Communal Combat Mission: Turn 12

Every year 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 takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Turn 12 begins with the commenter-controlled Soviets in control of two of the map’s seven VLs. Their gains have come at a price (a T-34/85 & SU-76 destroyed), a price likely to increase shortly if the Red Army recon platoon currently pinned at the end of West Bridge isn’t rescued.

The first ten seconds of turn 12 are calamitous for Ryumin and his men (***SPOILER WARNING*** The following fifty aren’t great either). Hosed mercilessly by the Pz IV, one squad breaks and tries to retreat, the other panics. Ryumin’s three-man HQ attempts to steady the ship taking two casualties in the process.

Ryumin’s best hope – Ryumin’s only hope – the 31-tonne self-propelled howitzer nosing into the square at its eastern end, has only just got underway when a Panzerfaust warhead darts towards it from the Orthodox edifice at p23. The missile misses but persuades Sergeant Fesin, the SU-122 commander, to descend into the cramped, clamorous interior of his wall-grazing heavyweight.

His nerves frayed by the PF near-miss and his view compromised by thick vision blocks, the buttoned Fesin doesn’t identify the Pz IV at the far end of the square quite as quickly as perhaps he should. By the time the SU-122’s M-30S gun is correctly aligned, the Panzer’s muzzle is on a reciprocal heading.

At T + 36 seconds a Pzgr.Patr.39 AP shell is stung into sudden acceleration by a squinting German gunner.

At T + 36 seconds a BP-460A HEAT shell is stung into sudden acceleration by a squinting Soviet gunner.

After almost colliding above an abandoned perambulator in square q20, both projectiles cross another 100m of trampled snow before terminating emphatically.

Scratch one Panzer IVG!

Scratch one SU-122 :-(

At the close of turn 12…

Ryumin’s corpse is cooling on West Bridge along with those of eight of his men. One recon squad has made it back to the safety of w16 with five casualties. The other (ten men) is routed, still on the bridge, and under fire from the warehouse and the AA gun on New Wharf.

North of West Bridge the building at p15 is about to be pummelled with mortar bombs (Batrakov’s adjusted barrage is two seconds away) and Flare Path, the OT-34, has reversed and reoriented.

At the east end of the square, Myshkov and Lapshin’s men seem to be doing a fairly good job of containing a growing enemy troop concentration circa p23.

Many of Lapshin’s troops are still en route.

On the spit, the M5 and AT gun are manoeuvring.

The tired tank hunter team has arrived at w16.

The standoffish StuG is no longer in Renko’s LoS! At some point during the turn it seems to have quietly reversed.


  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 13 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
    *Lt. Batrakov (mortar spotter)
    *OT-34 flame tank
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three splitable squads + HQ)
    *Renko, the sniper
    *Lt. Lapshin’s rifle platoon (three splitable squads + HQ)
    *Tank hunter team
    *M5 halftrack & AT gun

    Assuming orders are forthcoming, the summary of turn 13 will appear on the RPS front-page at this time tomorrow morning.

    • declan_23 says:

      Does Batrakov have LoS of the church in the square?

      If so, a mortar barrage at p23 please.

      • Tim Stone says:

        No LoS to the church I’m afraid.

        • declan_23 says:

          Hmm, in that case, could flarepath hit the churhc with its main gun? I’m assuming it’s way too far to use the flamethrower

          • Tim Stone says:

            Yes, area fire on the church is possible. FP still has 63 HE shells in her racks/bins.

          • declan_23 says:

            Okay, Flarepath to fire on the church then.

          • Dogshevik says:

            I concur with helping our guys to the east, but please consider moving the tank while doing it. We are still in panzerfaust range of the buildings to the west. And we know there are krauts on the other side of these buildings.

    • alh_p says:

      Time to avenge Ryumin’s lions (led by lambs?), please move the BA-64B back to W15 and hose the infantry around p/q14/15, should they offer themselves up for the opportunity.

      • alh_p says:

        Doh!…led by donkeys…

      • Electricfox says:

        I concur, now that the Panzer IV is gone the BA-64B can move back up to its former position and rake any boxhead that appears on the other side of the bridge.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Farewell, Ryumin. Perhaps if I’d stuck to my (76mm) guns you would still be alive.

      M5 halftrack to proceed to w17, please, and face NW to offer fire support to the BA. AT to proceed only as far as required to target the guns on the wharfs, and then to fire on them with HE, if it has any.

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        phuzz says:

        Isn’t w7 in the sea? Perhaps y11 would be an acceptable replacement?
        It should be able to fire across to both the new wharf and the building to the west of the west bridge from there.

        • BooleanBob says:

          w7 is indeed in the sea. w17 however, is hopefully a spot safe enough from the wharf guns thanks to the shielding house at w16, but with enough of an angle on the bridge and the road to the NW that Jerry might catch a salvo or two on his way to meet us.

        • Electricfox says:

          Are you suggesting that fine Soviet equipment isn’t capable of operating from in the sea? We have a gulag for that.

    • xcopy says:

      Are we able to command the crew of the T-34/85, that is in the house at s28?

      • xcopy says:

        Hmm, let´s see:

        The T-34/85 crew advances to the house at q29 and tries to scout the area.

    • opowell says:

      Tank Hunter team to move (via East Bridge) to P26.

    • Dogshevik says:

      Orders for Lapshin´s platoon: (Seems I kind of adopted them by now)

      -The forward squad in the S23 building keeps hosing down that church.
      -The other one in S23 (the exhausted one) keeps its head down and catches its breath. Only shoot if something moves into the open.
      -Command squad seeks to establish contact with both squads (red link instead of black) while trying to stay out of sight. If possible do that from tile T22. If command links don´t work through walls, enter S23 but stay at the southern end. Also, breath.
      -The squad lagging behind moves to S21 on the double if it can reach.

      Sorry for my verbosity, Tim. I am still trying to learn the engine and I aim to be precise in a foreign language. The result mostly is a lot of rambling, I know.

  2. alh_p says:

    Balls. Nicely written up Tim! That’s now 2 SPGs I’ve commandeered to their doom (we didn’t need them, right?) at the hands of the Pz4, but at least it is no more.

    I’d like to think it was a fair trade and that it is better to still have Flare path than the SU122 for the remaining skirmish with what is apparently infantry and StuG, but still, that was a high price for one piece of Wehrmacht armour (not to mention Ryumin’s platoon).

    • ElementalAlchemist says:

      That’s now 2 SPGs I’ve commandeered to their doom

      Perhaps the SU-122 could be rechristened Alh_P’s Folly in your honour?

      • alh_p says:

        Thanks, I think? :S

        Christening a burned out hulk is perhaps… erm… fitting.

        • BooleanBob says:

          If you’d prefer, we could christen the whole town it?

          Assuming, of course, we ever take the blasted thing.

          (I thought your reasoning was perfectly sound last turn. Strange though that Tim anticipated exactly the kink in the plan that would be our undoing.)

          • Tim Stone says:

            You didn’t need to be a soothsayer to predict the PF attack on the SU-122. With the benefit of hindsight, I think AbyssUK’s idea…

            “Perhaps we should distract the panzer by making the BA-64B make a mad dash to x16”

            might have saved the SU-122. That or a two-pronged attack involving the OT-34.

          • Dogshevik says:

            I thought his reasons were convincing too. I totally misjudged the distance and thought us save from PFs. Also I was (wishful) thinking the krauts were pinned and cowering under our cover fire.

          • alh_p says:

            I too think whoever came up with that plan was clearly a fascist fifth columnist deserving of little more than a firing squad. Hang on, who are we talking about again?

  3. Tim Stone says:

    Just changed the final paragraph of the summary after noticing that the StuG is now a ‘last known position’ iron cross rather than a confirmed location. It appears the German SPG is restless!

    • Electricfox says:

      “I didn’t choose the StuG life, I was drafted by the Wehrmacht.”

  4. Axolotl says:

    Do I see a couple of our riflemen out in the open, right next to the artillery tractor, on the screenshot third from last? Shouldn’t they be in one of the buildings? They look exposed to fire from the church.

    • Dogshevik says:

      Yes, it looks like one of Lapshin´s squads is in the middle of the square. Exactly where I expicitly ordered them not to go. :-S

      I am confused.

      • Axolotl says:

        Tim, Please order the stray squad into the first floor of building s22 facing the church, assuming they listen.

    • Tim Stone says:

      It’s just the camera angle. They’re actually on the 2nd floor at s23 (see screenshot fourth from last)

  5. Michael Fogg says:

    Are you guys trying to reenact the opening of Enemy At The Gates?

  6. Dogshevik says:

    Oh, bollocks…we needed that SU-122…Anyways, here is how I see the overall situation. It definately looks grim.
    Two german infantry-heavy counter-attacks are under way. One along the 14 column (lead by the PzIVG) and one via the church (with that SdKfz251/10) I guess each comprises of a platoon with AT inf support. (Panzerfausts everywhere) I presume each is heading to one of the VLs we control. Flare Path sits -right- between those two thrusts.

    In the west our forces are crumbling. What remains of Ryumin´s command might hold out a while with the support of the BA and mortar fire but will be eventually overwhelmed. They face a full platoon (presumably), overlooked by that wharf gun and the bridge guard at s13-s14 is, evidently, still comnbat effective.

    The situation in the east gives reason to be slightly optimistic, for the moment at least. The hostile attack goes straight into the middle of our positions. If the StuG doesn´t intervene very soon I´d say we have the upper hand here.

    My recommendations for the next few turns would be: In the west preserve what forces we can to contest the VL later (it´s turn 12/30). Retreat the infantry under cover fire (BA-64B, maybe AT gun) Give up the VL. If they want it they have to go into the open. Even if they take it they might redirect their advance east and we can snatch it later. (Assuming our guys still live)

    In the east let them advance into the cul de sac. Wait until they are all stopped. Then assault the church with Myshkov´s men, while the rest keeps their heads down.
    I would say Flare Path should help our eastern forces. If we beat back that attack fast we might regain the initiative.

    Just my 2 cents of course.

  7. Stugle says:

    I’m glad the Pz IV is gone, but it managed to take a lot with it before it went. Hopefully the StuG can be neutralized in a less costly manner. Am I reading the map correctly and is the last known position of the StuG nowhere near any of our AT-capable guns?

  8. kevinkin says:

    Great job. I am sure it has been asked, but why play this using CM1 technology when CMRT has been out since 2014?

    • Stugle says:

      If I understand it correctly, the newer Combat Mission games have a scripted AI that can fare poorly if the player does things that were not anticipated in the scripts. From previous comments, it seems Tim values the reactive AI of the first-gen games over the prettier graphics and 1:1 unit scale of the second gens.

  9. Hydrogene says:

    Great writing Tim! I love it. I think I’m too late to the party to really understand where all the units are located to chime in and give totally incompetent orders, but my heart is with you all!

    • Tim Stone says:

      Thanks. If you feel like lowering yourself in gently, I believe Renko the marksman hasn’t been assigned an order yet. He’s currently upstairs at t27. He’s been keeping an eye on the StuG at f26.

  10. Soylent Gray says:

    Sorry in advance if this question belongs in the forums or has already been answered elsewhere, but how did you get the overhead grid map at the top of the article? Did you make it yourself, or is there some tool for CMBB that I’m unaware of?