To Embark Upon the Great Crusade part4


The two marks (Mark and Marc), continue their chronological newsreel AAR series thru the sands of time  with Combat Commander as the metaphor of their exploration of squad level combat in WWII.

Letters from the Front, 1941

May 21, 1941

G’day, Mum,

And it’s been a long one. The krauts finally did it, Mum. They invaded the island of Crete where I’ve been stationed. Parachutes, mum! Germans falling from the sky. Well, we were tasked with relieving a force of our our ANZAC lads who had been pinned down by a force o’ Krauts on a hill. Here’s a snapshot just before we arrived! (Though I doubt it’ll make it past the censors.)

You can see they were in a tough spot. But we got their quickly. Me an’ my team set up in one of those buildings there and we began laying down some smoke and coverin’ fire. Over on our right, Lyndhurst and his men were dashin’ off and makin’ a sprint to flank them Germans.

They managed to do it and we got some others past them too. Then those wily bastards (sorry, Mum!) started moving to our right. We were able to lay down a fire lane as they crosse date creek on the other side of the hedge but they got up there. Some of our men came up from behind and they engaged up on the hill crest. It was awful, Mum, you could hear the sounds of the men screaming and yellin’ as they fought hand to hand. But we won, Mum, we won! We held out and managed to hold off them Krauts. You’d be proud of us, Mum. Tell Dad and our friends you heard from us. By the time you get this letter who knows what will happen. We may have to evacuate the island if the Germans keep comin’ but for now we’re restin’ and taking a breather from all this scary stuff today. Love ya, Mum! Say hi to Sis for me, and hugs to Aunt Zoe!

Your son, David.

P.S. Here’s a photo that was taken after the battle. You can see me in the right-hand house, my LMG squad mates ready to fight!

June 24, 1941

My beloved Olga,

If the commissar finds this letter, perhaps I will not see you for a long time, but I must write. It has finally happened. The rumors of the Germans daring to attack our glorious Motherland are true. They have invaded! Today, we were told we must hold a command post at all costs. Egorov was commanded to hold the command post at all costs so there would be time to destroy our sensitive items. Therefore they stationed my squad with him in that building so that we could operate our Maxim gun and set the Germans awash in their own blood for daring to attack the mighty Soviet Union.

Although we were to destroy everything, I saved two photographs taken during the battle. If you look at the bottom here, you can see our squad in the command post with our Maxim, ready to fight the Fuhrer’s hordes.

Those Germans came, for sure, and we stopped them! On the right, up the road, we could hear lots of gunfire and even the shouts of men and the clash of arms. We could see that the Germans and our own men were fighting badly and there were many dead. Some Germans ran to take those parts of the road and we shot at them. Our gun was getting hot we were shooting so much.

But in the middle of our battle field, those Germans were ducking behind the trees but whenever they came out we shot at them. All over the place we had placed Wire and wire traps. Their progress was very slow. But they came to the buildings on our left and were driving our men back. We could hear their shouts in the midst of the gunfire. But as they advanced, our men bravely fired and hurt them. They were running from the battle and screaming and shouting for surrender.

Finally Egorov said the work was done. The documents and maps and equipment were destroyed and we could leave to go to Brest-Litovsk. There we will ready ourselves to face these evil invaders. I write this letter safe for the time being from our fortress there. If we shall deal with these Germans as we have today, they shall be thrown back from their invasion. Here is this photo taken after the Germans could not stop us.

Give my love to the children.

Your faithful beloved, Dimitriev.

Game Notes

Scenario 13 is part of the German invasion of Crete in Combat Commander: Mediterranean It was a bloodletting of the Germans as I managed to get Lyndhurst and squads off twice. That was an oversight on Marc’s part. He managed to get some squads and Von Karsties over there to stop that and it was a close run thing. I ambushed on of his squads and he turned around and did it to me. It actually got to the point where I was one away from surrender and down to 1 VP. He drew a secret objective but it turned out to be open, Double Elimination points, which cuts both ways, of course. He kept getting out of Sudden Death ends with the Initiative Card. But it finally came and not a moment too soon for the Allies!

Scenario 3 is from Combat Commander: Europe and is the first from the original game in chronological sequence. The fighting on the right was particularly nasty. The Initiative Card went back and forth quite a bit in melees. In one melee, a single German squad ambushed my Russian squad and lost! Then, a German leader and TWO squads jumped my leader and squad. He beat me by one but I had forgotten my squad was Veteran. A tie! I definitely let it go as it was to our advantage! Although the German HMG got close to objective 4, it wasn’t close enough and the Germans lost when Sudden Death came on Turn 7.

The fact that we’re playing through these in historical order makes it really fun. It’s quite the project and we’re enjoying it immensely. Our current standing is 5-4 in favor or the Allies.

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