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MarkEzra,

   Well, I guess I am on a roll here.  A few days ago it was an amazing battle I had to post about that GeorgeMC did.

   Today I finished playing this incredible battle, actually for the third time around.  It was such a challenge and I enjoyed it so much that I had to play it out several times.

   The first time, I was getting blown up big time, and could not get over the bridge.  I had to quit, as I was just too chewed up to continue.  However, I had been challenged by your battle, so I started it again.  Then it became clear to me, on the second try, that you had several versions.  What a cool idea.  I'm guessing you might have three all told, as I played it three times and each time was slightly different, and each time was challenging and just as much fun as the other two...well, getting chewed up big time on my first try wasn't exactly fun, haha, but it got me going and it got me thinking about "adapting and overcoming."  After all, I was playing as the US Marines.

   The map had all sorts of dangerous lines of sight to be wary of.  There were plenty of ambushes and the enemy AI was real good about holding fire until an opportune moment.  Solving the problem of the bridge was one of the more challenging and interesting facets of this battle, and it was very satisfying.

   The AI did a very credible job at giving me fits.  I was, of course, trying to keep my casualties down, just because.  But the Marines are very different from playing the Army or NATO troops.  I've hit that stretch of the battle list where I've been playing Marine battles in a row, and I've learned some of the nuances of fighting with them.  It is quite an eye opener at times.  My impression is that you can play them much more aggressively than the other types, but you have to be careful not to be too aggressive.

   My troop mix was just right, and the battle had all sorts of challenges that caused me to think quickly and on the fly, taking advantage of the different specialists.  

   The battle was very nicely done, a full blown challenge, and very satisfying when I came to a succesful end on my 2nd and 3rd tries.  I highly recommend this battle.  It's got everything, including tanks.  It is a wicked, up close, street fight, but you have to be clever in how you use your sledgehammer.  It's all the more fun because there are several versions.

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   Mark, I had to include some sort of after action report for you.  I played this battle on Elite and ended up with a Total Victory from the enemy surrendering.

   Having been blown up pretty badly on the first try, and unable to get across the bridge, I determined on the second try that I'd do something a little different.  At the start, I had both my Abrams pick a wall on either side of the bridge and start blasting away.  This put nice gaps in them for my troops, and I wasn't going to have to charge across the bridge.  Artillery did this for me a little on the first version, but I still got shot to bits.

   Then I had the tanks blast the far wall as well, giving me a way across the deep ditch and a chance to get footholds in the buildings adjacent to the bridge.  In the process, I ran Marines across the ditch to either side of the bridge, which then wreaked havoc on my command lines as the battle progressed.  Lessons learned.  I did a lot better on the third try.

   Having gotten across and into the closest buildings with assault teams, now the tricky part came in because I was taking a lot of fire from enemy positions that were opening up on me.  My tanks were able to give some support through the gaps in the walls, and that helped.  But, I was still taking casualties.  I ended up running more guys into the buildings I controlled and overwhelming the enemy positions with the tremendous firepower that a full squad of Marines put out at close range.  I started hearing Marines yelling "Put your hands up and surrender.  Move over here."  I'd never heard that before, and when I checked some of the buildings that showed enemy presence, I saw some had given up and surrendered.  Amazing!  The firepower and seeing their comrades cut down was just too much for some of them.  Shortly I started seeing white flags from those locations.  

   I fanned out a bit to both sides and managed to unpleasantly find enemy armor of both BMP and serious T-90 Tank types.  As there were still all sorts of RPGs flying around, I couldn't just rush my tanks across the bridge just yet.  It fell to AT teams that I broke off from the regular squad.  One team of two slipped down the left flank line of buildings, and rushed in the back door of one building that was near some AFV sounds.  Of course I am holding my breath as they do this, and they spot two BMPs very quickly.  Then one goes up in a wicked explosion and moments later the second one, a little further away, exploded gloriously.  Each Marine had their own shoulder AT weapon, and both got in their shots fast.

   The second wave of Marines arrived and I rushed them across the ditch, and deeper into the town, because someone (the tanks maybe) had let off a blg black cloud of smoke.  I thought black smoke was from the enemy and white was from my side, but it was definitely black and it was definitly helping me out big time.  I hadn't given any order for smoke, so I am just a little at a loss on where this was coming from.  It had to be my tanks, I'm guessing.

   I'm taking some losses as I push forward though.  The enemy would hold on with support from their armor, but as I hunted and blasted the armor ,mainly from AT teams broken off from the main squads, they became less inclined to fight and more inclined to pull back to better positions.  That was interesting, but in many cases they decided to pull back when it was too late, and my guys cut them down as they tried to pull back.

   The left flank was starting to fray, and I decided it was time to rush my tanks across the bridge.  One went left and the other went right.  The one on the left started putting down heavy support fire, which greatly helped in reducing the holdouts.  But, there was a freaking tank high up at the back of the street, and it was blasting all my attempts to get it.  I slipped a Jav team over to try and get the tank.  They were spotted and took heavy casualties.  I ran the Abrams over to try and get the drop on the tank.  It managed to uncover a BMP and blew it up, but it just couldn't get an angle on that doggone tank, and I wasn't about to give it the first shot on my tank.

   I had to drag over another Jav team, after running one of the supply trucks over the bridge and getting them reloaded with AT rockets.  I had the Abrams fire briefly near the enemy tank, as it couldn't see it, but I was hoping the enemy would be slightly distracted.  I had the HQ unit for the Jav team also accompany the Jav guys, and they snuck into position where they could see the tank.  The first rocket missed - of course, winging high as my guys were firing uphill - and I waited for the enemy tank to wipe them out, but apparently the distraction was working a little, and the Jav boys nailed him on the second shot.  Not being totally sure the tank was knocked out, in the next turn I advanced the Abrams out and it confirmed that the enemy tank was done.

   It was getting dark now, and the third wave of Marines came onto the battlefield.  My first and second waves were all mixed up, so I've got Lieutenants yelling across the battle field on both sides of the road where their squads are spread out.  It was SNAFU.  But, I ran the third wave of Marines exclusively to the right flank, making a push for the compound victory location.

   Also, I had discovered, unpleasently, that enemy armor was controlling one of the main streets that I needed to cross to advance on the left flank.  I had pushed some assault squads forward and they discovered that BMPs could put out a devastating amount of fire.  I had to address the enemy armor, which I suspected was both BMP and tanks, as the boom of a main gun was also tearing up my advance.  

   Because of the sound contacts, I had called in the chopper for that area, but as I was advancing so fast on the right flank, I canceled the helicopter, and a turn later I called for a strike on the compound instead, which meant that the timer started all over again and I was waiting another 10 minutes.  I only had about 20 minutes left in the battle.

   Knowing that there was enemy armor on the right flank, I was running some Jav teams to that side, along with the entire 3rd platoon.  I was able to advance fairly well, overwhelming some positions with firepower, but then I was slowed up, as the enemy got very determined.  I slipped an AT team through some of the buildings, and they identified a BMP and two  - yeah, two - freaking T-90SA tanks.  Then the team got blasted.  They never had a chance to get any shots off.  

   I was trying to figure out the best way to handle this situation, as time was running down, the helicopter wasn't going to help, and running men through the buildings to try and get a shot off was very risky.  I had managed to get one of my Jav teams on the roof of the near side of the buildings, but they would have to advance to the adjacent roof to get a line on the enemy armor. 

   Staff Sergeant Altman, although showing Green for experience, was more than ready to show that Marine armor in an M1A1 Abrams tank could sway the day.  He was quickly briefed about the sound contacts, and he was told that buildings to either side of an alley had been cleared of enemy infantry.  It was believed that all enemy armor was facing down the street, and would be looking away from where SSG Altman's tank would emerge.  He gave a crafty smile and said he'd take care of it.

   Then SSG Altman had his driver pull up to the alley and ease into it, while the gunner swiveled the turret to face down the alley.  There was a T-90, broadside, and facing to the left down the street.  Moments later the T-90 was blown apart.  

   The big question was now whether or not the other armor vehicles would notice that something was awry to their rear.  SSG Altman was clearly relishing this situation, and next thing you know, he had rushed down the alley and out into the street, turning the turret in the direction of the sound contacts as soon as his gun barrel was clear of the alley.  The rear of a BMP and a T-90 now presented themselves to SSG Altman, as battlefield gifts.  Neither were aware that something bad was approaching from the rear.  SSG Altman must have seen he was lined up on the BMP first, so that was the first to go, in a gigantic explosion of flame.  The enemy tank crew must have noticed this, as it was getting fairly dark now, and suddenly half the block was lit up with the light from the exploding BMP.  The Jav team had eased up to watch the show from the roof, and they said that the enemy tankers had no time to even consider something bad was about to happen.  SSG Altman's crew had reloaded and the gunner fired as fast as could be.  The enemy T-90 then exploded in flames.  Medals all around for that tank crew. 

   All three armored vehicles had been eliminated in rapid succession and SSG Altman was then moving up to help reduce an enemy position on the corner that was holding up my advance towards the compound.  SSG Altman blew a big gap in the wall of the compound and began pounding an enemy unit in the compound that had been safe moments before when there had been a wall there.   

   I had advanced my 3rd Platoon forward once the enemy AFVs were reduced to cinders, and I had them on the roof, so they could see into the compound.  They began firing at a number of enemy troops, and suddenly the battle was over.  The enemy surrendered.  There was still 14 minutes left in the battle, but the enemy had had enough and threw in the towel. 

   It was great fun playing this battle several times.  It always seemed to be a challenge and the composition of the Marines seemed to suit the street brawl situation nicely.

   Thanks for putting this one together for us to enjoy.  

Heinrich505

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