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Operation Sichelschnitt


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[b]Swedish Army Garrison (SAG) Vanern
Southeast of Saffle, Sweden[/b]

The trio of UH-60M "Red Hawk" medium helicopter swept in low over the mock up of large buildings, all of European architecture, and began deploying large assault ropes as they hovered over the ground with great care. Sergeant Ingrid Hamm was standing in the doorway and looking back at her comrades seated in the helicopter, she was their squad leader, and by tradition, she was the first on the ground, and the last one in the helicopter when it was time to go. The crew chief and drill instructor began yelling commands as Ingrid grabbed the assault rope and began the fifty foot descent to the ground on the heavy rope. She could feel the heat from the friction emanate through her gloves, even though they gave her a large degree of heat and flash protection.

Each helicopter could deploy two assault ropes each, and the troopers around her were doing their best to get quickly out of the hovering helicopters. Ingrid urged her fellow soldiers, a mixture of men and women, to move faster, some of them taking a little longer then she would hope on their descent from the helicopters. The troopers quickly began forming a defensive perimeter behind cover as soon as they hit the ground. As soon as the last trooper had let go of the rope, the UH-60Ms quickly pulled up and began zipping away to the north. The dust kicked up by their swiveling rotor blades slowly dissipating and leaving the troops panting, and some rubbing at their unprotected eyes.

"That better have been faster then last time," panted Lance-Corporal Johan Stenbock, looking around at Ingrid's squad, as they sat in their defensive positions.

A group of soldiers, consisting of two officers as well as three senior-grade sergeants emerged from a nearby building, having watched the entire air assault practice from that venue. Lieutenant Erik Gotthard, their platoon leader, along with their battalion commander, a Major by the name of Skylinger, walked out to the squads, which stood up as they walked in. Behind the group of senior staff, a large truck pulled up the street. The entire exercise was a test, the squad that got down the lines the fastest, got to ride back to the assembly area in the truck, the rest had to jog the two miles on a time limit.

"Sergeants Nolling and Beck, congratulations, it appears that your troopers have excellent timing, as it is too close to tell when the last boot hit the ground, ergo, both of your squads get a lovely ride back to the assembly area in the truck," called out Gotthard, causing a general jubilation in the two other squads of the platoon. Ingrid looked on, her eyes downcast, as she felt her squad look at her, and her comrades.

"Sergeant Hamm, I expect you and your squad at the assembly area and ready to go again in thirty minutes, is that clear?" continued Gotthard, staring hard at Hamm, who looked back at him.

"Crystal clear, sir!" she responded, firmly, turning to her squad, as the rest of the platoon made its way to the large 6x6 prime mover. "Second Squad, fall in, double time to the assembly area, move!" she called out, leading the squad at a steady jog to the north up the road and out of the town mock-up.

"Maybe they should push you out of the helicopter, Mannheim, then maybe we might get to ride in the M35 for once," griped Stenbock, looking at the female lance-corporal that was last out the door.

"Maybe if the fatass in front of me, that being you, of course, Stenny, would move faster, I wouldn't have to almost break my neck clambering down the rope," retorted the blonde, as they watched the truck carrying the other two squads roll by, leaving them coughing at the dust that it kicked up.

"Lock it down, both of you!" shouted Ingrid, turning and glaring at both of them as they jogged.

"Stop standing up for your girlfriend, Sarge," quipped Stenbock, causing Ingrid to whirl around. "If you were more of a hardass on her, maybe we'd actually not be eating that dust from that truck every time it goes by."

"Last time I heard, Stenny, you were the Lance-Corporal, and I was the Sergeant, if you think you can do a better job, you can take it up with Lieutenant Gotthard. This unit is supposed to be the best in [i]Armén[/i], this is Battalion 1120, we were all selected for this unit, hand-picked, you need to be able to rely on each other at all times," said Ingrid, her eyes flashing. "I don't want to be hearing any more lip, out of any of you, your wasting the breath you could be using getting back to camp, you should be thinking about how to get down that rope faster. Think long and hard about that, you start acting like you deserve the patch on your sleeve, this isn't the line infantry."

She hit the shoulder patch on Stenbock's right arm, which depicted a lion, ready to pounce for the kill, with the emblazoned lettering "Battalion 1120" beneath it, and then started jogging again. Stenbock looked at the patch, then at the rest of the squad, as they began to jog again, and then he brought up the rear of the march, as they continued their steady jog back to the helicopter landing zone.

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