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To Embark Upon This Great Crusade-Part 21

Mark Buetow
United States
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Combat Commander Archivist
Move! Advance! Fire! Rout! Recover! Artillery Denied! Artillery Request! Command Confusion...say what?!
Letters from the Front, Early 1943

The publishing of wartime correspondence between brave fighting men and their loved ones helps to illustrate the sacrifices they make for King and country as they fend off evil around the globe. Here are two such letters, dear reader, published to encourage you in your hopes that one day the world will one day be free from the villainy of tyrants.

From Wau, New Guinea, January 31, 1943

Dear Mum,

Well, we've just been through the wringer! Remember I told you we were stationed at the airfield at Wau, on the big island of New Guinea? Well, old Tojo took a crack at it today, I can tell you. But we held 'em off, Mum! Yes, we did!

I won't say I wasn't afraid. My squad was stationed as far forward as we could be to have a covering field of fire. Our squad manned the Light Machine Gun and boy did we ever pour fire onto those Japs running out of the jungle. We were up there with Lt. Crisp--he's a fine officer, Mum , as fine as ever led a solider. He kept his cool and kept us firing. The team alongside us burned their heavy's barrel cherry red before it conked out. And it was up to me and my boys to keep that fire up with our gun and our rifles.

It was just a little hill, Mum, but we could see the whole line of jungle. The airfield was behind us and we were sure hoping and praying our resupply planes could make it in. They could if we just kept those Japs away!

Well wouldn't you know we saw some flashes and then smoke all over the place. Those sneaky enemy troops thought they'd hinder us and put smoke all over. We could hear the chatter of their heavy weapons as they tumbled out of the jungle along the little trail. But that smoke was bad for them too, let me tell you. Yeah, Mum, they couldn't put any fire on OUR airfield.

Pretty soon some planes were dropping down and we had more guys arriving. We thought we had those Japs pretty well stopped but all the sudden they came running out on our right. It was tought to see them through the smoke. I feared for my mate Andy because he and his crew was setting up their mortar when they seemed to be surrounded. But then all of a sudden the real air support began and those Japs, most of just melted away into the jungle. They couldn't touch our airfield but I guess they'll be back another day.

Anyway, Mum, it was a long day and a hard fight and I thought you'd probably like to know your son was still alive. All my love to Sis and Grandad.


P.S. - Here's some pics you might see in the newspapers of the before and after of this nasty fight.

Novorossiysk, February 4, 1943

My dearest Olga,

Today fate has smiled upon your beloved Vladimir. I have fought Hitler's men and lived to tell the tale. I cannot give you too many details or the Commissar will surely not be pleased. But I can tell you that our crack units were able to hold back a German attack in Novorossiysk. My squad was with Lt. Bikovets and we were manning the Light Machine Gun. You could see the fire form our .50 caliber gun ahead of us. But there were Germans in the silo on the hill and they called and told us to move up to engage them.

The Germans did not seem to coordinate their attack well. Their leaders and men were being killed all over. But then somehow some of their men seemed to get behind us and no one knew what was happening. They appeared in the building next to ours. I could hear the screams of our men as they fell to the Germans. Then they got more important buildings but I heard another squad of our men appeared and took it back. It was all so confusing.

My job was simply to aim and fire where Bikovets told us. We moved across the courtyard and into some smaller buildings. From there, we could fire over the wall to help our comrades across the street as we tried to eliminate those Germans around the silo. Sometimes, across the lake, you could see a German leading his men but we could shift our guns and shoot at them too.

Well you could only see those tracer bullets going back and forth from the silo on the hill to our men in the other building. Back and forth. You could hear their commanders yelling in that disgusting German tongue but they kept rallying their troops. Finally Bikovets got the order to move and we went over the wall and into the street and then we Advanced up that hill with our bayonets fixed. I have never been so frightened, Olga but also so full of anticipation and excitement. But then the Germans had to give up their fight and we could not even kill those men because they laid down their weapons and the fight was over. We held that town today, Olga and now Hitler will be stopped!

Kiss our little son for me and tell him his Papa will be home one day but is now fighting for Comrade Stalin, our brave leader. You can show him these pictures of the battle from the start and finish.

All my love,

Game Notes

Scenario M9 is a Combat Commander: Pacific scenario from Combat Commander: Battle Pack #4 – New Guinea. It's a pretty classic assault where the Japanese need to be quick and get to the airfield. The lone little hill gave me a nice spot to dig in Lt. Crisp and his squad and team with LMG and HMG. The HMG wasn't around very long. The Japanese laid a ridiculous amount of smoke. It made our fire ultimately ineffective but, of course, that was true for the Japanese as well. Their two MMGs and their HMG really couldn't sweep us from hill or hut since they had to fire through the smoke. What's worse for them, the smoke meant they couldn't see the runway unhindered and so couldn't stop our planes from landing (new units arriving via the Support Tables by Scneario Specila Rule). It was really just a matter of time and although they had a late battle rush on my right it was too late. We ended at Sudden Death 7 and the Aussies won with 10 VPs.

Scenario 10 is from Combat Commander: Europe. It's some crack Soviet troops taking on some Germans near the Black Sea. Early on, the Germans drew the "All at SD=Win" Objective which would nearly come into play later on. The Germans had a bad setup at first and lost their HMG and their leader ended up being routed. Essentially all my units at the front spent the entire battle in a firefight against the silo. The Germans never lacked for a Recover card. I managed to take two units with a broken squad in melee but they had others who got behind us and began taking objectives. At one point, the Germans were within one of surrendering. Sudden Death was approaching at 6 when they grabbed the last objective! That would have given them the game had I not managed to get a reinforcement (formerly exited) squad back into objective 3. Close! The veteran squad of Germans in the silo was driving me batty. Fire. Break. Recover. Over and over. Finally I managed to get Bikovets men into melee but then the game ended at SD 8 and the squad STILL hadn't technically been killed. But it was a Russian victory with 21 VPs.

For our Combat Commander Series chronological playthrough, I'm closing the record gap. It's now 23-26 in favor of the Axis.
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