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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Spy We Know as DELMAR

The spy known as DELMAR had made it to the border of Canada near Roseau, MN. This crossing was never guarded and depended on the honor system. It might not do George any good to get into Canada but it was the only thing he could think of to do. Canada had already discovered and jailed many Soviet spies but he was hoping that they would somehow overlook him.

The trouble was he had inhaled some of his own poison in the form of polonium. Somewhere along the way between setting the tiny bombs off in Oak Ridge and Dayton some polonium had made it into his lungs. He was dying a horrible death. Much like the one he had imposed on his former co-workers and their families and anyone who they came in contact with. Tens of thousands have died or are deathly ill because of his actions. On the other hand possibly hundreds of thousands of his countrymen were saved the horrible death of a nuclear bomb.

The photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had sickened him and had steeled his resolve to do what he had done and now it looked like he would pay the ultimate price. He hoped that he would be remembered for the lives he saved rather than for the ones he took. He fell out of bed in a coughing fit that seem to break off a piece of his lung. For all he knew it actually could have. Polonium rotted you from the inside out.

He guessed it was time to take matters in his own hands and end it with the 45 Colt he had in his luggage. Fast, painless…he had heard but how would anyone know that was still alive. His whole body ached, especially his chest and breathing was incredibly hard. Yes it would end today. End with a very loud bang. It would be especially loud in this tiny room they called a suite. Well, what did he expect near the Canadian border in a town of 300 or so. He was lucky to find anything much less a small hotel.

One last meal at the truck stop…his final meal. Maybe he should stand up and announce that he was the man responsible for stopping the production of the US atomic bomb. Maybe someone would shoot him and put him out of his misery. That would solve two problems…his death and his legacy. He imagined that he would crawl up on the lunch counter and shout in a booming voice how he was the man who stopped the atomic bomb and save hundreds of thousands of lives. That his name was George Koval and he had single handedly killed the killers of possibly millions. George Koval the hero of the Soviet People. George Koval his name will ring throughout the halls of heroes for generations. George Koval a name to remember you citizens of Roseau Minnesota. Your town will become famous for the death of George Koval.

Then the coughing started again and as far as he knew it never stopped. In the middle of his last cough a vessel ruptured in his brain. Probably weakened by the Polonium and killed him. He was dead almost instantly. When the maid came to clean the room there he was dressed in his underwear, half on and half off the bed, his bowels and bladder had let loose like they usually do when death occurs, his head was hanging down and whatever he had in his stomach had drooled out in a puddle with a sticky, frozen waterfall of spit leading to and still attached to the pile of half digested …

It was not a pretty or heroic sight. George Koval, who only we know as the Soviet spy Delmar, did not have any identification on him. There was nothing for the County Sherriff to lead him to his identity so he was buried in a lonely grave near the Canadian border outside of Roseau, MN. One of the last places on earth you would want to be buried and not remembered. He did get a US flag every Veterans Day and Memorial Day placed on his grave as the cemetery made a clerical error and had him identified as an US Army veteran of WWI.

One last detail; the undertaker, who did fight in World War One died a mysterious and agonizing death, along with his cat, about a month after the man he called John Doe was interned. It seemed that the undertaker liked Delmar’s handkerchief and decided it shouldn’t go to waste.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Weapons Development in WWIII 1946 by RangerElite

25 September 1946
Aberdeen Proving Ground
Section K

This was the day they were all waiting for: the testing of new weapons, developed from the plans captured in Germany last year. This test will involve the test-firing of a drastically redesigned copy of the German Sturmgewehr-44, using a version of .30-'06 ammunition shortened to an overall length of 40mm, and a milled receiver for this test model, but to have a stamped receiver, if it passes muster. They need this to work succeed, to counter the Soviets' new semi-automatic rifle, the Simonov SKS, now being captured from Soviet soldiers, along the Pyrenees Line.

In attendance is the U.S. Army's Chief of Ordinance, Lieutenant General Levin Hicks Campbell, Jr., brought out of retirement and promoted, to oversee the weapons development of captured German plans and materials. On the other side of the base, off in the distance, he can hear the screams of rocket artillery being launched, improved and redesigned versions of the German Raketenwerfer and Nebelwerfer systems. Only, these versions carry a newly-developed, nasty, payload: air-bursting cluster sub-munitions. It was akin to launching a box of grenades, and having them blow up right over the enemy's head. Very nasty stuff, indeed. But this war had to be particularly nasty: the American way of life and freedom was truly at stake now...

Finally! The armorers are bringing out the rifles, designated T46A1, for the test. General Campbell still can't get over Buck Rogers-look of this rifle, but it may be one the only things that gets our asses out of this sling. In attendance with the General and his trusted staff, are the design staff that were able to be brought back here in Operation Paperclip and Paperclip II: former   DWM-Mauser AG engineers, Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch and Alex Seidle, along with the chief designer of the Belgian Fabrique National de Herstal, Dieudonne Saive; they are here to observe the results of the test-firing, and improve the fruit of their collaboration, if need be.

The test rifles will be fired in graduations of 100 yards, up to 500 yards. Since this “assault rifle” was not meant to be used outside the 300-yard range, positive results were not expected in the 400- and 500-yard ranges. As the armorers fired the weapons, the designers could see that the rifles were stable, when fired from the shoulder and from the hip, the armorers were able to stay on target, or switch targets, with no apparent trouble. As soon as the firing ended, the firing range manager looked at the targets carefully, and soon declared that the rifles had consistently hit bulls eye, 96 out of 100 times, up to the 400-yard mark. This accuracy was even beyond the engineers wildest expectations. They now had an assault rifle suitable to present to President Truman, for his approval.

General Campbell congratulated the four engineers, leaving them all smiles, as he was ushered to his jeep, where his driver waited to take him to the rocket-artillery range, where he could witness the results of what the artillery men were now calling “Truman's Organs”. Bet that bastard, Uncle Joe, will get big surprise out of that...


Arthur Tedder RAF Chief of the Air Staff was the first to grasp the significance of what this General Kirkpatrick was trying to dance around. He immediately dismissed him as a messenger and his real wrath would be directed at the parties responsible. As the others in the room brow beat Kirkpatrick his mind was on the implications of the information he had just heard. He ticked them off as if they were on a piece of paper in front of him…

1. There would be no additional assistance from the American’s in the form of additional squadrons. The three squadrons of P80s were all that they were going to receive.

2. Replacement pilots for those squadrons would be held to a minimum.

3. The Soviets had a million VT fuses which they could fit to bombs so that they could explode over head with devastating effect on all soft targets.

4. This would also mean that they also could use those fuses on any attacking British planes who attacked their infrastructure with their captured and lend lease AAA guns.

5. The Soviets also had over 180 Yank jammers. How they would use them is up to conjecture with some arguing that they would have no idea what to do with them and would therefore be worthless and possibly scrapped by now.

6. They would have to develop their own jammers and quickly.

If anyone could weigh the odds and figure out a solution it was Tedder. Tedder was the architect of “carpet bombing”. He first proposed and then used it during the Tunisian campaign where it preceded one of the final assaults. The press called it “the Tedder Carpet” and it had caught on. So Tedder was used to devising ways to defeat the enemy. This one was different and he realized this almost immediately.

The usual British response was that the Soviets were unthinking barbarians who just won by throwing overwhelming numbers of cannon fodder at their enemies. They seemed neither caring nor capable of reducing the slaughter. The history of their casualty rates were dismal to say the least yet the way they had fought in this new war so far was impressive to him. They had out thought and out maneuvered the best military minds in the West for 3 months now. Clearly something had happened to the Golden Horde and the Slave had changed his tactics and strategy. It was pass time to throw out the obvious misconceptions about the new Red Army and the racist notions of the past. It was time for him to convince the powers in charge that the Soviets had not only caught up with the West in the realm of aerospace but in some instances had surpassed them.

He was going to have to make his case very forcefully and quickly if the needed changes were going to take place. Ismay seemed to have Atlee’s ear and was making all the wrong choices for all the wrong reasons in his opinion. He was sure the Soviets had something up their sleeve and were not going to do the predictable thing. Ismay was trying to fight the second Battle of Britain like the first. Although he personally like Ismay he felt he lacked imagination that lack could be the death of Britain. No this was his time to tilt at windmills and he was going to have to take a stand or they were doomed from the start.

This new information just justified put steel in his backbone and it was time. He needed to get an appointment with the Prime Minister today even if it cost him his position.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Once Again in Dunkirk

The front loader lifted the piece of paving stone alone with hundreds of others and let it drop in an avalanche of dirt, dust and gravel onto what was to become another airfield for the VVS or Red Army Air Forces. All in all the Soviets had tripled the take off capacity of the areas used by the Germans in 1940 for their Battle of Britain. The Soviets has a huge advantage over the Luftwaffe in that their planes had the range to reach all of the British Isles along with built in loiter time. They could take off reach their intended target and loiter for sometimes hours. The typical ME 109 of 1940 had a loiter time of 10 minutes in the first Battle of Britain.

Our piece of paving stone landed near the top of the pile and when the bulldozer leveled the pile it ended up on top with its weathered side up once again facing the French sun. This is the side that saw quite a bit of history before it became part of this runway near Dunkirk.

It was first laid down on the corner of Rue Clemenceau and Rue du President Poincare. Today it is near the Plaza Jean Bart and within sight of the Bell Tower.

The area of Dunkirk and its excellent harbor was much disputed between Spain, the Netherlands, England and France. At the beginning of the Eighty Years' War, Dunkirk was briefly in the hands of the Dutch rebels, from 1577. Spanish forces under the Duke of Parma re-established Spanish rule in 1583 and it became a base for the notorious Dunkirkers.

The Dunkirkers were legalized pirates for the Spanish and for close to 80 years were a thorn in the side of the British and Dutch capturing hundreds of costal vessels and even joining in some to the great battles of the time. In order to evade the blockading Dutch and English they are credited with designing the frigate. A ship fast enough to elude a ship of the line yet strong enough to run down and destroy any other vessel at the time.

Our piece of paving stone saw the boots of many an invader from the Spanish to the French then back to the Spanish and briefly the Dutch and so on. Not that it cared whose boots where gradually wearing it down. In 1658 even the British owned it but they sold it to France in 1662 and it stay in French hands until 1940. Then the hobnail boots of the Germans took a good millimeter off our stone.

A man of countless stories was arrested while standing on our paving stone. In fact a drop of his blood still stains it. It is hardly traceable but it is there. The man who was arrested was entered in the prison rolls as Eustache Dauger. Better known to history as the Man in the Iron Mask. He is the man of Alexandre Dumas and Three Musketeers fame and dozens of movies and novels.

It’s interesting to note that much of what we know about the Man in the Iron Mask comes from his jailer of 34 years and his correspondence to and from his employer. Too bad no one but us knows about that spot of blood that is very well preserved in a tiny crack in the stone where it was covered soon after it settled there by some pine pitch from a lumber wagon. Oh yes it is there just waiting for DNA testing.

Within shouting distance of where our little piece of history used to lay is a statue of Jean Bart another name of historical interest. Many of Jean Bart’s 14 children stumbled on the spot where our stone rested as it was slightly raised above it surroundings which made it a natural stumbling block for many a child. Jean Bart is one of Frances most revered naval commanders and heroes having no less than 6 major ships of the line and a few battleships as well named after him. The last being an anti aircraft Frigate still serving in the French Navy.
Jean Bart’s statue and the Bell Tower are two of the very few buildings and monuments left standing after the allies repeatedly bombed the small city. Before being leveled the cities beaches and harbor helped save Britain by becoming an embarkation point for 40,000 fleeing Allied soldiers who would live to defend Britain once more. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the “Little Ships of Dunkirk” and the Miracle of Dunkirk so I won’t bore you with that incredible story.

The city was again contested in 1944, and the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division attempted to liberate the city in September, as Allied forces surged northeast after their victory in the Battle of Normandy. However, German forces refused to relinquish their control of the city, which had been converted into a fortress, and the garrison there was "masked" by Allied troops, notably 1st Czechoslovak Armored Brigade. The fortress under command of German Admiral Friedrich Frisius eventually unconditionally surrendered to the commander of the Czechoslovak forces, Brigade General Alois Liška, on 9 May 1945.

Our little paving stone did pretty well until a 105mm shell finally landed 21 feet away and threw it into the air where it struck the right temple of a young lady named Brigit. No one knows her last name but luckily it did not kill her because Brigit was the last person to remember the culinary delight Potjevleisch. It’s a Flemish potted meat, originally from Dunkerque. It is a terrine made of three meats: often veal, bacon and rabbit; or chicken, duck and rabbit. Calves feet are sometimes added. The meat is cooked with onions, shallots, garlic, white wine and some herbs, lemon and tomatoes. If the paving stone had killed Brigit, Potjevleisch would have been lost forever to the sands of time.

Within weeks our paving stone will have the tires of Soviet Tu-2 medium bombers rolling over it by the dozens. Along with millions of others it forms the base for the runways that will launch a thousand planes at a time. All winging their way towards other flying machines like themselves and the pilots in them will try and kill each other like all the men before them.
Whether by sword or arrow, bullet or bomb, flesh will be torn apart. In the end our paving stone will still be there patiently waiting to play it’s part in the newest wave of violence near the city of Dunkirk on the shores of the English Channel.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Weapons Development in WWIII 1946 by RangerElite

25 September 1946
Aberdeen Proving Ground
Section K

This was the day they were all waiting for: the testing of new weapons, developed from the plans captured in Germany last year. This test will involve the test-firing of a drastically redesigned copy of the German Sturmgewehr-44, using a version of .30-'06 ammunition shortened to an overall length of 40mm, and a milled receiver for this test model, but to have a stamped receiver, if it passes muster. They need this to work succeed, to counter the Soviets' new semi-automatic rifle, the Simonov SKS, now being captured from Soviet soldiers, along the Pyrenees Line.

In attendance is the U.S. Army's Chief of Ordinance, Lieutenant General Levin Hicks Campbell, Jr., brought out of retirement and promoted, to oversee the weapons development of captured German plans and materials. On the other side of the base, off in the distance, he can hear the screams of rocket artillery being launched, improved and redesigned versions of the German Raketenwerfer and Nebelwerfer systems. Only, these versions carry a newly-developed, nasty, payload: air-bursting cluster sub-munitions. It was akin to launching a box of grenades, and having them blow up right over the enemy's head. Very nasty stuff, indeed. But this war had to be particularly nasty: the American way of life and freedom was truly at stake now...

Finally! The armorers are bringing out the rifles, designated T46A1, for the test. General Campbell still can't get over Buck Rogers-look of this rifle, but it may be one the only things that gets our asses out of this sling. In attendance with the General and his trusted staff, are the design staff that were able to be brought back here in Operation Paperclip and Paperclip II: former DWM-Mauser AG engineers, Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch and Alex Seidle, along with the chief designer of the Belgian Fabrique National de Herstal, Dieudonne Saive; they are here to observe the results of the test-firing, and improve the fruit of their collaboration, if need be.

The test rifles will be fired in graduations of 100 yards, up to 500 yards. Since this “assault rifle” was not meant to be used outside the 300-yard range, positive results were not expected in the 400- and 500-yard ranges. As the armorers fired the weapons, the designers could see that the rifles were stable, when fired from the shoulder and from the hip, the armorers were able to stay on target, or switch targets, with no apparent trouble. As soon as the firing ended, the firing range manager looked at the targets carefully, and soon declared that the rifles had consistently hit bulls eye, 96 out of 100 times, up to the 400-yard mark. This accuracy was even beyond the engineers wildest expectations. They now had an assault rifle suitable to present to President Truman, for his approval.

General Campbell congratulated the four engineers, leaving them all smiles, as he was ushered to his jeep, where his driver waited to take him to the rocket-artillery range, where he could witness the results of what the artillery men were now calling “Truman's Organs”. Bet that bastard, Uncle Joe, will get big surprise out of that...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

War Plan Asia by RangerElite

23 September 1946
War Plan Proposal
Office of the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief
U.S. Department of War

Subject: Opening the Second Front through Asia

These are the recommendations of the OCSCC, presented with the concurrence of the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Army Air Force and Strategic Air Command, and the Chief of Naval Operations.

This is the outline of what is tentatively called War Plan Red:

1. Proposed: A conference to create an Asian mutual defense treaty, similar in scope and objective as NATO.

2. Proposed: Movement of 6th U.S. Army from the Presidio, San Francisco, U.S.A. to relieve the 8thU.S. Army from occupation duties on the Japanese Home Islands, to be relocated, half to India, and we have been invited by the Filipino government to station the other half of that army to the newly independent nation of the Republic of the Philippines, while they stand up their army from the Filipino cadre of the U.S. 12th Infantry Division (Philippine Scouts) and fight the communist Hukbalahap insurgents. Further movement is recommended into China, as conditions permit.

3. Proposed: As manpower becomes available, it is recommended that 2 new field armies and an airborne corps be created (provisionally designated 10th U.S. Army, 14th U.S. Army and U.S. XXIII Airborne Corps) for use in the Far East Theater of Operations.

4. Proposed: Military co-operation with the paramililtary units of the CIA in Asia, especially in the arming and training of indigenous paramililtary forces, such as scouts or rangers. Highly successful examples of this are the Chin and Kachin Rangers, and the Free Thai Scouts, etc. There is a consensus that Detachment 101 should be re-established toward this end.

5. Proposed: Military training missions to train the newly established Indian Army, from the remains of the British India Army, and the new armies of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. In Vietnam and Cambodia, there are large numbers of indigenous former Legionnaires of the French Foreign Legion who will, with the anti-Japanese resistance fighters, form the nucleus of these new armies. Some of these Legionnaires even command special skills (Parachutistes, Commandos Marin, etc.) that would serve well in this theater of battle. Also of special interest are the large number of British-trained paratroopers, commandoes and Special Air Service-type members of the Indian Military, who can be used as surrogates to train Asian troops and Special Units, and the possible creation of an Inter-Allied Special Forces Command in the Far East theater.

6. Proposed: Neutralization of Communist forces in Asia, including, but not limited to, the Chinese Communist Party, the Hukbalahap insugents in the Philippines, and other communist insurgent movements in Ceylon, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. To this end, it is recommended that 4thRanger Battalion be attached to the part of the 8th U.S. Army that is in India and the 6thRanger Battalion be attached to the part of the 8th U.S. Army stationed in the Philippines.

7. Proposed: When all areas of operation have been stabilized and all other threats have been neutralized, implementation of the plan for the invasion of the Siberian and Central Asian Soviet Union (initially codenamed OPERATION GENGHIS KHAN) will commence. X-Day planned for late-May to early-June, 1947.

B/Gen. David H. Halderman
Chief Of Staff, U.S. Army
War Plans Division

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"As Heart And Blood” Episode 7 by Christopher Marcus

- a story from the Third World War ... that erupted in 1946

by Christopher Marcus

Previously: Javier, Miguel and Dominic, volunteers for NATO’s expeditionary force in Spain, have been rescued from Communist partisans by the Western powers’ elite partisan hunters ... the Waffen-SS.

Episode 7

Late September 1946
Northern Spain

Former Waffen-SS Standartenführer, Graf Franz von Jäger, looked at his adjudant with cold, clear eyes that did not betray a single hint of emotion:

“Should we tell them, Diego?”

von Jäger nodded towards the tent opening – out of which they could see Javier, Miguel and Dominic, who were huddled around a small fire in a clearing in the woods. It was a grim, cloudy morning in the mountains and everything had been soaked during a heavy rainfall at night.

They had had to move fast yesterday, retreating back from the valley and up into the forest, in order not to be caught in the open by several waves of Sturmoviks, presumably out of Toulouse. They had changed camp site several times already and Jäger had commanded that they be ready to move again at a moment’s notice. So this camp was very primitive, even by partisan hunters’ standards. Inside the commander’s tent, however, everything was dry and in perfect order. As always.

“They will need to know soon,” Diego replied after having thought about it. He was a small, quiet Spaniard and he seldom spoke without having chosen his words carefully. “We are very near the front – where their regiment is supposed to be.”

von Jäger nodded sombrely: “Yes … supposed to be.”

Since they had succeeded in eliminating the core of Pablo Mendoza’s Nuevo Frente Popular partisans, including Mendoza himself, Jäger had not thought much about what to do with the three Latin American volunteers they had rescued. They had to go back to their regiment, of course. But this morning’s disturbing news from Laruns had changed things. However, if they could not go back, would they have to stay? And if they stayed would they become a help or … a problem?

The hunt had exceeded expectations so far. Months of cultivating new, invaluable informers had borne fruit. NATO’s 1st Army HQ in Bilbao had all the opportunity for plausible denial that the weaklings needed – that is, when it came to gloss over that ‘unfortunate’ leak of information which tipped off Mendoza’s partisans about the Overseas Volunteers column; which allowed the partisans to place those landmines in a very predictable right spot at a very predictable time.

All Jäger had had to do was to follow the column at a distance, keep a look-out, and then have some of his most experienced ‘shadows’ follow the raiding group back to the hideout which he had been getting ever closer to these past 3 months – but without actually finding it. From then on it was just a matter of springing the trap.

As expected there had been several larger NFP units camped in a jagged mountain area, not far from the El Portalet border crossing. They had chosen the area because they felt safe. After verifying their locations Jäger had divided his own men into 3 squads, making sure each had superiority in both numbers and weapons. Then he had struck.

A delightful bonus was that in one of the partisan groups Mendoza himself had been present. A not so delightful bonus had been to find NATO prisoners alive in that group. Yes, Corporal Genscher had reported that the partisans pulled some bodies from the wreckage of the truck which had fallen into the ravine, but Jäger had dismissed this as the usual partisan tactic of saving a few enemy bodies for convincing sabotage attacks in the coming days.

In fact, yesterday there had been a particularly nasty one near a large NATO check point outside Pamplona. The only live human being in the ‘provisions truck’ which had been the last to be checked - had been one of the NFP “Heroés”, as the suicide attackers were allowed to title themselves. The other three uniformed men, two on the truck bed amongst the rations boxes stuffed with explosives and one in the front, were apparently captured bodies of NATO soldiers that had been propped up. Or at least that was the conclusion post-investigation. There wasn’t much left ...

“Do you think our three guests will ask … questions about the ambush?” Jäger asked Diego softly. But it was a superficial softness that did little to hide the deadly resolve that was always directly underneath.

“They are only common soldiers, Colonel … ” Diego began slowly, then held his tongue for a few seconds to gauge Jäger’s reaction.

Diego Estevez had fought under Jäger’s command in the last days of Berlin with the Spanische-Freiwilligen Kompanie der SS 101 which had been attached to 11th SS Panzergrenadier Division Nordland;but unlike von Jäger he was content to keep his ‘translated’ NATO-rank of lieutenant - and wear the full uniform to show it. It annoyed Jäger somewhat but he chose not to make an issue of it. Times had changed.

“Considering the fate of their regiment this morning,” Diego finally continued - after having decided how best to ‘handle’ Jäger this time - “I think they will soon have other things on their mind than thinking about why that ambush happened – which I don’t think they would think too much about anyway! As I said, they are just soldiers. And sometimes there … is an ambush.”

“Yes,” Jäger said, but more to himself than to Diego, “but then there is still the small matter of what we should do with them now. We could send them back to Bilbao, of course – or up to General Allen. But I wonder if we have exhausted all the possibilities … ”

“What other possibilities are there, Colonel?”

“Jimenez and Nijmegen will not recover from that skirmish the other day, will they?”

“The doctor says no.”

“Then we are two men short. And it doesn’t look like our little war is over anytime soon, does it?”

“No,” Diego concurred, feeling slightly tired from standing (Jäger had not once asked him to sit down, although Diego had been in the tent for half an hour now). “The Bolsheviks have had extraordinary luck these first five months. Or they have been too well-prepared - or both. And if it’s going to be the last war the Western Allies will ever fight - they had better get their act together – and use all means necessary to win it. As we did.”

“And even that was not enough,” Jäger remarked, and for the first time a hint of a smile betrayed itself on his lips “ - when Berlin was in flames and the Führer was dead.”

Diego was about to say something more, but Jäger raised himself from his chair and walked past him, without a word, ducked through the tent opening and went out into the clearing.

Diego followed, as he was supposed to do. But he couldn’t help looking forward to it. After all, he knew Jäger so well now that he had almost guessed what the commander had decided about the poor bastards out there …


“Buenos dias, amigos,” Jäger greeted the three men in heavily accented Spanish (he had never bothered to learn the language). Diego quickly came to his side and began translating as Jäger went on in German:

“I’m afraid I have some bad news for you … This morning I received a message that the 5thOverseas Volunteers Regiment was sent over to Laruns just in time to fend off an enemy attempt to break through. They fought heroically and stopped the Bolsheviks. They also lost about 75 per cent of their men. The remainders have been transferred to shore up other under-strength NATO divisions - elsewhere on the Sherman Line.”

He paused and watched the three soldiers' reaction. They stared back at him with an expression of incomprehension, almost bordering on fear; as if he had just told them they themselves were about to be shot by Bolsheviks. In fact, they had – circumstances permitting - been treated quite well these past many days which they had been with Jäger’s men.

“This … is true?” Dominic asked with some difficulty. He still wore heavy bandage around the head and arm and field surgeon Mihailovic had been very cautious when his prospects for returning to duty. It was annoying, Jäger had thought, that they had to go through so much trouble for a nigger but as Diego kept reminding him: Times had changed.

And so, for now, Jäger forced himself to nod in response to Dominic’s question, recognizing his presence:

“It is true,” he confirmed.

Javier and Miguel looked briefly at each other. Miguel snorted and looked down again, and crossed his arms tightly, as if he had even been expecting this - and as if his regiment’s failure to survive the onslaught of what was probably a vastly superior force of Soviets was somehow a personal insult.

Javier just felt empty inside. He had already had his share of troubles accepting that they had, in fact, been rescued by these … men.

“What do we do then?” he finally said, quietly, as if it was more a question to himself than directed particularly at von Jäger.

The former SS-officer, however, understood Javier quite well - even before the translation. He smiled fleetingly for the second time today:

“You don’t have to worry about that, young man. I can always use new interpreters. So from this moment on consider yourself part of NATO’s Anti-Partisan Unit I.”

The three Latinos stared at Jäger in dumbfound silence.

“You should be quite happy,” Jäger offered, “You will be fighting with an elite cadre of soldiers – all handpicked by our American allies.”

“But …” Javier began, while scrambling to his feet “ - you are not in authority to -”

Jäger stepped very close to Javier and the glare of his cold, white eyes made the young man shiver involuntarily: “Wrong. I am the only authority in these mountains, amigo. This is my land and I draft any men that I need to carry out my mission.”

“Could you at least contact Major Alvarez? If he – I mean, he was in charge of …”

“Major Alvarez is dead!” Jäger snapped. “So is almost every other man that was in your regiment. Don’t you get it? – they were being used as cannon-fodder, just as Franco’s poor sods are, to hold that pitiful excuse for a fortification line. The Allies” - he deliberatedly used this term “- are keeping their best troops in reserve for the time when they are prepared to go on the offensive again. You are, in fact, the three luckiest men in that regiment. But don’t push that luck … amigo.”

Franz von Jäger turned and walked away. Diego nodded courteously at the three, as if he showed the merest hint of sympathy. Then the lieutenant went after Jäger.

“Maybe I would rather have been at Laruns,” Miguel said, and stared into the small flickering, flames of their fire. It had begun raining again and the fire was soon extinguished.

Next episode:

While the Anti-Partisan Force is operating across the old border a new Soviet attack breaks through at Laruns and Jäger’s unit is caught behind enemy lines. But Jäger refuses to withdraw and instead sets about killing ‘Bolshevik sympathisers’ in the nearby villages. Javier and Miguel plan their defection, but the ailing Dominic cannot move fast enough to accompany them. And given the devastating force of the Soviet assault, perhaps it is already too late for second decisions anyway…

You can read Chris’ own short stories at

Friday, December 16, 2011

Protect and Serve

The Tu2 medium bomber named Zaichik was being buffeted by the prop wash of the B25 it was keeping close formation with. The pilot and co-pilot fought with the controls. They would normally have given the bigger bomber a much wider berth but the whole point of this practice was to get as many medium bombers and fighters tucked in and stacked above the Lend Lease B25J as possible.

Everyone had been told that the B25 had a magic box inside it that would ward off some electric anti-aircraft round that could feel their plane and explode when it just got close to you. These Yankee cannon shells did not even have to hit you to explode but had some kind of built in electronic sensing device called the VT fuse. He had no idea what VT stood for but the electronic machine in the B25 was supposed to keep the anti aircraft shell from killing them by tricking the fuse to go off before it should. They joked that it better be a long time before it should.

The magic box had a limited range so you had to fit as many planes as close as you could above the bigger American bomber as the shells would “feel” the magic box and explode below. The pilot hoped far below. Bombers in the VVS were not used to flying in tight formation and there had been some crashes but hours and hours of practice were paying off. He didn’t know how long their new found discipline would last once they started falling out of the sky. They were told to be like a school of fish if one falls you tighten up and get in closer. Easy for them to say sitting behind their big desks back in Paris.

He wished he was flying the B25 but that was for Vlad and not him. All his friend Vlad had to do was to fly the route to and from the target. He didn’t have to worry about crashing into other planes. They had to worry about crashing into him. They were told that if they crashed into the B25 their families would be killed and no one wanted that. Yet the tighter you could get in formation to the big bomber the better your chances and the chances of your friends had against the American anti aircraft shells.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Dream Team

Georgy received the usual memo passed through the slot and ran to do the bidding of his unseen master.

He marveled that this fellow Sergo had ability to place the exact right person in the exact right job. He had heard that he didn’t know people’s names but just looked at the tests he had designed and each of the 50,000 workers was just a number, just another cog to be placed into the machine of the Soviet aerospace effort. Sergo just looked at the test results and then categorized each worker/slave and put them in those file drawers of his, according to some system he had in his head.

They had tried to get him help with some kind of assistance to help him with his job or just something to ease his burdens as well as to spy on him, but he wouldn’t hear of it. They even tried getting him one of the most beautiful women he as every seen to be his assistant and when he rejected her they got him a young man who liked other men, but that didn’t work either.

Since late in 1943 Sergo’s operation has been right behind the German, US and British research and development efforts in four main areas, jet engines, rockets, heavy bombers and high octane gas. He saw early the need for each of these particular elements. He let the other nations spend the time and money to do the research, testing and waited for the triumphs. Beria's remarkable spy network brought him the information he needed and was stealing the ideas of others at a prodigious rate. Then he set his minions on their path.

Along the way he had to find people to delve into metallurgy, organic chemistry, physics etc. He personally knew nothing about any of these scientific disciplines but his tests had identified hundreds of prodigies in each of these disciplines and dozens more. When he needed an organic chemist to work on cracking oil and producing high octane gas, he pulled his files and found the right one for the job. He was even allowing some the foremost minds, still alive after the purges, to teach promising prisoners.

Sergo started parallel programs to the German, British and United States efforts. As Beria’s intelligence machine fed in new data and documents Sergo’s operation used it to full advantage. Great strides were accomplished in the development in what were basically copies of the German, British and even American jet engines. Georgy had heard that Beria had a spy, William Mutterperl, who was on the design team of the Yankees jet fighter. As a consequence of these efforts in replicating his former allies and enemies work the Soviet war machine was from 3 to 4 months behind in these critical areas.

In a few areas they were ahead because of Sero’s emphasis and insistence. The ground to air missile system was such an example. Georgy was responsible for seeing that his unseen master’s wishes came to fruition and he was very good at it.

Right now high octane gas was being produced to keep the VVS fighters competitive with NATOs aircraft. The first month of the war they had to use hoarded stocks of Lend Lease fuel but now their own production had come on line. It’s interesting to note that Russians have been leaders in organic chemistry since the 1890s when Vladimir Shukhov first “cracked” oil.

A former student of Shukohov had defected to the US in 1930 but the secrets he took with him came from the USSR. The defector named Vladimir Ipatieff was given credit for finding an economical way to create high octane gas in 1930 for the capitalist war mongers, yet he was educated in the Soviet Union and much of his research remained behind when he defected. That research was put to good use and little Anna Mezhlumova reproduced his process. Now high octane gas was being stockpiled for future use.

Another example would be when the MiG Design Bureau became aware of the German Ta 183 project in 1944 and emulating the parallel process Sergo pioneered for copying and improving others designs. They started work on what would become the MiG 15. This ground breaking jet fighter could be operational in May, 1947. A frightening thought for the US bombing effort.

The jet engine that would be paired with MiG 15 was itself a product of this parallel process along with the Wasserfal missile and it’s guidance system. These were incredible feats of intellectual theft but all is fair in love and war and this was definitely not love.

Sergo had tried to convince Stalin that the B29 program should be emulated as well but he was not convinced. The resources were not there for all of these projects and defensive weapons systems took precedence over offensive systems such as the atomic bomb and the B29. For now the Stalin’s emphasis was on keeping what he had gained and using the resources of Western Europe to rebuild the motherland. Time and time again it was the motherland and its peoples who paid for the actions of the West. This time it would be different.

Georgy was a big part of this undertaking. Georgy was something of a prodigy in his own right. He was a fixer and could scrounge for anything and strong armed anyone to get the job done and more importantly to get the job done right.

Beria produced the secrets. Sergo produced the vision, ideas, qualified people and the process. Georgy produced results. Together they made a very strange but effective cabal. A cabal that Joseph Stalin seemed to be comfortable with…for the moment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Preview Home Cambridge England By Tallthinkev

Welcome Tallthinkev

7 years old John Smith was walking home from Milton Road school, towards home, still thinking why they had to play football now and not cricket. That wasn't fair.
Grandad had taken him to Fenners a couple of times in the spring, he saw Compton get over 200 then. That was good!
'Why can't I be like Compton'? he asked his friend.
His friend didn't answer, just pointed to the sky. 'What kind of plane is that?'
'Which one'?
'The one that isn't a Spitfire, silly, the one with two engines'.
They both looked a little harder and the red star could now be seen.
'It's a Russian one, it's not as fast as ours, bet they shot him down' said John
The PE-2 reconnaissance plane continued towards Milton.
'Is going to Waterbeach'?
It didn't get there, flames started to come out of the port engine, a spin, smoke then a dull thud could be heard from over a mile away.
John got back home a few minutes later, his mum was waiting.
'How would you like to come with to see Grandma this evening'? His mother asked
In her arms was his little sister, only 6 months old now. He didn't reply to that question. Instead blouted out.
'But mum, WHY is Uncle Joe fighting us now and not the Germans'?
Gwen Smith, didn't say anything, she wasn't sure her self. A few months ago life was better, not as good as before the war. Was that really 7 years ago?, seemed more like a lifetime. It was a life time as far as her son was concerned. He was only 6 months old then, the same age of Jill, her daughter.
'Jack' she called, 'can you help with the suit cases? I'm getting the bus now'.
Jack came along the short corridor, which lead to the kitchen from the shoe shop they owned. He tried not the show the worry on his face to the children.
He picked up two of the cases, giving the third, much smaller one to John.
'Here you take this one, it has your things in it. Mum can't take it so you have to'.
They made their way the few yards to the bus stop. Only a couple of minutes past before the bus came into view. Helping his wife and daughter on, he took John aside.
'You have to look after your mother and sister now. You are a big boy so have to help them and your grandma when you get to Wilbraham'.
He waved them off, then turning away so they could see the tears in his eyes. It was back to Marshalls again, the reserved occupation that kept out of the last war would keep him out of this
one. I hope. He thought to himself.
The next day he got himself on his bike two cycle the few miles to the airport, back to the old job.
Back to fix the aircraft, that helped train the aircrew. He walked into one of the hangers, side by side was a Meteor and a ME 262.
He'd never seen a jet up close, let alone worked on one.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Road to Mutiny by RangerElite

General Sun Li-jen was busy fighting the People's Liberation Army of the Chinese Communist Party, in Manchuria, and he was very successful at it. However, while he was fighting the communists, he was also testing the loyalty of his New 1st Army. Battle after battle, General Sun gained a better insight into the fighting force that he'd helped to create back in the dark days of 1943, when he'd been backed by the Japanese against the wall. He knew that his men would go to hell and back for him, but what of his officers? Who among them would support his bid to create a better China, one without the cult of personality of the Generalissimo, with justice and equality for all?

He started the process of vetting the officers in his army by having his most trusted generals begin to interview company- and field-grade officers, under the pretense of selection for a secret mission. The plan was simple: those officers that showed that they could be reliable, would be elevated to commands of influence. Those officers who were not reliable would be relegated to positions of insignifigance. General Sun was certain that this would ensure that his army was loyal to China alone, and not to any one man.

It was now mid-October, by the Western calender, and he had accomplished much, but there was more to do. By his calculations, General Sun Li-jen knew that he would be able to move soon, and possibly, without any bloodshed. Then, he would divide and conquer the communists, and begin the true healing of a divided China.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Eyes Have It

He looked into the eyes of a killer. I guess the conviction of his beliefs gave him the courage. Courage that he never knew he possessed. Courage that may get him horribly tortured or murdered. If he had know just how utterly ruthless his inquisitor was he may have acted differently. But what did it matter whether a man killed one or millions. He was still a killer.

He had to focus and stop thinking about how short the man behind the desk was. He had to ignore the pocked marked skin and concentrate on what the crewel mouth behind the huge mustache was saying. What the actual words were and what the veiled threat behind them was. Because of how his mind worked it was hard for him to tell these things.

His mind was like a machine. Everything was orderly and logical. He was usually helpless when he had to deal with other human feelings. He was not a sociopath just not adept at picking up the physical clues that most people took for granted. The meanings of the change of tone or emphasis on certain words eluded him. He was lacking in interpersonal skills. Logically he realized this but it did him no good. He just didn’t have the capacity to adapt to most of the difficult situations that most of us cope with daily. The difference between a white lie and a real lie puzzled him.

Consequently he never lied.

The man across the table from him lived to lie. He ate lies. He breathed lies. To him it came as natural as blinking your eyes. He was a master at it. Sergo was helpless on many levels if the man with the mustache wanted to destroy him. He could tell Sergo a lie about a subject dear to his heart and psychologically ripe his ego apart in less than three sentences. He could mentally send him into the depths of hell and cause suicidal thoughts with ease. The man across the table has both killed and crushed the very soles of thousands of victims.

Yet with Sergo he didn't. He was never even tempted. From the first time they met he knew exactly how valuable this thing, that called himself a man, was. Imagine having a conversation with this human calculator, this idiot savant of logic, feeding into it all the pertinent information needed and absolutely counting on it to give you the most logical and unemotional solution to any problem. Give him the facts and the most logical solution would come out devoid of any politics or emotion. Yet he was able to factor in human feelings such as jealousy and fear in his calculations. So in essence he was much more valuable than what we now know as a computer.

Sergo was such a fiasco as a functioning human being that he posed no threat. He was the closest thing there is to a living breathing calculating machine that ever existed. The only thing that touched his soul was flight. The only thing he dreamed about or spent idle moment thinking about was birds and planes. That and puzzles.

He loved solving puzzles whether just in his mind or ones that involved any kind of logical system. He tended to reduce all problems he is given to solve into abstract terms and then worked them in his mind like someone playing chess. If this piece does that then this piece can counter here, action and reaction…if we did that, they do this. Yet he was able to factor in the human factor. There was just a enough humanity built in him to factor in the emotions a machine could never emulate.

This made him invaluable. That meant he will not meet the fate that befell so many. Sergo will die peacefully in bed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Ascent of Sun Li-Jen by RangerElite

15 September 1946

It was a dark, moonless, night. The cold autumnal wind whips papers about General Sun's New 1st Army Headquarters, a shack in southeastern Manchuria, supporting their Manchu brothers repel another communist attack outside Shengyang. But there are other things to consider...

An old classmate from VMI made contact with him earlier in the month, renewing old acquiantences, but more importantly, trying to convince him of what he himself has been thinking for quite some time: deposing the paranoid and dangerous Generalissimo, that was burying the KMT and the Chinese people, with his insane obsession with the communists. General Sun Li-Jen was convinced that Chiang Kai-shek was wasting the very best of China, in a vain pursuit of glory and absolute power. Sun believed that China should belong to its people, not to any one man to do with as he sees fit.
Seeing Jim again made Sun yearn for a simpler time, when he had only to attend his studies and writing letters home to his wife, Xitao. But wasn't his path from the Virginia Military Institute until now leading him toward this moment? Wasn't that why he'd abandoned his studies in civil engineering, started in Tsing Hua University, then continued at Purdue University in the United States? To help China defeat it's enemies and be at peace?

Now, his old classmate is a member of the American CIA, the successor to the OSS, and he is a high-ranking general in the Kuomintang Army, leading the most successful unit in that Army. He has worked with the OSS before, with Detachment 101 and the Kachin Rangers, and knows them to be as good as their word. He also knows that this may be his only chance to save China from the godless communists and not have the European powers interfere. British units are leaving for Great Britain, leaving the bulk of their equipment for the Indian Army. His only regret is that he will miss working with the likes of General Bill Slim and General “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell, whom he'd heard had died of stomach cancer a couple months ago.

If he does this, Jim says that he already has the backing of the American military, and will be recognized by the American government. The only wrinkle in the silk will be to get Chiang Kai-shek and his son, Ching-kuo, in the same place, at the same time...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"As Heart And Blood” VI Christopher Marcus

- a story from the Third World War ... that erupted in 1946

by Christopher Marcus

Previously: Private Javier Gonzales’ career in the 5th Overseas Regiment of volunteers from Latin America was over before it began. He was captured and tortured by Communist partisans, whilst on his way to the NATO/Soviet front line - currently frozen along the Pyrenees. As it quickly becomes apparent to the partisans that Javier has no valuable information, his interrogator decides to simply … kill him
Episode 6

Date: 7 September 1946, morning

Location: The Northern Pyrenees, Spain

The interrogator flinched when the next volley of gunfire crackled from somewhere outside – somewhere nearer than a moment ago. But he just looked at his hunting knife again, with that odd glint in his pale eyes:

“Well, where do you want to cut this one? ” he asked … the knife. “The throat, like that filthy corporal?”

Javier felt icy needles fill his blood. But suddenly the door was flung open. Another man – slightly older, more weathered – burst in:

“Alonso! Vamos! Los Alemanes vienen!”

The one called Alonso still looked questioningly at his knife, then at Javier.

“What about the traitor?” he murmured, sounding like he was coming out of daze.

“Why, Pablo?”

“Don’t question our Russian comrades, you idiot – just get your big fat ass out of here, and bring him, too.”

“No … ” Alonso murmured again.
“Alonso!” Pablo snapped. “Get this hijo de puerco on the truck – now! Otherwise I’ll leave you to Jäger and his vultures.” He hurried out again.

Javier had only a split-second to feel the odd, overwhelming relief that comes with being told that you’ll probably survive for a few minutes more -- then Alonso hit him directly in the face with a knotted fist.

The last thing he heard Alonso grumble was: “So, traitor – they did not forget about you after all.”

Javier almost blacked out - but not quite. He was paralyzed by the blow to his head, yes, but he could still sense what was going on around him. Alonso cut the remaining ropes and threw Javier to the floor, twisting his arm and whirling some of the spare rope around both of Javier’s wrists. Then he picked up Javier and flung him over his shoulder like he was a puppet. It all took less than a minute.
“Vamos! Vamos!” Pablo shouted from the outside. Alonso moved quickly through the door that led out of the darkened room.
The dawn light outside was gray. A thick mist hung between the tall fir trees. But the sudden shift from ink-black torture room to daylight hurt Javier’s eyes nonetheless; the mountain cold stung in the face; there was the smell of tree resin and diesel oil. Javier was shaken more fully to his senses when Alonso dropped him hard on the open bed of a farmer-truck that looked like it was already old when the First World War was on. Then he heard someone call out:

“ - Gonzales! - You’re alive!”

Half a day or so ago, Javier had not thought he would be happy to ever hear Miguel’s gruff voice again. The big Cuban was lying on his side in the back of the truck bed with Dominic – the Haitian – beside him. Both were tied on their hands and legs. Dominic was bleeding from his mouth and pretty much everywhere else on his face and seemed barely conscious. Miguel had several nasty bruises as well, but at least there was no doubt he was alive.

Javier had only just regained his full ability to see clearly, when the first thing he looked into was the hideously staring white eyes of corporal Espinoza. There was a deep gaping wound in the corporal’s throat and a pool of sticky half-dried blood all over the planks of the truck bed. Then Alonso jumped onto the bed, and immediately began heaving Espinoza’s corpse out over the open rear.

“You - you get rid of him for us!” Alonso shouted over his back and Javier now saw and old man – much older than Pablo – come out of another door of what appeared to be a small wooden cabin: His former prison. The old man was accompanied by a young boy and a young girl – not much more than teens. The boy and the girl grabbed Corporal Espinoza’s corpse just as a bullet whizzed over Javier’s head and splintered against the metal back of the driver’s cab.

“What about Manuel and Francisco?” yelled Alonso, just as Pablo tore open the door to the cab.

“Their sacrifice will be remembered,” said Pablo and glanced quickly back up into the woods. “We agreed they would signal us if there was trouble and - ”

“ - And now we are sitting ducks. Let’s drive!” somebody inside the driver’s cab called out.

While this exchange between Alonso and Pablo went on, the old man walked unsteadily to the rear of the truck, seemingly oblivious to the shots that were now crackling even louder - from somewhere further up the forested slope on which the small cabin was nestled. Javier tried to see, but the pine trees stood too close. Then the old man obscured his field of vision. He just stood there, looking at Javier and the other prisoners. While Alonso was distracted, Javier made a quick decision.

“You’ve got to … got to help us …” Javier whispered – “bring word to the NATO forces that we are capt-”

Javier had instinctively assumed that the old woodsman and his children (grandchildren?) were being forced to share their cabin with the partisans. It was an assumption that was quickly put to an end when the old man spat Javier directly in the eyes:
“ – Fascist traitor!”
Then Javier heard Alonso curse loudly somewhere behind him:

“What if it’s not los Alemanes, Pablo? Did Manuel or Francisco signal how many there are? If there are only a few … ”

“It’s all of them,” Pablo said with grim finality and slammed the door.
The truck roared down the winding dirt that snaked from behind the wooden cabin and down the mountainside. Alonso had slumped down again on the truck bed and produced an old Mauser rifle from somewhere. It was his only weapon besides the hunting knife, which was now tucked in his belt. He fired a few shots back up towards the heavy pine trees, where the invisible enemy appeared to be firing from, but he didn’t bother to fire more than two or three times.
“Once we get down to the village – we can disappear from them!” Pablo panted from inside the driver’s cab. “Yes,” the other voice from inside agreed, equally short of breath. “It’s market day – ha,ha.”
Then Javier felt it: – One of his hands was almost loose from the ropes. 

Javier was lying on one side near the rear of the truck bed, his back pressed against its right side which was little more than one large plank bolted in an angle to the others. His hands, however - tied behind his back - were very much out of sight from Alonso. The truck hurled through the woods and Javier hit his head on the planks and rusty bolts of the truck bed several times, but he gritted his teeth and kept working with the loose rope. Javier had rather small hands. He had always hated that. Now it would make a … vital difference.

Alonso was lying flat down, aiming over the truck bed’s open rear, trying fruitlessly to find something to shoot at. It took him one precious second to become aware that suddenly Javier had a free hand - a hand that now grabbed the partisan’s big hunting knife from his belt. And when that precious second was over and Alonso was fully ready to twist around and shoot Javier … then the knife was planted deep in his thigh.

Alonso howled in pain and almost fell out over the rear of the truck, as it took another swerve.

“Kill the bastard!!” Miguel shouted from the back, desperately worming his way towards them to help. Dominic still didn’t move.

With his free right hand Javier tore the knife out of Alonso’s thigh. Thick, dark blood spurted all over both men. It looked like he had hit a vein. Alonso clung on to the rear of the truck with one hand, trying to get a clear shot with his rifle with the other, but it was a rather difficult feat at such close range, hanging half-way over the back of a racing vintage truck.

Javier suddenly felt nauseous. The blood just kept pouring ... like a waterfall …
“Kill him!!” Miguel cried again - but then he was thrown back against the driver’s cab as the truck braked hard - not to stop, but to take off speed so it didn’t go down the ravine on the left side of the road.

“You … haven’t got the … guts,” Alonso sneered while he struggled to heave himself all the way up on the truck bed again. Wounded and still hanging half-way over the rear, the big hulk of a man actually managed to hold on to the rifle and fire it with one hand, but the shot went nowhere. It was close enough to Javier’s head, though, to leave his ears ringing.
Javier did not think about the blood anymore. His left hand was still enmeshed in ropes but he could move it now that his right one was free, so he grabbed the nearest edge, which was the planks that made out the open rear of the truck, pulled himself forward in one swift movement and plunged the hunting knife deep into Alonso’s gut.
Pablo almost had to wrench his neck to look out the window in the passenger’s side. He could not see what was going on up on the truck bed – but he could hear that something had gone terribly wrong. He grabbed his revolver. The driver, Antonio, suddenly braked again. Pablo hit his head against the window-sill.

“What the fuck are you doing?! The road is almost even from here – drive, drive!!”
“But comrade – look!” Antonio gasped, pointing frantically ahead.

Pablo’s eyes narrowed. Then he felt for the first time how cold the sweat on his brow actually was.

The vintage truck had just raced around the last bend in the dirt road. From now on it should have been a more or less straight run to the village. But no more than 100 meters ahead there was another truck parked – no, it was … an armored personel carrier – an American M3, it seemed. It was placed firmly across the dirt road, making it impossible to pass ... unless they wanted to crash into the cliffs on one side or into the pine-filled ravine on the other.

But it was not an American white star that was on the side of the M3. And it was not an American G.I. who Pablo saw behind the Browning machine gun on its roof. It was a single man who wore an open camouflage jacket of indeterminable origin. The man wore a gray high-peaked cap with a black stripe.

The man aimed the machine gun slowly, leisurely. He wasn’t in any hurry.

“What are you waiting for!!” Antonio howled - “Shoot him! Shoot him!”
“It’s no good,” Pablo mumbled. “We’re already dead.”

Even so Pablo tried to aim with his revolver, out the window, while the old truck still rushed down the gravel road towards the lone man. His last thought was of Guernica, when Pablo’s dying brother had told him take his revolver and ‘fight on’ for them. So many had died in the fascist bombing. It was at that time that Pablo knew he could no more look on from the sidelines.

Here and now Pablo felt he could see the skull on the man’s cap very clearly, just before a spray of machine gun bullets hammered through the truck’s front window.
Next episode:

Javier and his fellow soldiers finally get to the NATO/Soviet front, but no longer as part of their lost regiment. Welcome to the elite NATO Anti-Partisan Unit, formerly known as the … Waffen SS.

You can read Chris’ own short stories at"

Monday, December 5, 2011

“So how do we file these?” by RangerElite

“What do you mean? What is it?”
“A couple of position papers by that brownnoser Halderman. He sure made his way up the food chain fast.”
“Let me look…This is why rose in rank so fast. This first one became General Order 1435 and the other 1573.”
“So he’s responsible for those? I often wondered where those ideas from left field come from.”
“Alright so lets put them in the files with the General Orders they generated.”
“Sounds good to me.”

15 June 1946

Policy Proposal

--Classified: Top Secret--

Subject: returning Japanese troops

The Office of the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief
U.S. Department of War

The (OCSCC) have consulted with the United States Department of State regarding the large number of repatriated Japanese troops returning from Asia and the Pacific. The general consensus is that these Japanese troops will have to be utilized in Home Defense Battalions, sparing the manpower of the occupation forces from the additional burden of having to defend a one-time mortal enemy. It is estimated that between 1 to 2 million men of eligible military age will return to the Japanese Home Islands at the end of the repatriation process.

It is proposed that returning Japanese soldiers be screened and vetted by the U.S. Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps. Soldiers that CIC deems trustworthy will be immediately formed into Home Defense units, trained and armed by the Allied occupation forces, with surplus U.S. weapons, equipment, kit and uniforms. Toward the goal of training these forces, Military Assistance Group-Japan (MAG-J) will be stood up and immediately transferred to U.S. Armed Forces Far East Command, Tokyo. As a security measure, an Allied battalion will be attached to every 4 Japanese Home Defense battalion, acting as an HQ battalion.

Conversely, returning Japanese soldiers that do not pass the CIC screening process will be sent to “De-Nazification” camps, where upon completion, will be released to the custody of the Reconstruction Battalions, to serve out the remainder of their original term of military conscription (most Japanese conscripts captured or surrendered were fairly recently called up for service, most having 2-3 years, of 5 years, remaining to serve).

As always, input and ideas are always welcome, as they will only make this plan stronger.

B/Gen. David H. Halderman
Chief Of Staff, U.S. Army
War Plans Division


21 August 1946

Office of the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief
U.S. Department of War
Policy Proposal

--Classified: Top Secret--

Subject: Resolution of Problematic Issues in the Far East

There is cause for concern as there are increasingly frequent artillery skirmishes occurring along the 38th parallel on the Korean Peninsula, attacks launched by the Soviet forces that occupied the area north of that latitude. The artillery is sporadic and likely not directed at any specific targets. However, it is the informed opinion of the local military commander that these are probing barrages and that we need to accelerate the combat training of our Korean allies, before the Soviets decide that the time to apply their knowledge of where we are NOT is now.

OCSCC proposes that Korean battalions are rotated to Japan for ease of training and re-equipment. Korean units are to be trained alongside newly arrived U.S. and KMT Chinese troops. All units will be cross-trained with new U.S. equipment.

As for the issue of French Indo-China, we urge our colleagues at the State Department to place pressure on the French Government in exile to relinquish their colony there, or we will be forced to support the unilateral declaration of independence of the local people there. There are four major ethnicities that constitute this area: Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao and Hmong. Three of these ethnicities have political capability to declare independence: the Vietnamese, the Khmer and the Lao. We already have the support of the Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, who has long been an advocate of an American form of government for an independent Vietnam, and the local Khmer leader, Prince Sihanouk, who wants a constitutional monarchy in the area he represents, Cambodia.

And finally, the issue of China. Since the end of the war, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek has become increasingly friendly with the Japanese POW's still on Chinese soil, simply to pique Chairman Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese Communist Party, and to use the Japanese troops to occupy territory that he wishes to deny to the Communists. He apparently has no clue that his actions have consequences. The Chinese people are becoming far more disenchanted with him and his policies than ever before. If we can not convince him that his current course is, at best, unwise, we shall then be forced to back another factional leader of the KMT.

As always, advice and input is gladly received.

B/Gen. David H. Halderman
Chief Of Staff, U.S. Army
War Plans Division

Saturday, December 3, 2011

38th Guard Airborne Corps38th Guard Airborne Corps

General Lieutenant Utvenko Alexander Ivanovich Comanding
104th Guards Rifle Division
Outside Toulouse, France

“This is certainly a different mission than the last time Vasily. This time we have secure a mountain pass. It should be easier than sitting in those depots for weeks waiting to connect with our slow moving compatriots.”

“You are right comrade. At least this time we can maneuver. Being stuck in those huge depots was quite a challenge. Keeping out the French Army as well as guarding for saboteurs who wanted to blow us up along with our “liberated” supplies. All those German POWs made me uneasy as well. No good place to lock them up. To the victor go the spoils as someone said Yuri.”

“And maneuver we will have to do. I don’t like the idea of jumping into the mountains. At least it’s the foothills and not the real mountains. Let me look at the operational plan again. Hum we are expected to hold out for 6 days this time. Quite a change for the 3 weeks we held off the French. Remember when those American fools tried to bluff their way through the entrance? I don’t know what their plan was but we stopped it pretty quick eh comrade. But then again maybe they weren’t bluffing and really didn’t know that.”

“The French didn’t press their attacks either knowing our glorious forces where marching like the Golden Horde through Germany and would soon be their masters. Remember that second attack on about our 10th day there?"

“Yes where they made that big yell ran two steps and then ran all the way back to Paris. I don’t think they got even close enough for us to shoot one of them. A truly bloodless victory comrade. One to remember.”

“I heard they fought well under De Gaulle in the Maginot however. Down to the last man."

“Yes it’s amazing what the right leader can do to motivate even defeated troops. Their names will go down in history even though their bodies will go into a shallow grave. Maybe they will be dug up again and given the honors they deserve some day.”

“Amazing that those German prisoners of war at the depots never gave us any concern. They just stayed in their barracks and watched. I guess when we shot their leader when he talked back to Georgy that kind of explained our intentions. That was the first drops where I was better supplied with heavy weapons and artillery than my enemy. All we had to do was to start up one of those Shermans and that was enough to make most run. It helped us to be guarding massive amounts of heavy weapons and ammunition. For once we had the heavy artillery" He grins. "I'm glad we trained on that anti aircraft gun as well. Those new shells the American's have worked well on those bombers. We were like a miniature fort that could reach out and disrupt any attack before it started.”

“Searching for those electronic wonder boxes in the depot was time consuming and a strange thing to do. Why not just wait for the rest of the army to reach us and look for themselves? The NVDK definitely wanted to gain possession of those. Some kind of electronic machine that could do damage to the Yankee and Limey radios or super artillery or something. They never told us what they were for but they wanted them to be our first priority. I still remember what we were supposed to look for “AP-4”... find AP-4. Its hard to do when all the labels are in a different language. They were screaming at us once we found 50 or so to guard them with our lives. I wonder what those machines were used for?

“Enough of old times, when is our day to jump?”

“September 23st on the Western calendar. I cannot get a proper calendar anywhere, only these French ones. I might just miss Christmas because I can’t figure out what day it is back in the motherland. How can they have such different dates for everything? I’ll miss a number of traditions like the yolka oh I mean New Years Tree. I love decorating the … tree even if it is just with homemade ornaments and then there’s Grandfather Frost and Snegurochaka. I love the part where her heart melts her when she falls in love.”

“You sound like a little girl Vasily.”

“Oh Yuri I just miss home. I really enjoyed our leave before the American’s provoked us into this war. It’s been a pretty easy fight so far. Not like Poland. Even though those Germans were defeated they still fought like crazy men.”

“They were fighting for their homeland just like us comrade. Now we are not but neither are the Americans. How hard are they willing to fight for the Frogs? Our march through Germany and France was much like a drive down a country lane until we hit these damn mountains. Do you think the American’s will have the heart to fight for the Italians and Germans once again? The new government forming here in France has many old communists. Men who have been following the teachings of Marx longer than I have. I hear that the British have many workers waiting to be freed from the Capitalist yoke as well.”

“Time will tell comrade…time will tell.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Scandinavian Defense Union Headquarters by Mad Missouri

Stockholm, Sweden
September 20th, 1946

Gentlemen, take you seats. Major please begin your brief.

Thank you, Sir. Good Morning Gentlemen.

In the early morning hours of the 10th over 300 hundred aircraft conducted attacks on the five main airfields of the Russian air forces that have been conducting operations over the front in Finland. Our pilots report destroying over 200 enemy planes on the ground, and another 15 in the air at a cost of only 20 of our aircraft lost. So far we believe the air operation was a complete success as we have been able to maintain control of the skies over the front for the last 15 days.

The ground offensive got off to a good start when the Swedish 4th Infantry Division broke through the Russians lines southwest of Kouvala. By early in the morning on the 12th the 3rd Finnish Infantry advancing from east of Kouvala met up with units of the Swedish 4th and completed the encirclement of Kouvala. That trapped close to 3 Russian divisions in the Kouvla pocket. This action caused a 15 kilometer gap in the Russian lines. Into this gap General Heinrich sent 3 infantry divisions supported by 2 armor brigades. Once our units were in the enemies rear areas the front just seemed to collapse. Enemy units appeared to be conducting a fighting retreat back toward the Finnish/Russian border rather than attempting to hold their ground. It is believed that the jamming of the Russian radio networks made it near impossible for the enemy to coordinate a successful defense. First Combined Army was able to push the Russians back to a line just east of the village of Virolahti before they put up a solid defense. The rapid advance of the Finnish 11th Infantry division south to the town of Hamina allowed us to cut off at least 1 possible 2 Russian Corps around the city of Kotka. At 0100 this morning the Russian forces in the Kouvala pocket surrendered. General Lung, Sir that concludes my brief.

Thank you Major.

Gentlemen, I think we can all agree this operation has gone better than any of us ever hoped. Over the last 16 days our forces have completed what can only be described as a rout of the Russian invaders. With that said, General Heinrich has request permission to suspend offensive operations in the east until 1st Combined Army can resupply and the enemy forces around Kotka have been defeat. This request has been granted.

While that is happening, we will begin operations in other areas. At 0230 the go order was given for Operation Valdemar, the liberation of the Danish islands of Bornholm, Loeso, Anholt, and Ertholmene.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


At the end of the war, John Cairncross was posted to the Treasury. From his position there he could do all sorts of favors for his Soviet masters. In case you didn’t recognize the name he was accused of being the 5th member of the Cambridge Five and indeed he was. The Cambridge Five have so far caused all manner of security breaches throughout British MI5 and MI6. Incredible amounts of information made its way right to the Kremlin and into the spy master, Beria’s small hands.

This time Cairncross acted on his own without a mission assignment from his Soviet handler. It was rather simple for him to redirect into storage Britain’s supply of VT fuses for the 3.7 inch Anti Aircraft munitions. Not every fuse of course as each battery retained a couple of hours worth of them but until the Soviet Army attacked on May 2nd, 1946 the majority of the fuses were in storage. This occurred about 6 months ago.

It was Cairncross who first laid eyes on the paper concerning the problem with the VT fuse becoming damaged by damp conditions. This was significant enough. Added to this is the astounding fact that it could be jammed. He passed this information on to his spy master and promptly forgot about it. Then weeks later he happened to overhear a co-worker in Treasury mention the transporting and storage of all this AA ammunition and what a pain it was. A tiny bell went off in his head and he remembered the study he’d seen.

After gaining access to the invoices he noticed that it was only for the transportation of the shells. The shells weren’t identified by type nor were any special handling instructions included. So he simply altered their final destination of these shipments that night to the huge storage units in the dampest part of Britain near the live fire area of Okehampton. It made perfect sense that if you were going to use the shells for live fire practice you would store them near the live fire area so no bells and whistles should go off.

By having these shells stored in damp conditions for over 6 months they could be degraded by a good 30%. Added to the 20-30% factory failure rate documented in that same report this meant that the VT shell in the current British inventory could fail a good 50 to 60% of the time.

In his twisted mind this would greatly assist the Communist cause in overthrowing the Capitalist pigs currently in power in Britain and cement his place in history. Never mind the thousands of fellow Britons who would be killed and maimed. It was all for the cause and sacrifices had to be made. In the end more people will be better off under communism than the current corrupt system.

Who knows there maybe some future reward from a future grateful communist government when they finally obtained power, possibly some kind of leadership role? After all he is putting his life on the line for the cause. That should be worth some kind of reward above and beyond the privilege of living in a workers’ paradise. Maybe he should learn to speak Russian.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Far East Theater in WWIII 1946 by RangerElite

Filling the MacArthur void:

12 June 1946

Proposal to the President of the United States
Regarding the Far East Theater
--President's Eyes Only--

Due to the untimely loss of General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur, there is a void in leadership in the Far East that must be filled. The Office of the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief
U.S. Department of War have had candidates under consideration, for just such an occasion. For the position of Supreme Commander, Allied Powers, based in Japan,OCSCC recommends former 6th U.S. Army Commanding General, General Walter Krueger, for promotion to General of the Army, to assume the position of SCAP and CICUSAFFE (Commander-In-Chief, U.S. Armed Forces, Far East). His exemplary service and keen strategic mind will be invaluable in this position.

During demobilization, the assets (the 6th and 8th Armies) that Krueger will need, had been reduced to divisional-strength, and dispersed (6th Army was sent to the Presidio, in San Francisco, while the 8th was being maintained as the occupation force in Japan, with 1st Marine Division deployed to China). All efforts are being made to bring the assets to full strength. In the meanwhile, the leadership of these armies will have to be overhauled. JCS recommendations for the Army-level commanders are as follows: 8th Army – General Walton H. “Johnnie” Walker as CG, Lieutenant General James Van Fleet as his Deputy CG. 6th Army – General Mark W. Clark as CG, Lieutenant General Matthew B. Ridgway as Deputy CG. Corps and Divisional Commanders to be determined at a later time.

As SCAP, one of Krueger's first assignments will be to search the Empire of Japan to find reform-minded Japanese politicians (hopefully, without the taint of the previous government on them) to draft a Constitution and form a new government. Time is of the essence and this cannot wait. The Japanese people will have to stand on their own, and we cannot afford to spare troops for a protracted occupation.

As for the Japanese soldiers being repatriated from all over Asia, OCSCC has been formulating a plan for their retraining and rearmament, and a way to make it more palatable to the U.S. and Asian populations who were locked in mortal combat with them, only less than a year ago. Another major issue that will have to be dealt with is the discreditation and suppression of resurgent Japanese Communist Party. If left untouched, they would act as a very powerful 5th Column force, more than capable of supporting any Soviet push into the Far East, especially into Japan, through either the Kurile Islands or Port Arthur.

To summarize, we must accelerate the peace process and rearmament of our former enemies, or risk having a second front opened where we are spread the thinnest.

The Tail of Sea Hound

The smudge on the horizon gradually got larger and larger. Luckily Seehund 243 did not have to move very far as it’s submerged speed was only 7 knots. The Liberty ship was going to reach ideal firing position any minute now.

The spot in the ocean were the intended target was about to meet its fate was very crowded with manmade objects. A number of wrecks laid near-by.

One was the eighth HMS Vanguard of the British Royal Navy and was an Audacious-class central-battery ironclad battleship, launched in 1870. It was a marvel of its age with both sail and steam power along with 9”guns.

On 27 August 1875 Captain Richard Dawkins, sailed out of Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) harbor commanding the HMS Vanguard. The Vanguard was in company with three other ironclads, Warrior, Hector and Iron Duke and was en route to Queenstown (Cobh), County Cork As they passed the Kish lightship, a heavy fog came down which restricted visibility to less than a ship's length.

Vanguard's sister ship — Iron Duke — was drifting off course and began returning to her proper station when a problem with her steam plant meant that her foghorn was inoperable. It could not be used to alert the other vessels of her position or course.

At about 12:50, a look-out on Vanguard spotted a sailing ship directly ahead. As Vanguard turned to avoid it, Iron Duke appeared out of the fog on her port side less than 40 yds away. Collision was unavoidable. Iron Duke's underwater ram tore open Vanguard's hull near her boilers.

Iron Duke freed herself after a few minutes, sustaining only minor damage. Vanguard, however, was sinking. The pumps were powered by the engines, which shut down ten minutes after the collision when the engine room flooded. The only loss of life was the Captains dog.

Within spitting distance (if you could spit underwater) lay U-Boat 1051 commanded by the late Heinrich von Holleben along with 38 of his fellow crewmen. U-1051 had already sunk the Galatea and the HMS Manners when itself was sunk on January 26th 1945. U-boats did not last long in the Irish Sea in 1945. There time was over and that’s one of the reasons the Seehund was invented.

After U-1051 torpedoed HMS Manners, she was located by HMS Bentinck and attacked with depth charges, soon thereafter joined by HMS Aylmer and HMS Calder. The boat was forced to surface, came under fire by the frigates and sank after being rammed by HMS Aylmer.

HMS Manners (A/Cdr. John Valentine Waterhouse, DSO, RN) was hit by one torpedo from U-1051. The frigate broke in two after the hit, the stern sank with the loss of four officers and 39 ratings, and while 15 others were injured. The forepart of the vessel was towed into Barrow in Furness and was declared a total loss.

The aft section came to rest almost on top of the HMS Vanguard.

The Liberty ship #1853 the Daniel Appleton now on loan to the British and named Samforth waddled it’s way until it was almost on top of the HMS Vanguard and about 100 feet from the stern of the HMS Vanguard when the torpedo hit mid-section. The noise was the typical explosion and then secondary explosions and then the metal on metal shrieking so often heard when a ship starts to break in two when the second torpedo stuck the bow and sealed the fate of the Samforth. There were no great explosions as she settled quickly by the bow.

Now this sinking would not be worth mentioning in the overall scheme of things. It was after all only one of dozens of ships sunk by the Soviet version of the Seehund and even though it was the first, it still was unremarkable except for its cargo. On board were almost a million VT fuses destined for use in the 3.7” British AA gun. Again not a remarkable loss considering that the US was turning out 100,000 of these fuses a month 8 months ago.

The problem was that fully 25% of the US electronics industry and 75% of the molded plastics industry was at one point producing these fuses. Now it was down to 10% with 90% of each going towards consumer products. This ship was carrying almost 60% of the available for export VT fuses in the world. The US had millions more for its own use but not for export and would not have appreciable amounts for another 6 months.

Did Seehund 243 have knowledge of this fact before it got into position to sink the Samforth? No it didn’t. The Samforth just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Oh and by the way. Remember the captain’s dog that was lost on the Vanguard in 1875? One of his ancestors was the cook’s dog named Sea Hound and a stowaway aboard the Samforth. He perished within spitting distance of his great, great, great, great (you get the idea) grandfather. Never to worry though Sea Hound had many a pup to keep the long line of sea dogs alive. Remember the dogs the Soviets put into space. Well once again that is a tale or a tail for another time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Episode 5 by Christopher Marcus

"As Heart And Blood"
- a story from the Third World War ... that erupted in 1946

by Christopher Marcus

Previously: Volunteer soldier, private Javier Gonzales, had only just arrived in Spain from his native Bolivia to try to hold the line together with the rest of the Spain's hastily upgraded national army and the NATO Expeditionary Force. Poised to break this line stood the combined might of two Soviet Fronts, ready for a final offensive into the 'old country'. Along with the rest of Javier's 5thOverseas Regiment his column was making its way from Bilbao to reinforce their allies ... but they didn't get far up into the rugged Pyrenees before they drove straight into an ambush by Communist partisans …

Episode 5
Date: Unknown
Location: Unknown

"He really doesn't remember what happened? Perhaps cutting out an eye will refresh his memory?"

Javier had only just come out of the darkness again - the merciful darkness of unconsciousness, but he immediately wished he could escape back to it when he heard the gruff emotionless voice next to him. He couldn't get anywhere, though. He was tied to something, it felt like a table, and the only darkness now was that which filled the small room (in a cottage?) that smelled of rotting wood, piss and fear.

The man who had suggested cutting out an eye, continued walking slowly around him and Javier discovered, by turning his head ever so slightly, that the man was not talking to anyone ... but himself.

He was a big man, broad-shouldered and had a face like a rock - bald and weathered. Javier vaguely remembered being hit by the man several times, before the darkness had shown mercy and descended over him. Before that he could not remember much.

The man caressed a big hunting knife; it seemed again like he was talking to ... it?

"Pablo will be impatient if another one of these traitors don't have anything to say … but you ..." - he looked again at the blade that gleamed slightly in the dark, because the glow from the man's cigarette reflected in it - " … you are different," he seemed to conclude. "You are patient."

He turned abruptly towards Javier:

"Well, what will it be? Will you talk?"

"I … don't know what you want ... " Javier stammered.

The man hit him hard. Javier's head was knocked to the side, but his body was still immovable, strapped to the table. He felt the warm, metallic taste of blood surge in his mouth.

" - Tell me when the next troop transport is coming, so we can hit the fascists and their NATO allies once more!" the man spluttered. "Hit them hard!"

"I - I don't know."

Another fist in Javier's face and then … the knife. The man was holding it in two fingers now over Javier's right eye, carelessly, as if he could let it go at any time.

"Look here, young friend," the man said, his voice ghostly. "I am very old, you know. My hands are not what they used to be. Things can … slip from them."

"I don't know when the next transport is going to be!!" Javier howled. He felt a deep nauseous fear bore into his gut now.

"That's a pity," his interrogator said and scowled. "I didn't want kill another one. Pablo will be disappointed. It took them 2 hours to dig you and the two others out of that truck's wreckage, you know."

Now it came back … in strange, clouded images bubbling up to the surface of Javier's wounded mind:

We were attacked … somebody had shouted 'partisans' … yes, that was it. There had been mines, too. Landmines. And rifle-fire. Oh, God … de la Serna. de la Serna had died right there beside him. One moment they were talking and the next … Oh, God … And he had grabbed for his carbine, scrambled to get out with the others. And then there was another explosion and the truck had turned over with a sound from the metal in its ribs that was almost like a wail, and then everything … turned round and round … and something hit him in his head. And then … the first darkness.

"Yes … " the interrogator nodded enigmatically, as if he had seen this kind of fractured remembering in his victims numerous times before and had to decide whether or not it meant anything - a postponement of the inevitable kill:

"Yes, that's right ..." he continued. "Your fascist comrades in arms didn't come back for you. Probably thought you were dead, eh? You should've been, too. It's normal when your truck slides down a mountainside, isn't it? Even if it's only 20 or 30 meters."

"I … the others … dead?" Javier coughed. He had to know.
The interrogator looked at him with something that almost, and quite perversely, resembled ... pity.

But it was only for a few seconds. Then he said:

"Two survived, beside you. One of them, a corporal - I cut his throat a few hours ago. He wasn't worth shit. The other, a big loaf, might be more fun but I doubt he knows anymore than you. They don't tell you grunts much, do they? Probably because you are traitors … "

"I'm not a traitor … " Javier tried to say, although it felt ridiculous to insist on - now of all times. But a part of him didn't want to die like this, being called that. He hated the word. His father had used it often enough about the men who had deserted his platoon in the Chaco War against Paraguay not so many years ago.

It seemed illogical and yet there was something in that particular word that felt more dangerous to Javier, if only for a breath or two, than the knife that still hovered above his eye.

A part of him still struggled in the normal way, of course - it was only natural: Think of this, think of that - how to get away.

And another part struggled with despair: It can't be over already. I never even got to the front …

And then there was that part of him. That odd, irrational part that made it important for him to press on to get it out - to say it:

"I'm not a traitor," he repeated firmly.

Was it a part of him that belatedly demanded the dignity he could never really conquer in his own, secretive, sedated life back in that desolate provincial town of Tarija? Whatever the case, even if he somehow got his wish - some surprising agreement of his self-assessment from his interrogator - in a few moments he would then be dead anyway. He was sure of that now.

"You are a traitor to me!!" the interrogator spat, " - To everyone of my brothers, you are! Coming up from your safe lil' homes - in colonies liberated from exploitation - coming up here to fight with the fascists now. But where were you when me and Pablo and our brothers got slaughtered by Franco?"
Javier had no answer to that. The man ranted on:

"We fought - and we were almost wiped out. But now we have another chance, for a socialist Spain. For a true Spain … !"

The sudden surge of defiance left Javier again. All he could do now was stare and the knife.

It seemed like it came closer to his eye, the more angry the man got ... the more he spurted out tirades against Franco, wailed about his lost comrades from the Civil War, or ranted about the glories that Stalin and "true socialism" would bring to Spain and how he, and other groups like his, would be "the vanguard" … Yes, they would pave the way for the victorious Worker's And Peasants' Army soldiers, by killing as many "fascist pigs" before the final Soviet offensive ...

… and so on.

The rant went on for a few minutes and the man never took away the knife from Javier's eye while he rambled, growled, raged - like nobody had listened to him for a long time.

Then he suddenly stopped:

"And now, amigo … you know why you are a traitor," he concluded.
That's when Javier decided he was indeed crazy. Perhaps the loneliness of living with these partisans, or whatever they were, hiding for years in the mountains, perhaps it had driven him crazy.

Yes, the man was crazy, and now that glory and redemption of his cause were near - in the form of the two colossal Soviet armies that loomed at the border between France and Spain - now he became even crazier. Like a small flame that blazed up, when sparks from the big fire fed it.

But it didn't matter that Javier had decided anything. It was just one last, worthless act of defiance.

The man raised the knife. Javier closed his eyes hard.

That's when he heard the first sounds from the outside he could not see - the first sounds he had heard in hours, aside from the rants of his captor:

Sounds like gunfire …

You can read Chris' own short stories at