A fiery contrail slashes across the winter sky, marking the demise of a Luftwaffe Fw 189 reconnaissance plane, shredded by chattering machine-gun fire from swooping Soviet fighters.
With both engines aflame, the twin-tailed aircraft disappears over the horizon, its passing watched by the straggling body of the retreat column.
An emaciated hauptmann stretches a frayed map over the bonnet of his staff car, attended by Specht and Konigsmann. The senior officer gestures towards the forested horizon and our two heroes move off to mobilize their men with swift kicks and vicious curses.
- All characters gain +2 ammunition.
Tasked with recovering the film canister and any surviving aircrew, our emaciated protagonists will face a cadre of hard-bitten Siberian veterans. Their squad is composed of:
- 3x models with submachine guns
- 1x model with a bolt-action rifle
- 1x model with a light machine gun
Burning puddles of aviation fuel and soot-blackened panelling litter our battlefield, dominated by the smouldering corpse of the Fw 189. A long furrow of broken ground stretches behind the shattered fuselage, decorated with the crumpled remnants of the aircraft’s twin tails and angular wings.
Snowy pine trees and withered undergrowth press in on the smoking wreckage, unwilling spectators to the hideous carnage.
A blood-spattered arm is draped over the canopy lip, the only sign of the three Luftwaffe crewmen.
The Siberians are already in attendance when our protagonists arrive on the scene, picking through the wreckage in search of any valuable intelligence. Their light machine gunner is concealed behind a fallen log, screened by a tangle of undergrowth.
With Bretz out of commission, the Germans divide into two groups; Konigsmann and Pawlitzki on one flank, Specht and Kraus on the other.
While the others advance in a series of frantic rushes, Kraus settles in behind his MG42 and lays down a withering blanket of fire, stray rounds sparking off the 189’s fuselage as the Siberians scatter.
Falling into a rough line, anchored by the concealed machine gun, the Siberians begin to return fire, forcing Specht to halt his charge just short of the open ground.
With the Siberian’s flank turned, Konigsmann and Pawlitzki attack from the safety of the treeline, catching one unlucky veteran in a deadly crossfire.
With the precision of a well-oiled engine, the Siberians realign to meet the new threat, using a barrage of gunfire and grenades to cover their redeployment.
Taking sustained fire from both flanks drives the Soviets from the clearing, leaving another of their company twitching in a pool of his own blood.
Using a section of fractured tail boom for cover, Specht darts towards the wrecked fuselage, hauling himself up towards the splintered canopy.
Swathed in ammunition belts, shedding spent cartridge cases like a tree in autumn, Kraus makes a break for the wreck but is snatched off his feet by a burst of well-aimed machine gun fire.
With a man down, Konigsmann and Pawlitzki douse the treeline with lead, allowing Specht to snatch a canister of film and dash back towards the relative safety of the broken tail boom.
Supporting the blood-spattered Kraus between them, and the precious cargo safely stowed in an empty satchel, our intrepid crew make their way back towards the straggling bulk of the retreat column.
- Specht, Kraus, Konigsmann and Pawlitzki gain +1 stress and exhaustion for participating in the battle.
- Kraus gains +1 exhaustion for carrying his MG42 into battle.
- Specht, Kraus, Konigsmann and Pawlitzki gain +1 stress for being under fire for at least two consecutive turns.
- Specht, Kraus and Konigsmann lose -2 ammunition for firing their automatic weapons.
- Pawlitzki loses -1 ammunition for firing his rifle.
Kraus was cut down by the enemy machine gunner and must roll 1d100 on the injury table:
- He is critically injured for 2 hours and gains +1 exhaustion.
The group rolls 3 positive morale dice, scoring 2 successes and reducing everyone’s stress by -2.
Buoyed by their success, the party splits off from the main body of the column, guided by a crumpled map and the word of a local woodsman. This path takes them across a frozen lake. We roll 1d6 for each character:
- Specht successfully negotiates the treacherous ice.
- Hobbling on a makeshift crutch, Bretz’s clumsy gait cracks the thin ice and sends him plunging into the frozen water below. He rolls once on the General Winter table and loses his winter clothing. Due to the swift action of his comrades, he escapes any more serious consequences and gains +1 exhaustion.
- Kraus successfully negotiates the treacherous ice.
- Pawlitzki successfully negotiates the treacherous ice.
- Konigsmann dives into the water to save Bretz from a watery grave. He rolls once on the General Winter table and loses his winter clothing. Limbs numbed by icy water, with frostbite setting in, he is critically injured for 3 hours.
Having rejoined the column, our heroes trade the majority of their ammunition supplies to an outbound patrol in exchange for some precious supplies. Shivering around a meagre fire, they share out the meagre rations in an attempt to keep the whole group fighting fit.
As the fire gutters, Specht, Kraus and Pawlitzki must roll on the General Winter table:
- Specht’s hypothermia rears its ugly head once again. He is critically injured for 5 hours. Addled by the freezing temperatures, he staggers away from the fire and loses his prized submachine gun.
- Kraus spends the night trying to track down the wandering Specht. The cold saps his strength. He gains +1 exhaustion and can only roll shock dice next battle.
- Spending the night in a blizzard does Pawlitzki no favours. He gains +1 exhaustion.
For our player action, we’re going to give Bretz’s pistol to the now unarmed Specht. Without any loot or provisions to exchange, we cannot flatout purchase a new weapon for our disarmed officer.
The group advances 13km in an hour, riding on the empty engine deck of a PzIV tank.
Leningrad is now 77km behind our protagonists, and 24 hours have passed since the siege collapsed.