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Old 03-04-2015, 10:47 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Location: Auberry, CA
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And the next....anyone guess the female Company Commander in 49th AD?


0410 Hours, Off of Brazos Santiago Pass.

Captain Romonov had spent a restless night. He'd napped in his favorite bridge chair, knowing that he wouldn't have that luxury for very long. The Boiky had made her last voyage, he now knew, but at least he'd get his crew off, and maybe at least his wounded could be flown out. Right now, his chief worry was air attack: with no working air-search radar, their first indication of an incoming missile would be the weapon impact. He had his Exec double the lookouts, and had the crew sleep fully clothed, with life jackets close at hand, just in case. Then he'd dozed off, only to be awakened by his Exec.

“Some more coffee, Comrade Captain?”

“Thank you, Nikolay. Soon, we'll be in port, and at least, we can get our wounded ashore and maybe on a plane out of here.”

“Yes, Comrade Captain. There is that, at least. And if we can't get into port?” the Exec asked.

“We'll run her aground on South Padre Island, and become a coastal battery. The crew, other than those needed to man and service the guns, will go ashore and join the defense there,” Romonov said.

“That's the best one can expect, given what's happening ashore,” the Exec said. “We did the best we could, Comrade Captain, even if it wasn't enough.”

“True that, Nikolay. We did our duty, even if things didn't work out,” said Romonov.

The Watch Officer came up to Romonov. “Comrade Captain, there's a blinker message from shore.”

“What is it?” Romonov asked.

“'Expect patrol vessel with harbor pilot at Sunrise.'” the man said.

“Better that than the bottom,” Romonov said. He turned to his navigator. “How long until Sunrise?”

“Sunrise is at 0635, Comrade Captain.”


0450 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

Major General Vassily Lukin was the ranking VTA (Military Transport Aviation) officer in the pocket, and thus, the airlift was his responsibility. He'd received his orders from General Alekseyev via General Petrov, and he was determined to get as much as he could in, and as many wounded and specialists out. As the wounded went, if a plane was rigged for litter cases, as many as they could were loaded aboard, and then, as many ambulatory cases placed on board, before the plane took off. If the aircraft wasn't so rigged, as many ambulatory cases would go as they could get, and a few of the specialists would go as well. And whenever a passenger plane came in, that was the plane for the specialists to go. To guard against malingerers, a GRU Field Security Unit checked passes, and medical officers checked the wounded, making sure no one with self-inflicted wounds boarded a plane. Those who were caught were shot, regardless of rank. The same went for anyone trying to jump the line.

His office was in what had been the airport manager's before the war, and like his superiors, Lukin felt he'd been handed an impossible job. On some days, he was lucky to have one in three aircraft sent from Cuba arrive, on others, he'd been busy as aircraft came in, unloaded their supplies, took on their human cargo, and lifted off for Cuba or Mexico City. Those days were few and far between. And based on what Petrov had told him the previous afternoon, those days would get fewer.

General Lukin's other problem was the Americans. His runway repair crews had been busy, patching bomb craters in the runway, as well as the ramp area. Not to mention clearing debris to prevent FOD from wrecking jet engines. Several times, he'd had to suspend operations so that FOD could be cleared, and on more than one occasion, the FOD included the wrecks of aircraft caught on the ground.

At least I'm not directly responsible for defending the airport, he thought: that was a Voyska PVO responsibility. The PVO had SAM and antiaircraft gun batteries, but the SAM crews were running short of missiles, and the AA gunners were also short of ammunition. Things were such that when American reconnaissance aircraft came overhead, the air-defense crews had to hold fire: their remaining missiles and AA ammunition had to be saved for an actual attack. Was it like this for the Fascists in Stalingrad? He'd wondered about that. The Americans had pulled off an airlift to keep Denver alive during that siege, and the Party bosses in Moscow had similar ideas here. His thoughts were interrupted by his deputy.

“Comrade General, the weather report.”

Lukin took the report. Another bright and clear day in South Texas, though there was some thunderstorm activity expected over the Gulf of Mexico. They might interfere with some of the aircraft coming in, but at the same time, might help them get past the American patrols in the Gulf. And the expected sea state would not interfere with carrier operations. Too bad, he thought. We could use a hurricane right now. The Americans would have to stop their carrier and land-based patrols over the Gulf, while our planes could fly south to Cancun or Vera Cruz, refuel there, then make the run into our perimeter here. And do the reverse on the return trip. But such was not to be. Like those Germans in the Stalingrad airlift, he'd do his job, until no more could be done. And today promised to be (hopefully) a busy day.


0515 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

General Alekseyev woke up on his own, for once. He checked his watch. Five hours' sleep. It had been his average for several weeks, and apart from a couple of times where Chbisov had ordered his orderly not to wake him up, he hadn't gotten very much otherwise. Still, he was glad. At least he'd be awake and ready when Powell resumed his attack. And that wouldn't be very long. After shaving, he found breakfast waiting for him, a boiled egg, some bread and jam, and coffee-the latter courtesy of the Cubans. Then he went into the Operations Room, where he found both General Chibisov and Colonel Sergetov already waiting for him. “Good morning, Comrades,” he said.

“Good morning, Comrade General,” Chibisov said. “For once, the night has been relatively quiet.”

“That won't last long,” Alekseyev observed. “When dawn comes, Powell will cut his other two Corps Commanders loose. Anything from Malinsky?”

“Nothing important, just that they are still in contact, and the fights for both McAllen and Edinburg are still going. There was one serious incident, though.” Chibisov reported.

“Yes?”

“Comrade General, a Mexican brigade crossed here, at Hidalgo, and apparently got lost. They ran into some Americans-exact size unknown-and were shot to pieces,” said Chibisov.

“Mexicans....did they send those troops across the border on their own?” Alekseyev asked.

“Apparently so, Comrade General,” Sergetov reported.

“All right, inform our liaison officers with the Mexican Ministry of Defense. Request that no more Mexican combat units come north of the Rio Grande. Because, once the Americans are finished with us, they'll move south.” Alekseyev told his aide.

“Right away, Comrade General.”

“Anything else?” Alekseyev asked.

“Admiral Gordikov reports that a single destroyer has made it to Brazos Santiago Pass, Comrade General. It's the only survivor of the second convoy,” reported Chibisov.

“A destroyer?” Alekseyev asked, incredulous at the news.

“Yes, Comrade General, and it's damaged. Her radars and SAM launcher were knocked out, and the Captain wishes to make port. He has wounded who need medical attention ashore.” said Chibisov.

“Let the Admiral handle that. Anything from Moscow?”

“Just this, Comrade General. It just came in.” Sergetov said, handing the General a message form.

Alekseyev scanned the form. It was from the General Secretary himself. The message announced his promotion to full General, and a list of 180 of his officers who were to be promoted one grade was to follow. The same message also promoted Chibisov to Colonel-General. “May I be the first to offer my congratulations, Comrade Colonel-General,” said Alekseyev to Chibisov.

“And may I offer my own to you, Comrade General.”


0525 Hours: East of Hidalgo, Texas

The desert east of the city of Hidalgo was calm at the moment. At the intersection of Spur U.S. 281 and FM 2061, the Mexican survivors of the 111th Brigade were preparing their positions. Captain Esteban estimated that he'd be ready by 0630, as the Cuban commander had told him, and barring an attack by the Norteamericanos, he and his men could get something to eat. Esteban looked around, and saw his men setting up their machine guns and B-11 recoilless rifles, and just behind his company was a battery of World War II-era ZIS-3 76-mm guns: the same guns the Germans had called the “crash-boom”. All he wanted right now was for his men to finish, and then, later, for them to be able to prove themselves.

Just to the east of Captain Esteban's positions, a U.S. Army mechanized company combat team was watching his men digging in. The team commander looked through her binoculars, then through the thermal sight on her Bradley. Those Mexicans were digging in, but a lot of good it would do them. She called her FIST officer-an high-tech artillery spotter-over and asked for some artillery fire on the Mexicans. That was quickly arranged, and as the battalion's attack began, the initial artillery prep came down not on the Cubans, but Esteban's men.

“INCOMING! TAKE COVER!” Estaban shouted as the first 155-mm shells arrived. Shell after shell landed in his area, blasting fighting positions apart, and ripping apart the 76-mm guns. One lucky shot hit one of the ISU-152s, and blew it apart. Then the shelling stopped.

“What's going on? Major Mendoza asked in his command post.

“The Americans are coming, Comrade Major. But not against us, at least initially. There's an attack coming in from the east-right at the Mexicans,” his operations officer reported.

Esteban came out of his hole and looked around. Some of his men were in a daze, clearly in shock after the artillery fire, while others were moving to help the wounded, and get things in shape to fight. He saw the 76-mm gun positions, and knew he had no fire support of his own, other than a few mortars, now. Then the shout came: “TANKS!”

The two M-60A4 platoons led the attack. Turrets swung back and forth, searching out targets. The Bradleys came close behind, ready to protect the tanks from any infantrymen with RPGs. Then the commander gave the order to fire, and 105-mm guns roared.

Captain Esteban hunkered down in his foxhole as the tanks fired. Explosions sounded behind him, and as he peeked out, he saw three of his T-34s, along with both Su-100s and the single remaining ISU-152, ablaze. The remaining T-34 tried to move out, but it, too fell victim to the American tanks, being ripped apart by a single 105-mm shell. And when his recoilless rifles opened fire, they, too, were swiftly destroyed by tank fire. Damn it, if they'd just waited, our positions would've been ready, he thought. His men tried to return fire with machine guns and RPGs, but were cut down. Seeing that, many broke and ran, while Esteban decided to end things. He grabbed his AKM rifle, kicked his radioman and one other solider, and ordered them to follow. It would be a short counterattack. And it was, for all three were cut down by a tank's .50 caliber machine gun.

“Don't stop! Keep going!” Captain Kozak radioed. Her platoon leaders acknowledged, and though Mexicans stood up to surrender, they were just told to start marching to the east, where other Americans would collect them.

In Hidalgo, Major Mendoza swore. The Americans had attacked before the Mexicans were ready. He looked at his map. His regimental reserve, a company from 3rd Battalion, along with a platoon of T-55s, was all that he had available. And his 1st and 2nd Battalions were now under attack themselves. He had no choice now. Mendoza moved his reserve, while ordering a gradual withdrawal towards the bridge. All he could do was delay the inevitable.
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