Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Wrath of Gods

It's never a good idea to annoy a god.  I should have learnt that lesson after the entire Huitzilipochtli incident.  To this day I don't dare visit Mexico without keeping an eye out for men in feathered headdresses wielding obsidian knives (which is actually good advice for anyone really).

Still I didn't really intend to get into a pissing contest with Hermes.  What can I say?  It was late, alcohol was involved, things were said.  Before I knew it the phrase "Bicycle Courier of the Gods" had crossed my lips.  Not classy I admit but still Hermes' reaction did seem a little over the top.  Fortunately the bouncers stepped in before he could smite me dead on the spot.  As he was hustled away he muttered that his "messengers" would deal with me.  I was tactless enough to laugh.

The next morning (well ok, early afternoon) when I got up I heard an unexplained cooing noise.  Bewildered I stumbled out onto my balcony to be confronted with a pigeon eyeing me with what I can only describe as malice.  I must admit I found this amusing.  I chased it off the balcony and was foolish enough to say something like, "Is that the best you can do Hermes?"  Before I had even finished the sentence not one but two pigeons fluttered onto the balcony cooing malevolently.  I ignored them and went to work.

In retrospect leaving a window open was a tactical error.  I returned to find my lounge room a scene of guano heavy devastation.  I vacuumed up the shed feathers, cleaned up the pigeon crap and, somewhat belatedly, closed the window.  The next morning my balcony was awash with pigeons.  They cooed, they crapped and a number of them appeared to be trying to open the door.  I charged out waving my hands but the pigeon numbers had reached critical mass and they were no longer afraid of me.  Yes they took to the air but this was a tactic not fear as I realised when they started circling around my head.  I fled back inside and slammed the door.  The cooing was now a full throated rumble which made thinking difficult and speech impossible.  In that cooing I could hear Hermes' mocking laughter.

I'm currently barricaded in my lounge room and the sheer weight of all the pigeons on the balcony is starting to compromise the structural integrity of the building.  Some of the neighbours have already fled to safer ground and the cooing is a constant grind inside my head.  I've got to find some way of apologising to Hermes before its too late.  Perhaps he'd appreciate a Hermes gift basket.

On a positive note when I do manage to get rid of the pigeons I'm going to be able to open a phosphate mine on my balcony.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Silly After Action Report

SS Obersturmfuhrer Michael Wittman peered out from behind the none too solid protection of an armoured car towards the Polish positions.  He'd come a long way, put up with far more than any human should but he'd made it through and this was his opportunity to prove himself.  Ahead lay the Poles, barring the way to Warsaw, behind him were his SS troopers athirst for massacre.  They had only been moderately disappointed when he told them they would have to do some fighting first.  His first command, a trio of armoured cars, would provide the punch to get the troopers forward.  He had planned this meticulously, nothing could go wrong.

"There you are JO, sorry, Obersturmthingy Wittman!" cried an appallingly familiar voice.  Wittman screamed and turned to see the figure of Oberst von Kattelrussler striding towards him while the SS troopers nearest reluctantly straightened to attention in the presence of this heavily bemedalled representative of the old order.

"Just on my way back from headquarters," said von Kattelrussler cheerily, "another decoration, honestly they must be giving them out with the rations nowadays."
"My thoughts exactly," muttered Wittman wondering if there was time to hide under his armoured car.
"Thought I'd pop in and see how you're doing.  Your CO tells me you've got an attack of your very own.  How exciting.  What are your plans?"
"Feint in the centre and punch hard on the right," said Wittman still looking around for an exit.
"Really, I thought you'd like it straight and hard up the middle. Oh no sorry, that's your wife.  Von Kummerbund sends her his regards by the way.  Plus some silk stockings and a book from India with lots of pictures."

Wittman could almost see his sanity leaving his body.  He gripped the armoured car so tightly his nails left dents in the armour.
"Please sir, I must prepare the attack."
"Of course, off you go.  Don't mind me, pretend I'm not here."  Von Kattelrussler produced a camp chair and a box of popcorn from somewhere.  "I'll just watch the show."

Well this is an all SS attack and I had to work von Kattelrussler into it somehow.  This is Scenario BFP 127 - The Road to Warsaw.  Here I shall command a small and strangely unmotivated group of Poles trying to hold a position against the ravening maniacs of the Leibstandarte (and for the record I don't know if Michael Wittman was involved in this attack and yes I do know he wasn't married).  I have eight and a half first line squads (but with a meagre ELR of 2) commanded by a mere two officers.  They have a heavy machine gun, a medium machine gun, an antitank rifle and a 46mm mortar (which I am slowly coming to love) plus a bunch of foxholes and concealment counters.

On the other side Ivan Kent commands the asphalt soldiers, ten elite 4-6-8s, a trio of officers, a trio of light machine guns and a trio of (dangerously open topped) armoured cars.  Ivan's mission is to control seven of the buildings on board BFP R currently inconveniently still occupied by the people who own them.

I had what I thought were a couple of bright ideas and which rapidly turned out to be rubbish.  I had noticed in the previous scenario how the pillboxes had been a trap for Ivan's hmgs and decided not to place anything too valuable in the foxholes.  Instead I put hefty dummy stacks in them hoping to draw fire.  Secondly I set up a powerful force in the centre (bolstered by the hmg and my only leader with a modifier) and another somewhat less powerful stretched out in the eastern (right hand) woods.  I figured I could defend sternly in the centre and trade space for time in the east.  The west with all that open ground was defended by the mortar and a bunch of dummies.  I also had a couple of squads and my only other leader in the rear buildings for what I intended to be my last stand.  It's fair to say very little of this went according to plan.

The above shows the situation at the end of the first turn.  Ivan totally ignored the left and with the exception of a couple of half squads shepherded by a pair of armoured cars he ignored the centre as well.  Instead he threw pretty much everything he had against the right (my left if you want to be pedantic).  The only good news was his point armoured car broke its main armament on its very first shot (this armoured car would go on to break its cmg and then get blown up by a mortar by which time it was little more than a fancy jeep).  Despite this the mass of firepower he produced swiftly blew away my dummies and then dealt the same courtesy to a real squad as well.

In the centre he pushed his luck with the half squads a little too far and a pair of them fled yelping to his 8-0 in the rear for succour.  In his next rally phase Ivan attempted to rally the half squads.  He rolled boxcars.  "Well thank god that's out of the way," said Ivan and promptly rolled another boxcars attempting to rally the second half squad.  The battle had barely started and Ivan had just murdered a squad of his own troops.  These boys take their massacring seriously.  Perhaps understandably he didn't try and repair the gun on his armoured car.

I meanwhile had attempted to implement my fall back defence in the east but it was more of a fall over defence.  With 8 morale and an ELR of 4 he pushed forward aggressively daring me to fire while my surviving Polish troops in the region proved incapable of hitting a barn from the inside.

End of turn two, things aren't getting better.
My eastern flank had gone.  My defence was a broken, floundering thing.  Ivan didn't even bother picking up the medium machine gun whose owners had fled shrieking for the rear.  On the plus side Ivan did break the cmg on his armoured car.  It seemed my best plan of defence was to sit there and wait for Ivan to wipe himself out.  Sadly not even Ivan's dice could be consistently bad.

After a stellar, if not bloodless, start Ivan's push slowed down over the next couple of turns as he snaffled a group of undefended buildings and repositioned his troops for the next assault.  No prizes for guessing where it would come.  He would swing some troops on a deep flanking mission to the north while the bulk of his force would come west through the woods to hit my centre strongpoint.  He sent one armoured car swinging far west to come at me from behind while the other two rolled forward to provide firepower and, more importantly, protection for his assault.  Amazingly my broken squad managed to flee to the rear (it probably helped that the rear was now quite a bit closer).

Better is definitely not the word I would use.

Ivan cheerfully blew a squad's worth of defenders out of a building near the woods and my defensive position was now little more than a thin line.  Things weren't helped when my mortar got a UK on his useless armoured car (naturally it would fail all recovery rolls and wind up dead) but I felt a little better.  Far to the north his flankers started menacing me.  In the centre Ivan dispensed with menacing and simply settled for killing me.

Worse, that's the word I would use

With victory in his grasp Ivan went for broke pushing flankers around to my building cluster in the north (my defensive fire broke his 10-0 but his 8 morale boys passed their checks fine, go figure) while using an armoured car as cover allowed him to snatch another building.  This left him with only one building needed to win and my position was desperate.  Actually my position had been desperate a couple of turns ago.  Now it was looking back at desperate with fond nostalgia.

Then one turn changed it all around.  My 46mm mortar of blessed memory took out another armoured car and my hmg until now noticeably largely by its impotence went on a maniacal rate tear which smashed Ivan out of two of the buildings he had captured.  I would snatch them back and suddenly things looked very much better.

OK, suddenly things are better
Then another turn changed it all back again.  Ivan still had the troops and time to do the job.  He went in hard.  In the north he pushed a half squad through the woods.  Defensive fire turned it into a half squad and a hero.  In the centre he threw the bulk of his force against my newly recaptured building.  Defensive fire pinned most, but critically, not all of his attackers.  His newly minted hero charged into CC with my mortar halfsquad, his halfsquad went into CC against a concealed 7-0 and in the centre a squad and leader went into CC against a full squad.  You'd think I might win one of those or at least prolong the melees?  Nope.  I lost all three and with it any hope of winning the game.  When the close combats were over I was left with three and a half squads of my original force.  Ivan hadn't quite got the buildings he needed but there was virtually nothing left to stop him.  I conceded at that point because I saw little point in going on.

And even more suddenly much much worse
Basically I cocked up my initial set up and the entire game was an unsuccessful struggle to recover from errors made before the game had started.  Much thanks to Ivan for the game.  We shall continue to burn Poland in the new year.

Obersturmfuhrer Wittman moved among his troops issuing words of praise.  He couldn't help noticing that a number of them backed away from him nervously especially when his hand strayed towards his pistol.  He also couldn't help noticing that quite a few of them were eating popcorn.
"Nice result lad," said von Kattelrussler cheerfully, "but next time don't worry about shooting your soldiers, that's what the Poles are for.  Bit of a bugger you dropping your cigarette butt into the petrol tank of your armoured car when that mortar round hit but I guess you'd already broken all of the weaponry anyway.  Just tell your CO it was a lucky hit.  Would you like some popcorn?"

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tis the Season

The woman is incredibly beautiful in that slightly undernourished way which implies that she'd probably sleep with you for an ├ęclair.  Her make up is flawless and her clothing is the epitome of style and class while still being revealing enough to give the impression that for two pins (or that ├ęclair) she would grab you and sexually ravish you on the spot with all the frenetic activity of an octopus on amphetamines.  She stares glassy eyed into the middle distance while homage is paid.

Or possibly its a man, indescribably handsome with a jaw that isn't just chiselled, its been chiselled, planed and lacquered.  You could perform surgery with that jaw.  He's wearing an expensive suit or possibly the sort of casual peasant clothes whose price could keep the rural economy of a decent sized country humming for a year.  He is striding masterfully towards something or standing masterfully in the middle of something.  Whatever it is he's doing you can be sure he's doing it masterfully.

The scene is a reception or a mansion or some piece of particularly photogenic out of doors.  Appealing music plays while a voice over (usually but not exclusively female) in tones of hushed disinterest delivers a collection of words which individually have meaning and collectively are garbage.

They have names like "Chrysalis", "Placenta" or possibly "Ketamine".  Words heavy with meaning in a context where meaning itself is irrelevant.

Yes, its perfume advertisement time.  They're all pretty much the same and they're all desperately trying to imply that this is the sort of lifestyle you can have if you splash their particular brand of smelly water over yourself.  Television channels are currently overwhelmed with an endless, and largely interchangeable, collection of perfume advertisements.

I honestly don't know why they bother.  There is one simple reason why such advertisements are thick on the ground at the moment.  Perfume/aftershave is the number one choice of purchase when you are morally obliged to buy someone a Christmas present but want to give exactly zero fucks when it comes to considering what it should be.  Rarely seen nephews, irritating female cousins, elderly relatives of both sexes you thought were safely dead until your mother reminded you of their existence and the fact that they would be expecting a present.  This is the market for perfumes and aftershaves.

If they were being honest perfume manufacturers would simply say something like, "If you were going to buy them anything else you would have already got it so just grab a bottle of Giorgio Armani's "Excrescence" for men and have done with it.  You know that's all they're getting you."  In fact once people cotton on to the fact that they can simply regift all of the bottles of perfume they received last year and give them back to the people who bought them in the first place the entire perfume industry is going to collapse.

For the rest of us here's a fun mental game.  Count up the number of bottles of perfume/aftershave you received and who you received them from.  It will be  a handy indicator of how many of your friends and family actually like you.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What a Shower

News from our furthest colony!  My correspondent informed me in tones of woe that her hot water heater had broken down.  Frankly I was astonished.

"Do you have running water in Tasmania?" I asked mentally elevating Tasmania up a notch or two in my scale of civilised countries.

"Every time it rains," she confirmed proudly.  And, until recently a small miracle of modern technology had converted some of that water into a somewhat warmer form of itself so that my correspondent and assorted family members and guests could shower themselves without freezing quite solid.  Sadly, technology had now apparently failed her.

My correspondent was, however, suspiciously evasive when it came to describing what had actually gone wrong.  After suffering through a serious of convoluted excuses that went nowhere I cut to the chase,

"You were using it to make moonshine weren't you?"

"No!" cried my correspondent, outraged.

"Yes," interrupted my Belarussian tech support who then went on to inform my correspondent that her latest consignment was overdue.

Feeling that some moral guidance was necessary I read my correspondent a long sermon on the evils of home made alcohol and the devastating social effects it could have.  My tech support didn't help by pointing out that if her latest consignment wasn't in Minsk before the end of the month there would be some pretty devastating social effects anyway.  Nobody should have to face their family at Christmas completely sober.  On this, at least, we all agreed.

My correspondent attempted to play for sympathy by pointing out that cold showers in Tasmania were equivalent to swimming in the oceans around the island.  Slightly baffled I asked who on earth was crazy enough to go ocean swimming around Tasmania.  My correspondent pointed out (somewhat self righteously in my opinion) that she was.  She piled on the sympathy play by pointing out the risks she ran disporting herself in Tasmania's frozen, shark infested waters.  Which is absolute rubbish because sharks, being smarter than humans, have flocked to the warmer waters around northern Australia (which from Tasmania's perspective means pretty much any part of Australia) and have left the salt flavoured icy slurry which surrounds Tasmania to those humans who haven't the sense to go indoors.  If a shark takes a human in Tasmania it's probably only because they need help installing a hot water system.

However the sharks are going to have to wait as my correspondent has first claim on Tasmania's plumber.  Fortunately the hot water has gone down in Summer when the weather in Tasmania means that hot water is merely desirable rather than essential to life and my correspondent is confident that by the time the February snows arrive she will once again have a stream of luke warm water trickling from an exposed pipe in her bathroom.

This is fortunate as my correspondent has come down with an acute attack of relatives.  Blood kin she thought were safely exiled to the far corners of the civilised world have suddenly turned up and are giving every indication of staying for the duration.  Strangely they're expecting hot showers.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

All This and Christmas Too

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me one way and another.  Not only has my newly reinstated Tasmanian correspondent apparently discovered something better to do than send me information but my body has taken a bit of a pounding as well.

In my increasingly pitiful attempts to convince myself that I'm still young, fit and vigorous I have been playing in a corporate soccer competition with various colleagues at lunchtime.  Corpses have better reflexes and coordination than I do, can probably run faster and, based on the popularity of the game across the world, are statistically more likely to know more about soccer as well.  Anyway while running for the ball (or at least in the rough direction of the ball) I managed to connect the side of my head with somebody's knee.  For good measure I slammed my ribs into his other knee just in case he thought it was a mistake.

Nobly I lurched to my feet and continued playing (after a minute or so while I listened to the bells in my head and tried to figure out which way was up).  I am pleased to say my team won despite my best efforts.  It has to be admitted however that the next few days were rather unpleasant.  I seem to have displaced a couple of teeth which steadfastly refuse to go home and I realised I might have been slightly concussed when I woke up on Friday with only the vaguest memories of what had happened on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Irritating teeth and a slight puffiness on the side of my head notwithstanding the worst of that incident seemed to be over so I turned up at my place of employment rubbing, gingerly, the side of my head and eager to work.  By lunch time I had made apologies and dragged a suddenly extremely painful body back home again.  I spent that night on my lounge room floor (which would be my home for the next several days) and the helpful paramedics the next day informed me I had acquired a kidney stone.  The hospital gave me some highly addictive opiods (which were absolutely useless) and sent me home again.

Fortunately help was at hand.  My Belarussian tech support having noticed my unaccountable absence from certain (ahem) websites they administer had sent a medical team to look after me.  They drilled holes in my head, applied leeches and started a cupping procedure before admitting that their normal practice consisted largely of castrating donkeys.  But they assured me they had a high survival rate, comfortably over fifty percent.  They were about as helpful as the opiods but at least I could swear at them.

Far more use (since I didn't actually make this part up) was a good friend of mine named Amanda who delivered cup a soups to me so that I could have a dinner that didn't require me to stand up for more than three minutes at a time.  She also chased off the Belarussian witch doctor and killed the most persistent of the leeches.  Many thanks my dear.

With all of this rubbish going on I barely had time to buy my father a tea cosy for his birthday and now I realise I've run out of time to buy Christmas presents.  Normally I am reasonably competent at this (or at least the recipients of the presents pretend that I am) but I'm afraid this year might be a little less stellar.  They will be nicely wrapped however.  The Salvation Army has set up a present wrapping service in the foyer of my building.  In return for low denomination currency they will adorn whatever I manage to purchase with brightly coloured paper.  This is apparently to assist literacy programs for young Australians.  Although I was slightly thrown by their posters which were covered in pictures of definitely elderly woman baring their teeth for the camera. 

My family are going to have to make do with whatever I can pick up from 7-11 on my way to their home on Christmas Eve.  I'm thinking family sized slurpees for everyone.  But they will be nicely wrapped.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Silly After Action Report - Just Flakking About

Grim faced German soldiers checked their weapons one final time. Hard bitten assault engineers hefted demolition charges and checked flamethrowers. The air was filled with the sound of revving engines as tanks and fearsome looking halftracks mounting rapid fire flak guns moved into position.  And over it all a dreadful wailing unnerved all who heard it.

"Sir please," said Major von Kummerbund desperately, "the troops are ready to move out."  In between hysterical sobs Oberst von Kattelrussler attempted to burrow himself a little deeper into a foxhole he had apparently dug with his fingernails.
"We're doomed," wailed von Kattelrussler.  "Half tracks and flamethrowers, the gods are cruel this day!"
"Sir, it's all right," von Kummerbunds voice would have soothed a rabid dog. "The troubles with flamethrowers and half tracks are in the past.  Those were in your early days sir.  You have risen above them now.  Think of your Knight's Cross.  Think of your Order of St Dympna.  Would St Dympna quail at such a moment.  You are a hero, a standard bearer of Nazi Germany and the troops only await your inspiring presence."
"Really," von Kattelrussler's haunted eyes sought reassurance in von Kummerbund's face.
"Absolutely sir, the men won't go on without you."
One of the obert's hands scrabbled clawlike at his chest until it touched the peculiarly tasteless ribbon the Slovaks had given him.  Touching it seemed to soothe him.
"You're right, von Kummerbund.  The Fuhrer himself is relying on me."  Von Kattelrussler jerked to his feet so quickly that von Kummerbund almost fell over but the oberst didn't see him.  He was already striding from his tent bellowing his demand for a place on a half track.
Junior Officer watched him go then turned to von Kummerbund,
"Just out of idle curiosity Herr Major, are you trying to get the oberst killed?"
Von Kummerbund gave an evil smile, "No comment."

So this is Scenario BFP 126 Give 'Em Some Flak.  Here I shall command a mixed bunch of Germans supported by some inadequate tanks and some awesome but rather flimsy halftracks attempting to overrun a fortified Polish position.  I have three squads of assault engineers equipped with demo charges and a flamethrower.  I also have seven squads of first line troops to back them up with the usual complement of medium and light machine guns and a big 81mm mortar.  To assist with the overrunning I have four tanks (two PzIs and two PzIIs) and six unarmoured half tracks mounting 37mm and 20mm flak guns.  In addition to this assault force I also have the wreckage of the previous attempt to capture the position; seven second line squads and a pair of light machine guns.

Commanding the Poles Ivan has ten first line squads, four heavy machine guns, a 46mm mortar and a 100mm artillery piece which can only fire HE (although given the paucity of armour on my "armoured" vehicles that shouldn't be too much of a hindrance).  But the backbone of Ivan's forces are the fortifications; five pillboxes, eight trench counters and eight wire counters.  Coming late to the party he also has three more squads with a leader and an antitank rifle arriving on turn four.

Per SSR the second line squads have to set up around three designated hexes on the Polish side of the river. The remainder of my troops set up on the north side, the vehicles enter on Turn 1 or later.  Two fords are the only two practical ways of getting across said river.  To win I have to capture four of the five pillboxes while losing less than 28 CVP, a generous allotment you might say but those thin skinned vehicles add up to a lot rather quickly.

This is the set up.  Ivan cringes behind his defences as the storm approaches
In response to Ivan's defences I essentially split my force in two.  The assault engineers plus with the flamethrower and a couple of soak up squads would hit the west (left) backed up by a pair of PzI tanks while most of my first line squads would take the less impressive looking defensive position on the right backed up by the PzIIs.  My mortar was set up to dump smoke on his forward defenders in the building while my second line squads were to deal with his forward forces.  The halftracks I held back.  Their firepower is impressive but so is their vulnerability.  I decided to leave them off until I could figure out what to do with them.

It all went frighteningly well.  On the right Ivan's impressive looking stacks turned out to be dummies and my second liners surged forward through the trees leaving the designated assault force choking in their dust.  My 81mm obediently dropped a smoke round on his squad in the centre house and my first line troops sloshed across the ford and plunged into close combat (not without losses of course but goddammit this is war).  Of course I pushed my luck too far with the mortar, gaining rate on the smoke round I tried to drop another into the road to give myself some cover from the artillery piece which I figured had to be lurking in a convenient location. I ran out of smoke and that was the war over for the mortar.  On the left my second line troops managed to break his defenders and some (if I say so myself) slick manoeuvring with the assault engineers and my PzIs resulted in a crop of prisoners.

End of German turn 1
 My tanks rolled forward and on the left a PzI discovered a boresighted location for one of Ivan's hmgs fortunately without damage.  Having covered most of the distance in the first turn the next four would involve nervous attempts to cross the remaining distance between myself and Ivan's defences.  On the right I had a "success" of sorts.  Cheerfully sacrificing my second line troops on the altar of Mars I tied up his machine guns and then managed to run a squad around the left hand pillbox and into CC with its defenders. My shout of delight when I rolled a four died away when Ivan responded by rolling a three.  Both squads died but as the previous owner Ivan still technically held the title deeds to the pillbox.  The casualties to the rest of my force there left me temporarily without a right flank.  In backplay the CC for the centre building raged on despite my reinforcing it so I had two squads and a leader against Ivan's lone squad.  On the left I eased incrementally forward, Ivan for the most part choosing to remain beneath concealment counters.  I got very bold with my tanks though, too bold.  One rolled into the teeth of his hmg fire and with heavy calibre bullets pinging off its none too secure armour managed to drop some vehicular smoke allowing my troops.  The other ripped some useful holes in his barbed wire and circled in an attempt to reach the rear of Ivan's position. In fact it just got adjacent to his 100mm and was promptly reduced to scrap.  On the right I sent one around to the right to support my suddenly non existent right flank while the other had plans to go left.  I also brought on some halftracks so I didn't forget them but left them well out of danger.  My right hand assault troops moved up to take over flank duties from my shattered second liners (they're hiding under halftracks in the picture below, von Kattelrussler would be so proud).

Things don't look bad but the casualty count is climbing

I changed my mind in the next turn.  I decided to leave the right hand pillboxes to my surviving second liners, surely some would rally (nope) and the newly arrived squads.  I turned both PzIIs around and sent them straight up against the 100mm pausing only to break a squad on the way.  With not one but two tanks breathing down his neck Ivan had no choice but to shoot and hope for the best.  His first shot immobilised a PzII (fortunately the crew remained in the vehicle) but an intensive fire shot broke the gun.  Then he boxcarred a morale check for the crew.  Dead gun, dead crew.  On the far left I was inching forward at a speed normally associated with arthritic slugs but in the centre I managed to pull the vehicle smoke trick again (this has never worked for me before, now its happened twice in the same scenario truly the gods are fickle).  This permitted me to ease my flamethrower team into what would be a useful position once the smoke cleared.  An attempt to move a half squad with a demo charge into a useful position simply resulted in its death but the smoke allowed me to move a squad in, pick up the DC and charge forward.  Or at least it would have done if I hadn't rolled a 6 on the pick up dr.  Not to worry, there was a second squad nearby so it moved in to try its luck, another 6.  I may have indulged in a little profanity at this point.  At least I'm pretty sure I heard one of Ivan's kids in the background saying "Daddy, what does 'motherfucker' mean?"

On the right I moved troops towards the empty pillbox and (very temporarily) occupied it.  In response Ivan abandoned the right most pillbox and chased them out again, and by "chased out" I mean "killed".  Oh and I finally managed to kill his squad in the centre which had been holding up two squads and a leader in CC.
The right is still a problem but the left is looking better by the moment

The pieces were more or less in position on the left now and some searing bursts of flame cleaned out a pillbox and some defenders in a trench.  It wasn't quite that simple of course.  A 20+1 shot slaughter broken prisoners and ELR'ed their guards but the general progress was forward and Ivan now simply didn't have the troops to stop me. I swarmed into CC with his remaining troops while my surviving tanks and half tracks rolled over his position to deny rout to his broken units.  On the right I managed to break his surviving squad and looked forward to retaking the pillbox for the third time.  Ivan's reinforcements arrived in time to hold a requiem mass for the departed.  He pushed them up the far right hand side of the board and managed to occupy the pillbox there but with literally no other troops left on the board they
had little chance of rescuing the situation.  Ivan resigned at this point.  When I first saw the scenario I thought it would be tough on the Germans but the sheer number of squads and tanks they possess make it hard for the Poles to win I think.  If the Poles are to stand a chance I think they need to have a forward defence and try and hammer the fords and open ground to the north but there are still those second line German squads to consider.

There's still a CC on the left but this is all that's left of Ivan's at start force
Major von Kummerbund stood staring at the wreckage of the Polish position.  The few surviving defenders were being hustled towards the rear.  Junior Officer approached him and saluted but the major wasn't looking.  Instead he gazed fixedly at Oberst von Kattelrussler who was pirouetting on the top of a half track clutching a flamethrower as if it was a dance partner.
"On the positive side," said Junior Officer hesitantly, "that actually went rather well."
"Yes," von Kummerbund ground the word out from between clenched teeth.  "Another triumph for Oberst von Kattelrussler.  Do you want to get started on the victory celebrations or shall I?"