This report is one half of a two-on-two battle involving the following players of 'Glasgow Games Group';
Warsaw Pact Forces
[*] Hoffel Roffel Woffel VII - Volksarmee
[*] Aleksandr - Soviet
[*] Nabeshin - West Germans
[*] M. Nisbet - British
We drove over to the ever welcoming Common Ground Games in Stirling, Scotland. We were able to secure a decently sized 9'x4' table for our game, and with 50pts each;
The Mission was 'Dust-Up', and proved to be an excellent choice that led to a dynamic and thoroughly enjoyable game
I should also add that we play using the FoW V4 reserves rules (60% on table, 40% off table), hence why the Leopards and Challengers were the only reserves on the NATO side.
After fielding a unique and characterful force for the last five weeks of the campaign, it was time to return to the old faithful; British Mechanised (with zero Milans), and with that, bring back one of the heroes of the Red Thunder Campaign; Captain Dogwood.
The convoy of troop carriers and recce tracks finally came to a halt as they were previously streaking along an Autobahn near the Border between East and West Germany. To the east sat a small industrial complex: the objective for the K.O.S.B.
The rear door of the lead track swung open and Captain Dogwood stepped out, taking a deep breath and glancing about, sizing up their current location. A small farm sat over the other side of the autobahn, an old Lutheran church framing the scene nearby.
Up ahead, the junction in the road led off east, into the small industrial estate, and beyond that, the rest of Brandenburg.
"Right lads, this is it again. We're back in action, back on the road and all that other crap that inspiring dead men tell their boys before battle." He declared to the men who were climbing out of their APCs and gathering around to listen in to the briefing. "Right, so th-..."
"Captain Dogwood! Ah! A smashing pleasure to see you sah!" A lanky, familiar Cavalry officer was striding over with the crews of the recce troops that had led the way through Hamburg towards the front lines.
"Jesus fu-... Bridge-Watter! How are ye?" Dogwood grumbled, before greeting the man, the other squaddies around chuckling and mumbling about the perception of the cavalry men. "Well, ah never thought ah'd be seein' ye again so soon." He admitted, trying to cover up the interruption.
"And I you, sah. Thought you'd have been promoted after the last one, no?" The former lieutenant, now captain gestured to the rank on his shoulders.
"Ah well, could'nae have me behind a desk all this time, aye? Ah'd get bored." Dogwood chuckled, before waving a hand to prevent further chat. "Aye, right, anyhow... So, the plan is-... WHIT NOO?!" He roared as some strange looking APCs rolled up behind the gathered troops.
"I say! They appear to be Bundeswehr, sah!" Bridgewater-Smythe points out the iron cross insignia on the sides of the dark green tracks.
Rumbling up were a handful of 'Marder' APCs, being flanked by 'Gepard' anti-aircraft assets. They pulled to a halt a short distance away, some Germans moving out from them, the commander of which came strolling up with a broad smile on his face.
"Guten Tag, Kaptain. Ve are here to assist you. It is my pleasure to be fighting beside you today."
"Aye, same to you, mate. Lovely looking vehicles ye've got there." Dogwood nodded to the Marders and Gepards
"Ah yes, German engineering is very efficient. They vill not let us down." The man chuckled heartily. "And do not worry, ve vill be having some bigger... umm... spielstuck?"
"Ah yes, bigger toys later on."
Dogwood knelt in the grass with 1st Platoon spread out around him, just ahead was a small patch of forest, beyond that was a petrol station, and on the other side of the wall beyond that was their objective: the crossroads into the industrial estate and the main road through towards the next major town.
To the south of his position he could see the bulky shapes of the supporting Gepards crawling up the hill into position; 'a slight waste', he thought to himself. The skies had been clear through their entire advance. Even the company's own supporting Rapier troop had been instructed to sit back and await orders to support the advance if needed. This had proven to be a wise choice as the air threat seemed non-existent.
"Right lads, ready to advance?" He asked, rising to his feet, ready to move forward, but just as he did so, the radio crackled into life;
"Contact! Contact! BMP troop ahead!" A panicked voice called out; cut off by the familiar dull *thud* of far-off cannon fire, followed by a plume of dark smoke.
"Sierra-Five-One, report!" Dogwood tried to get a good look over beyond the pylon, to where 2nd Platoon was covering the forest, with the Recce troop just in front. The FV APCs were already falling back to safety; hiding round the opposite side of the forest as the rear-most Scimitar shuddered and stalled as small sparks ricocheted off the front plate; this barrage was soon followed up a by proper barrage, as the high-pitched scream of artillery filled the air; blooms of smoke and flame flaring up around the distressed Recce troop.
"We're still in it, HQ! 2-track is out of action, but we're re positioning to return fire" The reply came back, followed by the short cracks of the 30mm Rardens returning fire into the BMP troop.
Dogwood cursed his positioning, he couldn't see anything behind the hill. He was unable to see that the return fire blunted the advance of the BMPs, but left them completely free from harm.
"Bugger this for a laugh..." Dogwood grumbled,hauling himself up onto his feet and gesturing forward. "Come on, this changes nothing. We've got a job to do!" He commanded, his men following on, with the sound of the Abbot battery far behind them returning fire into the town ahead.
The Gepards on the hill suddenly opening fire; their target being a small group of Soviet armoured cars lurking behind the wall of the petrol station; the long cannons unloading their 35mm rounds into the hapless scouts, leaving them a collection of burning wrecks.
1st Platoon settled down into the forest, with the firing from the BMPs beginning again to their flank. The more pressing matter was the presence of some more fearsome T-64 battle tanks lurking around the hill nearby. The FV432's from 2nd Platoon coming roaring down the Autobahn to safety.
"Well, we picked a lovely day to forget the Milans, lads!" Dogwood yelled over the racket, trying to make light of the situation.
"Aye, we could'a done wi' them, sir..." One of the boys agreed, using the scope of his rifle for a better look at the tanks. "Could've put one right though that beast."
"Dinnae worry. HQ are sending us some 'new toys'." Dogwood assures them, as the whistle of artillery fire returns. "Still, could be wo-..."
"Three-track, out of action, Four-track, out of action! Advise!" The cavalry reported from the north.
"Ah just had tae say it... for the love of... Fall back, Sierra Five-One. Fall back!" He barked, but the transmission was cut off by the sound of a Rarden opening up, and a couple of BMPs bursting into flames, followed by the pluming of artillery shells around the Soviet APCs.
"He's gone aff his hied, Captain! He's nuts!" Someone piped up from a nearby tree.
"Aye, but he's got guts!" Dogwood complimented, a few shrill whistles signalling Karl Gustavs firing from the unseen positions to the north. "We'll just have to hold them here..." He sighed, the Marders that got caught up on the hedges finally rolling through them, one bogging down on the border of the forest.
"Time to get moving lads, we need to get up to that road. We've got a job to do!" Dogwood commanded, moving forward, pulling men to their feet.
"Sir! Tanks!" One of the men suddenly shouted, grabbing Dogwood by his pack and turning him right around. Through the trees, they could see a group of squat green tanks rolling their way through the fields to the north of them. Their guns opening fire upon the helpless Marder that was struggling at the edge of the forest, lighting it up as the large rounds made a mockery of the light armour of the APC.
"Holy f-... 2nd-platoon! Re-position, you have armour coming up behind! Get yerselves over there!" Dogwood ordered, watching the tanks slink through the field, the tall stalks giving them good cover. He gave silent thanks that they hadn't yet sighted the artillery hiding around the church.
Just as he gave the order, two missiles streaked out of the Church tower; one of the tanks being unfortunate enough to catch the round on the front-plate.
"At least someone brought Milans, sir!" One of the squaddies joked, before getting a clip round the ear from his mates.
"Aye, shut yer mouth and move out..." Dogwood began to push them out of the forest, towards the petrol station. "Wait... wait... down!" He yelled as the whistling of artillery started up again, rounds exploding around them. Men hitting the grass, Dogwood unsure whether they would get up again or not.
"Christ..." He groaned, rolling onto his stomach and crawling forward. "Keep moving!" He roared, some of the men managing to make it to the petrol station, while others stumbling, the artillery barrage knocking the wind out of them.
The sound of Rarden fire started again, the cracking echoing around them, when suddenly louder, more violent rounds fired off. "WHAT NOW!?"
"A Troop; Royal Scots Dragoon Guards reporting; Borderers. Hope we're not late." A friendly Scottish voice reported over the crackling radio. "Found some tanks on our way too!"
Dogwood had to squint to make it out, but from the south of the estate came the sight of a troop of Challenger I tanks, supported by a platoon of imposing looking German Leopard II tanks.
"Aye... we're fine... absolutely bloody fine!" Dogwood barked back, slightly relieved to see the tanks make their appearance.
"Captain Dogwood, we presume? We would like to commend your artillery on their accuracy! Strike off one 'Shilka'!" The tank commander reported back.
"Oh aye? That right?" Dogwood crawled forward through the grass, pulling men with him as he went. "Come on, if yer no dead, yer comin' wi' me!"
1st Platoon finally make their way to the petrol station, less worse for wear as originally thought. A few squaddies still down in the grass, but for the most part the platoon made it to the position.
"Right, that wisnae so bad, aye?" Dogwood asked, glancing round his men. They were still disoriented, trying to keep as low as possible.
"Uh..." One of them directed his attention back to the field, more sleek looking, squat tanks were slowly making their way forward, turrets scanning for targets. Matters made worse by the sound of a round slamming through the engine block of one of the newly arrived Challenger tanks; them being highlighted as primary targets as the Leopards slipped forward, almost coming up in a supporting position near 1st Platoon.
"Well, this a pain in the arse... sit tight just a moment." Dogwood groaned, the Leopards serving their purpose and helping the Challengers finish off the German Panzers lurking in the woods nearby. "Wait..."
A roaring of engines heralded the arrival of the Luftwaffe. A small flight of Tornadoes streaking overhead; their payload of submunitions flaring into life as they make landfall; a couple of T-72M tanks brewing up in the process.
The brave Gepards finally being seen off by the newly arrived Panzers, their light armour no protection against the large cannons
"This is all going to hell..." Dogwood noted, "Well, we need to get that position. Move yer arses!" He snapped. "Pipe Major! Pipe us in!"
The pipes skirled into life as 1st-Platoon filed out of the petrol station, artillery fire still raining down around them as they took up position behind the wall. "Right, just hold out... oh f-..."
The pounding of boots on tarmac was soon replaced by the loud whine of Shilka cannons coming to life ahead of them; the guns tearing through the platoon, men falling in the car park, a lucky few managing to throw themselves down behind the wall, with the wrecks of the BRDMs sparking as round ricocheted off the burning metal.
The guns finally wound down, replaced by the shouting of Russian troops, a few bursts of AK fire towards them, until there was complete silence.
"This is it lads... last shout." Dogwood whispered to the dozen troops still sheltering behind the wall. "Give it to 'em! Up 'ra Scots!" He rose up, the bagpipes coming back into life, GPMG fire ripping across the Soviet troops who had came pouring out of the building in front; the Shilkas flaring up as rounds from the Challengers found their mark.
"Come on, ya wankers!" One of the men screamed as the GPMGs emptied their box magazines into the building, until finally there was silence once again.
Smoke hung over the field, the only sound being the heavy breathing of his men and the air slowly being let out of Munro's bagpipes.
Dogwood slung his rifle and hopped the wall; a few wounded Russians holding their hands up as some BMPs slipped away out of sight deeper into Brandenburg.
"Jesus H. Christ... that was close." Dogwood relaxed, the weight of the battle settling on his shoulders. "Come on then, let's rally up, have a wee chat with our German friends and see what went on."
After the battle, it was clear how close the NATO troops came to losing. A pair of smoking wrecks of T-72Ms sitting in a wheat field, large holes in the rear of them, caused by Abbots, while a few other tanks littered the fields across the Autobahn.
The West Germans had lost their Marder transports, now burning wrecks in the northern forest, and their Gepards, sitting in a field to the south.
The KOSB had lost half of 1st Platoon, a supporting Challenger from the Royal Scots, as well as almost all of the supporting Recce troop.
But at the end of the day, the victory was in favour of NATO.