World War: Campaign for Eastland
Copyright© 2018 by Lazlo Zalezac
General Braun was a thoroughly modern general. He believed that generals did not belong on the battlefield, but should run the war from a command room. His headquarters was in Galap where satellite communications could keep him in constant contact with the three corps under his command. The Lieutenant Generals in command of his corps operated out of the same headquarters building. Each division had a Major General who was in country with the troops, but operated out of a fortified command center outside the capital city of Hamasada. The brigades had Brigadier Generals or Colonels in command. It was a nice hierarchical structure.
At the moment, he had a serious problem. Modern armies do not function well without overwhelming air superiority. An army on the ground was at a severe disadvantage when bombers, tank killers, assault helicopters, and fighters could fly over at any time without challenge. He didn’t have a single plane to put up in the air. The Jade Empire was using its air superiority extremely effectively.
The situation screen at the head of the room was updated. He swore at the information posted. There had been another overflight of bombers on one of his battalions that had been positioned to control a major roadway. That raid had rendered it ineffective.
Lieutenant General Gonzales said, “If I move my brigades, they get a visit from tank killers. If I have them set up in a stationary encampments, they get hit with bombers. If I split them up into regiments, they get hit by attack helicopters.”
Lieutenant General Miterand walked into the room. He was in command of the seventh division which was currently located in Hamasada. He had three brigades under his command. The first brigade had two infantry regiments, an armor regiment, and a field artillery regiment. The second brigade had a cavalry regiment, an infantry regiment, two armor regiments, and a field artillery regiment. He had sent them to occupy the land bridge.
“What is it?” General Braun asked.
“I sent the first and second brigade to secure the land bridge. The third brigade was to follow them to provide backup to the other two brigades.”
“I sent one along the east shore road and the other along the west shore road. They are under heavy naval artillery fire. They don’t have anything that can return fire. I ordered them to withdraw.”
“We need them in the land bridge.”
“We aren’t going to get there. All of the regiments are already torn up. The sixth armor regiment was nearly wiped out. They’re just blocking the road now.”
“What about the air cavalry regiment?”
“It pulled out.”
“Gonzales, can you get a brigade back to the land bridge?”
“It’ll take three days to get there.”
“Make it two.”
“I’ll see what I can do. You know they are going to get chewed up by tank killers on the way there.”
“We need to control that land bridge.”
“I’ll get them there. Don’t worry.”
The Misera Paratroopers knew that they were the best in the world. They practiced more often and harder than any other outfit in the world. While other paratroopers in other countries practiced with four jumps a year, they did two a week. They had target practice three times a week with tough exercises between shots. They practiced urban assaults four times a year. One thing about working with Jade Force was that training wasn’t an issue.
They could land fighting, fight on the run, and grab whatever they needed from wherever they were. They knew how to dig in and make an enemy pay for every inch they took. They were veterans. Many of them had fought in the Desera/Sumar war and in the Palarma War.
For the past three months, paratroopers from Niella and Del Moray had joined the training regime with them. It had taken a bit of effort, but now those paratroopers were functional at about the same level as the Misera troops. They didn’t have the cockiness of the Misera paratroopers, but they were ready to prove themselves.
All together the Jade Empire now had five battalions of highly trained paratroopers as well as planes that could deliver them. That was over five thousand soldiers they could drop in anywhere. At the moment, they were flying over the capital city of Hamasada and they were ready to drop in.
“We’re pretty far behind enemy lines.”
“That’s what we do.”
“Let’s get to it.”
Sword Manela looked over the map that had the places where the regiment was located. It was places plural. He had the regiment split up into twenty-four platoons each of which was off on its own. He selected a point on the map and marked it. Turning to the officer standing beside him, he handed him the map. Pointing to a spot on the map, he said, “I want all of your platoons to meet here at 1600. When you are given the signal, they are then to attack the company that is holding the bridge.”
He turned to the other officer and handed him a map that was already marked up. Pointing to a spot on the map, he said, “I want all of your platoons to meet here at 1600. They are then to attack the company that is holding the bridge. You will signal to the other regiment when to attack.”
The two officers glanced at each other’s maps. They were attacking separate ends of the bridge. The longest it would take one of their platoons to reach the muster point was four hours.
“Hit them hard and hit them fast. We don’t want them to have time to put up much of a resistance. Once you’ve taken out the regiment holding the bridge, send your platoons back to where they’re camped. We’ll select another target tomorrow.”
“You’re just going to chew them up in little bites,” one of the officers said.
“That’s right. You’re going to take out three targets over three days and then move. I’ve got two other groups just like yours covering different areas.”
This was turning into a war of attrition. They were going to take out five hundred of the enemy a day in this part of Ulamb. By hitting them with overwhelming forces, it would keep the casualties among the Jade Empire troops to a minimum. With enough casualties, the coalition forces on Ulamb would have to surrender.
“We’ll see you tomorrow,” one of the officers said.
The Jade Warrior walked off to the helicopter that was waiting to take him to his next meeting location.
Sword Shalon stood in the briefing room with two rows of pilots seated looking at her. She pointed to the map and said, “The enemy has an artillery battery set up here overlooking the road.”
She pointed to four of the pilots and said, “You four are team alpha. You’re to hit them at 1400. Flight time to target is about two hours. You’ll have to double check that. Hit them two by two. Got it?”
She pointed to eight pilots and said, “You eight are team beta. The enemy has an armored regiment here. Flight time to target is about eighty minutes. You’re to hit them at 1400. Take them two by four. We don’t want any to escape. Got it?”
She pointed to the last two pilots and said, “You two are team gamma. We have a report that an infantry company is in transit along this road. Find them and take them out. Got it?”
She said, “Great. See you tomorrow.”
They watched her leave. They rose as one and started heading to the front of the room where the map was hung.
One of the pilots said, “Let’s see what we’re facing.”
“Remember when mission planners used to tell us where to go, how to get there, and what we’d be facing.”
“Those were the days.”
“The bad thing is we don’t have anyone to blame when the mission turns to shit.”
Pilots who worked with Jade Warriors learned quickly that mission planning briefs were short and straight to the outcome desired. Now they had their work cut out for them, planning routes that avoided known surface to air missiles sites, working out fuel requirements, and how to coordinate things. The maps they had in the briefing room had all of the route information they needed to know on it.
General Braun glanced up at the situation board. It flickered and then the map disappeared. He waited a couple of seconds expecting it to reappear. It didn’t.
He frowned and asked, “What happened to the signal from the command center at the capital?”
“It must be a technical glitch.”
“Get someone to fix it.”
There was a bit of scrambling as people tried to locate and fix the problem. After ten minutes, the word that the problem was at the other end came back.
“Get someone on the phone.”
One of the technicians said, “There’s no connectivity to them. There’s nothing by satellite or land line. They are completely off line.”
“I wonder what in the hell is happening over there.”
“I’ll try to get someone on a cell phone. Unless the whole damned city is gone, the cell towers should still be there,” Lieutenant General Miterand said.
The modern battlefield had changed significantly from the days when the only way for soldiers in the field to communicate back to headquarters was with heavy radios that they lugged around with them. There were still men carrying radios, but now individual soldiers carried personal cell phones in the field with them. In some cases, the cell phone was more reliable than the radio. In a lot of ways it was even more versatile than a radio. They could take pictures and email the pictures to the base.
Getting a signal in the command center was nearly impossible because of shielding. Lieutenant General Miterand went outside to make the call. He returned shortly and said, “He didn’t answer. I left a voice mail to call back.”
Staring at the blank situation board, General Braun said, “I don’t like this. We’re cut off from everything that is happening down there.”
“We’re just going to have to wait for them to restore connectivity,” Lieutenant General Miterand said, “I’m going to get a cup of coffee and a doughnut.”
“Bring me an orange,” General Braun said.
“What’s with the orange all the time?”
“It’s wet which cools my mouth, it has a nice little tang of flavor which helps freshen my breath, it stores well, and you don’t need a knife to peel it.”
“What’s wrong with a banana?”
“They get mushy.”
General Braun looked at the situation board. They had replaced the no signal image with an image that was up there before the connection was lost. He focused on the area where the command center was located. There wasn’t anything on it that would explain why the connection might be lost.
“It must be a generator or something. They’re four hundred miles from the border.”
Lieutenant General Miterand returned with his coffee, a doughnut, and an orange. He tossed the orange to General Braun and took a seat to enjoy his coffee. General Braun started peeling his orange while staring at the board.
“It must be a generator or something.”
General Braun said, “They’ve got city electricity and a backup generator. There’s redundancy built on top of redundancy on the system. There’s something wrong.”
Lieutenant General Miterand said, “I’m can call General Whatshisname over at Hamasada command.”
Sword Howard stood on the hill two miles from his target. He checked it through his binoculars. It was definitely a fuel depot.
“Two good hits and it’ll blow.”
“What are you going to hit it with?” Cart Guang asked.
Sword Howard got out the case holding his rifle. He calmly opened the rifle case and ran a finger over all of the parts. It didn’t take him long to assemble the rifle. He held up a round and said, “I’ll hit it with this first.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a big bullet that will make a nice hole.”
“I know what it is, but I don’t know what it is – is it armor piercing, explosive, or tracer.”
He slipped the munition into the rifle and closed the breach. This was a special rifle. It only held one round at a time, but it was a big round.
“It’s armor piercing.”
“That’s pretty far away.”
“Can you hit it?”
“I’m aiming at something that is bigger than a barn.”
“Have you ever hit a barn? I heard they’re pretty tricky.”
“You’re a comedian today,” Sword Howard said while he fiddled with the sight setting it for two miles and a calm breeze.
“Are you sure that you want to do it this way?”
He got down on the ground where he was supported. He picked up the rifle and aimed. It took a couple seconds to get comfortable with the gun. He started breathing calmly with long slow breaths. He settled into the zone and pulled the trigger. There was a loud bang. He opened the breach and extracted the casing.