Note: In this entry I am playing solo and switching between soldiers for better control of the platoon assets and to avoid any sudden cut from the narrative due to the untimely death of the virtual soldier I am controlling. Because of that, this story is written in third person. This doesn't mean I am not assuming full responsibility for the successes and failures of the mission. :)
Somehow accustomed to the portrayal in some old war games, the antitank gun was always for me a more or less fixed position, kill-or-die in place type of weapon. Not until I started to pay attention to what some of the military books and biographies had to say on the subject, the tactical use of some of these antitank guns became an interest that I am attempting to catch up with.
If you remember the previous entry, this is a vignette of a platoon (-) of German Pak-40s (2 guns, the minimal number of guns that German doctrine allowed at the time of WWII) providing support (flank protection) for a company of tanks in an offensive tactical mission (counterattack). Because the antitank weapon can deliver direct fire only, this mission requires adequate tactical mobility (can't attack if you are sitting pretty at the line of departure).
|The tactical mission is to provide flank protection for a company of tanks that will counterattack Soviet forces moving northwest.|
|Driving vehicles is one of the most unpleasant annoyances of the ArmA 2 engine. The platoon was lucky to find a wide, building-free gap in the layout of the Otoka Grabinska town.|
|The view from the position of gun #1 (front gun).|
|The view from the position of gun #2 (rear gun). Gun #1 is across the street (green romboid icon in the right).|
And then, with no less than 5 Soviet T-34s moving at the far edge of the draw in front of the German guns, all hell broke loose. Sometimes obscured by the smoke of guns and the dust and debris lifted by missing rounds, the duel was never in short supply of hate and fear.
|Mid-battle view from gun #1. Note the two enemy tanks destroyed in the background. A third destroyed enemy tank can't be seen because of that tree.|
|Gun #1, a few seconds before its crew was killed by machine gun fire an enemy tank that appeared across the road, near the top left corner of this image.|
In the words of New Zealand Brigadier Howard Kippenberger, "nothing was right except the courage".