The battle is talking to you. Are you listening? – Steel Beasts ProPE AAR

I have been preaching this concept of delaying detection and hastening contact for a while now and many of you may be sick of it. But it is a tactical principle with so many connotations that I am letting it guide my command as a general and basic framework.

Mission for today: "The Defense of Kozda", created by a winner of a Steel Beasts ProPE scenario design contest. It is based in a tactical vignette that was published in Armor magazine (March-April 1988 issue). The Steel Beasts scenario spares the player from the considerations on how to split his forces (this is already set in the scenario) and leaves the player in command of a platoon (+) of M1 tanks  and a platoon of M2s defending in sector with the computer controlling the rest of friendly forces.

The opposition is a Soviet MRR, advancing hastily towards the town of Kozda. A minefield (in the scenario it has been already breached) sits north of EA Crush and the player is located in BP2. Friendly troops of similar strength are located in BP1 and BP3. The mission is, of course, to avoid enemy troops reaching Kozda.

The Steel Beasts ProPE scenario is a great representation of the Armor magazine vignette. Troops under my command are represented by icons in darker shades of blue.


This is my tank. I have moved from BP2 in search for a covered position. Note how my tanks are hidden from the enemy's view, covered by a hill in which I'm positioned at this time.


With my tank in a turret-down position, I try to get oriented by comparing landmarks/buildings I'm seeing through the tank's optics and the ones noted in the map. I should have reconnoitered the terrain prior to the start of the scenario, but alas I didn't have the time. The minefield turned to be closer than what I thought.


The sounds of fire and the calls from tank commanders in BP1 mark the start of a long hour. I keep my tank in turret-down position and my command under the cover of the hill, awaiting for the right time to engage the main ENY armor force.


The tanks in BP1 (hill in the background) don't have to wait too long until the Soviets start dropping indirect fire on them.


Suddenly and without warning, ENY tanks are in EA Crush. Time to move my tanks into their firing positions.

As I move my tank into a hull down position, the chaos in the valley below is an awesome and scary spectacle.


From my commander's seat, I have to both direct my gunner and to command my platoon to move in and out of the firefight. As soon as I see that the enemy's direct fire towards us increases, I withdraw my tanks back into cover. The battle is talking to me, and I'm listening.

The sights of our tanks barely afford us an advantage over the enemy.


Our brothers in BP1 (background) are taking some losses. I can see that some bold Soviet recon vehicles have closed into them but were fortunately destroyed.


The Soviets keep coming. It feels like this will never end.


Waiting for the right moment to pop-out. I'm in the front tank, watching the enemy's advance and ready to command my tanks forward.

The killing is good, the enemy relentless.

One of the most egregious tactical failures I have commited was to not have arranged my forces in a way that they could engage EA crush in depth. This move of my mechanized infantry on the right flank of EA Crush came in too late and ineffective. The level of destruction below this hill is encouraging, though.


At a certain point, perceiving that the enemy's strength was too much for my troops (the fog of war tricked me to think so), I decided to gamble for reverse slope position. The enemy came in with light armored vehicles, which we destroyed promptly. The absence of enemy tanks cresting that hill was conspicuous. I was very lucky. Note our our casualties on the top of the hill, from the center to the right.

The time have come to either give a final blow to the enemy or to die honorably. I gambled. Recklessly (there were enemy dismounts nearby the top of the hill, survivors from the vehicles we destroyed), MGs blazing through the tall grass just in front of us,  but with our eyes looking beyond in the distance, we move forward just to find weak enemy remnants in EA Crush.

A hard earned victory.

If I would have put my tanks on top of the hill and just engaged the ENY armor in a protracted firefight, I would have lost this battle.



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