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Subject: Grand Campaign - third session rss

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Björn Hansson
Sweden
Bromma
Stockholm
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After a two week hiatus we continued the grand campaign from where we left off - the second half of august.

Having established strong defensive lines along the Dnepr in combination with interdiction runs by our airforce we, the Soviets, were fairly convinced that the Germans would have a somewhat hard time crossing the river down there. Our main concern laid further north. The sector between Smolensk and Leningrad had been bled dry by the German onslaught. The only thing slowing the Germans down in that sector was the terrain - the marshes and forests around Leningrad can be quite daunting. Suspecting that the main German push would be towards the capitol we had fortified and garrisoned Smolensk (a key city for the advance of the German railheads) to the best of our abilities and also begun building the Moscow defenses.

The Germans opened up by reorganizing their troops in the south, consolidating their lines. This was a pure delight as every week we manage to delay the German advance is important. The only action taking place in the south was the storming of Odessa by Romanian troops. They were repulsed (barely!) by the besieged troops there. As a reward I decided to risk a sortie with our Black Sea fleet to bring in some much needed supplies to the city; a dangerous operation considering the many German air units stationed nearby. Although we lost half of our transports the mission was a success and the Odessa garrison would stand tall for yet another two weeks.

Up north things got bad for the Red Army. Guderian and Kleist formed a armored spearhead of demonic proportions and started pushing eastward towards Mosocw. These two panzer armies simply devoured everything that we managed to muster, regardless of terrain and man-made defenses. A frightening amount of Russian blood was spilt as they manouvered to envelop the strongest point in our line of defense - Smolensk. The units that survived the onslaught were taken care of by the infantry, who followed closely behind, bringing the frontline closer to both Moscow and Leningrad.

Our turn was spent looking at the enormous pile of units in our "dead pile" while shifting some units from the defenses along the Dnepr north to the Moscow sector and some further east to add depth to our defenses. My companion Fredrik had left the northern bend of the Volga dangerously empty, if the Germans strike there they would separate Leningrad from the rest of Russia and also have their left flank covered as they drive towards Moscow, but there was little he could do at this point to change that. Fredrik sent what he could spare to hold the northern river banks while making sure that there would be a soldier behind every tree in the forests around Moscow. We also began constructing a second line of defenses along key points of the Don river (better think ahead) as the Germans might follow Hitler's directives and turn south instead of pursuing thwie original plan. Even though we received a healthy dose of replacements we still felt that our lines were shaky after the august mayhem.

Spetember saw some of the most aggressive German action of the entire game. The Germans did not hesitate to take advantage of our weakened lines along the Dnepr and struck hard just south of Kiev, establishing a bridgehead and partially surrounded the city with their advancing armor. Up north the slow advance towards Leningrad by the foot soldiers of Army Group North continued as planned, nothing overly dramatic. In the center however things got even uglier than before. The Red Army morale took a severe beating as the two German panzer armies, supported by an SS Pz division and a sky full of bombers wiped Smolensk of the map in a single blow and followed up by crossing the northern bend of the Dnepr, thus threatning to envelop our entire frontline between Smolensk and Kiev. What had been a slow shift of troops to the northeast by the Red Army now turned into a hasty retreat in the cetral sector. We of course left a few units as rearguards along the rvier banks - no need in giving up too much ground all at once.

The German players found it best to take care of Kiev before advancing further east. The city was completely surrounded by the end of September, but our troops within the city (an entire army!) is still strong, and since the river provides natural protection the Germans opted to wait and let the units starve a little before crushing the. This was a nice break, which I used to continue building my second line of defense along the Don while maintaining deep defenses between the two rivers.

The main concern as we face October is the two Panzer Armies who will be within striking distance of Moscow very soon. Nothing can stop them, if we had some kind of mobile strike force ro spare we could threaten to cut their supplies as the armored spearhead rushes forward, but by the look of things any counterattcks at this point will be risky at best and leave us even more vulnerable. So even though Zhukov is scheduled to arrive with some fresh troops, I think that the only thing that can save us right now is a change of weather. Dark clouds can be seen on the horizon - it's only a matter of time. And as soon as Soviet intelligence hears of Japanese plans to attack elsewhere the High Command will relsease our Siberian elite forces; and after Pearl Harbour and the German declaration of war against the US, the Lend Lease will start arriving. God Bless America - if they're not too late!
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Joel Carlson
United States
Pepperell
Massachusetts
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Very cool session report! It sounds like the German Blitkrieg is almost unstoppable... Here's hoping it snows!
 
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