Episode 12 "We can't back down from this battle!" "Ato ni wa Hikenai Tatakai desu!" (あとには退けない戦いです ! ) is the twelfth episode of Girls und Panzer. It originally aired on March 25th, 2013.
With Mallard Team and Hippo Team both eliminated from the match by the PzKpfw. VIII Maus, Ooarai is on the retreat, struggling to inflict damage on the super-heavy tank. The Maus rounds a corner and is taken under concentrated fire by Ooarai gunners, but Kuromorimine's heavily armoured secret weapon rolls through the barrage unhindered. The Panzer III, following close behind, becomes overconfident and weaves cheekily out to get a better view, and its commander is punished for her arrogance by a direct hit to her tank.
With the Maus now alone, Ooarai continue to attack, but even the side and rear armour of the super-heavy vehicle are impervious to their weapons. With other Kuromorimine forces closing in, Miho devises a risky plan to utilise Ooarai's remaining tanks to neutralise the Maus.
Ooarai face down the Maus on a freeway, and rush in to close range. The Hetzer leads the charge, dodging a shot before ramming the Maus head on. The wedge-like shape of the Hetzer lifts the front end of the Maus off the ground, preventing it from moving. The M3 Lee and Tiger (P) attack from the side, baiting the Maus into aiming at them. In the following opening, Duck Team use the the Hetzer as a jump ramp for their Type 89B, driving on top of the engine deck of the huge vehicle, and positioning their tank to jam its turret in position.
Anglerfish Team ascends the embankment on the side of the freeway, gaining a shot down into the engine vents. The Maus tries to push the Type 89B off its engine deck using its turret, whilst the crew compartment of the Hetzer begins collapsing under the Maus' heavy weight. The Panzer IV fires at the vents behind the Maus' turret, and Kuromorimine's secret weapon is defeated. However, the damage the Hetzer received causes it to break down, taking it out of the match also, and leaving Ooarai to continue the fight 4 tanks to 14.
Despite the numerical disparity, Miho Nishizumi recognises that each team only has one flagtank, and sets up a plan to split Kuromorimine forces and engage the enemy flag tank in a one-on-one duel. Duck Team is assigned to lead away the spearhead. Rabbit Team deploys to attack the tank destroyers at the rear. Leopon Team prepares to help isolate flag tank, the Tiger I commander by Maho Nishizumi. Anglerfish Team, being Ooarai's flag tank, acts as bait to lure the Tiger I into a favourable battleground.
Operation Kelly's Heroes
Rabbit Team locates the end of the Kuromorimine file and attacks the Elefant tank destroyer bringing up the rear. The Elefant abandons formation to chase the M3 Lee. Karina Sakaguchi lures the vehicle into a tight alley, then circles round to the rear. As a large tank, the Elefant is unable to turn around, and with its gun fixed in a forwards position, it cannot return fire. However, the even the rear plate of the heavy tank destroyer is too thick for the M3 to penetrate. As Rabbit Team begin to despair, Saki Maruyama speaks for the first time in the series to point out the Elefant's weak point, the ammunition loading hatch. Rabbit Team fire into the hatch, immobilising the Elefant.
The next Kuromorimine tank in line, the Jagdtiger, is lured into another alley and Rabbit Team perform the same operation. However, rather than try to turn around, the Jagdtiger accelerates away, to escape from the narrow alley. Giving chase, Azusa Sawa has a revelation and has Karina hit the brakes, stopping just before the Jagdtiger fires past the blind corner, so close that it shears the paintwork off the front of the M3 Lee. The Jagdtiger then advances forwards into the same alley, as the M3 Lee retreats in reverse.
The narrow alley leaves the M3 Lee with no room to manoeuvre, but Karina keeps it alive by hugging the front of the Jagdtiger and keeping the her tank underneath the arc of the Jagdtiger's gun barrel. The Jagdtiger attempts to separate, but is unable to shake off the more nimble medium tank. Instead the Jagdtiger tries pushing the M3 Lee backwards down the alley. Yuuki Utsugi sees that they are approaching a ravine, and devises a plan to keep the Jagdtiger away from Anglerfish Team. The M3 Lee turns at the last moment, allowing the Jagdtiger to continue forwards under its own momentum and topple into the ditch, immobilising it. However, a parting shot from the Jagdtiger as the M3 Lee turns away knocks out Rabbit Team as well.
Duck Team brings up the rear of the Ooarai chain, and gets the attention of the Kuromorimine commanders by firing and cheekily bumping into the larger tanks. Despite Maho Nishizumi's orders to only chase after the Ooarai flag tank, the Kuromorimine students lose their tempers and become determined to teach the pesky Type 89B a lesson.
Duck Team weaves in and out of the Kuromorimine formation, zigzagging erratically and driving on the sidewalk to annoy the Kuromorimine heavy tanks as much as possible. Blinded by their fury, The Kuromorimine vanguard breaks off en masse to chase down the Type 89B, and in doing so leave the Tiger I relatively exposed. However, the infamous Kuromorimine firepower is not to be denied, and Duck Team is eventually knocked out from a direct hit.
None shall pass!
Although they split off previously, Leopon Team arrives to rendezvous with Anglerfish Team in front of a closed building complex. Anglerfish Team is being pursued by a host of Kuromorimine forces, headed by Maho Nishizumi in her Tiger I. The Panzer IV dashes into the closed building complex, and the Tiger I follows close behind. Leopon Team is next, but rather than drive through, they park their tank across the entrance, blocking the remainder of the Kruomorimine force from passing.
Refusing to get out of the way, the Tiger (P) takes the full force of the Kuromorimine assault on the chin. Leopon Team hold the line alone and drag down several Kuromorimine tanks with them. Unfortunately, the arrival of Kuromrimine heavy firepower, in the form of Jagdpanzer IV and Jagdpanther tank destroyers, brutally ends the last stand under an unrelenting barrage.
However, even the wreck of the Tiger (P) still blocks the entryway. With the flag tank duel still raging on inside, and the recovery team still a distance away, Erika Itsumi resorts to having her Tiger II climb over the wrecked Ooarai tank (and several of her own tanks as well) in order to support Maho Nishizumi.
Showdown at Point HS0017
Alone in the closed building complex, there is no further ground for the Panzer IV to retreat. In a brief lull before the final battle, Maho Nishizumi chastises her sister for disregarding the Nishizumi Style and fleeing from the enemy. Knowing that this is their only chance to take out the Tiger I, Miho agrees to settle the match here and throws her tank into combat.
The resulting high speed battle is fierce and vicious. Both tanks jockey through the complex to try and outmanoeuvre, out-position and outgun the other. Grazing hits from the Tiger I's high explosive blow the Schürzen spaced armour off parts of the Panzer IV, whilst the Panzer IV dodges an equal number of shells through evasive action.
Upon learning that Leopon Team has been knocked out and that Kuromorimine reinforcements are imminent, Anglerfish Team commits to an all-or-nothing manoeuvre in order to decide the match. Dodging a shot from the Tiger I, Mako Reizei uses the gap in the reload to close to point blank range and puts the tank into a high-speed drift, an action that causes the Panzer IV's tracks to snap, but allows it to circle around to the rear plate of the Tiger I. Yukari's reload beats the Tiger I's turret rotation and Hana plants a shot directly into the engine of the Kuromorimine flag tank, just as the Tiger I also fires.
Smoke obscures the results, whilst additional Kuromorimine forces pull around the corner. As the smoke cloud lifts, it reveals that the Panzer IV avoided the final shot by a whisker, whilst a white flag flies from the Tiger I. With the Kuromorimine flag tank immobilised, the commentators announce that the match, and the tournament, have been won by Ooarai Girls High School.
The crowd erupts in cheers, including those of the watching commanders of other schools. Anglerfish Team arrives back at the garage, where they are welcomed by the ecstatic congratulations of the rest of the Sensha-dō club. Amongst the celebrations, Midoriko Sono keeps her promise to Mako Reizei and deletes all records of Mako's tardiness, saving her school year.
Miho Nishizumi meets with Maho Nishizumi just before the Kuromorimine students depart. The latter offers congratulations on an outstanding tournament victory and Maho applauds Miho for defining her own unique style of Sensha-dō. Erika Itsumi cheerfully states that she's looking forward to a rematch in the tournament of the following year. As Ooarai lift the championship flag to a standing ovation, even Shiho Nishizumi finds approval of the outcome, and allows herself to clap.
After arriving back in Ooarai, the Sensha-dō team drive their tanks in a parade through the streets on their way back to the school carrier.
- Ooarai battle and finally immobilise the Maus.
- Operation Woozy is enacted, with each Ooarai tank carrying out a critical role:
- Anglerfish Team defeat Maho Nishizumi in a 1vs1 duel.
- Ooarai Girls High School win the 63rd National High School Sensha-Dõ Tournament.
- When firing at the Maus, Miho Nishizumi instructs the Ooarai gunners to aim for the gun barrel. This is once again done in Der Film where the Duck Team proposed a plan to eliminate the Karl-Gerät 040, by firing a barrage of machine gun bullets down the barrel of the artillery gun.
- The Maus Commander calls the Type 89B blocking their turret a "Light Tank". Although the Type 89B is officially designated as a medium tank, it is possible that her perception was rigid due to her command of the extremely heavy Maus. In the spin-off manga Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! it is revealed that she has developed a seething grudge against the 'Light Tank crew'.
- In the same manga, the Panzer III Commander who was eliminated when she weaved her tank out from behind the protection of the Maus is shown to be haunted by the foolishness of her actions, which left the Maus alone and led to its defeat. She is also distressed at not knowing who it was who actually shot her.
- Operation Kelly's Heroes is the name of Rabbit Team's heavy-tank-killer operation, named after the movie 'Kelly's Heroes' which the crew watched in Episode 10. In the movie, an M4 Sherman destroyed a Tiger I by attacking it from behind whilst the Tiger I was trapped on a narrow path and unable to swing its gun around.
- This is the only episode in which Saki Maruyama speaks. Her character artwork does not contain a voice actress.
- Whilst chasing after Anglerfish Team, Erika Itsumi falls behind Maho Nishizumi even though her tank was originally in front. This may be a reference to the Tiger I having a higher top speed than the Tiger II.
- The actions of Rabbit Team inspire them to become the "Heavy Tank Killers", a title which they will fervently attempt to live up to in the events of Der Film.
- Miho Nishizumi is able to recognise the type of ammunition being fired by the Tiger I (High Explosives) from the sound of the shell impact.
- Although the success of the Sensha-dō girls save their school from being closed down, it is likely that the main student body of Ooarai Girls High School is unaware of this, or even of the fact that their school is under threat of decommission. The grim details of the situation were only disclosed in the middle of the match against Pravda in Episode 9, and it is mentioned that ordinary students rarely have any idea of the student council's activities.
- In the final victory parade, the championship flag is flown from the commander's hatch of the Panzer IV.
- The ending theme does not show the super-deformed tank crew sequence as in previous episodes, but instead plays during the Ooarai victory parade. During this parade, the view switches between the faces of all the members of the Ooarai Sensha-dō club in turn.
- The act of the Panzer IV climbing the side of the embankment gain a shot at the Maus is a reference to the animated film "Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro" by Hayao Miyazaki.
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"It's a Fierce Battle!"