Supreme Commander: Re-live

Chapter 6: Progress and Field Promotions (R-18)

” Holy shit, ” The pilot of a Storch commented after he took a look at the ground below, left of his cockpit. ” Thats the division we
e supposed to look after? ”

His copilot, after a glance out the window, replied. ” Yup, thats our guys. ”

” Damn, I never saw that many tanks and half-tracks before. Wasn this supposed to be a motorized division? ”

” Dude, did you fall asleep in yesterdays briefing? ” His copilot asked incredulously.

” Yes, yes I did. ” The pilot said deadpanned.

” … How the ** did you even make it as a pilot? ”

” Because I was a crop duster? ”

” … The division below used to be called Kruger Division, a motorized one. After a change of leadership, the division is now a Panzer Division. Probably the mightiest Panzer Division we have as of now, I think. Their composition of vehicles is astounding, as you can see. Our task as of now is to provide scouting and be their observer till we need to change shift, to put it in short. ”

” Wonderful, I surmised we can grab some R&R down there if we have the chance. ” The pilot maneuvers the aircraft a bit lower, right above the logistic group of the convoy.

” We may not even have the chance, man. According to the Chief, the division gonna be moving nonstop, breaking past the frontline and heading deep in Ustian soil. ”

Shocked, the pilot veered his head backward. ” Are they mad? What can one division do against the enemy? ”

” I don know man, this stuff is above our paygrade so just ignore it, I guess. ”

” True, we only need to do our job properly and head back to Kitty Bar and grab a drink. ” Sometimes there are things you aren allowed to know. The pilot stops delving into the matter and concentrates on flying his aircraft. While the pair of airmen were having a conversation, down below, the division moved out. Smokes and fumes blotted out a portion of the sky as the dragon-like formation rumbled across the land.

A few photographers managed to snap good pictures of the column. Never knowing those pictures will be featured in history books in the future. After all, no one knows that the entire world is now revolving around our Princess.

—————————————————————————-

A day later.

The world is at war. Soldiers, sinners, and innocents are dying for a cause unknown in the bloodiest conflict known to mankind. Of the countless battles soon to be fought, this is but one of them in the War to end all Wars. However, the script will change from this point onward.

Thats what I, Yuki, believe.

” Have you completed the objective? ” In the empty command half-track, I questioned an unseen existence.

” Weve carried out the task successfully, their radio was sabotaged and is now no different than junk. ” The female voice, the same one from the first night in this world, answered me.

” Well done, I will also be counting on you for the missions to come. ”

” Your wish is our command, my Master. ” Her voice and presence fade away, just in time when a knocking sound is heard. I call out to the person outside.

” Come in. ”

Unsurprisingly, the person is Bryn. ” Reporting to Princess, our recon regiment has accomplished their flanking maneuver, and they
e now behind the town of Bocage. The panzer brigade and mechanized infantry regiment are steadily approaching the town perimeter. We are expecting combat to break out in 10 minutes. With first contact will be made by our tanks and their patrols. ” She finished her report.

” Very well, for the first battle of our Ironblood Division, I had prepared many things. All we can do now is wait for the result to show itself. ” I tapped my fingers on the table, deep in thoughts.

A perfect Blitzkrieg is what Im aiming for. Military achievements are needed to advance through the ranks, after all. Without proper power and status, I can not take the helm of this nation.

” Lets us head over to the command post. ” While its only a temporary one, it has everything I need to command the battlefield.

” Head this way then. ” Bryn leads me outside. At this moment, the thumping of artillery signifies the beginning of yet another battle.

” And Earth shed her tears, again… ” I mumbled, causing Bryn to turn around inquisitively. ” Nothing, lets move along. ”

—————————————————————————-

On the commander seat of an infantry support Panzer III, I use the periscope to keep an eye on the situation outside. Seeing the coast is clear for now, I order my driver.

” Driver, forward. Bring us out of the forest. ” The tank lurches forward with the command. I return to my spotting duty.

As my driver, Corporal Nozo is quite talkative. ” So Strauss what do you think of our Princess? ” He asked with his mouth holding an unlit cigarette.

I sigh. ” Its not my place to comment on such a subject, though. ” I don want to get in trouble.

” Just chill, man. From what I can see, the Princess is very amicable. Don you remember that she ate and sang with us the night before we departed? Heck, I never saw a high-ranking officer do that before. ”

” Fine, she sure knows her ways to grab the hearts and minds of us soldiers, thats for sure. Unknown to you, she is also one hell of a strategist, beaten all of us and the vets in a wargame. And mind you we all worked together to try and bring her down. It didn work out in the end, unsurprisingly. ”

Nozo whistles. ” Seems like she got it all in the bag. ”

” Yes, yes she does. ”

At this moment, my gunner, Zimmer, also chimes in. ” Now that we can rest assured that we
e in good hands, any ideas why we
e hitting the enemy this far in? ”

This time, its my loader, the young Hans, that replies. ” Isn that supposed to be classified? ”

” No harm in speculating, no? ”

” Seriously, can we all concentrate on the task at hand, boys? ” The berating voice came from the radio operator, the usually serious Rubert.

” What he said. ” I agree with Rubert, we need to stop bantering. This deep behind enemy line, every bush could hide a Pak.

The crew quiets down and returns to their duty. Which is not much aside from marching forward with our eyes peeled. It takes a while for us and the rest of the tank platoon to clear the forest. Coming across a dirt road, I check our location on the map.

” Radio the rest, tell them to be ready for combat. ” I ordered, seeing that we reached one of our waypoints. ” And contact the Panzergrenadiers, its about time they dismount from their ride. ”

I pop out from the commands cupola to get a clear view around me. I can see the other Panzer commanders in my platoon also doing the same. Behind us, a flurry of commotion is taking place as troops start to disembark their half-tracks. After a short while, with me exchanging information with the other tankers, the leader of the Panzergrenadiers comes up to meet me.

” Hello again, Lieutenant Strauss, as planned us Grenadiers will be taking point from now on. ” Major Stauffenberg, who is in command of a company, said. ” Should there be a need, we will be counting on you to bring out the big guns. ”

” Yes, sir. We will be at the ready. ” The Major nod then put on his helmet and return to lead his infantries. With a change in formation, we now have the infantry ahead of our vehicles, with tanks and half-tracks in a line formation to back them up. When we
e about to hit the town, we will reverse the formation to have the armored vehicles leading the assault.

” Move out, squads. ” He bellowed and the soldiers started cutting a path forward.

Of course, the pace is slower than before but we have much greater security in comparison. So, when the Grenadiers stumbled upon a hidden outpost armed with a cannon, I feel very lucky that it wasn us to be hit with it. While its a cannon alright, our infantry should fare well if they get to cover quickly.

” The Grenadiers are engaging the enemy, chief! ” Rubert reported. ” At least two squads with an MG nest and a Pak! ”

” Copy that. Lets pick up our speed, driver! ” The tank jerks then rush forward. ” This is 1, 3 will follow me, flanking left. 2 and 4 flank right. The half-tracks will stay with the infantries. ”

With the affirmation from my tank mates, we speed up and break a path through the forestry. Soon enough, we arrive at the site where machine gun bullets are whizzing by and our Grenadiers are returning the favor.

Tucked away at a small ravine, the Ustian outpost seems to be a relic from the Great War with moss-covered bunkers and a small trench system. From the intensity of their gun fires, I doubt theres only one MG nest.

” Loader, HE. ” I scan the enemy for their firing positions, doesn take long for me to locate their Pak. ” Gunner, HE, Pak, traverse left, 150 meters. ”

” On! ” Zimmer said.

” Fire! ”

” On the way! ” The tank shakes as the cannon recoils backward. It takes only a second for the explosive to impact near the enemy Pak, kicking up a pile of dirt.

” Doubtful, reengage. ” With my binocular, I can see the round fell a bit short.

With a heave, Hans loads a new HE shell in. ” Up! ” As a response, Zimmer sends another one to the enemy Pak which is now turning to engage us.

” Hit, target. ” This time, the shell landed directly on the enemy gun, sending it sky-high and landing next to a few unlucky Ustians.

” Driver, take us in front of the formation. ” I turn into the tank. ” Load one HE. Gunner, engage at will. Rubert, patch me to High Command. ”

” You
e through, Chief. ”

Leaving the matter of supporting our Grenadier for the rest of the crew, I communicated with the upper echelon on the current situation. With this, the next phase of the plan will be put into action. Bocage will be renovated with potholes and craters soon enough.

After receiving further instructions from High Command, I resume my duty.

” Gunner, infantries, traverse right. ” I spotted a team of enemy foot-mobiles, trying to make a break for it when things when South.

” Identified. ”

” Hit them with the coax! ”

” Engaging! ” Didn take long for the coaxial machine gun to cut them down.

” Target, ceasefire. Pillbox, traverse right. ”

” On. ”

” Fire! ”

” On the way! ”

” Hit! ” I watch with my periscope as the shell impacts the concrete bunker. I think it knocked someone out as I can see blue uniforms scurrying inside the thing. Some of them remanned the machine gun and return fire at us. Futile, but at least they did not run away.

” Loader, HEAT. Gunner, reengage. ”

With the smoking case dropped out of the breach, Hans quickly put in a new shell. ” Up! ”

” Fire! ”

” On the way! ”

This time, a much more destructive force hit the pillbox. Blowing open a large hole and killing the MG crew stationed inside. As the pillbox is also connected to the main outpost via an open-air concrete tunnel, we effectively create an entryway for the Grenadiers.

” Target, ceasefire. All tanks, report in. ”

The battle dies down when friendly soldiers start clearing the outpost interior. First, they throw in a couple of grenades then troops with submachine guns move in. Seeing that they only encounter sporadic resistance, I think they will fare just fine.

” Hey, I think we did quite well, no? ” Nozo commented as he put the tank to a stop, behind some shrubberies.

”All of us did, 2 to 4 reported multiple kills, same as ours. Sadly, this wasn even a proper fight. ”

” To be honest sir, our role was just infantry support so… ” Hans chimed in. He spoke the truth though, sadly.

” As projected by the upper echelon, I don think we will face any tank till we reach White Rock. ”

Zimmer, who pulls out a cigarette, adds. ” That works for me, unlike you guys, I don want to be on the receiving end of anything that can penetrate my girl here. ”

” While its true that we may not come across a tank, they have their armored cars that can give us issue… What are they called again? ” Hans pondered. He probably didn fully memorize the documents they gave us.

I take up upon myself to remind him. ” AMD. 35, Hans. Thats the name of the armored car. Frankly, I think that thing is much scarier than the tanks the Ustian fielded. ”

Rubert was about to say something when he stop to adjust his headset. ” Chief, order just came in. Barrage is in effect, all groups are to make haste to strike at the stunned enemy. All minor engagements are to be dealt with swiftly with no delay for the full-on assault. ”

” Thats our cue. ” Popping my head outside, I can see the Grenadiers are getting ready to move out. ” All elements, reform formation. The day is still far from over. ”

—————————————————————————-

” Wake… Wake up… FRANCO! ”

A palm slaps the unresponding Franco, startling him awake. With blurry vision, Franco tries to wipe away the dirt and grimes that went into his eyes.

” Hey, you
e finally awake, pal. ” The voice grabbed his attention as his head swiveled in fright. Seeing the friendly blue cape, Franco sighed in relief.

” What happened? ” That was all he could ask.

” .. The Belkan got us with our pants down. They sabotaged most of our radios, and by the time we figured out that our outposts and patrols are down. They shelled us with everything they have. ” Helping me up to my feet, Corporal Louis, says. ” I pulled you out of the now-demolished HQ, thankfully you only got knocked unconscious. ”

” … Thanks. ”

” Don thank me yet, I don think this is over. The barrage stopped a few minutes ago. ” The Corporal said with a grim face.

” What do you mean? ” Still groggy, Franco still can connect the dot.

” Arms up, we
e about to be attacked. ”

” Huh? ” It takes a few seconds before realization dawns on Franco. ” … Shit. ”

” You don say. ”

—————————————————————————-

” FIRE! ” The whole tank recoils. ” Short, add 50! ” With my binocular, I can see the HEAT shell failed to gain purchase by a margin.

” Up! ”

” Fire! ”

” On the way! ” The process repeats. ” Hit! Target! Load HE, traverse left! Hit that MG nest! ” I called out a new target for Zimmer. For the sake of the Grenadiers behind us, that thing is a high-priority target.

” Ammo up! ”

” Identified! ”

” Send it! ”

” On the way! ” The shell hit true, I can see the wooden fortification disintegrate by the explosive force.

” Target! Gunner, engage at will! Rubert, whats the situation on that air support? ”

” They
e already here! That, mortar position will be bombed soon! ”

” They better do it quick otherwise we won have any Grenadier left to escort! ”

The battle for Bocage is in full swing. The vanguard for the assault is divided into five groups with us being part of Group 2. Of all the groups, only Group 5 is not contesting for Bocage as they are responsible for intercepting reinforcement.

Our task is to create a breakthrough for the soldiers behind us to storm the town. It isn going well as they
e pinned down by mortar fire. Fortunately, relief comes in the form of the very familiar Stukas siren. It seems like our aerial observers directed the Stukas true as they didn take that much time to drop their payloads.

Not sure how many ordinances they were carrying but I can feel the shockwave over here, inside a tank.

” Seems like that silenced them. All elements, advance! ” I said on comm. With renewed vigor, tanks and half-tracks pave the way forward while infantries follow closely behind. Occasionally, suppressing fire will come from the MG34s mounted on the half-tracks.

Facing only light resistance, we soon reach the Ustian trench. The formation stops for the Grenadiers to move up and clear the defense line. While we
e covering for them, reports come in from the other group.

” Group 3 and 4 breached the Northern defense line. ” Rubert turns around. ” They will meet up with us at the enemy HQ. ”

” Noted. ” I pop out of my hatch, using my binoculars to scan the buildings ahead.

Bocage roads are well paved but lacking in width so maneuvering vehicles in there isn the best of ideas. All the more so when each road is flanked by brick buildings with some having a noticeable height advantage over us.

While musing on our approach, I was approached by Major Stauffenberg.

” Good work back there, Lieutenant. The trench is secured, up next is getting into the town proper. ” I can see that he saw some action before coming to meet me.

” Yes, sir. What are you planning, sir? ”

” We don have time for formality so lets just skip it. ” He said with a laugh, hoisting his rifle on his shoulder, he continued. ” Armor will split up with each vic picking a route as an entry point. Infantries will cover you boys by clearing ahead. Should we come across any tough nut we can crack, which I think is very likely, you will take point to flush them out. Sound okay with you? ”

” More than okay, sir. It should work out nicely. ” This way, we can prevent unnecessary losses. And I can imagine the later battles, we will use this tactic a lot.

” Thats great then, ” The Major waves for a radio guy, he then disseminates the plan for the rest of his troops. No reason I shouldn do the same.

” All elements, this is 1. ” I communicate with the other three tanks in my platoon. ” Check your map, we will split up and push inward to the center of Bocage. 2 will take the road that flanked the marketplace. 3, you will take the road that goes straight to the town hall. 4, head a bit north, theres a dirt road that leads to the town granary, cooperate with the Grenadiers and clear it. Bit by bit we will make way to the enemy HQ and the other side of the town. Any escapee will be dealt with by Group 5 so you don need to pursue them, less you run into an ambush yourself. While its true that we need achievement to promote, theres no point in that if any of us die. Copy? ”

” ” ” CRYSTAL! ” ” ”

” Good, now get a move on. Grenadiers will fight alongside you so watch your fire! ” I concluded my impromptu briefing. As for our route, we will be heading directly for their military warehouse. And if possible, bag any loot for the record.

With our preparation done, the Major and I return to combat status. All possible entry points on the Southern side of Bocage are about to be breached by either tanks or half-tracks with a lot of grey coats as the vanguard. Suddenly, I remember the briefing I received before we set off.

” You may not know it yet, but what comes next will change the nature of warfare. ” The Princess said. ” Never had the world seen a division like us, one that is so heavily mechanized, so I want you to remember this. Take note of each engagement, learn from them, extrapolate from them what works and what won in a specific situation. And from it, formulate a proper combat doctrine for the later generations of soldiers to marvel at. You heard it correctly, all eyes are on us right now. The Empress is counting on me to answer her trust, and I am counting on you all, to be my sword and shield. So help me be the future of our army and bring glory to Belka! ”

I feel motivated whenever I remember her speech. Our division got a second leash in life thanks to her. We are strong right now, also because of her. And if we perform well, no doubt all of us will be greatly rewarded with honor and glory. Best of all, we can have a page of history dedicated to us only.

” Panzer, march! ” With a passionate shout, I commenced the downfall of Bocage.

—————————————————————————-

” Captain, theres an enemy garrison by the corner. A red bricks building and from the look of it, a machine gun on the third floor, sir. ” A soldier reported.

” They sure picked the location well. That MG overwatches the entire square. ” With no cover at all, Captain Aleph Morrick would be hard-pressed to storm the location where he only had soldiers under his command. Thankfully, with the refit of the division, he can send in some bigger guns.

” Get the half-track upfront. Have them sling two shells at the building. ”

” Yes, sir! ” The Private runs back to their armed transport. The 251 is fitted with a Pak 37. More than enough to punch a hole or two in the garrisoned building. With the rumbling of tracks and engine, the grey armored vehicle steadily moves ahead of the infantry. It pokes out of the corner they are hiding behind, earning itself some scratch marks from the Ustian machine gun. The armor blocked everything so the Pak crew quickly engage the target building safely.

In a short period of five seconds, the cannon sang two times. Peaking out to check the effect, Aleph managed to catch sight of an Ustian that got sent out the window by the shell. Confirming the location MG is silenced, for now, he motioned for the troops to move in.

” Nice shot. ” He said to the gunner on the half-track.

” The guy went flying. ” Said the gunner jokingly. ” Good luck. ”

Nodding before following behind his soldiers, Aleph arrives at the now battered manor. Stacking up next to its walls, one of his men throws a potato masher inside according to procedures. After it goes off, the burly Oni under his lead kicks down the door then they storm in.

Back then, to clear a building, the luckier guy is the one with an **G which proves its worth in close quarter engagement. Now, all soldiers have a trusty sidearm they can rely on to make quick work of the cumbersome Ustians. As a Captain, Aleph has an Mp 28, so he doesn need to pull out his C96, yet.

Inside the manor, now fill with rubbles and corpses, the grey coats are overwhelming the blue ones. Firing a short burst to take down an Ustian soldier, Aleph and a squad of Grenadiers proceed down a hallway while another squad clears the upper floors. In the tight hallway, the C96 pistol has a decisive advantage over the long bolt-action rifle of the Ustian.

Aleph witnessed a Corporal ahead of him that was taken by surprise when an Ustian kicked open a door. The proximity didn allow for anyone except the Corporal to open fire. Fortunately, with his quick wit, the Corporal diverted the muzzle away with one of his hands while shooting the Ustian in the face with the C96. He then proceeded inside the room, a kitchen, and downed another two with the fully automatic feature of the pistol.

That is but one of many examples showcasing the value of a good sidearm the Grenadiers have.

” Clear! ”

” This room is also clear! ”

” The ground floor is clear, sir! ”

After kicking down many doors, Aleph confirms the ground floor is safe for now. A female Sergeant comes down from the floor above and reports.

” Sir, upper floors are cleared. We encounter some resistance and one of us receives a serious wound. ” With a troubled face, she added. ” Im afraid he might not make it. ”

” … Send him back, there may be hope for him in the hands of our medics. ” Losses are unavoidable, Aleph knows that. But he still wants to try, every live matter under his lead.

” Yes, sir. ” After a salute, the Sergeant runs back to her injured squadmate.

Aleph was about to order the rest of his squads to move out when he heard something.

” Wait… Check that wall over there. ” He points at the suspicious wall. Two soldiers come close to it and they confirm his suspicion.

” Sir, I can hear French from the other side. With the topography of this manor, behind this wall is another building. ”

” On the other side is should be a different street. Combat is still going strong there with all the gunfire and whatnot. ” Aleph pondered.

” Jirou! ” He calls out to the Oni behind him.

” Im here, sir. ” The Oni, Jirou, was the one that held two MG-34s back then. He now carries only one but is strapped to the brim with ammo for the thing.

” How good is your barrier spell? ”

” Enough to take a few shots from a rifle, sir. ” The Oni prided himself in being the toughest in the division.

” Good. Private, I want you to go back to the half-track, have them contact the guy on the other street, saying we will clear the Ustian behind this wall for them. Tell them to watch their fire. The rest of you, check your ammo and weapon. ” Aleph ordered.

” Oho, I like your thinking, sir. ” With his left hand outstretched, Jirou created a blue shield similar to a ballistic shield and grabbed it.

” I can just run straight through, right? ”

” And gun blazing, yes. ” Stacking behind the towering Oni, every one of his squad geared up.

” Damn nice. ORA! ” Accompanying by a battle cry, Jirou rams the shield through the brick wall and then some. He stomped an unlucky Ustian beneath his feet when the guy was knocked down by the unsuspecting shield bash.

Wasting no time to bask in the stunned gazes of the Ustians in the room, Jirous machine gun spits out bullets nonstop, clearing the room of another four Ustians.

” Hot damn, this is fun. ”

” Well done, ” Aleph commended. ” spread out, clear the area. ” With a wave of his hand, the group disperses. It didn take long for them to kill the leftover enemy since this is just a two-story building.

As this street isn part of their attack plan, Aleph and his squads only wave at the friendly Grenadiers outside before returning to their task.

” Huh, I guess this small engagement also counts as a learning experience for Close-quarter-combat. ”

Making a mental note to write the entire process down, he continues to give out precise commands for his troops.

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