General Keating claims to be only one day away from taking SMOLENSK. That might be so, but that will be a full five days after the OKH deadline. Keating’s current opinion of OKH can’t be printed, but he aims to console himself by killing as many Russians as possible.
One sector looking more promising is the area south of SMOLENSK. Keating has finally secured the full cooperation of the Luftwaffe, at least for one day, and has skilfully used it to place large numbers of Russian units out of supply. Most Russian units have no supply reserves at all, so any disruption is disastrous (see below).
The situation in the north is a little less straightforward. It’s hard to say just who is surrounding who (see below) but Keating’s line does look a little thin at the extreme northern end.
Comrade General Trout’s response to the problems in the south is twofold. A general withdrawal is ordered, and a couple of Colonels from Frontal Aviation are carefully selected as scapegoats and scheduled for a trial and subsequent shooting. Fortunately, the trial stage could be skipped as the miscreants immediately confessed to being German agents, and begged the Soviet state to end their miserable lives before they could do any more damage. General Trout was happy to oblige, after all what were two more deaths on a day in which he picked off another three German units.
Concerns about the northern front have proved justified, as it was there that
Trout killed a second regiment from the hapless 12th Panzer, and look set to
create havoc behind the lines.