefer to say "At least the Soviets are manning their aircraft so badly, even our flying carcass can beat them". They have so low organization that they rarely inflict casualties among my battered squadrons.

Karelian - Thanks, the situation is grim and suspenseful at the same time.

Folgore80 - It's on the 350ish. And much of it will be gobbled up by reinforcements.

Update with an interesting twist. Perhaps.
 

DvD-IT

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The Front Thickens

0800 August 21st 1944
18. Armee Headquarters, Königsberg, Germany

Von Rundstedt still had not received any report listing Soviet attacks in the Fatherland. He did not want to read one, but he was forced to retreat to the very borders of Germany anyways.

So, he decided to take the initiative before the Soviets could.​

028-1-Memel.jpg

At 0800 on August 21th twenty-four perfectly equipped - that was a rarity - German divisions attacked fourteen divisions in Soviet-occupied Memel, backed up by the remains of the surface fleet of the Kriegsmarine in her safest waters. He had no intentions to evict the Russians. He just wanted to call as many disturbing attacks as possible wherever it was possible to delay Soviet advance in Heeresgruppe Mitte's sort of vacant spot.​

1000 August 21st 1944
4. Panzerarmee, Zamosc, Poland

As the battle of Stryj entered its seventh day, several divisions were beginning to wear down. Rommel was doing a constant check-up of the state of his divisions, and shuffles like this would be frequent.​

028-2-JacobCallOff.jpg

This time, General Jacob's 4. Panzerarmee and his nine divisions would temporarily abandon the battlefield; von Küchler and his five divisions would now enter the carnage.​

1600 August 21st 1944
Stryj, Poland

It was still early to say whether the Luftwaffe could bring any decisive effort to alter the odds, but the first days weren't the best for sure; air superiority was almost uncontested, but German bombers found bombing eighty-nine divisions to be extremely difficult.​

028-3-StryjAirBomb.jpg

There was to hope that attrition and time would pay off the effort.​

1700 August 21st 1944
The skies above Lvov

The Soviet Union had everything one nation needed: manpower, industries, a lot of divisions. Not a navy, but a strong airforce for sure.​

028-4-LvovAir.jpg

If only their pilots knew how to fly a plane, things would have been disasterous for the Luftwaffe for sure.​

1900 August 21st 1944
Narwa Armee, Lublin, Poland

This time it was von Kluge's turn to divert Soviet attention further away from Stryj, or elsewhere. Seventeen divisions attacked the lone Soviet division defending Brest Litovsk. Both this and the attack in Memel would be called off, but the Soviets did spend time in moving troops North of Stryj.​

028-5-Litovsk.jpg

That was the exact aim of von Rundstedt, and he would carry on such confusionary, hit 'n' run attacks till Winter comes.​

2300 August 22nd 1944
VII. Armeekorps Headquarters, Zamosc, Poland

Another intense day of fighting had been fought in Stryj, and more and more divisions were coming to Soviets' aid, with their number growing from ninety-two to ninety-nine in less than twenty-four hours. Rommel was indeed reading one of such end-of-day reports.​

028-6-Stryj.jpg

This one however had an interesting feature, and Rommel took a more careful look at the map.​

028-7-Lvov.jpg

He could not believe the map he was reading. Not only the Soviets were running out of supplies pretty quickly, but it was also perfectly clear to German troops that the Soviets had completely abandoned the rearguards of Lvov and even Stanislawow. Those were all extremely good ingredients for one of the biggest encirclements in the history of this war. There was no time to inform von Rundstedt, and a matter of such delicacy could not be discussed via telegrams. Von Manstein, the other commander of the Eastern front, however, was among the German generals in Zamosc, therefore a quick meeting was easy to arrange.

"You see Erich, that this is an opportunity we must not miss. I already have around ten divisions available to advance inside enemy lines, and--"

"Erwin, do you realize we are in our fifth year of war? You want to try one of the greatest encirclements of the Wehrmacht when we can't afford to mount an offensive for two years, that is since 1942? That is extremely risky, you know."

"What have we got to lose, now? This situation cannot be held for long, and the Stryj defense is becoming unbreakable. Our troops' endurance will sooner or later begin to falter, and before that of the enemy does the same they will have, in the meantime, brought twenty more divisions. It's a war of attrition we're going to lose if we don't act bold. I understand yours and von Rundstedt's plans to create diversionary attacks, but these will just be temporary relief. Redeployments are due in a month, and I don't know if at this rate we can even let the attack continue for more than one week. You do realize that, if we break the attack, they will most likely flood our lands with their divisions, and we'll be forced to defend once more our lands - and the last reserves of our manpower?"

"I know that perfectly. I'm not saying it is not possible to carry out such an operation. I just say it is extremely prone to failure and we could become the encircled if we don't act carefully."

"We have the wonderful opportunity of encircilng ninety-nine, I mean ninety-nine!, Soviet divisions. To amass such a huge quantity of troops they had to keep their other rearguards at a minimum. Kowel is defended with just twenty-four divisions, Brest Litovsk was defended with one division! While we don't have the strenght to attack such low defenses, we can exploit this opportunity with a very low risk of being encircled ourselves. Their whole offensive force is being held, for the moment, in Stryj. Therefore, I think it's something we must absolutely try. Here is a list of our divisions that are currently having a rest away from the battle of Stryj."​

028-8-LvovExploit.jpg

"General Jacob's 4. Panzerarmee had just recently left the attack on Stryj. He has nine divisions in command and would arrive by 0100 on August 25th. I. Armeekorps, four divisions, 0100 August 25th. 3. SS Panzerkorps, two divisions, one motorized and one armored, 0000 August 24th. 17. Armee, five divisions, 0600 August 25th. That's twenty divisions in total."

"I can't help but agree with you, afterall. We've lost our momentum ages ago... I find it really hard to believe we can, this way, hope to regain our superiority by exploiting - what can we call it? A terrible, almost impossible blunder on the Soviets' part? It's even harder to believe!" - I was saying, by exploiting such a blunder of the Soviets. But then perhaps, they are so committed to the defense of Stryj, or confident of victory, that they might underestimate our - limited - effectiveness. Erwin, do as you wish."

"I will not fail us."​
 
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