There I was, rifle in hand, looking at a group of 8 or 9 German infantry crawling thru the bushes towards the depot the Armee Francais commanders were adamant we take. It’s a quiet, sleepy looking town, but looks were definitely deceiving.
At the start of the fight, we were being lead by downu, who seemed to keep us well supported with forward bases and supply trucks. The view in the screenshot is from after the battle of the southernmost depot that was where I saw most of my action.
I quickly dropped my machine gun’s tripod and opened fire on the line of infantry and for an opening volley my aim was perfect. I scanned for movement amongst the gray uniforms, folded up my tripod and ran for fresh cover.
Birds began to chirp and then all hell broke loose in town.For the next two hours I occasionally made it as far as that southern depot. The town was frenetic and corpses were piling up everywhere.
We slowly pushed into town, the city center fell; depots fell… But the Armybase held. Off to the east the guys pushing on the west depot couldn’t see to take it – or at least take it and hold it.
For the next hour or so I moved from position to position covering infantry cautiously making their way into town and I began to get sucked in.
Despite our efforts, the Germans managed to recover their lost facilities periodically, pushing back all of our forward positions. This made gaps in the waves of advancing infantrymen which the Germans were excellent at exploiting. Each time it seemed harder to get back into town, and the Germans were out in the woods and fields around town waiting for us.
It seemed unlikely we would take the town, the Axis were putting up a heck of a resistance. Then tomba turned up and took over from downu and began preaching the good news.
Eventually tomba showed up guarding the depot with me, I respawned another light machine gun and ran back to join him, only to find a German trooper standing over his corpse. Maybe he was giving him last rites. I gave him last thoughts.
When tomba returned, I mounted my gun onto the windowsil of the depot and for the next 30 minutes or so the two of us held off at least a couple of platoons of enemy troopers. I decided to poke my head out to look for support. I found a German with fast reactions.
By this time, the Germans were clearly low on supplies. The High Commanders began cracking the whip. Press on! I decided to leave tomba and go check some of the other depots. For every careful advance I made, I took down an enemy troopers. For every careless move I made, I paid the ultimate price.
Having helped secure a couple of depots, I ran back towards that south depot. The west depot apparently continued to elude us. I figured it was best not to mock the guys trying for it.
From where I was, I could see the Armybase. Hoping to boost morale, I yelled to the troops around me to march on it. I slung my gun over my shoulder and began marching slowly into the base. Shots rang out from every direction, but none nearby. I calmly walked towards the bunker. I stepped ginerly thru the entry and closed my eyes, knowing I would die at the first murder hole. Step, step, step, step… Hmm.
Nobody in the bunker. Very odd. I walked back out again – French flag. Doh. The Germans had fallen back from the offensive positions and the Armybase had fallen to us by default. I must have not been paying enough attention.
After taking the due jibes from my countrymen, I headed back to my guard duties at the Southern depot, stopping by the recently captured depots on the way. As I rounded the little copse near my depot, someone yelled “Paras!” I looked up and it seemed like the entire Wehrmacht had hit the silk. Wish I’d taken a picture.
If the fighting had been hard, the elite Fallschirmjäger fought even harder than the troops who had already made us pay for every step with blood.
Unfortunately for them, we had solidified some of our footholds. When the last of the paratroopers were dead, I decided it was time to see why the girls in the west couldn’t take the last depot. I mean, these Germans were whipped.
I calmly trotted up to the depot, there were frenchmen everywhere. A lot of them were lying down.
Ok. There was a tank between the radio building and the depot. Big deal. I carefully threw smoke over by a berm full of troops and then ran the other way and towards the depot(*). Nothing hard about that.
I’d gotten slightly wounded by a piece of shrapnel from a Ju87s bombing run earlier, so I had to limp my way from the last berm to the depot. Sure, shots were fired. But it was a walk in the park. Just avoid the tank.
I walked into the radio building, and paused. Nope. Nobody in here. I walked into the radio room, took a step towards the table and… Hmm. 9? 10 maybe. I didn’t get long to count. Lets just say a gaggle of Germans opened fire on me simultaneously. Ok. That might be why.
There were tanks, there were 88s, there were Sdkfz232 scout cars. French armor rolled up to the positions the troops were managing to hold onto, taking out defending tanks. Then German tanks edged down the hill to the German positions and took out our tanks. I made it into the radio building a couple more times but you could no-longer see the floor for bodies, and life expectancy in the building was short.
The call went out for smoke and a permanent haze began to envelop the entire area. Night had been and gone and daylight made the fighting hard and bloody.
Fresh troops began to arrive – unfortunately on both sides. The Germans had gained a forward base when they gave fellback and unfortunately for us this meant they were pouring into our final target zone.
Throughout the fight the Germans had held air superiority. Now the French Airforce was present in force, and with the Luftwaffe distracted, we began to edge forward foot by foot.
Suddenly, our troops were on the other side of the depot keeping the flood of German troopers at bay and finally our men made the depot. With smoke everywhere those of us near it were running more or less blind. Both sides probably lost more troops and equipment in the hour or so around this last single depot than in the hours before.
And finally, Merzig was French. The reaction was muted – we were still exchanging rounds like mad with the Germans. But the town was ours.
I decided 8 hours was enough fun for tonight and decided to log. Who knows if we still hold the town – as I logged out, the Germans were back in force and our men were exhausted.
A truly excellent fight. I look forward to fighting alongside my ArFR comrades again this weekend!
S! and Vive la France!
(* I didn’t realize they were there, but when the tank opened fire with its machine guns, there were some Wwwaaughs that made me feel slightly guilty)