War in the East – The Road to Smolensk – Turn 5

Turn Five opened with the strategic situation largely unchanged:

The Situation at the Beginning of Turn Five

Unfortunately for me, the southern pocket was able to break out, preventing me from forcing the surrender of the troops contained therein. The northern pocket did surrender this turn, however. After using my infantry to crush the units in the south that completed their breakout, I attempted my second large encirclement of the scenario. The motorized and armored elements of the 2nd and 3rd Panzer Groups broke through Soviet lines in the south and north, respectively, and surrounded a large number of Soviet units. Currently, Vitebsk, Mogilev, and Gomel are in Axis hands, while elements of the 3rd Armored division are at the gates of Smolensk.

 

The Pocket at the End of Turn Five

Here are detailed images of the situation in the north:

 

The Situation in the North, Turn Five

And the situation in the south:

 

The Situation in the South, Turn Five

Soviet casualties have now surpassed 600,000, with a little more than 20,000 Axis casualties.

 

Losses, Turn Five

Next turn, the plan is to use the infantry to liquidate the pockets (as usual). After that is completed, the 3rd Panzer Group (light green) will swing north, attempting to cut off the concentration of Soviet armor in the north west (near the 16th Army (purple) infantry) and take Velikie Luki, a victory hex. Remaining elements of the 3rd Panzer Group will form the northern element of the encirclement of the last significant Soviet line. It will attempt to break through the weak northern flank of the line. Meanwhile, the 2nd Panzer Group will attempt to surround the Soviets from the South, focusing on breaking through at the weakened units in Bryansk.

Next Post: The infantry crosses the Dnepr.

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