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
- 37.png (164.84 KiB) Viewed 216 times