As the final battle to be entered into the Stripes online campaign this was going to be a big game played to the finish, regardless of how long it took! However it was also a game in the club Stripes firestorm campaign. Crudboy won the roll and placed the battle in the Ruhr. I counterattacked and the roll came up Encounter mission at dawn. Leaving off my T55, recon and AA units I deployed most of my force on my right with the plan to push the infantry through the woods and push forward with my T72s and BMPs in darkness ready to roll over his infantry and seize the objective. With only one unit of M1 tanks he would be forced to commit them on that flank where they could be surrounded and killed or kept there while my reserves allowed an attack on his other objective.
The Crudboy moved off first and positioned his M1s where they would be safe from missiles if he fired... but he didn't. Also his infantry failed to dig in on either flank making a rapid advance even more important.
My Infantry soon reached the woods and the BMPs started to drive past to the right in a flanking move that could have unhinged his position. Meanwhile my tanks raced up the middle and a few T55s kept him from advancing his M113s to my left. With no firing in the darkness it looked like I might get to knife fighting range very quickly. However the enemy artillery managed to place a minefield right on my leading BMP cutting off that route!
My infantry pushed forward around the minefield and the BMPs moved to go around the woods to the left but it was becoming a bit of a traffic jam with all the tanks! By this time I was in range and although still dark I could start firing at his infantry and artillery, taking out one M109 and an infantry stand. Unless he was lucky I would soon overrun his objective!
As it turned out though, his night time shooting was very good and several tanks were lost. Just then dawn broke and in the exchange of fire I lost more tanks and BMPs but only killed a few more of his infantry. This was going to take a lot longer than anticipated!
Soon after dawn both sides began to get re-inforcements. In my case initially the rest of the T72s and T55s while on my right the US put a unit of AA vehicles up on the hill to support his remaining infantry and try and take out my BMPs. The result was a lot of dead US AA an little damage to the BMPS although my tanks continued to take losses from his M1s and copperheads. Unfortunately despite large numbers of AT5's finding their mark his M1s proved invulnerable! My infantry in the woods refused to unpin for 3 turns despite their formation commander's urgings. What I wouldn't give for a kommisar!
On the left my T55s rolled forward but vaporised in a hail of fire from M1s, dragons and ITVs.
The final reserves arrived, ITVs and scouts for him, Shilkas and recon for me. Also my infantry finally unpinned.
I pushed forward on the left and right with everything I had. Although one of his M1s had finally succumbed to my missiles it was unlikely I could destroy them with what I had left, however they couldn't defend both of his objectives at once. He chose to move them to my right.
With his M1s distracted on my right I pushed hard on my left with the Shilkas and Armoured cars shooting up his infantry and securing the objective. I hadn't lost any of my three formations but each was down to a mere shadow of their starting strength. The battle had been very hard fought and at four hours an epic fitting for the final battle!
With the end of the campaign it is time to kick back and take a break. Maybe even do a little fishing.