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The smoke screen was still forming so the upper floor of that building was not yet blocked by smoke when the screenshot was taken.  Below is a screenshot of the tank that won the bottle of schnapps. 

Now part two: As all that gunfire was going on with the two American half-tracks, two more half-tracks were coming up the road behind them, making four in total. Right when the first firefight wa

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 1:35 PM, Heinrich505 said:

Finished the Victory at Verdenne battle and was amazed at the beauty of the map.  Put together a small story that featured some shots that I hope will give some idea of how stunning the map is.

The Kriegsberichter


The Kriegsberichter moves forward to a fence line to survey the landscape.  Max Nussbaum has two Leica 35mm cameras around his neck.  Instinctively he pulls one to his eye and takes a wide view shot.  It is lighter now, the shooting has died down, and he is told that the battle is over.  Verdenne and positions beyond have been secured.  He will now be able to document the victory in photographs for publication back home.

He was positioned with Oberst Gerdes, the battle commander, in a large farmhouse as the battle unfolded across the valley.  It was pre-dawn when the attack started – no good for photographs.  Their eyes strained in the murky gloom as dawn struggled to overcome the darkness.  It was hard to make out the Landsers as they waded deliberately through the snow and across the open terrain, with artillery crashing into Verdenne.  There was resistance in the town by the Amis, but the enemy was reportedly crushed.  Casualties are reported to the Oberst as moderate.



Oberst Gerdes takes Max aside for a moment.  He warns him to be careful.  Yes, the battle might be over, but the enemy may still be around, pockets of resistance cut off, and desperate to escape back to their own lines.  The Oberst walks the Kriegsberichter away from the farmhouse while he counsels him. 

When they are out of earshot, the Oberst quietly tells Max that he really needs to be careful around the unit’s political officer, NSFO Leutnant Hahn.  Hahn has been spouting propaganda ever since he was assigned to their unit, responsible for morale and indoctrination.  The Oberst warns Max that Hahn is seeking out those who display weakness of spirit and conviction for overall victory. 

Max is told to be wise in his choice of photographs, so as not to bring any unwanted scrutiny from Leutnant Hahn.  The Oberst tells him that no one is safe from the prying eyes of Hahn, not even himself, even though he outranks Hahn.  This chills the Kriegsberichter even more than the early morning bitter frost.

The Oberst claps him on the back and shows him to a Kubelwagen.  “Here is your driver.  His name is Hans.”  To the driver, “Take care of our Kriegsberichter, Hans.  You might even make it into the magazines.” The Oberst forces a laugh and returns to the farmhouse.



The Kriegsberichter tries to make small talk with Hans but the man is dour and only mumbles.  It is clear he doesn’t want this assignment as it is taking him towards the enemy – he’d prefer the warmth of the farmhouse or some other location as far away from Belgium as possible.

The countryside is breathtaking with its snowy majesty.  He orders Hans to stop for more distance shots.



As they near the outskirts of Verdenne, Max sees the first evidence of the battle for the town.  It is a destroyed Ami tank.  Hans is ordered to stop and Max picks the Leica that has black and white film in it.  He will go back and forth between the two, as the black and white film is more reliable and the color film is somewhat new and experimental.  He composes his shot, with the wound that killed the enemy tank clearly visible in the picture.  In his excitement he catches the rear tire of a destroyed German armored car he was trying to crop out of the shot.  He can only guess that the armored car was a victim of the enemy tank.  The US tank had to have been killed by the nearby Panther behind him, still scanning the horizon for targets.



Still working the black and white camera, Max gets yet another view of the savage fighting that went on in Verdenne.  None of this was visible from their vantage point across the valley.  He can see that his driver Hans is getting nervous.  Even with the cold wind, they catch the smell of death coming from the nearby vehicles and the town.  Hans is ordered into town.  He grinds the gears as he shifts.  Max thinks he can see the man’s hands shaking, but is it just from the cold?



Hans lags behind as Max chooses color for his next shot.  Two Ami tanks are dead on the main street through town.  The enemy dead are sprawled around, some from the tank and some from an infantry unit that must have been defending the town.  The ugly black smudge on the flank of the lead tank shows where a close-combat weapon was used for the kill. 



More destroyed enemy tanks are seen.  A dead Ami soldier lies in the center of the intersection.  Max coldly composes his photograph, snapping the shutter after adjusting his F-stops for the lens.  The soldier’s dead eyes seem to stare right at him, accusing him of being an interloper disturbing the dead.  Max shrugs off the feeling of unease he feels.



Max moves in to take a closer shot of the tank from the previous shot.  Again, the kill shot is visible on the side of the tank.  The building behind the tank shows damage.  The fighting here must have been savage, he thinks to himself.  The tank crew didn’t make it far from their tank before getting cut down.



He switches back to black and white shots.  He catches two dead enemy tanks near a Panther.  He guesses that the Panther took the enemy tanks out, as well as the dead infantryman in the street.

Max is struck by the fact that there are only dead US soldiers in the streets.  He heard that casualties were moderate.  He has not seen a single dead German soldier.  He wonders if the casualty report was accurate.  Perhaps all the dead and wounded German soldiers have already been policed up from the streets and relocated into the houses.



Max finds a small squad of Landsers inside a nearby house.  The morning sun shines through the eastern windows behind them and highlights their helmets and the side of their faces.  He goes with color on this shot, and tries to get the men to smile and look at the camera.  Instead, they ignore him, looking out the windows.  Through the back window he can see up the main street.

He shows the men his Kriegsberichter cuff title, but they pay no attention to him.  They are cold and hungry and want nothing to do with being in the magazines or newspapers.  Max doesn’t understand.  This is so unlike the previous years, when the men all wanted to be photographed, they were happy and confident. 

The door opens and a blast of cold air rushes in.  It is Leutnant Hahn.  The Leutnant sees the two cameras across Max’s chest.  He warmly greets Max, smiling and shaking Max’s hand.  “Be sure to take good shots,” he says.  “We want the people back home to witness our great victories and triumphs.”

“You can count on that, Herr Leutnant.”

Hahn turns to the men, smiling, and says “You men are all heroes of the Reich.  Give thanks to your Führer as he leads us to our glorious victory.”  Only the Feldwebel turns and says “Jawohl, Herr Leutnant.”  He snaps his arm out in salute.  The other men mumble something and stare at the floor.

Leutnant Hahn has a cold smile that is more of a grimace on his face as he returns the salute, turns, and quickly leaves the building. 

Max is confused.  The Feldwebel sees the look on Max’s face and comes over to him, leaning into Max with a face twisted in anger.  “That strutting rooster just now showed up, after all the shooting and bleeding was done.  I’ve lost half my platoon holding on to this cursed village.  He was hiding somewhere safe, probably readying his next lecture about how weak we are and how we better show courage or he will have us arrested.”

Max recoils from the burning hatred in the Feldwebel’s words. 

Again, the Feldwebel leans in close to Max, and he hisses quietly “Mark my words.  Stay away from that rooster when the bullets are flying.  You never know what direction the round with his name on it might come from.”  With that he steps back to his men as they gather quietly around him.

Max is shaken and quickly leaves the warmth of the building.



There is a four-barreled FLAK unit positioned behind the building.  Max waves his camera at them, but they hardly notice him.  They are watching the road and the sky, especially the sky.  With the clouds clearing, the Jabos are likely to appear.  The Amis have complete control of the sky and the Landsers’ only defense is the FLAK units.  Enemy aircraft are a terrible threat.

Max stands on the front seat behind the gun to get a better shot of the road leading out of town.



Max walks to the edge of the town where the ground slopes away into the valley.  A chilling sight grips him.  Frozen bodies lie silently in the snow.  Were they killed by the FLAK unit he was just with?  These Amis were clearly a part of a failed attack on the town.

He focuses his camera for a shot.  Then he looks at the men a little closer.  The one man has his hand out, frozen in time, as if beckoning to him.  It is an ill omen.  Max shivers yet again, and not from the cold.  He walks quickly back to where Hans waits in the Kubelwagen.



Hans is ordered to drive them out of the town, down the road where the enemy attack was halted.  Max switches back to black and white, and he spots something off the road in a small depression.  He orders Hans to stop and he gets out to see what he noticed.

Yes, those are bodies, many of them.  Max takes a long distance shot, but at this point he isn’t sure which side those dead belong.  A passing cloud shrouds the bodies.  He moves closer.



Americans.  They must have been caught in a mortar barrage.  Max remembered when the forward observer was calling in mortar support.  These men must have been the unfortunate recipients of that particular hand of Hell.  He silently takes his picture.



Hans is getting very nervous now.  They have driven well away from the relative safety of Verdenne.  Max sees an Ami tank that appears to have been abandoned.  He orders Hans to drive up next to the tank.  He gets out to avoid the vibration of the running Kubelwagen spoiling his pictures.  Hans refuses to turn the engine off.  He says it might not start again because of the extreme cold if he did turn it off.

Max composes another picture, with the dead tank in the foreground and another dead tank in the background. 

Suddenly Hans starts gibbering and pointing.  “Herr Kriegsberichter, that one is still breathing,” he stammers.  He is pointing at the tank in the distance. 

And so it is.  Now Max can see the exhaust fumes slowly rising from the rear of the enemy tank.  His throat is suddenly dry, he can’t speak, and he is instantly in the Kubelwagen.  He points forward towards a group of trees and Hans quietly drops the transmission into gear.  They slowly move into cover – a fast dash would have made them more obvious.  They catch their breath from their brush with near disaster.



They will have to find another way back to Verdenne, as it would be too risky to try and rush back up the road they just drove down. Why they weren’t noticed in the first place is a mystery.  Max can only think that the tank is trying to avoid being noticed and will eventually slip back to enemy lines after dark.

As Hans quietly maneuvers down a long sloping road, Max sees more bodies in the snow.  He orders Hans to stop and he gets out to investigate.  The momentary terror of the enemy tank is forgotten as he slips back into his Kriegsberichter mode. 

Max takes another shot, before realizing these are dead comrades.  They are the first he has seen since starting out on his photo journalism mission today.  He sees that he caught an enemy tank in the background.  Did they kill the tank, or did the tank kill them? 



Max trudges through the snow towards the enemy tank.  The cold wind soughs through the trees now, whispering of the horrors that took place in the shadows.  He starts to get a bad feeling about this place.

The tank gun is pointing to the rear – very odd.  As he gets closer, he sees what probably happened.  A terrible fight took place here, in the low bushes and shadows of the snowy trees.  Dead tank crewmen are mixed in with dead Landsers.  His fellow soldiers must have attacked the enemy tank as it crawled through the woods, and somehow they stopped it.  The tank is not burned so the Landsers must have crippled it somehow.

Then the enemy tankers piled out of the crippled tank and there was a horrific hand-to-hand struggle to the death.  Max wants to preserve the heroics of both sides but his cold photograph only shows Death’s ugly hand. 

He is unnerved by this struggle.  He now sees many dead bodies, partially hidden all around this small forest.  It is a killing zone.  The rustling of the wind in the trees now seems to speak, whispering accusations from the dead.  Why are you here?  You have no right to be here.  Trespasser.  Are you trying to steal our souls?

Max remembers reading in history books how American Indians refused to let themselves be photographed, fearing their souls would be captured on the film.  As the wind pulls at the uniforms of the dead, they seem to be trying to rise.  He is seized by a moment of unreasonable fear and he bolts back to where Hans is parked.



Max stands by the road and forces himself to regain control.  He can see Hans’ hands visibly shaking now.  He wonders if Hans had the same feeling he had moments ago.

Hans makes a feeble gesture for Max to get back in the Kubel.  Max turns and suddenly sees a column of greasy black smoke rising into the sky.  He shakes his head at Hans and points to the smoke.  It appears to be coming from a tank.  Max snaps off a quick black and white shot and then carefully heads down the road towards the smoke.  Hans stays put, refusing to drive closer.



Easing through the trees, Max comes upon a tank-hunter team.  “Stay back,” the man with the panzershrek hisses at him.  “It is still burning inside and the ammo might cook off.”  Max needs no further encouragement and takes his picture from behind a tree. 

“Did anyone…?”  The gunner cuts him off.  “No one got out.  Now, Photographer, stop your sightseeing and get out of here.  The front line is not secure and we expect more American tanks.  Why do you suppose we are still lying here in this bloody snow?”

Max runs back to Hans and the Kubel.



Hans takes a very circuitous route away from the forest haunted with the spirits of the dead.  As he crosses a ridge, he suddenly makes a strange sound and stops abruptly.  More dead, everywhere, lying frozen and motionless in the snow.  Large burned patches of snow reveal that these Americans were caught in a heavy artillery barrage.  They were shredded by shrapnel.

Max takes one more shot of the dead.  This doesn’t feel like a victory.  It is just a charnel ground of horrors where the Grim Reaper has harvested men with his sickle and left their spirits to wander aimlessly seeking peace.

“Get us out of here, Hans,” says Max through gritted teeth.  The Kubelwagen lurches as Hans grinds the gears again and detours around the killing field.  Max looks back over his shoulder and sees the tower of black smoke marking the steel coffin grave of the tankers.  He imagines the ghostly whispers are following him and he wills the Kubelwagen to go faster.  He has had his fill of death this day.


The war goes on.




Beautifully done, Heinrich - BEAUTIFULLY DONE!  The shots look amazing . . . what settings do you have your CMFB on?

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Sasa Narinasa,

  Thanks for the nice comments.  Always appreciated.  Nothing too sophisticated in the settings. 

Vert Sync   Off

3D Model Quality   Best

3D Texture Quality  Best

Anti Alias   Off

Tree Detail   High

Shaders    On

I'd say the big plus is the mods, as I have a boatload of them in my Z folder.  Also, I am using the Final Blitz Env Mod, which is something Worghern put together, and it includes Sweet FX.  I think you can find that Mod at GreenAsJades site, CMMODS.

I take the screen shots with FRAPS and then I touch them up just a bit with Corel Paintshop Pro X6.  That lets me play with the white balance to achieve the cooling effect on the shots.


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The great human wave attack on Hofen! From the scenario "Day of Attrition". This is supposed to be one of the opening German attacks on the first day of the Bulge.




In this scenario, the Germans get two battalions of Volksgrenadiers and not much else. I think they have around 700 men in total. They must cross huge areas of open ground and capture two cities with little artillery support and no tank support, and no vehicles except a few trucks. They have some HMG platoons and some mortars, but their greatest asset is their enormous numbers of MP44s. Some squads are outfitted almost entirely with MP44s. So I figured my greatest chance was to attack en masse -- a giant human wave to cross the fields and get within rifle range as quickly as possible, so I can use the superior firepower of the MP44s.




To my surprise, the advance goes much more smoothly than expected. Many of the American units are overrun and annihilated, and I take many prisoners.





German troops overrun and destroy a battery of AT guns, gunning down the crews with their MP44s:



German troops fire at retreating US infantry:



About halfway there, some of the Germans halt while they wait for a smoke barrage to come in and cover the final assault on the town. They come under US artillery fire, but for the most part, the Germans are advancing too quickly for the shells to zero in on them.




I managed to storm the town and drive the Americans out with ease, but before I could reorganize and move on to the next objective, the game seemed to bug out and it seems I'm unable to finish the scenario. All the movement orders for my whole force stopped working all of a sudden and nobody will move or even fire at the enemy. It's like my army is a bunch of robots and someone hit the killswitch on them, and the whole force shut down all at once. Very strange thing. :(

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