' The Longest Night ' & ' Crossing the Rubicon ': The Original Map Illustrated and Uncut Final Volume (Armageddon's Song)

BOOK: ' The Longest Night ' & ' Crossing the Rubicon ': The Original Map Illustrated and Uncut Final Volume (Armageddon's Song)
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Armageddon’s Song

 

The Original Uncut Final Volume.

 

Book 1

‘The Longest Night’

 

&

 

Book 2

‘Crossing the Rubicon’

 

  Andy Farman

Copyright © 201
4 Andy Farman

All rights reserved.

ISBN: 149933527X

ISBN-13:
978-1499335279

 

 

This book is a work of fiction and as such names, characters, places and
incidents are the products of the authors’ creation or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, whether living or dead, is coincidental.

 

DEDICATION

 

 

To my wife and son, Jessica and Edward Eric, with all my love.

 

 

Templar Platoon, Z Company, IJLB, Oswestry.

Guards Company, IJLB, Oswestry.

The Guards Depot, Pirbright.

2
nd
Battalion Coldstream Guards.

C (Royal Berkshires) Company, 2
nd
Battalion Wessex Regiment.

253 Provost Company, Royal Military Police.

‘B’ Relief, South Norwood Police Station.

Z District Crime Squad, Croydon.

Thornton Heath Robbery Squad (Temp)

4 Unit, Special Patrol Group.

4 Area Specialist Counter-Terrorist IED Search Team.


D’ Relief, Norbury.

A Team (North) Walworth.

The East Street Market ‘Dip’ Squad.

Pete
r O’Rourke, Steve Littel, John & Wendy Allen, the best CAD Operators in the business.

 

To everyone out there who gets up in the morning, and does good things for others!

 

 

‘The Depot’
I visited the Guards Depot the other day,
only it’s the 'The Depot' no longer, all the Guards gone away.
A place once alive with martial noise,
for the creation of men from that of mere boys;
the British Army's best, and no idle boast,
now 'The Depot' is silent but for the wind and the ghosts. 
'Cat Company', which sat beside the square,
had borne a board of memorable dates there,
remembering battles, fought on foot, horse and tank
by those who had skirmished, and of men stood in rank
It honoured their courage on many a foreign field
but the board is now empty and the paintwork has peeled.
No Guardsmen, no Troopers, no Corporals-of-Horse,
no men from the battalions returned for some course.
The ranges are silent, Sand Hill overgrown
'The Queen Mary' is mildewed, forlorn and alone.
I visited The Depot the other day
but the Guardsmen have gone, up Catterick way. 
(Andy Farman. Pirbright, 1996.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

 

Where to start? There have been so many who have helped and encouraged with the writing of this series. Time and advice given freely, but here we go, and in no particular order, and with added thanks to the several hundred of you out there who comment and contribute to the blog and online page regularly.

My Mother and Father, Audrey and Ted Farman, who taught me to enjoy books more than the goggle box (I hasten to add that it did not include an
y affection for text books, however.)

My Uncle Richard and Cousin David
, (From the Farman’s colony in the Americas) for technical advice on matters maritime, nautical and the Chinook.

Jessica of course for putting up with it all, an
d an apology to little Edward for only playing with him before his bedtime because I was writing all day.

Bill Rowlinson and Ray Tester for inspiring two of the characters
, and Bill’s bountiful knowledge of firearms and police tactics.

Friend, actor and author Craig Henderson has qualities recognizable in young Nikoli, the Russian paratrooper. It is inevitable that people we meet will rub off on characters who appear in our stories.

Jason Ferguson of the US Army and National Guard PSI for his sound advice on all things US Military, translating my Brit mortar fire controller orders into the US variety, and test reading.

The lovely and witty Irina Voronina for her advice on low byte sources for graphic tools (one of several of her current post-Playboy careers.) Another former glamour model, now turned TV Producer (when not partying) Tracey Elvik, for adding some wisdom to Janet Probert’s character, I almost made Janet a Mancunian too.

Nick Gill and Andy Croy for their invaluable help with the editing and waking me up to how bad my writing had become since leaving school. Adrian Robinson for invaluable help with the file size reduction problem for map insertions.

Paul Beaumont knowledge of radio communications and military ‘Sigs’.

Paul Teare for test reading, Brendan McWilliams for helpful suggestions which were predictably along the lines of ‘more paras.’

Chris Cullen, Paolo Ruoppolo, Tobi Shear Smith and Steve Enever, test readers extraordinaire.

Lynnard Mondigo for HTML indexing the book.

 

 

 

 

 

Prelude

 

 

 

 

Arkansas Valley, Nebraska, USA.

Saturday 20
th
October, 0001hrs.

 

“Mister President, the Missile Defence Agency confirms a nuclear detonation in the ten megaton range, one minute ago above Sydney, Australia.”

The President was still looking at the speaker, hoping that this was some communications error and that Commander Willis would continue.

“My God, what do I do now? How do I respond to that?”
The earlier heady feeling that all was going well following the report of the sinking of the Chinese ballistic missile submarine
Xia
, had evaporated.

“Henry?”

The President looked for the Chief of the General Staff but saw faces staring back at him, shocked and unbelieving despite the awful toll already racked up in the war, or they still stared at the wall speaker.

The incoming-call lights were still flashing on the telephones, and each of those calls was from an agency either with information for the people in the room, or they required information and instructions.

Terry Jones replaced the receiver he had been holding and clapped his hands, breaking the spell for some and having to raise his voice sharply to snap the others out of the unbelieving state they were in, back to the job at hand.
This was a job General Henry Shaw had fulfilled without effort.  By professional inclination, Terry Jones, CIA Director and former field agent, was not naturally attuned to stepping onto podiums to take charge. He had not survived his first twenty years in the CIA by being high profile. Terry was most comfortable at the back of the crowd, and preferably stood behind someone taller. Henry, however, had walked out the moment he heard the sound of his daughter’s and his eldest son’s ships vaporizing in Sydney Harbour.

“Listen in people.” He addressed the room. “Game heads on, now!” Clapping his hands again for emphasis, he pointed to the telephones.

“You have jobs to do, so do them.”

“Where did General Shaw go, Terry?” the President asked him.

“I do not know sir, but I do not think that anything anyone says to him right now can be of any real use.” Terry said with concern. “However, I think you will agree that we do need General Carmine in here to represent the military because now is not the moment for a timeout.”

 

 

 

 

SACEUR’s Gambit

 

 

 

 

 

The Vormundberg

 

 

 

“And gentlemen in England, now abed, shall think themselves accursed they were not here; and hold their manhood’s cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day.”

 

William Shakespeare

 

 

BOOK ONE

 

‘The Longest night’

 

 

Chapter 1

 

The Vormundberg

 

If not for the burning vehicles in the valley it would be as dark as a grave on the hillside, but silent it was not.

“AMMO!”

The cry came from the gun controller of a GPMG in the sustained fire role and its gun crew from ‘C’ (Royal Berkshire) Company, 2 Wessex, who were firing on a DF he would not even be able to see in daylight.

The GPMG was almost at its maximum elevation as it fired bursts of twenty, with every fifth round being a tracer to aid correction. The rounds arced away into the night but not to a pre-registered Defensive Fire, a DF, in front of their own position, they were disappearing over a protrusion of higher ground to their right to plunge down at a target 1700 metres away.

The gun pit was not situated for direct
defence but instead to provide enfilade fire support for other companies or units on the flanks. The GPMG was particularly well suited for this as the ‘beaten zone’, the pattern in which the rounds from a burst of fire landed, was cigar shaped and therefore more effective when employed against advancing infantry.

Likewise the companies and units on either flank would fire on their neighbours DFs.

Its sight was the C2, the same as that used on the L16 81mm mortar, and similarly used in conjunction with an aiming post to register targets they may, again, not have direct line of sight to, and to be able to lay onto those targets again at any time, come day or night. A Trilux lamp was clamped to the top of the aiming post for night shoots. 

When ‘registering’ the target, once the fall of shot was landing where it was required the bearing and elevation were recorded. In this fashion a good crew could unlock the guns swivel mount, swing it onto the desired bearing where after a little fine adjustment they could put rounds on the ground in exactly the same place, in very short order. If it was necessary to engage targets to their front, the gun was dismounted from the tripod and used in the light role over open sights as the tripod was below ground level.

Some twenty three DFs were registered carefully in waterproof chinagraph pen along with three FPFs, Final Protective Fires, that would be called in in the event of units coming into close quarters with enemy infantry.

Thus far they had fired on those FPFs some eleven times this day, and the day wasn’t over yet.

 

In a trench to their rear a young soldier slung his rifle across his back and squatted to grip the metal handles of two ammunition boxes. The boxes were from a stash left by the CQMS and the yellow stenciling identified the contents as 7.62 mixed link. The boxes were heavy, the handles slippery with mud and he used the remaining boxes as steps to exit.

“NO…crawl!” shouted the gun controller before flinching at the sound of a high velocity round, its sharp crack hurting his ears as it passed by at a velocity exceeded the speed of sound.

“Ah,
bollocks!
” Lance Corporal ‘Dopey’ Hemp snarled with feeling, tearing his eyes away before turning to the gun’s No. 2, yelling into his ear.

“Back in a jiffy Spider, but get ready to throw smoke when I shout?”

“I’ve only got the one.”

Dopey checked his pouches, but he had only L2 fragmentation grenades, the Brit version of the US M26.

“Bugger it…” Roger was busy doing his gunner bit so Dopey checked his pouches for him, and he was out of smoke too. He would have to use a wet and muddy route back to the trench behind them and save the smoke for the return journey.

“Where’d the shot come from?” Spider asked.

Dopey nodded downslope where Soviet AFVs and tanks sat disabled or burnt-out in mud that grew deeper with each new attack’s churning sets of tracks.

“The smart money says he…or they, will be five hundred odd metres away in amongst that lot down there.”

Downslope beyond their own units positions was known as the Thin Green Line, the ground held by the Royal Marines of 44 Commando who had allowed a group of enemy tanks and AFVs to roll over their forward trenches before engaging them where their armour was thinnest and knocking them out with infantry anti-tank weapons.

The NATO forces best tank killers were still the guns of their own MBTs, but attrition was at work there too on this seemingly endless day and night.

Clearly not all the enemy who had reached the defenders on the Vormundberg were dead as two members of D Company, 2LI, at whose rear the gun pit sat, had also fallen victim in the past hour.

Private ‘Spider’ Webber did not stick his head up to look; he had learned that lesson early on.

“I wonder what the Argyll and Sutherland guys will call us when we are the forward line of troops?”

“Same as always, I expect…” replied Dopey, stripping off his bulky fighting order and adding with his best attempt at a Glasgow accent
“…yon fockin’ wee Eng-lish bast-ads.”

Spider checked the wind direction and decided he would have to toss the smoke to the right front of the gun pit, and not too far either as damp air made the smoke ‘hang’ in the rain rather than drift with the breeze.

 

Unburdened by the webbing Dopey slipped over the lip of the gun pit, keeping as low as possible he snaked through the mud into a depression carved out by this constant rain. He couldn’t remember when he had last been dry and neither could he recall when last he had last felt safe. He followed the depression on his belly for twenty metres up the slope.

Bracing himself, swallowing down the fear and forcing it away he left the depression with a dive and roll, and the lance corporal kept on rolling until he reach the other trench, dropping over the edge and back into cover.

He landed on a pair of legs, but the owner did not object, he lay where he had toppled backwards over the trench’s lip.

Dead eyes which had been alive but a few minutes before now stared back. The soldier’s face was in shadow until illuminated briefly by a Soviet parachute flares sulfurous light and Dopey saw it held a look of surprise. He checked for a pulse anyway and it confirmed what he had learned to judge by sight, the difference from the living and the dead, so he wrested the ammunition boxes away from the body. Crouching below the edge of the trench he braced himself before heaving each one up and over, lofting not only those boxes but the six remaining boxes of link cached there.

There were also two boxes of 7.62 ball ammunition which could be belted together with the growing pile of expended links below their GPMG. One at a time he tossed these over the lip of the trench toward his own gun’s position. His arm and back ached with the effort.

The small arms fire from the both his 2LI hosts and 44 Commando rose to a crescendo seemingly at the very second he opened his mouth to call to Spider, and he froze.

Streams of tracer, almost akin to lasers, ripped through the air high overhead as the marine’s called in defensive fires.

Gradually the angles of the outgoing tracer altered, engaging DFs closer to the marine’s positions before again dropping plunging fire onto a FPF as the Hungarians closed almost to grenade range.

Mortar fire missions arrived on target and overhead the outgoing artillery rounds droned mournfully eastwards, the sound punctuated by those of Challenger and Chieftain’s main guns deliberate fire.

Dopey’s heart pounded and it would have been so very easy to just stay where he was, put his shaking hands over his ears and resign to fear, but the firing slackened from that of a deafening roar to one of a few desultory shots in the dark.

At times like this the good soldier does not grit his teeth and fight on for Queen and country, he does not risk his skin out of regimental pride either, what he does do though is to think of his mates and it is that spurs him out of safety and back into harm’s way. 

“SPIDER!” he waited for an answering shout.

“SMOKE!” Dopey yelled.

There was a pause until Spider judged that line of sight between the trench and the suspected firing point was sufficient.

“GO!”

Perhaps the sniper was now dead? But if not he was unlikely to have moved on as his last victim had emerged from this trench carrying ammunition boxes, so it was a potentially good source of targets.

BOOK: ' The Longest Night ' & ' Crossing the Rubicon ': The Original Map Illustrated and Uncut Final Volume (Armageddon's Song)
6.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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