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Rest and rally: the Italian were for the most able to reach back the safe lines; in the 14th Pz Div, only the I/36th Pz Rgmt was able to make it...
Stalingrad seems less easy to catch before autumn.
The glorious soldiers of the 24th and 28th Tank Corps went back behind the Iliukai river, forming a front with newly arrived infantry from Stalingrad and Serafimovitch.
Less news, and bad ones, from Morozovsk... The Russian army draws a first-line front along the Tsinla, the Chir and the Iliukai rivers and a second ine behind.
The first line is stronger and a few food and ammunition has been delivered to Morozovsk.
The 1st Mountain and 76th Inf Div are able to cross the Don river at some few kilometers east from Rostov, while on the West the swamps are taken to the Don flotilla's sailors opening the road to the crossing by the 298th Inf Div and 5th Rumanian Cav Brigade.
Failure of the 16th Pz Div against Morozovsk...
The German and Rumanian troops join on the road to Armavir, encircling totally Rostov.
Strong resistance in Morozovsk, finally taken by the 16th Pz Div, after three new attempts and help from 13th Pz Div and 125th Inf Div.
Consolidation. Rostov is assieged.
Nothing special. The front are almost fixed.
Arrival of the 26th Tank Corps south of Rostov to disperse the cossacks trying to push south.
Bloody retake of Bataysk by the 26th Tank Corps and the 302th Inf Div, permitting to reconnect the city of Rostov, whose western half has been taken by the Panzers of the SS Viking division after massive desertion of the defenders. The NKVD, alone, was crushed by surprise.
Rostov in once more encircled and elements of the SS Wiking Div are chasing the Russian out side. The 3rd Mot Div just crossed the Don on the bridges of the 49th Mountain Corps. The 60th Mot Div keeps guarding the north side of the city.
At Tsimlanskaya, on the East, the 22nd Pz Div bridgehead destroyed the fortified Soviet tank brigade, opening a second road to the South.
German HQ looks at the oil fields...
In order to reduce the pressure on Rostov and across the Don, the Soviet launches two limited offensive. First, the 6th Army from Veshenskaya crosses the Don before the arrival of Rumanian to their riverside. Then, the 66th Army from Serafimovitch attack. With more or less success, the two branches joined cutting two infantry divisions and the Croats from the rest of the Axis line. The Rumanian 6th Army's HQ escaped due to the sacrifice of the cavalry.
The second offensive tried to cross the Tsinla. No progression but the Cossacks and German infantry vanished...
The SS Viking and 3rd Mot Div crossed the Don and began to invade the south bank.
The 24th Pz Div and D'Aosta Italian Div realigned their front in the north.
The Germans too are able to launch side operations to disorganize locally the enemy. The 48th Pz Corps and 6th Rumanian Army throwed the 3rd Pz, 29th Mot and 9th Rumanian Cav Div on the little bridgehead of Kazanskaya to reduce the pressure on the east crossing at Veshenskaya and may cut the Soviet offensive.
Great success at first, the door is wide open and the Panzers are galloping north and are even able to get by surprise the Soviet 66th Army's HQ at Kalach (not Kalatch on the Don!)
On the Chir, the front is realigned in force with the arrival of numerous Italian and counter-attacks from the 14th and 24th Pz Div.
Some panic on the north river of the Don. They are big holes and the rail station in Kalach that would receive the reinforcement of the 22nd Tank Corps has be taken by the Germans.
Double move welcome to close the door on the Don.
The panzers in Kalach are now besieged by the 22th and 1st Tank Corps, waiting for some air or artillery support to launch an assault. The German relief will have hard time to join as the door on the Don at Kazanskaya is screened by 2 Inf Div (73th and 387th) and the 38th Inf divi of the Guard.
Difficult to supply the avant-guard in Kalach, now surrounded by Soviet tanks. The door through the Don has been reopened but it is still too far.
In Rostov an infantry all-out assault reduced the defences: only the HQ of the 4th Tank Corps still remains...
Violent German assault on the outpost of Pavlovsk: the 62th and 305th Inf Div attack the Soviet position. Heavy Soviet losses but the position stays. Then the 23rd Pz Div attack as a second wave in vain too...
The SS Viking, 3rd and 60th Mot Div keeps moving south crushing the Soviet in front of them. The Steppes Don are so big...
The remnants of the 3rd Pz and 29th Mot Div were able to escape and to cross back the Don to seek cover. This opportunity attack was a bad idea.
The last defenders of Rostov fall.
Kalach is taken and the German tanks there are all destroyed.
From now, if nothing changes until May, 1943 (!), the German should win the campaign... Do the Russian will let nothing change? Should we go a little further and, as the weather is still good, either destroy more Soviets, either take the oil fields, or both? I think the important thing from now is to avoid losses and for the next offensives, to make sure to be able to keep an objective before to try to take it!
If nothing change until May, 1943, the German wins. We have to assess them losses by continual friction and avoid big encirclement, and to keep oil fields and Stalingrad out of their hands. Then, in winter, we will be able to counter-attack to shift the result in taking Rostov and either Kharkov or Sebastopol.