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Combat Commander: Europe» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Fat Lipki revisited rss

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Ken McGechaen
United Kingdom
ILKLEY
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I recently played this scenario as an introduction to CC for a friend, and although being the simplest scenario in the playbook, nevertheless it does pay to revisit. The objectives drawn were as follows;

OPEN: exit VPs worth double
GERMAN: (secret) objective #5 = 5 VPs
RUSSIAN: (secret) all objectives equal 1 VP

This distribution of victory points set the tone for the game which essentially saw the Russians manoeuvering through the large central wood in order to hit the German line and hopefully breakthrough for shed loads of exit victory points. They came extremely close to achieving this, and would have done so with another turn of gameplay, but as we all know now in CC, all you can expect is the unexpected!

I commence the narrative after a couple of turns which have seen the Germans occupy the three victory locations around the crossroads in the centre of the map, whilst the Russians had manoeuvred to combine the forces under the cover of the extensive central wooded area.



Oskar Winkler peered cautiously over the moss encrusted deadfall that concealed him and his squad. The gloomy cool of the woods contrasted with the brightness of the morning outside; shafts of brilliant sunlight punctured the darkness, the only clue to the summer season. Ten minutes earlier Landser Vogel had returned from a forward recce to report to the nervous corporal that the enemy were occupying a small farm some 200m further on through the woods. Ever since then startled flights of woodpigeon had signaled human movement somewhere out to the front of Winklers' position.

The tension coiled and tightened within the squad of soldiers. Some drummed there fingers on the butt of their Kar 98 rifles, others fidgeted unconsciously with an equipment buckle, or squeezed the handle of a stahlgranate. One man irritatingly polished and repolished his glasses until told to stop by one of his comrades in no uncertain terms! Most stared, as if unseeing, into the gloom ahead of them that shrouded the enemy, and all their futures, in a stifling malevolent darkness.

Winkler has disposed his three squads 50m in from the edge of the woods. The central squad had moved forward gradually to take a concealed position somewhat in advance of the main line held by the other two. [ADVANCE]. Winkler hoped to take any assailants in a crossfire [CROSSFIRE] between the central and flanking squads. If only Boris would oblige.............. The corporal felt that he could rely upon the men currently dealing the tense wait. He had known most of them since joining the unit prior to the campaign in Yugoslavia, and any newcomers to the crusade against Bolshevism had been rapidly integrated. They were well-equipped, especially with hand grenades [HAND GRENADE ACTION, TWO CARDS], and knew that they had to hold their present position until the armour arrived.

Nevertheless this waiting inexorably frayed the nervous fibre of every man in the unit. "Can anyone see anything?", hissed Winkler, unable to hide the tension behind his locked teeth. He visually checked through hand signals with the other two squads, but still nothing. Sweat dripped in beads from his forehead on to the tender dry leaf litter that agonisingly rustled and cracked with every movement of the feet. Suddenly his concentration was snapped by yet another heart stopping flight of flapping wood pigeon, his attention pulled to an area to the left front. And then he saw them. The indistinct, yet unmistakable shape of men hunched forwards, moving warily towards them in the peat brown gloom.

With relief and mounting anticipation Winkler gave the hand signal orders to open fire on his lead. Watching one of the leading figures he slid the safety catch on his MP 40, whispered a count of three to himself and squeezed the trigger. The maelstrom of rifle fire was punctuated by the hollow metallic bang of stehlgrananten ,frenziedly lobbed amongst the leading figures[MARKSMANSHIP, GRENADES]. Winkler clearly saw some of the enemy drop into the undergrowth, or be flung sideways against the trees by the exploding grenades. He yelled ceasefire, straining to be heard above the cacophony of rifle cracks and explosions. Seconds past and there was nothing but the groans of the dying and wounded and pauls of smoke which floated like wraiths above the scene.

Suddenly a cracking sound split the silence; a bullet ricocheted off the tree bark close to Winkler. He spontaneously flinched as that single shot was multiplied many times over and within moments he and his comrades were showered in wood splinters and tree moss. The enemy had clearly regained their composure, and as if to emphasise this, there arose a dry rustling which gathered in volume and was joined by a deep throated sustained "Urrrahh!"

Through a haze of wood dust and smoke Winkler saw a rushing torrent of brown clad figures, pausing only to loose off a rifle round, or jab a bayonet at some prone figure. The fury of the Russian charge hit the central squad which intially recoiled, albeit in good order [ASSAULT FIRE, THEN MOVE], only to be overwhelmed by the numbers of assailants. Winkler, from his position on a slight rise on the forest floor, could see the same fate befall the left hand squad, individuals fighting desperately with entrenchment tools, bayonet and rifle butt, before falling or running.

Winkler cursed again and again as he and the remaining squad kept up a fusilade of fire into the flank of the brown clad enemy. But something had to give. Winkler barked the order to retreat. He covered his men with three rapid bursts of fire, before turning and sprinting after them. On the edge of the wood he paused and glanced back, muzzle flashes confirming the enemy were continuing to target him.

The squad broke cover as the woods behind them crackled, bullets hissing around them. A soldier ran across Winklers path and the two men collided, tumbling forward into a pit, the results of last years logging operations.[TIME AND DIG IN ACTION!] Gaining his orientation Winkler found himself with most of the rest of the squad, firing at the woods from the lip of a shallow basin. He could clearly see the helmets of the enemy as they returned fire from the cover of the undergrowth. He could also see a figure who appeared to be cajoling and exhorting his comrades with the boot to get up and continue to press the attack[RUSSIAN HERO]. However the enemy were clearly reluctant to leave the cover of the woods, but it would surely only be a matter of time before the assault was renewed.[NO MOVE OR FIRE CARDS!!]

Winkler turned and slid back into the pit, realising that to stay or try and retreat would welcome certain death. It was clear from the grim expressions around him that the other members of the squad clearly understood the extremity of the situation. He nodded and gave the order to prepare for the assault. The Russian firing slackened. Perhaps they were short of ammunition. More likley they knew time was on there side........

Gathering the squad around him he gave the order to prepare for the assault. Perhaps a rapid thrust would take the enemy off balance, drive them back, buy time. With a "Heil Hitler" he saluted his squad, clipped the last magazine into his machine gun and readied himself on the edge of the crater. The rest of the men did likewise. " Fur der Vaterland!", screamed Winkler and with one fluid bounding motion leap clear of the pit. It was all over in seconds. The startled Russians, at first demused by this show of bravado, did not fire. The animated soldier was felled by a bullet,[AMBUSH;] and the panzergrenadiers were amongst the enemy. Winkler was seen to empty his weapon at close range into two assailants, before he too was hit in the chest and head, and passed into oblivion................[NO QUARTER was held by the German player, but could not be played!]

Lieutenant von Karsties had had a frustrating and increasingly anxious morning. He and his platoon of panzergrenadiers had been given the task of covering a troop of panzer III's undergoing an urgent field refit; something about clogged air intake filters and this dammed Russian dust. Earlier that morning he and his men had occupied some farm buildings covering the northern crossroads into the refit area without meeting any opposition. Reports had arrived of Russian forces moving in reconnaissance strength in their general direction, and von Karsties had sent Cpl Winkler together with a squad to check out a small farm marked on the map several hundred metres to the east of the crossroads. Since then the situation had steadily deteriorated.

Sporadic fire from a concealed machine gun in some trees to the north west had made von Karsties and his men seek cover and prepare for an imminent attack. But this had failed to materialise. Instead they had sought refuge in the thickwalled timber farm buildings from the incoming machine gun fire. Judging by the rate of fire von Karsties reckoned they were dealing with a Maxim 1910. Heavy slugs slammed into wood walls of the farmhouse, dislodging dust and wood splinters from the window shutters. The erstwhile occupants, an older woman, a younger woman with a baby and two small children huddled in one corner, the children cowering with their hands clapped tightly over their ears, and faces buried in their mother's skirt. The young woman looked imploringly at von Karsties. He reminded her faintly of his younger sister in Bremen, but then again her man was probably out there somewhere. Perhaps he was in the woods. Perhaps he was firing machine gun. Perhaps he had fallen somewhere, forgotten and alone.........

Von Karsties was jolted back into reality by the crackling metallic voice on his field radio. Relief, in the shape of the panzers, it seemed was on its way, but there were still mechanical problems and delays [BATTLEFIELD INTEGERITY]. Till then he and his men had to maintain their vigil. He scanned the dense treeline some 300 metres away through his field glasses, but still there was no movement or enemy activity. A growing sense of apprehension and dawning realism crept over him. What if the Russians were infiltrating through those woods, intent on bypassing the crossroads? With quiet determination masking his inner apprehension he sent a runner to two of the three squad's around the crossroads, ordering them to shift position to the right and support Cpl Winkler. He watched as the runner dodged and weaved over the dusty bright landscape and into a road ditch where the first squad was waiting.

As the men moved off the Russian machine gun opened fire. The MG 34 in von Karsties squad returned fire, covering the reinforcing squad's who managed to move off without any sustaining any casualties. That had been 20 minutes ago and apart from the increasingly annoying Russian machine gun fire there had been nothing else of note happening. Suddenly over to the far right there was gunfire and muffled explosions. Cpl Winkler and his men were evidently in action. Von Karsties and every man in the squad strained their ears, listening to the sound of battle which seemed ebb and echo, sometimes near, sometimes distant in the tree covered landscape.

Suddenly someone shouted and pointed urgently down the road. Von Karsties turned, peering in the direction indicated through his field glasses. He could clearly see panzergrenadiers emerge from the woods, and within 50 metres go to ground, taking cover from the Russian fire. Apprehending the situation von Karsties gave hurried orders for the squad to prepare to move out. The Russians had, as he had feared, infiltrated the woods and if they broke through on his right flank they would be able to overwhelm the panzer troop before it was ready.

Von Karsties looked through his field glasses again. He was in time to see grey clad figures rise out of the earth in charge back into the woods. His lips pursed as he realised that this was a suicidal undertaking. Silently he saluted the gallantry of his men. Seconds later he and his men were running over the crossroads, timing the dash to avoid attracting too much incoming fire from the Russian machine gun. Inevitably they were delayed as some men fell wounded on the dusty highway. Von Karsties looked up again through his field glasses and could now plainly see a file of brown clad troops moving south. "Damn it", he thought. He took the only course of action open to him, ordering up the MG 34 crew and pointing out the enemy who were at least a thousand metres away. But surprise was on his side [SUSTAINED FIRE]. The first burst of machine gun fire was accurate, dropping two or three of the distant figures, and sending the rest scattering for cover from the unseen incoming fire.

Another body of enemy now emerged from the woods, this time running across the dusty brown fields. Again the LMG crew had the range and his second body of troops went to ground. But von Karsties knew this couldn't last. As the crew fed the last belt of ammunition into their weapon, von Karsties mentally prepared to order the withdrawal.

His thoughts were shattered by the roar of a diesel engine and the unmistakable metallic clatter of tank tracks. Von Karsties looked to his right and the bulk of a leading panzer III, silhouetted against a cloud of powdered dust, clattered into view around a bend in the road.

The lead tank drew level with von Karsties and his men in the roadside ditch. He was greeted by the youthful black clad tank commander who said jauntily "Gutten morgan Herr Leutnant". "Gutten morgan?" thought von Karsties. I suppose it would seem that way with a stomach full of coffee and bacon riding into battle on your iron horse. Perhaps he should apply for a transfer. But then again surely all this nonsense would be over by the end of the year, and a nice quiet desk sinecure in some occupied Russian provincial town might suit him quite well! [SUDDEN DEATH - GERMAN VICTORY BY 2 VPs].
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Chick Lewis
United States
Claremont
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Really a Dynamite AAR. One of the best yet !

Thanks
Chick
 
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Justin Heimburger
United States
St. Louis
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Fantastic - and with tanks!
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Chadwik
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Santa Rosa
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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
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A very nice read, Ken. Thanks!
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Douglas Strasser
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St. Louis
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This right here is why you google "Cpl. Winkler Combat Commander".
 
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