To everybody's relief, the Soviets had planned to move near Coppenbrugge, just where battle position 1 (BP1) was waiting for them. But the cost of the first engagement was to be high ...
0814. Tanks spotted moving near Coppenbrugge. The men at observation post 1 (OP1) watched the first Soviet tanks skirting the outer edges of the city and moving northbound rapidly.
|The view from OP1. An enemy tank (right) and following platoon (left) are circled in yellow.|
|Situation at 0815. Soviet tanks near Coppenbrugge.|
|A short time later, the Soviet T-72 was finally destroyed. The red line is the round trajectory. A platoon of T-72 can be seen in the background.|
In the center and in the southern edge of BP1, the events were also disheartening. This portion of BP1 had tanks with their guns aimed directly west of Coppenbrugge. Much to the crews' dismay, the first rounds fired at Soviet tanks moving west through Coppenbrugge had found their targets but with no effect. It turned out to be that the rounds were hitting in the wrong spots. A sustained volume of fire from the German tanks didn't make too much of a difference (just one T-72 destroyed after a total of 3 hits). Modern tank warfare is merciless: you fail with your first two shots and then you are certainly killed. The enemy tanks responded in kind and one additional Leopard was destroyed in the center of BP1.
0824. The norther edge of BP1 has fallen silent, as if the surviving Soviet tanks were re-grouping. In the center of BP1, the things kept getting hotter by the minute. A sustained fire exchange between opposing tanks was a side show to a German indirect fire mission that destroyed 1 T-72s and 1 BRDM and damaged 2 T-72s within Coppenbrugge. The Soviets fired at the center of BP1 with fanatical contempt. Then, at 0825, Soviet indirect fire in the center of BP1 forces the German tanks to fall a hundred meters back.
|Leopard tanks from the center of BP1 firing at ranges up to 3 km.|
|A close call to a Leopard tank in BP1 (green arrow is an enemy ground missile hit).|
|The rear tanks of Company A withdrawing towards PL Mohawk. The Leopard in the right has just destroyed a single T-72 tank in the background.|
It was 0827 and the Germans have lost 4 out of their 13 tanks. In comparison, the Soviets have lost just spare change (9 tanks).