The drums of war never start in hushed tones. The birds of summer gone from the sounds of exploding ordnance and the roar of engines of fighting vehicles. The smell of crops blown away by cordite and dug-out dirt. The sights of disemboweled normalcy, cement and flesh alike in forced communion.
Just a couple of kilometers from the Maksimov-Novoazovs'k border control buildings, the Russians were forced out of the road to search for shortcuts within the country-side.
This is game play from the recently released Combat Mission Black Sea. In this solo scenario I am commanding a mix of Ukrainian forces (blue) of infantry (platoon) reinforced by ATGM launchers, a recoilless gun and 3 heavy mortars. The Russians (red) have fielded 4 T-72 tanks and two platoons of mechanized infantry.
The battle started auspicious for my men. The enormous open field in front of us provided a great field of fire for the ATGM crew, who destroyed two Russian T-72s as soon as they crested a small rise some 1.2 Km away.
The ATGM team who destroyed these two T-72 tanks was at our right flank, on top of a huge pile of rocks that provided a direct view of the enemy's advance. The quick succession of the tank-killing stunned both us and the Russians.
My tactical vision, "posturing" in the words of my weary troops, was to avoid occupying a sector-wide treeline overlooking the armor/infantry teams advancing in the open. Only a couple of teams were allowed forward in the treeline: the ATGM team mentioned before and an artillery observer team.
The logic behind this deployment with a deserted treeline was that it negated the enemy massed fires upon my troops. At least at the start of the engagement.
I don't know the wisdom of having my ATGMs shooting at the enemy from a short distance (150+ meters). But I am certain that I don't want to waste my entire force in this delaying action.
One of the ATGM teams and the recoilless gun seemingly had some chances of a successful keyhole shot through the trees, but that will have to wait until the enemy closes in.
Stay tuned. More is coming.