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Old 03-05-2015, 07:18 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the next one:


0550 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters:

General Malinsky was also awake. He'd arisen at 0530, and after a quick shave and breakfast, was in his own Operations Room. He knew that Powell would be coming, and coming soon. The only question was when. Malinsky turned to his own intelligence officer. “Any idea when he'll come, Vassily Abramovich?”

Major General Vassily Gurdonov looked at the map. He shook his head. “All I can say, Comrade General, with no prisoners to interrogate, is that he'll come soon. An hour, maybe two.”

“Agreed.” He turned to Isakov, his Chief of Staff. “Alert Eighth Guards and 28th Armies. Along with the East Germans.”

“Right away, Comrade General,” Isakov said.

“And the fights for McAllen and Edinburg?” Malinsky asked.

“Still ongoing, Comrade General. We've had no word from the Cuban 2nd Army headquarters, though the 24th and 27th Motor-Rifle Divisions have reported in.”

“And?”

“Heavy fighting in McAllen,Comrade General. If they don't withdraw from the city, they'll likely get pocketed,” Isakov said.

“I'd rather lose a city than lose those divisions. Pull them back. Along with Third Shock Army. Have them break contact, and pull back. And see if you can reestablish contact with the other two divisions in 2nd Army.” Malinsky told his Chief of Staff.

“Immediately, Comrade General,” Isakov said. “We've also heard from the Cuban 53rd Motor-Rifle Regiment at Hidalgo: they're under attack from a brigade-sized force; they were asking about the International Bridge there, before they were cut off.”

“Phone lines cut?” Malinsky asked.

“Presumably, Comrade General. Do you have any orders to give them by radio?”

“Try and raise them. If they can't hold, they must deny the enemy a bridgehead on the Rio Grande: if they get one, we'll never eliminate it. Blow the bridge, at any cost,” Malinsky said.


0615 Hours: West of Russeltown, Texas.


Colonel Suslov was leading from the front, as an airborne officer should. His reconnaissance company had been following the missile vehicles, and he felt the regiment was getting close. Though the General had insisted at first that he accompany the Colonel, he had insisted on the General traveling with the main body of the Regiment, as a precaution. And if those Chekists get in our way, well...there's quite a few old scores with the KGB that need to be settled, he thought. Then his reconnaissance company commander called to him. “Comrade Colonel, I think we've found them.”

Suslov went forward to see for himself. Sure enough, there was an OTR-23 missile vehicle, with three APCs guarding it, along with a UAZ jeep. Through binoculars, he could tell the troops were KGB, even if he couldn't see their shoulder boards. “Any sign of a warhead van?” Suslov asked.

“Not yet, Comrade Colonel,” the lieutenant replied.

Suslov nodded. He turned to his radioman. “Get the General forward. Tell him we've found the missile.”

A few minutes later, General Andreyev arrived. Keeping low, he made his way to Suslov's position. “You have the missile, Comrade Colonel?”

“Have a look for yourself, Comrade General.” Suslov said.

Andreyev looked through his own binoculars. Sure enough it was there. Then something caught his attention. It was a small convoy, with a 6x6 truck in the middle, and a sealed compartment in place of the cargo bed. “That's our warhead, Suslov.”

“No doubt, Comrade General. Just like prewar exercises. Your orders?”

Andreyev turned to his aide. “Get the battalion commanders here, now.”

The two battalion commanders soon arrived. Andreyev quickly gave them their orders. “Right, then. First battalion makes the main assault. Second battalion,” he said, nodding to the commander of that battalion, “Work your way around the right. Keep them from escaping. Third battalion to the left. Same mission. But all of you, do not take out the warhead van under any circumstances.” Suslov and his battalion commanders nodded. “Any questions?”

“Only one, Comrade General,” the 2nd Battalion commander said. “What about prisoners?”

“If you can take one or two of these Chekists alive, good. We need a tongue to tell us where the warheads are. If not, well, they couldn't have been that far away,” Andreyev said, and he saw the other officers nod, including the regiment's own intelligence officer. “Anything else?”

There were no further questions. “All right. First Battalion opens the attack. The signal is a green flare. It's still dark enough that we can all see it. We go in fifteen minutes. Get your men in position, Comrades, and good luck,” Andreyev said.


0625 Hours: Hidalgo, Texas.

Major Mendoza was in the fight of his life. Two American forces, battalion strength at least each, were coming down from the north. And his depleted regiment clearly couldn't hold them. And he knew that he had to commit his reserve. Mendoza turned to his deputy, Captain Gonzalez “Send the reserve to the east. Back up what's left of Third Battalion, and follow up with this order: pull back to the center of town.”

“Right away, Comrade Major!” Gonzalez said, getting on the radio to pass on the order.

Mendoza then turned to his engineering officer. “The charges are in place and the circuit tested?”

“Yes, Comrade Major,” the engineer replied.

“Good,” Mendoza said. He turned to Gonzalez again. “Get our support elements across the river. What prisoners we have, just leave them where they are. Don't kill them, there's no time, and even if there was, we haven't the ammunition. And have the regimental surgeon get the wounded who can move out of here.”

“Yes, Comrade Major,” replied Gonzalez. “And those who cannot be moved?”

“They'll have to be left for the Americans. Issue the orders, Captain.”

Nodding, Gonzalez relayed the orders. “And now, Comrade Major?”

“Pull the regimental command group back to the bridge. And do it fast,” Mendoza said.

To the east of Mendoza's position, the company team coming in from the east was meeting scattered resistance. To the company commander, it appeared the Cubans-and any remaining Mexicans, were falling back. She'd ripped through those Mexicans like a hot knife through butter, and the Cubans seemed to have lost their normal determination. Maybe they're short of ammo, like the Battalion Commander said, she thought.

Her two infantry platoons were dismounted, the better to fight their way into town, while the tanks were in support, along with their Bradleys. Her company XO was dismounted, while she was in her Bradley, but up front. The radios in her command track worked better for some reason than the pack radio her radioman carried. While she worked the radio, keeping in touch with her platoon leaders, and reporting to the battalion commander, her gunner swung the turret from side to side. After she'd talked with her 2nd Platoon leader, she poked her head up out of the commander's hatch, and was confronted with a T-55 coming out of a side street. Grabbing the commander's override, she yelled into the intercom, “AP! TANK RIGHT!” Then she opened fire.

The Bradley's 25-mm chain gun spat armor-piercing shells into the left flank of the T-55, and smoke soon came out the hatches and the engine compartment. The hatches flew open, and the Cuban crew bailed out, only to be cut down by fire from the Bradley, and small-arms fire from the infantrymen of First Platoon. The company commander got on the radio, and asked for any available helicopters to check the side street. It wasn't still light enough for the AH-1s to work, so that was denied. But her Third Platoon, one of the two tank platoons, soon identified more T-55s and took them under fire. Five of the Cuban tanks were destroyed, with the other four pulling back. Then she got an order to halt for the moment: friendly artillery was hitting the area ahead, and her battalion commander didn't want any of his forces in the target zone. Glad for a momentary break, she took off her CVC helmet and grabbed a bottle of water. Her gunner said, “Captain, that was a close one.”

“Too close, if you think about it, Sergeant,” replied Captain Nancy Kozak.
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