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Heinrich505 last won the day on December 25 2017

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  1. As others have noted, it is very difficult to try and get a direct conversion from any of the noted boardgames, such as ASL, into CM. Elite or Crack troops in ASL would have morale of 8, but motivation wouldn't necessarily be morale. CM allows for things like crack troops not very highly motivated, or conscript troops/partisans having high motivation. With a 9-2 leader in ASL, you will have a very strong change of passing every morale check, and the leader has a low chance of breaking his morale as well. I don't think CM can really simulate that. Domfluff noted that national characteristics are not a part of CM, and that makes a big difference when trying to convert the board game to CM. There is no easy way of converting things from boardgame to CM, but as others have noted, having the Scenario cards as a guide to give you a starting point and then try to approximate the counter mix into CM formations will get you in the ball park for trying to capture the feel of the scenario. Someone once tried to convert Squad Leader (or was it ASL...) Hill 621 into CM. It was a worthy try, but never seemed to capture the excitement and nail-biting action that the boardgame battle had. I remember some insane melee combat on the ridge line victory points, with the counters locked in hand-to-hand combat and troops close assaulting tanks with vicious dice rolls for the board game. The CM version was fun but never as exciting. I'd say a lot of testing would be needed to get a CM conversion close to the ASL battle.
  2. Phil alerted me to an update of the update, and now updated. I've been playtesting this baby for days now, gallantly seeking some sort of British success, and now...wait for it...Huzzah! Success. While Captain Chutney does not seem to be able to survive most of the encounters that I played out, I was finally able to attain a British Tactical Victory. There doesn't seem to be any sort of "magical" formula on how to do this. I played this V5 several times, and the first few were the usual British ignominous defeat, but this time through, Tommy managed to win the day, of sorts. I still lost about half my tanks though - several were dismounted by the end. I kept my tanks moving pretty much all during the advance, until the survivors got close enough and were able to get some good spots and good shot fall. I also used the default set-up. It seems to be quite a challenge though, to get any sort of British victory. I'd say that is as it should be, since the actual encounter, per the ASL card relating the historical encounter aftermath, was a pretty terrible defeat of the British units that day. Heinrich505
  3. Phil, According to the Aftermath as stated on the Blazin' Chariots ASL Card: "The 5th RTRs counterattack was hindered by the setting sun, which made it difficult to spot targets and judge the fall of shot. Consequently the regiment suffered serious tank casualties without inflicting a like amount of damage on the Germans. It's attack did succeed in putting a check on Kampfgruppe Stephan, however, which eased the desperate plight of the 8th Hussars. When darkness put a halt to the battle, both British regiments disengaged and , according to standard procedure, withdrew to their night leaguer. This left the Germans possessing the battlefield and allowed 5th Panzer Regiment to recover most of its knocked-out tanks. As a result, while British losses in the engagement amounted to over forty Stuarts, the Germans suffered a net loss of 2 Pz IIIs and one Pz II. For the 4th Armored Brigade, in whose hands the Stuart was making its combat debut, Operation Crusader was getting off to a most inauspicious start." Gary
  4. Phil, It wasn't a problem, game-wise. I was just curious as to why Luftwaffe showed up. They are still kicking my butt, haha. Gary
  5. The Italians actually charged me. Imagine the temerity of such a thing!!! I was a little more aggressive this time and paid for it.
  6. Phil, Sorry, I played this just a little while ago, and didn't save the end screen - I just now saw your post regarding that. I'll play it again for sure. I ended up with a Tactical Defeat. If I recall correctly, I lost 4 tanks, but I think there were two that were dismounted as well, and two with their main guns destroyed. The only crew that was killed outright was Chutney's lads, along with the gallant skipper as well. They took a solid hit from one of Jerrie's heavies and the 7,5cm gun set them ablaze...hence...Blazin Chariots. Sorry, I couldn't resist. I did get credit for a hidden victory point, but my losses were more than the AI. I think they only had 3 tanks destroyed. Again, just going by memory. I recall that the German side showed as Luftwaffe, which I thought was odd and I wanted to ask you about that? Was there some reason the German troop mix was listed as Luftwaffe? Since I don't have the score and a screenshot of the ending, I only have my "feeling" for the battle. It was classic! I really enjoyed it, and everything "felt" right. Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers [sort of] I didn't change the location for any of my Honeys for the start. I left everyone in place and then moved forwards. The setting sun was recognized by Captain Chutney as a distinct disadvantage for our lads. This, I fear, contributed to his decision not to charge headlong, but rather, move forward a bit cautiously until we could get some spots. This did happen, and suddenly the horizon lit up with possible contacts, but no firm sighting. There was quite a bit of dust and, of course, we were looking into the sun so the glare was a bit of a bother. Suddenly the lads reported that hits were being taken, and shortly thereafter, our boys opened up with the feral roar of a 37mm cannon. The commanders used a variety of tactics, mainly a fast command at an angle, followed by a hunt command straight forward. This was done in leaps and bounds though, so the unit didn't advance on a single line. All too soon, several tanks took solid hits, with one being dismounted and another losing their main gun. Other tanks, still advancing in stilted rushes, did start to get solid spots on the enemy. There was a mix of medium German tanks, and some Eye-Tye pretend tanks, along with some heavy types. Corporal Clark was skirting up the right flank, and his tank took a solid hit, knocking out the corporal and the loader. The tank soldiered on with only a driver and a gunner. Towards the end, the gunner ordered the driver to charge up the flank, with the intent of getting around behind Jerrie, and maybe snapping up some fallen crew cowering in the desert sand, but by then the battle was over. Some of the lads began getting really good hits, and it was believed that both Italian tanks were knocked out, along with maybe one of the heavies and two of the medium tanks. At least that is what was submitted in the after action report, although there was way too much dust and smoke to really tell for sure. We never really did close with Jerrie, as we'd taken our licks and had to ease back from the battlefield. [The reporting non-com was just a bit over-enthusiastic about the unit's success...] Some of the lads would drive forwards quickly, stop, and let the dust settle over them, partially obscuring them from view, but also obscuring their view. There was very little to hide behind, so dust was the only way to avoid being spotted. The dust also hindered our spotting. All in all, it really felt like a cool battle, and had a very authentic feel to it. Due to the smaller caliber rounds being used by most of the tanks, a hit was not an automatic kill. This was very different from the tank battles we are used to, with the bigger 75mm+ tank guns and lots of flaming wrecks littering the battlefield. Some of the Honeys really soaked up quite a bit of punishment. Of course, a hit from the Mark IV was probably going to be instant death. That is my take on the scenario so far. It is really nicely done, and captures the flavor of the early tank battles. The vehicles looked good too, although I didn't really see the German ones much. Spotting was hard, and I felt it was pretty realistic. Thanks so much for putting this one together. It is fun to be back in the desert, if only for a few battles. I always enjoyed the desert battles in CMAK. Heinrich505
  7. @George MC Those are great shots. The one, pictured above as highlighted by Tashtego, with the landser in the smoke, is most evocative. A very well done montage. Thanks for posting! Heinrich505
  8. @George MC Thanks so much for the nice comments. I really appreciate them. The work and effort you put into creating these gems for us to enjoy really lend themselves to the storytelling. I'm glad you like it. I'll try to include more screenshots, but I'm no Bud Backer, heh heh. For some reason, the one picture didn't make it into the narrative. Sorry about that. This happened on the right flank, as Altschüller's men bashed their way through the initial strong point, and then had to suffer further resistance up through the "handle" to eventually flank the enemy in the center of the woods that had caused so many casualties. You can see the lone Russian soldier in the center with his hands up. I think this was the only instance where a prisoner offered himself up. Everyone else fought bitterly and to the bloody end, or managed to flee from the woods at the end. The squad had taken two casualties minutes earlier, and this ambush position was finally overwhelmed when another squad on the left (out of sight here) laid down covering fire on the position as these men cautiously advanced. I'm going to have to really study the next battle before starting. There are way too many men with an * next to their name. I see that Oberst Voss makes an appearance as well. Interesting. There might be some new character development in store. I also noticed that the two tanks that were stuck in the mud in the first battle are not appearing in this one. I'll assume that any tanks immobilized by mud will not carry on into the next missions. It will take a while to work through the next battle. I'll need that luck you wished me, I think.
  9. Part 3 Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers As Hpt von Schroif used one hand to cling to anything to keep from being bounced out of his SPW, he kept the other hand on his headphones to hear what was happening on the right flank. His impulse to stand up and look in that direction was strong, but he knew, from experience, that his crew would tackle him to keep him from exposing himself to enemy sniper fire, or worse, AT gun or AT rifles. He followed the action through the radio then, trying to visualize what was happening. OLt Altschüller was directing his SPW as they charged forwards on the right flank. Immediately, with a clear line of sight down the poor dirt path that the map claimed was a road, an enemy light machine gun position opened fire. As there were really no paths for evasion, all SPW gunners fired directly on the position as their SPWs bounced forward. Altschüller added his SPWs 2,0 cm cannon to the rising cacophony of weapon fire, and the Russian gunner was pinned. Then, other positions thought to have been eliminated in the tree line OBJ AZFritz opened fire, sporadically. Clearly, those positions had been somewhat reduced earlier by the right flank MG teams, but not eliminated. The right flank MG teams opened up again, hosing down the enemy foxholes that were now visible. Oberleutnant Altschüller directed one of the charging SPWs to divert towards the east end of the tree line and assault those positions. At the same time, he veered his SPW off to the left, and began to drive up the backside of the tree line, putting 2,0 cm fire on the enemy positions. They stopped firing, trying to avoid being chopped to bits by the cannon fire. With the slackening of response fire, the men from the SPW that was driving straight for the enemy positions started leaping from their track and assaulting the positions. Unteroffizier Diemers had two of his squad fall in the assault, but they took the first and second positions, firing at the backs of the Russians who were now fleeing in a panic. This was no planned and orderly retreat. Those men were fleeing for their lives. OFw Rannenberg was following the assault of 1 Zug on the flank, and as soon as he observed enemy troops starting to run from their positions, he ordered 3 Zug out of their holding position and into a full-on assault of the tree line. As his SPW marked the farthest west position, and out of the line of sight of both enemy PAK, he ordered his SPWs to make sure they didn’t stray westward too much, and to focus on the tree line directly ahead of them. The SPWs started a deliberate advance, all gunners in firing positions, and they eased over the crest line and started driving three abreast. They were a moving wall of solid machine gun fire towards the tree line. The 2IC, Flw Erlichmann arrived to help coordinate the assault, and the two machine gun teams also arrived, bailing out of their machines and now forming hunting parties to assist Diemers in clearing the tree line. The assault was deliberate and systematic, and all enemy soldiers were killed as they tried to hide or flee the dubious safety of the wood line. Hpt von Schroif had arrived in Osinnik, and conferred with OFw Lärmann on how best to clear the small farm. It was showing damage from some mortar shells that actually landed on target. It was not clear if the 4,5 cm AT gun was still in business though. It was clear that the further AT gun, in the heavy woods line was still operational, despite a second helping of mortar fire, this time longer, but still ineffectual. The Hauptmann could see that the center push was now working well, and they would shortly have men on the west end of the tree line that could assault the farm from the flank. He had his SPW ease up and start to spray the farm with machine gun fire. Feldwebel Erlichmann ordered 3 Zug to move up and support the infantry that were sweeping the tree line of OBJ AZFritz. The volume of machine gun fire from the SPW gunners was overwhelming, and the last survivors tried to flee. Their escape into the thick woods around OBJs Koblenz and Munchen had been cut off by OLt Gührs and his SPW. The enemy had no chance. One by one, they were cut down as Feldwebel Diemers swept through the tree line, now assisted by the MG team of Uffz Gres. Feldwebel Erlichmann aggressively ordered his SPW into the wood line as well, and aided in herding the Soviet survivors to their doom. The result of this action was observed by the remaining Soviet PAK and farmhouse defenders. Under the continuous machine gun fire of both Hpt von Schroif and Flw Lärmann’s SPW, things were simply too hot for them. “Herr Hauptmann, they are pulling out!” called the gunner on von Schroif’s SPW. The Hauptmann was immediately on his binoculars to confirm. Yes, yes, he thought excitedly, the enemy was giving up the position and trying to retreat across the large wheatfield to the rear of the farmhouse. “Karl, get that information to Erlichmann quickly,” von Schroif ordered his radioman. Moments later, Hpt von Schroif saw Erlichmann’s SPW emerge from the tree line at OBJ AZFritz, and the other SPWs quickly swung to their left to take the wheatfield under fire. SPW gunners pour fire on the fleeing PAK and infantry from the farmhouse. None made it out of the deathtrap. The Russians kept running, ducking and hiding for a moment, and then running some more, all the while with deadly machine gun fire ripping into their midst. They refused to surrender, continuing to try and evade until cut down by von Schroif’s men. Hpt von Schroif silently gave respect to the Russians who, at this one position, had held up his advance for at least 30 minutes. His attack was well behind the anticipated time table, but then again, the Hauptmann was not surprised by this. Ivan had a reputation for being tenacious in defense. What did bother him greatly, was that this was supposed to be a lightly held position, and reportedly thrown up in haste. It was not a hasty defensive position. The lines of sight were well thought out, and there was plenty of dedicated equipment assigned for carrying out a strong defense of the locale. This did not bode well. And, the attack was still in progress. The right flank had to be anchored, the center AT gun had to be eliminated, and then there was the terrible business of clearing the large wooded objectives. His attention was quickly drawn to the loud thoom-thoom sound of a 2,0 cm gun firing rapidly and then the short crack of a Soviet PAK firing. That had to be Gührs and his SPW behind the tree line, engaging the last AT gun, or, more exactly, the other identified AT gun. There could always be more. After the sharp retort of the guns, there was silence. Hpt von Schroif started to reach for the radio microphone, when suddenly OLt Gührs came on the radio. His voice was stressed but calm, and he reported that he believed one of his cannon shells had struck near or on the enemy AT gun. He was not sure he had knocked it out, but a shell from the AT gun had killed his gunner and driver, as well as wounding several of his command staff, and he and his survivors were bailing out. He left out the part that he himself had also been wounded. “That tears it,” exclaimed von Schroif. He was almost out of his cannon-armed SPWs, with this loss. And, the AT gun had not been confirmed as out of action. They were still stalled. The Hauptmann got on the radio and called for Erlichmann to try and confirm destruction of the enemy PAK. There was a delay and he could hear more gunfire, but then Erlichmann came on to report that Diemers and Gres’ MG team had opened fire on the enemy AT gun team as they appeared to flee back into the woods. Von Schroif breathed a loud sigh of relief. Then more machine gun fire erupted from the right flank, and he sought out additional information from Altschüller and Zug 1. OLt Altschüller’s advance had been met by a light machine gun position, but his exposed SPW gunners put down such a hail of machine gun fire on the position that all but one of the enemy team were killed or wounded, and one man fled out of sight into a dip in the terrain. No sooner had this position been reduced, when a second position, now in the woods by the “Handle,” had opened fire as well. As all the SPWs were committed to the attack, the drivers kept driving right at the enemy while all gunners concentrated their fire in that area. In this way, the enemy broke and melted into the woods and all SPWs were able to unload their squads without casualties. Altschüller was able to report that his men now had consolidated a position in the woods on the right flank, and were starting to slowly push forwards. It appeared that the right flank was solid, and the horrible business of clearing the large woods and objectives Koblenz, Munchen, Berlin, Aachen, and Cochem could begin. But first, the farmhouse. Hpt von Schroif and Feldwebel Lärmann had their SPWs rush down the dirt road towards the farmhouse, with their machine guns blazing. While they had seen many Russian soldiers fleeing from the farmhouse and into the death trap of the wheatfield, that didn’t mean there weren’t stragglers that had decided to give their lives for Mother Russia and wanted to take some more Germans down with them. They were also taking the change that there wasn’t a third PAK lurking somewhere that had yet to open up. Hpt von Schroif bailed out of his SPW once they were sure nothing had survived their onslaught. The farmhouse position was secured. The sniper team suddenly materialized out of nowhere, startling everyone. They quietly slipped into the farmhouse and verified that there were no enemy left in the area. The Hauptmann immediately began to give aid to Pöppel and his fallen squad mate. Knowing that Lärmann was already distraught at seeing his friend cut down, von Schroif wanted to keep Lärmann focused on commanding Zug 2. He ordered Lärmann to take his Zug and sweep the left flank, try to scout Line Eva, and possibly catch enemy survivors that might retreat from the heavy woods. Lärmann could see that his men were getting proper attention, so he switched gears and immediately took his Zug out around the left flank. As the tree line of OBJ AZFritz had now been cleared, and the AT gun reported as destroyed, 2IC Erlichmann directed all units into the wood line at OBJ Munchen, in preparation of the horrid business of clearing the woods. He had no illusions of the carnage to come. On the right flank, Altschüller’s men had already taken several casualties, despite a cautious and deliberate advance. The Russians seemed to be part of the forest, and his men only discovered them when the sound of submachine guns erupted, accompanied by the screams of the wounded. A Russian solder, with hands held high, surrenders to Altschüller's men as they push forwards. This was a rare occurrence. He can be seen over the lead German soldier's left shoulder. Now it was all hands forward. Machine gun teams walked shoulder to shoulder with survivors of the infantry squads. SPWs ground through the underbrush, trying to find paths forward that were not blocked by trees. No sooner had the squads taken an abandoned set of foxholes, when concentrated enemy submachine gun fire ripped through the trees and into the men. Over half of Sehmel’s squad were cut down, including the veteran Unteroffizer himself, and Uffz Heise was the single survivor of his own squad. Altschüller’s Zug, now diminished by their own casualties, were pushing in from the right flank, having struggled through the underbrush. Altschüller’s 2,0 cm cannon had been invaluable in their clearing attempts, as the cannon shells shredded everything in their path. The familiar thoom-thoom sound of the cannon was enough to guarantee that the Russians would break and retreat further into the woods. The men cautiously advanced, having had their numbers thinned drastically by the hidden enemy. Feldwebel Erlichmann found himself shoulder to shoulder with his Hauptmann, as the two of them and their command squads tried desperately to stem the bleeding of the wounded and keep the men focused on the enemy before them. More squads arrived in the woods, and some SPW with gunners also arrived. The gunners kept spraying the trees and underbrush ahead of them, and Altschüller’s cannon kept shredding the woods where the enemy gunfire had erupted. The men were then able to slowly advance once more. The bloody struggle in the woods seemed to go on forever, but in reality, it was only around 15 minutes. The attack was behind schedule, but von Schroif had to have the woods cleared for the mission to be a success, as this wooded area was to be the jumping off point of the next push. And then, suddenly, it was over. Altschüller’s men could see the Russian survivors fleeing from the woods and across a large wheatfield. The woods took on an eerie silence, broken only by the cries of the wounded of both sides and the idling of SPW engines. The dead made no noise, but looked accusingly at the survivors with open eyes, asking the silent question, why me and not you? Hauptmann von Schroif was exhausted mentally and physically by the battle. He had the blood of his men on his hands, both figuratively and literally, having helped to bandage up the wounded. Hpt von Schroif heard his name called, and turned as he recognized Erlichmann’s voice. “Herr Hauptmann, I am able to report that all objectives have been achieved. Ivan is fleeing from the back of the woods. We are not organized properly to pursue.” Hpt von Schroif could see how exhausted his 2IC was. Blood streaked his uniform and dirt marred his face, with rivulets of sweat streaking through the dirt. He realized that he must look the same. “Danke, Hans,” he said softly. “And casualties? What is the butcher’s bill?” Erlichmann took a long breath before speaking. “Herr Hauptmann, we have lost both support SPW Stummel, a support 2,0 cm cannon, and many SPW gunners. It appears that all our MG SPW have come through, but some with track or tire damage. “He paused again, knowing that Hpt von Schroif was really more interested in the human toll, and he was reluctant to be the bearer of bad news. “And…?” pressed von Schroif. Erlichmann said, “I am sorry to say that preliminary reports are at least 15 dead and less than 20 wounded. These are not exact figures though, and could fluctuate up or down as the squad leaders reorganize their men, Herr Hauptmann.” “Danke, Hans,” was all that von Schroif could manage at the moment. He turned to stare at the deadly forest and his Feldwebel left him lost in thoughts. The final tally was 22 KIA and 19 WIA. Veteran squad leaders lost in the action were the following: Pöppel Winnings Sehmel Boedecker As von Schroif had expected, the majority of casualties happened in the push to clear the woods. He wondered what the butcher’s bill would look like after the next battle.
  10. Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers Part 2 The attack on the village appeared to be a success, but new dangers were now threatening Hpt von Schroif’s battle plan. The Soviet push on the right flank, with what was probably scout cars, was especially vexing, as the enemy would have a clear line of sight down from the ridge, and possibly able to engage the somewhat exposed Zug 3, for the moment hiding behind the crest of the wheat field in the center. Shortly after Zug 3 was ordered forward, more Soviet artillery dropped right where von Schroif expected it would. This would have fallen directly on Zug 3, and probably would have caused multiple casualties. As it was, only one mortar crewman was killed, although some others in the MG team were wounded. Hpt von Schroif had no further assets to shift to the right flank. Everything was committed. This was the most frightening time for a commander, as he no longer had options and had to trust that he put the right equipment and the right men in the right places. In quick succession, OLt Gührs reported that possibly three Soviet BA-64 scout cars were approaching the small tree copse on the right flank ridge. He also reported taking an AT gun round in the flank, when turning towards the scout car threats. He was backing away to find cover. Stummel commander Boedecker reported on the net that he was advancing to try and get line of sight on the enemy scout cars. Shortly after his report, the sharp retort of the short 7,5 cm gun on the Stummel was heard. Von Schroif strained to hear if there was a crash of a shell hitting steel, but his own SPW idling was too loud. Shortly, Boedecker’s next in command reported a kill on one scout car, but Boedecker was down, they were taking enemy AT fire, possibly 4,5 cm caliber, and they were trying to evade up the knoll to find cover. It seemed there was a hush on the battle field, as if time was standing still. Suddenly the 2,0 cm cannon on OFw Rannenberg’s SPW, located in the center of the battlefield, opened up with a vengeance. It appeared he was shooting way off to the right flank, no longer engaging the tree line to his front. Hpt von Schroif could only hope that the scout cars had aggressively pursued the wounded Boedecker’s Stummel and had now blundered into the sights of Rannenberg’s cannon. For what seemed like an eternity, the radio was silent, but then Rannenberg came on the air and announced, in his usual calm tone, that two scout cars were burning. FO Wolter confirmed that now three plumes of black smoke were visible on the right flank. All attempts to raise Boedecker’s Stummel were answered with static. Oberleutnant Gührs reported that MG fire had possibly silenced an AT rifle position on the east end of the thin tree line, he confirmed the death of three Soviet scout cars, and he also added that it appeared that Boedecker’s SPW was either immobilized or knocked out. He said there were survivors huddled against the side of the track. More information came in from Ofw Lärmann, now ensconced in Osinnik. He had sighted the AT PAK that had damaged or destroyed Boedecker’s Stummel. It was hidden in the small farmhouse area, OBJ AZOtto. He had also spotted a light machine gunner and a light mortar team, all located in and around the small farm. Again, this is exactly where 2IC Erlichmann suspected an enemy PAK position. Lärmann was in the process of calling in a mortar strike on the small farm at AZOtto. As Hpt von Schroif was looking hard at the small farm, trying to will the enemy PAK into visibility, he saw movement of a half squad from 2 Zug. They were working their way around the lower edge of the village, and it appeared they were using terrain to try and advance towards the small farmhouse. He thought he saw a slight flash of silver around the collar of one of the men. That had to be Pöppel, he reasoned, as he would be the one with the silver Tresse around his collar denoting an Unteroffizier or Feldwebel. He hadn’t been cut down with the initial assault. A quick glance towards where the casualties had been, showed only the bloody area and no bodies, so aid had been given to the fallen. Pöppel had gone back and cared for his wounded, and was now leading the remains of his squad in a daring attempt to flank the enemy in the small farm. Hpt von Schroif looked at his watch. It was now 50 minutes into the battle, his left flank was set with the taking of Osinnik, and his right flank might be secure with the destruction of three enemy scout cars. His men had identified two enemy AT guns, one in the center at the small farm, and the other where the main track entered the thick woods around OBJs Koblenz and Munchen. His center push was being held up by the AT guns. He had lost his 7,5 cm support on the right flank, but still had 2,0 cm guns to cover that side, if more scout cars appeared. There was now an imposed lull as mortars reached out with their deadly shells to try and eliminate the enemy AT guns. Lärmann was having trouble getting spotting rounds to land near the farm, and an attempt to move up a half-squad with light machine guns, to bring suppression fire on the enemy AT gun, had resulted in two or three HE rounds from the farmhouse AT gun killing or wounding the men. Pöppel continued to move his half squad forward behind terrain, in an attempt to flank the farmhouse. The sniper team was also moving in that direction, although no one could see them or know of their movements. That was exactly the way they liked it. They’d already caused havoc with several enemy positions in the tree line, and after seeing the AT gun at the farmhouse, they were now stealthily moving towards that position as well. Hpt von Schroif watched through binoculars as his remaining Stummel moved forwards to pair up with Rannenberg’s 2,0 cm cannon in an attempt to knock out the farther-located enemy AT gun. The fire mission that had dropped on that position had not knocked it out. As Rannenberg put down suppression fire on the AT gun position, Otto moved up with his Stummel into hull down, and attempted to fire on AT gun. They managed one round. In quick succession, two 4,5 cm rounds crashed into the Stummel, killing the gunner and driver. The commander and loader bailed out and took cover. Rannenberg prudently backed away into cover. Von Schroif slammed his hand down on the side of his SPW. Dammit, now both his 7,5 cm support SPWs were gone. What else could happen? he wondered. Lärmann’s attempts to bring down mortar fire on the farm that concealed the other AT gun resulted in some rounds falling in and around the buildings, but he was not sure if the AT gun had been silenced. Using the sporadic mortar fire as a distraction, Pöppel had managed to get his half-squad close to the farm. Lärmann had motioned for one of the SPW in the village, to make a cautious approach and attempt to support Pöppel. The SPW arrived in the dip that was concealing Pöppel and his men. Belatedly, OLt Gührs now reported in from the right flank, advising that the Soviet artillery that could be heard in that area, was falling on the hapless survivors of Boedecker’s Stummel. Despite their best efforts, huddling under their fallen vehicle, all were killed as the Soviets continued to shell the location with a vengeance. Their identity discs were recovered from their bodies, found in a crater under the SPW. Sheltered from the remains of the farmhouse area, Pöppel and his men came under flanking fire from a machine gun position in the raised wood area, OBJ AZDieter. Again, Hpt von Schroif could only watch in helpless rage as more men were cut down by yet another hidden Soviet position. His squad now reduced to one man and himself, Pöppel ignored the danger and desperately worked to save the rest of his wounded squad. He was barely aware of the crack of a rifle, off to his right, as the sniper team opened up on the enemy machine gunner. They had worked their way almost to where Pöppel was. No further fire came from that direction, allowing Pöppel to finish aiding his fallen squad members. Von Schroif had also directed his machine gun teams to open up on AZDieter, further suppressing the enemy. Pöppel aids his fallen squad mates, hit from a machine gun position in the wooded rise on his left. The dip in terrain conceals them from the remains of the farmhouse seen to the right of center. After aiding his fallen comrades, Pöppel then moved forward with his remaining squad member, moving slowly to the crest of the rise, and then putting down vicious fire into the hedges and bushes around the farmhouse. Thinking this was sufficient to clear their advance, Pöppel and his partner advanced across the road, intending to use the cover of the hedge along the roadside. A burst of gunfire ripped through his partner, and then into Pöppel, dropping both into the dust of the road. Von Schroif saw all this through his binoculars. He felt like he was bleeding inside. Lärmann had been following Pöppel’s progress, and cried out when he saw his friend cut down. With grim determination, he had one of his command unit summon the closest SPW, boarded it, and had the driver ease up to bring the area under machine gun fire. He ordered the gunner to continue to fire at everything and anything in the farmhouse area. Lärmann's SPW gunner fires on the farmhouse directly in front of it. The bodies of Pöppel and his squad mate are seen in the roadway where they fell. Lärmann had also ordered a squad and SPW to work around the back of Osinnik, and try to eliminate the enemy infantry that remained there, occasionally firing on them in the village. The SPW was one of the few that still had a gunner, and it worked around behind the high ground behind Osinnik, while a squad pinned down what turned out to be a Soviet heavy machine gunner, lugging his gun stubbornly with him, and refusing to surrender. He was subsequently cut down without ceremony. Lärmann radioed to the SPW that they were to attempt to flank the woods at AZDieter and possibly provide fire into the small farmhouse from the flank, possibly dislodging the enemy there. All the while, his machine gunner continued to tear apart the vegetation that had concealed the enemy that cut down Pöppel and his squad mate. It was at this point that Hpt von Schroif came to the conclusion that Zug 1 had to swing in from the right flank, as Zug 3 was pretty much trapped in the center, held up by the enemy AT guns. Oberleutnant Altschüller had his SPWs advance fast while their gunners fired continuously into possible enemy positions. It was risky, but the only way that Hpt von Schroif had left to get things moving again. A flanking move was always a good way to dislodge a stubborn enemy. With that, Hpt von Schroif ordered his driver to rush them across the battlefield and rendezvous with Zug 2 in Osinnik. Flw Erlichmann was anticipating this move, but the Hauptmann radioed him to divert and take control of the center advance. Hpt von Schroif also ordered his two left flank MG teams to load up and rush to the center push to aid them there. Both command SPW then raced forwards into harm’s way.
  11. Spoilers Spoilers Spoilers Part 1 And so it began. No fanfare, no grandiose gunfire or blaring of horns. The first few minutes were taken getting the MG units into place and with good sight lines on suspected enemy positions. Mortars were rushed up from their SPWs and they set up on a road path, out of sight. The mortar HQ, Feldwebel Schenck, rushed up to the tree line and eased into a position where he could see the terrain spread out before him. Forward Observer Oberleutnant Wolter slid through the underbrush and began to study the battlefield in front of him, watching for enemy movement. Further down the tree line, Soldat Wörner and his partner eased out from the tree line and began to work their way towards the enemy lines, blending into the terrain and becoming as one with it. A nearby machine gun team saw them step forwards from the tree line, and suddenly they disappeared. It was as if they never saw the sniper team at all. One of the team members involuntarily shivered. There was just something so sinister about the snipers, true hunters of the most dangerous game…Man. Hauptmann von Schroif peered from the open top of his SPW, using his binoculars to constantly scan the tree lines, mostly focusing on the village. That is where the enemy will definitely be, he knew. He let the men do their jobs with quiet efficiency. He wanted as many eyes on the objectives as possible. There was to be a delay before the first shots were fired, as he wanted to see if Ivan would give up any secrets. After about ten minutes had passed, there were still no sightings. Ivan was keeping his head down for sure, waiting for von Schroif to make the first move. So be it. Word was passed to the MG teams to open fire on the village. They were to focus on the buildings that would present the biggest threat to a rush against the south side of Osinnik. FO Wolter was also given the word to start dropping mortar shells on the village. The tree line came alive with the familiar rip of MG 42s firing, and after a few minutes, mortars started to walk into the village. The Hauptmann now started to receive reports of sightings. Foxhole positions were seen in the long tree line to the center, and on their own initiative, the MG teams on the right flank began lathering those sighted positions with MG fire. More troubling though, were reports of engines on the right flank. There was no identification of the mechanized threat as yet, but enemy vehicles on the flank were a threat that was going to affect the timetable of the attack. Any threat from that long ridge on the right flank would have a good line of sight over the rush for the village. Minutes ticked by, and Hpt von Schroif could feel the tension ratcheting up. He was going to have to drop the hammer on Osinnik soon, despite the possible threat on the right flank. More sightings were coming in now. AT rifles were spotted in the long tree line in the center. MG teams were working them over with streams of deadly lead. As usual, the Soviets seemed to have more AT rifles than men. Those things were deadly against his SPWs. He felt his hands tighten on his binoculars. Then, a flash of metal, some movement in the woods. Were they…? “Herr Hauptmann, movement in the village. Ivan is displacing and appears to be running,” reported one of the MG team squad leaders. Finally, a good sign, von Schroif thought. This was what he had been hoping for, and he quickly alerted OFw Lärmann to move his Zug up and prepare for the assault. Things were going to happen fast now. He had the MG teams continue to hose several of the houses in Osinnik with their deadly fire, and he gave FO Wolter the word to stop the mortar fire. All around him, the squeal of tracks and the roar of transmissions echoed in the woods, as the SPW drivers struggled to maneuver their steel beasts through the underbrush and close to the woods edge. OFw Lärmann reported that his Zug was ready. Von Schroif could hear the drivers with clutches in, revving their engines in anticipation of the order to move out. He could feel the rush of adrenaline and knew the same was happening to all the men in 2 Zug. His next decision would inevitably lead to the deaths of many of his men, men he really thought of as his sons, his family. Many times, Alte Mann Voss had reminded him that his men belonged to Germany, but that just wasn’t true. They belonged to him, and he was responsible for them living or dying. The Hauptmann forced such thoughts from his head and gave the order. He unleashed Lärmann’s Zug and whispered a quick prayer So Gott will… The scream of transmissions engaged and engines roaring overtook the woods. Drivers let out clutches and the SPWs lurched forwards, slowly at first, and then they started gathering speed. Hpt von Schroif did not realize that he was holding his breath, as he watched in grim fascination as the SPW charge started to form up. He noted with satisfaction that MG fire was still lashing at the village, and he could now see brown uniforms running from the village and out of sight in the trees on the back side. As noted earlier, the terrain was not flat and level. There were rises and falls in the high wheatfield, and to the right of the field the land sloped down a bit. It appeared to von Schroif that the SPWs were partially screened on the right by a field that rose in the center of the battlefield. Lärmann had apparently instructed his crews to stay buttoned up, as no SPW gunners were exposing themselves in the charge. Zug 2 was now rushing forward, engines wide open, in a ragged line of four SPWs abreast, with MG fire ripping over their heads and into the village. It was a gallant charge, glorious and breathtaking to watch, and tactically all wrong, of course. SPWs were not supposed to charge into enemy positions, as they were so vulnerable to enemy AT rifles. And yet, this was the only option open to von Schroif. To work men on foot across the field would take way too much time and leave them exposed to enemy fire for a very long time. He had to take the chance on this wild course of action. He could hear his old instructor whispering into his ear… Audaces fortuna iuvat. As far as he could tell, only a few sparks flew from ricochets off the SPWs. They lurched and bounded across the field, as if rising and falling on waves of an ocean. The charge was estimated to be about 430 meters. Not long, but an eternity when exposed to enemy fire and being bounced around inside a steel coffin while waiting for large caliber Soviet steel to rip through the thin sides and tear into flesh. “They’ve made it!” called Erlichmann, over the radio. The Hauptmann could see that all four of the SPWs were indeed finally in the apparent lee of the village and possibly shielded from AT fire from any PAK that might be off to the right at the small farm at AZOtto or further up where the road was swallowed up by the heavy forest near OBJ Koblenz and OBJ Munchen. Men began spilling out of the SPW and starting to advance on the village. Hpt von Schroif was about to let out a sigh of relief, when suddenly a small caliber HE shell exploded amongst the men of Flw Pöppel’s squad. He watched through his binoculars as blood was splashed on the side of the SPW and in the grass. That one shell took down probably half of the squad. He suppressed a cry of anguish. The other squads all appeared to have made it intact, and they immediately began moving forward with grim efficiency, putting down fire on the buildings where Ivan might be hiding, and cutting down some of the sad survivors who decided to flee just a little too late, having not expected the speed and ferocity of the SPW charge. The SPW that had dropped off Pöppel’s men took several more hits in the side while the driver frantically maneuvered to find cover, and it somehow survived. The wounded men were left in place to bleed for the time being, as the assault could not stop for anyone. Most of the Russian defenders had melted into the brush and tree lines behind the village, so there were few left hiding in the town itself. Hpt von Schroif suspected that they didn’t flee in panic, but were told to hold the village until assaulted and then pull back to harass any further advances. Their rapid exit from the village could also mean they were baiting his men into rushing to follow and being drawn into ambushes. He hoped that Lärmann would keep his men under control and prevent them from chasing after the enemy before they had secured Osinnik. As the men of Zug 2 worked their way through Osinnik, clearing all the buildings, they came under harassing fire from the survivors who had pulled back to the slightly higher ground behind the town. They traded shots with the enemy, while locking down Osinnik. Von Schroif and others were all straining their eyes, trying to get sight of the enemy AT gun that had wiped out half of Pöppel’s squad. Finally, the enemy AT gun was spotted, in the woods edge between OBJs Koblenz and Munchen, just to the right of the road as it entered the woods, and, right where 2IC Erlichmann had suspected it would be located. FO Wolter immediately called for spotting rounds for that area, intending to drop mortar rounds onto the gun position. Hpt von Schroif could now count his brash and unorthodox cavalry charge as a success. Casualties had been incredibly light, all things considered. If the SPW driver had not stopped where he was still exposed to the unknown position of the enemy PAK, the charge would have been perfect. Leave it to Ivan to always have some deadly surprise. With that, the next move on Ivan’s part came down, as artillery rounds started crashing all around von Schroif’s SPW, as well as that of his 2IC and Wolter’s SPW. The Stummel was also in harms way, and all drivers started frantically backing up to try and get out from under the deadly Russian artillery. As von Schroif had suspected, the enemy had positions preregistered – he just didn’t expect them to be as quick on the draw as they were. Shells landed all around, scattering shrapnel and deadly wood splinters against the sides of the SPWs, but there were no casualties. More luck, thought von Schroif to himself. If Ivan was shelling his position, then the area where Zug 3 and the mortars were would be next. He ordered Zug 3 commander Rannenberg to push forward, out of the wood line and towards the long, thin tree line in the center. The MG teams on that flank had been working over the long tree line for a while now, and the enemy should be keeping their heads down. As the Hauptmann’s SPW had backed through and away from the Russian artillery, he didn’t see Rannenberg’s SPWs push forward and out into the open. As soon as the shells had stopped, he ordered his track forward so he could again get eyes on the battlefield. Three SPWs from Rannenberg's Zug can be seen just to the right of the tree, below the ridge line in the center wheat field. Rannenberg's SPW is directly above the MG observer's head, in hull down, engaging targets in the tree line. Over the shoulders of an MG team, now tasked to long range suppression of the enemy PAK position, he saw that Rannenberg’s SPWs, visible just to the right of the tree, had formed up behind a rise in the wheat field, unable to proceed further as they were coming under fire from the long tree line. Also, they didn’t want to get to far to the left, as they would then be exposed to the enemy AT gun. With Rannenberg’s SPWs caught out in the middle of the battlefield, urgent reports came in from the right flank. The sound contacts were now moving in on the right flank. Oberleutnant Gührs reported that he thought they might be Russian scout cars, and he was pulling out of the tree line to get a better look. The same report came in from Feldwebel Boedecker in the right flank Stummel. While his left flank appeared to be secure, Hpt von Schroif’s center push was bogging down with resistance from the tree line and boxed in from an enemy AT gun. At the same time, enemy scout cars were likely the ones moving in on his right flank, and they were every bit as deadly for his SPWs as the enemy AT rifles and AT guns. All he could do now, was hope that the men commanding his right flank were every bit as good as he believed them to be.
  12. Erwin, I forgot to mark the lead up for the 2nd battle for spoilers. I hope I haven't messed that up for you. The 2nd mission is a real beast. Glad you are getting back into it. George's battles and campaigns are such fun and a wicked challenge to play. Heinrich505
  13. @George MC Hauptmann von Schroif huddled with his squad leaders on the edge of the woods, looking at the terrain as it spread out before them. The Hauptmann had a map spread out on the grass, and he pointed to the markings on the map, and then visibly pointed to the various terrain features. In the back of his mind, he hoped there weren’t any Soviet snipers lining up on them. “Männer, the village is on our left flank. Terrain dips and rises as you head towards it. I’ve assigned that task to 2 Zug. Oberfeldwebel Lärmann gets the honors.” There was no good-natured kidding among the squad leaders, unlike in the past. Von Schroif knew they were tired and worried. He was too. In quick succession, and as businesslike as possible, he assigned 3 Zug, commanded by Oberfeldwebel Rannenberg for the push in the center, towards the long tree line, and 1 Zug, commanded by Oberleutnant Altschüller, would handle right flank security and a push past the east end of the long tree line. The Hauptmann explained that the village of Osinnik would be softened up first, with both machine gun teams and mortar fire. Yes, they would lose the element of surprise, but that was going to be gone the minute any of his SPW pushed from the concealment of the woods. Better to get in the first shots. The other two machine gun teams would be set up on the right flank, to assist both 2 Zug and 3 Zug when their push came. Altschüller would have one of the SPW Stummels to assist on the right flank, and the other would be for support of Lärmann’s advance on the village and then Rannenberg’s push in the center. Hauptmann von Schroif pointed out the small farm in the center, at a crossroad. It was labeled AZOtto, and just to the left of it was AZDieter, a small, tree-covered rise. These were positions of caution, and he stressed to his squad leaders that they needed to be mindful of enemy presence at those locations. Von Schroif eased back from the map, and studied the faces of his men. Each face echoed his own concern, and his 2IC, Feldwebel Erlichmann was running his finger on the map, between the farm at AZOtto and the far tree line, where the main road disappeared into a thick wooded area. While normally displaying a cheerful attitude, even in the most desperate of situations, his concerned face now meant he was about to point something out. “What is it, Erlichmann? Speak plainly,” he said softly. His 2IC pointed out that both locations were probable locations for Soviet PAK, as they offered long covering fire. He also noted that any Ivan with an anti-tank rifle would make easy pickings of their SPW. The Hauptmann thanked him for his candor and said he was thinking the same thing, but their speed would negate Ivan’s PAK response. “So, this is how I hope this assault to work. Lärmann, in the best approximation of a bold old school cavalry charge, will press home his SPWs across the field and in the lower elevations, to gain a foothold in Osinnik, and then overwhelm the village quickly. As he doesn’t have 600 men and we aren’t facing the Turks, he should not have any trouble,” said von Schroif, making gallows humor in his reference to the “Charge of the Light Brigade.” This actually garnered some slight chuckles around the group. “This won’t happen until after the village has been softened up by our eagle-eyed machine gun teams and a number of mortar rounds dropped on Ivan’s head,” he continued. “Once the village was secured, pushes would be made across the center with Zug 3 and finally the end-run by Zug 1 on the right flank. Of course, this will all depend on how Ivan reacts to our attack, so things might have to be adjusted,” he added with a wan smile. The men nodded and murmured in agreement. Von Schroif added that once their approaches were secure, then the large wood was to be tackled. He suggested that there would be very little left of Ivan by that time, and working through the woods would be mopping up stragglers and panicked survivors from their previous assaults. He closed the briefing by asking for any questions, but there were none. He told the squad leaders to stay close to their radios and he would give them the signals to move when the time came. They moved out quietly and professionally. His 2IC lingered behind, still smiling good-naturedly, but there was concern in his eyes. Von Schroif waited until they were alone at the woods edge. He knew what Erlichmann’s concern was, so he spoke first. “Hans, you are worried about the large woods. I am too. Will we have enough men to tackle it after taking all these other objectives? Will it be as bloody as we both expect it to be? I don’t know. I know that one Ivan with a damned PPsH can do a lot of damage in the filthy woods. We’ve both seen that before and got the scars to prove it. I saw no point in being overly pessimistic and dwelling on the woods, when the men will need all their fortitude for the initial pushes.” Erlichmann nodded. As usual, his commander had read his mind and was completely aware of the risks of this mission. He gave a smart salute, and then, as the two had traditionally done in the past before every mission, he extended his hand and shook hands with von Schroif, quietly saying “Viel Glück.” Von Schroif was left alone with his worries. How many times had he heard in Officer’s Training that the SPW was a battlefield taxi, and not a horse for cavalry charges? And yet, here he was, ordering his SPW across open ground, possibly in line of sight of enemy PAK and anti-tank rifles. All he had was speed to counter those enemy advantages. His thoughts wandered back to an instructor at his Officer’s School, who was always quoting Latin phrases and had taken a liking to von Schroif. During the hasty preparations for training exercises, where the officer trainees had only 5 minutes to plan out a solution to a difficult tactical problem, the instructor would ease by von Schroif and whisper Audaces fortuna iuvat, Fortune favors the bold. Von Schroif mused to himself that he would need every bit of that fortune for this attack.
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