3. A Rude Awakening
Major Miller was not a happy man, not only had 25% of the Divisions FV432’s broken during the recent Alert Drill and Crash deployment, but he had witnessed some less than competent Leadership by various unit Commanders. The number of thrown tracks and poor field maintenance was reflected by the damning report he had collated in his hand. Track pin’s lost, tool boxes emptied of tools and used as additional storage and a general lack of attention to detail concerning the most basic maintenance. He was so furious with the state of the Divisions Infantry Carriers he had worked late on Friday and into Saturday morning to get this done. He was intent on delivering this directly to the Divisional Commanders Hands or at least his deputy, so he could drive back to Britain and take a well deserved 10 day leave.
After finishing the report at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, he went to his quarters and crashed out. A quick 4 hour sleep, and he was up, showered, shaved and dressed. A quick dash in the snow from his Quarters to the Mess dining room 30 yards away revealed a quiet morning. The Officer of the Day was reading Fridays Papers and a couple of young subalterns were planning a trip down to the local town to sample some beer and maybe a local fraulein.
Sitting down heavily, he asked the steward for a pot of Coffee and the full issue breakfast. He looked out of the window and planned his movements for the morning, 1st straight to JHQ and get the Duty Officer to sign for this report, then over to the motorpool to grab his Car which had been serviced by some of his lads for the journey back to the UK, plus he need to borrow some snow chains and bits and bobs. But with the temperature and the overcast clouds, he decided it would be a long day’s drive to Calais, so he was having the full English breakfast and calories be damned.
His breakfast arrived and he tucked in, checking his watch it was 07:50 on the 1st of February, god where is the year going he mused to himself, it felt like Christmas was yesterday. As he mopped up his Breakfast he sat back and helped himself to a second cup of Coffee out of the Pot, and considered going outside again and the drive to drop off the paperwork. Bloody army he thought, when the Divisional Commander wants something on his desk Monday morning 08:00 it really does make a mess of your plans.
He barely noticed the sound of the Helicopters at first, but the Subalterns were curious, excusing themselves from the table and walked over to the window.
“Bloody Hell Sir ! It’s a HIND!” one of them said
“Don’t be so bloody stupid, Thomas” said the Officer of the Day.
The Major stood up and looked out the window, ready to tear a strip off the younger Officer when he got eyes on this helicopter. But as he looked up, he realised they were all wrong, it wasn’t a HIND, it was 10 of them, and the nearest one suddenly flared before being hit by a Rapier Missile and exploding and swinging north away from the camp with figures falling out of the rear of the doomed aircraft.
The Major’s mind went into overdrive “JESUS CHRIST! Activate everyone, get to the Armoury! We are about to receive visitors”. The British Army of the Rhine was about to be mauled by the claws of the Bear.