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Operation Whisper Grass


Markus Wilding

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Top secret! Can be seen by satellites

 

As the sun set in Szczecin, soldiers of the Wehrmacht gathered to conduct several of many operations. To any outside observer or satellite, it seemed that the Wehrmacht had geared up for war. Both the 1. Gepanzerte Kavallerie-Division had been sent to the city, along with the 3. Infanterie-Division and approximately 2,000 operatives from the Schwarze Korps. This was in addition to the 2. Infanterie Division that already resided in the city, bringing the total amount of forces present there to 60,000 soldiers, 70 Leopard 2A5 and 30 Panzer VII tanks, 300 PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery, and a combined total of 2,858 armored vehicles of both TPz Fuchs and Marder 1A4 variety. This force was collectively known in the Wehrmacht as the 1. Armee-Korps.

 

This force was then split, with the 1. Gepanzerte Kavallerie-Division and 150 PzH 2000 artillery vehicles on one side, and on the other, the 2. and 3. Infanterie Divisions, with 150 PzH 2000. Both sides gained the command of 1,000 Schwarze Korps operatives in addition to their normal numbers. In command of the 1. Gepanzerte Kavallerie-Division was Generalmajor Angela Rosenfeld, a rising star in the Wehrmacht's Panzer Korps. She was known as an innovative and tricky commander that very much preferred the use of the Panzer VII in combat over the conventional Leopard 2A5, and fully believed in the superiority of armored forces above all. Her counterpart was Generalmajor Alwin Bohn, commander of the 2. Infanterie Division. He was more of an old guard officer, known for using tried and true tactics. Those who had faced him in other combat exercises, however, knew that Alwin had a penchant for all-out offenses and demanded nothing more that absolute superiority over the enemy.

 

However, the two officers would not be going off to war in a foreign country. Rather, they were conducting exercises at the city of Szczecin to train the Wehrmacht in both urban combat and infantry-versus-armor warfare. Their weapons were loaded with Simunition, a non-lethal alternative that left a mark on those declared dead, while all cannons and similar heavy weapons were loaded with chaff charges. Vehicles declared dead would be called out over radio by the High Command officers watching the events. After a few hours of preparation to load weapons, both Generalmajor Rosenfeld and Bohn would be given their orders.

 

Orders for Generalmajor Angela Rosenfeld

 

[spoiler]Generalmajor,

 

 

Your orders are as follows:

  1. Prevent the enemy advance at Szczecin.
  2. Should enemy advance be repelled, permission is granted to counter-attack.
  3. Should the defense falter, your orders are to retreat further into the city.
  4. Casualties are to remain at or below 50%. If more than 50% of your force is lost, you must retreat out of the city.

 

Enemy will attempt to destroy your armored forces at all costs. Defend your armor with infantry and keep them close, especially if the battle moves to the urbanized parts of your area of operations. Their only advantage comes in having equal artillery numbers and anti-tank munitions, although the training of the Schwarze Korps units cannot be underestimated. Do not allow your armored units to move unprotected in the city, as it will mean their death.[/spoiler]

 

Orders for Generalmajor Alwin Bohn

 

[spoiler]Generalmajor,

 

Your orders are as follows:

  1. Break through the enemy's defense at Szczecin.
  2. Capture City Hall, as indicated on your maps.
  3. Should you lose more than 50% of your forces, you are to retreat.
  4. Destroy the enemy's capacity to counter-attack and launch artillery strikes.

 

Enemy is expected to use their armored forces to defeat you and encircle your men. Do whatever is necessary to destroy the enemy's armor advantage. Artillery can be used to destroy armored vehicles, but this is recommended against their APCs and IFVs only. Engaging in direct combat against main battle tanks with artillery is not advised. Your infantry have been given anti-armor munitions in the form of MATADOR and Panzerfaust 3 rocket launchers.[/spoiler]

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The troops on both sides had taken the opportunity to conduct recon over the area they were operating, and once they had finished their studying retired to sleep. A long day was ahead of them tomorrow.

 

The 1. Gepanzerte Kavallerie-Division was first to wake, and they immediately set about to construct defenses. Knowing that the enemy force consisted of mainly infantry due to "intelligence reports" it was decided that the infantry elements of the Kavallerie-Division would hold in sandbag half-circles and chaff anti-personnel mines laid on strategic entry points like main roads. Three lines were set up - one at the outskirts of the city on the industrial part, one more past bridges that were expected to be crossed should the first line be overrun, and the final across the last canal that had to be crossed before city hall was in sight. Each line had three machine gun positions that covered each other, as well as covering the minefields in front of and flanking the lines. Tanks, as much as the Generalmajor hated it, would be relegated to a support role until and unless the city fight began. The first line had decent tank country, but it was advised by her staff that she shouldn't overcommit to holding the outskirts. The first line would be given a force of 2,000 Heer soldiers and just 200 of the Schwarze Korps operatives. No need to keep a large force if it's only going to withdraw anyway.

[spoiler]

9tQZM6x.png

1. Gepanzerte Kavallerie-Division deployments. Green dots indicate minefield positions. Black lines indicate defensive lines. Red dots indicated machine guns.

[/spoiler]

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The 2. and 3. Infanterie-Divisions had now awoken, and small scouting parties were ordered to probe and find enemy defenses by Generalmajor Bohn. After about two hours time, the scouts came back with their report. Bohn instantly pored over it with his staff in their headquarters.

 

"Generalmajor Rosenfeld has left a critical flank unprotected, it seems," Bohn said, pointing to a bridge on the northeast side of the industrial sector."

 

His second-in-command, Brigadegeneral Weisskopf, took note of the location of the bridge relative to enemy's first line. "I believe, sir, that is about 500 meters away. If we proceed carefully, we should be able to completely bypass their defensive line."

 

 

"It's not the distance I'm worried about, Brigadegeneral, it's the fact our scouts haven't found their tanks yet. Where is she keeping them?"

 

"Most likely in reserve. Sir, if I may, an idea."

 

Bohn raised an eyebrow and remained silent, a gesture to tell Weisskopf to continue speaking.

 

"Why don't we send a small harassing force to this line, coupled with a 6-round artillery salvo, then send a Panzerjaeger regiment across this bridge to flank them? If they run into armor, they should be able to use the buildings for cover and fire on their with their Panzerfausts."

 

"A bold move, Brigadegeneral, but there is no guarantee that they won't be overwhelmed. Keep artillery on standby for strike requests by the Panzerjaegers should they run into trouble, and send another regiment with them. Keep the rest in reserve around the railyard."

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After a few moments organizing the soldiers who would be sent to attack the enemy, a Grenadier regiment headed towards the first defensive line, which soon came under fire from the artillery. In the initial salvo, which was fired from four guns in quick succession, 203 of Rosenfeld's soldiers and 4 Schwarze Korps operatives would be declared dead or seriously wounded, prompting their removal from the exercise to the observation area. Bohn's infantry assaulting the line fared no better, though. One of the machine guns set on the first line had several squads pinned, and casualties were rising from 50 men dead to 108 men dead with another 20 seriously wounded, forcing them to head to the observation point.

 

Meanwhile, across the river, the Panzerjaeger and Schuetzen regiments that were tasked with flanking had, so far, not run into any trouble. The path was mostly clear and aside from the stray cat, it seemed as if nobody was around. On the main bridge, though, on of the Schwarze Korps operatives had spotted the movements of the regiments and got on his radio to Rosenfeld's headquarters, where twenty Marder 1A4 IFVs, with supporting infantry, were sent to deal with the flanking threat. For good added measure, a single Leopard 2A5 was tasked to escort the IFVs and infantry.

 

[spoiler]

1GSEXua.png

Orange represents major movements made by Bohn's soldiers. Blue is the counter-attack made by Rosenfeld's cavalry.

[/spoiler]

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