|The west edge of Coppenbrugge, as seen from the southern edge of battle position 1 (BP1) through a gunner's FLIR .|
Tank crews were on the ready at battle position 1 (BP1). Gunners and commanders with their eyes pressed to the FLIR, one hand intermittently pushing the helmet's earpiece closer to the skull ... Nobody with a target-less gun sight wants to miss a bit of the last radio call . Drivers with their feet on the clutch. Loaders with one hand on the ammo compartment's door handle and the other up on the handrail ... Just in case the tank moves. Muscle memory never abandons a trained soldier in danger.
At 0810, the word "contact" crackling on the radio raised more than one heart rate. It was coming from observation post 3, south (OP3 South).
|The men at OP3 south (the Marder IFV can be seen in the foreground, at the bottom left) report 2 BRDMs on route L425, moving down the western slope of the ridge in front of them. I will leave to the reader to spot one BRDM in this picture.|
The news were not good. It appeared as if the Soviets have chosen to attack exclusively through the south and the Bundeswehr's bet was on the north. A momentary ray of hope came from the tank crews at BP1, who spotted vehicles moving west from Coppenbrugge.
|A gunner's FLIR view from BP1 of one of the vehicles moving west from Coppenbrugge.|
|A civilian vehicle getting away from danger by driving through a tank kill zone.|