Before even more troops are withdrawn the Axis thought they better have a go at Kharkov.
Eight attacks were declared. The Axis lost five steps to the Soviet's eight. More importantly they pushed the Soviets out of the fortified position in the hills.
This has left the Soviets with a challenge. Should the Guards continue to counterattack to the north of the city, or quickly move to secure a new defense perimeter around Kharkov?
Crisis averted. Soviet's have pulled back and been able to establish a new defensive line. The race is now to fortify this before the Axis can launch new attacks. The only disaster was the quick surrender of forces cutoff on the road to Sumy.
The Dnepropetrovsk pocket remains under siege, but did not suffer any further surrender. While further south, the Axis attempt to break through the flank of the Soviet position was bloodily repulsed. The Axis lost five steps to the Soviet's two and this may well put an end to Axis attacks on this front until reinforcements arrive. The only place they can come from is the forces besieging Dnepropetrovsk.
This game is playing really well solitaire. The end of each side's phase leaves a challenge that requires carefully planning to overcome.
It is interesting to compare with the game I played with Richard.
Some things have developed quiet differently. In my new game the Soviets brought in a corps of Guards. It cost them victory points, but has meant the position north of Kharkov is holding out better. With Richard the Axis had done much better down South, not that it ultimately gave them much. We've also had a different approach to Dnepropetrovsk.