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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters

 
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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:01:10 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Sgt. Tchevski is on high alert. He has his crew on station, and the roar of enemy engines can clearly be heard. He has walked the terrain in front of his gun pit so many times now that he sees the area in his sleep. He is supremely confident that the enemy will not pass his gun.

A higher pitched scream of a transmission in high gear comes to his ears. He calls out a warning to his gunner – the target is moving fast. And there it is, just about where he thought it would be – a nice fat grey halftrack. The two loaders lift the legs of the gun with practiced movements and swivel the gun slightly left. All the while, the gunner is working the elevation and horizontal, quickly bringing his gun to bear. It occurs to Tchevski that he has not given a single order and yet his crew has done everything he wanted already.

“Sergeant?” calls his gunner. The implication is obvious; he is ready.

“Fire,” calls Tchevski, almost belatedly. Everything has been done for him.

The 76.2-cm gun cracks, flames spitting in a gout of anger from the muzzle. He knows the enemy fears his gun, calling it the “Crash – Boom” because it seems as though the crash of the shell has already hit before the boom of the cannon firing reaches the ears of the victims.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:02:00 AM   
heinrich55

 

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The enemy is close, barely 170 meters, probably closer. Tchevski sees the rise of smoke and flames – A HIT! He hears the clang of the empty shell casing hitting rocks in their gun pit as the familiar metallic slam of the breech slamming shut reaches his ears. They are already loaded.

“No worries boys,” he grins. “That one is no longer a threat.”





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:02:45 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Indeed, smoke caps a geyser of flames as fuel ignites and vaporizes in liquid death. The fiery grave is marked so all on the battle field can see it.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:03:32 AM   
heinrich55

 

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There is silence in his gun pit, and nearby Soviet soldiers watch in horrified fascination. The flames seem to rise ever higher and the men seem to quietly reflect what it might be like trapped in that horrible death-trap. Each one is thankful that it is the hated enemy and not them that burns in the conflagration.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:04:18 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Demitriev feels the explosion through the earth he is hiding in. He chances a look behind his position and sees the flaming halftrack, that was only moments ago firing leaden death at him. He can see the burning bodies of the enemy infantry that were riding in what is now a flaming chariot of horror. He wants to cheer but knows that might give away his hiding place. Better to be quiet and live, even if it is for just a little while longer.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:05:47 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Demitriev suddenly feels a pressure change in the air. He is confused, sensing something terrible, and then he hears the horrible howl of a Katyusha artillery barrage. He has only moments to live, and he digs deeply into his hole. “Those bastards,” he yells, “They have called in the Katyas on top of me!” The scream is deafening and then his world explodes into the worst possible nightmare.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:06:37 AM   
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Shell after shell blankets the field, engulfing all who are unlucky enough to be there.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:07:27 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Tank men slam hatches and hope for a miss. Men huddle in open-top halftracks, some praying and others screaming in anger as the shells fall with reckless abandon.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:08:30 AM   
heinrich55

 

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The earth literally heaves and writhes as if in agony, rent and torn by death from the sky. It is a man-made earthquake.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:09:09 AM   
heinrich55

 

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A direct hit on the open-topped halftrack is instant death for all. The steel is bent outward with the terrific concussive effect, men turned into ash and dust.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:09:46 AM   
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The barrage seems endless – is it possible for anything to survive out in the open?




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:10:53 AM   
heinrich55

 

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And then it ends, with smoke clearing and dirt settling back down. Russian troops smile at one another in their trenches, slapping each other on the backs in congratulation as much as celebrating their own survival. The veterans know that quite often the artillery men make mistakes and drop those barrages of horror right onto their own troops. The Katyas are known to be somewhat inaccurate. This time they seem to have been right on target and the men are very happy about that.

A sergeant calls out to quiet down, and then they hear the engines. Not all of the fascist beasts have been felled, it seems. The smiles disappear and grim faces turn once again in the direction of the threat.

The younger men look around in confusion. How could the enemy survive the minefields? Then how could they make it through the Katyas? Are they possessed? Demons from children’s’ nightmares? The questions are on their faces but the veterans say nothing.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:11:41 AM   
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As the enemy tanks rush forward, eager to get from the killing zone of the Katyusha barrage, they blunder into a more designed killing zone, the AT gun front. From well across the battlefield a 4.5-cm gun sends a shell into the side of the enemy tank, touching off a catastrophic internal explosion. There is a wall of flames and then the tank burns itself – and occupants – out quickly, leaving only a greasy plume of black smoke.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:12:50 AM   
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Tchevski has not had the men alter the gun position. He is sure more will appear right where they are angled. He hears another engine, a deeper roar, that of a tank. He calls the alert to the men but sees it is unnecessary. They are poised and waiting for the moment to strike.

An enemy medium tank appears before their gun. The gunner makes practically no adjustments.

“Fire,” orders Tchevski, and the loud crack of the gun is the reply. The gun goes to full recoil and the loader is yanking the breech open, the flash of gold as sunlight hits the empty casing being ejected. The steel makes a musical bell-like clang as it is torn from the breech block.

“Hit,” cries the gunner. “No smoke.” He is making fine adjustments as the gun is loaded in seconds. Tchevski nods in approval and taps his gunner on the shoulder as the signal to fire when ready.

The gun reacts violently as the gunner fires – this time a pall of brown-white smoke floods from the body of the enemy tank, and Tchevski sees hatches flung open and crewmen leaping from their vehicle.

“That one did it,” he calls for the crew to hear. “Nice shot, very nice indeed,” is praise for his gunner.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:14:15 AM   
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For the past few minutes Belov has been engaging his gun in a long-distance gun duel with an enemy medium tank. Markov’s aim has been – for the most part – right on target. Belov has seen way too many dust plumes to the side or front of the tank. He is livid.

“Kill the damn beast,” he shouts, waving his arms wildly. The gunner only grimly hugs his aiming mechanism and changes the aim point slightly.

The enemy tank takes yet another hit to the front plates. Belov can see the sparks flying and it makes him angrier. As he is watching through the spyglasses, he sees a flame from the tank. His mouth hangs open for the bare seconds it takes for the enemy shell to hit.

The enemy shell impacts on the lip of their gun pit, throwing more shrapnel about the crew, but the gun shield protects them this time.

“How dare he,” roars Belov. “I am only a stinking corporal.” He sees motion in the corner of his eye and turns to see Popov with his idiot’s grin, nodding his head up and down in agreement. He swings to hit the man but Popov is pretty fast for an idiot and dodges the blow. “Load!” he screams and the man rushes another shell to the gun.

“Stop playing with the bastard and kill it,” orders Belov.

“I’m trying, Sergeant, but the shells won’t penetrate,” retorts Markov. “We are too far distant to get a kill.” There is anger and frustration in his voice.

Markov triggers another round which flies true, again impacting on the front plates of the enemy tank and showing a shower of sparks to mark the failure. He hears the roar of anger from his sergeant, like some unhinged beast about to go berserk, and he hunches down over his gunsight, expecting a flurry of blows from the man.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:15:35 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Markov can hear his sergeant yelling and throwing things behind him. Naturally this is not helping him concentrate. With every shell they throw at the enemy tank, either sparks or dirt fly up. He knows his sergeant is not a rational man so in order to save himself and his crew, he will have to make the impossible possible.

He decides to ease the range up ever so slightly, as he senses Popov loading another shell into their gun. “Now, perhaps this will work,” he tells himself. He’s hit pretty much every other part of the tank face.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:16:42 AM   
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The gun punches another gout of flames from the barrel. The round flies true again, and suddenly he sees…can it be….a dirty brown shroud is enveloping the hated enemy tank….

“DA, You’ve Killed IT!” roars Belov. “FINALLY!”

Markov simply drops his head on the gunsight in relief, barely aware of wild celebration behind him. He doesn’t turn to see the circus as Belov links arms with Popov and starts to dance wildly in circles, Popov grinning and bobbing his head inanely while Grenko claps wildly and cheers the corporal who now resembles Bruno the Acrobatic Bear.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:17:35 AM   
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It seems as though the pace of the battle has slowed somewhat. There are still Tigers to the center, but as they begin to move forward, one takes a damaging hit and stops. The Tiger roars a shell away towards the gun pit that is tormenting it. Suddenly the Tiger erupts in smoke and is slain, by yet another 4.5-cm gun shell. The sudden and violent explosion slaughters the tank riders, their lifeless bodies strewn about the rear of the massive tank.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:18:25 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Demitriev was knocked unconscious for a short while from the barrage of the Katyusha, or at least stunned. As he regains his wits, all he has now is anger, at everyone. A very large enemy tank is so close now he can almost touch it. They don’t see him until the last minute and he takes several shots. There is an enemy MG team riding the back and in their desperation they open fire on him as well.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:19:29 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Demitriev cannot miss at this distance and his shots hit and damage the tank. The tank is firing blindly at him and barely misses. In the confusion the enemy MG team bails out and now begins to rip fire across his hiding place. He is so angry that he cannot help himself and keeps on firing, over and over again. “Is this what it is like to go berserk on the battlefield” he wonders to himself. His shoulder doesn’t even notice the punishing blows of the AT rifle’s recoil as he fires shot after shot into the enemy tank.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:20:15 AM   
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Explosions rip about Demitriev but he is no longer in possession of his faculties and cannot think to take cover. The combined fire of the enemy MG riders as well as the tank gun is too much to overcome. Demitriev is torn apart, his body still mostly buried in his foxhole, another unknown grave for a gallant soldier. His mother will never know what happened to him and will never be able to mourn at his gravesite. Since he was not a member of the Party, the Government will tell her nothing of his fate nor will they attempt to identify him and give him a proper burial.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:21:13 AM   
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Major Sankovsky has heard all the reports of many tank kills. He is now afraid that there will not be any glory for his Beast Hunters. He quickly orders them to drive forward, giving curt hand signals to push through the wooded copse and seek the enemy. Perhaps he will be in on the kills after all.

As Kovalenko yells to his driver to start forward, he waves to his friend, Balenovka who gives him a snappy salute back. They are on the hunt now, pushing through the trees to seek Tigers. He is elated as adrenaline courses through his veins. Silently he urges Babushka forward. The crew is alert and suddenly on pins and needles. He barely hears the roar of a gun over the scream of their tank.

To the far right, Balenovka sees the front of his gun erupt in a blaze of light and sparks. He just manages to duck into his gun, shaking his head at the close call.
“What was that?” he calls to the crew. The driver is momentarily stunned, but recovers quickly. No one is saying anything now, faces pale as the blood drains away with fear.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:22:20 AM   
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Balenovka suddenly realizes they are being stalked by something out there, probably a Tiger, their natural nemesis. “Damn it all,” he curses to himself, seeking a view of the enemy tank. He knows his gunner is frantically doing the same.

They are deafened by another hammer blow to the front of their gun. Balenovka thought he felt his gun actually rock with the impact as he was momentarily stunned silly.

“Turn us, turn us now,” he shouts to the driver. The driver is groggy and not responding quickly. “Turn, Turn, Turn,” he screams across the tank compartment.

“Which way,” shouts the driver, just now regaining his wits.

“Right, go right,” is Balenovka’s frenzied command.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:23:23 AM   
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The driver slams the right track into reverse, trying to swing the heavy nose of their ungainly beast to the right. He is only partially successful…

An 8.8-cm AT shell tears through the massive armor on the front of their tank and shreds the driver, gunner, and loader in bloody succession. Balenovka has no recollection on how he got from his gun, but he finds himself lying in the woods, his breech operator and only other surviving crew member looking down at him with a worried expression on his face. Smoke is pouring from his stricken tank.

“How did it all happen so fast,” he tries to say to his loader but the words won’t form and he cannot hear himself speak.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:24:30 AM   
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Balenovka’s fate is unknown to Sgt. Alenkin as their gun clears the wooded copse on the right side. He spots an enemy tank, medium type, crossing his view from left to right at moderate speed. Calmly he calls to the driver on the intercom, telling him to stop and swing right 20 degrees. The driver responds instantly and the giant gun swings to the right, practically dead on.

The gunner reports he sees it too, and is making slight adjustments to their massive gun. Alenkin can hear the gun mount groan as the artillery piece is turned to adjust for the range and distance.

“Ready?” he calls. The gunner yells yes. “Fire!” is the command.

Immediately to their front a giant wall of flame obscures any vision. Alenkin has closed his eyes to avoid the flare. Their gun rocks back on the heavy suspension as the shell is hurled from the barrel. With the gun back in battery, the two loaders immediately spring to action. The shell and the powder charge are separate and have to be pieced together and then gently rammed into the breech. This will take time and they stand stationary as a statue while the gun is reloaded. The enemy will have the advantage if they fire quickly.

Only 50 meters to their front is an AT rifleman, in his foxhole. The man is cursing the beast hunters as the concussive blast knocked him groggy for several seconds and the flame from the barrel seared the ground all around him. He had to slap out flames on his clothing and both eardrums are likely broken; he cannot hear and blood is oozing from his ears.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:25:22 AM   
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Alenkin sees a huge wall of sparks flying from their target. It must have been a glancing blow to have caused so much white light. “Dammit,” he swears. “Get that next round in fast. We didn’t kill him…Yet!” He is confident that nothing their target can fire at them will hurt, but there could be something else out there much more deadly. He can only imagine what happened in the interior of that medium tank when their massive cannon shell glanced off. They could quite possibly be dead.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:26:13 AM   
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Captain Malek has pushed aggressively through the woods, expecting to engage in the battle quickly. He does not know what has happened to Balenovka but he knows Kovalenko is somewhere to his left.

He orders his driver to ease out from the tree line, as he scans the horizon rapidly. He is looking to his left to see where Kovalenko is supposed to be when there is a blossom of flame about 600 meters directly in front of him. His gunner sees this and screams the captain’s name – instinctively Malek drops through the hatch…





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:27:01 AM   
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…and is spared injury as an 8.8-cm shell pounds off the front of his gun. Kovalenko has just cleared the tree line and sees the shimmer of sparks and fire off the glacis plate of Captain Malek’s gun. He is shocked as he didn’t think they were that close to engaging the enemy. Apparently he was wrong. Malek’s tank looks quiet but it isn’t smoking. He thinks they might be only stunned.




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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:28:15 AM   
heinrich55

 

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The hammer blow to his own gun is the next shock. Another large-caliber shell has just caromed off the front plate of his own gun.
Driver Golkov is screaming something and trying to get out of his seat. The gunner Romanov kicks him in the side of the head to calm him down, ordering him to shut up and get control of himself.

Romanov and Kovalenko are now desperately scanning the horizon and they see two Tiger tanks, one maybe 600 meters out and one much further. Kovalenko realizes he is shouting through the microphone for Golkov to back them up fast. There are two very large beasts out there, and although they are supposed to be the beast hunters, they are very definitely on the feeding table for the very beasts they thought they would be hunting.





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RE: AAR - Vengeance of the Beast Hunters - 1/1/2012 1:29:17 AM   
heinrich55

 

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Kovalenko had to lean into his tank to see that Golkov is now back to driving, and he hears the scream of gears as Golkov fights the transmission into reverse.

One of the loaders – he doesn’t know which one, Grelov maybe – is yelling something about why their famous Soviet steel won’t just protect them from everything, like they’ve been told by the officers. Kovalenko chooses to ignore him and looks up again to see what the Tigers are doing.

In his view he watches the killing shell as it tears into Captain Malek’s tank. A gigantic plume of dirty white smoke seems to blast out of every possible opening on Malek’s tank, as hatches fly open and desperate men try to escape the fire inside. He counts 4 men in varying stages of injury or burns tumbling out of their tank – the thought comes to him that probably the driver didn’t make it.

“Back us up fast,” he yells, not intending to get blown up like everyone else.





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