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05-14-2015, 06:14 PM,
alittle feedback please  Greetings
Hi all,

I've been reading through the forums here and I was struck by the wealth of experience and backgrounds the forum posters have.

I'm currently writing a novel of historical fiction and I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in providing some feedback. It's set during the 80s in Norway, so anyone from that area or with experience working in a joint headquarters like Kolsas or Naples, I'd love to hear from you.

If this appropriate, moderators, just let me know and I'll post the first chapter. After that I guess you can judge if it's something worth reading and contributing to.

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05-23-2015, 02:20 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-23-2015, 02:28 PM by PoorOldSpike.)
RE: Greetings
(05-14-2015, 06:14 PM)Porpoise Wrote: Hi all, I've been reading through the forums here and I was struck by the wealth of experience and backgrounds the forum posters have.

Yes I found out where babies come from thanks to the Blitz experts, there's nothing they don't know, and with luck somebody will be able to give you inside military info about Norway in the 80's.
Ah sweet nostalgia, it reminds me of this hypothetical 'Nordkapp' boardgame published in the 1980's and set in the far north of Scandinavia in the 80's when the Soviets invade Norway's North Cape region to capture airfields above the Arctic circle, what cheek!
And seeing as the mods haven't said "no", you might as well post your first chapter, just throw a few sultry russki women spies into the storyline and we'll all be happy..:)

[Image: nordkapp_zpshthpmphx.jpg~original]
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05-28-2015, 01:36 PM,
RE: Greetings
Can I take that as tacit approval?

Here's the first section or so. I'm really interested to hear from people from Denmark, Norway, Sweden or anyone who worked in joint headquarters in the 80s.

As soon as I read the destination of my next assignment, I knew the General had found his way to punish me. Adultery is a crime under the UCMJ, so technically I should have been court-martialled and discharged, but doing so would have made public the fact that I had slept with the General's wife, that I had done so at a swingers party in Maryland and that the General was also present and liked to watch. I don't want you to get the wrong impression about me, I'm not in the habit of attending swingers parties. It was all the idea of that pervert McHenry. Going to the swingers club, I mean, that was McHenry's idea, the General probably thought up the idea of watching his wife having sex with a pile of strangers.
"You need to get out more, Bud," McHenry said and I agreed. I thought he meant going to a new bar and meeting new people, that sort of thing. When we arrived at the party and the host answered the door in the nude I knew something was up. McHenry just walked right in like he'd been there before, which he had, and I felt obliged to follow.
"Jesus, McHenry," I said as he stripped off naked in front of me.
"Hey, don't use my real name," he muttered, "now take your clothes off, you're making me look bad."
"I'd say you and the hair on your back are doing a pretty good job by yourselves."
If we hadn't stopped by a bar beforehand I would have turned around and walked right out of there. But I'd had just enough drinks to think, 'what the hell, what's the worst that could happen?'
Just for the record, no I did not actually have sex with the woman in question, but yes I was at the party, in the buff, trying not to look anyone in the eye. I was naked in the same room as the General and his wife, both of whom appeared to be having a very good time indeed. Naturally, being naked, none knew the other was an officer in the US Army, nor felt the need to announce the fact. About a month later I discovered what a huge mistake I had made when the General and I almost bumped into each other in a corridor at the Pentagon. We did that awkward dance as both of us tried to get around the other, then I recognised him. There was an awkward silence while we kept pretending we'd never met and I tried not to picture two guys bumping into his wife, naked, simultaneously, earlier that week.
"Excuse me," he said, looking furious, then shoved past me.
At that point I pretty much thought this whole army career thing was done and so I started shopping around for work and updated my resume. Working at the Army Logistics Management College gave me some good contacts with guys who worked for defense contractors and suppliers. I asked around to see if anyone would employ an ex-army Major. Most seemed to think a dishonourable discharge was no impediment to working for the industrial part of the military industrial complex. One beltway bandit even told me it showed you had a keen business sense. The weeks went by and no summons came to appear before the commander I imagined I had gotten away with it. Until the letter of reassignment dropped into my inbox with all the grace of a wet turd from a tall moose.
Growing up in Southern California I'd grown accustomed to warm weather. Two years college in San Francisco was enough to tell me I would never like the cold, so of course I should have guessed my next assignment would be somewhere like Oslo in Norway. If I had been given a choice of assignments, I would I have preferred Hawaii or Naples. I've never been to Italy, but I like Italian food and they tell me it's nice and warm there. Unfortunately the swinging general managed to get a word in the right ear and had me sent to the coldest headquarters he could think of. How did he even know I hated the cold? Perhaps I'd been shivering while standing naked at the swingers party. Even Belgium would have been preferable to Oslo. As events turned out I'm glad I was sent to Oslo. If I'd been sent to Naples it's doubtful I would have survived the war at all. It could have been worse. At least it wasn't Alaska.
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06-03-2015, 05:46 PM,
RE: Greetings
My account hasn't been locked yet, which is a very mild form or approval (the absence of disapproval) so perhaps I'm safe to post part two of the hero's reluctant adventures in the far north.

If anyone is reading and likes/hates it, please post something to let me know.

I was granted a short leave to get all my affairs in order. This consisted of packing all my stuff in boxes, which took a depressingly short time. Next up was to visit my daughter and engage in awkward conversation with my ex-wife and her boyfriend. I'd been legally divorced about six months, which explains why I had hardly any packing to do. They seemed happy in my old house, which was a mixed blessing. The new boyfriend, Tim, asked me questions about the wiring in the extension which I had started and he had kindly finished, using my money. I made sure to be as polite as possible to Tim, the tall streak of pelican shit. Lest you think I was turning into a nice guy or found Jesus or something, let me explain my motivation.
Once a year every officer in the US Army receives an evaluation report completed by your commanding officer. The report is full of information about what you did or didn't do, what you do best, what you could do better, but ultimately the only part that really matters is that little box at the end that your boss either ticked to indicate whether he was recommending you for promotion, which was called selection, or not. Whether he ticked that box came down to whether or not you did your job properly, didn't disgrace yourself too publicly and if you kissed all the right assholes. Not everyone got selected every year, only if there was a slot available would you get selected, along with the right tick in the right box to say you were alright. There was more to it than if you got a pay rise and put different insignia on your uniform and a fresh bunch of assholes to kiss. Miss two selections and expect to be looking for another job. That was called being selected out. With that in mind, and my latest indiscretion I was extra nice to my ex-wife's new boyfriend, the prick. Tim worked at some firm of corporate thieves on Wall St. Don't get me wrong though, I was totally up for some legal thievery, and with the way my army career was going it might be my best bet. He said he could probably get me a job on the trading floor. At the time I thought this was an extremely generous offer, but I've since been told he was probably being an asshole. Working on the trading floor meant being shoved and yelled at and wearing a ridiculous yellow striped sports coat. Also, those jobs were fast being replaced by computerised trading systems, so I'd probably be out on my ear not long after having my foot jammed in the door. Nevertheless, I smiled and nodded and laughed at Tim's jokes while I pictured him fucking my ex-wife and wondered how long it had been going on behind my back what it would feel like to squeeze his windpipe until it cracked beneath my fingers.
"What do you think," he asked.
"Sounds great," I said.
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06-13-2015, 07:10 PM,
RE: Greetings
Looks like my account still hasn't been locked, which I can only assume is an oversight on the part of the mods, so here's part three.

After arranging storage for my sad little collection of boxes I took the AMTRAK to New York, a cab to JFK and boarded a commercial flight to Norway, all courtesy of Uncle Sam, by which I mean I was booked into the cheapest class available. Even so, you could get a drink on a flight in those days without being asked for your credit card. So having had a couple of enjoyable gin and tonics and a good sleep, you would expect me to be in a reasonable mood after arriving in Oslo. First of all, I've visited Oslo since and absolutely love the place, clean and friendly, a really beautiful city, but my first impression on arriving was not so good. Oslo was cold and raining and everything was gray and damp. It wasn't even a good, hard rain, it was just a sort of persistent drizzle that worked its way under your umbrella and slowly drenched you from the inside out. A car was waiting for me at Oslo airport to take me to Kolsas and as we drove through the city I was really not looking forward living in Norway. Everything building seemed to be made of wet concrete and there were far too many long haired teenagers in black t-shirts for my liking. On the plus side, none of them were on skateboards.
It took around an hour to get from the airport to Kolsas, where the regional headquarters were situated for NATO forces in the north. The mountain itself loomed over the village below like a big gray lump of mashed potatoes slapped on to from a giants serving tray. Again, I've visited the place since and I could not picture a prettier Norwegian village, so I assume I was in a particularly grumpy mood when I first saw my assignment for the next two years. The headquarters were built partially around and literally underneath a mountain. The car dropped me off at the security office where my security pass was waiting for me and I was directed to the address typed at the top of my orders. It took me a few attempts, by when I found the office, I was surprised to find McHenry waiting for me.
"He got you too, huh?"
"You son of a bitch. What the hell are you doing here?" I asked him.
"Same as you, Bud, I'm a Scandinavian speed bump", he greeted me with his Texan drawl. McHenry had been in the cadet marching band at Texas A&M. He told me that was the easiest way of getting close to cheerleaders without being an athlete. I told him it was because he was a fat sack of shit who would not run to save his own life. He agreed that was part of it.
"You're a Scandinavian what?" I asked.
"Yeah, that's all Norway is, a speed bump to slow the Roos-skies down before they roll right over the top of us." McHenry liked to talk as if he had part of his brain removed, but I knew he had a masters in systems analysis, so he couldn't be as dumb as he pretended. I suspect he laid the accent on thick as a substitute for charm. Of course, his penis seemed to do most of his thinking for him.
"What makes you think the Russians would be interested in a dump like this?" I said. Can I say that I think Norway is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but McHenry swears I actually said this.
He lowered his voice before continuing.
"I think you should take a look at this."
"If it's porn, I'm not really in the mood."
McHenry took me into his private office, closed the door and showed me some intelligence reports. Although the Russians were making a great show of strength militarily, the domestic economy was faltering. Russians in smaller regional cities had been protesting inflation and the response from the Kremlin was brutal. It seemed as if the whole Soviet Union might collapse any day.
"Well this is good,", I said to McHenry, "looks like Communism might fizzle out completely."
"Then you and me would be out of a job. Look, stupid, when there's instability, everyone gets nervous. When people get nervous they make rash decisions. Like taking their tanks out for a Sunday drive over Western Europe." McHenry looked up from the papers and smiled at me. "Speed bump."
"Go blow it out your trombone, McHenry", I said.
"My trombone is pretty rusty at the moment." I wasn't sure what he meant by that.
"What's my boss like?" I asked.
"The J3? Norwegian called Hagen. Crazy motherfucker. Real hard ass."
"Just my luck, McHenry. This is all your damn fault."
"How is this my fault?" McHenry looked genuinely affronted when I accused him.
"If you hadn't dragged me to that god damn whorehouse..."
"Swingers club."
"...I wouldn't have been sent to this refrigerator in nowheresville to freeze my ass off."
"Relax, bud. It's a cushy posting."
McHenry could not have known just how wrong he was.
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06-21-2015, 03:41 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-23-2015, 10:24 PM by Porpoise.)
RE: Greetings
Still no one to say "you're wrong! Texas A&M marching band doesn't have a brass section!" Which either means no one is reading this or I'm doing something right. Either way, here's part 4.

This probably comes as a surprise to you reading this after then event, but we really had no idea that any of this was about to happen. Of course now, having read the history books from both sides we can clearly understand the events, personalities and causes, but at that time we were almost completely in the dark. Lots have been written about intelligence failures in the lead up to the war, there were senate hearings asking how the CIA could have been so in the dark about enemy intentions, and while McHenry and I discussed that the Soviets were up to something, the Soviets were always up to something. Talking about what the Soviets were up to was what we in NATO regularly did, it was almost a joke because someone, usually some green intelligence officer, said the Soviets were about to invade and of course they never did. Why would we think otherwise this time? In the opinions of most intelligent, informed people, the Communists had as much to lose by starting World War 3 as we did. What we in the west didn't know was that this time they had nothing left to lose. UN sanctions were biting hard into the Soviet economy. We knew they were hurting, but no worse than during Afghanistan. The only hint we had was Moscow making noise about an Aeroflot jet shot down over Berlin two days before hostilities commenced. It hadn't come from Gorbachev; he'd made no public announcement that day or any other until after the ceasefire. Of course, now we know why he disappeared, but at the time we had no clue.
So although tensions were heightened, we still had lives to get on with. I had an orientation to attend, where some admin puke explained where the toilets were and what the arrangements were for child care. I was also busy trying to find decent nearby accommodation, which actually wasn't difficult except I encountered a string of nosey potential landlords, so in the meantime I was staying at a cheap hotel. I met my boss, Colonel Hagen, on his way to a cross country ski competition in the mountains somewhere. Hagen had been an Olympic cross country skier and the senior command was happy to encourage his continued involvement in the sport. When we met he'd clenched my fist and fixed me with the piercing look of a raven before striding out the door. That was actually the last time I saw him.
The next day I got a phone call at 3 in the morning at home. The corporal on the phone wouldn't tell me anything other than that I was urgently required at the RHQ. I raced there in my rented Golf not knowing what to expect and was met in the operations room by McHenry and the Land Deputy, whom I hadn't met before, General Knudsen, a Dane. The Land Deputy was number three in the chain of command and responsible for all matters concerning the ground forces in the northern NATO region.
"We've got some bad news", said Knudsen. My mind jumped to all sorts of horrible conclusions. Was my daughter ok? Did my dad have another heart attack? Had my fudging on the travel expenses been discovered?
It turned out that Colonel Hagen had been badly injured on his skiing trip and tumbled halfway down a mountain.
"Oh", I said, and I had to stop myself breathing an audible sigh of relief.
Hagen would be in hospital for months with multiple fractures. On his first day of his cross country skiing trip he had been involved in a traffic accident. He never even got to strap on his skis, or skates, or whatever. It's not that my relief was caused by callousness, or I like to think it wasn't. Obviously it's not nice to for anyone to be laid up in hospital for weeks, but this was a man I'd never met and who, frankly, scared me. The only consequence, or so I thought, was that I would be the acting J3 until a replacement could be flown in. As I looked around at the sleepy clerks and junior staff officers at their consoles and desks, I failed to register the importance of this turn of events. Officially General Jorgensen, the Chief of Staff of Operations, who was conspicuous by his absence, was responsible for planning and executing the strategy and orders of the commander, General Mason-Clarke, but in practice the actual work was to be done by the J3. Ordinarily that would be Hagen but with him in hospital with a broken pelvis the responsibility fell to me.
I'd been in the army over ten years, working my way up from commanding an artillery battery, then as the artillery liaison officer in a brigade staff to being an instructor at the Army Logistics College. I'd attended staff college at Fort Leavenworth and worked with a number of very experienced and brilliant operations officers in between, but for the first time the practical responsibility for operations fell solely to me. After the meeting it struck me how busy I was going to be, and I'm not afraid to confess it scared me, because I'm damn lazy and a lot less intelligent than I'm prepared to admit. I consoled myself by thinking I'd only be extra busy for a few days before a new boss arrived to shoulder the responsibility.
Those few days ended up dragging out to weeks. McHenry told me years later that while I was driving over to the base Knudsen had grilled him on how capable I was, or otherwise. He refused to tell me what answers he gave.
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06-23-2015, 08:43 AM,
RE: Greetings
(06-21-2015, 03:41 PM)Porpoise Wrote: ...It turned out that Colonel Hagen had been badly injured....I would be the acting J3 until a replacement could be flown in.

Good for you mate, start WW3 while you've got the chance..:)
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06-28-2015, 12:06 AM,
RE: Greetings
I don't know what makes Spike think WW3 is about to start. Something will probably happen but WW3? Never. On to Part 5. Also, if you're following this I renamed General Knudsen to General Holst.

The history books will tell you that western sanctions damaged the Soviet economy, causing a schism within the senior leadership of the Kremlin, followed by a coup by the hardline faction who immediately began preparing to invade Western Europe. An Aeroflot airliner was shot down by Soviet agents to provide a pretext for invasion. It worked, too. The airliner was carrying an important member of the Gorbachev cabinet. The papers were full of accusations that the CIA had organised the stinger missile used to shoot the airliner down. Americans were not terribly popular in the days leading up to the war.
This all happened very fast, in the space of a couple of days. Our war game scenarios typically began with a build up of tensions over a few weeks or even months, followed by the red forces invading under the cover of exercises. So although NATO had raised the alert level, the invasion itself still came as an unexpected shock. In my opinion, one of the reasons we were taken by surprise by the Soviet invasion was that the bad guys had unsportingly failed to warn us of their intentions by not conducting manoeuvres beforehand. We discovered their divisions were on the move just hours before the attack began. Only the Russian units with the latest equipment had been mobilised. Satellites and local intelligence agents confirmed that East German, Polish and other Warsaw Pact army units were still in their garrisons and hadn't received any special resupply containing live ammunition. Moscow didn't trust Warsaw or East Berlin with enough live ammunition sufficient to fuel a rebellion, nor did they inform their client states of their plans to drive tanks across the Rhine. It's been said the Russians are masters of deception and they certainly deceived the hell out of me and so the days leading up to the invasion hold no particular significance to my memory. When consulting my diary for those days leading up to the war I find cryptic notes about leases, bank details, reminders about dry cleaning and all the other dreary minutiae of modern existence but not a single reflection on the upcoming conflagration.
The departure of Colonel Hagen had left a lot more administrative work for his deputy, which was me. Our main job in Operations seemed to be to act as the clearing house for messages, messages which had no clear recipient, or about which no one seemed to know what to do. The rule seemed to be; when in doubt give it to Operations. I spent most of my day arguing with different sections and different offices about why a particular task was not an operational responsibility with mixed success because almost task is operational at some point or other, else nothing would get done. A lot of my job seemed to be mediating arguments between headquarters over who would be responsible for what. Every commander wanted more and more responsibility, meaning more assets, more troops and a bigger budget. Over a couple of beers McHenry told me it had to do with which commander had the most troops under their command and who had the biggest staff, which meant bigger bragging rights come evaluation time and a better chance of promotion. So it was basically a military dick measuring contest and there were plenty of military dicks wandering about in those days holding tape measures.
I formed the opinion that Hagen had been in the habit of accepting any job, no matter how relevant, in order to appear more effective and efficient than everyone else and prove he had the biggest dick of all. The Deputy Chief of Staff, Jorgensen, was also in the habit of delegating most of his decisions to Hagen, which would then be returned back up the chain to be signed off, probably without being read. While Hagen's absence had been temporary his aide had allowed the paperwork to accumulate, but now that his leave had been extended the work had been shuffled over to my desk. It was nothing that could not have been handled at a higher level and in most cases had nothing to do with military operations. One typical request was for a response plan for evacuating dairy cows from Denmark, which I quickly returned unread to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with the comment that it was not in our purview. If the Russians ever attacked the fate of the local dairy industry would be the last of my concerns.
I wish I could tell you more about Jorgensen but I don't remember much about him. While he was rarely in the office I would still get reams of memos, requests and other paperwork which kept me flat out. After a while I began to suspect these things were actually being written by Jorgensen's aide out of a dislike for me. Jorgensen's aide was a tall Belgian Captain with strange pale blue eyes whose name I've forgotten and who walked with a distinct slouch. The whole time I worked at Kolsas he never spoke to me or allowed himself to be in a situation where he had to speak to me and once or twice I was sure I saw him duck inside an office when he saw me coming rather than pass me in a corridor. McHenry told me I was being paranoid, but I spotted the aide through my office window late one afternoon scratching my rental car. I immediately went to his desk, snatched his coffee cup and took it to the bathroom with me, relieving myself in it before rinsing it out and replacing it. The aide never suspected a thing and while the piles of useless missives continued I felt I had gained the upper hand by my stealthy micturation.
On the plus side Hagen had collected and trained a first class team of operations officers. Responsible for plans was a Danish Major named Olsen, a quiet man with glasses who looked like a university professor and who rarely spoke but was usually deep in thought. If anyone asked him a question he would pause for a moment before answering, carefully weighing his response. My immediate subordinate was another Dane, Lieutenant Thomsen, who looked about seventeen years old, including a wispy moustache, a stray pimple or two and a huge adams apple that bobbed mesmerically when he spoke. Responsible for communications was Captain Berger, a daunting West German officer and former Sergeant Major, with a bulky, angular build like an oversized wax figure left too close to the heat. Berger also took it upon himself to look after young Thomsen, taking over some of the mentoring role that ordinarily would have been up to me. Berger and Thomsen together took care of our ageing operations database, a creaking old Honeywell computer. The hardware was on its last legs but the software and data it contained was almost impossible to replace. All of the officers in the operations section were smart, hard working, well trained and dedicated. However, when it came to our intelligence officer, Vos, Hagen had really outdone himself.
Major Vos was the most beautiful woman I had ever met. She was blond with blue eyes and cheekbones as high as a basketball player's jockstrap. If I had to be critical it was that her teeth were a little too large. She told me she had been teased about her teeth at school and nicknamed 'paard tanden' which means 'horse teeth'. Only in the Netherlands would a woman like Vos have been made to feel inadequate about her looks. She tried to hide her self-consciousness by licking her lips frequently, which only drew extra attention. It was no coincidence that Vos had featured in a recruitment advertisement for the Royal Netherlands Army, and she blushed when she told me it was an advertisement for the Dutch cavalry. She was a brilliant intelligence officer with an intuitive intellect and a staggering memory for detail. She was also the main reason behind McHenry's frequent, unnecessary and increasingly irritating visits to our shop. Before the wars end I would have to post a guard outside our office door, ostensibly to boost security, but in actuality to prevent McHenry from harassing her and us.
The days leading up to the war have all merged into one long, dreary day of desk-jobbery. Reports of Soviet military vehicles moving toward the border sparked a blaze of activity at Kolsas in the form of messages, memos and meetings trying to figure out what it meant. It proved to be a false alarm. The day before the invasion we received similar reports from sources across the border. Suspecting another false alarm General Holst had sent most of the operations team home, with instructions for the duty officer to recall us if the situation changed. I never got the recall notice because the Soviet Air Force very soon removed all doubt anyone had about Soviet intentions.
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06-29-2015, 11:31 AM,
RE: Greetings
(06-28-2015, 12:06 AM)Porpoise Wrote: ...Major Vos was the most beautiful woman I had ever met..If I had to be critical it was that her teeth were a little too large...

Not a good kisser then?
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07-05-2015, 10:02 AM,
RE: Greetings
Spike, I have a feeling Vos will have her moments. On to part 6.

As I drove home some time around 4am the sky was lit up by a brilliant white flash, like a massive lightning strike. I knew lightning was unlikely as there were very few clouds in the sky. The daily meteorological report mentioned nothing about thunderstorms and it was very reliable. Immediately following the bright flash every street light was snuffed out as if a switch had been thrown. It was surprising enough to make me pull over to the side of the road.
The Soviet planners obviously knew where our headquarters were located. Not even NATO could move or hide a mountain like Kolsas. I don't know if it was coincidental or intentional but the flight route selected for the Russian bombers took them directly across the road in front of me, following the valley south towards the Skagerrak. I saw the first aircraft streak past me then heard the screaming shriek of jet engines a moment before I saw the second aircraft behind the leader. Although I glimpsed them for only a fraction of a second, the moment is etched in my memory, the dark sky above a black valley, lit briefly by the afterburners of a Soviet jet racing home to safety. Two things were obvious to me. Firstly, the attack had knocked out the local electricity supply and secondly, my presence would be urgently required back at RHQ. To this day I'm not sure why they didn't hit Kolsas Leir as well. Whether it was considered impregnable due to being buried under a mountain or whether the aircraft tasked to bomb us was hit, I don't know. A lot of Soviet aircraft ran into power lines that first night, which is a more costly but equally effective way of removing an enemy's access to electricity.
I had only left ten minutes earlier and I turned the car around and drove back as quickly as I could, passing an ambulance and fire engines going in the opposite direction. As I was drove back to the entrance I surveyed the scene of chaotic urgency around me. Troops in all states of dress ran in every direction at once. Waiting at the closed gates for the nervous guard to remember how to speak English and let me through, a helicopter flew low over us to land at the football field ahead. We had our own independent power source and every light on the base appeared to have been switched on. We must have been lit up like a beacon to any nearby aircraft amidst the surrounding darkness. I eventually made my way into the operations center under the mountain and contacted the garrison office. The Lieutenant who answered the phone refused to switch off any lights until he received orders from his commander. This exchange was typical of the early hours of the war as people were in a state of shock, refusing the believe what was going on around them. They simply would not accept that the unthinkable was now reality.
I can barely describe how confused the situation was in the early hours of that first morning. Automated phone alerts went out to every person who needed to report for duty and they arrived at Kolsas in dribs and drabs, bleary eyed, confused, angry, upset, calm, numb, almost every emotion you can imagine except happy. There were also a small number who turned up late or not at all. The ever absent Jorgensen, Deputy Chief of Staff and head of operations was one of the missing. He didn't turn up the next day either and his home was found to be unoccupied. His wife had died the previous year after a long struggle with cancer. Out of a sense of loyalty Holst had made allowances for Jorgensen, accepting the frequent absences and dereliction of duty, figuring that Hagen would pick up the slack then be promoted to take Jorgensen's place when he retired later that year. In peacetime, this could have worked out but hostilities had changed everything. Rather than report for the duty he was no longer capable of fulfilling and for which he had prepared his whole adult life, Brigadegeneral Jorgensen drove to the middle of the forest and shot himself.
The operations team would go through periods of intense activity as reports seemed to arrive from different places simultaneously, and then periods of eery calm when nothing appeared to be happening at all. The phones would be silent for 10 minutes at a time then ring constantly for the next half hour, calls arriving faster than we could answer them. The calls themselves varied in nature, too. Mostly the requests were for information, and mostly from people who should have known better. It was difficult to get a sense of what was going on outside as different reports seemed to contradict one another, for example one early report said the Soviets had already overrun Berlin, then another that the assault on Berlin had been repulsed at heavy cost, then another stating the Berlin sector was completely quiet and no attack had occurred at all. After the war we discovered our intelligence networks had been infiltrated and agents were feeding us false information, but it was true that Berlin had been given a wide berth by Soviet air and ground forces.
The Commander in Chief of all NATO and allied forces in the north (CINCNORTH), was absent when the Soviets struck. Whether by design of by accident, and knowing the Russians now as I do I assume it was no accident, the senior commanders of NATO were all in Belgium for a conference. Our commander, General Mason-Clarke, was there along with his counterparts from the very top echelons of NATO command. In his absence the Deputy CINCNORTH was in command.
Around 6am that first morning Viseadmiral Fuchs, Deputy Commander of AFNORTH, called the senior leadership team to a briefing conducted in one of the base's many brightly lit tunnels. Given our leadership problems, it fell to me to be the senior operations staff officer for Allied Forces North, for all NATO land forces from the Kiel canal in Germany to Finnmark north of the Arctic circle. The prospect of making a mistake scared me more than any Russian bombing raid.
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