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A pair of figures in tightly bound dark robes with well-worn boots surveyed the wastes of Sosaldt from near the wreck of an armored vehicle. Whose it was did not concern them- there were many strays and vagrants either displaced by this new war or trailing armies and seeking to profit in one way or another, so they did not appear out of place, though they nor their allegiances could spare a thought for this war. They had other problems on the mind beside the latest conflict between men, petty compared to their and their enemies’ schemes.

They were partners, though one did hold seniority over another, they were not master and apprentice. One of them would normally be enough to overcome most any foe, but they battled increasingly against creatures like themselves- even in what was only meant to be an observation mission, they had to take the cautionary step of not going alone, especially when the matter they investigated was one concerning what must have been an act of power much like their own.

However, they had found no enemy. Yet.

“What a damned mess,” one of the robed figures said to the other. They looked near identical save for that one wore a dark green cowl over their head and covered their face, whilst the other let their face be bared. This one, with an unkempt patchy beard and long, greasy hair. “Do you think it’s their doing?”

“No, they wouldn’t wake up Zvchelles. They’re old things.” The dark green cowled one replied, their voice raspier, near inhumanly so. “The question is if they felt it too, if somebody’s on their way.”

“That’d be a pain in the ass. Somebody’s got to handle it. The fat piece of shit must have been running around for almost a week. What could have woken it up? There haven’t been any quakes here. I asked around and nobody’s talking. Nobody knows anything. Did it just pop out of the ground on its own?”

“If it did then there’s a serious problem,” the cowled one didn’t sound like he believed that theory, “But it’d be something that’s never been recorded happening before. Zchelles don’t wake up on their own. Something has to stink enough, close enough, if the ground itself doesn’t piss them off. So what came around here doing that…”

“This part of Sosaldt is a spiritual desert. Nothing that came from here would have done it. Who else could it be but the Elders?” A pause, as both figures looked to the west. “…Feel that?”

“I do. Somebody’s announcing they’re here. Not one of ours. Should we get them?”

“Nah, I think that’d be a waste of energy. You know how the Circle is when we go after shit on our own, especially with what happened to Dawn’s Lance. Not gonna risk our necks only to get bitched at. Let them clean up this crap for us. No reason for us to get involved. We’ll just keep an ear to the ground.”

------
>>
Berkesseburg-Capital Special Prisoners Complex- 0630 AM, Earlier that day on February 15th, 1933

“Guards are changing shifts, Major,” one of four black coated armed men said from a vantage point, in an appropriated tenement building across from the square where the target of today’s operation was. Said operational area being an ugly blight on what was already a dingy and dank part of the swollen city of Berkesseburg. The Capital of Netilland drew awe for its sheer density coagulated humanity, not its architecture or quality of life. It made it easy to sink into without notice, especially Archduchy Intelligence Office Operatives.

Especially ones as valuable as TGS Assault Teams.

Taktischegruppe-Schwarz was not meant to be deployed in foreign territory, such wasn’t its original purpose at all, being meant solely for domestic operations against dangerous territorial vassals, but the Intelligence Office had evolved quite a bit since Willen had become head of the organization. To restrict the IO’s offensive capabilities abroad was silly, given its demonstrated infiltration talent. So the TGS teams here were not supposed to be here even as far as the Archduke was concerned, but what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. That, and the Major needed them for this. The only way the Netillian Opposition Party leader was going to get out of prison was forcefully, even if the complex’s urban location made getting close simple enough.

This leader wasn’t the Major’s first pick, but her generosity towards a subordinate had resulted in her best man getting badly wounded. It meant she had to take the extra precaution of commanding this personally. Failure would be unacceptable.

“Team Five and Six are position on their overwatch positions to the east, on our entrance and egress point,” the TGS Team Leader said in a harsh whisper to the Major, “Team One and Two have already infiltrated and given the signal that their operatives are in position. We’re ready to begin our assault on your orders.” He thumbed his VM-33 in an unorthodox grip, the gun bearing a specially shortened barrel for concealability and transport. Each team leader was equipped with a Von Muse Machine Pistol, which was already being deployed in territories throughout the Archduchy as a new issue model of submachine gun. Distinctive? Yes, but so was much of the special equipment needed for this, such as the Whisper carbines carried by the overwatch teams or the suppressed pistols every other operative carried (the primary weapons, the submachine guns were only for an emergency), the training grenades that turned out to have an ideal less-lethal effect if detonated close to an unprepared person.
>>
“If they have signaled that they are in position, start immediately,” the Major said, as she held aloft a steel mirror to one of the windows and flashed it three times inwards- then another three times in quick sequence. A response identical to the message sent was relayed, and she stood up to her full height, taller than even the special operative team leader she was standing next to. “Let’s go.”

The guards in the towers of the east side of the complex had been replaced by TGS operatives, whom were simply tasked with minding that this most important tactical infiltration was not discovered until it was too late to counteract. Elite as they were, even all of the TGS operatives with all their emergency armaments would not be able to fend off the wrath of the Capital city’s defenses, should they draw their ire and be unable to escape in time.

The infiltration went off without a hitch, however. Three holes were cut in the perimeter fence with clippers, and the two tactical teams and the Major had reached the side of the East Compound, a three story concrete building housing political prisoners, though they were only here to extract a singular one. More was too greedy, and unnecessary.

An extendable ladder was thrown up to the fire escape of the building- the tactical team was not going to waste time and the element of surprise on storming through any of the entrances. None of the personnel would be expecting an assault from above.

A few groggy service personnel were encountered upon breaching- they were dealt with using close combat techniques and rags soaked in ether. Suppressed pistols still went off with quite a pop, and there’d be actual threats to handle before they got to their target’s cell.

“Clear,” a trooper reported ahead.

“Clear to the right,” another said from an adjacent room.

“Team leader,” the Major relayed to the tactical team commander, “Recall that our extraction from the capital is on a clock. We don’t have all the time in the world. Team Four will secure our rear, extract the VIP now.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the trooper said obediently, hoarsely, “Team One, on me.”

“Engage on sight,” the Major added, “Go.”

Every other contact encountered on the way was dispatched swiftly, especially the patrolling guards, each felled with a storm of suppressed pistol rounds.

One didn’t die easily. He fumbled with his handgun and shot a few rounds towards the Tactical Team- none of them were hurt, and the Major finished him with a patient shot, but the alarm would surely be raised soon.

“Hurry,” she urged the team leader, and she strode forward coolly as the tactical team continued to advance down the hall to the objective’s holding room.
>>
The tactical team surrounded the door, pointed weapons in all directions as the team leader knelt down with a lockpick. “Move,” the Major said as she pushed the man aside, and stepped back from the door. “Hah!” She pivoted on a foot and slammer her foot into the door, flinging it open with a wrenching of steel from the hinges.

The scrawny, abused man within jumped with fright as the Major strode in. “Who in the blazes-“

“President of the Assembly, Herr Hassell,” the Major said in a clipped tone, “On your feet. Your Republic will need you soon.” A very popular man in Netilland before the coup, such an important target wouldn’t have normally been vulnerable in these times, but with the Kommissariat General and General of Public Welfare captured by Wladysaw, the internal defenses and intelligence agencies of Netilland had been thrown into chaos and disarray.

“Who the hell are you?” The man asked, though he got to his feet, recognizing rescue when it came. He had not been treated well in prison, but he was freshly invigorated by this turn in fortune.

The Major saw no need to answer his question. “In fifteen minutes, you will be moved out of the city on prepared transportation to a safe house held by Republican dissidents. You will immediately begin preparations to re-establish the elected government.” Pops from the doorway- more company engaging the TGS troopers, and from the sound of the Team Leader’s weapon crackling, they had come alert. “Move! Team Leader, get rid of those pests and follow us out. We’ve well kicked the hornet’s nest.”

-----

General der Lanz Goldfolger, commander of the Silver lances Armored Division of the Archduchy, had a lot on his mind, as any man in his place would. This was far from the most harrowing battle he’d had- that had occurred before he was even a general, even if it was with the same unit. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t be keeping apprised of events, however- even ones seemingly as small as the unusual ones that had taken place about a week ago, now presented to him by his head analyst, despite that an offensive operation was ongoing. It was important enough, it had been stressed, that he should look at it as soon as possible. In private. That same day, he was now looking through what the Analyst had prepared, in particular, a sheathe of photographs, in a dimly lit break room beside a common room that had been cleared of any other persons. Local architecture suited for quiet reviews.

“So,” the General der Lanz said as he squinted at the first photograph in the stack, “First of all. You think that this was a chemical weapon?”

“That’s all it could have been, General Goldfolder,” the staff analyst said firmly, “The next pictures have various exposure wounds, but they are remarkably similar to Flayer compound wounds. Extreme tissue deformation and chemical burning without vesicant effect, rapid onset. However…”

“However?”
>>
“There was no Flayer residue that we could find, General.”

“Unsurprising. Flayer compound decays rapidly,” Goldfolger went through the photographs slowly, slowly. “It took how long to arrive at the site, and how long for your improvised tests?”

“We still find it curious, sir. I find it curious.” The analyst shrugged, “It’d be convenient for it to be Flayer and to be done with it, however…”
Goldfolder flipped to the next photograph. “This is a Netillian tank.” The next picture. “Its interior. Covered in a residue? Perhaps that is some remnant of the chemical weapon?”

The analyst shook his head. “No. That is, perhaps, however, is something not odd? Look at that and the next photographs. We presumed that the crew had abandoned their vehicles because they lacked chemical protection-“

“Something the Netillians have not shown a lack of.” Goldfolger had fought the Netillians in force before, near six years ago, in the 1927 Netillian invasion of Baou- or, as they would call it, the quelling of a revolt, though the “revolt” had gone on quite some time before they had bothered to mobilize and respond. They had changed since then.

“Indeed, General. Even if this residue was something blowing in, there should be variable accumulation, marks on the hull or seats where the crew would have touched. Yet it seems they were there one moment, then…were not.”

“Then, the residue?”

“One of the junior analysts commented that it might be carbon dust. Charcoal, and…that seems to have been what it was, General, sir.”

The General der Lanz had no response to that, and he flipped through the rest of the pictures. “Burned husks,” he concluded from one picture, though there wasn’t much left to indicate that besides the remnants of clothing and equipment pieces, “An incendiary weapon?”

“Flame thrower tanks were present at that night’s battle, but this was not nearby those. The same carbon residue was inside. More charcoal dust. Look at the flora, as well. Reduced to ash and residue, from a radius within the enemy’s concentration.”

“So you propose that this was a Netillian weapon that found the wrong target?” Goldfolger continued to peer over the pictures, “We have not encountered it anywhere else on the front. There has nor even been deployment of Flayer. Have your men spoken with those present at the battle? Are they certain of where it came from?” His concern was clear- this sort of weapon was a tremendous threat, especially if it wasn’t even known how it had been deployed.

“It was at night, and visibility was further inhibited by smoke and lachrymator compounds necessitating the use of gas masks. None of our men reported seeing what did it, or how, just that they were thankful it was deployed at all, even by accident. Even the men wounded by the weapon’s effects.”
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“None of them observed a thing?” Goldfolger pressed, “Nothing at all?” He flipped to a photograph and pointed along a portion of the waves of destruction over the ground, “Look here. This washes over the trench. Yet none of our men suffered the effects of these more destroyed bodies, have they?”

“…There was one thing,” the analyst swallowed in contemplation, “Captain Sehtz was asked about the events just before that…occurrence. He claimed that a tank officer told him and his men explicitly to take cover approximately ten seconds before the event.”

Goldfolger’s eyes flashed. “Why would that be?” A pause. “Which tank officer? A Mittelsosalian one?”

“No. A Lieutenant Von Tracht. He departed soon after and returned to his unit, Fourth Company of the Reserve Battalion.”

“…That one, hm,” Goldfolger’s brow furrowed, and he scratched his chin slowly, deliberately. “That one…”

“What of Von Tracht, sir?”

“Make a note to assemble whatever we know about him. See if you can ask him directly as well, when the chance comes.” Though Goldfolger knew better than to expect a lower level officer to reliably survive for overlong. Men did not arrive to his unit without being talented and lucky, but in dire times both could be overwhelmed by the sheer peril the Silver Lances were expected to weather.

“If I may ask, sir. Why?” The Analyst was still befuddled.

“It is less him,” Goldfolger said as he rearranged the photos into a stack and handed them back to the analyst, “Than whom he has relation to. Tell me, do you know whom that man is betrothed to?”

“I confess sir,” the Analyst shifted from one foot to the other, bothered, “That I do not follow the personal affairs of ever member of low nobility to cause a slight commotion. He seems unimportant.”

“His family holds but the title of Ritter. They are, as you say, unimportant, though we know better than to judge a man by the circumstances of their birth, don’t we?” The General was of no nobility at all. “Politically speaking, however, as an acquaintance of the Archduke,” a social position that made him aware of plenty of other proclivities he preferred not touch upon in most company, even if he complained about them to his wife and sons, “I am aware of certain important people who matter to the internal workings of our Archduchy. Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht is to be married to Maddalyn Von Blum, daughter of Barnabas Von Blum. Once his favorite, as I was told.”

“What would such a minor noble do to marry into such a house?” The Analyst frowned.
>>
“The patriarch of what remains of Von Tracht did a great favor to Von Blum and the house’s heir,” Goldfolger led up front. The details were a very long story- he tried to keep succinct. He had a point to make, after all. “You might remember that two…perhaps two and one half years past, the heir to Von Blum, Bastian Von Blum, stood accused of murdering the then Crown Prince of Strossvald.”

“Of course I remember. Everybody remembers.” The Analyst thought a moment, then snapped a finger. “Ah! Right. The legal defense managed to prove quite reasonably that that Bastian did not do it. The murderer wasn’t found, though.”

“Indeed. Then, only last year, we were relatively close to the Blumlands, preparing for the operations against Valsten, there was immensely suspect activity occurring in the territory. Troubles with Imperial-backed infiltrators and sympathizers. That was supposedly handled, wrapped up. Yet, there was tell of an unusual amount…suppressed.”

“Are you thinking of issuing an order for this Von Tracht to be taken off the lines so he can be questioned, General?” the Analyst said, cocking his head after nodding thoughtfully.

“Hm? No. I am merely thinking aloud. It is not your place to do anything, remember. This is only related to if we should be concerned about unknown Netillian weaponry. The Judge Above knows they’ve sprung plenty of those upon us this bloody campaign. Any actions we take are merely to preserve this unit and its mission.” After all…Von Tracht was the last descendant of the unit’s very founders. The family had returned to their origins, finally. “I do want whatever can be gathered to be assembled, however. That does not take away from our primary mission. It is of tertiary concern for now. Record the weapon deployment as an unknown Netillian experimental munition that backfired.”

“Yes, General.”

“One more thing, while we have privacy,” Goldfolger pointed to the photos still in the analyst’s hands, “Those tanks, where are they now?”

“Men with papers identifying them with Capital affairs claimed them and took them away,” the Analyst recited.

“I should have known,” Goldfolger grumbled, now in quite an off mood, “Damn Willen. I’ll have to pen a letter telling him to stay the hell out of my operations.”

“Sir?”

“That’s all. You’ve done well. Dismissed.”

-----
>>
Buried under another identity, you trudged towards a band of people who thought you were somebody you absolutely were not. Not Lieutenant, not Kommandant, not even Fairy Boy or whatever other emasculating names Anya came up with for you, because Sergeant Anya Nowicki was Richter Von Tracht’s retinue, and that was not who you were right now, nor for this mission you were soon to embark upon.

Somewhere under the cosmetics, the brass goggles and the heavy fringed woolen scarf, you certainly looked like Richter Von Tracht, but for now all of what made up that man did not apply to the image that had been constructed and laid over top of you. Right now, you were Sleepwalker, an intimidating and fierce weapon of Strossvald’s Intelligence Office. Also, a dead man, but he walked again in your boots in order to lead a band of the IO’s more disposable operatives on an important mission, to make up their debt to Strossvald’s society through risking life and limb for its shadowy secret services. How Sleepwalker acted was up to your interpretation, apparently, but the guidelines you had been given were that he was blunt, brutal, and savage. Not somebody who had to try very hard to be intimidating.

These operatives were not like the spies you had encountered before, nor like any members of the IO you’d met. Mercenaries occupied a portion of the forces now placed under your command, in places such as fire support and staff and noncombatant roles. However, the fighting folk were condemned, largely damaged people with only a few exceptions. They had little choice but to go on this mission, and the preservation of their lives was utterly unimportant compared to the goal of accomplishing the task, which was to penetrate into enemy lines and salvage the crash site of an unusual Ellowian aircraft.

Now it was time to meet them in person. You’d read the limited dossiers on the leaders of this group- the people you were supposed to command on this mission, officers, if one were to allow them such titles. Two leaders of tank platoons, one of an infantry contingent. There were other elements too, but they were not the frontline, not the part that was labeled as disposable.

Two of them were waiting, and you recognized them as you approached with a deliberate steady pace. Eiche and Von Kalderhaus- one seemingly a plain criminal who made the wrong people angry, the other a monster. Mandel was not present, for whatever reason. You’d have to inquire after that, but you weren’t to make small talk with these people anyways. The person you were pretending to be was a frightening sort, one to fear, who suffered no courteous airs. A good fit for these people’s relationship to the IO.
>>
Straight and to the point, you thought as you stood in front of the two. Von Kalderhaus saluted stiffly, as though in reflex. Eiche was relaxed, near slouching, and he had a scowl on his plug-ugly face that made him look like he despised everything in existence. Maybe he was being punished for that, to be here alongside the other man, and in the same position as the woman. The latter a murderer of nobility twice over, the former guilty of even uglier crimes. The same amount of murders, and also, fourteen rapes. Even if this Vars Von Kalderhaus didn’t look it, with a soft, smooth face, a firm discipline in his posture, and despite his record of service, he was only as old as your fiancée.

“You already have the briefing,” you said, trying to sound gravelly, aloof. “Where’s the woman? We don’t have time to dawdle.”

“Got bored waiting,” Eiche said sullenly, “Maybe didn’t want to hang out with Von Rape here, what a surprise that’d be.” Von Kalderhaus twitched. Was that a cringe? Surely a beast would not care what they were called after the sort of thing he’d done. “Is there anything else to say?”

“No.” You answered, “Anything vital can be discussed on the way, over radio. Go to your men, we leave now. We’ll be moving down the line until we’re signaled the exact coordinates of the objective.”

“A moment, Herr Sleepwalker,” Von Kalderhaus said quickly, “I must request, that some small amount of camaraderie be shown among even…our lot. I would request that I be called by my family name or rank and not Von Rape. I will not suffer such a flippant insult, if we are to risk our lives…”

What in the world was this? He sounded like he was pleading…

Eiche’s only response was a wet snort and a spit on the ground.

>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.
>Tell Eiche to not antagonize Von Rape. There wasn’t a pecking order here. You were the only big dog, and that’s how Sleepwalker liked it.
>Remind Kalderhaus that he is obligated to absolutely nothing, and that he should grow a spine. Or else you’ll have his worthless arse tossed out. All of them were replaceable for people who didn’t bitch about being treated like the junk they are.
>Other?

Pastebin for past threads- https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnh
Twitter for announcements and shitposts is @scheissfunker

Sorry that I'm so late posting this today, even if it is the day I said I'd start a new thread. It's only been a month, after all.
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>>4852999
>>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.

Welcome back
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>>4852999
>>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.
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>>4852999
>>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.

It's not like we'd call him Von Rape anyways, don't they have callsigns that will be used over wireless that we can enforce if they continue bickering.

Loving the alternative character perspectives at the beginning of every thread btw.
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>>4852999
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>>4852983
Viska was too good for this world.
That being said, where's my belly-up catgirl Anya at?

>>4852999
>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.
>>
>>4852999
>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.
>>
>>4852999
>>Remind Kalderhaus that he is obligated to absolutely nothing, and that he should grow a spine. Or else you’ll have his worthless arse tossed out. All of them were replaceable for people who didn’t bitch about being treated like the junk they are.
If he doesn't want to be called Von Rape then he has to earn that redemption on the battlefield. His odds of making it back are a bit better than most rapists who wander in front of a gun in Sosaldt.
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>>4852999
>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.
>>
>>4852999
>The character you were couldn’t have cared less. Ignore him and go right to your vehicle. They’d best know to get ready on their own.
sick trips btw
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>>4852999
>Remind Kalderhaus that he is obligated to absolutely nothing, and that he should grow a spine. Or else you’ll have his worthless arse tossed out. All of them were replaceable for people who didn’t bitch about being treated like the junk they are.
>>
>>4852999
>Tell Eiche to not antagonize Von Rape. There wasn’t a pecking order here. You were the only big dog, and that’s how Sleepwalker liked it.
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>>4852999
>Tell Eiche to not antagonize Von Rape. There wasn’t a pecking order here. You were the only big dog, and that’s how Sleepwalker liked it.
Big dick vote for big dick digits.
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>>4853004
>>4853034
>>4853035
>>4853041
>>4853043
>>4853169
>>4853229
Ah, bickering. A load of not any of your business.

>>4853061
>>4853233
A special reminder for the man to get with the program. He could be dead right now, if he wanted.

>>4853360
>>4853897
Quit infighting. There's an enemy out there, and you're both mud as far as I'm concerned.

Writing.

>>4853035
>Loving the alternative character perspectives at the beginning of every thread btw.
Thanks, I like to do it to keep the world wide scale, since it's not like the player perspective would know any of this, but I think I can trust people not to try and metagame knowledge they shouldn't reasonably have.

>>4853041
>That being said, where's my belly-up catgirl Anya at?
Uhhh
I'll have it done before the end of the thread this time.
Hopefully not belly up in the fish way.
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>>4853992
>Thanks, I like to do it to keep the world wide scale, since it's not like the player perspective would know any of this, but I think I can trust people not to try and metagame knowledge they shouldn't reasonably have.

IO deep state shenanigans is a trip for sure
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Update soon, sorry about the full day delay right off the bat.
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Much as you might have liked to give a retort one way or the other, favoring neither side in this considering the necessity of working together to come out of this successful, that simply wasn’t the persona you had adopted. You gave a gruff grunt, shrugged your shoulders, and turned on your heel to go get acquainted with your command vehicle. They’d have to know well enough to get to their own posts to get ready to move.

“Don’t ignore me, you-“ but Von Kalderhaus shut his mouth without you having to give a threatening glare. Eiche didn’t bother wasting any more of his breath either, and you didn’t turn your head at all as you went to the ugly metal box on treads that would be your new home for the next hours.

It wasn’t much to look at- an ugly box with radio masts and what looked like plain junk welded to the outside haphazardly in what could only be an attempt to make it look like a pile of garbage, aesthetically, not literally. The door in the side made it seem more like a hut on treads than a combat vehicle, despite the machine gun sticking out of the hull for self-defense. Its specifications included an “office,” yet you were still surprised when you entered it and found a serviceable, if cramped, booth with a seat and a desk for you, a map already spread over the table with markers on it, and other information pinned up on corkboard around the walls, as well as a radio set mounted on the other. It was almost silly looking- a small aperture was a window to the other crew’s compartment, where a driver and bow gunner resided.

“You two,” you said towards the aperture, “Get the engine running. We have to go.”

The mercenaries jumped to action with stammered apologies. Whether it was because they were caught being lazy or your new persona was that scary was hard to tell. “It’ll be right up, Herr Sleepwalker,” the driver began cranking on an unseen clanking object.

“It’d better,” you said curtly, as you sat at the desk and acquainted yourself with everything in the harsh yellow light in the cabin. There were several different markers with red flags, accompanied with a letter and number code- theoretical locations for the crash site? It hadn’t been very long since the plane went down, according to the IO, so nobody higher up knew where it was. That was the information that was to be transmitted to you on the way.
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Best to send out the call, then. Mandel hadn’t bothered staying to greet you like the others had, after all, so she wouldn’t know until your voice came through on the radio. What were you to call this bunch, anyways? A company? A quick consultation of a leather bound book stuffed with crusty yellow pages told you- the group organization of a band of “mercenaries” such as this was a range of generic terms and deformations of military terms. You recognized a few Anya used, but the more important definition was that the collective group was called…a group. Nice and simple. The name of such being “Red Fangs.” A naming theme likely shared with at least a hundred other small brigand-mercenary groups.

Another book had everybody’s code names. Apparently, you were given the name “Dead Man-“ how appropriate for the person you were pretending to be. Mela Mandel was “Vagrant,” Lared Eiche was “Bandit,” and Vars Von Kalderhaus was “Arson.” The act, not the actor. There didn’t seem to be any deep symbolism- they were simple noms de guerre similar to most in the region, many went by false names rather than their true ones in Sosaldt. How much that would chance with the Republic was yet to be seen.

“Red Fangs,” you said coolly into the radio set, the dials for frequencies already tuned to the “company,” “Sound off. We’re moving out as soon as possible.”

“Vagrant toon, ready.” Mela sounded distant and unperturbed, like she wasn’t really paying attention, but her response was so quick that she couldn’t be accused of not being attentive.

“Bandit toon is all set.” Eiche was no less bothered than before. He’d rather be anywhere but here, you guessed, but considering that he was in a tank, there really were worse positions he could have been in.

A delay.

“…Red Fangs,” you prompted again.

“Arson, standing by.” Von Kalderhaus said quickly, breathlessly. “The men and vehicles are in order.” No apology would be coming from him even if it was warranted. Not that Sleepwalker cared about formalities, you imagined.

“We move north immediately,” you repeated your aims for movement, “Along the route arranged.” That was to say, well behind the front lines, until it was time to divert towards the crash site, when its location was relayed. “Be prepared for a course change.”

Confirmation was elicited from all of the Red Fangs, and you were soon on your way at a decent pace north-westwards. You switched the set to the long range frequency the IO would be announcing your objective’s final location at, according to the nearest pin on the map to it. Each had a name taped around it- phrases that seemed utterly innocuous.
>>
That same map was before displayed other details of area of the front, along with lines delineating where friendly and enemy forces were. Presently, the Reserve Battalion of the Silver Lances and their support engaged this group of Netillians to the front, while the other tank regiments pressed up of either side of this new pocket. The penetration was illustrated by a sloping line from south to north west- the Netillians were collapsing inwards to maintain the integrity of their lines, but they hadn’t gone into full retreat yet. More maps were rolled up in a container in a corner, each to be used in the case you would have to venture to the specific area they were in. They were hasty affairs composed from aerial photographs, but still good to have on short notice anyways. Every predicted location for the objective to crash land in was well behind enemy lines, but that was why such a force had been allocated to you.

Would it be enough? The Netillians in this region had received reinforcement, but both they and the forces sent to help them had been getting at least as battered as your own side was, while the Red Fangs were, as far as you could tell, completely fresh. Out of everybody you’d be the most sleep deprived and hungry. At least you didn’t have to do anybody’s share of fighting proper, only the thinking.

A packet of Pervitin tablets had been placed at one corner of your table. In your own unit, the company leader Von Silbertau hadn’t authorized the use of emergency stimulants, but, the IO must have cared as much about that as they did about ripping you out of your unit. Next to the packet, though- Special Unit Usage- Code Phrase- Chocolates. So all of the combat elements had it too, hm? Not that you were any sort of authority on the subject of drugs, but you did wonder if these troops would really need such a boost.

“So, uh,” one of the mercenary crew driving your vehicle thought to be conversational, “When are we getting word on where we’re going?”

“When you get it,” you answered gruffly enough to discourage further small talk. Half of it was playing your character, but the other half was just so you could keep your head clear. It was a big crashing plane- how hard could it be for the IO to confirm where it landed, anyways? A peek out the cupola in the roof of the office told you at least one somewhat reassuring thing- fog was rolling in. It would be much harder for the Ellowians to simply bomb your objective, though when you opened up the hatch and looked outside further, even now, the Netillian and Ellowian air forces were in fierce competition for these particular skies. Even more so than they had been in the past days.
>>
Rolled 1, 2, 2 = 5 (3d3)

The radio crackled. “Report.”

“Here,” you replied quickly.

“Shrine to Vice. Out.” That would be the only message you got, and you looked through the pins to rediscover the one with that code phrase.

…Ah. That one. You announced the change in course to the Red Fangs, and their marching order, and pace…

“Dead Man,” Von Kalderhaus said after, “Are we permitted to open the chocolates?”

>Rolling 3d3 to see the objective’s and the terrain leading up to its primary terrain type, the final d3 being the objective itself. Maps and such will come after this vote- note that this is terrain for a direct straight shot route, and diverting from a straight shot route for better terrain is possible if you wish to potentially suffer delays.
1- Open Ground- Plains
2- Rolling Hills- the Normal, really.
3- Semi-Urban, or what passes for such, around these parts.
Also-
>Decide order and/or formation of your platoons. Support and their escort will always be in the rear.
>Determine pace. As fast as possible, or relatively deliberate?
>Permit Pervitin distribution?
As a reminder if needed, your force distribution is such-
Unit 1- Mandel- Two type LT-24 light tanks with 3.7cm cannon, one m/24K self-propelled gun with 8cm support gun (Platoon Command Vehicle)
Unit 2- Eiche- Two type NfK-7t medium tanks armed with 3.7 cm cannon, one of them up-armored (Platoon Command Vehicle), and a AdL-AS Belette type light tank armed with a 3.7 cm cannon.
Unit 3- Von Kalderhaus- Forty infantry, in four armored personnel carriers
You also have a pair of mortar carriers as support, but they are in the relative rear along with the salvage troops and their escorting accompaniment- you do not need to divert your three frontline units for their defense.
>>
>>4855298
>Decide order and/or formation of your platoons. Support and their escort will always be in the rear.
Form an inverted triangle more or less with the armour infront screening the APCs
>Determine pace. As fast as possible, or relatively deliberate?
Fast as possible before the fog obscures everything
>Permit Pervitin distribution?
Don't take it ourselves but for the combat people knock themselves out.
>>
>>4855298
>Decide order and/or formation of your platoons. Support and their escort will always be in the rear.
Spearhead with armor in the front. Unit 1 will form the left half of the formation and Unit 2 will form the right half with Unit 3 following them in the middle. Once we reach the hills the units should be ready to break formation and move more independently around the hills, depending on how the situation is when we get off the plains.
>Determine pace. As fast as possible, or relatively deliberate?
Fast as possible across the plains, in the hills slow down to keep together easier for concentrating firepower to take out anything that could be a problem as quickly as possible.
>Permit Pervitin distribution?
Wait to open the chocolates until the group reaches the hills, then feel free.
No urban areas, thank the Judge. Who knows what these junkies could do unleashed on a civilian population.
>>
>>4855298
>Decide order and/or formation of your platoons. Support and their escort will always be in the rear.
Eiche front, then Mandel, then Kalderhaus, then us,
>Determine pace. As fast as possible, or relatively deliberate?
As fast as possible
>Permit Pervitin distribution?
No, too early for that.
>>
>>4855298
Seconding this >>4855370
>>
>>4855370
+1
Clear the plains as fast as possible.
>>
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>>4855394
>>
>>4855370
Supporting, I wonder if the Nets defending those hills will be ordered to pull back to reach the objective first or if they'll decide holding the ground is more important.
>>
>>4855298
>>Determine pace. As fast as possible, or relatively deliberate?
Zoom Zoom
>>Permit Pervitin distribution?
No, their still fresh
>>
>>4855370
Supporting
>>
>>4855316
Inverted Wedge- Two in front, Infantry behind.

>>4855370
>>4855394
>>4855437
>>4855659
>>4856444
Normal Wedge- two echelons.

>>4855387
Column of tanks with the thicker armor in front.

>>4855316
Chocolate sounds delicious. For everybody else.

>>4855370
>>4855394
>>4855437
>>4855659
>>4856444
Delay usage.

>>4855387
>>4856202
Keep off the pills.

Of course, everybody would like to move as quickly as they can.

Writing.

>>4855394
>>4855483
Too bad you got rid of your pet before you could disgust more than one woman with it.
>>
>>4856550
>Too bad you got rid of your pet before you could disgust more than one woman with it.
Easily one of the top five hardest quest decisions made yet.
>>
Update soon, it'll be map time again, of a sort.
Which probably means it will end in far less time than it took to prepare, which admittedly was mostly right before the thread and during.
>>
“Hold off on the chocolates,” you said in response to the request, “They’re for later.” Thank goodness there weren’t any sprawling towns or villages to pass through. Strays and vagrants and looters were common enough, but they at least knew to stay out of the way. People tended to stay home in Sosaldt no matter what blew through, though. Discarded and exiled they may be, but undeserving of having criminals on stimulants roll through. “We’re going into the killing now. Get ready.”

You’d be going as fast as you possibly could while you still had the chance- the first terrain between you and the crash site was an open plain, ideal tank country with high visibility. A good place to make a penetration, but after that the maps indicated that the rolling hills that were the norm of this part of Sosaldt returned, some quite clustered together. As for the formations, the tanks were arrayed like the blade of a spear, with the infantry transports behind them. Even though none of the tanks under your command compared to your own personal mount, they still constituted a formidable force. Six tanks of any sort were nothing to scoff at.

The command segment of your force, consisting of your vehicle, the pair of 8 centimeter mortar carriers, the salvage crew, and your mercenary escorts, trailed roughly two hundred meters behind the main force. The mortar carriers could engage targets just over a kilometer away with respectable accuracy, according to the formation files. You didn’t need to cling tightly to the people doing the dirty work.

Chocolate uniformed, dusty Republic troops manning hastily dug trenches were passed on by- they were sparse, much like how the overextended and withdrawing enemy was, because the fight was not here, it was further north. The Netillians had been holding out here because of the necessity for stronger troops to force the spearheads forward, but now that you had come here with the strength you had? They’d be in for a challenge indeed.

It did not take long for a response to show itself as the Red Fangs charged forth towards enemy lines, delineated by earthworks on the open plains, though their distance and the encroaching fog made it hard to tell exactly where they were and how many of them there were, only that they were certainly not running off. Yet.
>>
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“Hey, Dead Man,” Eiche’s voice crackled over the radio, “Got tanks, low, flat looking things. Three of them.”

Low and flat? You flipped through the vehicle identification book in this office quickly. Maybe you’d steal it after this, though you were sure of what it probably was anyways. Yes, there, an NfK-7k. There were variants with 3.7 centimeter cannons, as well as 5 centimeter cannon variants. The latter would be quite dangerous to your team, and even the former were a tough target for most of your formation’s weapons. Besides Mandel’s toon lead vehicle which was armed with an 8 centimeter low velocity cannon, dangerous to armor if it used its special high explosive plastic munitions, all of the tanks were armed with 3.7 centimeter cannons themselves, and the lighter half of them were not armored to resist such.

“Distance,” you recognized Eiche’s call out.

“Five to six hundred meters. We’re in combat range.” Or at least, as far out as one could shoot and reasonably expect to hit something, without very good gun optics. “We’ll turn and face ‘em on your order.”

>Command your group. The objective is to reach the east side of the map and progress towards the crash site objective.

As the fog grows thicker, it will be more difficult to engage enemies at range, though for now, the effect is negligible. At ranges over four tiles, the accuracy of your tanks’ general armament drops off severely, and the same applies for infantry weapons over two tiles, though the Marksman modifier increases this range by one tile of 100 meters.

Your units are in groups currently, but can be split up into lone vehicles/squads if desired.

While your command section does not need to be directly with the group, and can be up to three hundred meters away and still count as adjacent for map crossing purposes, your vehicles are still very much present. It may be prudent to not expose yourself unnecessarily. Your escorts can defend you effectively against small scale infantry attack, but little else. Your mortars require a turn to prepare to fire, but can strike any area on the map with smoke or high explosive.
>>
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>>4857902
Smoke and bypass.
Infantry fights mounted.

That is if the mortar carriers can fire in a timely fashion (ie no need to deploy). Regardless the northern defensive emplacements are to far to engage us if we egress south and east. And the rocks in the middle of their line break LOS from any guns up there.
>>
>>4857951
>Your mortars require a turn to prepare to fire
Guess I cant read.
>>
>>4857902
Alright, have the tanks wheel around and face the enemy NfKs. Get the mortars ready to fire smoke rounds in front of the NfKs to blind them in preparation for our tanks rushing them. I want the APCs to maintain as much distance from the enemy armor then break for that grassy patch near the bottom of the map and check to see if there is anyone waiting there for a clever ambush. If everything goes peachy hopefully the fog will thicken enough during the fight that we won't have to worry about accurate fire from anything at the trench line.
>>
>>4857951
>>4857968
A combination of these plans should work. Smoke the enemy tanks, use the concealment of the smoke to rush our tanks up to them and overwhelm them at close range using force of numbers. Smoke the southernmost enemy positions while the tank battle is occurring. Then the company/group passes the enemy positions to the south under cover of the smoke and our tanks.
>>
>>4857902
Those are some really nice tanks, tanq.
Also poor Eiche, Jesus Christ.

>>4857951
>>4857968
I'll support these, distance is not our ally if we genuinely want to fight the NfK-7ks.
It's be better if we smoke them as the tanks are charging them, then have them change course once the smoke is thick enough. Want to try and maintain our speed if we can.
>>
>>4857951
>>4857978
Supporting
>>
>>4857951
>>4857968
>>4857978
>>4858050
>>4858093
Smoke in the face of the tanks, then in the trenches- pass along south.
Update on the way,
>>
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“Vagrant, wheel your toon over to point the formation towards those tanks. I’ll blind them with smoke, then Bandit and Vagrant will engage those enemy tanks from the front. Get in close and let ‘em have it. Arson, swing south and kill anything in that tall grass.”

“I copy.” Mandel said before Eiche, “Bandit.”

“I’m not deaf, woman. That smoke better come quick, dead man. They’ll be in firing range real soon, not that I’m that worried.” Eiche did, after all, have an up-armored vehicle.

“My unit is moving,” Von Kalderhaus said after. He didn’t have much to do yet- but you intended to make full use of the most dangerous of your troops for what good purpose could be extracted from them now.

Back to your local headquarters communications. “Mortar section. Do you copy?”

“Copy, copy,” a strong Valsten accent. Maybe East Valsten? You had no idea. “Where do you need the bombs?”

“Half a klick east,” You gave more specific coordinates, “Between where our tanks and their tanks will be in those fields. Five rounds smoke from the both of you. I want the fog in early.”

“Got it, boss. On its way.”

It would take a bit of time for the mortar carriers to lay in their targets and for the bombs to travel, but you guessed they would hit right before any shooting would start. Otherwise, you’d be finding out fast enough if these were the 3.7 centimeter or 5 centimeter gun variant.
>>
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A lull in communications. Then, as you stood on the cupola stand to get a look out, you saw the smoke billowing out in the distance among the dust clouds kicked up by the armor formations.

“Just in time, Dead Man,” Eiche said with some new appreciation in his grumpy tone. “Hey, Vagrant, let’s get in their faces.”

“Anti-tank guns sighted,” Mandel said rather than making any agreement, with a level and dispassionate tone. “To the northeast and direct east. At edge of engagement range in earthworks. Three point seven centimeter type.” More precise coordinates were approximated. “Permission to divert and engage.”

Such meant leaving Eiche to handle the tanks on his own. Perhaps he could do that, but the anti-tank guns were relatively far. They could fire, but could they hit effectively compared to the closer threat of the NfK-7ks?

“Arson is at the brush. No contacts.” Von Kalderhaus said. Nobody to the south? Well then…

>Order Mandel and Vagrant Toon to keep helping Bandit. The tanks were the greater threat.
>Allow Mandel to engage the anti-tank guns, but from far away. Distance was a better friend against such guns as these.
>Have Mandel and her toon move up to engage the guns from a proper distance. Dug in as they were, you had to be closer to hit reliably.
>Other?
Also
>What to tell the infantry to do?
>Orders for support? Remember that there is a delay.
>>
>>4858695
>>Order Mandel and Vagrant Toon to keep helping Bandit. The tanks were the greater threat.


>Orders for support? Remember that there is a delay.
Mortars suppress that anti-tank gun
>>
>>4858695
This >>4858711
>>
>>4858695
>>4858711
Solid plan
>>
>>4858695
Supporting >>4858711
>>
>>4858711
>>4858695
>>
>>4858695
>>4858711
This and
>What to tell the infantry to do?
Have the infantry move and deploy by those two big rocks for cover and see if they can get some fire onto the AT gun with the marksmen squad, have the rest of the squads move into the grass towards the trench line and harass the trench if they can but mostly they should stay in the grass and wait for the situation to develop.
>>
>>4858769
Why are we wasting time engaging this defensive line? Its not our job to effect a breakthrough here. Im against dismounting and wasting further time with static defenses we can bypass.
>>
>>4858795
My intent was not to actually storm the defensive line, but to have the infantry move to a place where they will still be relevant to the fight. The APCs would already be ahead of the tanks so if the tank fight goes well the infantry can just mount back up with the APCs and keep going and I don't think any time will be lost. If things do not go well however, I thought it would be a good idea to have the infantry in a place where they can put pressure on that AT gun.
>>
>>4858828
+1 on the AT pressure.
We gotta keep pushing.
We are running on borrowed time.
>>
>>4858711
Second. Maybe a mix of smoke and HE to both blind and suppress the gun crews would be best. Also remind our tanks that we won't waste all our mortar shells here so the sooner they knock out those enemy tanks the sooner they can move south and get out of range. That should be some decent motivation for them.

>>4858828
I'd rather the infantry spend that time clearing the grass properly rather than rushing through it to engage the AT gun, which shouldn't be a problem anyway. Especially since we know the Netillians to use those patches of grass for concealment, and getting in small arms range of the AT gun means that our infantry will also be in range of whatever else they have in those trenches, which is an unnecessary risk.
>>
>>4858711
Supporting
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

>>4858711
>>4858713
>>4858728
>>4858756
>>4858767
>>4858769
>>4858903
>>4858945
Tanks on tanks, mortars on AT Gun. Presumably the closer one.

>>4858828
>>4858858
Get the infantry to harass the north line.

>>4858795
>>4858903
Against this action?

Hm. Flipping a "coin." One is harassment protocol, the other is remaining more mobile, I suppose, and clearing out the open ground.
>>
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Rolled 87, 88 = 175 (2d100)

“Keep clearing out that area, Arson,” you said, “I want no surprises. Vagrant, help Bandit with the tanks. The mortars will handle the anti-tank guns.”

“Yes sir.” Mandel’s voice had no relief or disquiet about it- it was unnerving in an odd way. Hilda spoke in a similar way where she suppressed her emotions, but there was something behind that- it was odd to say, but you felt nothing from this voice.

“Delay a bit, Vagrant,” Eiche said, “I’ll go south of the cloud and you go north. No matter what they do then they’re screwed.”

You left your platoon commanders to their task and called up the mortars, giving them the location of the anti-tank guns and telling them to give them two high explosive shells and two smoke shells each. Would it have been better to concentrate on one? Perhaps, but you had the idea to smoke them out, too. They didn’t need to be destroyed, then. Even if the white phosphorous of the smoke didn’t burn them out, they wouldn’t be able to see your tanks through that, even without factoring in the mist turning into fog.
Though there’d be a small delay. A small delay you hoped wouldn’t be a mistake, as your mortars found their targets and sent the shells on their way…

>Rolling 2d100 for AT Gun attacks. One is DC roll under 55, the other is DC 25- the closer and further ones. Distance penalties increased by mild fog.
>>
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Rolled 1, 20, 99 = 120 (3d100)

The sound of guns firing- but your platoon leaders reported no hits.

“There is nobody here, Dead Man,” Von Kalderhaus complained, “I guarantee it.”

Good to know. Von Kalderhaus sounded like he’d been asked to waste his time, but the Netillians had shown their ability to use tall grasses as effective cover in the fighting a few days ago. Perhaps that was their elite, and you could hope you were not fighting them here, but you couldn’t be too careful, could you?

“Enemy in sight.” Mandel reported. “Three fixed gun types.”

“I’m coming right up on them, Vagrant,” Eiche said. “Looks like they’re waiting for us!”

The first tank engagement. The mortar rounds had gone out, and you could assume that the anti-tank guns had been disrupted, but now you’d have to depend on your tankers’ abilities, and hope against that of the Netillians. The odds seemed in your favor, but anything could happen. There wasn’t a penalty for not succeeding in this mission, but…you wanted to win, not to go crawling back to the IO with your tail between your legs. Even if these people were condemned anyways, what sort of commander would you be if you threw even their lives away?

>Given the close range of this engagement, hitting is practically guaranteed. So you’ll be rolling for initiative instead. The Netillians have an initiative bonus of 15. Mandel’s command vehicle has a penalty of 15 due to having no turret and having to move to engage (moving only one tile does not give an aim penalty). Rolls will be in order of the unit number- ie, Vagrant 1-3, then Bandit 1-3. Enemy dice here will be first against Vagrant, then the other two against bandit. Attacks are made in order of initiative rolls here.
Give me 2 sets of 3d100, Higher Better.
>>
Rolled 39, 74, 51 = 164 (3d100)

>>4859815
>>
Rolled 24, 42, 67 = 133 (3d100)

>>4859815
>>
>>4859815
F
>>
>>4859830
that 99 sucks, otoh they did roll a 1 so...
>>
>>4859821
>>4859828
1-Enemy 3
2-Vagrant 2
3-Bandit 3
4-Vagrant 3
5-Bandit 2
6-Enemy 2
7- Bandit 1
8- Vagrant 1
9- Enemy 1

Lucky you, in a way.
Updating.
>>
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The sounds of a tank battle ensued, brief, but a chaos of distant cannon and machine gun fire. The cannon fire wasn’t over yet when Eiche reported in.

“Got ‘em. One was quick as hell, my number two took a bad hit to the hull. They can still fight and move, at least.”

“That was quick,” you observed.

“The enemy was turned in different directions,” Mela said coolly, “They could not hide their vulnerabilities from every knife stabbing at them. My men had nothing to fire at but weak points.”

“Yes, yes, you did passably well,” Von Kalderhaus said impatiently, “What now? I’ve seen nobody and I’ve no reason to suspect there are any further to our east. My marksmen claim that they don’t see anybody close in that direction.”

Awfully mouthy for somebody who had not shown their worth yet.

>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
>Secure your flanks while you could- move to get out of range of the north gun and attack the south anti-tank gun while they were still blinded and unsteady, using your infantry.
>Eliminate the anti-tank guns from a safe distance using your tanks and mortars, deliberately and decisively. There were only two of them- you had huge superiority of arms.
>Other?
>>
>>4859842
>Eliminate the anti-tank guns from a safe distance using your tanks and mortars, deliberately and decisively. There were only two of them- you had huge superiority of arms.

Dismounting will take too long but I don't want to leave the guns to hit us on the return journey or worse pincer us between any pursuing QRF.
>>
>>4859842
>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
We're not returning the same way we came in, that's spec-ops basics.
>>
>>4859842
>Other
Silence the southern AT gun and push on east
>>
>>4859847
The best option.
>>
>>4859847
This
>>
>>4859842
>>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
>>
>>4859842
>Secure your flanks while you could- move to get out of range of the north gun and attack the south anti-tank gun while they were still blinded and unsteady, using your infantry.
>>
>>4859842
>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
The HQ element might want to either gun it or head through the grass. I don't want to be the only thing those AT guns see if they find a way to poke back out through that smoke and find that all the hard targets have left and they only have soft support vehicles to shoot at.
>>
>>4859842
>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
>>
>>4859842
>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
Pop off one more HE mortars strike at the southern gun then push on.
Time's a-wastin'
>>
>>4859842
>>The active threat against you had been neutralized. Make a rush east- perhaps you could slip away before the anti-tank guns were ready again.
Lob some more mortar rounds at the southern gun for good measure while the tanks move out of range.
>>
>>4859844
Wipe the rest of the threat out, completely.

>>4859846
>>4859893
>>4860257
>>4860332
>>4860395
>>4860418
Go on as fast as you can.

>>4859904
Have the men do their work.

>>4859847
>>4859850
>>4859855
Finish the closest gun, and move right along.

Alright then, writing, as I should do earlier in the day.
What exactly does a catgirl wear anyways
>>
>>4860661
Loincloths
Maid outfits
Silk robes
Suits
Oversized winter coats
>>
>>4860661
nothing
>>
>>4860661
>What exactly does a catgirl wear anyways
A thick coat of fur
>>
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“Keep on pushing through,” you said in a flat tone to the Red Fangs unit as a whole, “We’ve dealt with the threat. Hurry onwards east, avoid getting into more fights around here. I’ll have the mortars suppress the south gun and follow you.”

“I copy.”

“Sure, Dead Man.”

“We will reform the formation on our way,” Von Kalderhaus declared, seizing upon an action that you didn’t disagree with.

Good enough. You spoke on the frequency the headquarters section was on, which you’d relay to your vehicle’s crew as well, after. “The mortars are to fire a barrage of two shells each on the southern target I stated earlier. After that, we catch up to the rest of the unit as quick as we can, swinging south. Do it now.” Sleepwalker was declarative, not diplomatic, you tried to remember. There were no friends to make here, as far as the IO was concerned, and thusly, as far as anybody was likely concerned.
>>
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Rolled 84 (1d100)

As the shells went out, you heard a contact report from Mandel. “Riflemen, hiding amongst the stones to the north,” she said as though reading off a list.
“We have the south covered. The north is the only presence of enemy.” Von Kalderhaus said after.

“You have your orders,” you said, “They will be maintained. Keep going-“

“Anti-tank rifle fire.” Mela said, and you blinked, paused, but there was no hesitation to be had now.

>Enemy DC roll under of 25
>>
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“Ineffective.” Mandel reported, and you breathed out again. There was still some way to go, and you had a feeling this wouldn’t be the hardest it got by far.

“Good. Keep moving,” you said, and you returned to the map, though focusing on it was hard with the vehicle crew doing their utmost to haul absolute tail off road, attempting to catch up to the combat element of this company while you could claim to not be being interfered with by the enemy.

The next area was a piece of work. Hilly terrain, with sparse woods over top a few of them, and what must have been an anti-tank position facing south on the southernmost hill. A pivot in a fallback defense, presumably, as the hill to that south hill’s west had trenchworks on it too. An uphill fight through the trenches to the south, or fighting through wooded terrain going north- or, there was a valley that ran between these two obstacles, between the hills. You could aim for that, as well…or you could lose some time and swing north more, where there was apparently a village, but on rather flat terrain…

>Go through the sparse wooded hills north. They were not as thick as Ellowian forests could be by far, and thus not nearly as intimidating, though still close ground…
>This company was a powerful one. You could smash through these rear line fortifications easily. Line things up south.
>Aim to go right down the middle, south of the wooded hills, but behind the trenchworks.
>Divert northwards, for easier ground, though perhaps unwilling combatants, or noncombatants.
>Other?
Note that this is for your approach, your starting point on the next map- it isn’t an absolute declaration of the maneuver you must follow.

>>4860722
You are absolutely incorrigible.
>>4860725
As are you depending on the interpretation.
>>
>>4860777
>Aim to go right down the middle, south of the wooded hills, but behind the trenchworks.

Not looking forward to the return journey already, considering the amount of stuff that seems to be in the way.
>>
>>4860777
>>Go through the sparse wooded hills north. They were not as thick as Ellowian forests could be by far, and thus not nearly as intimidating, though still close ground…
Von Kalderhaus seems awfully eager to prove himself, let's give his infantry something to do. Readjust the formation so the infantry are screening ahead of the tanks and let's head through the cover of the forest.
>>
>>4860777
>>Aim to go right down the middle, south of the wooded hills, but behind the trenchworks.
Do we have incendiary mortar shells?
>>
>>4860777
>Aim to go right down the middle, south of the wooded hills, but behind the trenchworks.
>>
>>4860790
Supporting
>>
>>4860777
>>Go through the sparse wooded hills north. They were not as thick as Ellowian forests could be by far, and thus not nearly as intimidating, though still close ground…
Call me old fashioned, but I don't like choosing to go through an obviously fortified position if I don't have to.
>>
>>4860777
>Go through the sparse wooded hills north. They were not as thick as Ellowian forests could be by far, and thus not nearly as intimidating, though still close ground…
>>
>>4860777
>Divert northwards, for easier ground, though perhaps unwilling combatants, or noncombatants.
>>
>>4860661
Cat ears, duh

>>4860777
>Go through the sparse wooded hills north. They were not as thick as Ellowian forests could be by far, and thus not nearly as intimidating, though still close ground…
>>
>>4860777
Go through the sparse wooded hills north. They were not as thick as Ellowian forests could be by far, and thus not nearly as intimidating, though still close ground…
Considering how many anti-tank rifles and guns the Netillians seem to goddamn have it'd be nice have some cover from long range. Plus we have 2 close combat brute squads and 1 lucky squad which should help.

I'd be worried if we tried to thread the needles we'd caught between hidden forest enemies and those in the trenches that would turn to face us.
>>
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>>4860784
>>4860797
>>4860801
Thread down the valley, down in between.

>>4860790
>>4860923
>>4860943
>>4861005
>>4861073
>>4861086
Take a walk in the woods.

>>4861018
Go to town. Literally.

Update coming.
Also no heavy petting.
>>
>>4861875
Good.
Now do Dog Hilda
Bonus points if you make her a bitch.
>>
Forgot to mention-

>>4860797
>Do we have incendiary mortar shells?
Sort of. The smoke shells utilize white phosphorous, which burns very hot and gouts out thick white smoke. Things are still quite flammable in places, particularly with tall grass, of course.

>>4861891
I'm unsure if I understand the difference between a dog and a bitch in this context.
>>
>>4861910
A bitch is specifically a pregnant dog.
>>
>>4861875
Amazing job, that right there, is why you're the best boss!
>>4861891
>pregnant dog girl Hilda
>not pregnant dog girl Owl 3
>>
>>4861875
This picture is glorious. Thank you. I didn't think you'd actually draw this
>>
>>4861875
Anya does seem to like stick grenades Dirlewangya when?
>>
What was called a wood in Sosaldt was a sparsely populated sprawl of trees of varying scrawniness, alongside a few gnarled ancients that avoided being harvested through looking too ugly and invulnerable to do so. They were not like the tight fit forests of Ellowie- they did not intimidate you, even if they still provided plenty of cover for enemies to spring out of. It was still a superior choice to attacking a fortified position on a hill by your measure, and if you tried to go between, you anticipated being attacked on two sides from superior ground instead of assaulting just one contingent, though that way would have certainly been the swiftest, despite the risk. Yet, this was the way, you decided. Von Kalderhaus seemed restless, after all. The infantry could earn whatever the IO compensated them with by screening your troops in this terrain, especially considering two of the squads were explicitly trained and equipped for close combat.

On the way towards this next set of landmarks, naught stood in your way. There were encounters, but they saw your force and stayed well out of the way, or moved out, or hid. A few tankers entertained themselves by shooting shots at supply dumps or carts, and would Sleepwalker reprimand them for wasting ammunition? Probably not.

“Vehicles,” Mandel said suddenly, “Armored cars. Unknown type.”

Unknown type? “How many?” You demanded, “What direction? Are they attacking?”

“Three,” Mandel answered your questions in precise order, “Northwest. No. They’ve withdrawn.”

Three was enough to cause you trouble, and there was no doubt in your mind that this wasn’t the last you’d seen of that bunch. Were they part of a reaction, or were they investigating the ruckus you’d caused on the way in? The enemy certainly knew you were here at this point. You wondered if you were enough of a threat that the local commander would throw whatever he could scrounge up in your way, even if he didn’t know your objective. They couldn’t have guessed that it was the wreck of a crash-landed Ellowian plane, so would they think this was some sudden offensive spearhead? In such a case he’d have to stop you somewhere.
>>
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Up ahead, you saw the trees and the hilltops finally loom into view. The Red Fangs didn’t speak much, and your vehicle’s crewmen didn’t bother you any further besides telling you the vehicle’s course. The fog thickened, and you felt tense, restless. A familiar feeling now. It was too quiet- not in a normal sense, of course, the sound of engines, tread, and ground tread upon created plenty of sound, but it what wasn’t around. Gunfire close by, any boom of artillery or mortar shells striking the ground, and especially lacking was the sound of any thrum of aircraft engines dueling for the skies. At least that meant the Ellowians weren’t likely to have destroyed your objective. When the formation motored on by abandoned defensive positions, quite meager ones, you knew for sure that you were expected. By what, though. Surely you were too quick and the local forces too strained to throw something into your face powerful enough to stop you?

Time to find out.

>Plan your maneuvering. Note that fog and wooded terrain limit your visibility greatly- don’t expect to get a solid view on something until you’re right up on it, but on that token, they won’t see you, either.
>>
>>4861918
I see. Well, she is four months in, after all.
>>4862018
As is the Luftpanzer girl but, a Winnifred never struck me as a floppy eared sort...
>>4862044
>I didn't think you'd actually draw this
It was within my tolerances and it was wanted, so that's all there is to it.
>>4863043
Stick grenades are relatively standard in universe, though certainly not the only thing around. Anya could go either way with grenades- ones without handles are easier to hide in clothes, for example, even if they don't have the extra leverage she appreciates given her smaller frame.
Dirly Wang's Warcrimes Gang is a bit beyond me though, at least with that character.
>>
>>4863721
Aim to push through the woods directly east, since I'd bet the road is probably well watched. Infantry to dismount and screen for the armour. Get the mortars to fire WP into those trenches to south as a diversion/flushing any entrenched infantry out.
>>
>>4863729
Supporting >>4863733
>>
>>4863733
+1
>>
>>4863733
Good enough plan, but watch the flanks.
>>
>>4863733
>>4863788
>>4863797
>>4863818
Unanimous direct eastwards- get a screen going, give the mortars something to do.
As a side note, there aren't roads on this map, the tone variation is to highlight elevation differences, the darker parts are just particularly lower. Perhaps damper if things weren't as dry.
Speaking of, I should note that while grassy terrain is extra flammable, these forests are not particularly so without concentrated effort.
Anyways, updating.
>>
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“Advance straight east,” you instructed the Red Fangs, “I want Arson to screen the tanks. Dismount when we arrive at those woods.”

“Aye, Dead Man,” Von Kalderhaus said. Nobody objected to him taking the lead- let him have it, the others must have thought.

“Mortars,” you said, listing off the coordinates of what aerial photographs suggested was an entrenched position to the southeast, “Give me smoke rounds on that. I want a diversion.” The smoke itself wasn’t much of one, but the white phosphorous used to create that smoke on quick demand had a way of scattering itself all over the place in burning hot fragments. The toxic nature of the dense white smoke aided the unpleasantness of being shelled with it, though it wasn’t really a dedicated antipersonnel munition, it was showier than plain high explosive.

The mortars made thumping noises behind, and you pored over the map again. These woods were quite thick- not unheard of in Sosaldt, but unusual, given its drier climate. Somewhere you’d heard that clutches of trees in these lands often indicated water in the ground some ways below, either that or the trees here held on to their water so stubbornly that their sap was poisonous, but you didn’t even recall where you’d heard either. One or the other, maybe both. What mattered now was that the trees were indeed here, and plenty dense enough to hide enemies combined with the fog now plenty thick. You could see about one hundred meters or so forward, but beyond that may as well have been a grey-white wall.

“Stop us in this copse before the thick of it,” you told your drivers, “We aren’t following them into these woods so quick.”

As the command and support section came to a stop and the combat elements disappeared into the woods and fog, you made a mental note, moved markers on the map in your vehicle (strongly magnetic, to counteract the thing’s unsteady motion), and tried to peer through binoculars to see both through the fog and woods, futilely.
>>
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So instead, you looked around at the support element and its escort while the unit leaders fed you updates into your headset. Their scarves, on closer notice, had a subdued, dark red down-facing triangular pattern about them; an identifier beyond the grey jackets and dark pants (the former of which made them look vaguely Ellowian, even) that they were ostensibly Republic Auxiliaries, relatively independent mercenaries in allegiance with but not directly equipped by Mittelsosalia. Had the IO gone that far in their game of pretend, or was this a group proper? Your curiosity got the better of you.

“You people,” you said to the crew of your vehicle flatly, “What outfit are you from? Before this.”

“I uh.” The driver gulped, and the codriver said further,

“Is there one we…shouldn’t be from?”

“I don’t care,” was your response. Sleepwalker probably wouldn’t care, you thought. He didn’t seem a type for long term grudges, perhaps?

“Well, a few years back-“

“I don’t want your life story,” you cut the driver off, “I meant recently.”

“Oh.” The driver sounded both relieved and concerned at once, “Nothing, Herr Sleepwalker. Independent contracting per job. Drifting, I guess. Same with my buddy here. Signed on for…this thing.”

This thing presumably being the “Red Fangs.” “Alright.” You didn’t ask for anything further, and the crew didn’t talk to you more, though they did whisper to each other.

Suddenly, an exchange of fire ahead.
>>
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Rolled 24, 57, 60, 67 = 208 (4d100)

“My southern squads, Enemies south and east!” Von Kalderhaus reported, “Numbers unknown, but there must be as many of them, or more…an ambush. It must be a platoon!”

So it began. Yet, as you looked at the map, where were the other enemies..? Further in the woods? Where? Regardless, your troops had an enemy to fight now, and you were in place to tell them how to go about it.

>Concentrate all your forces to destroy this encounter- move everything south and right in.
>Keep moving in a relative line- Bandit would support the troops in battle right now, but the north units would continue onwards.
>Advise a retreat for the south units and maneuver your others to support them- who knew what else was ready for you to maneuver right into.
>Other?
Also, give me 2d100, one for each of the south infantry squads, for attacks against the enemies here. DC roll under 60 for Squad 2, and DC roll under 40 for Squad 4. Enemy rolls are at the top against you- DC 55 roll under for all four, first two against Squad 2, the other two against Squad 4, though Squad 4 ignores the first hit against them of any attack because of their trait.
>>
Rolled 37, 21 = 58 (2d100)

>>4864231
>Keep moving in a relative line- Bandit would support the troops in battle right now, but the north units would continue onwards.
The north units can move up to hit the flank of the enemy. Have the mortars prep to fire smoke, if the north units find another element I want that new contact smoked so the north units can concentrate more on helping our engaged elements. If there is nothing to find north mortars can smoke the southernmost infantry contacts.
>>
Rolled 75, 4 = 79 (2d100)

>>4864231
>Keep moving in a relative line- Bandit would support the troops in battle right now, but the north units would continue onwards.
>>
>>4864231
>>Concentrate all your forces to destroy this encounter- move everything south and right in.
The last thing we want is to get bogged down fighting in these woods and give more enemies time to locate and intercept or ambush us, so we should crush this resistance quickly using our superior numbers. Our forces are expendable and time is against us so there's no need for delicacy. Pound the enemy position with a mortar barrage then send everyone in.
>>
Rolled 95, 55 = 150 (2d100)

>>4864231
>Advise a retreat for the south units and maneuver your others to support them- who knew what else was ready for you to maneuver right into.
>>
>>4864231
>Concentrate all your forces to destroy this encounter- move everything south and right in.
>>
>>4864247
I'll support this, I'd just advise the advancers to do so cautiously. The Nets absolutely have more units she's in those woods.

Best case the units we are engaging will retreat and we can push in force through the woods. Unfortunately the worst is we get bogged down as more units encroach behind us while we deal with whatever is waiting in front, caught between them all.

Maybe if we get lucky and shatter these infantry it will make the Nets more cautious. Hopefully the fog is already doing that.
>>
>>4864247
>>4864269
>>4864489
Up and even.

>>4864369
>>4864485
All eggs in this basket.

>>4864471
Pull back and lead in.

Writing.
>>
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“Red Fangs, forward,” you said, trying to keep cold, icy. Sleepwalker wouldn’t feel unease at his men being ambushed, you forced upon yourself. “Get up in line. I’ll have the mortars firing south. Press on.”

Affirmatives all around, save for Von Kalderhaus, who was quite occupied. Yet, his reports sounded determined- he was not suffering a defeat in this initial exchange. Not that that meant victory- only that his force stood stiff in resistance against the foe. The exchanges of gunfire certainly indicated such well enough.

Only about a minute after the shots were first exchanged, you heard Von Kalderhaus report, “The northern contingent has encountered enemy infantry!”

So that was all the infantry engaged. If your tanks simply moved forward, they would aid Von Kalderhaus in utterly crushing them, surely. “Vagrant, Arson. Forward, help Arson wipe them out,” you said to the Red Fangs.

Things didn’t turn out that way, though.

“Something else is coming.” Mandel said calmly. “They will attempt to flank us, I know it.”

A distant familiar choomping sound.

“They’re shootin’ between us with smoke!” Eiche complained.

Of course, you thought with a frustrated grunt. “Prepare to put on masks. They might have lachrymator gas.”

“Of all the fuckin’…” Eiche began to grumble, but he cut himself off. “Shit, something’s comin’ here, too. Bet it’s some of those cars.”

You were willing to bet that too, but there was naught you could do but wait and direct the fire of the mortars, hopefully in time for them to have an effect on this battle.

“Here they are.” Mandel reported.

“Here too!” Eiche said, with significantly more alarm. “They’re fast buggers! With cannons!” He didn’t seem to have time to elaborate further on what they were, but the concern told you he considered them a threat- which meant they were a threat to Mandel as well, in close quarters such as these…

>The fighting continues among the infantry- the close combat between the armored vehicles now, though, is again more a matter of reaction than precision. Roll 2 sets of 2d100 for the north and south infantry respectively, then 2 sets of 3d100 for your tankers, first for Mandel and the second for Eiche. The Netillian Armored Cars have an initiative bonus of 10, but none of your tankers will have a penalty to theirs.
>>
Rolled 77, 18 = 95 (2d100)

>>4864649
>>
Rolled 42, 38 = 80 (2d100)

>>4864649
>>
Rolled 53, 99, 49 = 201 (3d100)

>>4864649
>>
Rolled 63, 63, 20 = 146 (3d100)

>>4864649
>>
Rolled 85, 29, 8, 26, 44, 16, 54, 6 = 268 (8d100)

>>4864652
>>4864654
>>4864655
>>4864660
Alright then- first six are for enemy armored cars, the other two are for attacking infantry- only one unit is doing so, since the others are spending attacks on munitions caster usage. Again, the first ones are higher better, while the last two are roll under, DC 55 like before. The other DCs for your infantry were 60 and 40 like before, depending on if they were cqc equipped or not.
>>
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>Initiative Order-
>Vagrant 2- 99
>Enemy Armored Car 1st Group 1- 95
>Bandit 1- 63
>Bandit 2- 63
>Enemy Armored Car 2nd Group 5- 54
>Vagrant 1- 53
>Vagrant 3- 49
>Enemy Armored Car 1st Group 2- 39
>Enemy Armored Car 2nd Group 4- 36
>Enemy Armored Car 2nd Group 6- 26
>Bandit 3- 20
>Enemy Armored Car 1st Group 3- 18

There was a terrific exchange of fire ahead of you, impressive as it was concerning, and you awaited updates from your toon leaders as weapon fire of all sorts blew up and over, then suddenly ceased, though the small arms of the infantry continued unabated.

“Goddamn shit,” Eiche swore, “They took out my third. Got two of them, though. The last one shot smoke all over somehow and ran off, sounded like something their riflemen’ve got.”

A vehicle mounted munitions caster? You’d heard of them being used on the Netillian armored personnel carriers, but that wasn’t in a defensive method such as this. “Vagrant?” you asked on the radio. “Respond.”

“I also knocked out two.” Mandel sounded strained. “The last fled in a similar manner. My vehicle was struck, and I am wounded in the arm and eye.”

Are you alright? No, Sleepwalker didn’t care. “You will continue to fight.”

“I did not say I would not.”

“If the tanks are done with their personal duels, my men require aid, Vagrant and Bandit!” Von Kalderhaus said irritably, “My second squad has taken heavy casualties, but one of the enemy flanks has been turned. With just a little more force, we can break them, I can feel it!”

>Send the tanks forward to help the infantry, then, if the armored ambush had been fended off. This fight would go on until all the enemy had retreated or been destroyed. You wouldn’t be slipping away until this counterattack was crushed entirely.
>Have your southern forces withdraw north. The south enemy infantry would be being suppressed by your mortars now anyways, and you ill needed to waste any more time fighting when you could be more quickly moving along.
>Attempt to force your way through brutishly, but quickly. The greatest threats had been dispatched, the infantry ought to mount back up and all your forces should bull through the rest of the way east, despite the risks that might entail…(Including that potentially to your Command and Support element trailing behind)
>Other?
>>
>>4864759
>>Have your southern forces withdraw north. The south enemy infantry would be being suppressed by your mortars now anyways, and you ill needed to waste any more time fighting when you could be more quickly moving along.
>>
>>4864759
I'm just glad it was cars and not more Nfk7s
>Have your southern forces withdraw north. The south enemy infantry would be being suppressed by your mortars now anyways, and you ill needed to waste any more time fighting when you could be more quickly moving along.
BUT
>Have Mandel send her tanks forward against the northern infantry, those must be destroyed utterly.
We'll need our southerly units to keep along that side just in case what escaped from the south tries to attack again.
>>
>>4864759
Supporting >>4864767
>>
>>4864767
This
>>
>>4864759
>>4864767
Good plan.
>>
>>4864761
>>4864767
Supporting the write in as well
>>
>>4864759
>Attempt to force your way through brutishly, but quickly. The greatest threats had been dispatched, the infantry ought to mount back up and all your forces should bull through the rest of the way east, despite the risks that might entail…(Including that potentially to your Command and Support element trailing behind)
>>
>>4864767
+1
>>
>>4864761
>>4864767
>>4864775
>>4864858
>>4864914
>>4864919
>>4865050
Compress back up north- keep smashing through above.

>>4864983
Try and bull your way through.

Won't be updating until late today, taking a certification class for alcohol serving today. I could probably update during it to be quite honest, but probably best not to have distracted writing rather than another delay.
>>
>>4865246
How did it go?
>>
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Von Kalderhaus might have been confident, but you were not, with the picture of the situation you had laid out on the desk before you. Your brass goggles had been permanently rolled up your head- they had begun to fog up badly. “No,” you told the disgraced lordling, “Arson, have your men to the south retreat north. Let the south go. You too, Bandit. We’re shifting north and breaking through there. Vagrant, move your vehicles forward to finish off the enemy infantry Arson’s other troops are engaging. We are affecting a breakthrough, now.”

“Yes, Dead Man,” Von Kalderhaus said reluctantly. He wanted to protest, you could tell by the resistance in his voice, but he wasn’t in a time or place for that anymore. He had a less clear idea of the tactical picture as well, surely.

“Their armored support has left. Clear them out.” You then took your headset off for just a moment, adjusted your disguise, and settled it back on again. The command and support section needed direction, so you switched to their frequency. “We’re moving up behind our tanks. Don’t dally.” With stray armored cars about, armed to be able to knock out tanks, the last thing you needed was a daring individual noticing an important vehicle in the rearguard. If they split, they were probably going to attempt to reorganize elsewhere, but you couldn’t be too cautious concerning a swift enemy with their attention on you.

From what Von Kalderhaus reported, or rather, from a lack of it, the enemy south let the squads facing them slip away. With Eiche rolling around nearby and the troops stubbornly refusing to be crushed in the initial ambush, their confidence couldn’t have been riding high. Yet, when the people from the southern front returned north, the northern enemy remaining quickly collapsed, as well. Combined with Mandel surging forward, the lone Netillian infantry found themselves with too much to even hope to fight against. Reports of them fleeing were given to you, and they were chased south, though they were withdrawing too well to destroy them during this pursuit.

Wisps of smoke blew over, indistinguishable from fog itself, as you moved forward and next to Eiche’s tanks. You popped out the top of your command box and looked over- two tanks now, one of them had been knocked out. Eiche’s other platoon mate had been damaged, its hull obviously buckled a hit that had damaged the tank badly, but hadn’t put it out of action. Only one tank loss was tolerable for now- you had to get to the objective, but also get back, though you hoped slipping away would prove easier with how much damage you seemed to be causing the Netillians here.
>>
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The question of whether they want to catch you after this would be heavily influenced by the question of if they even could. Even before this, the enemy had been worn down. The local commander would likely want to preserve or withdraw troops if he thought flinging himself against you would destroy him, unless he thought you might trap him. You had no trail, no flanking support or troops following up to exploit this, though- how quickly would that be figured out?

“Dead Man,” Von Kalderhaus said as the shooting quieted down and there was more driving than anything else, “My forward squads report that they are at the edge of the woods. They see no opposition. We can move forwards.”

“Do it, then.” No more time to waste cleaning up here- especially if there were more people in the local area than you thought and you got tied down with reinforcements.

There was still the question of watching your back, though. You were deep behind enemy lines now- and leaving behind enemies that could pursue you. Would it be better to bank on speed and direct your power forward, or try and keep an eye out back? After all, if your support element came under fire, that valuable train of engineers and salvagers and their transport, then even if you got to your objective then there’d be no point in having done so. Neither would there be a point if you couldn’t make it in the first place, though.

A look at the maps. The crash site would not be far off once you left these woods- only a couple of hills away. If it weren’t for the fog, you’d expect to be close enough to see smoke, even. Not much further to go- hopefully not much longer to worry about enemies behind you, either. Only more time to worry about enemies everywhere.

>Keep everything forward. You’ll be reaching the objective before anybody from behind reorganizes and pursues you, and anything minor, the support’s escorts can handle.
>Keep tanks in back as a rearguard. You can’t be too careful. (Whose?)
>Other?

>>4867128
Pretty easy, really.
>>
>>4867179
>>Keep everything forward. You’ll be reaching the objective before anybody from behind reorganizes and pursues you, and anything minor, the support’s escorts can handle.
>>
>>4867179
>Keep everything forward. You’ll be reaching the objective before anybody from behind reorganizes and pursues you, and anything minor, the support’s escorts can handle.

We still have no idea what's actually at the objective and we might need the firepower
>>
>>4867179
>Keep tanks in back as a rearguard. You can’t be too careful. (Whose?)
Keep Bandit as a rearguard, if those armored cars or whatever they were are part of a larger section it would be bad to have them catching up to the soft rear of the formation.
>>
>>4867179
>Keep tanks in back as a rearguard. You can’t be too careful.
Everyone's
>>
>>4867179
>Keep everything forward. You’ll be reaching the objective before anybody from behind reorganizes and pursues you, and anything minor, the support’s escorts can handle.
>Other?
Have Arson Squad 2 take the rearguard, that way if anything does chase us (looking at you armored cars) then they'll have to destroy Squad 2's APC first and give us some warning.

Cold hearted? Yes but more expendable than the Mercs.
>>
>>4867179
This >>4867466
>>
>>4867179
>Keep tanks in back as a rearguard. You can’t be too careful. (Whose?)
Bandit's
>>
>>4867179
>>Keep everything forward. You’ll be reaching the objective before anybody from behind reorganizes and pursues you, and anything minor, the support’s escorts can handle.
>>
>>4867179
>Keep everything forward. You’ll be reaching the objective before anybody from behind reorganizes and pursues you, and anything minor, the support’s escorts can handle.
>>Other?
Have Arson Squad 2 take the rearguard, that way if anything does chase us (looking at you armored cars) then they'll have to destroy Squad 2's APC first and give us some warning.
It may indeed be cold hearted but there is a lot at stake and these ones are sadly "expendable".
>>
>>4867188
>>4867245
>>4867466
>>4867466
>>4867667
>>4867681
Full frontal. Save for the whacked people.

>>4867285
>>4867621
Put two tanks behind.

>>4867417
No tanks allowed in the front of the bus.

Writing.
>>
“All tanks forward,” you ordered, “Arson. Send your second squad to the rear of the formation. They’re too depleted to fight. They’ll keep watch over our rear for those armored cars that got away, in case they return.”

That was what you said, but the implication was a little more than that. If you put something at your rear, a recognized threat, it’d be shot at first. It would give you just a little more time before you had to deal with that enemy.

Von Kalderhaus, for his heinous, degenerate crimes, was no fool. “You need a shield,” he practically sneered, like he was better than you.

“I need nothing from you.” You broke character, accidentally, and corrected yourself. “Our escort needs protection. You are here to protect them. Do not disobey me and ruin this operation, Arson.”

“…Copy that, Dead Man,” he said that last part spitefully.

“Good. Eastwards, march.”

The formation adjusted gradually as you broke from the woods and towards the next shallow hill, over it, and onto the next. This would be the next hill before you were in the area of the objective- though, something disconcerting- the fog that you were sure would only grow thicker, was now thinning. It was still thick overhead and was far from gone, but it was either going to stay this way, or was on its way out. So long as you managed to strip what you could from the downed plane, however, it wouldn’t matter how clear the skies were as you were fleeing. Without being seen at the site, who could say what you might be carrying? Maybe you were just making a deep raid. You sure as hell were far enough behind the lines to have done quite a lot of damage for the Republic and Ellowie’s war.

Over top the hill, and…well, it was supposed to be here, but you wouldn’t be sure until you were closer. Much as a telltale wispy tower of smoke might have aided you, the fog was still too dense for that. There was only the knowledge that the IO’s potential crash sites and their corrections had been very specific, so you had to trust that that plane was indeed where they said it was.

What was guarding it, you wondered. Did the Netillians place as much importance on this as the IO did sending all this all the way over here? Would the men nearby even know what this plane was? They certainly had suffered the most at the hands of the Ellowian air force, for lack of Twaryians here to share such a dubious honor. For your own sake, you hoped it wasn’t the cream of their crop.

“Enemy forward.” Mandel said flatly. “Four tanks. Three armored troop carriers.”
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“I see ‘em,” Eiche responded, “Looks like they were coming to meet us, Dead Man. We’ll be at the edge of engagement range soon. Either we’re charging headlong into this, or we can swing wide into some cover?”

“Type of vehicles, first,” you asked. There wouldn’t be much time to plan this.

“Two NfK-7ts like we got. Two m/28-31s. We’re pretty close to evenly matched. We have one more tank, but we’ll need to get decently closer to hurt most of them reliably, except those NfST-10s.”

That was the official designation for what had been referred to by both Republic Troops and the Silver Lances as Battle Buses. They were thick enough in the front to resist anti-tank rifle fire, had large cargo bays for troops to ride in, usually very good ones, and either a stubby howitzer or, more commonly, a machine gun and a slightly larger version of the munitions caster in a small turret. They were not vehicles to take lightly, highly mobile with eight large wheels and a bulky engine that counted for much of its rugged appearance. In Ellowie, you’d been happy they were on your side. Here, though…they easily outmatched your force’s crude armored personnel carriers.

They did not outmatch your tanks, however.

“This is the last obstacle before our objective,” you said, “Hear my will…”

>Plan out your maneuver. The objective is, of course, to reach the crash site and clear it out. Also, to hold it long enough to strip it down. Defeating every enemy around thus isn’t strictly necessary, but they certainly won’t leave you to your leisure without a fight.
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>>4867793
Get the mortars to fire WP directly on these guys while the force swings northwards a bit, hopefully we can catch them if their platoon commander decides to fall back or if they stay put some flank shots into them. Even if they have gas masks being in that smoke can't be fun.
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>>4867799
+1
Tanks first infantry behind.
Slightly scattered line.
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>>4867793
>Smoke them then close in.
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>>4867799
>>4867820
>>4867835
Supporting
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>>4867793
That's a BIG fucking plane

>Plan out your maneuver.
tanq what is the range of the mortars?
Target the plane and start firing.
If we need to get closer, maneuver south to those trees and take defensive positions. But make it look like we're gonna stay at the extreme end of our mortars range.

Now I know what you're thinking: " That's retarded." Yes, but I'm not saying have the mortars *accurately* start hitting the plane.
I want them to hit well north of it, on the closer side towards the enemy so the Nets think we aren't here for salvage but to deny them their prize.

This will force them from that really good defensive hill advantage they have and let us smoke their approach, maybe letting Bandit and Vagrant pull to the sides of the smoked valley and hit the tanks from the side again as earlier at the plains.
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>>4867999
To add onto: the risk to this is that they don't bite and we wasted time, possibly giving those armored cars a chance to attack from behind, so no matter what we choose to do keep Squad Two behind us, ready for enemies.
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>>4867793
I would say put smoke on their position first then move into the trees on our hill. Have some smoke put out east to cover an advance to the plane and send the three freshest APCs towards the plane. After the APCs have set off through the smoke, the tanks will charge up the hill to engage the enemy which is at hopefully at least partially focused on the APCs. Mortars will support the tank attack with smoke if the hill defenders move too quickly to counter the tank attack and the APCs can cut north to get into those trees on the defenders hill.
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>>4867793
Supporting this >>4868221
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>>4867799
>>4867820
>>4867847
Launch mortars, swing north.

>>4867835
I think this may as well be the one before?

>>4867999
Nice trips.
>tanq what is the range of the mortars?
It's been mentioned before, but they top out at roughly the edge of the map, though without spotting you're not really going to be knowing what you're launching bombs at at all.
>That's a BIG fucking plane
It's not that big, at least, as far as map relativity goes. It's an abstraction for the sake of visibility.

Anyways, sure, lob shots near the plane, and move south.

>>4868221
>>4868249
Smoke on position, move south into trees. Split yourself to get to the objective and take out the enemy both.

Updating den.
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“Move to attack them from the north,” you instructed, “I will have the mortars obscure the way so you can rush across. They’ll either cling to that hill or let us have it. However they act, we’ll be in a position to get to the objective more quickly. Adjust northwards, and when the smoke comes down, go across. Arson Two will stay behind my group.”

So it was done, but you noticed something peculiar as the mortars began their preparations to drop thick white smoke onto the enemy- the armored personnel carriers shot their own smoke first, right in front of them. It gave you pause for thought, but not much. If they wanted to obscure their vision for you, then let them, you supposed.

That was, after all, all the white-phosphorous quick smoke would do. Netillian APCs sealed their occupants against the outside and the elements. No burning bits would be raining into open tops, but at the very least driving through the fumes would be troublesome if they didn’t take the time to mask up.
The combat elements of the Red Fangs began their dash down the hillside and towards the next hill. If the enemy couldn’t get their shots off during this, the slope of the hill would make it likely that they wouldn’t be able to depress their guns low enough to shoot at your people. Granted, you wouldn’t be able to shoot up at them either- one of you would have to close the gap to try and kill one another. Closing said gap meant that the armor superiority of the enemy would matter less, as well, but your best hopes were to catch them in the flank. How likely that was depended on the initiative of the enemy commander.

Were you underestimating them with such a brash maneuver as this, though?
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“They’re around the smoke to the north.” Mandel reported.

“Around to the south, too.” Eiche said, “No sign of those battle buses?”

“No.”

Then, another burst of smoke crawled forward, towards your formation. Even if you couldn’t see them, the armored personnel carriers were clearly somewhere in there- and they were coming for you under a haze of their own self-made mist. That…could be bad.

>Keep things going as they are. The north tanks move to engage the north foes, and the south tanks do the same for their enemy. Arson would react to where the enemy infantry might go.
>Stop here. The enemy would have to move to hit you anyways- remain in place, in case those armored infantry carriers try and thrust right in the middle of your forces. Those APCs couldn’t be handled by your infantry’s weapons easily, after all.
>Having your forces split wouldn’t bode well. Adjust to focus in on direction strongly- dividing and conquering the enemy would be the best way to go, with this barrier put in.
>Other?
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>>4869414
>Having your forces split wouldn’t bode well. Adjust to focus in on direction strongly- dividing and conquering the enemy would be the best way to go, with this barrier put in.
Smoke enemy tanks and direct all armor agains the APCs. The enemy shouldn't be able to coordinate in the smoke, while we can coordinate our forces.
Also relocate HQ a bit while the enemy is smoked up.
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>>4869431
I'd like to remind, that the mortars launching smoke at a new target is two "turns," they need to take time to adjust their aim and to send rounds going. They are not direct fire weapons and thus cannot deploy it instantly like the enemy here is doing with direct fire weapons.
It is difficult to interpret plans involving the mortars without the shared understanding that the enemy will not be simply sitting still and waiting to be bombarded in exactly the same place for two "turns" unless they are engaged or have a reason to stay in place, so I'd like it to be extremely clear.
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>>4869433
Guh.
Then just redirect all armor south and have the mortars prepare to smoke the northern group.
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>>4869414
>>Having your forces split wouldn’t bode well. Adjust to focus in on direction strongly- dividing and conquering the enemy would be the best way to go, with this barrier put in.
Have the company redirect south, keep this smoke in between them and the NfKs for a bit. Eiche and friend, time to to earn your whatever you're getting and duel those m28s. Vagrant is on APC duty for now, if anything comes bursting out of that smoke I want a tank shell in it. Our APCs swing south with the tanks, they don't have much to do unless there are dismounts to fight. If I remember correctly, the CQC squads have smoke grenades, and if they can create smoke in a decently short manner I would enjoy Squad 3 leaving as good a trail as they can on their way south. Squad 3s smoke will hopefully help the HQ section stay a bit safer from any opportunistic pot shots because it needs to sit pretty and get smoke out north to extend the distance the NfKs would have to drive around to get a clear shot, or at least have them have to drive through another layer of smoke before they could shoot anything.
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>>4869439
>>4869431
>>4869414
+1
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>>4869414
>Having your forces split wouldn’t bode well. Adjust to focus in on direction strongly- dividing and conquering the enemy would be the best way to go, with this barrier put in.
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>>4869414
>Stop here. The enemy would have to move to hit you anyways- remain in place, in case those armored infantry carriers try and thrust right in the middle of your forces. Those APCs couldn’t be handled by your infantry’s weapons easily, after all.
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>>4869414
Seconding >>4869470
>>
Alright then.

>>4869439
>>4869470
>>4869491
>>4869781
South you go!

>>4869719
Halt before the smoke.

>>4869542
Adjust to a direction. This is where I realize that I didn't say you had to specify where.

Writing.
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Right now, the company was splitting up- that wouldn’t bode well for you. An even fight would go poorly, you thought, so the best bet would be to concentrate your forces in one direction. From the markers that approximated what was going on outside your vehicle, the ideal would be…south.

“Red Fangs, adjust course to the south of the smoke,” you said, “Vagrant, I want you watching that smoke for anything that comes out of it. Bandit, earn your pay.” What exactly these people got for compensation, you didn’t know, but it had been implied to be more than simply a stay of execution. “Arson, go south with Bandit. Have your third squad lay down smoke as they go, I want the support element obscured as we go. All copy?”

“Copy that.” Was rattled off in order.

“Good. The mortars will be putting more smoke north to hide Vagrant’s flank. Get to it.”

You popped back over top and tried to look at what was going on as your vehicle ran down the hill- the mortars would have to get to flat ground, but it was present enough down here. Let them do their math in the meantime. For your part, though, your eyes were no help in seeing what was happening. Everything was a mess of dust, smoke, and noise among fog. At least the map let you pretend to have an idea of what was happening, relayed to you by many other eyes.

Everything began to happen at once on the radio.

“They’re coming. Opening fire.” Mandel said flatly.

Eiche’s reaction to his task was much different. “Holy hell, they’re comin’ on down on us! This is gonna be tight…”

>Roll 2 sets of 1d100 for Eiche’s initiatives- very close range, higher is better. Then, roll me 3d100 for Mandel’s firing- DC roll under 60.
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>>4870420
(Forgot third squad's smoke- I'll put it in next picture.)
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Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>4870420
Come on!
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>>4870428
Guuuuuuuuuuuuuh
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Rolled 22 (1d100)

>>4870420
>>
Rolled 24, 53, 50 = 127 (3d100)

>>4870420
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>>4870428
It's too bad, a man that ugly should die of old age.