What follows is the first of two battles fought this afternoon against Warsaw Pact commander: Volkhv (No relation to Volkov). The table remained unchanged between games, so the pictures will reflect such. The first game was 40pts, the second 50pts as reflected in the Army Lists.Now, enough blabbering on from me, let's report
Captain Dogwood walked around, examining the newest piece of kit headquarters had allocated to his company on the front line. It was small, sleek, and mounted a pair of fearsome looking missile launchers above the back hatches.
"It's a Spartan, Milan Compact Turret" Lieutenant Horseham piped up from behind him cheerfully. The experience from his first battle seeming to settle the young man's nerve nicely.
"Aye, they're right lovely. But, are they ony good?" Dogwood replied gruffly, the nearby tankers looking agitated as their pride and joy was criticised.
"Well, they c-..." The reply was cut off by the sound of revving engines as a troop of Scimitar scout vehicles pulled into the line. Out from the lead tank hopped an excitable looking man, tall, thin and as Dogwood thought to himself; 'inbred', as his chin was practically non-existent. He marched up and snapped off a sharp salute.
"Second Lieutenant Bridgewater-Smythe, Her Majesty's 17/21st Royal Dragoons, SAH!" His last word snippy, with a hint of something that riled an ancient gut feeling in Dogwood that he swallowed down as he returned the salute, a little lazily.
"Your lads were supposed tae be here half a bloody 'oor ago! Where in the Wee Man's name were ye?" He demanded in response. The officer in front of him taking an unconscious step back.
"Sincere apologies, sah. We were waylaid due to a geographical error."
"Ye were bloody lost! At least bloody well admit it, man!"
"Yes, sah... we were lost."
"Well, yer here noo, an' just in time. You're leading from the front, get mounted. Lads! Mount up, they're comin' in!"
The conversation cut short as orders were shouted and squaddies piled into their FV432's. Across the open fields, a battery of Abbots were deploying, and other troops settling into dug-in positions.
Nae Wullie to save yer bacon this time roon, Dogwood... Yer on yer ain.
His inner monologue almost laughed at him as he mounted up and they readied their position, just as the first few tanks began to crawl through the wheat field in front of them. Overhead came the distant sound of jet engines, but those he wasn't worried about as the door closed, plunging them into a deep red light in the belly of the track.
"It's time lads, if ye've got a God, noo's the time tae pray. And if ye don't... noo's the time tae find wan!"
Dogwood sent out the last message, a few crackled responses, a couple of laughs and then it was all business.
Inside the rumbling steel cage of the FV, Dogwood had little to no idea what was occurring outside, only the radio gave him a hint as they crews remained inside. First report to crackle through was from the battery of Rapier missiles he had positioned in a forest to cover the advance.
"Derry Prime to Command, we have two planes on radar. Requesting permission to go weapons live, repeat, permission for weapons live, over."
"Derry Prime, you have permission, light them up."
Dogwood replied, finally taking the opportunity to peek his head out through the hatch to get a better view of the battle. He could see some tanks creeping through the wheat field just off the main road, whilst away in the distance some smaller tanks he'd not encountered yet seemed to be having issues with the rough terrain. He looked skyward as the sound of jet engines roared louder, and two silhouettes raced towards their position. Their impact was short lived as four long-range rapier missiles bloomed from the forest in front of them, sending both aircraft crashing into the distant countryside.
"That's the way lads, get it done."
Dogwood encouraged them, as more radio chatter relayed targeting information. Far in the distance the Abbots opened up, shells screaming through the air into the field, where wheat and dirt plumed up, followed by a sudden flash of flame as a tank exploded violently, the others around him pulling off and spreading out from the explosions.
His vision was cut off, however, as their convoy raced round the back of a forest. He picked up his mic' again and gave the order.
The FV432's began to empty, with men shouting orders as they piled out of their tracks. Dogwood was impressed, the Sergeants were keeping them together, but out of sight of the approaching Soviets. He followed on, glancing back to the Scimitar troop, who were continuing forward, around the forest edge for a better position.
"Don't dae anything bloody stupid, man..."
Dogwood muttered as he saw them pull forward for some tracing shots at the squat BMP carriers hugging the edge of the field. A couple rattling off, but a good strike sending one skidding into the field where it began to smoulder. A return fire from the BMPs lit Scimitar 2 up, the vehicle going dead as a grinding of gears signified a hasty retreat from the Cavalry commander.
Dogwood's radio sparked into life again.
"Command, this is Dover troop. Requesting permission to advance and engage hostiles, over."
The Spartan MCTs finally made a move, with Dogwood granting their permission as they skulked round the edge of the wood the Rapiers were hiding in and fired off.
"Negative on the impact, command, that is a-..."
The comm went dead as Dogwood looked over as the Spartan MCTs bloomed into flames.
Dogwood groaned, covering his eyes as the Milans dug into the grass fired off, extracting a little revenge on the tanks, lighting two up. He lowered his hands, squinting through binoculars to see a few shapes managing to clamber from the wreckage back towards their lines.
"Yer in fer it noo, Ivan..."
The battle had bogged down a little. Dogwood could just about see the distant T-55AM2s still struggling in the woods, but a couple had managed to make it out and threaten the position of the Abbots, but nothing to worry about yet with the thick forest still between them.
As if a sign from God, the shells began dropping again, another couple of tanks lighting up, whilst others seemed to grind to a halt under the barrage.
"Take cover, lads, we'll hold here!"
Dogwood yelled over at his troops. Every man finding a ditch, log, or patch of rock to hug whilst they awaited the advance of the Tanks to their fore. The Milan troops in the grassy fields firing off again, another tank ceasing it's action.
"Going well, keep it up!"
He called round everyone, as the sound of Scimitar engines pulled his attention round. The command, leading no.4 wheeled back round, using no.2's broken remains as cover, they opened up on the remaining BMP. This time, they finished him off, the Russian vehicle exploding in a torrent as a round found the ammunition storage of the HEAT rounds contained in the turret.
"Well, I'll be damned, he actually pulled it off... well, he'll get an arse skelping for losin' no.2, but he's done no too bad."
"Glad you approve sir, but what about the Spartan MCTs?"
"Well... aboot them... hush up."
In front of him, the T-72's were beginning to reorganise, recognising the threat of the Milans in the open field, they pulled back, close to Dogwood's position, but a few stray shots only kicked up mud, and shook off branches around them.
"Steady lads, we're doin' fine!"
He reassured them, hugging the turf as much as he could, aching to rise up and throw them into the remaining Soviets.
"Command, this is Bridgewater-Smythe. We are withdrawing, over."
"Right... ye're supposed tae request tae withdraw... but aye, no bad. Command out."
The Scimitars behind the wood turning tail and retreating, still in Good Spirits as they left. With one less troop to worry about, his attention was suddenly drawn to the road, where the T-55AM2s were finally making a move. Rolling up to the petrol station and putting some fire blindly into the forest.
"Command, we are receiving fire, over."
"Roger that, one more, then withdraw."
Dogwood clenched his teeth as he watched the Abbots firing off again, the round landing amongst the threat straight ahead, but nothing coming of it, and thankfully, the petrol station taking only superficial damage.
"Command, Gun 3 is reporting a malfunction in fire control, requesting permission to withdraw... sir!"
The artillery commander's tone was getting nervous, as even through the com' Dogwood could hear the burst of tank fire around them.
"Dammit... fine, withdrawal approved. Good job."
"Sir? Are going to charge?"
"In a minute... get ready lads!"
Dogwood clenched his rifle, readying himself. He looked along the line at his men, all ready, crouched, waiting for the order.
"Okay! Get ready... on my order..."
He knelt up, bracing his legs, ready to charge out of the forest into the few remaining tanks in the field. When all of a sudden, they began to withdraw. The lead T-72 putting reverse gear on, and pulling back. Across the fields, the T-55AM2s were withdrawing too.
Dogwood felt a pain of disappointment, his blood was up, but the tanks were withdrawing.
"Don't worry sir, you'll get them next time!"
Even the cheery tone of Horseham couldn't fill the void of missing out on a glorious charge.
"Aye... next time. Good job, lads. We held it well. Mount up, and we'll secure the area."
Captain Dogwood stood watching the Spartan MCTs, or what was left of them being loaded onto the military flatbed.
"They were brand-bloody-new... Ach... send them back, just get us mair hand-held ones for next time."
"Yes sir, we will. And sir, what about Lieutenant Bridgewater-Smythe?"
"Well... if I see him again... I'll buy him a pint... no doubt he'll want something like a gin & tonic, or some other pish."
"Yes sir, of course sir..."