Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Steel Beasts ProPE - I'd Rather Have Tanks Than Being Just Lucky

In one of my favorite movie scenes of all times,  Sergeant Horvath and an unknown grenadier aim guns at point blank from each other just to find themselves out of ammo. Both throw their helmets at each other and in the end resort to their side weapons. This scene from Saving Private Ryan presents unrelenting violence that doesn't go away when weapons fail. On the opposite end, a very much debated account from the Sherman tank commander Lt. Gordon during Operation Goodwood (WWII) explains how his tank crew and a Tiger's tank crew shared a slit trench after bailing out during a particularly intense firefight. Just a few "suspicious looks" exchanged, Gordon explains (Tigers in Normandy, Wolfang Schneider, Stackpole Books [2011], page 141)

In this scenario, one of my tankers has been closer to the latter situation.

A Leopard tank crewed only by a driver (all the others dead) stops to let a column of Soviet infantry. Unable to engage the enemy, the driver just watches. The Soviets, lacking any major anti-tank assets drive by, probably thinking they are the luckiest men. An RPG would have sufficed to end the live of this driver.
The above happened in one single-player scenario I played recently. Many of you would find the situation a bit goofy, but I am an unabated manchild and it was a memorable gaming moment for me.

How I got there and what happened after?

The briefing map. A Soviet mechanized regiment has just been destroyed and their comrades are not sparing resources to re-establish the original position via a quick thrust through the river in the north of the sector. A German PzGr Company is on point to stop the Soviets by means of an attack or by establishing a defensive position.

The first Panzer platoon moves forward towards the river just to meet Soviet tanks moving south. This view is from the lead tank gunner's thermal sight.

An intense firefight erupts. The German platoon's column formation doesn't help for a quick deployment of firepower. This allowed one of the enemy tanks to take a hull down position.

A traffic jam from the first tank platoon, amid the burning hulls of enemy tanks. It's a miracle that my men didn't blew each other in all this confusion.

Given the seemingly obvious intention of the Soviets to come down south via the main road, the first tank platoon hits the gas through a detour. The Leopard tank in the background has been hit and his turret doesn't traverse at all. 
The "detour" was rich in targets but also in tank hazards. This Soviet BMP manage to unload its infantry just before brewing up.
One of my Leopard tanks blows up in a horrible explosion. Damn those BMPs and their infantry!  I should have ordered this platoon to push forward as fast as possible and not getting entangled in stomping infantry. Note the Leopard tank in the mid background, still with its turret pointing backwards. The tank in the foreground was hit several times with RPGs, killing everybody but the driver.
Forward! A couple of minutes of mad driving hits the main road near the river crossing. What a sad bunch my platoon was! One gunner-less tank and other unable to point its main gun. A Soviet column of truck-born infantry passes by in the distance.
The rest of the company moves up, using the main road and with the anticipation of finding the Soviet truck column. The German mechanized platoons, which have been in defensive positions by that treeline are now under an artillery barrage.

With only light casualties, the infantry packs up into their Marder IFVs and get ready to move forward.

The resistance against the rest of the company is light. Just a few Soviet IFVs.

When the second tank platoon meets the Soviet trucks is pure carnage. Just the coaxial MG is enough to light up these soft-skinned vehicles.
And then the scenario ends with a decisive victory for the Germans. We killed 43 enemy vehicles and lost around 7. We didn't even had to take the bridge.



GH65 said...

I know this scenario. Played it many times. It is a classic. Great After Action Report. Love the screenshots. I too have had great drama playing this particular one.

Unknown said...

Great sce gonna go play it now,lol.

JC said...

Thanks for reading. It is a great scenario, indeed.