As promised by General Keating, SMOLENSK fell today (see above), its defenders forced across the river and then slaughtered in the Open. In the north, Keating continues bold offensive actions, undeterred by the loss of half a Panzer Division plus sundry other units. The big question is whether his courageous decision (see below) will cause Trout to pull his horns in, or whether there will be even more additions to the already high German casualty list.
Communications from Comrade General Trout have taken a decidedly sombre tone. Trout accuses himself of being ‘out of his depth’ and flatly states that his army is ‘disintegrating’. Candour on this scale is simply unprecedented. One suspects a cunning plan by Trout to get himself declared medically insane and sent off to Black Sea sanatorium before the NKVD arrive to send him to a decidedly less salubrious address.
For the first time since the battle started, Trout has failed to commit a single counterattack. Most of the German who were besieging SMOLENSK headed south, straight for ROSLAVL. The terrain there is not particularly favourable for defence, and it will be interesting to see if Trout can hold out there. One thing is certain, Trout’s loud and constant call for Siberian reinforcements is a sure sign of a Soviet general in trouble.
In the north, Trout has flat out run away, there’s just no other way to describe it (see below). Keating, for one, will certainly be relieved.