In the next few minutes several things happen at once. Sgt. Kiser, the last scout halftrack on the right flank is caught in the open, reversing fast. His halftrack is hit and stalls. He orders his men out fast, and they bail from the stricken vehicle, barely escaping with their lives. The enemy tank is deadly and a shell tears through the thin steel. Kiser’s quick order has saved his crew for another time.
Rolf’s crew spots an enemy tank sneaking through the woods. Once again, Hans is cool and efficient, placing the kill shot into the flank armor of the enemy. They are now out of AT shells and will have to make due with HE, a poor substitute for tank killing.
In the far field, the remaining enemy T-34/85 tanks are still milling about, looking for someone to direct them. Untersturmführer Bynum watches the enemy from his wooded hiding place. He displays no emotion as he watches the enemy.
“There,” cries out one of the men, pointing down the road. So, thinks Bynum, one of the Ivan have developed some guts after all. The enemy tanker has directed his vehicle straight down the road, heading in their direction. The officer can feel a wave of uncertainty flood over his men. Many are new recruits, never having gone toe-to-toe with armor. They only have a few panzerfaust AT weapons among them.
“Quiet, Männer, quiet,” he soothes. “They have a way to go before they deal with us. Have faith. We are the last line.” The men seem to calm with his words, again settling down.
Bynum watches as the other tanks seem to take strength from their self-appointed leader. He sees one suddenly disappear in dust and moments later, hatches open, he knows yet another enemy tank has been struck dead by a hammer blow from an unseen assailant.
Still, the one tank pushes on, menacing, determined, seeking prey. Bynum feels a sudden rush of air and sees the brilliant flash before he hears the flat, distinctive crack of the 7.5 cm cannon of a Panther tank.
One of the new men can’t control his enthusiasm and shouts “He burns!”
Indeed, the hulking hunter is torn by a high-velocity AT round, and explodes in a spectacular display of fuel and ammunition gone wild. Flames roar in untamed brilliance as they pour from the wreck that only seconds before was their nearest threat.
“The Major, he watches over us,” intones Bynum grimly. With that the SS Leutnant nods appreciatively in the direction of town, calculating the shot had to be over 850 meters, a hell of a shot. The Major has one damned fine crew.