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Old 02-28-2015, 06:12 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the next part...anyone recognize the CO of 4th Guards Tank Army?

30 September, 1989: 0345 Hours Central Time


General Chibisov was hurrying to General Alekseyev's office. He'd been awakened himself a few minutes earlier, and now he knew he had to wake the General up. This was bound to happen sooner or later, he knew, only he wished that the Americans had waited a few more days. He knocked on the door of Alekseyev's office, and then opened the door. “Comrade General.”

Alekseyev opened his eyes. He had had a cot moved into his office, and he had been sleeping there ever since the Americans' offensive in May. “It's you, Pavel Pavolvitch. What is it?”

“Comrade General, it's happened. The Americans have decided not to wait on General Schwartzkopf, and have unleashed General Powell.”

“Let me guess: a general offensive, all along the front?” Alekseyev asked.

“That is correct, Comrade General. And they surprised us: no major artillery barrage or air strikes. They were in our forward positions before anyone had a chance to react. And then they unleashed their firepower,” Chibisov reported.

Alekseyev grunted and got up. Shaking the fatigue from his eyes, he looked at his Chief of Staff. “Any details, other than that?”

“Not at present, Comrade General.”

“All right. I'll be in the operations room momentarily. Get General Malinsky on the line, Pavel Pavlovitch,” Alekseyev said.

“Right away, Comrade General. Do you wish to take the call here, or...”

“I'll take it there, in the operations room,” Alekseyev told his Chief of Staff.


A few minutes later, Alekseyev was studying the map, while the call to Malinsky's headquarters went through. He had already found out that the underground, thought by the KGB to have been suppressed, had reared its head. Oh, there'd been no major guerrilla attacks, but plenty of small things, like roadside bombs, phone lines cut, increased sniper activity, and so on. His GRU security officer was actually sneering at the KGB liaison for having gotten that wrong, and that was just one more item the KGB had miscalculated since the war's beginning. Then Colonel Sergetov handed Alekseyev the phone. “General Malinsky on the line, Comrade General.”

“Malinsky, what's the situation?” Alekseyev wanted to know.

“Comrade General, it's a mess. The Nicaraguan II Corps has collapsed. The Americans' II Marine Amphibious Force made some kind of assault behind their lines. They've taken Port Mansfield, on the Intracoastal Waterway, and two Marine divisions have pushed forward very aggressively. I've got an independent tank regiment moving to delay them, but it's only a matter of time,” Malinsky reported.

“How'd they manage that?” Alekseyev asked.

“It's sketchy at best, Comrade General, but the survivors say that the Marines landed via small rubber boats. At least a battalion, maybe more, and the garrison in the town was caught in their beds. Most of those who tried to run were shot down, but some managed to escape. And their ground attack simply went right through the Nicaraguan positions,” said Malinsky.

“What else?”

“Comrade General, the 28th Army is under heavy pressure from what appears to be XVIII Airborne Corps: we've tentatively identified the 24th and 83rd Mechanized Divisions, and the 12th Light Armored Cavalry Regiment. Along with some elements from the 101st Air Assault Division,” reported Malinsky.

“I see, and the gap in your lines is going to force a withdrawal, no matter what you try.” Alekseyev pointed out.

“No doubt about that, Comrade General. And there's more: We've lost contact with the East Germans, except for their 40th Air Assault Regiment at the Edinburg International Airport. And the Cuban 2nd Army, on 3rd Shock's left flank, is coming apart. And 3rd Shock Army's hard pressed to hold what it's got already. If we don't start some kind of withdrawal....” Malinsky's voice trailed off.

“Try and delay them as long as you can. We'll get some of Andreyev's air assault troops, and some of 4th Guards Tank Army to reinforce you. But be prepared to pull back to the second line of defense.”

“We'll do our best. Excuse me, Comrade General, but I'm about to be very busy,” Malinsky said.

“Good luck, Malinsky.” And with that, Alekseyev hung up. He looked at the map again. The East Germans were now shown as being cut into two pockets, with the American XII Corps pushing hard past them. Then the 28th Army was also under heavy pressure, now that their left flank was in the air. And 3rd Shock was in danger of being cut off, with the East Germans and the Cuban 2nd Army having been split from them. It was obvious the line couldn't be held. Turning to Chibisov, he said, “Give the word to Malinsky. Pull back to the second line. That's Mission-Edinburg-Rio Hondo-the Gulf.”

“Right away, Comrade General.”

But before Chibisov could relay the order, Alekseyev had one more for him. “And get the word to the GRU Cryptographic Section, their KGB counterparts, and the signals intelligence units: Destroy all secret documents, equipment, and so forth. Be prepared for evacuation to either Mexico or Cuba anytime past 1000 today.”

Chibisov looked at his superior. He knew this would be coming, but not this soon. “Yes, Comrade General.”

General Boris Voltov, his missile force commander, came in, a pale look on his face. “Comrade General, there is a serious problem.”

“Today's the day for it, Voltov.” Alekseyev said. “What is it?”

“Comrade General, one of our remaining OTR-23 rocket launchers is missing. The crew has been found, dead. With their throats cut. And this isn't the usual guerrilla attack.”

“Mother of God. Voltov, If you're right, someone wants that missile. What about the warheads?”

“Under KGB control, as per procedures, Comrade General.”

“Knowing the KGB, they may want to give the Americans a going-away present. A high-kiloton one, apparently,” Alekseyev said.

“That's very possible, Comrade General,” Voltov said gravely.

“All right. Destroy your remaining rockets, launchers, and all secret documents and equipment. And prepare the missile crews for evacuation.” Alekseyev told his missile commander.

“Immediately, Comrade General.”

Alekseyev looked at the map. “And where was the rocket stolen from, exactly?”

Voltov showed him. He pointed to the town of La Paloma-more a collection of ruins than a town. “Right here, Comrade General.”

“Thank you, Voltov. Let me worry about the rocket. And get your men ready to get themselves out of here. And you, too. You would be a valuable prize to the Americans.” Alekseyev said.

“Yes, Comrade General. And let me say, it has been an honor to serve under your command,” Voltov said, saluting his superior for the last time.

Alekseyev returned the salute, and Voltov left to carry out his orders. Looking at the map, he wondered where he'd take a stolen battlefield missile. He turned to Colonel Sergetov. “I need General Andreyev here, right now. And then get me General Suraykin.”

“Yes, Comrade General.”

A few minutes later, General Andreyev came into the operations room. With the 105th Guards Airborne Division now sent to the front line, he only had the 76th Guards, along with an ad hoc group of army-level air assault battalions-or more correctly, their remnants, left under him. Andreyev knew that this was likely going to be the last battle, and he wanted to be with his men at the end. Alekseyev took him into his office, passing his secretary, who, along with the other female clerks and typists, was gathering up classified materials for destruction. Closing the door, he explained to Andreyev what had happened to the missile, and where the crew had been found.

“So the Chekists want to go out with a bang, Comrade General?” Andreyev asked.

“It appears so, General, and we can't have that. Do you have men that you know and trust implicitly?”

“Comrade General, the entire 76th Guards would follow me to hell and back. They've done so several times already.”

Alekseyev smiled. At least there was some honor left in the Army after all that they'd done in America. And an officer who took care of his men was someone that even a private would follow into the gates of hell. “I don't need the entire division for this, but your job is to find the rocket, destroy it, and seize the remaining nuclear warheads. And bring them here, to this headquarters.”

Andreyev thought for a moment. “Then I'll take my old regiment. The 234th Guards was mine, once. I still know many of the officers and ensigns in the regiment.”

“Excellent, General. You have full discretion to use whatever it takes to destroy the rocket, and assume control of the warheads. If the Chekists won't give them up, take them. Leave no survivors, Andreyev.”

General Andreyev smiled. If this was to be his last mission in America, it would be getting a crack at what many in the Army viewed as one of their “other enemies.” “It will be a pleasure, Comrade General.”

“Go, then. And good luck.”

Andreyev saluted and left on his mission. Alekseyev went back to the Operations room, and found General Suraykin waiting for him. “Comrade General,” Suraykin said, saluting.

“Pytor Alexeyich,” Alekseyev said, “You have one final mission. Hold the area around the junction of Routes 77 and 83 in Harlingen. The enemy isn't there, yet, but they will be. In a best-case situation, how long can you hold?”

“Forty-eight hours, Comrade General. Worst case: maybe thirty-six.” Suraykin replied.

“I need those forty-eight hours, Pytor Alexeyich. Do whatever it takes, but give me those forty-eight hours. They won't be there this afternoon, so you have time to prepare. When you cannot hold any longer, send this message: in the clear,” Alekseyev said, handing Suraykin a slip of paper.

Suraykin looked at the paper. He nodded, and put it in his pocket. “I will, Comrade General.”

“Now, the convoys should arrive sometime today, If they do, we can hold out for a while longer. If not...” Alekseyev's voice trailed off.

“I understand, Comrade General. The 4th Guards Tank Army will do its duty.”

“Understood. If I hear that code phrase, then we know the end is near. May you and your men go with God,” Alekseyev said. Suraykin nodded, while heads poked up in the Operations Room. When was the last time anyone had said that in the Army?

“Thank you, Comrade General,” Suraykin said, saluting. And then he left. Chibisov came over to his commander. “Comrade General?”

“If he can't hold, it's over.” Alekseyev observed. He turned to his Chief of Staff. “Start accelerating the airlift. Priority goes to the wounded, and those people I mentioned earlier.”

“Yes, Comrade General.”
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