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The Gift of Villainy, Part III

My next battle saw some of the strangest and most inexplicable behaviour from my NATO opponents yet. I would have asked them why they’d done such things if I couldn’t see and feel the palpable aura of rage they shone forth. In this battle, my Czech forces needed to hold Nuremberg against NATO counter-attack. The details of the battle I’ll keep brief as the earlier pattern was repeated — the Americans lead with their heavy tanks, driving them in column formation straight down the most central road towards the heart of the city. My Czech tanks were hidden in the woods to the east and west ready to close in and annihilate them, which I did.

No — the interesting thing about this battle involved another West German train. Running parallel to the edge of the central business district was a rail track. The NATO commander wisely and correctly assumed that some of my forces were hidden in the centre of town to act as a flying wing ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice to reinforce a weakened flank or launch my own counter-assault to his counter-offensive. First he sent un-uniformed partisans (re-armed liberated Wehrmacht Nazis!) to scout out the perimeter. After we blew up the vehicle they were in — they were just driving down the road out in the open — he sent a team of partisans to seize and stop the train.

This time the attack on the train was planned. His hope was by stopping the train across the central road leading into the CBD, my flying wing would be trapped and pinned down; his heavy tanks could proceed into the general area unmolested and my forces hunted down. Instead, after flanking his tanks, my forces came out of the woods from both sides simultaneously and wiped out every NATO tank, leaving only the masses of American infantry advancing behind them.

But I digress — the train. The train was a West German train, run by a West German engineer. The partisans boarded the train and shot the engineer. They didn’t identify themselves. They didn’t call for the engineer to stop the train. They shot the old man and threw him from the train. However, these geniuses themselves had no idea of how to stop a train.

Armed with Molotov cocktails, they leaned out of the engine’s windows and threw the cocktails onto the front of the engine, which began to burn but did not stop the train. Opening the hatch to shovel more coal into the boilers, they threw their Molotov cocktails directly into the boiler’s flames, which then immediately exploded, killing them instantly and derailing the train.

The train did indeed grind to a halt cutting off access to the main thoroughfare but as I said above, my main forces simply flanked and annihilated the NATO armoured counter-offensive and we spent the rest of the battle hunting down infantry using machine guns and tank cannons. The GM didn’t make the NATO infantry make any morale checks, which I consider a disservice. They had seen their tanks wiped out in a single turn and my unscratched medium tanks were firing tank cannons directly into their infantry formations but they kept coming like crazed samurai and had to be killed in place. They even managed to board and capture one of my tanks. The GM made me make a morale check for the tank crew and they failed. I objected pointing out I’d wiped out hordes of NATO troops in a single turn and they hadn’t been asked to make a single roll. The GM relented and agreed to apply morale checks more evenly from then on.

Meanwhile, another team of partisans had infiltrated the city. A Soviet security man was checking the locals for papers and such. The partisans took to a nearby building and began shooting at him, heedless of the fact that he was surrounded by innocent West German citizens, i.e., their own people. I sent in the only infantry I had in that part of the city and the two forces nearly wiped each other out. My last soldier killed the last partisan in the building. The GM ruled that my sergeant tied a note labelled “Collaborator” to the body of the partisan and hurled it out of the window to the streets below. My eagerness to report THAT in my next broadcast knew no bounds.

My after-action broadcast:

FLASH — THE FIGHTING JAGUARS DEFEATED — FRANK BRADLEY CAPTURED

Pravda now brings you word that the Yankee mercenary leader Major Franklin Bradley has been captured and is now being held safely in Czech custody. The pictures you see now of Major Bradley were taken in Prague as he was brought in for interrogation. Major Bradley, the leader of the so-called Fighting Jaguars, and two of his men were the only survivors of a desperate and ill-conceived counter-attack mounted against elite Czech forces liberating Nuremberg Germany.

Bradley was apprehended by Czech infantry attached to Colonel Tesarik’s elite guard regiment, the Stormwolves, after a gruelling and bloody conflict in which the Americans flung human wave assault after human wave assault at the brave Czech tankers after their initial armoured counter-thrust was neatly decapitated by superior Czech forces. Causing more casualties to Czech forces with these savage and brutal attacks than with their tanks, the American infantry formations had to be annihilated in place in order to stop their insane counter-offensive. But stopped it was. Colonel Tesarik’s troops then proceeded to render assistance to the local civilian population, fighting side by side with German firefighters yet another train fire set by the Americans and their allies in a German town.

The captured Major Bradley is being treated according to his rank and the articles of the Geneva convention, despite his use of un-uniformed spies in an American military vehicle, his recruiting un-uniformed fascist partisans in violation of the convention and his order to those partisans to attack and destroy a civilian train in motion in an inhabited area. Pravda hereby adds its voice to the many cries of civilized protest the world over that this barbarous gangster leader has not been immediately tried for war crimes.

Czech Sergeant Kazimir Svoboda of the Czech infantry won for himself commendation and promotion as he single-handedly slew the leader of the Americans’ fascist collaborators, who were themselves annihilated in this battle with Czech forces. Having entered the building where the fascist gangster was hiding, alone and under fire, Sergeant Svoboda shot the foul traitor, bound a sign to him saying “Collaborator” and then threw his dead body out of a window to the street below — signalling to all the fate of such collaborators and spies and the end of the fascists who dared to call themselves freedom fighters.

Pravda salutes Colonel Tesarik and Sergeant Svoboda for their exceptional actions above and beyond the call of duty in placing their lives on the line in the struggle between our Workers’ Revolution and worldwide capitalist oppression!

The American commander’s letter from captivity:

My beloved Betty,

I hold onto this letter in the hopes that one day I will be able to deliver it myself. I cannot believe how stupid my superiors can be at times. Do they even want us to win this war? Do they even know a war is going on? They send me with kids fresh out of boot and a couple of tanks to retake a town recently overrun by over a dozen Czech and Commie Red tanks.

Needless to say the men under my command fought valiantly. After all our tanks were destroyed my men fought on and believe it or not I saw some infantry grunts take over a commie tank and operate it. They must make theirs easy to operate so that even an infantry grunt can figure it out.

Not sure what happened to the first group, I hear all but me and two others were killed.

I still don’t know what to make of this ‘German Resistance Group’. I don’t know who I trust less, Germans or Commies. I heard that the Germans that were supposed to be helping us, shot at their own people randomly and even shot the train operator. I thought Germany only had one language. No wonder we beat them several years ago.

I hear there is talk of bringing me up on war crimes. I cannot believe the nerve of these idiots. They break into your house, attack you, then want to charge you with a crime for defending yourself. Guess that is how communist law works.

I cannot wait to get out of here. I will be strong, I keep looking for the pilot they took captive in my first battle with these Red Commies.

Be strong my love, I only hope that one day it will be me delivering this letter to you. Until then…

Eternally Yours,

Frank Bradley

ps. If you are some commie scumbag reading this because I have died while a POW under your care, translate this letter and bury me face down so you can kiss my …..

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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Saturday at 1 pm CST on WGSO 990 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.

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