Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ukraine '43 (GMT) ~ "Campaign Game" Part 2

Game: Ukraine '43 (GMT)
Scenario: Campaign Game
Participants: Bob H, Myself
Time: Sunday, Mar 13th ~ 2.30PM - 5.00PM

The weather in St Louis decided to remind us that Winter still had one or two more swings left this past Sunday as Bob and I returned to U43. As I sat down to do my turn prior to Bob getting here I found that I wasn't entirely unhappy with how the first couple of turns had went. Bobs dice had been very bad throughout the entire first two turns and he had taken twice as many losses as I had. One thing that we had blown was that I failed to reduce 4 mechanized steps prior to play (this represents the Kursk losses yet made good). So as I took these now I found that there was a small up side, it took a couple of my Panzer Corps from 4 steps to three, thus getting me back on the magnitude 1 column. To date my Panzer Corps had not done much except plug lines and get in Bobs way when he tried to widen a hole in the exploitation phase.

Northern Shoulder, start of Turn 3
The Southern Front, start of Turn 3

Turn 3

Bob moved Zhukov in NE of Stalino to try and compress the bulge in his line. I had kept a corridor open here with heavy reinforcements and two of my three Panzer Corps. I wanted to make him pay the price in attacking the fortified line for as long as possible. The Donets River was also aiding me in this effort as it slowed Bobs reinforcement North of the little Bulge. Sure enough in his opening attack in this region he paid a heavy price for the hex, loosing four steps to my two.

Zhukov Opens the Turn in the South

Bob also had several attacks NE of Kharkov. These either bled my line units or forced them back off this initial line. This also triggered my pulling back the three Infantry Divisions holding the tri-angled River line directly East of Kharkov, somewhat shortening my line. Bob also made several attacks near Sumi. This sector was getting interesting as he was able to get the 5TK back into supply and in turn put my 327ID out of supply. Sumi fell yielding a VP to Bob, but the line North of Sumi sustained an attack and I was able to get some fortifications built.
Turn 3 Russian Attacks Around Kharkov
Bob's Comments:

I continue my attacks with Zhukov in the south.  Steve has sent reinforcements to this area which is fine with me as that means less in the more important area around Kharkov to the North. I take heavy casualties but steadily grind away.  To the North East of Kharkov I force Steve back and move ever closer to the City.  Because of the poor results last turn I am unable to exploit my success West of Kharkov.  A lucky die roll at Sumi results in its fall giving me needed VP's.  Steve is not voluntarily giving up any fortified zone hexes making attacks very bloody.

Turn 4

With the fall of Sumi in the North I am now hard pressed to keep my line intact. Bob is able to push me out of Byelopoly, the site of some German heroics on turn 2. Bob is unable to eliminate the surrounded 327th though. Bob pushes out and I see my first chance to hit back in my turn. I attack with the 48Pz and force a reduced Russian Infantry Corps to flee. The 327 starts its breakout and in my subsequent combat phase I widen the hole in Bobs line. The Luftwaffe comes to the aid of the 327th and I am able to get them back in supply, avoiding an isolation roll and setting back Bobs offensive tempo in this sector of the front (I think at least).

The situation at the start of German Turn 4
Counter-Attack; the 48Pz opens the line allowing the 327th ID to escape
Meanwhile near Stalino we have some serious drama. Bob tries to cut off the remaining two Infantry Divisions in the Donets Bulge with a concerted attack on the 3rd PD. The attack fails and the 3rd is able to erect fortifications. Had this attack succeeded I would have been in trouble here, having two ID's cut off.

3rd PD keeps the pocket open under intense pressure
Bob's Comments:

Steve's counter attack around Sumi is effective and he is able to get the 327th Inf out of danger.  In the South I attempt to isolate two German infantry divisions with an attack on the 3rd Panzer, the dice fail me again.  Had this been successful I think things in the South would have opened up quite a bit.

Turn 5

Things finally start to loosen up for Bob in the North. My line North of Kharkov starts to fail and Bob makes some good progress here. I rush the GD in to help hold this key city. Bob is able to extract his revenge on the 327th ID, eliminating it in his primary combat phase

Turn 5 Russian Attacks
Kharkov Sector at the end of Russian Turn 5
Bob has completely kicked my off the starting line from Kharkov all the way North. Thus sector of the front is very fluid now. I do have some strong units in and around Kharkov at least.

Meanwhile in the South, the reduction of the Donets Pocket continues. I am able to pull the 46th and 333rd IDs back through the gap held open by the 3rd PD. Here it feels like I am hanging on by my fingernails.

The Donets Pocket being reduced
Bobs has caught up in the casualty department, currently he's lost 45 steps to my 27. I have lost then 17 steps in the last three turns, up dramatically over the first two turns where I had only lost 10 steps. The dice were fairly even this time around as well. Bob is clear of the line in the North and will soon be clear of it in parts of the South. He's given up on the extreme Southern front, moving the few mechanized units there up North where he's broken my line. We get together tomorrow night to continue.

Bob's Comments:

North of Kharkov I make some nice progress and send the Germans back toward the City.  I also make progress North West of Kharkov and feel that I am very close to a breakthrough.  In the Donets region i continue to close the bulge but my lack of success last turn will make any breakthrough difficult.  In the German phase Steve has sent some powerful units to the Kharkov area signaling that he will not give up the City without a hard fight.

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