Balirevs men fought on. Barely 30 Germans were left, yet still they fought. More of his men died in a unknown wood near a village he would never see again.
They had suppressed his last full strength platoon and mg section and destroyed tanks and AT guns. Oily black smoke stained the snow and obscured visibility in the trees. Their mortar fire keep him from closing.
He was going to need some help to get these guys to surrender or in order to kill them. Dam it.
Captain Tchik’s men struggled to control the tanks, slipping and sliding into trees, and thru trees.
The T-70s especially found the going tough, their lighter weight causing all sorts of issues.
Further along the 1-9 and 253 rd cleared the first minefields. and prepared to attack the outskirts of Smolkovo. It was 1140
Tchik’s men were moving as quick as they could, but with all the snow it was hard to move and even harder to spot the dug in enemy. They moved cautiously forward, this itme seeing an AT gun before they had a lock on him.
East of Goncharova, near Titov the 216 and related units fought hard. They were bone weary. The order had come to stand and fight. Not in the village in the warmth. Hell no. Out here in the woods, in the friggen cold. After leaving at 1am they had spent hours thru the night trying to lay mines, reinforce secondary strong points. By 7am they were ready. Yet they had waited and waited, finally sleeping at 0900.
That was 3 hours ago. Now the could all hear the tanks dozens of them crashing crunching thru the trees, obviously trying to flank. Whilst what was left of 2 Battalions moved forward to attack them across the stream.
With the Noon hour came clear skies! The welcome sound of German Junkers 87s filled the air. Adding to the chaos at the stream. The 451 were being cut up badly, even though they had suppressed some of the German 352nd, the rest called in fire on the heads of the Soviets again and again.
Yet again pinpoint fire halts the 453rd and 451st. From the building in Goncharova, Smirnov shook his head and took another swig. His anger and bravado gone from the episode with the Political Commissar. Now he sat hunched in his greatcoat, the weak sun barely warming the icicles on his coat.
Was this it? This was what his proud family did? Led fools and farmers to their deaths. Surly not. Despite the mistrust after the purges, he had succeed where others had failed. Yet none had seen carnage like this. Everywhere thru the haze was blood, smeared on the snow. Bodies growing cold.
Mean clutching at life, not understanding that they were dead or dying.
Little had happened to move his men forward, bar some Arty requested hours ago finally arriving and causing one small platoon of men to surrender. His men fell upon the Germans. Tearing their clothes off, shooting and stabbing the men where they stood unarmed. Their fear and loathing had found a temporary home.
Thank God for Vodka.
1200 Rankle slumped in his chair. By now he had issued nearly 50% of his 105mm ammo and 60% of his 150mm. Still the support requests came. Nearly all of them Danger Close. Thank god for good equipment and training. Only one mishap so far today.
How much longer could the Russian keep this up?
Soviet Tanks, moved to place to fire upon the AT Gun and German Zug dug in. Fire was exchanged and the men were hard pressed receiving round after round fire. The Soviets quickly took out the AT Gun, and began pounding the Platoon.
1300, the sun finally began to warm the bones of the weary men on both sides. The Leutnant of the 7-I-GD order the men to prepare to disengage.
The Zug got ready to bug out in a hurry. Co-ordinates where passed back to Support for smoke to cover the retreat. The Tanks continued their approach. The Battle for Smolokovo was about to start.
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