Tuesday, January 29, 2013
"No Rest for the Weary" by Ranger Elite
Far East Theater in WWIII 1946
In a troop staging area
Urum-chi Air Base
Urum-chi, Sinkiang, China
There was a pre-dawn chill in the air as Gunnery Sergeant Eugene M. Stoner, USMC Reserve, walked around the aircraft revetments while checking out these fancy new Army troopers. He had originally reenlisted to go back into aviation ordnance, but wound up finding himself being seconded to this Army unit as armorer for their new weapons, and for the captured Soviet weapons, that they would be using on their mission. As many checks, and rechecks, that he had done on their weapons, Stoner knew that all it took was for something to go wrong for a mission to unravel, right before everyone's eyes. The new gunny tried to put it out of his mind as he cinched his trench coat tighter around him.
These new troopers were supposed to be the best of the best that the United States Army had to offer. Never mind the fact that Stoner thought one Marine was worth ten of these jokers, but some of them were dressed in Soviet Red Army uniforms, others were dressed as you'd expect Army paratroopers would be, except for the fact that their berets were green, rather than red. Stoner knew that this was an ambitious plan, because being caught in an enemy uniform was still a breach of the Geneva Convention, meaning that if the enemy caught you wearing his duds, he pretty much owned you, and could do with you as he pleased.
Stoner had been reviewing some of the weapons that these “Special Forces” soldiers would be using, and he had to admit that he was quite impressed. He hoped that the new trend of being equipped with the same arms and equipment that the Army was using, at the same time that the Army was using it, held true. He remembered the old “China Marines” in boot camp, always complaining that they were getting worn-out “sloppy seconds” from the Army, as far as equipment went. Well, this go-around, they had nothing to complain about: their equipment was just as obsolete as the Army's. These new small arms had the potential of being a huge game-changer.
Just the other day, one of the Special Forces officers had pulled him aside and asked him if he could fabricate some “party favors” for their “trip”. He had to ask for clarification from this lunkhead Army officer three times, just to make sure that he'd understood correctly. The Army officer was asking for some anti-personnel devices. The guy may have been a knucklehead, but it got Stoner thinking. He had been working on some “shredders”, tactical anti-personnel bombs that he had been tinkering with, for close air support from fighter-bombers, and he started thinking that he could convert them for use as command-detonated mines, triggered by a tripwire, or by an electrical detonator. So, following up on this thought, he got one of his bombs and spent all night tinkering. What he came up with was fairly crude, but he'd test it today. In essence, it was a piece of thick plate steel, upon which was a 2:1 mix of gunpowder-impregnated cotton wadding to TNT explosive, and a layer of clay, embedded with 00 buckshot, clipped barbed wire, anything that can be used as shrapnel, covered by a shaped thin sheet metal that was scored on the inside with flattened copper tubing “legs” protruding from the bottom, and marked “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY” in white paint on the face, and a grenade detonator minus the safety spoon fitted to the top side. Stoner had to admit that he was pretty impressed with his own work. He just hoped that it worked well enough to be manufactured in some of the local workshops. That way, there would plenty made in time for the mission.
Now that his mind was racing, he was headed to the armory. That new rifle that came in from the States – the T46A3, was it? – has got his interest. He was going to take it apart and study it, with an eye to seeing if he could design and build a better battle rifle...