Friday, 3 December 2010

Much maligned Malinovka

Diary of Unteroffizier Meister

Much maligned Malinovka
Date: 02 December 2010 10:32:17 UTC
Tank: JagdPanther
Designation: 'Feuerschutz'
Crew: Unteroffizier Meister (Commander), Unteroffizier Muiziere (Gunner), Unteroffizier Meindl (Driver), Gefreiter Fischböck (Radio), Unteroffizier Pellengahr (Loader).

We lay in wait for an enemy advance...

We expected a mix of tanks, no artillery which pleased our crew no end. Those high explosive shells of doom, though random in their dispersal, could be devastating if they came down nearby. More than once in our long career have our tanks, Feuerschutz included, suffered track damage at the hands of an SPG shell landing a little too close for comfort. Whether debris is caught in our tracks, wheels bent or just the ground has been made less than ideal for even a tank, the outcome is never pretty.

The scouts that went out early this morning reported several super heavies heading towards us. We hadn't heard from them in several hours. That meant they were observing radio silence... or they had... As it turned out, our scouts encountered a little bit of enemy fire and suffered various bits of damage to their engines, transmission systems of some sort and had to abandon their tanks. We picked them up several days later as we swept through the area.

Our defense was sound. Tank Destroyers hidden in the bushes and several heavy tanks went hull down, exposing only their thickest front turret armour, in whatr remained of some buildings. We had a clear view of the battlefield in front of us and could see our carefully made choke points ahead, ready for the slaughter.

Their light and medium vehicles made a push. We let them through the chokepoints until they had seperated from their heavy tank backup and select units lit them up.  It was a massacre and several carcasses were left smouldering after just a few minutes. None of their advanced party lived to tell the tale to others and I doubt they managed to squeeze out a message before they met their demise.
Our front line fell back into secondary defensive positions to help make sure the enemy  heavy tanks did not spot them. Having one of the larger barrels on the field, Feuerschutz stayed put, not having fired at any incoming tanks.

It was a long wait before their heavy tanks came into view and we gave them hell. With military precision, every gun fired simultaneously and we watched shell after shell being fired towards the enemy positions, kicking up dirt and biting into cold steel. It was a sight to behold and we almost let it slip from our grasp....

The enemy had flanked us and already taken out several tanks who were oblivious to the new threat... our well planned massacre had been executed to perfection.. but they were on the very edge of creating a massacre of their own.

As our flank fell, the enemy distraction through the centre faltered and was mopped up by our forces. The main crux of our force, now free to turn towards our exposed flank managed to return fire on the enemy ambush.

Some brutal fighting ensued. It is not an ideal situation for a JagdPanther to be in. We excel in killing but make for an easy target if we lose support. Fortunately our experienced comrades realised this pushed their KoenigsTigers around our flanks to give us all the protection we needed.

The details of such swift and decisive battles merge together into a blur and to try and describe what really happened is impossible. Suffice to say that despite the enemy turning our tactical advantage into a disadvantage with a clever flanking push, we crushed them to the very last tank.

Feuerschutz came out unscathed from this battle. Several minor dents where the weaker enemy shells bounced off out front glacis and some paint scorched off by what looks like a high explosive round, nothing that will keep us out of action for long.

The mechanics tell me that we should expect some minor tweaks to the tank in a couple of weeks. Maybe some engine tuning and sight tweaks direct from the boffins at HQ. Any improvement is welcome... but I wish they would find something better to feed us....

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