Armed with either a machine-gun or 20mm gun, the TKS tankette was ideal for reconnaissance work during the defense of Poland. Roman Orlik proved that a well-handled TKS could also be a match for German armor, scoring a string of kills as he used the small size of the vehicle to spring ambushes on unsuspecting enemy tanks, making the Germans pay dearly for their advances.
Roman Edmund Orlik was born in Rogozno, Wielkopolska in 1918 while Poland was fighting for its independence. When the Polish Army mobilized in 1939, Orlik was drafted as an Plutonowy Podchorazy rez., an Officer Cadet of the Reserve, assigned to the 71st Armored Battalion of the Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade of the Poznan Army.
On the first day of the war his brigade attacked, fighting their way into Germany. However, the outflanked Poznan Army was forced to withdraw into the Bzura Pocket on the Bzura River. Between 8 and 11 September, the cavalrymen attacked the surrounding Germans, until the order came to break out to Warsaw. On 14 September the brigade retreated into the Kampinos Forest where Orlik accounted for three German tanks from the 4th Panzer Division around the village of Brochów. On 18 September Orlik ambushed and destroyed three more German tanks (including a Panzer IV) as part of his brigade’s attack to capture the village of Sieraków. At dawn the next day the Germans launched a counterattack.
The brigade commander ordered Orlik to attack the flank of the German spearhead using the large gravel pits to the south of the village as cover. As the Germans advanced, Orlik positioned his TKS to fire on two tanks ahead of the main line and disabled both of them. After a short gun battle he captured the crew of another tank, then quickly knocked out a fourth. Three more enemy tanks then joined the battle. While Orlik knocked two of them out, the third pressed the attack, so Orlik retreated into the gravel pits. When the German tank crew dismounted to search for the little tankette, Orlik judged his moment carefully and attacked the tank at close range only to find he was out of ammunition! He beat a rapid retreat to cover and when he checked a little later he discovered the German tank sitting abandoned.
Orlik’s brigade broke through to Warsaw, fighting until its surrender, whereupon Orlik joined the resistance. After the war he was awarded the Order Virtuti Militari for his valorous actions.
Roman Orlik in Flames Of War
Plutonowy Podchorazy Orlik is a Warrior and a Platoon Command Tank team rated as Fearless Trained. Orlik is mounted in a TKS (20mm FKA) tankette mounting a 20mm wz. 38 gun.
You may field Orlik in any Reconnaissance Tank Platoon replacing the Platoon Command team for +35 points. Orlik’s TKS (20mm FKA) tankette counts as one of the TKS (20mm FKA) tankettes allowed in his platoon.
Orlik opened fire from ambush in most of his battles. Orlik and his platoon may be deployed using the Ambush special rule on page 196 of the rulebook in addition to any other platoons that would normally be deployed in Ambush. Orlik and his platoon may deploy in Ambush even in missions that do not normally use the Ambush special rule.
With only a 20mm gun, Orlik had to be a good shot to knock out so many tanks. Orlik’s tankette may re-roll any failed roll To Hit when it shoots.
Shots from Nowhere
The enemy return fire was wild, ‘shooting everywhere’ as they tried to locate Orlik’s tankette. Orlik counts as Gone to Ground if he is Concealed and did not move in his own turn, even if he did shoot in his turn.
Fire and Movement
Once the first few tanks were destroyed from ambush, Orlik maneuvered in the open to destroy the rest. Orlik may elect to fire at full ROF when he moves, but adds +1 to the score required To Hit.