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Subject: Drive to the Volga, 9/15, part 1 rss

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Six companies saw action yesterday for the Wehrmacht; the morning of the second day of our campaign game finds them whittled down to the equivalent of about 4. However, these heroes managed to give much better than they got, and so I believe that I am in a pretty good position to begin advancing again, even after a moderately disastrous night engagement.

Intelligence estimates put the Russians at 45-50 squad equivalents, a heavy mortar, and 2-4 KV-1s. Surprisingly for the Russians, they are very well led, with more than a dozen SMC (about as many as I have, frustratingly). I have 56 SE worth of infantry, and only two platoons of assault guns, as my superiors have seen fit to withdraw four AFV platoons from my sector of the front. I also still have a pair of OBA modules: one 80 mm and one 100 mm, both of which I saved from yesterday and plan on putting to good use immediately.
With all this in mind, I hastened to purchase two more Rifle Companies, which will arrive from offboard. This should, I think, guarantee me a numerical advantage regardless of what my brother has purchased on behalf of the Rodina. And God only knows what that might entail: at least 28.5 PP are unaccounted for.
I also bought a platoon of long-barreled StuGs, which should beef up my forces in case those KV’s show up. They came depleted, so I only get a pair, but even so that gives me 8 of them. Hopefully those and a handful of Stukas can keep those beasts at bay.
Finally, I upped my SAN to 5, which will give me sniper parity with the Russians, and I bought a platoon of pioneers in reserve, to throw into the fray tomorrow. As I detailed earlier, I am all out of flamethrowers at the moment, and I would sleep a bit easier at night if I knew I had at least one.

My brother has chosen to fight me right from the very start, with quite an upfront defense. Almost his entire force is within a few hundred meters of my front lines. It looks as though there is a company (probably Guardsmen) playing reserve, but even they are so far forward that I could easily be tangling with them before the day is out.
His flanks look a bit weak, but I rather suspect that is deceptive. My guess is that the northern flank will be guarded by reinforcements entering from the north, and that the southern flank is guarded by OBA. Indeed, my original setup had an entire company poised to jump off into the 1st of May Square, in the hopes of pushing across hexrow Q into the Pushkinskaya block (R43-V48). I realized only in the nick of time that this area would be an absolute killing field if hit by artillery. I will still be pushing into 1st of May Square, but with fewer units, and much more cautiously.
Since the Russians are put so far forward, I am thinking that today will be a bit of a repeat of yesterday, where I won’t take so much ground, but will have a great opportunity to really maul the Soviet infantry. However, I’m not all about butchery: I do have some goals, territory-wise.
My two best companies are the two from the 518th Regiment, which saw relatively light combat in the northern portion of my sector yesterday. They are still mostly intact, and now have a bunch of battle-hardened 468 squads in the mix. I have redeployed these two companies to my southern flank, where I think the going will probably be the toughest. As I said, I had originally considered throwing an entire company into 1st of May Square and across into the Pushkinskaya block, but the specter of OBA made me reconsider. I’ll still be sending troops along the right side of the board, but only a couple of platoons worth, and they are going to try to stay spread out to minimize damage from artillery. With a bit of armor support, I plan on capturing the Theater, then heading north across Bohodenskaya to attack the K40-P44 block from the south.
Speaking of the K40-P44 block, I hope to open the game with a pounding of the place with my two OBA modules, as the rest of the boys from the 518 eliminate the Russian pocket between the Stalingrad-1 and the Fire Station, and reinforce my pocket in the corner of that K40-P44 block. The battalion mortars will then drop smoke on whatever Russians remain there, and my soldiers will reduce the area from west and south simultaneously. Or at least, that’s the idea. Once the two arms of this pincer have accomplished their task, they will move either north against the Nail Factory, or west against the Pushkinskaya block. I think that I would rather have the latter, and get that much closer to sealing off the southern flank. However, I suspect I will be in a better position to move on the former. But I will wait until the midgame to decide.

Also taking a see-what-develops approach is 1 Battalion, 194th Regiment, whom yesterday eroded to a pretty robust company-sized formation. They fought hard in the center on Monday, and I’ll be expecting the same today. A handful of them are securing the Stalingrad-1 station against any sort of daring counterattack, but they are mostly just for show: 127’s with light mortars, and that sort of thing. I don’t expect to be attacked there, but I’m also not really sure what else to do with those fellows. Most of the lads, however, are clinging to the small foothold across Communisticheskaya (hexrow J) that I managed to salvage from the wreckage of last night. Moving north, against the Kurskaya block (K23-N38), which has already seen so much bloodshed, seems like it is probably the most promising direction. But once the OBA is finished supporting the 518th in the south, which should be by turn 3-4, they can hit the Russian forces bordering the Stalingrad-1 square. If my artillery is effective, then I might have a nice opportunity to push south and east instead.

The wreckage of a company from 191st regiment will be responsible for holding about 20 hexes worth of hexrow I. Their job will be to eliminate the (apparently undefended) Russian pocket in the railyards, and then spend most of their time under concealment staring at the Russians across Communisticheskaya, so that my brother doesn’t get any hot ideas of counterattacking back into the railyards. This company might push forward at the end of the day, but only late enough that I am confident the Russians won’t have time to counterattack.
The actual work in the northern half of the map will be done by my two reinforcing companies. A company from 195th Regiment will enter along the northern edge and simultaneously push south and east. Their job is to take everything north of 9 January Square. If that goes quickly, they will move into the Flour Mill/Pavlov’s House area. However, I don’t expect things to go well: as I mention above, I think that this apparently thinly-defended region will be lousy with Red Guards after the first Russian turn. What it is vital that these fellows accomplish is getting a foothold in the N1/O3 area. This will be the northern anchor of my attempt to put the Milchhaus area inside my perimeter.
One of those building hexes around the Milchhaus I already know to be fortified, and I expect the rest are, and they look pretty well defended by the Soviets. So I don’t have any real intention of taking them, or even really trying. I’ll point a StuG and a machine gun or two at them, and pound away over the course of the day, just in case I get lucky, but my real plan is to entrap those units with the good folks from 2 Battalion, 194th Regiment. Hopefully the company from 2 Battalion does a bit better than their 1 Battalion counterparts did yesterday. The plan is to push up as quickly as possible and put the full force of the company into crossing over into the Solechnaya block (K11-O11). Taking the eastern part of this block will give me a southern anchor for isolating the Milchhaus strongpoint.

The next installment is here.
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