5 November 2000 0530H. Kalisz, Poland.
Leaning out the broken window, looking for opposition on the east side of the theater building, Maks could make out faint light on the horizon. It would be dawn soon.
Across the river, Grant Derek William reported that two Humvees of communist Polish troops had arrived on the scene. Maks felt a twinge of guilt at leaving the prisoners to their fate, but the party would be overrun if they remained much longer. And there was the matter of plague among the feeble civilians in the great hall.
They’d accomplished their mission. The ZOMO captain was even alive for the moment. The Soviets only asked for leadership kills, but a live prisoner would be a bonus. The observer from the 21st MRD told the prisoner in broken Polish that they didn’t really need him alive, and that he’d better cooperate if he wanted to remain that way.
GDW had a hard time getting a comprehensive view of the situation, and kept shifting around to get views of the hostiles. There was a lot of foliage on the east bank of the Prosna, which hid the young sniper well, but it worked against him too. He told Maks that the east side of the building was clear for the moment.
Maks ordered his team out the window, and to take positions along the wall.
Wojciech had 100m of spooled wire leading back to the satchel charge he’d left in the service entrance of the theater. He took a knee along the outer wall and covered the area looking south. Barna Áron was at the front also keeping an eye to the north, watching the MG nest in the distance. The party was well-concealed in the darkness; so far the ZOMO and Polish army didn’t seem to have night vision.
Faint explosions could be heard off to the west. Maks hoped that meant the Soviets had attacked the positions of the Pol 10th TD. Off to the east, he could hear the sweet sound of his Feint teams engaging Polish checkpoints.
Maks briefly considered swimming across the river, but ruled it out as too slow and vulnerable.
“Maximum swimming speed is meters equal to Swimming skill per combat round.”
Page 138 of the Twilight 2000 v2.2 book has fairly detailed swimming rules.
Instead, they’d have to make their way across the pedestrian bridge just to the north. GDW reported that one of the Polish army Humvees had pulled up to the front of the theater, and that the soldiers were taking positions, preparing to enter the building. One was making his way around the side of the building, and might see them soon.
Four ZOMO goons had found their courage, and returned to the scene, taking cover behind the Humvee. Maks had his men hold position; if the enemy was going to raid the building, he was happy to let them. The lone soldier came into view, and apparently didn’t see them in the darkness. Barna took aim at him.
I’d made a roll for the NPC to see them in the darkness. Formidable: Observation. FAILED.
They waited. GDW reported over radio in English that the soldiers had entered the building.
Maks’ team went into a frenzy of action. GDW dropped the soldier in view. Barna engaged the MG nest near the bridge with two bursts from his PPSh-41, wounding the gunner, who went down. Wojciech thumbed the detonator of his satchel charge.
BOOM! The building shook with the detonation. Nobody on Maks team had eyes on the Polish entry team at the south side, but it couldn’t have gone well for them.
The driver of the Humvee reacted quickly. He pulled around to the east side of the building, but they too were delayed in seeing the party.
Barna Áron fired two bursts at the broad side of the Humvee, killing both the driver and the gunner.
I was stunned at how quickly they were dispatched. I’d assigned PPSh-41s to some of the ZOMO troops as an obsolete weapon these glorified riot police would possess. And Barna had grabbed one since he was unarmed at the opening of the mission.
What a formidable weapon. The PPSh-41 (“Stalin’s Banjo”) has huge magazine capacity, decent range, low recoil, and a bit of armor penetrating capability (rare in an SMG).
I’d issued American vehicles and weapons to the Polish army troops of the 10th Tank Division. Plenty of American gear had been left behind in the city, after the US 5th Division lost the Battle of Kalisz. I’d thought the M2HB in the Humvees would give the party hell.
But these pre-Iraq war HMMWVs have no armor. And a quirk of the vehicle combat rules allowed the PPSh-41 to do more damage than it normally would. BA – when rolling on the Minor Damage Result table – got all “Crewmember” hits, which are resolved as follows (page 219):
“The crewmember suffers 1D6 hits, each of which does 1D6 damage. Determine a hit location separately for each hit.”
Well, my brother rolled high-ish on those rolls. Both men were killed outright. I guess I’ll write that off to the spalling of metal, glass, and plastic in addition to the actual bullets. Holy cow.
Maks was going to throw his satchel charge around the front of the building, but decided it was too heavy.
We looked up the Thrown Weapons rules on page 206.
“Effective range is equal to the character’s throw range if the object weighs one kilogram or less. If the object weighs more than one kilogram, effective range is equal to the character’s throw range divided by the weight of the object.”
My brother realized Maks wouldn’t be able to throw that 5kg satchel very far.
Maks instead decided to throw a frag grenade into the MG nest to finish off any soldiers still recovering from knockdown, and made a good throw.
GDW reported that a US jeep with more ZOMO troops just arrived. There’d be more. And the party no longer had surprise on their side.