Twilight:2000

Last Train to Clarksville
Victory through Firepower

“I knew that bastard Wolf was a Russkie!” exclaimed DelRoy. “What with all his ‘NYeah, I Amerkin, nyes’ and all his ‘I love koka kola wery much. I live in Big Texas long time’ That Bastard.” DelRoy spit off the train.

Giuseppe nodded. “I would have loved to shove a grenade down his throat.”

The two of them were bundled against the cold night breeze. They stood leaning against the ad hoc timber wall that had built on both sides of the flatbed railcar. Behind them was the Bradley, a cold steel presence. It was pitch black and there was nothing to see. Clouds obscured the stars. The only light was the sparks coming out of the smokestack of the train but even these were lost quickly.

“This train ain’t bad. Sure beats driving. We should be in Bremerhaven in a few days.” Said Delroy.

“I just hope the REMF’s don’t take our stuff.” replied Giuseppe. “I have a feeling we’re gonna need it.” he paused. “I wonder what they’re gonna do with us back home? I don’t know if I wanna re-up. But what else is there?”

“She-it, Joe. You’re a born fighter. What, you gonna settle down on some farm? Get some wimmin pregnant? I don’t think so. Now me on the other hand, I gotta plan. Gonna live large back in the world. Gonna make my own world. Maybe I even let you live with me, you ask nicely.” DelRoy grinned but big Joe couldn’t see it in the dark.

“Whatchu think of the new Captain?” asked DelRoy.

“Warren. She seems good. Better than a lot. But I guess she would have to be to survive this long. And the fact that Bravo Troop is still together as a coherent unit, well, that’s an accomplishment. I wonder how she got that scar though. Doesn’t look like Shrapnel.” said Giuseppe.

They were quiet. The train steamed on through the night. Ninety men and women and twenty armoured fighting vehicles. A formidable force. But they felt very vulnerable moving along slowly on this ribbon of steel. West, always west.

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The Route West
Where to go?

Martens takes some time to sketch out his plan – Kluczborz, Kepno, Ostrow, Do a 3 point turn in Ostrow, head West, to Krotoszyn, Krobia, Poniec, Leszno, then head North West to Wolsztyn, Swiebodzin, Frankfurt – cross the Oder – into British Territory. All going to plan. Dicey bit is Ostrow… and Swiebodzin.

Once into Germany things should be better – not fighting all the time!

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Crossroads
A chance to regroup?

“We can go West.” Said Captain Martens.

“Ja” Said Jan.

“Or we can go North for a bit. To Dobrodzien.” Continued Captain Martens. “Wolf may have been a liar, but I’m sure that checking in on the Americans in Dobrodzien is a good idea. They may have personel or equipment that could aid us.”

He consulted his map.

“The rail line does not go through Dobrodzien, rather here, a few clicks West in Myslina. We could stop there and send a team to negotiate with Capt Warren in Dobrodzien… if she is still there with Bravo troop. If that part of what Wolf said is true.”

He turned to Hans and Jeb. Dobrodzien region

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Tragedy at Gliwice
A leader lost

On a crisp fall day the crew worked hard to repair some tracks at a railyard North-West of Gliwice. A few flatbed rail cars were abandoned on a siding and were in good repair. Captain Martens and Jan had secured enough lubricants to get them in working condition again. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would do.

Teams had fanned out to search the building in the surrounding area, to protect from any ambush. But nothing could protect against treachery from within. Major Wolf approached Skeet where he sat up top of his Bradley. Wolf leaned over and said a quiet word to him. Skeet immediately drew his pistol and shot Wolf who tumbled form the Bradley unconscious. Skeet then picked up a grenade that Wolf had dropped in his lap and tossed it overboard as well. Then two of Wolf’s men who had been hanging back opened fire on the partially exposed back of Lieutenant Skeet. Their stances were crip, their aim precise. Bullets slammed into the back of the Lieutenant. Blood sprayed out over the front of the Bradley. Skeet’s still body slumped forward facedown hiding his terrible exit wound but there was no hiding the chunks of brain and bone in front of him.

A savage firefight broke out. Despite their skill the traitors were heavily outgunned. Hans fired up the Bradley and ran over the body of Major Wolf. Jeb used his SVD sniper rifle to pick off any traitor who showed his face. Soon they were completely routed.

Questioning the lone survivor revealed the truth. They were a Spetsnaz unit trained in disguise and infiltration. They were here seeking the Reset papers. They had killed many dozens in their months long pursuit of the papers. Finally they had met their match, but not before doing terrible damage.

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Silesia
Life in the countryside

The team linked up with other stragglers form the 5th ID. They recovered an M2 Bradley and a trailer of Diesel that were in good shape. The did have to go into the irradiated ruins of Sosnowiec to get these things. Next stop was the Hummvee near Klobuck.

Fall was upon the land. Leaves were gold and red and fluttered down in the cold breezes. Winter was coming. It was decision time – try to make it to Bremerhaven for the evacuation or buy a home in Silesia with the Markgrave, Julian Flipowicz?

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The Tide Turns
"The guns, they've stopped!"

No one is sure who first noticed it but it simply became apparent that the howitzer rounds and the massive 120mm mortar rounds stopped falling on the Sielce defenders. Now it was just the constant chatter of small arms fire that echoed over the battlefield. The advance of the Baron’s troops stalled. There was clearly hesitation. Then the entire army began to withdraw. The first to turn around were the Black Guard – a T-80, 2 BMP-B’s and a M113 with accompanying grenadiers turned around and surged back to the Palac Kultury. The Ukrainians withdrew with their T-72 and two BTR-70’s.

From far to the north and down the Nowotkl Avenue that led to the Old City and the dug in defenders there 50 Polish Cavalry surged forth. They clattered down the rubble strewn streets right towards the Palac Kultury.

From the West the Soviet 10 Tank Guards Division attacked. Of course, they had no tanks or any armoured vehicles to speak of. But there were a trained and disciplined fighting force that knew how to advance in good order and quickly brushed aside the western defenses of the Baron’s army.

All these forces were converging on the Baron’s fortress at the Palac. Inside the Baron’s compound a scene of chaos was visible. His howitzer and both mortars had been blown up. The courtyard in front of the Palac was covered in smoke and bodies were strewn everywhere. Small arms fire rang out from inside the lower floors of the Palac itself. There was a gaping hole in the front of the Palac where a rogue BMP-2 had smashed its way in.

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The Battle for Warsaw
Rack and Ruin

On September 17th 2000 in the predawn the Baron Czarny launched his attack. Units swarmed into Sielce from the west over the rubble. The gunfire was constant and fierce. Then the Ukrainians attacked straight from the north-west. Right into a major strongpoint. The Ukraininans had two BTR-70’s and a T-72. Unstoppable. The T-72 clawed over some rubble and then from a hull down position fired directly on the strongpoint. Some brave Sielce Milicya defender fired back with an RPG which came very very close. Then the Chemical Blood Agent round hammered down on the strongpoint. Gas spread and panic spread ahead of the vapours. The essentially cannon fodder Serock Militia surged through the breach and were mowed down by the second line of defense. But then the entire 2nd Free Company which comprised of the Ukrainians and their armoured vehicles surged in behind them. The T-72 eventually summited the rubble wall and had unobstructed access to Sielce. It started pounding any target that offered resistance.

It was then that the Black Guard assaulted the two main strongpoints that guarded the main road that entered Sielce from the north. They were down a BMP-2 that had broken down on the advance but were still essentially unstoppable. 120mm Mortar fire and massive howitzer rounds smashed any dug in defenders to pulp. Within an hour both strongpoints were silenced and the T-80 and accompanying armour surged into Sielce. Two of the BMP-2’s were blown up by brave dug in defenders firing RPG’s from point blank range. This was not enough to stop the attackers and fighting raged fierce and freely throughout northern Sielce as the attacking forces linked up. Victory for the Baron seemed assured.

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Mokotow falls
Another area falls to the Baron

In early September the Baron sent a strong patrol out to perform reconnaisance in force in the stronghold of Mokotow. They met little resistance. Now, on September 9th he has sent a much larger force to occupy it and open up a flank on Sielce. Now the Baron has over 200 men garrisoned there, ready to storm through the rubble and swarm over the western wall of Sielce.

Then, on September 10th, his garrison in Praga was recalled. 50 men from Kamionek followed a few days later. Indeed, the last of the harvest was being cut right now in Sielce. There was certainly a lot of food there for the taking.

Everyone knew the final battle for Warsaw would begin soon.

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The Skirmish Force Moves Out
Sally forth!

It was something to behold. With a roar the diesel engines of the T-72 and two BTR-70 came to life. Black smoke belched from their exhaust pipes. The 70 Ukrainians of the 2nd Free Company mounted up and marched alongside the armoured vehicles. Then, like thunder, the Poles of the 4th Free Company rode past and scattered in squads throughout the countryside ranging far ahead and behind the strike force. Next were the 17 survivors of the 3rd Free Company. Bringing up the rear and presumably keeping an eye on all these independent units were the 90 men of the 3rd Warsaw Company. They didn’t look very experienced but their gear was good. Mostly AK-74’s. Some only had rifles and pistols though. The Soviet 10th wouldn’t have a chance. The Poles would ride out and find them and pin them in place. Then the Ukrainians would bring the T-72 to bear and smash them. It would all be over in a couple of days. They just needed to find the 10th…

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Jeb watches

A few nights earlier:

Several stories up in the ruined office building near their camp, Jeb watched the sunset, chewing a piece of beef jerky he’d made from a deer he’d hunted down in the summer. First time bow hunting since being back home. The batch was almost halfway done already, and the harsh winter was only hinting at its arrival.

There was not enough food in the city. Again he wondered what the hell they were doing here, killing for cruel greedy men. He’d idly scanned the surroundings through his gunsights earlier, drawing a bead for a while on Vedder. Meaner ‘n a grizz, that one. ‘Boom’, he murmured. With a sniper rifle and a suppressor, perhaps the temptation would have been too strong.

Silent, he watched the slow progression of the horizon into a faded hazy blue, with layer after layer fading away. The pale blue wash flowed toward the city as the fire faded from the sky. A ribbed twist of clouds formed a spear above the ridges far to the south west. Now the same faded blue as the land below, their undersides were brought to violet gold in the last moments of the day. The air was cooling fast and the ruined land below stretched quietly into the oncoming blue infinity.

Suddenly angry, Jeb swallowed the last of his jerky and withdrew from his vantage point silently to begin clambering down through the rebar and rubble. The soft beauty had reminded him of home for a moment, but this place made a mockery of beauty.

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