Flames Of War Battle Report – Part Three

Flames Of War Battle Report - By Guest Author Lee Davis

Part 3

Mal slammed the hatch shut just as he watched massive smoke contrails streak into the sky from behind the small village. Crap, a kraut rocket battery! 3rd company had crested a small hill about 800 hundred yards south east of the small wooded village . Mal had ordered LT Jonnasons armored infantry platoon to take position about 200 yards to the east of the village, hoping to get the machine guns, bazookas and the anti tank gun in place while the Sherman's moved forward into the village and the armored mortor platoon set up shop 100 yards to the south east. This wasn't the first time Mal had encountered the German rockets..he knew the destruction that they could unleash.

Frantic shouts came across the radio channel as the rocket salvos hit home, smashing a armored half track apart like it was child's toy and instantly killing most of it’s passangers. Luckily it was the only half track to fall victim to the rocket onslaught...the other half tracks ground to a halt while the infantry jumped out, taking up position behind a small hill. “Setting up the teams now major” came Jonnasons nervous voice..."give me some covering fire so I can get the bazookas and anti tank gun in place”. As Mal looked through the vision slit and gave the order for covering fire and smoke from the mortar platoon a large lumbering form came into view from behind a building...HELL!! Panthers!!! Mal helplessly watched as a 76mm Sherman was blown in half by the Panthers gun...it’s armor no match for the heavy fire power of the tank. The radio cracked open again, this time it was Capt Harrison..."Bloody hell....panthers on the left flank!” Mal replied “Harrison, get your Stuarts up to the far west side of the villiage on the double to flank the rockets and get your M-10’s up behind that building on the southwest side....hopefully they can get that Panther on the other flank..have your Sherman's press forward to the village at full throttle...speed is the only advantage on our side!” “Roger that Major..by the queen I wish I had those suspensors you yanks carry” came Harrisons reply. Mal smirked....by the queen? British idiot. In the heat of the battle, through all the noise of machines and men, came a large, tremendous bang, unlike anything Mal had heard before. As he changed his viewpoint and ordered his gunner to fire on the Panthers position, he witnessed a British 75mm Sherman turret get blown off the tank in a huge fire ball, then watched as a behemoth shape moved behind one of the buildings. A feeling of intense dread crept over him. “Sweet Bloody Christ!!!! A King Tiger” in a English accent was all Mal heard over the radio before another explosion rocked his position. A king tiger? Mal had encounterd Tiger tanks before when he was in Africa and knew well their destructive power but had yet to encounter a King Tiger….just what in god's name is a king tiger? Where was the intel on this?? Great...just great!

He ordered his tanks to move into position at full throttle, hoping to use speed to gain flanking shots on the krauts. He could see the suspensors doing their work and watched as a 76mm Sherman took revenge on a Panther, blowing a hole through the front armor plating and igniting the fuel and ammo. The resulting explosion shook the air. Mal watched as another deadly salvo of rockets come down on the infantry’s position, killing soldiers, destroying a half track and crippling another of the Sherman's. He heard Steve's voice over the command channel..."Mal...3 panthers have taken position within the village and are holding down the Brits...they have already lost 3 Stus and 1 M-10 is burning...another 2 panther s are on the right flank...our Sherman's are no match for those Panthers”. Mal replied “Roger that Steve, hold your position and use your speed and suspensors to keep the krauts heads down...I’m calling for artillery support”..then switching channels.."Break break, 2nd battalion command, Col Henson..Maj Jennings 3rd armored company here...we are under heavy enemy fire. The village is being held by a German panzer company with rocket battery support. Request immediate fire support at map section Lima-3, grid lines 34.64 cross 764.36, over” Mal hoped his spotter training would pay off. Only static...then after a few tense moments… “Negative on your request Major...all artillery assets are currently engaged..continue to hold position while I seek air support” came the colonels reply. Continue to hold position?? Is he serious? Just great..thought Mal..hoping that the prima donna fly boys come to the rescue was insane...artillery was the only possible hope and even that was slim. And what was so important about this little piss ant village anyway?

Mals T-14 was heavily jerked to the side as it sustained a glancing hit from a panther...a hit that would have destroyed a standard Sherman. Mal glanced to the right to see yet another rocket salvo hit home while his T-14 lurched forward and continued to fire the 75mm at the Panthers in the village. Several intense minutes followed...time that was filled with explosions, static filled communications, death and destruction. A heavy English accent came across the radio “Jennings...Harrison here...I’ve lost the bloody flank…the M-10’s are dead...the Stuarts as well..and I’ve lost the Fireflys..the only bloody thing I had that can hurt the bloody krauts...and 5 of the bloody 75’s are burning...I’m ordering my men to retre......” then followed loud explosion and static. Mal knew what had happened as he heard the thunderclap bang...he didn’t need to look to know that Harrisons Sherman had been blown apart by the King Tiger. The American Sherman's had been attempting to use speed and increased shots to full advantage, however the Germans weren't stupid. Crap..thought Mal....those Panthers are backing off...they know that our only chance is on their flanks. Just then another Panther came into his view slit, took aim and destroyed another Ameican Sherman. At the same moment Mal caught sight of 3 panzer tanks holding position behind the hill, lying in wait for.....CRAP....FLAME TANKS!!!....Mal frantically called to the infantry platoon LT.."JONNASON..fall back, FALL BACK. You got flamers at 1100....!!" Jonnason keyed his mike and Mal heard intense gun fire.."Roger that Majo....."...static......and another half track blew apart, killing a dozen men as it fell victim to the rockets. CRAP...CRAP....

“Major Jennings....Colonel Henson here...air support IS NOT, REPEAT, IS NOT AVAILABLE. What is your situation?” What is my situation? What? Mal overhead Steve’s urgent call across the open channel. "Mal...only 2 76mms are alive and the 75’s are all dead...Jonnasons infantry has been chopped up….those panthers are cutting us to pieces." Mal then shouted into the radio..open channel...“This is Major Jennings…all platoons FALL BACK...I SAY AGAIN...all platoons FALL BACK. Steve...take the left flank, I’ll move along the right..cover the retreat at all costs"..."Roger that Mal….oh CRAP...Mal...you got 2 panthers moving on your left flank…taking aim...MAL" shouted Bennett over the radio..."move your BUTT.” Mal ordered the driver to open up full throttle and then, watching helplessly through the vision slit, he saw Steve's T-14, hit with the terrrible firepower of the King Tiger, explode in a shower of flame and debris. He then felt his own tank lurch violently to the left and get tossed on its side as a shot from a panther hit home..white hot shrapnel shooting through the crew compartment, instantly killing them. Mal, in the commanders seat, was hit in the leg, causing blood and bone to splatter through the inside of the turret. Just able to make it to the escape hatch, he dragged himself out and fell to the ground…coming face to face with his deadly foe, only 50 yards away. He wordlessly watched the plume of flame and smoke erupt from the barrel of the Panther...that bad feeling he had since meeting Harrison came full circle. Malcolm Jennings only had an instant before the T-14 was ripped in half and engulfed in fire. In that instant his minds eye surveyed the wreckage of the burning, destroyed tanks...heard the cry's of his dying men and he had one last thought...cheeseburgers....what the???
 

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