Theoretically this is the last of the series of telegames. Originally I figure to publish late tomorrow or early Saturday, but the dice had minds of their own.
This time BH played a West German force. We were down to Encounter or Dust Up as scenario choices, and ended up with Dust Up. He was originally considering 11 Leo IIs and a Luchs patrol but when I pointed out that half his stuff would be off table he reconsidered and formed two 7 tank companies, one Leo I and the other Leo II, with 2 Luchs Spahs. I was playing the list I started with.
Four hours after breaking through the Belgians at Paderborn, the 5th Guards had halted to refuel. The NATO depot in Paderborn had been generous - the fuel trucks had been able to halt, protected by the Motor Rifle Battalion, and refuel, and now Bayan had the brigade top off before entering combat again. The autobahn northwest from Paderborn had been a nightmare, so Bayan's troops had moved east and west of it, maintaining a steady 25 kph, while the Forward Detachment and recon battalion shot up column after column of NATO troops racing north. The enemy had invariably grabbed the nearest village and dug in. Polish troops had followed behind the 3rd Shock as it crossed the Ruhr, and the 8th Polish Motorized Piechoty had the joy of mopping up.
The KGB liaison interrupted Bayan's sampling of 'Meals, Ready to Eat.' "I understand that you are not going to follow orders and take Kassel!"
Bayan continued to eat, wondering if he should bother to explain. The KGB officer was a spy and a policeman, and doubtless good at it. What he was not was a school-trained combat officer. There might be hope.
"First, Comrade, as I'm sure you are aware, I have no specific orders on taking Kassel. Second, Comrade, this unit is singularly ill-equipped for fighting in the city. I have a few hundred riflemen. There is a Polish Motorized Division on the road behind us. They have nearly 8,000 riflemen. They will take the city."
"But there are thousands of tons of NATO supplies in the railyards and the city is full of trucks according to Frontal Aviation!"
"Yes, and our valiant 2S3 Battalion, which has been carefully conserving its ammo, is cataloguing targets as we speak. As much as I hate to ruin a pretty town, we will shortly stampede those vehicles, and destroy ammunition dumps. Meanwhile I am taking 2nd and 3rd Battalion around to the south. We'll cross the Fulda river, and that will be the end of the NATO pocket. They will kick and scream, of course, but eventually they will surrender.
"How is that possible?" the KGB officer asked, scratching nervously. They were all lousy because of lack of time or materials to bathe.
"Simply. Your people estimate at least 2 British, 2 German, 1 Dutch and 1 Belgian Division are in the pocket. Figure they are half-strength. That's the equivalent of four NATO divisions. Your estimate is that each such division uses 1,500 to 2,000 tons of munitions alone, each and every day. About half that, or about 8 million liters of petrol, each day. A thousand tanks cars, and a thousand box cars, along those two rail lines every 24 hours. This is the blow that cuts the BAOR carotid artery. And a good bit of the rolling stock for that mission is already north of here, in Hanover. They can't recover from this. So we will attack south of the town, and stop that flow, and let the Poles have the joy of driving the logistics troops into the pocket."
Sorry for the glare, but we are getting company and I got turfed out of my preferred location for the purification ritual.
Dust up is a tough scenario on NATO players with high-end tanks. BH was fortunate that I won the toss and had to set up first, so he could react to my deployment choices. It also meant that having five units vs three units was as horrible as it can be.
BH spearheaded with the Luchs patrol of his Leo II company and deployed one Leo II platoon at each objective. The commander joined his No.1 Platoon in the village of Schirnbrunn where he had stashed one of his objectives.
Remember that I spearheaded first, and set up in the western sector first, then he countered, etc. I used two recon units because that's my habit when playing Dust Up. One T64 'company' joined the BMPs on the southern map sector, ready to move on Schirnbrunn. The others went down on the NATO side of the river, thanks to Spearhead.
BH drew the first turn, and moved out to attack. His reasoning was the toughness of his tanks, and his hope to dictate the pace of the battle, allowing his Leo Is to jump into a swirling knifefight. It was a good thought, but as things turned out, he couldn't reach decent firing positions without exposing himself. Shooting at concealed, gone-to-ground BRDMs produced a single casualty.
My turn 1came as a bit of a surprise to BH. Convinced I was going to try for the objective in Schirnbrunn he suddenly found his 2nd Platoon under fire from unexpected directions. I considered and rejected attacking Schirnnbrunn because he had not shot at my 'bait' of a visible BMP. 7 dice, 3 of them hitting at 4+ and 4 hitting at 5+, all from flanks, flew and I got two hits killing two Leo IIs. Meanwhile my BRDMs moved against his Luchs, and managed to get two bails.
BH made two morale checks, and the Luchs patrol abandoned their vehicles.
BH knew this was bad news, and moved the survivor of 2nd Platoon to the objective he placed on the east bank of the river. His adjusted plan was to hang on by his toenails until the Leo I's could score some kills. He took two shots at my command tank, and missed both. He also moved 1st Platoon to contest the now open objective I had placed in his deployment area, near Kalmreuth. The lead tank here managed a pair of shots on my lead T64 from 3rd Platoon. One of these didn't miss. Burning T64
I moved my 3rd Company's survivors into Kalmreuth and sent Second Company after his lone survivor. Meanwhile 1st Company and the BMPs remained aloof. My cunning plan was to force him to fight for Kalmreuth and bring his reinforcements there. The two tanks in Kalmreuth managed two hits on his 1st Platoon; naturally enough one was a bail. The other was a kill. The lone survivor was gunned down, but he had accomplished his mission - diverting my No.3 Company. I mentally prepared for a long game. Surprising me not a bit, 1st Platoon passed morale. Then BH, at the beginning of Turn 3, before reinforcements, failed company morale (no unit in good spirits). Game over, 6-1.
Hindsight showed that BH probably lost the game by the aggressive move on Turn 1. Had he waited, I probably would have maneuvered to reach the other objective, attacking it on Turn 2 with seven T64s. However, it would have been a bloody fight as unless he opened fire on my bait (BMP) the hit probabilities would have been 1 in 6 instead of 2 in 6 because he would have been gone to ground.
Sorry, but I can't resist. You have no idea how many times I had to deal with lost junior officers or confusion caused by misspelled place names in a foreign country.
Bayan looked over the car. It had been abandoned after the owners ran out of diesel fuel. Something called a Beemer, he thought. The fuel problem had been easy to fix. Although the KGB officer was furious at what he was doing, the support echelon had happily bypassed the locking mechanism. The holy woman was in the car, with two wounded British officers. Red crosses hastily painted on sheets were stretched over the hood, trunk and roof.
"Your friends have withdrawn down the stream to the next town. They are Germans, so you should have no problem communicating. Stop when somebody shoot at you and wave that white flag."
"Why are you doing this?" she said in halting English. They had discovered they could communicate in this language over the course of the week. "That man that tried to kill me is furious. He will do you a mischief."
"I told you I would do this. My word is sufficient here. We both have to survive the war for him to do me a mischief, and that is in the hands of God."
"I though Communists are atheists."
"There are none in foxholes, Mrs. Karis. Now be off with you before you end up in trouble again.
The glare from the burning train lit her face. "I wish we had more time. You are a good man."
"Perhaps we will see each other in Paradise, riding golden clouds. Dospidania."