My best and worst moments while playing this great scenario (Flank Attack, stock scenario in Steel Beasts) by LtHenkel. Obvious spoilers. You have been warned.
Below is the operations plan for my panzer grenadier battalion, which will be attacking in the northwest direction (dotted blue arrow). The objective (big blue oval) is the right flank of a Soviet mechanized regiment (red icons and tactical graphs), which is giving our American friends a run for their lives.
|The operations plan. Right click and open in another window/tab for a better view.|
|The FRAGO. Right click and open in another window/tab if you want to actually read something.|
|A panoramic view of the terrain around CP35 (see operational map above), right where the main axis of attack (dotted blue arrow in the same map) has been marked.|
That's why my company is steering clear of the above avenue of approach and is leaning on our sector's right flank and aiming for CP8. In addition to this, an approach to the objective through CP8 offers a direct route to the hill at CP54. This particular piece of terrain looks very inviting. However, the presence of many destroyed American armor hulls there is telling me something.
The scenario offers the player a FASCAM artillery mission (artillery delivered minefield). This fire mission can be delivered either close to the Americans or north of the assembly area for the Soviet follow on forces. I chose to deliver this minefield close to the Americans. Their situation was dire after all.
|The approach to the objective via CP8 was not as fast as I was hoping. Yet, we moved out of contact for the entire length of the route.|
However, once my lead tank platoon started pressing onto CP54, we had a colossal reminder of the power of infantry. Hidden in crevices and knolls, the Soviet infantry greeted us with hand-held rocket launchers ...
|The lead tank platoon (2/A) can't shake a painful infantry torn from under its threads. Shown here, the first enemy infantry contact (red diamond icon). Note the extra platoon (1/A) joining the fray.|
|The destroyed hulls of the Soviet BMPs at the hill near CP54. Enemy infantry remnants everywhere, though.|
|I really would have preferred to establish a battle position at the hill near CP54. But the enemy infantry pressure forced us to move ahead.|
|I moved the two platoons out of CP54, towards the plain in the west. The two panzer grenadier platoons were ordered forward to clean up the enemy infantry remaining in the hill we just abandoned.|
|Panzer grenadiers mopping up enemy infantry, under the covering fire of their Marder IFVs. This screenshot taken from the hill near CP54.|
|Denied of our intended hull down position (on our rear at the time of this picture), we had to face the advancing Soviets on the exposed slope of the hill. The killing was quick and good, but we suffered a mobility kill from an ATGM.|
|The tactical situation so far. The much awaited reinforcements are moving up, here visible at the tip of the dotted blue arrow with two Leopard tank platoons in the lead. The Soviets have now stopped their push north from the village at CP6.|
|Despite the losses and the risk, we move past the village to secure some real estate around it. Some Soviet armor was scattered around. We engaged and destroyed no less than 3 enemy T-72s.|
|Reinforcements moving towards CP6. This panzer grenadier platoon will be very helpful to clear the village.|
|After re-grouping, we launched an anemic tanks-only offensive oriented towards the enemy assembly area. Our efforts came way too short despite killing some 5 or so enemy tanks. Yet again, infantry blocking our advance from the surrounding woods.|
Total losses for the Soviets were 20 tanks, 76 APCs and 369 troops. At the end of the scenario, the Soviets had 7 tanks, 20 APCs and 126 men remaining. A good portion of these losses, off course, are due to the works of the Americans.
As for losses under my command, which includes two panzer grenadier companies 5 tanks (out of 12), 7 APCs (out of 27) and 27 grenadiers (out of 122).
A playback of the in-game AAR, which plots all troop movements, revealed that my company hit the trail of the main Soviet attack and the tip of the follow on troops. The enemy assembly area was left untouched, with a Soviet mechanized infantry company still waiting to join the battle.