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ambrafoxtrot17
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to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:50

Southern Sweden December 1998

Winter temperatures at sea level in the snowy plains of Southern Sweden were similar to those in the Italian Alps the some period of the year: absolute nightmare. Sergeant Dario Vauro could feel the effects after yet another night spent in that miserable hole that in military parlance was named an OP. The fact that he belonged to a mountain troops outfit did not detract anything from the danger caused by another night watch at the margin of the wood commanding Route 26. So far he survived those deadly nights only thanks to his winter warfare training and to the calculated risk of maintaining a fire going on throughout the night. The year before the Italian high command had sent a mountain infantry regiment (Alpini) in Sweden as requested by NATO in order to reinforce the 2nd US Marines Division already in theater. Even though there were no mountains to speak of in that strange unfamiliar country, the temperatures reminded Vauro about a hint or two regarding his training at the Scuola Militare Alpina di Aosta. The regiment or what was left of it had been dispatched south of Mariestad, a lakeside medium sized town that had not been nuked yet, differently from Skovde, thirty clicks south, which got a tactical warhead in its face for no apparent reason other than being a supply node for NATO troops. Vauro grimaced at the idea that the 8th Alpini moved out of that location only a week before it was hit.

The reason why Mariestad had not been attacked yet was straightforward: it hosted the 1st Guard Motorized Division of the Red Army, the Soviet highest card in Sweden. According to the Swedish intelligence, the Russian division was encircled and out of supply; and those were the good news. The bad news were that if that unit managed somehow to push south and reach Lake Vattern, it would in turn isolate the western troops that surrounded it and the entire NATO deployment in Sweden would be in jeopardy. As a matter of fact an elite regiment of the Swedish army manned the so called fortress of Karlsborg, keeping the gate open for all the supplies to the NATO troops deployed north of the Swedish big lakes. If this position fell, the entire 2nd US Marine Division and the majority of the Swedish home defense troops would be totally screwed. The American overall commander feared just that, and that was the reason why sent the Alpini to secure the gap. The new problem now was that with the nuclear attack on Skovde, the entire logistical situation of NATO in southern Sweden could be severely compromised.

The so called regiment, even at full pre-war strength, was actually a battalion commanded by a Colonel, a typical Italian trick to keep in service all the colonels that should have been retired already with the reduction of the force. Basically the Colonels did nothing operative, since the maneuver unit of the “regiment” - the battalion - was led on the field by the appropriate Lieutenant Colonel officer in command. But those were not times when military units were at full strength, and the 8th, in truth a glorious regiment of the Julia Brigade, was commanded by a Major and split into a recon patrol and a main body consisting of a ragtag mix of whatever had survived a year of operations with few to none replacements and only marginally better supply. In all honesty at that point in the war HQ didn’t even know if Rome was still standing or if had been turned into a radioactive pile of rubble, and the Americans didn’t know anything either. The only lucky bastards in theater who knew something were the Swedish because they were fighting in their own country but the geographical extent of the information didn’t go past a handful of kilometers around the units within radio contact. With satellites gone and air forces gone, the various armies had to resort back to the good old Mark I eyeball for intelligence and recon.

Besides Sergeant Vauro, the three men patrol which constituted the “Recon Platoon” of the 8th regiment could count on the services of Alpino Scelto (Specialist) Gregorio Rossi a gentle soul mountain trooper born and raised in the Italian Alps at the border with Austria. The third component of the gang was Alpino Luca Ottonese, a very young (20) man who joined immediately as soon as the war started. Luca was the designated sniper of the team. He was calm and collected as a sniper should be. A two times junior Italian skeet shooting champion, was assigned automatically without training and equipped with a kraut PSG-1 rifle.

Rossi emerged form the deep of the woods, his white striped camouflaged Beretta resting barrel down along his chest, and walked towards the OP where Vauro was waiting for him. Rossi’s helmet strapped to his side clanged noisily against the rest of his combat gear while he instead wore a wool fisherman black hat on top of his white sky mask, which totally defeated any camouflage purpose of the mask. The baggy snow cam BDU made him look like a downsized Michelin man while he walked towards his commander. Vauro looked at him with a disappointed expression, while he proceeded to sling his carbine along his side.
“Will you fix that fucking lid of yours Rossi? You sound like a goddamned mobile hardware store.” exclaimed the sergeant a huge cloud of condensed air leaving his mouth.
“Sorry Sergeant but we didn’t see a soul around here in weeks. I thought the danger of giving out our presence was only marginal.”
Vauro limited himself to another dirty look a his subordinate before leaving the OP in his hands.
“Watch out for any sign of enemy movement. There is an entire fucking heavy division of Reds camping three kilometers north and if it moves down we don’t have a lot of time before they are deep up our asses. So keep your eyes open and run to me immediately if you see something.”
“Check Sir!” you can go to take your rest Sir.
“It’s weapon maintenance routine Rossi, rest will come later.”
“Yessir”
Vauro started to walk in the snow towards the interior of the scout position where the VM-90 was located and camouflaged in the woods. Approaching the position he could appreciate the fact that Alpino Ottonese was awake and alert. Vauro heard the mechanical noise of a bullet being chambered in a heavy rifle.
“Stop where you are and give me the password.”
“Martello”
“Come forward slowly and identify yourself”
Vauro complied with the regular procedure.
“When are the Russkies going to decide to start playing again, skipper” asked the soldier, who was already starting to disassemble his weapon in order to perform the weekly maintenance routine.
“I hope never Luca. I am so comfortable and cozy here, and I really hope that this war ends before I have to be engaged in another fight. The one in September has been more than enough for me.” Vauro climbed on the front passenger seat of the VM and started as well to disassemble his SCP-70. While he was removing the barrel the vehicular radio begin to crackle.
“NIBBIO 17, MANGUSTA speaking...radio check over.”
“MANGUSTA we copy 5 by 5...any news over?”
It was Major Siviglia commander of the regiment.
“Negative NIBBIO, the yanks jar heads say that they can’t resupply us, route 26 being flooded with refugees from Skovde. Also they lack sufficient NBC suits to run a regular logistic route up to us. Seems like the town’s been hit with a 3 digit nuke and mostly leveled. Probably an IRBM. There are only a bunch of survivors in the suburbs and they are clogging route 26 direction south. The Americans estimate lethal levels of gamma rays in a 1.8 clicks radius. Logistic convoys around the town are a big no no.”
“Roger that MANGUSTA. What are the orders for us over.”
“Let me get sorted out here NIBBIO. We might study an alternative route to withdraw south. We don’t have a clear picture yet of all the cities that have been hit. But the traffic on the Yank and on the Swedish frequencies has been pretty hectic. I suspect that many major centers have been hit and you don’t need to understand Swedish to figure that out.”
“Are you thinking about a redeployment Sir?”
“I’m certainly hoping that Division comes to its senses and gives us permission to evacuate. If they can’t resupply us, I don’t see the point of keeping us here over.”
“What if they don’t over?”
“I will evaluate to act at my discretion, but you didn’t hear that NIBBIO.”
“Roger that MANGUSTA. Any other specifcic order for us?”
“Keep your eyes open over and out.”

The 8th Alpini regiment salutes the Swedish flag upon its arrival in theater
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Posts: 67
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sun 20 Jun 2021, 17:53

Early afternoon, in the woods around Kackestad Southern Sweden.

The afternoon change of the guard between Rossi e Ottonese at the OP occurred without any particular complications. The low cloudy sky, the grey snowy background and the flatness of the landscape all around made Ottonese wander what the suicide rate had to be in that country even before the war. He walked with his sniper rifle glued across his chest both his arms holding it. Once he completed the identification procedures with Rossi, he tried to settle down as best as he could in the OP. The fire was off but the embers were still smoking and producing some heat.

When Rossi came back to main position he found quite a worried Sergeant Vauro.
“I run an inventory of our provisions. We have MREs for two days, then we’ll have problems. On the bright side, we don’t have any issues with water with all this snow around. If the Americans don’t resupply us quickly we might really have to leave this position in a hurry.”
“I have seen animals in the woods before, even pretty big animals.” answered Rossi, “How’ bout we try and catch some of those. Heck we might even try the farms around Kackestad. I’ve seen more than one on the way here.”
“The civilians are the last resort. The more we can leave the locals alone the better it is.” Vauro looked around for a while in a meditative attitude. Then he collected his Beretta Carbine, extended its folding stock, and turned to Rossi again.
“Stay here in case anything happens. I will go see if I can gather something for us to eat.”
“Yessir Mr. provider. Wouldn’t it be better if you walk back to Ottonese to get his Sniper rifle. I’m not sure what can you really catch with that carbine.
“Don’t worry this is going to be an exploratory sortie. I am not expecting to find container of food out there anyway.”
“Rossi went back to checking that the VM camouflage was still intact as it should be. The fucking wind that had been blowing in the area was always a cause of concern as far as the integrity of the position was concerned.

The Russian observer put the radiotelephone mic down, he turned towards his sniper and gave him a large smile.
“Finally Division has listened to me. I convinced the General to give me a couple of howitzers for a mission against these NATO pigs in front of us.”
The soviet sniper didn’t even move his face away from the scope of the Dragunov. “About time Azat” was his short answer. “If you listened to me those cocksuckers would be already dead.”
“Shut up Pavel Ivanovich. It would be stupid to let the enemy spot our position, now wouldn’t it. Specially when we can pulverize them with our glorious artillery winner of a thousand battles.”
“As you wish Azat, you are the one in command after all.”
The Forward observer waited about 15 minutes and then picked up the microphone again.
“Almaz this is Lisa. Request for targeting shot coordinates Green square 18-50-45. Target NATO troops nationality unknown, over.”
Some seconds went by before the radio crackled back. “Lisa w..it confirmation...coor….tes guns in po…tion forty...ve seconds, over”

It didn’t take long for Vauro to regret his choice to venture in the woods with a close quarter battle weapon, when he suddenly spotted a giant moose in the thick of the trees, no more than 80 yards in front of him. He instantaneously froze and knelt down in order not to alert the animal; it had his back turned away. Vauro slowly moved his head up not to lose sight of the creature, which represented at least a week of food for himself and his patrol. The only two problems were, one not to alarm the animal and two, to manage to put sufficient bullets into it to score a kill. With a 7.62 sniper rifle, it would have not been a problem at all, but with is puny carbine good for house to house combat, it wouldn’t have been that easy. He started by moving very, very slowly in order to reduce the distance. Resorting to all the training received during recon school, he managed to cut the distance by 30 yards when the creature slowly raised his head above the foliage and looked in his general direction.
“Shit” thought Vauro while he froze in place and crouched down again, trying to disappear and to keep an eye on the monster at the same time. He could clearly see the moose sniffing the air.
“Come on baby...Santa Claus is gone, and so is Christmas time...there is nobody around here...Come on now...keep eating!”
The animal started to slowly move ahead. It knew something was wrong and no freaking Italian mountain ranger would foul him or her. Vauro understood that he had lost. He suddenly stood up and took aim at the moose which had already started to run away from him. He let go a long burst to maximize the chance to put some lead on the target. Even though he held firmly on his SCP to compensate for the recoil he didn’t see the moose fall. On the contrary it kept running and disappeared from his view. He did not even hear the noise of his weapon because he got overwhelmed by the thunder of an artillery explosion instead.
“What the….!!”

Ottonese was about to grab the binoculars in order to perform another routine sweep of the fields around route 26, when he heard the whoosh of a big, big artillery shell incoming. A huge geyser 40 meters in front of his position, coupled with a deafening explosion made him to suddenly release his bladder. Dirt and pieces and stones rained in his position and all around the place. Trying to control the sheer terror that seized him, Ottonese broughr the binocular back up to his eyes and gave a good scan in front of his position, especially at the wooden patches all around. A single artillery shell could only mean a targeting shot, and a targeting shot meant that there was an observer nearby. Making a conscious effort to ignore the fact fact that whoever was looking at his position was also communicating fire corrections at that precise moment, Ottonese made an effort to try and localize where the enemy could be hiding. Twenty seconds after, his efforts were rewarded. His trained sniper eye eventually spotted a position in a small wood no more than 300 meters north west of his hole, where a couple of men were hiding. One had a Dragunov long range rifle pointed at him, and the other one was in fact talking into a radio.
“Bastards and sons of bastards” Ottonese said out loud.

Vauro was already running towards the northern edge of the wood. He already forgot about the moose; the only thing he was focused on now was to ascertain the situation and to make sure that Ottonese was OK. Fortunately he didn’t wander to far from the encampment and he managed to reach the edge of the woods in less than a minute. When he arrived at the OP, Ottonese was not there, which was a god sign. He stopped and looked around to see if his Alpino could be seen anywhere.
Then he heard the scream “INCOOOOOMING!!” just in time, before the aimed artillery fire reached the OP position with diabolic precision. The sergeant was barely quick enough to run back about 30 yards before the shell struck exactly on the OP with another catastrophic explosion: Vauro was hurled some more yard back. He fell prone and passed out for some seconds. In shock he touched various parts of his body to check that he was still in one piece and he miraculously was. He was just covered in snowm dirt and tree branches.
“Holy Shit!! Holy Shit….!!” Vauro was incapable of any coordinated action, the panic slowly wrapping around him.
40 yards on his left, Ottonese had finally found a new hidden position from which he quickly reacquired the enemy. He smiled under his sky mask. The enemy hadn’t moved.

Pavel was starting to get pissed at his commander. Not only the localization shell had not been not on target, but the damned enemy had also managed to evacuate the position so that the correction shot landed on an empty spot. There was always the possibility that the shell had killed the bastard anyway: it was a 152 after all; but for the moment they needed to reacquire the target, dead or alive.
“Almaz hold your fire...I repeat hold your fire...we are evaluating the effects of the targeting shots. Stand by for battery fire...over.”
“Copy that Lisa...we wait for confirmation, over.” The howitzer battalion went on hold.
Azat desperately scanned with his binocular to catch any sign of movement around the smoking crater of the old enemy position.

Ottonese resisted the urge to communicate with his commander. He sure wanted to know if Vauro managed to dodge the second artillery salvo. But talking or worse yelling would have given away his position again; and he didn’t think Ivan had it yet, or he would be already shooting. He calmly brought his German sniper rifle online in front of him, slowly retracted the bipod and put the barrel between two rocks in front of him. He had his targets and they would suffer.

Azat was still scanning the position in front of him. He just finished checking the area east to the target and he was now beginning to take a look on the right. Suddenly a paralyzing pain in his right side side preceded the cracking sound of a rifle shot. He didn’t know yet but a single 7,62x51 full metal jacket NATO projectile had missed his head by a thread and had shattered the right side of his hip entering from his back, and proceeded to exit from the front of his lower body, despite the resistance encountered through the bones. Miraculously the bullet didn’t damage anything else vital. The pain was unbearable anyway. Azat dropped his binoculars and passed out almost immediately.

“Fuck, double fuck, fuckety fuck and tits!!”...the Russian sniper realized there and then that with all probability he was a dead man. There was an enemy sniper around, with a clear line of fire on him and his goddamned observer was dead already. The only thing he knew, was that he could not stay there. In the agitation of the moment he forgot that he should throw a couple of smoke grenades in front of the position. Azat coming back to his senses and starting to scream for the acute pain made him go in total confusion. He acted according to instinct. Not at all tactically kosher. The panic got the best of him. He simply grabbed Azat by his arms and started to drag him away from the position, hoping that the trees would screen them both. When he had dragged his screaming commander for about 20 yards, he lifted him on his right shoulder and started running north.

Ottonese smiled coldly under his white camo sky mask. He expected the Reds being better trained that that. His eye glued to the PSG telescope quickly evaluated the distance and his brain compensated for the wind and for the branches and the trees on the supposed trajectory of his second shot. It wasn’t an easy shot; for sure it wasn’t, but he was he was Luca Ottonese; with thousands and thousands of precision shots behind him, and the Russian wasn’t even wearing a flack jacket. He could aim to the big figure. Slowly, one breath, two breaths, three breaths. He exhaled one last time and gently squeezed the trigger. A puff of smoke appeared on the back of his target, just below the right shoulder blade, and the man fell.

More or less at the same moment, Vauro manged to crawl to the margin of the wood. He looked left and right and spotted Ottonese still immobile among the foliage laying in the snow. The Soviet artillery was silent. Once he managed to reach the position, Ottonese subtly turned his head towards him. The sky mask accentuated the lack of emotions “There were two of them. Tey are dead now”
“Are you sure there are no other contacts around?”
“No.”
The two Italians cautiously and slowly abandoned the spot and started to walk towards what used to be the enemy position. They courageously ventured into the open knowing full well that if the Russians had more observer or shooters in the area they would be dead in a heartbeat. But nothing happened during the two or three minutes that it took to reach the fallen enemies. When they got there they realized that one of the Russians was still alive. It was the Tartar spotter Azat, who had stopped screaming and was now just moaning for the severe pain in his back. The other Russian was dead.
“Grab everything you can Luca. We need to get out of here at the double before we get more visitors. Then we need to inform the Yanks that Ivan is on the fucking move. May be it will have been the right time for the jarhead US commander to allow us to leave that goddamned position.”
While Ottonese cleaned the spot of everything that could have been of interest, namely the Dragunov, the radio, an AK-74 with a spare magazine and a good binoculars set, Vauro focused his attention on the surviving Russian. He was a young man of very eastern lookings. A young Attila Vauro thought while he tried to lift his head and to give him some water. At the same time he tried to put together the best English he could muster.”
“All finished my friend. It is all finished now. Italian army. We take you to medication post ok? Be tranquil, it is all finished.”
Vauro quickly checked him out. No bleeding but the boy held his side with one hand. Vauro dug deep in the Russian winter uniform, till he uncovered the exit wound right above the pubic area. He looked at Ottonese, extra loaded with enemy hardware.
“A nice clean shot luca.”
“The sniper looked back carelessly. “If he ain’t dead it means I missed the shot.”

Ottonese zeroing on his targets
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Posts: 67
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Mon 21 Jun 2021, 13:55

29th of December 1998 in the woods around Kackestad Southern Sweden.

“We need to change the layout of thee camp like right now! Ivan is on the move and knows we are here. From now on, no more campfires and no more advanced OP. We bring the VM right on the edge of the position, hide it as best as we can and we get ourselves ready to take off in the shortest possible time in case of necessity. All clear?”
“Clear as day” Vauro’s men answered with one single voice.
“How’the Russian doing Gregorio?”
“He’s suffering a lot. There’s not much I can do for him without pain relievers. I gave him something to eat, I am keeping him warm and hydrated, and that’s about it.”
“That’s ok. Hopefully tomorrow, regiment comes pick him up and they will hand him over to the Americans. I reckon they still have a field hospital somewhere.”
Still in front of his men, Vauro contacted Regiment in order to give Siviglia his Sitrep and receive the orders for the following day. He hoped the orders wold make sense.

“...You stay there and don’t move. I have to confer with the American Command. Tomorrow morning I’m going to run a resupply run for you and retrieve the prisoner. You confirm he is in good conditions?”
“He will live MANGUSTA...What if Ivan attacks us again, may be with a more sizable force Interrogativo”
“You evaluate the strength of the attack, contact me and follow my instruction...over.”

As expected the orders didn't make sense.

After the unsatisfactory debrief with Regiment, Vauro didn’t find anything better to do than going to bed in the VM whose engine was turned on at regular intervals in order to keep an acceptable temperature inside. That consumed fuel of course, but there was no alternative to that. In those temperatures, even with winter fatigues, sleeping with no heating aids was extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.
Under the watchful eye of Rossi who was standing guard for the shift and periodically going back inside the back compartment of the VM to check on the prisoner, Ottonese started to work on the new position at the edge of the wood. Vauro lay on the VM front seats. There was a protective steel grille between the two compartment, since in the back rested the Russian and Besides Azat was not in condition to move; so far he had the good sense of pretending not to speak any other language than Russian, which could be true or not, but it wasn’t a patrol problem. Once they handed over the prisoner to the Regiment, they would know for sure how to communicate with him. Their mission was to keep him alive till the following morning.
“What a shitty job are you doing with that camouflage man!”
Ottonese sighed resigned to his teammate bluntness.
“May be you would like to try and hide this bitch with no tools and at night? And will see the how good you are motherfucker, instead of having you relax and gazing at the stars!”
“Uh...certainly not my friend?! You are the special forces super sneaky dude are you not?”
“What special forces are you talking about? Don’t you know that special forces exist only in peace time to be poster boys on military magazines? I am not even sure they are real”
“Hey, when I attended my mountain warfare course in 1995, we had a ranger of the 4th regiment teaching survival skills. There were also some special dudes from the 10th US mountain division attending the course.
“You moron; the 10th mountain division is a division of American Alpini like us. It’s not special !!”
“Hey they acted super tough and they got in trouble more than once because they went out at night drunk.”
“That doesn’t make them special, it just makes them Americans.”

A VM-90
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Mon 21 Jun 2021, 22:43

Vauro managed to pamper his morning a little bit with a cup of instant cappuccino, after much deliberation about using or not that last package. The consideration that the unit might have been really resupplied that day made him decide to drink it. He really thought he needed some comfort. He looked around the landscape still immersed in the dark. “Fucking arctic winter” he thought. “With all the places they could have sent me to fight a war, they really had to chose the freaking arctic.” Vauro commiserated himself.

His thoughts were quickly dissipated by an engine noise coming from the south.

“Gregorio, let’s move towards the road. There is a vehicle incoming and should be friendly. Vauro was in fact waiting for the visit of the regimental commander. The main body of the 8th was positioned only a kilometer and a half south. Siviglia could have easily walked to the outpost. Instead after a minute a Hagglunds BV-206 appeared in its arctic camouflage scheme mixed of white and dark patterns. It traveled in the dark with its dim tactical headlights on, and its compact boxy shape made it look like a space exploration vehicle. In fact the entire scene could have been taken from a movie about Mars exploration if the scenery would have been red instead of white. There was only the command vehicle without the trailer.

Vauro didn’t do anything. Major Siviglia knew were his outpost was, and when the vehicle got to the point on the road where the wooden area ended, it turned left and proceeded for some yards among the trees negotiating a small escarpment. Then he came to a stop. The doors opened and two men stepped out of the vehicle. One of them shouted the password for the day and only at that point, after having given the counter password, Vauro and Rossi revealed themselves to the newcomers. The two Italian Alpini stepped aside and one of them kept the door open, signaling to get into the vehicle.

“Get back to camp Gregorio. I will meet with the commander now, and then I’ll debrief you all later.”
“Yessir”
“And Gregorio...get on the radio and wait for me to tell you to bring the prisoner.”
“Yessir.”. Rossi disapepared at once to go back to the VM-90.
Vauro gave a regulation salute to the two Alpini, who established a perimeter around the BV-206 and finally stepped inside the vehicle.

He wasn’t surprised to see Major Siviglia, but it very much was to see an American officer sitting besides him. When his commander addressed him, Vauro hadn’t managed to close his mouth yet.
“This is Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Bailey of the United States Marine Corps sergeant. He traveled for a good portion of the night from Alingsas in order to personally take the prisoner into custody. A detachment of the 2nd Division HQ joined us one hour ago, once we gave them news that we had a prisoner from the 1st Guard Motorized division.

Vauro managed to recover from the shock of being in the presence of not one but two high end brass and barely managed to babble some apologies about his behavior.

Major Siviglia addreessed him in Italian.

“Listen carefully sergeant. Last week General Stokes decided to launch an offensive against the 1st Motorized Guard Division to free Mariestad; for now this doesn’t get outside this vehicle did I make myself clear?”
Vauro swallowed nervously. “Yes Sir.”
“it will be a coordinated effort between us and the 2nd Marine Regiment in Toreboda. The capture of a prisoner of that Russian division couldn’t come at a better moment in order to obtain intelligence about that enemy units.”

Vauro was sure to have felt his heart missing a couple of beats, but he managed to give the impression of looking unfazed.
“An attack?” He was about to ask some questions about that before remembering that he was a simple NCO in front of two high officers that had come there with the sole purpose of resupplying his units and retrieving a strategic asset.

The American brass, silent up to that moment addressed Vauro as well.
“Where is this prisoner of yours sergeant?”

Major Siviglia translated for him.

Vauro answered to his commander, forgetting to address the officer who posed him the question. The American didn’t seem to take offense.
“He is in the custody of my men. I can have him brought here if you want. Please note that the man is injured and in severe pain. I evaluate his medical condition as stable. The bullet which struck him has exited his body. No apparent internal bleeding. We suspect multiple fractures to his hip bone though.”

Major Siviglia gave a rough translation to his superior.

“Please tell your man that I would like the prisoner delivered to me.”
“Yes Sir” answered Siviglia and translated the official request to Vauro.
“Only one question Sir”
“What is it Sergeant?”
“What gives you certainty that the prisoner is from the 1st Guard Division?”
“Didn’t you say that he was part of a FO team that harassed your position calling artillery on it?”
Vauro pretended not to have heard that the action which went very close from killing him and Ottonese had just been called a harassment. “Yes Sir”
“Well...only the 1st Guard has artillery south of Mariestad.”

Vauro activated his personal radio, which was the captured Russian apparatus.

“Grego bring the prisoner here. Have Ottonese help you. We will be waiting”
A double click informed Vauro that the order had been received.

“Sergeant” Siviglia addressed Vauro again; “here I brought you what I promised. There are 4 Personal Med Kit and MRE rations for two days. We are opening an alternative supply route from Stenungsund that avoids the huge mess at Skovde. Goteborg had been hit hard and many other cities have as well. We are still trying to ascertain the extent of the damages We are not sure about what the situation with the civilian authority is, but the American High Command is committed to the safety af all the NATO forces in Sweden. In order to assure that we HAVE to take Mariestad. I hope that in a couple of days we can open a new line of supply.”

The way the Major sounded almost was like he didn’t agree with the orders. Vauro was shaken by learning that so many civilian centers ave been hit with nuclear weapons.

“How does the nuclear threat look for us?” He promply asked the Major.
“Here we are ok. We are too close to the Russian forces to be in any real danger. I cannot tell you more.”
“And can we do something for the civilians? I mean I guess the devastation must have been huge.”
“Only tactical weapons were used, and no, there is nothing that we can do for the civilian at this moment. We first have to stabilize the military situation.”

After this exchange, Major Siviglia noticed that the American colonel was getting pissed to listen to the conversation without understanding a word. So the Italian officer switched to confer with him in English waiting for the arrival of Azat. When the Russian finally arrived, one of the Italian escort soldiers banged at the BV door and the prisoner was helped in the vehicle. He was awake and alert and when he saw that there was an American officer he became very agitated and tried to beg the Italians non to hand him over to the Americans. He said that he was sure that they would execute him. For the first time he spoke English as to emphasize that he was serious about the matter.

“I swear If you hand me over I will not tell anything to the Americans. If you keep me here instead I will let you Italianski interrogate me and I will tell you everything I know.”

Major Siviglia turned towards the American Colonel to read his thoughts.

The black US officer didn’t even flinch.

Let’s take the prisoner back. Once he is at DivHQ we’ll extract the information.

Vauro exited the vehicle with the provisions that Siviglia had brought him. The Alpini of the escort climbed back on board while the vehicle was still maneuvering to turn back towards the positions of the 8th Regiment. Vauro wasn’t sure but he thought to have heard the Russian screaming in the dark.
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 14:47

30-12-21 day shift forest of Kackestad south if Mariestad.

Vauro and Rossi had started to work on the VM-90 checking that its vital components were still in good shape. A Mission task order could come at any time now, given the recent attitude displayed by the goddamn yanks and Vauro wanted the vehicle in perfect functioning order. On the edge of the wood, Ottonese kept a watchful eye on the fields and the road in front of the platoon position. Even in the middle of the day the visibility conditions were pitiful. The Arctic dusk limited the range at about 200 meters even with a clear sky and it was a general disaster, specially with the damned sun in their eyes.

“Did you check the battery?” Vauro demanded impatiently to Rossi who had his noggin and half torso inside the engine compartment of the VM. “It’s the first thing that goes to hell in this temperatures” reiterated Vauro, who was at the same time checking the oil and the antifreeze liquid levels.
“The battery looks ok Sergeant.”

In that moment the radio started to squeak in the front compartment. Anxiously Vauro grabbed the headset and brought one of the earphones to the head.

“NIBBIO...this is MANGUSTA...radio check and update over. Vauro waited the prescribed 3 seconds before pressing the transmission button.
“MANGUSTA we copy you five by five...go ahead with the update over. Vauro didn’t recognized the voice over the radio. Had to be one of the staff officer of the regiment that he didn’t know.
“NIBBIO be advised we have a week of partying with our sailor friend.” It was a coded expression which indicated the arrival of a supply convoy via Atlantic.
Vauro almost started to cry for joy.
“Roger that MANGUSTA !!. Tell the Yankees that if they keep their crappy boats afloat we can still win this war, even if we are forced to eat American shit for the entire duration of it over.
“The bad news nowN IBBIO. A SCORPIONE is about to be ordered to follow up with High Command operative intent. I repeat SCORPIONE will bite you in the near, near future.
Vauro looked around the desolate landscape, and leaned his head on the VM engine hood in resignation, holding the mike high in his hand.
“Copy that MANGUSTA I am making sure the hardware is in combat shape. Any idea about the timings? Over”
“Soon NIBBIO, very soon. Overall wants the bottle to the north uncorked yesterday.”
“Understood MANGUSTA we stand by for orders. Are you going to send us any reinforcements? Over”
“Not for the SCORPIONE NIBBIO. But you are supposed to be in reserve for the main operation. So be happy about that. Over and out.”
“Copy MANGUSTA keep us updated out.”

Vauro let the headset go on the passenger seat ant then met Alpino Rossi interrogative looks. Even Ottonese whose position at the edge of the vegetation wasn’t that far and that overheard some of the conversation was looking back in his direction.

Vauro glanced at both his men, then looked down at the VM engine.
“We are going to perform a recon mission south of Mariestad. Overall wants to know everything about enemy composition and disposition. Then they will plan an attack and we will be in reserve.”
“Text book execution” said Rossi pleased.
“Yes but I am still worried. We have no advance intelligence on the target and...

In the middle of the conversation, suddenly Ottonese turned around facing north and bringing the binocs up to his eyes. Temporarily bareheaded despite the cold, Ottonese’s scraggly hair which had lost its military sharp cut long ago, made him look like a primordial warrior. He observed for a while to have a confirmation of what he thought he was hearing. It didn’t take more than a couple of seconds to have that confirmation. He turned to Vauro again, who stood there with his mouth open.
“Russian cavarly approaching at full speed along Route 26 sergeant! Distance less than 200 meters.”
Vauro took a fraction of a second to restart his heart.
“BRDMs..BMPs...Tanks...What?”
“Horses”.

A view of the fields around route 26
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Posts: 67
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 21:59

For a moment the Italians froze and looked at each other, observing the mounted figures in the open advancing towards their position. The horses were trotting as if they were on a Sunday ride. Also the deep snow made it difficult for them to be pushed at full gallop. Besides the Russians looked like improvised more than professional cavalrymen.

“Ottonese...get in the vehicle and man the MG.”
“ Rossi, take position and engage at will”
Vauro rushed into the VM, adrenaline pumping, to retrieve the Dragunov, which he thought could be more useful than the SCP at those distances.

Ottonese rushed in turn to the MG 42 mount in the passengers compartment of the VM. Quickly traversed at the enemy and engaged with short bursts, aiming at a heavy Machinegun crew who was trying to disembark it from a horse. The distance was considerable, but he saw snow spurts around his target and one of the enemy fell down. Could’t say if hurt or killed.

Through the noise of the battle which was starting to escalate in the silence of the snowy fields, Rossi took cover behind a tree. Double tapped his Beretta at some cavalrymen running their horses toward the Italian position, without any appreciable effect. Then with a crackling noise a couple of bullets hit the tree he was using as a cover, messing up the trunk pretty badly.
“Santa Maria piena di grazia!!! These fucks can shoot!” He miraculously avoided suppression. Now the AK were starting to add to the staccato of the Berettas MG and carbines.

“MANGUSTA...do you copy?? This is NIBBIO...come in please!” Vauro was trying to summon Regiment in order to require orders and support. “MANGUSTA this is NIBBO, do you read me?”

“NIBBIO...MANGUSTA speaking...we hear fire weapons being discharged...report OVER.”

“I have got unidentified number of Russian horse cavalry approaching my position at ONE ZERO ZERO meters. They exploited the poor visibility. Request for permission to fall back and mortar barrage to cover retreat OVER.”

On the other side of the line came Major Siviglia himself.
“NEGATIVE on both instances NIBBIO, identify and report composition and quality of enemy troops. Permission to fall back only if situation becomes unsustainable. Mortar barrage denied because they are low on ammo CONFIRM OVER

Vauro asked himself why officers were always so hard on him, but then he reminded himself that the situation wasn’t funny.

“WILCO MANGUSTA. Request of reinforcement o cover our retreat or counterattack if situation becomes critical OVER.”

“ROGER THAT NIBBIO, we are alerting the troops already. IDENTIFY before you think about disengaging, and contact me in case you need to disengage. OVER and OUT.”

Vauro grabbed the Dragunov, and dropped the horn. He exited the vehicle with the radiotelephone around his neck after having tuned it on the right frequency.

The Soviet cavalry continued to advance in the distance in the crepuscular light.

A Beretta SCP 70-90 Carbine
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baldrick0712
Posts: 262
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Tue 22 Jun 2021, 22:50

It almost feels sacrilegious to interject a comment but I'm really enjoying this story about Vauro, Rossi and Ottonese of the 8th Alpini. Looking forward to each new instalment.
 
ambrafoxtrot17
Topic Author
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Wed 23 Jun 2021, 05:46

Dear Baldrick
Comments are very welcome. I thank you for yours and I hope to see more.

As a matter of fact I think that Twilight 2000 4th edition is the best edition ever made, even better than my previous favorite 2nd edition. It absolutely deserved a dedicated story on its official website to recognize the great job made by the authors on this wonderful product.

I just hope to be able to buy (here in Italy) the boxed version as soon as possible.
Last edited by ambrafoxtrot17 on Wed 23 Jun 2021, 10:43, edited 1 time in total.
 
ambrafoxtrot17
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Posts: 67
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Wed 23 Jun 2021, 10:30

Ottonese saw that they were still trying to set that HMG in the middle of the snowy field.
“Goddammit...I need to neutralize that thing or it’ll eat us alive.” He aimed the MG again and let go another short burst. Just a short precise one. The last thing he wanted now was the weapon to jam or malfunction in any way. The high pitched bark of the 42 erupted again over the noise of the other small arms, and the second Russian crew member went down shredded to pieces, red and green tracers all around him.

In the chaos of the battle, Rossi decided to change position and run from the battered tree he was hiding behind to another one, moving right. The Russians had its position and he instinctively evaluated that he was better to abandon it, before Ivan started to place someone in overwatch and to interdict all movements. A full hail of bullets followed him in his movement from tree to tree; some missed him by a hair once he reached his new position. Rossi screamed wildly as the beautiful integrity of the snow around his position got messed up by the raining lead. The Russian moved forward spraying around with no concern for the ammunition.

Vauro darted off the VM and took position on the left of the vehicle after having seen Rossi sneaking away on the right. He went prone and brought the Dragunov online. He was a certified sniper as well, even if he had to let the role go when he assumed command of a section. The Russian cavalry moving forward in the dim light reminded him of the stories that his grandfather used to tell him about the desperate battles on the Don river where his Julia Alpine Division sacrificed itself almost entirely in order to facilitate the withdrawal of the infantry division. The old man used to say that the Russian were crazy, and that he had been very lucky to be one the few to make it home alive. He cried every time he remembered his friends who didn’t. Vauro looked at the horsemen advancing, some of them firing their assault rifles on the run, totally unimpressed by the Italian fire, and thought that Ivan was indeed crazy. “The fucking horsemen of the apocalypse” he thought.

Rossi behind his newfound cover looked left and right like a hunted animal, just to realize that the Russian were concentrating their fire on him and coming forward at the same time. In the dim light and through the smoke of the sustained fire, he looked up and picked a glance of the VM-90 MG intermittent flashes. He couldn’t hear the weapon, but it was an awesome view. Behind it, Ottonese, with his mask up and his face blackened by the discharge gasses. “At least someone is reacting.” he thought. Another burst of small arms fire dug in the snow on the left of his tree. He quickly got back in cover and lost sight of the enemy.

General Victor Evgeniy Drozov saw his HMG team hit hard and advanced in that direction dragging along his young radio operator. In theory the mission was easy enough. There was a small troop of NATO infantry hiding in a wood, and his forward element of his 1st Guard Division would wipe the floor with them. He didn’t even activated his artillery battalion in order non to spoil the surprise, and in fact they managed to advance at less than 200 meters before the enemy got aware of the presence of his killers. He had two sections advancing frontally to fix the enemy and one outflanking the enemy position on the left. But now he had lost the support element and the plan needed to revised. First of all, taking a considerable amount of risk for his personal safety, he walked in the hex where the HMG team was and noticed one of the men half of his face missing, an amputated hand at at least another couple of bloody holes in his white fatigues. Then he saw the second crew member crawled in ball in a hole in the snow that he had dug with arms and legs. There was blood all around the position. Drozov first instinct was to pull out his Makarov and shoot the coward in the head. Then he remembered that a NSV needed at least two men to be operated, and that he wanted to keep his radioman operating the radio.

“What’s going on son. Do you think you can help me deploy this weapon against the enemy?” The General gently caressed the man head. The young soldier, who had a graze wound on his right leg. reluctantly looked up and when he saw the motorways that the newcomer had as ranks on his shoulders, quickly got himself at work wound or not wound.
The General grabbed the horn from the radioman, who kept close to him like his shadow, took another sweep with his binocs all around and started barking orders.
“1st squad dismount where you are and provide covering fire. 2nd squad spot the goddamned enemy fire sources and continue to advance. I’ll try to give you covering fire from here, but you need to help me find some targets. The Italians are in the woods right there. Locate them and destroy em!!” The general threw the horn back at his attendant, while he helped the MG man to set the weapon. “It’s unbelievable how history can repeat itself” he thought while trying to guess how long he still had left to live.
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Wed 23 Jun 2021, 16:26

“These fuckers do not give up!” thought Ottonese seeing that the fallen man at the HMG nest was being substituted by two more figures. Exploiting the fact that the Russian were concentrating their fire on his left, probably because they didn’t spot him yet, he corrected the aim covering the new targets. These new Russians had the sense of trying to prepare the weapon staying prone behind it. When Ottonese grabbed the dice to traverse and shoot the MG 42, he realized that the Gods of war gave him only one die this time. He look up at the dark sky of the Swedish countryside as a way to find an answer, and the answer was that he was using a heavy weapon and he didn’t have the heavy weapon skill, but only the ranged combat one. In the previous three turns the Gods of war overlooked that, and made three times the same mistake. For this reason a Russian soldier was now shredded to pieces and another slightly wounded. But not even the Gods of war can go back in time and so the Russian had to continue the engagement even after being wronged that way.

Still Ottonese limited himself to short bursts. For a sniper like him the concept of lashing away uncontrolled fire was anathema. He couldn’t see the effect of his fire this time.

Rossi left his full cover and exposed himself briefly to take a quick shot at the advancing Russians. The closest one were by now at 80 meters and advancing. He briefly exposed himself and let go a long burst of his carbine at the closest groups of enemies half hidden by the snow and the bad light. He was back behind his tree before seeing the effects of his fire.

That same group of Russian dismounted and took and crouched down to constitute a base of fire as the general had ordered. They looked around scanning for targets. When they finally managed to spot the flashes coming from the MG 42, they concentrated their fire on those flashes. Ottonese was caught by a hail of grouped but ineffective fire. A couple of shots zinged past his face though, which gave him an extra surge of adrenaline. He instinctively fell back into the vehicle.

Vauro considered the scene in front of him and evaluated it as unfavorable. He looked in his right and didn’t see Ottonese at his place anymore, and he had lost sight of Rossi altogether. With the enemy cavarly still moving forward, Vauro didn’t even have the time to contact Regiment again. And yet he had to, or he could not order any backwards movement. The orders were clear: advise before falling back and contemplate that possibility only as last resort. An HMG enemy team was preparing to open up on them and that would have been the end of it. No solid cover, not enough men. Vauro suddenly fell prey to despair. He decided that he had to do something. His light scout section wasn’t supposed to sustain a prolonged firefight against regular line combat units. The doctrine didn’t prescribed it, he didn’t like it and it had to end now! Vauro’s mind started to race to find a way to bend the orders that he had received. He screamed at Ottonese to keep shooting, while he contacted regiment to let them know that the situation was bad. He and Rossi would then jump on the VM and under the MG cover they would abandon the position.
Quickly he fell back behind the VM and started to handle his portable radio.
“My men first...the stupid orders after. My men first the stupid orders after...My man…”

A sudden noise, faint at start but growing in intensity every seconds, mixed with the sounds of light and heavy weapons already echoing across the battlefield. All the Italians looked around for the source of that fracas that was beginning to be clearly classifiable, as it got closer. The Russians didn’t need to look.

A monstrosity of Mil-17 appeared from the ridge opposed to the position of Vauro troop. Painted in a low tone of gray and dirty white, was almost invisible in that environment, and the red star on his fuselage wasn’t big enough to make a difference. The aircraft rapidly approached and then banked on its left, following the line of the Italian position. After a while it turned and came back from the opposite direction. This time a machinegun stuck out of the right side of the helicopter with an aviator manning it. The man crouched behind his weapon and prepared to fire.
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