Operation Winter Storm...
As some background, I started a somewhat historical campaign for us at the general locations the forces would have entered the battle, and we conducted 4 three hour battles to reach the location we currently are on the map. What I find really interesting, is the exact location we are, is the same location the actual forces were located and we are on the same timeline as the real battle. I didn't even find this out till I started reading up on the campaign a bit more. It's so neat that historically, we are encountering what must be a fairly accurate representation of the enemy defenses as we make our push towards Stalingrad. Granted on a smaller scale but numerically proportional as represented on both sides.
Here we are now...poised for this big push, and facing Gromoslavka and the Mishkova River. Historically, things are going to get bad for us, although if we take this objective we are approximately 31 miles from Stalingrad, according to the diaries from the book "Two Soldiers, Two Lost Fronts: German War Diaries of the Stalingrad and North Africa Campaigns.
I also find it interesting as I read these accounts and others as well of how real our combat missions reflect the actual day to day battles along the Eastern Front. This is a credit to "Tank Crew" and what it allows us to experience as a combat simulation. The following is taken from the book as we get ready to do this same mission on Sunday:
Desperate almost non-stop fighting occurred in the hilly regions between Askai and the Mishkova rivers over the next five days with the advantage changing hands several times, often within a single day. Soviet infantry companies supported by their trademark half-buried t-34 tanks were scattered all over the expansive countryside waiting for the German panzers they knew were coming. Soviet artillery relentlessly bombarded the Panzer divisions as they pushed forward towards Stalingrad. In one of the larger battles which took place on December 14th Panzer regiment 11 of the 6th Panzer Division fought off an attack of some 80's Soviet tanks destroying half of them and forcing the rest to retreat.
On December 13th Hitler releases the reserve 17th Panzer Division which finally gave the Germans clear command of the battlefield. This made a total of three German armored divisions involved in the operation. The Soviet defenses gave way and by December 18th Hoth’s tanks were approaching the Mishkova River although Russian attacks on their flanks continued. The 6th Panzer took the lead with the 23rd Panzer covering the right flank and the 17th Panzer covering the left. They were a formidable force. On the morning of December 20th the 6th panzers armored group commanded by Colonel Walter Von Hunersdorff reached the Mishkova near the town of Gromoslavka.The lead forces of the Soviet 2nd guards Army were arriving at the same location at the same time. They had been ordered South two days earlier to stop the German attack.
Hunersdorff’s tanks were very low on fuel by this time and couldn't wait for the supply trucks to arrive. The obvious choice was to retreat to a safe location and refuel because without fuel they were sitting targets facing a force that substantially outnumbered them in tanks, personnel, and guns. In a brilliant move however Hunersdorff stole the initiative by attacking. The German tanks led a Panzergrenadier battalion of regiment 114 to the Mishkova River. They crossed and were able to secure a bridgehead in the middle of the battle. German infantry was sent across the river and expanded the bridgehead to a few kilometers. Stalingrad was now less than 31 miles away.