|Borders are fluid|
Chernovsky, Gimp and Tomanica took several hours to “glass” the back-side of the Livingston County lines.
The readings of military history that Wilder had been feeding Chernovsky gave him an appreciation of the advantages of assymetry.
His natural inclination was to attack-in-force but that would have caused the Livingston County forces to adapt. In the long run, it would result in high Capiche losses and ultimately made victory less certain.
The Livingston County forces had a fire-base about every two-tenths of a mile. That meant that forces trying to penetrate the line were never more than 200 yards from a fire-base.
Every fifth fire-base had two supply trucks and clearly functioned as the base-camp for the half-mile to either side. Every tenth camp had a quick-reaction force. There were also three quick-reaction forces that were not attached to any point on the line and they roved.
Each fire-bases had about twenty-five fighters with the remaining fighters being shared by base-camps and quick-reaction forces.
Counting noses and looking at the supply trucks, Chernovsky asked Tomanica and Gimp “If we cut them off, how long do you think they can hold out using the supplies on those trucks?”
Chernovsky had already made his own calculations and wanted a reality check.
Both Gimp and Tomanica guess “About three days.”
|275 gallon water cube|
Chernovsky nodded. “I see two water-cubes on each supply truck.” referring to the 275 gallon IBC cubes riding immediately behind the truck cabs.
“Doing some quick math, at three hundred fighters to the mile, that is about four gallons of potable water per person. Depending on the weather and discipline….how long will that last?”
Looking at the fighters with critical eyes, Tomanica answered first. “If they were careful, maybe four days. Otherwise, two days at best.”
Gimp nodded his agreement.
“Ok, here is my plan. See if you can poke any holes in it…” Chernovsky said. He had recent experience with thirst and wanted to make use of it.
Shortly before sunset, flurries of shots rang out from the Capiche side of the Livingston County line.
It caught them off-guard. Other than a few half-hearted probes from Benicio, there had been almost no resistance. Richards expected that to change tomorrow when he sent his three roving quick-reaction teams into Capiche to rampage.
Most of the shot seemed to miss. It made fighters dive for cover. The shooting went on for about fifteen minutes. It seemed to ebb-and-flow up and down the line.
A moderately competent rifleman, firing a off-the-rack rifle can hit an eight inch paper plate 9-out-of-10 times. There are a couple of qualifiers. The shots must not be hurried and the odds improve when the shooter is firing from the prone position or with the aid of a steady rest.
Chernovsky's chosen shooters were significantly better than "moderately competent" and the rifles were the best available. Sleeping bags were unrolled on the ground to provide comfortable positions from which to fire prone.
A few minutes into the desultory firing from the Capiche side of the line, shots hit the window glass of some of the vehicles. Even before the boom of the shot that shattered the glass died out, a second shot followed that hit one of the water cubes close to the bottom.
Compared to hitting a paper plate at two hundred yards, hitting the bottom half of a 40" cube at distances that varied from 200 yards to 440 yards was a walk in the park.
A few more minutes of firing and a second bullet punched a hole near the top of each cube.
The Livingston County response to the firing was hampered by the fact that they were shooting into the setting sun. The draconian restrictions on ammo expenditure did not help them, either.
By the time the sun had finally set, every water cube had two holes in them, one high and one low and were slowly weeping away their precious contents.
A hole that is 0.3” in diameter isn’t very big, but night is almost fourteen hours long in late October. There was very little water left in the cubes in the morning when the troops first noticed the puddles next to the supply trucks.