The Lions of Lodowice: Turn 2

All three of the AP rounds that shrug off a brassy overcoat during this minute of play-by-comment Combat Mission: Red Thunder, hit their intended target, but only one earns a gun barrel kill ring. Click the orange rectangle below to discover the identity of the assassin and the assassinated.

Perhaps fearing a shell ‘where the sun don’t shine’, the contest’s heaviest heavweight commences Turn #2 with a volte-face and a short trundle southward.

Naturally enough, the Tiger also seems pretty T-34-fixated this turn. Grinding across Warsaw Street, it skirts the north-eastern side of the brewery then veers right, its KwK 36 trained on the potential T-34 exits in b and c14.

The Tiger TC’s hunch proves correct, but reticence on the part of the T-34 (it stops halfway along the righthand alley) means the cat-and-mouse will continue next turn.

There’s no shortage of dynamism on the eastern side of the Vistula this turn. After a short pause the Jagdpanzer slayer scurries in the direction of the northern bridge (it’s still moving at T+60)…

…and the SU-100 occupies a spot between two blasted buildings from which it could, if CMRT’s graphics perfectly aligned with its simulatory core, molest the stationary Panther’s protruding muzzle brake.

Said muzzle brake vents gasified shell propellant at T+25.

A split second later, the 75mm armour bodkin launched by the escaping gas, immobilises the Soviet Sherman which has just rolled into view on Willow Street.

Ignoring the smoke curling around their boots and the curses of the injured driver and assistant driver below them, the three men in the turret of the disabled M4A2 reply almost instantaneously.

An AP round flashes low over Boleslav Bridge de-tining a Neptunian trident as it does so.

Unfortunately for the Shermen, the Panther’s gun mantlet proves more resilient than the trident.

The Soviet gunner is adjusting his aim and the loader thrusting another round into the hot breech when the Panther’s second dispatch arrives. This one finishes off the assistant driver and FUBARs the blue team’s imported MBT.

^ End of turn positions

^ Initial positions and rough guide to movement. German: T = Tiger, P = Panther, KT = King Tiger, J = Jagdpanzer. Soviet: IS = IS-2, T = T-34-85, SU = SU-100, M = M4A2(76) Sherman

^ Extra info about the situation in the SW. The Tiger is turning/reversing when the clock stops.

(Next order deadline: midday GMT, July 25)


    • At these ranges head on tank engagements are like 90% luck and crew experience.

      It could easily have gone either way. That same panther gun mantle betrayed me so often in so many different games, when it proved to be more of a shell trap instead of a lifesaver.

      • Nah, not really, my Panther was pretty safe, like 90% safe I’d say. The USA conducted tests with 76 against Panther’s front and at these ranges it does not have many places where it could be penned. I think I was mostly worried about tracks, exposed commander and the slimmest of chances to get my turret jammed by getting hit in its neck (or whatever is the word for it in English). Well, at least I hoped I was, because a quite rare HVAP special ammo for 76 could mess me up real good, but I decided to bet that this Soviet vehicle has a pretty low chance to receive an exotic specialised high-tech ammo by lend-lease. And I had first shot anyway (which I expected to rattle the crew way more, hats off for Soviet morale and discipline here).

        As you can see, these targets are quite small and none of them would neutralise a Panther outright. In reality at such ranges, after a sudden stop after movement and, I would guess, some turret rotation, it is nigh impossible to target a single spot no bigger than half a meter in diameter on purpose (even if the commander and the gunner identified the enemy vehicle instantly and found the range correctly and quickly). I mean you could, if you played War Thunder I guess, or even something even more sim-like, due to some of the advantages of playing a video game, but, again, I’d argue that at this range and in these conditions, such sniping would be pure magic, I think.

        No disrespect to the bold Sherman commander though! He had reasons to expect to catch me pants down.

        • If we are talking straightforward penetration you are absolutely right. Even if we leave spalling aside. But in my book a solid hit on the turret mechanism or barrel is a mission kill. And that Panther gun mantlet is attracting these like mad.
          Also, I have seen my share of crews abandoning a tank in CM2 AARs, even if it was safe from penetration, in theory. Especially when it was pounded again and again with no way to fight back.

          But here it worked. Beautifully, even. No arguing about that. Good work.

          • Huh, not that I did not account for spalling (no idea how it is calculated in CM2 anyway), I just assumed that it is somewhat less of an issue in case of the mantlet (there are quite a few layers to it that should dissipate force, more so at an angle) and for the sloped front (redirecting a considerable amount of force).

            Considering the turret mechanism and the barrel, as the Panther was facing it almost directly and the trajectory of the shell was quite flat, I assumed that the projected space of the weak spots that could take me out of the fight was small enough related to the total space that is projected as a target for Sherman, to consider this exchange “the best case scenario”. I mean, no matter what, I cannot protect those, so, yes, strictly speaking it was a lottery, but the engagement as it happened did not favor the Sherman at all. I must agree, the lottery is a little aggravated by the fact that the mantlet could have deflected the round into the mechanism, but, again, there is no reasonable tactic to prevent this.

            Speaking about how morale is simulated in CM2 – I have no prior knowledge about this. Thank you for sharing and now I am even more glad that my crew was confident in its vehicle and decided to finish the job instead of, let’s say, reversing. I hope it is due to them knowing that the situation was by no means hopeless and that their gun was quite effective in this duel.

  1. “This one is for my mother, my father, my sister and my little brother. For all my friends and neighbours that were bombed in their homes and at work, for all the future atrocities your lot will inflict on us soon” – were the words racing in the painfully agitated mind of Panther’s commander. The flashes of the barrel and the previous too close for comfort shell hit to his own turret were still uncomfortably imprinted in his vision, as he tried to blink them away while grimacing due to new singes caused by violently ricocheting metal sparks. He tried to contain the shaking in his arms and knees, he had a duty to perform and a crew to take care of. They did not need to know that he never expected the Soviet tank to survive the first shell. They did not need to know that if the Sherman had a rare but existing HVAP round loaded, the Panther would not have survived the same hit.

    The radio came to life as the bird in the sky reported movement beyond the river.

    “Good work, Klaus, a little sloppy though. Take a bite of the chocolate while we have a lull. Now, if everyone is warmed up and awake, we have work to do. Ah, and let’s try to not let the enemy take any more shots at us, agreed?”

    The sound of his own stern voice calmed the commander as he started issuing orders. The day has only just begun and his head had to be clear.

  2. As someone owning only the CM1 titles, I got to ask. Are the unit icons vanilla? They look so odd. Totally different from other AARs, too.

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