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Eurasia

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While the Mighty Soviet Union seems to be doing its best against the German Huns the Americans seem to be doing nothing against the Japanese who are, every day, gaining resources. Yes, their convoy system is being hurt but that won't stop the Japanese from spreading into the Pacific. At least the RAF seem on the ball.
 
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Finshades

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Disappearing divisions? If those Germans had functioning intelligence agencies they would be very confused right now.

Glad to see all the cavalry is now armoured, in ways not directly reminiscent of the knights of yore. The gears of development keep turning.
 
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roverS3

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While the Mighty Soviet Union seems to be doing its best against the German Huns the Americans seem to be doing nothing against the Japanese who are, every day, gaining resources. Yes, their convoy system is being hurt but that won't stop the Japanese from spreading into the Pacific. At least the RAF seem on the ball.
The Americans prefer to pay for others to fight their war. Typical capitalists. The islands they still have in the pacific are rumoured to not even have Garrison's guarding them, except for Hawai. That said, if they continue to not step up in the Pacific, I would quite like to see an increase in lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union, or at least a return to the previous level of aid (around 150 IC). The more aid we get, the bigger the bang we will make when we land in the Balkans, and the earlier we will be in a position to do so.

Disappearing divisions? If those Germans had functioning intelligence agencies they would be very confused right now.
As far as they know they lost track of it on the 23rd, and re-acquired it's location a few 100s of km's away, on the 25th. This means they're likely scratching their heads as to how it got there, whether their sources are reliable, and what it was doing during those 2 days. That's about as far as I expect German Intelligence to have gotten if they were halfway competent. Needless to say, the ruse was meant more for the OSS than for the Abwehr. We wouldn't want our American enemies of our enemies to find out we effectively lost an entire Division somewhere off the Norwegian coast. They may well start to wonder whether the Lend-Lease aid they're sending us would be likewise spent on items which are later similarly misplaced and/or disappeared. And the last thing we want is for them to reduce the shipments.

Glad to see all the cavalry is now armoured, in ways not directly reminiscent of the knights of yore. The gears of development keep turning.
Knights were nobles, enemies, and oppressors of the people. They possessed their own individual mounts, suits of armour, and land. They made their money by exploiting the proletariat. This goes counter to Communism in any way. The Armoured cavalry has a cavalry squad share an armoured vehicle as a mobile suit of armour, owned by and provided by the state, to protects the plurality, not the individual. Accession to the Cavalry is based entirely on merit and dedication to the state. (which, one could argue, are often one and the same thing.) We are developing at such a rate that soon Soviet science and technology will surpass the rest of the world! I read that in PRAVDA so it must be true.
 
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The Soviet powerhouse will bury these Fascists before too long. They should be effectively broken within about a year, I should think, though the mopping up may take longer.
I merged a transport fleet with the Black Sea Fleet, at sea, while the Mtnx3 Division was embarked in the transports, and it seems to have disbanded the Division... The Division didn't have any combat experience. Luckily, there was only one Division on board
:eek: A handy warning there - wasn’t aware that could happen.
Things are going from bad to worse in Malaysia.
They always are! BTW: minor technical point. At that time, it was Malaya (the peninsula). Malaysia is the modern name for the whole country, including Sabah and Sarawak in northern Borneo. It became ‘Malaysia’ in 1963, when the two Borneo states were added to what was the Federation of Malaya from 1957. Other fun fact is that Singapore seceded from Malaysia in 1965 to become a separate country. Sorry, South East Asia was basically the focus of my job for fourteen years, so I just can’t help myself. :D
 
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nuclearslurpee

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(I merged a transport fleet with the Black Sea Fleet, at sea, while the Mtnx3 Division was embarked in the transports, and it seems to have disbanded the Division... The Division didn't have any combat experience. Luckily, there was only one Division on board, I'm playing as the Soviet Union, and it's only a drop in the bucket.)
Well, that's a new one. Not as devastating as, say, the AI MP demobilization bug, particularly for a giant like the USSR, but still.
 
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El Pip

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Looks like a KGB Paranormal Directorate will be required to investigate the disappearance of the division and if the effect can be learned and utilised to advance communism. The power to 'disappear' enemy units whenever it got foggy would be powerful indeed.

They always are! BTW: minor technical point. At that time, it was Malaya (the peninsula). Malaysia is the modern name for the whole country, including Sabah and Sarawak in northern Borneo. It became ‘Malaysia’ in 1963, when the two Borneo states were added to what was the Federation of Malaya from 1957. Other fun fact is that Singapore seceded from Malaysia in 1965 to become a separate country. Sorry, South East Asia was basically the focus of my job for fourteen years, so I just can’t help myself. :D
If we are being pedantic then at the time it was the Federated Malay States (and the Unfederated Malay States and the Straits Settlements). Then it became the Malayan Union and then it was the Federation of Malaya. I will grant you that British Malaya was the venacular short hand for the region, but Malay was technically correct, which as we all know is the best kind of correct. ;)

Wikipedia has a nice diagram to show how needlessly complicated the whole thing was, which I'm sure you don't need but others may find useful - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/Malaysia_tree_diagram.svg
 
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Cromwell

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That diagram is quite the find. It's as if somebody had parodied needlessly complex naming conventions.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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:eek: A handy warning there - wasn’t aware that could happen.
Well, that's a new one. Not as devastating as, say, the AI MP demobilization bug, particularly for a giant like the USSR, but still.
I'm wondering whether it has something to do with the fact that both fleets had transports, and when I merged them the game got confused and forgot about the troops in the transports because it recalculated carrying capacity, or something. I have no clue why it happened, but I will attempt to learn form this, and not make the same mistake a second time.

Looks like a KGB Paranormal Directorate will be required to investigate the disappearance of the division and if the effect can be learned and utilised to advance communism. The power to 'disappear' enemy units whenever it got foggy would be powerful indeed.
I have someone in mind to investigate the matter. (see next update)

They always are! BTW: minor technical point. At that time, it was Malaya (the peninsula). Malaysia is the modern name for the whole country, including Sabah and Sarawak in northern Borneo. It became ‘Malaysia’ in 1963, when the two Borneo states were added to what was the Federation of Malaya from 1957. Other fun fact is that Singapore seceded from Malaysia in 1965 to become a separate country. Sorry, South East Asia was basically the focus of my job for fourteen years, so I just can’t help myself. :D
If we are being pedantic then at the time it was the Federated Malay States (and the Unfederated Malay States and the Straits Settlements). Then it became the Malayan Union and then it was the Federation of Malaya. I will grant you that British Malaya was the venacular short hand for the region, but Malay was technically correct, which as we all know is the best kind of correct. ;)

Wikipedia has a nice diagram to show how needlessly complicated the whole thing was, which I'm sure you don't need but others may find useful - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3d/Malaysia_tree_diagram.svg
That diagram is quite the find. It's as if somebody had parodied needlessly complex naming conventions.
British history in one sentence.
Fascinating stuff and an equally pedantic and humorous exchange here, exactly what I like to see. I will make a halfhearted attempt at using the correct terminology next time around... (I'll probably just use 'Malaya') This is a Soviet Union AAR after all.

I've been busy with RL the last few days, but I'll be writing the next update tomorrow. I already have a rough idea of it's structure and the contents, so if nothing else comes up, I might be in a position to post it on Thursday morning.

Also it's Belgium's National Day today, which reminds us that Belgium still exists despite our politicians' continued inability to form federal governments in anything resembling a reasonable time-span, even in times of global crisis.
I would suggest listening to Debussy's Berceuse Héroïque for piano and Orchestra to celebrate the occasion. The piece was written, in 1915, by the very patriotic and chauvinistic Debussy 'To give Hommage to HM king Albert I of Belgium and his soldiers'. Parts of the Belgian national anthem pop up here and there. It's also a piece that was played by Belgian orchestra's under the German occupation of WW2. (They weren't allowed to play the National anthem, but did manage to slip this one by the German censors at least once afaik...)
 
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28th of August 1942, 'Chteyre', 'Piat': Show Trial, Tundra Wolf & Sea Eagle

roverS3

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Operation Tundra Wolf has just started, and things are already getting complicated. I've compiled a series of reports that were sent to me over the previous days to attempt to give you a clearer picture of what is going on in Norway. (though we don't know all of it either.)

The 22nd of August 1942, 'Chteyre', reporting from Oulu:

Both of our reserve Carrier Air Groups, 1 KPA and 7 KPA, were relocated to Oulu Air Base yesterday evening. Ad hoc ground crews consisting of both Navy and VVS personnel were assigned to tend to the planes. Captain of the Air Fleet (1st Class) Zhavronkov is in overall command of the operation, with the Air Base commander, a VVS Colonel, in charge of the ground operations. The final preparations for operation show trial started at 10am on the 21st. The Il-10VM's and the La-7-VM's fuel tanks were topped off, torpedoes were fitted to the former, and 100kg bombs to the latter. The planes were lined up on the runway, and by 11am, they had all taken off and formed up in the sky above. At the same time, the Swedish ambassador was notified of 'Cold Weather exercises' by our aeroplanes in the far north of Finland.​
They flew along the Baltic coast, before turning inland along the Swedish border, following the river Törne, then the river Kassanniska, and finally the river Saaripudas. They were briefly spotted by a Swedish Fiat B.R. bomber, likely operating out of Lulea. Of course, our modern aeroplanes quickly outran the lumbering biplane.​
Once they reached the Atlantic coast, they turned towards the South-West, skimming the mountaintops directly to the South of Tromsö. The enemy was nowhere to be seen right up to the point when Narvik appeared in the distance. Captain Zhavronkov ordered the Il-10VM's to drop to treetop level to make their approach, as the La-7VM's flew ahead at altitude, detracting enemy attention, and preparing to intercept any enemy aeroplanes.​
NarvikAerialPhoto-min.jpg
Narvik, as photographed from the South, by the navigator/gunner of an Il-10VM, as it loops around after dropping it's torpedo. The Navy's bombers approached from the left of the shot, flying over the town before hitting the docks and the bay. A low-level approach helps the heavier torpedo-bombers to avoid much of the heavy FlaK.​
With the AA gunners distracted by the La-7VM's, the Il-10VM's charged over the town, which was crawling with German military personnel and vehicles. The Naval aviators were going straight for the docks. On the ground, a few soldiers tried to hit them with small-arms fire, and a King Tiger even tried to down an La-7VM with an 88mm shell, but it was no use. The torpedoes were dropped without too much disruption and the first of many transport ships was sunk. With no foes in the air, the La-7VM's started to target the Anti-Aircraft Artillery, and the docks themselves, with 100kg bombs and cannon-fire. Once all the ammunition was expended, they returned to base, landing back in Oulu at 4pm, having lost a single Il-10VM, and suffered minor damage to a few other planes. The VVS Colonel is confident the planes will be ready to go again by 7pm.​
The internal Red Navy report also noted the enemy forces present in Narvik:​
Land: At least 40.000 troops with the following equipment:​
  • 2 H Arm Brigades' worth of King Tiger Tanks
    • 2 Arm Brigades' worth of Panther Tanks
    • 2 Brigades' worth of FLak-88's on half-tracks and lorries
    • 2 Brigades' worth of Armoured Cars (various models)
    • 4-5 Eng Brigades' worth of bridging vehicles.
    • 4 Brigades' worth of lorries for Motorised forces.
    • 3 Brigades' worth of tents and mules for Gebirgsjäger. (often with skis outside the tents.)
    • 2 of the larger buildings are heavily guarded by military forces. They likely contain headquarters.
Naval: 10 large transport ships carrying landing craft, along with about 20 smaller vessels. Enough to transport about 35.000 Infantry. (one of the large transports was sunk in the first raid.)​
Air defences: 5 heavy AAA batteries spread out over the Air Base and the Harbour. The three batteries at the harbour are set up to protect from Aeroplanes coming in from the Atlantic, they are unable to fire on aircraft coming in low from the East until the very last moment, unless they want to destroy the city itself.​
Harbour: Capacity to do minor repairs to 15-20 Naval Units at the same time, and to ship in about 18.000 tonnes of supplies or 18.000 cubic metres of fuel every day.​
Air Base: Small Air Field with the capacity to adequately maintain and repair a single Aviation Division or about 100-150 small Airframes. It is currently unoccupied.​
NarvikPortInstallationBurns-min.jpg
Narvik's docks are on fire after yet another Soviet Air Raid. This picture was taken from the tower of a Leninets-class submarine, part of Capt. 1st Class Isakov's V FP, which has been raiding enemy convoys off the coast.​
The aims of operation Show Trial are to destroy Germany's ability to supply it's substantial forces in Narvik by sea, and it's ability to quickly redeploy them to Southern Norway, or the main front, also by sea. The primary targets of the Air Raids are thus the Transport Ships and the docks. It was also an opportunity to gather intelligence, and to provoke a reaction. Meanwhile, the Red Navy is to continue it's preparations for operation 'Tundra Wolf'. The campaign to liberate Norway starting in the South was named after an animal that lives in the Eurasian Arctic Tundra to confuse everyone as to where the naval landings will take place.​

The 23rd of August 1942,

'Shest' reporting from Leningrad.​
I've just heard the news that a Mountain Rifle Division has disappeared at sea off the coast of Tromsö. The NKVD and the GRU are collaborating to get to the bottom of this, with the elusive Major of State Security known only as Finshades taking charge of the investigation. It should be easier for a Fin to fit in in German-occupied Norway than it is for a Russian. He will be smuggled into Sweden form Oulu, and then make his way to the Tromsö area overland. Due to operation Show Trial, German ground forces will be looking towards the sea and the sky, expecting Soviet Ampibious and/or Airborne operations, they will likely let their guard down when it comes to the lengthy border with Sweden. We look forward to his findings and wish him good luck.​
The 26th of August 1942, early morning,​
'Piat', reporting from Tallin.​
The Black Sea Fleet (temporarily operating with the Northern Fleet) has just arrived in Tallinn, and two Divisions of riflemen are being loaded onto the transports at a rapid rate. I will be boarding the Battleship Marat shortly so I can follow the operation first hand.​
Norway42-08-21-min.jpg
Operation Tundra Wolf: Starting positions. All counters represent Divisions. Blue dots represent Norwegian Air Bases. Green dots represent Naval bases with no ships in them. Red dots represent naval bases which hold enemy ships.​
Operation Show Trial seems to be going well, and a lot of damage has already been done, 'Chteyre' has kept me up to date. A small issue seems to have reared it's head, though. More than half of the enemy forces, including half of the Panthers and King Tigers, have packed up and started moving towards the South overland. The Infrastructure directly to the South of Narvik is atrocious, consisting of a single narrow coastal road. Having to move their vehicles single-file, they aren't going anywhere in a hurry. However, this move has set a clock on our operation Tundra Wolf. We need to secure the Southern ports before those tanks make it to Trnodheim. Luckily, Germany's Norway Command is also making moves in the South. The Wehrmacht seems to have left Bergen, Stavanger, and Trondheim undefended. It's not clear where the troops have gone. Those in Trondheim and Bergen seem to have moved inland, and those in Stavanger have likely boarded transports in the harbour. The RBBF and VIII FP are patrolling the approaches to Oslo, Kristiansand, and Stavanger to make sure no transport makes it through.​
Our biggest bottleneck in securing the South quickly is the time it takes to bring troops over from Tallinn and Kirkenes. With only 2 transports available close-by, it will take three trips out of Tallinn to transport XXIII SK, and a single trip out of Kirkenes to bring over the two remaining Mountain Rifle Divisions of XXXIV GSK. Not accounting for the time needed to land the troops, it will take at least 12 days for XXIII SK to get there, and another 4-5 Days for the Mountain Riflemen. Any delay will give the enemy more time to react.​
In this context even undefended enemy-held harbours will take precious time to secure from the sea. This is where the VDV comes in, the paratroopers can land and take full control of an undefended harbour a few hours before the navy gets there, allowing for the transport ships to sail right up to the docks and unload very quickly. Now, the question remains: Trondheim, Bergen, or Stavanger?​
Trondheim is too far from Copenhagen for the Li-2's, so it could only be taken from the Sea, for now. Stavanger is the closest to Copenhagen and Tallinn, but the small German Naval force, of unknown composition, that is docked there, could end up disrupting the Black Sea Fleet, and damage or sink our troop transports upon leaving the Naval Base. Moreover, there is no Air Base in Stavanger. Bergen thus remains as the best option. It has an Air Base, it's overland approaches can be seen from the fjords, and it's within range of the Li-2's.​
A landing near Oslo is off the table due to the risk of Tirpitz sortieing from Fredrikshavn and sinking the transports when they are at their most vulnerable. The RBBF is on high alert to intercept the German main fleet in case it sorties. Every time the Baltic Fleet transits through the Skaggerack, the RBBF will be there to protect it just in case.​

The 26th of August, 6pm.

Chteyre reporting from Oulu.​
Operation Show Trial is over. It has been a resounding success. All of the enemy transports and landing craft in Narvik harbour have been sunk, and the docks themselves have been blown to smithereens. Bereft of transport ships, the remaining German forces in Narvik have now also started moving towards the South, adding more urgency to operation Tundra Wolf.​
I'm hitching a ride in an Il-10VM as both 1 KPA and 7 KPA are relocating to Copenhagen overnight.​

The 27th of August,

Chteyre reporting from Copenhagen.​
After a refueling stop on the island of Saaremaa, 1 KPA and 7 KPA have made it to Copenhagen, along with yours truly. Captain Zhavronkov's planes continue to be on high alert to support any naval Battles that could develop.​
MTB-1_MTB-2-min.jpg
The Tupolev MTB-1 and MTB-2, the Soviet Union's answer to the age of the flying boats. The MTB-1's had a short production run where 16 were built. They were quite versatile, and could be configured as heavy bombers or as civilian or military transport planes. In the latter case, they could carry 14 passengers each. Despite a somewhat spotty safety record, they were taken into service by Aeroflot in 1936. 15 of them remained in service in 1941 and were promptly transferred to the Red Navy. The MTB-2 was supposed to be the bigger, better, successor to the MTB-1. It used the same engine layout as the B-314 (though it is a bit smaller.) and looked rather promising. It's development was slowed by several engine changes, and the fact they decided to make it amphibious when the first prototype was already flying. The second prototype only started flying in 1937, and the original prototype sank during testing in 1939. The concept looked promising, but in the end no production capacity was allocated. The second prototype did see quite a bit of combat in the baltic, flying 80 reconnaissance and bombing missions. It could carry 2.000 kg of bombs or cargo. The Soviet Union never seems to have focused as much on large flying boats as the US, Germany, France, Japan, and the UK did. There were many designs, a few prototypes, some of them actually decent, but very little production. These two, inn particular, seem to have been prestige projects. Planes that were supposed fly long range luxury passenger services similar to those flown by western flying boats, to put the Soviet Union on the world stage. Of course, the large flying boats were made largely obsolete by the massive number of runways and Airports that were built during WW2. Tupolev stopped working on flying boats all-together after the MTB-2. It took until the 1960's for another flying boat with similar dimensions to be built in the Soviet Union, the Beriev Be-12 'Chayka'.​
At the Airbase, but also at one of Copenhagen's docks, MajGen. Briukov's 2 VDD is preparing for the airborne assault on Bergen, phase 1 of the loosely defined operation Sea Eagle, the airborne element of operation Tundra Wolf. About 124 Li-2's are taking part, 32 Antonov A-7 gliders, 16 Tupolev MTB-1 flying boats, and both Tupolev MTB-2 flying boat prototypes. The aim will be for the first wave of paratroopers to jump on top of the Air Base, the second wave will then land in gliders close to the harbour. This will be a tricky landing as the areas of flat open ground are rather narrow and flanked by water and steep hills. The third wave, including officers, engineers, political officers, and myself, will then simply land on the water, right next to the docks. If everything goes well, it should all be over within hours.​

The 27th of August, 10:30

'Piat' reporting from Eastern Norwegian Trench,​
The passage through the Skaggerak went off without a hitch. We were escorted by Vice-Admiral Kuznetsov's powerful fleet just in case. Of course, RADM Papanin temporarily subordinated his fleet to the Vice-Admiral. It was nice to see the three Gangut-Class Battleships sail together once again after so many years apart. I'm sure some are wondering whether three Ganguts would be enough to take down Tirpitz quickly. In the Skaggerak, the navigable area is too narrow for Tirpitz to take advantage of it's 15" gun's superior range, and the three Gangut's should be able to put more rounds on target, each having more main guns than Tirpitz, and a similar theoretical firing rate. We'll probably never find out, because we have local Soviet Air Superiority thanks to Copenhagen-based Yak-7's and in case she tries something the Red Navy's Il-10VM's would go straight for the big prize, liekely seriously damaging her with torpedo's and bombs, long before she gets into range with her big guns.​
We've just been privy to the rumble of the Li-2's radial engines, in combination with the higher pitched whine of the La-7's Klimov V-12's. The first wave of has just passed overhead, with it's escort of La-7's, and the second and third waves are closing in quickly. Sadly we can't see the planes, which are operating using the small onboard navigation radars in the lead La-7. The soldiers cheer as the second waves flies over, though some seasick riflemen are wishing they were in one those aeroplanes.​
The 28th of August, 8am,

Chteyre from Bergen, Norway.​
Herdla_Bergen_AirBase-min.jpg
Herdla Air Base, about 40 km (by road) from Bergen itself was built by the Luftwaffe in 1940. Having seen little use in the past two years, it will now be quite useful to the VVS.​
2 VDD executed a picture perfect night-time landing. They are the most experienced Division of the VDV, and they had plenty of time to prepare. It also helped a lot that the Germans and Norwegians on the ground hadn't bothered to turn off the lights. The first wave jumped at midnight, followed half an hour later by the gliders, which expertly slid to a halt on the few suitable surfaces. We touched down in the fjord at 1:25am. Local fishing boats, commandeered by the VDV, or offered up by the locals picked us up to bring us ashore. The damage from sabotage attempts by the local feldgendarmerie was quickly repaired. The Germans had had no plastic explosives, nor dynamite, and only about 20 minutes from the first aeroplane being overhead to getting shot or captured by the VDV. We soon found that many of the dockworkers had been part of Communist or Social Democratic Unions before the war. Many were quite enthousiastic at the prospect of helping the Soviet Union liberate their homeland.​
The first ship to appear on the horizon was the light cruiser Pamiat Merkuriya, at 4:45 in the morning twilight. By 6am, the entire Black Sea Fleet was in Bergen Harbour. While 2 VDD was still establishing a defensive perimeter to the East of Bergen, and guarding checkpoints all over the place, our regular Riflemen stepped off their boats, and helped by the locals, quickly offloaded the rest of the cargo: Supplies, horses, Artillery (both regular and direct fire AT), SU-100 Tank Destroyers, staff cars, motorcycles, fuel, XXIII SK's mobile headquarters. In all 9.000 Paratroopers, 18.000 regulars, and 1.000 HQ personnel had arrived in Bergen in a few hours. 'Piat' stepped off one of the transports and greeted me. It almost went too smoothly this time around.​
Bergen.1940-min.jpg
Bergen's Harbour before the war.​
With the Black Sea Fleet already steaming towards the Horizon again, having unloaded in less than an hour, we remind ourselves that this is only the first step. If those Panzers make it South of Trondheim, the whole operation could grind to a halt. A Heavy Bomber Division, with it's 81 TB-3's, is already on the way to Bergen Air Base, from where it will relentlessly bomb the roads between the panzers and Trondheim, starting with Mo i Rana, a chokepoint in the network. This will reduce the amount of fuel and supplies that can make it's way north overland, and will make the passage of tanks very difficult.​
Things have definitely developed in our favour. We have been able to get a good base here, and two more Divisions are inbound, they are expected to reach the Norwegian coast on the 1st of September. The big question is what we do next. But first, we will celebrate this first step.​

Norway42-08-27-min.jpg
Operation Tundra Wolf: Known positions on the 28th of August 1942. All counters represent Divisions. Blue dots represent Norwegian Air Bases. Green dots represent Naval bases with no ships in them. Red dots represent naval bases which hold enemy ships. The red X indicates the weak link of the road network between Narvik-Trondheim, Mo i Rana, which will be bombed by TB-3's in the following weeks.​

The start of Tundra Wolf has been a success. Now, the question is where we shall drop the next two Divisions. Bearing in mind that we will need at least one additional port to support all the allocated troops, when they get there.
  • Stavanger remains very risky as the enemy could likely unload at least one Division from his transports to defend against the Paratroopers before they can take control of the province, and the fleet there means that reinforcing the fight from the sea will put the transport ships at risk.
  • Trondheim would be really handy for the VVS as it would be able to base it's TB-3's closer to the critical infrastructure it wants to bomb. That said, it is the furthest from Tallinn so it will take longer to get the Army there, and it's rather far from Oslo and the other ports in the South, so a link up will take a lot of time.
  • Kristiansand is held by a single Division and a beachhead there would allow the Army to potentially cut the enemy's positions in two by linking up with the Bergen force. This location is also the closest to Tallinn and Copenhagen, meaning that reinforcements will get there quicker. Grabbing Stavanger overland should also be rather quick once sufficient forces are on hand.
  • Narvik also remains on the table as Axis forces there seem to have moved out, save for a few HQ's. However, patience is in order here. The ideal time to take it will probably be once the Panzers are past the half-way point between it and Trondheim. The docks are also heavily damaged, so there isn't much point in rushing in before the Germans have done some repairs.
  • Oslo remains off the table for the same reasons as before.
For now, Kristiansand is the preferred option, even if it will take some time to land the troops. Trondheim is kept in mind as the next location, potentially as a pure VVS operation, using only a single Paratrooper Division to secure the Air Base and a shorter turn-around time for the TB-3's. Of course, your input on this crucial matter is valued.

Bergen is ours, we suffered no losses, and reinforcements are on their way. This was a good week for us in Norway, more than enough reasons to raise our glasses and drink to the coming liberation of the Norwegian proletariat,

'Odin'

OOC: Something came up, and I also went a bit overboard with additional research, hence the delay. Frist, I found that map of Scandinavia's Infrastructure in 1940, and I just had to use it. Then i went looking for the right pictures, and finally I realised that the geography of Bergen and the distance between docks and Airport mean that sea planes and flying boats make a lot of sense in this situation, so I looked for large and interesting Soviet Flying Boats to take part in the operation.
For the names of the operations: 'Show Trial' is a play on the British operation 'Judgement'. The 'Tundra Wolf' lives in the same biomes as the 'Arctic Fox'. The (Grey) 'Sea Eagle' is a powerful bird of prey found along the Norwegian coast. Just reminds me of the VDV.
 
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Cromwell

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An ambitious landing, the Soviet Union must have rattled the hun with such an obvious demonstration of their control of the air and sea.
 
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Finshades

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An impressive combined arms operation! Kristiansand would indeed seem like the logical option, allowing for relatively easy overland link-up once forces are at hand as well as making for easy supply and reinforcement. Taking the southern tip of Norway would give the troops some room to maneuver. Additionally even if the troops in Stavanger did venture out of their ships, there is a good chance they could be cut off entirely.
 
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roverS3

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Going to try to snarf up Narvik via Tromso? Or are the logistics too bad?
There is an Infra barrier, and I would need to control both sides to build a connection. Which is weird as the Infra-map made by Chatham House in april 1940 I used above clearly shows a road link where there is none in-game...

An ambitious landing, the Soviet Union must have rattled the hun with such an obvious demonstration of their control of the air and sea.
He is certainly rattled by our actions, but that might lead to him lashing out in some way, if he can. I'm still wary of potential bad surprises. Despite the demonstration, our newly gained position remains vulnerable.

An impressive combined arms operation! Kristiansand would indeed seem like the logical option, allowing for relatively easy overland link-up once forces are at hand as well as making for easy supply and reinforcement. Taking the southern tip of Norway would give the troops some room to maneuver. Additionally even if the troops in Stavanger did venture out of their ships, there is a good chance they could be cut off entirely.
Cutting the enemy forces in two is an alluring proposition indeed and we definitely need a second port. 2 enemy divisions haven't been accounted for since they left their starting positions in Bergen and Trondheim, a third has started moving from it's position on the Swedish border, so it's not clear how hard it will prove, and how long it will take to link up. Despite incessant convoy raiding it seems that a trickle of supplies continues to get through to Oslo so it's also hard to predict how much the supply situation will affect things, at least until we get Oslo.

Going forward, I will report on the progress of operation tundra wolf in the regular GPW reports. #7 is up next, but I'm not sure when it'll be posted, as I have several trips coming up. I may be able to get it out next week, or it could take until the middle of August, maybe later.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to vote in the H1 (Q1+Q2) 2020 ACAs. (Yes, the ACA's are back.)
 
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A nicely written up operational report. Those old maps were great - I really liked the way you adapted them. After the write-up on the Tirpitz, I was hoping it would appear so the fleet and Air Force could give it a damn good toweling-up!

In this ATL, the Soviets are far more joint and coordinated than there ever were in RL.
 
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Operation Show Trial. I feel sure the officer responsible for that name was most pleased with himself, until he, his colleagues, their families and their pets were all purged or sent to the Gulag.

Because I'm an engineer. Narvik -18,000m³ of fuel. That's 113,000 barrels oil a day or 4 .7million gallons (wrong sized ones). the PLUTO pipeline in March 1945, when it was fully upgraded and operational, was doing about 1.2 million gallons of fuel a day.

Narvik was not a small port I know, but that seems excessive. For a bit more context a 1944, fully mechanised Allied armoured division was doing 25,000 gallons a day (on short rations, but still operational) and at the other extreme the 1,000 bomber raids by Bomber Command probably burnt through 2 million gallons of fuel each time. Not a criticism of the work, just though the readership may appreciate these figures.

On which note I did like the Soviet flying boats. The three engine roof mounted layout is a bit odd, that and the many engine changes suggest they wanted two engines, but either the hull ended up heavy or the engines under-powered (or both) so they had to stick the 3rd engine on to make it fly. As for the MTB2 the 'cranked' wing does look odd, once again it has the feel of a late change to overcome a problem instead of a deliberate choice. Still it was all good experience and they did eventually get the hang of it and produce the incredible Ekranoplans, some of my favourite "temporary triumph of engineering over practicality" designs along with Concorde and the Hovercraft.

All in all some excellent progress is being made. In OTL at this point the Germans were launching Case Blue and would see great success, until they got to Stalingrad in the Winter anyway, so for the Soviets to be carrying out such ambitious offensive operations in Norway is quite the contrast.
 
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There is an Infra barrier, and I would need to control both sides to build a connection. Which is weird as the Infra-map made by Chatham House in april 1940 I used above clearly shows a road link where there is none in-game...
Yeah, I was going by Glantz' brief account of the RL Soviet operation in that area in 1944, where there was a road that might be good enough if there were no enemy forces to block it.
 

roverS3

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A nicely written up operational report. Those old maps were great - I really liked the way you adapted them.
It was my pleasure. I'm really glad I stumbled upon it.

After the write-up on the Tirpitz, I was hoping it would appear so the fleet and Air Force could give it a damn good toweling-up!
I considered that too risky, for now. Tirpitz could pull out of Fredrikshavn to run from the bombs and torpedoes. If it does so in a desperate move to save itself, it may do so at the wrong moment and take a transport flotilla with it on it's way down. Better to let her sit pretty until all the allocated troops have been shipped to Norway and the Navy can concentrate on eliminating that naval threat in our backyard.

In this ATL, the Soviets are far more joint and coordinated than there ever were in RL.
That's what the Secret Committee is for, to get Stalin to press for exemplary cooperation, in the most pressing case in particular.

Operation Show Trial. I feel sure the officer responsible for that name was most pleased with himself, until he, his colleagues, their families and their pets were all purged or sent to the Gulag.
Sounds entirely likely. I'm sure he would appreciate the irony out there in the Gulag.

Because I'm an engineer. Narvik -18,000m³ of fuel. That's 113,000 barrels oil a day or 4 .7million gallons (wrong sized ones). the PLUTO pipeline in March 1945, when it was fully upgraded and operational, was doing about 1.2 million gallons of fuel a day.

Narvik was not a small port I know, but that seems excessive. For a bit more context a 1944, fully mechanised Allied armoured division was doing 25,000 gallons a day (on short rations, but still operational) and at the other extreme the 1,000 bomber raids by Bomber Command probably burnt through 2 million gallons of fuel each time. Not a criticism of the work, just though the readership may appreciate these figures.
This is the Soviet Union we don't speak Imperial! (JK, use whatever units you like, what the NKVD doesn't know doesn't hurt.) I guess 1.800 m^3 of fuel is more reasonable for a port like Narvik... I didn't actually look up the figures, I was trying to get something in the right ballpark that was based on the '18 fuel' game value.

On which note I did like the Soviet flying boats. The three engine roof mounted layout is a bit odd, that and the many engine changes suggest they wanted two engines, but either the hull ended up heavy or the engines under-powered (or both) so they had to stick the 3rd engine on to make it fly. As for the MTB2 the 'cranked' wing does look odd, once again it has the feel of a late change to overcome a problem instead of a deliberate choice. Still it was all good experience and they did eventually get the hang of it and produce the incredible Ekranoplans, some of my favourite "temporary triumph of engineering over practicality" designs along with Concorde and the Hovercraft.
It seems like it was very much a hard road to get to something functional, but that's still better than the myriad of Soviet flying boat designs that ended in utter disaster. Late changes to overcome a problem is something that just seems very characteristically Soviet, along with lacklustre reliability. The Ekranoplans are beautiful marvels of engineering. It's incredible what they can do. On the cross-channel hovercraft. I remember all the times I went to Oostende as a child. The hoverspeed terminal was still there, with the signs for the cars to pick the right lane and a massive hovercraft propeller at the entrance, right across from the train station. Every time it was a bit more run-down. Just recently did they make the area into both a car park a bicycle park, and a bus station. Seeing that massive propeller really stuck in my head, it was a part of my childhood, and I was a bit sad to see it wasn't there anymore. I came too late to see actual hovercrafts in regular service, but I did to see some seacats. Now all that is left is some faded away road markings and a rather ugly building that used to be the ticket office for pedestrians. For that reason, the hovercrafts were always more tangible for me than things like concord or the Ekranoplan, which I only ever knew form pictures in my younger years.

All in all some excellent progress is being made. In OTL at this point the Germans were launching Case Blue and would see great success, until they got to Stalingrad in the Winter anyway, so for the Soviets to be carrying out such ambitious offensive operations in Norway is quite the contrast.
Bear in mind that they started a year late ATL, so they still have a year to get to Case Blue starting positions. That said, it's looking ever less likely they will ever get that far.

Yeah, I was going by Glantz' brief account of the RL Soviet operation in that area in 1944, where there was a road that might be good enough if there were no enemy forces to block it.
That's the kind of nuances that can't really be portrayed in HOI3. I'm pretty sure there was no unit on the other side of the Infra Gap. (I saw none there when my planes flew over it in Op. Show Trial) In theory, that should mean that I could sneak a Mountain Rifle Division in there and eventually take Tromsö if no serious opposition is met. Of course the reverse would also be true, and I would have had to guard the passage against all those Panzers that would be trying to get trough from Narvik. (As far as passage or no passage is concerned the game makes no difference between unit types, so either everything can get trough, or nothing can. With low infra tanks will be severely slowed down though, not to mention the issues with supplies.)
 
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31st of August 1942, 'Odin': GPW 10-day Report #7

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31st of August 1942, Vologda, 2,6°C, 6pm Moscow Time

'Shest's reports on 'Odinatsat's whereabouts continue to give us an idea of what 'Odinatsat' is up to. Here are the parts that fell outside of the expected day-to-day routine of a teacher and instructor at the Naval Academy.

22nd of August​
Major Goleniewsky went out to have lunch with a few colleagues and ended up ignoring them to speak with a certain Senior Lieutenant Viktor Leonov of the 181st Special Reconnaissance Detachment. It's not clear who of the two initiated the conversation, and my agents couldn't get close enough to hear what they were talking about. They clearly got along well.​
23rd of August​
Major Goleniewsky usually takes the tramway to and from work, but today, Sergei came to pick her up in her own GAZ M1 after work. He then drove the three of them to an abandoned part of the Admiralty Shipyards, where they halted at one of the smaller buildings, some kind of workshop for small boats. They were met by Lieutenant Sedov and Starshina 1st Class (Sr. Sergeant) Kasharin of the Red Navy.​
After a few minutes, the large doors of the workshop were opened and Sergei parked the car inside. Then, they all exited the building, locked the doors, and walked off towards the nearby dock. This was the moment one of 'Odinatsat's non-Soviet tails decided to go beyond tracking and observation. As soon as the five were out of earshot, the man walked, quickly but quietly, towards the workshop. He picked the lock on a small side door and made his way inside, after which he stayed there for a few minutes, making no noise, before coming back out and moving away from the area. The suspected American spy managed to lose operative A in a bar in central Leningrad, about one hour later.​
Meanwhile, operative B, continued to follow Major Goleniewsky from afar. Amongst a bunch of rotting wooden hulls of questionable seaworthiness laid a modern wooden D3-class motor torpedo boat, TK-37 to be precise. Outside of some relatively minor battle damage, the boat was in good shape. For the better part of an hour, Sergei, and the boat's Engineer, Starshina 1st Class Kasharin, poured over the three GAM-34 engines at the rear of the boat. 'Odinatsat' tried to help, but with her broken leg still in a cast, she was relegated to handing tools to the others and occasionally commenting, this seemed to frustrate her somewhat. Junior Lieutenant Sedov, the boat's CO, kept at more of a distance, checking on them every five minutes or so, doing paperwork, checking the condition of the weaponry, asking if Major Goleniewsky didn't need a drink or something, etc. Suddenly, at around 9pm, the engines roared to life, and TK-37 sped off. The agent on the ground had no way to follow the fast MPB. There was nothing about this meeting or the short trip that followed in Lieutenant Sedov's reports.​
Luckily, operative A, who had just lost the trail of the foreign agent, spotted TK-37, slipping into the fishing harbour later that evening, to drop off Maj. Goleniewsky and Sergei, after which the couple took a taxi home.​
Given the fact that the GAM-34 engine is based on the Mikulin AM-34 Aeroplane engine, the current hypothesis is that Sergei is going to be doing some work on the engines of TK-37. Considering what he did with the engine in 'Odinatsat's GAZ, I'd bet he's likely going to be improving their performance in some way that may well fall outside of Red Navy regulations, maybe by borrowing some components from the VVS to do so. NKVD assets in the navy have also long known about the torpedo boats and their crew's penchant for modifying their craft. In exchange for services rendered, I guess they get access to a workshop in a discreet location, which should allow them to continue their work on the GAZ-M1.​
29th of August​
Over the following days, Sergei and 'Odinatsat' returned to the workshop and the nearby torpedo boat every day, splitting their evenings between working on the car and helping Starshina 1st Class Kasharin work on the engines. Occasionally, they took the GAZ out on a drive around the abandoned part of the shipyard. Foreign spies also kept showing up, but none of them was spotted searching the workshop, or any of Major Goleniewsky's belongings. Maybe my operative A spooked them last time.​
30th of August 1942,​
Five cadets of Maj. Goleniewsky's class have gone missing (they weren't being watched). TK-37 also left this morning, with orders to rejoin it's squadron which will soon be relocating to Copenhagen for the coming operations off the Norwegian coast. 'Odinatsat' was at the Naval Academy all day, she taught in the morning, and did some gunnery practice in the afternoon, nothing out of the ordinary. She went back to the shipyard with Sergei, where they spent a few hours in the workshop.​
31st of August 1942,​
The cadets still haven't returned. What's particularly suspicious about their disappearance is that they aren't slackers in any way, they're all close to the top of their class.Maj. Goleniewsky, who's teaching them again today, is also acting as if nothing is amiss. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I can't help but feel something is up. I'm sure she knows she's being watched, but I don't know what her lack of action means, if she's really not worried about the disappeared cadets, she either knows where they are, trusts that they will return soon, or she simply doesn't care, or doesn't want to be seen to care, whether by the Americans or the NKVD. It could all be unrelated, or she could be planning to disappear on us too and the cadets are somehow involved in this. Of course, she will remain under close watch, while a small navy task force, assisted by some NKVD personnel, searches for the missing naval infantry cadets. You know, she was unpredictable back in Paris, and now she's playing with my nerves again. I don't like it.​
As there have been no clear signs of her actually betraying the Soviet Union, let alone the Committee, I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. 'Shest's nerves will just have to take the strain for now.

Let's now go to the War Reporting for the last 10 days:

Arctic Front (NOR): XXXIV GSK / 1st AG / Leningrad HQ:
Nothing new to report.

Finland (Finnish SSR): NKGBF / Leningrad HQ:
The 3-Brigade, 2-pronged, rebel attack on Kuusjärvi (1), having started at 9am on the 21st, was still ongoing when Sr.Maj.GB Galanin T.I.'s Mounted Brigade hit 1st and 4th Finnish Partisans in their North-Western flank (2) at 10pm the same day. The stubborn insugrents continued to press home the attack, and it was only 2 hours after Sr.Maj.GB Belous's 2 NKGBKB attacked the third Partisan Brigade in Ohtari (3) at 4am on the 23rd, that they halted their advance. Joenssu was eventually cleared of rebels at midnight 2 days later. With no-where to run two the trapped partisans in Ohtari fought on until 8am on the 26th before surrendering. About 2.800 insurgents were taken into captivity, and close to 500 killed, for fewer than 100 dead state security personnel. The NKGBF is now repositioning to strike the final blow to the insurgency.
Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners (of War)
Finnish Insurgents19.0814852.799
Soviet Union18.000990
42-08-31_FPF-min.jpg


Norwegian Front (Norway): XXIII SK / Leningrad HQ:
An unopposed Airborne Assault by 2 VDD secured Bergen shortly before reinforcements arrived by ship to be disembarked on the 28th. See 'Tundra Wolf & Sea Eagle'.
42-08-31_NOR-min.jpg

Danish Front (DANF): XXXIII SK / Leningrad HQ:
2 Italian Divisions lead by GenDiv (MajGen) Calcagno attacked across the Great Belt Strait towards Slagelse at 7pm on the 21st. A mere 2 hours in, half the little boats, containing Calcagno's own 32a DivFan turned around, leaving GenDiv Caracciolo di Feroleto's elite 2a DivAlp to fend for itself. All night the famed Alpini attempted again and again to form a beachead in the face of 4 dug-in Rifle Divisions, by 9am the beach was littered with Italian corpses, and the Alpini had withdrawn.
On the 28th, the Bulgarian army decided to emulate the Italians with a 3am attack. An Infantry Division, and a Cavalry Division tried to make their way across under heavy fire, but by noon, they too retreated back to the relative safety of the German-Held side of the Great Belt. Over 900 Italian, over 800 Bulgarian, and fewer than 30 Soviet casualties were counted.
Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in action:Prisoners (of war):
Italy11.9729140
Bulgaria13.5448280
AXIS25.5161.7420
Soviet Union87.969260
42-08-31_DKF-min.jpg

Baltic Fleet & Northern Fleet: (Baltic Sea, North Sea & Norwegian Coast) RBBF & NF / Leningrad HQ:
The convoy war rages on in the same places it did 10 days ago. Oslo & Kristiansand are the German preferred ports for the transport of supplies and fuel to their troops in Norway. Many German Merchant ships get caught by our submarines and surface vessels. German convoys to the Baltic Fronts also keep getting sunk in the Eastern Baltic.

The Black Sea Fleet (BSF) is ferrying the second wave of troops towards Norway for a landing in Kristiansand. (unless the facts on the ground change before the fleet gets there)

42-08-31_SCAN-min.jpg
Air to ground / Air to sea damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Germany3.121 Naval Base Infrastructure
6 Heavy AA guns
14. TTF (CL) & 15. TTF (LC)
1.319 KM personnel KIA
2,478 Infrastructure
80.337 t of Supplies
7.167 m^3 of Fuel
00000
AXIS1.319 KIA
Soviet Union01263 x La-7VM (CAG)4 x La-7VM (CAG)70 x TB-3 (Str)
63 x Il-10 (CAG)
0 x TB-3 (Str)
4 x Il-10 (CAG)
The Logistical Bombing of Mo i Rana is going well (big vertical bomb), and soon all the Panzers to it's north (aka all the German Panzers in Norway) will be cut off from their lifeline to Oslo. Narvik remains heavily damaged thanks to our own bombing missions (indicated by the torpedoes aimed at Narvik). For good measure, V SK is positioned off shore to catch any enemy merchant vessel that may try to relieve the enemy force there.

Main Front Overview:
42-08-31_GPW_Front_Zoom-min.jpg

The arrows indicate changes in the front over the last 10 days.
The vignettes: bottom right: a Pzkpfw. IV F2 moving towards the front / top left: A pair of T-34/76's on the offensive.

1st Baltic Front (1st BALT F. / Latvian SSR): 2 AG & Arm AG / Moskva HQ:
"Those GAZ half-tracks are rubbish! Sure, they're fast, but they can't even stand up to a couple of German At-Guns without bursting into flames. Maybe I should have gone into the Infantry after all, at least there you can jump into a ditch when the enemy starts shooting."
- A rather angry and grief-stricken Armoured Cavalry Sergeant with burns all over his body. He was the only survivor of his squad after their half-track was caught in a trap between two Pak-88's during the 5th battle of Jelgava (3). Overheard in a Bauska Field Hospital.

A 7-Division, three-pronged, attack into Riga (1) started at 7pm it was called off at 9pm.

At the same time, genlt. von Bismarck launched a 4-Division all-Infantry pincer attack (2) on Jelgava. Gerasimov's two Rifle Divisions, though individually more numerous than their German counterparts, didn't really have an answer to the enemy's superior numbers. With reinforcements unavailable as the troops in Bauska were still reorganising from the aborted push into Riga, Jelgava fell at midnight on the 23rd. Over 1.000 oviet riflemen were lost for close to 700 of the enemy.

There were two further attempts to retake Jelgava (3), both were rather shortlived. First, on the 25th, there was a 2-Division which encountered a single enemy formation, only to halt the offensive due to exhaustion. MajGen Rodin A.G.'s 29 KavD arrived in Bauska the next morning, and by 10 am the Armoured Cavalry charged into Jelgava (3). They found it defended by all of Genlt. von Bismarck's 4 Infantry Divisions, though they were now commanded by Harpe. Nevertheless, they pressed on, in anticipation of coming reinforcements. It was only 34 hours later that 235 SD managed to reinforce the push, by which time the Cavalry had lost quite a few T-70's and many men. By the 28th, the Cavalrymen were starting to falter, and at 8pm, they had to retreat. In a last-ditch attempt to save the offensive, MajGen. Kononov rushed in his T-34's to plug the gap, but it was too little too late, and at midnight, as the riflemen of 235 SD started to break ranks, he called it quits. Over 1.800 of our servicemen lost their lives in the action, for a mere 550 of the enemy. There are some fights even the elite Armoured Cavalry can't handle.

A push by 203 MSD into Dobele from the South (4) wasn't much more successful. Facing 31 ID and a Bulgarian Cavalry Unit, they were at a slight disadvantage which showed more and more as the battle wore on. The operation was halted at 2am on the 28th, after 26 hours of fighting.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in action:Prisoners (of war):
Bulgaria6.000730
Germany89.8381.6050
AXIS95.8381.6780
Soviet Union163.1503.1460
42-08-31_BAL1-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Germany6494 x FW-190 (Ftr)12 x FW-190 (Ftr)167 x Ju-88 (Tac)13 x Ju-88 (Tac)
AXIS1.067 KIA64
Soviet Union0 KIA57372 x Yak-7 (Int)
248 x La-7 (Ftr)
29 x Yak-7 (Int)
6 x La-7 (Ftr)
402 x Yak-4 (Tac)11 x Yak-4 (Tac)
LtGenAv. Golovanov's Yak-4's flew 2 missions over Dobele on the 22nd in support of the battle of Jelgava (2).

On the 27th II BAK took it's turn, as LtGenAv. Yakovlev's unit flew 2 missions over Dobele, and 2 more the next day over Jelgava, now in enemy hands.

Genlt. Sperrle's Ju-88's made an attempt to bomb our troops in Bauska on the 28th, but they were intercepted by LtGenAv. Vorozheikin's 372 Yak-7's, before they could drop any bombs on target. The three hour aerial battle resulted in 25 downed enemy aircraft, for 29 of our own.

2nd Baltic Front (2nd BALT F. / Lithuanian SSR North of the Memel): 2 AG & Arm AG / Moskva HQ:
"Thank Comrade Stalin for the Armoured Cavalry! Those bastards in their tin cans saved our hides when even the Guards Riflemen left us to die."
A Lieutenant of 90 SD after the very hard-fought victory in the 2nd battle of Taurage (10).

12 TD and 7 KavD, lead by MajGen Berzarin, charged into Sauliai (2) at 1pm on the 21st. Initialy the T-34's and Armoured Cavalry were sweeping aside genlt. von Kempski's German and Hungarian Infantry units, but at 7pm, our base in Panevezys was hit (3) by genlt. Röttiger's 16 PzGrd. Unphased by the pressure, Berzarin pressed home his attack, even with some of his units diverted to hold his base, along with reinforcements from 17 SD & 105 SD. von Kempski's forces broke by 10pm on the 23rd, but Berzarin's forces were pinned down by Röttigers, and unable to take control of the province.

What was a problem for our forces in Panevezys, was an opportunity for MajGen. Reiter's corps-sized armoured force in Pasvalis. At 1am on the 23rd, 3 Tank Divisions and 29 KavD charged into the flanks of Röttiger's 16 PzGrD in Joniskis (5), the presence of 1 Pesi Divize in the province proved only a minor inconvenienced to our tankers. Two hours later, the Panzergrenadiers halted their offensive into Panevezys (3) to concentrate on defending their positions from Reiter's T-34's. It was too little too late as 1 Pesi Divize retreated by noon, followed almost immediately by the exhausted 16 PzGrD. The forces in Panevezys suffered over 700 casualties for almost 1400 enemies.

Meanwhile, 1-va Kd, (Bulgarian Cavalry) got into Siauliai before it could be occupied by three Soviet Divisions, they were routed before they could even get off their horses. (2 & 4)

Less than a day later, at 9am on the 24th, ltgen. Höpner's 1 ID attacked our forces in Siauliai (7). Only 203 MSD had made it there. MajGen. Kreizer's unit had barely started to dig in, and his efforts to Delay the enemy faltered in the face of the enemy's agressive Shock tactics. In the end, the arrival of the Armoured Cavalry saved the day. 7 KavD reinforced the defending riflemen at 6am on the 26th, and by 9pm the Germans attacks halted. Casualties were over 400 riflemen for close to 700 enemy Infantry.

Buoyed by victory, MajGen Levandovski had 7 KavD probe enemy defenses in Plunge (8) at 1am on the 27th, and again 24 hours later. The area was held by 4 Axis Divisions lead by the rather skilled Bulgarian General Ivan Valkov (SK3, DD, OG) of 1-va Armiya. Valkov is a veteran of the great war who was Minister of War, then Bulgarian Ambassador to Italy until 1934. He was called back out of retirement to fight in the war. (This interesting figure is represented in the game as General 'Vulkov', though the picture is clearly Ivan Valkov.)

After securing Raseinai, MajGen. Petrushevskij launched a follow-up attack on Taurage (10) at 4pm on the 23rd, using his own 90 SD and 76 GvSD. This was rather courageous, as genlt. von Pfeffer-Wildenbruch had 4 German Infantry Divisions at his disposal to fend it off. Despite steadily mounting losses, and viscious enemy counter-attacks that disrupted their assaults, our riflemen held their own. Only on the 26th did units start to fall out of line, first to break were 76 GvSD and 143 ID, both withdrawing on the 26th. With both sides of the ongoing battle disorganised and exhausted, the arrival of a fresh 16 KavD on the 28th decided the outcome of the battle. At 4pm, the province was ours, for the low price of close to 2.700 servicemen for over 2.100 of the enemy.

A Heavy German attack (from Jurbarkas) on Kaunas was called off after 2 hours on the evening of the 21st.

The ongoing attack on Ariogala (6), by MajGen. Hadeev's 19 SD continued unabated, facing off against genlt. Fischer W's 196 ID, and the Comando Superiore Forze Armata Africa Settentrionale, which found it self slightly further north than it's name might suggest. Despite enemy numerical superiority, Hadeev's men managed to keep up the pressure until 53 SD reinforced them at noon on the 22nd. Victory was achieved at 9pm on the 24th, it had been costly, with over 1.300 soviet, 700 German, and over 1.000 Italian killed in action.

A single-Division assault into Jurbarkas (9) was less successful. Starting at 4pm on the 26th, and ending in a Soviet withdrawal 12 hours later, this drawn-out probe cost us close to 700 men for fewer than 130 kills.

As soon as 82 MSD arrived in Ariogala, at 10am on the 27th, they came under attack from Jurbarkas (11). 7 PzD and 168 ID, under the command of genlt. Wünnenberg. The riflemen did what they could, with MajGen Antonov A.I. ordering Elastic Defense tactics to slow down the enemy's Blitz attacks. However, reinforcements were slow to advance, and by 9am the next day, they had to call it quits, having suffered over 1.200 for fewer than 500 of the enemy.

2pm on the 29th, saw another short battle for Ariogala (6). A spent 7 PzD was quickly chased away. This was followed by another attack on Jurbarkas at 7am on the 31st (12). Facing three Infantry Divisions executing frequent counter-attacks, the offensive was halted at 6pm.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners of War
Bulgaria6.0001550
Slovakia8.9071200
Italy8.9891.0490
Hungary17.2441470
Germany204.6685.7640
AXIS245.80872350
Soviet Union319.7927.5060
42-08-31_BAL2-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Germany43+84+39+46x4242 x Me-109 (Int)
176 x FW-190 (Ftr)
43 x Me-109 (Int)
84 x FW-190 (Ftr)
216 x Hs-129 (CAS)
349 x Ju-88 (Tac)
39 x Hs-129 (CAS)
46 x Ju-88 (Tac)
AXIS3.416 KIA
Soviet Union130 KIA93+12+60+6742 x Yak-7 (Int)
372 x La-7 (Ftr)
93 x Yak-7 (Int)
12 x La-7 (Ftr)
495 x Il-10 (CAS)
201 x Yak-4 (Tac)
30 x Il-10 (CAS)
3 x Yak-4 (Tac)
With most of the fighting on the ground concentrated in this area, both Air Forces put in that little bit of extra effort to support their troops.

LtGenAv. Rudenko's Il-10's flew a total of 15 missions resulting in over 2.000 enemy casualties: 3 over Siauliai on the 22nd, 2 over Ariogala on the 23rd, 8 over Taurage from the 24th to the 27th, and 2 over Jurbarkas on the 28th.

V ShAK, LtGenAv. Goryunov's unit also chipped in, flying 3 missions over Joniskis during the crucial early stages of the breakthrough (22nd-23rd), and a further 4 over Pogegen on the 30th and 31st.

The Yak-4's of LtGenAv. Yakovlev's II BAK flew a further 4 missions over Plunge on the 25th and 26th.

Both Genlt. Mähnke's FK II (Ju-88) and Genlt. Kitzinger's 3 FD (3. flieger-division / Hs-129) were intercepted before they could reach their targets: The former, on the 23rd, by LtGenAv. Astakhov's Yak-7's over Panevezys (1), and the latter, on the 24th, by LtGenAv. Eremin's II IAK over Siauliai (3).

Klepke's JK I (Me-109) was intercepted on the 23rd over Pogegen (2) by Astakhov's 360 Yak-7's. The afternoon battle resulted in 43 downed Messerchmitts (out of 242), and 48 lost Yak-7's.

FK VI (Ju-88), Genlt. Dörstling's unit, did manage to drop it's bombs on our forces in Siauliai (4), before being intercepted by Eremin's fighters.

3rd Baltic Front (3rd BALT F. / Lithuanian SSR South of the Memel): 2 AG & Arm AG / Moskva HQ:
42-08-31_BAL3-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Germany9,248 Infrastructure
220.049 t of Supplies
23.732 m^3 of Fuel
16258 x Me-109 (Int)16 x Me-109 (Int)00
AXIS016
Soviet Union016800162 x TB-3 (Str)21 x TB-3 (Str)
Only Kalinin's TB-3's were active in this area, destroying infrastructure and stockpiles on the Southern bank of the Memel:

The 21st saw 2 missions over Kybartai.

Over Labiau on the 23rd, things didn't go entirely to plan as I DBAK was intercepted shortly after dropping it's first bombs, at 9am, by Klepke's Me-109's, over 250 of them. The Fighter Aviation Corps in the area were all otherwise occupied, so the lumbering Tupolevs had to try to evade the onslaught on their own. 19 Heavy bombers were lost for 16 Me-109s shot down, before they could break away and return to base. 2 DBAD had taken the lion's share of the losses, and was quite disorganised. They were pulled back to Moscow, and would be sent out to Norway the next day, where they would be safe from enemy fighters.

1 DBAD did go back into the fray, flying a further 8 missions over Labiau (24th to 27th), and 4 missions over Cranz (28th to 31st), with no further incidents.

1st Byelorussian Front (1st Byel. F. / Byelorussian SSR Nyoman/Memel bend): 2 AG & Arm AG / Moskva HQ:
After a week of calm, there was a short flurry of activity on the 28th. A single-Division Bulgarian attack on Mosty (1) starting at 3am was easily repulsed MajGen Zakharov M.V.'s 3 Motorised Rifle Divisions, ending by 1pm, with over 600 Bulgarians dead for 24 Soviets. This was followed by two single-Division Red Army probes into Sokolka (2), the first at 2pm, and the second at 7pm. Both lasted little more than an hour, and both revealed that one Division would not be enough to oust the near 30.000 strong Axis force from the area.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in action:Prisoners (of war):
Bulgaria6.000170
Germany53.8986050
AXIS59.8986220
Soviet Union53.9542080
42-08-31_BEL1-min.jpg

Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
AXIS230 KIA0000
Soviet Union0 KIA2124 x La-7 (Ftr)0 x La-7 (Ftr)201 x Yak-4 (Tac)1 x Yak-4 (Tac)
LtGenAv. Yakovlev's II BAK flew a single ground attack mission over Sokolka on the 31st.

2nd Byelorussian Front (2nd Byel. F. / Byelorussian SSR between the Nyoman & Prypyat): 2 AG & Arm AG / Moskva HQ:
A Bulgarian Infantry Attack on Zelva (1) started at 7pm on the 21st, and was easily shrugged off by 16 MSD, and the T-34's of 1 GvTD. After 24 hours, close to 700 Bulgarians laid dead in the forest, for 30 of our own. In response, MajGen. Kirponos launched a 3-pronged, 3-Division offensive to take Wolkowysk at 7am on the 27th. Numerical, and fire, superiority over the Hungaro-Bulgarian Infantry force facing them lead to an easy victory with minimal losses by 6pm, a good day's work.

Two Armoured Cavalry Divisions struck Swislocz (2) at 2pm on the 22nd. Attacking from two direction, they swept aside a near 25.000 strong German-Hungarian Infantry force under Bulgarian Command, in 25 hours and with minor casualties. MajGen. Kurochkin P.A.'s Cavalrymen didn't get a chance to celebrate their victory as they came under attack from a pair of fresh German Infantry Divisions under Genlt. Köstring as soon as they arrived in Swislocz (3). 3 KavD was engaged at 4am on the 24th, with 6 KavD reinforcing the next day at 1pm. Despite numerical superiority, and the one-sided use of Armoured vehicles, our exhausted forces withdrew at 1pm on the 27th. The enemy paid dearly for his victory with over 900 German KIA's, for fewer than 600 Soviet ones.

At 1pm on the 29th, and with the combined power of 2 Motorised Rifle Division and 1 Armoured Cavalry Division, 5 PzD was put under serious pressure to vacate Bereza (5). By midnight the battle was won, with minimal casualties suffered.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners of War
Hungary11.9881460
Bulgaria17.9948840
Germany42.0941.4960
AXIS72.0762.5260
Soviet Union125.9078930
42-08-31_BEL2-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
AXIS310 KIA0000
Soviet Union0 KIA2124 x La-7 (Ftr)0 x La-7 (Ftr)248 x Il-10 (CAS)1 x Il-10 (CAS)
III ShAK's Il-10's flew two missions over Hajnowka on the 27th in support of the battle of Swislocz.

1st Ukrainian Front (1st Ukr. F. / Ukrainian SSR between the Prypyat & Western Bug): 3 AG & Arm AG / Brjansk HQ:
"They may have sent in an elite Division named after their beloved Führer, but we are Guards Riflemen supported by the mightiest tanks the Motherland has to offer. We are the best the Red Army has to offer. We will send them right back across the Bug and we will give Hitler's bodyguard a bloody nose. It will be a personal message to the Führer." - MajGen. Vatutin of 3 TTGvD before the 7th battle of Luboml. (5)

Kowel (1) was hit at 7pm on the 21st, by 228 ID and 9a DivAlp., under the command of Genlt. von Beyer. MajGen. Kozlov's single rifle Division, though outnumbered and outmatched, was dug in in the forest, allowing it to hold it's own. On the 23rd, things got worse as, with no Soviet reinforcements forthcoming, 30 ID joined in on the Axis side at 2pm. Nevertheless, 179 SD fought on, making the enemy pay for every metre of ground, until 5pm on the 24th, when the exhausted riflemen were given the order to withdraw. They left close to 1.100 of their comrades behind, having killed close to 800 enemy soldiers.

40km to the South, MajGen Chernyak sought to exploit a weak point of the Axis line in Switaz (2). 54 SD attacked at 7pm on the 21st, facing off against Genlt. von Mackensen's 46 ID. After a good first day of fighting, Chernyak ordered a full-on Assault at 7pm, but von Mackensen had the better of him, blunting the forward elements of our forces with relentless Counter-Attacks. After that disappointing day, the attack was slowly turned back as our troops found the enemy still better organised than themselves. The operation was finally called off at 3am on the 25th, with over 900 losses on both sides.

Having occupied Kowel, 9a Div.Alp. and 30 ID, lead by the Italian GenDiv. Fautili, proceded to hit Rozyszcze (4) at 7pm on the 28th. MajGen. Chernyak, with three Rifle Divisions at his disposal to defend the forested area, enjoyed numerical superiority, but his troops were weary and tired. Barely 2 hours into the battle, his own 54 SD broke ranks, and he was forced to hand off the battle to MajGen. Dement'ev. The latter's command also came to an abrupt end as 23 SD withdrew a mere 24 hours later. MajGen. Kozlov's heroic, but equally exhausted, 179 SD held on until morning, finally breaking at 9am on the 30th. German forces have yet to occupy the area. The enemy paid for his victory, with over 300 German, and close to 400 Italian casualties, for fewer than 260 of our own.

With little regard for casualties, Genlt. Gudowius ('Odinatsat's captor) ordered his own SSD 'LSSAH', 45 ID, and 2 ID (mot), to cross the river Bug to attack Luboml (3) at 7pm on the 21st. MajGen. Ptuhin's 2 Rifle Divisions, including a regiment of SU-100's, were dug in on the Eastern bank of the Bug, determined to turn the water red with teutonic blood. The riflemen gave their all, holding off the Germans for 3 whole days, but they kept coming, no matter how many of their corpses floated down the river. Once Gudowius' forces obtained a solid bridgehead, they exacted their revenge, killing close to 1.200 defenders before Ptuhin called the retreat. Close to 1.900 Germans were killed in this latest crossing of the Bug.

SSD 'LSSAH', the first enemy unit to arrive in Luboml, was met with a nasty surprise when it got there, at 8am on the 26th. MajGen. Vatutin's 3 TTGvD was advancing on their position (5), IS-2's and all. Luckily for genlt. Gudowius, 2 ID(mot) managed to reinforce his tenuous positions by 4pm. A rare miscalculation by Vatutin bought the Germans even more time as a daring Blitz Attack by his IS-2's was neutralised through German Elastic Defence tactics on the 27th. 113 SD joined in the fight at 4am on the 28th, reinvigorating the Soviet attack, just in time to counter the near simultaneous arrival of 45 ID in Luboml. Gudowius' own SSD 'LSSAH' was the first to break at 6pm the same day, pushing the odds in our favour. Genlt. Förster took over the faltering defensive action, until his 2 ID (mot) broke in turn at 8pm the next day. In a mirrored repeat of the previous battle, Genlt. Felbers found itself defending Luboml on it's own, holding off the Red Army's Heavy tanks and Guards Riflemen for a further 22 hours, before withdrawing back to where it came from, handing Vatutin a hard-fought victory. With close to 1.700 Soviet and 2.200 German losses, it was yet another bloodbath. The fact that the larger share of the blood that covered the plains of Luboml was Germanic was scant comfort for the families of our dead.

In an attempt to roll up the German line on the Bug's Western bank from the South, MajGen. Tiulenev launched a two-Division attack on Zamosc (6) at 3am on the 28th. With no geographical obstacles in the way, his troops being better rested, and slightly more numerous than Genlt. Krüger W's two Division's worth of Infantry, Tiulenev had good reason to be optimistic about his chances. 11 SD and 104 SD were making good progress when they came under heavy attack on their Eastern flank at 7pm on the 30th. (battle still ongoing) The offensive was cut short at 9pm as the now weary riflemen scrambled to defend themselves from this new threat. Over 1.400 Soviets and close to 1.750 Germans laid dead in Zamosc.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners of War
Italy17.9877400
Germany81.7007.3670
AXIS99.6878.1070
Soviet Union108.6206.7750
42-08-31_UKR1-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Slovakia9900107 x A.30433 x A.304
Germany2757 x Me-109 (Int)27 x Me-109 (Int)00
AXIS5.691 KIA126
Soviet Union0 KIA101496 x Yak-7 (Int)
491 x La-7 (Ftr)
10 x Yak-7 (Int)
11 x La-7 (Ftr)
492 x Il-10 (CAS)
402 x Yak-4 (Tac)
35 x Il-10 (CAS)
10 x Yak-4 (Tac)
LtGenAv. Zhigarev's I ShAK flew 6 ground attack missions over Chelm (22nd-24th / Battle of Luboml), causing over 1.000 enemy casualties. It was intercepted at 9am by Genmaj. Fisser's JG 4 on the 24th. The Jagdgeschwader was barely over half strength, boasting a measly 53 Me-109s. Nevertheless, with no Yak-7's inbound, and some help from AA-Artillery they managed to shoot down 26 Il-10s, losing 23 fighters to the escorting La-7's in the process. Needless to say, the now 30-strong Geschwader wasn't seen again, but I ShAK still flew it's evening mission before rotating to the rear for rest, repairs, and reinforcements.

Also on the 24th, 107 Slovakian A-304 Assault Bombers of 1 BombPluk appeared in the skies over Kowel. They were intercepted at 5am, before they could drop any bombs on target. It had all the makings of a turkeyshoot, but at 6am, JG 4, Genmaj. Fisser's half-strength geschwäder of Me-109's showed up to defend the Slovak bombers. LtGenAv. Rog's 496 Yak-7's made short work of the lubering Slovakian planes, shooting down 33 enemy bombers before they fled the area. Mostly due to Fisser's Me-109's, 10 Yak-7's were lost in the fighting, though they did take a further 4 Me-109's with them.

The Il-10's of II ShAK flew 8 missions over Luboml (27th-30th), killing over 1.200 enemy combattants.

LtGenAv. Yakovlev's Yak-4's flew 6 missions over Maloryta (22nd-24th / Battle of Kowel), and 3 over Kowel (28th & 30th / Battle of Rozyszcze).

I BAK's Yak-4's were even more active, flying 4 missions over Switaz (23rd-24th), 1 mission over Chelm (25th / Battle of Luboml), and 5 missions over Zamosc (28th-30th / Battle of Zolkiew).

2nd Ukrainian Front (2nd Ukr. F. / Ukrainian SSR between the Western Bug & Dniestr): 3 AG / Brjansk HQ:
"Look at that. We seem to have struck a nerve. Half of Army Group South is bearing down on us. We must be doing something right! Now, let's try to stop them."
- MajGen Badanov of 77 GvSD after his division came under fire from close to 50.000 Axis troops during the 2nd Battle of Rawa Ruska. Casualties were atrocious, but the Guards managed to hang on, for 12 hours, to some Western Polish real estate. Plenty of medals will surely be awarded for their bravery.

77 GvSD's advance into Rawa Ruska (1) was delayed by the arrival of a battered 6 ID in the area at 4pm on the 23rd, by 3 hours. Fresher, but less numerous Hungarian Infantry proved more of a roadblock upon their arrival at 7am the next day. MajGen. Badanov's Guards Riflemen needing 26 hours to deal with 6 Gly, before finally occupying Rawa Ruska (1).

Faced with the presence of 77 GvSD in an area on their side of the Litvinov-von Neurath line, the OKH pulled out all the stops to throw them out of Rawa Ruska (4). Genlt. von Cochenhausen took the lead of a massive force of 5 German Infantry Divisions (2 of them Motorised), 1 Bulgarian Infantry Division, and 6 sPzD. They attacked MajGen. Badanov Guards Riflemen from 4 sides at noon on the 26th. Faced with more than six times their number, under fire from all sides, they held on for 10 hours before breaking ranks. Close to 1.300 of their number had been killed, more than 100 every hour, for barely more than 70 enemies.

MajGen. Odintsov's 13 SD in Jaworow (2), having come under heavy attack at 4pm on the 20th, continued to hold the Eastern bank of the river San against Genlt. von Cochenhausen's 4 sPzD. The battle started to turn in the enemy's favour when 60 ID reinforced the attack at 7pm on the 24th. The Infantry wasn't bogged down by lorries and King tigers, making a river-crossing significantly less hazardous. Our forces were already weary from the constant game of cat and mouse they had been playing with the enemy's heavy panzers across the river, and during the night the enemy broke through the line to establish a beachhead. Once it became clear what had happened, Odinstov quickly realised his troops didn't stand much of a chance against fresher enemy soldiers backed up by King Tigers on their side on the river. 13 SD was withdrawn at 10am on the 25th, leaving behind 1.000 dead riflemen, and having killed close to 900 enemies.

Arriving too late to reinforce the routed 13 SD, at 1pm, 74 SD attempted to push the Germans back into the San (3). Making little headway, they called it quits 5 hours later.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners of War
Hungary5.9992730
Bulgaria8.909150
Germany71.5689640
AXIS86.4761.2520
Soviet Union53.9982.5740
42-08-31_UKR2-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
AXIS1.841 KIA0000
Soviet Union0 KIA26124 x La-7 (Ftr)4 x La-7 (Ftr)248 x Il-10 (CAS)11 x Il-10 (CAS)
Marshall Av. Novikov's own II ShAK flew 7 missions over Jaroslaw (22nd-25th / Battle of Jaworow), eliminating over 1.300 targets. This was followed by a single attack on Jaworow on the 25th. After some missions to the North, the Il-10's returned to fly 2 missions over Przemysl today (31st / Battle of Zolkiew)

3rd Ukrainian Front (3rd UF. / Hungarian Border West of Skole) 3 AG & 4 AG / Odessa HQ:
"And there goes another one, up in flames. Hey Fritz! Just keep sending in those Panzer's. We've just gotten a new batch of AP rounds, they're just waiting for you to be fired."
An Artillery Sergeant lightening the mood of his crew manning a well-positioned 100mm BS-3 Anti-Tank Gun in the Hills of Drohobycz (2). Even after 4 days of shooting enemy vehicles, 8 PzD keeps sending in tanks, and they keep getting destroyed. As it stands the battle ended the next morning.

At 7pm on the 21st, MajGen. Lvov launched an ambitious 2-Division offensive to take the hills at Svalava (1), held by 5 Hungarian Units. Despite routing one of the enemy Divisions, it proved unsuccessful, and with more than 600 dead riflemen for fewer than 300 of the enemy, the operation was halted at 3pm the next day.
Another attempt was made on the 24th as MajGen. Vinogradov's 27 SD charged into Svalava (1) at 1am, only to withdraw at noon in the face of stiff resistance, having 4 men for every enemy killed.

Meanwhile, Genlt. Kirchner's attack on Drohobycz, started at 1pm on the 19th, continued in full force with 8 PzD and a Hungarian Infantry Division charging down MajGen Ermakov's dug-in 143 SD, and the recently arrived 56 SD, in the dense forest. On the 23rd, a series of sudden enemy breakthroughs caught Ermakov's men unawares while they were still setting up their ambushes. This lead to the rout of his Division, with the last elements withdrawing at 6pm. MajGen. Novikov V.V.'s 56 SD continued the fight on it's own, and it soon became clear that executing those breakthroughs had sapped the last of the enemy's energy and organisation. Kirchner's exhausted forces were forced to withdraw at 7am on the 24th, leaving behind over 1.700 dead bodies. 1.200 casualties were counted on our side.

A probe into Uzhorod (3) a few hours later showed, at a cost of over 350 men, that Kirchner's two retreating Divisions were shielded by 2 fresh Hungarian units.
Hungarian forces probed our defences in Drohobycz (4) from Svalava that afternoon, sustaining fewer than 100 casualties.
56 SD went on another probing short mission at 10am on the 26th, this time in Svalava (5), revealing the province to be defended by 5 units, including 4 PzD at the cost of close to 200 casualties.

In spite of that last probe, or maybe because of it, MajGen. Lvov ordered a full-out 2-pronged, 2-Division attack on Svalava (1 & 5) at 9pm on the 26th. The result was predictable and regrettable. As both 182 SD, and 176 SD withdrew, at noon the next day, after 17 hours of fighting in the Hungarian hills, outnumbered 2 to 1, over 650 Soviet and fewer than 250 enemy casualties were counted.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners of War
Germany29.6061.6830
Hungary173.1148110
AXIS202.7202.4940
Soviet Union109.6333.4060
42-08-31_UKR3-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Hungary126363 x CR.42 (Int)34 x CR.42 (Int)99 x Ju-87 (CAS)46 x Ju-87 (CAS)
AXIS1.265 KIA126
Soviet Union0 KIA63372 x Yak-7 (Int)
248 x La-7 (Ftr)
0 x Yak-7 (Int)
17 x La-7 (Ftr)
495 x Il-10 (CAS)
201 x Yak-4 (Tac)
14 x Il-10 (CAS)
9 x Yak-4 (Tac)
V ShAK flew 2 missions over Svalava on the 24th. When LtGenAv. Goryunov's Il-10s started bombing Uzhorod (battle of Drohobycz) at 9am on the 25th, they were intercepted by over 360 Hungarian CR.42 biplanes. Genlt. Rakosi's fighters were back in action, but so were LtGenAv. Rychagov's 372 Yak-7's less than an hour later. The final tally after three hours of dogfighting was of 34 biplanes, 12 Il-10's, 12 La-7's, and no Yak-7's shot down.

At 2pm that same day, Genmaj. Orosz's 99 Ju-87's (out of 124) were intercepted over Sambor, before they even got to their destination, by IV IAK. Rychagov's fighters had a field day, shooting down 46 enemy dive-bombers in a little under 3 hours, forcing their remaining planes to return to base. No Yak-7's were shot down in the encounter.

The Il-10's under direct command of MarshallAv. Novikov flew 2 missions over Svalava on the 27th.

LtGenAv. Golovanov's I BAK supported first the battle of Drohobycz, then the ongoing battle of Uzhorod, by bombing Uzhorod 5 times (26th-27th & 31st)

4th Ukrainian Front (4th Ukr. F. / Hungarian Border East of Dolina) 3 AG & 4 AG / Odessa HQ:
"I had them right where I wanted them! What a shame. But we'll have them in the end, as soon as we deal with this annoying flank attack, we'll go right back in."
A frustrated MajGen Erastov after he has to call off his offensive into Rachov (2 & 3) that was all but won because the Hungarians are attacking his flank.

The defensive battle in the Mountains of Jablonow (1), having started on the 18th, turned resolutely in our favour on the 21st, as 141 SD reinforced MajGen Makeev's 25 SD. As Genlt. Balck's 5 PzD soon found out, they had brought a Regiment of SU-100's into the fight, a great tool to ambush Panzer IV's on narrow Mountain roads. efusing to withdraw, the German Unit was decimated over the following two days, withdrawing at 6pm on the 22nd, after they were attacked on their Northern flank. They left behind close to 1.300 bodies, many of them still trapped in the smouldering wrecks of tanks and lorries on narrow mountain roads. Our own forces lost fewer than 400 of their number, most of them in the early fazes of the battle.

184 SD's 4am attack on Rachov (2) had been meant to force 5 PzD to pull out of Jablonow, but that wasn't enough for MajGen. Erastov. As the battered 5 PzD withdrew from Rachov shortly after 6pm, he ordered the Assault to continue despite heavy Counter-Attacks by Hungarian Infantry. This decision started to look a lot better as 141 SD moved to even the odds by attacking the enemy flank (3) at midnight. The Hungarians were starting to buckle under the pressure when 13 Gly arrived in the evening of the 24th to reinforce the defence. Even that proved too little too late, and what had started out as a spoiling attack against the odds turned into an offensive victory, albeit a costly one. Over 1.400 Soviet riflemen lost their life, for 550 of the enemy.

Before the province could be occupied, however, another Hungarian Division snuck in to stop the Red Army's liberation of Rachov (2 & 3). Immediately, a new offensive was launched, headed up by the fresh 51 SD, but after 6 hours of mostly favourable nightly skirmishes, our forces had to withdraw to face a new enemy attack on Stanislawow (4). Genmaj. Ternegg's 3am attack was 4 Divisions strong, but MajGen. Larichev's three defending Divisions counted more men and many more Artillery pieces. A dangerous flanking attack by 55 SD into Volove (5) made matters even worse for the Hungarians, and at 6am they withdrew, followed 3 hours later by 55 SD. Both sides suffered minimal casualties in these skirmishes as most units involved were exhausted and/or distracted.

Forces engaged in battle:Forces killed in actionPrisoners of War
Germany8.7411.2990
Hungary126.0216730
AXIS134.7621.9720
Soviet Union109.1901.9230
42-08-31_UKR4-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
AXIS781 KIA0000
Soviet Union0 KIA17124 x La-7 (Ftr)5 x La-7 (Ftr)248 x Il-10 (CAS)6 x Il-10 (CAS)

LtGenAv. Kutakhov made the Hungarian's lives even more miserable in Rachov, his III ShAK flying 8 missions over the provice. (28th-31st).

Black Sea Fleet (Black Sea, Aegean Sea & Mediterranean Sea) BSF / Odessa HQ:
"What do you mean 'they lost their bow but they're okay'?" ... "So now I've got half a Destroyer floating around out there. Well get it back to base, and arrange a fighter escort. We must save that ship, and if we can't, we must not loose that crew."
- RADM Golovko when a member of his staff attempts to explain what happened to that one Destroyer that ate a 450mm torpedo and lost it's bow.

While the main Black Sea Fleet has been deputised to the Baltic Fleet, RADM Golovko's I. Avianosets Flote patrols the Aegean Sea, while RADM Eliseev's IV FP continues it's convoy-hunting efforts in the Central Mediterranean, just to the East of the Straits of Messina & Malta. The Aegean patrol serves the clear purpose of securing the approaches to our Mediterranean base in Mythinléné and withholding supplies from Italian bases in the Area.

The second mission has proved a bit more controversial amongst those in the know, at least in private. Several people have expressed doubts about the usefulness of the submarines' mission to our own war aims. By disrupting trade to Libya, we are, in effect, helping the United Kingdom to take it. As opposed to the USA, they have offered no help to the Soviet Union's war effort, they haven't even allowed us to purchase production licenses while the Soviet Union is fighting their enemies. There is an option on the table for IV FP to change it's area of operations to the Adriatic Sea.
42-08-31_MED-min.jpg
Air to ground damageKIA air crewFighters deployedFighters lostBombers deployedBombers lost
Italy031800224 x SM.7953 x SM.79
AXIS0 KIA0000
Soviet Union10,3% of 2 FE (0.5 ships)
136 Sailors KIA
17128 x La-7VM (CAS)1 x La-7VM (CAS)248 x Il-10 (CAS)6 x Il-10 (CAS)
While on patrol in the Western Aegean Sea, I Avianosets Flote was surprised by a large formation of low-flying Italian Naval Bombers. The Combat Air Patrol, consisting of 8 La-7VM's, immediately engaged the threat and on board both Kyiv-Class Carriers, La-7VM fighters were sent up as quickly as humanly possible to engage the 224 SM.79 torpedo bombers of SA I (Squadra Aerea) under Gen.S.A. (LtGenAv.) di Ferro. Luckily, the good weather of the Mediterranean allows for the deck parking of 16 fighters (2 squadrons) on each Carrier, and thus an additional 32 fighters were quickly dispatched in the direction of the approaching threat. Significantly, the construction and mechanism of the 2 aft elevators was inspired by British CVL elevator designs, and not by Béarn's elevators. This means that they take less than a minute to cycle, as opposed to 3, and 5 minutes on Béarn. It still took a further 15 minutes to get the remaining 56 fighters in the air. Il-10VM's were launched afterwards to add to the confusion, and 50 minutes in the number of Red Navy aeroplanes was doubled as reserves arrived from Mythiléné.

This slight delay and the sheer number of enemy planes was enough for the first squadron of SM.79's to drop their torpedo's without distraction, aiming squarely at the Destroyers of 2. Flotiliya Esmintsev. The lead ship, a Sevastopol-Class Destroyer, was hit by two 450mm (17,7") torpedoes. The one that hit the stern was a dud, but the other, which hit the bow didn't. The entire bow of the vessel was severed and quickly sank, while a positively heroic effort by the remaining crew members kept the rest just barely afloat. This was the only recorded hit. Meanwhile, the dogfight was won decisively under the leadership of RADMAv. Vershinin, who's own squadron chased the Italian bombers all the way to the Ionian sea before returning to the Fleet.

Totals losses:
Last 10 daysEngaged in BattleKilled in battleKilled by bombsAir Crew KIAKIA at seaTotal KIAPrisoners of War
Slovakia8.907120/9902190
Bulgaria58.4472.560/002.5600
Hungary334.3662.050/12602.1760
Italy38.9482.703/31803.0210
Germany582.11320.195/4571.31921.9710
AXIS1.022.78127.62814.6011.0001.31944.5480
Soviet Union1.132.21326.54713232713627.1420
42-08-31_GPW_Front_Overview-min.jpg
GPW (70 days)Engaged in BattleKilled in battleKilled by bombsAir Crew KIAKIA at seaTotal KIAPrisoners of War
Slovakia43.8392.912/20903.1210
Bulgaria127.9795.941/333106.2840
Hungary1.573.45218.399/886019.2850
Italy72.6803.345/5731.0034.9210
Germany4.596.499151.401/5.0826.435162.91818.294
AXIS6.414.449181.99897.2756.7817.748293.80218.294
Soviet Union8.470.753155.5861.9044.7641.267163.52157.778


Aeroplane losses:
GPW (70 days)FightersSmall BombersMedium BombersLarge BombersTransports
Slovakia/69 x A.304///
Bulgaria33 x He-51B////
Hungary194 x CR.32/CR.42249 x Ju-87B-2270 x Ju-86K-2//
Italy//53 x SM.79-III
41 x CZ.1007bis
/11 x SM.75bis
Germany788 x FW-190A-3
555 x Me-109G-5
81 x Hs-129B-2983 x Ju-88A-445 x Ju-2908 x Me-232D-1
AXIS782 x Int, 788 x Ftr399 x CAS1.294 x Tac, 53 x Nav45 x Nav19 x Tra
Soviet Union756 x Yak-7
847 x La-7
238 x La-7VM

828 x Il-10
238 x Il-10VM
408 x Yak-447 x TB-347 x Li-2

The past ten days, there have been two major offensives with rather different results:
The 2nd Baltic Front, reinforced with large parts of 2ya Tankovaya Armiya, saw a massive armoured thrust towards Memel and the Baltic Sea, all under the leadership of ColGen. Zhukov of 2ya Tankovaya Armiya. ColGen Bagramian of 6ya Armiya following up with the foot soldiers to strengthen the newly liberated positions. The army is hopeful that the current momentum can be maintained all the way to the Baltic coast, resulting in the formation of a pocket that would contain an estimated 10-15 Divisions, amongst which the elite 16 PzGrD, 1 sPzD, and a Fallschirmjäger Division. It goes without saying that removing such a number of enemy fighting units from the equation at this point would be a great boost to Morale, and to our capacity to take the initiative.
Along the 1st Ukrainian Front, the beginnings of a Major German offensive have been contained by ColGen Vassilevskij's 7ya Armiya. Once the enemy spearheads were pinned down, the stubborn Germans turned it into a big meat-grinder. As a result, many units in the area are in a state of partial or full disorganised chaos. If the casualty numbers are any indication, Axis forces have suffered just as much on the ground, in addition to the relentless pounding they took from the VVS. STAVKA expects this to be reflected in a similarly bad, or even worse, level of organisation amongst the enemy units facing the 1st UF. The only caveat to that assertion is that the Axis seems to have more units in the area, so the 1st Ukrainian Front could be in for another series of nasty meat-grinder next week.
Along the Hungarian border, fighting was fierce as ever, but no headway was made by either side. Tough battles are ongoing, and there is a real possibility that 4ya Armiya will be able to slowly roll up the Hungarian Lines from the East, shortening the 4th Ukrainian Front in the process. Of course, the difficulties of the 3rd & 4th Ukrainian Fronts are due, to a large extent, to the mountainous terrain on the border. Once they get past the mountains, the going could suddenly become a whole lot easier.
As mentioned above, Operation Tundra Wolf is still going as planned, fingers crossed that we can take Kristiansand relatively quickly.
The prickly question of where to hunt for subs in the Med remains just as prickly as RADM Eliseev, who still hasn't fully accepted his transfer from the main Soviet Carrier Fleet to a small Flotilla of obsolescent submarines.

As always, your input is valued,

Greetings,

'Odin'

OOC: I've given all the sectors OTL Front names, and for those where there was no Front OTL, I've followed the same nomenclature. (Danish Front & Norwegian Front). As the Axis hasn't managed to break through into Russia proper, fronts named after Russian cities remain off the table. Once we push into Axis territory, I will be renaming the fronts, and merging/splitting them as I go. I won't follow the historical example of having so-called 'Ukrainian' Fronts fighting in Austria, and having 2 Byelorussian fronts and a Ukrainian front fighting in the Berlin area...
Coming up: Some bonus artwork to accompany this GPW report.
 
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roverS3

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With the first real action at sea by I Avianosets Flote, it's finally time to post it:
Kyiv.Minsk.Sevastopol.JPG

Soviet Carrier Minsk and escorting Destroyer, seen from the top deck of Kyiv's Island. Kyiv has just launched an La-7VM fighter plane. Somewhere in the Western Aegean, August 1942.

I drew and painted this over three days during the summer of 2018. The impetus was the then relatively recent ATL invention of the new Soviet Carrier Class (Kyiv-Class). According to the alternate history, the Kyiv-Class's general shape was heavily inspired by Béarn, but with a Gangut-Class hull shape at the bottom. She also incorporated many technologies and solutions borrowed from pre-1936 British CVL's: HMS Unicorn and HMS Hermes.

The imaginary Sevastopol class is an evolution of the OTL Kiev-Class design. It's elongated a little to make space for larger engines, and to make the hull form better for higher speeds. The result was a Destroyer class which, while faster than older Soviet Designs, was about in the middle of the pack speed-wise when the first ship was launched. And speed was supposed to be her party trick, as her hull shape and armaments would have been decent in 1934.

IAF_Base_Drawing-min.JPG

A picture of my table in the summer of 2018.

The ships are drawn in geometric perspective, with the foreground (Kyiv & the plane) in one point perspective, and the ships further away in 2 point perspective (with one added point). This was done to make it look like the ships in background weren't sailing on the same course as the one on the foreground. It's as much an exercise in perspective drawing as anything. The dimensions are based on blueprints and pictures of Béarn and Gangut-class Battleships. Earlier in the year I had already created this side profile: #651
I could probably have improved it by adding crew members in period correct uniforms to really bring it alive, but I didn't do it back then, and adding things to watercolours years after the fact is a risky proposition. Looking back, I'm also not entirely sure about some colour choices.
 
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