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Joffrey van de Wiel
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Exactly 3 years after the start of Operation Barbarossa, and 132 years after the invasion of the Grand Armee, the Red Army launches Operation Bagration, named after the famous Russian general of the Napoleonic era.

The objectives for the Red Army during the first phase of the offensive are the capture of Minsk, Vitebsk, Moguilev and Bobrouisk. The liberation of Minsk is the primary objective, as it will cut off the Wehrmacht's Fourth and Ninth Armies as well as Third Panzer Army.

The Russians used the Lend Lease Support to increase the range of the Central North TO Marker from 9 to 14 hexes, and launched a (mandatory) Large Offensive with this TO. Third Belorussian Front then used a Surprise Attack to break into the German Fortified Line to the north of Orsha with the 3rd Guards Tank Corps, 3rd Guards Mechanized Corps and the 65th Rifle Corps. These units, by now supported by General Katukov, seized Lepel (destroying the defending 201st Security Division) and - while leaving behind the 65th Rifles - exploited towards Minsk, which was liberated after three years of Nazi occupation.

In order to widen the breakthrough and open the supply route Smolensk - Orsha - Minsk, other units of Third Belorussian Front engaged the German 286th Security Division and the elite 78th Sturm Infantry. The fierce battles resulted in the destruction of the 286th and the reduction to a Kampfgruppe of the 78th, which retreated to the south. The HQ of the enemy's Fourth Army was destroyed in exploitation combat.

Further north, First Baltic Front assaulted Vitebsk, but failed to capture the city. The defending 4th and 6th Luftwaffe Field Divisions ( under a Haltebefehl marker) both took a hit, but firmly held their ground. A further effort is needed here.

The right wing of the First Belorussian Front attacked south of Moguilev with five rifle and one tank corps (9th), supported by heavy artillery and under command of general Rybalko. The enemy line was penetrated but the assault bogged down in the forested fortified zone after rolling a 11. Bummer.

Partisan Support aided the efforts to the southeast of Bobrouisk, where the Soviet 65th and 28th Armies engaged elements of the enemy's Ninth Army. A breakthrough was accomplished in this sector and the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Corps and 1st Mechanized Corps managed to advance some 50 kilometers behind enemy lines.


SITUATION AT END OF RUSSIAN TURN 1
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Colin Raitt
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A good start for the Russians but they can be even more ambitious.
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Kev.
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For me with this game if you dont blow a massive hole open somewhere in T1 or T2, then hunker down for a loooong attrition game. Its almost worth conceding and starting over until you learn or sort out how to make the grand exploit happen I think.
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Joffrey van de Wiel
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Hi Kev and Colin,

Thanks for your comments. It is my first attempt at the campaign (and the game), so I am still exploring all the possibilities VR offers. I was pleased with the fact that I managed to take Minsk on turn 1, as mentioned in the designer's notes, but in other areas I think (with hindsight) the Red Army could have done better. Bad luck played a part (I rolled 5 x 11 in a dozen or so combats - I didn't realize that was statistically possible), the randomly drawn support chits weren't great, but I probably should have handled First Belorussian Front a bit different than I did.

Still, the Germans are faced with about 15 divisions cut off at the beginning of their turn, forcing a withdrawal. And TO Central North still has enough support chits to launch another Large Offensive next turn.
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Bill Lawson
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Jeff67 wrote:
Hi Kev and Colin,

Thanks for your comments. It is my first attempt at the campaign (and the game), so I am still exploring all the possibilities VR offers. I was pleased with the fact that I managed to take Minsk on turn 1, as mentioned in the designer's notes, but in other areas I think (with hindsight) the Red Army could have done better. Bad luck played a part (I rolled 5 x 11 in a dozen or so combats - I didn't realize that was statistically possible), the randomly drawn support chits weren't great, but I probably should have handled First Belorussian Front a bit different than I did.

Still, the Germans are faced with about 15 divisions cut off at the beginning of their turn, forcing a withdrawal. And TO Central North still has enough support chits to launch another Large Offensive next turn.


Its your first time so good effort. Overall though not a good start. 11 snake eyes a killer.
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Kev.
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Jeff67 wrote:
Hi Kev and Colin,

Thanks for your comments. It is my first attempt at the campaign (and the game), so I am still exploring all the possibilities VR offers. I was pleased with the fact that I managed to take Minsk on turn 1, as mentioned in the designer's notes, but in other areas I think (with hindsight) the Red Army could have done better. Bad luck played a part (I rolled 5 x 11 in a dozen or so combats - I didn't realize that was statistically possible), the randomly drawn support chits weren't great, but I probably should have handled First Belorussian Front a bit different than I did.

Still, the Germans are faced with about 15 divisions cut off at the beginning of their turn, forcing a withdrawal. And TO Central North still has enough support chits to launch another Large Offensive next turn.

Good job mate but the VASSAL die roller cant be beat!!
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Joffrey van de Wiel
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GERMAN TURN 1


After the Russian breakthrough and the loss of Minsk I was summoned to Führerhauptquartier 'Wolfsschanze' at Rastenburg, East Prussia (actually on the map, hex 3526!), to face my Supreme Commander. He was most displeased about the events at the front (approval -2 for the loss of Minsk and -1 for the destruction of the HQ of Fourth Army) but nevertheless ordered General Gotthard Heinrici, the defense specialist, to help me try and restore the situation.

Back at the front, I made the following decisions:

- despite the orders of the Führer to defend every inch of ground to the last man and bullet, the isolated divisions east of the Dniepr would have to retreat to prevent their complete encirclement and piecemeal destruction. Every effort had to be made to salvage these troops, especially the elite infantry divisions and the mobile formations: the Panzergrenadier divisions 18, 25 and Feldherrnhalle.

- to the south of the enemy breakthrough, General Heinrici would take command of Second Army and try to re-establish contact with the units previously commanded by Fourth and Ninth Army HQs.

- HQ Third Panzer Army would relocate to Baranowicze and set up another supply line via Sloutsk. Generalfeldmarschall Model commanding.

- to the north of the Red Army's penetration, Sixteenth Army would take control of the remains of Third Panzer Army.

- to slow the Russian advance I issued a Haltebefehl for Moguilev and Bobrouisk, and would attempt to cut the lines of communication to the most forward Soviet units.

These orders were successfully executed. Sixteenth Army ordered one division (206th Infantry) to reinforce the garrison at Vitebsk, deployed another (299th Infantry) to cut the Orsha - Minsk road, and sent three infantry divisions (24th, 290th and 329th) to the vicinity of Lepel for a planned counter attack in this area, which will take place the moment the 12th Panzer Division has moved up from the rear.


NORTH SECTOR END TURN 1

Farther south, the isolated divisions withdrew according to my orders, but against the directives issued by the Führer, to the southwest. I hope that the terrain in this area (forest and rivers) as well as the decent road net will allow me to get the men out and re-establish a front line. One division (14th Infantry) was deployed to block the Orsha - Minsk railway line. General Heinrici at Second Army HQ set up a defensive line along the west bank of the river Ptsich. Unfortunately, 20th Panzer Division was needed to close a gap in the line and wasn't able to move towards Baranowicze. The 4th Cavalry Division moved up to protect Heinrici and his staff against all eventualities, while the Hungarian 1st Huszár Cavalry moved to Pinsk to act as a reserve formation.


SOUTH SECTOR END TURN 1

Despite my best efforts, the Führer is hard to please:

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