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#4553916 - 01/28/21 10:53 AM Operation Spring Awakening (Steel Fury)  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,039
33lima Offline
Member
33lima  Offline
Member

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,039
Belfast, NI
This mission is one of ten packaged in STA 3.4 as 'Combat Episodes'. The stated mission date is after the war's end and looks like a typo for 15 March 1945, as it's set in Hungary during the Battle of Lake Balaton. The mission title presumably reflects the fact that Unternehmen Frühlingserwachen was the Wehrmacht's name for the battle, said to be 'the last major German offensive of WW2'.

[Linked Image]

A disadvantage of the STA 3.x mods is that they pitch the player straight from the above mission intro into the action, once the mission has loaded. Previously, loading ended by presenting the player with the mission orders (aka briefing) screen and map, giving you more time to review the situation and make a plan before the action started to develop. With missions made for STA 3.x, mission makers have sensibly started to tag the mission orders text onto the end of the historical intro, as seen above, so that you can a least read your orders before the mission begins. In this case, I'm leading a platoon of three of the very new IS-3 tanks and an infantry platoon, as part of a force tasked to capture first one village then another.

A disadvantage of Steel Fury generally is that you can't zoom out the in-mission map far enough to see all of it that matters. Hence this is the attacking force, most of it under my command...

[Linked Image]

...but I have to scroll well up to the east to see the objectives and can just about get the two of them onto the same screen. There are some (red) friendly forces sandwiched between them, as can be seen.

[Linked Image]

There's a fair distance to cover and rather than plotting a fancy course, I decide to drive directly to the first objective, with my tanks and troops ordered simply to 'Follow me!' ('Do as I do' in SF terms). My number three tank is on my right and the dismounted infantry are arraigned behind us - it didn't occur to me to save them the walk by ordering them (if I could) to mount up.

[Linked Image]

I decide to button up my own tank as the Soviets usually fought hatches shut - in SF your 'wingmen' like the fresh air and can't be so ordered; they make their own decisions, based on the threat.

[Linked Image]

Ahead and left as we move off is the rest of the force - some IS-2 tanks. I'm not sure the IS-3 really saw action before the war ended, but the earlier model certainly did. Slow-firing but formidable adversaries they were, for the best of the panzers.

[Linked Image]

Our advance to contact draws no fire so I decide to get a last breath of fresh air, while everybody else is still doing so.

[Linked Image]

The objective is apparently just over the next crest, slightly left and beyond a dip in the ground, next to some woods which come in from the left. The IS-2s draw ahead of us - I'm moving more slowly as I don't want to tire out my accompanying infantrymen - and the shooting starts. Time to button up!

[Linked Image]

...to be continued!

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Last edited by 33lima; 02/01/21 08:52 PM.
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#4553922 - 01/28/21 11:44 AM Re: Operation Spring Awakening (Steel Fury) [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,039
33lima Offline
Member
33lima  Offline
Member

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,039
Belfast, NI
I can hear plenty but see nothing to shoot at, apart from a briefly-sighted armoured car at long range, which I decide not to engage. Instead, I take my little force out on a dog-leg course to the left. The plan is to get into the middle of the wide gap between the woods and into the dead ground in front of the crest, beyond which lie the enemy. I aim to use this cover to close with the objective unseen, and then nudge cautiously over the crest.

[Linked Image]

Having swung far enough left, we resume our path to the objective.

[Linked Image]

I slow the pace right down as we cross the dead ground before tackling the crest. The infantry are keener and press on ahead, where the IS-2s are shooting up targets I cant see. To our right, one of their number is bogged down and struggling to recover.

[Linked Image]

Up ahead, there's plenty of action up but no targets yet visible. I'm quite happy to let the infantry cross the crest line first, where they will be able to support the IS-2s up ahead. And vice versa.

[Linked Image]

We start the ascent out of the dead ground...

[Linked Image]

...and find ourselves amidst some knocked-out German light armour, including the armoured car spotted earlier. The infantry appear to be mopping up.

[Linked Image]

Just to our right lies the objective. Something is burning over there and some of our troops are skirmishing in that direction, but the battle seems to have been largely won.

[Linked Image]

For my three tanks, however, it's just about to begin!

...to be continued!

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Last edited by 33lima; 01/28/21 12:02 PM.
#4553995 - 01/28/21 07:09 PM Re: Operation Spring Awakening (Steel Fury) [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,039
33lima Offline
Member
33lima  Offline
Member

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,039
Belfast, NI
Suddenly, still playing as gunner, I hear the tank commander calling out a target - an SP sun over on our right. Unfortunately, SF uses an odd (Soviet?) system for target indication (improved upon in SABOW), on the face of it using compass bearings. Just to confuse things properly, the German crew voices use the clock code instead, just for the audio. This makes it hard to play as gunner without enabling the little orange target markers.

Anyway, the mention of an SP gun (Russian audio, English subtitles) wakes me up and traversing right, I see that a Jagdpanther has taken up position between two houses. I have an HE round up the spout and let him have that, followed by an AP round as soon as it's loaded. Both hit; the former seems to knock him out and the latter sets him on fire.

[Linked Image]

There's still quite a lot of what sounds like tank or A/T gun fire over on the right and the infantry are now milling around nervously. So I keep traversed in that direction and await any developments.

[Linked Image]

It's not long before first one, then a second Jagdpanzer IV drives into view. They present nice side-on targets and I knock them both out, although this one took a couple of rounds before I was sure of him.

[Linked Image]

Within minutes, the firing dies away and the order comes through to switch our axis to the right and attack the second and final objective. By this time, none of the IS-2s seem to be still in action, and one of my own IS-3s is lagging, possibly damaged. My two other tanks and the surviving infantrymen are therefore what's immediately available to finish the job.

The target village lies just behind another low crest. On the way there, we shoot up a Panther and some motor transport which has unwisely got itself onto the forward slope. With the Panther burning, I quickly switch targets to what looks like a hull-down King Tiger a little further off.

[Linked Image]

There follows a short duel between my two tanks and the big panzer. Our lower rate of fire makes it an open question as to who will win, but in the end the King Tiger goes down and we resume the advance. Feeling more cautious, I order our force to change direction slightly to the left, into the end of a stretch of woodland, short of the objective. I halt my own tank to give them cover while they make the move.

My infantrymen reach the woods and start putting down MG fire at the fascists...only to come under attack from a multiple rocket launcher which is out of sight in a copse to the objective's left. The rocket fire is not just noisy and scary, it's surprisingly accurate.

[Linked Image]

At this point, the screenshots dried up for some reason until the battle was over. Probably, I was too busy to take them. I tried to run down the nebelwerfer (for that's what was firing those rockets) but had to pull back in a hurry when I ran into some dug-in fascists on the left who hit me with a rocket of their own; a panzerschreck, probably. I then went wide on the right flank and shot up these Germans, only to be hit in front by another panzerschreck as I tried to reach the little village and clinch the objective by destroying the enemy HQ reported there. Fortunately my tank's thick hide shrugged off the hits until I could back off and get out of the line of fire. A few main gun rounds into the enemy positions ahead caused their occupants to run away, only to be shot down with my co-ax as they fled. At that point, I was at last able to press on and destroy the kubelwagen radio car used by the enemy HQ, completing the mission.

It remains to review some of the results. I can see that both my other two IS-3s made it as far as the knocked-out Panther, which was a very late-war F model. One of my tanks, 173, was obviously immobilised with a broken track.

[Linked Image]

To our rear, in and around the first objective, lay the immobilised or burning IS-2s.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

This is one of the Jagdpanzer IVs.

[Linked Image]

These fellows were luckier, having come all the way from the Start Line - some of our boys in a captured German half-track.

[Linked Image]

I didn't even see them myself, but the defenders included two of these 8.8cm Pak 43/41s, 'barn doors' as their crews called them, being basically a howitzer carriage fitted with the 'long 88' pending delivery of sufficient of the lower, cruciform carriages designed for the weapon. These are likely the guns that got the IS-2s.

[Linked Image]

There were also two of these nebelwerfers, both also knocked out; and assorted enemy motor transport, including this immobilised Opel Blitz fuel truck.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

So a success it was, although if I hadn't stayed behind the IS-2s during the original advance, it might have been a very different story!

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Last edited by 33lima; 02/01/21 08:57 PM.

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