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Greetings
08-08-2015, 09:09 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-15-2015, 10:39 PM by Porpoise.)
#21
RE: Greetings
11

Overnight the Jutland Division had been released into NATO control and Holst's warning order meant the 1st and 3rd Brigades were ready to move as soon as the word came. The 2nd Brigade in North Denmark would not be prepared to move until the next day. In the early hours of the morning the highways were jammed with Danish military vehicles headed south to reinforce the northern bank of the Kiel canal. The plans for these moves were quite up to date and my pre-dawn morning was fuelled by coffee as I checked, verified and signed out plan after plan for moving 15,000 Danish troops to positions that I was convinced they would be trapped in.

Day Three

On the dawn of the third day Viseadmiral Fuchs gathered us together again to deliver some awful news.
"Early this morning," he began in a carefully measured voice, "the transport flight with our commander, General Mason-Clarke returning to resume command of Allied Forces North, was shot down over the North Sea. All on board are missing and presumed dead. I will continue to assume command here as I have done for the last few days, with General Major Holst as my deputy. That is all."
When the General's death was announced I heard a sharp sob beside me, but when I turned to look at Kapitein Vos she looked as icy calm and collected as she always did. McHenry was standing immediately behind her, as he often did and I found myself staring angrily at him. Several others in the small crowd looked visibly upset and anxious, and if I had to guess I'd say I must have looked as anxious as any of them. I cornered the J2, my opposite number in intelligence, to find out more. A Belgian airborne battalion was being transported from Brussels to Oslo to reinforce southern Norway and Mason-Clarke had taken the opportunity to hitch a lift. A flight of MiG-31s had penetrated our air defences at high altitude and high speed and halfway across the North Sea the two groups of aircraft had met. The MiGs had destroyed 3 C-130 Hercules aircraft and damaged 4 more before escaping undamaged. On board one of the downed Hercules aircraft was our General, his aide, the crew and 70 Belgian paratroopers. The remaining 5 C-130s continued on to Oslo where they deployed a depleted half battalion of demoralised Belgians who refused to leave the airport.
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08-15-2015, 11:18 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-15-2015, 10:40 PM by Porpoise.)
#22
RE: Greetings
12

The news was getting worse. A cruise ship had been hit by a missile from a Soviet submarine in the North Sea, although the Soviets were on CNN blaming NATO and for all I know they could have been right. Hundreds of tourists drowned, hundreds more floating on rafts between ice bergs, covered in oil like those pathetic penguins after the Exxon Valdez and all I could think of was, who the hell takes a cruise in North Sea? That's unfair, of course. It wasn't like they were cruising through a war zone to see the sights, they'd just been caught by surprise in the wrong place at the wrong time while trying to escape to safety.

The Finns were asking for assistance in defending against the Soviet invasion but there was little we could do. Norway refused to allow its ground forces beyond the Norwegian border and Sweden was stubbornly maintaining its neutrality, refusing overflight by NATO air forces. Finland was on its own. That said, they were putting up a stubborn defense.

[Image: day%20three.jpg]

More troubling to me were the latest reports from northern Germany. The West German 6th Panzergrenadier Division had taken positions north of the Kiel Canal and the Jutland Division was about to join them. Denmark was officially cut off from the rest of Europe. I heard afterwards that Olsen confidently predicted the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Army would be halted at the Kiel Canal and no one expressed any doubts. Wishful thinking is holds a powerful attraction in the human mind.

South of Denmark the West German 3rd Panzer Division was trapped in a pocket between the Elbe river and Bremerhaven. This included the West German Lehr Brigade, the armored training and demonstration unit. Fully equipped with the latest weaponry and manned by veteran instructors and the cream of the conscripted crop. They were still strongly resisting the Soviets, but cut off from resupply it was only a matter of time before they ran out of supplies and ammunition. Beyond that the Dutch and British continued to fall back before the advancing Soviet armies.

In the years prior to World War One the German Staff Corps developed a plan for conquering Western Europe called the Scheliefen Plan, named after the General who developed it. It didn't go as well as hoped but as it turned out the first attempt was just a rehearsal. Twenty five years later the German army had another go and called it the Manstein plan. This second attempt went much better. What both plans had in common was to use the French-German border as the pivot in a big swinging right hook along the North Sea coast. Now it looked like the Russians were going to try the same thing.

In Southern Germany the attacks had been static. Lots of artillery and missiles and demonstration attacks but hardly any advances at all. The Fulda Gap remained in NATO control. The Russians had identified NATO's weak left flank and were throwing everything they had into a strong right hook to capture North Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium. Without the vital ports to reinforce and resupply from the USA, sooner or later NATO would run out of ammunition, fuel and troops. Then it would be a short stroll into Paris and onwards to Spain.

Of course, now we know the Soviets had no intention of advancing beyond the French border, at least not initially. Soviet and French diplomats had secretly negotiated a non-aggression pact. Spain had only been a member of NATO for a few years and were threatening to withdraw from "...a conflict not of our making, nor in our interest."
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08-22-2015, 05:18 PM,
#23
RE: Greetings
13

Around lunchtime Holst gathered us to put together some courses of action, some broad military plans.
"We need to take the offensive," Holst said, "start hitting back against the Pact invasion." We were not helped by the reticence of the Norwegian government, which still refused to engage in offensive action on the land, content to dig in and wait the Soviets out.
"What are our options?", Holst asked our little group. We stood in front of a large map of Scandinavia pasted onto one wall, stretching from the northern tip of Norway to Kiel in the south.
"We could counter-attack in the North, swing around north of Finland and drive for Murmansk...", I offered.
"No, no good," he replied.
"Why not?"
"The Norwegian government refuses to release any Norwegian troops for duty outside Norway. The defense of Norway is their highest priority at the moment."
"But if we threaten the naval base at Murmansk, the Soviets will be forced to react and draw forces away from their invasion of Finland."
"I just told you, Andrews, they won't budge." Holst's eyebrows looked like furry caterpillars which danced on his forehead when he was annoyed. I saw them dance often enough to know that about him.
"Something else, then," offered Olsen. The man was a very dedicated officer, a hard worker and an organisational genius, but I doubt he had an creative idea in his life.
"Stockholm," said Vos, twirling a pointer between her slim fingers.
"Wait," I said, "you want to invade Sweden?"
"Yes, a mobile force will driving east along this road from Oslo to Stockholm. Most Swedish forces are either in the far north guarding against a invasion through Finland, or down in the south facing Denmark. We split them in the middle and take Stockholm."
"What about their cavalry regiment, here, at Karlsborg," I indicated Karlsborg fortress with my hand, roughly halfway between Oslo and Stockholm.
"Oh," she said lightly, "I happen to know they are understrength. We could soften them up with a few bombing raids, or maybe a chemical strike."
It's a strange situation to work in a military environment with a beautiful woman. It was tempting to look at Vos's angelic face and ignore the heart of a bloodthirsty psychopath beating away behind those magnificent breasts. I have to admit, it turned me on. If she had suggested nuking Moscow I would have enthusiastically agreed. It is strange what a man will agree to if a beautiful woman suggests it, and I was about to say what a great I idea I thought it was before Holst quickly put a stop to it.
"We've nothing to gain by invading Sweden, and even if we did we have no ground forces to accomplish it", Holst said
"We could aid the Finns and we have the UK Mobile Force arriving soon to do it," I said. After a moments reflection I did not think invading Sweden was such a brilliant idea but my relationship with the boss had deteriorated to the point that if he had suggested the sun would rise the next day I would have argued with him.
"We're reinforcing Denmark. It's the only logical step. The British Mobile Force should arrive there tomorrow evening. A few days after that the 9th Division should begin arriving from the United States. They will halt the Soviet advance at the Kiel Canal and then we can start pushing them back."
"I think that would be a mistake," I said. The room fell awkwardly silent and I noticed my staff's eyes were downcast. They knew Holst better than I did and I had clearly said the wrong thing by disagreeing.
"The British are arriving in Denmark tomorrow and that is all there is to it. Begin preparing plans for a counter offensive in Jutland." Holst pushed himself off the planning desk and turned to leave.
"If we do that, the only plans worth preparing are how we are going to surrender."
Holst stopped but wouldn't look me in the eye when he spoke.
"It was not a request. Those are your orders. That is all." Holst left without looking at any of us. After a moment there was an audible exhalation from the staff, who looked to me for what to do next.
"Well, Olsen?" I said. I think he suddenly realised it all fell to him now.
"Major Andrews", Olsen said, "begin preparing plans for reinforcing Denmark."
Nodding, I returned to my desk and started work. Vos sidled up to me a moment later.
"It was a mistake to disagree with the General", said Vos quietly.
"I disagree, but maybe that's a mistake, too."
I busied myself preparing some quick and dirty plans that looked good but would never be used. Within a couple of hours I was done and passed to Olsen for approval. He was so busy with his new job he did not have time to check them but simply signed off and sent them on up to Holst. Maybe there is a dangerous self destructive streak in me because in the plans I included a route march for the 'Michael M. Ouse' brigade.
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08-29-2015, 04:53 PM, (This post was last modified: 09-07-2015, 08:20 AM by Porpoise. Edit Reason: Corrected map )
#24
RE: Greetings
Day 4

About 5am I was woken by a young Norwegian private and politely but urgently asked to attend the Operations Center as soon as I was able. I had only had an hour or so of sleep so I was still groggy when I reached my desk to see what the fuss was about. There was clear concern as the team had phones glued to their ears. Rather than interrupt I walked over to the shuffle board to see what was going on.
You've probably seen in films what an Operations Center looks like, the walls covered with projected displays and computers sit on every desk, and there is probably a video feed from a surveillance drone of the battlefield and an endless twitter feed on a scrolling bar underneath. Back then things were a bit more low tech. We had a plotting table in the center of the room, a big map, and clerks took reports from the printers or listened to the constant radio chatter and updated status boards or pushed markers representing different units around the table, like a big game of Risk. We called that table the shuffleboard. Nowadays that information is displayed on a computer screen fed by GPS data but during the war it was all done by hand. Above was a 2nd floor balcony surrounding the room where the brass could get a birds eye view of what was going. I climbed the stairs to try and spot what had changed from when I had left for a nap. The fog from that nap immediately cleared when I spotted the latest development on the shuffleboard.  

[Image: Day%20Four%20Lrg.jpg]

The main disadvantage to an amphibious landing is that it is predictable. There are only so many stretches of coastline suitable to land troops, only so many days per month when the tides are high enough to land troops close to shore, only so many of those days have fine weather, and so on. The Soviets had about a 4 day window in which to attempt a landing and they had started at 5am on day 2. At the same time Soviet paratroopers landed at Vojens airbase a few miles inland. The map of Denmark stretched out below had a number of red markers dotted along the east coast. As I looked down I noticed Vos at the Operations Desk looking up at me and I trotted downstairs to join her.

"Bill," she said to me and I was stunned for a moment. She had never used my first name before.
"Gerta", I said and then I was stuck. This was a thrilling development for me in our relationship, to be using each others first names. It was a shame it had to happen in the midst of the world collapsing, but at the moment when she said my first name my heart skipped a beat I was as happy as I have ever been.

I'm such a moron.

"Bill we need help," she said. I looked over at Olsen and Berger who were busy answering phone call after phone call while young Thomsen, who had probably been awake for over 24 hours appeared to be in a trance. I walked over to Berger and Olsen and got their attention and motioned for them to hang up. Just a a brief period with the phones ringing constantly beside us, the comms radios crackling behind us and the despatchers scurrying around us, we were an island of tranquility in a sea of chaos. Then I broke the spell.
"Thomsen," I said, "get some rest. Don't report back here for another 6 hours." Thomsen looked briefly at Major Olsen who failed to react, then stood up and left the Operations Center.
"The only way we can help Denmark," I said, "is by getting them as much air power as we can muster, agreed? With your permission, Major Olsen?" Olsen blinked twice before answering.
"Yes," he said, "of course."
"Herman," I said and Berger started upright, standing to attention while seated. "Go co-ordinate with the air defense cell and see if you can come up with a plan so we don't shoot down all of the air support we are going to send to Denmark." Berger nodded and rushed off to the air operations desk.
"Gerta," I said, and she looked up at me with her beautiful, serious eyes and prepared to end the lives of thousands of men without hesitation, "we need to get as much information as we can about where the enemy and friendly units are so we can flatten the Sovs and avoid hitting our own guys." She stood up and hurried to the intelligence section.
"Frederick," I said to Olsen, "you need to let everyone know what we're planning. No one will listen to me."
"We must try to counter attack," he said, "Holst will expect an aggressive response."
"Ok," I said, "what do you have in mind?"
"I'm not sure," he said confidently, "but something."
I resisted the temptation to strangle him, then looked across at the shuffleboard.
"You know the roads better than I do, can the 1st Zealand Brigade move west to cover and invasion from the west?"
"Yes," he said, "but that will leave Copenhagen vulnerable."
"We could move the 2nd Zealand north to cover."
"That should work fine," he said.
"Ok, I'll leave you to it."
"What will you do?" he asked.
"I'm going to ring around and try and beg, borrow or steal as many air missions as I can and direct them to Denmark." With that I picked up the phone and called Northwood in England.
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09-06-2015, 09:31 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-07-2015, 08:24 AM by Porpoise. Edit Reason: Inserted map )
#25
RE: Greetings
The first wave of Soviet troops arrived in Denmark by Ekranoplan. An Ekranoplan is a ground effect vehicle, part airplane and part boat. It skims under the radar a few feet above the water at a couple of hundred miles an hour, carrying hundreds of soldiers and all their equipment. Behind the Ekranoplans came huge hovercraft carrying armoured vehicles and not far behind were streams of landing ships negotiating the narrow waterways around Denmark and prepared to drop their ramps and deposit thousands of Russian marines and all their equipment on the eastern shore. The Russian marines were not tucked up in bed on the other side of the Baltic at all, but had been sailing toward us for nearly a week. The satellite photos we pored over showed row after row of tanks and trucks, all of which were plywood dummies. In place of well trained marines were raw draftees in marine uniforms, marched continually around the base to give the impression of large numbers. We had fallen for the Soviet maskirovska hook, line and sinker.
In the early hours of the morning Hind helicopters jumped the Kiel Canal and deposited loads of Soviet troopers in the Huttener Berge Park. Overnight the Russians had moved up fresh forces on the south side of the canal to renew the fighting. The West Germans were cut off from the south and the north, they had seen four days and nights of hard fighting and were exhausted. Their ammunition and fuel stocks were virtually gone and they had no choice but to raid supermarkets just to keep themselves fed. They were beyond our help and any notion of control. If they did not surrender they would instead be wiped out. It is a question I had often asked myself; what circumstances would I need to be in before I surrendered to the enemy. The answer was right in front of me. Trapped, exhausted, fuel tanks empty, out of ammo, out of food and out of ideas.

[Image: day%20four%20zoom.jpg]

We sent flights of bombers over Denmark again and again while we watched the Russian marines slowly creep across the shuffleboard, linking together. Added to that was the capture of Vojens airbase by Soviet paratroopers. If you can counter attack an amphibious force early enough you can throw the enemy back into the sea, but the Soviet marines were absolutely tenacious. The Jutland Division was split into three and the individual Danish brigades, separated and operating independently, were unable to coordinate their attacks. In peacetime the Jutland Division had never exercised with more than one brigade so the experience of having the entire division in the field was novel to the divisional staff. Every hour that passed meant the Russians were closer to success. In the early evening McHenry appeared suddenly at my side.
"She's not here, McHenry," I said, narrowly avoiding saying I had sent Vos to bed.
"Who? Listen, Bud, you got inbound." With that McHenry was gone, his uniform pants swishing as he hurried out of the Operations room. I looked up and saw a knot of impressive looking officers arrive through the far entrance. They all wore camouflage fatigues and boots, which seemed incongruously warlike in the operations room, topped off with green berets, while the tallest of them all wore sunglasses. He strode with long steps, hands behind his back, and said nothing but nodded to everything that was said. They toured the room, escorted by Holst who slowly brought them to my operations desk.
"Colonel Ziljstra, this is my chief planning officer, Major Andrews." The tall man with sunglasses nodded, bobbing his head in time to the words.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Major Andrews." he said in perfect english.
"Likewise, Colonel," I said, unable to pronounce his surname. At once he stopped, looked over my shoulder and smiled. I didn't need to look to know who had just walked into the room. Vos rounded the corner to our section and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the new arrival.
"Piet," she said.
"Gert", said the tall, good-looking Dutch marine commando. Now I was definitely feeling hotter and angrier. I was completely jealous.
"You know each other?" asked Holst.
"We have met before," said Vos.
"You're looking very well," said the Colonel. I felt the need to brush up on my pistol skills and I had found the perfect target, Ziljstra's massive forehead. It looked like a monument to a forgotten god of war. In fact, from the neck up, Ziljstra looked like a stone idol from Easter Island, only less eroded and a lot blonder.
"Thank you," Vos said and seated herself at her desk. Holst then dragged the reluctant Ziljstra away to introduce him and his entourage to a group of air force officers from different nations. He keep glancing over at Vos, who studiously ignored him. As I was about to ask Vos about Ziljstra I noticed her ears and the back of her neck were bright pink, the color of a freshly spanked ass. I thought it best to leave her be.
"Hmmph," said Berger, "the marines have arrived, ja?" Berger was responsible for communications, which meant he kept the phone lines and network links available. We had a remarkable system available for the planning officers at different HQs to talk to each other in order to coordinate our plans. It was expected that the Pact would try to disrupt this system somehow but it was proving very stable. Every morning myself and the other planning officers in Denmark, Germany and Britain would have a phone conference, and usually smaller conversations with each other throughout the day. It was fair to say that we had a better idea of what was happening around Europe than our senior commanders did. Nevertheless the arrival of the Dutch was a surprise to me. All afternoon Dutch marines arrived by civilian airliner at Stavanger, 300 miles away on the west coast of Norway, while ships loaded with their equipment crossed the North Sea to join them.
"Next time you know something like this in advance," I said, "how about a heads up," but Berger ignored me. I had mixed feelings about the arrival of the Dutch. Obviously they would help our defenses, but mostly I was jealous of the relationship between their commander and Vos.  We would also have to do a lot of work right away to revise our plans to incorporate them. By 1 am the team had completed revisions, and I could get some well deserved rest.
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09-12-2015, 03:09 AM,
#26
RE: Greetings
(08-22-2015, 05:18 PM)Porpoise Wrote: "Stockholm," said Vos, twirling a pointer between her slim fingers.
"Wait," I said, "you want to invade Sweden?"
"Yes, a mobile force will driving east along this road from Oslo to Stockholm. ."

Don't even think of it baby! Frida and Agnetha are up there and if anything happened to them I'd go nuts!

[Image: frida-agnetha_zpss4id3swd.jpg~original]
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01-21-2016, 04:34 AM,
#27
RE: Greetings
Not to revive, or hijack an old thread, but here goes.....

Back in the 1984 I was attending the Infantry Officer's Advance Course at Ft. Benning. One of the guys in our platoon was a Norwegian Army Major (don't remember the name).

During his service, he had been in charge of (to some degree) Norwegian border guards on the Soviet border.

He told us one day he and his pals decided to screw with the Soviet guards. They marched a handcuffed soldier up to near the border, formed up a firing squad, and "executed" the guy (firing blanks) in full view of the Soviet border post.

They then sat down around the "body" and had a picnic.

A day or two later they got a message from the local Soviet commander that said "we don't care how you discipline your men. But if you would not mind, please do not shoot them in view of our troops. It hurts morale."
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01-21-2016, 11:30 PM,
#28
RE: Greetings
Aolain,

Thanks for your reply, I found it really interesting.

No hijack, and no problem resuscitating the zombie thread. For contractual reasons I'm not allowed to post any more, but I'm still completing the novel.

I sometimes get the impression that the Norwegians are a bunch of vikings pretending to be civilised, and I mean that as a compliment.
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01-29-2016, 01:04 AM,
#29
RE: Greetings
(01-21-2016, 11:30 PM)Porpoise Wrote: ..I sometimes get the impression that the Norwegians are a bunch of vikings pretending to be civilised, and I mean that as a compliment.

I've got Viking blood and I'm definitely not civilised..:)
Throughout its 4000-year history my old home town of Leicester (England) has been occupied by stone age tribes, Romans, Vikings and Normans, and their DNA is probably coursing through my veins!
For example Leicester was once the garrison town for the badasses of the Roman 14th Legion-

[Image: 14th-legion.gif]
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