5 November 2000 0600H: Kalisz, Poland.
Maks holstered his hand radio. His team at OP Foxtrot reported that the Soviets appeared to be in a spirited tank battle with the red Polish 10th TD NW of the Kalisz city core. Foxtrot had heard numerous tank gun reports from that direction.
That was good news. He wasn’t sure if the Soviet 21st MRD would leave the party hanging. They had a deal, but the 21st was no longer accepting orders from what remained of command, and were loyal only to themselves. So who knew? But this appeared to be more than the probing attacks that Egorieva had offered. They were going on the offensive against the Pol 10th TD.
Maks’ insertion team at the ZOMO detention center at the east end of the city core had drawn too much attention, and the situation was getting out of hand. More reinforcements kept trickling in. They needed to escape from Kalisz – [cough] – but hadn’t been able to break free yet.
His Feint Teams were reporting that the two platoons they’d been harassing… had fallen back, which could only mean the Soviet assault to the west was having an effect on the grim occupiers of Kalisz. The Feint teams were thinly-manned, and weren’t a real threat to the red Polish companies holding the perimeter.
Feint 4 said that the Polish platoon they’d engaged was falling back up the road to the northwest. Feint 1 said theirs was doing likewise, heading in the direction of OP Charlie. Feints 2 and 3 reported no opposition and were advancing in Maks’ direction.
However, OP Charlie radioed that the infantry company that they’d been watching was also withdrawing. Directly toward Maks’ position.
Maks intended to exfiltrate out through the east, across two small branches of the Prosna river.
Maks’ immediate problem was the red Polish Army regulars flanking him from the north and south around the stout theater building. Crouched behind the damaged Polish Humvee, he yelled at Barna Áron, who’d just manned the gunner’s M2HB: Don’t engage the M113 APC. Maks had been with the American army long enough to know it wouldn’t penetrate the APC’s armor.
…at least according to Twilight 2000 v2.2 rules anyway. The M113A3 APC has armor value 6 on the hull front, and 4 on the hull sides and rear. M2HB has a Pen of 2, “which indicates the number of damage dice expended per armor level penetrated.” [page 216]
Even against the hull sides the .50 BMG cannot penetrate the M113’s armor, according to the rules.
Maks waved toward the dismounted troops. BA’s M2HB fire killed 3 of them dead. Áron looked back at Maks, who was now urgently motioning for him to evacuate the vehicle. Before BA could comply, the M113’s gunner opened up with his M2HB.
They got lucky. The heavy MG rounds punched through the Humvee, scarcely slowing down, but missed the two of them entirely.
As BA was exiting the gunner’s position, Maks shoved his satchel charge under the fuel tank, and withdrew, unspooling wire.
Forget the bridge, they’d cross the river somewhere to the south, he decided. They had nothing to engage the M113, except perhaps a grenade launcher. He’d blow the Humvee, maybe that’d slow down the M113’s driver.
The M113’s driver failed an Observation roll, and did not notice the wire that Maks had laid behind himself at a trot. Wojciech tossed another smoke between them and the APC. The M113 kept grinding forward, bearing down on the party. Its path was blocked by the damaged Humvee.
As the M113 shouldered the Humvee aside, Maks couldn’t believe his luck. He detonated the 5 kg satchel charge.
My brother had run the numbers from page 221 of the rulebook for this 5kg of plastic explosive: DPV 30 ~ Concussion 19 ~ Burst radius 36 ~ Pen 10 (untamped).
A frag grenade, in contrast, is C:3, B:15!
The car bomb exploded, throwing burning alcohol in its wake. The party could feel the shock wave pulse over them. The Humvee was demolished, and the APC’s left front quarter ripped open.
They exchanged fire with some troops approaching from just around the corner to the south. They’d got the drop on Barna Áron, injuring him.
A well-placed grenade killed the the soldiers, but Maks suspected there were more to the south.
Besides, the burning wrecks presented great cover for a bridge evac after all.