Monday, July 21, 2014

Kessel!

Hello again for more front-line reporting from Glendale, AZ where for the last several weeks things have been heating up between the despicable Hunnish forces of Germany and her British and American opponents.  This week found those tough German FJ bottled up and surrounded in the outskirts of a small village.  The German paras had been pushed into a rough spot but were far from finished.  The British mechanized force, headstrong after a series of victories, sought to crush this pocket and put an end once and for all to German resistance.


British infantry, armour, and artillery approached the trapped Germans from two sides.  In typical British fashion, the commander devised a cunning plan composed of several intricate moves that depended on the successful resolution of several unknowable variables.  If it worked - it would be glorious!  The idea, basically, was to conduct a feint around the more heavily fortified northern objective while advancing on the southern objective from two directions.  The German plan was to hold and create an escape route from the pocket.  The FJ force contained PaK40s and StuG IIIs to support their infantry.  British artillery was able to bail one of the assault guns early on.



The British plan hinged upon occupying a wood near the southern objective.  This would serve as a jumping off point for the British infantry as they cleared the dug-in defenders.  German infantry was able to make it into the woods first - they were also supported by a machine gun platoon.



The armoured platoon operating in support of the diversionary force began to take losses.  Their gunners did little in return.


A second Cromwell platoon was slated to attack the southern objective from the opposite direction of the infantry attempting to take the woods.  This platoon moved forward under the covering fire of a pair of Achilles TDs.  The Germans responded by dividing the fire of their PaKs and StuGs to counter both armoured platoons.  


Despite taking heavy losses and being pinned down, the FJ in the wood were able to concentrate fire and offer a ferocious resistance.  The British assault was repulsed.


Jerry tried to follow up his success by launching his own assault against the British infantry, but the British were still strong enough to resist and eventually succeeded in destroying the tough German platoon.


Meanwhile, the northern armoured platoon had continued to take losses and the remaining crews eventually abandoned their remaining tanks.  It is rumoured that vicious lies were spread by enemy agents regarding the interruption of the company's tea ration.  Infantry in this sector began to shift towards the south, hoping to bolster the attack on the main objective while keeping the majority of the German forces in place in the north.


The British attacking force had managed to finally take most of the wood, but a portion was still being held by German machine guns.  Additionally, the British artillery had been largely ineffectual and had abandoned its bombardment role in favor of rolling forward to keep some pressure on the massed infantry around the northern objective.  The FJ holding the target objective moved towards the recently lost wood in order to challenge the British infantry that remained.  


Relieved from the harassing artillery bombardments, the remaining German StuGs and Paks were able to operate almost at will.  This resulted in the destruction of  the armoured platoon attacking the southern objective.


So, with one prong of the attack destroyed and the other very weak and facing overwhelming odds, the British commander prudently decided to withdraw his force, allowing the remaining Germans to break out of the encirclement.  Both sides lived to fight another day.  And the tea, while cold, was very much present.