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Firestorm: Stripes

The Team Yankee Global Campaign

Hell Reigns in Hanover

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United States
VS Warsaw Pact


Major Matthews good mood quickly vanished. His troop, along with the rest of the First Brigade, had led the First Infantry Division through several weeks of sustained combat, driving the Soviets and East Germans to the very gates of Berlin. They earned a rest. They deserved a rest.
And they got to rest. The Brigade was ordered to move west into a reserve area to refit, repair, rearm, and relax. Peace talks had resumed, and Matthews hoped the timing worked out so he and his men would not have to go back into the meat grinder before the fighting ended. Comanche Troop enjoyed themselves for a full 48 hours before being called back into the fray.
A Soviet division had broken through the Hof Corridor and were quickly pushing north. British and German troops, hurriedly turned to face them, were bypassed, ignored, or overrun. Comanche Troop would again take the lead as the First Brigade moved west into Hanover to stop this Soviet “Ghost Division”.

After two arduous days of almost continuous driving, Comanche Troop finally caught scent of their prey near the town of Westenholz. Just to the west of the town, Autobahn Route 7 ran north out of Hamburg were it joined Route 27 from the west, effectively joining Hamburg to Bremen and Hanover. If the “Ghost Division” gets there first, they could threaten either port city and reopen communications to retreating Warsaw Pact forces. It was made very clear to Matthews that this was not to happen.
A company of infantry from the Irish Guards currently held the town, but they would be hard-pressed to stop the full brigade of Soviet tanks and infantry bearing down on them. Comanche needed to move as fast as they could, link up with the Irish, and deny the “Ghost Division” control of the interchange.

Irish Guards deployment

Major Richard Sharpe of the Irish Guards was in a race for his life. A Soviet armored brigade was pushing hard for the Autobahn interchange. Sharpe had to get his riflemen into a blocking position before the enemy arrived. Sergeant Cornwell’s Scimitars led the way with Leftenant Moore’s 1st Platoon moving into a small wood at the base of a hill overlooking the town and the interchange and Leftenant Windsor’s 3rd Platoon following close behind. Sharpe sent Godwinson’s 2nd Platoon south toward a wheat field to provide early warning of the enemy’s approach. Sergeant Harper’s Milan section followed Windsor with Sergeant Donahue’s Blowpipes hanging back to provide anti-air cover. Leftenant Tarleton’s Chieftans entered the town from the northeast, pushing west to support the infantry. A few kilometers to the east, Leftenant Ramsay’s Abbots from the Royal Artillery provided fire support.

British and Soviets spearheads challenge the Objective

Sharpe’s men were nearly in position when the Soviet Forward Detachment surged past on the Autobahn, pushing into covered positions to the west and a wood to the north of his infantry. Sharpe knew they would need time to dismount and organize, and pushed 3rd Platoon onto the hilltop overlook.

Soviet FiST is taken out early in the fight

The Irish 2nd Platoon initiates the slaughter with a Milan missile that kills the Soviet Fire Support Team. Third Platoon opens up with their General Purpose Machine Gun, cutting down a few Soviet infantry while their Milans knock out two T-64 tanks. Cornwell’s Scimitars kill an enemy scout BMP and bail a second before pulling back into a hull-down position behind the central ridge while Godwinson’s 2nd Platoon shifted left to the wheat field.

Comanche Troop arrives on the Soviet flank

In the chaos and confusion of battle, Sharpe did not notice the arrival of a troop of American tanks on his left flank. Matthews’ Comanche Troop, 1-4 CAV, deployed on-line and ready for a fight. Second Platoon deployed on the left, near a small farm, followed by the Mech Platoon and anti-aircraft assets of VADS and Stinger launchers. On the Troop right, 1st Platoon led with the Mortar section behind. Matthews and the FiST-V took position between the two wings on a low rise overlooking the field.

T-72s move to challenge Comanche Troop

The Soviets were relentless. Immediately, a battalion of T-72s appears on the left flank of Comanche’s 2nd Platoon, supported by BMP-mounted infantry and engaged with no adverse effects. Several T-64s, located near the main Autobahn, began to reposition to engage Comanche’s 1st Platoon at maximum range, bailing one of 1st Platoon’s tanks.

T-64s on the attack

The Russian gunners, however, knew their business, dropping a massive bombardment along the entire front of the Irish Guards, killing several brave Tommies. BMPs and infantry join into the maelstrom, pumping several rounds into 3rd Platoon’s positions, killing and wounding a dozen Irishmen and met with several defiant pairs of fingers, in the shape of a “V”, waving defiantly from the tree line. With their courage up and seizing the initiative, Soviet infantry charged 1st Platoon’s position on the hilltop, but were seen off by effective small arms fire, leaving several Russian bodies heaped on the hillside.

Soviet Infantry north of the Objective

Having their well-deserved rest interrupted, Comanche Troop was eager for a fight. To the Troop’s left, Dragoon Troop pulled into line. Over the Troop radio, Captain Monroe reported that a section of A-10s and a flight of Cobras were on-station and awaiting targets. Knowing the T-72s posed a dire threat if left unchecked, Matthews ordered all Comanche assets on the left to focus on the approaching tanks before their accompanying infantry could deploy their dreaded Gremlin and anti-tank missile teams. In a hail of TOW and Maverick missiles and 105mm tank rounds, a full company of seven T-72s are sent to the scrapyard in a flurry of fire and molten steel.

Mess with the Cav, you get the spurs!

Comanche’s 2nd Platoon moved forward to the central ridge, closing the range on the T-64s and loosed a volley of their own, killing one tank and bailing another.
The Irish 2nd joined in the fray in the south, bailing two more T-72s with Milans from the cover of the wheat field.

Comanche on the War Path, engaging T-64s

To the north, NATO artillery began to isolate the Soviet infantry around the small hillock as Ramsay’s Abbots pounded the north wood line and American 155mm dropped a minefield of FASCAMs between the Soviet infantry and the Irish 1st Platoon’s position on the hillock. Tarleton’s Chieftans move into the town center, taking the Soviet BTRs under fire, killing two and bailing a third. The Scimitars claim another Scout BMP while the Spartans destroy another two BTRs near the hillock.

BTRs engaged by Irish Guards near Objective

To Matthews’ surprise, a company of T-72s came smashing through the woods between the two wheat fields, dividing his 1st and 2nd Platoons.
“That can’t be good,” he said in his usual dry manner.
“That Russian must’ve grown some balls,” his gunner observed.
“Or lost his damned mind,” Matthews replied.
As if they divined Matthews’ worst fear, the T-72s opened fire at point-blank range on the flanks of his tanks, killing one IPM1 from each of his platoons. Matthews felt his heart sink into his gut and resolved to make those bastards pay.

T-72s do the unexpected
An Abrams falls to a flank shot from point-blank range

His attention was quickly diverted to the center wheat field when dismounted infantry advanced on the Irish 2nd Platoon under the cover of fire from their BTRs. To his horror, he saw the brave Irish wither under the sustained fire and finally break under the inevitable assault that followed. In the blink of an eye, an entire infantry platoon was gone.

Irish Guards in the wheatfield
Soviets clear wheat field of British infantry

In the north, Sharpe’s situation was getting dire. To his front and right, a motorized infantry company waited to pounce on his weary and exhausted men. Only the American minefield and his men’s sheer determination kept them at bay. Ramsay’s Abbots also were a great help, firing a second mission into the north wood line and keeping their heads down, but not before they managed to sneak a few men into a house on the edge of town who then proceeded to wreak havoc. Sharpe orders Tarleton to level the house with his tanks, and the eager young cavalry officer enthusiastically sets about his task.

Damned sniper takes the brunt of 3 Chieftans ... and survives!!

Matthews had to reassess the tactical situation. Soviet infantry was moving through the central wheat field, threatening the flank of his 1st Platoon while a company of T-72s had split his command and could potentially destroy Comanche in detail.
Matthews ordered his tanks to pull back and rally on the ridge line. He wanted some distance between his tanks and the Russians. The Mech Platoon began moving posthaste to support the British as the rest of Comanche and Dragoon Troops were focused their firepower on the T-72s with the Cobras, killing the majority of a second company. Monroe’s Fire Support Team was to focus on the T-64s, engaging with Copperheads, killing four of the beasts.
Dragoon’s artillery support drops DPICM bomblets into the wheat field, wrecking the Soviet company while the mortar section suppresses a second, follow-on company, killing a BTR in the process.

Warthogs sortie over T-72s
T-64s fall to Copperheads
Scout ITV miracles a shot into a Soviet tanks

Frogfoots and Hinds were spotted inbound. Soviet helicopters line up for an attack run on the American tanks while the jets focused on the Chieftains. Knowing the effectiveness of NATO anti-aircraft crews, the Soviet commander ordered two batteries of artillery to drop a smoke screen along their lines, effectively blinding the Stinger and Blowpipe teams from targeting the Hinds. His own Gremlins exact a measure of vengeance, downing one of the hated Cobras in the southeast.

Smoke screens the Hinds from the Stingers

Sharpe could see his line crumbling under the intense Soviet pressure . . . and their main force hasn’t even arrived in strength yet, being mostly held up by the Americans, although a company of BMP-mounted infantry was speeding north to reinforce their comrades for a final assault. His Spartans are dispatched by a lone RPG team and a surviving T-64. The troublesome Russians in the house snipe a Milan team from 2nd Platoon.

Soviet Advance Guard is engaged

But for all the careful planning, the British SAMs found a gap in the smoke screen, downing one of the Su-25s and only claiming a single Chieftain. The American tanks’ .50cal machine guns only manage to bring down a single Hind and brace for the retribution. But, as an old saying goes, Fortune smiles on children, drunks, and the American Army, and the missiles harmlessly fly overhead.

Hinds make an attack run on Comanche Abrams
Comanche tanks bring down a Hind
Blowpipes claim a Frogfoot

Matthews was relieved to hear the A-10s had returned and ordered them to deal with the Hinds. They did so . . . killing two more of the big gunships with their massive 30mm rotary cannons.

Not a good day to be a Hind pilot

Comanche’s remaining Abrams turn to engage the BMPs speeding up the Autobahn, killing four of the vehicles and several infantrymen. Matthews immediately directed both batteries of artillery to drop DPICM on the dismayed infantry, rendering the company combat ineffective.

Burning BMPs

The British were stubbornly holding the area around his objective against a severely weakened infantry company, yet he still could not reinforce them without risking his entire command running through the cross-hairs of American Abrams stationed on the high ground between him and his objective. With little combat power left, the Soviet commander, for all his bravery and tenacity, wisely decides to withdraw the remainder of his forces.

Finally putting an end to that pesky sniper
End Game


As the sun set, Matthews found himself wandering around the picturesque village. In the center of town stood a beautiful bronze statue of an angel, untouched by the war. He found himself wondering if she was an Angel of Mercy or an Angel of Death. With all that he and his men and been through, all the mud, blood, horror, and frustration, he certainly hoped for the former, especially since peace talks were starting up again.
But politicians are not soldiers. They don’t have to fight the wars they start. If history is an indicator, Matthews feared she may be the latter.

Angel of Mercy? or Death?

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