Friday, March 16, 2018

Installment 1.10

A week later a caravan of vehicles exited the freeway a mile from the warehouse at four in the morning.  The caravan consisted of five Armored Personnel Carriers, a bus and then another five Armored Personnel Carriers.  The APCs were armed with heavy machineguns purchased from the CHICOMS.

Bona-Brown’s military had eliminated nearly all ranks to create a flat “org-chart.”  There were “troopers” and there were “officers”.

Troopers were “students” who had proven incorrigible and unfit for any other assignment.  It typically took four or five years before they had trickled down through the hierarchy of assignments and came to rest in the military.  Consequently, the troopers were between the ages of 20 and 26 years of age.

If the troopers were the sludge in the bottom of the bilge, then the officers were the flower of the enlightened generation.  They were selected from graduates with advanced degrees in Political Science.  To win a berth in the new Calif military officer corps, one’s academic record must demonstrate unswerving loyalty to the new order and the thesis must prove that all problems are trivial when viewed the lens of Bona-Brown Socialism.

The force was tasked with securing the exterior of the warehouse and then to breach the doors and secure the interior.  A fleet of trucks and two busses for prisoners were staged thirty miles away.  They would be called in after the compound was secured.  There was no other support pre-staged to call in if things went sideways.

Intelligence was that the warehouse was stripped and empty.  There had been very little industry in LA since Cali severed ties with the US.  It was going to be the proverbial walk-in-the-park.

The million square foot warehouse complex filled three city blocks.  That is, in addition to the street intersections at the corners, there were two additional streets that “Tee”d into the streets bounding the warehouse on both the north and south.  The troops parked an APC in the middle of each intersection with the heavy machineguns pointing away from the warehouse.

The machineguns were not optimal for the mission. 

They were four barrel, obsolete, Soviet ZPU-4, antiaircraft machineguns with very high rates of fire. The projectiles were originally designed to traverse the length of early NATO bombers. Later users never found a reason to reduce their ability to penetrate.

The guns used hand turn-screws to adjust aim and, consequently, were slow to adjust.  Aircraft are usually so far away that rapid adjustment of aim is rare. The mounts also had limited ability to depress their line of fire to below the horizontal.  Their prime advantage is that they looked evil and, when fired, produced 12’ long balls of fiery muzzleblast.

The plan was simple.  Teams of two would secure each man-door while the two “extra” APCs would guard the large, overhead, drive-thru doors that were on the north side of the building in the east and west walls respectively.

The power to the building would be cut.

Teams of three with night vision would enter the ten doors on the east side of the warehouse, the side away from the freeway and would walk across the floor, herding any workers out the doors on the west side where they would be arrested.

Many people, primarily older NCOs who had been kept aboard to maintain equipment, commented that the mission was grossly under-resourced.  Leadership commented that Cali was smarter, leaner and more scientific than the old US. 

Officers did not get noticed and promoted when they followed the old ways.  They got promoted when they accomplished more while using fewer resources.

Amongst themselves, the officers ran countless virtual reality simulations. A small crew was less likely to create friendly-fire incidents, always a consideration when the “soldiers” were untrained students who had been rejected for every other job.  Just to be sure, the officers required that the clearing crews go in with one magazine in the firearm and the extras locked to their web-gear and the key carried by the team lead.

None of the VR simulations indicated that the APCs in the corner would be shooting at each other if they fired enfilade down the long streets bounding the warehouse on the east and west sides, nor did it indicate that the APCs guarding the overhead doors were also in each other’s field of fire.

The mission went in the ditch when the first team entered the building.  The intelligence was wrong.  While there was not industrial activity in the building, it was a warren of residents.

Next Installment

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