In June 1944, the Allied Forces launched the infamous operation which people have known as the “D-Day” invasion. With more than 10 months planning and preparation, the Allied Forces successfully captured Normandy and established a temporary Headquarter in Southern France to concentrate their force replenishment after the D-Day and architecting their next operations until the defeat of the Fascist Reich. The Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force generals realized that even though they managed to open the gate to the invasion of Europe against the Nazis, Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS power are still strong in influenced a whole Europe. They need a small, quick, and versatile squad to make a breakthrough from the German flank sides and protecting some vital forces and logistics. After some months, General Eisenhower selected the best soldiers from US Army and the British Army with the help from the newly formed British SAS Regiment. This newborn squad named “The Lightning Fox” and classified as a top secret special squad that deployed in behind enemy lines with special objectives that a normal army can’t accomplish.
Arnhem, August 1944 at Walther Model’s Headquarter.
Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model looked pretty depressed on the entire morning as he received a report that Allied Forces could defeat his forces gradually in France one by one. To relieve his mood, he smoked a pipe and read some newspaper while watched a beautiful garden. Just a moment after he finished read his newspaper, a colonel approached him.
“Mein Fieldmarschall, There are some reports regarding the combat situation.” Said the Colonel with a composed voice.
The general sipped his tea once and asked with a sorrowful face “What is it colonel? Is it my other losses in Saint-Lo? Ammunition and logistic shortage at Caen? Or another attack by French Partisan?”
“No mein Fieldmarschall, the Saint-Lo still in our control with the Panzer Ace Michael Wittmann’s tank battalion guarding that city, our ammunition and supplies still intact for the next months in Caen, and we don’t received any report regarding of those rats in 2 last weeks.” The colonel answered still with his composed sound.
“If not a usual bad news, then what is it?”
“We received an important information from our intelligence that the Americans will transport their biggest supplies to their frontline through the Red Ball Express road in 2 weeks. If we can grab an opportunity to destroy those trucks that bring the supplies, they will suffering a big supply issue, and weakened their strength for a while.”
Model’s face became brighter after he heard that “That’s a good information colonel. We need to grab this opportunity as flawless as we can. If we can accomplish this, we will have a big opportunity to make a counterattack to those cocky American and Brits. Summon other generals! We’re going to construct an offensive operation for this opportunity.”
“Jahwohl mein Fieldmarschall!” the colonel answered while he saluted the general.
Two weeks passed and Walther Model’s special platoon to intercept the supply trucks is ready. The platoon consisted of four Panzer IV Ausf.H tanks and 40 Panzergrenadier infantries carried by 5 Half-tracks. Model intentionally kept the platoon as simple as possible because he realized the biggest factor of his plan was speed. He needed the platoon as mobile as possible so they can intercept the trucks with the Blitzkrieg Tactic. Model also realized that the trucks that passed the Red Ball Express never guarded by tanks or other heavy units. “Driver, onward!” the tank commander ordered the platoon to move. They were 7 kilometers away from the main road of Red Ball Express. The platoon confidently marched through fields and bushes to ambush the trucks. 3 kilometers away they would reach the Red Ball Express main road.
“Gunner, target in 400 yards left side 20 degrees. Load the AP round, and… Fire!”
“Bang!” A loud sound came from a British 17-Pounder gun from their west side destroyed one of the panzers. “Haha! Easy shot, now the next one!” A man with a British accent yelled from inside a Sherman Firefly Tank. “Bang!” another loud sound generated from American 76mm gun that also came from the west side. The Armor Piercing round that came from the cannon also destroyed the second panzer. “This is mine William. You can’t take all the fun!” An American yelled from inside an M4A3 Easy Eight Sherman Tank. “Where the hell is that coming from?” The Wehrmacht platoon panicked with this unexpected ambush.
“Soldaten, bring ze Panzerfaust! Annihilate those tanks before they destroy our remaining tanks!” Said the lieutenant.
“This is our time chaps, no wasting time anymore. Shower those bloody morons with the flamethrower!” A rain of fire came from a flamethrower-equipped Bren Carrier, burned some German infantries until they were burned to crisp.
“They’re attacking from left flank!”
“No, they’re attacking from the right flank!” As the German infantries confused to decide which side the attack came from.
“Bang!” The two remaining Panzer IV exploded as the Firefly and the Easy Eight rounds pierced their armor through the ammo racks.
“Easy peezy lemon squeezy. It’s like shooting some dummies!”
“Never get too cocky William. We don’t know the worst yet.”
Those two tank commanders chatted leisurely as their tanks wrecked the German platoon’s entire armored unit.
“This is our time lads. Charge for the King and Country!”
“Cross, Champ, give them some suppression fire. Mark, Roy, smash them through their flank!” The British Special Air Service squad leader Captain John Smoke gave his soldier some orders to attack the enemy infantries.
The squad of British Special Air Service equipped with some Bren Light Machine Guns and Sten Submachine Guns charged from bushes and shoot the confused Wehrmacht infantries. Although they were only consisted of six soldiers, they were one of the most elite soldiers on earth. They made 40 enemy soldiers scattered all over the area. The sound of bullets ravaging through bodies, and well perfected aim from the British SAS made sure that no enemy infantry can aim them before they could shoot them.
“Retreat, fall back!” the German’s platoon leader ordered the platoon to fall back. 20 infantries ran away through the woods, and avoided the bullets that sprayed by the British SAS. With only 15 minutes of fighting, the field already filled with corpses and broken steels. After some minutes, the SAS soldiers and the tank crews sat under trees
“These foolish don’t even bloody think that we will defend our precious supplies.” The Firefly Tank Commander Captain William Wilkinson talked with a cocky voice.
“You’re right William. Even incompetence London police can shoot better than them. These fools are only some third rate soldiers and newbies.” Captain John Smoke replied.
“Cut the chatter both of you. Keep the celebration later until we put some bullets in the Fuhrer head. We still have a long war to fight.” Captain Chris Baker reduced the tension of is two best commanders. A moment later, Captain Chris turned on the radio and called the Headquarter.
“Fox to Overlord, Fox to Overlord.”
“This is Overlord, come in Fox. How’s the operation progress over?”
“The operation progressed smoothly, General. We destroyed four Panzer IVs and five halftracks, killed 12 men, and wounded 8 men. The rest of the enemies are retreating.”
“Good work Captain, your squad can rest for a while now. The Lightning Fox will be deployed in Ardennes Forest in December to receive your next objective.”
“Solid copy General Eisenhower. Special Squadron Lightning Fox reporting out.” Captain Chris putted the radio back into his bag.
“So what did Ike say?”
“We can have fun for 5 months. You guys can grab some French girls, drink as much as you guys want, and take some vacations until 5 months passed. After that we’re going to be deployed in Ardennes Forest Belgium on December.”
“Good lord almighty, that’s a long time to take a rest. Let’s go chaps, to Paris pubs. We need to remember the taste of some scotch and absinthe. Onward driver!” Captain William ordered his tank driver to go to headquarter in Paris.
Two days later in Walter Model’s headquarter at Arnhem
“Mein Fieldmarschall, we got the report from the ambush operation.” Said the colonel.
“So how is it? Is it a success? Can we launch our counterattack as soon as we can?”
“Nein Mein Fieldmarschall, the operation was kaputt.”
“What do you say colonel? Say that again.”
“The operation is failed mein Fieldmarschall. Our tanks and Halftracks are destroyed, our troops were retreating.”
“BAM!” The general punched his desk with his two hands.
“How the hell… HOW THE HELL IS THAT COULD BE HAPPENED?! Our intelligence said that no American nor British platoon in that area, we even sent some best men to this operation. How the hell we can be failed? What kind of schwein that destroyed our platoon?”
“We don’t know yet sir, we still investiga…”
“We received important information from our intelligence sir!” A Major abruptly entered the general room in a hurry.
“If you dare to interrupt the Colonel, it must be an important thing to say major, or your head is my answer.”
“Our spy reported that the Allied has a special squadron that operating on behind our lines. They attacked our flank with surprise elements and quickly disrupt our defense. Some fights such as Carentan, Caen, and the latest Redball Express are the result of their work to disrupt our defenses.”
“What kind of squad is it? Never heard such a very mobile and tactical squadron in American or British beside the SAS and 101st Airborne Division before.” The general confused with the major’s report.
“Our spy called it The Lightning Fox Squad. They consisted of a Sherman Firefly Tank, a Sherman Easy Eight Tank, and A squad of British SAS carried by a flamethrower-equipped Bren Carrier.”
“Okay, I see. That’s why although they are a mobile unit, they have some heavy firepower from those Shermans. Major did the spy gather other information about them?”
“Yes, the General Eisenhower planned to deploy them in the Ardennes Forest in December along with 3rd US Army that being led by Patton.”
“Ardennes Forest? What are they going to do there? I should report to the Fuhrer as fast as I can.”
Four Months later, Hitler and his generals already finished constructing an offensive operation called “Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine") Hitler’s main objective was to split the US and British Army, then encircled them while hoping the US and the British will offered a peace negotiation if the operation is a success. But for Model, this operation was his biggest chance to destroy The Lightning Fox squad completely. For months Model construct his special platoon that specifically to destroy the special squadron entirely. He also had given permission from the Hitler itself to be granted an access to have the most formidable tank in World War two, The King Tiger Tank.
20th December 1944, southern area of Ardennes Forest.
“Alright boys, we’ve received our order. We need to link up with General Patton’s 3rd Armored Division at Bastogne, and establish a defense position around there.” Captain Chris gave his squad an order to move.
“Easy lads, time to move out. Those stinking Jerry won’t wait us here. They will meet with our bullets in Bastogne.” The SAS squad leader Captain John Smoke also gave his order to his squad.
The squad moved leisurely at the forest as they didn’t know what kind of danger that they would face.
“Mark, do you know any good British girl around your place?” Captain Chris asked the British SAS soldier Mark randomly.
“I’m not quite sure sir. I don’t have any girl either. It seems my girlfriend is only this lovely Bren Light Machine Gun. Maybe it’s a good thing if in the future I can gra…”
“BANG! BANG! BANG!”
Some loud sound of Karabiner 98K Sniper Rifle echoed through the forest, and one of the bullets pierced through Mark’s head.
“Bloody hell, multiple snipers in 10 o’clock. All troops take cover inside the vehicles!” Captain John Smoke gave the direct order to all soldiers.
“We don’t have time to mourn for Mark. Roy, splash some fire through the woods at our ten!”
The flame came from the Bren Carrier, splashed some fire through the woods and successfully burned the snipers.
“Good job lads, now keep your bloody eyes open. We’re ambushed!”
The Bren Carrier exploded immediately as a tank bullet pierced the vehicle and exploded right inside it.
“God dammit! Where the hell is that coming from? Our entire SAS soldiers are killed!” Captain Chris panicked as he saw an entire troops dead just in a moment.
“Bloody hell, it came from three o’clock. It’s a tank!” Captain William answered
“Can you identify the tank William?”
“I can’t, it’s too far, and it’s about 2 kilometers away. We need to drive closer to that tank to give it some shots.”
“Okay I’ll do it. Driver, approach that tank with some zigzag maneuvers to avoid their shots.”
“BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!”
The Easy Eight avoided three shots, and eventually Captain Chris can see the tank clearly.
“Oh shit… It’s a goddamn King Tiger!”
The King Tiger, the most formidable tank in the war. Equipped with 88mm guns that can penetrate any Allied tanks easily, and protected by a thick 185mm frontal armor.
“We need to retreat. There’s no point of fighting this beast. We’re going to be dead anyway.” Captain William terrified as he looked to the enormous tank.
“No, we’re not going to retreat! If we let this goddamn tank pass, it will attack the General Patton’s flank. Our defeat in this battle will be assured if that happened.” Captain Chris Baker didn’t agree with William’s suggestion to run away as he saw a bigger potential threat if they let the King Tiger pass.
“Any bloody bright idea?”
“Let’s gambling, I love gambling. I’m going to become the decoy while you destroy that panzer with your powerful 17-pounder gun.”
“No for god sake Chris. It’s too dangerous.”
“It might be dangerous, but it will be more dangerous if we missed this chance.”
The Easy Eight approached the King Tiger with full speed as the Firefly went to the King Tiger right side, as the armor was thinner than the frontal armor.
A sound of 88mm gun exploded the Easy Eight completely. As the King Tiger shoot the Easy Eight, the Firefly already got a clear shot to the King Tiger.
“BANG! BANG! BANG! BOOM!”
The Firefly shot the King Tiger three times as the first shot jammed King Tiger’s turret transversal, the second shot destroyed the track, and the third shot exploded the King Tiger’s ammo rack.
A month later, the Allied force won the Battle of the Bulge as William Wilkinson promoted as a Major. He won’t forget that his life was given by Captain Chris Baker and Easy Eight tank crews.
Word Count: 2491 words
Reference: Company of Heroes 2