Armored Assault

red m60

There’s a project that has been in the works for a long time. An awesome project. A world where the Third World War burst forth in 1955; where the fore-warned Soviets launched their long-awaited assault into Western Europe. Here is one partial scene from the book.

Writing Sample, German tanker.

Another 1955.

Jochen’s tanks were arrayed echelon left as they moved cross country; with each platoon in a rough wedge. His blood sang, contact could come at any moment. The moon cast his command in a ghostly light; there was a flash to his far right followed by a crashing boom. Contact. This, he thought, this is what I was born to do.

His headset crackled. “All Lehr elements, 4th Company is in contact. Move to your objectives, and toward the sound of the guns. Lehr Six out.”

Captain Boosfeld’s face was neutral, although one could detect tension by the grim set of his lips. This was his first combat in over a decade, and once again he was fighting the Reds. As his tank tore through a fence he pondered the differences, however. This time he wasn’t fighting with the Gestapo at his back. He was also being supported by airpower. As he rode, he saw flashes from heaven to his far right, the west. The lightshow synched perfectly with his thoughts.

Most importantly, he was riding in this deadly American tank. The M-60 made his trusty old Panzer IV look like a pile of junk. Was it a real killer, though, thought Jochen. He’d find out soon enough. From the right, a flash. To the southwest, a clang and a ball of flame. His headset crackled.

“Lehr Two-Six, this is Lehr Two-Three Six! Contact! Tanks to the south! Engaging now!”

Jochen answered his Third Platoon leader, his blood pulsed like fire through his body. “Roger, Lehr Two-Three Six. Call me when you get the situation under control.” He peered into the night, one hand resting on Ma Deuce, as the Amis called the M2. It wasn’t time to button up, not yet. He saw tracer fire and flashes to the southwest. His turn was coming very soon, he dropped down into his seat and closed the hatch.

He had barely buttoned up when his gunner spoke. His voice was flat, calm.

“Tanks. Left front, 1300 meters.”

Jochen peered through his thermal sight. His gunner had a good eye, the Soviets were hull down, dug in. As he watched, one fired. Must not be addressed to me, he thought. Ivan was still a lousy shot. He knew his gunner wasn’t.

“Gunner, SABOT. Tanks, pick one.”

“Left. Identified.”

Boosfeld addressed his loader. “Load.”

The young man, Tomas, slammed an armor-piercing round, a SABOT, into the breech with his closed fist and closed the breech block. He sat back down, out of the way and spoke. “Up!”

His gunner called out “Lasing!” as he “painted” the Soviet tank with an invisible beam of light. The laser designated dead men who had but a few heartbeats left.

Jochen sealed their fate. “Fire!”

“On the way!” The gun recoiled. Jochen watched his round impact with the tank on the left of the Soviet line. It brewed up spectacularly, the turret flew off and landed some distance away. Within seconds, the Soviet position was destroyed, his tanks closed with them at speed.

His net was full of terse commands, his tanks were moving and shooting. It couldn’t be this easy, he thought. There was no way. He scanned through his thermals, the enemy tanks burned. They flared out his black and white viewscreen as they drew near. Where were the infantry, he wondered. He hadn’t seen any soldiers running around.

Then it hit him. They would be dug in, invisible to thermals and night vision. His company was almost within RPG range. He placed a call.

“2nd Company, this is Lehr Two Six. Keep your eyes out for panzergrenadiere! They will be out here!” He popped his hatch and stood again. He gripped the spade handles of his machine gun and flipped off the safety. He scanned around, his tanks were easy to see with the flames and moonlight.

His Third Platoon was almost on top of the burning tanks. As if on cue, Jochen heard a boom followed by a BLAM! RPG, he thought. He was right. Choas erupted, the Red infantry had held their fire in an impressive show of discipline. Now they sprung their trap.

Panzer 91’s coaxial gun opened up, his gunner must have seen something. At the same moment, Jochen spotted a flash, it could have been firelight on a helmet. He didn’t hesitate. He swung his fifty caliber killer toward the flash and mashed the butterfly triggers down with his thumbs. He poured a long burst along where he thought the hunter-killer team was, shell casings clinked and skittered merrily across the turret roof. The weapon recoiled, red tracers plowed up the ground and bounced crazily toward the heavens.

A bullet snapped past his head, he saw a muzzle flash to his right front, about fifty meters away. He engaged the flash, his weapon recoiled, the target flew apart. Dead ahead he saw an RPG man stand up. The gunner mowed him down, the man crumpled. Jochen was certain that there were more men in the slit trench. He called Hänke.

“Driver, park over that trench and iron it down.”

“Sir?”

Jochen hadn’t taught Hänke that trick. Well, he thought, it’s never too late to learn. He spoke.

“Park over the trench, hold the brake and spin your treads. Do it now.”

The driver did as instructed, Jochen gunned down a soldier who tried to escape. He was the lucky one. The others died screaming beneath Panzer 91’s treads. After a few seconds, it was done. A quote scrolled through his thoughts as he scanned his sector behind Ma Deuce.

“There’s none die well who die in battle.”

He ordered his tanks forward.

More to follow. Lots more.

JL

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