Friday, 29 July 2016

Operation 'Uran' - Uranus

 All along the front of Romanian 3rd Army the sound of Stalin's Organ can be heard announcing the attack!
The Romanian positions come under a deluge of explosive

 Trenches collapse. Dugouts cave in. The rockets drop out of a white sky to smash the frozen ground along the length of the defenses

 And if the screaming shells weren't enough then the shouts of 'Huzzah!' from thousands of throats wash over the enemy. The sound of impending doom
 Ski troops...
 ...swing out to find a way through the defence
 Meanwhile, more cavalry...
 ...and infantry assault frontally
 On they come, between the katyushas, on over the snow
 The Romanians have woken up and are replying as fast as their frozen fingers with allow

 but still the Russians come on
 Little kate plays her mournful wail over and over
 On the receiving end the Romanians find themselves with a target rich environment
 but their front line is pretty chewed up
'Hmmm, this is acceptable'
 The Political Commissar is ecstatic
 Add to the cacophony the squeal of tracks and strain of diesel engines. T34's designed with the Russian climate in mind, bound over the steppe, rider jumping down to run alongside and get the cover advantage
 Fast and silent the ski troops advance
 This gun crew are not feeling very confident...
 ...but the Russians are. This is Mother Russia on the move. Snow is Russia's element and great ally. Great armies have perished here before...and will again
'Go on, have a look' - 'What! no, YOU take a look!'
 Romanian MG position considers its tactical options
 Tchanka MMG wagons accompany the cavalry as heavier mobile support
 Old and new military techniques, armour and cavalry, have a place in the Russian order of battle. No useful tool is left out of Russia's vast arsenal of men, animals and machines
 ...and relentless, ruthless determination...
will see them close with and destroy the enemy...unless they get better dice?

Next time: Contact! - up close and personal.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Stalingrad - General Winter

 20, 30, 40 below zero. Firing pins become brittle and snap. Sentry go is 30 minutes any more is certain death. Oil freezes in weapons and sumps. The burning heat and thirst rasping dust of summer is long gone...General Winter has arrived...
KO's from the high point of the German advance become markers on local maps. Registered points to MFC's and observers...
 The marshalling yard is a barren waste...
 ...any shelter is at at premium...
 ...snow and ice cling to everything...
 Forlorn, the equipment stands solid and good, yet the crew stolidly look to the front through the visors with glazed unseeing eyes never to register anything again, preserved in a sheen of frost
 To touch metal with an ungloved hand is to lose the flesh
 The Volga, frozen into a concrete like highway, now supplies the defenders needs.

 On the flanks of the city the steppe is even colder...then add the wind chill effect

The Romanian Army, short of everything but complaints, waits out the unforgiving ice offensive in the hope of surviving until the Spring. All is quiet. Too quiet...