Now to implement my plan.
First, the airbase attacks to weaken the Soviet Airforce. As a relatively new player, I will stick to the default air doctrine, and use the AI to fly the missions. As the loss screen indicates, we managed to do a lot of damage. Total losses for the Axis this turn: 20. Total losses for the Soviets: 944.
Having sent out my airbase strikes, it is now time to put my plan in motion. I will start on the North end of the map. The plan here calls for the two infantry armies to breakthrough the Soviet line and begin the encirclement, with the more mobile panzer group circling around to complete the enclosure. In the interests of encircling the maximum number of units, I will be using the ZOCs of my units to complete the encirclement, rather than relying on a solid wall of units.
My units managed to break through and clear a sizable gap between the encircled Soviets and their reinforcements, although this encirclement is rather small. The larger encirclement awaits in the south. Here is the northern front post-encirclement:
Note the location of the panzer group, as it will be important later.
Now on the southern front. Here the plan calls for the 4th and 9th infantry armies to stay put, while the infantry elements of the 2nd and 3rd panzer groups break through the lines and form the shoulders of the encirclement. The armor and mechanized units of the 2nd and 3rd panzer groups will then exploit, and link up to close the encirclement.
The plan was a success. Not only was I able to encircle a number of Soviet troops, but I was also able to drive forward with elements of the 2nd panzer group, pushing back some forces that could potentially be involved in a counter attack. Here is the southern front, post-encirclement:
At the end of the turn, there are over 89,000 Soviet losses to 2252 Axis losses. Next turn should see a dramatic increase in Soviet losses as I liquidate the pockets.
Next Post: A flaw in my plan becomes clear.