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  #661  
Old 09-23-2022, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chico20854 View Post
September 7, 1997
Cutler occupies a position designated for a Specialist, a rank two above his new one.
You'd be surprised at how common that is. I don't think I worked in my pay grade the whole time I was in the Army.
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  #662  
Old 09-23-2022, 07:16 PM
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Lucky for his unit manning documents are done by skill level. E4 and below is skill level 10 (even corporals). It’s pretty common to get a raft of PV1s and PV2s as replacements, especially once the IRR and recall pool is gone. I could see broad waiver authority being granted for time in grade/time in service requirements, though. Unit leadership will usually focus their waivers on the most promising potential NCOs in an effort to get them to SPC so they can lateral promote them to corporal and put the new NCO in charge of a team or squad.

The 2 up or 1 down rule can easily see an SGT as PSG and an SSG as acting 1SG when manning gets bad. Somehow there’s never a shortage of SGMs though…
Ditto for officers- a 2LT could command a company (lots of material for jokes there), and a MAJ can command a brigade.

Making up ranks is going to be relatively simple. 2LTs can be battlefield commissioned, and up to SSG is an house promotion. With delegated authority you could get waivers for time and decentralized authority for SFC-SGM and 1LT and higher promotions as long as the personnel system continues to function.

The challenge will be developing leaders who can perform at the appropriate level for the rank they hold. There may well be unit or command level schools running trimmed down PLDC, BNOC, etc; a combat skills course for replacements; and refresher/retrain courses. This will help, but given the probable level of SSG-1SG and LT-MAJ losses from the prewar “trained” population, there will still be serious impacts on combat effectiveness. It will only get worse once the replacement and resource pipe becomes a trickle.


Once the computers are fried and the CONEX with the 201 files in it goes up in flames there may be some “PX promotions”…

Last edited by Homer; Yesterday at 05:12 PM.
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  #663  
Old Yesterday, 04:10 PM
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September 8, 1997

The long-dreaded Pact offensive in the Balkans commences with a series of tactical nuclear strikes on Romanian defensive positions along the entire length of the front. The Southwestern TVD's divisions have been replenished with additional recruits and recalled reservists, augmented with a sprinkling of obsolescent T-55, T-62 and T-64 tanks that Soviet commanders are reluctant to commit against more modern NATO armor in Poland.

Unofficially,

The Freedom-class cargo ship Indianapolis Freedom is delivered in Portland, Oregon.

As the television networks roll out their new fall season, at 8 pm the hit comedy Darwin Was a Monkey's Uncle premiers its fifth season, featuring leading man Bob Socali as the loveable and bumbling James Darwin.

With the annual Morgan County, Ohio Fair concluded, construction workers arrive under the terms of a FEMA contract. The livestock buildings are cleaned out and fully enclosed, with chimneys added to permit use of coal or wood buning stoves to heat thee structures. The restrooms, cooking facilities and other buildings are modified so that they can be used through the winter, allowing the fairgrounds to house several thousand evacuees from the city of Columbus 75 miles away. This sort of contract is being carried out in many sites around the U.S.

Anti-draft riots erupt on universities across the UK. Despite the appearance portrayed on the telly, the riots are actually smaller scale and less prevalent than those in the US a year prior.

With the surrender of the 23rd Infantry Division freeing up large numbers of Soviet and North Korean troops, 35th Army begins a massive movement of vehicles and dismounted infantry to the front lines to the south. The effort is noted by American intelligence, and the might of the 43rd and 320th Bomb Wings is called into play, plastering the area with massive amounts of bombs from the two wings' B-52 bombers.

Units on the flanks of VII US Corps begin to hand over responsibility to their neighboring NATO corps - XI US Corps on the south and Panzergruppe Oberdorf to the north, which is transferred back to Third German Army's command. In US VII Corps' rear area, CH-47s of the 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation (US Army Reserve) are committed to the evacuation of personnel and equipment across the Wisla; while not making a large contribution to the effort, every means to relieve the burden on the bridges speeds the corps' transfer to Bavaria, where intelligence is pointing towards a resumption of the Pact-Italian offensive.

VI German Korps falls back to the Wisla at Pulawy and Deblin, under heavy pressure from the 1st Guards Tank Army; it sends patrols along the river to the north and south to destroy pontoon bridges and ferry landing sites, liberally sowing landmines around the landing sites on both shores.

The Sierra III-class attack sub K-321 takes up station near the US SSBN base at Kings Bay, Georgia, dodging American patrol aircraft and craft in hopes of catching an elusive American missile boat. The Soviet raider Ostorozhnyy turns westward, seeking to interdict traffic leaving the Caribbean.

In Iran, a task force from the 7th Marines makes a predawn foray south, capturing the road junction and town of Anar, surprising the KGB-Tudeh rear area detachment that was mostly asleep. The move puts the 1st Marine Division astride the road to Bandar Abbas; the nearest friendly forces are the British 27th Brigade in the town of Sirjan 100 miles to the south.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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  #664  
Old Yesterday, 04:12 PM
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September 9, 1997

The US 3rd Armored Cavlary Regiment, heavily engaged by the Soviet 3rd Shock Army, holds the front line as it covers the withdrawal of III US Corps. The regiment's dispersal and canny leadership prevent the Soviet force from being presented a viable target for tactical nuclear weapons.

The 49th MP Brigade (California National Guard) transfers responsibility for distribution of foodstuffs in the southern half of Federal Region IX (California, Nevada and Arizona) to a variety of state guard and police units, including the California State Guard's 3rd and 4th Brigades.

Unofficially,

BMSA (Boatswains Mate Apprentice) Cutler reports to the USS Makin Island pre-commissioning unit in Brownsville Texas.

The first POWs from the 23rd Infantry Division arrive in the Vladivostok area. Unexpectedly, they are not moved on to POW camps in the Soviet Far East; instead they are dispersed to a wide array of military facilities in the area to serve as human shields to protect the bases from American nuclear attacks.

The USS Des Moines battle group is once again active in the Yellow Sea supporting Marines ashore. While conducting a strike, the group is surprised by a lone Soviet Su-24 bomber approaching at low level in the predawn darkness from the mountainous center of North Korea. The bomber fires a spread of four AS-17 anti-radiation missiles, which home in on the group's air defense command ship, the cruiser William H Standley. Three of the four hit, inflicting fatal damage; the cruiser sinks five hours later after firefighting efforts are unable to extinguish the multiple fires.

XI US Corps provides cover for VII Corps' withdrawal as it attempts to maintain contact with the Germans near Tarnow, Panzergruppe Oberdorff to its northeast while retreating towards the Wisla itself. Its' 107th Armored Cavalry Regiment and 50th Armored Division take turns launching sudden and vigorous counterattacks on the Polish 2nd Army, forcing that unit to devote resources to protect the supply line to the Polish 3rd Army, which is at risk of being cut by the American armor.

The last American and Canadian troops are withdrawn from Sicily for action on other fronts. The NATO occupation force in Siciliy is composed of detachments of the Spanish Guardia Civil and Portugese Guarda Nacional Republicana, who oversee a local NATO-supported militia/police force.

As Allied troops in Romania scramble to hold off the Soviet onslaught and piece together a defensive line that has been blasted apart by Soviet nuclear weapons, the Warsaw Pact ups the ante, sending the 16th Army across the Drava River into Croatia. Simultaneously, the Italian Grupo Dalmatia in Slovenia resumes its offensive operations and the Italian 5th Corps attacks south into Croatia from captured Austrian territory. The well dug in but outnumbered (and equipped with weapons a generation older) Jugoslav front line cracks under the pressure of seven hours of Soviet artillery fire, leavened with attacks on three JNA corps headquarters by Su-17s dropping 30-kiloton TN-1000 atomic bombs. As the sun sets, the Hungarian 2nd Corps executes a 90-degree turn and crosses into the Vojvodina, the Serbian province between Belgrade and the Romanian border.

1st Marine Division trucks and helicopters operating from within the Bandar Abbas perimeter have moved the remainder of the divison into the town of Anar, while Force Reconnaissance patrols depart at dusk south into the hills, seeking the path of least resistance.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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  #665  
Old Yesterday, 04:16 PM
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September 10, 1997

Canon has nothing on the day. Unofficially,

SACEUR hosts a commanders' conference to discuss the strategic situation. The meeting begins with each of the major sub-theater commanders, from the (largely dormant) Norwegian front to eastern Turkey, giving a status report on their sector, followed by a briefing by the SACLANT deputy commander on the status of the war at sea. That is followed by a briefing from representatives of the various industrial and support organizations in the alliance on upcoming production, transportation, medical support and other logsistic issues. In the discussion that follows, the gathered generals and admirals conclude that with the collapse of the Chinese war effort and outbreak of nuclear war that the chance of NATO reaching a successful attainment of its war aims is low, and that the most prudent way to avert a collapse on the central front is to stage a fighting withdrawal to German territory, where there is the best chance of defending the Oder-Niesse line for an extended period of time; simultaneously all available effort should be made to shore up the embattled NATO southern flank, taking advantage of the damage already wrought on the Greeks and Italians.

The final flights carrying the 197th Field Artillery Brigade (New Hampshire National Guard) arrive at Allen Army Airfield and Eielson Air Force Base near Fort Wainwright, Alaska as the brigade's lead batteries fire their first shots against the Soviets in the theater. The guardsmen are Arctic warfare experts, having fought along the Litsa line throughout the winter, spring and into July. X Corps assigns a CH-47 helicopter company to the brigade to allow its heavy howitzers to be moved around the battlefield.

Another (false) alarm about an imminent Soviet nuclear attack sends the Royal Family and Government scrambling to emergency dispersal locations.

Following the departure of the 70th Guards Motor-Rifle Division, the 17th Guards Motor-Rifle Division begins loading aboard trains in Mongolia for transit to the fronts in Europe.

The USS Missouri battle group makes a sweep through the Gulf of Alaska, guided by the P-3s of VP-48 (relocated from Adak to Anchorage, then CFB Comox), to intercept a Soviet reinforcement convoy. The poorly defended Soviet force - a handful of obsolescent frigates and corvettes, led by the 1964-built cruiser Steregushyy - prove to be excellent fodder for the American force's guns. The loss of the convoy severly hampers the ability of Soviet forces in southeastern Alaska and British Columbia to operate, as it carried much of the fuel, rations, ammunition and replaceements needed to sustain their offensive.

As NATO commanders contemplate the loss of Polish territory, they begin to plan for the area they currently occupy to be, in the future, once again behind enemy lines. Accordingly, they implement measures to support their stay-behind forces, embed remote monitoring and ease future operations behind the lines, with an aim to delay and disrupt Warsaw Pact forces. Hide sites are prepared for Special Forces and Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols, stocked with rations, ammunition, batteries and medical supplies. Several clearings in forests and abandoned farms have fuel tanks quietly buried and filled with JP8 to serve as forward refuelling sites for attack helicopter deep penetration raids. REMBASS and other unmanned remote acoustic, seismic and magnetic sensors are buried near road junctions, bridges and other key points so that future Pact troop movements can be tracked and reported to NATO commanders, allowing a prompt and accurate strike.

The US 71st Airborne Brigade is forced out of the city of Deva, which it has been defending for many weeks against the Soviet 6th Guards Tank Army. To avoid becoming the target of another Soviet nuclear strike - the city was struck by a nuclear-armed Scud missile at the onset of the Pact offensive - the brigade disperses into company-sized detachments in the mountains, fighting alongside their trusted allies of the Romanian 5th Mountain Brigade.

The Jugoslav high command furiously scrambles to gather more troops from around the country to defend the capital as that city's main garrison, the 1st Proliterian Guards Mechanized Infantry Division rushes north to face off against the Soviet 16th Army, which is shaking itself free of the remnants of the Jugoslav border defenses. Throughout southern and central Jugoslavia, Territorial Defense militia units are called up to compensate for the loss of regular units which have hastily departed.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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  #666  
Old Yesterday, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmulcahy11b View Post
You'd be surprised at how common that is. I don't think I worked in my pay grade the whole time I was in the Army.
The most extreme I had was as a freshly-minted E-3 in a E-6 slot. (Never mind that the only reason I was an E-3 was that the Army screwed me, and ultimately itself, over.)


The relevant brigade staff officer had a few words with my NCO peers when I came in first in the annual competition/inspection 2 weeks later, especially since I ended up being post runner-up. Something about what is wrong with you that a PFC just beat every single one of you... heard through the grapevine after the fact.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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  #667  
Old Today, 02:24 PM
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September 11, 1997

Nothing official for today. Unofficially,

SACEUR and SACLANT make a joint presentation to to the (video conferenced) NATO heads of state in a hastily convened meeting. SACEUR lays out the assessment reached the prior day, and, testing the limits of civilian control of the military, states that he and his subordinate commanders will be implementing the withdrawal from Poland unless directed otherwise by the political leaders. When the Dutch and Canadian prime ministers push back, SACEUR offers his resignation as well as those of the commanders of CENTAG and SOUTHAG. The offers are immediately rejected and the NATO heads of state, less Polish Free Congress president Lech Walesa, approve the execution of the plan to evacuate Poland.

The first American war-built light frigate, the USS Poole, is delivered in Baltimore, Maryland and manned by USCG personnel. (The ship is a slightly updated Bear-class medium endurance coast guard cutter. Construction was started under a contract for the Chinese Navy; with US entry into the war and the losses suffered in the first weeks of the war the ship was taken over by the US Navy and the Chinese government refunded what they had paid for construction up to that point).

Order is restored on the last of the British university campuses that had erupted in violence with the onset of conscription.

Surviving Soviet Naval Aviation Backfire bombers launch a raid against British fixed coastal radar stations, blasting many of them with a mix of conventional and nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. British air defense forces rush a handful of their remaining mobile radars to Scotland to try to plug the gaps in coverage, but they are not as powerful or capable as the destroyed sites.

Following up on the success of the 9th, Soviet Frontal Aviation, in coordination with an Il-38 of Naval Aviation, launches another Su-24 anti-shipping raid across the Sea of Japan from airfields near Vladivostok. The Il-38's radar locates the Tarawa amphibious group and vectors the Su-24s in. The strike that follows sees the loss of Tarawa, the transports Anchorage and Fresno and the frigade Reid as the Soviets dramatically demonstrate the power of tactical nuclear weapons at sea. The destroyer Buchannan, its topsides wrecked by the blast, remains afloat, a portion of its crew that were below decks still able to perform their duties, heads for the nearby friendly port of Donghae.

V German Korps fights off another attack from the Polish 3rd Army outside of Tarnow, but is forced to give ground, retreating to the city itself. The last VII US Corps units cross the Wisla, where a line of heavy equipment transporter trucks await to load AFVs for transit across Poland, where they will be transloaded onto railcars for the remainder of the journey to Bavaria.The US XI Corps' 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) assumes responsibility for the Tarnobrezg bridges; Panzergruppe Oberdoff takes over the Sandomierz bridgehead.

Soviet attack aircraft (mostly armed L-39 Albatros trainers with a sprinkling of MiG-27 and Su-17s) disrupt the movement of the Jugoslav 1st Guards Mechanized Infantry Division as it crosses the Danube plains towards the onrushing 16th Army. The most severe blow comes when a Su-17, responding to intelligence gained from an orbiting An-26RT ELINT aircraft, drops a nuclear bomb on the division headquarters while it is set up in a grove off trees alongside the main highway. The division's defense suffers accordingly, and the Jugoslav command recalls the JNA expeditionary force from Romania.

In Romania, the defense lines are crumbling and the 14th Guards Army's 55th Motor-Rifle Division breaks through the defenses and reaches the outskirts of the oil center of Ploesti.

To support the defense of Kenya, under pressure from many directions, Military Airlift Command deploys a mix of transports (C-5s, -17s, -141s and civil airliners) to the eastern Mediterranean to load the 173rd Airborne Brigade.

The 1st Marine Division continues its journey south across the desert, with elements of the 40th Army in pursuit. The 201st Motor-Rifle Division, to the south, which is holding the Bandar Abbas perimeter, tries to keep up the pressure on the perimeter despite its deplorable supply situation. 40th Army's pursuit of the 1st is mainly performed by the 5th Guards Motor-Rifle Division, whose commander is fearful of American nuclear weapons and keeps his troops lightly engaged, preferring to try to attrit the retreating Americans with artillery attacks and small unit ambushes.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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  #668  
Old Today, 02:28 PM
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September 12, 1997

The 2nd Brigade, Arkansas State Guard is activated in Fort Smith, under the command of retired US Army Colonel William Simms. Simms and much of his command staff are former servicemen past mandatory retirement age. The brigade leadership’s advanced age leads to it to be derided as the “Seniors Brigade.” Due to the demands of the war, the brigade is placed on a waiting list to receive small arms and surplus uniforms (M1 carbines and M1 rifles, M1911 pistols, olive green field uniforms and steel helmets) from the federal government.

The 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) is assigned to III MEF and is thrown onto the lines on Korea's west coast, with the air assault battalion held in reserve as a counter-breakthrough reaction force.

1st Brigade, 40th Infantry Division, now an independent formation, is ordered back to the front. It is returned to XXIII Corps' command and brought into Poland. It is held in a reserve position, however, preparing defensive positions on the east side of Lodz for the rest of the corps to fall back upon if, as it looks increasingly likely, it is driven back from Warsaw.

VI German Korps, unable to maintain contact with XI US Corps to its northeast, abandons the defense of Tarnow, falling back westward as the only corps in Third German Army on the south/east bank of the Wisla. Troops of the 3rd Polish Army triumphantly enter the town, the first town of over 100,000 it has liberated from the Free Polish Congress.

The plan to support NATO resistance with Poland recaptured by Pact troops is amended to add support for Free Polish stay-behind units and pro-NATO partisans.

The America and John F Kennedy battle groups move cautiously north into the Ionian Sea, stretching the range of their attack aircraft to try to support the embattled Jugoslav resistance over Croatia.

The arrival of the 205th Guards Motor-Rifle Regiment, 70th Guards Motor-Rifle Division opposite Romanian lines east of Bucharest is an ominous development, for the veteran Soviet unit is the first from the 13th Army to arrive in the Balkan theater from China.

The Soviet 1st Guards Army makes progress into the Carpathians, capturing the oil refinery at Onesti, aided by a tactical nuclear strike on the headquarters of the Romanian 2nd Mountain Brigade, which falls back in disarray into the mountains overhead.

In Pristina, capital of the Serbian province of Kosovo, the recently activated Territorial Defense militia, composed almost entirely of ethnic Serbs, breaks up a minor demonstration by ethnic Albanian students, who are agitating to be armed as well, wanting to do their part to defend their nation.

Italian troops in Croatia approach the outskirts of the Croatian capital of Zagreb and begin long-range shelling of the city, inducing a panic among the city's civilians.

The Iranian 42nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, part of the 41st Wing, which received its F-20s in March, is down to three operable aircraft. It transfers those aircraft to its sister 41st Tactical Fighter Squaadron, along with its remaining six trained pilots and experienced ground crew, and temporarily disbands, as the flow of replacement aircraft from the US is insufficient to keep up with the Iranian Air Force's losses.

As 1st Marine Division covers more ground heading south, the rest of I MEF is able to provide more support. Battalions of the 4th Marine Division and the British 27 Brigade launch local attacks to tie down the 201st Motor-Rifle Division, while the 48th Infantry Brigade (Georgia National Guard) prepares for an armored dash to link up with the isolated marines. Marine Corps aviation and the shore-based air wing from the carrier Independence provide support, while more helicopters are in range of the Bandar Abbas perimeter, allowing more fuel to be flown in to the 1st Division and excess troops evacauted on the return flights.

The US Air Force flies another Golden Spike sortie against the Trans-Siberian Railroad. This one crosses into the USSR over the Arctic and, failing to locate any troop trains or rail-mobile ICBMs, departs over the Mongolian border, striking four air defense sites as it goes.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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  #669  
Old Today, 02:36 PM
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September 13, 1997

Pact forces grow closer to the embattled Warsaw perimeter. North of the city, the town of Ciechanów is abandoned by NATO troops, who detonate a massive cratering charge in the middle of the expeditionary runway that engineers had created in the summer. The formerly massive supply dump that Allied support troops had built up is empty, set afire as the last defenders depart.

Lest Turkish forces try to come to Romania's aid, Southern Front, the Bulgarian Army and the Greek D Corps launch attacks all along the front from the Black Sea to the Aegean, punctuated with nuclear strikes on the Turkish First Army's logistic sites and the crossroads of Edirne.

Unofficially,

Following the handover of responsibility for food distribution to state guard units, the 49th MP Brigade (California National Guard) concentrates at Fort Irwin to assume responsibility of providing security for a growing POW stockade on the base (as well as a secret emergency stockpile in a newly constructed mountain tunnel on a remote corner of the base).

The Soviet 35th Army resumes its southward attacks in the mountains of North Korea, but is immediately faced with well entrenched South Korean and American troops, who have used the respite provided by the reduction of the 23rd Infantry Division to improve their fighting positions and stockpile supplies. Yalu Front is suffering from the diversion of ammunition, fuel and replacements from the Far Eastern TVD to the fighting in Europe.

The heavily damaged destroyer Buchannan, caught in the blast zone of the missile that sank the USS Tarawa, reaches port in Donghae, South Korea. It is tied up at the naval base there, its surviving crew rushed ashore for treatment of radiation sickness.

Second German Army, in northeastern Poland, is in full-scale retreat, logistically challenged and outnumbered.

RAF Germany launches a flurry of Tornado sorties, each bearing a WE 177 nuclear bomb. They strike the lead elements of the 23rd Army, the communication hub of Lozma, river crossings in Grodno, Byelorussia and the air bases in Lida, Shchuchin and Ross'.

Selected members of the Polish Free Legions are detached from their units and sent to a hastily established "partisan warfare" school established in the woods north of Poznan, where they are taught the arts of demolition, encoding communications, conducting ambushes, psychological warfare and living off the land.

The USS Olympia, still operating in the Arctic, begins a three-day hunt for a Soviet submarine it detected at long range.

The German-flag container ship Herm Kiepe arrives in Montreal to load nearly 500 containers of bagged grain, small arms ammunition, fertilizer and 105mm howitzer rounds.

To the north, Romanian troops of the 1st Army (and stragglers from the 2nd Army, which is being pushed back into the mountains) stream back towards Bucharest while those north in Transylvania fight to the extent their supply situation permits; many units disintegrate under Pact pressure, the motivated Romanians heading into the hills to wage a viscous guerrilla campaign against the Soviet occupiers. The Soviet 13th Guards Tank Division captures the city of Novi Sad before the defending Jugoslav forces can destroy all the bridges over the Danube.

Two battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade load onto Air Force transports in Egypt and Turkey for transit to Kenya. Although capable (and experienced in) parachute landings, the move is considered "administrative", since the reception field at Moi Air Base east of Nairobi is in friendly hands and no combat landing is required.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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Old Today, 02:39 PM
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September 14, 1997

The first two battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, supported by a single company of M551 Sheridan light tanks, are flown into Nairobi and go straight into battle, attacking the Zambian/Mozambique brigade that has cut the railway between Mombasa and Nairobi.

Unofficially,

The Freedom-class cargo ship Trenton Freedom is delivered in Beaumont, Texas and the DuPage Freedom in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Black Sunday - the Soviets retaliate against RAF Germany for its strikes on targets in northeastern Poland and Byelorussia. All of RAF Germany's main bases - Gütersloh, Laarbruch, Brüggen and Wildenrath - are obliterated by nuclear attacks. Some aircraft escape, returning to the UK or landing at other Allied air bases. Some Tornados of 9 Squadron had been operating from roads for sometime and escape the carnage. The Harrier Wing, still operating 'in the field' also escapes, although some of its support units didn't make it out of Poland. The remaining Typhoons of 65 Squadron are operating as close-protection for the AWACS fleet operating now from the UK. However the picture for the RAF on the continent is overwhelmingly bleak, the 2 ATAF logistics tail has been destroyed, its spare crew are dead as are its vital maintenance staff. With the exception of the Harriers RAF Germany has ceased to exist.

The (formerly East-) German 23rd Missile Brigade fires its last Scud missile, striking a road junction southwest of Baranovichi, Byelorussia with a high explosive warhead weighing nearly a ton.

The German 5th Panzer Division, fighting east of Warsaw, is running low on supplies and in danger of being overmatched by the Soviet 7th Tank Army; it falls back to within 10 km of the city limits.

Soviet commanders seek to replicate the success of the strike on the USS Tarawa amphibious group. They do so in the Baltic, striking the Kearsage amphibious group. The nuclear strike on the group catches the flagship, the transports Shreveport, Gunston Hall, Minneapolis Freedom and LCPL Roy M. Wheat and the frigates Stark and Ainsworth.

The Bulgarian Army, depleted as it is by months of combat, disposes its forces in three directions. The 1st Army, which has been in action on the western end of the Turkish front opposite Erdine, is withdrawn from that front as the Turkish Army is driven back, transferred west to the Sofia area for a brief period of refit. The 2nd Army remains in action against the Turks as part of the Southern Front alongside its Soviet allies, while the 3rd Army takes advantage of the Romanian's weakness to undertake an assault crossing of the Danube southwest of Bucharest.

In Romania, the 6th Guards Tank Army has broken out onto the southwestern corner of the Transylvania Plateau, linking up with the Hungarian 3rd Corps, which has chased Romanian forces back from the north.

Italian troops in northwestern Jugoslavia reach the outskirts of Zagreb, where the Italian commander declares the establishment of a nationalist Croatian government independent of Jugoslavia, headed by a prominent (but disgraced) Croatian nationalist exilee.

In Pristina, Kosovo ethnic-Albanian students are hunted down by roving bands of Serbian militiamen, who are suspicious of their loyalty to the Jugoslav state and desire for weapons from the Territorial Defense militia.

40th Army receives badly needed reinforcements, the 209th Motor-Rifle Division. The 209th, a mobilization-only unit from from the Turkestan Military District has been assisting KGB Border Guards in containing the wave of smugglers and mujaheddin crossing the Pamir River into the USSR from Iran. The division's commanding general, V.S. Kholopov, born to a Kirghiz mother and a devoted Communist as well as a practicing Muslim, is an inspired leader and the unit's outstanding performance convinced Transcaucasian Front to send the unit to the front in Iran.

The 1st Marine Division arrives in the town of Shahr-e Babak, 60 miles from the outer positions of I MEF at the Bandar Abbas perimeter.
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I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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September 15, 1997

The Soviet 7th Guards Tank Army breaks through the final NATO covering force between 1st Byelorussian Front and the encircled Pact forces in Warsaw. The siege of Warsaw has ended.

Unofficially,

The Freedom ship Springfield Freedom is delivered in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

FEMA completes the stocking of an emergency stockpile in a gypsum cave (Alabaster Caverns State Park) in Freedom, Oklahoma.

The first British draftees, threatened with dire penalties for noncompliance, report to basic training centers across the UK.

After over two weeks of effort, the final units of the 13th Army load their troops and vehicles on board trains in southern Mongolia for the long transit to Europe.

The Soviet 30th Army, operating along the eastern coast of Korea, encounters fierce resistance as it tries to force its way down the coastal road and railroad route to the city of Hamhung. Forward passage is difficult when the USS Des Moines lurks offshore, ready to pound any advance with rapid fire from its nine eight-inch guns; the suggestion that Soviet troops absorb the pounding and wait for the cruiser to depart to reload is thoroughly abandoned when the colonel that made the suggestion declines to sit there and absorb the pounding himself.

Allied air forces respond to the obliteration of RAF Germany, dispersing remaining aircraft to even more remote locations (nearly every civilian airfield in Germany out of Pact artillery range hosts a few NATO combat aircraft), hardening facilities that cannot be dispersed and requiring off-duty crews to stay at least 5 km away from bases when off duty, in most cases staying in German Territorial Army or Bundeswehr facilities protected by territorial security troops.

A more aggressive response comes from the intermediate nuclear force, with the continent-based cruise missile wings (the 38th, 485th and 486th) launching a swarm of missiles against surviving air bases in western Ukraine, Kaliningrad, Lithuania and Byelorussia.

The American attack submarine USS Olympia (one of less than 20 still operating in the Atlantic Fleet) finally gets a decent firing solution on the Soviet nuclear Akula II-class attack submarine K-335 and launches two Mk-48 torpedoes at it. Once again the Soviet boat turns tail to outrun the American fish, placing it in perfect position for a Sea Lance-N missile to drop a 200kt W89 warhead on top of it.

map of Balkan theatre
Bulgarian troops have covered half the distance between the Danube and Bucharest as the Romanian high command scrambles to organize a defense of the city as it faces Pact troops from the north (14th Guards Army), east (13th Army) and south (Bulgarians). Massive columns of civilians, mostly women and children, flee the city.

The German containership Herm Kiepe departs Montreal with a cargo of food, fertilizer and munitions. It sails independently.

In western Iran, 7th Army launches a surprise dawn attack on the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) along the main road from Ahvaz to Bandar-e-Khomeyni. The attack succeeds in overrunning the American outpost line, but quickly gets bogged down in prepared minefields, which are refreshed by artillery-fired FASCAM mines, which land not only in the existing minefields but also on top of the advancing Soviet formations.
__________________
I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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Old Today, 02:51 PM
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September 16, 1997

Nothing in the canon for today. Unofficially,

As tensions in the city of Boston subside, the 43rd MP Brigade (Rhode Island National Guard) is able to withdraw the last of its troops from the streets.

BMSA Cutler, after a week working on the under-construction USS Makin Island in Brownsville, Texas, has discovered that the construction program on the ship is a disorganized mess. Construction of the ship is the responsibility of the shipyard, but the yard is short of workers (many of its prewar staff has been called up for military service and the Navy will not authorize the employment of Mexican day laborers who cross the Rio Grande daily). The Navy has made numerous changes to the ship's design as lessons learned from its sisters are received; while welcomed by the Navy the changes slow construction and often result in costly re-work. Delivery of required equipment, supplies and materiel is often delayed. Cutler realizes that the Navy is using the pre-commissioning unit to hang on to excess trained personnel - the unit is approaching half of the ship's complement in size yet should be less than 20 percent given the state of construction progress. The unit itself is a mess, a poorly organized mishmash of raw recruits, resentful recalled inactive reservists and shell-shocked survivors of naval battles around the world; each day the available sailors are assigned to "augment" the shipyard workforce. There is considerable tension between the sailors and the civilian workforce, not helped by the grumbling of senior managers on both sides who blame each other for the lack of progress on the ship.

The first British officer candidates report for training. Many come from the same universities that had anti-draft riots last week.

With Warsaw liberated, NATO forces in retreat along a broad front and Krakow, Torun and Gdansk all under Pact control, the Romanian front on the verge of collapse and additional Soviet units arriving from China each day, SACEUR orders the execution of Operation Barnyard Tiger - a massive interdiction strike. Over a three-hour period, NATO nuclear forces from four nations (the US, UK, Canada and Turkey) strike 26 rail bridges across the Dniester, Bug and Neman Rivers in the western USSR as well as six rail facilities in eastern Poland and western Ukraine and Byelorussia. The attacks sever the rail lines between the Baltic and Black Seas, isolating Warsaw Pact forces to the west of those targets from rail connections to the rest of the USSR.

The USS Olympia begins searching for the SSBN that the Akula was protecting.

In Romania, the 6th Guards Tank Army begins fighting through the valley of the Olt River, Gorge which carries a highway and railroad through the Carpathian Mountains, connecting Transylvania with the Danube plain. The valley is defended by highly motivated Romanian troops, who lack heavy weapons and are short of supplies. The Soviet formation takes heavy losses from attacks from overhead, and is forced to divert considerable combat power to defending its supply lines as well, since it seems that every town, village and hamlet that it has captured harbors armed civilians or Romanian stragglers that are more than happy to take shots at passing supply trucks.

USS Independence, tied dockside in Muscat, Oman following a torpedo attack, is struck by an AS-4 missile launched in a Backfire raid. The hit disables an elevator, further delaying the ship's return to operational status.

The 48th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), reinforced with 4th Marine Division's 4th and 8th Tank Battalions and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, breaks through the 201st Motor-Rifle Division's perimeter, overruns the forward airfield at Sirjan and breaks northwest towards 1st Marine Division.

Regional military commissariat officials arrive in central Ukraine to re-form the survivors of the nuclear strike on the 341st (my 22nd Guards) Tank Division into a useful military unit and organize the salvage of useful vehicles and equipment from the sites where the division's trains were struck by a dozen American nuclear warheads.
__________________
I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end...
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