Monday, February 17, 2020

A good plan executed quickly (fiction)

Mark Richards, for all of his character deficiencies, was a meticulous and focused planner.

The tanks, trucks and personnel transports exited from the depots at precise times, +/- twenty seconds. They proceeded at exactly twenty-five miles per hour to the integration points and they “zippered” together with a minimum of drama.

From there, the sixty battle-groups proceeded west on I-96 at the same twenty-five miles per hour.

It took two weeks to convince Torvaldsen that the provacations were lone-wolf attacks. While the diplomatic corps were working the issues with Milford/Highland, Richards was putting together a case to strip Rife and Patrick of nearly all of their forces for his invasion.

His plan was simple. Cut Benicio off from his food base by building a fortified line south and west of Delta Township. Then, send raiders out into the agricultural areas to force Benicio’s hand. He would be forced to cross the fortified line to save his farmers.

I-96 very tidily defined the southern and western edges of Delta Township. As a divided highway with service roads, it provided an near-ideal environment for razor wire and fire-teams spaced every three-hundred yards.

Richards did not trust the fire-teams to repel a serious attack. They were under-equipt, under-trained and unmotivated. But the fire-teams would simultaneously slow down the attack and announce it.

Richards had roving reinforcements, armor, positioned on the service roads to reinforce the fire-teams.

The attack force left at eight in the morning. Richards did not know what tore up Derious’s force, but Richards wanted to encounter it in the daylight. That, and he was bringing almost three-thousand soldiers to Derious’s two-hundred.

Part of Richards’ plan, the one he presented to Torvaldsen, was that he would break Benicio’s back and then send the “extra” troops back. Doctrine stated that the offense needed a three-to-one numerical advantage to succeed. Benicio had a thousand fighters. To send less than three thousand was to plan to fail.

Richards’ plan stripped the cupboard bare. Of course he would send the extra troops back after he no longer needed them.

Yeah, right. (sarcasm font)

The fire-teams were sequenced. The ones with the farthest to go were in front. The ones who were penciled in to secure the line closest to Livingston County were at the rear.

As they approached Benicio’s territory, the majority of the vehicles moved over to the east-bound lanes. The only trucks that stayed in the west-bound lanes were the concertina wire laying trucks. Again, the ones in front were tasked with driving up to specific mile-markers before starting their wire drop.

It has often been observed that God has extra guardian angels assigned to drunks, fools and young children. On this day in late October, he also smiled benevolently on the Livingston County force.

Every man-jack and nearly every able-bodied person over the age of ten in Capiche were harvesting potatoes, apples and ear corn. By 2010 standards, the corn was too moist to harvest but many cribs had been built where ear-corn would be under a roof and drying breezes could infiltrate and complete the drying. Unlike the previous year when much of the corn had been harvested when snow lay thigh-deep in the fields and much had been rendered unfit for human consumption by mold, Capiche vowed to get every ear, every kernel into the barn in good condition.

Benicio’s forces were twarted by other factors. Richards anticiopated resistance from that direction and was prepared to suppress it. Initial efforts were scattered and disorganized.

Two hours after Benicio had been informed of the invasion, Richards was dug-in from mile-marker 92-to-104 with a fire-team every two-tenths of a mile. Preliminary reports indicated that Richards had scouts positioned out ten miles from the ends of the mainline to forestall flanking maneuvers. Livingston County drones filled the air.


Discussion around the Capiche planning sand-table was acrimonious.

Predictably, the people who had been the most certain that Livingston County was not a threat remembered events differently. Many of their sentences started with “I told you….”

Rick Salazar had advised Chernovsky to let the loud-mouths spout...for about forty minutes. Everybody was stressed. Nearly everybody had to vent before they could buckle down and get to work.

The total idiots would thoroughly discredit themselves. At that point, Chernovsky could take control of the table.

Taking their lead from Chernovsky, nobody wasted any energy arguing with those who claimed to have 20/20 eyesight.

“I have a few questions.” Chernovsky gained everybody’s attention.

“What will it take to accelerate our original plan to cut transportation between here and Livingston County?” Chernovsky asked.

One of the braver gad-flies, emboldened by the liquid lunch he braced himself with before the meeting challenged Chernovsky. “This invasion throws those plans into the toilet. You guys fucked up and the old plan isn’t going to save you.”

Chernovsky looked at the man whose face was flushed and who was breathing heavily.

“It was a good plan a month ago. It is a good plan now” Chernovsky said mildly. “The only thing that changed was the timing. But I think we all know that regardless of when they attacked, we would not have been ready. That is why I am asking what it will take to speed up the plan, to get the timing back into alignment with the reality of today's battlefield.”

The delivery was so matter-of-fact and practical that everybody else around the table accepted it as a done-deal.

Tomanica spoke up first. “We need a crew to pre-assemble demolitions. I need Milo and his truck. I also need about fifty gallons of gasoline for fuel and an ass-load of black coffee.”

Chernovsky looked at Milo.

“The hole drilling process is still the bottleneck. I can speed that up if I make trombones with three different lengths. I can hook them up on their own run of hose and turn them on-and-off with quarter-turn ball valves.”

Milo put a piece of lined paper on the table. “This is what I need to make the three trombones. My biggest problem is getting fire-hose.”

Chernovsky looked over at Rick Salazar. “Do you have anybody who can go to Paul Seraph. I bet they have fire-hose in some of the old school houses.”

Rick said “I am on it.”

“This is like magic.” Chernovsky said. “The key to making magic work is to have the audience looking someplace else.”

“Our jobs, tonight, is to have the dickheads from Livingston County looking everywhere but at Doan Creek and the West Branch of the Red Cedar river.



  1. Ahh...the story picks up speed.

    A map would be helpful here. Are the bridges they plan to drop still out ahead of the invaders? Or behind them?

  2. On what day did you post the map. I need to reorient.

    1. I will sprinkle them back in. I need to keep my readers happy.

  3. In the Winter War of 1939-1940, the Soviets invaded Finland with 600,000 troops and thousands of tanks, artillery, vehicles, and aircraft. The badly outnumbered and outgunned Finns extracted a staggering cost from the Soviets, who suffered 150,000 KIA and another 250,000 WIA. The Finns had 20,000 KIA and another 16,000 WIA. The Finns took maximum advantage of the fact that the Russion columns had no choice but to use the few roads available. Entire Russian columns were stopped, isolated, and chopped up - never to be seen again.

    What worked for the Finns can work for Capiche. They know what roads the invaders have to use. They have flooded the land surrounding the roads. They know what bridges they need to drop, both ahead of and perhaps even behind the invading column. The question is, can they pull it off with their limited means and manpower?


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