CHAPTER 1: LADENKOPF (Scouting Ostbevern)
October 1989; succeeding Erich Konecker's position, Egon Krenz took command as the leader of Germany's Democratic republic. Thousands of people marched on the road demanding his resignation. By this time, the amount of East Germany people that tried to flee the country has escalated. Civic unrest filled the streets of East Berlin with violent protest raging, as the West Berliner watched right from their backyard. Day after day, the protest seems to grow more and more intense that the Russian sent their armed division to assist the GDR.
November 7th 1989, during the dark night-time, one of the East Germany soldier patrolling the Berlin wall was killed. GDR blames the West Germany and held them responsible for the murder of that soldier. However, the West Germany official denied their involvement with the soldier's death. The next day, a Civilian from East Germany that tried to flee the wall to the other side was shot by the West Germany's guard soldier. Fueled by propaganda and demand for justice, The East Berliner now riots at the Wall's checkpoint.
In December 1989, Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski defected to West Germany, after the economical strife hits East Germany hard, sending the whole country in a tough epochs. Demand to extradite Golodkowski failed despite their attempt to negotiate with the West Germany for his extradition and request for loan. Then, December 16th 1989, without any strong reason, German Democratic Republic declared war to West Germany, first by precisely planned air-strike towards enemy installation in Berlin, assisted by Russia; followed by Blitzkrieg from the GDR's armored group element.
The next day, Poland joined the invasion, followed by Czechoslovakia, and the days after that, the whole Warsaw pact has declared war to Germany. As a response, NATO pact declared war to the Warsaw Pact, especially Great Britain, United States, and France, sending their Army force to assist the Federal Republic of Germany Against the invasion.
However one city after another, Munich, Kiel, Dresden, Nuremberg, Bremen, Hanover, and Hamburg, all fell into the hands of the Warsaw Pact. With their armed force quickly diminishing, the Bundeswehr now try to retaliate the invasion by trying to halt their advance further inland while trying to find a way to counter their attack by some means.
December 23rd 1989, Day 7 after Warsaw pact's invasion. Somewhere near Ostbevern, 20 kilometers from Münster.
Panzeraufklärungslehrbataillon 11, Panzerlehrbrigade 9
"Gefechtsstand, this is Saber 1-1, we're seeing a lot of movement mostly mechanized 0division moving across Staatswald Rengering. 2 company-sized formation of Kampfpanzer... T-62, T-55 and one-full Company of Mechanised infantry vehicles, Schutzenpanzer BMP-2 mostly... and they are moving down on the road possibly heading to Munster." Higgendorf reported, putting down his binocular, looking at the large armored column.
"This is Gefechtsstand, understood. We'll redirect the Panzerlehrbrigade 9 elements to intercept them at Handorf. We've received a report that majority of the Russian will came towards that area soon."
"Understood" Higgendorf replied "Gefechtsstand, Is there any news of the Archer Panzergruppe?"
"This is Gefechtsstand, we lost contact of their group few hours ago" The Command replied "Glandorf defense position must've been overrun."
"This is Saber 1-1, understood." He puts down the radio and looked towards Erich at his gunner seat. "Hey Erich, there's no news yet from your pal Marcus." He said to him.
"They must've suffered some sort of radio problem over there... and i can still hear the fighting coming from that town." Erich replied with hopeful expectation. "And this vehicle we are seeing, they must've been coming from other part of town." He said.
"So tell me again, how did Marcus and you met each other and became friend?" the dark-haired gunner asked with curiosity.
Higgendorf brushed his blond hair to the side. " It's been ages now but we've been friend ever since we were in highs school in Dusseldorf, before my parents moved to Hanover." He said to Higgendorf. "By the way, should we do something about the enemy in front of us?"
"I'll try to contact the base then." He reached for the radio again. "Gefechtsstand, this is Saber 1-1..." He clears his throat "Interrogative, Should we fall back or continue to recon the area, possibly engage them?"
"Your call. If you can halt them at least, that would buy the Panzerbrigade a couple of times to prepare a defensive position."
"Verstanden. We'll take the appropriate action if necessary then, over and out."
"What do we do now, Albercht?" Erich asked, sitting in a laid-back position on his gunner seat.
"I don't know... Let me think for a moment." Higgendorf scratches his head.
Higgendorf's Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tank stands idle covered by the bush whilst Camouflage net covered the front section of the turret. The camouflaged netting were the reason why they weren't spotted by the Russian units... yet. The other 3 Leopard tank parked left side of his tank, is also heavily camouflaged. There weren't any hard cover for them to use, and for a poorly armored vehicle like their tanks, they have to rely on the element of surprise and pray that the enemy didn't find them first. Adding to their advantages, the snow has enveloped their vehicle thick enough to break their silhouette.
"It's been six hours since we're here and the Russian finally presented themselves for our serving" Friedrich lamented. The MG-3 mounted on his position is trained towards the enemy armored column, positioning his trigger finger away from the trigger. "Herr Hauptmann, let's engage them!" The Blonde rookie loader said with exitement.
"Yeah, we could try stir up the hornets' nest and we'll be dead" Erich ridiculed him "Just in case you didn't realize it Ulger, We are outnumbered 20 to one with only 4 tanks right now. Or better yet, i would be glad to throw your sorry ass out fro the vehicle and freeze to death"
"Ignore him Erich, You already know how excited he is in experiencing his first war." Josef said to him while he sat on his driver compartment eating a military ration food.
"Herr Hauptmann, what's your order?" Milda asked, while she pokes out from her commander's hatch, with binocular slung on her chest.
Higgendorf dillydallied for a while.
"All Kamfpanzers, we'll engage them on my signal" Higgendorf relayed. "Tell your men to button up"
"Verstanden." Milda replied.
"Affirmative." Helmut, the second tank commander under Higgendorf's command has replied.
"Understood." Dietrich, the third Tank commander, replied.
They all replied via the radio communication. Higgendorf entered the tank, followed by Friedrich, closing their hatch. Once the hatch is securely closed, Higgendorf's outside view is limited to the view he could see within his Hatch periscope as well as the Binocular periscope located directly at the front of his face.
The tank's interior was visibly lit by several lights coming from the Periscope and from the instrument panel.
"So what's the battle plan, Hauptmann Higgendorf?" Milda queried.
"First thing first, I'll engage the first tank column. Milda, you take the Schutzenpanzers group. Dietrich, engage their rear echelon, and Helmut engage the centre group" Higgendorf ordered.
"Verstanded. Gunner, HEAT, Schutzenpanzer" Milda replied, while at the same time ordering her crew to prepare for the engagement. The other 2 also replied, knowing their task and now aiming their guns towards the specified enemy that has been told to them.
"Driver, turn that engine on. Prepare to reverse full speed when I say so."
"Understood" Josef puts his ration on his lap and started the engine ignition. Soon, the engine came alive with a roar.
"Gunner, SABOT, Kampfpanzer" Higgendorf shifted his attention forward to the enemy armored column "Target the lead panzer"
"Identified, Range twelve-hundred meters" Erich traverse the turret towards the targeted tank. The sound of the turret traverse filled the interior. Erich can identify the target he is aiming; a T-62 tank, through his gunner scope. The enemy tanks are moving in uniform speed, kicking dust behind them as they advance further to the west side.
"Geladen!" Friedrich announced after shoving the 105mm Armor piercing Discarding Sabot round into the breech. He pressed the button at his loader station as an indication that the gun is loaded and ready to fire.
"Feuer frei!" Higgendrof Announced
"Achtung!" Erich didn't heistate, given the green light, he pressed the trigger and the 105mm gun roars, spitting the discarding sabot round towards the enemy tanks.
The gun fired with tremendous blast, this is followed by the other 3 tanks opening fire. Higgendorf tried to confirm the target Erich has just hit despite the chaos erupting. As soon as the gun is fired, the breech ejects a spent casing. That casing landed into the brass catcher with a loud clanking sound.
"Target, cease fire." Higgendorf focus his attention towards the next target. "Kampfpanzer left side, SABOT, engage!"
With that announcement from Higgendorf, Erich traversed the turret again for his second target. Friedrich on the other hand reached the Discarding sabot ammunition that was placed on the ready rack next to the gun breech. Lifting the 18 kilograms Anti-tank round wasn't easy, but for Friedrich it was a piece of cake.
"Geladen!" Friedrich shoved the 105mm round into the breech again.
The gun fires again. This time, Higgendorf's tank claims another kills.
"Target destroyed. Gunner, next target, SABOT, fire!"
Twenty minutes of firing, the enemy are suppressed. All that is left was a burning wreck of Russian tanks and BMPs. Several infantry groups are seen fleeing from the site eastward of the area. Higgendorf sat still on his commander seat, observing the aftermath of the battle from the periscope view of his hatch. At one moment he switched between his Magnified commander periscope sight and the hatches periscope to check whether there's any attack that could be directed towards them.
"Gefechtsstand, this is Saber 1-1, we've successfully engaged the enemy formation." Higgendorf announces.
"Gefechtsstand, Interrogative... should we advance to Glandorf and recon the area near that town?"
"This is Gefechtsstand, Negative. Continue your reconnaissance on that area until further notified, over."
"This is Saber 1-1, roger that."
For the next 30 minutes, there wasn't any movement until the Saber panzergruppe spotted a large enemy formation, larger than what they engage half an hour ago.
"Gefechtsstand, this is Saber 1-1, we're seeing a lot more enemy formation advancing east from our location" Higgendorf notified the command. "It's uncertain but the enemy formation is huge... three to four company-sized tank groups and several more support vehicles and Schutzenpanzers."
"This is Gefechtsstand, roger that. Can you identify the group?"
"Standby" Higgendorf focused his eyes to the enemy formation, trying to identify what kind of enemy they are engaging now. "This is Saber 1-1, Looks like it's a mixed formation of Russian, Polish, and GDR armored units."
"This is Gefechtsstand, roger that. Saber 1-1, Order your platoon to move westward to Handorf. The guys from Panzerlehrbataillon 334 and Panzergrenadierlehrbataillon 332 is digging in deep South-side of the town. Have your tanks supplied there and link up with them" His commanding officer notified through the radio. "I'll have Kompaniefeldwebel Strachwitz notified that you'll be attached to his command."
"Verstanded, over and out" Higgendorf replied. "Milda, Dietrich, Helmut, prepare to move out on my lead."
"Saber 1-2, Roger." Milda replied.
"Saber 1-4, Verstanden" Dietrich responded
"Saber 1-3, Copy that" Helmut also replied.
"Josef, take us out of here, we're going to Handorf"
"Verstanden. B51 Route?" He queried.
"Consider it done Herr Hauptmann."
"Why are we retreating instead fighting them?" Friedrich lamented.
"Friedrich, if you really want to fight them, go ahead. If that can make my day ay better inside this panzer, i would be glad" Erich felt annoyed by Friedrich's attitude.
"Knock it of both of you, there will be another fight lay ahead of us" Higgendorf tried to stop their pugnacious word-fight.
Higgendorf then opened his hatch and pops his head out from the tank. His tank column is moving down the dirt next to the road since the main route towards the town is packed with civilian cars coming from the previous towns and city that was already overrunned by the Warsaw pact's advance. The road was packed with fleeing civilian for miles long and now they are in the risk of getting caught in the crossfire. For Higgendorf at least, when he saw a couple of Bo 105P Anti-tank helicopter from the Bundswehr's Aviation corps flying towards the Russian armored column He thought to himself, They might be buying us some time to prepare us for the fight and possibly give the civilian a chance of fleeing.
Meanwhile inside the turret, Fridrich opened his loader's hatch, but prefer to stay inside of the turret, sitting on his foldable loader seat while occasionally looking at the Gun breech, the Coaxial machinegun, and Erich's gunner compartment. The Ammunition stowed at the ammunition ready-rack rattles with metallic sound as the tank travels on a gravel dirt. Josef, while driving the tank, opted to open his hatch for better field of driving. To him, he enjoys the feeling of getting wind blowing to his face as he drives. There isn't any enemy threat present right now, and because of that, most of the crew inside the tank, excluding Higgendorf, are now relaxed.
"Saber 1-1, this is Strachwichz, over." Higgendorf's silence is disturbed when someone tried to contact him through the radio comm.
"This is Saber 1-1, come in over" He replied. "Hearing you loud and clear."
"We're situated at Körberheide 4, meet me there. I'll debrief you for this mission."
"This is Saber 1-1, verstanden. We'll be there soon in approximately 8 minutes, we're now entering Telgte as we speak." He replied, seeing the town now in his view.
Their Leopard 1A5 column soon entered the Outskirt of the town of Telgte. Passing the town, they saw a couple of Infantry units from the 91st Jägerbataillon preparing to egress from the city, entering their Fuchs armored Personnel Carrier vehicle ready to leave the town. 5 minutes after leaving the town of Telgte, they finally arrived at their location. The Surrounding area was already filled with armored fighting vehicles; Leopard 2, Schutzenpanzer Marder, and Leopard 1 all parked just behind them in uniformed line, parked in a dugout hole facing towards the direction where the enemy would be rolling towards them.
"Driver, halt." Higgendorf ordered.
Josef stopped the Tank just at the corner of Körberheide and Warendorfer Street. All 3 tanks following him also halted.
"Hauptmann Higgendorf?" a voice calling his name from behind.
"Yes?" Higgendorf turned his heads to the voice, an unnamed regular soldier was expecting his arrival, standing close to his tank.
"Kompaniefeldwebel Strachwitz is waiting for you over there." The soldier told him as he points his finger towards the location where Strachwitz is at; His Fuchs command vehicle is parked just at the front of an Italian Restaurant. There's also several tank crew and personnel standing there, which he thought as probably tank commander and Infantry squad leader. All of them gathered around a table which has a map on top of it.
"Erich, Josef, Friedrich, get yourself some rest first and eat what you can eat." Higgendorf said to his tank crew.
Shortly after that, he disconnected the tank comms and removing his tank combat helmet out and grabbing his Bergmütze instead. Wearing his field cap, he hopped out from his Leopard 1A5 tank, armed with his trusty MP2 submachinegun and walked towards Strachwitz's command vehicle.
"Hauptmann Albercht Higgendorf reporting, sir." He saluted to Strachwitz.
The Kompaniefeldwebel that is now in charge of his Panzergruppe is in his 40s, some of his hair now turning greyish white. With his sidearm holstered, He's well geared with his plate carrier vest strapped, while his Bundeswehr's flecktarn camouflage uniform looks clean and tidy.
"At ease, Hauptmann." Strachwitz replied. "Give me your Sitrep."
"We halted a large enemy armored formation about an hour ago at Ostbevern... right here" Higgendorf pointed the exact location where his tank platoon has engaged the enemy group.
"So far we've tallied 26 Russian Kampfpanzers and 12 Schutzenpanzer plus countless numbers of enemy soldiers" He briefed "We also spotted larger enemy formation just west of the initial group we've just engaged and it seems like a mixed formation of Russian, Polish, and GDR units."
"I see." Strachwitz replied, now looking back at the map. "I just got words from the 36th Attack Helicopter Regiment few minutes ago and they said they suffered heavy loss when most of their Bo 105P attack helicopters were shot down by their Anti-air missiles and flakpanzers, but they did score some kills... albeit an insignificant one."
"What's the plan now, Kompaniefeldwebel." Asked a random tank commander.
"From now, since we probably assume the enemy formation will come from the field of Warendorfer Straße, i want 4 Panzergruppe and Panzergrenadiersgruppe and divide them into two, stationed here and here" He pointed two location for them to occupy. "2 Group per each flank. If we can strike them from both flank, we can force them to retreat"
"We'll take this position, Herr Kompaniefeldwebel" One of the tank commander pointed the map.
"We'll take that too."
"Alright then. Gault Panzergruppe and Gelb Panzergruppe will take the position Southside. Kellerman, Jacobson, You'll be attached with this group" He ordered "As for Falchion and Excalibur Panzergruppe, you'll be holding Gildenstraße and you'll be assisted by Müller and Philipp's Panzergrenadiersgruppe"
"What about us?" Higgendorf asked.
"You'll be positioned here" Strachwitz pointed the map "You'll be positioned here, at Dorbaum with 2 Panzergrenadiersgruppe to guard our northernmost flank. I'll have Schultzendorff and Stelz's Panzergrenadiersgruppe attached to your command"
Higgendorf jotted down the details and plan in his notebook.
"What about Counter-attack?" asked one of the Panzergrenadiers commanding officer.
"This is a defense operation, Stelz. Münster is the last area of the Northern Germany that we have to defend. If this area fell to the enemy's hand, what's left of our Deutschland territory will be helpless against their invasion."
"So it's on our own?" the Panzergrenadiers officer replied, seemingly filled with despondence.
"I just got a confirmation that the American Airborne division will be assisting us soon with their 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. We will be supported by their 510th Fighter Squadron's attack planes. Exactly when they will arrive is everyone's guess. In the meantime, we'll defend this City for as long as we can." Strachwitz finished his briefing.
"Alright guys, i'll expect everyone to perform their duty in this operation. Dismissed."
Soon, everyone in the briefing left the area, now preparing their vehicles for the defensive operation against the enemy group. It's now them against the bulk of the Warsaw pact's force in a soon-to-be battle that will become a bloodbath.
To be Continued.
Few days back, i deleted this story, but now after some problem settled, i am re-publishing this story back for everyone who is interested to read it.
While the callsign mentioned in this story, like "Saber Panzergruppe", and almost all characters were fictional, most of the mentioned Brigade, battalion, and division are based from existing thing in real life, for instance, Panzerlehrbrigade 9, which is an existing German army unit located at Munster, as well as the US 510th Fighter Squadron, which is a fighter squadron stationed in Germany at that time, which includes A-10 Warthog in their roster.
I know some of you might say this was probably inspired from Wargame series, but it's not. While the concept is present, the idea of this story is set in 1989 while Able archer; the mission which influenced this story, took place in 1983.