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 Post subject: For your entertainment, a vignette
PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:04 pm 
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Svidrigilov, Part 1

It was October 17, but warmly dressed and lying in the sun, Comrade Corporal Svidrigilov was comfortable. Svidrigilov glanced at his watch. Just after 10 AM. As the designated forward observer for a battery of 76mm infantry guns located on the other side of the Volga, he was given and allowed to own a watch. He carefully rotated it to the inside of his wrist and covered it with his jacket sleeve. To break the watch would probably get him demoted to an ordinary rifleman. He tried not to imagine what would happen should he lose the watch.

Svidrigilov had piled bits of junk and broken masonry all along the roof edge of the Gun Assembly Hall that had been his home for the last week. The junk broke up the clean edge of the factory roof when viewed from below. This made Svidrigilov hard to see, or at least that was the hope. The Germans had pushed into the wreck of the residential area west of Tramvanaya Street only this morning. Probably any snipers had not yet developed such familiarity with the terrain that one small periscope among the clutter of the roof edge would be easily seen. That, too, was a hope.

Svidrigilov peered westward over the roof edge and focused the periscope on grid B9. His old "house," a pile of wooden rubble for the last seven weeks, crawled with nazis. One of them looked like an officer. He had no rank insignia. No one saluted him. But the man moved among the pairs of Germans among the scattered planks and tiles, and two soldiers with some kind of machine gun looked up as the man approached. Therefore: officer or NCO.

Svidrigilov reported to the command center of Major Golenko, Fire Control officer for all artillery available to Stalingrad Front. Talking to the command center could be frustrating because half the staff seemed to imagine that their promotion rested upon their miserliness with ammunition. Sometimes in a moment of weakness Svidrigilov would refer to headquarters as Golovny bol. It sounded a bit like Golenko anyhow. But he only indulged that sort of weakness when he was alone.

Lying down again, Svidrigilov lifted the receiver of his field phone and was rewarded by an immediate connection. Comrade Staski answered. At the sound of Staski's voice, Svidrigilov thought a silent prayer of thanks: "Thank God for Low People in High Places." Staski was the kind of fellow who did NOT hoard ammunition. Staski was the kind of fellow who was very pleased at the thought of 76mm high explosive rounds detonating among clusters of Germans. Once in a while Staski would even call back and ask Svidrigilov to describe the effectiveness of his artillery barrage in great detail. That could be annoying if there were Germans nearby.

Svidrigilov reported: "Target, infantry in wooden house rubble. Grid B9. Several squads, a machine gun, and an officer." Fewer than twenty seconds later, one round crashed into Tramvanaya Street. "OK. Correct west 80 meters and fire for effect." Svidrigilov rolled onto his belly, and raised the periscope again, to observe, and to enjoy.

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 Post subject: Another vignette
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:48 pm 
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All of these are based on actual DRs in the game. In this bit, P activated the Russian sniper, who panicked a German MG squad. Then P did a sniper check (unsuccessful) with one squad and a leader, and advanced his other squad into the street to CC a Russian concealed squad in shellholes. The Russian squad ambushed as I noted before. So this is one guy in that squad:

Comrade Nikolai, Part 1

Nikolai lay, half covered in dirt, in a shell hole on the north end of Pribayatinskaya Street. He was itchy, cramping, and uncomfortable. Flies kept landing on his face. Trying to enter his nostrils. The Germans had tanks nearby and their clanking sounds drifted around during brief breaks in the sound of machinegun and artillery fire to the southwest.

Lying in a shell hole in a paved road waiting to be squashed by a tank was possibly the stupidest order given by his squad leader in Nikolai's 16 week army career. Everyone calls the squad leader Tchaikovski because he is vocally patriotic to the point of self-parody, and also bombastic, and repetitious. Nikolai neither knows nor cares about his squad leader's actual name. Yet here lies Nikolai, under orders, ready to defend the motherland from panzers, and armed with a bolt action rifle. Moisin-Nagant made decent rifles, but not decent enough to stop tanks.

Forty meters now. Three squads of Germans. Another damnable machine gun. Consternation among the Germans. A sniper at least half a kilometer south has engaged, and the Germans are dropping to the ground, looking for a source. Now thirty meters as one German squad breaks off to maneuver. Now twenty. Now ten. Now five. Now three of the Germans are past him. Nikolai tries not to blink. A fly lands on his lip and charges into his right nostril. Shit!

"Heroes Attack!" cries Tchaikovski. Nikolai rises, fires two quick shots, drops two nazis, and dashes for the building east of the road. The squad reassembles, winded. No one is missing. Tchaikovski is the last one to enter the room. He stopped to finish off the wounded Germans with a bayonet. Somehow, the German machinegun squad overlooked him. Nikolai supposed that was the sniper's doing. Nikolai pulled a drink from his canteen and silently toasted Comrade Sniper, whomever and wherever he was.

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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:43 pm 
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Here is a quick map of points of contact. Number inside oval is how long I want to hold the oval. I think those are realistic goals. Near "2" P will need to move carefully to avoid my 70mm FFEl. So it's one turn to move up carefully and another turn to try to drive me out. All his effort is concentrated in the NW edge near Tramvanaya Street.

So far he has not shown his PzIIIs. IMO that's a mistake. You need them to freeze Russian infantry when you move in. But he's worried about having them recalled if he uses them I guess. Or maybe he's worried that my hidden 45LL antitank guns are located in places that can burn them. Which they are. But that threat never really goes away.


Attachments:
17 Oct End Rus Turn 2.png
17 Oct End Rus Turn 2.png [ 1.64 MiB | Viewed 184 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:25 pm 
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Turn 3-4 In which the Germans discover that wire is tangley.

During the German player turn, prep fire is desultory and ineffective. Likewise during German Defensive Fire. That is because every turn the Russians move out of contact during the Russian movement phase, leaving the Germans with nothing really to shoot at save for the ghosts that might be lurking in the upper levels of buildings. During the Russian Advance Phases, they move back in, concealed. Private Nikolai's squad has been revolving in and out of the W1 wooden building. Shoots during the Russian DFPh of the German turn, falls back to X0 of the Russian turn, and gains concealment during Close combat because he's out of sight. During the same advance phase, a second Russian concealed sqyad in X0 advances into W1 during the Russian advance phase. The general tactic is referred to by ASL grogs as "Skulking." My tactic in W1-X0 is what I call a "rotary skulk dispenser."

Most of the best German support weapons begin the turn west of Tramvanaya Street so the double rr track blocks their view. P spends a lot of time shooting at L1 windows east of Tramvanaya Street, where I have no hidden squads. During movement, two German squads get hung up on the wire in E5. (They get so hung up, they stay there through German movement Turn 4!) P brings in a Pz III to try to scrape the wire away and fails. The PZ does not bog, but the tank's smoke discharger abley provides some concealment for the boys on top of the wire. Thr Russian 70mm FFE continues in B9,, breaking a squad and eventually casualty reducing it. A German squad advances into v0 Board edge half hex) and winds up broken by the Russian sniper again. Interestingly, the same sniper does the same thing to ANOTHER German squad, same hex, during Russian Turn 4. A German 1/2 squad enters into close combat with a Russian 5-2-7 smg squad in the anti-tank ditch in A-11. The two wind up in melee, and the Russian wins the melee during Russian Turn 3. The Russian 70mm keeps relentlessly pounding through Russian Turn 4 (succeeding at yet another battery access card draw, leaving 3 black and 2 red now in the deck). Ultimately, P loses another 1/2 squad, and best of all his 9-2 leader there is wounded (and broken). With the exception of one german squad with an MMG, located in B-10, the portion of the German attack dedicated to pushing south along the west side of Tramvanaya Street goes to pieces.

P drops an FFE of 80mm offboard arty on the I-6 2-story bldg, which is fortified. He reveals a Russian 2-2-8 crew on Level 1, and breaks a Russian 4-4-7 squad on ground level (but the same squad self-rallies in Russian Turn 4 Rally Phase). During German Turn 3 the 45LL gun on L1 takes shots at the PzIII that moved to E5, hits it, but does not penetrate. In German Turn 4 the tank disappears from the gun''s view, driving into Bypass on the SW hex edge of F5 (locking up the Russians in F5 via Bypass Freeze). Fortunately as noted before, the Germans in E5 stay hung up on the wire, so the Russians, while exposed, are not revealed or shot out.

For several tursn beginning Turn 1, P creeped across the debris field on the north edge of the map, rows J-N. These are finally adjacent to the J6-K6 stone rubble, and the l6-N6 long building, all occupied by Russians. The Russian 45LL starts a rate tear during Russian Turn 3 that lasts until I malf the gun in Russian Prep Fire Turn 4. P-s attack is completely brokwen up, with 1.5 squads shot out and one breaking for the rear. He manages to get one German squad into CC in N5, German Turn 4, but a Melee results. Because the German in N5 is observed by Conscripts in Reserve in O7, these activate and move forward. The conscripts and a Russian squad in M5 open up on the combat, firing indiscriminately into the close range Russian-German brawl. The German squad breaks under the fire. The Russian squad does not. During Russian Turn 4 Advance Phse, the melee is reinforced by the Russian in M5 and the Close Combat Phase ends with the German squad eliminated.

By the end of Turn 4, P has the Germans in good force along the E5-E9 hex row ready to move into the NW corner of the factory complex, and I am quite sure I don't wish to exchange point blank fire with German MMGs and HMGs with good leaders. So my plan is to slowly fall back into the next good defensible position there H8-9 I8-9 stone buildings and rubble, where I have an HMG of mine own with a good leader.

The Stukas arrived in German Turn 4, but there is only one of them. In German Defensive Fire Turn 4 it casualty reduces (by strafing) a Russian squad in K-9. On the map right now I have a malfed Russian MMG, a malfed Russian 50mm mtr, and a malfed Russian 45LL antitank gun, On the whole, however, no complaints. When it was shooting the 45LL did very good work, and the MMG kept Germans stepping and fetching for a while.

As to my "how long can I hold this ground" ovals on the map, all goals have succeeded so far. I figure P has maybe one more company to bring onto the map. So I'm not nearly out of the woods for the current CG day. But so far I've limited his gains and minimized my own casualties.

Current score: The Germans hold 2 of 15 needed Stone Locations to claim a terrain victory. The Russians are ahead on the body count though. Four CVP dead Russians, 12 CVP dead Germans, plus a wounded 9-2 German leader and that is a very good thing because he could be sent home, and even so only functions as a crippled (half movement) 8-1.

I'd like to get the MMG repaired. That'd be a good thing. Also, P moving into N5 did put three reserve conscript squads into play, so I have more bodies in contact now than when I started the day.

Pix to follow later today.

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"And the story was whatever was the song what it was." - Dire Straits


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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:52 pm 
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Pix. Clockwise from the intersection of Skulpturnaya St and Tramvanaya St.


Attachments:
WCentral end turn 4.jpg
WCentral end turn 4.jpg [ 297.6 KiB | Viewed 175 times ]
n central end turn 4.jpg
n central end turn 4.jpg [ 318.93 KiB | Viewed 175 times ]
northeast end turn 4.jpg
northeast end turn 4.jpg [ 289.24 KiB | Viewed 175 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:27 pm 
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Looks like the Master is giving lessons - but is the Student learning !!??
:)

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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:51 pm 
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Hard to know.

The day ended at the end of Turn 7. The fact that the game went 7 turns made it a Germany victory on the day, because the Germans got 17 of the required 15 stone locations, three of them in German advance phase Turn 7. It was a Pyrrhic Victory though. The Russians lost 16 CPP dead Russians... three 5-2-7 SMG squads, 2 4-4-7 1st line rifle squads, 2 4-3-6 conscript squads, 1 cre, and two conscript half squads. The Germans lost 23 CPP dead Germans, including a 9-2 leader and most of a full Rifle Company. Also, on the last turn I immobilized one of the PzIIIs using an SMG squad in close combat..

That means that at the end of the CG day he has two companies more or less of survivors in contact, to my four. That in turn means he has to spend most of his CPP purchasing 1st line infantry. I figure he buys a rifle company, some artillery, and some concealments, or else he buys two rifle companies, and maybe some concealments.

I diced up 17 CPP to repurchase stuff. I chose an antitank gun battery, shpiles of wire and minefields, an 80mm OBA, a 120mm OBA, and a militia company. I'm either carrying 1CPP to the next day or preregistering the 120mm because it would get an extra black card (and already has plentiful ammo, so it could potentially be an 8-2 deck).

I stopped the Germans stone cold on the west side of Tramvanaya Street. He did not take any buildings south of his entry hexes. It's going to get uglier because that Antitank Ditch in A-11 will have wire in it when we start the next day, and maybe some antipersonnel mines (6 factor) so he has to take a minefield attack when he enters the hex, a minefield attack when he enters the trench, and a minefield attack when he tries to move under the wire. Then another if he survives all that and tries to move or advance out. The next hex in, B11, is a wooden building with an 8 factor minefield. C12 will have wire, as will D12. If his immobilized tank stays in C11 I will set up an antitank gun some place where I can blow it up.

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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:44 am 
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With a few days to consider my next CG day purchase I'm reconsidering.

Rather than ATGs I could get infantry guns for the same price. That's handy because the IGs have smoke capability, and far better high explosive. The Russian 45L and 45LL just barely have the penetration to do for a PzIII unless they draw APDS. If I need to roll for special ammo, the 76mm HEAT round works better than the 45L/LL APDS.

If I stick to 80mm rather than 1x80 and 1x120 I can put two infantry companies on the map and still purchase mucho fortifications.

The other great thing about this is if I have some inexpensive smoke capability I can neutralize any potential HMG/MMG kill stack he conjures up. I can't necessarily kill the kill stack, but removing its teeth means his infantry have to go toe to toe with mine and without a whole lot of useful supporting weapons to suppress/kill Russians.

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 Post subject: the numbers game
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:18 pm 
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On 17 Oct the Germans are given 1 module of 80mm, a platoon of Pz IIIs (as many as 3), a Sturm Company and a rifle company, and 15 cpp. Assume that P used the 15 cpp to purchase another rifle company (7 CPP), another module of 80mm (because he was radioing for it and never brought it down, 2 cpp), the stuka (1cpp) and some fortification points (because I blew away lots of concealments, let's call it 1 CPP for dummy 20 conceals).

If all that stuff arrived full strength, he's started with 36 squads and their support weapons, 3 tanks (confirmed by use). He lost 9.5 squads and a 9-2 leader. So he has 26.5 squads remaining at the end, all their SW, two mobile tanks, and one immobilized one.

I started with 2 rifle companies (24 squads plus SW), and an SMG company (9 squads), and purchased two conscript companies (24 squads). I lost 8.5 squads, so I have remaining 48.5 squads. I lost on AT gun crew and the abandoned gun is in a place where he'll capture it so I have one gun remaining. A 45LL.

If I work the math, P used 11 of his 15 CPP so he held some back (which is a mistake, IMO). But he has three or maybe four leftover CPP from day one. That puts him in a position to put a Pionere company on the map (lots of flamethrowers and DCs, which I know he's itching to use) but would only result in his having 34.5 squads. EXCELLENT squads mind you. Qualitatively superior even by a long shot. But that's not going to control a lot of map.

His other option is to buy two rifle companies (24 squads plus their respective SW and leaders). That'd leave him money enough for another module of artillery (not a bad idea) or a German infantry gun section (3 ordinary 75s and a 150mm gun the latter of which is bad ass, the 75s are mediocre ... good HE but no smoke).

If he does that, he gets 50 squads, half of which (roughly) start on map. The others have to move in, but he's still close to the map edge so it's not a bad idea.

I can easily drop 24 squads on the map. Qualitatively inferior in every way but that'd give me 72 squads to his 50 or to his 39. That'd be conscripts on map, a 1st line rifle company on map in reserve (8 cpp), an infantry gun section (four 76* guns that are good at HE and smoke), 2 modules of 80mm OBA, and three CPP of forts (120 FPP). A decent, flexible force. I will keep the guns well to the rear. Their job will be to suppress or kill Level 1 German MG kill stacks. The Offboard arty's job will be to break up German concentrations as they attack in order to slow them down and pick them off. I will make two tough nuts that will use up alot of his concentration... his mental awareness if you will... to crack.

In this way, I hope to delay the Germans from taking too much ground and try to inflict roughly 1:1 casualties. I know I'm gonna lose lots of Russians on 18 Oct. The key is to try to draw out pound for pound in squad losses. I don't have to win the campaign in a day, so I will bug out if he caves in one section of my defense, and I will have a strong mobile reserve in a factory to react left (west side of factories) or right (northeast side of factories) as needed.

Anything I assign to the porcupine near the intersection of Skulpturnaya St and Tramvanaya St. will probably be a write off, so the trick there is to kill alot quickly and then bug out unless he avoids trying to take the building. But if he attacks strongly there, I think I have to set the B12 building on fire and leave.

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 Post subject: Re: New Stalingrad ASL
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:28 pm 
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I looked into it, the Luftwaffe did a far better job than the siege artillery just weeks earlier at Sevastopol. Which is a striking precedent in other ways, the Heer and Luftwaffe had very current experience assaulting fortified positions, had just had a lessons learned on new techniques like the Goliath remote-control and the value of siege arty in the first place, had used a mine to blow up and unassailable fort (->Mamayev Kurgan hill and Red October in Stalingrad).

Sevastopol:
Quote:
The Luftwaffe had to compensate for the Axis artillery limitations. A powerful air armada was brought together. Under the 8th Air Corps, von Richthofen assembled six Kampfgruppen (Bomber Groups) originating from six different Kampfgeschwader (Bomber Wings): KG 51 Edelweiß, KG 76, KG 100, and III.Gruppe/LG 1 specialist training wing. Dive-bomber support from StG 77 was also given to Richthofen. He could call upon three gruppen of Ju 87s. Jagdgeschwader (Fighter Wings) JG 3 Udet and JG 77 Herz As were available for air superiority operations. II.Gruppe/KG 26 Löwe was also available for anti-shipping operations, in addition to the air-land effort carried out by the 8th Air Corps.[10]


...
Quote:
Air offensive[edit]
Manstein demanded an all-out assault by the Luftwaffe before the main ground action began. Situated only 70 km from Sevastopol, the German formations had barely enough time to reach altitude before reaching their targets. The 8th Air Corps began its bombing campaign along the north and southeast of the city. At the same time, German medium bombers conducted rolling attacks on the city, which included all units except LG 1, which engaged in suppressing anti-aircraft installations. Oil, electricity, water pumps, harbor facilities, and submarine bases were attacked by StG 77 Ju 87s. Von Richthofen watched the bombing from an observation post close to the front. The targets were badly damaged, and fires broke out all over the port city. The Luftwaffe flew 723 missions and dropped 525 tons of high explosive on the first day. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire, just one Ju 87 was lost.[34]

While the bulk of the Luftwaffe was busy with the land battle, III./KG 26 sought to break Soviet sea communications. They sank the tanker Mikhail Gromov, but the flotilla leader Tashkent, the destroyer Bezuprechnyy, and transport Abkhaziya escaped to bring 2,785 soldiers into the fortress. Air support continued with 643 sorties on 3 June, 585 on 4 June, and 555 on 5 June, with some German crews flying daily averages of 18 missions.[35] By the start of the ground attack on 7 June, the Luftwaffe had flown 3,069 sorties and 2,264 tons of high explosive and 23,800 incendiary bombs were dropped. Many of the bombs dropped were 1,000 kg SC 1000, 1,400 kg SC 1400, and 2,500 kg SC 2500 bombs. The heavy-caliber weapons were aimed at Soviet concrete bunkers. Ivan Laskin, commanding the 172nd Rifle Division in the northern sector recalled, "Bombers in groups of twenty to thirty attacked us without caring for their targets. They came in, wave after wave, and literally ploughed up the earth throughout our defence area".[35] From 3 to 6 June, the Luftwaffe carried out 2,355 operations.[34]

On 7 June, Manstein ordered the ground assault. The Luftwaffe carried out 1,368 sorties and dropped 1,300 tons of bombs on Soviet positions, but the Soviet infantry clung on.[35]

...
Quote:
Despite shortages of aviation fuel and ordnance, the Luftwaffe had played a significant part in the success of the German operations. From 13 June, up until 17 June, it flew 3,899 sorties and dropped 3,086 tons of bombs. This average of 780 sorties per day was only a slight drop from the opening 11 days.[49] Massed sorties were made on the city of Sevastopol itself. Bombing targeted hangars, port facilities, flak and artillery batteries, barracks, supply depots with high explosive bombs. Most of the city was engulfed in flames. The smoke rose to 1,500 meters and stretched as far as Feodosiya, 150 kilometers away.[50]

...
Quote:
The Luftwaffe had contributed 4,700 sorties in seven days up until 26 June. They dropped 3,984 tons of bombs. The daily average sorties had decreased 15 percent from the week before and 10 percent the week before that. The increasing operational readiness (49.8 to 64.5 percent) revealed the severity of bomb and fuel shortages.[55] Von Wild, despite the withdrawal of some Geschwader for Operation Blue, did succeed in bringing in much needed reinforcements to bring the strength levels up to a standard not seen since the start of the offensive. The Luftwaffe continued the intense bombardment. On 26 June, its attacks supporting XXX Corps, devastated Soviet defences on the Sapun Ridge. It was the last Soviet defensive line between the Axis and Sevastopol.[56]

Axis land, sea and air offensive: 29 June[edit]
Fall of Sevastopol: 30 June – 4 July[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Sevastopol_(1941–42)#Unternehmen_St.C3.B6rfang


But: the Soviets were not just preparing their assault armies for Uranus but were also contesting the air at Stalingrad with maximum effort.

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