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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Lord Valentine

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Eliminating Stalinism - A Soviet AAR

Hi people!
I have been reading some pretty good HoI AARs and this has inspired me to start my own. The Sovjet Union is of course not the most imaginative country to pick but I will try to make up for it by changing the political establishment of the Sowjet Union considerably.
The first few updates will therefor mainly concentrate on the (historic) development upto one point where it becomes unhistoric and I begin to set the stage for the actual game to begin.

I am using HoI II DD 1.1 because I haven't had the time to download the latest patch yet. I have made some minor modifications. I have made the heavy armour and tank destroyer brigades a bit stronger, set the command limit a bit higher and reduced the effectivity of fortifications from 0.09 to 0.06.

Anyway the first update will come in the next hour or so.

~Lord Valentine~

PS: Stylewise I will probably use the typical "history book style". I might also use some official proclamations of the goverment, army etc. to keep you infromed about the games progress.
 
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Out of: "The Development of the Soviet State and Forces 1921-1934"
The Polish-Soviet War

The Soviet Union was born not only out of the Revolution but also out of a dreadfull and costly civil war that lasted over three years. The civil war, with the revoltution nearly collapsing in 1919, shaped the thinking of the whole soviet society and goverment. The civil war had lead to the impoverishment of the country, a decline of industry, a famine that killed millions and the loss of vast amounts of land that had once belonged to the tzars empire. They included Finnland, the Baltic States, Bessarabia and half of Poland. This lead to the fact that the new sovjet state was less european and more asian than it's predecessor.
The probably most traumatic exsperiance for the young state had been the Sovjet-Polish War (1920-1921). Poland had seized the opportunity and attacked.


Poland at the outset of conflict January 1920.

Within 6 months the poles overan the soviet defences and by June had taken vast areas and key cities including Minsk and Kiev.


The front at the point of the furthest polish advance June 1920.

In spite of this great conquest the polish position was dangerous. They had not managed to destroy the soviet forces and to mobilize support for their cause from the Ukrainians.
In June the soviets started their counteroffensive under Michail Tuchatschewski. The poles tried to set up a defensive trench system like the allies had done on the Western Front in WWI. However they did not have enough men and artillery to sufficently man the positions and where overwhelmed by the soviet cavalry.
On the 11. July Minsk was retaken and soviet forces were now marching on an average of 30 kilometers per day towards poland.
On 1. August Brest-Litowks was taken. The russians were now within 100km. of Warsaw.
Now however the soviet leadership got victory drunk and dreamt of marching on through poland into Berlin to spread the world revolution. Army commanders where contesting who would have the honor of taking Warsaw. All of this reduced the effectivity of the forces.


The Frontline in August 1920 before the battle at the river Vistula.

On the 10. of August the soviet Army Group North began their attack over the Vistula to cut of Warsaw from the roads to the port of Danzig. However the southern army did not take part in the attack and the flanks of the soviet advance were only weakly defended. The soviet leadership however thought the poles to be allready beaten and did not care.


A polish defensive position during the Vistula battle.


Allready on the 16. August the polish 5. Army counterattacked from north of Warsaw. Allthough strongly outnummbered they stoped the soviet advance and in the end forced them to retreat in order not to be encirceld.


The polish attack (green) against the advancing soviet armies (red).

After this sucess the poles drove the soviets nearly completly out of Poland. The southern soviet armies could bearly escape. With no hope of regaining initiativ in Poland the soviet leadership signed a peace treaty with Poland giving away considerable territory.


Poland after the peace treaty of Riga that was signed 18. March 1921.

The war had showen the absolut inadequacy of the soviet armed forces. A great deal would be done in the next years to improve the condition of exspecially the army.


OOC: This post was for you to get an impression of how instable things were at the begining of the Soviet Unions exsistance. I will sume up the reforms of the soviet armed forces and society until the onset of the five years plans in the next post.
~Lord Valentine~
 

GeneralHannibal

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It looks like things are all historical so far, maybe you'll put Trotsky in charge to destroy Stalinism :).
 

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Out of: "The Development of the Soviet State and Forces 1921-1934"
Stalins seizure of Power and Reforms in the USSR until 1928

After Lenins death in January 1924 Josef Wisarionowitch Dschugashvilli better known as Stalin as "General Secretary of the Communist Party" took control of the Soviet Union.
Allready days later a commission was set up to review the overall military situation of the Union. The results were devastating.
Out of 87.000 men trained to be officers during the civil war only 25.000 remained in service. 30.000 had been killed and rougthly the same number had demobilized. The supply situation was inadequate with lack of weapons and a poor level of food and equipment. Rank and file were demoralized and the officers ill-trained and unprofessional.

As a direct consequence Leon Trotzki, founder of the Red Army, was replaced by Mikahail Frunze, a veteran of the civil war, as Chairman of the Military Council.


Leon Trotzki and his successor Mikaheil Frunze.

Although Frunze died in October after holding office for only 10 months he got a great deal of reforms on the way. Frunze tried to reach a compromise between most communist politicans who saw the army as a proletarian milita and many generals, such as Tukachesvsky, that favoured a professional, modern army, free of political supervision.
Frunze wished to create a modern professional army, with its base in the proletariat that could fight an offensive and total war.
A first step was the introduction of a comprehensiv military service law.
The role of the politcal commissar was downgraded and full command responsibility given to the officers. To counter complaints of the party that the army was politically unreliable the number of communists was increased. By 1925 40% of the 76.000 Red Army officers were members of the Communist Party.
To increase morale several changes were made. Officers got a distinctive uniform that set them apart from rank and file. They also received a generous pay and better housing. But above all they were given the right to tell their men what to do.
This revoced the "Order No. 1 of the Petrograd Soviet" out of 1917 which had given all soldiers the right to challeng their officers. Furthermore a new disciplinary code was introduced which slowly brought back law and order.
Soon afterwards Frunze had to undergo surgery because of chronic stomach complaints. He died shortly after the operation. Foul play has never been proved but he was replaced by Kliment Voroshilov, one of Stalins closest allies.


Stalins new man, Kliment Voroshilov.

Voroshilow was an unispired appointment. He had been a metalworker and boleshevik terrorist. Later he became a political soldier like Stalin. In military matters he was absolute inept and the only thing that qualified him for the post was his undying loyalty towards Stalin.
This however was compensated by the appointment of Mikaheil Tukhachevsky as Chief of Staff. He had served successfully in during the Soviet-Polish War and was considerd energetic and exsperienced.

Mikaheil Tukhachevsky, Chief of Staff of the Red Army.

Tukhachevskys great ambiton was to create a professional army, fired by revolutionary zeal. In 1926 he orderd a complete review of the armed forces.
The results were published in May 1928 under the title "The Future War".
In it Tukhachevsky laid out his idea that a grand offensive had to be supported by thousands of tanks and armoured vehicels together with thousands of aircraft, pouring forward at great speed to deliver an anihilating blow to the enemy.

During the same time the co-operation between Red Army and Reichswehr began. The first agreement was signed as early as 1922 and a second more extensive programme was agreed upon in 1926. Both sides had something to offer each other. The soviets wanted access to to advanced military tecnology and thinking whereas the germans needed a remote place to develop new weapons and tactics which they were denied through the treaty of Versailles.

As mentioned before the offensive was to be the primary cause of the Red Army. It was felt that not only did a revolutionary army have to try to exsport the revolution but also that it fitted the newest and most important tecnological advaced weapons: The tank and the airplane.
Tukhachevskys assumed that an offensive force, using these in combination and large quantities, could penetrate the enemies line of defence and then envelop the main enemy force in a large, sweeping operartion.

In 1928 however the Soviet Unions industry was in no shape to produce the huge quantities of tanks and plans Tukhachevsky longed for.

OOC: Ok next up is the 5 year plan. Stay tuned!
~Lord Valentine~
 
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Lord Valentine

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Out of: "The Development of the Soviet State and Forces 1921-1934"
The Five Year Plan

In spite of his energy and his new ideas Tukhachevskys autharitarian leadership earned him many political enemies. As a result of this he was removed from his post by Stalin in 1928. His replacement was the former tzarist staff officer Boris Shapshnikov. By this time Tukhachevsky thinking had been widely accepted and any strategy of defense in depth rejected as "soviet backwardness" and a strategy elaborated which went as follows:
Fighting would comence in two stages. The preliminaries would be fought out near the frontier by strong covering forces operating behind fortified positions, while the slow mobilisation of the vast peasant-workers army took place far away from the front. When ready this huge mass of men should rain shattering blows on the enemies positions.
This was clearly more of a steamroller tactic than Tukhachevskys "deep operations".


Boris Shaposhnikov, new Chief of Staff.

However in spite of all improvments the soviet forces were still primitvely armed, poorly supplied and the level of morale was unsatisfactory. Ten years after the end of the civil war the soviet union felt only a little bit more secure than before. As a result of this the atmoshpere was still tense. There were several war scares in 1927 following the closure of the Soviet Trade Delegation in London in a campaign organized by conservative Members of Parliament. This was followed by the break of of relations by the british government. In april Chinese nationalists launced a great and bloody campaign against the Chinese Communists. In June the Soviet Ambassador in Warsaw was assassinated. Stalin announced that there was "the real and actual threat of war". Though none came the system needed scapegoats. 20 former tzarist nobles were arested and executed without trial following the the Warsaw assassination.

Just a few months later Stalin announced the "Five Year Plan" for the industrial development. The soviet industrial production by 1927 had reached the same level as the pre-war tzarist empire. This was still not enougth to rearm the soviet forces on larger scale. If the safety of the Soviet Union was to be secured the industrilization would have to be speeded up. Furthermore it posed the possibility to strike a blow against the russian peasantry and other "reactionary elements".
By this time Stalin held absolute power. His last major opponents were either dead or had been sent into exil like Leon Trotzki.
In spite of great obstacles, such as lack of skilled labour, equipment and finance the industrial revolution was a great success.
By 1938 steel output had risen from 4.3 to 18.1 millione tons. Coal production rose from 35 to 133 millione tons. Truck production which started out at 700 per year in reached 182.000 in 1938.

However this could not be reached without great sacrifices and exspecially the peasants who had to join the collective statly farms or die suffered greatly. Although there was no open social unrest at the begining of the 1930s there were a lot of problems beneath the surface.

OOC: This might be my last historical update before the actuall gameplay starts. Any questions, criticism or recomendations so far?

~Lord Valentine~
 

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I think we're going to see a power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky next.
 

Lord Valentine

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GeneralHannibal said:
I think we're going to see a power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky next.
I will just say that Comerade Stalin will be faced with a few problems that he did not have in our history. The outcome of this conflict will deeply influence the Soviet Union and change it's defenition of Socialism forever...

~Lord Valentine~
 

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Damn well, looks like you're gonna get rid of Stalinism before I do, because I probably won't do updates in next 24 hours. :D Good luck.
 

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kami888:I suppose my next update will be in the next 12 hours. Thanks for the encouragment and I have to say I really like your AAR!

deltren: It was my main aim to make a higly accurate picture of the development of the Soviet Union and armed forces up to the point were I take it into an alternativ history. So @ all I you notice a major mistake just send me a PM and I will correct it.

mib Stalinism and Stalin will be viewed far more critical after my next update and the spark of Revolution lit.

~Lord Valentine~
 

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Out of: "Cheka, NKVD and the Society of Terror in the Soviet Union 1917-1934"

Terror was a fundamental part of the soviet political system. One of Lenins first actions after coming to power was to found the Cheka, a secret police to fight counter-revolutionaries. It is assumed that the Cheka was responsible for the violent death of at least 250.000 people in the civil war. It was the Chekas task to brutalize the fight between the new soviet society and the "reactionary elements". It was the first time that the term"class enemy" was applied to against whole groups whose social position or nationality defined them as counter-revolutionaries.
Slowly the nature of terror changed from a savage reaction to civil conflict to an instrument of maintaining popular allegiance and mobilization. All of this produced an atmosphere that encouraged denunciation and betrayal which is so typical for revolutionary societies.

The victims of this terror usually ended up either with a bullet in the back of the neck, after they had been forced through soul-breaking torture to confess counter-revolutionary crimes, or a sentence to 10 or more years of forced labour which in most cases also meant death.

Absolutly nobody was safe of this terror. Peasants could simply be accused of beeing "Kulaks" (wealthy farmers) and killed. Officers of the army could face beeing accused of "bonarpartist conspiracy". If a maschine in a factory broke down due to bad quality or lack of maintainance this was seen as sabotage and a worker, whose only crime was ignorance or lack of sleep, would be faced with charges of fighting the revolution.
Even party members or members of the NKVD (the organisation that succeded the Cheka), who were the enforcers of the terror, could get caught in this trap by beeing accused of espionage or having buorgoise ancestors.

It was this total terror that enabled Stalin to break the resistance of all conservativ elements in the Soviet Union and to accomplish industrilization on such a vast scale.

Stalin pointed out why he thought that modernization was so important in one of his few memorable speeces at the first All-Union Congress of Managers in Feburary 1931:
One feature of the old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered for falling behind, for backwardness. She was beaten by the Mongol khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by the British and Fresh capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her - for her backwardness. ... We are fiftyy or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it or they chrush us.

However there was some opposition within the party against Stalins violent policy and his claim of beeing the only supreme authority within the soviet state.
On the 17th Party Congress 1934 Stalin had to suffer a humiliaton. When the members of the central comitee were elected 292 of the representatives voted against Stalin whereas there was not a single vote against Sergei Kirov the Party Secretary of Leningrad. Kirov was popular and a rising star of the party.


Sergei Kirov, shooting Star of the Party until his violent death shortly after the 17th Party Congress.

Stalin offered Kirov to work for him in Moscow but he declined. On the 1. December he was shot by an unknown assasin in Leningrad. It has never been proved that Stalin orderd him murderd but he had good reasons to eliminate this powerfull rival.
Stalin took Kirovs murder as an oportunity to start his so called "Great Purge" to eliminate all his enemies. All in all 90% of all representatives of the 17th Party Congress were put on trial and sentenced to death. Stalins power seemed unquestioned.

OOC: This was the last historic update. In the next one we will be entering the realm of fantasy.
~Lord Valentine~
 
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Lord Valentine

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Caution Storyline get's ahistorical now!!

Out of: "The Third Revolution"

The soviet government had always been faced with great oppositon in the populace and outlasted it. This time however things were different. Before Stalin always could count on the support at least of parts of the party and the military but now that he had killed most of their leaders some were intimdated but most were simply enraged.
However probably nothing would have happened if there had not been one man who had initiated resistance. His name was Nicolaj Temanov. Temanov was born in Moscow in 1895. His father was a clerk which was a fairly high social position considering the widespread poverty in tzarist russia.
He had enjoyed a good education before he joined the army in 1913. During the First World War he was promoted to the rank of an officer and received several medals for bravery.
He nevertheless became deeply disilusioned about the war and after the March Revolution 1917 joined the Bolshevik Party. During the civil war he served with distinction and was promoted to the rank of a brigadier general in spite of disobaying orders from his political commissars.
During the Polish Campaign he commanded several infantry divisions under Tukhachevsky. In the 1920s he backed his commanders plea for a massive modernization of the armed forces. However he was greatly displeased about the violence involfed in the Five Year Plan. He began to get a more critical approach not only to Stalinism but to Communism in general. He began a more active political carrer and was representative from 15th Party Congress (1932) onwards. He was however wise enougth to keep his critical views to himeself and was one of the few to survive the purges following the 17th Party Congress. This did not stop him from creating a small conspirative circle which included his closest allies and friends Joseph Natanjov (born:1892) and Pavel Rychanovich (born:1902), both army officers. They planned to start a military uprising at a point which seemed promising. They hoped that other military leaders or communist party members would join their cause, otherwise they would be doomed.

This oportunity came when Stalins plane that was heading towards Kiev crashed just outside Moscow on the 16th of Feburary. Temanov seized the chance and marched on Moscow with his three divisions telling his soldiers that Stalin was dead and that they had to avoid the NKVD taking control of the state.
There was only light resistance by the NKVD troops in Moscow and then Temanovs men marched on to the famous Red Square.


Temanovs soldiers parade through the Red Square after the successfull "March on Moscow."

At the same time Natanjov seized Minsk and Rychanovich adressed the people of Leningrad. In the evening Temanov adressed the soviet public via radio telling them that wether Stalin was dead or not his terror regime was over. He orderd all armed forces, communist party members and true russians to rise up against the NKVD opressors who had "perverted" the revolution.

The same night Stalin was murderd in the hospital were he was beeing treated after his fatal accident. His murders probably feared beeing cort marshalled for treating the butcher of the russian people.

In the next few days a considerable amount of generals declared their loyality to the uprising but several did the opposite and urged the public to fight the "counter-revolutionary traitors". In the next week a provisional soviet delegation appointed Temanov "General Secretary of the Communist Party" and "Highest Soviet" with the authority to fight all elements of "stalinist reaction". Rychanovich, who by now had joined him, was made minister of security.
The atmosphere was tense. By now stalinist forces were marching in Moscow from the south and from the Ukraine. Temanov spent the next two weeks touring the country adressing the people to save the new revolution. He openly adressed the parts of communist doctrin that he despised and discomoforted many people.
He rennounced the communist policy of fighting religion and nations. These were things the people felt strongly about and therefore they could not simply be dismissed as "bourgoise inventions". Temanov declared that in the new soviet state everybody should be free to workship whatever God he wished and learn about and practise as much of his national culture as he wanted. Furthermore he showed his willingness to revoke the collectivation of the agriculture.
All of this greatly impressed the people, exspecially in the rural areas. A great amount of voluntary divisions were formed to fight for the new revolution.


Men of a voluntary division out of the region of Smolensk.

However the fate of the Revolution was still uncertain with important military clashes ahead...

~Lord Valentine~
 
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Lord Valentine

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Out of: "The Third Revolution"
The Second Civil War

Although all initial attacks on Moscow by the Stalinists, lead by Klement Voroshilov, could be repelled by massiv popular voluntary brigades it soon became clear that the new regime was far from safe.
Although Temanov and his supporters controlled most of european Russia, the Ukraine and Belorussia a lor of Siberia, the Caucasus and a few territories were still in Stalinist hands threatening to crush local pro Temanov revolts.


The situation at the begining of March 1935. Blue areas are held by pro-Temanov revolutionaries. Black areas are strongholds of the Stalinists. All other areas are neutral.

Temanov realised that although he controlled the most important industrial areas he could not simply stay on the defensive and abandon the revolutinaries in Georgia, Kazastahn and the Far East to their fate. This would probably make the neutral commanders join the Stalinists.

Therefore Temanov ordered a major offensive for May 1935 to cut of the stalinist forces in the Caucasus. He orderd this attack be undertaken with a new strategy. The tanks and aircraft that so far had only devided between individual infantry divisions to give close support. Now Temanov orderd to create indpendant tank armies and air fleets. The Tanks were to break through the enemy line closly supported by the air fleets and motorized infantry. Once the breakthrough was made they were to encircle the enemy and advace on the leave the rest of the job to the infantry.


A voluntary division assembling for "Operation Soviet Sledgehammer"

By May a force of 450.000 men had been assembled. It consisted of 280.000 regular soldiers and 170.000 irregular fighters out of voluntary units. The main attack force was composed of 500 Tanks (300 BT2, 200 T28) supported by 800 aircraft (300 Fighters, 100 new Dive Bombers, 400 Bombers) and 48.000 motorized infantry. The stalinist forces in the area probably amounted to 800.000 men. They however were still occupied with chrushing the pro-Temanov rebellion in the lower Caucasus were rougthly 150.000 men resisted them.


T28 tanks parading through Rostov on their way to the newly formed "Caucasian Front".

Operation Soviet Sledgehammer
The Operation plan was as follows. On May 22. two tank armies should begin their attack from the front line. Their objectiv is to cut of the stalinist forces in the caucasus by braking through to Astrakhan. Within three weeks the Tank Army South should have taken Elista. At the same point Tank Army North should crossed the Volga bypassing Stalingrad. At this point the Tank Army South should release its motorized infantry which should cut off Stalingrad and then link up with the Tank Army North. The Tank Army South will advance deeper into the Caucasus to put pressure on the stalinist forces currently atacking Baku. The reeinforced Tank Army North shall at the same time push for Astrakah and take it. At the begining of the campaign the Pro-Temanov forces in the southern Caucasus will attack to bind as many forces as possible. Half of the air force will directly support the tank armies the other half attack enemy forces in their flank to stop any significant threat to emerge there. The whole operation must be concluded within 1 1/2 months.


On the 20th of May the codeword "Tolstoy" was given informing all commanders that the operation was to begin in 48 hours...
 
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Lord Valentine

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Out of: "The Third Revolution"
Operation Soviet Sledgehammer

On the 22. May 02:00 o'clock the soviet artillery opened fire onto the stalinist positions. After 45 minutes it stopped and the tanks began pouring against the enemies position in close collaboration with the infantry. Dive bombers were in the air ready to attack any spot where enemy resistance might prove to though. The enemy was taken completly by suprise and within 24 hours both the Tank Army North and South had broken through.


An infantry brigade getting ready to charge the stalinist defences with bayonets fixed in the opening phase of "Sledgehammer"

The Tank armies now rushed forword towards their objectivs. At the same time combined fighter bomber forces attacked stalinist airports, supply depots, centres of communication and reserve forces.


The small town of Servansk, bombed by the soviet air force on May 28th. The city was the HQ of 4 NKVD divisions.

Thanks to the very good co-operation of all forces the Tank Army South reached the area around Wolgodonsk allready on May 30th. In the north the army was fighting its way to the Stalingrad with stiffening resistance. Exspecially the infantry units following the tanks faced hard and grim fighting. It was their task to hold open a supply coridor to the tanks and prevent the stalinists from braking through their long flank.

After 2 1/2 more weeks of savage fighting the Tank Army South reached Elista. Their motorized infantry had allready left to join the Tank Army North
that just had crossed the Volga.
At Elista however the weakness of the soviet armour was exsposed. Without the infantry exspecially the light BT5 tanks lacked the power to defend themselves against a determind infantry infantry charge.The Tank Army South was repelled with great loses when trying to take Elista on the 18th of June 1935. Elista was the first realy strongly fortived stalinist city the Red Army ran into.


A BT5 tank knocked out during the battle for Elista.

The Tank Army South had to wait for the infantry to march up and make a second attempt. On 1. July finally a second attempt was made. 3 infantry divisions with special engineer brigades attacked Elista and tried to remove possible obstacles for another tank attack.


A soviet soldier removing obstacles during the battle for Elistia 1.-12 July.

The fighting was hard. The city had to be taken street by street. The strong artillery and aerial bombardment had completly destoyed the city, creating perfect hideouts for the stalinists. However under use of great forces and specialy equipment such as flamethrowers the stalinists were slowly pushed back.


A infantry unit preparing for assault in Elista 6. July 1935.

When Elista was finally taken on 12. July the Tank Army South had only 80 out of originally 250 tanks operationable. Temanov and the Soviet High Command realized that with these forces it was impossible to continue the advance as planned. The Tank Army South was orderd to dig in and hold the gained ground at all cost. The greates part of the air force was transfered to support the attack of the Tank Army North. Temanov also orderd several reserves including the newly formed "Temanov Division" to be brought up to the front.


Men of the "Temanov Division" leaving Moscow for the Caucasian Front. This unit would gain elite status during the campaign.

During the fight for Elista the Tank Army North had been making good progress and reached the outscirts of Astrakahn on July 2. The stalinist forces before them had been complelty destoryed and their leadership, encouraged by the exsperiences in Elista, now concentrated on holding Astrakahn.


A tank attack in close co-operation with the infantry during the offensive towards Astrakahn June 1935. At this time infantry support was still vital to the success of the tank force.

The battle for Astrakahn dragged on from the 8.-20 July. Although it was bloody it was not as difficult as the fight for Elista because of the great amount of motorized infantry available and the great air superiority of the soviets.


An aerial picture of a industrial district of Astrakahn. The city was subjected to the greatest aerial bombardment in history so far with up to 500 aircraft attacking.

On 20. July the last stalinist troops in Astakahn surrenderd. The main objectiv of Operation "Soviet Sledgehammer" had been reached. The situation of the Tank Army South remained precaurius however...

~Lord Valentine~
 

Lord Valentine

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Hi people!
I am somehow missing the feedback at the moment! Do you like the way I have let history develop this far? Is the report on the military campaign informativ and interersting? Should I continue or speed things up to get into the real game directly? Any form of criticsm, encouragement or comment is very welcome.

I am not shure wether I will be able to update for the next days because I am back at school and got a lot to do. I will however definitly find time to answer questions, requests etc..

~Lord Valentine~
 

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I like it so far, I'd say keep on going the way you're going unless you feel constrained by having to write a long backstory.