russian armor

ESL Cup 1 Part 1

In a galaxy, far, far away... Oh, no, my mistake. It is in our galaxy, on Earth, where some geeks live. They have been kind enough to nickname the European casters for us. Folks! Meet Matt Skywalker and Darth Storm! They covered the European event.

This may seem unrelated, but do you like jeeps? I sure hope you do. Or you will have an awful time.

The European Event

One hundred and twenty-eight players signed up, but only fifty-two checked in. Kinda disappointing. But the tournament still took ten hours or so to end. And. Oh boy, did we get some good games. Alas, time is short.

Cruzz and Barton had some good games, as did VindicareX and Jesulin, and many others, but we have no time! Jump into this jeep, strap yourself up, put on this helmet, here binoculars. Remember to duck when the shells land and explode. What? Where we are going?

To the finals of course!

The European Finals

Jesulin versus BartonPL. These hard cooked veterans made it all the way to the top, and now, one of them needs to go back down. Or should I say: get blasted back down. Strap yourself tighter, folks! We are almost there.

Game One - Picnic on Langreskaya

Welcome to Langreskaya! Plop down on the grass. Grab some food from the basket, and relax. Nothing is going to happen. It is a picnic day! Yeah, right.

If you believed that, then I have a fully functional lightsaber to sell you. Only three billion dollars! In fact, I have two! Red and blue. Listen, I will cut you a deal: two million for each. Deal?

Hurry up! I can hear a very angry Sith Lord in the distance. Oh, and a Jedi. Shit. Gotta run!

Did you bring everything? Yes, Milady. Food and drink for the hungry, a cloth for the weary, and ceramics for the refined. Oh, and one big bar of soap. Apparently, there are foul-mouthed trolls in these parts.

The match up begins with an Osttruppen opening from Barton, and a quick sniper. He grabs his men and heads up the middle of the battlefield. Meanwhile, Jesulin decided to go for three riflemen. He is unaware of what is coming. BANG! Well, he was unaware. A Rear Echelon got a bullet between the eyes.

The early push pays off, the cutoff got secured. But not for long. Jesulin knows what to do, he gathers the men, pushes out and retakes his point. Alas, he decides to push further. A small mistake, Barton has got reinforcements. The attack is repulsed and another attack on Jesulin's cutoff begins. But what is this?

Only a single squad of Ostruppen make their way to the cutoff, the rest are further behind, together with the sniper. The attack fails. Jesulin got his three riflemen. He pushes into the center and wrests control of it from Barton. But the sniper is still around. The central Victory Point cannot be taken for now. A Lieutenant is called. An M20 follows.

The Early Game is over. The Middle Game begins.

Not again! How come you always get a royal flush, Arthur?!

They clash over the middle again, and further down, right over the bushes of Barton's base. He pulls back and regroups his men, the center is lost for now. But the bush battle is won by the sniper. The Lieutenant had to retreat.

Jesulin has not been idle though, his M20 and a Riflemen squad have secured a house overlooking Barton's Munitions point. They forced off two Osttruppen squads, but a Panzerfaust got the M20, it needs to pull back for repairs. And Barton just completed his Leichte Mechanized Kompanie. A 222 Scout car will soon arrive, but not soon enough.

The sniper tries to dislodge the Riflemen in the house. They pull out temporarily. Repairs on the M20 are complete. They get into the house again, and the M20 pushes the Sniper off. Two Riflemen reinforce the position. Things are not looking good for Barton.

The 222 Scout Car finally arrives. An attack begins on the house held by the Riflemen. It does not go as planned. The 222 is too far away from the sniper, who nails a guy in the house, only to be forced away by the M20. Which then heads, together with the Rear Echelons and one Riflemen squad, to deal with a single squad of Osttruppen, away from the assault on the house. A strategic blunder from Jesulin!

Only the building Riflemen and the Lieutenant are left to defend against the assault. An assault that never really gets going. Barton blunders too, he sends reinforcements to his lone Osttruppen. The building Riflemen, however, are gone. They did get forced away.

There is a lull in the fighting. The map control is about even. Jesulin has to treat his wounded, which includes most of his combat forces. It is not so with Barton. A squad of Osttruppen advances on the right Fuel Point. They meet no resistance. Of course, they will not be alone for long. Jesulin has treated his wounded army, and they are in tip-top shape.

One, two, thre- LOOK! A kitten! Everybody runs to pet it. The Sergeant face palms.

Jesulin's counterattack is a success, but the Osttruppen manage to capture the fuel before they are forced off. This leaves him with no choice, but to send out his Lieutenant to secure the enemy fuel, while the rest of his forces capture lost territory. Barton's forces, meanwhile, are resting while the 222 gets repaired.

A Captain enters the field on Jesulin's request. The 222 needs to be dealt with, so that the sniper is left open to the M20. Speaking of the bastard, he just downed another man. Sixteen confirmed kills. At the same time, the Lieutenant secures the enemy fuel. That is not all. A Stuart is on its way to the battlefield. Things are going to get tough.

But for now, it is calm, as a Rifleman sneaks into a building. He is there on a mission. With slow steps he closes in on a window, overlooking the yard outside. The Munitions Point is there. Guarded by two Osttruppen squads only. No, wait. A glint in the house across the yard. Looks like an MG42. Movement in the bushes, a sniper, gun pointing this way. The Rifleman ducks, and runs out of the house. His mission complete.

The Rear Echelons just recaptured the fuel point, as a squad of Riflemen, on the other side of the battlefield, secures the scouted house. The assault begins. Through a hole in the hedges, from the middle, three squads advance. Two Rifles and the Captain. The Lieutenant has been radioed, he is on his way to flank the enemy.

It fails. The Lieutenant flanks at the wrong moment and the sniper nails him, as the two Osttruppen squads fire a the remaining men, who flee. The MG42, meanwhile, are dealing with the Captain lead charge. The men are too close, lead flies all around, they drop to the ground for cover as the Captain calls off the assault. Barton, for now, has survived.

It is at this moment that the Stuart arrives. Had Jesulin waited, then his assault would have been a success, since Barton lacks an anti tank gun. Alas, if that fact was known or not, we will never know. For now, Jesulin needs to lick his wounds.

Somebody, for the love of God, make a replica!

There is no patience. Jesulin forces a three man Captain squad into a building. The same building he has been using before. The bazooka fire forces the 222 to the hedges outside of Barton's base. Seeing this, the M20 drives in, aiming for the Sniper, who retreats. It has been a long road, but the Stuart is coming in from the center. Just as the 222 drives forward to deal with the M20, which just got a Panzerfaust through its engine. The 222 does not survive, a few shots and the Stuart destroys it. Jesulin pulls back. He got what he wanted.

Then he attacks again. An undermanned Lieutenant and a M20 advance on the top side, while two Rifles divide from the center. One meets an MG42, forcing them to take cover. Meanwhile, the other squad is being gunned down by the Sniper's fearsome fire. They cannot advance, a squad of Osttruppen is in the way. The bastard Sniper is at Twenty-two confirmed kills. He is a monster. Back to top, The Lieutenant and the M20 has better luck. They only encountered one Osttruppten squad, but the three man Lieutenant squad is not up to the task, and a Panzerfaust later, the M20 has to pull out. Just in time, an anti tank gun had arrived earlier, and it was on the hunt.

Things quiet down. Both sides need a rest. Barton is on the back foot, but he has three MG42s, and will surely get another anti tank gun soon. Jesulin has mostly infantry. He relies on his M20 and Stuart to do any pushing, but it is hard to advance against an enemy anti tank gun with three MG42s around. He is, however, four Command Points away from a Calliope.

Not much happens in the next minutes. Jesulin launches attack after attack, but the MG42 keeps him at bay together with the anti tank gun. Of course, he is smart about his Stuart and M20, sending them where the anti tank gun is not. Despite that, he makes no gains.

But he is not idle, though. He prepares for the coming of his Calliope, getting an anti tank gun, and likely getting another soon after. Barton is a little afraid. He fears his opponent may build up for a tank attack, getting another anti tank gun. But they will be useless against a Calliope. Unless they can close the distance.

Neither player makes any progress. They skirmish over small parts of the map, capturing something, only to lose it a little later. The MG42s prove an impassable wall for Jesulin. He needs a Calliope or some form of indirect fire. Still, he holds more of the map than Barton, but for how long?

Hey, Captain! I don't know about this camouflage. Won't the tubes give us away? Captain turns and looks at the private. Maybe, but I won't be the one getting shot at. Good luck, private!

Time passes, fights happens, but the map stays mostly the same. Even still, neither player can seem to make any progress. Another anti tank gun arrives for Jesulin. Barton escalates to Battle Phase Three. He is going for a Panther, most likely. But with two anti tank guns, Jesulin is prepared. There will not be a break out if he gets his way.

Frag and smoke grenades arrive for the Americans. Jesulin tries a push with them, but fails. Barton builds a bunker to cover the hole in the hedges as the Middle Game is nearing its end. Half a Command Point more and a Calliope will be called in to fight. Will Barton get out a Panther in time? And will he be able to destroy a Calliope?

Finally, the battlefield fills with the sound of gunshots and dying men. The stalemate may now be broken. Barton makes a push for the right side of the map, Jesulin goes for the left and succeeds. He calls in a Calliope. There is no Panther around for Barton. His assault fails and he losses control of his Fuel Point.

The Calliope fires. It hits a building with an MG42 in it, the same MG42 that was spotted by the lone Rifleman way earlier. Nearby is an anti tank gun. The barrage forces both from the area. Is this the end of Barton?

A squad of Rear Echelons encounter the bunker, now with an MG42 in it, and calls for backup. Jesulin sends both his anti tank guns to clear it out. Two salvos and it is gone. There was no way, Barton, could have responded in time to save it.

Things are now in the favour of Jesulin, but something happens that makes it less so. A railway artillery shell annihilates a retreating squad of Riflemen. Perhaps, Barton still has a chance.

At least his Panther is on the way. But there are two Calliopes on the field now. He needs to act soon, and kill them. In the meantime, he recaptures his fuel. The Panther arrives, but with two enemy anti tank guns, things will be hard.

A barrage destroys a house and a shed. The two Osttruppen got out just in time from the house, but the nearby MG42, out in the open, is not so lucky. They get taken out. There is now no house next to the middle Victory Point.

Jesulin pushes for Barton's cutoff, but he clumps his men. This could go bad. The Captain breaks off from his men, heading for the Munitions Point. There he spots an MG42 in the last house standing in this part of the battlefield. A barrage is requested. The house is no more. The MG42 got out, but only barely managed to get back home. The clumping of the men goes bad. An enemy MG42 lays down fire on them. They have to retreat. There are no barrages available for support. But the two anti tank guns did a number on the Panther. It will need repairs.

A counterattack is launched. Barton goes for the center, his two anti tank guns in tow, but it is a weak force. The attack is broken off as a barrage deals with the supporting MG42. A little later, another barrage is fired. This one towards Barton's base. It forces his men to move, away from their medics.

Some Rear Echelons decapture Barton's Victory Point. But he is quick to respond. They are forced away. The lost MG42 from here is still in the area. It gets picked up by an Osttruppen squad. But there is a problem: Jesulin's men are right behind them. The men with the MG42 does not make it out, only a single man gets back to base by sheer luck. A second MG42, a bit away, falls as well.

Unfortunately, luck is not on the side of Jesulin's two anti tank guns today. They have just been informed that the enemy railway artillery is firing on their position. 800mm shells flies their way. One of the guns does not make it out from there. What is worse, is that the Captain was forced on the retreat. He has to go through the area where the rest of the 800mm shells will land. Will he survive?

BOOM! A shell hits the Captain directly on the head. There is no worse luck!

If you think your day was bad, then just imagine what it would be like to get hit by one of these.

Things are lightening up for Barton. He has dealt his opponent several blows, but he has also taken some with the loss of two MG42s. And he is still behind in map control. At least, though, his Sniper is alive. Forty-two confirmed kills. Eight more and he will be rewarded with a wrist watch.

For some reason, the Panther is on a hunting trip. A trip that involves driving at an anti tank gun, aiming its way, straight into enemy lines. The Stuart has not seen as much action as it would like after the Panther's arrival, and is more than happy to help the anti tank gun crew put a few more rounds into the Panther. It has to flee.

Accidentally, the Stuart discover the location of the two German anti tank guns. Jesulin also discovers that the anti tank gun he lost is still intact. He crews it, launches a barrage at the enemy guns and calls it good for now.

Alas, Barton makes a push without proper support. The Panther is back at base, being repaired, as is the sniper, who is attended to by the medics. The push fails. An Osttruppen squad is lost. To make matters worse, one of the Calliopes barrages his base. It knocks out a newly crewed MG42 that just got home. Further away, the last MG42 falls to enemy fire. His forces are diminished. The end is near.

He tries to put up a fight. But it is no use. The barrages keep coming. The two enemy anti tank guns, with the veteran Riflemen, keep the Panther at bay. Even the newly called in Panzerwerfer comes too late. But, hey, the Sniper gets his fiftieth confirmed kill, and receives a shiny new wrist watch! Then, a few minutes later, the M20 kills him and takes his watch. Oh~, shiny!

Finally, Barton surrenders. The combined barrages of three Calliopes, and the loss of his troops, has brought him done. It all ends when the Panther dies to one last barrage.

Game Two - Meet Dushka, My Wife

Barton has picked the Soviets; Jesulin the Wehrmacht. A new game begins. The Soviets immediately build a Special Rifle Command, recruiting a sniper and then a conscript. It will be a slow start for them. The Wehrmacht, meanwhile, go for two Osttruppen and one Grenadier. A quick start.

The Wehrmacht capture some territory. Then they settle for an attack up the center. The Soviets get caught off guard. The Combat Engineers were capturing a Munitions Point, but now they have to seek cover in a house as a squad of Osttruppen advances.

Once the Engineers get into the building, however, the enemy breaks off their attack. They move away. But then, they spot the Sniper team on the point, and they march back. It earns them the loss of a man, but the point capture was halted for a little while.

The map control does not look good for Barton's Soviets. Nearly half of it are in enemy hands, while he has only a single Strategic Point. His slow start is giving him trouble. Jesulin smells it. He keeps preventing the capture of the Munitions point with a squad of Osttruppen, forcing the Snipers off again. Then he runs to Barton's cutoff, while some Grenadiers, further down, fights with some Engineers among the hay balls.

With the cutoff secured, Barton has lost all of his of map control. But only for a few moments. A second Conscript squad has arrived. Jesulin tried to be sneaky with a quick bunker, but as the Conscripts come into view, he cancels the construction of it. No need to waste Manpower. He makes a tactical retreat from the cutoff.

The Sniper team has been busy, plugging away at men. Six confirmed kills, but it is not enough to force the enemy away. There is hope, though. A third Conscript squad is on their way. Perhaps now is the time to push?

It will be hard. The Wehrmacht are constantly attacking on the right side of the battlefield. They have fortified a house between the Fuel and Munitions points. However they have left the entire left side open to attack. Maybe, Barton will realize it.

He partially does realize it. The Engineers are sent to capture some territory leading to the left side of the map. Though, most of his forces are attacking the enemy, whom has suffered heavy losses. They cannot hold out for long. Soon, they have to retreat.

As they do retreat, a 222 Scout Car enters the field with another on the way. This could be very bad news for the Sniper team. Luckily, it does not travel towards the Snipers, instead it drives left. To the Victory Point on that side of the map. This is where the Combat Engineers are, they gave away their position by trying to capture the point. Now, the 222 dashes at them, making them retreat. It is a long way home. They are at half health. The 222 can smell death.

Hey, James, can you understand the manual yet? Sure I can, Frank! Just give me five years to learn German.

It chases after them, going all the way to the base, but alas, they escape. Or rather: he escapes. The last man in the squad tosses himself into a hole in the hedge and rolls to the side. Just as a shell scissors his hair.

Meanwhile, two squads of Ostruppen advance on the right. The second 222 are behind them, ready to support any assault against enemy positions. One such position is that house, where the Wehrmacht fortified themselves earlier. Now, they are on the offence. They have to clear it out. Somehow.

Another enemy position is behind some hay balls. Great idea Conscripts! How do you plan to stop twelve angry men and one angry car? Oh, you are just gonna run away. Brilliant! With them, the Soviet front collapses. The house is abandoned, the Snipers pull back, the remaining Conscripts try to stand between the Snipers and the Scout Cars.

Two conscripts are holding the line, while the Snipers are far back. One hole in Barton's defence and he can kiss his Snipers goodbye! But he is not stupid. The anti tank grenades were ordered earlier. Each Conscript has one. How about you two 222s come forward, eh?

Of course, Jesulin is not stupid either. He keeps his 222s at range, shelling the Conscripts. Sooner or later, they will have to retreat, leaving the Snipers bare. His opponent, though, has other plans.

He keeps his Conscripts behind cover. And soft retreats the most wounded into a nearby building. It is a sad place, only two windows face the enemy, but it is also a safe place. For a little while. Several steps away from the house, away from the fighting, are the Snipers. They have the enemy within their sights. Ten, oh pardon, eleven confirmed kills.

The two Osttruppen squads retreat. They were holding the front line against the Conscripts, losing one man after another to sniper fire. Only five of them get out alive.

Are they running yet? No, they are taking a piss. Bang! Oh, now they are sprinting, without their pants.

The 222s are still laying in fire. One Conscript retreats, the other is still in the house. But oh-huh, the snipers are walking away from the house, but the Conscripts have yet to leave! One of Scout Cars sees it. It goes in. Only to find a Dushka heavy machine gun. It is a trap! The Conscripts get out, and run towards the car.

The driver will not have any off though. He drives past the Dushka, turns right, follows the road, turns again, between an opening in the hedges, clamps the throttle, and gets away.

With the Dushka on the field, Barton pushes Jesulin back. The Early Game is certainly over by now, but Baron is still behind. He needs something to claw his way back into it.

Then it happens. Jesulin attacks with both his 222s with some infantry support. The Dushka is in the way! They are driving straight at it. An anti tank grenade hits one of the 222s, it reverses out of the fight, but the other may have gone to far. It is right next to the Dushka crew. Luckily, the gun is facing another way, but not for long. The car tries to reverse out, but too late. One burst. One explosion. One fire.

Jesulin is down a Scour Car. A small set back. He is still in the lead. One more Osttruppen squad enter the battlefield, together with a Mortar. But, Barton can breath a little easier now. If only he could destroy the remaining 222.

A mortar shell impacts between some Conscripts and the Dushka crew. The battle is not over. Nearby, some Osttruppen has taken up positions in a house. Yes, that house from way before, between the Fuel and Munitions points. The mortar is still laying in shells. Only one man escapes with the Dushka.

Not much happens in the next minutes, except for some skirmishes. The Combat Engineers receive their flamethrower. They force away two squads of infantry behind cover. A third enemy squad is assaulting the middle Victory Point. The Snipers takes care of it. Barton consolidates his part of the map. His opponent will not allow it if he can have say. One squad of Osttruppen and the 222 tries to push him off. They fail. And the 222 is nearly destroyed.

Another push, another fail, the Dushka is doing work. But a second Mortar is on the way for Jesulin. With double Mortars, things will change. For now, he is on the offence and Barton on the defence.

She good woman. Kills men fast. Wrecks cars. Loves hard.

Yet another push. The second Mortar has arrived. Soon, it will join the fray, from a safe distance. But, there is a problem. There is a second Dushka on the field. Mortar shells impact. There was a second Dushka on the field. It did not get killed, but it was forced to retreat.

The push is somewhat a success, but Jesulin suffers more losses than Barton. This is mostly due to the Sniper team, at 18 confirmed kills. But also due to the Dushkas. While all this goes on, a lone Conscript squad manages to penetrate enemy lines and decapture the left Victory point. Unfortunately, Jesulin does not manage to secure Barton's fuel before a counterattack is launched.

Barton sweeps out the Wehrmacht forces from his side of the map, as well as the middle. Both of the Mortars are found. They retreat immediately. Still, Barton needs to kill them both, as they are a huge torn in his side. If only he had been a little more patient. Earlier he called in a M5 Half-track with a PPSH Guardsmen squad in it. It is being fitted with an Anti Air Package as we speak.

For some reason, Jesulin tries to push the right side again. With only two squads of infantry! Going up against one Conscript squad, a Dushka, the Sniper team, and the upgraded M5. What madness! He legs it out of there.

Now it is Bartons turn to be mad! He attacks his opponent's cutoff and reverses his M5 into the sight of an enemy anti tank gun. One round goes into the M5, will it survive? It looks like it. It got out of the arc of fire of the gun, but 222 chases and the gun turns. Somebody will regret this!

Oh, my goodness! Both go down! The 222 and the M5 destroy each other. A great trade for Jesulin!

But Barton's assault is not over. He moves in in, and kills the anti tank crew. Then he decaptures the cutoff. Next up, his flamethrower Engineers scare some Osttruppen out of a house. They are crying for their mothers!

The Wehrmacht tries to push out from their base. Without much success, a Dushka clears the anti tank gun and keeps the infantry down, just long enough for some men to attempt a steal of the anti tank gun. They succeed! And just in the nick of time.

A M4C Sherman just arrived. Jesulin has nothing to counter it. It is over. But he is a fighter. He hangs in there until the very end, despite having enough fuel for the Support Armor Korps and a P4 or Stug, he does not build the Korps. His base gets destroyed.

Game Three - Hanging On

A change of the map to Faymonville Approch. Jesulin chooses the United States Forces; Barton the Oberkommando West. It is the last game. Whoever wins this one will be the Champion of the Cup.

It begins. Quietly. Both contestants go for their natural Fuel Points. Two Volksgrenadiers and Riflemen squads are on the field. A skirmish breaks out in the top right of the middle, but the Volks squad there pulls back. As does the Rifelmen squad. Both are playing it safe. For now.

Sie hear that, Kids? Even the grown ups play it safe! Now. Take this rifle, go out, and shot some Soviets for your Fuhrer!

Another small clash. A little further down this time, where a cutoff and a Victory Point are. Some Volks have taken a position behind a rock fence, as they fight some Riflemen. Who... Should we say, are not of the brightest kind. They stand right next to a power pole, a bit of rock-fence and some bushes are their cover. A man falls, luckily, reinforcements are here! Another Riflemen. Both advance on the Volks.

Barton takes one look at it, and slides his men along the stone fence. Up to find his second squad, while a third Volksgrenadier arrives on the field. They may lost that clash, but they are also unharmed. The same cannot be said for that Riflemen squad: a man down, and at half health.

But wait! That Volks squad are just hiding behind the fence, a tree and a small hedge. They did not go up to find their brothers. It seems they are waiting for something. Oh! There they go. Back the way they came, along the fence, but there is that half health Riflemen in the way. No, they say, turning around. Seems it is not the time for them yet.

A third Riflemen comes off the road.

Jesulin noticed the "hidden" Volks. Two squads of Riflemen ought to do the trick! Or so he thinks. Barton had a second Volks in a nearby building. They lend some fire support to their brothers, but too late. Two men get out alive. The two Riflemen, though, are wounded quite bad. They cannot risk a fight with the remaining Volks. Nor do they have to, their enemy pulls away.

Three things happens at the same time. One, a skirmish at the top of the map, Sturmpioneers versus Riflemen. A small victory for Barton. Second, a fourth Volksgrenadiers enters the field. Third, some Volks potshots some Rear Echelons near Jesulin's Fuel.

The Rears pull back. The Volks advance on the Fuel Point. Two more are on their way to reinforce the position. Jesulin is in a bad spot. His combat forces are quite wounded still. The lack of an Ambulance is hurting, but a Lieutenant will soon arrive.

But he does not wait. He scrambles his men, the Fuel must not fall! Too late, though. The enemy takes control of it, but it will take some time for them to secure it. The bad news is that they have put some sandbags up, taken a house, and got one squad in reserve. Despite all that, Jesulin decides to attack.

His Rears distracts the enemy, pulling fire away from his two advancing Riflemen. They reach the sandbags and dislodges the Volks there. Barton pulls back, but leaves one Volks in the house, to take a few more shots. They manage to make one Riflemen retreat. Meanwhile, the Pioneers secure the cutoff leading to that part of the map. However, the Lieutenant contests the point. At half health, the Sturmpioneers, does not stand a chance.

Still, they make a stand behind the stone fence. Two men down. They hold out for a little while, but must flee the position. An M20 drives off the road to shot at them. It arrived on the field moments earlier. Jesulin secures the cutoff.

The M20 drivers over to the Fuel Point, to dislodge the Volks in the house. There was a second Volks there earlier, but they headed down to try and deal with the Lieutenant. They are coming back up now, having broken off their attack on him. A Panzerschrek is on its way for them. That should get the M20 good!

Barton is not ready to give up on that cutoff. He sends some reserves to wrest it from the Lieutenant. One Volks, and one MG34. Two bursts, and the enemy crawls on the ground. An easy fight.

The Panzerschrek arrives, and the two Volks switch places. The M20 wheels it out from there. Finally, a bit of relief for those Volks. At half health, they need to return back home for medical aid. Their brothers, with the Screck, can hold the house in the meantime. Up and to the side, the Lieutenant retreated, but Jesulin made an advance on the top side.

There are no defences in place for Barton. They advance uncontested. Only one squad of Volksgrenadiers are in the area. Holed up in a house, they have been sitting there for a while now, keeping watch. At last. There will be some action, Adolf!

Clap, clap, clap! Ja! Sehr gut!

Poor Volks, they ought to return home for medical supplies, but Barton will not have their whining. He needs them to hole up in that same house again and watch over the enemy Fuel Point, while he deals with the advance in the East North.

Jesulin's forces encounter the watchful Volks. Luckily for them, they advanced on the weak side of the house. There is but a single window facing their way. This should be easy!

The M20 comes to join the fight. It drives... straight at the building? Into the door... and-What? No. No way! That is not how houses work. The M20 drove straight into the door, and the house just collapsed! Barton is pissed! He is down a squad.

He sets up his MG34 to cover his Fuel Point. That bastard will not take it! The Volks with the Schreck supports the MG34, despite their wounds. A second squad is further up, working on securing the Victory Point there.

On the other side of the map, some Sturmpioneers make their way to the enemy Fuel Point. The Volks in the house reports that the area is clear, but they have not spotted a 50.Cal Machine Gun. It got its sights on the Fuel. Without any spotters, however, they fail to see the Pioneers, who duck behind the sandbags. The point is being captured!

Two Riflemen make for the cutoff. Jesulin cannot allow Barton to hold both the Fuels! One of them continues the advance, and they enter a house. Just in time! They catch the wounded Volks out of cover. They sprint home. Only the Sturmpioneers are left. The 50.Cal dares to move a little closer to the Fuel, they spot the enemy, gets down, and lets loose. If only the enemy were not behind those bags.

Well, lads. We poured 3500 rounds into that position, and I dare say it only got stronger. A faint yell. Danke schoen!

There is bad news from the cutoff: the Rifles there had to retread. An enemy Luchs is in the area. Likely, heading for the 50.Cal's position. Not that it will make much of a difference. They are losing the fight against the enemy, their heavy cover is too much to handle, without any cover of their own. The Luchs smahses through a wooden fence and a bush, gun firing. That is more than enough for the machine gun team. They try to get out. Three, two, one, zero men left. Dead. A free machine gun for anyone who can pick it up.

During this time, Barton pulled out from the top, and by luck, Jesulin decided to move in. The Victory Point will be his, but the Fuel is still covered by the MG34.

The Middle Game is well on its way. Jesulin is calling for a Captain over the radio, he got nothing yet to deal with that pesky Luchs. Well, only way one to play it then: attack wherever the Luchs is not. But the pressure is on. Barton got both Fuels.

A little quiet falls over the battlefield. Some small skirmish here and there, but no big gains for either player. Although, Barton grabs a hold of the middle. Oh, what is this?

Jesulin is gathering for a large push against the North East. The Lieutenant leads it, the M20 is there with two Rifles. Only the MG34 and a lone Volks squad are in their way. The machine gun makes a stand, but the Volks retreat. They wave hi and bye to the Luchs, which it is here to save the day.

Damn, Jesulin thinks, and pulls his forces out. The Captain just arrived, but he is still too far away to help. Hmm, maybe the center is open? He goes to find out. There is a second MG34 on the field, trying to secure the middle Victory Point. It succeeds, but it has to retreat. The Luchs sustained some damage, the Captain managed to get a volley off against it.

Barton lets the center go for now. He will be back though. With a Raketenwerfer, to deal with the M20 for good, or perhaps he smells a Stuart on the way? For one is coming.

Ugh. Frank is making coffee again, isn't he? Afraid so.

Nothing much happens next. Barton is being a good and quiet boy. He lets his opponent secure a part of the middle, and his Fuel. No worries, the Raketenwerfer will surely deal with them all! He does sneak a squad up, though, to secure the top Victory Point.

Unfortunately, they get found out by the M20 and a Veterancy one Rifle. The M20, you say? Well, my Luchs wish to give it a kiss! Come here! Oh, shit. That is another Veterancy one Rifle. And what is that sound in the distance? Mein mother! It is a Stuart! Slam the throttle, driver!

On the other side of the map, two Volks are running back home. They meet the re-crewed 50.Cal. They did not like its lead.

Back to the Stuart and the Luchs, a small chase begins, then the Stuart driver decides to turn and drive away. That rocket penetrating the front armour came awfully close. Luckily, it went straight through the light tank. It did not hit anything important. But the tank commander will need a new pair of pants.

Ouch! The Luchs has been repaired, and it found the rear armour of the Stuart. Dancing is not really the commander's thing, but you should have seen his leg work as those shells flew around inside the hull. Only for a bit though, the driver flung the vehicle around. Away with you Luchs!

In the West, two machine guns fight. One behind some squared hay balls, the other in that building we know so well. There were some Riflemen around, but a hail of bullets convinced them to sprint back home. The house wins, and Barton moves to secure the area.

Somebody got an idea. The Lieutenant thought that the cutoff to the West part of the map was open to an attack. Politely, the Luchs told them no. Although, the bastards took away Barton's control of the point.

After some fights, Barton secures the enemy Fuel, and the top Victory Point. Plus, a third MG34 comes on the field. Jesulin will face the machine gun wall again. Will the Calliopes deal with them, this time? And will his two new anti tank guns do him any good?

An offensive is launched, by Jesulin. It is along the middle to the eastern side of the map. And it nets him the top Victory Point, but the MG34 stopped most of his advances. Oh, that sounds so bad, doesn't it, Jesulin? More wine?

Anyway, the Luchs and Stuart are badly damaged. They will be out of the fight for a while. A Puma arrives. And the battlefield turns quiet.

Both players are resting, while they make some plans. What will it be?

No! Not planes, Heinzer. PLANS!

Seems Jesulin decided to defend the top Victory Point against a squad of Volksgrenadiers. He loses control of it, but denies Barton any control. There is a cost, however, the Stuart is barely hanging together. One of the gunners, luckily, had some duct tape. It will be out of the action for at least a minute, or two.

The American forces linger in the top of the map, while the Lieutenant scouts the center. On the other side of the battlefield, two Riflemen make their way to the Victory Point there. No longer lingering, the top moves on the Victory Point and Fuel. The M20 breaks off to support the Lieutenant. Bottom Victory Point secured, but a Luchs routs the Riflemen. A recon plane flies overhead, Jesulin wants some intelligence on the enemy forces in the middle. They are fortified and ready for any assault. Barton skirmishes over his lost Fuel point. Reorganizing, the Americans pull back, then attack the middle. But no dice.

For the first wave that is. The second wave of troops send the defenders running! A bit away, a Schwerer Panzer Headquarters goes up, covering the bottom of the battlefield. Please, no! Do not go there Jesulin! Too late. Two Riflemen and one Rear die to the HQ's fire. Meanwhile, in the center, a MG34 runs away, overwhelmed by three squads. The Luchs is quick onto the spot. Some Volks rush to the stone fence, tossing a incendiary grenade over onto the other side. I guess they really hated that grass. They get a frag grenade in return, forcing them to dance in the flames until it explodes and they can move back. At the same time, Barton pushes a little above the fence fight. He should not have done so. Jesulin's response is swift and merciless! A Volks squad goes down. The last man of it, hands his Panzerschrek to a nearby Sturmpioneer. He wants revenge. But it has to wait, Jesulin is not done yet. Neither is Barton. He wants that central Victory Point under control. It is only guarded by two anti tank guns. Easy. Or not! Enemy reinforcements arrive, time to take cover before sprinting back to base. There are too many of them.

They are also clumped up. Three squads, two Rifles, one Captain, and one enemy MG34. Get down, yanks! You are outmatched. Oh, you think so, Kraut? On me, boys! Let us show them what we are made off! The troops rally around their Captain, the MG34 stands no chance!

Who is that camera guy? No idea, but give him a smile!

A smoke grenade secures the center for Jesulin, but not so for the East Fuel Point. The Stuart and M20 drives through the smokescreen to dislodge a tough MG34 team. Instead of them, they find the Luchs and a Raketenwerfer, both sides pull out. Barton advances through the middle, capturing the cutoff and contesting the Victory Point. A flank is attempted by Jesulin, but his men run into an MG34 and gets suppressed. They launch a smoke grenade before retreating, unclear orders?

A valiant assault goes off from the center and to the side, but a counterattack puts an end to it, and frags away Barton's control in the center, together with his Sturmpioneers. Desperate, he calls for his hidden Fallschirmjägers to come out behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, the Stuart downs them all in a single shot. To make matters worse, a Calliope arrives and sends a barrage towards... Barton's empty front yard? Anyway, the Luchs has had enough of the 50.cal in the North East, but its armour is only slightly thicker than a sheet of paper, and the Stuart is on its way. So is a Puma, the Americans are forced back. A second Calliope arrives, and sends an MG34 packing. While the Lieutenant thinks he can fight two Volksgrenadiers and one Sturmpioneer from a single window in a house. An incendiary grenade proves him wrong.

The Late Game is well on its way. Let us take stock of the players. Jesulin: four hundred and fifty-four Victory Points, a fully formed army at one hundred Population, five hundred Manpower and two hundred Munitions in the bank. He has everything he needs to win. Barton: one hundred and ninety-four Points, two hundred and twenty-five Fuel stored. Sixty-eight population. He is quite behind. A tank would be perfect, right about now.

But no tank arrives, and Barton loses a squad of Volks. A Calliope sends a few more rockets to the empty yard. The MG34s moved away from that area long ago, they push away some enemy infantry. The Luchs fights for the East Fuel. But it has to retreat once the Stuart and two anti tank guns arrive. An MG34 falls in the center. Things are not looking good for Barton.

He gets pushed back, but he finally spends his fuel. On a monster. The King Tiger is here! However, he is indecisive with it, uncertain where to go. And the Calliope barrages will not stop. What is worse is the fact that he attacks the top of the middle without the King Tiger, he gets repulsed. The enemy anti tank guns does a number on the King, while a Rifleman fires an anti tank rifle grenade. The engine is damaged, it is out of the fight for now.

Things could have gone worse. This King is upside down, thanks to some very drunk driving.

Jesulin makes a tactical retreat from the middle, but not before wiping a squad of Volks! Things are only getting worse for Barton as a another barrage goes down, nearly killing an MG34. Another barrage goes in and leaves the Battlegroup Headquartes in a dire state, one more barrage and it will be gone. Barton is fenced into his base. The King has been repaired. Now is the time to strike! Blasted! The enemy anti tank guns are in the way, as well as a stolen MG34, but at least he got a sneaky Ambulance kill. Jesulin did not see that one coming.

Yet another barrage. The Battlegroup HQ is no more. A push is made against the middle top, but the guns stop the King yet again. Planes arrive for an air attack, it does nothing, but a squad of Fallschirmjägers land. Their goal is to clear out the anti tank guns. They fail in their task though.

A Stuka half-track arrives for Barton. It clears out an anti tank gun, but it gets recrewed. A later fight leaves the King almost destroyed, with its barrel hanging down. It needs a replacement. Pioneers get on it! Bitte? Replace that, here? Are you crazy, Kommandant? Somehow, they managed to change the barrel. With the King repaired, Barton pushes for the middle Victory point. He gets it, but losses his Raketenwerfer to the enemy. For a while, the Calliopes have targeted the Mechanized Regiment Headquarters, it finally gets ruined.

Disaster! The Stuart died, and so did the Stuka half-track, which for some reason drove into the center. Barton losses control in the area. But a daring push by the King Tiger, Luchs and Puma takes out all the enemy anti tank guns. He might be back in the game! Unless... Oh, for *beep* sake. The Puma takes out the M20, but the crew gets out with their bazooka. Goodbye, Puma! A barrage goes down onto the King, a futile try.

Down to fifty-one Victory Points, Barton must do something! Jesulin has three hundred and fourty-four points. He needs to be brought down! A shiny new Panzer 4 hunts for a Calliope, but no luck, just a lot of enemy shells knocking around the crew compartment. It will need repairs, so will the King. New enemy anti tank guns are on the field. An MG34 tried to capture the middle Victory Point, but a rocket barrage leaves it silent.

The battle over the Victory Points continue. Losses mount on both sides. Tanks fall apart, corpses lay around, and reinforcements arrive. It is far from over. Jesulin deals what looks to be the final blow to Barton. He is down to one squad of Volks, one MG34, one Raketen, the Luchs, and the King.

And yet, Barton hangs in there. Maybe by luck, maybe due to skill, or maybe Jesulin is too exhausted to think clearly. It does not matter! Slowly, Barton claws his way up. Even as he loses more squads.

One hundred and twelve versus forty-three Victory Points, can Barton pull out a win? Or does he have to pay for this date with Jesulin?

The Victory Points tick down. The difference between the players are evening out. Barton still hangs on, replacing his losses just as fast as he loses them. Jesulin is still strong, but not for long. Another daring attack clears out his anti tank guns. Maybe, it is Jesulin who has to pay for the dinner?

Fifty-seven to thirty-six.

Jesulin makes a last stand at the middle Victory Point. Barton slaughters his enemy's men and proceeds to shell down the two Calliopes that caused him so much grief. Victory is his!

Jesulin surrenders!


Congratulations to you, Mister Barton! I hope I never see your troll face again. Now, get out of my jeep!

The American Cup is next!
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