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Old 07-10-2023, 04:07 PM
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chico20854 chico20854 is offline
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June 29, 1998

Nothing official for the day. Unofficially,

A series of confused actions break out in the ruins of Los Angeles and Orange County, California as 63 (my XVI) Corps begins moving into the metro area in force, encountering Mexican troops of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and allied criminal and biker gangs. Neither side has the troop density to secure the area and supplies and communications on both sides are poor.

To the east, 89 (my II) Corps' coordinated attacks are making progress, with Mexican forces falling back before the massed American armor. Unfortunately, the American formations are short of infantry, leaving many isolated groups of Mexican stragglers in the American rear. American commanders are pleased with their success, but ammunition and fuel supplies are rapidly dwindling.

In San Diego, Mexican troops have broken onto the eastern end of the Marine base, fighting through several administrative and barracks structures on the east end of the base. The elite paratroops who landed at Miramar Naval Air Station on the first day of the invasion are sitting out the fight, as are the Mexican marines; both high-quality formations instead moving north along the coast against scattered opposition while clearing the coastal axis for further use.

The School Brigade begins its breakout from surrounded Fort Bliss, heading out over unpaved range roads out of the cantonment area. The column, a mix of tactical, civilian and commercial-type vehicles, moves at an aggravating 7 miles per hour, creating a massive dust cloud that causes drivers to repeatedly jam on their brakes after losing sight of the vehicle ahead of them. The rearguard 6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery, holds off a probe by troops of Brigade Torreon.

Further east in Texas, 4th Mexican Army's western force resumes its advance after sweeping through San Antonio. Finding the SIGINT station at Merida ablaze, the Mexican forces make a modest attempt to segregate the station's staff from the trainees in the mass of POWs, but they are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of military personnel that they are suddenly responsible for. Numerous escapes occur as the American troops slip away past the overwhelmed Mexican guards; The 4th Army commander is willing to delegate administration of the city and the POWs to his allied criminal and biker gangs, allowing his troops to continue their drive north.

The Mexican "Coastal Column" accelerates its drive against the widely dispersed and under-equipped American 46th Infantry Division. The Mexican command sends its infantry regiments (each roughly equivalent to an American light infantry battalion although lacking anti-tank firepower) on multiple parallel roads, seeking out American positions. When one is found, the entire regiment concentrates its firepower on the Americans, who are often in squad or platoon strength. The speed of advance is faster than the overwhelmed American command can respond to, and by nightfall another roughly eight companies of Americans have been defeated and the front line moved 12 miles north, skirting the western edge of the ruins of the Houston Metroplex.

The American deep reconnaissance teams in the Mexican rear have traced the flow of supply trucks back to railheads in Mexico, the overtaxed Mexican rail operator unable as yet to extend service into captured American territory. When news of this is relayed back to Colorado Springs, nuclear planners, using relatively rudimentary maps of the Mexican rail network, focus on four key junctions in the Mexican rail network that can isolate the border region from the rest of Mexico. Urgent orders are issued for detailed radar reconnaissance to be performed of the sites; a E-8 JSTARS aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is readied for flight.

The Mexican Ministry of Defense issues orders for units in Mexico to stand up additional infantry regiments, calling on the tens of thousands of partially-trained draftees released into the reserves in prior years; the new regiments will allow additional forces to be fed into the fighting in Texas and California.

Daily gains by Pact forces advancing in southern Germany are measured in hundreds of meters rather than kilometers. Pact forces have depleted their initial stockpiles and are not able to obtain food and fuel from the areas they have overrun. The Soviet effort does not have enough fuel or trucks to replenish units in action. Meanwhile, NATO resistance has stiffened.

In Heidelberg, having lost several hundred men for only nominal gains, the Soviet commander of the 41st Army orders his motor-rifle troops (the 30th Guards Motor-Rifle Division) to maintain the pressure on the city's defenders while directing his armored reserve - the battered 62nd Tank Division - to bypass the town to the west, attempting to "thread the needle" between Heidelberg and the ruined city of Mannheim to the northwest, with the Army's remnant 1318th Independent Air Assault Regiment (down to six weak companies) attempting to infiltrate in advance to locate a suitable crossing point over the Neckar River.

The Iranian Air Force continues its attempts to liberate its country by weakening the enemy forces occupying its territory. While the remaining attack helicopters (a few dozen pre-revolutionary AH-1 Cobras that were rebuilt in the US and Israel from 1994-6, bringing them nearly on par with the US Army and USMC's AH-1V King Cobras) are dedicated to supporting the ongoing counter-marauder operations, the fixed-wing fighter-bomber fleet is striking Soviet targets behind the front lines. An example of this is the day's mission package, which sees an early-morning sortie by F-20s of the 42nd Tactical Fighter Squadron with reconnaissance pods to verify targets located the prior day. The flights last less than 45 minutes, at low altitude, and the aircraft are met on the taxiway by a jeep, ready to rush the onboard film to waiting intelligence analysts. (The Iranians are not equipped with the latest real-time recon pods). A quick review concludes that the target, a battery of ML-20 152mm howitzers of 32nd Army's 400th Gun Artillery Brigade, are still in place and the waiting flight of F-4Es of the 61st Tactical Fighter Squadron takes off. Top cover is provided by a pair of F-15s from the American 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, with command coordinated by Iranian officers operating from a hardened bunker under Shiraz International Airport. The F-4s, flying at low level through the Zagros Mountains, attract scattered small-arms fire as they approach the target area, popping up to 1000 feet for weapons delivery. The artillery battery, located some 15 km behind the front line, is defended by the 32nd Army's depleted 272nd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade; the defenders light up a single SA-11 launcher's radars and fire three missiles, all that the ready battery has remaining. (The battery was alerted by the earlier F-20 overflight to the possibility that the Iranians might be back.) One of the missiles peppers the trailing Phantom with shrapnel, and it continues on the attack run trailing smoke rather than peel off and be vulnerable to being picked off separately; the other two missiles miss. The F-4s blanket the battery (down to three guns from its prewar four) with 96 500-lb bombs, set for a mix of impact and airburst; the blast and shrapnel from the dozens of bombs thoroughly demolish the howitzers, their prime movers, crews and much of the ammunition dumped at the battery. The return flight is uneventful, and upon landing the damaged Phantom is assessed as likely needing several months of repair in the conditions of 1998 Iran.
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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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