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#4554772 - 02/04/21 12:07 AM Mein Panzerkampf - Cagny  
Joined: Sep 2010
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Thought I'd try out this Steel Fury campaign for the King Tiger. I've got to the stage in Richard von Rosen's memoirs ('Panzer Ace') where he's describing the period with s.Pz.Abt 503 where his 3 Kompanie has re-equipped with this tank, so that sort of put me in the mood. I'm playing in the STA 3.4 mod; not sure if it's available with earlier mods.

I'm commanding the usual (for SF) three-tank platoon plus a platoon of grenadiers. We have to take three successive objectives, two hamlets then what's described as a base, along an axis of maybe a thousand metres. There's not much 'int' (what the British Army calls 'intel', or did in my day) on what the enemy has got but it's the British sector near Caen in Normandy, summer 1944, so I'm guessing at Cromwells, Shermans, maybe Churchills and at worst. the dangerous 17 Pdr-armed Fireflies.

I didn't get a pic of the orders and map but here's my little force shaking out for the advance to the first objective, which is half-left, the other side of some dense hedges.

[Linked Image]

I actually wanted to play this mission to get some practice playing from the tank commander's station. Not the gunner, as is my usual practice. I wanted in particular to rehearse some things I knew about, but hadn't really used much, like ordering movement and controlling fire from the hatch view. I was aware that Steel Fury seems to be designed around Soviet practice in general and the T-34-76 in particular, where the tank commander is also the gunner and it's only the gunner who can choose which type of round to load. Not what I'm used to from other tanksims.

So here I am in the commander's seat, hatch open but head down, looking through the forward-facing fixed periscope (episcope?). Peripheral vision is non-existent but that's how it goes. There is a 3-d 'cockpit' view of the inside of the SF King Tiger's cupola, but the periscope vision blocks are painted-on and while you can mouse-look around, you can't see outside.

[Linked Image]

First task was to figure out which keys let me switch to looking out the periscopes facing in other directions than straight ahead. It turns out PgUp and PgDn do the trick, though I think they give you fewer viewing angles than the real cupola has actual periscopes. This is looking at about 2 o'clock with one of my platoon-mates in view, Tiger 133.

[Linked Image]

Using the F key and the right mouse button to select waypoints ahead in the 3-d view, I order us to advance as a group in short bounds. We soon pass through the first hedge, the grenadiers bravely pressing ahead. The first objective is half left, maybe 400 metres away, but it's in dead ground and I can't see any targets yet. There's no firing so I pop my head up for a better view, and mouse-look around.

[Linked Image]

The bino view doesn't help me locate the enemy but it does give me a good view of the late-war German infantrymen that come with the mod, as they double forward across a track in front of my panzer.

[Linked Image]

The lie of the land keeps us out of sight of the enemy positions for a little longer; I'm aiming to get onto their flank, not charge right at them.

[Linked Image]

The fun begins! The grenadiers start engaging some enemy infantry and one of my men spots and indicates a more dangerous target - an anti-tank gun to our left. Suddenly I find myself fumbling between using mouselook to find the indicated target then turning on target selection mode with the F key (which disables mouselook - I think, maybe I'm just being ham-fisted). Anyway I manage to mark the target and my gunner and one of the other panzers both let fly at him.

[Linked Image]

The rounds miss. By this time, I've identified the A/T gun as about the most dangerous one the enemy has - the towed 17-Pounder. That's it! I'm not going to die this early in an interesting mission just for the sake of practicing the tank commander role. I quickly give up on that and jump to the gunner's sight. By this time, another HE round has been loaded - and that does the job. A few bursts from the co-ax finish off the surviving crew. War is hell!

[Linked Image]

Well, so much for this being a practice mission!

...to be continued!

Attached Files shot_2021_02_03_22_26_20_0000.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_28_27_0001.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_29_28_0002.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_32_42_0004.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_32_53_0005.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_34_52_0006.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_36_21_0007.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_37_02_0009.jpg
Last edited by 33lima; 02/04/21 08:56 PM.
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#4554804 - 02/04/21 10:33 AM Re: Mein Panzerkampf - Cagny [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
The first objective is more a large farmstead than a hamlet. I get my first view of it when my panzer cautiously pushes its nose through another thick hedge and halts to observe.

Steel Fury provides command and control almost entirely from the map screen (unfortunately, no hotkeys; these and 3-d world control buttons only appeared in SABOW). And SF doesn't really support splitting up your command neatly for the purpose of conducting fire and manoeuvre (aka bounding overwatch). The best you can do is either order a halt at a suitable covering position and advance your own tank a tactical bound, under their protection; or order everyone to advance, but immediately halt your own AFV, so you are covering them (as I described in more detail here: https://combatace.com/forums/topic/83356-fire-and-movement/

In this situation, I decide my panzer will cover from the hedgerow...

[Linked Image]

...while the others move up to and fight through the objective.

[Linked Image]

It's at this point that I realise that I've actually got a 4-tank platoon, not having paid much attention to my orders (given I started off just wanting to practice playing as tank commander). Unfortunately 'your tank, and everyone else under your direct command' is the only way you can split the force you're in charge of, in SF. So there's just my own panzer, covering everyone else.

[Linked Image]

As the objective is reached, there's a lot of milling about and shooting, by both panzers and grenadiers. I search for targets but none of the crew can see any.

[Linked Image]

There's something dangerous out there, however, as Tiger 132 is knocked out, leaving its unhorsed commander crouching behind it for cover.

[Linked Image]

Clearly, there's no point in me sitting any longer where I can't help. So I drive forward cautiously, keeping our on the right flank of my force.

[Linked Image]

I reach level with the hamlet/farmstead without serious incident. From there, I join in what's evidently become the mopping up of the defenders. My contribution is machine-gunning some troops in slit trenches near the 17-Pdr A/T gun knocked out earlier.

[Linked Image]

Then it all goes quiet. Time to take a look at the map and plan the next phase!

...to be continued!

Attached Files shot_2021_02_03_22_37_56_0010.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_39_47_0012.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_40_18_0014.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_40_56_0015.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_41_37_0017.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_42_20_0018.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_42_36_0019.jpg
Last edited by 33lima; 02/04/21 10:50 AM.
#4554839 - 02/04/21 02:57 PM Re: Mein Panzerkampf - Cagny [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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The second objective is a few hundred meters away and after a quick look at map and terrain, I decide to avoid the open country on the right and in the centre and go left flanking, not too wide, where there is more cover from view in the form of hedges and/or copses. Perhaps wider oepn spaces would have been better for King Tigers and I'm instinctively thinking as an infantryman when I should be thinking as a tankie! Anyway, off we go...

[Linked Image]

...and my remaining three panzers are soon forging ahead. The grenadiers have suffered heavily and are down to about section strength.

[Linked Image]

Approaching the huddle of farm buildings that is our next objective, out of the corner or my right eye I suddenly notice a distinctly man-made shape sitting in a field, although nobody is calling out a target. It's a Sherman Firefly and he's seen us! In a panic I turn to face him and get my gun onto him. He gets in the first hit but the battle quickly goes badly for him. Two of us cobber him and his effort to escape fails.

[Linked Image]

The next surprise is on our left and comes suddenly into view as we near the objective. It's a 76mm-armed Sherman! I thought this was the British sector! But there's no time to waste in despatching him. Hatches fly open and the crew bail out. I cut them down, which saves on distracting target indications of 'enemy infantry' later.

[Linked Image]

Yet another of these tanks appears ahead as I push on through some bushes. He too gets the chop and I press on, more gingerly this time.

[Linked Image]

Suddenly another 76mm Sherman noses through a hedge into the same field as the knocked-out Firefly. He's spotted immediately and I get my gun onto him, my panzer shrugging off a frontal hit. The Ami goes up in a fireball immediately my first round smashes into him. I'm not bothered that he's got the 47 degree front plate that appeared on Sherman gun tanks later in the war - the 76mm versions that arrived belatedly in Normandy were the cast-hulled M4A1-76mm version. Or that US tanks shouldn't really be mixed up with British ones in the Caen sector. note to self - hand edit mission script file to replace the US 76mm Shermans with 75mm versions.

[Linked Image]

Unfortunately, one of the out-of-sector Amis has caught the panzer on my right in the flank, and now he too is burning.

[Linked Image]

Advancing ever more cautiously and scanning towards the farm on my left, I catch what might well have been his killer. And turning to face him, pay him back in kind.

[Linked Image]

We've now cleared the second objective, albeit one panzer is immobilised and now a second one, burning. That leaves two King Tigers and a handful of troops to complete the mission!

[Linked Image]

...to be continued!

Attached Files shot_2021_02_03_22_45_45_0020.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_49_05_0021.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_52_33_0023.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_53_21_0025.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_54_02_0026.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_55_26_0027.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_55_52_0028.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_58_04_0031.jpgshot_2021_02_03_22_57_39_0030.jpg
Last edited by 33lima; 02/04/21 03:28 PM.
#4554847 - 02/04/21 04:12 PM Re: Mein Panzerkampf - Cagny [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Belfast, NI
The third and final objective is described as an enemy base. I have no information about likely defences. I start off by continuing straight ahead, across the field where lie the burning Firefly and late M4 76mm.

[Linked Image]

After another look at the map, I decide to come up on the left flank of the base, as there are copses and hedges which will enable me to get right up to it without being seen - at least, not from the base itself, where I expect the defences will be concentrated. Rain begins to start falling as my chosen route takes me into a copse...

[Linked Image]

...and then out into a short stretch of open ground. My panzer bears the scars of several hits but is fully functional and my commander is felling confident enough to go heads out. The second operational panzer doesn't follow, for some reason, so I'm on my own.

[Linked Image]

Nothing bad happens, and we approach the base. I pump co-ax fire into the buildings I can see (except the Red Cross-marked tent, of course), just as a precaution, firing on the move. My tank commander ducks back down at the sound of the MG fire.

[Linked Image]

I begin to skirt cautiously around the base. The rain is now falling quite heavily and visibility has deteriorated.

[Linked Image]

The area beyond the base seems clear so I traverse right and concentrate on the buildings. Occasionally, US troops come into sight and as they don't surrender, have to be gunned down.

[Linked Image]

This goes on until I reach the far end of the base...

[Linked Image]

...at which point I suddenly start taking bazooka fire from just ahead. I immediately slam into reverse and get clear the field of fire. Vegetation ahead conceals my attacker and absorbs my wild return fire from the co-ax. Backing up a bit further brings the bazooka operator into view, who is then shot down, with a second one following soon after.

[Linked Image]

Turning right to complete my circuit of the base's perimeter, I get a shock when I run head on into what looks like a Pershing tank! It loses the exchange of fire which follows, and turns out to be a Cromwell - visibility is now really so poor as to hinder positive identification. Actually there are three Cromwells here, and the last two don't last long.



The last casualties of the battle are some more US troops who sadly don't live to regret showing up in the British sector today.



Mission accomplished! But not the objective to practice playing as tank commander. That will be for another day.

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Last edited by 33lima; 02/04/21 04:22 PM.
#4554930 - 02/05/21 03:08 AM Re: Mein Panzerkampf - Cagny [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,275
carrick58 Online content
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carrick58  Online Content
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nice report

#4554973 - 02/05/21 02:02 PM Re: Mein Panzerkampf - Cagny [Re: 33lima]  
Joined: Sep 2010
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33lima Offline
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33lima  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2010
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Belfast, NI
Thanks Carrick!

Incidentally in the next mission I did discover that using the G key (open sight caps) seemed to enable additional TC cupola episcopes to be used, giving me more angles of view. So I played out this one as TC, seeing how the different firing modes can either force the TC to designate targets or allow the gunner to engage identified ones, which automated things if you're prepared to trust the AI!

You play as real life Tiger ace Kurt Knispel ( KiA 28 April 1945) with a platoon of three King Tigers and attached infantry, part of a scratch armour/infantry force tasked with smashing an oncoming Red Army tank spearhead.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

We're harassed from the start by Sturmoviks, which concentrate on the panzers...

[Linked Image]

...so I stay buttoned up the whole time.

[Linked Image]

The additional episcope views give me a decent all-round view of the battlefield.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

We clear the first objectives but turning right towards the last one, my panzer takes two in the side of the turret from a concealed IS-2, and it's goodnight, Vienna!

[Linked Image]

At least I'm getting a bit of TC-only experience!

Some of the other casualties:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

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Last edited by 33lima; 02/05/21 03:01 PM.

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