This is a continuation of my previous entry. I pasted the birds eye view of the area of operations (image above) for an easier following of the action.
I am in command of a 2 M1 tanks section-rifle infantry squad team. As per USMC SOP, the rifle squad leader (me) is in charge of both the tanks and the infantry.
After briefly scouting both flanks and finding no enemy forces, I split my forces yet I keep them close enough to provide mutual support.
- On our right flank, fireteam Blue plus tank #3 (see screenshot below)
- On the left flank, fireteams Red and Green
- On the main road, tank #2 stands by to support by fire both the right and left flanks
The view from the main road. Tank #2 is in the foreground and tank #3 is in the background.
No contact after my brief scouting and I ponder a slow advance forward. The enemy shows up, though, and I abandon the idea. The crackle of bullets flying never fails to fire up some adrenaline.
Rockets exploding in front of tank #3. The enemy means business!
Apparently, we are being shot from our right flank. The not-so-fun part of being a squad leader is to run back and forth between fire teams to try to grasp what's going on. This is in the job description, so I will stop whining right here. :)
The automatic rifleman (AR) of fireteam Blue.
The men of fire team Blue (right flank) are well concealed, but I'm a bit worried that they may have gone too forward, so I order them to pull back a few yards. An then I sprint back to our left flank, where fireteams Red and Green are already deployed.
Our left flank.
From the screenshot above, particularly the communications captions I want to point out two things:
- It maybe obvious for some of you but keep an ear to what out of sight fire teams are saying ( 4:"hostile down"). This is like playing soccer: the ball and the guy in front trying to steal it from you should not absorb your thoughts to the point where you forget what the other players of your team are up to.
- "All, open up!": I think I'm developing the vice of overusing the recently added suppressive fire order. Control of fires (concentrated fires on the most threatening target instead of distributed fires on many targets) is a command skill I need to develop.
quickly brushed away by an explosion our left flank (see image below).
Outflanked! There is a smoke column from an enemy rocket in our left flank. The enemy is likely on the other side of the slope.
I re-orient fireteams Red and Green (left flank) to deal with the threat coming from our left flank. Note to self: defending in a reverse slope is a nice trick as far as you have some eyes on the forward slope (not the case here). I also re-orient tank #2 (the one in the middle of the road). See the image below.
That tank packs a lot of fire support.
I am expecting a horde cresting the gentle heights on our left flank but the enemy never appears there. Instead, I keep hearing Marines from all fire teams yelling "hostile down". Is all going good, yet I feel I'm letting my men down by not knowing of where the Russians are coming from. The leader of fire team Green is injured (Marine #6) at this point.
And then it all stops and I think it's time to move down the road. The main effort is now fire teams Red and Green advancing on the left side of the road, with the support of tank #2 in the main road. I put myself in front of this slow advance. I leave fire team Blue and tank #3 back, still covering the right flank.
Slowly advancing towards TRP Wall, with tank #2 stopping and going at my command.
As I approach TRP Wall, I leave tank #2 ten meters behind. Right below TRP Hill I pull out by binoculars and I take a look ahead. I spot an enemy T-72, deep inside the town.
If this thing sees me, I'm toast!
I relay the target to tank #2, but since this tank is out of LOS covered by the hill, its crew doesn't fire. As I try to decide if we will take care of this tank right now or try to get closer I get a sight of the deadly power of the formation I'm commanding. I hear sporadic fire behind me, but I am compelled to advance right now. Marine #15 gets it. Most urgent to move ahead, I am not liking this!
These Russian infantry men attacked us from the front when I was actually expecting them on the flanks. The top of this elevation is TRP Hill
Almost without a thought I order tank #2 to move a few meters ahead. Just a few meters (even when the caption of the image above says 100!), I still want it behind the cover of TRP Hill. I then put my mind to the task of moving fire teams Red and Green towards TRP Wall. The sound of a tank main gun, closely followed by an explosion throws me off balance. What the hell?
To be continued ...