Tag Archives: Soviet War Diary

Storm from the Northwest – Days 2 and 3

Day two of the Soviet Winter offensive in the Northwest saw X, II and VIII Infantry Korps under heavy pressure along the whole of the line. By this stage of the war, German defensive positions had formalised into an outlying belt of minefields studded with MG42 nests, then a main defensive line backed by a reserve line, all of some considerable depth such that they could not all be carried in the same attack.

II Korps Artillery II Korps artillery in the reserve line supports the failing defensive line of Lt Gen von Seydlitz-Kurzbach’s distinguished 12 Infantry Division.

Soviet doctrine was evolving to cope, and although not as tactically proficient as they would become later in the war, the early desperate days of throwing waves of unsupported infantry in to the attack were giving way to more coordinated offensives with artillery and tank support. They would attack along a line, then ruthlessly reinforce success, leaving failing attacks to flounder. Thus it was that Lt Gen Wandel found pressure on his 121 Infantry Division slackening as troops were diverted to support the break-in to 32 Infantry Division‘s main defensive positions.

This attack had been preceded by violent assaults on two flanks against the distinguished 12 Infantry Division veterans of Lt Gen von Seydlitz-Kurzbach. The division fell back in good order, having sustained intolerable casualties in the first day of the attack.

Northwest Front 05The vital rail junction on the divisional boundary of 32  and 121 Infantry Divisions , looking southwest, before  coming under heavy Soviet attack

This relief was, however, only temporary. Day three of the offensive saw renewed pressure on this sector of the defensive line to break open the main railway to VELIKIYE LUKI (Великие Луки)

121 Inf Div Main Defensive LineAll along the northern half of the line, German infantry were falling back to their reserve positions; most in good order but some in disarray. Soviet flags could be seen fluttering over the main line, and in the odd quiet moment balalaika and accordion music could be heard!

More to follow …

The Attack Develops on Day 3Link to the map

Game Notes:

1.More of this battle from the Soviet side can be seen on YesthatPhil’s P.B.Eye Candy Blog

2. This game was planned for Trebian’s 5×11 foot table at Shedquarters. My pasting table is a quarter of the size, so although the length is adequate, depth has been compressed by half.

3. The marked roads are also railways, which is why a Chibi armoured train is parked at the southern end of the track by VYSHNY VOLOCHYOK Вышний Волочек.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Artillery, Axis War Diary, Eastern Front, infantry, Soviet Army, Soviet War Diary, Wehrmacht, WWII

Storm Forecast from the Northeast

Northwest Front - Opening Stages

The miserable stalemate of the Rasputitsa on the Northwest Front was broken with the first hard frosts of winter. This offensive had been expected for some time, but the ferocity of the assault caught the German line by surprise, and soon reports of heavy fighting were flooding in to X, II and VIII Infantry Korps Headquarters in volumes that told of an assault along the whole defensive line north of VYSHNY VOLOCHYOK Вышний Волочек.

Northwest Front 03

126 Infantry Division* fought off attacks from militia troops identified as belonging to 30 Rifle Division supporting the northern flank of 31 Rifle Division. The Soviets had blocked the north-south railway from MOSCOW to LENINGRAD, and repeated counterattacks had failed to dislodge them in the previous month.

Northwest Front Rail Crossroad

12** and 32*** Infantry Divisions came under heavy pressure that the whole of X and VIII Korps Artillery could not relieve. These positions began to crumble as 34 Rifle Division  penetrated the forests in front of them.

Link to the map

To be continued …

Notes:

*126 Infantry Division was commanded by the newly promoted commander of its 422 Infantry Regiment – Maj Gen Hopper.

** 12th Infantry Division distinguished itself in Poland and France.

*** 32nd Infantry Division was known as the Löwe (Lion) division and also had an excellent reputation.

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Filed under 15mm Miniatures Wargames, Axis War Diary, Eastern Front, Land Battles, Soviet Army, Soviet War Diary, Wargames, WWII