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Panzer Campaigns:  Smolensk '41

Expansion Pack Scenario Overview

 

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Last Train to Vitebsk
Gorodok, 18km N of Vitesbk: Just two days into the renewed German drive into Russia, and General Yeremenko of the Soviet High Command knew his troops were in trouble. "Gain time, stop the eastward rush of the German tanks! Build up a line of defence whatever the cost!" was the order he had been given. And so began the shift of the 19th Army via rail from southern Russia to Vitebsk. The Russian regiments leapt from their railcars straight into action against 7th and 12th Pz Divisions. But Col Gen Hoth's staff had discovered the plan to use the railroad from a captured Russian officer. They reacted by turning 20th Pz and 20th Motorized Divisions around to the west to smash the Russians from the rear. [1100 sq Km - 10 Turns]

 

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A Surprise for "Fast Heinz"
Dnepr River, 26km S of Orsha: On the morning of the 11th July, 1941, Guderian, "Fast Heinz" to his troops, had decided that the Dnepr had to be crossed with no delay. "Gross Deutschland" Regt with the 10th Panzer Division were to force a crossing and proceed with all haste to secure the North/South highway at Gorki. This scenario poses the question: What if the Russian 5th Mech Corps had been held in reserve as a counter-attacking force and had been equipped with some T-34s and KVs? While this scenario can be enjoyed with the Human playing either side, it was designed with the idea that the Human Player should play the Russian Defenders in this scenario. [2000 sq Km - 14 Turns]

 

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The Strip
Gusino, W of Smolensk along the Orsha-Smolensk Highway: On the 13th July 1941, the 17th Panzer Division had another encounter with the T34. At dawn the leading regiment of 17th Panzer moved into action along the Orsha-Smolensk Highway near Gusino. They went through waving grain crops, across potato fields, and over shrub grown heath. Around 1000 hours contact was made with the enemy. General Yeremenko had brought up some fresh units of the 20th Soviet Army. They were moved into the strategically important strip of land to bar the road to Smolensk, the very road 17th Panzer were now trying to force! This scenario can be played either H2H or vs. the AI from either side, but will provide the most challenge with a Human German against the AI. [500 sq Km
- 12 Turns]

 

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The Road Works
Near Monastyrschina, 51km S of Smolensk: Guderian's 2nd Panzer Gruppe had crossed the Dnepr with comparative ease. His plan was to first cut off the city completely and then encircle it. 10th Panzer Division had encountered little resistance as it moved to cut all communications from the southwest. As dawn broke on the 14th of July, a KampfGruppe was pushing east to cut the highway when it encountered an Independent Tank Regiment on its way to join in a counterattack on 10th Pz. This is a small hypothetical scenario designed to assist players to understand the dynamics of a mobile battle with many options. [800 sq Km - 10 Turns]

 

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The Night 'Shift'
Just south of Smolensk: "Total defence" was the order for the garrison of Smolensk - "hold every building or die!" But this order alone was no match for the cunning assault of the Thuringian 71st Infantry Regiment. Lead by Colonel Thomas, this elite formation swung into action - surveyed the situation and then struck hard at a weak place along the river east of the city, forcing their way into the city using more finesse than force. This is a smaller scenario that highlights this brilliant and lightning maneuver by the superior German troops as is especially enjoyable when played with an Axis Human vs. the AI, or two Human opponents. [700 sq Km - 12 Turns]

 

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Desolate Dump on the Desna
Yelnia, 77km SE of Smolensk: Yelnya has been described in the literature as "a desolate wrecked dump on the Desna!" Yet it gave its name to a sector of front where battles raged for five weeks. Why? It was a road junction almost surrounded by high ground, and represented an important strategic position as a "jumping-off" point to Moscow. Both sides knew this and so, as the battle of encirclement raged in the vicinity north of Smolensk, Guderian pressed forward with the 46th Panzer Corps to occupy this high ground. German aerial reconnaissance discovered the Russians had scraped together what they could and moved to defend this sector. On the night of 20 July the 10th Panzer Division advanced on Yelnya with the SS "Das Reich" Division on its left flank. Their orders were to take Yelnya! [900 sq Km - 18 Turns]

 

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Forward Groups Kachlov
Stadolishche, 75km SE of Smolensk on the road to Roslval: By the 24th of July, the Battle of Smolensk was well into its second phase, with the Germans pressing to close gap and completely encircle the Russian Armies with their mobile Panzer forces. The 46th Panzer Corps had pushed on Yelnya to occupy the high ground for the next phase of the drive to Moscow while the 47th Panzer Corps was taking a well-needed rest. One division, the 17th Panzer was out of action for refit, and the other, the 18th Panzer was regrouping in the area of Pochinok. The infantry of the motorized Gross Deutschland Regiment held the German right flank. Meanwhile, the Infantry Corps (foot and horse bound types) were just struggling to catch up to the advancing army. This was the time the Soviets felt they should counterattack. Group Kachlov formed from the 28th Army was giving the task of striking hard into the German southern flank. History and hindsight has taught us that Russian counterattacks in 1941 were doomed to fail. For this scenario to reflect the events of this two day battle, it should be approached with an aggressive Human as the Russians Player against either the Computer Opponent or another Human Player. [3200 sq Km - 22 Turns]

 

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The Thin Grey Wall
Near Roslval, 100Km SSE of Smolensk: On the 15th August 1941, the German 292nd Infantry Division's regiments were stretched tenuously thin as they attempted to cover their area of responsibility. They were heavily engaged in defensive fighting to hold on to their lines. Lt Gen Kachalov, Commander of the 28th Army, realized that this was his opportunity to punch a hole, with his remaining armor, through the grey cordon surrounding his men. This would enable his battered command to breakout through the hole to escape, and live to fight another day. That is.........if Guderian let it happen! [750 sq Km - 15 Turns]

 

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The Bear Strikes
Yelnya, 60km SE of Smolensk: In late August of 1941, General Zhukov was given the mission of rubbing out the Yelnya Salient. During the early morning hours he launched an attack against the German infantry holding the Yelnya pocket. By this time, the panzers had driven south into the Ukraine. The Soviet 102nd Tank Division carried out the assault with the goal to cut the Smolensk-Yelnya rail line. Henceforth, they could continue pressing south, to bag their own pocket of German infantry, using the same tactics employed on the Red Army. Zhukov was learning fast how "Blitzkrieg" worked! [700 sq Km - 12 Turns]

 

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"General Mud"
Vyazma 190km W of Moscow: By the late hours of 6th October 1941, the spearhead of 10th Panzer Division was only 20 kms SE of Vyazma, struggling through the muddy morass. The weather also made the supply problem more severe. Retreating Russian units skirmished with them continually as they pressed on to Vyazma. No-one knew where the front line was any more. 10th Pz's orders were to finish off the Russian resistance. "Take Vyazma!" [825 sq Km - 18 Turns]