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    Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

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    33lima
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    Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by 33lima on Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:41 pm

    Missions from the movie, in the tanksim!
    (from the original CombatAce mission report)


    Melodramatic tank movies are certainly better than no tank movies at all, especially if they make a decent effort at authenticity, amidst the melodrama. So let it be said of 'Fury'. I found it a tad contrived in places, from the awful, gratuitous prisoner shooting scene to the 'falling plate' Germans, whose erratic anti-tank gunners, plentiful but equally erratic panzerfaust operators and even a Tiger tank, fall to the guns of a few Shermans, crewed by our cynical, war-weary but nearly-all-conquering protagonists.



    However,  'Fury' wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared, quite a decent war movie in its own right. And as far as tank movies go, 'Fury's now my joint favourite, up there with 'White Tiger', which substitutes a rather compelling weirdness for the melodrama and T-34/85s for the Shermans. Its protagonist had rather less luck with the Tiger in that movie, at one point resorting to an automatic pistol, after his crew failed to notice they'd plugged their main gun's muzzle with mud. Just when it seemed victory against the super-Tiger was within their grasp, too. Dasvidanya, tovaritch.



    Anyway, thanks to prolific modder Lockie, Steel Fury now has a developing set of missions based on scenes from the movie - 'Fury', that is, not 'White Tiger'. There are two 'Fury' missions now available, both for the upcoming version 2.0 of the STA mod, which is in test, but available on application over on the STA forum. This mission report covers both of these missions; at time of writing (February 2016) a third one is in preparation. By way of a spoiler alert, if you haven't yet watched the movie but plan on doing so soon, you might want to do that, before reading how the missions play out!


    'Fury' mission #1 - 'Ambush!'

    The mission puts you in the role of Brad Pitt's character, Staff Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier, who tells us early on 'I started this war killing Germans in Africa. Then France. Then Belgium. Now I'm killing Germans in Germany.' He must have missed out on the Battle of Kasserine, then. Things aren't that much better in Germany, it seems, because although the war's being won, your tank is the sole suvivor of your company. Your task now is simple enough - drive up the road to a camp, RV with a platoon of M4s, and then move with them to join forces with another tank platoon, before assaulting an enemy-held location.

    The mission has one of Lockie's snazzy splash screens and when it loads, there's a video clip from the movie, showing 'Wardaddy's' Sherman arriving in the camp. This mission's production values are not to be sneezed at!

    As in the movie, your tank is an M4A3 (76mm) HVSS, often known as the M4A3E8 or 'Easy Eight'. This was a common variant by 1945 and is distinguished from earlier Shermans by the one-piece 47 degree sloped hull front (no frontal protusions for the driver and co-driver hatches); T23 type turret with longer-barrelled 76mm gun, in place of the original 75mm; and different, horizontally-sprung suspension units with wider track. The SF-STA version is nicely-rendered; there's no 3d interior but the externals look great with lots of animations and external stowage, including the unditching beams carried on the left-hand hull side, just like the movie tank. Limitations in the sim mean the 'Fury' tank name is on the right-hand side of the hull, as per the first screenshot in this thread, rather than on the gun tube as in the movie; but the former is a more realistic place for WW2 tank names. The white tactical numbers on the turret RH side are a bit un-American, though, if not distinctly Soviet.



    Approaching the camp for the rendez-vous with the other Shermans, you soon see that Lockie's scenery-building has spared neither effort nor livestock.





    On the right as you pass into the camp is a firing range...



    ...and on the left, a PoW cage, some of whose occupants are nervously standing with their hands still in the air. Evidently, these follows still believe all that Dr Goebbels has told them about the proclivities of the dreadful Amis...or perhaps they have that scene in the seen the movie, too.



    The PoWs' apparent anxiety is not surpising, perhaps, as the camp is full of GIs, all armed to the teeth, many of them prowling around purposefully, with their weapons in both hands. Moving on, and being careful not to run over any of these heavily-armed people, you can soon see the M4s you came here to join, parked up ahead.



    As you reach the Shermans, you're reminded of your next move - changing on-screen messages and optional waypoint indicators keep you well informed, without reverting to your map. Now, it's time to tag along and link up next with Lt Parker's boys, before we put in the next attack.



    Having seen the movie, something tells me that it's not going to be quite so simple!

    ...to be continued!
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    33lima
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    Re: Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by 33lima on Mon Feb 15, 2016 7:58 pm

    'Ambush, right!'



    It wasn't long before the four Shermans in front moved off. They shook out into column formation and exited the camp, headed for the RV with the second tank platoon. I tagged along behind, ordering my driver to follow the road. Incidentally, the 'weather' mod in use here is 'Winter- no snow', and a good job it does of enhancing the mission's cold, wintry, muddy setting. If you've seen 'Fury', you'll know that there's a lot of mud in the movie.

    Passing out of the camp, our five Shermans rumbled up the muddy road, past some more deceased livestock - does that make it 'deadstock'? The tanks up ahead maintained formation fairly well, apart from a certain amount of jiggling about. This in turn forced me to do a certain amount of speeding up and slowing down, to maintain spacing.



    During this trek, I had a certain amount of time to admire my mount. I always thought that the Sherman 76s were amongst the more elegant of the breed, although the 75mm versions were thought to be better for High Explosive work (the flatter trajectory of the higher-velocity 76mm gun producing a more elongated 'beaten zone' around a given target on the ground). So for early 1945, the mix of weapons in our platoon was fair enough, as in the movie. Nice, that my tank commander figure isn't standing tall in the turret, but instead, looks like he's ready for action, despite being unbuttoned.



    The main consideration in Sherman units, US and Allied, was not to mix variants with different engines, though on this mission we have a Wright Cyclone-engined M4A1 amongst the other types.

    Anyhow, with all the jiggling about, I managed to keep up just fine, but the platoon leader, out in front, didn't seem inclined to hang around for the rest of us. Soon, as the hedgerows either side faded out and the road curved off into some woodland, he began to draw ahead. Not a great idea, sir, I thought to myself.



    At this point, I began to expect the worst. I started swinging my turret left and right, mostly right where lay higher ground, amidst the trees. Scanning through the gunner's sight, I could see little but trees, leaves, trees and more leaves. But it made me feel better. If there's one thing I like to avoid in a tanksim, it's driving into potential trouble with my main gun at twelve o'clock. Keep the turret swinging, is my motto, laying the gun onto the areas of greatest threat. Scan! Even if you don't see anything, it may put off the enemy. And if you guess right, your first round will be downrange that much quicker. If you guess wrong, you're probably kaput, anyway.



    The road through the woods began to ascend. The tanks ahead rolled up to the crest. By now, the platoon leader was completely out of sight. At that juncture, with the point tank in dead ground and the rest of us unable to see beyond the crest, the party started.



    I couldn't see a thing, but I could certainly hear it: MG fire, and somewhere just up ahead. Now what?!



    From the sound of the shooting up ahead, it was apparent that our platoon leader, geting ahead of the pack, had run into a spot of bother, just out of sight over the hill. It's at times like this, that you may regret one of Steel Fury's biggest limitations - the lack of any simulation of radio traffic, beyond what scripted messages the mission buider may be able to incorporate. Here, we had a contact just ahead, but nobody was saying a dickey bird, on the radio net. In many SF missions, this doesn't matter greatly, as you're part of a compact force on a relatively open battlefield that is mostly within your view. But in close country, up against an enemy whose approximate positions are not pre-plotted on your map, the lack of contact reports or sitreps is rather inconvenient.

    What we do have, depending on what your map's settings have been configured to show, is the ability to see - on the aforementioned map - both the positions of frendly units, and those of any enemies they have spotted. It's reminiscent of consulting the IVIS screen at the commander's station of an M1A2 Abrams in M1 Tank Platoon 2. But it's the only way you've got, of getting - albeit rather too quickly and reliably - the sort of info that you might otherwise be able to pick up on the radio net. In this case, here's what I could see:



    As indicated by the hullabaloo, the point tank has run into what's evidently a linear infantry ambush, mounted from the trees to the right of our road. Scattered enemy infantry have also been spotted further up the road, around a bend.

    While I'm deciding what do do with this information, driving up to the crest to get 'eyes on' whatever it is, one of the tanks ahead of me mounts a reasonably credible anti-ambush drill - a Sherman breaks right and goes crashing off into the woods. Not bad, since an immediate counterattck by troops not caught in the killing ground is a pretty classic Immediate Action in the event of an ambush. The other two tanks act a bit less adventurously, speeding up and driving down to where I can now see the boss's tank, halted and facing right, into the woods.



    I decide to stick with the friendlies I can see, rather than go charging off into the trees - concentration of force, and all that! Reaching the lead tank, I see that he seems to have lost his left track. At that moment, my own tank commander spots the enemy!



    Scanning from the gunner's sight, I can see nothing, except lots of trees, and the tail end of a Sherman, busily knocking some down.



    I push on up the road, cautiously, losing sight of the others as somebody has inconsiderately felled a tree across the road.



    Passing the fallen tree, I meet two of the others, one either side of the road. They are firing in different directions and, watching the tracers, I finally spot some German troops, equiped with Panzerschreck bazooka-type AT weapons, but running away. With the co-ax, I manage to bowl over a few of them. This is no place for chivalry.



    The others Shermans move on, one of them knocking down another tree onto the road. So that was you, last time, was it? Thanks again, mate!



    Coming around the next bend in the road, we reach the edge of the woods. One of the Shermans is firing ahead and right, but at what, I can't see. I could call up the 'magic map, but I like to use this sparingly. Instead, I roll forward to the right of the road, swinging my turret to face the as-yet-unseen enemy.



    By this time, though, the battle seems to be petering out. There is still the occasional burst of tank MG fire, but the only enemies I can see are beyond posing us any further threat.



    The other Shermans resume their route march, so I follow. We are accompanied by some people on foot - un-horsed tank crews. In SF, these fellows seem intent on sticking with their platoon, instead of getting off the battlefield by the most direct route and having a nice cup of tea and a lie-down somewhere quiet to steady the nerves.



    Another M4 is behind me as I exit the woods and swing right, towards the area where team Baker awaits us.



    At this point, something strange happens. To my left, on the treeline, two Shermans race along, heading back towards the scene of the original battle. I believe - later confirmed - that it's two of the platoon I've been operating with. They must have spotted some enemies, perhaps suvivors whose chosen direction of retreat has proved unwise. My comrades' fighting spirit is commendable, perhaps, but they seem never to have learned, or have perhaps forgotten, that the master principle amongstthe Principles of War is 'Selection and Maintenance of the Aim'. And our aim is to re-inforce Baker for an attack, not mop up inconsequential enemy suvivors from an ambush site.



    As if to punish them for their singular lack of mission focus, the second Sherman side-swipes a tree, and rolls over onto its side. A job for the heavy recovery boys, that one. Final score, Trees 1, Shermans 2.

    So I got to Baker's location and was awarded with a 'Mission Complete' message, but I daresay the Baker boys were wondering what happened to the rest of their re-inforcements.



    In fact, the M4A1 76 who had led the belated counterattack rolled up soon after, so that made two of us, present and correct. Plus, most of the crews of the rolled-over Shermans. At some point, I'll use the SF Object Editor to make the turret crew in this type of tank keep their heads down, when unbuttoned.



    As for the other three Shermans, the platoon leader's crew had survived, and were sitting it out in their tank, where it was immobilized.



    Both the other two M4s seem to have fallen victims to stout trees. So I suppose that leaves the real final score as a two-all draw, even after the penalty shoot-out.





    It seems that on Holy German Soil, even the darn trees are against us. Maybe North Africa wasn't so bad, after all.

    ...to be continued!
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    lockie
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    Re: Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by lockie on Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:51 pm

    Report is amazing! It is a very good one for anyone who likes:
    - tanksim
    - learn English
    Each time when I reading er report I see many new words (including French, I suppose) Smile And it's marvelous!
    Amongst my teachers of English as A. Hailey, A. Christie, J. H. Chase, F. Cooper - u're the first one now Smile
    Keep on Rockin'!
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    frinik
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    Re: Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by frinik on Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:49 am

    Yeah I second that! Very good and entertaining battle report. The map is amazing and the mission looks very solid.Well done Lockie and well done Lima33; our very own " War Correspondent ".May be it's time we put you on Life magazine? How about defecting and joining Signal? Wink
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    woofiedog
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    Re: Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by woofiedog on Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:00 am

    I agree fully with the excellent work you did writing up these reports and putting it all together with the screenshots. Thank's Very Happy
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    33lima
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    Re: Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by 33lima on Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:54 pm

    Thanks guys! But to be honest, it's not difficult to make SF-STA look and read great! Especially with such out-of-the-ordinary missions with some extraordinary and immersive details.
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    frinik
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    Re: Mission report: 'Fury', the first two battles

    Post by frinik on Fri Feb 19, 2016 5:18 am

    Agreed but it's gift to be able to make what is essentially a routine mission comes alive in one's mind....

    BTW Herr Lima, Herr Doktor Goebbels has expressed the wish to meet with you.

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