Chernovsky joined the group around the sand-table the next morning. He had been brought up-to-date on the loss of Spackle and Straeder.
He grunted his approval when he saw the sand-table. The table made the problem very visual.
Gimp walked Chernovsky through the tentative plan to funnel the invaders up I-96 and then to split their forces in half.
Gimp, pointing to the blue lines representing Doan Creek and the West Branch of the Red Cedar River said “According to the survey Wilder and Miguel brought back, these are the only two viable options. All the other streams are small and can either be forded or temporary bridges can be erected.”
Chernovsky remembered the streams from both the outbound and return legs of his trip. “Is there a plan for dropping the bridges?” Chernovsky asked.
“We are working on that. A lot depends on how much help we get from Mr. Benicio.” Tomanica said.
“I agree that the only way we can stop them is if we can keep them on the roads. They have a lot of resources, a lot of people. They can roll-over anything we put out there unless we hamstring them.” Chernovsky said.
“So is there a plan to keep them on the road? If they fan out they might find a fordable spot. Or they might set up a firebase and force us to dilute our return fire.” Chernovsky asked.
Several men started talking at once. Clearly, there was little agreement on the topic.
Chernovsky rolled his eyes. He didn’t have the time or energy for this.
“Lemme guess” Chernovsky said. “There are a couple of competing plans.”
“Sort of” Wilder confirmed. “Some of us want to stop-up drains and turn all the lowlands back into swamp.” Wilder’s tones made it clear that he was in this camp.
“And others” Wilder continued “think it is a waste of time because attackers might stay on the road anyway.”
Chernovsky sighed. “Why do you think it is a good idea?”
Wilder said “Michigan was an impenetrable swamp before it was drained. Stopping up drains would just take it back to the way it was. Going with the flow, so to speak.”
“Who wants to argue the other side?” Chernovsky asked.
Much to Chernovsky’s surprise it was Tomanica who raised his hand. “We don’t have the manpower. I agree that we need to be able to funnel them through a kill sack but I don’t think we have people to spare, right now.”
Chernovsky rephrased what he heard “You both think it is a good idea but don’t know where the manpower will come from.”
“Yup, that is about it.” Tomanica said.
Chernovsky looked around the table. “I am open to suggestions about where we can find some warm bodies to plug drain tiles. Bear in mind that this will be right on the Livingston County/Ingham County line so it will be dangerous work.”
Terrain dictates tactics. Where the terrain is not favorable then tactics are of marginal value and battle becomes a game of attrition. There was no way Capiche could prevail in a war of attrition. Where "terrain" isn't favorable, leadership either needs to move the battle or "create" favorable terrain.
Wade Hawk cleared his throat and said, “That is something I can do, but only if a few conditions are met.”
A couple of months ago Chernovsky would have dismissed the idea out of hand. Hawk was at least seventy years old. On the other hand, Wade Hawk was the one who had shot up the armored cars at Kate’s Store. There was nothing wrong with his courage or tactical sense.
“What are the conditions?” Chernovsky asked.
“I get to take a buddy. We take some supplies, mostly bagged concrete but also some silver to pay for local help. Finally, I ain’t carrying no bags of concrete forty miles. I need a ride there.” Wade said,
From Chernovsky's standpoint, it was a no-brainer. Any tasks that could be pulled ahead were a blessing. Once the hostile invasion started there would not be enough men or time. Anything that could be done now should be done now, even if the benefits were uncertain.
Chernovsky had one more question. “Can you be ready to go after lunch?”