This part of the AAR follows the first few turns as the Axis forces march east. After the initial battles, the Soviet forces have abandoned their pocketed troops to their fate. Most of the enemy units have already fallen to their second line of defence, leaving the Germans and their Allies to simply march up and prepare for their next action. Railroad repair is crucial at this point, which also includes garrisoning cities to make sure the enemy partisans won’t show up to stop the progress for whole armies due to lack of supplies.
The three pockets that were formed all hold. The units near Riga are not isolated as they have access to ports, through which they can be reinforced, and through which they can still withdraw. The first moves will be to clear these pockets with infantry, as the panzer and motorised divisions prepare to move forwards, converting as much territory as possible.
Converting hexes to your control is crucial, as units that move in the friendly territory pay significantly less movement points for doing so. This allows your infantry divisions to catch up to the armoured formations in good health.
As important as it is to destroy the enemy units, it’s also important to move forwards as fast as possible.
The Brest-Litovsk pocket
The first count reveals some 25 – 30 units caught in this pocket. Most of these are rifle divisions, with a few tank divisions and even some airbases in the mix.
We go in with infantry divisions with the aim of reducing the pocket, if not eliminating it altogether. As the enemy units are not in good health and supply to begin with, they should quickly fall to hasty attacks.
In the end, it takes the actions of five infantry corps to clear out this pocket in the whole. Some 70 units are destroyed of which 30 are divisions, rest being HQ’s and support units. This totals to some 200 000 men, 2700 guns, 1800 AFVs (armoured fighting vehicles, tanks in other words) and 700 SP (self-propelled pieces) and AC (armoured cars).
Here the enemy doesn’t have much to resist with, yet a handful of divisions remain in our rear. The infantry moves forwards, secures the ports and prepares to eliminate the remaining units on turn 3. Easy progress towards Pskov, where the enemy already awaits.
Clearing the Lvov-pocket
Here the situation is a bit more serious, as the enemy units are stronger and the pockets are bigger. There’s space to fall back, which means that more attacks are needed, which requires more units. It’s a multi-turn pocket for sure.
Even deliberate attacks don’t always work, as the enemy units are dug in on mountain hexes. This means that our infantry can’t march forwards, and is pretty much stuck here for a handful of turns. It’s gonna be catch-up with the Soviets anyway, as they have fallen back to the Stalin-line.
The catch here is a bit less than in the center, but the casualties are still almost doubled for the Soviets.
Further moves and fighting
The remaining infantry units move onwards without facing much resistance, and still manage to encircle a dozen or so enemy units at various points.
It’s worth noting here that although on the first turn all units have their full movement allowance, the units are already considerably lower on movement points on turn 2. This is because in WitE MPs depend on various leader checks.
Still, 12 movement point is pretty much the minimum…this is another reason why it’s important to convert enemy hexes with tanks when closing the distance…and that is exactly what the panzer units do this turn. Advancing to grab territory, whilst also ensuring they have enough fuel and are within supply distance to leap forwards the turn after.
This is why it’s also important to keep your division close to your HQs, which need to be close enough to higher-up HQs as well as the rail lines, from where supply is drawn. This applies to airbases too, which need to keep up with the advance in order to keep the frontlines covered.
Rumanians enter the fray
As we connected with the Rumanian border, and as the AI is completely unable to throw us back, we have a new ally in the war. Though in the general the units don’t count for much when it comes to fighting power, early on in the war they are a match for the Soviets. Further on, they can hold a defensive line later on in the war. But again, our War in the East AAR isn’t that far quite yet.
For starters, they cross the old border and start taking hexes. Their first order is to head for Odessa, opening up the rail line. The single railroad repair unit here is useful as we lead on to Rostov a dozen turns from now.
There are some Soviet units at the border, which will remain engaged. We’re unable to surround them on the second turn, but they should be eliminated in the turns to follow.
At the end of the second turn the Soviet losses stand at roughly 800 000 men, with 400 000 added this turn. For the Axis the losses are some 33 000 men. That’s not a lot…but it’s worth noting that at this point the Axis are mobilising some 25 000 men a turn, so we’re already running a deficit. The Soviets on the other hand are pulling in some 200 000 men a turn.
Engaging the next enemy line
For the third turn, the Axis are going to be moving forwards towards the enemy line. The panzers are already suffering from supply issues. Luckily they only need to advance a handful of hexes to make contact, and they can then wait a turn to perfect their supply situation.
The panzer forces will also be conducting some HQ build-ups to deliver extra supplies to the units. A few lucky units will also benefit from our fleet of transport planes delivering some fuel. It’ll be a pittance compared to their needs though.
Clearing further pockets
The first turn saw the destruction of some 50 enemy units. The second one added 150 more units to that. On the third turn, there are a couple of smaller pockets that are cleared up, as well as the remains of the Lvov pocket…well, in theory. In reality, the Lvov pocket holds another turn.
Even so, this adds a further 30 units destroyed and some 150 000 men’s to the total losses, which now exceed one million men 15 000 guns, 7000 AFVs, 2500 SP&AC and 4600 airframes.
The rest of the action is rather uneventful, with the units simply moving en masse, converging on their goals. The Soviets on their part are building up their lines in Pskov, Smolensk, Kiev and Odessa.