What Really Happened at Luchessa Valley 1100-1240 p3/3 Nov. 30th [Narrative AAR GD’42]
This post has a lot of deadlinks for images. I have removed them.
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Hoerhein looked at the recon from the spotter plane. It was hard to see much, but what he saw was heartening. They had broken the offensive. Now was the time to strike. He spoke with Balck. Who was incredulous.” No! Strike with what?” He roared. “I already let you sent one valuable company to Travino. Thats enough. We have nothing supporting Vasil’stova and nothing able to reach it if they attack in strength.” Continue to pound them out of existence with artillery. ” No! I dont care if yo use days worth of ammunition. Kill anything you can see.” Balck slammed the phone down. Hmm, the pressure must be getting to the old Iceberg!
Surely he could find some men somewhere to support a counter attack!
Horhein glanced at the shots of Noviki the advance there had recently picked up pace. But his confidence in I-GD was overwhelming. He threw the photo onto his desk.
The tanks machine guns keep the heads of the germans down. Men crawl around in snow gear, not that it does much good, as the black powder distinguishes them from the real snow. Bullets, branches, and snow fell on one and all.
Single shots echo eerily in the woods. The Zug, were preserving ammunition. Cut off as they are, they know each shot must count. A small clearing off the trail forms an arc where some trees have fallen and 2 tanks sit smouldering. Squads of men use what cover they can to avoid the continuous fire fro the Russian T-34s
Stricker realizes that his Squad leader and commander who are both wounded need help. For them to live he needed to make hole in the ring of steel, so they can extract the Zug. Scampering from squad to squad he takes 2 or 3 extra grenades. Pausing at the Hauptman he squeezes the officers good leg. ” I’m going to make a breach towards Smolkovo.” The commander nods, smiles weakly, and closes his eyes.
Pulling his Mauser out Strickler angles towards the side of the tanks in lee of the trees. “Now” He calls. The men of his platoon open up and provide modest cover fire. He leaps behind a fallen tree, rolling as he lands. Charging forward now, he stays low as fire traverse to find him.
Voices sound close by. Ahead, a face and shoulders pop from behind a tree, he shoots, misses, dives right. As he rise thru the deep snow another, and yet another face appears. These he dispatches quickly. Their screams draw attention. He moves away from the tanks, looking for the first man he shot at.
Pain shoots thru his left arm. Ducking down, 5 more Russians pepper his position. “Shit.” He says. His arm bleeds profusely, but works well enough. Using a precious grenade he tosses on the run, just as the squad was beginning to spread out.
He quickly binds the wound to slow blood loss, flicking the chunk of flesh away that hangs in the fold of his jacket.
Crawling now. Stealthy, long slow breaths. Pausing when the MGs from the tanks stop. He reloads his pistol.
Strickler can hear the rumble of the engines and smell the exhaust. No soldiers are nearby. Quickly he binds the ‘nades into bundles one for each of the two tanks he can see. Noises all around; voices, he hears the Russian word for blood. Strickler forgets the niceties and carefully lobs the first bundle onto the rear of the tank. Fires his pistol and ducks for cover. The explosion deafen him, stunned he stumbles forward to do so again. With the roar in his ears, he hears nothing, but feels the burning pain in multiple places, he staggers, drops his bundle of grenades and lies panting for breath. His fingers stretch for the bundle, then stop.
1-14 loses 2 tanks and their men rout from position. Leaving Balierev so manage alone.
Finally the last 2 squads of Germans are wiped out. they fought viciously, knowing their was no surrender, no POW camp. Just a bullet. The cost has been too high. Balierev somehow survived again. But his men that are left huddle down, fearing the next shelling. He doubts he can lead these men any further. In the distance down the trail a staff car is careening and sliding his way.
Mesmerized, staggered, broken. The 451 peters out. Smirnov, closes his eyes. Weary from the stress and drama of this morning. Not even the bottle can give him solace today. The mortar team nearby has ceased firing as have the AT guns. The mortar smoke is falling poorly and the breeze is wicking it away. Just one platoon stands in the way of moving the rest of the battalion across the stream. Yet his men lack the will. From his vantage point he knows why. The area ahead is a killing field.
It looks like a small child has flung red paint across a fine white line cloth, smudges, blotches and lumps are scattered randomly across the pristine snow.
Except that these are his men. More pulp than anything. The common man, dying for a Land that cares not. It will absorb the bodies like it has for centuries. Enriching the soil for the next peasant who tries to cultivate this dirt.
The Rocket Barrages land ominously close to Balck and his field office! Men run for cover as the entire area about 400 meters around is peppered with Katy’s. Incoming.
As soon as the fire lifts Balck sends scouts out to check for impending reinforcements from the Soviets. Fearing the worst he submits orders for pre plotted arty to pound the South of the River.
II-GD takes its first losses from ARtillery fire despite being dug in. The combined dual barrages are too much for the Germans. However, the Soviets shake their collective heads. It’s too late.
Too little too late at 1300 they are a spent force, hunkering down to await new orders.