This should have been a big fat fight. A new fresh T34 company moved up from the reserves of enemy and set up between Stepenovka and Fedorovka/Marinovka. To join the masses of anti tank guns and infantry around here. I had just moved up a Marder platoon and 1 infantry platoon to the grid square with the Southern fat blue arrow last turn after grabbing this from the enemy. I can only really loose Stepenovka and this new grid. The rest with the grayed out squares have units not sucked into battle and can not really be lost (I think). So only need to worry about these two. I really don't want to loose anything in Stepenovka. So that gets priority. It has way more point weight than a square that only has a small draw in it.
So I plop everything in Stepenvoka. Set up tank kill zones. Find the infantry that have anything that can hurt a tank. Get my 1 105mm artillery spotter over watching everything. The plan is to beat off the tanks and then go secure that undefended grid square using a mechanized scout platoon. These guys are worthless at fighting T34's, but this is something they can do. Or that is the plan.
There is one weakness to how I set up my defenses in the town. If the enemy swings wide and comes from the South, many units are exposed. IF this happens, I need warning to move them into the town proper. I simply do not have enough major caliber anti tank weapons to ensure victory fighting outside the town. 4 marders and 1 75mm PAK is all I have that I can count on. I need the streets and houses to funnel the armor. Also could get a tank or two with infantry. Strip the enemy tanks of his infantry with my artillery spotter hopefully. I know there is a 10 t34 tank company out there somewhere.
So I send out a scout squad from one of the infantry line platoons to give me that warning if need be. Tell them hold fire and keep low.
Did not take to long for them to spot enemy armor and infantry moving into the grid square I left undefended.
The tank disappeared into the reverse slope and the scouts lost sight of the tanks for a few minutes. Oh, there they are. Now I am wondering if they got spotted or what. These guys are off way out in nowhere. Time to run back to the hide I choose earlier.
They make it just in the nick of time and where not spotted. But now this tank might bump into my artillery spotter and battalion commander. Not to mention there is only 1 75mm leig infantry gun watching this area. Shift a few units and decide a lone T34 getting intercepted by a couple Marders should take care of things.
HMmm. Did not quite work out as expected. Do to stupid order on my part, one Marder got hung up in a trench. Almost made it over, but tipped last second. Great, now 3 of them active. Got to be careful sticking trenches on roads. Certain orders and trenches in the middle of the road do not always work out.
Lost sight of T34. I still am not sure where it buggered off too. But the Marders would have blown it to bits had in not changed directions earlier. But the Marders back into their town ambush positions after it became clear that tank left the area.
Things became uncharacteristically BORING here for sometime. My guys where spotting tanks various places far off. It was clear the AI commander was looking for me. But staying away from the town. And I was sticking to the plan.
About 50 game minutes of time compression later (I have 2 hour battles set), left overs of a tank crew bungled into my lines. These most have been from one of the annihilated tank companies from previous fights. My guys shot the commander and the other 2 called it quits. About 30 seconds after the shooting stopped green flares pop up all over enemy controlled eastern Stepenovka. But so much game time has passed I am wondering about my plan. The bit about driving the scout platoon into the grid square I left undefended once the tanks where dealt with. Or I got wiped out. Which ever comes first. About 35 minutes of game time left. And wheeled vehicles do not do so well in farm fields. They would need to go around 1400 meters to swing around to stay out of tanks sights using the ground as cover. But that is to worry about later. AI has found me. And it has infantry and tanks out there. But I only used 2 squads of infantry to deal with the tank crew. Maybe it does not know just how big a force I have? Who knows.
So I take stock of one wing of my infantry that could be in a bad spot depending where attack comes from. These are some of my Vets. And I am surprised. I was wondering where they got some ammo from. Been in a lot of fights and resupply is spotty. Well, they picked up every enemy weapon they could find at one point. No German weapons left. 2 ppsh SMG, a mosin, 2 SVT-40 rifles, a DP machinegun and a tokerov pistol. Sticky finger squad here.
Start getting spotting reports.
I guess AI commander is not sure about how much I got over here. Sent only 1 tank and random infantry. Clearly scouting in force. Still can be dangerous to me. I can not afford to loose assets at this point. But if the AI wants to send in things peace meal, ok... This is actually the first time it has not send a massed tank company at full strength at me when it had one to throw.
AI choose the street of death. Ok, good. I elect not to use artillery spotters 105mm. Despite driving right threw a TRP that I also did an adjust fire mission on first thing in battle. Could probably kill tank and infantry just with that. But why waste the shells?
Tank comes over the rise right into my kill zone. Captured 45mm anti tank gun opens up first.
Tank fires back but shoots a tad low, hangs a left to get out of kill zone.
Into another. Pak 75mm ends the tank. Infantry squad is panicked or maybe some have a concussion. Who knows. But not fighting back to well.
Move one of my armored cars up to provide some over watch on the street. Not going to get to close to the infantry in this tin can. Who knows if they have any anti armor weapons.
Infantry squad moves in. Some tankers surrender.
Others get improvised anti tank weapons. I have no idea. This squad was kill happy with these things.
Infantry squad advanced using smoke and blowing up enemy with epic over kill.
The left overs call it quits.
There are still 9 t34's out there somewhere. But timer is down to 9 minutes. My scout squad is sneaking around seeing if any tanks around the abandoned square. They are not spotting anything. I think it worth the risk to try and get the armored scout cars into the little depression in that area. But time is no where near on my side.
Ran over corpse. Yuck?
Blond moment. Trenches and roads....Ugh. Some order types do not work well under this circumstance.
And got only half way there. It WOULD have worked if only I had sent off 5 minutes before. Enemy had only 1 unit on edge of this area. It did not think it worth defending much either.
Lost that square. Marder and infantry platoon are now routed. But will probably be back in action in a couple turns. No big thing really. Have panzer 3 and Marder company next door to take that square back and deal with that t34 company. The question marks are routed units. 2 of those together are mine. The other should be the enemies when I kicked him off that grid last turn.
And the AI was massing his armor and infantry for a big push as timer ended. I think the hold up was some was strung out poking around scouting. Getting it all back together was taking time. But found T34's and infantry on the roads moving my way. Not usually this slow in Mius Front. And my mission for campaign is to defend until reinforcements get here. THat is going just fine and gobbling up things while I "wait". Little less than 1/3 threw German campaign at this point. And I keep shrinking the Red Army's bridge head. In fact, I could probably crush it now by turn 7 of 18 now that the big stuff is getting to me. Yet to blood my panzer 4's.