Four of the eight AFVs that started this game of PvP play-by-comment Combat Mission: Red Thunder are alive and kicking at the start of turn 10, but, as two of the four – the IS-2 and the King Tiger – had enemy termination tubes pointed in their general direction when turn 9 ended, it will be a miracle if this sixty-second passage of play passes without a brew-up.
Some say Kurt Keller, the veteran commander of the King Tiger, refuses to let his drivers reverse because of an incident near Donetsk in 1943 when his Panzer IV accidentally reversed over a wounded friend. Some say, it’s simply a consequence of him being a crazy bastard. Whatever the reason, the chances of the KT backing to safety this turn are zero. Instead it lurches forward spitting smoke grenades from its Nahverteidigungswaffe as it does so.
For a moment it seems the rapid acceleration might dissuade Kurt’s gunner from having another go at the Soviet heavyweight on North Bridge. But ‘Puffin’ is a master of his craft who has bagged dozens of targets on the hoof previously.
At T+2 an 88mm AP round bodkins the IS-2’s upper left hull armour, turning the space beyond into an impromptu blast furnace.
Four seconds later, before the smokescreen has had a chance to form and Puffin has finished turning his turret to face the threat to the SE, that threat has rendered the smokescreen pointless and persuaded Puffin to quit his station with the celerity of a champagne cork.
The last of the three survivors is about to launch himself towards terra firma, when the shockwave from a second impact on the KT’s right flank, unceremoniously completes his bail-out for him.
A turn of play-by-comment CMRT wouldn’t be complete without a little unintentional chaos, and this turn’s helping is provided by the Tiger which ends the turn perched precariously on the west bank of the Vistula despite a clear “avoid going too close to the river” instruction. If it wasn’t for the fact that its potent shell spitter was pointed eastward at T+60, and the Blue team’s last remaining AFV lacked a turret, the Tiger would start turn 11 in a somewhat vulnerable state.
As previously mentioned, the two spotter planes that are keeping the teams informed about vehicle movements, can’t make out infantry. In order to find out what friendly foot sloggers got up to this turn, players will need to go to their respective mess rooms.
^ Rough guide to AFV movement
(Next turn deadline: Saturday night)