I needed some drinking time.
Okay, so the APCs and Marders start north-west of the castle. The APCs are going to steam around to the northern base of the hill, and the infantry are going to jump out there, and make their way up the slope to the castle on foot, clearing the woods as they go.
The Marders are going to stagger their advance, alternating their movement between top speed and careful hunting, with different Marders moving at different times, and different movement types when they are moving. I want them to spot enemy armour first and get rounds down ASAP, and I want any contact to have more than one Marder engaging it within seconds. The Marders have 6 Milan missiles each, so that’s plenty to stand off and take the Syrian armour force apart. Depending on how it develops, the infantry can jump out if it turns into an armour duel, or stay on board if the Marders have an easy ride.
Bragi debuses and runs into the building on the north-west corner.
As soon as the casualties are treated, the Gbj squad there can get into the APC and leave. Bragi can hold there and wait for the new Gbj platoon to make their way up the hill and link up with the main defensive position.
Syrian infantry start to gather behind the wall to the south-east, just across the road.
Under covering fire from the IFVs, there’s little I can do about that. Their next step is likely to be a rush to the nearest building, currently only occupied by the bodies of the Muninn sniper team, and once there they’ll be in a good position to push me either off the hill or back into the castle itself, both lead to defeat, via losing the objective or holding it but being shelled to pieces.
Huh, look at that, my mortar fire support just called in. Be rude not to.
The APCs roll up and the fresh Gbj platoon hit the dirt and run into the woods.
An APC is engaged from on high.
Splashed by RPG dirt, the APC remains unfazed, returns fire, and the platoon HQ flushes some Syrians out of cover. As they scramble uphill, one enemy is cut apart by fire from the APC and platoon HQ.
The Marders’ progress goes well, with Marder 2 spotting a tank early on.
Braking to a halt, 20mm APDS is applied, found ineffective, and a Milan is launched and proves effective. Marder 3 grinds to a halt, sees an IFV on the hill near the tank, and engages it with 20mm, and a Milan that fails to arm and ploughs into the ground early. The IFV brews up regardless as Marder 1 joins in with more 20mm. Marders 2 and 3 drop smoke and reverse away as a precaution.
Frigg uses their last rocket on a corker of a shot.
IFV killed at approximately 300m.
Several Syrian infantry squads sprint out of the orchard to take cover behind the perimeter wall on the south-west side.
Not all of them make it.
Mjolnir is busy guiding the Tornado in, so I don’t have anyone who can get the mortar strike on target in a timely fashion (9 minutes was the best the closest squad could do, which is hopeless), so Wiesel moves.
He laces the south-east wall where Syrian troops are gathering to good effect. Less than 100 rounds of HE remaining.
Gbj squad on the south-east corner gets hit with more HE from an IFV.
Three men down, one left. Heimdallr moves to a nearby building to get more eyes on and fire down on that wall.
In the north-east corner, Tyr and Baldr are literally shooting enemies as they vault the perimeter wall.
At 20m range, the firefight is sharp and intense but I’ve taken no casualties yet, which is something of a miracle.
As the NW Gbj squad treats their last casualty, Vali leaves the tower and provides additional security, mounting the nearby APC and getting on the MG. They also take the opportunity to bomb up with more 5.56 and 7.62.
The Tornado is 30 seconds out.
The Gbj platoon HQ, Freyr, has barely entered the woods at the base of the hill when it engages the RPG team that missed their APC, and bumps more enemy infantry on the slope above.
A following Gbj squad contacts the same enemy unit and loses a machine gunner in a brief exchange of fire. Apart from occasional gaps, LOS here is very short. This is what it looks like at ground level.
And this is what it looks like with the tree graphics switched off (LOS remains unchanged for units, it just makes navigation easier).
Vali, freshly ammoed, jumps out of the APC and joins Bagi in the NW corner building, running up to the first floor and hopefully spotting some Syrians fleeing uphill, away from Freyr platoon.
The Marders forge onwards, spotting nothing but some infantry on the hilltop, which they chastise with 20mm HE.
On the SW corner, multiple squads target Syrian infantry hunkered down just on the opposite side of the perimeter wall. It doesn’t go all my way, as a ZSU gets involved.
I’m going to have to get Wiesel to destroy that section of wall.
Tornado just Mavericked a KO’d IFV. Fuck my luck.
The ZSUs go nuts, guns to maximum elevation, and pour fire into the sky.
Oh now I get all the fire support. Heimdallr calls it in, linear target, 155mm HE fire, ASAP. That will drop rounds along the length of the SE wall.
ETA 8 minutes. Come on, nothing takes 8 minutes.
Odin gets in on the action, requesting 120mm mortar fire.
ETA 6 minutes. That’s not much better.
Marder 4 is going to lead the platoon up to the top of the hill, speeding up the slope before angling around a copse of trees on the hunt for targets.
Hopefully some quick Milan kills will ensue, and the Panzergrenadier platoon can jump off directly into my position. Marders 2 and 3 are hanging back, providing cover.
The sole surviving Mani squad member comes down off the walls and jumps in the nearest Wolf, joined by another lone Gbj squad member, who climbs in and mans the MG.
Fenrir has 3,000 7.62mm rounds to use.
The Freyr platoon APC reverses, firing as it goes, and lets the MG team debus and set up on the roof of a small building to the north of the hill. From there, the MG should be able to provide at least a little fire support to the platoon clearing the woods.
Marder 4 gets into position and lights up some infantry.
It will be handy if he can just sit there and keep the enemy troops back with 20mm HE.
The NE corner is quiet. Tyr and Baldr are getting low on ammo, and are thankful for the break.
The ground inside and outside the wall is littered with bodies, and more are dotted amongst the trees. Presumably any troops left alive don’t have any fight left in them.
The Tornado must have picked off some other vehicles, as there only seems to be a couple of IFVs, the two ZSUs, and Major Dickhead left.
Mjolnir calls in a new air support tasking, encompassing the current location of the IFVs and ZSUs.
No sooner do Bragi and the Gbj survivors leave the NW corner, than Vali gets RPG’d.
I’m sensing a trend here.
A very ambitious Syrian soldier makes it inside the perimeter, rounds the corner of a building, and Magni cuts him in half with 5.56.
An RPG or IFV targets Magni as a result and takes one of them out.
I send Marder 3 on a bit of a risky run. Squeaky bum time.
Rounding the southern end of the hill, he spots a ZSU, kills it, and spots an IFV, and kills that too. Worked out nicely, so far.
Marder 3 guts that IFV as the PG squad disembarks, filleting it with 20mm until it begins to burn, then turns on a troop truck and sets it alight with a short burst.
The Panzergrenadier squad disembarks and takes up position on a nearby roof, covering the south-west corner of the hill. They have several AT rockets ready, should the Marder need help.
Wiesel has another crack at Major Dickhead.
Like all the best weekends, some hits, and even some penetrations, but no kills. He reverses into the safety of the castle courtyard.
Fenrir rolls up just outside the castle and pours 7.62mm on the SE wall.
Marder 1 reaches the west side of the castle. The Panzergrenadier HQ and sniper team jump out and hit the ground running, in perfect time to help rebuff another Syrian attempt on the NW building.
PGHQ moves on to the NW building, and the sniper team head up the tower.
Freyr HQ, still pushing up the north slope, swaps some bullets at extremely close range, as a Syrian squad holed up at the very top of the slope pops up. Trees turned off.
A squad member gets wounded by a grenade, but the rest of the platoon carries on, one squad splitting into an assault team and exhausting themselves running uphill, while the machine gunners hook around to the right, headed for the edge of the treeline, to sweep along it. Another squad hangs back, sending forward a pair of scouts. The third squad stalks forward and bumps another enemy, losing a man in the killing.
Why did I think this bit would be easy.
Marders 2 and 4 move from just west of my position to the SW corner, hunting for targets.
Marder 1 moves directly into the centre of my position, on a different task entirely.
Thor decides to get back in on the action. They mount up, man the Wolf’s MG, and race for the base of the hill.
An enemy IFV surges forward, grinding through the gap in the SW wall.
The Freyr MG team, stalking along the treeline, take a prisoner, and as they move up to him, another enemy pops up. Trees off for visibility.
Snap shots take him down.
Marder 2 and 4 go on a shooting spree, lighting up infantry hiding behind an orchard wall, infantry in the orchard itself, and a charging ZSU.
Mortar rounds begin to fall.
Wiesel chips in on the ZSU.
The IFV that roared forward last turn accelerates back south across the hill and out of sight.
Wonder what scared him off.
The last of my reinforcements, but not the least.
A pair of Leopard MBTs.
Marder 3 rounds the hill, and starts off up the south slope, coming up directly behind the main body of the enemy.
Enemy small arms fire wounds the Marder commander, but the gunner lights up several trucks regardless. With the vehicle commander down, awareness will be reduced, and the Marder will be less likely to spot targets. Good thing Thor and Loki are not far behind.
The Freyr APCs park near the north woods, and start emptying hundreds of rounds into it in overlapping fields of fire, carving through the trees ahead of the platoon. There are still some enemy remnants here, and my troops keep glimpsing them. Trees off for visibility.
The APCs can’t see much of where they’re shooting, but that doesn’t matter. The bullets will work regardless. Most of the platoon is tired, having travelled up a steep, thickly wooded slope, and pause to catch a breath. The pair of scouts press on.
Some cad fires an RPG at Fenrir.
It impacts a tree in front of him. Hint well and truly dropped.
Huginn moves up into the castle’s SW tower, and scopes out the area. He spots the RPG team firing at Fenrir.
Huginn misses the shot, but he has plenty of time.
Marder 1 edges into position. This took careful angling, but he has a shot on Major Dickhead.
Despite using 80 APDS 20mm rounds, only one penetrates with a lucky ricochet, and doesn’t manage to kill. I suspect Milan isn’t an option because of the trees in the way.
An IFV comes through the orchard, straight at Marder 2. “Oh no.” the gunner deadpans. “He’s coming right for us.”
20mm fire riddles the IFV, with Marder 1 joining in from the flank.
Overall it’s looking a lot better. I have the upper hand now, barring further Syrian forces arriving. The Marders have the hilltop under control, Marder 3 is a little isolated and now more vulnerable with their commander taken out, but a bit more caution should preserve him. Freyr platoon has the woods in hand, it’s just going to take a while to sweep them clear. I have squads shifting to take care of casualties. More artillery fire should be arriving soon and that will remove the need to clear the orchard with troops. I’m hoping the Marders will be able to take care of Major Dickhead; a Milan is up to the task, but it’s finding a good firing position that is also outside of the 400m minimum range. One of the Leopards might have to do it. 120mm is a good problem solver.
The first 155mm artillery round arrives, and it’s pretty much spot on.
A little bit late, mind you, but if there are any infantry still huddled behind what’s left of that wall, they are fucked.
Thor and Loki, mounted up and MGs ready, slot in and provide rear and flank security for Marder 3 as it labours up the hill’s southern slope. Thor gives a fleeing truck a little tickle of 7.62mm.
As long as all they have to fight is fleeing infantry, they should be okay.
Leopold the Leopard tank comes up the western slope of the hill, flanking Marder 2.
Leopold rolls up onto the hilltop, nicely aligned with the rows of the orchard, and spots a certain immobilised tank.
Major Dickhead is KO’d and burning. Leopold scatters some infantry with desultory MG fire, then swings to aim at an IFV that has edged into view.
That artillery is really coming down now. Some of the 155s are a little too close, but it’s all falling outside the perimeter so far.
The 120s are splashing all over the orchard, which is super.
Two squads shift from the SW buildings to see to the casualties on the southern perimeter.
Muninn’s sniper team and Magni’s pioneer squad were both taken out, but need medical care ASAP now the fighting is dying down.
NW now secured, Freyr platoon HQ loads back up into Marder 1 in preparation to move.
The east flank of the hill could probably use a wipe clean…
Tyr on the NE corner radios in. “I think we killed them all.” Gunfire answers him from the trees. “No, wait, one more.”
All is quiet again.
Loeb uses a 120mm HEAT shell to kill a truck.
Slight case of overkill.
Loki and Marder 3 shoot up some fleeing infantry.
As Loeb nears the top of the southern slope, a 120 lands next to him.
The commander takes the hint and buttons up.
And that’s all she wrote.
The final disposition of forces.
The Syrians have taken a bit of a shoeing. They barely have any squads left above 50% strength, and every single vehicle has been killed.
Not a bad day’s work. The forces left in the northern woods are a couple of HQ squads at nearly full strength who obviously spent the whole battle telling their chaps to jolly well run up that hill and hit the enemy for six, and a bunch of those same chaps of whom less than 10% have survived. Trees off.
The NE end of the woods are where the most bodies are, but also the most survivors. A good portion of the other enemy units on the map are bailed-out vehicle crews, or weapons teams down to one or two members. The orchard is a wrecking yard, with bodies strewn amongst the trees.
MVP probably goes to Wiesel, because HE-firing autocannons, like grenade machine guns, are capable of comedic levels of suppressive fire, it’s uncomfortably like bullying.
Having started with 600 HE rounds and managing to use all but 20 of them, killing two BMP IFVs and a ZSU, causing 23 casualties and suppressing many many more, including services to wall destruction, and surviving despite little armour to speak of.
have a little pissing contest to see who fared better. Loki edges it, with two tanks and a BMP, to Thor’s one ZSU, one BMP, and one truck.