Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Water, Water Everywhere
Imagine your in a spotter plane flying the length of the Pyrenees Mountain Range from East to West. Within 30 miles of the East coast not much is happening. The Soviets avoid the area because of the potential for naval bombardment. It seems the old battle wagons and their 16” guns can still dictate a virtual no mans land if given proper air support. An expensive use of oil but an effective one.
Just a little beyond the 30 mile mark you start to get a real feel of what the fighting is all about. A typical battle will start will intensive artillery and rocket bombardment almost as devastating per mile as the 22 battleships demonstrated in Louisville Slugger. Tens of thousands of rounds of rockets and shells concentrating on this or that hill or mountain top.
The unlucky mountaintop that is the recipient of the title “critical” to the current offensive is just the most recent recipient of a technique used in modern coal mining. In modern times they have started to mine coal by using a method called mountain top removal. Tons of flying metal and explosive give the term new meaning.
If the defenders are lucky they retreat to the other side of the mountain until the worst of the barrage is over they return to fill the massive craters with their living bodies in an attempt to prevent other living bodies from entering their now critical crater.
The air war is pretty much a stand off with local victories giving the ground forces a leg up for a short time until the other side manages to gain air superiority and drop some of the most hideous inventions man has ever created to kill other men down on their respective heads.
Then there is the lack of water. This is probably the worst malady that plaques the defenders and attackers alike. It’s almost impossible to get water supplies to soldiers fighting in mountains while under attack. It is more critical to the battle than ammunition.
No one knows who started it first but a kind of dirty little secret started to become evident among the frontline soldiers. Caravans of water supplies on both sides seemed to live a charmed life. All of a sudden over the last couple of weeks, for whatever reason, both sides stopped targeting each others water supply deliveries.
It seems that despite the brutalities that each side rendered onto each other it was somehow mutually decided that thirst, was not going to be one of them. A line had been draw in the dirt and it became sacrosanct that no one would die for lack of water. That of all the different hideous ways each side could devise to kill each other, thirst would not be one of them.
Fierce hand to hand combat was the norm with units often dying to the last man. Men still tore at each other’s faces in brutal fighting where your hands turned into claws raking at your enemies eyes and nose. The fighting was still as intense as ever yet somehow the water supplies managed to get through unharmed as if by magic.
There was an un-substantiated rumor of a Russian soldier being publicly executed by his own comrades in full sight of a Spanish platoon. His crime was shooting a donkey carrying water to the Spanish position. According to the rumor the Red Army troops made it very clear what his crime was and the Spanish officer acknowledged their act of contrition.
There were a lot of volunteers for the water supply caravans.