Over on the right I raced a squad with a leader and mmg up behind my guys in the building. In the centre I eased an hmg team through the smoke and married them up with my 8-1 leader and an elite squad to boot. The remainder shook themselves out and moved incrementally towards the rearmost victory buildings. Come my next defensive fire I would be able to plaster them with heavy firepower. On the right I advanced the mmg squad into the building and two squads toting lmgs into the foxholes opposite his defenders. Even if he took one of them out he would face an 8+2 shot in defensive fire. Meanwhile my remaining armoured car risked death by rolling back into bypass on the rear building hex.
|Positioning on the left. Sneaking forward on the right.|
As it happened my gallant troops shrugged off an 8+1 shot on the right and I looked forward to the 20+2 shot I'd get in return. Naturally it got no result. Neither did the 12+2 shot or the pair of 8+2 shots. At the end of the fire phase I had advanced my cause not one jot. Then my armoured car stepped up like heroes. Ivan advanced his forward squad back to the rear building hex giving himself two shots at my armoured car. The first failed and my armoured car got the chance to strike back. It rolled snakes and wiped out a full squad. In the next turn the building was mine. I moved forward, pushed a couple of squads in CC and accepted the surrender of the broken guys on the upper level. Ivan managed to immobilise the armoured car in CC but the crew stayed in and my squads wiped out his defenders.
|Progress on the right, less in the centre|
Running a couple of expendables past to soak up firepower I did manage to ease forward on the left and get a squad into CC in the rearmost building but Ivan still controlled the top level and the other building. Despite the ongoing inability of my kill stacks to actually kill anything I had inflicted just enough damage to get a toehold in both buildings. Now I had one turn to complete the job. A massive ring of Slovaks surround Ivan who couldn't get away without conceding the game. He would have to stand and try his luck.
His luck held quite well through my last turn. I finally cleared out the CC in the rear building and managed to shoot him out of the ground floor of both. Now I had troops on the ground floor of both buildings. On the first floor Ivan had three squads, all broken, a crew and a 7-0 leader as he went into his final turn. I had to break everything to force them to surrender and give me the buildings. If even the damned crew survived unbroken I had lost.
But first Ivan's rally phase, he had three squads under DM and need a four to rally each one. He rolled 4, 2, 3 to rally all three squads and battle harden one of them to an elite unit. I practically gave up the game then, especially when my first couple of shots failed to scratch him. Even when I rolled a three he survived the resultant morale checks and his sniper killed an officer and broke a squad. Finally I managed to break the single squad in the forward hex of his remaining building, they would surrender to the ground floor occupants in the rout phase. Now there were two squads, a crew and a 7-0 in the one hex remaining to him. I gathered all of my firepower and threw a 24+2 shot at them. And rolled snake eyes. Even with cowering everything broke or died on the very last shot of the game. The dice were cruel to the end. For two full turns they refused to do me any favours whatsoever and then when Ivan could legitimately hope to squeak through they turned on him savagely and snatched victory away at the last. I honestly think I did enough to win given average rolls but I didn't get average rolls, I got crap rolls and then at the very end Ivan was the recipient of an equally crap roll in the other direction. Still a win is a win and I'll take it. The good nature with which Ivan took the turn of fate was in direct contrast to my own ill tempered bitching of the previous two turns. This game really needed a parental advisory for explicit language.
|Ivan's last stand. He would rally three squads back from DM|
Oberstleutnant von Kattelrussler picked his way through the detritus to where Major Tankenjin stood, a crude bandage wrapped around his arm. The smoke from burning armoured cars made him cough. Von Kattelrussler heaved a sigh but this was his job as liaison officer.
"Don't worry major," he soothed. "Your men did their best and the Poles are tough, believe me I know."
Tankenjin gave a weary smile, "Actually, we won."
"You fucking what?"
Tankenjin pointed with his good arm to where a troop of dispirited Poles with their hands high were being chivvied to the rear by Slovakian soldiers looking decidedly pleased with themselves.
"We won. Seized the buildings at the last. The advance can continue." A shattering sob interrupted him. Tankenjin looked down, his liaison officer was rolling on the ground weeping and beating at the earth.
"We couldn't have done it without you," he said. "No halftracks or flamethrowers! Advice of genius. I'll be recommending you be posted to a much more prestigious position far away from us lowly Slovaks. In fact, I'll write the report immediately."
It was difficult to tell whether von Kattelrussler was laughing or crying.