Saturday, 25 February 2017

Kursk: Part Two - Great Expectations

 Model, commander of 9th Army knows he faces 13th Army in this sector and has every confidence in General of Panzer Troops Harpe to bludgeon his way through to the line of hills and on to Kursk, there to join up with 4th Army and so 'cauldron' the trapped Russians. Having done so Manstein will have completed his objective by shortening the line by a couple of hundred miles and be able to create a reserve on which to build for offensive operations in the east in 1944. He would also have set the Fuhrer's mind at rest by demonstrating to Germany's shaky allies the superiority of German arms and provided German industry with another 500,000 or so Russian slave labourers. Harpe and his XLI Panzer Corps will be getting plenty of aid from the adjoining XXIII  and XLVII Panzer Corps by the addition of 9Pz Div from one and 78 Inf (storm) Div from the other. In due course Army Reserve will be sending 10 Pz Grenadier Div to ice the cake.
But as they cross the streams swollen by the torrential rains all is not as generous as it seems
 Harpe watches from his staff car amongst his HQ entourage and knows the actual strength of his formations...the Divisions are not as they were in the summer of '41. Even at the the new reduced TO&E the Divisions are at half strength at best...
 ...and due to the chronic shortage of infantry, armour and assault guns must do the office of infantry formations. So much artillery has been lost along the way that the Luftwaffe must take up the slack.
 Every barrel is still hot from the pre battle 'hate' and still a little shaken from the anticipatory Russian preemptive stonk...
 Alan C's 210 mm's seeing action for the first time!
 Even so, on the ground, confidence is high among the rank and file
 Two Pz Gren Bn's to the Div. One armoured and one in trucks
 Armour is ok to wade but others make good use of the pontoons laid out in the night
 Traffic queues as they shake out in the dead ground before the gaps cut in the massive minefield belts by the pioneers
 The main armoured assault leads off with two Tiger companies. The third is still on trains coming from training grounds in Germany
 Good job the sappers had cocktail sticks an pritt stick or we'd be stuck...pun intended
Boris - "Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough!"
 Even the big guns will only get shells into the first lines but then the Luftwaffe will have to take over until repositioning can get under way.
"You know Boris, I think they think they ARE hard enough"
"We'll see"
 So far, so good. 9th Pz and 18th Panzer are across with no real difficulties. Ahead of them and waiting for the off, now dawn is up, is 86th Inf Div ready behind their full strength battalion screen of StuG's...
 18th Panzer moves in on the left...
 86 Inf out the front...

...and advancing to contact...

292 Inf Div has yet to appear on the right but is moving. The sky is clearing.  Looks like it might be a nice day...

















18 comments:

  1. I may have spent a little time in the khaki but I think something is brewing and this lot are not forming up to get a train although they probably do want to get to the train station! Looks like all hell is about to be let loose.Can't wait!!! See you Friday

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  2. It might be a nice day with the sun out and all but I get the very strange feeling that will not be how the Russian infantry report things! Lovely set up and several of your shots are reminiscent of the B&W photos of the real war.

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  3. Thanks a lot. I try and take the pics from where you might take one if you were there...obviously not all the time as getting some shots would involve magic or getting killed! No CG involved. I just take snaps as the game goes along.

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  4. That's a lot of armour on one table! Can't wait to see how this pans out.

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  5. Spectacular pictures, impressive and atmospheric terrain and beautiful vehicles...superb!

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  6. Very impressive, inspirational stuff.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  7. I have to say, my money's on Boris for this one.

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