Communal Combat Mission: Turn 4

Every year in The Flare Path I run a communal Combat Mission skirmish in which RPS readers attempt to outwit and outfight CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this year’s scrap centres on a German-held Baltic port. It’s been three turns since the commenter-controlled Soviets left their deployment zones, and things are just starting to hot up…

After a turn of nervous indecision the Red Army pushes purposefully northward in turn 4. Men and vehicles make for both of the bridges connecting the southern suburb with the Victory Location-dotted town centre and dock area.

For thirty-three nerve-chafing seconds it appears neither of the crossings are defended then the TONK-TONK-TONK of what sounds like a German AA cannon rudely shatters Soviet illusions. The unidentified Axis gun is firing on one of Ryumin’s recon squads from a redoubt on the end of the new wharf. Quickly spotted and engaged by the hunting SU-76 SPG, the first flurry of 20mm (?) shells isn’t followed by another.

Is the gun knocked-out or merely suppressed? There’s no way of telling at the moment, but the OT-34 flamethrower tank, temporarily halted by the exchange, decides to press on regardless.

As the commenters’ most intimidating AFV noses onto the west bridge something swift and cylindrical drills a neat but thankfully inconsequential hole in its armoured flank.

Though the source of the attack isn’t immediately obvious, a speculative ‘gun sound?’
audio contact icon circa t31 (centre-right in the image above) suggests ‘Flare Path’ was targeted by a unit firing from the eastern side of the battlefield.

Turn 4 ends with the holed OT-34 mid-way across west bridge. Watching its travails are the BA-64B armoured car (w15), Ryumin’s recon platoon (w14, y16) – tired after stealthy movement – and Batrakov, the mortar spotter (y16) – also weary.

In the east, two of Myshkov’s pioneer squads are approaching the house at t27, with Renko, the sniper, not far behind. Myshkov, and the other squad observe their progress from across the river (x26-27), as does the T-34/85 (lurking behind a low wall at w24).


  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 5 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 8 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter)

    *BA-64B armoured car
    *SU-76 SPG
    *Lt. Ryumin’s recon platoon (two recon squads + HQ)
    *Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter)
    *OT-34 flame tank
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three squads + HQ)
    *Renko, the sniper

    Assuming orders are forthcoming, the summary of turn 5 will appear on the RPS front-page at around this time tomorrow morning.

    • alh_p says:

      So, who or what is the cheeky Jerry at R29 packing? He shows up (with a blue base) in 2 of the pictures (the final one and 3 up from the end). He’s roughly in the direction/location of the possible fire on our OT34.

      Myshkov’s platoon will be in a good place to find out. Dare we risk a head on challenge with the lurker and the T34/85?

      The pioneers could soon find themselves in hot water if our suspect is an AFV rather than a gun. Our T34/85 has its thickest armour on the front adn is our best AFV counter, so I’d venture to suggest we Hunt the T34/85 to t25, with a cover arc facing NW. Keep the commander out of the hatch too, if possible.

      • Tim Stone says:

        That’s the ‘gun sounds?’ contact at r29. Its position could be misleading.

        • alh_p says:

          OK, thanks Tim, so that’s a placeholder Paulus. I still recommend my move for the T34/85 as the pioneers could do with support.

    • Wilson says:

      Is it possible to order troops to hold fire? If so I’d like the two leading squads from Myshkov’s platoon to do so and observe quietly if possible once they enter the house.
      Myshkov himself and third squad should follow the same route as those leading squads, but at a more relaxed pace (regular move?) since the others haven’t come under fire. We also don’t want everyone bundled up in the same house so I hope there will be time to move out one or two of the leading squads before Myshkov and squad three get there.

      • Tim Stone says:

        >Is it possible to order troops to hold fire?

        I think this can be achieved with either a very short cover arc or a move-to-contact order with a ‘hide’ tagged on the end. No guarantee of success but I’ll do my best.

    • xcopy says:

      Renko (or is it Renkov?) should continue his maneuver and then face NNE when he is in position.

    • gi_ty says:

      SU-76 to z, 15. Put some HE shells into the building just north of the bridge on the west side (s,14). Hopefully the gun is knocked out and someone will reverse the t-34 into cover so the infantry can make the bridge crossing. Get us some recon fellas!

    • heretic says:

      As per alh_p, rapid reverse of the OT-34 to w15.

      gi_ty’s SU-76 is moving to z15 and shelling s14, if I understand correctly that will be crossing fire with the armored car and OT-34 if it reverses in front of the bridge at w15?

      No friendly fire please :)

      p.s. I have no idea if I understood the current situation correctly so will happily be overruled by people who have a clue!

      Oh and thanks Tim for getting this in the RSS feed!

      • gi_ty says:

        Ah is it that close? I have a hard time telling from the screens. If so move to that position and continue to cover the old wharf. We will be ready for the advance across the bridge!

  2. Cederic says:

    Am I alone in being uncomfortable about the Flare Path approaching two buildings without infantry support? Feels rather vulnerable to a sticky grenade.

    Pausing while taking fire sounds a bad idea, so could either reverse back into cover, unleash flaming misery on one of the buildings and cross fingers on the other, or just gamble and gambol bravely into what may be a death trap.

    • alh_p says:

      I share your discomfort. We were lucky to take a penetrating round for no damage.

      We have at least apparently taken care of the gun on the wharf, but there are plenty of hiding places in the town and off the square that could spring a surprise on a lone tank and we haven’t yet given our recon squad a chance to spot anything.

      I’d be in favour of a rapid reverse move for the OT34, then holding position in front of the bridge until it is ready to advance with at least one squad of the recon platoon.

    • Wilson says:

      Not at all :)

      I agree with alh_p that discretion may well be the better part of valour here for now.

      • Cederic says:

        Well, shall we make it official then?
        Command for Flare Path the infantry cooker: Do what alh_p says!

  3. Wilson says:

    First, congrats on the new format, I think it should be much clearer and more pleasant to follow. I know I was put off taking part in previous Communal Combats a little by how busy the comment threads could get and the fear of missing something.

    Second, I assume those burning houses which have been heated up by Flare Path are going to be hazardous for any infantry to enter, including our own until the fire dies down?

    • Tim Stone says:

      Units refuse to enter terrain squares that are well alight and automatically exit buildings that catch fire. The fires on the map at present won’t burn out during the battle (That only happens between battles in an op) but may spread.

  4. Orchids says:

    I’d like to suggest that Batrakov the mortar spotter cautiously cross to the house in front, W16, and make his way to the upper floor.

  5. Electricfox says:

    Comrade BA-Flight64B remains in position to cover the north bank of the river.

  6. Rituro says:

    I’d like to apologize for Otto receiving a new bullet-assisted air vent. Unless it turns out he’s in position to flame half the German infantry. In that case, it was all planned, I’m a genius, thank you, good night.

    • Electricfox says:

      T-34s can be quite cramped inside so the crew of Otto Flare probably won’t complain too much about some extra ventilation…and if another one hits the fuel tank they won’t complain ever again.