14 January 2017

AAR - First Mission - Patrol - Full Report

May 1942, 3. Gruppe, 1. Zug, 6. Kompanie, InfBat, IR 267
(3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, 6th Company, InfBat, Infantry Regiment 267)
Unteroffizier Winter, NCO of 3rd Squad, has been leading the group of men since the reorganisation of the infantry regiment in February 1942. Some of the soldiers in the group are veteran Landsers who have been fighting with the regiment since the invasion of France.  However, the long summer offensive of 1941 and the subsequent harsh winter have been deadly. Replacements arrived from the Fatherland,
but those soldiers are young and inexperienced. It took Winter most of the last six weeks to train the men and to form up a functional group he can rely on when things get tough again.

The infantry regiment finds its place in the frontline, preparing for the renewed offensive against the Bolshevists. But it is the Panzer Regiments which open up the attack and yet again, the Russians put up a skillful fight. Still, the Russian troops soon start to loose ground and a few days later, most of the Bolshevist units in our sector seem to retreat in a haste.
This is when our battalion is moved forward to clear the sector in front of the regiment. All battle companies of the battalion are tasked with a timed advance. Our company is tasked to move forward to a nearby industrial estate. 1st Platoon is spearheading the advance with the other two platoons in reserves. The rest of the company will remain behind.
Day breaks when the whistles give command to advance. Our squad moves out.
1st Squad takes the centre, 2nd Squad is on the left flank and our Squad, advancing on the right flank, moves forward - into battle...
Winter and his men are commissioned to patrol forward into the industrial estate.
The main task for Winter is to advance to the main factory building, clear the surrounding buildings of any resistance and report back to the Regiment. If resistance is encountered then 3rd Squad is to pin the enemy down and to break any resistance immediately. If resistance is too strong then make contact to the company and wait for reinforcements.   
It is 6.00 am on 14th May 1942 when the group of 10 men move silently forward.

Winter divides his squad into three groups of men. The 1st group consists of 5 men led by Winter himself. The plan is for Winter and his group to tackle the right flank. This is the main direction of attack towards the designated area.

The second group is led by the Junior NCO Kranz and consists of 3 men. This group is to slowly advance on the left flank, cautiously and only to reconnoiter the area ahead.

The LMG gunner and his loader are the third group. Both are in an overwatch position in the building from which the other two groups start to reconnoiter the battle area .

1st Group's  view down the right flank

2nd Group's view down the left flank

Winter's group moves forward into cover and spots a moving shadow in the building ahead.

A group of Russian infantry seems to move around the ruined building, probably squad size.

Meanwhile, on the left flank, Kranz and his men move cautiously forward, but it seems that no enemy forces are in the area.

On the right flank, things seem to heat up a bit. Winter's group spot the enemy quickly and shoot a few less well placed shots into the building. The shadows seem to duck back. The Germans keep moving forward to the building's outer wall. 

NCO Winter, a veteran since the campaign in France, readies his grenade and luckily gets a Stilgranate right into the building where the Russians are suspected. His men await the moment eagerly and once the grenade went off, two rifle men storm the building. Only dead or wounded Russians are found. The grenade was a deadly tool in such a small room.

NCO Winter expects further resistance on the right flank and as his group faces a larger open space it needs to cross in order to get to the railway station, he signals the LMG to change position to cover his further advance. The left flank, controlled by Kranz' men seems to have gone all quite anyway!

Winter crosses the open with the LMG team looking out for any movement in the adjacent buildings.

Suddenly, a larger group of Russian Infantry appear in the ruined building on the left flank. Kranz' men react fast and fire a few well placed shots into the Russian group. They seem to be moving backwards which Kranz and his men use to move cautiously forward. Mindful that the LMG has just changed positions, Kranz prefers to keep a low profile and not to rush forward in a haste.

Meanwhile on the right flank, NCO Winter pushes forward. The target is nearby. Only a few more hasty jumps and his team is in a promising position.

In the meantime, the Russians on the left flank are pulling back. Apparently, the Russians are on a defensive mission and seem to withdraw from the battlefield.

As Kranz' group moves forward ...  things turn to the bad for the German squad!

... a massive explosion rips the group on the left flank apart. A single artillery shell must have been off target and landed in between Kranz' men.

Soldier Klink and Jr. NCO Kranz are out of the fight whilst Soldier Friedhelm retreats into safety. 

Meanwhile, Winter and his men have taken cover in an old waggon where they suddenly spot a group of Russians close by. The Russians must have been in hiding and after a few bullets are exchanged, the Germans duck back into the waggon.

Gunner Schmidt and Loader Wienheimer use their LMG to the fullest. Caught in the firing arche of the LMG, the Russians take losses and duck back. Being outgunned, none of the Russians dare to stick a head out of cover.

NCO Winter ceases the moment and his soldiers jump out of the waggon with their guns pointing at the Russians. All surviving Russians immediately surrender and the Germans advance forward to their objective.

There it is, the factory building! It seems to be deserted. At least no Russian is putting up a fight at present. Winter signals his men to move back to the starting position ...

... where he learns about the two casualties on the left flank. Luckily, Soldier Klink has survived and can return to the squad. However, Kranz is dead.
NCO Winter reports the findings of his patrol to the Company commander who thanks Winter and his men for the succesful mission which not only managed to reconnoiter the area, but also led to the capture of a dozen enemies. The CO promises Winter a replacement for Kranz before the squad will move out to their next mission.
NCO Winter orders his men to rest a bit, but to stay ready. The next battle will surely commence shortly.

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