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|Battle of Flanders|
|Battle of Flanders in full heat|
|War||World War III|
|Result||Narrow Allied victory|
|Allied Nations||Soviet Union|
|• General Chloe Ackland
• General Andrew Goodpaster
• General Karl Hanne
|• General Ilya Gogolov|
• General Boris Bairanov
|• 12th Allied Army Group
• Dutch Air Force
|• 6th Army
|• 360 Multigunner IFVs|
|• Minimal; most of the civilians had fled long ago before the Soviets arrived|
• A Few buildings were damaged or ruined during city battles
Background[edit | edit source]
Moving into Belgium, Allied forces were rapidly shifting to an armour-centric approach to combat. This was completely unexpected on their part; the Peacekeeper divisions were designed as air and infantry forces with armour support, but Soviet use of chemical weapons and the Allies fast pace of advance had led to mechanised battalions and armour leading the charge. Adding to this was an increasing manufacturing focus on tanks; the American war industry had kicked into full gear, and they were building new Guardian chassis so fast that United Armour couldn't keep up; several factories in Detroit switched production to Grizzly tanks to keep up with the demand. The 12th Army group crossed into Belgium perusing fragmented Soviet armour elements to prevent them from regrouping, the charge being led by the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 7th Panzer divisions. Unbeknownst to them, the Soviets were preparing an armoured counter-attack through Belgium. Both sides tearing forward at full pace with almost no scout elements, they encountered one another over the fields of Flanders, setting the scene for the largest tank battle in history.
Force Composition[edit | edit source]
Allied Army[edit | edit source]
As the Allies changed their strategy to mechanized advance, the main spear of the assault became a notable number of British MBT-X8 Guardian Tanks. Also, older M60 Grizzly Tanks were involved as natural counterparts to Soviet T-58 Rhino Tanks. For battles with monstrous JS-4 Apocalypse Tanks, Allies used XMTB-66 Mirage Tanks armed with their Spectrum cannons to quickly take out enemy armour. One of the important decisions for this operation by Allied High Command's eyes, close to 500 Multigunner IFV Mk.Is were attached to the armoured divisions. As one of the newest weapons in the Allied arsenal, FM-042c Horizon Tanks were to provide long range fire support from behind the front lines, because Athena Solar Cannons were too slow for a fast-moving battle and too slow in target acquisition.
Aerial forces weren't as strong as always because weather prognosis said for about two weeks that there would be heavy rain. However, there were still some aerial forces, for example the B-2X Century Bombers of the 1st Airborne Battalion, which mainly served to parachutePeacekeepers behind the lines, in addition to several JU-41 Transports. For rapid deployment and transport a squadrons of Nightingale Carryalls were assigned to armoured divisions. For close air support the 143rd Tactical Bomber Wing, composed of 100 TB-1V Vindicators, was assigned to provide support for the advancing Allied forces.
The infantry force was composed of 3 divisions and 1st Airborne Battalion totalling 34,000 men transported by Century Bombers and Riptide ACVs, along with assorted local transport.
The 7th Panzer Army, led by General-Major Karl Hanne, formed in France after the fall of Berlin, consisted of many old, but still functional military vehicles. The best examples were the PzKpfw 6 Mastiff tanks, which had been upgraded with a new version of the 88mm cannon, armour plating and mine clearing prows, PzKpfw 44R Bulldog Tanks, also upgraded with longer barrels for batter range and accuracy and heavier armour plating. Also Sd.Kfz. 301.t Whippet AA Half-Tracks, "Taifun" models with quad cannons were in the Panzer Army with increased armour and their newer Sd.Kfz. 303 cousins. The largest part of the army consisted of the modern German PzKpfw 7 "Predator" tanks, which were said to be on the same level as Guardians, but only German divisions and armies possessed them in any quantity. And Sd.Kfz. transports carried Panzergrenadiers, German, Austrian and Danish soldiers equipped with grenades to effectively fight with Soviet mechanized units and in urban warfare.
Field Marshal Robert Bingham, Supreme Allied Commander of all Allied forces, considered Colonel Alex Manning for the operation during the planning of the battle, but at the time Manning and Major Lissette Hanley were assigned to 8th Allied Army Group, south-east from Flanders on the France-German borders in another operation. So he gave the command over this operation to General Chloe Ackland, a highly skilled veteran of previous conflicts. Major Andrew Goodpaster willingly accepted Ackland's offer to follow him to Flanders directly to the Netherlands and Germany. When the planning of the operation started, General Hanne consented to his attachment to the 12th Army Group, from which he saw a great opportunity for him and his men to enter and liberate his fatherland.
After four days since the start of the operation, the Dutch Allies decided to support their allies and dispatched their 5th Royal Bomber Group with fifteen B-2X Century Bombers and two experimental FTAC-X2 Harbinger Gunships.
Soviet Red Army[edit | edit source]
General Ilya Gogolov, commander of the Soviet 6th Army, was ordered to stop the advancing Allied forces at all costs, due to many losses to the Allies at Normandy. In the end of March 1968 his men were able to stop Allies on the France-Belgium borders and then regrouped. As commander of the local Soviet forces and due to a message from Moscow, Gogolov gave the order to start a counter-attack to push Allies back to Normandy.
His 6th Army consisted of six infantry divisions, one of them the 412th Rifle Division, with a total of 81,000 Conscripts and Flak Troopers, including several Tesla Trooper companies. Also, two armoured divisions were part of the 6th Army, the 23rd and 35th Tank Division, led by General Boris Bairanov, a hero from the First Battle of Leningrad. The leading elements of them were T-64 Hammer Tanks and T-58 Rhino Tanks, which despite their age were still in active service in large numbers. KDB-5 Sickles and KDB-2 Bullfrogs supported tanks, but some older assets were attached to the 6th Army, such Flak Traktors.
Three out of four JS-models were present prior to the start of the battle, with JS-2 Mammoth Tanks, JS-3 Terminator Tanks and JS-4 Apocalypse Tanks. The older JS-2 and JS-3 were there in small numbers, along with large numbers of T-55 Anvil Tanks and 88 TX-03 Tesla Assault Guns from 1st Reserve Tank Division, dispatched by Soviet Command to give Gogolov more armour, even though they had previously been decommisioned.
The key part of the Soviet forces in Flanders was the 9th Artillery Division, which was responsible for the entirety of the 6th Army's artillery support; both older V3 and newer V4 Rocket Launchers were present, in addition to several Myeche MMLs and Katyusha Trucks. The 9th Artillery Division had gained widespread notoriety as the division which had bombarded the Maginot Line and also destroyed districts of Paris in 1966. The Allied troops gave them the fearsome nickname "Cherdenko's Fist" and rumours spread between Allied forces that there was a sizable bounty on this division.
Day-by-Day of the Battle[edit | edit source]
Day 1[edit | edit source]
Hostilities opened before dawn on the first day, when outrider elements from 2nd Panzer encountered a mass patrol from 6th Armoured. The Soviets had commandeered local transport and were accompanied by several KDB-5 Sickles and armoured cars of local manufacture; a running gun battle ensued that saw the Soviets calling in armour reinforcements. Several squadrons of Rhino tanks were dispatched to the combat and drove the German outriders off; however, they were unaware that they had put themselves in the advancement path of several Mastiff companies, nearly two hundred vehicles. Outnumbered and outranged by the 88mm guns, the Rhinos were caught in the low ground and decimated while attempting to escape, though one squadron managed to destroy a more than a dozen Mastiffs that had strayed into the effective range of their 85mm howitzers.
One of the two Allied armoured divisions equipped with Guardian tanks showed up and joined in the skirmish. The outgunned Soviet Rhinos quickly retreated back to their base after losing a third of their tanks, and the Allied division behind them. The Allied forces pressed the attack on the Soviet base with such speed and ferocity, that the Soviets, despite their orders to hold the positions at all cause, fell back chaotically. Soon the base was destroyed and Allis let the Soviets retreat, allowing the Allies time to regroup all their forces and calculate their loses. 26 Mastiff tanks were destroyed, but most of their crews survived and were quickly returned to service. Units of the 69th Panzer Division soon joined the full-scale assault with their German brothers in arms.
In 9:30 AM a full-scale assault begin and Allied forces divided into 4 groups. Group A, composed of elements of the 1st Airborne Battalion and the 25th Panzer Division attacked the province of Veurne, and continued by sea through Ostend to Bruges. Group B, composed of 3 Panzer Divisions (the 25th, 51st and 69th), was dispatched to push the Soviets back from the province of Ypres, where the fights took nearly 5 days of the operation, with many casualties on both sides. Group C consisting of the 8th Panzer Division and a quarter of the 3rd Allied Army, got orders to fight through Kortrijk to Tielt and then to rendezvous with Group D, which contained the remaining forces of the 3rd Army.
Group A: Easy Advance[edit | edit source]
On the coast battlefield Allied Group A proceeded faster then others because there wasnt expected any attacks and only a small groups of tanks and infantry standed in the way.
Group B: Battle of Ypres - Day 1[edit | edit source]
German forces soon arrived to the gates of Ypres where one of the most cruel battle of GWWI took place. Predator and Mastiff tanks met with dug in Hammer and Apocalypse tanks and the fight started. General Hanne ordered to his army to proceed methodically, but situation went wild and tanks fought against each other in short ranges (about 40 meters) due to mist and fog made by rolling tanks, whirled up dust, destroyed vehicles and flames. In short ranges like these, the Mastiffs and Predators were unable to use their long-ranged 88 mm guns to their full effect, and the brutal power of Soviet arms made itself shown. At close range, the German armour was outclassed by Hammer and Rhino tanks, whose formation tactics quickly shattered the Allied lines. The German retreat was delayed in the confusion, allowing six JS-4 tanks to reach the battle. Nearly forty tanks were lost, and many more were damaged, before the Germans pulled back and formed a defensive line.
Digging into the fields of Flanders, groups of Panzergrenadiers entrenched themselves and their tanks in order to hold back the enemy. From their hull-down posistions, German tanks took the role of defensive cannons, while Soviet armour charged across the open field into their position. The scene was a strange and horrifying recreation of the war fought forty years previous over the same ground, as the entrenched German tanks engaged charging Soviet divisions charging across open ground. It was now the Soviet's turn to take heavy casualties; more than sixty vehicles were left burning after the first disastrous charge, including one JS-4 tank lost with all hands from concentrated 88' fire, and another was swarmed by Panzergrenaiders after throwing it's front tracks while crushing an abandoned Mastiff which had been mined. After this disasterous charge, the Soviet tanks backed away and engaged their long-ranged magnetic weapons, the M-Harpoons, Leech Beams and Mag-Pulsars heaving German tanks from their posistions and disarming the Panzergrenadiers, who had their submachine guns pulled from their grip by the enemy. In danger of losing their position, the Germans responded with improvised explosives released into the magnetic storm, and mines and grenades were pulled directly into the enemy vehicles, disrupting the Soviet attack. Both sides depleted and bloodied, they backed away in order to resupply.
Day 2[edit | edit source]
Day 3[edit | edit source]
Day 4[edit | edit source]
Day 5[edit | edit source]
Day 6[edit | edit source]
Day 7[edit | edit source]
Day 8[edit | edit source]
Day 9[edit | edit source]
Aftermath[edit | edit source]