• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(47162)

Missing my avatar
Aug 4, 2005
7.251
0
Steevo said:
“Anyone hurt?” Two raised their hands. “I mean recently.” They put their hands down.
for some reason that made me laugh :rofl: maybe they should have bought howitzers with them?
 

unmerged(57215)

First Citizen
May 20, 2006
324
0
lifeless said:
for some reason that made me laugh :rofl: maybe they should have bought howitzers with them?
Yeah... I realized all too late that the conquest of Mexico took longer because I had no artilley attached to my forces.
 

unmerged(57215)

First Citizen
May 20, 2006
324
0
As night came on fully, the baking heat emanating from the ground finally subsided. The town center, stormed a half-hour ago, was beginning to come alive as the divisional command set up its headquarters there, causing more and more windows to be lit up as it was further occupied. In the distance, small splashes of gunfire could be heard, but it was far off, at the southern edge of the city, and mostly fading.

All around the city, the local population had begun to emerge from hiding. Having been taken off-guard by the declaration of war less than 12 hours ago, the residents of Monterrey hadn’t had time to flee. They strolled here and there, gazing at the Americans with a mixture of fear, discomfort, and curiosity and pointing at buildings which had been destroyed or damaged.

As one, a child of no more than 10, wandered through the square, noting the American flag raised over the town hall and the bodies, broken glass, shell casings, and other signs of conflict. Without realizing it, he passed by the sitting form of Lieutenant Mark Jones.

Jones stared off blankly into space, stooped on the curb. He didn’t notice the form of Captain Preston until it was right next to him, and even then, he didn’t bother to look. “Lieutenant,” spoke the rough yet soothing and familiar voice, “Where is Lieutenant Lewis?” Mark looked up slowly at the Captain. His uniform was dusty and bloody, contrasting with a pristine, white bandage wrapped around his forehead. Lethargically, Mark lifted his hand and pointed over at the opposite wall where a slouched body, nearly torn in half at the lower chest by a shell rested. The Captain saw it and walked over to the corpse, stooped to identify it, seeing that it was, indeed, the fallen body of Lieutenant Edward Lewis. He glanced over the features, noticing not the twisted expression of agony so many die with but rather an open-eyed glare not so distant from the one Mark wore. It was a look of someone who was just mournfully accepting an injustice done to him without malice. Preston reached out and closed his eyelids, then got up and returned to Mark. “Damn shame, he was a fine officer. He was your friend too, wasn’t he Jones?”

“Yes sir,” Mark replied, not taking his glance off his fallen friend. Inwardly, he struggled to put everything together, the past few moments. “He got hit when we took the town hall. They started using mortars on us.”

Preston sat down, blocking the view of Edward. “Tell me something, Jones. Did you kill anyone before, back when you were in the Grey Shirts? Not the ones now, I mean the NAFCP thugs. Did you?” Mark began to come to his senses. He shook his head. “But you saw people die.”

“Yes sir.”

“And you know why you’re shook up about Lewis? Was it because he was your buddy?”

Mark hesitated. “No, it wasn’t that. Ed had this way about him, he was always... confident about everything, nothing ever bothered him. He seemed so…” Mark looked the Captain in the eyes “Invincible.”

Preston nodded. “I know. And I’ve seen people like him before, I knew them in the war. It’s a shock to see them dead, and I know it doesn’t seem right, seems like a greater injustice than just all the normal people getting killed.”

“It’s the irony sir, it was just after the big part of the battle was about to be over.”

“Nah,” said Preston, removing a packet of cigarettes from his breast pocket. “Take one, it’ll help your nerves. Don’t worry, now that we’re in the real thing, discipline isn’t what matters. You rely on it because you got it in training, but now you’ll just be focused on gaining some hands-on experience.” Mark took a cigarette from the Captain, who grabbed one between his own teeth and flicked open a steel lighter. “That wasn’t a battle.” The flame reached Mark’s cigarette and slowly ignited the end. Mark inhaled the smoke deeply, the sensation bringing him out of his temporary shellshock. “Real battles aren’t like this. What we just went through was a skirmish. The real deal is much bigger and badder. It lasts for days, sometimes weeks, not just an hour or two. Had the Mexicans held on to the hill,” he gestured towards the near form of Cero de La Cilla, “Then it might have been different, but they ran, scurried off to avoid being encircled.”

Mark nodded. “Mexico city is a different place, you see," Preston continued, "It’s like a big bowl, with big ol’ hills, mountains really, surrounding it in a circle. And you know that’s where we’re headed. I know you’re shook up now, but this is just beginning, so you’d better get yourself together, because I’ll need you. Hell’s coming, but chances are you’ll make it out ok. Lewis just had some bad luck. The men have already settled in over at our quarters, and we might have an early morning tomorrow. Go get something to eat.”

“Yes sir,” said Mark, standing up. He slowly stepped in the direction of joyful shouts and the scent of cooking meat. He was, he decided, together. He’d get through this fine. As he left, he took a moment to look back at Lewis. “Looks like this is goodbye, Ed.”
 

unmerged(47162)

Missing my avatar
Aug 4, 2005
7.251
0
better get ready...maybe he'll go against trenches..
 

unmerged(57215)

First Citizen
May 20, 2006
324
0
Chapter II



"Jesus," gasped Alexander as another shell tore through a group of men ahead of them. Preston had advised against putting two officers in the same foxhole, but Mark had made a convincing case that Alexander was a weasel who did more harm than good when around the men he was supposed to command and Alexander, being present, concurred. In the past month the scrounger made officer had clung to him like a leech, partially because of ineptitude just small enough to avoid being noticed and partially out of fear.

Mexico city had been besieged for two weeks now, and, though outnumbered more than 3 to one, the Mexican artillery and landscape had broken two attempted offensives. Unlike Monterrey, they were putting up a serious fight, and, also unlike Monterrey, they had enjoyed the luck of not being the first ones in. At the moment they were confined to ducking in their foxhole and hoping not to be hit directly by artillery.

Things were about to change, and they both sensed it. The artillery strike was far more brutal than normal, and it came to a sudden stop. Mark lifted his head above ground level, then reached into one of his pockets.

"Is it about to happen?" asked Alexander as Mark slammed a clip into his Garand. Alexander followed suit, fumbling around indecisively before finally locating a clip and loading it. "I hope it doesn't, I don't have much ammo."

"What happened to it?"

"Traded it for some booze and a dirty magazine." Mark glared at him in disbelief. "What? Look, I haven't seen a woman in months!" Alexander growled indignantly.

"What about at Monterrey? There were civilians there."

"Ick. Those chicks looked worse alive than most people do dead. They must've hid all the hot ones when they heard we were coming, I'm sure it’s against the Geneva convention and whatnot. Something about unlawful deprivation of boobs."

Mark chuckled. "Ted, why did you become an officer in the first place? More importantly, why did they let you become an officer in the first place?"

"You kidding? Greyshirt officers get paid!"

"Not much money"

"And not much work either. You don’t have to show up for the meetings and nobody notices. Well, until Kuhn actually won, next thing I know I'm in the middle of nowhere doing drills till you drop, and then they send us to Mexico, Nowhere Central."

"Look," Mark pointed ahead. Explosions went off in the distance- small explosions, grenades, not shells. "They must've broken through the first lines. About 50 yards ahead, the dry ground gave way to a field of tall grass, masking whatever lay ahead. A machine gun crew occupied the large foxhole to their right, trying their best to see what was happening ahead, shielding their eyes from the sun. "Better load it up," Mark called over the growing sounds of combat. The two men nodded and opened up a box of belt ammunition. The smoke was getting thicker. Mark squinted down the sight of the Garand. He could barely make out the men in the foxholes 50 yards ahead of him. A grenade blast kicked up dirt and fragmentation landing a few feet from Mark and Ted.

“They’re here?!” whimpered Ted. He lifted his rifle but his arms wouldn’t stop shaking.

“Goddamn! We’re supposed to be reserves! How the hell did they make it this far?” Ted flinched, then fired once.

“I see one!” he shouted. Then he suddenly froze. A rough voice sounded out.

“Schießen Sie nicht! Wir Sind Deutsch!” Two German military advisors, one slouching towards the ground with his arm slung over the other, struggled towards them. “Durchlauf!” gasped the one being pulled along. Neither spoke German so they ignored the warning. Ahead, more figures appeared through the smoke, sprinting towards the Americans.


“Greyshirts!” Shouted a soldier from the foxhole to their front and left. Sure enough, the men were clad in the Greyshirt uniform. Most had abandoned their weapons and rushed back unarmed.

“How many do you count?” shouted Mark.

“56 as far as I can see!” The Greyshirts passed by, and the smoke began to clear. A moment of dreadful silence hung over the earthworks, each man ready with a finger on the trigger. Then one, two, a dozen muzzle flashes flared through the obscure air. Mark took a deep breath, drew a bead on a muzzle flash, and fired. The rifle gave an abrupt retort and he regained his target and fired again. The entire line of foxholes and trenches erupted with gunfire, and finally the shapes of the Mexican soldiers came into view. They didn’t come straight forward, but rather darted between abandoned foxholes, crouched, or leapt prone to the earth to fire. The sound was deafening, and Mark’s blood raced. After a full minute and five clips between the two of them, most of the figures were down, and those capable of walking rushed backwards. A cheer ran through the ranks, but it was cut short by a loud, low, rumbling sound.

It wasn’t artillery, Mark knew. Every face of the two platoons turned to a frightened, grim frown, each knowing what was next. A low boom sounded, followed less than a second later with an explosion that tore through the machine gunners, sending their disintegrating body parts flying through the air in a grisly shower of death. No anti-tank weapons were present in the entire battalion.

“Lieutenant! Sir! What do we do?” Shouted a voice Mark recognized as Corporal Myers. He closed his eyes. What the hell am I doing? I don’t know how to get through this, I can’t lead men, oh God Ed what did you get us into?

“Mark!” Ted shook his comrade. “We can’t do this. We need to retreat.” Mark nodded without opening his eyes. “MARK!” Ted shook him.

His eyes slammed open, revealing the state of a terrified man. “The bunker,” he said without even realizing what he was thinking. The terror died down. “The bunker! Run! Make for the bunker! Retreat!” The earthworks emptied as the Greyshirts bolted backwards. The bunker was a large hole dug into the ground and covered with wood and leaves and a frame of metal welded together and connecting to the main trenches a mile ahead of the Division HQ. Before anyone could get a running start, the loud THUDTHUDTHUD of a heavy machine gun ripped through the air. Mark leapt up onto the level ground, followed closely by Alexander. Alexander had shorter legs and was a better sprinter, and he raced ahead of Mark, who looked back over his shoulder, and, to his horror, saw them: three steel leviathans rolling across the turf, mowing down the men in their path. His terror returned, and he almost froze up completely. Tank shells impacted the earth around him, and a machine gun cut a line across the ground inches behind his heels. His eyes were clouded with sweat, and before he could stop himself he’d stumbled and tripped onto the rough soil. Looking back with fear, he saw he’d fallen over the form of Lieutenant Theodore Alexander.

A moment passed, yet it seemed that ten minutes had gone by. Mark couldn’t think straight. He was about to die, about to be taken from the Earth, and it was an awful, hellish fear that consumed him. With the bullets and shells coming straight at him, he wanted to simply end it, to unholster his pistol and pull the trigger, let the bullet finish him cleanly and quickly so he’d be away from the terror and the steal beasts.

But he didn’t. Shaking and frantic, he grabbed Ted by the collar and sprung to his feet and felt his boots pounding the dust as he forced himself to run. A shell whooshed just over his shoulder and exploded in front of him. He felt a sharp pain in his head as an inch-long metal plate embedded itself in his head over his right eye. In an instant his right eye was drowned in a sea of hot red and he panicked even more than before. He heard a loud moan, the moan of a grown man caught in a deadly nightmare, but he looked to Alexander, who was now unconscious and suffered a shock when he realized he had made the sound.

Mark Jones fully realized that he was in Hell. He felt pain but he couldn’t see, he couldn’t hear anything but killing, all he could do was drag the thing behind him and sprint, stumbling every step, lost in a field of red, black, and blurred blue. Something sickly clung to his leg and he realized he’d lost control of his bladder. Something else, something worse walloped him from the back and tore into his shoulder and the moan came again, this time louder and more desperate. He knew he was making the noise now, and he knew he was alone and lost. Suddenly he heard a voice ahead, and recognized the almost alien sound as English. The bunker, the bunker was still there. He stumbled blindly towards the sound. There was something there, there was someone. Painfully he lifted his injured arm and wiped the hot stinging sweat from his good eye. He could make out a large shape close to him. “Help!” He shouted. “Help! I can’t see! Oh God I CANT SEE!” he was on the verge of breaking down, his strength was leaving him as quickly as it had come, and he lurched forward each step, straining to keep his balance.

“Over here!” A voice responded. It was close. With his hand outstretched he moved towards it, but stumbled over something and fell to the ground. He couldn’t move. He realized he was still clinging to Ted’s collar but didn’t know if he was alive. He tried to look up but his head collapsed into the dirt and his hold on reality was slipping fast. Suddenly something grabbed him and pulled him forward, over what seemed like a ledge and onto the ground. He could hear voices vaguely but didn’t comprehend. He felt like he was falling away, but before he did he managed to force his good eye to open, and, through the sweat and the tears of terror and saw a face looking over him, but he couldn’t make out the features. His eye closed again, and in the black he heard a loud, high-pitched roar before he passed out.
 

unmerged(47162)

Missing my avatar
Aug 4, 2005
7.251
0
mexico got tanks!? lol. blinded!
 

unmerged(57215)

First Citizen
May 20, 2006
324
0