Turns out that I was right in my last post. After turn seven, things are in the falling action portion of the campaign.
The encirclement that I had set up during turn seven was not as effective as I had planned. The Soviets were able to rush infantry into the gap between one of the armored elements and one of the motorized elements of the 3rd Panzer Group, creating a supply line to their previously isolated units:
Despite the Soviet resupply effort, I was still able to rout the previously pocketed units and complete my swing to the north with the two panzer divisions. Feeling bold, I attempted an additional encirclement around Vyazma, which would allow me to capture one of the few outstanding victory cities. If successful, it would also set up a drive on Kaluga, which would definitely put me in major victory territory.
Meanwhile, a solid line forms in the south. In retrospect, I am probably keeping too many units south of the main fighting. Given that I do not have to worry about the Soviets diverting units from the area south of me in this scenario, the line of units in front of Bryansk may be a little more than necessary:
At the beginning of turn nine my forces are posed to sweep into Vyazma and make a push on both Rzhev in the north and Kaluga in the south. The concentration of troops around Moscow is probably too tough a nut to crack in the limited time I have left, but controlling the remaining victory hexes should be more than sufficient to ensure a major victory.
In the north, the infantry close the pocket around Vyazma, eliminating a number of Soviet infantry divisions and taking the city. After the infantry has done its work, the armored and motorized elements of the 3rd Panzer Group move towards Rzhev and drive out the few Soviet divisions guarding it after a number of attacks. Rzhev is now reasonably secure.
In the south, the 2nd Panzer Group, along with the support of the infantry army, was able to capture the last remaining (non-Moscow) victory hex, Kaluga.
At the end of turn nine, Soviet losses were approaching 1.5 million, while axis losses were a little above 60,000.
Turn ten was ultimately a turn of consolidation. Moscow was not going to be an option, though I attempted a thrust with some of my armored units (given that it was the last turn, there was little to lose. When that failed, I attempted to establish a unified line, and was able to do so. No real victories this turn, although Orel is posed to fall in the near future.
At the end of turn ten, Soviet losses had finally surpassed 1.5 million, while Axis losses remained below 70,000.
With control of all victory cities except Moscow, and a substantial advantage in casualty ratio, a major victory was assured.
I really enjoyed this scenario. I should probably up the difficulty level though, because the lower difficulty levels seem relatively easy, once you approach the scenario with a modicum of planning. I will post, over the next couple of days, my analysis of my play in this game, as well as a review of War in the East.