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quaazi

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Heya lads and lasses. This will be one "experimental" AAR. I am obviously going to play as the Soviet Union, but I will keep the narrative to a strictly history book style concerning the Red Army. It may very well be considered learning material for officers in future Red Army academies, without the massive propaganda, of course. As such, I will be showing the state of the economy or the world at large very little, except for the yearly intervals (starting from May 1939) and times when they cross into military strategy. I shall also talk a lot about specific battles, as they happened in game. Every division has it's general, so I'm hoping I'll get some star generals and legendary divisions. I will also explain tactical situations (assault means ASSAULT dammit) and so forth. Expect a heavy to read, military enthusiast friendly AAR. Although the start date is 1936, I'll start talking from 1939.

IC/TT takeover off.
Start date 1936.
AI is normal/aggressive.

INDEX

Chapter I - 1939 - 1941

The World in 1939
Soviet Russia in 1939

The Winter War (Soviet OOB)
The Winter War (Soviet Battle Plan, Finnish OOB)
The Winter War (15th - 23rd November)
The Winter War (24th November - 2nd December)
The Winter War (2nd - 10th December)
The Winter War - Endgame
The Winter War - Aftermath

The World in 1940
Soviet Union in 1940
Report ZE-40 - Intel
The Stalin Line

Report on the Soviet Armoured Formations

The World in 1941
The Soviet Union in 1941
Prelude to the summer
Preparations
Stavka meeting (20th June)

Chapter II - Operation Barbarossa

OOB - Red Army
The first day - 22nd June 1941
The Battle of Suwalki - 23rd June
Daybreak - 24th June
The war widens - 24th June
Enter the Red Navy - 25th June
The Suwalki Offensive - 26th-27th June
First victories - 28th-29th June
Stavka meeting - 29th June
Peace treaty between USSR and Finland - 29th June
Crisis in Lithuania - 29th-30th June

Into the new month - 1st-2nd July
Operation Impaler - 3rd-5th July
The battle of Lvov - 6th-7th July
Retreating slowly - 8th-9th July
Counterattacks everywhere! - 10th-11th July
Success...? - 12th July
Clash of the Titans - 13th-14th July
Fall of Rom...ania - 14th of July
Business as usual - 14th-15th of July
Rematch at Turzysk - 16th of July
Oh happy day! - 17th-18th of July
Good results are good omens - 19th of July
Oh Czar, you so craaaaazy - 20th of July
Just a month so far? - 21th of July
 
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quaazi

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The World of 1939

In 1939, the world was obviously moving towards war. Sabre-rattling from nations small and large was a common sight in the time, with the failure of the League Of Nations apparent and diplomacy as a method of keeping peace dying out.

Europe



In three years, Hitler had taken Germany through a process of fierce remilitarisation, becoming a launching point for the new world war. In 1936, he ordered the Rhineland occupied by german troops, a direct violation of the peace treaty Germany was supposed to abide to. He abolished the Versailles' limits on the Reichswehr, renamed the Wehrmacht, and took Germany into an obvious course for war. However, his bloodless triumphs in annexing Austria and Sudetenland (1938) won him the support of his domestic population, leaving him desiring for more, eventually occupying Czechoslovakia proper in 1939, splitting it into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and a new, quasi-independent nation of Slovakia, as well as demanding a small strip of land from Lithuania in the same year.

Italy was the second threat to peace in Europe. Mussolini, the fascist dictator of Italy, finished the Abyssinian war in 1936, resulting in complete annexation of Ethiopia. This put him on an collision course with the admittedly weak-willed, but powerful United Kingdom, whose posessions in Egypt stood in the way of a land link between two Italian colonies. In an universally condemned move, Italy invaded Albania, a nation with almost no standing military, in 1939, annexing it as well. Italy, however, is still a weak nation compared to the Allied powers consisting of the British Commonwealth and France.

In 1936, civil war broke out in Spain, between the left-wing "republicans" and the right-wing "nationalists". Many countries sent aid to both sides, including the Soviet Union, whose T-28 tanks unfortunately had little impact on the war. Nationalists triumphed over the republicans in 1938, prompting celebrations in Spain, Italy and Germany, the nations who, directly or otherwise, were involved in the conflict.

China

China became a true hotspot in 1937, when a disunited and warring Republic of China put it's forces together to counter the blatant aggerssion of the Japanese Empire. Foreign nations immediately condemned Japan and sent help for the Chinese. By May 1939, the Japanese had conquered a large area of the North China Plain, as well as the majority of Inner Mongolia, setting up a puppet regime of Menguokuo in the area. However, their progrss has been slow and the terrain tough.

In 1938, a border incident took place between Japan and the Red Army near Khasan Lake. While initially unsuccesful, teh Red Army managed to push the Japanese back and win the engagement. However, the failure of the early battle was blamed on the Marshal of The Soviet Union, Vassili Blücher. Both sides took the lessons of the battle seriously, but the area remained volatile for some time.

 
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quaazi

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Soviet Union in 1939.

The Communist Party was leading the Soviet Union for almost 20 years. The Party Secretary, Jossif Stalin, was a man of iron will, backstabbery and intrigue. The country was locked down in a wave of terror, enforcing the rules of the Kremlin more efficiently than anything else. Brutal methods of governing unruly mobs proved extremely useful in peacetime. This was largely the work of Stalin, who had consolidated his power completely, leaving Mikhail Kalinin, whose wife was already arrested by the NKVD, as nothing more than a figurehead.

Maksim Litvinov, the foreign minister of the Soviet Union, was on his toes, as Stalin's dislike towards him was an open secret and his dismissal imminent. Speculation (later proven to be right) offered Vyacheslav Molotov as the probable candidate for the Foreign Minister



The Soviet Union had gone through an Herculean effort to industrialize, leading to a very powerful production based economy by 1939. However, with Stalins directives for massive armament, this complex system was placed under huge strain, severly hurting the common citizens as little goods were being produced for them. Almost exclusively did Soviet factories churn out weapons. Especially important was to modernize the Red Army, which still used rather archaic equipment at times.




The USSR was short on it's gold reserves, and was selling away large parts of it's raw materials in exchange for gold and foreign currency to the few countries who wanted to deal with the Soviets.



The Soviets had a serious problem with their technology as well. Although they possessed fine equipment like the KV-1 or the LaGG-3, their troops saw little of those wonder weapons, being largely stuck with old equipment despite the situation on paper. Doctrinal shortcomings made the situation even worse.

 

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The Winter War

After the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in August and the occupation of the Baltic countries in September, the Soviet Union turned its eyes towards its northernmost neighbour, Finland. An ultimatum, demanding the surrender of Viiburi to the Soviet Union, was issued, but rejected, followed by Soviet declaration of war on the 15th of November.



Soviet order of battle:
In parentheses approximate equipment is marked for armor divisions

STAVKA: Boris Shaposhnikov

Chief of the Army: Klimenty Voroshilov

Land Forces

1st Mechanized Army - Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev - Based in the Leningrad area

1st Mechanized Corps - General Vassilevskij
3rd Tand Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - General Vassilevskij
5th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Romanenko P.L.
82nd Motorized Division - Lt. General Homenko​
2nd Mechanized Corps - Marshal Konev
7th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - Marshal Konev
8th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Volskiy
213th Motorized Division - Lt. General Tamruchi​
3rd Motorized Corps - Lt. General Novikov V.V.
9th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Novikov V. V.
10th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Solyankin
205th Motorized Division - Lt. General Sofronov​
4th Mechanized Corps - General Pavlov D.G.
12th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - General Pavlov D.G.
11th Tank Division (T-28s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Trubnikov
29th Motorized Division - Lt. General Gordov​
5th Mechanized Corps - Lt. General Terekhin
1st Tank Division (BT-5s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Terekhin
2nd Tank Division (BT-5s and BA-20s) - Lt. General Golikov
84th Mechanized Division* - Lt. General Eremenko​

Leningrad Front - Marshal of the Soviet Union Semyon Timoshenko - based in the Ladoga area

Positioned on the southwestern bank of Ladoga:

Leningrad Front HQ - Marshal Timoshenko

2nd Corps - Lt. General Krasnopevtsev
142nd Rifle Division - Lt. General Kransopevtsev
161st Rifle Division - Lt. General Gastilovich
235th Rifle Division - Lt. General Shumilov​
3rd Corps - Lt. General Voronov
48th Rifle Division - Lt. General Voronov
43st Rifle Division - Lt. General Poluektov
10th Rifle Division - Lt. General Zakharvo M.V.​
4th Corps - Lt. General Fedorenko
177th Rifle Division - Lt. General Fedorenko
191st Rifle Division - Lt. General Reiter
8th Rifle Division - Lt. General Tyulen​


Positioned on the northeastern bank of Ladoga:

5th Corps - General Levandovski
32nd Rifle Division - General Levandovski
40th Rifle Division - Lt. General Trofimenko
189th Rifle Division - Lt. General Sandalov​
6th Corps - Lt. General Berzarin
12th Rifle Division - Lt. General Berzarin
3rd Rifle Division - Lt. General Kurochkin P.A.
92nd Rifle Division - Lt. General Lutchinski​
7th Corps - Lt. General Malinin
190th Rifle Division - Lt. General Malinin
197th Rifle Division - Lt. General Kuznetsov V.V.
199th Rifle Division - Lt. General Maladin​

Karelian Front - General Frolov - Positioned between White Karelia and Murmansk

Located near Kem:

1st Corps - Lt. General Malinovskij
136th Rifle Division - Lt. General Malinovskij
25th Rifle Division - Mj. General Chibisov
176th Rifle Division - Lt. General Tolbukhin​

Located between Kem and Kandalaksja:

Karelian Front HQ - General Frolov

2nd Mountaineer Corps - Lt. General Kholostyakov
138th Rifle Division** - Lt. General Kholostyakov
47th Rifle Division** - Mj. General Kutlin
17th Rifle Division** - Mj. General Pisarevskij​
3rd Mountaineer Corps - Lt. General Kuznetsov A.I.
63rd Rifle Division** - Lt. General Kuznetsov A.I.
60th Rifle Division** - Lt. General Semenovskij
95th Rifle Division** - Lt. General Marchenkov​

Located near Murmansk:

1st Mountaineer Corps - Lt. General Batov
68th, 83rd, 194th Rifle Divisions*** - Lt. General Batov
21st Rifle Division** - Lt. General Rakutin
101st Rifle Division** - Lt. General Ryabchev M.E.​

Total land forces available for the invasion of Finland:

30 Infantry Divisions (Including 9 mountaineer divisions)
10 Tank Divisions (with BA-20 brigades)
5 Motorized Divisions

About half a million men.

Air forces

Chief of the Air Force: Pavel Rychagov

Based in Leningrad

1st Bomber Fleet**** - Air General Yakovlev
4 bomber wings (Ilyushin DB-3), attachment escort fighters (Yakovlev Yak-2)

1st Fighter Fleet**** - Mj. General Rychagov
4 fighter wings (Lavotshkin LaGG-3)

Based in Murmansk

1st CAS Fleet**** - Air General Novikov
4 wings of CAS bombers (Sukhoi Su-2), attachment escort fighters (Yakovlev Yak-2)

Total of 12 air wings

Navy

Chief of the Navy: Mikhail Viktorov

Baltic Sea Fleet - Grand Admiral Kuznetzov
Marat - Gangut-class Battleship
Oktyabrskaya Revolucija - Gangut-class Battleship
1st Destroyer Flotilla - Norvik-class destroyers
4th Destroyer Flotilla - Gnevnyi-class destroyers
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Submarine Flotillas - Series II-class submarines

Total of 2 capital ships, 2 screening flotillas, 7 submarine flotillas



*Despite being named a mechanized division, it was still a strictly motorized force, being created out of the 188th Rifle Division amongst the first motorized formations.
**A mountaineer division named as a regular rifle division.
***These "three rifle divisions" actually form one mountaineer division
****An Air Fleet is the equivalent of an American Air Wing.
 
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quaazi

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Battle Plan - Red Army

The declaration of war against Finland wasn't spontaneous, and as such, STAVKA had been preparing for the war for quite some time.



The main thrust would be from the 1st Mechanized Corps, under the leadership of Marshal Konev. It would attack en masse through the Mannerheim line, right after a day long artillery bombardment by artillery polks (regiment/brigade) of the Leningrad Front. It's objectives would be Viipuri and then Helsinki itself. It was hoped the first soviet tanks would reach the outskirts of Helsinki in a week, but more pessimistic generals had doubts about their capability of punching through the hostile terrain and determinantion of the finns on the Mannerheim line.

The Leningrad Front would conduct a general advance on both sides of the Ladoga, tying down finnish forces in the area. They were expected to link up and secure the flank of the thrusting Mechanized Corps.

The Karelian Front in the north was composed of elite mountaineer infantry, and little armour was allocated to the front. This would reduce the speed and mobility, as well as the hitting power, of the Front, but it was enough for a steady advance through central Finland and Lapland, eventually reaching Oulu, if peace had not been conducted already.

With 45 divisions and ample air and naval support at his disposal, Timoshenko, the creator of the attack plan, could feel comfortable in his superiority, despite one of the coldest winters of the century and poor shape of the Red Army as a whole.

Finnish Order Of Battle

Soviet intelligence identified the opposing forces as such:

Petsamo area

Enemy force, sized about 2 divisions, fully infantry, lead by General Erik Heinrichs, a Jaeger general, with combat experience from the Finnish Civil War. This was interpreted as the presence of finnish specialist troops in the area. The area also was identified as having minor fortifications, which coupled with the already hilly terrain, would present a very formidable obstacle in front of the advancing Red Army.

Suomossalmi area

Enemy force, sized about 2 divisions, fully infantry, lead by a General Sundman, of whom Soviet intelligence had no data of. This would be where the Karelian Front would attack hardest, and preliminary intelligence suggested quick victory.

Joensuu area

Enemy force, sized about 5 divisions, fully infantry, lead by Marshal Mannerheim, the leader of the finnish army and a competent general, expert in cold conditions and defensive warfare. This sector would see no soviet advance and was expected to weaken as the finns pull reinforcements away from the area to more critical positions.

Sortavala area

Enemy force, sized about 3 divisions, fully infantry, lead by a General Mäkinen of whom Soviet intelligence has no data about. This sector is also lightly fortified. Here the Red Army has the 3:1 numerical advantage necessary for a victorious attack, but would in all likelihood change as Mannerheim ushers his troops south from Joensuu.

Mannerheim line

Enemy force, sized about 7 divisions, fully infantry, lead by General Wetzer, a general who has experience from the finnish civil war. The area is considerably fortified but not expected to hold out against the 24 divisions attacking from Leningrad.
 

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ahah it reminds me of a time when i tried to do an aar with simmilari tiltle :)
subs*
 

Mjarr

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Interesting choice of style.

I'll be keeping closer eye on this.
 

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I'm in, should be interesting.
 

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What mod is this?
 

quaazi

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Thank you for your patronage, everyone.

The game is not modded (much), I've added only one estonian oil shale production plant for flavour (and patriotic duty!). I assume you're referring to the map colours, though, which I lifted from the World In Flames mod.

Update coming today sometimes, if I can finish the Realpolitik matters quickly enough.
 

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The colours yes, but also the changed border in Ireland.
 

quaazi

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The Winter War - The first week.

Hostilities opened on dawn of the 15th of November.

Battle of Suomossalmi


In this sector, General Frolov of the Karelian Front attacked the finnish defenders with 6 divisions of light infantry, well suited for the cold weather and tough terrain. The first objective would be the small village of Suomossalmi, which happened to lie on a vital rail route through Central Finland to Oulu. Defending the are were two finnish divisions and one artillery brigade. Attacking Soviet troops managed to attack their foe in a wide line around Suomossalmi, as they were almost exclusively lacking in any motorized equipment whatsoever. The sheer numerical superiority of the Soviet troops enabled Frolov to capture Suomossalmi in two days. This quick success was also due to the fact Soviet intelligence had exactly pinpointed the locations of the defenders via decryption of Finnish military channels. The battle was costly for the Soviets, however, with over three thousand men lost as casualities. The finns lost a third of that and retreated southwards where another battle was brewing.



Battle of Sortavala


General Levandovski, in charge of the attack on Sortavala, enjoyed a 3 to 1 advantage in men and material, with a depressing abundance of artillery support at his disposal compared to his foe. The attack, launched simultaneously with the attack on Suomossalmi further north, started out well, with Lt. General Malandin's 199th rifle division capturing Leppasilta on the first night of the battle. On the following morning, however, his troops were fiercely counterattacked by men of the Finnish 17th Division, utterly crushing Malandin's men and forcing them to retreat behind the Soviet border by the 19th.



The destructon of the 199th division left a gaping hole at the shores of Ladoga, which was exploited by the defending finnish troops, who used it to sneak behind russian troops and knocked the 3rd Rifle division, under command of Lt. General Kurochkin, and the 190th Rifle Division, under command of Lt. General Malinin, out of the battle the following day. With three divisions destroyed and barely intact, Levandovski had no choice but to cancel the attack. Soviet casualities were appaling, with over five thousand troops lost, compared to a modest thousand of finnish casualities. Timoshenko's plan had failed, but a breakthrough at the Mannerheim line might've still saved the situation.




Battle of the Mannerheim Line


Following days of fierce artillery, naval and aerial bombardment, the troops defending the Mannerheim line were pounded to hell. Later finnish reports show that the 18th Finnish division took the worst of the bombardment and nearly cracked before the start of the land assault itself. 4 days since the start of the bombardment, Konev's 1st Mechanized Army finally descended upon the Mannerheim line. The seemingly battered defenders were expected to pose little resistance, being caught by suprise by the vast amount of attacking Soviet armour and struggling to respond.





However, Konev lacked a breakthrough despite heavy fighting. The terrain was extremely hostile for the mechanized force of the Red Army, and a shockingly large amount of Finnish strongpoints survived the furious bombardment earlier. Three days since the attack begun, the finns had completely reorganized and were in control of the situation. Konev responded by one final mass assault on the defensive line, which in the end had no result other than lost soviet tanks and men.



The arrival of fresh new finnish troops on the 23rd prompted Konev to cease the attack, as a bloody slugging match on the Mannerheim line was useless with the failure of Levandovski's troops north of the Ladoga. The Soviets had lost nearly seven thousand troops in the battle, as well as 144 tanks. It was an astounding disaster for the Red Army.

 
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Ouch...impressive Finnish defense.
You truly need more air support.
 

quaazi

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Air support was existant, but so inefficient I didn't even bother to talk about it. DB-3s had almost no effect at all, CAS was stationed to the north where the breakthrough was too fast.

The defeat at Viipuri did shock me though. 10 ARM divisions, 4 days of bombardment, and that sweet ambush event... I'll be back, is all I can say.
 

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I see. Maybe a landing in their rear, if that's possible ?
 

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Sounds reasonable.
 

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The Winter War - 24th November to 2nd December

Battles in the North

Stavka was still reeling from it's defeats in South Finland. Stalin wasn't informed of the failures before everyone could agree on the scapegoat. The army blamed the navy and air force, the latter blamed the former. Distrust amongst higher officers was high, until the first good news arrived on the morning of the 24th of November.



The first troops of the 2nd Mountaineer Corps had reached the Oulu-Nurmes railway junction. Soon all of the troops the Karelian Front had there were ready to push forward, and so they did. The 2nd M. Corps would march towards Oulu, planning to achieve one of Stavka's strategic goals - cut Finland in half. 3rd M. Corps would soon have very different orders however.



Timoshenko needed a clear victory fast. He ordered the southern elements of the Karelian Front, the 3rd Mountaineer and the 1st Rifle Corps, to advance south and west respectively, towards the town of Joensuu, hoping to threaten the stubborn defenders of Sortavala with encireclement. Troops from the Leningrad Front would be ordered to partake in the offensive as well - the 5th Corps was to provide a diversionary flank to cover the advance of the Karelian Front, while all the exisiting artillery polks of the Ladoga area would be brought down on the finnish defenders at Joensuu and the surrounding towns.

The attack began on the 25th of November at 9 in the morning. Immediately the Soviet troops were shocked by the amount of troops under their opposing officer, Lt. General Laatikainen. Approximately 45 000 troops were holding their ground against the attacking 100 000. The officer responsible for the attack, General Levandovski, became pessimistic immediately, but summoned the whole of the First Bomber Fleet in Leningrad to come and try to dislodge the Finnish defenders. To no avail. The crews of the already poor quality DB-3s could do little against the fierce Finnish resistance, and as the 5th Corps, borrowed from the Leningrad Front, collapsed completely, it was obvious this attack was doomed to fail as well. Timoshenko gave the order to retreat 3 days later, on the 28th. Another 4 four thousand men had been lost to a futile attack.











The finns were rather pessimistic themselves, as well. A strong counterattack at that time may even have pushed the 1st Corps back enough to cause serious troubles to the Karelian Front's advance, but instead, only one small, half-hearted counter-attack by 7th division against the railroad junction held by the entirety of the battered, but formidable 3rd M. Corps, was launched. When the finnish attackers realised what numbers they were going against, the attack was quickly called off.





Stalin was informed of the curshing defeats on the first day of September, and immediately summoned Timoshenko to him. Beating back the small finnish counterattack was no achievement, and Timoshenko was sure to be severly reprimanded as a result of the failures in Finland. When he reached Kremlin on the following day, to his shock, Stalin was in a jovial mood, postponing matters of business in favour of vodka. After a bottle had been emptied, Timoshenko was informed that the 2nd Corps had reached Oulu just a few hours earlier. Finland had been cut in two.

 
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