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CWGamer
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat 12 Dec 2020, 15:11

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Thu 24 Jun 2021, 04:01

I love the way the game mechanics (hex, die rolls) have made their way into the game narrative.
 
ambrafoxtrot17
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Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Thu 24 Jun 2021, 05:27

Dear CWGamer
Thank you very much for your comment.
The little imaginary people and their equipment sometimes becomes so real inside my mind that I have to remind myself that I am just playing a game even while I write.
Twilight 2000 is no ordinary RPG; it never was. It is one of the few if not the only one where characters are just and really ordinary people engaged in ordinary jobs.
It is the background and not the characters that make this game special. And because of this distinctive feature I love this game.
 
ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Thu 24 Jun 2021, 22:43

Ottonese found the resolve to stand up and go back to the pintle mount of the VM, despite the fact that by then it was under sustained fire. Luca felt that the vehicle was slightly tilted on the right. One of the front tires was flat. Moreover Sergeant Vauro’s backpack had been pulverized before his eyes when a big shot caught it fair and square. The clattering and hissing of the penetrating shots was terrifying, but somehow Ottonese passed all the suppression checks. He was an Alpino d’Italia and it showed in his C CUF reinforced by the B scout/raiders platoon morale score. Despite that, he thought that it was time for the unit to tuck tail and run if they wanted to make it our of there alive.

At the same time Rossi tried to get a modicum of situational awareness. He could sense that the Soviet attack was in full swing, and he needed to slow the enemy down somehow. He dared to lean sideways of his cover in order to understand what was going on. He saw that some of the Soviet had dismounted and were reloading their weapons, but the rest of the enemy cavalry was by now no farther than 60 meters away and charging forward. Before Rossi could effectively take aim at those crazy Russians though, his position got showered by a hail of bullets coming from his right. He just managed to get a glimpse of the flashes coming from the side MG of the Hip which was generously spraying the area while hovering aorond. Cursing and all, Rossi couldn't do anything else than tuck himself back in the cover of the trees, and hope that the Mil-17 wouldn’t turn around forcing him get exposed to the fire of the Russians moving in front of the MLR.

“MANGUSTA...we need reinforcements or the authorization to fall back!! The Russians are about to overwhelm the position...if we don’t move now we might not be able to move any more...The enemy engaged us with TACAIR. We have nothing to effectively counter it over!”

“NIBBIO...this is MANGUSTA." Siviglia was still pretty calm on the radio. "You have the order to hold your positions..repeat hold your positions! We are coming to reinforce you! Be aware that we will approach from south, south east, and take position on the other side of route 26. DO NOT SHOOT AT US. We are moving the entire circus. OVERALL is informed of the situation and doesn’t want to let the Reds breakthrough in direction of Lake Vattern. We need to stop them at tall costs. CONFIRM over.”

Vauro wanted to throw the horn on the ground but he had the discipline to calmly respond to his commander. He wandered under what kind of pressure his commander was from the Americans.
“WILCO MANGUSTA, but hurry up. I am not sure for how long we can resist here. Over and out.”
Vauro was really pissed and resigned at the same time. Resigned indeed he was to the idea of ending his days in some fucking snowy woods in the middle of Sweden. He looked over the edge of the VM. A group of Soviet cavalrymen was by now at 40 meters from their position and about to charge right into them. “It’s unbelievable and absurd” he thought...to have to fight like in the middle ages at the end of 20th century. He threw the Dragunov on the ground, grabbed the SCP from his back and prepared to fight at close distance. If they could hold two or three minutes, may be the infantry of the 8th would really come to help them. Question was...could they hold?

With a surge of adrenaline Ottonese also noticed that the Soviet advanced elements were by then almost in the perimeter.
“Dieeeee Bastaaaaaards!!!” Ottonese screamed like a savage and furiously responded to the sustained enemy suppression fire with a long burst of the MG 42 which downed two of the cavalrymen and put a wrench in the enemy enthusiasm. One Russian fell with an amputated arm and the other absorbed two 7,62 in the chest plus his horse caught an extra couple in the head, which exploded like a melon.
“Fuck!” Luca was impressed by the effects of his own fire.

“God oh God oh God!!” In the dim light Rossi saw Ottonese face shine in the glow of the machinegun fire, which fired up is morale after the caresses received by the enemy TACAIR. He painstakingly tried to get on his feet again, even though his position was still under fire.

The Russians were no less determined than the Italians. The group that had dismounted two turns earlier resumed the advance against the Italian positions, alternating fire and movement. “Davai Davai !!! Concentrate fire on that Goddamned MG vehicle. It’s going to massacre us.”

“Comm on Ivan!! Come on!! Avete rotto I coglioooooni!!!” Ottonese continued to fire and to scream above the automatic weapons noise and above the whine of the Helicopter turbines. At that point he was out of his mind, but being his actions on autopilot that did not detract too much from is combat effectiveness.
At the same moment Vauro emerged from the smoke behind the VM...his carbine shouldered at the high ready, looking for close targets. Ottonese looked down at him. Vauro turned up his head towards his man. With his carbine still online in front of his face, he raised his left fist at Ottonese, and then extended five gloved fingers.

“5 Minutes Luca...5 minutes and the reinforcements will be here!”
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Fri 25 Jun 2021, 10:24

Having cooled down the enthusiasm of the advancing Russians, Ottonese turned back to the enemy HMG nest, which by the way had momentarily ceased fire probably to reload or to clear a jam. The MG 42 tracers fell considerably close to target, which remained at the limit of the visibility range.

Rossi got finally tired to play cat and mouse with the Russian buzzing helicopter, and decided to force the action. He slung his carbine past the tree he was hiding behind and lets go a long burst in the general direction of the aircraft. Rossi was pretty sure to have seen at least a couple of sparks igniting on the fuselage of the enemy flying machine, which in fact yanked right and temporarily moved away.

Vauro raised his thumb at Ottonese before moving over toward the tree edge, orientating himself with the muzzle flashes originating from the Russian positions. He crouched down and started to run towards a general position on the left of Rossi. Suddenly he felt his legs giving up under him, like if he had hit a big hole in the ground. He fell down, wandering what the hell was going on. There was no hole on the ground. He found himself laying on the ground. Instinctively he looked in direction of the enemy to determine if he was exposed or not. He tried to stand up to complete his movement, but his legs didn’t respond. He tried to touch them. He had no sensitivity. Desperately looked at Ottonese. Stray bullets were occasionally cracking around him.

“Staaaay down!!” He could see Ottonese gestures more than hearing his voice. Vauro turned his head on the opposite direction just to see Rossi desperately shooting at something in the air, the barrel of his Beretta flashing full display in the dark. Then the pain came sharp and sudden in his back. He understood that he was finished.

“Fuck that” Ottonese had had enough. His commander was down and he had to do something as second in command of the unit. He dropped the MG and again darted out of the VM-90. He crouched down and started cover the distance between him and Vauro as fast as he could. He reached him in seconds and slid down in the snow.

“Where have you been hit?”
Vauro turned at Ottonese, his face a grimace of pain. “I think I caught one in my spine. I can’t move my legs.” A clear note of desperation was audible in Vauro’s voice.

Ottones swallowed nervously, his blackened face covered in sweat despite the temperature.
“Ok just hang in there, I’m going to get out of here.”

“Noo! We have to hold the position. Those are the orders.” said Vauro in a hoarse voice.

“Fuck the position...I am taking you out of here!” said Ottonese, holding Vauro’s head in his arms tears coming out of his eyes.

“They will write on the books that the Italians turned and run. No running away for us. We die here!”

“You listen to me brother.” Ottonese with 4 out 5 stress was one straw away from loosing it all “We evacuate the position and fight another day. I don’t think there will be any goddamned history books this time.” Ottonese, still under fire, quickly scanned ahead in the direction where Rossi was supposed to be. He was kneeling and looking in his direction. He also noticed the boss was down. Ottonese raised his arms over the head in a X position, meaning “on me, now”. Rossi instantaneously understood that the situation was deteriorating quickly and cautiously started to move towards the rally point.

The enemy immediately sensed that the Italian fire was petering down. Rossi exploded some random shots to cover his movement but that was all. A rugged lieutenant in the dismounted group of Russians, armed with a sniper rifle, licked his lips and gave the signal to resume the advance. “Poydem tovarishch, Ital’yantsy zakonchili!!” The Russian squad of dismounted cavalry started to carefully walk towards the enemy position, AKs at the ready, firing shorts suppression bursts. Engage, close and destroy; the mantra on all the infantry in the world.

The Russian dismounted group, sensing that the alpini are in dire straits resume the advance. 1942 all over again!
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Fri 25 Jun 2021, 22:44

“Come on Dario, we are going to get out here.” Ottonese started to drag Vauro towards the VM-90 as carefully as he could. He didn’t dear to load him on his shoulder. It was dangerous enough to move him like that. He left a streak of blood in the snow.

“Gregorio!! fallback on the truck...cover us and get in the vehicle as fast as you can!” Rossi abandoned his position moving as quick as he could. He turned here and here to fire his weapon.

“Reloading!!” he shouted when the striker of his carbine blocked backwards for lack of bullets to hit. In truth he could not reload while running, but still he wanted to inform Ottonese that he was winchester.

Meanwhile the Russians were trying to reacquire the targets that had been moving among the trees. The only Ivans that still had the Italians in view were the squad of Lieutenant Vacenko, which was trying to close the distance and destroy the what remained of the Italians.

It wasn’t easy to put Vauro in the vehicle. Rossi instead climbed onto the driver seat like a tornado chased by Russian lead.

“Get behind the fucking wheel. Let’s get out of here” yelled Ottonese, who was still trying to set Vauro’s legs on the vehicle. The bullets penetrating the VM sounded like slapping hail pieces hitting the body of a car, but louder. One bullet ricocheted on something and hit the MG up in the mount.

“Here we go brother, we are going to move out.” Ottonese turned Vauro’s head.

He was dead.

“Jeesus Christ!!” Ottonese turned to Rossi in desperation. “Driiive! Drive...get us out of here!”
Now he was in command of the unit for real.

The engine was already running. Rossi put in reverse and maneuvered the VM. he soon crashed it into a couple of trees, but moved enough to turn the VM right and get on the road.

Ottonese got back to the MG-42 mount in order to cover the retreat of the vehicle. Traversed the weapon in direction of the closest Russian squad just a second before that a blinding search light turned on in the sky. “It’s that goddamned helo.” said Ottonese. “It’s looking for us.”

“It doesn’t seem like the Russkies want let us out easily.” said Rossi while he tried to get the vehicle out of the woods, literally.

The Russian infantry saw the VM defile in front of them and opened up.

Ottonese got clipped in his left forearm. “Fuck you bastards!!” he screamed and repositioned the MG aiming at the new threat.

“General...the Italians are abandoning the position. Over” Lieutenant Vacencko coldly communicated to the commander of the 1st Guard Motorized Division.

“A job well done comrades. Let them go. The objective is ours. No point in risking more casualties. We thought yet another lesson to NATO. Consolidate and prepare to resume the advance at my command. Our final objective is Karlsborg Over and out.”

The Russian infantry occupied the position, while the helicopter turned towards Mariestad and disappeared.

Driving south at the speed allowed by the flat front tire the VM-90, the Alpini scouts soon encountered the rest of the 8th coming in the opposite direction with the BV-206 on point and a wagon pulled by a couple of horses. It seemed to Ottonese that the convoy was taking it exceptionally easy and felt a certain rage rising up from down his soul. Then he realized that none of those vehicles allowed for a fast pace. The two groups of course went very close to shoot each other, but in the end they managed to take a temporary position in another woods next to route 26.

Major Siviglia was about to give Ottonese a verbal beat down, but he calmed down when he saw that he was wounded.

“I ordered to advise before falling back” the Major said still in a harsh tone.

Ottonese was unimpressed. “No time...Sir.”

“Were is Sergeant Vauro?”
“He’s in the truck. He’s dead.” Ottonese wanted to add, I hope you and your fucking American friends are happy now, but he managed to control himself.

“The Russians?”
Banged up, but they have the position.
“Jesus Christ.”

The major turned towards the driver of the BV
“Let’s turn the vehicles south Corporal. Then opened a map and extended it on the hood of the VM. “There is a little village 20 clicks south of here.” Siviglia put a finger on the map on a place called Stopen. “Let’s move there and regroup. Then we will see.”

Ottonese looked at the Major like if he was an alien. This time he didn’t control himself.

“The fuck we turn south!! We need to organize an immediate counterattack Major. The Russians are weakened like I said. With the weight of the entire unit we could retake the position. We lost Sergeant Vauro for that position!!” Ottonese was yelling without even realizing it.

The Major gave a good look at Ottonese. He took a couple of second to decide if he wanted to shoot the insubordinate soldier on the spot. He decided against it, considering the state Ottonese was in after what it had probably been a very hard firefight. He resumed very calmly, trusting the fact that calmness is contagious the same way panic is.

“I lost contact with the command of the 2nd Marine Division private, and I have to decide what we are going to do. Are you sure you want to discuss operations with me son?” The look of the Major was firm, and a Lieutenant near the passenger door of the BV-206 tensed his grip on his assault rifle.

Ottonese simply turned away and climbed onboard the VM again.

Major Siviglia ignored even that act of insubordination for now. He had seen the eyes of his alpino and he decided that he was worth a second chance.

Ottonese as apepared to Siviglia after the action at Kackestad
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baldrick0712
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri 28 May 2021, 12:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sat 26 Jun 2021, 06:11

Oh no! Poor Vauro. RIP.
 
ambrafoxtrot17
Topic Author
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sat 26 Jun 2021, 09:14

That has been a vicious fight. The Italians have been extremely lucky to manage to sneak out. There was another Russian mounted infantry section flanking them on the other side of route 26. They were 4 rounds away from closing the pocket.
There are not hero points, fate points or other bull here. You enter a firefight...death is around the corner at all times.
In the specific case of Vauro, with medical attention it might have survived if Ottonese didn't try to drag him on the VM. When he did, Vauro failed the Stamina Death survival and also the push roll.
 
ambrafoxtrot17
Topic Author
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat 19 Jun 2021, 17:29

Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sat 26 Jun 2021, 12:13

Late evening of the 30th of December 1998, outskirts of the Village of Stopen, Southern Sweden

Major Siviglia had ordered that the regiment column proceeded with headlights on and well visible on the road once it had left Route 26. When the convoy turned in direction of the village of Stopen, the Major didn’t want to surprise any civilians. Lieutenant Kurt Holtz, who was driving the VM then ordered Alpino Rossi to dismount and move on point 30 or 40 meters ahead of the vehicles. Rossi of course didn’t like to have to get out in freezing temperatures again, not to mention the risk of being shot at. Ottonese was resting in the back on the vehicle, In order to recover some of his 4 points of stress.
According to these dispositions, the convoy covered 500 meters of a secondary road completely surrounded by thick woods until it arrived to a bend which led to the first group of houses. Suddenly Rossi froze in the middle of the narrow road, crouched down and raised his right fist in the air. Holtz immediately stopped the VM and turned on the high-beams. Rossi had a contact.

“Sluta dar du ar!!”

A woman came out of a line of trees and so did a couple of men on the other side of the road. The woman had a pump action shotgun pointed at Rossi, and the two men, one of them being more an adolescent than a man, held respectively an automatic handgun and a double barreled hunting rifle.
Rossi had his Carbine slung down his chest and made a point of keeping his hands well in sight. Despite the fact that the group in front of him was probably being blinded by the VM lights, they had weapons trained on him at less than 20 meters.

“Vem ar du?” the woman, who definitely looked like the leader, spoke again.

Rossi didn’t understand what the woman said, but he could imagine it.

“Italian Army Ma'am. Please no shoot” At the same moment Lieutenant Holtz dismounted from the VM. He First looked back to see how far the rest of the convoy was, and then calmly approached Rossi’s position. His man was still crouched down in the middle of the road with the civilians in front of him. Everybody was brigthly illuminated by the VM lights.

The Swedish woman quickly shifted to English. Rossi couldn’t stop being surprised at how good Swedes were with English.

“Italian Army!?...What do you want here?” she asked very calmly.

At this point Lieutenant Holtz became visible to her as well: matching the composure of the woman he was the one who answered:

“We fought a battle with Russian forces 30 kilometers north of here Ma’am; we need to bury one of our men. It would be lovely if you happened to have a hospital here. I have a wounded man and I need some medical supplies in order to treat him. We are ready to trade with you guys. We have weapons and ammunition if you are interested...we also have some fuel.”

Holtz made a point of offering to trade goods instead of services, in order to emphasize that they had no intention to stay there one minute more than necessary. The locals didn’t seem very friendly.

Holtz kept steady eye contact with the woman. Being a medical officer, he attended several training sessions at the Psy Ops Army School specifically about Sweden before the 8th deployed up there.

“You and the men under your command will remember at all times that the Swedes are a population that considers moderation in everything they do or communicate, a cornerstone of their way of life. You will then at all times forget your hot tempered high emotional Latin attitude, and conform to the program, especially with women. The Swedes have this stereotype about us that we are a bunch of womanizers, at best with an overprotective inclination towards the other sex and at worse with quite a limited respect for it. Of course in your specific case, motherfuckers, this is not that far from the truth. So, while deployed in Scandinavia you will behave at all times in a way that will disprove this stereotype. You are going to go fight a war up there. I don’t have to stress the importance of good relationships with the local population.”

Holtz had a flashback of all that given that a Swedish woman was now pointing a rifle at him.

“I would prefer that you and your men leave our community immediately Lieutenant.” said the woman. Jonna, that was her name, noticed the single star on the chest rank of the Italian white camo. And a single star meant more or less the same in all armies.

Holtz decided to go for a persuasion roll, but only one time. He would not push it. Despite all the attempts to show the opposite, those folks were frightened. More or less at that moment, Major Siviglia joined the party but did not interfere. His staff officer had the situation and he left it at that.

“Ma’am”, continued Holtz: “We lost all contacts with the overall command responsible for the defense of your country. Our regiment was responsible for the protection of this area together with an American artillery regiment. Our overall command was in Alingsas. Now we are bound to our last executive order: protect this area and its population; but I promise you Ma’am. If you really want to, we will leave. Like I said we just wanted to give a proper burial to one of our young commanders and some medical care to one of our wounded. We will not bother you any longer than necessary Ma’am.”

Jonna looked at Lieutenant Holtz for a while, then answered.

If your command was in Alingsas, I am afraid I have bad news for you. There is a persistent rumor that that town has been completely destroyed by an atomic bomb no more than 12 hours ago. I don’t know if this is true, but if it is true you do not have any commander left. You probably know that Skovde suffered the same fate last month. We have nothing left here. There are soldiers wandering around this area; Russian and American. They already took everything they could from us. The Americans being only slightly kinder than the Russians. But none of them introduced themselves they way you did. The lady lowered her rifle. (2d8 persuasion: 6 and 7)

Holtz and Siviglia, looked at each other, both thinking about the same thing: Alingsas.

Jonna Berglund, former member of Skovde municipal council in an old Campaign poster
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sun 27 Jun 2021, 00:08

Evening of the 30th of December 1998 Stopen Southern Sweden.

“My name is Jonna Berglund and I am the mayor. Stopen was not a municipality before the war, but having Skovde been destroyed we had to take things in our own hands.” The woman introduced herself to the two Italian officers.

“Madam Mayor, allow me to introduce to you Major Alberto Siviglia, commander of the 8th Mountain Regiment of the Italian Democratic Republic.” Siviglia took a slight bow to the lady.

Jonna looked the Major rank, a stylized tower and a star, on the thermal fatigue of the high Italian officer. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance Major, even though I have to admit that the circumstances could have been better.”

“It is an honor to meet you Madam and let me congratulate you for your courage and for that of your men in guarding your home village” Siviglia acknowledged with a head gesture the two armed men who escorted Jonna.

“I am afraid major”, Jonna went quickly down to business as was customary in Swedish politics and negotiations “that we do not have a hospital or a doctor office in Stopen, however we have some medicines stored and a good medic in town for your wounded man. On the other hand we do have a little cemetery and a pastor and we will be glad to offer your fallen soldier a proper funeral although in foreign land.”

Major Siviglia like many military men didn’t have a very high opinion of politicians, but he had to admit that that woman had something in her eyes able to penetrate souls and to convince you that she was sincere.

“May be foreign Madam Mayor, but a beautiful land, with an exceptionally strong and resolute population.”

The mayor hinted an imperceptible smile. “It’s better if we go inside gentlemen before we all freeze to death out here. If you’ll allow me I will organize for the accommodation of your men at the bus station building. We have been using it as a deposit, and it has several wood stoves. The school would have been a larger and more comfortable place but all its windows are shattered, consequence of the detonation in Skovde, plus we fear that the southern part of the village is irradiated. We had many cases of radiation sickness and 18 fatalities.”

Siviglia and Holtz looked at each other, impressed.

“As far as you gentlemen are concerned” continued Jonna, “I hope that you will be my guest for dinner, even though I am afraid I can’t offer much.”

For the second time Siviglia and Holtz looked at each other, impressed.

“It will be an honor Madam. If you and the Major will excuse me, I would proceed with supervising the accommodation of the troops and I will establish security around the village, before joining you.” concluded Lieutenant Holtz.

The teenager armed with the Sig Sauer semi auto handgun went with Holtz to support him with the organization, while Major Siviglia and Mrs Berglund accompanied by the other militiaman set off towards the Mayor house.

Quickly Holtz took control of the situation. He went unit by unit along the entire column and gave his directives for the deployment of the regiment.

“Alpino Rossi, prepare for a reconnaissance of the perimeter of the village which we will do together as soon as the men are accommodated and ready to eat. You and Ottonese are exempted from guard duties for the night.”

“Yeeeeessss” thought but didn’t say Rossi, limiting himself to the regulation Signorsì, Signor Tenente.

Holtz proceeded to the artillery battery, whose 81mm mortar was transported inside the HQ VB-206. “Sergeant Fré; for now your unit takes position with the rest of the regiment; later after we complete the reconnaissance of the premises, we’ll discuss the deployment of your mortar, which position will also constitute your battery guard position for the night.

“Agli ordini Signor Tenente” answered the mortar NCO seated in the passenger seat of the BV.

Finally the Lieutenant arrived at the 17th Alpine infantry company.

“Corporal Bartoli...we are going to prepare indoor position for the night, after which you are responsible for setting observation posts to be manned for our entire time of permanence in the village. I and Alpino Rossi will find the most suitable positions for your men.”

“Comandi Signor Tenente”, the corporal standing along the wagon of his company, stiffened in a perfect Alpine military salute.

“And Corporal...we’ll see to find some suitable accommodation for your horses as well.”

“Yes Sir, Thank you Sir.”

Holtz turned then towards the Swedish boy who was with him.

“Shall we young man?”

The boy set off for the old bus deposit, northeast of the village. The entire Italian Alpini unit followed them.


From left to right: Colonel Francesco Venuti, commander of the 8th Alpini (KIA in April 1998), Padre Alessandro (former military chaplain of the regiment in the sixties). The last to the right is Major Alberto Siviglia. The picture was taken in Italy before the 8th deployed to Sweden.
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ambrafoxtrot17
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Re: to honor this wonderful 4th Edition

Sun 27 Jun 2021, 11:09

By then complete darkness had fallen on the small village of Stopen.

17th company was assigned to the surveillance of the northern and northeastern side of the village. Lieutenant Holtz walked around the perimeter with Corporal Bartoli.

“Corporal, assign you men in regular surveillance shifts there and there.” Lieutenant Holtz indicated a car dealer which still had some new and used vehicles outside and inside the shop. No fuel though.
“The second section will take control of the Bus Deposit. Place your man in that wood right there, and don’t forget to have OP campfires.”
“Signorsì, eseguo Signor Tenente” was the quick answer of the corporal, who disappeared to go kick his men in the butt.

Then Holtz grabbed Sergeant Fré and they walked all the way back to the place where the Lieutenant had the first encounter with Mrs. Berglund. There was a bus stop there and on the opposite side of the lane there was a house with an excellent view on the village access road; the same road the regiment had used to get into Stopen.

Lieutenant Holtz, walked to the door still followed by the young Swedish militiaman and tried to ring the bell which didn’t work, so he simply knocked at the door. Nobody answered. Holtz tried a second time, with a longer knock. This time he heard some steps inside the house.

“Vem ar det?” Holtz heard a woman voice for behind door.

“Italian Army Ma’am could you please open the door?”

A small very old lady appeared behind the door; she could have been 90 years old. Lieutenant Holtz took off his Cappello Alpino, which he always wore instead of the helmet unless there was any risk of combat, and put it under his right arm.

“Do you speak English Ma’am?”

“Jag ar valdigt ledsen”

Holtz interpreted that as a no, and asked his young local assistant to explain in the most polite terms to the lady that he would have liked to place a mortar in her yard and the crew in the room with that window; and he clearly indicated the window. He asked the boy to assure the lady that his men would not at all be a nuisance. They would just take a room and stay there.

The lady started a full fledged speech addressing the boy. He and Holtz waited that she finished with her conference, then the Italian Lieutenant looked at the boy interrogatively. “If I could just be that patient with my girlfriend” Holtz found himself thinking.

“She said that you should have your men go inside, poor children, or they would freeze to death in no time out here. And they should take in the mortar too, so you can keep it from freezing and not working anymore.”

Holtz thanked the lady profusely and then told Sergeant Fré to bring his stuff all the way there, recommending him to keep the mortar outside. Fré rolled his eyes, saluted and carried on with its duties. Finally the Italian Lieutenant gave one of his last MRE to the old lady (Lasagne, Pollo al forno, and some portions of Nutella. After that Holtz had only 4 ration left and was yet planning to give one to Mrs. Berglund.

“Bra pojkar gar till himlen” said the lady almost crying. She gave Holtz a kiss and hugged him long and tight.

On the way towards Mrs. Berglund house Holtz asked the Swedish teenager what was his name.

“Vincent” answered the boy. Holtz smiled at him. “You know...in Italian the name is Vincenzo, but Vincente is another Italian word which stands for...Winner.”

Before joining Major Siviglia and Mrs. Berglund, Holtz stopped at the recon platoon to pick up some equipment from the VM-90.


Lieutenant Kurt Holtz on patrol somewhere in Sweden in November 1997. Mother from Sicily, father from South Tyrol, former Austrian land, and Italian only since 1918, he was the prototype of “weird alpino”
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