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nuclearslurpee

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This seemed harsh, so I turned to statistics.

In 2020 Wraith managed 11 updates
In 2021 Wraith managed 5 updated
Thus far this year it has been 1.
Extrapolating this trend Wraith will produce approximately 0.5 of an update in 2023, then 0.25 in 2024 and so on. It get's a bit Zeno's Paradox but theoretically Wraith will get closer and closer to having the next update ready but never post it. So on that basis you were in fact being generous.

Looking at in terms of gap since last update, going back we see this pattern;
The 1st January 2021 update was a mere 5 days after the last update in 2020. But then it was a 29 day gap, then 46, then 71, then 112 and most recently 258 days passed between chapters. Plotting that data, generating a best fit curve formula and then extrapolating forward I suggest it will be approximately 606 days until Wraith updates again should that pattern hold, so once again you were being generously optimistic.

I hope this vital statistical update has been of value to someone, not least anyone who was thinking of holding their breath till the next update which is looking to be incredibly ill advised.
I for one will salute you for doing the rather less than vagarious statistical work, mainly so that I would not have to.
 
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XVIII: War In The East: Phase 2: The Jablonow Pocket New

Wraith11B

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vlMU1Ji.jpg

War in the East
Phase 2: The Jablonow Pocket
February - April 1943



The overall Eastern Front Situation as of 20 February 1943.
iLQ21KL.png

Northern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 20 February 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
2dFIUcf.png

xWgxQ0m.png


Southern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 20 February 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
VXTJ29m.png
CicQW5O.png

Once the initial shock of the sudden commencement of hostilities wore off of the Wehrmacht, Hitler ordered his staff to release the reins. Within days, attacks were launched all along the front line. Even the Luftwaffe was involved, launching waves of their cruise missiles at various strategic targets in the Soviet’s rear. Within a week, the Heer’s infantry, having forced the line in several places in the south, allowed the Panzerkorps to work their way through and into the Soviet rear areas. In Wlodzimierz Wloynski, III Panzerkorps, having just arrived in the town, were subjected to a brief reckless assault by the 217. Infantry Division, but this was quickly turned aside as the Soviet force was overwhelmed and pushed aside to open most of western Ukraine to the predations of III Panzerkorps. A defensive stand in Chelm on the southern shoulder of the lone Soviet breakthrough in Wlodawa led by XIV Armeekorps supported by I Panzerkorps as the Soviets had tried to force the river crossing ended in mid-February, allowing those forces to turn to offensive operations. Penetrations by the Heer though mid-February had reached upwards of roughly eighty to one hundred kilometers behind the Soviet lines, while the deepest penetrations of nearly one hundred fifty kilometers from a three panzer-divisionen kampfgruppe was led by Rommel in the area of Tarnopol. Rommel had observed an opportunity to cut off significant Red Army forces in the south by driving on Chernivtsi or Horodenka. Intelligence suggested that nearly an entire army group might be holding the lines against the Hungarian and German borders, but with no appreciable forces holding their rear near the border with Romania.

This plan focused German attention on the front. Approval for the offensive came rapidly, as much of the Soviet lines were in complete disarray. Northern front lines were held on low-priority and entirely local attacks as this Southern front was encouraged, but the offensive was tenuous. The breakthrough was initially contingent upon just those panzer-divisionen that III Panzerkorps would leave to secure their rear, and a massive attack against 14 PzD–led by the Soviet 9. Tank, 2. and 10. Guards, and an additional three infantry divisions–was only just diverted but with heavy losses to the German force after 15 PzD was ordered to counterattack the flank of those divisions. The Soviet effort to turn the flank of Rommel’s push startled the OK-Ost leadership, who immediately ordered the VI, VIII and X Armeekorps to push out from their lines south of Lviv to fix the forces that were in the rapidly forming kessel, which was closed by 11 and 12 PzD as they reached the Romanian frontier in Kamianets Podilskyi on 20 February, thus forming what became known as the Jablonow pocket.


Northern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 24 February 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
ncKpbO6.png

DYGgH7w.png



Southern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 24 February 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
DzFpbKU.png

S817bIu.png

The closing of this pocket caused a certain amount of panic in the halls of the Kremlin. Stalin, needing a reason to rally the people to fight the German invasion that he had triggered, decided to put aside some of the old Communist tropes and instead call upon the inherent nationalism of Russia by declaring the conflict the Great Patriotic War. The hope being that the declaration would inspire some of the failing units to greater resistance against the Wehrmacht, and bolster the sagging morale of the population closer to the front lines. The actual effect this had on the front, however, proved largely illusory. German forces remained too concentrated along the entire front, and Soviet command remained extremely schizophrenic about unit organization and deployment. In Berlin, meanwhile, Hjalmar Schact took the opportunity to officially retire, turning the reins over to Albert Speer if only on paper.

As the efforts to reduce the large kessel continued, VI Armeekorps pushed out into Rohatyn from Lviv along the northern bank of the Poltava, while VIII and X Armeekorps applied pressure along the south to sweep up forces from threatening Hungarian forces along their frontier. Hungary had also begun an attack along the Carpathian mountains, though no records exist of their effects. Certainly, the Hungarians managed to distract significant Soviet forces from the lands around the German forces. From Tarnopol, a kampfgruppe of III Panzerkorps’ headquarters troops, 14 and 15 Panzer-divisionen began a breakthrough strike against Husiatyn. Supported by efforts from 11 Panzer-division from the southern bank of the Poltava in Horodenka, the six exhausted Soviet divisions (7. MRD, 10. Guards, 6. KavD and 43., 111., and 159. RD) attempted to defend their section of the front at the same time as they launched their own attack against Horodok, which was held by 13 Panzer-division. The Soviet attempt to break out of the encirclement was called off on 28 February and later in the day the entire force fled their positions. By this time, the Soviets were unable to hold the northern bank of the Poltava, and only a rearguard action by the 2. Guards and 108. Rifle Divisions were able to hold a door which had closed by 2 March. A smaller pocket just north of the main effort bagged the Soviet 12. Tank Division, a formation of nearly 8 thousand troops, surrendered on 1 March; this small encirclement was the initial forming operations for I Panzerkorps and XVII Armeekorps (Mechanized) to drive towards the operational objective of Kyiv by constricting the Soviet armor formations in the path of the advance.

By 5 March, there were minimal Soviet forces facing the forces arrayed to drive on Kyiv: the majority of Soviet forces were concentrating on those German forces sealing off the Jablonow pocket, and thus a road to Kyiv was, for all intents and purposes, open. Inside the kessel, X Armeekorps had, with minimal effort, driven nearly 80 thousand troops out of Stanislawow who were already reeling from the offensive. In three days, the leading elements of I Panzerkorps had driven over 100 kilometers into the Soviet hinterlands, driving into Berdychiv on 10 March. It was at this point that OK-Ost, directed by Hitler–who Mussolini had been begging over the concerns about the Italian troops on the Black Sea coast–ordered I Panzerkorps to turn southeast, assisted along the Romanian border by III Panzerkorps (minus 11 Panzer-division, which had been left behind to assist in the Jablonow pocket) and XVII Armeekorps (Mechanized). This of course left a massive gap in the German lines: there were no forces left behind to hold the flank of II Panzerkorps which was facing the forces in the Pripet marshes. It was only fortunate that the Germans had proven to be so overwhelming that the Soviets had no units in the region to respond, much less take advantage of the opening.


Northern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 13 March 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
d6jiJ0A.png

C5eytCz.png



Southern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 13 March 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
xR3E8j5.png

y5puech.png

The OK-Ost python continued to constrict the Jablonow kessel. Records are incomplete, but by 11 March, at least eight of the remaining divisions had surrendered to the onrushing Germans. As the final engagement of the Jablonow pocket began, the Hungarians had massed three divisions (3., 6., and 7. ID) in Rachev to pin the forces arrayed against them. AOK 4, overseeing the I and III Panzerkorps drives to relieve the Italians, ordered 11 Panzer-division out of the area, leaving X Armeekorps to form the German wall from Tartariv and Kolomyya to the Romanian frontier. This effort, coming at the end of a long offensive for X Armeekorps, had exhausted their logistics capacity. On 14 March, four air groups of I Fliegerkorps (AMC) began an air bridge for logistics, but offensive operations were called off for the time being. The Soviet forces attempted to break out of Jablonow in the evening of 14 March, led by the 9. Tank and 120., 130., and 188. Rifle Divisions. The Luftwaffe stepped up their ground attack efforts in the area. At one estimate from strike planners, there were 60 brigades of Soviet forces, totaling nearly 130 thousand soldiers, with more forces trickling into the pocket from forces which had been bypassed elsewhere; by 17 March nearly 206 thousand troops were estimated to be in the pocket. Regular attempts to break out of the encirclement were launched, largely ineffectively, that were called off just as rapidly. Until 20 March, much of the time was spent allowing the Luftwaffe to conduct round-the-clock air bombardments, but on that date, 85. Rifle Division managed to slip past the flank of X Armeekorps which had only just managed to begin follow-on movement to fully complete the encirclement since the departure of 11 Panzer-division. That caused the instant engagement with a three division kampfgruppe led by MG Hell, rapidly concluded with the Soviets thrown back into the pocket.

As the pocket continued to be hammered by the Luftwaffe and X Armeekorps was resupplied by air for the final battle for the Jablonow kessel, planners from Oberkommando Ost were looking at the overall picture. The Soviet forces facing these southern forces were stretched very thin; almost none of the forces arrayed against them had sufficient capacity to defend against the might of AOK 4’s heavy mechanized fist. Meanwhile, intelligence revealed that a Soviet division was equipped with heavy armor in the AOK 1 area of operations. Further, OK-Ost wanted to avoid the Pripet marshes at all costs, unconducive to mobile warfare as it was, and also wanted to avoid deploying a Panzerkorps to the northern portion of the front as the terrain there was largely forests. The two motorized Armeekorps were finally being redeployed to OK-Ost as the Kriegsmarine was applying their sealift capacity to bring those forces back to an active front. Decisions remained on how best to apply all of these forces, but the Supreme Command would interject their own ideas.


Northern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 2 April 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
T8dJCqy.png

yp6coos.png



Southern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 2 April 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
9x80jmx.png

Idgngm6.png

On 24 March, X Armeekorps began their final assault against the Jablonow pocket. With a total of almost 60 thousand troops, the remaining Soviet forces in the pocket consisted of an entire Army Group, two Army headquarters, ten Corps headquarters and twenty-five divisions. These divisions included 9. Tank, 7. Motor Rifle, 6. Cavalry and 23 infantry divisions. This pocket counted 216,216 troops in the various units, and continued to be under round-the-clock aerial bombardment from five wings of the Luftwaffe. After bitter fighting which saw two German infantry divisions break from combat due to exhaustion, the forces in the pocket finally surrendered on 9 April. In over two weeks of combat, 4760 Germans were killed in the assault, against 11219 Soviet soldiers killed on the ground and over 25 thousand killed from air attack. Almost 180 thousand marched into captivity. It was, to that point, one of the largest encirclements in the war.

The overall Eastern Front Situation as of 19 April 1943
LQWgVu5.png


Northern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 19 April 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
aw4fZog.png

YH7rmgc.png


Southern sector of the Eastern Front, as of 19 April 1943.
Overall Terrain view below.
EFapadw.png

HWkYThe.png


*****
Author's Note: When the forum is telling you that your AAR hasn't had a post in five months, and you have to tick the checkmark to tell the board that yes, you would like to respond... ugh. How the mighty have fallen. Though, since there's been... well, if not a flurry of activity per se in the True HoI boards... certainly an uptick, I figured I should really get this update out. I worked rather hard at it, and I'm chugging through getting these going if only to offload the images from the storage drive and to clear my mind for my efforts at the next AAR project (pending my rather inept attempts at reentering dating life because it's very lonely).

Anyhoo, here's the story of my absolute obliteration of the southern front of the Soviet AI forces. Yes, it was a ROFLSTOMP of errors, not to mention taking advantage of how the AI can't update forces and puts their forces together ineptly. This will not happen in the notional future AAR where there will be mistakes, errors, miscues, and more mayhem. I promise that now because otherwise @El Pip will mercilessly tear into the "Godly Know It All" that this AAR has clearly suffered from. Regardless, hope you're enjoying your World Cup, and how does England get forced to a draw by a colony? ;)
 
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El Pip

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Appearance of Slovakia! Take a swig from your hipflasks!
In Berlin, meanwhile, Hjalmar Schact took the opportunity to officially retire, turning the reins over to Albert Speer if only on paper.
At least something has gone well for the Soviets in this update.
How the mighty have fallen.
You've slowed down, not fallen. There is a majestically important difference. ;)
to clear my mind for my efforts at the next AAR project
Hurrah!
(pending my rather inept attempts at reentering dating life because it's very lonely).
That does sound much more important, you should prioritise that.
Anyhoo, here's the story of my absolute obliteration of the southern front of the Soviet AI forces. Yes, it was a ROFLSTOMP of errors, not to mention taking advantage of how the AI can't update forces and puts their forces together ineptly. This will not happen in the notional future AAR where there will be mistakes, errors, miscues, and more mayhem.
For once a ROFLSTOMP is probably appropriate, the Soviets were a complete clown show for the first few months of the war and the AI does an excellent job of modelling that. It's not deliberate, that's just what Paradox AIs are like, but in these circumstances it is correct. Of course historically the Soviets did get better and that, alas, is something that AI cannot do. Though it may well be they do not actually get the chance, I'd be surprised if the Soviets survive to see 1944 at this rate.
I promise that now because otherwise @El Pip will mercilessly tear into the "Godly Know It All" that this AAR has clearly suffered from.
As a gameplay AAR it remains an excellent display of skill, cunning and game mechanic exploitation.
DYAEiOu.gif

Regardless, hope you're enjoying your World Cup, and how does England get forced to a draw by a colony? ;)
I did enjoy the T20 Cricket World cup, particularly the bit wgere England won. I note the US cricket team recently lost to Namibia, so clearly some work needed there. ;)

I understand there is some sort of association football contest happening now, but that seems somewhat secondary surely?
 
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Wraith11B

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I see it is that time of the year when Wraith updates his AAR:


Vur ha, indeed.


I suppose it is as good of an explanation for kludgy and half-finished game mechanics as any I've yet seen.


Oh, good, a promise of drama and intrigue.


In true Italian fashion, a great mass of unavailable heavy artillery was made available, and a reasonable detachment of available artillery was made unavailable in the general confusion. :D


I admire the commitment to Italian roleplay on the part of the authAAR.


I always respect an authAAR who can take potshots at himself, even if and in fact particularly if for the sake of traditional heaping upon the Italian generalship.


I too am confused, why is the word "seemingly" used here? There can be no question about it.

A good update, summarizing some rare Axis struggles even though there is a foreboding hint of German competence in the background. It is just not an Axis AAR without the Italians somehow being Germany's worst enemy, after Hitler himself of course. I look forward to seeing next year's edition! ;)
I've beat the projection for the update, but also unfortunately forgot to respond to yours (and honestly, everyone's!) comments. For that, I humbly apologize.
Another great update, and you've done a really good job roleplaying Mussolini with a poorly planned invasion. It's too bad the Italians already needed Germany to save them, but there are some things that will never change!
Never!
Interesting to have such a big role for Italy in the invasion of the Soviet Black Sea ports, and for the result to be rather in character...


This sounds like they're shifting down a gear in order to push back out more effectively. (like you would in a car or on a bike before overtaking) Of course, the tactical withdrawal turned into a humiliating retreat which no amount of clever euphemisms can disguise. Considering how important the supply of oil is for modern fighting, Batumi was not just a tactical target but very much a strategic one.

Now I'm curious exactly what forced the Italians to pull troops back out of the theatre.

Great to see this continue.
What forced the Italians to pull back was ever growing casualties and an inability to inject sufficient logistics into the theater. Which, if any has taken a gander at the region, is horrendous.
A new chapter and bringing with it a stunning return to form for Italy, for too long have they been basically competent but at last their true colours are shining through. Marvellous stuff.


A very unusual word. I presume it is Latin for "Incompetent bumbling that ruins the main effort"?
It is, in fact, the historical call back for what the Romans called Crimea.
Ohh that's harsh and a worrying sign of Germanic influence. I was under the impression Il Duce was much more a 'resign in disgrace' type for generals who failed him. Is this a sign he is under severe pressure and so stopping to Hitlerian measures?

Looking at those uniforms perhaps it was shame that kept them out of the war for so long? Would you want to go to war looking like that? Really?

Surely the Regia Aeronautica has racked up great figures against the VVS, I mean everyone else did. Slovakia managed to have a couple of 25+ kill aces against the Soviets and they weren't even aware of the concept of manned flight. Surely the Italians can do at least as well. Surely? Probably. Maybe. Perhaps.
As I recall, the air forces didn't do so hot against the Soviets. Several times the multi-role fighters that the Italians had procured from Germany (which may have upgraded? I dunno. Models seem to be something that certainly needs to be corrected for my mod, but also I am not going to let them upgrade, either) had to be stood down because of losses inflicted by their missions.
This seemed harsh, so I turned to statistics.

In 2020 Wraith managed 11 updates
In 2021 Wraith managed 5 updated
Thus far this year it has been 1.
Extrapolating this trend Wraith will produce approximately 0.5 of an update in 2023, then 0.25 in 2024 and so on. It get's a bit Zeno's Paradox but theoretically Wraith will get closer and closer to having the next update ready but never post it. So on that basis you were in fact being generous.

Looking at in terms of gap since last update, going back we see this pattern;
The 1st January 2021 update was a mere 5 days after the last update in 2020. But then it was a 29 day gap, then 46, then 71, then 112 and most recently 258 days passed between chapters. Plotting that data, generating a best fit curve formula and then extrapolating forward I suggest it will be approximately 606 days until Wraith updates again should that pattern hold, so once again you were being generously optimistic.

I hope this vital statistical update has been of value to someone, not least anyone who was thinking of holding their breath till the next update which is looking to be incredibly ill advised.
I for one will salute you for doing the rather less than vagarious statistical work, mainly so that I would not have to.
Firstly, a grand thanks to @El Pip for the statistical analysis--though I must say that I do seem to have ruined the standard growth-in-time that he projected and extrapolated. Though I must say that my reductions by half as time has gone on is one that I certainly hope to avoid. That said, I'm rapidly coming to a conclusion of available images and data, which means that it will be less "game-dictated" and more of an extrapolation and such.

Welcome back, my friend!
Thank you, and I hope that the more recent update was to your approval!
 
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Eurasia

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Stomping on the Soviets in the first few weeks makes sense. If I understand it tright Stalin kind of refused to believe what was happening for the first few weeks of the invasion. He KNEW the Germans would attack the USSR....but he didn't think it would be so soon. He refused to believe what was going on.

I always figured if I ever did a USSR AAR I would let the Army AIs have complete control of the defenses for the first few weeks when the Germans invaded just to show how 'Stalin' was out of it.
 
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Wraith11B

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Stomping on the Soviets in the first few weeks makes sense. If I understand it tright Stalin kind of refused to believe what was happening for the first few weeks of the invasion. He KNEW the Germans would attack the USSR....but he didn't think it would be so soon. He refused to believe what was going on.

I always figured if I ever did a USSR AAR I would let the Army AIs have complete control of the defenses for the first few weeks when the Germans invaded just to show how 'Stalin' was out of it.
I think the main issue is that (at least in the base game) the AI can't reorder their build queue, nor does it cancel construction. Which means that if there's anything other than a historical build-up, the Soviet Union has a bit of a backlog of crap they have to get through before they can start raising units... what's more, they tend to buy the expensive stuff, which generally means that they're waiting awhile for those units to hold the line with. All I think it would take would be to prioritize infantry divisions when at war with a peer nation, then as the war grinds on more resources could be dedicated to producing better stuff. Granted, the HoI4 is supposed to deal with this by the separation of military procurement and construction.... but I digress.
 
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Glad to see you going all in for the YAYA's too... Tanks for the sweet new update.

I just looked at maps of Barbarossa side bys side with yours, and the real life Wehrmacht's advance was even more impressive than what you just did. By the 1st of September, they had reached and taken: Tallin, Novgorod, Vitsebsk, Smolensk, Homel, Odessa. They had reached but not taken: Kiev and Dnipopetrovsk, and they were closing in fast on Brjansk. Minsk was already far behind the front lines, having been taken in early July. The only place where your invasion is significantly further along is on the Black sea coast with the Italian landings and taking of Crimea etc. But you're seriously behind OTL up North. So, very realistic, maybe even a little conservative compared to OTL... The progress made by the Germans in those first months was really insane.
 
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Wraith11B

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I would imagine that is both a function of how spread out the Soviet forces were in the opening months of Barbarossa, and how independent the subordinate units were. If I allowed the computer to advance on its own, I'd no doubt be in far deeper straits in terms of manpower. If I'd had people running each of the various subordinate commands, I'd probably have done better. Recall I was also trying to screenshot each engagement and report, and be very meticulous about it. More time collecting data means less time concentrating on running the fight.
 
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Surt

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Remind me what is that unit counter type your using, Nato? I don't remember the 3rd type after inf and armour, the one with the triangle at the right edge and a line at the top.
 

Wraith11B

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Remind me what is that unit counter type your using, Nato? I don't remember the 3rd type after inf and armour, the one with the triangle at the right edge and a line at the top.
I'm using an overall APP6A version, with higher HQs using a combination of the Supply/HQ counters.