I took the plunge, surprisingly enough I got almost no negative reaction to my purchase of Steel Beasts Pro PE, most people seem to agree that this is the kind of game for me and even though it costs $125 (approx. 99€ for me) they say it's a good spending.
I can't disagree with them, I've had nothing but joy while playing this game/simulation, it took me 3 days just to get the tutorials done (and I have skipped a few which handled the same topic for different tanks)
So this Tuesday night I finally played my first real mission, the scenario was "Are they attacking here ?" with the Leopard 2A5. I liked the idea of how you had to estimate the enemy force and was very happy that I got it first time right ! (It was a mild attacking force)
So there I was nervous as hell about being Platoon Commander (something I feel is not for me anyway) moving 2 companies and my CO into the fray. As I barely crossed through the western part and begin to move to the central bridges the first sign of enemy activity pops up. It was no less than a very strategically place artillery strike directly east of the bridge I was about to cross, so I pull back my CO and let him wait for that local shower to pass.
Somewhat frantically I start to look for a scout or something as I moved my CO and the most northern squad back into cover. I can't find anything until about 2 minutes later a couple of BMP's move up and start deploying their troops as they seem to already know about my presence (no doubt courtesy of their scout). The BMP's are quickly destroyed and I let some of the infantry - which were too far from their BMP to be killed in the explosion - live as they are out of range for my MG and they can't hurt me either from that far. I decide not to charge in to kill them as this is probably a trap where their heavier guns are setup to flank me as I move closer.
So I just let the troops do their crawling towards me when suddenly my southern squad reports taking fire, I quickly switch over and see they have already done some good work without me intervening (guess I got a bit of tunnel vision with all the action with the BMP's up north). But now the south squad is reporting some T-80U's so I decide this could use some close up inspection from the big man himself.
I guide my squad into some formations and pop up once in a while to take some shots as well as keeping informed on their progress closer to the western bridge. I had the idea to ambush them as they would cross the bridge. However the marauder squad posted in the middle proved to be a good enough deterrent to keep them from crossing the bridge so I was free to pick em off as they were trying to make their way down south to avoid crossing the bridge. There was very little cover there and the landscape was flat so none of them ever made it half-way down. Somehow the right tank of my squad exposed himself a bit too much and first got his right track blown off and then he was destroyed. Damn, my (?) first mistake...
So the south was safe again and I decide to let the north side push up again to make sure I got at least the western bridges as this was my objective in case of mild enemy opposition. Here I got my second mistake because I wanted to close the valley around the Western bridges a bit too fast as I felt threatened because my 2 squads were watching different spots and I wanted to put up a good pincer. My CO tank was taken out as I was fighting with the expected flank guard for those infantry, I had gotten all the infantry before my CO was shot up though so although a heavy loss (no more artillery) I now felt confident enough to push my north squad over the central bridges. I was able to take out that flank guard even before crossing the bridges as I had an idea where they were hiding and it proved to be a correct guess.
Some more soft targets (BMP2, etc) tried to push into the middle where my soft targets (the marauders) were but my 2 tank squads flanking from north and south proved their worth by taking every single one of them out. So it seems I had taken their main force blow so it was time to do some pushing back into their territory. North squad, while moving to get a first view on the eastern bridges, took out some lone wolf BMP2 which seemed to be stuck in the river so it was a free kill. Same with South squad, also a BMP2 stuck on the upslope to get out of the river. Once we got a view of the eastern bridges south squad started taking some fire from the edge of a forest, the enemy here was in a very good position but some skilled shooting and the fight was mine, except for the loss of my tracks on one of my tanks, so I had only 1 more mobile tank in the south. I decided to keep it close to the other immobilized tank for fire cover.
Back to the north which was still at full strength so I decided to display some boldness here and I found their central defending force and was able to push them back, only they got caught in the flank when retreating by my 2 stationary tanks in the south.
Just then the mission was declared over because of the time limit, I guess I was really unlucky there cause the counter still said ~22 minutes left. Oh well, my mission was a success, despite 2 losses I had captured West and Central bridges and my estimate of the enemy force was correct. I scored 444.6 out of 500.0 on user score and a 1000.0 out of 1000.0 on mission score.
I'm hungry for more !