What follows is the account of the engagement that occurred in and around a village near Chard, Somerset.
My mech. Coy. Had just taken a village and we reorganising to move onto a small hill overlooking the area, when a recon unit of ours came back through the village informing me that a force that looked Romanian in nature approaching from enemy lines. I decided that caution was in order as I had read a report warning that some units the Russians had over run on the east had changed sides. We prepared and waited. The Romanians were posturing very aggressively. Then my forward elements reported coming under fire. Then sketchy reports of a Russian tank Coy. Operating on my right flank. This was going to be no ordinary encounter. I deployed my 1st. Infantry platoon forward with panther support. My heavy SP guns in the rear, they still had to site their guns in. The rest of my Coy. I was still trying to recall from the hills forward and would not be here for the start. I decided that an aggressive response was the best course of action.
My panthers attacked with my infantry flanking to their right. We soon found that we were facing a Romanian Tank Coy. They had sited some 100mm guns in a field surrounded by hedges, infantry in front of them, then finally a stugg battery to their right.
From the very outset my armoured support was less than inspiring. They managed to hit consistently, but they just did not penetrate. (note 1) My guns started to fire, but largely ineffectually as well. The panthers made it to their objective early on, but were unable to push off the infantry or the now mounting enemy armour. That was when the report of the t-34 Coy. In the area became fact.(note 2) They also had some of the new t-34/85 models with them. All I had covering the town was my battery of sp 150mm guns.
My reserves still had not arrived. This is where the battery showed that the waffen ss are an elite unit. They managed to destroy 5 out of the 6 vehicles And break the moral of the platoon. Saving the village from capture.(note 3)
That is where everything really started to go wrong. My reserves finally made it in dribs and drabs, but were unable to engage the enemy effectively. The Romanians were definitely veteran troops but less than motivated. Making them hard to hit, but also they were not keen to advance and went to ground rapidly not to move again. On the left flank of the engagement my sp flak and an 88mm battery became bunched up. Then an infantry platoon also moved through the same position giving the enemy 100mm battery a great target. The result was to be expected, death and destruction.
The enemy fire was not as effective as it could have been over all, so for the next few hours we traded fire, neither side strong enough to capitalise. With the coming of night both sides retreated to reorganise.
Conclusion is that we still hold the village and we gained some very valuable intelligence about enemy activity, both on the island and the continent.
We need to check all ammo coming off the supply ships the tank crew when questioned remarked that it could have been damp AT rounds that caused the ineffective fire.
It now looks like the rumours of Russian forces in England are fact. Infantry as well as armour. They must be watched on the eastern front, they could still rebuild before we finish off the tommies.
Request the battery commander may be considered for a commendation as their action saved the village from falling which would have cut off the whole Coy. Their professionalism under fire is what all troops should aspire to.