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Tuesday, 9 October 2012



6. WAITING GAME


Colonel Bob James was tired; he had driven into work this morning after a terrible night’s sleep due to his Children suffering from Chicken Pox. His youngest Julia needed to be comforted throughout the night, chiefly to stop her scratching herself raw and making the situation worse. Well, that seemed like 10 years ago, it was now 13:00 and he was in the Commanders Hatch of his Chieftain awaiting Contact reports from his subordinates.



His Battlegroup was now in position parallel with the axis of the soviet advance, his Guns laid on the Autobahn that ran across their position East to West, giving his Command an unrivalled “Shooting Gallery” as his second in Command pointed out.



The positions were good, very good infact. They had already seen what had happened to pre-prepared positions and they had wisely decided not to use their own but to form entirely fresh and unused positions. This of course was not his decision, the previous Colonel had been a thoroughly Professional Soldier of some standing and before retiring he had re-written the activation movement orders. He had already guessed the pre-prepared positions were too obvious and had no doubt been catalogued by Soviet Intelligence. The Genius of his plan was that he had deliberately not used the best positions, and left them for the time when it mattered.



The CET’s and AVR’s had worked in double quick time to dig new hull down positions, it was difficult in the snow and camouflage was achieved by the crews working the snow all over the tanks and frozen earth thrown up by the Engineers. The first and secondary positions had been done and the Chieftain Crews were working furiously to cover the earth and give them a fighting chance of going unnoticed from the air or ground.



“Sir” called Captain Gibson “That’s as much as I can do, I’ve got a new tasking I need to rig a Bridge for demolition and fortify several possible fording points” He threw a neat salute to the Colonel, but the Colonel stopped him and extended his hand “Good Luck Captain, we can leave all that saluting nonsense behind now. There is little point highlighting ourselves to the enemy” he replied brightly, not really feeling happy at all but maintaining that outward cheerfulness.



“Thank you Colonel, good luck to you to. Those Chieftains of yours will make life difficult for Ivan.”
“We aim to please” responded the Colonel chuckling, trying deliberately to keep the goodbye light and informal.
With that the Captain ran down to his Spartan and boarded the ramp and immediately moved out before the Ramp had even closed, with his troop of 2 CET’s, 2 Spartans and a Samson and numerous other Landrovers and Bedford 4 Tonne Trucks.


As he watched the small Engineer Convoy depart, he wondered how many other hundreds of units were snaking across Germany doing their allotted tasks. Despite the knowledge of this, he still felt utterly, earth-shatteringly alone. It was a strange feeling of abandonment he felt, like it was his unit versus the entire Red Army. Everything was on the end of the Radio, he could see no other units in the Sky or the Land, he knew there was no one within 10km, except for the retreating Engineers. His own Scimitars were well forward employing their Ground Search Radar to detect the movement of Armour well beyond the normal visual range for a positive Identification. It would be an Electronic War, where the combatants would rarely see each other, where the transistor would multiply the murderous effect of modern weapons ten-fold.




His Artillery & Air Observers had ranged in their positions and all landmarks and key points in the valley below, ready to call for fire well behind their positions and to accurately and quickly place fire with registered targets. The Artillery Officer had abandoned his Ferret and was in a Spartan on his Radio near permanently, he was a quirky man and had proceeded to name all the positions in the panorama below after London Tube Stations. The first Bridge over the Autobahn was “Tower bridge”, the old Castle Ruin was “Elephant & Castle” and the Four leaf clover junction was “Piccadilly Circus”. This kind of nonsense was actually good for Morale and his Troop Commanders were now using these names for the sake of clarity.   



The Clansman Radio behind him gave a squelch of static followed by a well spoken, calm but clipped tone.

“ALPHA-SIX–ECHO – CONTACT WAIT – OUT” 

2 comments:

  1. Yeah it's on the IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM photographic section. Lots of stuff you might like too.

    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060024576

    There is a lot of stuff on this site, and you can tailor it to the exact period.

    ReplyDelete