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Old 03-08-2015, 07:25 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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The war began 4 September 1985...
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

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Old 03-08-2015, 07:28 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the next part:

1705 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville

General Alekseyev looked at his situation map. The East Germans were coming apart, though slowly. Part of the Americans' XII Corps was tearing the two East German divisions to pieces, and though they were falling back, it was only a matter of time before they were overwhelmed, and a dangerous hole torn in the Soviet defense. Third Shock Army was still fighting, and he had to hand it to Starukhin, he'd fought that Army well, and even with him out of the picture, they fought like tigers. The Eighth Guards and 28th Armies were still falling back in good order, and they were already preparing to take up their new positions. The Cuban 1st Army, facing II MAF, was also fighting, and they gave ground grudgingly. It was the Cuban 2nd Army that he was most concerned about at present, though. He turned to General Chibisov. “Get General Malinsky on the phone.”

“Yes, Comrade General.”

A few moments later, Chibisov handed the phone to Alekseyev. “General Malinsky, Comrade General.”

“Malinsky, what's this with the Cubans?” Alekseyev demanded.

“Comrade General, I'm wondering the same thing myself. The Cuban 27th Motor-Rifle Division, somehow, didn't get the word to fall back, and they're nearly encircled. Then the Cuban 24th Division tried to relieve them, and they were badly mauled,” Malinsky reported.

“Did General Perez give those orders?” Alekseyev wanted to know.

“I'm not sure, Comrade General. My liaison officers with Cuban 2nd Army report that he still has some communications with Havana. As you know, the Cuban leadership has taken a serious interest in the battle,” Malinsky said.

“Obviously,” Alekseyev said. “Once the Americans finish us off, they can either go into Mexico, or invade Cuba. And it's in Castro's best interest that they go south.”

“Quite so, Comrade General,” Malinsky agreed. “Comrade General, I'm asking about the 76th Guards Airborne Division. I may need them before too long. And the 47th Tank Brigade.”

“General, I can't release those forces to you. Not yet. The Americans may mount an amphibious landing directly east of Brownsville, and I'll need those forces to counter the landing, should it occur,” Alekseyev said.

Malinsky digested that information. He'd been so preoccupied with the battle to his front, that an amphibious threat had been overlooked. “Comrade General, I'd quite forgotten about that.”

“Understandable, Malinsky. Now, some bad news: The evacuation of wounded and specialists by air is on hold: the last airport was hit by air strikes earlier, and the runways need to be cleared. I've got Belgin's engineering troops looking at ribbon bridges into Mexico, but nothing definite until morning. The airdrops of supplies are still going ahead, though.” Alekseyev told Malinsky.

“At least the airdrops are going forward, Comrade General,” Malinsky said. “I'll have the 105th Guards mark new drop zones for those supply drops in our vicinity.”

“Good. Remind your troops of the penalty for hoarding. And Malinsky?”

“Yes, Comrade General?”

Alekseyev paused. He looked at Chibisov, and the map. It was time. “Malinsky, as of now, 4th Guards Tank Army is under your command. Good luck.”

“Thank you, Comrade General.”

With that, Alekseyev hung up. He turned to Chibisov. “Notify General Suraykin. He's now under Malinsky's command, effective immediately.”

“Right away, Comrade General,” Chibisov said.

Alekseyev looked again at the map. He noticed the symbol for the Cuban 2nd Army. “Sergetov, what's your take on this?”

“Comrade General, I would imagine that both Fidel and Raoul are monitoring the battle, and are even issuing orders directly to their own generals,” Sergetov said.

“And the division that didn't fall back?” the General asked.

“I would imagine that the Castro brothers would like to have some martyrs for the revolution, Comrade General. If we won't provide them with some, then they will go ahead and do so.”

1715 Hours: Cuban 2nd Armored Brigade, U.S. Highway 83, Donna, Texas

A line of Cuban T-62 tanks rumbled west along the freeway that was U.S. Highway 83. The brigade's commander had been ordered by General Perez, the 2nd Army Commander, to relieve the 24th Division, or at the very least, enable their withdrawal east.

Major Miguel Pena wasn't at all happy about the orders he'd received. He knew that his brigade, which had seen combat since the beginning of the war, was no way able to take on American armor. He remembered when he'd been a Senior Lieutenant, and had commanded a T-72 platoon in the war's early days. They had run around and over their opposition, which had mainly M-48s and early M-60s, but now, with the M-60A4, Stingray, and the M-1 family-especially the dreaded M-1A1s, those days were gone forever. The brigade had been shot up several times, beginning in those horrid Ozarks in 1986, when it seemed there was someone behind every tree or knob with a LAW rocket launcher or a Dragon missile. Their T-72 losses had been replaced then, but during that Yanqui offensive in 1987, their T-72s had been given to some other unit, and T-62s had replaced them. And their BMP-2s had also gone away, and BTR-60PBs issued in their place. It had happened again in 1988, during the Yanqui's airborne and amphibious attack on the Gulf coast, and now.....he was interrupted by his brigade's executive officer. “Comrade Major, we're on the line of departure.”

“Thank you, Captain. First battalion in the center, second on the left, third on the right.” Pena said. “Fourth battalion and the Motor-Rifle battalion in reserve, and artillery ready to fire in support.”

“Very well, Comrade Major.” the exec replied. He, too, was a veteran, but was only back to the brigade after six months in the hospital.

“Tell me, Carlos, is this attack a waste?” Pena asked.

“Comrade Major, the men in the 27th are depending on us,” the man replied.

“Yes, but all we'd be doing is pulling them out of the frying pan and into the fire,” Pena said. “And there's no guarantee they're still fighting when we get there.”

“True, Comrade Major,” the exec replied. “But we can do our duty.”

Pena knew the man was right, even if he was as well: there were American tanks ahead that would outgun and outshoot his own, but he had his duty. He mounted his command tank, and got on the radio: “All units, this is Dagger One. Advance!”

And a brigade of T-62s moved ahead down and parallel to U.S. 83. Not knowing that the division they were trying to rescue had been overwhelmed an hour earlier.

1745 Hours: 234th Guards Air Assault Regiment: near Indian Lake, Texas.

General Andreyev knew he was getting close to his target. His recon company had talked to some local civilians; once they had realized the Soviet Airborne was going after the KGB, they had gladly cooperated. The irony didn't escape him: if the Soviets and their allies hadn't behaved like animals, maybe, just maybe, they would have had a lot more cooperation from the civilian population. But the Soviets had behaved like it was Germany in 1945, and any chance of goodwill from American civilians had been thrown away at the start.

Now, Andreyev's desantniki had not only the information from the unlamented KGB officer from the missile site, but some civilians had pointed out the weapons site. No civilian could go within a kilometer of the facility-under penalty of death. And that had been strictly enforced, as several corpses hanging from telephone or power poles indicated. One more thing to indict the KGB, Andreyev felt. He hadn't had any personal experience with the KGB since Colorado, but the KGB's insistence on “scenes on a massive scale” had repulsed him then, and it still did. One day, he vowed, there would be a reckoning for such atrocities, and the vigor that the Americans had vowed to punish war criminals didn't surprise him in the least.

Now, he was planning his attack on the facility. There was at least a company of KGB troops guarding the facility, but their defense was geared towards a guerrilla attack. They didn't have any heavy armor or APCs, though they did have a few mortars and heavy machine guns. Colonel Suslov came up to him. “Comrade General,”

“Yes, Comrade Colonel?”

“Comrade General, one thing that will certainly work in our favor is that an attack on this scale is the last thing they'll expect. A few guerrillas is one thing they can take care of. But an attack by a regiment....” Suslov said, his voice trailing off.

“Indeed, Comrade Colonel. And in prewar exercises, we've gone after our own facilities back home. And they were much more heavily guarded than this one.” Andreyev reminded the Colonel.

“True, Comrade General, but I was only a battalion commander then, and expecting to fight in someplace like Norway or Iceland. Not here in America.” Suslov said.

“The next officer who says that he expected to be fighting Americans here, on their home soil, will be the first,” Andreyev said. “Now, to business. I think a suitable diversion can be of use here. We have a few M-16s in our arsenal, correct?”

“Yes, Comrade General,” Suslov replied.

“Good. Take a few men from the reconnaissance company. Arm them with those American rifles, and have them get as close as possible to the main gate,” Andreyev said. “Wait until dark, then they open fire.”

Suslov knew what his divisional commander had in mind. “The guards will assume it's guerrillas, and their reaction force will move out. And our men lead them into an ambush.”

Andreyev smiled. “Correct, Comrade Colonel. That's Third Battalion's mission. After the reaction force leaves, First battalion comes in from the west and south. Second from the east. And we overwhelm the remaining defenders. We secure the warheads, get them into the transport vans-if they're not in them already, and then move out.”

“We have an hour and a half of daylight left, Comrade General,” Suslov reminded his superior. “Shall I summon the battalion commanders, and the recon company commander?”

“By all means, Comrade Colonel.”
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC Adage
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:32 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the next...Anyone surprised at the VDV going after the missile and the warheads?

1825 Hours: South Padre Island, Texas:

Captain Lieutenant Vassily Abramov paced the bridge of the Boiky. Even though the ship would likely never sail again, he was still considered the ship's captain. He'd done a walk-around, talking to the remaining crew, inspecting the guns, and seeing to it that all was ready for whatever came next. There was still plenty of 57-mm and 30-mm ammunition, and some Strela-2M shoulder-fired missiles, along with a few heavy machine guns, enough to make things hot for someone. He'd even looked out to sea, with the high-powered glasses lookouts normally used, and thought he'd seen American ships on the horizon, though with the haze, it was hard to tell. But having done all he could, all he could do was wait. And he knew, if the Americans came, he'd make them pay for it. Or at the very least, try. Then his Executive Officer came to him. “Comrade Captain, the cooks have made some soup,” Kurasov said, handing Abramov a cup of warm soup.

“Thank you, Kurasov, Now, the hard part comes.”

“The waiting, Comrade Captain,” Kurasov said, nodding. He knew it as well: when the Americans came to this beach, they'd be able to make things warm for their Marines.

“Any news on whether or not the coastal radar is back up?” Abramov asked. The Coastal-Defense troops had a surface-search radar, but an American anti-radar missile had knocked it out. If that radar was back up, he'd have some warning of approaching ships. If not....

“All they told me was that they're working on it. The commander of the 175th Naval Infantry's just as worried as you are, Comrade Captain,” Kurasov said.

Abramov nodded, sipping the warm soup. That wasn't the only thing on the menu: some dead fish had washed ashore after the Boiky came aground, and the cooks had gathered them all up. Some of the fish had gone into the soup, but some was being prepared for the remaining crew's dinner. He looked at his watch: 1827. An hour of daylight left. Then he heard a shout, “Aircraft alarm!”

The two officers ran to the bridge wing. Sure enough, a single aircraft was approaching from seaward. Another reconnaissance flight. “Commence firing!” he yelled into the intercom.

The destroyer's 57-mm and 30-mm guns opened fire almost immediately. The plane banked to its right, and accelerated. It looked very familiar to the Exec. “Comrade Captain, that was a Crusader. Just like last time.”

“You're right,” Abramov said. He remembered what Captain Romonov had told him about the photo run prior to the American air strike. With the plane out of range, he ordered, “Cease fire!” and the guns fell silent. He turned to Kurasov. “Well, they know we're here now.”

“Quite so, Comrade Captain...” Kurasov said. “Wait. Here comes another one!”

The Boiky's guns opened up again, this time not waiting on the Captain's orders. Unlike the first Crusader, the second one was bracketed by 57-mm fire and the tail was soon hit. The pilot ejected, and the RF-8 plunged into the water. “Do not shoot at the pilot!” Abramov roared into the intercom. He then yelled to the sailors and Naval Infantrymen on the beach. “Bring him to me!”

Several of the destroyer's sailors jumped into the whaleboat and headed after the downed pilot. They quickly reeled the pilot in, and to the sailors, it looked like the parachute had nearly pulled the pilot under. They stripped the pilot of survival gear and weapon, and heeding Abramov's orders, returned to the destroyer.

Abramov was waiting as the whaleboat pulled alongside opposite the bridge, and two armed crewmen were with him. The pilot climbed aboard, and took off the helmet. And Abramov was shocked. The pilot was a woman. He then composed himself. “Your name, rank, and number?”

“Lieutenant Commander Valerie Carlisle, United States Navy,” the pilot replied, then giving her serial number.

“Well, Commander. I'll have a few words with you, then you'll be handed over to the proper authorities,” Abramov said.

“All you're getting is the same thing I just told you. Under the Geneva Convention, that's all I can say to you.” she replied.

“True, but the formalities must be observed,” Abramov said. He turned to his Exec. “Kurasov, take her to the wardroom. See that she's fed, and allowed to dry off. Have Doctor Stepanov check her out, also. I'll be down there shortly.”

“Yes, Comrade Captain.” And Kurasov and the two sailors escorted their prisoner to the wardroom. He then went to the bridge, where a ship-to-shore phone line had been hooked up. He called the HQ of the 175th Naval Infantry for instructions. The 175th's Intelligence Officer would come and conduct some proper questioning. Though it looked like she wouldn't be a prisoner for very long, from what he'd heard. Orders from General Alekseyev and Admiral Gordikov: all prisoners, at the end, were to be handed over to the Americans. And the end might not be that far off, if the scuttlebutt he'd picked up from the Naval Infantry was right.

1840 Hours: U.S. Highway 83, east of Alamo, Texas.

Major Pena checked his map again in his command tank. The 27th Motor-Rifles were somewhere near Alamo, though east or west, his briefing hadn't told him. Brigade recon was out, and they'd reported back that the fighting may have ceased. Could the 27th have pulled back successfully? Well, only one way to find out. He ordered his brigade reconnaissance to keep pushing ahead, and to submit regular reports. With the sun in his eyes, seeing ahead was becoming a problem. And if the Americans were anywhere near, they'd probably have the sun at their backs, and it'd be very hard to see them before it was too late. Nevertheless, there were Cuban soldiers out there who needed help, and he intended to do his duty, and rescue as many of them as possible.

“Green One, this is White One,” the recon commander said over the radio. “We're on the outskirts of Alamo, nothing to report, other than smoke clouds on the horizon. No sounds of combat. Your instructions?”

“White One, this is Green One,” Pena said. “Press ahead. Report when you've made contact with either friendly forces, or the enemy.”

“White One, Roger.”

The Cuban armor pushed ahead. The smoke clouds were becoming much clearer now, and much more numerous. But whose vehicles were burning? Then a surprised voice came on the radio. “Green One, this is White One! American armor at coordinates...” Then the message cut off.

“White One, Green One. Armor where?” Pena yelled. “Repeat, Enemy Armor where?”

Then the Recon's exec came on the radio “This is White Two. Enemy armor west of the Alamo interchange on Highway 83. Repeat, enemy armor west of..” Then that voice, too, abruptly fell silent.

“All units, this is Green One,” Pena said into his throat mike. “Advance to contact. Repeat, Advance to contact. Report immediately on first contact with the enemy.” His battalion commanders acknowledged the order, and the T-62s and BTRs rolled ahead. His brigade artillery deployed off the road to set up and prepare to fire in support of the brigade. Then, as he advanced, he saw the burning wrecks of his brigade reconnaissance company's BRDMs and PT-76s, along with bodies in the road.

“Green One, Blue One. Contact! Enemy armor at..” then that voice too, stopped. That was Second battalion. He traversed his periscope, and saw tanks exploding. He grabbed his throat mike: “Deploy! Red and Orange elements wheel left! Purple, fire mission south of Second Battalion's location.”

As the Cuban armor wheeled south, they unknowingly exposed their right to American armor. His Third Battalion was soon taking fire. And he heard American artillery going overhead, searching out his own artillery. Pena's Motor-Rifle Battalion halted and deployed their troops: better to be out in the open instead of buttoned up in a vehicle: at least you had a chance of surviving that way.

Then he saw them: M-60A4s and Bradley fighting vehicles. The tanks were moving forward to confront the Cuban armor, while the Bradleys were giving supporting fire with TOW missiles. The Cuban armor was soon in range of their foes, and Pena chose a target. “Gunner, hard core: tank at twelve.”

The gunner acknowledged the order, since he already had a sabot tank-killing round in the T-62's 115-mm gun. “Target identified.”


The 115-mm gun spoke, and the shot hit the American tank. But he'd hit the tank on the front of the turret, where the armor was thickest. And the American tank turned its own gun ever so slightly to the right....

“Driver, wheel left!” Pena yelled, as he opened the turret hatch to throw out a smoke grenade.

It was too late. The American tank fired, and the T-62 took a direct hit. The sabot round penetrated the driver's compartment, and ripped on ahead, tearing apart the fuel and hydraulic lines, and penetrated the fuel and ammunition compartment. The result was the T-62 was blown apart, killing the crew. And Major Pena's death preceded those of the majority of his brigade by moments. The 2nd Armored Brigade was annihilated, and only those few whose tanks or APCs had dropped out due to mechanical issues escaped with their lives.

1900 Hours: East German 40th Air Assault Regiment, Elsa, Texas.

The East German air-assault troopers were busy preparing the town for defense. Offending trees were cut down to clear fields of fire, while antitank mines were laid at likely approaches for armor. And the regiment's artillery-a handful of 122-mm D-30 howitzers, were sited to provide all-around fire if the town was surrounded. The attached tank battalion's armor was also prepared to mount counterattacks as they were needed. And everyone knew that there would be a fight for this town.

Colonel Fiebig had made his headquarters in the city hall, and he was pleased so far with the defense preparations. Now, if the Americans will give me a few more hours, I could hold here for several days, at least. But only if I had the ammunition, he thought. His supply officer had given him the figures. He had, at most, two days' worth of small-arms ammunition, and even less for the heavy weapons. He'd asked for supply drops, but the Soviets had declined: the proposed drop zones were too close to American lines, and American aircraft were too active for the safety of the transports. Then his Executive Officer came to him. “Comrade Colonel.”


“Comrade Colonel, we've just gotten this from General Metzler,” the Exec said, handing the Colonel a message form.

Fiebig scanned the form. He had to hold for at least twenty-four hours, the message said. The 11th MRD to the north had been shredded, and it was now falling back again. And the 9th Panzer was now in the same condition. If this was going to be the last battle for the National People's Army in America, Metzler wanted them to go down fighting. “The usual, Comrade Major. Well, the Americans will be coming-and soon. How soon, do you think?”

“Not long, Comrade Colonel. A few hours, at least,” the Exec said.

“About what one can expect. Have the men stand to. It won't be long,” Fiebig said.

He was right: just as the sun was setting, A pair of AH-64As appeared, prowling for prey. And they found targets: several of his tanks were targeted and destroyed by Hellfire missiles. Then the helicopters turned away: no doubt they would inform their base of the East Germans' defenses as they saw them.

1920 Hours: 234th Guards Air Assault Regiment, near Indian Lake, Texas.

General Alekseyev went over the attack plan with his battalion commanders, along with the recon company commander. The recon boys would open the attack, firing into the compound with M-16s, and would draw the KGB troops' reaction force after them. They would lead the KGB troops into the waiting arms of Third Battalion, and would be wiped out.

While that action was going on, First and Second battalion would envelop the site, and though First Battalion would be those who entered the facility, Second battalion's role would be to prevent any of the KGB troops from escaping. Once the facility was secured, the warheads would be loaded onto their vans, if they weren't already loaded, and the Regiment would move out. “Any questions?” Andreyev asked.”

First battalion's commander raised his hand. “Comrade General, what about prisoners?”

“Very simple: we're not taking any. There's no reason to. Take whatever documents we can find, but we're not bothering ourselves with prisoners,” Andreyev replied.

The assembled officers nodded. As far as they were concerned, the KGB brought it upon themselves, and deserved to pay. “And when do we attack, Comrade General?” Second Battalion's commander asked.

“I want it to get good and dark,” Andreyev said. “We need time to get into position in the meantime. No earlier than 2130.”

Colonel Suslov nodded. “And heavy weapons fire, Comrade General?”

“None. I don't want to take a chance on damaging the warheads or the vans. Sorry about that, but that's the way it's got to be.” Andreyev told his officers. “Any other questions?”

There were none. “All right, Comrades, get your men into position. The recon company opens the attack, and we wait until they're good and ready. Be in position by 2130. Anytime after that, the recon boys can do their thing when they're ready.” Andreyev said. “And good luck, Comrades.”

1950 Hours: South Padre Island, Texas.

Captain Lieutenant Abramov went into the Boiky's wardroom. He'd insisted that the prisoner be treated well, since the Soviet Navy still felt the tradition of the sea, as his instructors at the Academy had drilled into him. So the downed pilot had been fed, and the ship's doctor had come to see if she had any injuries from the ejection. No doubt she'd expected her reception by the Soviets to be much more severe, but Abramov felt that this approach was more befitting an officer and a gentleman. The wardroom door opened, and the ship's doctor came out. “Doctor.”

“Ah, Comrade Captain.” Captain Lieutenant Pavel Stepanov said, “You can see her now.”

“Anything I need to know before I question her?” Abramov asked.

“She's fine. No ejection-related injuries that I could find. Still...I'm surprised the Americans have been putting women in their fighters.” Stepanov commented.

“We did, in the Great Patriotic War, Doctor.” Abramov reminded his ship's surgeon. “Though I think that was a wartime expedient.”

“I imagine so,” Dr. Stepanov said. “Anyway, unless there's anything more?”

“Not at this time, Doctor. But I should inform you: if the ship becomes untenable, be prepared to set up on shore.”

“I've already given that some thought. I'll be ready.” And the doctor headed back down to sick bay.

Abramov went inside the wardroom. Two armed sailors stood, watching the prisoner. They came to attention when he entered, but relaxed when he motioned them to do so. The American was watching intently. This was clearly not what her survival training had told her to expect if captured. It was more out of World War II in Europe. “Commander,” Abramov said. “I know you're not going to say anything beyond name, rank, and number, but I do have a few questions to ask you.”

Commander Carlisle nodded. “And you'll get just that. Your English is good, by the way.”

“Thank you. A product of the Academy in Leningrad. Now, what was your carrier?”

Commander Carlisle said nothing.

Abramov knew he wasn't likely to get anything from her, but the 175th's Intelligence Officer had given him some questions to ask. He would have been here, but other matters had intervened. “And your squadron?”

She shook her head.

“What was your mission here?” Abramov asked. He knew she'd been flying an RF-8G, but had to ask anyway.

“What do you think it was?” She replied.

“At least I didn't get your name, rank, and number for that one.” Abramov laughed. “One more time, then I'll be finished. “Please, your carrier, squadron, and mission?”

Commander Carlisle simply gave her name, rank, serial number, and date of birth.

“That I expected. Ah, well. I'll send you ashore, where you'll be quite safe. And I expect, you won't be here that long, given how things are.” Abramov said.

“Maybe you should've thought of that before you decided to come here.” Carlisle said.

“I think a lot of people should have thought that before we decided to come here,” Abramov agreed.

A few minutes later, several Naval Infantry arrived to take the prisoner to a POW compound. Before she left, Commander Carlisle said one more thing. “Your hospitality is not what I expected, and that's a compliment from one Navy person to another.”
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC Adage
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:40 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the saga continues:

2000 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville

General Alekseyev was looking at his situation map, and though some of what he saw was quite expected, some was not. Though the Cuban 1st Army, the 8th Guards, and 28th Armies were now on their positions, and the 3rd Shock Army was still falling back, the East Germans were in bad shape. And the Cuban 2nd Army was getting ground down. The bright spot was that 4th Guards Tank Army was now under Malinsky's command, and would help form a strong line. All he needed from Suraykin was forty-eight hours. And hopefully, Suraykin would give him that time. Then he noticed General Chibsov coming up. “Yes, Pavel Pavlovitch?”

Chibisov handed him a message form. “This just came in from Moscow, Comrade General.”

Alekseyev took the form. It asked when the Hall Government would be evacuated from the pocket. “Are they serious?”

“Evidently so, Comrade General,” Chibisov said.

“Of all the...do they know about the runways?”

“The runway status was reported, Comrade General,” acknowledged Chibisov. “Apparently it hasn't gotten though yet, or..”

“Or they're ignoring it,” Alekseyev finished for his Chief of Staff.

“That is a real possibility, Comrade General.”

“Acknowledge the message, and inform Moscow that Hall and his government will be evacuated, once the runways at Brownsville-South Padre Island Aiport are repaired.” Alekseyev said.

“Yes, Comrade General.” Chibisov said.

Then Colonel Sergetov came up with another form. “Comrade General, this just came from Malinsky.”

Alekseyev read it. It mentioned the destruction of the Cuban 27th Division and the 2nd Armored Brigade. “Damn it! Was this Castro's idea?”

“No way to tell, Comrade General,” Sergetov said. “But it is possible.”

“It would be no surprise if it was, Comrades,” Chibisov said.

“Knowing Castro, he'd enjoy having some new 'martyrs of the revolution.” Alekseyev said. “What does this do to the Cuban 2nd Army?”

“It forces them to be stretched rather thin, especially on their left, Comrade General. And with that armored brigade wiped out, they have no reserves,” Chibisov pointed out.

“All right. I believe Third Shock still has an independent tank regiment in reserve?” Alekseyev asked.

“They do, Comrade General, not at full strength, but still combat effective.” Chibisov reported.

“Good. Have them send that regiment to cover the Cuban right flank. If the Cubans find themselves overwhelmed, as is possible, we still need Third Shock in Malinsky's line. Have them fall back to that line. Now. If that means another Cuban division gets cut to pieces, so be it.” Alekseyev decided.

“Right away, Comrade General,” Chibisov said.

2020 Hours: Federal Building, Brownsville

Ambassador Markarev was ushered into President Hall's office. He'd just received news from Moscow, and while he'd been waiting outside, the Cuban Ambassador had left the office. And the man had a smile on his face. And Makarev had also noticed the activity in the building. Documents were being shredded and burned, almost as fast as the shredder could handle the papers, while burn barrels were being fed with the remnants of the files. Clearly, no one wanted evidence of the Hall government's activities-especially those that would earn those involved a trip to prison or the gallows-something the Americans bearing down on them were promising those involved with the collaborationist government.

His thoughts were interrupted when Hall's aide came and said, “The President will see you now, Comrade Ambassador,” and ushered Makarev into the office. Hall rose to greet his guest. “Comrade Ambassador, I am pleased to see you. How are things at the Embassy?”

The Soviet Embassy, such as it was, had been the Sheraton Brownsville prewar. Now, part of it served the Soviets, while another wing housed Cuban diplomats. It didn't matter that they were the only members of the diplomatic corps left, the Nicaraguans having left for Mexico the day before, and the Mexicans themselves had departed that day. None of the Warsaw Pact states had kept their diplomatic staff in Texas any longer than necessary, and even the Libyans and North Koreans had left as well.

“They are going fine, Comrade President, though we are destroying all of our secret documents, as you might expect.” Makarev said.

“I'm sure you noticed that outside, we're doing the same thing. Though some are against it. They feel that no matter what, we've done nothing wrong, and should be proud of our efforts,” Hall said.

Makarev thought for a moment. He had a very good idea, based on that morning's meeting with Hall's cabinet, who felt that way. Vice-President Davis came to mind, as did the PSD chief. No matter. Makarev knew there was enough evidence for the Americans to convict the whole lot of them several times over. “I understand, Comrade President, but some things should not be left for one's enemies to discover.”

“Indeed. I take it you noticed the Cuban Ambassador leaving? He has reemphasized Comrade Fidel's offer to host a government in exile.” And I'm inclined to accept the offer, despite the views of some in the cabinet,” Hall said.

“I see...” Makarev said. “Well, in that case, you will be interested in this: Moscow will fly yourself, your cabinet, and anyone else you nominate out of the pocket.”


“As soon as possible. The runways at Brownsville-South Padre Airport were damaged this afternoon in an air raid, and repairs are underway.” Makarev said.

Hall smiled. “Excellent, Comrade Ambassador. Once we're out of here, we can continue the struggle, as some have suggested. We'll accept Fidel's offer, but then we'd like to move to Moscow. The Reactionary Government in Philadelphia will no doubt settle longtime debts with our Cuban brothers, and staying there is not a good idea.”

“Sensible, Comrade President.” Makarev said.

“Yes. Though I will be sad to leave. I have done all that I can to bring Socialism to America, with all that it promises, only to be despised and loathed. If I had been able to do that at the ballot box.....but things went the way they did,” Hall said.

Makarev thought again. He knew full well that Hall was now viewed as the worst traitor in American history, even worse than Benedict Arnold. Even when he ran for office prewar, he was seen as a tool of Moscow, and now as someone who needed an invading foreign army to give him the power he wanted. Not to mention the very loud calls for his execution coming from Philadelphia, as well as the American news media. “We cannot change the past, Comrade President. It is best if we looked towards the future.”

“Quite. Please let me know when the evacuation can resume.”

“Of course, Comrade President.” Makarev said.

2055 Hours: South Padre Island, Texas.

Captain Lieutenant Abramov was catnapping in a bridge chair. He'd seen Captain Romonov do the same, in this same chair, and he knew that if something happened, he'd be able to react instantly. So he hadn't taken over the Captain's cabin. His Exec came to him, “Comrade Captain, I have some news.”

“Yes, what is it?” Abramov asked.

“The coastal radar is back on line, Comrade Captain. We'll have some warning of approaching ships, or so the Coastal-Defense troops say.”

Abramov paused for a moment. “For how long, Kurasov? If that party stooge was still with us, he'd consider that question defeatist.”

“They're trying to keep it mobile, Comrade Captain. But that won't keep an anti-radar missile away. And there's only so many places on this part of the island where the radar can be placed.”

Abramov went and looked at the chart. Though it didn't show much in the way of detail about the island, he did know this part of it was a prewar resort area. “As long as we have some warning, Kurasov,”

“Yes, Comrade Captain. I saw our prisoner off, by the way.” Kurasov said.

“And how did the Naval Infantry treat her?” Abramov wanted to know.

“The same as we did, Comrade Captain. Though rumor has it that our conduct in such matters has not been exemplary in the past, with the end seemingly near...” Kurasov's voice trailed away.

“It makes more of an impression with the Americans when they do come,” Abramov finished. “Well..” The phone ringing interrupted his statement. He picked up the receiver. “Yes?”

“Attack Warning!” the voice on the other end shouted. “Air-attack warning!”

Abramov put the phone down. “Battle Stations!” he ordered.

His gunners went to their posts, and began scanning the sky for approaching aircraft. With no working radar, they were dependent on visual identification of threats. Since the last run had been a recon flight, Abramov was expecting some kind of attack. But his only mistake was that it would be in the morning.

Out to sea, two A-6E Intruders from VA-75 from the John F. Kennedy came in at low level. The original intel that the destroyer had no working guns had clearly proven wrong, as the evening recon flight had shown. Just above the A-6s flew two A-7s from VA-72. They had HARM missiles, and were looking for Soviet radars to come up. Then the A-7s launched their HARMs and turned away, leaving the field clear for the Intruders.

“What's going on?” Abramov asked over the phone.

“We don't know yet. All we know is...” then the voice cut off. Unknown to Abramov, a HARM missile had struck the only remaining air-defense radar on South Padre Island, wrecking it and killing the officer Abramov had been talking to. Two of the three HARMs remaining found AA gun radars, while another found an SA-8 missile vehicle, and all three exploded in flame.

Boiky's gunners scanned the sky. Then they saw trails incoming. “Missiles inbound!” The gun captain of the number two 57-mm mount yelled, and both quad mounts began rapid fire.

Both Intruders had launched AGM-123 Skipper IIs: laser-guided missiles using the body of the GBU-16 laser bomb and the engine from the Shrike anti-radar missile Despite the hail of 57-mm fire, both weapons from the lead A-6 directed at the destroyer struck. The first to hit struck the first 57-mm mount, in what a Western Navy would be the “A” position, obliterating it-and the “B” mount was also knocked out in the blast, while the second missile landed in the bridge, killing Abramov, his Exec, and everyone else there.

As the remaining crew aboard tried to fight the fires, the second pair of AGM-123s landed on the ship. Both were guided amidships, and in the explosions, one of them set off the ship's torpedo tubes. The combined force of this explosion, along with a near-simultaneous detonation of the forward magazines, wrecked the destroyer. Only those aft of amidships managed to abandon the grounded vessel and escape with their lives.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:43 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And another:

2110 Hours: East German 40th Air Assault Regiment, Elsa, Texas

Colonel Fiebig was hunkered down in the basement of the Elsa City Hall. Built to withstand hurricanes, the basement's Emergency Operations Center was perfect for his purposes. Now, as American artillery fire rained down, he prepared for the attack that would soon come. As long as the phone lines laid to battalion HQs worked, and survived the barrage, things would be favorable. His Regimental Executive Officer had set up an alternate command post in the police station, so even if Fiebig was taken out, the defenders would still be able to fight in a coordinated fashion. His Operations Officer came over to him.
“Comrade Colonel, they're coming. The barrage is lifting in some sectors, and our outposts report tanks and armored vehicles approaching.”

“Show me.” Fiebig said, motioning to the map.

“Here, Comrade Colonel. An attack is developing along Highway 107,”

“From La Bianca, it seems. That Panzer Regiment was overwhelmed within what, fifteen minutes?” Fiebig asked.

“I'm afraid so, Comrade Colonel. A second attack is coming here, from the south, along F.M. 88, and another attack from the north: a platoon-sized outpost was at the F.M. 88/F.M. 1925 junction, and they reported armor approaching. We've been unable to raise them,” the operations man said.

“So we're facing a brigade-sized force at least?” Fiebig asked him.

“Apparently so, Comrade Colonel.”

Fiebig looked at the map again. Though his men had deployed for all-around defense, he was shorthanded. If he had three battalions instead of two, he might have a real chance. Instead....”Very well. Our main defenses are in the center of town anyway. Have all units fall back to their main positions. And have Captain Buheler ready to counterattack as soon as he receives the order.”

“Yes, Comrade Colonel.” And the operations man went off to issue the orders.

The East Germans fell back, and the American armor advanced, though cautiously. They knew they were facing East German airborne, and from previous battles, it was well known that they didn't quit until they had no choice. San Antonio the previous year, and Alice earlier that summer, had proven that.

2130 Hours: 234th Guards Air Assault Regiment, near Indian Lakes, Texas.

General Andreyev was waiting for the recon company to open the attack. He'd received word that all units were in position and ready, but everyone was waiting for the recon boys to start things off. He'd left when to their discretion, and the recon company was the best in the regiment. Contrary to Western thinking, the recon were expected to use their heads, especially in something like a raid, and he had full confidence in the recon company to let them start things off. As before, Colonel Suslov insisted that the General remain with the Regimental Command Group, while he led the attack personally with First Battalion. Andreyev looked through his binoculars: the facility was well lit, and it was obvious that there was no fuel shortage for the KGB. Good, he smiled. Let them get “fat, dumb, and happy,” and we'll teach them a lesson they wouldn't forget-if they lived, that was. Then there was a tap on his shoulder. It was Major Polyakov, the 234th's Executive Officer.

“Comrade General, everything's ready, and it's time. All we need is the recon to start things.”

“True, Major. But they won't start on the dot. Like I said at the briefing: the recon will start anytime after 2130. Wait a few minutes, and then we'll see,” Andreyev said.

As it turned out, they didn't have to wait that long. A minute after Polyakov made his comment to the General, small-arms fire erupted across from the facility entrance. Sure enough, it was M-16s, and as Andreyev observed through his binoculars, the KGB reaction force mounted up in their trucks and rolled out, still under fire from the recon company.

“All right....let the reaction force fall into the trap, and as that's being sprung, we'll go in,” Andreyev told the Major.

A few minutes later, heavy firing to the north showed that Third Battalion's mission was being accomplished. Andreyev nodded to Major Polyakov. “Time, Major.”

Polyakov nodded, and fired the signal flare. The desantniki from First Battalion opened fire, sending RPGs into the guard towers, while the paratroopers swarmed the compound. The remaining KGB troops, including warhead techs, were dumbfounded, and many hardly had a chance to go for their weapons before they were killed. It was all over in less than ten minutes. Though a few of the KGB troops had tried to escape, they went right into the embrace of Second Battalion, and none survived. The few survivors from the reaction force who tried to return met a similar fate, and it was all over. Another flare signaled that the facility was secured, and Andreyev led the Regimental command group forward. Colonel Suslov was waiting outside the command post, a prefabricated structure. “Comrade General, the facility is secure.”

“Well done, Comrade Colonel. Your losses?”

“Four killed, seven wounded. And the KGB troops were wiped out to a man,” Suslov reported.

“Make sure those who are dead are dead, Suslov. Don't take any chances,” Andreyev replied.

“Yes, Comrade General,” Suslov said, motioning for his radioman to come so that he could inform the company commanders. After he did so, he led Andreyev to where the warhead storage vans were parked.

“We've checked the vehicles, and all have warheads. There's three dozen here. Some are artillery shells, while the rest are warheads for various rockets,” Suslov told the General.”

“Make sure we've got all of them, Colonel.” Andreyev said. His orders from General Alekseyev were precise on that matter.

Suslov nodded. He sent his intelligence officer into the command post, and a few minutes later, came out with the warhead inventory. Counting the warhead Andreyev's men had recovered earlier, there were thirty-seven warheads remaining in the stockpile. A visual check of the serial numbers verified that all were now accounted for.

“All warheads accounted for, Comrade General,” Suslov reported. “Your orders?”

“Assemble the Regiment, and prepare to move. We're returning to Brownsville. General Alekseyev wants the warheads delivered to his headquarters.” Andreyev said. “How soon can we be ready to move?”

“Twenty minutes, Comrade General.” Suslov replied.

“Make it so, Comrade Colonel.” Andreyev said. “If this had been an American facility, I'd be recommending you for the Red Banner.”

“I hadn't thought of that, Comrade General,” Suslov replied. “The satisfaction of settling some scores with the KGB will be the reward in this case.”

General Andreyev grinned. He, too, had some issues with the KGB, not just prewar, but during the war, and now, this revenge was sweet. “Exactly so, Comrade Colonel. Have the regiment ready to move in twenty minutes.”

“Comrade General.”

2155 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

General Alekseyev reviewed his map again. The East Germans had managed to reform yet again, though they had been roughly handled yet again. General Metzler had managed to get the 11th MRD and 9th Panzer into Malinsky's line, and Third Shock was on their left. The Eighth Guards and 28th Armies were also in position, as was the 4th Guards Tank Army and the Cuban 1st Army on the right. They had an open right flank with the Laguna Atascosca National Wildlife Refuge, but just as the marshes and wetlands gave the Cubans a problem, so it would also give the U.S. Marines a problem, as their amphibious “end-arounds” likely wouldn't work in that kind of terrain. But further south, at Laguna Vista, and just north of it, that threat would return, as the terrain would support such an operation. And on the far left, the Cuban 2nd Army had been reeling all day, with one division and an armored brigade annihilated, and another division badly mauled. Alekseyev still wondered, though, as did Malinsky, if Fidel Castro or his brother Raoul had ordered General Perez, the 2nd Army commander, to sacrifice a unit or two as “Martyrs of the Revolution.” General Chibisov came up.”Comrade General, we have word from General Andreyev.”


“Mission successful. Second objective accomplished. Returning to Headquarters.” Chibisov reported.

“Execllent, Pavel Pavlovitich,” Alekseyev said. “That's one thing we don't have to worry about any longer.”

“Yes, Comrade General. And when Andreyev's men arrive?”

“They'll guard the warheads here. When they arrive, no one is to go near the warheads. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who does so, will be executed,” Alekseyev replied.

“The Cherepovets is ready for her final mission, Comrade General. When do you anticipate loading her?” Chibisov asked.

“When it's obvious that General Suraykin cannot hold his position. We need time still to load the warheads on the freighter, get him out into the shipping channel, then scuttle.” Alekseyev said. “That's what Admiral Gordikov told me. And that's several hours at least.”

Chibisov nodded. “Of course, Comrade General.” Changing the subject, he reported, “The destroyer Boiky has been neutralized, Comrade General. There was an air strike earlier this evening, and they left her a blasted and burned wreck.”

“To be expected. They did shoot down an American reconnaissance aircraft earlier this evening, did they not?” Alekseyev asked.

“Yes, Comrade General, and captured the pilot. The pilot is en route here, for further interrogation,” Chibisov said.

“Have Dudorov conduct it himself. Our practices in the past have been very counterproductive in that regard, and I'd rather have someone I know handle him.”

“Her, Comrade General. The pilot is female.” Chibisov said, matter of factly.

“They've been doing that for what, three years now? And we're still surprised when we encounter American women in combat. Old habits die slowly, I imagine.”

“Yes, Comrade General. One other thing. General Belgin has identified several points for bridge construction. Work has started on a couple, and there's two more which will be started by dawn.”
Chibisov said.

“Good! Even if we don't get the supplies-and Petrov says the Americans are throwing everything they can at those roads-at least we can evacuate those who need to leave-and not just our wounded, once the airlift is no longer possible,” said Alekseyev.

“There is that chance, Comrade General.”

2210 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport.

General Petrov watched his engineers get to work with a vengeance. They knew that not only the supplies they needed depended on the airlift, but also the best chance for the wounded to leave. There was some heavy equipment available, and he'd even found some in Brownsville itself: prewar, the bulldozers and other heavy haulers and movers had belonged to several construction companies. His chief engineer officer came up to him. “Comrade General, we'll have this field operational again before dawn.”

“Good, Comrade Colonel,” Petrov said. “How goes it with the unexploded ordnance?”

“We've managed to clear that with a specially modified bulldozer, and what we can't clear a sharpshooter with a rifle shoots. The method may be crude, but it works,” the engineer said.

“If it works, use it,” Petrov agreed. Too many other Soviet officers were afraid to try new ideas, and he suspected that was one of the reasons-among many-that they were losing the war. Why hadn't those in Moscow seen how bad things were and cut their losses? He'd wondered that since the American offensive in 1988-which had retaken Central Texas, and pushed as far south as Corpus Christi and San Antonio. He'd barely escaped the latter with his life-and he'd been wondering ever since. Still, he was a professional to the end.

“Comrade General, one other thing?”

“Yes?” Petrov asked.

“What about the aircraft wreckage?

“Just dump it someplace out of the way, so that the ramp area is clear. And don't dump it where we've got supply drop zones marked.” Petrov replied.

“Yes, Comrade General.” And the engineer went off to get his men going again.

Petrov looked around. There weren't that many, but there were enough wrecked planes that made him question whether or not the airlift was a good idea. But, as the VTA commander had told him, the Americans had kept Denver alive during that siege, and the Defense Council felt the same could be done here. He shook his head. Now I know what Gen. Wolfram von Richthofen must have felt during the Stalingrad airlift. And history's repeating itself.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:16 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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The saga continues on...

2230 Hours: East German 40th Air Assault Regiment, Elsa, Texas

Colonel Fiebig's headquarters shook under the American artillery fire. The initial attack had hit the East Germans' empty positions, but as the Americans probed ahead, a hail of fire met them. Now, the American had halted, brought up their artillery, and began shelling East German positions. His intelligence officer pointed to the map.

“Comrade Colonel, the attack is developing just as we anticipated. They're coming in on three sides, but leaving a way out to the east.”

“A way out? Ahh. They expect us to fight a delaying action, and when we move east on Highway 107, we'll be cut to pieces. Not what I have in mind, Comrade Major.” Fiebig replied.

“They've done it before: McAllen, Edinburg, and further north. Alice was like that, if you'll recall, Comrade Colonel.” the intelligence man reminded the Colonel.

“Yes, and at Alice is where we lost the Third Battalion,” Fiebig retorted.

“True, Comrade Colonel, but this time..” The intelligence officer was interrupted by a large explosion outside. Then the operations officer came up to Fiebig.

“Comrade Colonel, that was the police station across the street. The alternate command post doesn't answer.”

“How'd they find that out?” Fiebig wanted to know.

“It can't have been any of the civilians; we haven't allowed any of them to leave town,” the operations man replied.

The intelligence officer thought for a minute. “There was some reconnaissance aircraft overhead today. They were low enough to have seen some of the wires leading into the building, Comrade Colonel.”

Fiebig nodded. He turned to the ops officer, “Find out casualties, and start looking for another command site. We may have to move ourselves, even if we're not bombed or shelled.”

“Yes, Comrade Colonel.”

“And you, Major,” the Colonel said. “When will they come in force?”

“Before first light, Comrade Colonel. They know attacking into the sun isn't a good idea, so they'll come in the predawn hours,” the intelligence officer said.

“Perhaps. Or they'll wait until it's fully light out.”

2250 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters, San Benito Community College.

Malinsky stood in front of his operations map. So far, things were stabilizing, and he'd been pleasantly surprised. He half expected Powell to unleash his more aggressive corps and division commanders, but no. Though Powell was much more aggressive than the Soviets expected, he was keeping things firmly in hand, it appeared. That did fit the Powell the Soviets knew-someone who was not rash, and was concerned for the lives of the men and women under his command. Though if the opportunity for bold action should present itself, Powell was not above taking those opportunities-witness the Second Battle of Houston in 1988. And Malinsky knew that if the East Germans-or the Cuban 2nd Army-collapsed, Powell would turn those quickly to his advantage. Then General Isakov arrived. “Comrade General,”

“Good evening, Isakov. I see you've made it.”

“Yes, Comrade General. It was more of an adventure than I would have preferred, but the rest of the staff has now arrived,” Isakov said.

“And enemy aircraft made it quite the adventure?” Malinsky asked.

“Quite so, Comrade General,” Isakov said. “A-10s, A-7s, even old A-4s-where they found those, the air force people have no idea, but we were bombed and strafed several times. And we took casualties, Comrade General.”

“Which shows the Air Force has totally lost any kind of even local air control,” Malinsky observed. “A very painful lesson indeed.”

“Yes, Comrade General,” Isakov agreed. “I've been able to keep up, however, with some developments. The Cuban 2nd Army and the East Germans, especially.”

“Those two are the two formations I'm most worried about,” Malinsky admitted. “The East Germans are in the worst shape, and they're getting ground down with each hour, it seems.”

“Given that they have managed to keep themselves in the fight, even after all that's happened in Germany, I'm surprised. But Metzler's Political Department has kept things under control, however,” Isakov said. “However, it's the Cuban 2nd Army that should give us the most concern.”

“Correct. One division has been overwhelmed, and another division badly mauled trying to relieve them. Not to mention a whole armored brigade being annihilated trying the same thing. That leaves the Army spread thin. And I'm also wondering if Fidel Castro's telling his commanders something: the Cubans still have some communications with Havana, the liaison officers say.” Malinsky said.

2310 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville

General Yuri Dodorov, Alekseyev's Chief of Intelligence, sat in his office. It had been a while since he'd handled an interrogation personally, but with the end approaching, handing this chore over to those who usually handled such things was probably not a good idea, so he decided to see to this one personally. And the way things were going, this prisoner's time in captivity was likely to be short, and in a few days, maybe a week at the most, she'd be back in the cockpit. Fortunes of war, he mused. He did remember several times interrogating high-ranking American officers, including the commander of the 2nd Armored Division back in 1985, when that unit had been caught too spread out and badly mauled. One general to another had been his approach, although the results were mixed. Now, the captive was one of the Americans' female pilots, and a naval one at that. Then the door knocked. It was his aide. “Comrade General, the prisoner is here, as instructed.”

“Thank you, Vassily Petrovich. Wait outside, please.” Dudorov replied.

Nodding, the aide stood aside as a guard entered, followed by the prisoner, still in her flight suit. The guard saluted and left, and the aide did so, closing the door on his way out. The woman stood in front of Durdorov, waiting for him to get things started. And she didn't have long to wait.

“I am General Dudorov. Please, be seated, Commander. I have your name and rank from those who captured you. It's a pity, though,” Dudorov said.

Commander Carlisle sat down, with a confused look on her face. “A pity?”

“Yes, the sailors who captured you are now more than likely dead. Their ship was bombed after you left, and it's now a burning wreck,” Dudorov said.

“They were sailors, and took a sailor's chance,” she replied.

“That is one way of saying things: I assume that if you were in a different branch of the service, it would be the same.”

“Something like that,” she responded. “I should tell you that under the Geneva Convention, all I can give you is name, rank, number and date of birth. You should have that already, so that's all you're going to get.”

Dudorov nodded. “Normally, I'd be telling you that we have people who can get whatever information is desired, by whatever means necessary, but that's a waste of time. All I want to know is when is the final offensive going to occur, and will there be a Marine landing? There had to be a reason you were photographing South Padre Island, after all.”

Commander Carlisle sat there, motionless. Then she said, “That destroyer may have had something to do with it.”

“That's all? I think not, Commander,” Dudorov responded.

“General, you can think whatever want. I don't know anything about a landing, nor the final offensive. If you're interested in those, watch CNN.” Carlisle said.

Dudorov knew she was right. Someone with that knowledge would not be risked over enemy territory, no matter what. He knew that this would be a waste of time, but handing her over to the interrogation specialists, who would not hesitate to use physical and....other means to get what was desired was not a good option. Not with things going the way they were. And he had an idea. Something that General Alekseyev might approve. “Wait here. I'll be back. “ And Dudorov got up and left his office. His aide was outside.

“Comrade General?”

“Find a vacant office-this used to be a faculty office building, after all. When I return, see that she's taken there, fed, and made comfortable. She may be useful to us later on.” Dudorov said. “And see that there's a guard on her door at all times. Only General Alekseyev, myself, or someone so designated by either of us is to have access to her. Is that understood?”

“Exactly so, Comrade General,” the aide responded.

“I'll be seeing General Alekseyev, Carry on, Major, and when I return, I expect you to carry out the orders I've just issued.”

Dudorov then went to the Operations Room. General Alekseyev was there, along with General Chibisov. “Comrade General,” Dudorov reported.

“Ah, Yuri,” Alekseyev said. “Anything from our guest?”

“No, Comrade General, and resorting to any physical methods would be a waste of time. And as we've found out, they're counterproductive in any event. I wonder if our Vietnamese comrades ever discovered that in 1965-69? As far as I know, she has no knowledge of when the final offensive will start, nor of any amphibious landings.”

“You're sure of that?” Alekseyev said.

“Yes, Comrade General, I am. Someone with that knowledge would not be risked over enemy territory. I imagine our Air Force Comrades would not risk someone with such knowledge on a routine mission, and in any event, we'll know soon enough.” Dudorov reported.

“Quite so, Yuri. Quite so,” Alekseyev agreed. “And what do you have in mind for your prisoner?”

“Sending her to a POW compound at this stage might not be the best. She may be useful in some other capacity, as the end approaches,” Dudorov replied.

“How so?” This from Chibisov.

“We'll have to wait until things develop. Until then, she'll be treated well, fed, and made as comfortable as possible. Only General Alekseyev, myself, or anyone designated by the both of us, and you, General Chibisov, will have access to her.”

“Sensible, Dudorov.” Alekseyev said. “I'd like to speak with her later.”

Dudorov nodded. “Of course, Comrade General.”
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:17 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the next:

2330 Hours: Cuban 2nd Army HQ, La Feria, Texas

Lieutenant General Maximo Perez was in a quandary. He was trying to juggle orders from Front Headquarters to conserve his forces, and fight a delaying action as long as possible, until he reached the defensive line that Front HQ wanted, while at the same time, Havana was urging him to be more aggressive in the defense, and counterattack whenever possible. General Perez, who'd attended the Voroshilov General Staff Academy in Moscow, felt that Castro seemed to want more “Heroes of the Revolution” to come out of this situation, rather than live soldiers. But he did understand why: if the Yanquis finished off the Soviets here, and forced the Mexicans to sign a separate peace, then Cuba would be exposed to invasion. The longer the Socialist forces fought, even for this tiny piece of Texas, the more time the Army at home had to prepare for the day when the Americans stormed the beaches.

“Comrade General,” his Chief of Staff said as Perez studied his own maps.

“Ah, Antonio. What do you have for me?

“Comrade General, the line from Progresso Lakes to Mercedes is now established. Though we're stretched thin, as you know.” the Chief of Staff said.

“No thanks to those orders we received from Havana,” Perez spat.

The Chief paused, choosing his words carefully. “Yes, Comrade General, but there were other....considerations.”

Perez sighed. He knew that someone on the staff of the Army was no doubt reporting back to Havana. And so far, he hadn't found out who. So he had to be cautious, and he reluctantly did what Havana told him to do. “I know, but still...there's still a bad feeling about that.”

“Comrade General?”

“While that course of action may have been useful back home, and in the long term, right now, we're missing one division and an armored brigade, while another division has been very badly handled,” Perez said. “And we may very well pay for that in the next day or two,” he reminded his Chief of Staff.

“That, Comrade General, is probably going to be an understatement.” the Chief of staff replied.

2345 Hours: Headquarters, 4th Guards Tank Army

General Suraykin was holding the final prebattle meeting with his commanders. Though the 4th GTA was now under General Malinsky's command, the mission remained the same: defend Harlingen, and more specifically, the Highway 77-83 junction, as long as possible. And he knew that it was quite possible that he and his command may have to be sacrificed in the upcoming action. But, he knew, his soldiers would do their duty in the best way possible.

“And so, Comrades, that's it. The Americans will be here, sometime in the morning, so be prepared. You've all had time to study the battlefield, and to get ready for the final showdown. It's now up to your own officers and soldiers to do their jobs, just as we've all done ours.” Suraykin told his commanders.

The generals nodded. “Any change in the Air Force plans, Comrade General?” asked General Markov.

“Not yet. The Su-25s can't fly at night, as you know, so we should see them at first light, depending on whether or not the Americans have knocked out the airfields. There's three airfields left in the pocket, not counting Rio Grande Valley International, which was just evacuated: it's now under American artillery fire,” Suraykin replied.

“Any helicopters?” asked the commander of 6th Guards Motor-Rifle Division.

“There may be some, Comrades,” Colonel Golvoko, the Chief of Staff, responded. “But how many, we don't know. The Air Force has dispersed their helicopter force, but the Americans have been adept at finding and destroying them on the ground.”

“Nevertheless, Comrades,” Suraykin said, “We have to put a maximum effort into this fight. The sea lanes are cut, and the airlift, as well as the supply line from Mexico, are all we've got left. And both of those are problematic at best. We fight with what we have.”

“How soon until first contact?” asked the Commander of 38th Tank Division.

“That can come at any time,” Suraykin responded. “Have your divisional reconnaissance out, but don't sacrifice them needlessly. Order them to fall back, once they've established contact.”

Heads nodded. They knew that every man and every combat vehicle was needed in this final effort.

“Any other questions, Comrades?” Colonel Golvoko asked.

“There's some ALA still around,” Markov said. “Some of them are quite useless, but there's some who do want to fight. What about them?”

“If there are some who want to fight, oblige them. In a way, they're better off getting killed in battle than being captured. The Americans have no love for those who they feel have betrayed them, so find a way to make some use of them.” Suraykin replied. “The useless ones, those who do get in our way, though...hang a few of them and scatter the rest.”

0003 Hours: 2 October, 1989: East German 40th Air Assault Regiment, Elsa, Texas

Colonel Fiebig was catnapping in his headquarters. He'd taken over what had been the mayor's office in the basement, and since the Americans apparently were not about to attack, decided to catch up on his sleep. Before he took his nap, he'd found out that the Regiment's alternate command post had indeed been knocked out, and that most of those inside were either dead or wounded. His operations officer had been searching for a new command site, but there weren't that many to go around: the only other possibility was in the High School, and his regiment's medical staff had taken that over as a dressing station. Then the ground shook, and he opened his eyes. The Regiment's Chief of Staff was there. “Comrade Colonel.”

“What is it?”

“Comrade Colonel, the Americans are coming. At least, it's a probing attack.” the Chief replied.

Fiebig got up to look at the map of the town. He was surrounded on three sides, though Highway 107 to the east was still open. “We're facing a brigade-sized force at least, Hans. Perhaps this is a reconnaissance in force. Probe ahead, find out any weak spots, and if possible, exploit.”

“That's very possible, Comrade Colonel.”

“Notify Captain Buehler. Have his armor ready to respond to any serious penetration,” Fiebig said. “And our artillery?”

“They don't have many options to displace, Comrade Colonel. But the guns are well protected.” the Chief replied.

Fiebig looked at the map. Sure, the Americans had left Highway 107 to the east open. No doubt, they expected the normal delaying action, and when his air-assault troopers had held long enough, they'd pull out-and be exposed to air strikes and artillery fire. The resulting massacre would not serve any of his purposes in the least. But something was nagging him. He wished he still had Third Battalion. But that battalion had died at Alice when the Americans had launched their offensive, fighting a holding action while the rest of the regiment withdrew further south. And they'd been wiped out. A pity, though: if he had Third Battalion, he'd be able to cover that eastern gap.

Unknown to Colonel Fiebig, the Americans had not left that highway open to the east for such a purpose. The American commander had decided to fix the East Germans in place, force them to hold those American units advancing on their front and flank, while a reinforced battalion task force came in from the rear. And at the TAC CP of the 2nd Brigade, 31st Mechanized Division, the brigade commander smiled. It'll be sooner than you think, as he saw an S-3 sergeant mark a spot on the map with a grease pencil. That battalion was now in place and ready.

0015 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

General Alekseyev was on another call to Moscow. This time, it was just the Defense Minister, Marshal Sergei Akhromayev, on the other end. Alekseyev knew that the Marshal always appreciated frank and honest appraisals of the situation, though both men wished that the rest of the Defense Council, not to mention the rest of the Politburo, did the same.

“Comrade Marshal, the sealift has failed. The last two convoys were virtually wiped out, with only two frieghters arriving from the first.” Alekseyev reported. He could hear a sigh on the other end.

“And the second?” asked the Marshal.

“Only a destroyer, which was damaged, and had to be run aground to serve as a battery. And he was bombed to a wreck earlier this evening.” Alekseyev replied.

“I see. And the airlift?”

“On hold at the moment, Comrade Marshal.” Alekseyev reported. “The runways at Brownsville-South Padre Island have been bombed, and repairs are underway. My Air Force people tell me they will be repaired by first light.”

“Good, General. Now, what's this with the Cubans?” Akhromayev asked.

“Comrade Marshal, the Cuban 2nd Army has had one division surrounded and destroyed, with another division badly handled trying to relieve them, and an armored brigade annihilated attempting the same. Malinsky tells me that the Cubans may have orders from Havana, instructing them to make a stand where it's impossible.” said Alekseyev.

“Let me guess: Castro wants dead heroes to motivate his people.”

“That would appear to be the case, Comrade Marshal.” Alekseyev agreed.

“All right, General,” Akhromayev said. “I know it's getting late there, and you need some rest. From what you've said earlier, it's all up to Suraykin and his Army. Get some rest, and chances are, sometime in the morning, your time, the Defense Council is going to want to hear from you.”

“I understand, Comrade Marshal.”

“Good luck, Alekseyev.” And with that, Akhromayev broke the connection. Alekseyev turned to face both General Chibisov and Colonel Sergetov. “I do wish the Defense Council was like the Marshal. Unafraid of the truth on the ground here.”

“Comrade General, I imagine you're not the only one to feel that way. For what it's worth, Marshal Kribov felt the same way, Chibisov said.

“That he did,” Alekseyev said. “Now, anything new from Malinsky at this hour?”

“No, Comrade General. It appears that Powell won't make his move until morning. If I was in his position, I'd want to do the same. Give my soldiers some rest, refuel and restock with ammunition, and be ready to go at first light,” Chibisov said.

“And that's the General Powell we've come to know,” agreed Alekseyev. “And Dudorov?”

“He's of the same opinion. Even with the limited tools at his disposal now, he's told me to expect an attack on Malinksy at first light or just after.”

Alekseyev nodded. “And our guest?”

“He's seeing to that. When do you wish to speak with her?” Chibisov asked.

“Shortly. At least she'll see that we're not all barbarians.”

0020 Hours: East German 40th Air Assault Regiment: Elsa, Texas

Colonel Fiebig sat in what had been prewar, a small cafe. Now, it was the headquarters of his First Battalion, and he had gone forward to have a look at things for himself. And right now, he couldn't see much. Though the night was clear, there was a lot of smoke and haze over the western approach to the town. And First Battalion's outposts reported that though they couldn't see much, they could hear vehicles out in the distance. He surveyed Major Schenkel's dispositions. “You've deployed well, Comrade Major.”

“Thank you, Comrade Colonel. We can make it hot for them, when the Imperialists do come.”

Fiebig noted the term. It was no coincidence that the battalion's political officer was nearby. And probably a Stasi informer, too. “No doubt, Comrade Major. Still....any signs of infiltration on foot?”

“No, Comrade Major, not a sign. The Americans we're facing are a heavy brigade, are they not? They may not have the scouts with that ability.”

“True. Still, do not underestimate the possibility,” Fiebig said. “How is contact with Second Battalion?”

“So far, excellent. No problems with the radios, and the land lines are in place,” Schenkel reported.

“And if they come in on your flank?” Fiebig asked.

“We can redeploy, if necessary. But if we have to, we'll form a hedgehog and fight it out where we are.”

Unknown to Colonel Fiebig, the Americans were coming in from the east. Down that road that had been left open. The phone suddenly rang in First Battalion's HQ, and the battalion's operations officer took it. “Yes? Comrade Colonel! It's headquarters!”

The man handed the phone to Fiebig, who took the call. “Yes...WHAT? Order Buehler to counterattack at once! And get the artillery shooting in direct fire, NOW!”

“Comrade Colonel?” Schenkel asked.

“They're behind us. Get Third Company oriented to the rear,” Fiebig said. “And notify Second Battalion to do the same.”

“Comrade Colonel,” Schenkel said. But as he picked up the phone, there was nothing. “The phone's out.”

“Try the radio, then!” Fiebig said.

As that was happening, the American armor charged into the center of Elsa. The East German artillery was quickly overrun, and the T-72s were overwhelmed by the M-60A4s just as fast. But even the East German HQ and support troops were fully rated air-assault troops, and refused to budge until they were blasted out. And the Regimental HQ held out for over an hour, before American armor blasted the city hall down on top of them, and infantry flushed out the survivors with white phosphorous grenades. The Second Battalion's fight was a little longer, but they were hit with a two-pronged attack, from both the north and east, and First Battalion's agony ended at the same time. But the East Germans didn't give in easily, despite the Americans' superiority in firepower, not withdrawing from a building until they were blasted out. Of the six hundred East Germans in Elsa, less than a hundred were alive and unwounded at the end. Colonel Fiebig, Major Schenkel, and the other senior officers were not among them.
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:37 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the saga keeps on going:

0040 Hours: South Padre Island, Texas.

Major Lazarev was looking out to sea. He had gone to one of the rooftop observation posts, and this one was one of the highest on the island: prewar, it had been a condominium resort. Now, some of these buildings had been fortified, awaiting a possible American amphibious landing. Though personally, he doubted the Marines would come ashore here. There was only one bridge to the mainland, and Army engineers had already wired it for demolition. No, they'd come further south, where there was no such issue, and there was a road that gave any force from the beach a straight shot into Brownsville.

There was one advantage to having the Boiky's crew ashore, and not just as scratch infantry. The lookouts had brought most of their glasses with them, along with some night-vision gear, and they were constantly looking out to sea. They knew their ship-and some more of their shipmates with it-was gone now, and so they'd best make the best of a bad situation. And Lazarev found the destroyer's former Executive Officer, who was now in command of those crewmen who were now infantry.

“Ah, Comrade Major,” Captain 3rd Rank Nikolay Kamarov said. “How do you like the view from up here?”

“It's very good, though I don't like what I saw down below. A shame about your ship.”

“Yes, but that's a sailor's risk. Sometimes, you just lose the ship. If it's really bad, then you're fish food. Better to be here, I think.” Kamarov said.

“Any sign of the enemy?” Lazarev asked.

“Not yet. Not even through night vision. They're over the horizon, more than likely. And the carriers are probably way out to sea. We'd never see them. One of those cruisers, though....we saw a freighter shot to pieces by one of those American heavy cruisers. Ever see what large-caliber shells do to flimsy, unarmored freighters?”

“I get the idea,” Lazarev said.

“Be glad that's all you get,” Kamarov said. “You'll get some warning if they come close. That cruiser-and probably its escorting destroyers, could blast this beach and we'd never be able to shoot in reply.”

“What about the Coastal-Defense Troops?” Lazarev asked.

Kamarov snorted. “One of those puny rockets won't do much to a heavily armored ship like one of those cruisers, let alone a battleship. And our intelligence briefing before we left Havana said there were two of those in the Gulf of Mexico, shelling the Mexican ports. And if they come up here....those forty-centimeter guns will definitely leave an impression-on those who survive, that is.”

0055 Hours: International Bridge, Progresso Lakes, Texas.

Major Pedro Ruiz-Santos of the Cuban Army was not a happy man at the moment. His orders were to defend the town and be prepared to blow the bridge on one hand, and yet, enable the Soviet and Cuban supply convoys from Mexico to cross the Rio Grande. His unit, the remnants of the 47th Independent Motor-Rifle Regiment, was a shadow of its former self. From the heady early days of the war, when at times it had been more like an excursion than actual battle, to the American offensives in 1988-89, the 47th had seen a lot of action. Instead of BTR-70s and T-72s, with towed D-30 howitzers, now, they had old BTR-60s and T-55s, and a couple of 122-mm D-74 howitzers. And the regiment was, by prewar standards, not combat ready, but those things didn't matter now. And so, he was prepared to fight with the tools at his disposal, as he looked at the bridge, and a thought came into his mind. Why hadn't the Americans bombed the bridge?

His regimental executive officer, Captain Leonardo Toledo, came up to him, a cup of coffee in his hand. “Some coffee, Comrade Major?”

“Thank you, Captain. I was just wondering, though. Why haven't the Americans bombed the bridge?”

“Perhaps they're saving it for their own uses, Comrade Major,” Toledo said. “The Americans have promised revenge on the Mexicans for supporting the Socialist cause.”

“You mean invasion of Mexico, Captain,” Ruiz-Santos said. It was not a question.

“That is very possible, Comrade Major.” Toledo replied.

Then the political officer, Lieutenant Ramon Moss, came up. He was the regiment's longest serving (read: surviving) political officer. And both men knew he had channels back to Havana that neither of them had found out-so far. “Comrade Major,” Moss said.

“Yes, Lieutenant?” Ruiz-Santos asked.

“Comrade Major, do we have any new orders? The front seems to be getting close.”

“No, Comrade Political Officer, not as yet. The orders stand. Keep the bridge open as long as possible, but be prepared to blow it up when the Americans arrive.” Ruiz-Santos reminded his young lieutenant.

“And whose responsibility is it to issue that order?”

“Mine, or Captain Toledo's if I should become a casualty,” Ruiz-Santos said.

“Shouldn't you check in with higher authority?” Moss asked. Clearly, the young officer was more “Party” than “Army.” No surprise there.

“That's not necessary,” Ruiz-Santos said. “My orders are clear: deny the bridge to the Americans. If I have to do so, I'll push the plunger myself. Is that understood?”

“I understand, Comrade Commander. But still, shouldn't you ask for clarification?”

“No. Communications with 2nd Army HQ are spotty as it is. If I have to blow the bridge without further orders, you can file a report on me when the battle's over. Just hope we're still alive when that happens.” Ruiz-Santos said.

Moss nodded, though clearly disappointed. He'd been taught to get permission from his superiors before taking such a drastic step. But the Major was a hardened combat veteran, while the young political officer had been in the Regiment's Political Department, taking care of those with defeatist attitudes, and assisting with the security tasks routinely assigned that office by the DGI, tasks that came under the euphemism of “Pacification.”

Ruiz-Santos watched as the young officer went off into a building the DGI had appropriated. “If he's filing a report on both of us now, a lot of good that'll do. How's he going to get it to Havana?”

“He'll find a way. But by the time Havana tells him what to do, we'll either be dead, prisoners, or across the river in Mexico, looking for a way home,” Toledo said.

“You're full of good news this time of night.”

0110 Hours, Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

General Andreyev came into the Operations Room, looking for General Alekseyev. “Comrade General, I wish to report: Mission Accomplished.”

“Excellent, Andreyev, You've done well. And your losses?” Alekseyev asked.

“Minimal, Comrade General.”

“And the warheads?” asked Alekseyev.

“All remaining warheads accounted for and in the possession of the 234th Guards, Comrade General. They're under guard, as instructed.”

“Very well done. Now, those warheads are your personal responsibility, until the proper time comes to send them to their final destination. We can't launch them, and we're not handing them over to the enemy. A method of disposing of them has been found, but until that's ready, keep them under guard.” Alekseyev said.

“Yes, Comrade General,” Andreyev said.

Alekseyev pointed to the map. “Now, Andreyev, your two other regiments, and the 47th Tank Brigade, are all the reserves we've left. The Americans may land, here, at the east end of Highway 4, and if they do, your division, and the 47th, are all that may stand between them and Brownsville. The 234th Guards is exempt from that mission until its task is completed. But when it is...you'll be ready?”

“Absolutely, Comrade General!”

“Good. And Andreyev.”

“Yes, Comrade General?”

Alekseyev chose his words carefully. “Were there any personnel..... problems?”

“None, Comrade General. No one shrank from his tasks, and there was no problem carrying out the mission.”

Alekseyev nodded. “Now, if that had been an American facility, I'd give you the Gold Star, right now.”

Andreyev smiled at that. “I said something similar to Colonel Suslov. But the revenge taken upon the KGB will more than make up for that. One score settled. A pity we won't be able to settle others.”

“Yes, a pity. Thank you, Andreyev.”

“Comrade General.”

After Andreyev left, he turned to Chibisov. “How long until that freighter's ready?”

“She's still got some cargo left. The dockside cranes have lost power, and in some cases, it's a manual job to finish up the unloading. Another twelve hours, at best,” Chibisov said.

“Good. Let's go meet our guest. Colonel Sergetov, would you accompany us?” Alekseyev asked.

The three officers went to Dudorov's office. There they found the intelligence chief, making notations on a map. Nodding, he joined the trio and went to the next floor above, where an old faculty office had been found and prepared for their guest. Two guards from the headquarters guard company were on the door. One of them unlocked the door and they found their prisoner lying down on the cot that had been provided. She got up. And was clearly surprised at seeing three very senior Soviet generals.

“Ah, Commander Carlisle,” Alekseyev said. “I trust you've been treated well?”

“So far,” the naval officer replied. “Your hospitality is not what I was briefed and taught to expect.”

Alekseyev sighed. One of their many mistakes in America had been their treatment of prisoners. Something the Americans made very clear in their propaganda, highlighting the difference between “us” and “them.” But he couldn't change the past, no matter how he felt. “That has been unfortunate, but, as much as I would like to change things, the past is past.”

Commander Carlisle nodded. This was something new: two senior Soviet officers admitting a past mistake. “What do you want?”

“I should have introduced myself first. I am General Pavel Alexandrovich Alekseyev, Commander of the Socialist Forces in the American Theater. You've already met General Dudorov, I assume?”

She nodded. “We've become, acquainted, shall we say.”

“Pleased to hear it. My Chief of Staff, General Chibisov, and my aide, Colonel Sergetov,” Alsekseyev said. “I trust you've found your accommodations satisfactory?”

“Not what I was expecting, General,” Carlisle replied. “But since we're winning and you're not, you're showing your 'good side.'”

Chibisov started to say something, but stopped. He knew that the American was right. And he, too, had been embarrassed by the Soviet treatment of prisoners, military and civilian. Then he said, “Very perceptive, Commander. And yes, we are not all barbarians, despite what you've been told.”

“Not just told, but seen. CNN's showed enough of your handiwork enough times. Mass graves, torture chambers, survivors of POW and labor camps telling their stories, civilians describing what happened to them and their families, you get the idea.”

Alekseyev and the other officers knew she had a point. And the Soviets' clumsy attempts at explaining things had fallen on deaf ears at best, and at most, had only made things worse. And with the formerly neutralist countries of Western Europe now back in the American camp, some of those outlets that had been friendly to the Soviets were now closed off for good. Nobody wanted to hear the Soviet side, not now. “I do, Commander. And I do appreciate honesty. You'll be treated well, with the respect due your rank,” He turned to Sergetov. “What's her rank equivalent?”

“A Commander in the U.S. Navy is the equal of a Lieutenant Colonel, Comrade General.” Sergetov replied.

“That settles that. You'll be fed, allowed to walk in the hallway, under guard, and allowed to use the toilet facilities here. I regret that the power supply is intermittent, at best, however; your side's been doing very well in that regard. And when things do end here, you'll be returned to American forces.” Alekseyev said.

“What's the catch?” Carlisle said.

“Ah, the 'catch', as you say,” Alekseyev said. “There isn't one. And when it comes to personal contact with you, only myself, Generals Chibisov and Dudorov, and Colonel Sergetov, will have such. You will not have any.....immoral events to worry about, Commander. I give you my word as an officer and a gentleman.”

She nodded. Clearly, with the war being nearly over-at least on this side of the Rio Grande, the Soviets were clearly wanting to be on their best behavior. “And later?”

“We shall speak again, soon,” Alekseyev said, pausing as one of the guards brought a pillow and some blankets. “Until then, you'll quite safe with us. Good night, Commander,” Alekseyev said. And the Soviet officers left, and the door was closed and locked after they did so.

Alekseyev turned to Dudorov “What do you have in mind for her, Yuri?”

“Comrade General, there is one unit that I have lost track of. It's been under Powell's command before: during that Houston campaign last year. One unit that we know full well that has a reputation for harshness, ruthlessness, and brutality.” Dudorov said.

“You are speaking of the 13th Armored Cavalry, I presume?” Chibsov said.

“Quite so, Comrades. And if the airlift fails, as is very possible, some of those which we need to evacuate will have to go by the international bridges. Our own women, Comrades.” Dudorov reminded his superior officers.

“What does that have to do with her?” Chibisov asked, pointing to the room.

“If we have to evacuate our own women by road, chances are, they'll have to go via the ribbon bridges under construction at the moment. And if the 13th is among the American forces that are out there, I'd rather not take the chance of something happening, given their record in such matters. The Americans happily describe their record: they're proud of the fact that those maniacs use less ammunition and produce more corpses than any other unit of their size.” Dudorov said. “There's no telling what they'd do if some of our own women fell into their hands.”

Alekseyev nodded. He got the idea. “I have an idea of what you're proposing, Yuri. It's getting late. I'm headed to my office for a few hours' sleep. Let me know instantly of any new developments.”

Both Chibisov and Dudorov nodded.

“And Yuri?”

“Comrade General?”

“When you've developed your proposal more fully, please brief myself and General Chibisov,” Alekseyev said.
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:39 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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The next part:

0140 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport.

General Lukin scowled at the message form. Though the supply drops were still a going concern, and would resume at first light, he felt the idea contained in the message was lunacy. He wondered if the VTA's staff in Moscow had lost their heads. An-124s? I doubt they'd get past the American air interdiction, and they'd be easy prey on the ground. He went over to General Petrov's office, which had been that of the airport manager prior to the war. “Comrade General, have you seen this?” he asked his superior.

“Yes, Lukin, I have. And what's your opinion?”

“Lunacy, Comrade General. An-124s in here? Even if they made it past the American fighters prowling the Gulf of Mexico, I doubt they'd last long enough on the ground to be unloaded.” Lukin said.

“I'm inclined to agree with you. What's your alternative? Moscow intends to use them here, whether or not we support it,” Petrov reminded his subordinate.

“Limit them to air-dropping of supplies. If the air situation was more...equal, shall we say, I'd be willing to risk a landing, but not now.”

“I agree with you, General,” Petrov said. “Come with me.” And both officers went to the Air Force Communications Center. He found the duty officer. “Send this message to our Air Force mission in Havana, at once.”

“Comrade General,” the man replied.

Petrov dictated the message. “An-124s not, repeat, not, to land within pocket. Limit use to air drops only,” he said. “ Get that off at once.”

“Right away, Comrade General.”

Lukin then turned to his superior. “Now, will Moscow overrule us?”

“We'll have to wait and see,” Petrov said.

0210 Hours: Soviet submarine K-236, off of Brownsville.

Captain 1st Rank Vassily Padorin prowled the control room of his boat, the lead unit of what the Americans called a Sierra-class attack submarine, and cursed the orders he'd received. He'd informed his Executive Officer, and both he and the captain were in agreement: whoever had issued these orders was out of his mind. But orders were orders, and he'd do his level best to accomplish his mission.

K-236 was one of the few modern Soviet fast-attack boats left to the Northern Fleet. Four years of war, with the attendant losses, had bitten the Navy hard. Padorin knew that though new boats were under construction, and a few were approaching completion in various yards, it was likely the war would be over before then. So many friends lost, he knew. Fellow classmates, fellow captains, whom he'd drunk with at the Severmorsk Officer's Club, and who now were at the bottom of the world's oceans. He wondered how many of his class from the Academy in Leningrad were alive, and the answer came back: not that many. But he was a professional submariner, and would only give up when he was told to do so. He went over to the navigator's table. “How far to South Padre Island?”

“Four hours, Comrade Captain,” the navigator responded. “But we'll get there just after first light.”

“Not good enough,” Padorin replied. His crew certainly knew his father was Head of the entire Political Directorate of the Soviet Navy, and knew full well not to cross him for any reason. But Padorin had rejected his father's urging to become a Zampolit, and, instead, wanted to command submarines. Now, he had his command, and knew he'd earned it on merit, not his father's influence. Having 12 ships for about 85,00 tons, along with a British frigate and an American destroyer to his credit, certainly helped. But now, he wondered if the death warrant for himself and his crew had been signed at Servormorsk, if not in Moscow.

“What does Moscow want from us?” the Exec asked.

“They want some people evacuated from Brownsville, and the air route is getting dangerous. We're to see if it's possible to get them out by sea,” Padorin replied.

“We can't take many, or does Moscow realize that?” the Exec responded.

“If we had to, we'd bunk them in the torpedo room. But we have to see what's going on there first,” Padorin responded. “Make turns for fifteen knots. Navigator: new course: two-seven-zero.”

The Exec looked at the map. He saw it was Brazos Santiago Pass where they were headed. “Into Brownsville?”

“No. Just remain offshore, and see if the enemy's threat level will prevent taking a few high-profile people aboard. About twenty or so,” Padorin told the Exec.

“Those Americans who collaborated with us?” the Exec asked.

“The orders didn't say.”

“Comrade Captain, if it's KGB they're referring to, well, speaking man-to-man, I'd rather let them take their chances with the sharks,” the Exec said.

“I doubt you're not alone in that regard,” Padorin said. And he wondered: what would my father think of that remark? Shaking that from his mind, he told the Exec, “I'll be in my cabin. Wake me in two hours.”

“Comrade Captain,”

0235 Hours: 522nd Independent Reconnaissance Battalion, 52nd Tank Division, Harlingen, Texas

Captain Gennady Dagilev sat in his battalion command vehicle, a BTR-60. He was out ahead of the 52nd Tank Division, watching and waiting for the Americans. So far, the area to their front was quiet, though he could see off to his left and right, the retiring units pulling in alongside his division. He'd been briefed by General Markov that the Eighth Guards Army would be on their left, though which division, he wasn't told. But he'd seen some tanks and BMPs move into those positions, and now it was time to wait.

When the war began, Dagilev had been a Junior Lieutenant in the battalion, commanding a platoon of BRDM reconnaissance vehicles. Things had gone well in those early days, even when they'd run out of gas on the Kansas prairie, short of their objectives. The next summer, he'd helped lead the battalion's advance into Nebraska, only to fall short again near Lincoln, and they'd been chased back below their start line. Things had then fallen apart at Wichita, and his battalion, along with many other units in both the 3rd Shock and 4th Guards Tank Armies, was shot to ribbons. Then came the fighting retreat into Oklahoma and Texas, before things stabilized and the division had been able to rest and refit. He'd gotten a company then of BMP reconnaissance vehicles, only to be shot up again the following summer, and now, he had the battalion. At least the tank platoon was T-64s, and not those antique T-55s that he'd seen assigned to other units: they'd be shot to pieces so quickly their crews wouldn't have time to react. Now, as the division's eyes and ears, he'd been told by General Markov himself: at the first contact with the Americans, fall back. He needed information, not heroics. The regimental reconnaissance companies were supposedly told the same thing, and given their circumstances, it wasn't surprising. No more replacements expected, and fight with what you have. Then the radio next to him spoke. “Kuban One, Aral One: contact directly ahead.”

He picked up the radio microphone. “Aral One, Kuban One: estimate of enemy strength?”

Kuban One was one of his company commanders. “Aral One, estimate company sized force: mixed tanks and Bradleys.”

Dagilev relayed the information to divisional headquarters. And sure enough, his other companies began reporting similar contacts, and one platoon had even identified the tanks as M-1s. That's it, he decided. They're coming. “All Kuban elements, this is Kuban One. Fall back to secondary positions. Repeat: Fall back to secondary positions. Kuban One out.”

And his battalion began to pull back, but as they did so, several of his vehicles exploded. No one reported being engaged from the ground, though. Helicopters, he knew. Those dreadful Apaches. And then the world exploded around him; the last thing he felt was heat.

The American 24th Division's attack included its own Apache helicopter battalion in direct support. And as the Soviet vehicles pulled back, they provided inviting targets for the Apaches and their Hellfire missiles. Though most of the Soviet reconnaissance battalion was destroyed, a few vehicles managed to escape, bringing word of the American attack.

0250 Hours: Headquarters, 4th Guards Tank Army

General Golvoko took the report from 52nd Tanks, and he had it marked on the map. Whether this was a probe, or a serious attack, he wasn't sure. He turned to the map again, and plotted it. Just north of the junction of U.S. Route 77 and Loop 499, on the north side of Harlingen. And not far from the Rio Grande Valley International Airport. He turned to a staff officer. “Any word from 24th Tanks?”

“Not yet, Comrade General.”

Golvoko shook his head. He didn't like it at all. “Wake General Suraykin. Tell him his presence is needed in the Operations Room.”

The staff officer nodded, and went off to wake the General. Suraykin had retired early, knowing that things might develop at any time of the night, and had left orders to be awakened if anything unusual happened. Suraykin came into the room, shaking the sleep from his eyes. “Yes, Golvoko?”

Golvoko pointed to the map. “Comrade General, there's been some unusual activity, here, just north of 52nd Tanks' line. Company-sized probes, with AH-64s in support.”

“Hmm. Anything from 24th Tanks?” Suraykin asked.

“Not yet, Comrade General,” replied Golvoko.

Suraykin looked at the map. “I see 24th Mechanized Infantry's opposite the 52nd Tanks,” he observed. “That division's one of the prewar elite-assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps in peacetime. They'll be aggressive, determined, and if they can find opportunities, they'll exploit them.”

“Yes, Comrade General. They will do just that. They did lead the ground element at Corpus Christi last year, and also at Houston after the American airborne and amphibious attack on the Gulf Coast.” Golvoko told his Army commander.

Suraykin nodded. At least it wasn't those lunatics in the 13th Armored Cavalry, or those vengeful New Yorkers in the 42nd Mechanized Infantry. Many of its soldiers had lost friends or family in the Manhattan nuclear detonation, and not only had they vowed revenge, they practiced what they preached. He turned to his Air Force liaison: “I'll need aerial reconnaissance at first light, and those ground-attack sorties.”

“I can't promise any recon,” the Air Force Colonel responded. “But I'll get you those Su-25s. And a few helicopters as well. Can't promise much of those: the Americans have had great success in finding them on the ground.”

“Just do what you can, Comrade Colonel,” Suraykin said.

The Air Force man went to the phone, while Suraykin studied the map again. Then Golvoko came up with another report. “Comrade General, 24th tanks is reporting similar activity on its front. Their divisional reconnaissance has been nearly wiped out, just as 52nd Tanks' was. Both divisions may be engaged fully before too long.”

“Notify Front Headquarters, Golvoko. Just tell them, 'It has begun.'” Suraykin told his Chief of Staff.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:07 PM
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Schone23666 Schone23666 is offline
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I have to wonder what's going on elsewhere in the world, while all this is going on, especially in the Warsaw Pact countries and Moscow. The Soviets and WARPAC are essentially having their version of the events in T2K when they engaged in a full-blown war with China, with the U.S. as a substitute. Whole divisions are now apparently just gone, their navy and air force have taken a beating and Europe is turning against them (what are the other European forces doing?)

At this point, their morale has got to be rock-bottom, especially with what I imagine all the hospitals back in the Soviet Union are crowded with casualties. Their economy is likely ready to fall off the axle at this point as well, if it hasn't already.

On another note, with the apparent unwillingness of most in the Kremlin to listen to just how bad it's getting for the Red Army on the ground, I can't help but wonder if they're thinking, with no small amount of irony, that they're feeling the same level of fatigue, resignation and disbelief as the officers under Hitler's command felt in 1945. That, or how Rommel felt in 1943 when the situation in North Africa collapsed and Hitler and Mussolini were ordering him to fight to the bitter end.
"The use of force is always an answer to problems. Whether or not it's a satisfactory answer depends on a number of things, not least the personality of the person making the determination. Force isn't an attractive answer, though. I would not be true to myself or to the people I served with in 1970 if I did not make that realization clear."
— David Drake

Last edited by Schone23666; 03-12-2015 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Something else I thought about.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:15 PM
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I'll explain events in Europe later on: there's a further POW story where Kelly Ray and another POW are in transit to another camp, and they have a chance to find out what's going on. Let's just say that the formerly neutralist countries (West Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Spain, Portugal) got some sense and reformed NATO....and there is a strong hit in the current work that East Germany no longer exists.

Your observations re: the Soviet economy are correct: shortages of everything, there have been strikes and riots in some parts of the Soviet Union, and there is a growing movement among generals and some candidate members of the Politburo for a negotiated end to the war. Some of that will be shown later on.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:07 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And so it continues:

0300 Hours: 377th Ground Attack Regiment, San Benito Municipal Airport:

The phone rang next to Captain Gorovets' cot, and he wasn't happy. Why would someone be calling his unit at this time of morning? His Su-25s weren't capable of night or bad weather operations, just like their American counterparts in A-10s, so who'd be calling him now? He picked it up anyway. “Captain Gorovets, 377th,”

“Comrade Captain, this is General Petrov,” the voice on the other end said.

Gorovets stood up. It wasn't every day a General called a Captain, unless something was important. “Yes, Comrade General?”

“Comrade Captain, your regiment is needed at first light. How many aircraft do you have mission-ready?” Petrov asked.

“Eight, Comrade General.”

“Eight...” Petrov said, his voice trailing off. “I see. And you have more pilots than planes, correct?”

“That is correct, Comrade General.” Gorovets replied.

“Get the most out of planes and pilots that you can.” Petrov said.

“Comrade General, my aircraft are armed and fueled, ready to go. Tell the Army we'll be there.”

“Good luck, Captain. I'm afraid you'll be needing it.” Petrov said.

“Thank you, Comrade General,” Gorovets said.

With that, Petrov hung up. Gorovets replaced his own receiver, and Senior Lieutenant Morozik came in. “Now what?”

“Get the planes ready to go at first light. We'll be flying as often as we can, for as long as we can.”

“It's started?” Morozik asked.

The rumble of artillery fire in the distance grew louder. Gorovets motioned to the window. “I'd say that answers your question.”

0320 Hours: 226th Engineer Brigade, South of La Paloma, Texas.

General Belgin, Alekseyev's chief of engineers, was actually in a good mood. His engineers had found several sites for ribbon bridges across the Rio Grande, and so far, they'd been ignored by the American aircraft prowling overhead. However, he knew that wouldn't last, but he was determined to get the bridges finished, so that some of the supplies waiting across the river could come, and those wounded and specialists still in the pocket could be evacuated.

Captain Alexi Nostorov, who was the brigade's commanding officer due to the fact that the colonel in command had been killed in an air attack the previous year, and the KGB had chosen the aftermath of that event to purge the surviving brigade headquarters staff for some reason he never did understand. But so far, he'd led the brigade as best he knew how. And Nostrov came up to his general. “Comrade General, we'll have this bridge up by first light.”

“Excellent, Captain. Get this bridge up, and I'll see to it you're a Major by noon,” Belgin said.

“Comrade General,” Nostrov said. “As long as the Americans don't bomb us, we'll have vehicles across by 0800.”

“I have confidence in you, Captain. Now, what about other sites?” Belgin asked.

“If you'll follow me, Comrade General, I'll show you,” the captain said.

In his command vehicle, a converted BTR-60, Nostrov showed General Belgin where the bridges were going up. One just east of Progresso Lakes, one at the Highway 281-road F.M. 1479 intersection, this one, and another at Highway 281-F.M. 1421, Comrade General. But this one will be finished first.”

Belgin nodded. “Good work, Captain. How long until they're all finished?”

Nostrov reminded his general of something, “That depends on the Americans, Comrade General.”

And Belgin knew it. “If they do hit these bridges, you do have enough equipment, correct?”

“We do, Comrade General, and enough men-so far. But if we start taking casualties in any significant number....”

“I understand, Captain. Still, do the best you can. That's all I'm asking of you and your men. Understand? And I'll see if any of the Cuban engineers who haven't left yet can give you a hand.”

“I do understand, Comrade General. And thank you. We'll need the help-even if it's to spell my own men.”

0400 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters, San Benito Community College

General Isakov stared at the message form. The message from General Suraykin was plain as day in its meaning. Not only had reports from 4th Guards Tank Army begun to arrive, but the other armies in the Front were doing the same. The Cuban 1st Army was under pressure from II MAF, while XVIII Airborne Corps had units coming in on both 28th and 4th Guards Tank Armies. The former was understrength, but still fighting, while 4th Guards was ready for its mission. The East Germans were in a fight for their lives between La Villa and Santa Rosa, and their 40th Air Assault Regiment had been surrounded at Elsa, with contact having been lost. Third Shock Army had made it in good order, and to his surprise, so had the Cuban 2nd Army-with both VIII and XII Corps coming down on them. Only when he felt he had enough information did he send a staff officer to wake General Malinsky, as he'd been awakened only a half-hour earlier. Shortly thereafter the General entered the Operations Room. “Good Morning, Isakov.”

“Good Morning, Comrade General. Though I fear it won't be a good morning at all,” Isakov replied, handing Malinsky the message from General Suraykin.

So, Malinsky thought. It's started. Now we'll see how long we can hold out. Personally, he thought forty-eight hours being a little too optimistic, feeling that thirty-six to forty was more like it. But General Alekseyev insisted on forty-eight, and Malinsky felt they might be able to pull it off. “Just probes so far?” He asked Isakov.

“So far, Comrade General. Though they're in size ranging from a company to a brigade, however,” Isakov reported.

“Like a swimmer, dipping his toe in the water,” Malinsky said. “Powell's seeing how the water is.”

“And if it's just right, from his vantage point, he'll jump in. He's not likely to fully unleash his forces until morning, when he's got maximum air support available. But yes, that's just what he's up to.”

“For now,” Malinsky said, agreeing with his Chief of Staff. “But come daylight, when the A-10s and other attack aircraft can come into the picture, it's a whole different experience.”

Isakov nodded, as did the Front's air force representative. “Comrade General,” The Air Force man said, “We'll have some aircraft available, and some helicopters as well. But most of what we can send is further south, in Mexico. It'll take time for them to get here, and...”

“And in some cases, the fight may be over, where those aircraft were called for,” Isakov finished.

“I'm afraid so, “ the air force Colonel said.

“Fortunes of war-or misfortunes of war,” Malinsky said. “Isakov, get the women on twenty-four hours' notice to evacuate. That means clerks, secretaries, medical personnel, telephone operators, the whole lot.”

“That order has come down from General Alekseyev, Comrade General.” Isakov reminded his Front Commander.

“Still, get it out again,” Isakov. “I'm not about to let those women fall into American hands-even if the 42nd Division and the 13th Cavalry are not around-that we know of.”

“Comrade General, we don't have to worry about the latter unit, as so far, they've not been identified. However, the 42nd Mechanized Division was in combat earlier with the East Germans and the Eighth Guards Army,” reported Isakov.

“Given what happened to the home city of many of its soldiers, Isakov,” Malinsky said, “It's no wonder they not only preach revenge, but the they practice it as well: they take fewer prisoners than any other division in the U.S. Army.”

“I understand, Comrade General,” Isakov said. “I'll reiterate the twenty-four hour notice to move.”
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:09 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And it keeps going...

0420 Hours: K-236, the Gulf of Mexico.

Captain Padorin was awakened by several knocks on his cabin door. “Yes?”

The junior navigator opened the door. “Comrade Captain. You left orders to be awakened in two hours.”

Padorin jumped out of bed-he'd slept fully clothed, even with shoes on. And then he calmly walked into the sub's Central Command Post, or what American submariners called the Control Room. His Exec, or Starpom, was already there, with the regular Officer of the Watch standing by. “Andrei,”

“Comrade Captain,” the Exec replied. “We're still two hours from the approaches to Brownsville, depth is one hundred meters, speed fifteen knots.”

“Any sign of the Americans?”

“Not yet, but...” then a sonar operator held up his hand, interrupting the Exec. “Contact! Surface contact bearing zero-two-zero relative.”

“Can you identify?” Padorin asked.

“Not yet, but range is about 40,000 meters. And closing,” the sonar operator said. The warrant officer on duty was one of his best operators, and though the boat's Zampolit frowned on the phrase, Padorin and the other officers took his word as Gospel.

“Very well. Andrei, sound Battle Stations.”

The Battle Stations alarm sounded, and crewmen raced to their stations. The KGB security officer arrived: Captain Lieutenant Dimitry Sheplin was actually respected by the officers and crew on the boat: he'd taken the time to go through sub school, and was qualified as a watch officer. In fact, he'd taken his turn as Officer of the Watch-at his insistence. Sheplin was aboard because of the boat's weapons loadout: K-239 still had four Type 53-68 nuclear torpedoes, with a 20 Kiloton yield, and four RK-55 land-attack cruise missiles, with warheads up to 200 Kilotons. Fortunately, except for the first day of the war, none of the weapons had been used. But still....there was always the chance. Sheplin nodded to the Captain, who returned the gesture.

The same couldn't be said for the boat's Zampolit, Captain 3rd Rank Artem Zirnsky, who admitted that he'd been assigned to submarines after a tour aboard a cruiser had been cut short by his chronic seasickness. Unfortunately for most of the crew, Zirnsky was a staunch Party man, and though Padorin was untouchable due to his father, the same couldn't be said for many of the crew, and Zirnsky was despised by every last man aboard the boat-the Captain and the Security Officer included.

“Comrade Captain,” the sonar officer reported, two contacts, now. Same bearing, decreasing range.”

Padorin looked at his Exec, weapons officer, navigator, and even the Security Officer. “Looks like we may have to shoot our way in.” He nodded at the weapons officer. “Load Type-65s in two tubes. And Klubs (U.S. designation SS-N-27) in two more. Leave the other four loaded with standard torpedoes.”

The weapons officer nodded, but before he could relay the order, Padorin tapped him on the shoulder. “And make it fast, Yuri.”

0435 Hours: Cuban 47th Motor-Rifle Regiment, Progresso Lakes, Texas

Major Ruiz-Santos was awakened by the sound of heavy equipment. For a moment, he'd thought that the Americans had taken his unit by surprise, but there was no gunfire. He'd had about three hours' sleep, and despite the noise, was anxious to get some more. Ruiz-Santos had set up his headquarters in the little town's city hall, and had taken over the mayor's office, finding that the occupation force-Nicaraguans, whom he despised-had stripped the place bare. After putting his cot and installing a field phone, it was something, though still bare. Now, he wanted to know what was going on. He found Captain Toledo, his Executive Officer, coming into the building. “What's going on, Captain?”

“Comrade Major, the engineers are putting up ribbon bridges across the Rio Grande. One of them is set for this location, they told me,” Toledo responded.

“A ribbon bridge? Here?” Ruiz-Santos asked. “Are they crazy?”

Toledo shook his head. “I don't think so, Comrade General.”

“Of all the....Are they our engineering troops?”

“No, Comrade Major. They're Soviets.” Toledo replied.

“Have they gone mad?” Asked Ruiz-Santos. “The Americans could be here at any time.”

“Orders from Front Headquarters,” Toledo said. “That's what they told me.”

“Well, there's nothing we can do about that,” Ruiz-Santos replied. “Offer whatever assistance we can, and arrange for some antiaircraft defense-even if it's a few men with Strelas (SA-7s) and a gun truck or two.”

“At once, Comrade Major.” Toledo said.

Ruiz-Santos acknowledged Toledo with a salute, then went back to his cot. Shaking his head at the apparent stupidity, he closed his eyes and went back to sleep, oblivious to the noise of the engineers and the artillery fire in the distance.

0450 Hours: K-236, the Gulf of Mexico

Captain Padorin was going over his chart. His navigator had plotted the suspected locations of two American ships, and then his sonar men had reported a third, and possibly a fourth. And some of them had their active sonars going. Padorin scowled. He looked at his Starpom. “Andrei, what's going on there?”

“My guess is that they're trying to localize a contact. But aren't we supposed to be the only submarine in the area?” the Starpom replied.

“Supposed to be, Andrei,” Padorin reminded his Exec. He went over and looked at the sonar display. And he didn't like it at all. “What's this here?” he asked the sonar officer.

“We're not sure. It was classified as a possible submarine, but it hasn't moved very far.”

“Hmm,” Padorin said. “Andrei, reduced speed to five knots.”

“Five knots, Aye, Comrade Captain.”

“Wait, Comrade Captain,” the sonar officer said. “There's another submarine out there now, definitely.”

“Can you identify?” Padorin asked.

“Twin-screw, and nuclear-powered. That makes it one of ours,” the sonar officer replied, looking at his senior operator, who nodded.

Padorin considered his options. He could avoid contact, and then get in close to Brownsville, but then again, he might have to attack those ships so he could do so, and in so doing, there'd be so many ASW assets coming after him that an attack might not be a good idea. Then the Americans made the decision for him.

“Comrade Captain,” the senior operator said. “Wait...TORPEDO IN THE WATER, bearing zero-one-five relative. Repeat, TORPEDO IN THE WATER!”

“Is it targeted on us?” Padorin asked.

“No, Comrade Captain, bearing changing left to right. Impact!” the sonar operator said.

Padorin turned to his Exec. Come right. New course two-eight-zero, and make ten knots.”

“Two-eight-zero, aye. Turns for ten knots, Comrade Captain.” the Exec said, relaying the helm and engine orders.

“Second torpedo in the water! Bearing zero-zero-five, relative.” the senior operator sang out.

“They're dropping on someone,” the Security Officer observed.

“Yes, but who?” the Captain replied.

The senior sonar operator sang out, “Second hit, Comrade Captain. No breakup, and I'm getting loud noises, like he's blowing his tanks and surfacing. Positive identification: It's one of our 675 types.”

Up above, an American ASW group was prosecuting an attack on the Echo-II sub K-172. The first torpedo had hit, shortly followed by a second. And the target was coming up.

0515 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

General Petrov was looking anxiously to the east, and he had hardly slept. The horizon was just starting to brighten. He thought, It's almost dawn, and if the runways are repaired, we can get the grounded aircraft loaded and away. He turned to General Lukin, who had had an equally sleepless night. “Almost first light, Lukin. Now we wait to see if the Americans are coming.”

“If their air commander is on his toes, we'll have an attack at any time. And with our SAM batteries very under-supplied, we can't really defend against a major air strike. Let alone cruise missiles,” Lukin said. Then Lukin's communications man came to him with a message form. He took it, and read. “Some good news, Comrade General.”

“Oh?” Petrov asked.

“Havana's listened to us. Two An-124s will be departing Havana shortly. Both will be rigged for airdrops. And no landings,” Lukin said.

“There's not supposed to be a God, but I guess we'd better thank him now,” Petrov said. “For once, Moscow didn't overrule us.”

“True, Comrade General. They request that Drop Zones be marked, with the usual signals.”

“Very good. See to it,” Petrov said, just as his engineering officer came up. “Yes?”

“Comrade General, the runways are operational. They've been cleared, patched, and the wreckage has been cleared. We're doing a final walk-down to check for any small debris before the runways open up for operations,” the Engineer Colonel said.

“Excellent!” Petrov said. “Lukin, get those aircraft on the tarmac loaded up with wounded and those cleared for evacuation. They take off the minute the runways are declared open.”

“Right away, Comrade General!”
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:13 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And a bonus:

0525 Hours: East German Kampfgruppe “Rosa Luxembourg”, south of Santa Rosa, Texas.

General Metzler knew now that he'd fought his last battle. The 40th Air Assault Regiment had been overwhelmed at Elsa, and now, XII Corps forces had split his battle group into two pockets, with the 9th Panzer Division in one, and the 11th Motor-Rifle Division in another. Both divisions were now pale shadows of their prewar selves, with the 9th Panzer down to that of a reinforced regiment, and the 11th Motor-Rifles down to the same level. His own Army-level assets had also been ground down, and he'd had to send air-defense, chemical warfare, and engineering troops off to fight as ad hoc infantry, with predictable results in most cases. Now, he was trapped with his headquarters staff, a battalion's worth of motor-rifle troops that constituted his headquarters guard, and a platoon of tanks that was nominally a company. Fuel and ammunition were almost exhausted, and there was no way to evacuate the wounded. It was obvious that the end was very near, and Metzler knew it. He turned to his Chief of Staff, “Well, it's time, I think.”

“Comrade General, you've done all that can be done. We still have communications with Front Headquarters, and with one regiment of the 11th Motor-Rifles..” the Chief said.

“Regiment..a meaningless title now. That regiment only has two battalions worth of weary men, who have had it,” Metzler said. “Any contact with the 9th Panzer Division?”

“No, Comrade General, not for at least three hours.”

Then one of the staff came up with a message. It was from the 9th Panzer Division's acting commander. “The 9th Panzers have fought to the last round against superior enemy forces. We have done our duty to the end. The Americans are outside the division's headquarters. We are destroying our radio equipment. This station will no longer transmit.”

Metzler looked at his map. His command vehicle was parked outside an abandoned farmhouse along F.M. 506, and he knew that the 9th Panzers weren't that far to the west. “That's it. Destroy all secret documents, codes, and except for one radio to notify Front Headquarters, all communications equipment. A pity we can't evacuate our female signals and clerical staff, but that can't be helped.”

The Chief of Staff looked at the other officers, all of whom but one nodded. The holdout was the Political Officer. “Yes, Comrade General.”

The Political Officer objected. “Comrade General, we can still fight! It is our duty to socialism and the state to continue the struggle!”

“That is past. Right now, my duty now is to our soldiers. We've done our duty to the fullest,” Metzler said. “Does anyone else object?”

No one did. The Political Officer tried to draw his pistol, but Metzler was faster. After the man's corpse dropped to the ground, a shout came from the perimeter. American tanks and infantry vehicles were approaching, and they had quickly shot up the guard force.

“Send this message to Front Headquarters, then destroy the communications equipment, as I said: 'Kampfgruppe Rosa Luxembourg has done its full duty for Socialism to the last. Long live Socialism, and Long Live the GDR!' Get that off immediately.”

The communications man did just that, and after sending the message, the classified materials were piled into the command vehicle, a fuel can thrown inside, and a grenade used to ignite it. And then the Americans arrived. Metzler walked to the lead tank under a white flag. He saw it was one of the M-60A4s with the 105-mm gun, and that main gun was pointed right at him. Then he saw the tank commander get out of the tank, and approach him. Metzler saw it was a captain's insignia. “Captain, I am Major General Gerhard Metzler, of the National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic. I wish to surrender myself, and my headquarters staff to you,” he said in perfect English.

The American looked at him for a minute. Metzler couldn't tell if the officer was surprised or not, and then the tank commander took off the helmet. And Metzler had the shock of his life.

“Captain Shannon McCoy, 4-69 Armor, 8th Infantry Division,” the tank commander said, unrolling the bun out of her hair. “And for what it's worth, General, this division got shot up pretty bad during First Houston in '85. Now we've come full circle.”

“I see...,” Metzler said. “I would like assurances that the female members of my staff will be protected.”

“A shame you didn't do that back in '85 and '86, General. But that's the difference between us and you.” she said. “First Sergeant!”

“Yes, Ma'am?” the company first sergeant asked.

“Form a pair of provisional squads of female troopers, there's enough in First and Second Platoons for two. “They'll escort the female prisoners to the rear.”

“Yes, Ma'am.” And as the First Sergeant did so, the rest of the company entered the East German HQ.
And Metzler watched as his staff, and the other survivors of his battle group, went into captivity.
“General, if you'll come with me. Some people at Brigade want to talk to you.”

0540 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

Generals Petrov and Lukin watched as the last of the engineers cleared away the remaining debris. The walk-down was finished, and the Colonel in charge came over to the Generals. “Comrade Generals, the runways are ready for operations. They're clear.”

Petrov nodded. “Thank you, Comrade Colonel.” He turned to Lukin. “Get those aircraft going, right away.”

“Yes, Comrade General,” Lukin replied. And Lukin grabbed a flashlight and waved it. That was the signal. And thus the first aircraft, an An-26, rolled down the first runway and into the air. And other aircraft, including two An-12s full of wounded men, an Il-76, and a pair of Tu-154 airliners bearing Cuban markings, followed soon after. In short order, the field was cleared of aircraft-ten in all.

“Good, Lukin. Now, how long until we're shut down again?” Petrov asked with all seriousness. “The Americans won't be sitting on this for very long.”

“Comrade General, I wish I knew,” Lukin said, looking to the north. “But they'll come. No doubt about that.”

Petrov nodded. He turned to the engineer Colonel. “Comrade Colonel, get your equipment ready again. Chances are, we'll be needing it before too long.”

The Colonel nodded. “I'll get that done straight away, Comrade General.”

0555 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters, San Benito Community College.

General Malinsky looked at the map again. A staff officer had crossed through the symbols that had marked the East Germans. He had known that it was only a matter of time before those two divisions were overwhelmed, and now, it had happened. What had been an East German Expeditionary Corps of 40,000 men at its peak was now gone, along with its home country. He turned to the chief of staff, Isakov. “So that's that for the East Germans, Isakov. They have outlasted their own country.”

General Isakov nodded. “The Germans were good soldiers, Comrade General. I only wish we still had some more of them.”

“Yes, but that's beyond us now, Isakov. Now, when's Powell going to come down on us? It's just after first light.”

“It won't be too long, Comrade General. He tastes victory, and he's going to make the most of it.” Isakov said.

A staff officer came up with a message form. “Comrade General?” the officer said, handing it to Isakov.

“Well?” Malinsky asked.

“It's from Eighth Guards Army. XII Corps now identified, including 8th Infantry and 6th Armored Divisions,” Isakov said. “Both appear to be now fully engaged.”

General Malinsky nodded. It was becoming obvious now. Powell had turned his corps commanders loose. “So Powell has cut the leash-at least in this sector.”

“Yes, and Eighth Guards has also identified the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment, along with XVIII Airborne Corps' 29th Light Infantry Division,” Isakov reported, matter-of-factly.

“But no signs of a breakthrough, at least not yet?”

“Not at present, Comrade General,” Isakov said.

Malinsky nodded. “And anything on the Cuban 1st Army?”

“Just that II MAF is pressing them hard, but the terrain is a problem: there's a wildlife refuge on the Cuban right, and the marshland and wetlands make any kind of operations there a problem-for both sides.”

“And the Cuban 2nd Army?”

“They're still holding, and giving ground only grudgingly.” Isakov reported.

0615 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville

General Chibisov put down the phone. He'd just heard General Petrov's report: runways open. And aircraft had not only departed, but also that inbound aircraft were coming in, soon. And Malinsky had also notified him of the East Germans' end, and the work on the bridges. Only now, with all the information at hand did he feel good about waking the General. Alekseyev needed his sleep, as did everyone, but now that Powell was coming, and coming both hard and fast, that was a commodity likely to be in short supply. Satisfied, Chibisov went to Alekseyev's office. He knocked once, then opened the door. “Comrade General?”

Alekseyev had awakened when Chibisov opened the door. “Ah, Pavel Pavlovitch, it's you. I assume that Powell has turned his commanders loose?”

“That is correct, Comrade General. They're coming, and hard.” Chibisov reported.

“As we expected. So, who is still fighting, and who has been..... removed from the picture?” Alekseyev asked, matter of factly.

“That would be the East Germans, Comrade General. General Metzler sent his final message, and it basically boils down to the fact that his forces have done their full duty-minus the political language, of course.” Chibisov said.

“The East Germans managed to outlast their own country. How they did it, I still don't know. The Americans have been trumpeting the East German collapse for weeks in their propaganda. Metzler's Political Department certainly used some drastic measures, but how drastic?” Alekseyev asked.

“That, Comrade General, I don't know. We're still trying to raise the liaison team we had with his headquarters, but they don't answer.”

“And they probably never will, Chibisov.” Alekseyev said. He paused as his secretary came into the office, with some bread, tea, and a boiled egg. “Thank you, Katerina,”

“Comrade General,” she responded as she left, closing the door behind her.

“That reminds me, Chibisov. Our women are on a twenty-four hour notice to leave, correct?”

“That order has been issued, Comrade General.”

Alekseyev paused. “Issue the order again. This time, make it twelve hours' notice. We may not have much time, otherwise.”

“Yes, Comrade General.”

“Now, how much of the supplies from both the airdrops and the freighters have been issued? Everyone's screaming for food, medical supplies, and above all, ammunition.” Alekseyev reminded his Chief of Staff.

“We have been able to distribute some, Comrade General, but some units, though, if they've recovered supply drops in their areas, are hoarding. Instead of delivering what's received to central points for equitable distribution, many units are holding onto what they recover. Given how short of everything we are, it's human nature, Comrade General.” Chibisov reported.

“And Paulus had the same problem, in January, 1943,” Alekseyev remembered his Academy lectures about that battle. “Still, see to it that what we receive by air is distributed in an even-handed manner.”

“Certainly, Comrade General.”

A knock on the door interrupted the two generals. It was Dudorov. “Comrade Generals, your presence is needed in the Operations Room. Something's going on, out at sea.”

0625 Hours: K-236, the Gulf of Mexico.

Captain Padorin was in a shooting mood. He'd seen the sonar display of a fellow submarine being damaged and forced to surface, and now he was out for revenge. At Padorin's orders, the weapons officer had added two more Type-65 torpedoes and two more Klub missiles to the tubes, and now, all four tubes were ready.

“Get ready to reload with torpedoes, Yuri, as soon as those missiles are fired.”

“Already waiting, Comrade Captain,” replied the weapons officer.

Padorin turned to his Starpom. “Periscope depth. This will be a missile shooting observation.”

“Periscope depth, aye, Comrade Captain,” the Exec replied, relaying the helm order. The K-236 was at only five knots now. Soon, she was at twenty meters: periscope depth. “At twenty meters, Comrade Captain.”

“Up scope,” and the periscope came up. Padorin swung the scope around, and then gave a bearing to three targets. “Shoot two at the first, one each at two and three.”

The weapons officer plugged in the bearings. Sonar had already fed the range. “Solutions checked and validated. Firing sequence: One, three, two, four.”

Padorin nodded. “Down scope. Open outer doors on one through four.”

“Outer doors open. Tubes ready.”

Padorin looked at the Exec, the navigator, and his Security Officer. “Fire.”

Four Klub (SS-N-27) anti-ship missiles quickly left their launch tubes, and once they broke water, they began heading for their targets.

Nearby, the American ASW group was still searching for another submarine. Aboard the destroyer Kidd, a radar operator was looking at his scope. Then he cut in over the intercom in CIC: “Vampire! Vampire! We have inbound missiles!” And he gave range and bearing.

The destroyer's SM-1 missiles began to fire, as did the missile frigate Talbot and several ships began to fire chaff. Then one of the inbounds was intercepted by a missile, while a second was exploded by gunfire. That left two missiles, one of which hit the destroyer Mahan, wrecking her superstructure and leaving her dead in the water and on fire. The second missile struck the Talbot, turning her into a blazing wreck.

Aboard K-236, the sonar operator reported two explosions. Two out of four was what Padorin had expected: the Klub missile was still technically in the preproduction stage, but the commander of the Northern Fleet had received some, and he was anxious to see how they worked in a real environment, not a test range. Now, it appeared that the Admiral's curiosity had paid off. “Two hits out of four. Good work, Yuri. Now, let's finish the job. Sonar, range and bearing to the cripples?”

The sonar operator gave the range and bearing to the crippled ships, and the weapons officer fed that into the tubes. “Solution ready, Comrade Captain.”

“Yuri, use two torpedoes, not four. We may need those other two Type-65s later,” Padorin reminded his weapons officer.

“Aye, Comrade Captain. Tubes ready and at your command.”


And with that, two Type-65 torpedoes were fired from K-236. Running time: twelve minutes.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:08 PM
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rcaf_777 rcaf_777 is offline
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It would be intresting to see how Canada is doing durring the war. What did they do when NATO was disbanded?

The Prime minister then was Brian Mulroney (PC) who was elected in 1984. He was one of Ronald Regan closest firends. In the early 80's Pierre Trudeau (Lib) was the PM, he was a fan of Marxism and close friends of Cuba Leader Fidel Castro. He reduced funding for military and was know for is Anti NATO stance.

Would NORAD be expanded leading up to the War? would any Canadian Cities be targeted?

Note of Intrest: The Mobile Command(Army) Division commanded by then Major-General John de Chastelain (who later became the CDS) was conducting a large scale training exerise in Western Canada. The Mobile Command Division at that time was the bulk of Canada's Regular Force Army Units around 10,000 troops according to the book I am called RV 85
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Old 03-13-2015, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rcaf_777 View Post
It would be intresting to see how Canada is doing durring the war. What did they do when NATO was disbanded?

The Prime then was Brian Mulroney (PC) who was elected in 1984. He was one of Ronald Regan closest firends. In the early 80's Pierre Trudeau (Lib) was the PM, he was a fan of Marxism and close friends of Cuba Leader Fidel Castro. He reduced funding for military and was know for is Anti NATO stance.

Would NORAD be expanded leading up to the War? would any Canadian Cities be targeted?

Note of Intrest: The Mobile Command(Army) Division commanded by then Major-General John de Chastelain (who later became the CDS) was conducting a large scale training exerise in Western Canada. The Mobile Command Division at that time was the bulk of Canada's Regular Force Army Units around 10,000 troops according to the book I am called RV 85

I think Canada was invaded in Red Dawn, via a Soviet invasion of Alaska and then down through Yukon, BC and the Prairies as part of a drive to split the US in two by linking up with the southerly invasion coming up from Mexico. Matt mentioned fighting in Alberta so I'd say the bulk of the Canadian Army is on the Canadian Prairies with US forces in that theatre, with the rest joining US forces on East and West coasts. Not that many known nuclear targets in Red Dawn, so I doubt there were any Canadian targets.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:37 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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The Soviets moved through Alaska, thorough the Yukon down into both Alberta and British Columbia. However, they had a problem: the Canadians had time to destroy the fuel storage at the Calgary and Edmonton refineries, and as a result, the Soviets literally ran out of gas. In some places, almost within sight of the Montana or North Dakota borders. A 1986 offensive tried to take Vancouver, B.C., and turned into a Stalingrad-like mess for the Russians.

Contrary to Colonel Tanner's remark to the Wolverines, the British do hang on against Soviet air and naval attack, and send troops (the former British Army of the Rhine) to Canada. The Royal Navy is fully engaged in the war at sea, and the RAF has forces engaged in Canada as well as at home.
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:13 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And it goes on...and the conclusion to last night's cliffhanger:

0635 Hours: K-236, The Gulf of Mexico

Captain Padorin and his officers were looking at their stopwatches. The pair of Type-65 torpedoes had two minutes left on their run. He turned to his weapons officer. “Yuri, load an MG-74 decoy in one of the tubes. Once the torpedoes detonate, launch the decoy. Don't wait for my order.”

The weapons officer acknowledged with a nod, then he relayed the order to the crew in the torpedo room. While that was going on, Padorin turned to the Starpom. “After the decoy is launched, take us to 300 meters. We're still some distance from the continental shelf, so we've got some deep water.”

The Starpom nodded. Then he looked at his watch. “Fifteen seconds to first impact.”

Up above, the sonars of several American ships had picked up the incoming torpedoes. The damaged frigate Talbot had been abandoned very quickly after the missile hit, with an uncontrollable fire, having to have her magazines flooded. And the damaged destroyer Mahan was still fighting fires when the torpedo alarm was sounded by both Kidd and the destroyer Richard E. Byrd. Several ships tried streaming Nixie torpedo decoys, and Kidd herself even fired a Mark-46 torpedo down the bearing of the incoming weapons, hoping to catch whoever had launched the torpedoes.

The first Type-65 exploded under the now abandoned Talbot. The torpedo's huge warhead blew the burning frigate apart, disintegrating the stern, and wrecking what little watertight integrity she had left. Within five minutes of the detonation, the shattered hulk slipped beneath the waves. Of a crew of 277, 140 were lost with the ship or died of wounds after rescue.

The second torpedo exploded right underneath Mahan's stern, blowing about fifty feet of the ship's aft section off. The missile magazine had been flooded as a damage-control precaution, so it didn't detonate, but that made little difference, as that portion of the ship simply disintegrated. The order to abandon ship came quickly from the Executive Officer, who'd taken command after the Captain had been killed in the missile hit. She sank within fifteen minutes of the torpedo hit, taking 220 of a crew of 400 with her.

Aboard K-236, cheers filled the boat as sonar reported the two detonations. As per Padorin's order, an MG-74 decoy was launched, and the boat went deep. Padorin smiled. “Well done, Comrades. Let's get out of here. New course: two-four-zero. Navigator, let me know when we're closing on the Continental Shelf. And secure from battle stations.”

“Comrade Captain?” the Zampolit asked.

“Simple. They'll expect us to head east, for deeper water. The last place they'll expect us is closer to shore.”

0650 Hours: 377th Ground-Attack Aviation Regiment, San Benito Municipal Airport.

Captain Gorovets was briefing his pilots. He had more pilots than flyable planes at this point, and individual squadrons were a thing of the past at this point: he'd chosen the best from all three squadrons, and designated the rest for evacuation. “All right, this is it. We go in flights of two. And don't take any unnecessary risks. This comes from the top. If things get too bad out there, abort the mission.”

Lieutenant Maxim Popov, one of the pilots set to fly the first set of missions, asked, “What's the expected threat, just for the record?”

Normally, that kind of question would earn someone a reprimand. Not today. “Expect everything,” Gorovets said. “F-4s, F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, F-20s. Not to mention HAWK and Patriot heavy missiles, Stingers in quantity, and possible shipboard SAMs if you get too far out to sea.”

Several pilots whistled. “Nice to know they care,” Popov said.

“Which brings me back to my original point, Comrades. If your threat receivers start going off-and there's multiple threats out there, abort. I'll see about getting our Flight Direction Officers at 4th Guards Tank Army to get some artillery down on those air-defense systems, but I imagine everyone's going to be screaming for artillery support. And another thing: watch out for friendly artillery: a Grad rocket strike or a one-five-two shell in your airspace can kill you. Anything else?” Gorovets asked.

“How many sorties do we expect to fly?” Senior Lieutenant Dmitiri Lobinstev asked.

“As many as we can. Until one of three things happens: dusk comes, we run out of aircraft, or run out of ordnance,” Gorovets said. “Any other questions?” There were none. “All right, let's go.”

Gorovets would lead this first flight personally. All eight Su-25s were loaded with a mix of KMGU cluster bombs and rocket pods, with other ordnance being loaded as the armorers could make it available. And they'd have a full load of 30-mm cannon ammunition, and two R-60 AAMs. The pilots did quick walk-arounds, then climbed into the cockpits, strapped themselves in, and after the briefest of preflights, taxied out for takeoff. As the Su-25s prepared for takeoff, the pilots who would wait waved. Then the small control tower flashed a green light. Then all eight Sukhois rolled down the runway, and were soon in the air.

0700 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport.

Generals Petrov and Lukin were anxiously scanning the sky. The An-124s had lifted off from Havana three hours earlier, and they were due at any time. Both generals wondered if the planes had managed to penetrate the American fighter screen over the Gulf of Mexico, both carrier-based and land-based fighters being the main threat. And on many days, the fighters had either prevented transports from getting through, forcing them to abort, or had acted like wolves in a chicken coop and slaughtered the transports. As a result, things inside the pocket were getting worse with each passing hour. General Lukin knew this better than most on the field, when a staff officer had been wounded in an air raid a few days previously. The hospitals were crowded with wounded, he found, medicine, anesthetic, and bandages in short supply, and conditions were filthy, at best. Shaking his head at the sight, he returned to the field, and recommended the man be promoted at once: if he died, his family back in Rostov-on the Don would get a bigger pension, at least. Lukin and Petrov were interrupted by a staff officer coming from a Romb (SA-8) SAM vehicle. The launcher had no missiles left, but Petrov felt it could still be useful as a mobile radar station, and thus the SAM crews often had the only working radars left. “Comrade Generals, the transports are coming in: three large targets and several smaller targets inbound from the East. ETA is five minutes.”

“Thank you, Comrade Major.” Petrov said. “Well, Lukin, how much will we get this time?”

Lukin was asking that question to himself. He'd seen the filthy conditions at the field hospital, and knew that whatever they received, it wouldn't be enough. “Let's hope it's better than what we've gotten in before: we've had days when nothing got in.”

“True, Lukin,” Petrov said, scanning the eastern sky with his binoculars. “There they are.”

Lukin looked through his own binoculars. He saw the three transports, with several fighter escorts. And one of the escorting fighters broke away and made an approach to the field. The Su-27 came in, trailing smoke, and landed with no nose gear. It skidded off the runway and bellied in. The pilot raised the canopy and ran clear, just in case.

While that was going on, two of the big transports came in and made their supply runs. Parachutes blossomed as cargo pallets fell from the aircraft. The two big Antonovs then turned away, heading back towards the Gulf of Mexico. The third plane turned and headed north, then east, before beginning to drop its cargo. And then it happened. A smoke trail came up from below and to the north. Then the missile slammed into the tail of the aircraft, ripping it apart. The big transport slowed, and began trailing fire and debris, and cargo pallets still fell from the aircraft, only some were catching fire as their parachutes were caught in the trail of flame. Another smoke trail came up from below, exploding between the two left engines, and ripping the wing off. The An-124 rolled inverted, and then, streaming fire from the tail and the remnants of the left wing, slammed into the ground just north of the field, exploding in a huge fireball.

Petrov looked at the fireball, then at General Lukin. “Six brave men, and a nearly irreplaceable aircraft. One hopes it was worth it.”

The supply officer came up. “Comrade Generals, We've gotten some of the supplies that were dropped.”

Petrov glared at him, an evil look on his face. “And what, pray tell, did we receive?”

“Some small-arms ammunition, in bulk. Several cases of bandages and other first-aid supplies. Along with 250 kilos of jam, 100 kilos of sugar, and.....”

“And WHAT?” Lukin roared. “Half of this stuff so far is worthless!”

“50 cases of pamphlets for various political departments, in both English and Spanish. They're propaganda materials for the civilian population.”

Petrov exploded. “Who is packing this material?”

Lukin was just as angry. “What ass loaded that aircraft? All right, get the rest of the supply pallets recovered. We can use the parachutes in the hospitals, at least. And get whatever food, medical supplies, and ammunition sorted and distributed as quickly as possible.” He turned to General Petrov. “Comrade General, with your kind permission, I'd like to borrow your satellite phone. There's someone in Havana who needs a good tongue-lashing.”

Petrov nodded. “By all means, Lukin. And when you're finished, I'll have some choice words with him as well.”

“Comrade General...” the supply officer said.

“What is it, Major?” Petrov asked.

“What about the pamphlets?”

Petrov turned to Lukin, who nodded. “We're out of lavatory paper. Put them in the latrines.”
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:17 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And some more:

0725 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville

General Alekseyev was assidously going over the situation map. The Cuban 1st Army was still holding, but a penetration by II MAF north of Rio Hondo was causing some concern. If Powell was watching this, he could order XVIII Airborne Corps to send its own 12th Armored Cavalry Regiment into that penetration, and maybe turn the Cuban line to their left, or hit 28th Army instead. The 28th Army was facing elements of XVIII Airborne Corps as well, along with the 4th Guards Tank Army. Though Suraykin was holding for the time being, Alekseyev knew that sooner or later, with the generous air support now available to the Americans, that wouldn't last. He'd hoped for forty-eight hours, and maybe, just maybe, Suraykin might pull it off.

Over on Suraykin's left, the Eighth Guards Army was holding, though barely in one or two cases, one division from XVIII Airborne Corps along with half of XII Corps, which had finished mopping up what was left of the East Germans. The East German 11th Motor-Rifle Division's 17th Motor-Rifle Regiment had sent its last message only a few minutes earlier, thus marking the final curtain call for the East German Army, which had outlasted its own country. And on Eighth Guards' left, Third Shock Army faced two divisions from VIII Corps, which was also engaged against the Cuban 2nd Army, which, though badly mauled, was still fighting hard.

Then General Dudorov and Admiral Gordikov came up. “Comrade General, this just came in.”

Alekseyev scanned the message. “So it's official?”

“Yes, Comrade General,” Gordikov said. “If the airlift fails, a submarine will take out Hall and his cabinet. That submarine is off the coast, and I would imagine that's the submarine that the Americans are talking about right now: he sank two ships from an American ASW group, from what that radio chatter from the Americans indicated, and they're still looking for him.”

“How much notice does he need, in case the mission has to be aborted?” Alekseyev asked.

“He'll come to antenna depth every night-about 2300 our time, and listen for a message relayed via our base in Cienfuegos,” Gordikov said.

General Chibisov came up. “The airlift can resume, Comrade General, so there may be no need-at least today, for him.”

Gordikov nodded. “There's one other thing: the minefields. We don't know how many mines the Americans have laid in the approaches to Brownsville, or where, other than Brazos Santiago Pass.”

Alekseyev thought for a minute. “Tell him to hold off, at least for now.”

Gordikov nodded. “Of course, Comrade General.”

Then Alekseyev looked at the map again. He turned to Chibisov. “Tell Malinsky that 47th Tank Brigade and 76th Guards Air Assault are not, repeat, not available. Whatever enemy penetrations have to be taken care of with whatever forces can be scraped together.”

Chibisov looked at the map again. He knew why. “Yes, Comrade General. May I suggest releasing the air assault troops from the Provisional Air Assault Group? Andreyev has his division, and even some reinforcement would help Malinsky.”

“Make it so,” Alekseyev said. “Now, it's out of our control. Everything on the ground is now up to Malinsky.”

0740 Hours: 4th Guards Tank Army HQ, Harlingen, Texas.

General Suraykin was on the phone with General Markov, the commander of 52nd Tank Division.
“Markov, you've got to hold. I don't care how.”

“Comrade General,” the voice on the other end was saying, “I realize that, but right now, it seems like every A-10 ever made is overhead. I've had near continuous air attacks since sunrise, and it's eating my division up.”

General Suraykin swore. “Stand by, Markov.” He placed the phone down and yelled for his Air Force liaison. “Yes, Comrade General?”

“Any chance of more fighters?” asked Suraykin.

“Right now, it's about 50-50. Some of the fighters are escorting transports from Mexico City and other Mexican points of origin, and others are busy over Northeastern Mexico: the Americans have put up quite a few of their own aircraft, as you'd expect, Comrade General.” the man replied.

“Do what you can. Even if it's just one additional flight or two.” Suraykin said. “Right now, it's American ground-attack aircraft I need driven off for a while.”

“I understand, Comrade General,” the air force Colonel replied. And he went to his own phone to argue his case.

“Markov, I'm trying to get you additional aircraft. For what it's worth, every commander along the line is screaming for the same thing,” Suraykin told his junior commander.

Several loud explosions rumbled in the background, as Markov yelled into the radio. “Sorry, Comrade General, but that's American artillery fire. I realize the shortage of aircraft, but I need whatever I can get. And I'll have to move division CP again. That artillery fire's getting too close.”

Suraykin frowned, looking at the map. “All right, Markov. Do whatever you have to,” and Suraykin hung up. Shaking his head, he went over to his Chief of Staff. “What do you think so far, Golvoko?”

“I think, Comrade General, that we'll soon have our heads handed to us. On a platter. Markov has one full division and part of another coming down on him, and Chesnikov with 24th Tanks has the same thing. We've got mostly XVIII Airborne Corps coming down on us, though they're also busy with 28th Army at the moment.” General Golvoko replied.

“Right now, 52nd Tanks is our weakest point. Move some reserves to back them up: have 6th Guards Motor-Rifle send a regiment to assist Markov,” Suraykin said. “I want to keep the two other tank divisions as a counterattack force if at all possible.”

“Right away, Comrade General.” Golvoko said. “And what about the 105th Guards Airborne?”

“Not now. I don't want to commit them just yet. But plan for them to head for the 77-83 junction itself, if it appears that the Americans have found the boundary between the 52nd and 24th Tanks,” Suraykin said.

“And if the junction is seized before that?” Golvoko asked.

“Then they help spearhead the counterattack,” Suraykin decided. “When that happens, we'll move both 20th and 38th Tank Divisions into that effort, no matter what the cost.”

0805 Hours: Cuban 47th MRR, Progresso Lakes, Texas.

Major Ruiz-Santos had actually woken up in a good mood. After arising, after his regiment's executive officer felt he needed to sleep in, he'd found that the ribbon bridge was finished and actually moving traffic across the river. To his disappointment, that traffic was supply convoys moving north: but one thing did surprise him, and that was a serial of three trucks and a BRDM-1 that entered the town. The truck drivers were Cuban, as were the BRDM crews. Apparently, they'd done so on Havana's direct orders. And his troops found their bounty to be worth it, as cases of canned food, medical supplies for the regiment's aid stations, bottled water, and small-arms ammunition, were delivered. Now, with his approval, his men were gorging themselves, and their morale was going up as a result.

“Comrade Major,” Captain Toledo said, “I actually thought we'd been forgotten.”

“Of course not, Comrade Captain,” Lieutenant Moss, the Political Officer, said. “Comrade Fidel promised that we would not be alone in our fight, and this shows it.”

Both the regimental commander and his executive officer rolled their eyes in disbelief. Clearly, the political officer was still too idealistic. A pity he'd never been anywhere near the front until now; maybe he'd have a more realistic attitude if he'd been up forward instead of being a “rear rat.” But Ruiz-Santos didn't say it. All he said was, “It certainly does, Lieutenant.”

Unknown to the Cubans, just to the west, along U.S. 281, and closing in on Progresso Lakes, was Captain Nancy Kozak's company team. Refueled and resupplied, her tanks and Bradley infantry vehicles pressed ahead. So far, they'd had only scattered resistance, usually from either Cuban or Mexican rear-area troops. Several prisoners had been taken, and they not only said that the international bridge was open, but rumor had it a pontoon bridge was being built. Well, she thought to herself. It's time to put a stop to that. After informing the battalion commander, she'd been ordered to make a hasty attack, if possible. If not, she was to hold until the full battalion task force arrived.

0815 Hours: 377th Ground Attack Regiment, San Benito Municipal Airport

Captain Gorovets did a final walk-around the Su-25 he would fly. He'd already flown two sorties this morning, and his regiment, such as it was, was now down to five aircraft. The first mission had gone well, with no losses, but the second....One of the Rooks had fallen to a SAM, and not just a Stinger: It had been a heavy one, maybe even a Patriot. The pilot didn't get out, as the missile slammed into the plane just short of the cockpit and tore that whole section off the aircraft. Then they'd been jumped by some American fighters, and two of his aircraft had to jettison their ordnance loads to try and survive. One of the Su-25s fell to an F-16 that fired two Sidewinders, though this time, the pilot did bail out. The second managed to avoid that F-16, only to run into another, which raked the Rook with 20-mm cannon fire. Rooks were built to “take it,” and this one did, but it would need a few hours of repair before flying again. The final loss was over the outskirts of Harlingen, when one Rook took a HAWK, and the plane just blew up when the missile warhead detonated the Su-25's underwing ordnance.

Now, with five aircraft, his mission planning went out the window. Gorovets had gathered his pilots and told them just one thing: “From now on, it's a solo sortie. Land, refuel and rearm, and then go back out. When you think you're tired enough, a relief pilot will take over. Any questions?”

“That's it?” one pilot asked.

Govovets nodded. “That's it. We've got four mission-ready aircraft and one being patched up right now. There's no time for anything else.”

Lobinstev whistled. “So it's down to just us?”

“Not quite, but almost. There's a few Mi-24s still flying, and Su-22Ms and even Su-24s coming up from Mexico, but here, in the perimeter, that's it,” Gorovets said. “The MiG-29s and -23s left are either escorting the transports, or trying to take the heat off of us-and I saw two MiG-29s falling in flames my last time out, so that should tell you something. Anything else?”

“Any idea where those F-16s are coming from?” Popov asked.

“Our home base over the winter and spring: Kingsville NAS would be my guess, or maybe Corpus Christi. And forget about anyone trying to take them out, because everything that can fly is supporting the Army,” Gorovets reminded his pilots.

“So we're in the eye of the storm?” another pilot asked.

Gorovets nodded. “If that's it for questions, let's get going.”

Now, Gorovets had finished his brief walk-around. His load was a mix of iron bombs and two UV-16-57 rocket pods, along with two R-60 AAMs and a full load of cannon ammunition. He was still surprised at the AAMs: he would have bet that the missiles would have been reserved for MiG-29s. No matter, he'd go out even if all he had was his 30-mm cannon; at least shells for that were still plentiful.

He got into his seat and strapped in. His crew chief pulled the access ladder away, and gave him the “start engines” signal. After he'd warmed up, he simply taxied to the end of the runway and waited for the green light. He got it, and firewalled the engines, and the Su-25 got airborne.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:24 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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It continues...

0845 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

Marshal Akhromayev had warned Alekseyev of a conference call with the Defense Council, and now, it had come. General Secretary Chibrikov, KGB Chairman Kosov, Interior Minister Pugo, along with Foreign Minister Melnikov, along with the Marshal, were all on the line. “How goes it, General?” was the General Secretary's question.

“So far, we're holding, Comrade General Secretary,” Alekseyev reported. “However, the East Germans were overwhelmed, and one of the Cuban armies may be in the same condition before too long.”

“A pity about the Germans: they were good soldiers, were they not?” Minister Melnikov asked.

“They were, Comrade Minister. But they're all either dead or prisoners,” Alekseyev said.

“How is the supply effort going?” asked Chairman Kosov.

“It could be better, but it's going about as expected, Comrade Chairman.”

“And how soon can you evacuate the Hall Government to Havana?” the Chairman asked.

“We'll get them out, Comrade Chairman, as soon as we can.” Alekseyev said. “I can't give you anything more precise than that.”

“There is enough time to bring Comrade Hall and his government to Havana, and thence to Moscow,” the General Secretary said. “You have enough worries, with a major battle on your hands.”

“Thank you, Comrade General Secretary,” Alekseyev said. “But right now, it's General Powell and his Army that I'm most worried about, not the feelings of Hall or Fidel right now.”

“Understandable, Comrade General,” Chibrikov said. “Do not worry about Fidel. Comrade Melnikov will handle him for us.”

“Thank you again, Comrade General Secretary,” Alekseyev said.

“That said, how long can you keep fighting?”

“Unless I get more supplies either landed by air or air-dropped in, it won't be very long,” Alekseyev reported.

“What about by sea?” Kosov asked.

“Comrade Chairman, there are three American carrier groups in the Gulf of Mexico, along with an amphibious force and two or three antisubmarine groups. Not to mention Admiral Gordikov's last report: the approaches to Brownsville have been mined by the Americans. Any more convoys would be suicidal.” Marshal Akrohmayev reminded everyone.

Alekseyev added, “And there's heavy American fighter activity over the Gulf. Their fighters have been feasting on transports at times. I need to know if the weather will help in that regard.”

Marshal Akrohmayev knew what Alekseyev wanted: either a hurricane or a tropical storm. “I don't have that information for you yet, General, but you'll have it later today.”

“Thank you, Comrade Marshal.” Alekseyev replied.

“Now, Comrade General,” Chribikov said. “You will hold out, and come spring, a smashing new offensive out of Canada will bring about our final victory. Now, you have a battle to fight and win. We won't detain you any longer.” And with that, the call ended.

Alekseyev looked at both Generals Chibisov and Dudorov. “I never thought I'd say this, but is he crazy?”

“I do admit, the General Secretary is beginning to sound like Hitler did in his bunker. Seeing only what he wants to see, and hearing only what he wants to hear. And the truth is of no importance to him,” Chibisov said.

Alekseyev looked at his intelligence chief. “I find no fault with that assessment, Comrade General,” Dudorov said, looking at Chibisov.

“At least the Marshal is the voice of sanity. For how long, though, I don't know,” Chibisov said.

“True, Pavel Pavlovitich.”said Alekseyev. “Now, Dudorov, have you developed your plan for our guest?”

“I have, Comrades, and if you'll indulge me, I can brief you fully.” Dudorov spoke for five minutes.

“Very good, Yuri. Very good indeed,” Alekseyev said. “Your comment, Pavel Pavlovitch?”

“It's...unusual, to say the least, Comrades. But, it does show her, and the Americans, that not all of us are barbarians. And she will have an...unusual story to tell when she is returned to the Americans,” Chibisov said.

“Agreed.” Alekseyev said. He turned to Dudorov. “Make it so. How much time before we'll have to implement this?”

General Dudorov looked at the situation map. “When General Suraykin sends his final message.”

“I concur, Yuri.” Alekseyev said. “Make whatever preparations you need, and report to me directly.”

0910 Hours: Cuban 47th MRR, Progresso Lakes, Texas

Major Ruiz-Santos hung up his field phone. He'd just been talking to 2nd Army Headquarters, and his previous orders stood. Keep the bridges open as long as possible, but destroy them if it appeared the Americans were about to capture them. When his Political Officer, Lieutenant Moss, had questioned the order, Ruiz-Santos put him on the line-and a blast on the other end convinced the young officer that the Major's orders stood, and that he could execute them without clearance from a superior. Now, maybe he'll shut up, wondered the Major. Doubtful, but there's always hope. He then looked out his office window, and there was a steady stream of traffic on the bridges, both the prewar international bridge, and the ribbon bridge just built. And one bonus was that the Regiment's supply issues had been solved, at least temporarily. All in all, it was a good morning so far, despite the sights and sounds of the battle going on further north.

Major Ruiz-Santos would not have felt so good if he'd known what was about to happen to his west. Coming right down U.S. 281 was an American mechanized company combat team, and they were on the prowl for either Soviets or Cubans. Angry at not being allowed to cross the border, the soldiers decided that they'd simply make anyone who got in their way pay for that, and their commander fully agreed with those sentiments. She had gone forward to see the ground for herself, and noticed the western defenses: not much, just a few APCs and what looked like a couple of dug-in tanks, but enough to warrant an artillery prep. Her FIST, or forward observer, called down some artillery fire-mixed HE, DPICM, and then some white phosphorous-both on the Cuban positions and just in front of them. And as the artillery fire came in, she ordered her company team to move out.

In the city hall, Ruiz-Santos heard the first shells fall. “What's going on?” he roared.

His executive officer, Captain Toledo, got onto the radio. “Second battalion reports they're taking artillery fire. Mixed HE and those ICM rounds.”

Ruiz-Santos swore, and swore loudly. He'd told his battalion commanders to have outposts, and now, one of them seemed to have been asleep at the switch. “Get me the battalion commander.”

“I'm trying, Comrade Captain, but their radio doesn't answer,” Toledo said.

“Try the phone line, then.”

Toledo tried the phone, but there was no response. He hoped it was just the phone line being cut, but who knew? “Comrade Major, may I suggest sending a platoon from the reconnaissance company?” They may be able to find out.”

“Do so.”

And the Cuban recon troops mounted up and headed west, and as they did so, they came across Second Battalion's positions, torn and rent by artillery fire, wrecked vehicles, small fires burning due to the WP, and smoking corpses. And coming out of the smoke screen to the west, their last sight was Kozak's tank platoons in the lead, coming in on their positions. Then the 105-mm main guns on the M-60A4s spoke.

“No response from the reconnaissance platoon,” Toledo reported.

“Order the regiment to stand to,” Ruiz-Santos barked. “And tell the engineers to get someone on the plungers for both bridges!”

0920 Hours: 377th Ground-Attack Regiment, San Benito Municipal Airport.

The crash/rescue crew pulled Captain Gorovets out of the cockpit of his Su-25. He'd come in on only his left main gear and his nose gear, after taking a Stinger hit, along with who knew how many .50 caliber and 20-mm hits along the way. His Rook had spun after touching down, and had wound up off the runway. But it was clear the plane would never fly again. “I'm all right,” he insisted as he shook himself off and walked away. Several other pilots came towards him, including Senior Lieutenant Morozik. “You're lucky,”

“Tell me about it. Sasha went down just north of Harlingen. No chute,” Gorovets said.

“What happened?”

Gorovets shook his head. “I think they must have issued Stingers to everyone who can carry and fire one down there. I've never seen so many. At least a dozen-and probably more that I didn't see.”

“And Sasha?” Morozik asked.

“Two Stinger hits as he pulled off, then a larger missile, maybe a HAWK. His plane just blew up,” Gorovets said. He looked around. There were exactly two flyable Rooks left, along with one cripple still being repaired. “Just look at us now. Three hours ago, we had eight aircraft. Now there's two left, plus that cripple under repair.”

“Three. Dimitri took 04 out just before you came in,” Morozik said.

“A lot of good that does now,” Gorovets said, shaking his head. As he did so, one of the other pilots came out of the hangar. “What?”

“Phone for you, Comrade Captain. It's General Petrov,” the pilot said.

Gorovets went in and picked up the receiver. “Comrade General?”

“Gorovets, how's it going?” Petrov asked.

“Not well, Comrade General. I'm down to two flyable aircraft right now, one out on a mission, and one cripple that may or may not be repaired in time,” reported Gorovets.

On the other end, Petrov swore. He knew it would be bad, but this bad, so soon? “How much longer can you keep flying?”

“As long as we can, Comrade General. Ask me-or one of my pilots-in two hours,” Gorovets said, not caring if his latter comment was insubordinate.

Petrov knew what was going through Gorovets' mind. Was it like this in June and July, 1941, trying to hold off the Fascists? He felt right now in his gut it was just like that. “Just do the best you can, Captain. That's all.” And Petrov hung up.

Gorovets did the same, then turned to Morozik. “How soon until those two are turned around?”

“Another thirty minutes.”

“Right. You and me are in both,” Gorovets said.

0950 Hours: South Padre Island, Texas.

Major Lazarev came up out of the basement of the condominium that served as his brigade's headquarters. There was one advantage to the building having a large storm cellar, he thought, and not just for hurricanes. It was a strong, well protected cellar, and would survive anything up to a direct hit. Now he wished the power to the island was still on, and didn't relish a seven-story climb to the rooftop observation post. The Boiky's lookouts were still there, still watching. Along with their former executive officer. Lazarev shook his head. Had he been there the whole night? “Good morning, Captain Lieutenant,”

Kamarov turned around. “Ah, Good morning to you, Comrade Major.”

“Don't know how good it is, though. Have you looked to the west and northwest?” Lazarev asked.

“Oh, yes. Not a pretty picture, I'll admit,” Kamarov said. “And out here, not much.”

“No American ships coming in close?” Lazarev asked.

“They've come, but not close enough for either their guns to reach us, or whatever artillery you have to reach them.”

“What kind of ships?” Lazarev asked.

“Destroyers, mainly. Two old Forrest Sherman class ships, and a Brooke-class missile frigate to guard against air attack,” Kamarov reported, matter-of-factly.

“Air attack? With what?” Lazarev asked. He knew just how bad off the Soviet and Cuban Air Forces were.

“I know that, and you know that, but they probably don't.” Kamarov said. “In their position, I'd do the same.”

“So what were they doing?”

“Probably getting in close and seeing if they'd draw fire,” Kamarov said. “If they did, they'd come back with some information for their admiral.”

“Comrade Captain!” one of the lookouts yelled. “Out there, bearing zero-eight-zero. Just on the horizon.”

Kamarov looked through the glasses he'd brought from his ship. And a chill went down his spine.
He turned to Lazarev. “Have a look.”

Lazarev peered through the glasses. He saw a large ship, bow on, with two large turrets forward, and a smaller turret just in front of the superstructure. “What's that?”

“That, Comrade Major, is an American heavy cruiser. One of only two in existence anywhere. That's Des Moines; her sister, Salem, at last report, is in the Pacific. This is the ship we saw ripping up a freighter on our way here.”

“How powerful?” Lazarev asked.

“Nine twenty-point-three centimeter guns, a dozen twelve-point-seven guns, and twin 76-mm guns for antiaircraft. Probably those rapid-fire Gatling guns as well,” Kamarov said.

As the two officers and the lookouts watched, the cruiser turned broadside and turned her turrets to face the island. “I suggest you order your men to take cover, Major.” Kamarov said. “We're getting some shells in a few moments.”

Lazarev nodded, and issued the orders. Kamarov and his men also took shelter, and just in time, as nine eight-inch guns and eight five-inch guns barked, and shells began to fall on South Padre Island.
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:31 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the next...

1010 Hours: 4th Guards Tank Army Headquarters, Harlingen, Texas.

General Suraykin climbed out of a BMP-2 infantry carrier. He'd gone forward, to see the battle for himself, and had seen a lot. Both 24th and 52nd Tanks were holding, but just barely. And both division commanders were pleading for reinforcements. Or, at the very least, the 105th Guards Air Assault Division to actually defend the highway junction. He'd thought about their requests on the way back to headquarters, and right now, he was inclined to at least partially grant the request. First, though, he wanted to talk with his Chief of Staff and get his thoughts.

“Welcome back, Comrade General,” Golvoko said.

“Speeches are for victory celebrations, Golvoko,” Suraykin said. “What's happened in my absence?”

“Nothing new, Comrade General,” Golvoko reported. “Though the Air Force has some very bad news.”

“Let me guess: air support is no longer available.”

“That is essentially it. The helicopters have either been shot from the sky or destroyed on the ground, and the one ground-attack regiment available to us is down to only two flyable aircraft,” said Golvoko.

“Can we get anything from Mexico?” Suraykin asked.

Golvoko turned to the Air Force liaison. “Some, Comrade General, but not much. Half of the time, they're forced to jettison their ordnance loads when they're jumped by enemy fighters. And the ones who do get here have to run a gauntlet of more fighters, SAMs, and antiaircraft fire. All I can say is that the pilots and crews are doing the best job they can.”

“Get them to try harder. I don't care how, just do it!” Suraykin said.

“We'll do our best, but I won't promise any more than I can deliver,” the aviator replied.

“Good enough,” Suraykin responded. “Now, Golvoko, I'm sending a regiment from the 105th Guards Airborne to the 77-83 highway junction. Both 24th and 52nd Tanks have their defenses hinging on that, and if it goes, it's not only a straight run south, but both divisions could be turned, despite the urban environment.”

“I understand, Comrade General. Do you want me to call the 105th and relay the order?”

“No, Golvoko. Put me through. That's the kind of order I issue myself. Because most of those airborne troops are going to die. And I'm the only one I trust to issue that kind of order. Because those paratroops are going to be sacrificed. Not just that regiment, but most of that division, before this is over,” Suraykin said.

Golvoko nodded. “Understood, Comrade General.”

Suraykin went to the Operations Map. “Put them here, right at that junction. And in a few hours, it's almost certain that the rest of the 105th Guards will be there as well.”

“Right away, Comrade General.” And Golvoko hurried off to issue the orders.

General Suraykin looked at the map again. Time to let the Front Commander know. He turned to his operations officer. “Get me General Malinsky.”

1025 Hours: 377th Ground Attack Regiment

Captain Gorovets and Senior Lieutenant Morozik were in their element. They'd lifted off from San Benito Airport, in their unit's last two flyable Su-25s. They had been told just before takeoff that another aircraft belonging to the 377th had been shot down and the pilot killed, so they knew they were the last aircraft flying. This time, they didn't bother with call signs or anything like that, just last name only. And Gorovets knew this might be his last flight. Before takeoff he'd written a quick note to his parents in Gorky, asking one of the other pilots to deliver it, should he be evacuated.

“Morozik, there, armor at eleven o'clock.” Gorovets radioed, pointing out a concentration of American tanks and fighting vehicles.

“Roger. I'm right behind you.”

Gorovets quickly scanned the sky. So far, no sign of American fighters, though helicopters were in abundance. On any other day, he'd take the time to kill a couple, but not today. Every bomb, every rocket, ever cannon shell, had to go to support the troops on the ground. But his radar warning gear was going beserk: there were radars on all over the place. “One pass: I've got the rockets. You've got the clusters.”

“Copy.” Morozik radioed. Then he got all serious: “Break right! F-15s coming down!”

Gorovets looked to his left. Sure enough, two F-15s were coming down on him. Not today. He went ahead with his attack run, despite the yells on the radio to abort. He triggered his rocket pods, and 80-mm rockets shot out towards the American tanks. As he pulled up, Gorovets saw one or two burning, and he smiled. Then the world exploded around him as a pair of Sparrow missiles connected with his Su-25, blowing it, and him, out of the sky in a fireball.

Morozik watched in horror. No time to grieve; the F-15s were pulling up and coming around. He remembered Gorovets' instructions: if it got too hairy, abort. He hadn't even started his run when he turned around, then his radar warning came on. One Sparrow missile flew right by him, so he turned to the left. And he never saw the second missile smash into his tail. Morozik lost control, and fired his K-36 ejection seat by reflex. He was soon hanging in his parachute, and saw his plane smash into the ground and explode in a ball of flame. Well, that's it, he thought. Time to join the infantry.

1040 Hours: 175th Naval Infantry Brigade, South Padre Island, Texas

Major Lazarev and his brigade staff were hunkered down in the condominium's storm cellar. The place was built to withstand hurricanes, and was perfect as a headquarters. Now, it was a man-made storm out there, as an American cruiser was bombarding the coastline, and probably other ships, as well, for some of the explosions sounded like twelve-point seven shells from destroyers. He turned to his brigade's chief of staff. “Any reports on casualties?”

“No, not yet, Comrade Major.” the chief replied. “We're dug in pretty well here.”

“Any sign of a landing further up the island?” Lazarev asked.

“Not yet.”

Lazarev thought for a moment. Though the tides weren't right, helicopter-borne troops could land anywhere. “Order all commanders. Keep a sharp watch for any signs of helicopter landings.”

“Yes, Comrade Major.”

Captain Lieutenant Kamarov came into the cellar. He'd seen to his crewmen getting to shelter, and then came into the brigade HQ. “I can tell you what's shooting at us, Major.”

“Oh, besides the cruiser?” Lazarev asked.

“Yes, besides the cruiser. There's four destroyers. Two of them are Forrest Sherman class, one is a Charles F. Adams class, and one's a modern Spruance class ship. That's nine one-two-seven guns added to the cruiser's guns.” Kamarov said, reminding the naval infantrymen of what kind of shells were coming their way.

“They must be planning a landing here, later today.” the chief of staff mused.

“Perhaps. Anything from the Coastal-Defense troops?” Lazarev asked.

“Not yet. Some of the phone lines are down; probably due to the bombardment.” the Chief replied.

Just as the Chief said that, two whooshing sounds were heard, flying past the headquarters building. The Coastal Defense troops had managed to fire two P-20M (SS-C-3 Styx) missiles at the ships, and the two missiles headed out towards the ships.

Unknown to those in the storm cellar, the one Adams-class destroyer had opened fire with its own Standard-1MR missiles, and exploded one of the P-20s, while another was overwhelmed by American jamming, and flew out to sea. And the American ships had spotted where the two missiles had come from, then the cruiser Des Moines began throwing eight-inch shells at the missile battery.

“They're getting close.” Kamarov said.

Then the building shook as a pair of eight-inch shells tore into the fifth floor, and then several five-inch shells did the same. But the cellar withstood the punishment. “Too close,” Lazarev observed.

Just behind the condominium, the missile battery had been silenced, and the one remaining surface-search radar knocked out. Several artillery sites had also been taken out, and both wrecks along the shoreline had been shelled again for good measure. And just as it had started, the bombardment lifted.

Kamarov and Lazarev went to the beach side of the building. They saw the ships leaving, and were disappointed that none appeared to be damaged. Looking around, the two officers saw the two wrecked ships afire again, and they also noticed the damage to the headquarters building. “It could've been worse,” observed Kamarov.

Lazarev looked at the destroyer man. Clearly, he'd never been under fire like this. But he was right. “Any bombardment you can walk away from is a good thing.”

“True, but Major, there's one other thing.” Kamarov said.

“And that one thing is?” Lazarev asked.

“They'll be landing someplace. If not here, where?”

1110 Hours: The Junction of U.S. Routes 77 and 83, Harlingen, Texas.

Lieutenant Colonel Valery Romanenko watched as his airborne regiment took up its positions. Logically, he should be at the old restaurant a couple of kilometers away where his staff was setting up, but he wanted to be here, first, with his men. He'd been with this regiment from the old days in Afghanistan, when they'd been disbanded shortly after that invasion, back to the Ukraine, before the 105th Guards had been reactivated in early 1985. He'd been a Captain then, and wondered why his troops were getting foreign-language training, in both English and Spanish. Only a few days prior to the invasion had they been told what their mission was, and though the soldiers and junior officers were enthusiastic, many of the senior officers had deep misgivings. They knew they'd be fighting far from home, against an enemy that could (and did) organize a guerrilla resistance very quickly, and where the population, with a very few exceptions, was uniformly hostile to the Soviets. Romanenko had seen the atrocities committed by the KGB, DGI, and even regular Soviet units, and he knew from Afghanistan experience that such things only made the population more hostile, and not only more likely to support the guerrillas, but more would also take to the hills to join them.

It had been that disastrous Midland-Odessa offensive that put him in command: his division had not jumped there, due to the shortage of aircraft, but had gone in on the ground as light mechanized infantry. And they didn't face the Americans then, but their South Korean allies-who had quickly shot his division to pieces. His regiment's senior officers had been killed, and he was now the senior battalion commander alive, so he'd taken command. And he'd led his regiment through everything that had followed since, and that had led them here.

Romanenko's chief of staff came up. “Comrade Colonel, I think you should be at the regimental headquarters.”

“In a few minutes,” he replied. Looking towards the north, the sights and sounds of combat were very clear, and it was obvious the regiment would be in combat before too long. “If this is our last battle, Vassily Stepanovich, I want to see the ground first.”

“Yes, Comrade Colonel. It's built up, but that won't be an obstacle to the enemy,” the chief of staff observed.”

“Do we have a line established to Army headquarters? Because it won't be long before we'll be needing reinforcements.”

“We do, Comrade Colonel. And if we do make that call, the rest of the division will be here.”

“Good. Now, we're to deny this intersection to the enemy for as long as possible. And let's see about doing just that.” Romanenko said. “And one other thing.”

“Yes, Comrade Colonel?” the chief asked.

“When the time comes, I'll lead the final counterattack personally.”
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:17 AM
RN7 RN7 is offline
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Great work Matt keep it up!
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:13 AM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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Will do. Has anyone picked up some of the other characters? Alekseyev, Colonel Sergetov, General Malinsky, Capt. Nancy Kozak, all should be familiar to readers of various books...
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:31 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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The saga goes on...and some of the Soviets have problems with Zampolits....

1130 Hours: Cuban 47th MRR, Progresso Lakes, Texas.

Major Ruiz-Santos was livid. His Second Battalion had been overrun, and now, he had American tanks and mechanized infantry pushing in from the west. A staff officer who'd gone to see what had happened after the reconnaissance platoon sent there had failed to check in reported that the Second Battalion's positions were occupied by American tanks and infantry vehicles, and that it appeared that the battalion had been caught unawares by the American shelling, for many of the Cuban dead were still outside their holes and shelters. The staff officer had tried looking for battalion headquarters, but he'd taken a bullet to the shoulder, and had decided to seek medical attention at the regimental aid station. “They're coming, Comrade Major. That's all I can say,” the man had said to conclude his report.

Now, he was waiting for another attack. His First Battalion to the north had reported tanks and infantry vehicles getting into position, while he'd moved a company from Third Battalion, along with a company's worth of T-55s, to try and cover what had been Second Battalion's sector. But to his fury, the traffic over the bridges had not stopped, even though American artillery fire continued to fall around the bridges. He turned to his executive officer, Captain Toledo. “Toledo, get as many of the rear-area troops armed and ready to fight as infantry. It looks like we'll need them. That also means the chemical-warfare platoon, some of the engineers, and any excess air-defense and artillerymen as well.”

“Right away, Comrade Major,” Toledo said. He then picked up the phone to relay the orders. “And where do you want those men placed?”

“Right at the approach to the prewar bridge.”

A few minutes later, about a hundred or so Cuban soldiers, with their AKMs and a few heavy weapons, arrived to take up their positions. But there was no officer available to lead them. And that gave Ruiz-Santos an idea. “Lieutenant Moss!”

“Yes, Comrade Major!” the young political officer said as he ran up to the Major.

“There's a provisional company of riflemen at the approaches to the prewar bridge. They need an officer to lead them, and there's no one else available. You will take command of the company, and hold at all costs.” Ruiz-Santos said.

“Absolutely, Comrade Major!” Moss said. Moss then grabbed his steel helmet and AKM rifle, before going out to join the troops. Captain Toledo saw that and came up to the Major.

“So, now he's out of our hair?” Toledo asked.

Ruiz-Santos nodded. “But I wonder: who will kill him first, some disgruntled rifleman, or the Americans?”

“Not my concern, though if I could, I'd thank whatever American who did kill him,” Ruiz-Santos said. “And if one of our soldiers did the deed? It's doubtful anyone would be alive to court-martial him. Now we'll see what kind of soldier he is.”

To the west, Captain Kozak's company advanced forward. They'd cleaned up the Cuban battalion's positions, and found that those who had survived the artillery fire had been more than willing to surrender when they found her tanks and Bradleys parked on top of their positions. A few die-hards had wanted to fight, but they were quickly dealt with. Pushing ahead, her lead platoon had found some more BTRs and T-55s, and instead of engaging the tanks, they had waited for the two tank platoons to come up. One of them had done so, and promptly shot up the T-55s and BTRs. The Cuban infantry had tried to return fire with recoilless rifles and RPGs, but the tanks were too far away, and hammered the Cuban positions with both their 105-mm main guns and their machine guns. And then her lead platoon leader sent back word: the bridges were still up. Knowing that they weren't going south of the border, she called for artillery fire on the bridges, while moving on ahead. Soon, Fidel, just like last time, she promised.

1140 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters, San Benito Community College.

General Malinsky hung up the phone. He'd had a talk with General Suraykin, who had advised him of the need to put elements of the 105th Guards Air Assault Division into the line. Both generals had hoped to use the 105th as part of any counterattack force, but that was now a moot issue, with both forward tank divisions now being pressed hard, Suraykin had no choice. And Malinsky knew it. Then the bad news about Suraykin's air support had come up, and Malinsky promised Suraykin that he'd try and get some more sorties out of the Air Force, no matter what. He'd closed with a further “Good luck, Suraykin,” before disconnecting the phone. He turned to General Isakov, his Chief of Staff. “Well, Isakov. Suraykin has to commit his airborne. And well before anyone had expected.”

“General Powell is moving as hard and fast as he's able, Comrade General, so it's not a surprising development,” Isakov said.

“Have you spoken with either General Chibisov or General Alekseyev?” Malinsky asked.

“Yes, Comrade General. Both of them, actually. The Theater Commander still refuses to release either 47th Tank Brigade or the 76th Guards Air Assault Division-and it's for a good reason. Naval Intelligence says there's an American amphibious force still out there in the Gulf of Mexico, and a landing on the coastline is still a reasonable possibility,” said Isakov.

“And General Chibisov?”

“General Chibisov was able to get us the Provisional Air Assault Group, Comrade General. Two battalions-plus of air assault troops, with some heavy weapons. They've been sitting on their asses, not doing much, and Chibisov wouldn't have released them to us without General Alekseyev's approval.”

“Some reinforcements are better than none at all. However, I think there's someone who could use some stiffening-and it's not Suraykin,” Malinsky decided.

“Comrade General?” Isakov asked, surprised.

“Here, Isakov. The Cuban 2nd Army. They're pretty strung out, and even some reinforcements would help them a good deal,” Malinsky said.

“That's true, Comrade General.”

Malinsky looked at the map. “Very well, notify the Cubans, and tell them they're getting some help.”

1205 Hours: Cuban 47th MRR, Progresso Lakes, Texas.

American artillery crashed down around the city hall, and Major Ruiz-Santos' headquarters. Part of the building had come down, but here, in the basement, he and his staff were still carrying on with the fight. But he knew it wouldn't be much longer, for he now knew the Americans were closing in on three sides. He also knew that the bridges would have to be destroyed. “Toledo!”

“Comrade Major?” his executive officer asked.

“Tell the engineers on that ribbon bridge: have it ready to blow, if it isn't already. And get our wounded across the river-as soon as possible.”

“Immediately, Comrade Major,” Captain Toledo said, running out to issue the orders.
So it has come down to this, he thought. Well, my Yanqui friends, you're not getting this pair of bridges. Ruiz-Santos decided that right then and there. He turned to his chief of staff. “That push from the west is the dangerous one. Get Captain Vasquez and his tanks moving in that direction.”

The chief of staff nodded. “Yes, Comrade Major. Right away.” Vasquez had the regiment's tank battalion, and one company had already been shot up, but now, Ruiz-Santos had no choice but to commit his tanks. And so, eighteen T-55s and a few BMP-1s headed west, right into the waiting arms of Captain Nancy Kozak's company team.

Kozak's company had finished clearing their part of town, and were only half a mile from the bridge. She had notified the battalion commander, who reiterated the order about not crossing into Mexico. Acknowledging the order, she decided to move in on the bridge, and shoot up anything crossing it. As her company moved forward, the tank platoons spotted the T-55s and BMPs closing on them. A few quick volleys of 105-mm fire and TOW missiles from Bradley IFVs turned the Cuban armor into burning junk, and her company pressed forward to the bridge, firing as they saw targets.

“American tanks!” the shout came from the provisional company. Ruiz-Santos watched as the M-60A4s moved towards the bridge. He knew it was time. He and his men would never get across, not now. Grabbing his radio, he yelled to his engineer company commander on the Mexican side, “Blow both bridges!”

There was a series of WHUMPs, as both the International Bridge and the newly-built ribbon bridge, blew. The Cuban engineers didn't have enough explosives to totally destroy the former, so they concentrated on the spans in the middle of the river, and two spans were dropped. The ribbon bridge was also blown, but ironically, the Americans helped. Two A-10s arrived on the scene, and spotted the ribbon bridge still up. The two A-10s fired Maverick missiles into the bridge, just as the Cubans blew it. And the end result was that the Texas side had been ripped apart by the Maverick missiles, while the Mexican side had been blown by the Cubans.

Lieutenant Moss watched as both bridges blew sky-high. He and his men waited for the American tanks to close in, so that their B-11 recoilless rifles could be used, but the Americans didn't give them the chance. Tank and Bradley fire ripped into his company's positions, and even the A-10s came in, each dropping a pair of five-hundred pound bombs into his position. His last view was of one of the A-10s pulling up and away, and as he turned, he saw an American tank leveling its main gun at him. He got up to charge the tank, but the tank's gunner was quicker with his 105-mm gun, for he fired a HEAT round that blew Moss and the two men nearest him apart.

1220 Hours: K-236, The Gulf of Mexico

“Captain to Central Command Post!” the boat's PA system barked. Captain Padorin had been taking a nap, and he leapt out of his bunk and raced into the CCP. He was not surprised to see his Security Officer there, taking his turn as Officer of the Watch. “What is it?” Padorin asked.

“Comrade Captain, we've got some sonar contacts. On the surface. Too far away for any positive identification, but they're closing.” Shelpin reported.

Padorin went into the sonar room. There, his sonar officer was watching a display. “Comrade Captain, right here. Bearing one-seven-zero.”

“Range?” Padorin asked.

“About 45,000 meters, Comrade Captain. Maybe more.” the sonar officer replied.

The chief operator chimed in. “And they're large ships. This isn't that ASW group we encountered earlier, Comrade Captain.”

Padorin nodded. He considered his options. Then he returned to the CCP and looked at Shelpin. “Sound Battle Stations.”

The general alarm rang, and officers and crewmen raced to their battle stations. Padorin took the con, as both his Starpom and Zampolit arrived in the CCP. Back to work, he thought.

“Shouldn't we report this?” the Zampolit asked.

“Not yet. We're deep enough, and there's a thermal layer. I'm not going to draw any more attention to us unless it's absolutely necessary.” Padorin said.

“Comrade Captain,” the sonar officer said, Four large ships, heading north. And several medium-sized ones, cruisers or destroyers, most likely. Range now 38,000 meters.”

“Carriers?” the Starpom wondered out loud.

“No, the carrier group's to the north of us. An amphibious force?” Padorin asked. “Let's close in and see what we've got. Slowly, mind. New course one-seven zero. Make turns for ten knots, and maintain 300 meters.”

K-236 closed with the approaching ships. Padorin decided against a high-speed sprint, given that he'd probably stirred up a hornet's nest because of that run-in with the ASW group, and the surviving ships would doubtless be out for blood-his and his crew's-as a result. No, he'd take his time, and do this right. And as quietly as possible. He turned to the sonar officer. “Sergei, anything?”

“Just a moment, Comrade Captain.” the sonar officer replied. “Still not enough for a classification. Can't we come up above the layer, just to listen, then drop back down?”

This wouldn't be the first time a sonar operator had made such a request; at times, it was the boat responding to the sonar operators' calls. Padorin nodded., turning to the Starpom, “Make your depth two hundred meters, quietly.”

The helm responded promptly, and soon, the boat was at two hundred meters. “Well?” Padorin asked.

“Comrade Captain....” the chief operator reported. “You're not going to believe this.”

“What?” Padorin responded.

“I'm pretty sure those four heavy ships are battleships. Two are Iowa-class. But the other two, I'm not sure.”

Padorin's jaw dropped. Four battleships! How long had it been since any submariner had heard that from his sonar operators. “What about escorts?”

“Several destroyers, both Spruance- and Adams-class, at least one cruiser, maybe two-and one of them is a Ticonderoga, I'm pretty sure. And two or three frigates-at least two Perrys, and maybe a Knox as well.”

Officers and crew looked around at each other. The navigator whistled, while the Starpom and weapons officer exchanged glances. And the Security Officer and the Captain did the same. Padorin knew that this wasn't his mission, not now. That ASW group had been in his way. Getting in close to Brownsville and evacuating those who needed to get out was his primary mission. His orders when he'd left Cienfeugos had been clear on that. And Padorin made his decision. “All right. Back to three hundred meters, and slow to five knots.”

The Starpom relayed the helm and engine orders. Shelpin exchanged glances with both the Starpom and the navigator. He may have been KGB, but he was no fool. But the Zampolit was. “Comrade Captain! We're not going to attack?”

“Comrade Political Officer,” Padorin said, “Right now, that's not our mission. That American ASW group was in our way, and thus different. And in case you've forgotten, we may be the only way out of Brownsville for some very important personages. We can't do that if we're feeding the fish at the bottom.”

Zirnsky looked around at the other officers, looking for support. He didn't see any. Not even Shelpin, and he was KGB. “But... Comrade Captain, that's the enemy up there.”

“So? Any fool can walk into a fight. It's knowing which fights to walk away from, and preserving one's strength for another day, that's different,” Padorin said in a mild rebuke of his Political Officer.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:48 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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1250 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

General Alekseyev was in a face-to-face with General Petrov. Both generals were livid at whoever was loading the supply planes in Havana, and wanted someone there shot. “Petrov, what is going on there?”

“I don't know, Comrade General. I'll wager, though, that the supply officers are simply throwing whatever they can onto the aircraft. That explains some of the useless cargo we've received.”

Alekseyev sighed. “Just like the freighters, Petrov.” And he saw Petrov nod in reply. “Just do the best you can, General.”

Petrov nodded. “I'll do my best, Comrade General. There's one other thing.”


“We're out of ground-attack aircraft and attack helicopters. All remaining attack aircraft have to come from Mexican bases, and some of those are nearly at the limit of their range,” Petrov said.

“That was to be expected, but so soon?” Alekseyev asked.

“I'm afraid so, Comrade General.”

“I see....All right, Petrov. Get your remaining pilots and essential personnel out of here. No sense leaving experienced men for the Americans. And in a way, the fewer mouths we have to feed, the better.” Alekseyev said.

“I've already issued that order, Comrade General.” Petrov reported.

“Good. And Petrov?”

“Yes, Comrade General?”

“You can leave, yourself, if you wish.” Alekseyev said.

“Comrade General, I'm not leaving until the last possible moment. Either that, or I'm wounded.”

“That's good.” And with that, Alekseyev dismissed the Air Force general, and then he returned to the Operations Room. The map was still largely unchanged, though he did notice something by the Rio Grande. “What's that, Chibisov?”

“Comrade General,” Chibisov reported. “That's just come in from Cuban 2nd Army. The Cuban 47th Motor-Rifle Regiment is fighting for Progresso Lakes, on the river itself. One of the new ribbon bridges is there, as is a prewar international bridge.”

“Have the bridges been blown?” Alekseyev wondered.

“No information as yet, Comrade General. This information's at least an hour old.” Chibsov said.

“Who are they facing, then?” Alekseyev asked.

Chibisov looked at his notes. “As best we can tell, Comrade General, it's the 49th Armored Division out of VIII Corps. A prewar Texas National Guard division, which was shattered in our initial operations back in 1985, and has been rebuilt since. Though most of its officers and soldiers are not Texans, they do remember the fate of the division, and like the 42nd Division in XII Corps, they not only preach revenge-they do practice it.”

“Wonderful. Now that's three American units we have to worry about from that perspective,” Alekseyev said.

Chibisov nodded. “That is correct, Comrade General.”

“So far, we're holding, but only just. It's a matter of time, now,” Alekseyev observed.

“Quite so, Comrade General,” agreed Chibisov. “I imagine the Germans on the west bank of the Oder, or in Berlin itself, went through this same feeling.”

“At least, so far, despite the foul-ups, the airlift is still alive. But that won't last either. I have the feeling that in regards to that, it's the calm before the storm.”

“Comrade General, I'm afraid you're right.”

1310 Hours: Cuban 47th MRR, Progresso Lakes, Texas

Major Ruiz-Santos peered out of a shattered window frame in what had been City Hall. He looked towards the International Bridge, and noted with satisfaction that the bridge, though not completely dropped, would be useless to the Yanquis if they wanted it to cross into Mexico. His regiment, though, was in similar shape, with two battalions' worth of infantry, his armor and artillery, and most of his support services, all gone. What remained of his First Battalion, and some fugitives from the other two battalions, were holding in the city hall and some adjacent buildings. However, he knew full well that there were only two probable outcomes: either he and his men would soon be dead, or they would be prisoners. Fortunately, he still had a radio link to 2nd Army, and General Perez was still urging him to hold out, as long as possible. He turned and went back down into the cellar, where his staff was still working, though a number of officers and men, their positions now redundant, had picked up AK-47s and joined the fighting. The Major found Captain Toledo, his Executive Officer, looking at a map of the city. “Oh, I didn't see you, Comrade Major.”

“Not to worry, Toledo. Though I expect, before too long, we won't have much to worry about,” Ruiz-Santos said.

“Yes. Here's our ammunition supply, best as I can figure,” Toledo said.

“Hmm. Plenty of small-arms ammunition, and some recoilless rifle rounds, along with a few mortar rounds. Enough to hold what, the rest of the day?”

“I believe so, Comrade Major, though I do wonder for what purpose?”

Major Ruiz-Santos looked at his Executive Officer. He'd been thinking the same thing himself. The bridges had been denied to the enemy, which had been his main objective. At what point did one feel that everything that could be done, had been done? There was no answer to that in any of his Academy texts, and he doubted anyone there knew, either. “We can still do our duty, Toledo.”

“Yes, Comrade Major,” Toledo replied, shouldering his AKM rifle.

Across from City Hall, Captain Kozak was coming to a decision on how to get rid of the building's obnoxious defenders. Contacting her battalion commander, she asked for some aircraft or helicopters to loiter overhead, but not to attack. Curious, the battalion commander asked why, and she quickly outlined what she had in mind. And having gotten his approval, Kozak made her decision. She turned to her First Sergeant. “Find Lieutenant Olivera, and get him over here, pronto.”

“Yes, Ma'am.”

The First Sergeant found her Second Platoon leader, a Puerto Rican who'd joined the Army two days after the war began, dropping out of the University of Miami. He'd fought for three years as an enlisted infantryman, before being shipped to OCS, and was now an up-and-coming platoon leader. He reported to Kozak “Yes, Ma'am?”

“Miguel, I've got something in mind, and if it goes right, nobody else dies here today.” She outlined what she wanted him to do. “Any questions?”

“No, Ma'am, though I'd rather let the Air Force handle them.”

“They will, if it doesn't work.” Kozak replied.

1330 Hours: 377th Ground-Attack Regiment, San Benito Municipal Airport.

Senior Lieutenant Morozik came back to his unit, left arm in a sling, but at least he was walking back. He'd landed hard after ejecting from his Su-25, and while hanging in his parachute, he saw the F-15 that had shot him down circle overhead. At first, he'd expected to be gunned in his chute, but the American was clearly marking the location of the crash, so that the kill could be confirmed. Morozik had been found by an air-assault regiment, its troops still in reserve, and their regimental surgeon had diagnosed his injury: a dislocated shoulder. After he'd gotten treatment, they'd sent him to a field hospital. What he'd seen there.....all he wanted after that was to get on the first transport out of Texas.

When Morozik walked into the hangar, he was mobbed by the other pilots. The big question was “What happened to Gorovets?” And when told “F-15,” there was silence. All he wanted now was to get on the next plane he could find and get out. Havana would do, but Mexico City-or anywhere in Mexico-would do in a pinch. Certainly not here. But he was surprised to see the regiment's mechanics working on the last Su-25 available; it had been shot up earlier that morning, but was repairable. And to his surprise, several pilots were still willing to go into combat in that aircraft. Morozik found Captain Gennady Kamarev, the senior officer left standing. Military formalities were starting to go, as he said, “Gennady.”

“What a mess,” Kamarev replied. “One aircraft that may not fly, two dozen pilots, and a lot of ground staff who'll make lousy infantrymen. Not a good day.”

“It could be worse,” Morozik said.

“What do you mean?”

“We still could have a political officer, you know,” Morozik deadpanned.

Kamarev looked at him for a minute, and then both broke out laughing. “Hearing the latest Party slogans certainly wouldn't do for morale, which is near rock bottom and getting worse.”

“After what I saw at the field hospital, getting my shoulder looked at?” Morozik asked. “That would send things really downhill.”

“That bad?”

“Worse. They triage cases depending on who's still able to fight. The walking wounded, or any non-stretcher cases, get bandaged up and sent back to the front. Really serious cases-the ones who won't last a day or two? They just set them aside to die, with no one to tend them! If you've got a pair of broken legs, or a broken arm, maybe a penetrating wound that's not serious? Those are the ones they ticket for the airlift,” Morozkik said. “I'd love to see what a Party hack has to say about this.”

“Be glad you won't. Before you got here, I got a call from the General. We're getting out of here,” Kamarev said.

Morozik looked at him. “What?”

“You heard correctly. An An-12 will be here, along with two An-26s, just before dusk. The An-12 takes our ground staff-at least the essential ones-and the An-26s take the pilots and ground officers. If there's room, the -26s take some other ground crew.” Kamarev said.

“So we do have a chance at getting out of this nightmare.”

“A chance. Nothing's a given. American fighters have been out, and from what the General said, they've feasted on some transports out over the Gulf,” Kamarev reported. “So we may wind up in Mexico.”

1350 Hours: Cuban 2nd Army Headquarters, Rangerville, Texas.

General Perez looked at his map. The 47th MRR was now surrounded and cut off from not only the rest of the Army, but from escape into Mexico. Perez knew, as did his staff, that further resistance there was useless, but when he reported the situation to Havana, after he'd passed on the information to Front Headquarters, he'd received an order from Fidel Castro himself: No Surrender. “For the glory of the Revolution, and for Cuba, No Surrender.” He spat at the message form and shook his head. He turned to his Chief of Staff. “Antonio, anything new from the 47th?”

“No, Comrade General. We've tried to reach them, but enemy jamming has prevented it. We do know that they did blow the bridges, however.” the Chief of Staff said.

“True, but that's only because some of their engineers and other support personnel made it into Mexico,” Perez commented.

“Yes, Comrade General,”

“Still....I don't like it, any more than you do, but relay this to the 47th from Havana. They are to continue fighting to the last round.” Perez told his Chief of Staff.

“What? Whose idea is that?”

“President Fidel's, of course,” Perez spat.

“Of all the....” the chief said, stopping as the operations officer came in. “And what is it now, Major?”

“Comrade General, Front Headquarters has sent us some reinforcements.”

“Reinforcements?” Perez asked.

“Yes, Comrade General. Two battalions, reinforced, of Soviet air-assault troops,” the operations officer said.

Perez digested the information. Well now, at least he had some reinforcements. But who needed them the most? All of his units were in bad shape, and with VIII Corps coming in on him, that was likely to get much worse. “Hmm,” he said. “Where to deploy them?”

“Along the river?” asked the Chief of Staff.

“No, we've got two provisional units there, defending the ribbon bridges,” Perez said. “Wait. We've one tank regiment left-pulled from the 21st Division's control, correct?”

“Yes, Comrade General,” the chief replied. “But they don't have hardly any infantry support.”

“They do now. Send those Soviet air-assault troops to join the 214th Tank Regiment,” Perez said. “That regiment is our last reserve. When it's gone.....we're gone.”

“Immediately, Comrade General.”
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:15 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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It keeps on going....

1400 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport.

General Lukin watched as two Il-76s came in on combat landings. He'd heard over the radio as these planes had been intercepted by American fighters, and the escorting Su-27s had given the Americans a fight. Still, of four Il-76s, two had been shot down, and who knew what cargo had gone in with the aircraft? But at least some supplies, either air-dropped or simply rolled off the ramp of landed aircraft, had arrived, and several hundred men, half wounded and half “specialists” had gotten out. Only one thing had marred the day's proceedings: just as one of the transports-an Il-62 with Aeroflot markings, one which had taken on board a number of GRU personnel, lifted off and headed east. Staying low, and following the Rio Grande, the big Iluyshin looked like it might make it. Then an F-15 had come down from high above, and pounced. Two missiles came from the Eagle, and both connected with the airliner. The Il-62's port wing and part of the tail were blown off, and the aircraft plunged into the ground, just north of the Rio Grande, the fireball being visible for several kilometers. That had not done much for morale. Now, two cargo planes had come in, and began to unload. And Lukin ran over.

“Good news, Comrade General,” the cargo officer said. “Canned food, and some crates of small-arms ammunition.”

“Excellent! Get that distributed as soon as possible. And get a hundred men ready to move, specialists or stretcher cases, I don't care. But get this plane loaded and out of here,” Lukin said.

The cargo officer nodded and went to the terminal building. Lukin went over to the second plane. It too, was unloading. “What have we here?” General Lukin asked.

An Army supply officer was going over the manifest. “Comrade General, it's so-so.”

“What do you mean by that?” Lukin wanted to know.

“There's several crates filled with extra reactive armor blocks, for starters.”

“What?” Lukin asked, surprised.

“Reactive armor blocks, Comrade General. There's also boxes marked tongue depressors. About ten thousand.”

Lukin swore, and swore loudly. “Of all the...”

“There's some ammunition, though, Comrade General, and a number of crates marked Igla rockets.” the supply colonel said.

General Lukin stopped. Iglas-what the Americans called the SA-16, were deadly shoulder-fired SAMs. Now, he had something else to defend the field besides antiaircraft guns and small-arms fire. It was better than nothing. “What else?”

“Some bandages, and a few boxes marked 'rubbing alcohol.'”

Lukin nodded. “Get that to the nearest field hospital. Now!”

“Right away, Comrade General!” the colonel replied.

While he was talking to the supply colonel, the first Il-76 began taking on passengers. Some were clearly able-bodied, the specialists that General Alekseyev and other senior officers wanted out. Others were wounded whose recovery time meant they wouldn't be back at the front. A doctor checked each casualty, to ensure against self-inflicted wounds. When the doctor examined one patient-a tank sergeant-he shouted to one of the Commandant's Service (Soviet MPs). The wound was declared to be self-inflicted, and the hapless sergeant taken to one side, his insignia torn from his shoulders, and shot. Soon, two more cases were found, one of them an officer, and both shared the same fate as the hapless sergeant.

General Lukin paid no attention, as his focus was on getting what cargo could be delivered. “All right, Colonel. Most of this, we can use. Get everything distributed as fast as possible.”

The supply officer acknowledged, and Lukin went back to the hangar. As he did so, the first Il-76 took off, and the escorting fighters joined up with it and headed east. He was picking up his phone to talk with Theater Headquarters when an aide shouted. Running outside, he saw another An-124 coming in, dropping its supply load. And just as the final parachutes deployed, two missiles came down on the big transport from the northeast. Both warheads detonated, and the big Antonov's left wing tore apart. The plane streamed fire as it rolled on its side, and as it plunged earthwards, disintegrated in flames.

1420 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters, San Benito Community College

General Malinsky and his Chief of Staff, Isakov, were pouring over the Operations Map. They'd noticed that Suraykin had committed one regiment from the 105th Guards Airborne to the actual Highway 77-83 junction, and both fully expected him to commit the rest of the division there before too long. Both Malinsky and Suraykin had hoped that the 105th could be used as a part of a counterattack force, but clearly, that was not to be. Other than 20th and 38th Tank Divisions, the only remaining forces available to Suraykin was the 6th Guards Motor-Rifle Division, and they were, at best, only at 60% strength.
Malinsky pointed at the map. “Look here, Isakov. Whoever's commanding XVIII Airborne Corps should have seen this opportunity. He could have taken the intersection before the 105th's lead regiment arrived.”

“That may be easier said than done, Comrade General,” Isakov said. “All that's available to that corps right now are the two airborne divisions-the 82nd and the 101st-and we haven't placed the 82nd yet.”

“Which means the 82nd-or elements thereof-could be available for other operations,” Malinsky said. It was not a question.

“That appears to be the case, Comrade General.” Isakov said. He pointed at the map. “There's only one likely area for such a drop, and that's the Brownsville-South Padre Island Airport.”

Malinsky scowled. “Right where our airlift is centered.”

“Yes, Comrade General. If Powell wants to make sure the airlift doesn't work, what better way than to seize the airport?”

“Mother of God, Isakov,” Malinsky said. “I think you're right.” He looked at the map again. “Get me General Alekseyev, and I mean NOW!”

Isakov nodded. “Right away, Comrade General.”

1450 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville.

General Chibisov knocked on Alekseyev's office door. “Comrade General?” There was no answer. He quietly opened the door and found his commanding general asleep on his office couch. Chibisov hated to wake his general, but after talking with Malinsky, he knew he had no choice. This was something neither one had thought of-until now.

Alekseyev opened his eyes. “Oh, Pavel Pavlovitch. It's you.”

“I'm sorry to wake you, Comrade General,” Chibisov said. “But General Malinsky's on the line. There's something you should hear from him.”

Alekseyev shook the sleep from his eyes, and looked at his watch. A two-hour nap. Oh, well, it would have to do. “Put him through.”

Chibisov went to the office phone and spoke into it. He then handed the receiver to Alekseyev. “General Malinsky, Comrade General.”

Alekseyev took it. “Yes, Malinsky?”

“Comrade General, there's a potential development that I don't think any one of us had considered-until now.”

“Oh, what is it, then?”

Malinsky paused, choosing his words carefully. “Comrade General, We've identified most of XVIII Airborne Corps, but for one division. That division, if it's committed properly, could seal things, and quickly.”

Alekseyev perked up. He knew what Malinsky was referring to. “You do mean the 82nd Airborne, Malinsky?”

“Yes, I do, Comrade General,” Malinsky replied. “They're not in the line, and both my Chief of Staff and I feel that that may be because Powell is saving them for something big.”

“Does your own intelligence chief agree?” asked Alekseyev.

“He says it's possible. But the 82nd may be withheld from this operation-for what's likely to follow. But I'm not so sure.” Malinsky said.

“All right. If it happens, we've got some reserves-the 47th Tank Brigade and 76th Guards Air Assault Division. Just pray that it doesn't,” Alekseyev told Malinsky.

“Understood, Comrade General.”

“Anything else, Malinsky?”

“Not at present, Comrade General. We're still holding, but only just,” Malinsky replied.

“Thank you, Malinsky. I'll get back to you.” And with that, Alekseyev hung up, and then he went over to his own map. “You used to be an airborne officer, Pavel Pavlovitch. Where would you drop a brigade or two in this area?”

“Comrade General, if Malinsky's right, the 82nd Airborne could end this, if Powell's willing to go that far. I'd drop them-with a Ranger Battalion leading the way. That's their usual procedure, and put them here: right on top of the airlift at Brownsville-South Padre Island Airport.”

Alekseyev's blood chilled. That kind of drop would not only mean the end of the airlift, but it would render whatever stand Suraykin and the rest of Malinsky's generals made irrelevant. If it was coordinated with a Marine landing.....”Warn Petrov. Have him get some kind of anti-paratrooper defenses established. And do it fast.”
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:17 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And some more:

1510 Hours: Cuban 47th MRR, Progresso Lakes, Texas.

Major Ruiz-Santos poked his head again out of a shattered window in the City Hall. He and his headquarters personnel had been holding the Americans off for several hours, but now, one thing was clear: there was no way out. He and what remained of his regiment were now cut off, from both the river and their own forces to the east, and it was now only a matter of time. He'd also heard aircraft overhead, and wondered why he hadn't been bombed into oblivion. Maybe the Americans were concerned about hitting their own troops? Ruiz-Santos crawled to where Captain Toledo was, huddled at the entrance to City Hall. “Anything?”

“No, Comrade Major, nothing yet. Though it's been quiet for the last fifteen minutes or so.”

“It has been that. Maybe they're low on ammunition, and had to hold up for resupply?” Ruiz-Santos asked.

“I don't know, but right now, Comrade Major, your guess is as good as mine.” said Toledo. “At least they killed Lieutenant Moss, so we won't have to worry about Havana.”

“There is that,” agreed Ruiz-Santos. Then one of the men shouted. The Yanquis were up to something. Both officers crawled to where the man had shouted, and peeked through a hole in the wall. They saw an American soldier coming to them under a white flag. “Hold your fire!” Ruiz-Santos ordered.

“What's this?” Toledo asked.

“I don't know, but I'm going to find out,” Ruiz-Santos said. He went to the front door and went outside to the curb. There, he received the American. “I am Major Ruiz-Santos, of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba,” he said in English.

“Second Lieutenant Manuel Olivera, United States Army.” the American replied.

“What is it that you want?” Ruiz-Santos demanded.

“Your surrender, Major.” Olivera said. “You're surrounded, low on ammunition and food, and there's no way out. Just put your weapons down and come on out.”

“Oh, just like that?” Ruiz-Santos shot back.

“Yes, Major. Just like that. You and your men will be well treated, and your wounded will be tended to. And you've done everything you could have done.”

“And if I refuse?” Asked Ruiz-Santos.

“You will be responsible for the consequences,” Olivera said. “Hear those jets overhead? My company commander says they're loaded with laser-guided bombs. And they've got your location targeted.”

Ruiz-Santos looked up. There were two American planes overhead, and they looked like F-111s. He looked back at his men,who were now at the windows. And Ruiz-Santos knew that he was responsible for them. He also knew that he did want to see his family again. “I only ask that the wounded leave first.”

Olivera nodded. He waved to his own lines, and both tanks and Bradleys advanced. American infantry came out of the Bradleys, and approached city hall. And one female officer walked up to the two. “Ma'am,” Olivera said, “Major Ruiz-Santos, Cuban Army.”

“Captain Nancy Kozak, United States Army,” she said, saluting.

Ruiz-Santos' jaw dropped. It was bad enough to surrender, but surrender to a woman? But he knew it was over. “Captain, I only ask that my wounded be brought out first.”

“I think we can do that. Have your men throw their weapons out the windows, and no funny business.” Kozak said.

Ruiz-Santos nodded. He went back to the city hall and spoke. Cuban medical orderlies and even a couple of nurses came out, assisting the walking wounded, as well as bearing several stretcher cases. After this was done, the remaining Cubans came out of City Hall and two adjacent buildings, hands up.
Seeing this, Ruiz-Santos gave Kozak his rifle and pistol. “Your prisoner, Captain.”

1525 Hours: 377th Ground-Attack Regiment, San Benito Municipal Airport.

The pilots and ground staff of the 377th were gathered in their hangar. The regiment's last Su-25 had been pronounced ready to fly after several hours of repairs, and now the moment of truth had arrived. The pilots had drawn straws to see who would fly it, and Senior Lieutenant Mikhail Dimenshenko was the lucky one. The plane was fully armed with four KMGU cluster bombs, four 80-mm rocket pods, and two R-60 AAMs. At least he'd had no formal mission orders, so Morozik had told him to fly to the 77-83 intersection, and look around for opportunity targets. He smiled, closed the canopy, and taxied out of the hangar. Captain Kamarev looked at the patched-up plane, and asked Morozik, “Will this work?”

“I don't know. All I know is that my war's over,” Morozik said. “Where's the dammed airlift?”

“Good question.” Kamarev said, looking to the south. Then he saw three specks in the sky. “There.”

Morozik looked in that direction, and he saw them too, one An-12 and two smaller An-26s. Just as the transports closed in, the Su-25 rolled down the runway and into the air. Then the three tranports landed.

“Mechanics, armorers, and medical staff in the An-12. Pilots in the first An-26. Other remaining ground staff in the other one,” Kamarev shouted.

Instead of a mad rush, it was orderly. Unlike many evacuation flights, this time, there was enough room for everyone. Kamarev went up to the cockpit of his An-26 and found the pilot. He was surprised to see that the pilot was almost as old as his own father. “Where'd they find you?”

“Retired Aeroflot, then they recalled me when this mad business got going.” the pilot replied. “Find a seat, and buckle in. We're getting out of here.”

“Give me a headset first. I need to talk to my airborne aircraft,” Kamarev asked.

“Here,” the navigator said, throwing a spare over.

Kamarev didn't waste time. “Mikhail, when you're finished, head south. Get to Monterrey if you can.”

The pilot turned and looked at him. “That's where we're headed.” With that, the pilots gunned the engines, and the An-26 rolled down the runway and lifted off. Instead of climbing out, they stayed low until they got across the river. The An-12 made it, but as it got clear, its tail gunner saw a horrific sight: the other An-26 was pulling up when an American fighter, maybe an F-8, came down and sprayed the two engines with cannon fire. Both engines exploded, and tore the wings off the transport, which spun down into the ground, fireballing as it did so. The An-12 itself barely made it, for as the F-8 turned to follow, it had to avoid a shoulder-fired missile, and had to leave.

1540 Hours: 4th Guards Tank Army Headquarters

General Suraykin looked at his map, and swore loudly. Not at General Golvoko, his Chief of Staff, but in general. One regiment of the 105th Guards Airborne was now in place, and it was likely he'd need the whole division. And both tank divisions in the line were getting ground down. He knew that the 52nd was the worst off, and it would need some help, but soon, 24th Tanks would soon be in the same position, and in dire need of help as well. Suraykin looked up at General Golvoko. “I don't like it, but there's not much choice. Order 6th Guards Motor-Rifle Division to take up positions behind the 52nd Tank Division.”

Golvoko looked at the map. He nodded. “Yes, Comrade General,” he said calmly.

“Any sign of the 101st Airborne Division? If they decide on a heliborne assault, there's not that much we can do about that,” Suraykin reminded his Chief of Staff.

“So far, no, Comrade General. Though some of the 101st's attack helicopters have been in action, none of the three maneuver brigades have been identified at the front,” responded Golvoko.

“So far,” Suraykin said. He knew that if the Americans suddenly put troops behind him on Highways 77-83, he'd have a very hard time breaking out to the south, if he needed to do so.

“Yes, Comrade General.”

“Now, what about the air force? Any additional sorties today?” Suraykin asked.

“The Air Force reports that they're trying. We've had some Su-22Ms and even Su-24s come in, but for every aircraft that does appear, at least three don't,” Golvoko reported.

“Let me guess: either shot down or forced to jettison their weapons when enemy fighters appear.”

“That is basically it, Comrade General.”

Suryakin nodded. “See if you can't get any more out of our comrades in blue, Golvoko. Even a few more aircraft will help. And the morale factor is considerable one. Seeing our aircraft still in the battle has given our men a boost.”

“I'll put more pressure on the Air Force, but they're on record as not wanting to make promises they can't deliver.”

“Still,” Suraykin reminded his Chief of Staff, “Get whatever you can. Think of the infantrymen and the tank crews out there.”

1605 Hours: Headquarters, Cuban 2nd Army.

General Perez slammed his fist on the map table. He was not in a good mood after getting the latest from his left flank. “What do you mean by over?” Perez thundered at a staff officer.

“Comrade General, it appears that it's over in Progresso Lakes. There has been no contact at all with the 47th MRR, and reports via the Mexican side of the border indicate that fighting there has ceased.”

“Ceased?” Perez asked, with an angry tone in his voice.

“Yes, Comrade General. They appear to have formally surrendered.”

General Perez glared at the staffer. “They did what?”

The Chief of Staff came in, much to the staff officer's relief. “The 47th MRR has formally surrendered, Comrade General. One last message was sent, saying that the Americans were outside the regimental headquarters, and that they were destroying their classified materials.”

“Did they ever acknowledge the order sent from Havana?” Perez asked.

“No, Comrade General, they did not.” the chief replied. “Chances are, the American jamming prevented their ever receiving it.”

Perez calmed down. Still, not knowing who on his staff was reporting back to Havana-almost certainly to the DGI-was a bit unnerving. “All right, that battle's over and done. What about those Soviet air-assault troops?”

“They've just arrived, and have joined the 214th Tank Regiment, as instructed,” the chief responded.

“Good. They're our only reserve left, unless someone can pry a regiment out of our neighbors to the north,” Perez commented, referring to 3rd Shock Army.

The Chief of Staff responded, “That, Comrade General, would be easier said than done.”
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:29 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the beat goes on...and more political officer troubles...

1630 Hours: Federal Building, Brownsville

Ambassador Markarev's car pulled up to curb near the main entrance. His car, a “requisitioned” Cadillac, had been his since late 1985, and he knew that their days together were numbered. It was a pity there was no room on the airlift for “souvenirs”, because this was one item he did want to take back to Moscow with him. He got out of the car and acknowledged the aide that President Hall had sent to bring him to the President's office. One thing did catch his eye: Hector Lorenzo, the Cuban Ambassador. “Ah, Hector! Fancy seeing you here.”

“Good afternoon, Comrade Ambassador,” Lorenzo replied. “Though there's not that much good today.”

“Yes, the Fascists are closing in, and their net is tightening, my military aide says.” Makarev replied.

“That is true,” Lorenzo said. “Now, what does President Hall want with both of us?”

“A very good question.” And the two ambassadors entered the building, and both noticed the continuing activity. It appeared that the normal hustle-and-bustle was still ongoing, though in his previous meetings, Makarev had noticed the burn barrels outside, where documents were being burned. And no surprise here, the barrels were still active. How many documents did they want destroyed?
That thought continued in his mind as the two ambassadors rode the elevator to the fourth floor, where Hall maintained his office. “And so, here we are.”

The two ambassadors exited, and were quickly announced to President Hall. To Makarev, the man had aged a few years in the past day, and given the stress everyone in the pocket was under, that was no surprise. “Good afternoon, my friends,” Hall said, standing up to welcome the pair.

“Comrade President,” Makarev said, as did Lorenzo.

“Please, sit,” Hall said, motioning to a pair of chairs. “I've made my decision about leaving.”

The two ambassadors exchanged glances. Makarev spoke first. “And that is, Comrade President?”

“Before I leave, along with the cabinet, there are a number of people who have served my administration well,” Hall said. “I'm not leaving until they go out as well. We'll need them in Havana, and later on, Moscow, to set up the government-in-exile.”

“How many?” Lorenzo asked.

“About two hundred or so,” Hall said, handing both ambassadors a list.

Makarev read it. Through his own sources, he knew some of the names already: they were prominent on the Americans' “Most Wanted” list. “Some of these here, Comrade President, have prices on their heads.”

“I'm well aware of that. And I count myself as one of them: I know there is a sizable reward for my death or capture.” Hall reminded the ambassadors.

Loenzo nodded. “I will be speaking with President Castro later today, Comrade President. He will, of course, make all necessary arrangements for your exile government. Including use of the former U.S. Embassy in Havana.”

“Then when do we leave?” Hall asked.

“The Fascists have been paying attention to the airport runways,” Makarev said. “It seems that as soon as the engineers fill the bomb craters, they come back and crater the runways again. But you can be assured, every effort will be made to fly you, and those you nominate, out.”

“My greatest appreciation, Comrade Ambassador,” said Hall. “I only wish those coming in from the north would understand my actions. All I wanted was a Socialist America, living in peace and harmony with the world. Now, that dream is over, and I am now considered the worst traitor in American history.”

Both ambassadors knew Hall got nostalgic at times. And they also knew that any jury-whether it was in a U.S. Military Tribunal, or in a Federal Courtroom, would not be sympathetic to Hall, nor to anyone else tied to the “Liberation Government.” If captured, he could expect a fair, but prompt, trial and a speedy execution. And the same went for his cabinet, and anyone else on the wanted list. “You may be assured, Comrade President,” Lorenzo said, “Everything possible will be done to enable you to carry on, even from Havana.”

“Or Moscow,” Makarev said, “should you carry on with that option, as we discussed earlier.”

“As I said earlier, I do plan to accept Fidel's offer. But in the long term, it would be best if we went to Moscow. But that will be a year, maybe longer, before we do so.” Hall said.

“Again, my thanks,” Hall said. “Please inform us when it's time to leave.”

“Of course, Comrade President,” Makarev said.

With that, the meeting ended, and the two ambassadors left. In the elevator, Makarev asked Lorenzo, “He's been like this with you?”

“Every time,” Lorenzo admitted. “He's in his own universe, sometimes. Issuing orders to state and county officials who are either dead, arrested, or in hiding, for one. Demanding that Operation Phoenix be accelerated, the ALA step up recruitment, things like that. Then he snaps out of it, and sanity takes hold.”

“I imagine when he gets to Havana, his disposition will improve. I'll tell you this, though: when he leaves, so do I. I've reduced my staff to essential personnel only; how about your people?”

“The same. All it takes for us to leave is one plane load, and I don't care if it takes us to Mexico City first.”

Makarev laughed. “That's a good attitude. I have no intention of becoming shark food myself.”

1650 Hours: K-236, The Gulf of Mexico

Captain Padorin was checking the plot. The American surface group had passed, though they could still be heard, faintly, off to the north. He still couldn't believe it himself; Four battleships! Not since the Second World War had any submarine captain, regardless of which side he'd been on, had heard that call from his sonar operators. And the other officers had been equally surprised. Only the Zampolit had been eager for an attack, and he'd deserved the mild dressing-down Padorin gave him. Other captains may not have had the guts to do so, but with his father able to back him up, if necessary, he'd given the eager Party man a lesson in tactics.

He looked around the control room. Strenlikov, the damage-control officer, was serving as Officer of the Watch. At least Viktor is a nice chap: the younger of three brothers, his eldest brother by fifteen years had been a Spetsnatz colonel, before guerrillas had killed him in Colorado. His second brother had been an Su-24 pilot, and had been shot down in Arizona, and no word had been heard about him since. And rumors of how wild Indians treated downed Soviet airmen had gotten around. Padorin would rather die a sailor's death than be staked out in the scorching desert and flayed alive....”Where are we, Viktor?”

“Maintaining three hundred meters, as ordered, Comrade Captain. Course: zero-eight-five. Speed, ten knots.”

Padorin looked at the chart. Just close enough to make a high-speed run towards shore, make their pickup, and get out fast. And hope the American ASW group was elsewhere. Fighting his way out was not what he had in mind. He turned to the sonar officer. “Any contacts?”

“Comrade Captain, very faint surface contacts to the north. But they're moving away,” the sonar officer reported.

Padorin nodded. Then Shelpin, the KGB Security Officer, came up to him. “Comrade Captain, a word?”

“Of course,” Padorin said. “Viktor, you have the deck and the con.”

“Aye, Comrade Captain.”

The Captain and the Security Officer went into the wardroom and locked the door. Soundproofed, its designers knew that not everything talked about here was meant for the ears of others. And sometimes, that meant one's fellow officers. “Yes?”

“Comrade Captain, I think the Political Officer is starting to become, how do they say politely? Mutinous.”

Padorin nodded. He knew the Zampolit wasn't happy with his decision to avoid attacking the American battleship group. But mutiny? “What do you mean?”

“He's been sounding out other officers, and some of the warrant officers. I know, the man can recite the works of Marx and Lenin backwards as well as forwards, but can he fight a submarine? At least I went to sub school, Captain. He didn't.” Shelpin said.

“And in doing so, you've earned the respect of the officers and crew,” Padorin said. “And I do trust your judgment, even if you are a 'Sword and Shield' man.”

Shelpin nodded. “Thank you, Captain. Now, what to do about our dear Zampolit?”

“Watch him, and wait. The minute he steps out of line, we'll take care of him.”

“One thing sub school taught me: there are a number of ways for a man to die accidentally on a submarine.” Shelpin said.

“Quite so. And there's a convenient way to dispose of him, if necessary. He'll fit inside one of the 65 centimeter torpedo tubes. And frankly, I do wish he'd try something. He'd be out of our hair after that.”

1700 Hours: South Padre Island, Texas.

Major Lazarev's men were picking up the pieces-and a few bodies-after the American shore bombardment. The nearby coastal-defense missile battery had been torn apart by shells from an American cruiser in a bombardment that reminded some of the movies they'd seen about the Great Patriotic War, and to make things worse, the surface-search radar, damaged by an anti-radar missile, had been blown to pieces by a heavy-caliber shell. Now, the only warning the Naval Infantrymen would have would be visual. Lazarev himself went up to the fourth floor of the condominium he was using as a headquarters, and found Captain Lieutenant Kamarov there. Since it was unsafe to go any higher, he and his lookouts had taken up new positions on that floor. “Anything?” Lazarev asked.

“Just getting settled in, Comrade Major,” Kamarov said. “But so far, nothing.”

“That was an experience....We've been bombed here, and shelled by destroyers, but that cruiser....” Lazarev's voice trailed off as he remembered the sound. He was sure that not only he could hear the guns being fired, but the impact as well. Or was that his mind playing tricks on him?

“That was bad, I'll grant you,” Kamarov said. “It was probably worse for the crew of that freighter we saw: that same cruiser found a freighter making a run for the shoreline, and blasted it to pieces.”

Lazarev remembered hearing that story before. At least here, there was someplace to take cover. But out at sea.....”Let me guess: target practice for the cruiser?”

“You do guess correctly, Comrade Major,” Kamarov replied. He, too, shuddered at the thought of his destroyer, instead of an air strike, coming across that cruiser. His ship wouldn't have stood a chance. Then a lookout interrupted him.

“Comrades, there's something out there. Bearing zero-nine-zero.” The chief lookout reported.

Kamarov and Major Lazarev peered through the spotting glasses, one after the other. “What are those?” Lazarev asked.

“I have an idea, but I don't think you'll like it,” Kamarov said, picking up a ship recognition manual. He peered through the spotting glasses again.

“Well?” demanded the Major.

“Have a look for yourself. You could be the first commander since the Pacific War in 1945 to face a bombardment by four battleships,” Kamarov said.

Lazarev stopped in his tracks. He couldn't have heard correctly. “Four.....battleships?”

“Yes. Two are Iowa-class, the other two, I'm not sure, but one of them is either Alabama or Massachusetts . The last one in line looks to be North Carolina. Museum ships, if our intelligence briefing was correct, but the Americans reactivated them,” Kamarov said, matter of factly.

“And that's how many guns?”

“That's thirty-six guns, forty-point-six centimeter,” Kamarov replied. “A lot of firepower.”

Lazarev peered through the spotting glasses again. Then he saw the ships turn away to the east. “They're leaving.”

“For now.” Kamarov said. “I think they'll be back.”

Lazarev looked at the destroyer officer. “For once, I hope you're wrong.”
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:04 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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1710 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport.

General Petrov didn't need a staff officer to tell him the airlift was in trouble. He could see it for himself. Not only had an An-124 been shot down, but four other transports inbound had also suffered the same fate, and all had gone down within sight of the field. It was clear that the VTA was in the same position as the Lufwaffe's Fligerkorps VIII had been in November, 1942 to January, 1943 at Stalingrad: having to make do the best they could with an impossible job. But several other transports from Cuba had made it in, and their cargoes had been quickly unloaded, their human cargo quickly loaded aboard, and the aircraft took off. One of the planes, an Il-62 with Aeroflot markings, had been shot down just after takeoff, but the others had gotten away from the field. Whether or not they made it to Cuba, though.....that was a different matter.

General Lukin came up to him. “Comrade General, Eight more inbound, and then that's it for today.”

Petrov looked at him. “Eight?”

“Yes, Comrade General,” replied Lukin.

“What aircraft types?” Petrov asked.

“Three Il-76s, two An-12s, one An-74, and two Il-62s,” Lukin said.

“Did you say 'An-74'?” Petrov asked.

“That's correct Comrade General.” Lukin replied. “Several preproduction examples were sent to Cuba, and now they've been released for the airlift.”

“And whose idea was it to release them now?” demanded Petrov. “Several of the smaller fields we've lost could have supported the An-74s without any difficulty!”

“That, Comrade General, I don't have an answer for.”

Petrov swore, and not only did he swear, but he did so loud and long. His job might have been a somewhat easier had those An-74s been released earlier, for the municipal airports that could only handle smaller transports, those An-12 sized or smaller, would have easily been able to land the An-74s. Now....”Well, at least if the runways get bombed again, the An-74s can still get in and out.”

“There is that, Comrade General. ETA is 1750 our time,” Lukin reported.

“All right. Let's get them down, and then out of here as fast as we can. And let's hope the Americans didn't kill any of them on the way in.”

1725 Hours: Port of Brownsville

Admiral Gordikov watched as the last cargo was unloaded from the Cherepovets. What had been quite useless had been set aside, while what could be useful had been sent off for distribution. Though the nearby field hospitals got first priority, on General Alekseyev's orders. The number of wounded was threatening to overwhelm their medical services, and every last bit of supplies helped. Though how much it did help, nobody knew. The freighter's First Officer came up to the Admiral “That's it, Comrade Admiral. We're riding high.”

“Good. And we may actually be able to use half of this cargo,” the Admiral commented.

“Comrade Admiral, don't blame me. All we were told was,”

“I know what you were told,” Gordikov said, interrupting the first officer. “It's not you I blame, it's whoever loaded your ship.”

“I understand, Comrade Admiral. Will the Captain be returning?” the first officer asked.

“No. A Naval Officer will come aboard to take his place for the final voyage. And it won't be far.” Gordikov said.

“Ah. A run down the coast to Mexico? That's what our orders said were a possibility. Or another run back to Cuba.”

“Much shorter than that. After loading a cargo that must be denied to the Americans, your ship will be sunk as a blockship in the main shipping channel.” Gordikov told the First Officer.

“Comrade Admiral, we can get out of here!” the man wailed.

Gordikov glared at him. “Not when the Americans have mined our own safe passage lane through our own minefields.”

The man's heart sank. Unless they got on a plane out of here, or got over the border into Mexico, they'd be here when the Americans arrived. “Comrade Admiral, we'd rather take our chances.”

“This order comes from General Alekseyev, the Theater Commander-in-Chief. No exceptions.”

1745 Hours: K-236, The Gulf of Mexico.

“Comrade Captain, a word, if I may?”

Padorin looked up from the navigator's table. It was his Starpom. “Of course, Andrei. Come to the wardroom. Strenlikov, you have the deck and the con.”

“Aye, Comrade Captain.”

The two officers went to the wardroom. Again, Padorin closed and locked the door behind him. “Yes, Andrei?”

The Starpom chose his words carefully. “Comrade Captain, there has been some....unusual behavior coming from our Zampolit.”

“Oh? How would you describe 'unusual'?” Padorin replied.

“I think he's soliciting a mutiny.” the Starpom replied. “Several officers have approached me, and they've said that our dear political officer has sounded them out on what they'd think if he tried to assume command.”

Padorin smiled. “Andrei, you're not the first to tell me about this. Captain Lieutenant Shelpin has already spoken to me about the man's behavior.”

The Starpom laughed. “So our 'sword and shield' man came to you?”

“Correct. And we both see eye-to-eye on this. If our dear Comrade Zirinsky tries anything foolish, he will regret it. Briefly,” Padorin said, his tone very serious.

“And that means in the event of his trying something foolish, he would not be with us the rest of the deployment?” the Starpom asked.

“Your assumption is correct.” Then there was a knock on the door. “See who that is, Andrei.”

The Starpom unlocked the door and opened it. Captain 3rd Rank Nikolai Guriev was there. He was the boat's Chief Engineer. He came in, closing the door behind him and the Starpom. “Comrade Captain, I wish to report some very serious misbehavior on the part of Comrade Zirinsky.”

“You're not the first. Let me guess: he's trying to solicit a mutiny?”

“How'd you know?” Guriev asked.

“Both the Starpom and the Security Officer have already discussed this with me, Nikolai.” Padorin responded.

“Comrade Captain.....I've been with this boat-and you-for her entire life. It's people like Zirinsky that are responsible for the mess we're in. A losing war, food shortages at home, and people are angry. You know that and so does every officer on this boat. I suggest we do something about Zirinsky, at least.”

“Rest assured, gentlemen,” Padorin said, avoiding the term “Comrades”. “If our dear Party zealot tries anything foolish, he will not finish the cruise. If an 'unfortunate accident' is called for, our Security Officer has some ideas. And you, Nikolai, probably have some, too.”

“Indeed I do, Comrade Captain. Indeed I do.”

“Good. Let's see what our dear Party man does over the next day or two. Watch him when he enters your compartments, both of you, and pass that along to the other officers. Quietly, mind you. And should he be so foolish as to try.....he's shark bait,” said Padorin.

1755 Hours: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport

“Comrade General, there they are,” General Lukin said, pointing to the east.

General Petrov scanned the sky with his binoculars. Sure enough, the transports, with their fighter escorts, were coming in. The first two to land were two Il-76s, and both aircraft taxied up to the former air cargo ramp, and dropped their rear ramps. Rubber fuel bladders came from the first plane, while pallets of food and water rolled out from the second. “Get the food and water bottles distributed at once!” Petrov yelled. He turned to where eighty or so wounded men were waiting. Most were ambulatory cases, but whose injuries would not permit them to return to the front within a week. “Doctor! Get those men on that first plane!” Petrov yelled to a doctor.

Nodding, the doctor hustled his patients-who had already been screened for self-inflicted wounds-onto the waiting aircraft. The wounded men got aboard, the rear ramp was raised, and the Il-76's pilot gunned the engines and took off. Petrov turned to Lukin. “Who's next outbound?”

“Specialists, Comrade General. Signals-intelligence people, for starters. Also, some planeless pilots from a MiG regiment.” Lukin said.

“All right, get them on that second plane,” Petrov said as an An-12 came in. “I'm surprised: where are the American fighters?”

“They're there, Comrade General,” a voice next to Petrov said. He turned, and it was the pilot of the second Il-76. “F-14s and F-15s are out there, and F-8s as well,” the pilot said. “I was instructed to give this to you personally, Comrade General.” The man then handed an envelope to General Petrov.

“Thank you. Get your passengers loaded, and get out of here,” Petrov said.

Nodding, the pilot went back to his plane. As he did so, a third Il-76 came in, only this one was trailing smoke from one engine. Petrov saw that, then he turned to the envelope. He opened it. “Lukin!”

“Yes, Comrade General?”

“Have a look at this. Some idiot in Havana wants a personal briefing.” Petrov said, showing the letter to General Lukin.

“Maybe hearing directly from someone here would do us some good-and light a fire under those fools in Havana who've been sending us utterly worthless crap, Comrade General.”

“I agree. Do you have someone in mind?” Petrov asked.

“Yes, I do, Comrade General. My deputy, Major General Rostov.”

“Valery Rostov; he's a good man, and has Moscow connections. But what's he doing here?” asked Petrov.

“I believe his reassignment had something to do with a district official's twenty-year old daughter, and a narrow escape from the man's dacha, Comrade General.”

Petrov nodded. It was an old story: sleep around with the wrong woman, and it might come back to haunt you. “It didn't affect his promotion?”

Lukin laughed. “No, he was celebrating his promotion; he's a bachelor, and well, you do get the idea...”

An explosion interrupted Lukin. Both generals turned, and saw the single Il-62 trailing fire from its right engines. Then the engine exploded, tearing off the tail, and the plane rolled right and nosed into the ground, going up in a large explosion as it impacted. And just off in the distance, they could see two F-14s turning away. “Where's those fighter escorts?” Petrov demanded to know.

“I'll wager they're quite preoccupied with keeping the American fighters away, Comrade General.”

As they spoke, the damaged Il-76 taxied up. It quickly unloaded its cargo of ammunition, and a staff officer came up to Petrov; “That plane's pilot told me he's not going back to Cuba with a damaged aircraft, Comrade General.”

“All right: get some of those specialists, and have him take them out. Can he make Monterey?”

“Yes, Comrade General. That's where he'd rather go,” the staffer said.

“Good enough. Get him loaded and out of here. Where's the other An-12?” Petrov asked.

“Shot down east of South Padre Island, Comrade General. F-15s....”
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:41 PM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is offline
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And the campaign winds on....

1815 Hours: 105th Guards Air Assault Division headquarters, south of Harlingen, Texas.

Major General Viktor Gordonov hung up the phone. General Suraykin had been on the other end, and he'd just ordered the 105th Guards forward. The rest of the division would take up positions at the Highway 77-83 junction, joining the one regiment already there, and they were to dig in, and hold out as long as possible. Well, this is it, Gordonov thought: the 105th's last battle. And he knew that most of his men were likely going to die. He'd been a Major in 1985, and he'd jumped into New Mexico in the early days, leading a battalion. His battalion had fought in Colorado and Wyoming for the most part, but they'd been lucky that Summer of 1987, having been sent to Texas to rest and reorganize. He'd been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and then Colonel, getting a regiment prior to that disastrous Midland-Odessa campaign, getting shot up in the process by the Americans' lackeys from South Korea. The division's commander and most of his staff had been killed during the withdrawal, and he'd taken command. Now, it was clear that time was just about up for the 105th.

“Comrade General,” his chief of staff said, “Colonel Romanenko is on the line.”

“Romanenko, this is General Gordonov. How are things where you are?”

“Right now, we're in it, Comrade General. If you're coming, the Americans have a hot reception waiting.” Romanenko said.

Gordonov paused. He could hear the artillery fire, and some small-arms fire, in the background. “We're on our way, but you must hold your position at all costs.”

“Comrade General, we're not leaving, unless we're carried out. But if you want to carry us out, and not leave that to the Americans....” Romanenko's voice trailed off.

“We'll be there.” And Gordonov hung up. “Get the rest of the division moving. Fast. Pushkin's regiment to the left of Romanenko's, Dimitrov's on the right. Don't wait for stragglers. Just move!” He roared at his chief of staff.

And the 105th Guards did move. They arrived just in time, for the 29th Light Infantry Division had found Romanenko's regiment and had started to root them out. A pitched battle began to develop for the highway intersection, with no quarter given or asked. Attack helicopters and fixed-wing close air support came in, and only broke off when night fell. But the Soviet paratroopers still clung to their positions. And General Suraykin began to consider moving one of his two tank divisions for a counterattack. While the 29th summoned help from the 18th Aviation Brigade and their AH-64A Apaches.......

1840 Hours: Gulf Front Headquarters, San Benito Community College

General Malinsky paid rapt attention to his map. The 105th Guards Airborne was now in place, and so far, they were holding. And Suraykin's two available tank divisions were still in place, though it was obvious that sooner or later, a counterattack would be needed. So far, though, Suraykin was holding, as was both the 8th Guards and 28th Armies, Cuban 1st, and 3rd Shock. The weak point, however, was still the Cuban 2nd Army. General Isakov, his Chief of Staff, came up. “Some coffee, Comrade General?”

“Thank you, Isakov. Let me guess: from Cuba?”

“That is so, Comrade General, and freshly air-dropped. Along with a few tons of food and ammunition.” said Isakov.

“However much they drop, it's too little, too late. And the supply lines from Mexico are a mess,” Malinsky commented.

“True, Comrade General. I do wonder how that brute Starukhin is doing?”

“Not enough, apparently.”Malinsky said. “Any word on the Cuban 2nd Army?”

“Comrade General, their communications with us are still spotty at best. And fuel issues mean we can't send a courier with a written order,” Isakov reminded his boss.

Malinsky nodded. “And their communications with Havana, though, are still reliable.”

That was one thing both Soviet generals fumed about. Castro issuing direct orders to his units in the field, bypassing the chain of command the Soviets and Cubans had agreed upon. “It appears so, Comrade General,” Isakov said. “There's something else, however.”


“General Alekseyev has ordered that all female officers and soldiers be put on twelve hours' notice for evacuation.” Isakov said, handing the General the order.

“I was wondering when it would come to that. But no order for them to leave?” Malinsky asked.

“Not yet, Comrade General.”

Malinsky thought for a moment. He'd visited several field hospitals, and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, and orderlies, was moving. Despite the filth, the squalor, and the shortages of nearly everything, the wounded seemed to feel better when they saw a female doctor or nurse tending to them. “Knowing the female doctors and nurses, they won't leave unless directly ordered. One of the doctors told me that she and the other female staff would insist on staying. 'Someone has to stay with the wounded,' was what she said. I had no answer.”

“Better they leave, Comrade General, than take their chances with units like the 49th Armored, 42nd Mechanized Infantry, or worse, those madmen in the 13th Armored Cavalry.” Isakov pointed out.

1900 Hours: Soviet Headquarters, Brownsville

General Alekseyev was taking some time to have a meal in his office. And he wasn't alone: Colonel Sergetov dined with him, as usual, along with General Dudorov. Though there was food for four, their fourth guest had politely, but firmly, declined: their prisoner.

“Yuri, when we're through here, have her meal sent in,” Alekseyev said.

“Certainly, Comrade General.”

“Did she say why she refused the invitation?” Alekseyev asked.

“Only that she was trained not to accept any kind of special favors from the enemy,” Dudorov said. “She may have also suspected that we'd use this as a 'soft' interrogation.”

“Very perceptive, Yuri,” Alekseyev commented. “Though the opportunity to see things from the Americans' perspective, even at this juncture, is still something to be taken. Tomorrow morning, bring her here, and I'll treat her to the best breakfast we can offer. Maybe a one-on-one with me will break the tension.”

“As you wish, Comrade General.” Dudorov said.

“Comrade General, there's something else.” Sergetov said.

“Yes, Ivan Mikhailiovich?”

“General Petrov has put some anti-paratrooper defense plan in place. It's not much, but it's the best he can do, under the circumstances.” Sergetov said.

“Let me guess: excess air force personnel, and some of the antiaircraft guns?” Alekseyev asked.

“That is essentially it, Comrade General. But it's the best he can do.” Sergetov said. “He also said that the airlift is suspended for the night, and will resume at first light.”

“You know, I'd love to send some photographs and video to Moscow. Seeing what's really going on here might open some minds,” Dudorov said.

“I already have, Comrades,” Sergetov said. “To my father.”

Both Alekseyev and Dudorov looked at the young colonel. “And the minister's response?” asked General Alekseyev.

“My father's response has been....very favorable. He has shared these photographs and videotapes with a number of candidate members of the Politburo, along with a number of senior officers in the Defense Ministry, as well as the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts.” Sergetov said.

Alekseyev thought for a minute. “Maybe I should send you out, Colonel. As a courier.”

“Comrade General, my place is here. My younger brother is safe at his desk in the Leningrad Military District headquarters, along with my sister,” Sergetov told his commanding officer.

“Then who would you suggest? Someone has to get to Moscow and brief Marshal Akhromayev on what's going on here,” Alekseyev said, looking at Dudorov, who nodded.

“Major Sorokin: he was with the 103rd Guards Air Assault Division, until they were shattered at Midland-Odessa. Fortunately, he was one of the few casualties to be evacuated; since then, he's served on the staff as an assistant regarding airborne and air-assault matters.” Sergetov said.

Alekseyev looked at General Dudorov, who nodded. “Tell the Major he has a seat on a flight out-first thing tomorrow. Make sure he has copies of all important documents, including reports on what supplies we've received. Not to mention any other photographs, videotapes, and so on that you've got, Ivan Mikhailovich.”

“May I ask, Comrade General, who he is to brief in Moscow?” Sergetov asked.

“Your father, and any of the other ministers he's been talking to. And Marshal Akhromayev. He's to tell them that the end is fast approaching here in Texas, and that the Americans are likely to push south, once we're finished-if the Mexicans don't sign a separate peace. If they do, then the Americans will settle old debts with the Castro brothers,” said Alekseyev.

“I'll cut the orders, Comrade General.” Sergetov said.

“And inform Malinsky as well: if there's anyone he wants to send out as his own courier, he'd better do it fast.”
Treat everyone you meet with kindness and respect, but always have a plan to kill them.

Old USMC Adage
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