OOC: A little bit late on the time scale, but I wanted to finish the RP I started in Sands in the Wind
, so assume it happened earlier. All classified.
Final Battle of Raochin, +300 hours
Captian Carlos Romero's 40 man command already more than 150km from their position near front, yet thing hadn't changed much. Heading south-east, away from the frong, they drove past group after group of dejected, broken Raochin soldiers. How many? Romero lost count. Countless numbers heading away from the front on vehicles if they had them, but on foot for the most part.
Missing seemed to be the commanders. Only occasionally did Romero come across an officer and the highest he could find was a Colonel and from them came only conflicting rumors. Rebel Army forces were holding back, advancing cautiously, wary of traps. Rebel Army forces were already to their right and left and their only hope was to continue onward faster than the Rebel Army forces could. They were already surrounded by Rebel Army, who was moving inward and taking no prisoners.
And the Raochin command network was in shambles. Static across half the bands they were supposed to use, no answer across the other half and cries for extraction from the rest of the bands. Communication with Selenarctos Command was likewise impossible. Romero tried the village phone in the first few towns they passed through with out success. No power, no dial tone, no network connection. The fifth phone connected, but reported no international links. After that, Romero stopped ordered the unit to keep moving without stopping.
Every so often, jets roared in the distance, and Romero could only hope they stayed there. For an un-challenged air force, a line of obviously-modern, still functioning artillery guns could prove a tempting target. The Raochin soldiers didn't seem to notice the planes at all as they trudged onward and Romero's convoy drove past.
Final Battle of Raochin, +2330 hours
Romero kept the convoy moving through the night and though his soldiers were clearly unhappy, the sooner they contacted Selenarctos Command and reached an extraction point, the sooner it would all be over. And they were all ready to get out of Raochin. +500 hours after their retreat had begun, they'd passed the last of the retreating Raochin soldiers. Around +800 hours, they'd paid a small fortune for gas, but the Raochin currency was probably worthless by now anyway. Finally, +2300 hours by Romero's watch, they'd reached Al Hufuf to find it strangely quiet for a city it's size. The streets were empty and silent except for the clanking of Romero's command as it drove by, the store front lights were off, only the occasional restaurant was open, though no customers could be seen inside.
Another half hour using the (barely adequate) maps they'd been issued before departure, and they finally reached the Al Hufuf Defense Command. Or where Al Hufuf DefCom should have been. Now, it was as empty as the streets surrounding it. Walking through the base with his pistol drawn, Romero couldn't even find evidence of a rushed exit, of hastily emptied filing cabinets and rummaging around for things to take. No signs of looting either, anywhere in the city. It has simply ceased to function.
The door to the General's office turned out to be the only locked door in the entire building, though Romero fixed that with a single bullet. The office was as immaculate as the rest of the base, everything in it's place including, Romero had expected and was glad to find, the telephone hard line to Raochin High Command. Dial tone and it rang too, but nothing else. Gave five rings before it cut off and wouldn't connect again.
Second phone proved more useful. No links to mainland Asia, however routing the call through the Aether Emprie (the operator on the other end was more than willing to accept Raochin credit, apparently she hadn't heard of Roachin's fall), NoN, and who-knows-where-else until it finally reached the Selenarctos grid. From there it was a piece of cake, so to speak, to reach the Security Division and Selenarctos Command.
After two explanations and subsequent bumps up the chain of command, Romero found himself explaining the situation directly to General Celerio and his staff. The orders were simple enough: proceed to to Dubai and hold out for extraction. Use necessary force, but try to keep it minimal. Don't get captured. And good luck. You'll be fully debriefed upon your return.
Returning ourside, Romero and his recently-appointed second-in-command Rey Canseco found 4 poorly clothed men standing just inside the compound's main gates, hands over their heads, AK-47s at their feet, and about 25 SG550s pointed at their heads. Called themselves the 'Liberators of Novak,' here to restore order, secure the compound and all of that. 'Course when they'd walked around the corner, they hadn't expected to be staring down the 120mm barrel of an M1A2 Main Battle Tank. When the first shout of 'drop your weapons' came, they couldn't wait to comply.
Couple minutes later, Romero had the whole story (well, as much as he thought they knew) out of them: Merlin was dead, they didn't have any doubt of that, and Raochin along with him. Some guy named James had returned, and he was bringing back Novak, ordering all former Raochin soldiers amnesty if they surrendered peacefully and handed over all their weapons, and these four patriots thought to give themselves some fame when they single-handedly 'captured' the Al Hufuf Defense Command.
Well, it hadn't turned out that way and it left Romero with more than one problem. First, these guys were clearly civilians, yet they now knew where a heavily armed, supposedly Raochin, force was located, and could most likely find out where it was headed. Second, authority was returning to the area faster than Selenarctos Command had predicted (the satellites still showed Rebel Army forces hanging back at the border), and the new authority understandably wanted to disarm the Raochin soldiers. Romero couldn't let these men let whatever provisional government this 'James' set up know where his troops, and he certainly couldn't let his command be disarmed.
Hell, this was war.
"Take three men, find a room with a metal door and no other exits, some food, water, spray paint and a torch. Lock these men inside, weld the door shut, mark what's inside, and leave the torch right outside the door. Someone's bound to check out the base within the next few days and if not, may their god be with them. Everyone else, we leave in five minutes."
Final Battle of Raochin, +1 day, 2200 hours
Since Al Hufuf they'd been going slower, no longer alert for the small possibility of detecting an approaching aircraft before it blew them to bits, but for the very real threat of running into a disarming force of 'Novak,' signs of which had become more and more clear. Sometime around +1 day, 600 hours a radio transmission from the 'James' the 4 liberators had talked about began to play across the channels. Over the next couple hours and into the night normal broadcasting gradually resumed, though with frequent interruptions to announce the surrender of one brigade or another, the arrest of some important Raochin official, or some other bit of pro-Novak propaganda.
The increased vigilance paid off when, at +1 day, 1300 hours by Romero's watch, the lead MTRV reported a roadblock around the next bend and about-faced back around the closest hill before the Novak irregulars guarding the roadblock registered what it was. Two scouts sent up the intervening hill reported 4 pick-up trucks, a half-track with freshly painted Novak-colors on it it and a single light macinegun nest. 2 more cars through, and the only people around would be the Novak irregulars. Couldn't be simpler for an artillery unit.
2 minutes later, 7 155mm shells landed on the roadblock and the M1 roared around the road, both 12.7mm machine guns blazing. Romero couldn't find a working radio in the wreckage, but he was fairly confident no message got out, assuming the Novak Command even knew this roadblock was here in the first place.
Now, 200 clicks out from Dubai, things were beginning to look grimmer. Apparently, since the are hadn't been part of the original Novak, James and company felt the need to send in extra soldiers to pacify the area and ensure Raochin-loyal resistance groups didn't build up. Or perhaps they'd just been in a lightly protected area earlier. In either case, they'd blown up a pair of pickup trucks blocking the road at almost point blank with the M1 when the truck's former owners drew guns and they'd spent an extra hour going around another roadblock.
Final Battle of Raochin, +1 day, 2300 hours
100 clicks out from Dubai, a lone man jumped out of his car parked on the side road, frantically waving a Roachin flag until the lead MTRV slowed down enough for him to shout a warning of an upcoming 'disarmament zone' for Raochin soldiers returning to Dubai. He couldn't provide anything specific, just that they were heavily armed with at least two tanks (unknown model) and more soldiers than Romero possessed. Hadn't seen any artillery, though, the man said as he eyed the massive XMs continuing down the road. Didn't know exactly how far down the road either, but yes, there were building in close proximity and probably civilians ('Raochin citizens') too. And no, he didn't have a cell phone.
Nearest alternate route according to the map was 30km back, 50km longer, led into Dubai on a wider, main road that probably held a larger roadblock in the middle of a heavily residential area. So here or nothing. Well, he was authorized to use force at his discretion and hopefully collateral damage could be minimized.
Closing in on where Romero believed the roadblock to be (right in-between two large, steep hills where it was most difficult to go around), they were presented with a sign informing them, in 3 languages, that 1 km ahead all Raochin soldiers were required to surrender their weapons and, in exchange, would be granted full amnesty and citizenship in Novak. Romero's convoy chose an alternate path, veering sharply off the road to the left, a soldier on the last MTRV planting a single bullet straight through the O in 'Novak.'
Around a kilometer off the road so that, by Romero's estimate, they would approach the roadblock at a 45º angle, standing on the top of an MTRV on the crest of a small hill, it was just possible to make out the blockade: 3 tanks, at least one of which a main battle tank, numerous machine-gun nests and a mountain of barb wire surrounded by 6 or 7 mud-brick civilian buildings, from the looks of it recently abandoned but you never could tell by appearances. Well, there could be a tank or artillery gun hidden behind one of those but it was unlikely: terrible firing angles.
Battle plan took all of about 5 minutes: M1 advances forward, flanked by the XMs on either side firing direct, LOS shots of the least explosive ammunition left into every vehicle and machine gun pit in the area while the M1's machine guns mow down everything in the street. Another minute for Canseco to point out that XM 8's front armor might have been compromised, reassign it back with the MTRVs and M911, and then the vehicles began to move into position.
Cresting the last hill in between his command the the roadblock, Romero risked one more nervous glance at the buildings before giving the fire order and his discomfort was drowned out in the sounds of battle. The two secondary tanks and half the machine gun nests went down in the first barrage, the MBT took a close hit and was still turning it's turret when it swallowed a shell from the M1. Two more shots from the XMs, two more obliterated machine guns nests when an anti-tank gun opened up from the top of a building on the far side of the road, the first shell tearing into an XM and exploding, the second flying off on a wild trajectory as a shell from XM 8 landed directly on top of the building, collapsing the structure. The rest of the XMs, just realizing the shot had come from a building, opened up and the remaining building were leveled in seconds.
A quick search of the rubble showed no civilians (that is to say, no bodies with out a gun nearby, only the presumed commander had a uniform of any kind) while Canseco led the MTRVs, M911 and XM8 to catch up with Romero's force.
"Valero, place one of the charges in the wreckage of XM 15. Canseco, follow me, " Romero turned with out waiting for a reply and led the way just out of earshot from the rest of the men and around a pile of rubble. "What the $%!& was that?"
He didn't need to follow up, Canseco already knew. Canseco had remained back with the M911 and other vehicles and though he didn't have direct orders not to engage, it had certainly been implied. "Sir, I know you wanted to minimize collateral damage, however I was nervous about those buildings. You never know what could've been hiding in them, behind them or, as it turned out, on top of them, so I took the liberty of entering the coordinates of each into XM 8 and when the AT gun opened up, XM 8 responded accordingly.
"Yes, I'd already figured that much out, thank you. What I need know, and you need to answer with complete honesty is: when you suggested leaving XM 8 with the M911, had you planned any of this? Because if not, I'll put it down as a command decision made in the heat of battle without access to superior officers, but if you planned it out beforehand, that falls under wartime insubordination."
"Sir, I had no plans to utilize XM 8 at the time, and the subsequent decisions I made were all based on plans formulated after your departure with the main attack group."
"Then in the future, I trust such ideas will occur to you before the battle or else you will go through proper channels."
Final Battle of Raochin, +2 days
From the final blockade onward, it was a race against time. Romero needed to find a location, preferably a small valley around 5km from Dubai, where his command could park and not be visible from the road, he needed to contact Selenarctos Command for extraction orders, and they needed to avoid detection until the extraction boat or boats arrived.
Finding a suitable valley turned out to be simple enough. Not quite ideal to deploy aerial camouflage in and a little closer to 6km from the outskirts of Dubai, but closer to the ocean and an adequate beach to load the M1 and XMs straight onto landing boats. Transportation into to Dubai turned out to be another challenge as they could hardly drive a Raochin-marked MTRV, which should have been surrendered at the checkpoint, into a heavily populated city without anyone taking note. So Romero and Canseco set out with an elaborate story of their circumstances in mind towards the nearest road (not the one they had come in on) to buy a ride into downtown Dubai. The ride turned out to be less of a problem than expected: the second truck to pass stopped and the climbed into the back with a camel and 5 other dejected Raochin soldiers as the truck accelerated towards Dubai.
Final Battle of Raochin, +3 days, 1800 hours
It took another day and a three-quarters for the extraction team to arrive, during which Novak military traffic on the nearby road increased dramatically. A convoy of jeeps and trucks would roar past every hour of so, carrying loads of soldiers and equipment into or out of Dubai, a convoy of Main Battle Tanks every couple of hours though, so far, they were not searching with planes of off the main roads.
When the extraction team finally arrived, 6 small transports gliding quietly up the Persian Gulf in the middle of the night underneath a blanket of stars, Romero could honestly say he'd never seen a more beautiful sight. Even without the customary Selenarctos flags blowing in the breeze, it was majestic. And they'd done it. He'd done it. They were going to live, they were going home to the green islands of Selenarctos and leaving behind these desert plains upon which Selenarctan blood had mingled with the blood of so many others.
FROM: Melchoro Diokno
TO: Joey Celerio, Ground Force Command
CC: Marcelo Bonifacio, Alejandro Tiempo
ENCRYPTION LEVEL: 1024-bit
SUBJECT: XM1203 NLOS Cannon Test Mission Analysis
Dear Director Bonifacio, Director Tiempo and General Celerio,
First of all, let me thank you for your interest, patience and continued support of the XM1203 NLOS Cannon project. All of us here at Intel and Analysis look forward to such a day when such weapons of war are no longer needed, but that day may be many years in the future.
We are pleased to announce the completion of the XM1203's first field test, and our evaluation of the XM1203's performance has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only did the gun meet or exceed every benchmark set while remaining only modestly over budget, the field test has demonstrated it's clear superiority over all other contemporary guns Captain Romero reported seeing in action. We therefore recommend the Security Council push for the allocation of funds to deploy the XM1203 to all heavy-artillery brigades created during the Ground Force's current expansion program.
As for Captain Carlos Romero and the shape of his unit, we are prepared to allocate blame on a combination of poor command choices on the part of the Raochin High Command and Romero's lack of a higher officer for oversight. Captain Romero preformed adequately, though by no means extraordinarily, given the circumstances but he is an officer who requires a constant command structure above him for support and oversight. He is certainly not at fault for this, and it is an excellent quality in many officers, however it does mean he is not well equipped for covert operations or missions where a break in the chain of command ranks a high probability. This is a quite common trait and, unfortunately, often can not be detected with training and simulated testing. To prevent problems like these on similar covert operations and field tests in the future, we recommend either A, a larger command infrastructure be dispatched, or B, measures be taken to reduce the likelihood of a loss of communication between the unit's commanding officer and Selenarctos Command.
Additional information is available in the full debriefing report (attached), should you wish to review it. Once again, we would like to thank you for your time and continued funding.
Security Division Intel and Analysis
EDIT: Name fix.
Edited by iKrolm, 25 November 2009 - 01:31 AM.