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Thread: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *On Hold*

  1. #1

    Default Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *On Hold*

    Harder than Krupp Steel:
    One Man’s Journal on the Ostfront

    Played with: Close Combat: Cross of Iron w/ Grossdeutschland Mod
    Difficulty: Hero/Grognard

    On June 22nd, an event occurred, which changed the fate of the very world itself, the start of a conflict so colossal it might likely never be topped… Operation: Barbarossa

    Harder than Krupp Steel is one man’s tale, a Major, Maximillian Santini, a Commissioned Officer of the Wehrmacht’s most elite regiment: the Grossdeutschland. Coming soon, a tale of heroism and bravery, cowardice and ineptitude, victory and utter defeat…

    Coming soon, Harder than Krupp Steel...
    Last edited by Santini; July 24, 2010 at 01:58 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *First Paris! Then Stalin's Moustache!*

    June 22nd, morning:
    Woke this morning to thunder... must have been hundreds of the big ones, blasting away cross’t the border. Shock waves so heavy it shakes dew from grass. Sat, watched the sun rise, as hundreds upon hundreds of aircraft flew overhead… lying flat on the ground, a I could feel the earth kick as Stukas struck at target… mounting up now.

    June 22nd, around 10am:
    Day grows hotter, and backside numb from poor road condition. The Hauptman told me to insure combat readiness in my Platoon… evidently he has his eye on me, as a boot brown Lieutenant. Already tired of breathing this smoke, and as the artillery fades, and the thrum of aircraft becomes a mere hum, I can hear, faintly, small arms exchange, to the left, and ahead… we’ll be there soon if this damned kraft quits kicking out on us. After all the snags and stops, about 15 kilometers into Bolshevik territory, and I’ve yet to actually see a single Russian.

    June 22nd, 10pm:
    Stopped in bivouac for the night… saw my first dead…
    Not dead like old age and surrounded by friends and family… dead like a stinking, screaming death, smeared on the inside of an armored bulkhead… a 232 pushed to the side of the road, with a hole large enough to see through and through. On of the crew men, badly charred, lay some 10 meters from the shattered shell... he had his arms up, as if to protect his face.

    Poor fellows hadn’t a chance. Sleeping now, exhausted.

    Last edited by Santini; November 26, 2009 at 12:54 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *First Paris! Then Stalin's Moustache!*

    June 29th, evening:
    Lost my first man yesterday. I’m surprised at how little this has affected me… he died right in front of me- caught a pistol round from a papasha, while we tried to clean up Guderian’s mess… Soldat Buxbaum.

    A strange little man… took a lot of grief for the name, and was always wearing a motorcyclist’s overcoat that he’d gotten Gott knows where… he had stood up to look over the wall, and started to speak- he said “Leutnant…”

    And then he seemed to lose his balance, and tumble backwards… it took me a moment to realize…

    I should sleep, we’ve been moving for 4 days now… I’ll put Zug 2 on watch, then get some winks. Maybe then I will feel…

    June 30th, morning:
    Our first two days of combat… not what I had expected. These Ivans, if they’re as hungry as the Red Stripes say they are, fight like men possessed…

    We’ve been tasked with sealing off the Minsk pocket, which unfortunately means fighting at the outskirts of the city itself. Hapt. told me that Oberst Stockhausen is worried that these Bolshies might be slipping between our posts at night, hence the line tightening up. My Platoon was a part of the forward push, out on the left.

    It may have been my first combat command, and I may have been seriously sleep deprived, but my nerves weren’t an issue, at least, not yet. Sat with some Aufk., Lt. Bogasch, and a map, sketched up a plan, and executed it.

    The recon men told me that there were three centers of resistance in our AO: a Church, a cluster of stone walled houses, and some sort of warehouse. The plan was simple: Zug 2, under Bogasch, was to advance into a position permitting suppression of the church area, then with the assistance of our armored car, slowly flush the Russians out.

    Meanwhile, Zug 1, with a heavy mg team and the Stug, was to advance down a lane onto the stone houses. Thereafter the Zug facing the weaker foe would advance, then provide flanking power for the other.

    Must stop now, getting waved at by Schwager.
    Last edited by Santini; November 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    June 30th, noon:
    It is hot… terribly hot. I’m crouched in a ditch, with the rest of Zug 1 strewn about me, sleeping off the heat. The Stug crew members parked their vessel over a huge pothole, and they’re under it now, playing cards. Soon, we’ll be order back in action… if I stick my head over the lip of the ditch, I think I can see the clock tower the Beob.ctr. is calling down the artillery strikes from… sounds like 105’s whizzing overhead. They tend to whistle, while the 150’s roar, and the 8’s and 12’s are just dead silent until they land… my noncom, Schwager, is on the radio with HQ, waiting for our orders.

    Our first action had been confused, conducted at lightning speed, and over before I had expected it. Zug 1, under my command, split from Zug 2, and we had both chosen open alleys to advance down. The Stug came with my group, and as first and second squad went building to building, and third squad advanced down our right flank, I advanced my squad, under the watchful eye of 3/1 (HMG squad), alongside 5th squad (LMG team), behind the Stug, and we pushed our way up the street, towards the stone building cluster.

    When we started to take fire, it took me a moment to realize. It had sounded like hail striking a Volkswagen, and I had been looking up at the sky when Sgt. Tillmann, from inside the Stug, started to yell at me… something like “Git yer goddam commissioned arse off the road, idiot! That’s small arms fire!”

    And so, I did. 4th squad went right, into the shadow of a building, and I went left. Crouched by the corner of the building, I finally managed to untangle my binocs, and take a look… up ahead, in a row of wooden buildings, I could see twinkling flashes… Russian infantry, shooting at me!

    Pvt. Heiler and Sgt. Schwager worked out the location of the building on their map, and relayed that to our mortar section. Meanwhile, with hand gestures, I ordered the Stug forward 10 meters, and had 4th and 2nd squad push up to a stone building facing the Soviet position. They cautiously pushed up, then, as the mortar fire began to fall, got up and ran into position.

    Then the Stug began to fire on the suspected positions, and my squad ran up for a better view. About 5 meters from the Stug, I turned round, cursing, and got the attention of 3/1. They disassembled their HMG, and advance up after us.

    As we ran up, I started to hear it… on our left, I could hear 2/4 start to hose out fire, and I could hear Lt. Bogasch shouting out orders to his Zug… sounded like they were having a fairly easy time of it, and had caught some Russian’s out in the open.

    Meanwhile, 2nd and 4th squad had gotten into position, but weren’t firing… I yelled at them across the alleyway, but they couldn’t see where the enemy fire was coming from.

    So I ordered my own squad up, with the HMG team. Once we were level with the Stug, I had them deploy, and I had them hold firm. I myself ran up to the second floor, to use my binocs… cound’t see a damn thing.

    I went to the west side of the building, and seeing Zug 2 starting to separate, yelled to get their attention, then told them with hand signals to start a flanking arch.

    As I turned to run back down the stairs, I saw it: a flashing motion of brown: Russians! I screamed to my Zug to open up, and then leaned out the window, and emptied a clip from my MP-40. The thing bucked and jumped, but I kept it pointed the right way, then myself headed down the stairs.

    The first floor was awful… packed with gunpowder smoke from the HMG tearing into the Russians. Pvt. Kubel, the HMG loader, started to shout at me… evidently they had nailed one, and he was still kicking in the dust!

    I told Pister to keep them suppressed, then went to the east door. I poked my head out… the Stug was kicking up so much dust I really couldn’t see much. I shouted across to 2nd and 4th squad to lay down fire, we were coming to join them… the fire came to a crescendo, and I ran across, ignorant of the few stray rounds hitting the dust at my feet.

    I was crouched down by 4th squad, and peering with my bincos… I remember it clearly. I saw at least 5 Russians dart across, between two buildings, and I screamed at Lnc. Cpl. Rohrer… “Don’t you see them? SHOOT! SHOOT!”

    And boy, did he shoot. He must have torn through an entire belt. I curled up, the roar of the ’34 deafening me. Pvt. Heiler gave out a shout, then a scream… “I’m hit! Jesus, I’m hit!” and he started to stand, howling and holding his neck… Sgt. Schwager shoot the hot brass from the MG from his collar, and we all had a good laugh… I’ve not laughed that hard in a long time.

    Then, Pvt. Buxbaum, clad in his ridiculous Rubber outers, poked his head over the wall, and started to speak… and an instant later, he lay back on the ground, his helmet knocked free, and his rifle clattering on the ground.

    Schwarger says that Brass is shouting, must go.
    Last edited by Santini; November 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    Oh gods... I'm playing the wrong campaign... the GD campaign is enough like the Grand Campaign for me to merge, using my creative liscense...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    June 30th, nighttime:
    The bigwigs want us across the Berisina and into Borisov by the end of tomorrow… Stockhausen thinks that taking Borisov will put an end to the Russian dream of escape, and let us turn East, to catch up with the panzers. Just before night fell, I took Zug 1 and crossed the river in rubber rafts. We’re almost at the ridge of a hill line, and I’m writing by torch.

    Anyhow, after Buxbaum had gotten shot, I think I may have sat there, in silence, for nearly 30 seconds. I’m not sure just what I was thinking… perhaps I had deluded myself into thinking no one in my platoon would end up hurt. Then, however, an MG somewhere in the Soviet line picked up, and started to pelt our building, and I snapped out of it. I got Zug 1 into position, then started to yell at Schwarger, asking him where the hell Zug 2 was.

    Finally he got in touch with Bogasch. He told us that Zug 2 had run into some kind of Russian tank, but that the 232 had put it down, and they were nearly in position. I told him to hurry it up, double quick, then got off the line, and made my way to the door. Schwarger, bless his heart, started emptying out his ’40, and I dashed over to the Stug.

    It took a few bangs on the hatch, but finally it opened, and I explained my plan to Sgt. Tillmann: Get his vehicle down the alley to the right, then swing up into the courtyard and give those Ruskies a point blank beating. With a clang, and a loud rumble, his vehicle set off to do just that, and I returned to the rest of Zug 1. From the east window, I managed to get the attention of 3rd squad, and had them follow up behind the Stug, and then called in additional mortar strikes.

    When Tillmann’s Stug rounded that corner, and 3rd squad starting pouring in the fire, it happened: The Russians began to surrender- first in ones and twos, then en masse.

    My first battle, ended… in a sort of daze, Zug 1 and I wandered about the Soviet position, then together, with Zug 2, laid Bauxbum to rest. In the end, he was not our only casualty- Zug 2 had two wounded, one rather seriously- but he was our first KIA.

    We buried him will all honors, then formed up, and continued our advance northward, into rolling wheat fields.

    Last edited by Santini; November 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 1st, Early Morning:
    Sun’s just now about to come up, and we’ll be crossing the ridge in about an hour to let Zug 2 and our Armor across the bridge. On the 29th, following intelligence from our POW’s, we made a slight dogleg east, to cross a river without a name via a bridge through a village not even on our maps… later we figured out that this was actually the outskirts of Borisov, and the bridge led to a road connecting just west of the bridge over the Berisina.

    Aufk. on motorbikes reported a rolling hillside terminating in wheat fields, leading up to the village, the left flank of which was covered by a tree grove. Before it was light, Zug 2 moved down into the fields and made a skirmish line, while I led Zug 1, with our Stug and 232, along the left, and into the grove. Under the cover of our HMG team, we crept forward, until, between Zug 1 and 2, we had the village on the south side of the river surrounded.

    1st and 2nd squad were working their way up ahead of us when it happened: a group of at least 20 Russian’s open up on us. All Zug 1 dropped immediately, and I remember clearly the loamy smell of the leaves on the ground as I jammed my face into it. Lnc.cpl. Schader took a round through the shoulder, and I remember being furious at my inability to reach him... he was just in front of my, but my body was frozen...

    Then 3/1 (the hmg team) opened up. I could hear 7.92 zipping overhead, and I heard a terrible screaming grow up, out of the Russians… and from time to time, the sound of a round striking home- like beating a beef side with an iron bar. By now I had rolled onto my back, and gotten our Stug and 232 to move on up, and they too added into the cacophony. I told Schwager to get us some mortar support, but he told me we were SOL- his antenna had been shot clean off.

    Fortunately, Bogasch must have figured out what was going on, for I started to hear the *crump* of 8cm striking wooden huts. With 3rd and 4th squad laying down blistering cover fire, and our Stug and 232 simply annihilating the opposing positions, I lead first and second up into the village fringe. We quickly set up to fire into the village, and I was waving 4th squad (LMG team) across to me when I noticed that, behind the village, a bloody horde of Bolshies was trying to make it across the river!

    I set up 4th squad to rake them down, and then ran back out into the “street.” I jumped up on the 232, and told the boys inside where to take their vehicle, and the slaughter at the bridge was redoubled. Turning to my left, I saw an incredible sight: down in the wheat field, about 10 meters from the village fringe, some 20 to 30 Russians stood up out of their cover, and ran at Zug 2, with bayonet’s fixed!

    While they were quickly repulsed by Zug 2, the HMG team, and Squad 3 firing from the tree groove, I was still deeply impressed…

    Anyhow, once they had broken, we formed up, crossed the wooden bridge (which fortunately held the Stug), and we continued to push, hoping to reach the Berisna.

    Last edited by Santini; November 27, 2009 at 12:47 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    I might start doing the shots from close combat in color... that okay with you guys?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 1st, morning:
    We’ve moved 5 meters in the last two hours… evidently the Red Stripes think we need some heavy artillery for what’s on the other side of the ridge, and the heavies are stuck in a jam about 20 kilometers back. You never realize just how dull war is until you’ve sat on a hillside for 12 hours, fighting off flies the size of grapes… Lnc.Cpl Grindl, from 3rd, has worked his way up to the edge of the tree line, he says all he can see is grain… and lots of it. About 10 kilometers to the north west, something is burning… must be A Komp. seizing another crossing.

    Anyhow… after we had mopped up those Ivan’s that remained at unknown, we got our trucks up and running, then ran them across the rickety bridge. We rode for two hours on the worst road I have ever seen… truck 3 broke 2 leaf springs at once, dropping the bed onto the axle, and dumping the heavy weapons Zug out into the dust. It would have been funny if we hadn’t had to abandon the vehicle, and cram the HMG team into vehicle 1, and the mortar team into vehicle 2. From the back of truck 1, I was amazed not only at how much dust we ourselves were kicking up, but the vast plume the Stug was throwing up behind it… we had to rearrange the column, putting the Stug at the rear, and shifting the 232 to the front- against regulations, but truck 2 and the 232 were driving blind with the assault gun in front of them.

    After about 2 hours of that fun, we finally halted for the night. Ammunition stocks were starting to run low, particularly HE for the Stug and the 232, and we really could have used some hot food, so we hoped that Kompanie HQ would see fit to provision us.

    Alas, no go- after a horrible, moist night out in the elements, fighting off massive insects the like of which I’d never seen in Germany, we woke, ate tinned food, then began the roll out again. Our Aufk. team had returned from their overnight jaunt- evidently they had seen camp fires about 5 clicks down the road. About 2 kilometers from the target- just far enough to keep the Russians from hearing the Stug clanking about, we disembarked. Zug 2, which had thus far borne the brunt of the platoon’s casualties, we left at the bivouac- I told Bogasch to make sure his men got as much rest as possible- then Zug 1 and the heavy weapons squad made their way north, up the winding dirt road, Stug in tow.

    When we finally came to a small stream with a muddy ford, and a dirt road along the bank, the Aufk. pointed out where he had spotted the fires- it seemed to be an abandoned Polish church of some sort. I had the Stug turn west, and told them to step on it, and they tore west, making one hell of a racket. With the Russians hopefully distracted, we rushed across the stream, and into a pair of buildings and an abandoned trench oriented towards the church.

    We sat for about 10 minutes before the din of the Stug began to increase, and about 5 minutes thereafter, had reached the ford. Through my binoculars, I was unable to see anything moving at the church, so I waved the Stug up. Just about when it had leveled with us, Lt. Eberhaurdt (Zug 1’s commander) started to tug on my sleeve. He pointed, past the church and to the right- a plume of dust was making its way towards us.

    Franticly, I signaled to the Stug, and the shut off their engine… over the cooling, ticking sounds, we heard it: a Russian tank, making its way down a road we could not see. Tentatively, I made my way to the Stug, and hopped up with graceful bound. Immediately, with a skittering clatter, my hobnails betrayed me, and I fell off the tank and into a ditch, head first. Fortunately, Zug 1 was far to fixated on the approaching tank to notice, but the metallic laughter echoing from the armored beast did great harm to my pride. More carefully this time, I mounted, and crouched by Tillman’s hatch. Tillman, looking distinctly green (yellow?) around the gills, pointed to where the vehicle was going to cross behind some houses, and into the open. And sure enough, it did: it came rumbling out, and took a sharp left turn. The Stug’s 75mm made one sharp bark, and though my binoculars I saw, to my amazement, the round not only stove in the front of the BT’s hull, but exit out the back, and continue on into some houses.

    About 5 seconds later, there came a huge “wa-chrump”… the BT exploded, blowing out the hatches, and unsetting the turret… Tillman and I exchanged a glance, than I gave Tillman a few instructions, and hopped down, running back to the building.

    Radio is barking, must run.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 1st, noon:
    Ah, excellent- have finally discovered the reason for the delay- just 30 minutes ago, some Nazi bigwig, complete with Party medals and a fat, gold watch, had his tremendous arse ferried across… evidently he wishes to see the Grossdeutschland in action… as Gott is my witness, he is standing atop the bloody hill, pointing at things with a stick… I’m taking a picture now; you’d have to see this to believe it…

    Schwager has dibs on his watch… I told him I wanted the walking stick. We should get attack orders within the hour.

    Anyhow- once the BT had exploded, it was like someone had given the attack signal: the Church lit up, with at least two squads of Russian’s opening up, firing wildly in all directions. Bad move, I think: immediately, the Stug and both MG’s opened up on them, and Schwager had mortar fire on the building only seconds later. Under that blanket of fire, I got squads 1, 2 and 4 up and moving, encroaching on the building, using the crops as cover. They took 3 casualties in the process… all wounded. Once they shouted back that they were set, I ran my own squad up, and from about 20 meters, we looked over the stalks at the rapidly disintegrating building.

    All enemy fire had ceased, but I could still hear shouting in Russian… I had squad 2 and 4 lay down some suppressive fire, then moved up with Zug.Fr.Grp. 1, Squad 1, and my own squad, into a small culvert, where we began to chuck grenades, at least 5 of them, in through the windows. After the initial barrage, there was a silence, so I got the Stug to cease fire, and carefully worked my way up to the building.

    I nearly died… as I stuck my head up to peer through the window, I found myself looking down the barrel of a mosin-nagent. The Russian on the other end pulled, and the thing nearly shot my ear off, and I threw myself backwards into the ditch, screaming at squad one… these Russian’s- stunned, deafened, wounded, simply would not give up! Give them some of the flammenwerfer!

    Squad 1 set about its task with something bordering on glee, and purged the building… 3 spurts of the flame later, and shouts of “kamerad!” started to be heard. From all sorts of nooks and crannies, Ruskies came out… blackened, bleeding, with hands up.

    All told, 4 casualties… according to the Kmp. Medic, none were fatal, but none would fight again. I got Zug 2 on the radio, and we linked up, and were back on the move, headed towards the Berisina.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 1st, evening:
    I am a stinking, sweat soaked mess. Mother would have a thing or two to say if she saw me now… I reek of gunpowder, and my uniform is stained with both powder burns, and about half a beef stew ration. Also, my left sleeve is flecked with vomit, and I may have gotten pissed on.

    At about 3pm European Central, we finally got the okay to attack- without the artillery. Evidently some of Hoth’s boys had gotten themselves into a mess down South, and regimental arty had been given fire priority. Wouldn’t want the boys in black fighting Ivan without fire superiority, that would never do. Someone mighta gotten their blonde hair mussed.

    Anyhow, Zug 1 low crawled up to the ridge, and I had the joy of escorting Herr uber-mensch fatboy up to our firing position. We were in the middle of relaying in a fire mission to our support team when two things happened, simultaneously: at least 40 Russians stood up, out of nowhere, and started rushing over the hill, towards the bridge head. Then, about a half click to the north, a BT tank poked its nose around the corner, and started hauling off after the infantry.

    I had a choice to make: sit tight, miss the chance to put down flanking fire on the running Bolshie horde, and avoid the loving attentions of the light tank hauling up the hill, or take the shot.

    We took the shot. First Schwarger called in the fire mission, shifted 50 meters to the left, while Lt. Eberhardt put in a call to Zug 2, the Stug, and the 232. Meanwhile, I had spread the instructions: hold fire, wait for the first 8cm to land.

    Land it did, and every lander in Zug 1 opened up. We blazed away at the Bolshies, inflicting horrifying damage. By this time they had nearly all left the grain fields, and when the 34’s opened up, they had no place to go. Many of them dropped to the ground, and were picked off by karbine fire. Others, however, ran… into a hail of MG fire. The slimy Party man actually started to clap… then the tank turned towards us.

    We had been slaughtering the infantry on the hillside for about 30 seconds before the BT took notice. It swerved, and arched right, then opened up with mg and 45mm. It was wild shooting… later we found out the vehicle lacked a sight, and the gunner had been aiming with his tracers. It was enough, however, to put the fear of God in the big wig. He actually stood up, and started running back over the ridge. I jumped on him, pinning the fat bastard… I think that was when I got pissed on.

    The BT had gone through about 3 HE rounds, and maybe a drum of MG, when way off to the left, there was the boom of the Stug’s 75mm. I watched the slow round sail downrange, and cleanly strike the turret of a BT I hadn’t even seen, lurking behind the first. The first BT swerved again, and its turret spun about, like some confused turtle. The next 75mm missed, but the third struck it, right in the engine bay, and pretty soon, both were burning.

    Right around then, yet more Ruskies started to pop up out of the field… Schwarger leaned over, and said something to the effect of “perhaps they’ve a breeding pond down there.” Regardless, by now the Stug had looped in a big right arch, and rolled over the hill. The 232 linked up, and we had some hundred Ruskies in a vice. It was terrible… like beating a dumb animal. We pinned and slaughtered them, and they just wouldn’t surrender… over the radio, Zug 2 informed me that they had spotted a large body of infantry to the West of our ridgeline… however, they were fleeing, north and East. We let them go, finished our terrible job of slaughter, then performed a link up and supply.

    Later, we went down into the fields… the bigwig, piss soaked and shameless, wanted a keepsake- a commissar’s hat or the like. Down in the trampled and burnt grain, I found a promising one, and called him over. When I flipped him, however, he mostly fell apart… he must have been hit with at least 30 MG rounds, and maybe some 8cm as well… the man split open, and that’s when the bigwig puked on me, then called it a day. Pompous bastage… came to see a field unit in action, puked and pissed on it’s Lieutenant, then left.

    I formed up Zug 1 and 2, we had a laugh over it, then continued north. We’ve been on the road for about 3 hours, and now have bivouacked for the night.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    (Note: I screwed up the ranks, hence forth the correct ranks will be used)
    July 4th, noon:
    Having completed the encirclement, we’ve been released. HQ says that we have 3 days of R&R, but I cannot seem to relax… a pall hangs over my entire platoon, and I don’t know what I’ll do without Schwarger… Borisov was a nightmare, and no matter how many congratulations HQ rains down on me, I’ll never forget seeing a squad of mine wiped out…

    Early on the 2nd, the folks at logistics finally decided to arrive… they brought with them munitions, and 7 replacement Lander’s. After some discussion with the for both Zug 1 and 2, three privates were selected for promotion to Lnc.Cpl. After the presentation ceremony, and a brief celebration, I assembled the entire platoon for a briefing.

    The message was simple: I told them I knew they were tired. I knew the food was terrible, the ammo was short, and nearly all of us needed at least one replacement article. But over that hill lay Borisov… if we pulled together for just one more day, and captured that Soviet hive, we’d have completed the encirclement, and be relieved. I asked them if they could do this for me, and they responded with a cheer. I was, to be honest, touched.

    The plan was standard, with a twist: Zug 2, under Feldwebel Bogasch, was to take up the left flank of the village, securing good firing position. Zug 1, under Feldwebel Eberhardt, was to take it up the center. The Stug and 232 was to support both. The twist, however, was a particularly clever move on my part: I would take 2nd squad from Zug 1 and 2, and 3rd squad from Zug 2, and advance up around the right, to lay down tremendous flanking fire, and keep Zug 1 and 2 moving. The plan seemed perfect…

    Execution started off well. I saw Zug 1 and 2 into their positions, then joined my squads down in the wooded area. We worked our way forward about 200 meters, then I initiated Zug 1 and 2’s assault with my flare gun.

    They must have run into resistance pretty quick, for soon the chatter of ’34 started up, then the whip crack of 20mm, followed by all sorts of small arms, then the boom of 75mm… it seemed Zug 1 was having a rough time of it. Quickly, we started to double time, rushing through the forest for a stone hut that seemed an excellent firing point.

    Too excellent, it seems. The first warning we had of the Russian MG team was a massive burst of fire… whoever was on the other end must have just cranked down on his DT. About 75 rounds tore out into my squads, before we had even all hit the ground.

    I saw it… it was terrible. Lnc.Cpl. Mueller, from 2/2, was the first… in the first half second of MG fire, he took a round right to the head… his helmet was blown off, and he fell, without even making a sound. Then Pvt. Tallar, also 2/2, took a round through the neck, and he fell over. His squadmate, Pvt. Schwarz, grabbed him by the lapel, and began to drag him, inch by inch, into cover.

    Unteroffizier Schwarger crawled forward, and together they were pulling Tallar into a ditch… I blazed away with my MP-40, and all the squads were pouring fire into that cursed hut, but we just couldn’t silence the MG. And then, Schwarger got shot. As he was dragging Tallar, the round passed through his right arm, just under the armpit, and he fell over, bellowing in pain.

    I ran up and grabbed him, and tore the heavy field radio from his back. His right arm was completely limp, but he was able to stand, so we made our way back, under fire. Turning back, I saw Pvt. Schwarz, last member of 2/2, take two rounds, one to the chest, one to the stomach. He grunted, and fell atop Tallar…

    So help me God, I was frozen. Me and Schwarger lay in a heap, and just watched as a darting line of tracer swept back and forth over the huddled 2nd squad. I believe I was crying, as 1st, 3rd, and my own damaged squad worked their way bay to our own lines… by the time we made it back, the sun was falling, and we called it a day. Zug 1 and 2 had been successful, and nearly half the village lay in our hands. Unfortunately, Bogasch had been wounded, struck in the legs with grenade fragments, and Zug 2 had taken 2 KIA’s and several wounded recovering him.

    According to the company medic, Schwarger’s wound passed through a nerve, and he’d need surgery in Berlin if he had any chance to recover. We had a movement to say goodbye… I told him to tell my family I was fine, and to look after them- he told me he’d find my Elise, and look after her… I told him she wasn’t much for cripples, and we both had a laugh, and then a cry. At 9:30 pm European Central, Schwarger was loaded into a truck, with the rest of the wounded from my Platoon, I shook hands with Bogasch, and they drove off, into the night. Once it was dark enough, foray teams recovered the bodies, and we buried all five.

    It was a terrible day.
    Last edited by Santini; November 28, 2009 at 03:28 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 4th, evening:
    Finishing off Borisov was, in the end, somewhat anti climactic. Evidently the tail of the division we had caught in the trap was running low on strength, and in the end, it came down to surrounding, then beating their final defensive point into oblivion.

    With my Platoon at 2/3rds strength, we opted to form a single Kampfgruppe, and simply press through the center of the village. The men were absolutely worn to the bone, but coldly furious at the mishaps of the day before. The events are somewhat muddled, but around 10 am, 2/1 came under fire from a wooden building… and a lot of fire. At least 30 or so Russians were holed up, blasting out the windows at us.

    The building was surrounded, grenade, mortared, hit with the flame thrower, smashed by the Stug… after five minutes of this treatment, we ceased, and the silence was deafening… I crept up, across the lane, and peered in… it was terrible. A bloody mush of brown uniformed bodies, bent and broken beyond recognition. The smell alone nearly made me sick.

    As we mopped up, and radioed HQ, I sat, for the longest time, saying nothing. At 3pm, we set the building alight, and pulled on out.

    We have leave until the 7th... not sure what I'll do with myself until then.
    Last edited by Santini; December 01, 2009 at 01:26 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    Historical Note:
    In just 6 days, the Grossdeutschland Infantry Regiment marked itself as an Elite force of the Third Reich. The performance of 2nd, Platoon, D Kompanie, IV. Battalion, under Leutnant Maximillian Santini was a picture perfect example of just such a performance.

    2nd Platoon, nearly entirely on its own, fought in a 50 km arch around Minsk, helping seal off some 300,000 Soviet soldiers, killing 192, wounding 163, capturing 31, destroying 4 Soviet tanks, and capturing one, for the price of 25 casualties- 10 KIA, 15 WIA. For this performance, the Platoon received 1 Iron Cross, second class (To Lt. Santini), 5 infantry assault badges (Obersoldat Knebl, Gefreiter Kruschel, Soldat Teichmann, Obergefriter Scheffler, and Unteroffiziere Hoffeman), 6 War Merit Badges, (Gefreiter Winkler, Galatz, Kuch, Obergefreiter Scheffler, Unteroffizere Hoffer, and Obersoldat Freudemann), and 25 wound badges.

    Additionally, there is some confusion as to the structure of Platoon 2, and for that reason we publish this chart of the supposed composition as of June ’41:

    Note: Contains an error- 3.1 is the heavy mg, and 3.2 the mortar
    Last edited by Santini; November 27, 2009 at 08:06 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    Was just curious if anyone was reading this- not often that an AAR get's past 10 updates with no response

  16. #16

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    On the off chance that anyone is reading this, and as confused by the org chart as I am, it's simple: I screwed up. Here's the accuracy-aware org charts for 2nd Platoon, from June 41 to June 42

    A note on reading the AAR: When you see something like #/# or #.#, or just #: The first number is the Zug (Team). If there is just the one number, or if it is listed as #/0 or #/I, it is the squad/vehicle in charge of the Zug (team). The second number is the specific squad/vehicle on that Zug/team. So, from the June '42 chart: 2/2, or 2.2, is the second squad of team two, the infantry squad. Additional example: 4.3 would be the third kampfwagen (fighting vehicle) in the fourth Zug.
    Last edited by Santini; November 30, 2009 at 07:42 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 8th, afternoon:
    En route to Uschakowa on a regauged Soviet line. When we got the orders to move, we weren’t particularly surprised- word on the grapevine said that we were the most complete company in the most complete battalion, so they were bound to deploy us again before long.

    I was playing cards with a few of my NCO’s- a stand up bunch- around an ammo crate when the order arrived: communications intercepts indicate that upward of 300,000 Soviets in the pocket were about to attempt a breakout, with armor, artillery, and aerial support. The Yelina Salient, near Smolensk, was the evident target- a sector some 50 kilometers across. Our battalion was hereby to mount up and travel via rail, to the 5 southernmost kilometers of the breakout zone, and to assist in repulsing the attack. Evidently both lines across the Deniper were still down, and so we’d need carry with us all fuel, ammunition and food. It took us 20 hours to ready up and mount our train- impressive, in my opinion, given the difficulty in loading our Stug and 232, not to mention vehicle 1 and 2, and a replacement Russian truck we had barely managed to make operational.

    We should arrive in 2 hours or so. I’m to disembark and deploy between first and second platoon, then meet up with the head honchos. Sounds wunderbar.

    July 8th, evening:
    The Hauptmann dropped by, gave our position in the village the once over and has given us the nod. Once he left, we picked up and moved about 500 meters back- I understand that we’re supposed to be “not relinquishing a single meter of earth” – but if the Ruskies have heavy arty, sure as schiesse it will be falling on the buildings. We’ll let the Russian artillery fall on empty houses, then move up and sweep out the attackers.

    Something smells rancid, but I’ve gone ahead and deployed the Zugs. I’ve deployed Zug 2 overwatching Zug 1. Come the morning, or whenever the Soviet assault begins, we’ll push up and attack.

    July 9th, Dawn:
    HQ says that this is the day… I’ve gone down the line, and all the men have done weapon checks, and the vehicle crew’s have test started. Now we simply need wait on Ivan…

    Also, I found the source of the smell.
    Last edited by Santini; November 29, 2009 at 01:43 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 9th, morning:
    At 10am sharp, the Bolshies opened up- and boy did they ever. Must be at least 20 some pieces in our sector alone… the shells seem to be going rather wild, and a few have actually landed uncomfortably close by, the for the most part, the village seems the target. Already, a good deal of it has been set alight… the barrage has gone 23 minutes now, I suspect it will either go 30 or an hour.

    July 9th, evening:
    Today marked some of the hardest fighting I have yet seen…it is obvious that these Russians had been made desperate by their encircled position. They were strangely well equipped, with more tanks and small arms than I’ve seem thus far, and all well supplied with munitions, if not food. Far better equipped, in fact, than the front line soldiery we’ve encountered before. More and more I begin to suspect that these Bolsheviks simply don’t think like normal men.

    The Soviet artillery cut out after 30 minutes, at 10:30. At 10:40, I gave out the marching orders: Zug 2 rushed up to firing positions, then Zug 1 and my own squad raced past. We rounded the south side of the hill, and came upon a series of fields butting up against the woods at the hill base. Knowing the Soviet proclivity for suddenly springing up out of crop, I had Zug 1 deploy in a line, then brought up Zug 2, forming a right angle to Zug 1 and giving us crossing fire over the field. Over the radio, I called up the Stug and the 232, and had them drive forward to meet me where the woods petered out into a rail line.

    There I gave them instructions, and had them relay back a fire mission to the mortar team: as I was absolutely sure that there were a bunch of Bolshies in the crops, the 232 was to overwatch, and the Stug to move in and flush them out, attacking following the first mortar round.

    Unsurprisingly, I proved correct: I ran back to the tree like, with Zug 1, and awaited the first round. With a “Crump” it landed, and the Stug took off, racing along the rail bed, and out of the field came three squads of Ruskies, all sprinting south, trying to escape over the hump of the rail line. We cut them down with ease, and I actually saw the Stug catch at least one man in its treads.

    Following clearing the fields, Zug 1 advanced under the overwatch of Zug 2 and the Stug- the 232 had evidently gotten itself stuck on a fallen tree- it took nearly 10 minutes to work itself free. We had moved up about a hundred yards, to nearly the end of the crops, when we started to come under small arms fire from the rail station platform in the north of the village.

    After 5 or so rounds from the Stug, and perhaps 10 rounds from the mortar team, they had shut up, but we quickly found ourselves in a new dilemma: as we advanced in loose order, west ward, from the south, on the other end of the rail berm, the Soviets began to stage some sort of ill coordinated counter attack. Zug 1 and 2 quickly deployed in the periphery of the sunflowers, and for around five minutes, we simply picked the Russian’s off as they silhouetted themselves against the skyline. All fine and dandy, until a BT crossed the ridge, about 100 meters to the west of our position. The 232, however, from its stuck position, simply unloaded on the vehicle, spraying it with an entire clip of 20mm AP. The vehicle turned, and attempted to flee back over the berm, but another clip of 20mm stopped its engine in its tracks, and the crew bailed, escaping over the rail line.

    At this point in time, I felt we had the Ruskies on their heels, so we began to move up to the berm, preparing to assault into the village. However, as my squad got within 10 meters of the rail line, a shot rang out- Unteroffizier Eberhardt, from Zug 1, fell over with a shout- he’d been hit in the arm, by that damned Russian in the rail office!

    I was astounded- we’d put several hundred rounds, and no small amount of HE into that building, but Ivan was still shooting from it! Zug 1 and 2 immediately set about laying down a blistering curtain of fire, and I had gotten the Stug turned around the right way, but still, more and more fire came from the west! Eberhardt, by now bandaged, demanded that he be allowed capture the building with his Zug, and I gave him the nod.

    Doing our best to keep the occupants pinned, I watched as Zug 1 darted right, then hooked in, tossing grenades in through the post’s windows. After about a minute of that treatment, 1/0 entered, and I heard a good deal of automatic fire before Eberhardt came to the door, and waved- building clear!

    Must run, interrogator debriefing session.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 11th, noon:
    Just got out of field formation. Had entered worriedly- scuttlebutt said HQ had found out about my little relocation stunt- but instead we received “congratulations from the top.” It seems we’ll be relieved on the morrow, then be put on a train to assemble with the rest of the regiment at a place called “Tula”

    Finishing actions at Uschakowa went smoothly: I took Zug 1 across the rail berm with the Stug in tow, and we cleared out the village, from south to north. Crossing the ridge, I was met with a bizarre sight: half clothed Russians, weapons nowhere to be seen, were fleeing, westward! They darted across the street in ones and twos… we didn’t interfere, we just watched. After about 10 minutes of disbelief, we came under fire, and the tranquility was broken. A church up the way seemed to be the source… called in a fire mission, and escorted the Stug to where they could knock it down.

    Building was smashed, and we simply collected prisoners until HQ gave us moving orders. Overall, a successful day against a decently well equipped, but poor lead enemy.

    At the end of the Field Formation, the Haupt. took me aside: evidently he HAD heard about my redeployment… but he was actually somewhat pleased. My Platoon evidently came out of the salient defense with the fewest casualties- 3rd and 4th Platoon had gotten downright mauled, and were to be combined. My Platoon was going to acquire the Stug from 3rd- theirs had been demobilized, but was repairable.

    So now I need to gather up my Platoon- we’ll load up, taking the broken Stug with us, and head on out. Stug was a total mess- it had hit a mine. We simply abandoned the left track and 3 of the road wheels. Looks like we'll also have to replace several of the torsion rods. The right side wasn't much better- after figuring out the final drive had jammed, we ended up abandoning that track as well. I’ll work out the reformation while en route- we'll have plenty of work on arrival.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Harder than Krupp Steel [CC:COI] *Blooded*

    July 18th, morning:
    We’ve been stationary for the last two days… evidently some hotshot Stuka jockey jettisoned right atop the rails about 5 kilometer’s up the rail. Made good use of the idle time: we stripped several road wheels and torsion bars from a Pz III from 1st Panzer, and our new Stug is nearly operational. Also stole the engine, final drive and both sets of tracks- logistics will be scratching their heads over that one.

    Right drive sprocket still stuck, but when we disengaged the null shaft, the brake drum spun freely, so we’ll likely end up needing to pop the entire superstructure, and swap out the final drive. The engine started right up, however, once we reset and cleaned the plugs. Air filters were filthy… absolutely clogged. As an experiment, we took the field set from 1/0, and Tillmann, a genius at that sort of stuff, got it running off the alternator, so we might take Eberhardt and stick him in the new Stug, remade as a command vehicle.

    Gah, a page just came, I’m summoned to the Hauptmann.

    July 18th, noon:
    Wunderbar. Some noncom from 10th Company got himself lost in the woods. 1st and 2nd Platoon from 10th and 11th are to conduct a search in the woods to the north. My own platoon will have a Major in attendance- some hot shot REMF out to see some action evidently. On the way about to my companies train car, the Hauptfeldwebel pulled me aside- this Major was known for having a stick up his arse on dress regulations, even for field units… I should give him a scare, if I can. Sounds like fun.

    About to brief the Platoon- they’re eating and napping in the sun at the train side.

    July 18th, noon:
    Get this: the Major has equipped himself with a Kar 98… with a bloody scope! We have a winner…

    July 20th, morning:
    Finally, back on the train and moving east. Got chewed out by the Haupt.- evidently Major Hotshot getting wiped was a “highly irresponsible disregard for the safety of a higher officer.” I told him the man was an idiot, and a liability in the field- he’d gotten himself killed of his own stupidity, and he should be thankful he didn’t get any of my men shot.

    The search was an absolute boondoggle. 1.2 from 2nd Plt. 10th Cmp. located a schemisser leaning up against the tree- seem’s our noncom had been taking a piss and wandered off or some such. Evidently this wasn’t the first such occasion: the Lt. from 1st Plt, 10th Cmp. told me the man had gotten lost in France, after chasing after some French broad for nearly 10 kilometers. Perhaps he had seen some pretty Ruskie blonde, or something. At this point, we split up the platoons, each heading off at a 15 degree angle from the other. My platoon got 30 degrees from north. Mr. Major, against my strongly worded advice, decided to keep on with us.

    Working our way along a stream bed, we found an encouraging sign: two boots, Wehrmacht issue. After a quick shout with 1st Plt, we forged the river. About half the platoon was across the river, when from up in the woods, a DT blurted out a quick little ratatat. The entire Platoon dropped to their bellies, except for those in the river… they simply leaned back and sat.

    I wasn’t too concerned: from the wild spraying and poor accuracy, the fellows at the other end were clearly not top notch- we’d simply split up, Zug 1 going up the right river bank, and Zug 2 up the left, and flush out these Ruskies between us. Major Hero, Savior of the Fatherland, Hero of the Berlin Desk Office, however, had other ideas.

    He got up, and sprinted up the hillside, yelling like a maniac. Then, at the top, I kid you not: He stopped, unlimbered his rifle, and started to peer down the scope- standing up, in full sight of the enemy. Not even idiot Ivan could miss that shot- I believe the Major may have been hit with 3 different bullets before he had even hit the ground. At that point, I may have cursed and buried my head in the hillside- we’d have to carry his dead ass all the way back to the train. Now that I look back on it, I am a little disturbed: a man had been shot to death in front of me, and my first thought was the unwieldy weight of his corpse.

    Russia changes a man.
    Last edited by Santini; November 29, 2009 at 10:43 PM.

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