Communal Combat Mission: Turn 19

Welcome to the third communal Combat Mission skirmish – a comment-driven confrontation between RPS readers and CM’s uncommonly entertaining AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this summer’s scrap takes place in a German-held Baltic port. Eighteen turns in, the commenter-controlled Soviets control three of the map’s seven victory locations, but are getting bogged down in the west.

The situation in the west changes little during turn 19. Flare Path, the pyrophobic flamethrower tank, temporarily quells the MG 42 on the northern edge of the square, and the AT gun on the spit drives the warehouse defenders at s13 back into the shadows, but the lynchpin of German resistance north of West Bridge – the implacable infantry squad in the burning building at p15 – refuses to yield.

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When the turn ends, the p15ers and the tenacious tank crew at n14 (Batrakov’s killers) are the only enemy units returning fire.

Further east, Myshkov’s pioneers have almost finished mopping up the dispirited fusiliers.

Once the ammo-short 2 Squad have dealt with the cowed threesome in k23 they will be free to turn their attention to turn 19’s most interesting/alarming development…

Demonstrating impeccable timing, the StuG moved south this turn while the Ivans hunting it moved north. There was a fleeting period of mutual LoS, and a moment when Renko, upstairs in m26, seriously contemplated fabricating a quick vodka bottle molotov, but nothing came of either opportunity.

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The men of Myshkov’s 1 Squad arrive at k27 feeling slightly foolish, but a glimpse of the backside of the buttoned SW-facing StuH at g24 raises their spirits.


  1. Tim Stone says:

    Turn 20 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 10 units (a maximum of one unit per commenter)

    *BA-64B armoured car (s15, buttoned)
    *OT-34 flame tank (r19, buttoned)
    *M5 halftrack (r15, firing at p15 squad)
    *AT gun (bb10, 11 HE, 31 AP 2T left, no enemies in LoS but fairly good view of wharves)
    *Lt Myshkov’s pioneer platoon (three splitable squads + HQ, m23, k23 and – northern squad – k27)
    *Renko, the sniper (upstairs, m26)
    *Lt. Lapshin’s rifle platoon (three splitable squads + HQ, s16, s17, r18. r18 squad en-route to n17)
    *Ryumin’s remnants (two fragile squads, s16, w16)
    *Tank hunter team (n23)
    *T-34/85 crew (k28)

    Assuming orders are forthcoming, the summary of turn 20 will appear on the RPS front-page at this time tomorrow morning.

    • opowell says:

      Tank hunter team to run directly to N24. If not possible, then to O24.

      • alh_p says:

        Would you consider changing that order to move the AT squad to the church, p23, instead? I don’t they’ll be in range from o24, whereas from the church they will be much more likely to be, should the Stug continue south and into the square.

    • BooleanBob says:

      BA-64B to r17, please. Rotate facing to NW. Concentrate fire on n17.

      (Was tempted to have it drive right up to o17 and get right in their faces. But missing StuH combined with their being two, not one iron cross by the MG house got me frit.)

      • BooleanBob says:

        Addendum: please back the BA all the way into the SE corner of r17. We want to use the wall of r18 as cover from the Northern entrance to the square.

    • alh_p says:

      Myshkov’s northern squad (at k27) please chase the Stug and molotov/RPG it in the rear, following the most direct route.

      If the Stug outruns them or turns in the next minute we may need to get them to run for it. For now, they should be able to walk in the middle of the street.

      • Dogshevik says:

        Please also issue orders to the other two squads. (K23 and M23, the latter really close to the StuG)

        • alh_p says:

          I was happy for someone else to share the dubious glory, I’m not sure we should over commit to this, but ok:
          – Myshkov’s squad at K23 to finish off the fusiliers
          – Myshkov’s HQ to stay put at M23
          – Myshkov’s squad at M23 to also to exit the building and chase the Stug.

          • Dogshevik says:

            Just wanted to make sure Tim gets the orders unequivocally. Who gives them is not that important.

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      phuzz says:

      I thought I’d added this already, but apparently I messed up somehow, anyway;
      The ex T-34/85 crew (k28) to move up to the house at g26 and hide. Hopefully they can keep tabs on that other SPG.

      Also, how long would it likely take to move the AT gun?
      I assume the halftrack would need to go back and fetch it, so we might have to leave it on that spit of land. The further up the spit it can get (ie heading towards t2) the better LoS it will have on the NW part of the town, but I assume that the crew won’t be able to shove it very far/fast.

    • Dogshevik says:

      Taking command of FlarePath:

      Turn hull to NE. Turn turret to look east at the church corner. (I am not taking any chances with that StuG)
      If possible shoot a HE shell at N17 first, then turn the turret.

  2. alh_p says:

    Hello Stugiii-stugiii… Is this the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to swarm it with our hard to use infantry AT grenades?

    I think yes, but we’re not really in the best situation to to do it. Our infantry is spread out and perhaps by the time the next 60 seconds are up, the StugIII could have moved on again… So maybe we should think about setting ambushes rather than charging it?

    I can think of options under each scenario, but lets take a quick straw poll on whether to:
    A) Set ambushes for the Stug (e.g. anticipating it heading south to approach the town square, reversing North or heading West)
    B) Charge! We have potentially good access angles to the Stug’s rear and flanks, if a long and potentially open approach

    • Dogshevik says:

      Why not both? Have two of Myshkovs´ squads (K27+M23) chase it while the AT squad intercepts it. It might take more than one engagement to take it out anyways.

      With the exception of the M23 squad the orders are given already, anyways.

  3. BooleanBob says:

    Damn! 1-Squad would have been perfectly placed to assault the StuG if they’d just stayed put.

    Can the tank hunters get to the church this turn? o24 seems like the best house for close range engagement, having 1-square reach to three road squares otherwise impassable if the StuG wants to enter the square from the East. But I don’t think they’ll get there in time for an ideal engagement.

    Things are getting really hairy now. Flare Path needs to be alive to the possibility of armour moving in at both n18 and q25. But we still need her to sort out the situation with the MG42.

    I think we need Comrade BA to take assist in the MG suppression. Fast movement into the square with covering fire from the halftrack should hopefully squeak us through unmolested by faust fire.

    It also seems like we could really use Renko’s marksmanship for more than just tank tracking. Machine guns and, worringly, high explosives are just not slicing the sauerkraut against barricaded infantry. Now that the SPGs have moved on, can we direct him back towards the square?

    • alh_p says:

      Good points.

      On the Stug, this is the challenge of wego. The Stug has already been hesitant, backing up from a previous southward move – which is why we rebased the pioneers. Given the short range and need for surprise, i think we need to set up ambush points for the Stug’s possible moves. I think the tank hunters should move to the church – for next turn, rather than this turn. The stug will have to go all the way around the church (taking 1 to 3 turns i reckon), so we should have more opportunity(ies) to attack it from there than o24.

      On Flare path, I think the best position to take up would be o22, with the hull facing SW. From here FP can cover both n18 and q25. remember the Stug/hs will face the same disadvantage as our S122 (sob): slower aiming, in the absence of a turret, while maneuvering around the town’s corners.

      • BooleanBob says:

        You’re right, of course. There’s simply no way of knowing how things are going to (we)go. I ascribe no blame whatsoever to my tacticians in arms.

        I agree that holding the entrances to the square in order to ambush the tanks will be easier than trying to hunt them down. Having said that, now 1-squad is out in the open it may be worth chasing the tail of the StuG in case it hesitates again.

        o22, p21 or p22 all seem like secure spots for the (N)OT-34. But are we trying to storm n17 with infantry this turn? If so, we need to concentrate fire on the house to give our boys the best chance of crossing the square. Relocation may have to wait a minute more.

        • alh_p says:

          On Squad 1, I agree. The Stug can’t see them so unless it turns around, we should be able to molotov it – this turn or next…

  4. courier says:

    If the other side has anything in the way of artillery, they’d be fools not to have called it in on our west approach by now. Did we already take out spotters, did they not have any to begin with, or are things about to get warm over there?

  5. Wilson says:

    Ryumin’s remnants at w16 to cross the bridge to join the others at s16, who should stay put. Hopefully if they come under fire from the tank crew they’ll stop and shoot back.

  6. Electricfox says:

    Question – Flareless Paths reluctance to use his flame-thrower…is that due to crew shortage or actual damage? If the former, couldn’t we use the spare T-34 crew we have to fix that problem?

    • klops says:

      I think FP’s reluctance to throw flames is due to its low ammo. I remember some game that I’ve played earlier that used more flamethrower liquid when the distance was greater, and it could’ve been CM. Please feel free to correct if I remember wrong or there’s plenty of fuel left.

      I’m also very sure that you cannot use crewmen from other vehicles to replace FP’s casualty.

      • Electricfox says:

        Ah, that’s a shame. We’ll have to do it the old fashioned way, high explosives!

  7. Stugle says:

    Tim, why is it that the last few days the number of T-34s in the header image keeps multiplying? On turn 13 there was but the solitary tank and now it’s been joined by four clones/evil twins…

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      The Almighty Moo says:

      Tim’s been adding a unit every day since we started, there were just four blokes and one rank on turn 4. I must admit, I hadn’t noticed until you pointed it out, but looking at the tagged posts in order is pretty funny

      • Electricfox says:

        ROFLMFAO, I’ve only just noticed that too! Well, it’s Soviet doctrine…when in doubt apply more numbers, or artillery….or both.

        • Dogshevik says:

          It IS getting crowded. What´s up with the question mark in the middle, though?
          A depiction of the commenter´s collective confusion? (c&c&c)

  8. Cederic says:

    No orders from me but some thoughts.

    I don’t trust the Germans. I mean, in this battle. Broader continental trust issues are best left out of scope. But anyway, if that Stug has turned up then I think its deviant buddy will be close by too, with a stonkingly big nasty howitzer ready to hurt any infantry that expose themselves trying to hurt the Stug. So I’d urge a level of caution.

    We could even almost ignore it. If it can’t see us it can’t hurt us, and as pointed out yesterday it can’t really damage our victory without driving right into AT grenade range.

    The other thought is that I’m tremendously disappointed by is this Renko chap. Sure, he’s used some ammo but.. he’s a sniper! This is the Russian army! Hasn’t he _seen_ Enemy at the Gates? He’s letting us down, we need to get him to really up his game and boost his lethality.

    Tim, what’s happened to the luftwaffe? They had me worried a couple of turns back but seem to have gone quiet since.

    • alh_p says:

      I thought Tim said the stuh was showing its arse to the action, facing off to the north or something.

    • Dogshevik says:

      The StuH is at G24 looking the other way.

      The Luftwaffles are presumably at L10, waiting for us…

  9. grandstander says:

    I can tell this game must be great because that screenshot is *hideous*. Can we get a different shot for Turn 20? I’m tired of seeing those ugly square legs on the RPS front page :D