Michael Eckenfels, 17 October 2021
Random Event: Disease Spreads! I need to reshuffle the cards and add +2 to the Wounded total, bringing it up to 5.
Weather Determination: I draw a card – surprise, it’s Poor.
click images to enlarge
Given the trickle of supply…food, fuel, ammo, and so on, it’s no surprise that our supply of medicine has also been dropping. The recent combat around the Pocket and the deplorable conditions everywhere breed disease, and it’s starting to impact our men. Our wounded count is starting to skyrocket.
Here’s the current state of the tracks (note that the Turn marker should be on 4, not hovering above 3).
Luftwaffe Commitment: I rolled a 3; with the SSI at 8 and a +1 modifier, that’s a 4, so it’s an Average commitment from the flyboys this turn.
Relief Force Commitment: I rolled a 6, so we don’t need no stinkin’ SSI modifier. That’s a Strong commitment from Hoth.
Determine German Morale Level: We’re still at 35 – that’s 32 in locations + 3 for Hoth’s location for a total of 35. That’s good, because…
Determine Initiative Points: …that 35 morale means we get 7 IPs again. However, since we have 5 Wounded, we have to subtract 1 IP. So, we have 6 total.
Resolve Airlift: I rolled a 5, giving us 3 Supply. That brings our total to 5.
Conduct Unit Upkeep: And just as quickly, it goes buh-bye, as I use all 5 Supply to upkeep all German units in the Pocket.
Stalingrad Solitaire is published by Canvas Temple Publishing
Our supply situation remains grave, but the Luftwaffe’s transports are at least keeping us with the bare minimum of food and other necessities. All of us in the HQ group try to get out into the front line as much as possible…at least, I do, because you can only look at maps so much to get a ‘feel for the land,’ and while we don’t have a lot of fuel, there’s enough to tour the lines. One particular place that stuck out to me is the easternmost point of our Pocket, inhabited by the 29th Panzergrenadier Division. I visited with them for a bit, finding them in high spirits despite the ruinous losses they suffered in the campaign…
(Sometimes referred to as the 29th Motorized Division) Formed in 1934-35 by the expansion of the 15th Infantry Regiment of the old Reichswehr, it initially included the 15th, 71st, and 86th Infantry Regiments. Its personnel were mainly from Thuringia, with draftees from other parts of Germany. It became a motorized unit in 1937-38 and gave up the 86th Motorized Infantry Regiment to the 10th Panzer Division in the summer of 1939. The division fought hard in Poland and distinguished itself in the German drive to the English Channel in 1940. The “Falcon Division,” as it was nicknamed, performed in an outstanding manner in all of its battles. Crossing into Russia in 1941, it fought in the Bialystok and Minsk encirclements, in the Dnieper crossings, at Smolensk, Kharkov, the Don crossings, and at Stalingrad… (Hitler’s Legions, pp. 404-05)
Michael’s Stalingrad Solitaire AAR will be running on Sundays
Perform Actions, including Appeals: First off, we need to clear that Wounded marker. Five Wounded can be evacuated from the Pocket by spending one IP, so that’s our first Action. We have five IPs left.
Next, I’m going to have to do another Airlift Appeal. I get very lucky and roll a 6, giving us +3 Supply. The more, the merrier. That’s another IP; we’re down to 4.
The state of the 297th Infantry Division in the middle of the southern part of the Pocket worries me; it is a depleted unit, so one hit and it’s history. I spend the remaining four IPs to build a full defensive works around it, to mitigate that issue.
Having returned from the ‘Falcon’ division and reporting on my observations, I also mentioned how thin the 297th Infantry Division was in the southern sector of the line. That too worried the HQ staff, especially von Paulus, whom ordered every effort be made to build effective defensive works there.
Resolve German Attacks: Hahahahaha, no.
Resolve Hoth Relief Force Attack: With a Strong commitment from Hoth’s force, I only need a 4, 5, or 6 on a d6 for them to Advance. And I roll a 6! Hoth is now one step closer to the Pocket.
Just noting very quickly – Hoth’s panzers have made it past that damnable river, inflicting a sharp defeat on the Soviet Guards army blocking their way! They are now almost to the Pocket, and our units along the southern edge report seeing flashes and hearing the boom of their tank guns. If this keeps up, it won’t be long, now!
Status of Final Offensive: I draw a “+1/0” card for this. The “0” part counts if the SSI is 8 or higher; as it is exactly 8, the Soviets do not advance their plans for their final offensive. The situation across Army Group South remains relatively stable despite their general counteroffensive across the board.
Determine Soviet Target Areas: I draw “Even” for this, meaning all even-numbered Areas get attacked.
The summary of the results is as follows.
All attacks fail, though they do manage to generate 2 Wounded for us.
Modify Strategic Situation Index: Despite the Relief Force’s commitment being Strong and therefore giving a +1 modifier to this roll, I rolled a 3. Modified to 4, that’s zero movement in the SSI for the second straight turn.
Our most recent HQ – Army Group conference, while not full of good news, has had good moments. Army Group A in the Caucasus has managed to hold on despite being forced to retreat a short distance. Army Group B, our ‘parent,’ has stabilized the lines. Hoth’s relief force can be seen battling in the distance. One more good push from them and they might make it to our southern peremiter! If only the supply situation were better – we’re at least holding on to a very small stockpile now, but who knows how long that will last. Despite this, we’re holding on to all parts of the Pocket, and are succeeding in evacuating the wounded in a timely manner.
What happens next? See you next week!
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