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  • 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

arya126

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yes for now. is it 1941 or 1942? i forgot which.

and either year is too soon for nukes. the waste bomb tech is 1944 if you dont move it up
 
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trekaddict

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Kurt_Steiner Well, the Foreign Office hopes that war can be avoided.

Griffin.Gen For now.

arya126 1941. I of course know when and where the first Nuke is deployed.

gaiasabre11 That was from an unrelated UK game.
 

Le Jones

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Bugger - a while ago on "another AAR" you accused me of raising a theme just before you did it. And now you get revenge. Though thankfully I think that I'll have a much altered situation to deal with!

A good portrayal of Craigie - who gets my sympathy for "most put upon British Ambassador" of the period.
 

trekaddict

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I couldn't help myself, and this is only the groundwork. The situation is indeed very different, since unlike your Britain, mine is embroiled in a war in Europe, so their perceived weakness is stronger here.
 

Le Jones

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The situation is indeed very different, since unlike your Britain, mine is embroiled in a war in Europe, so their perceived weakness is stronger here.

With a lot of nuances - Iran, India, the Russian Far East, and with the Germans and Soviets allies - all very entertaining.
 

El Pip

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Most interesting, a delicate dance being acted out as the region appears to head towards war.

Not sure on the American alliance I must confess, while I can see the distraction value I'm not sure rousing the US is a good long term idea. If the UAPR leadership can get a 'Great Patriotic War' thing going they may be able to realise some of the vast potential of the US economy. I doubt half a dozen five year plans would have the impact of a massive war gear-up, if only because the entire population would actually enthusiastically join in rather than having to be forced to at gun point.

I suppose it's a balance of threats, is Japan a serious enough short term threat to require risking the bigger long term threat of a resurgent US? It's a tough strategic question, especially as the Japanese leadership seems intent on making it all too urgent by rushing towards a Pacific War.
 

trekaddict

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Le Jones Indeed.

El Pip It's not an alliance more an "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of thing, kinda like with the Soviet Union in real life. The rest of your post is pretty much on the nail. The British intentions vs the Americans can't be revealed yet though, mainly because I yet have to write it.
 

Raaritsgozilla

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Just thought I'd let you know, I'm up to chapter 24, I'd forgotten how good this was!

Oooooh nice piccy of Mussolini!
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 190

25th November

Somewhere over Central Italy

The pilot dipped the nose of his Mosquito slightly so that the reflector gunsight was lined up with the Soviet Convoy on the ground. He and three other planes of his Squadrons were once again doing what they did best, strafing enemy convoys and giving support to the Canadians who doggedly refused to give in, even though they were barely half-way from their starting line to their destination. He had heard that the older Canadian Officers and NCOs said that this was worse than Vimy Ridge, and even though he didn't know what they meant he could deduce it easily, and once again he was glad that he had joined the Air Force instead of becoming a ground pounder like the poor bastards he was about to shoot at. He quickly checked his instruments once more before depressing the trigger and the four 20mm cannons and four .303 machine guns in the nose spat fire that slammed into the middle of the convoy. He pulled up and just as be began to leave the convoy behind and released the two 250 pound bombs from the internal bomb bay. Without looking he knew that his section buddies were already making their own runs, and after looking at his co-pilot, he gunned the engines to full military power and raced for the airbase. A direct course would take them over Rome and it's formidable air defences, and even though the pilot was itching to test them, he changed course accordingly. The Mosquitos raced on the nap of the earth as was usual procedure for infiltration missions, and made their way south. However to cross the front where the Canadians were still trying to move towards Monte Cassino they had to go up to a height where combat aircraft normally flew, so now the four British planes began to climb up into the higher reaches of the contested sky over Italy.

At five-thousand feet they went into horizontal flight again, and soon some inaccurate ack-ack marked the Axis side of the front and then they were in friendly airspace. They took up formation and raced for their home field. Suddenly though the Pilot's wireless headphones were loud with a panicked voice: “Bandits, five o'clock high, coming down fast!”

The Pilot slammed his feet into the pedals and his plane swerved out of position as the rest of the formation did the same. Like water in a puddle under a heavy foot the British broke into every directions to give whatever was coming a run for their money. The Pilot looked around even as he was turning and saw the rounded shapes and red stars that indicated that this was a formation of Soviet Yak-7s. He manoeuvred again and tried not to present anyone a target while he was hunting for one of his own. Around him the British were frantically trying to defend themselves against a superior number of aircraft, and the Soviets found their adversaries to be a tougher prey than expected, and the fight had degenerated into a massive furbal between the Soviets and the British planes. The Pilot soon had one of the single-engined fighters in his crosshairs and pressed the trigger as hard as he could. The explosion of fire and lead ripped the Soviet Fighter to shreds. The pilot was soon searching for a new target and found one by slightly shifting his course. Once again the Soviet plane had nothing to put against the rain of fire and went down in flames. Before he could change course again, 7.62 and 20mm bullets slammed into his wing, and when he looked back as he once again manoeuvred wildly, he saw that he had a Soviet Fighter on his tail.

“He is good, that one.” was all he said as he banked left and right in order to avoid the bullets.

He then threw his Mosquito in a turn that was as tight as he dared, and sure enough the Soviet Fighter pilot had not expected this and raced past. Before he could react, the British Infiltrator banked back and suddenly the tables were turned. The Soviet Fighter was more manoeuvrable, but the Mosquito was much faster, and so the dogfight was evenly matched. The Russian banked left, the Mosquito followed. The Russian tried a trick similar to the one the British pilot had used earlier, only to fail. Suddenly though the pilot of the British aircraft was thrown out of this routine when his co-pilot pointed out that four more Soviets came at them from straight ahead. Normally procedure would have been to turn and run like a stabbed rat, but the pilot instead gunned his engines to full military power and raced at the six enemy fighters.

The Soviet pilots could not believe what they were seeing. They had faced this Squadron before and knew that it was not a normal Squadron of the Royal Air Force. For one their tactics were always unconventional even by British standards[1], but they fought as fierce as anyone. The Soviet pilots tried to fire on him, but failed to hit it, because before they could properly aim, he was already among them, throwing their formation into disarray as all of them were too busy with not ramming others to actually shoot at the enemy. Later back at base some of the Soviet Fighter Pilots would swear that the plane had had a picture of the Grim Reaper, representing Death in western Societies painted on the rudder behind the insignia. By the time they were back in some form of order the plane was gone.


In the Mosqutio though the pilot threw his plane into a barrel roll and screamed:

“I am Wild Bill Kelso, and don't you forget it!”

The Co-pilot knew better than to interrupt Kelso when he was like this, and said nothing. The plane had made the mad run without any form of additional damage, so when they made it back to base and when Kelso delivered his report, they still had all their limbs left.

Here it pays to examine No.133 Squadron closer. The unit, along with five others flying everything from Spitfires to Typhoons and Sunderlands had not been formed as a formation for American Volunteers and exiles until after the Quebec Uprising, when it had been decided to concentrate all American RAF personnel into the same units. Originally the Americans had rightfully felt that they were not fully trusted, especially after the RCAF had brought forward false claims that some of the RCAF Americans ( even more numerous there ) were secretly passing on information to entities south of the border. Kelso and others had then decided that if they were to be trusted, they had to show their new mother country that they were as good and as loyal as everybody else and No.133 Squadron was fast becoming a unit second in fame only to No.633 and No.617 Squadrons, one of which was now providing Air Cover for Singapore while the other had been pulled back to England.

No.133 Squadron had started out on Fairey Battles back in the day, but had almost immediately switched to Mosquitoes and was now stationed in Italy. The Squadron was unusual in many ways, not only because all of it's pilots and most of the Ground crews were American Expatriates ( as they saw themselves ), but also because the looks of the Squadron itself and the planes was different from what was usual in the RAF. They wore the same standard uniforms and and in the case of pilots wings as the rest of the service, but that was where the similarities ended. Their Squadron Insignia was much more flashy than usual, with the bald eagle of the old United States being in the centre, with the stars surrounding it, representing the lost home towns of the first nineteen recruits. Their the planes themselves where the next big difference, they had the standard RAF camouflage paints applied with regular roundels, but that was where the similarities ended. While British planes had modest and understated names and nose-art if any at all, these pilots were following traditions and practices that the ex-USAAC veterans among them had brought into their group. All of the planes had elaborate shark mouths painted onto their noses and when they fired it looked like a shark was puking fire. The nose-art was ranging from half-dressed pin-ups to darker figures like the Grim Reaper on Kelso's own aircraft.


As Kelso walked towards the Officer's mess, he looked around and saw much to his dismay that one of his group had not made it back, and this meant that he would have to begin writing letters, because the Pilot in Question had family in Canada. He stepped through the door into the mess hall. They were at this airfield for almost three weeks now, and therefore they had managed to decorate the otherwise barren and empty room. On the wall at the far end of the lengthy building someone had draped the prized possession of the Squadron, a piece of the massive Star Sprangled Banner that had flown over Seattle during what had turned out to be the last real battle of the Civil War. It had found it's way here because one of the pilots flying with them had been the one to evacuate the banner to Vancouver with the last air-worthy P-35, built with pieces from six other aircraft. He still had been shot down before reaching the border, but he had made it in the end – barely, evidenced by the burnt edges. The other walls were decorated with pre-civil War pictures and Photographs of the towns and villages where the pilots came from and then there was the most important bit of all: The bar. Leaning against the bar was the Squadron Leader, the only true Brit in the unit, currently holding this command pending the selection of a permanent replacement for the late Wing Commander Jackson.

“I hear you had a run in with Ivan today?”

Kelso nodded. “Yes, Sir. They tried to ruffle my feathers a bit, but I decided to have better fun elsewhere.”

The Squadron Leader nodded thoughtfully and then looked out of the window at the runway where the planes were parked before going into their sand bag bunkers for the night. The 'Grim Reaper' was parked closest to the mess and as a result the Squadron leader could easily see the bullet holes and bits blown out of the fuselage. He shook his head and turned back towards Kelso who went on to explain it all in detail. The Squadron leader once again shook his head and said:

“You are mad, Kelso.”

“Yes, Sir! But it has always worked for me!”


[Notes: Why yes, I am a film nut, and yes we will see him again.]


[1] Remember, these are people who didn't bother with loose formations and wireless sets in their planes until late 42 in OTL.
 

Griffin.Gen

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He's mad..... o_O
Good update.
 

unmerged(174159)

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El Pip It's not an alliance more an "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of thing, kinda like with the Soviet Union in real life. The rest of your post is pretty much on the nail. The British intentions vs the Americans can't be revealed yet though, mainly because I yet have to write it.

The enemy of my enemy... is my enemy's enemy and no more.
Rule 29

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates.
:rofl:
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Glad to see that Kelso has changed his way to read the maps:D

 

trekaddict

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Griffin.Gen That's nothing new, eh?

KaiserMuffin History says different. ;)

Kurt_Steiner That's not the only thing he has changed. The other change has not yet been seen and is more on his aircraft.
 

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Chapter 191



SOE Station Cairo

29th November

“But....”

“No buts, Captain. I have decided such, and you will bloody well obey my orders. Sending in a Commando team in the middle of the bloody Austrian Winter and at such short notice is nothing short of suicide, and as long as I am holding the Office of Prime Minister of the British Empire and Minister of Defence, I will order no such operation, and if I am I will certainly not base it on a hunch and an obscure reference by a German agent made to an Arabian salesman.”

At this point the telephone rang and the PM decided to take this call. Ian was very close to saying something that would cripple his career even further, but managed to reign himself in. Instead he held the diary even closer, and gripped his other hand into the arms of his chair. He was convinced of what he had learned, and as he waited, his mind went back to two days ago.



Two days earlier, Haifa


“You know that my plane is supposed to leave in an hour, do you?” Ian asked the policeman who was leading him through the streets of the older part of the city after spending most of the previous day in a rickety old car that was probably almost as old as himself and had travelled to the ancient city on the calling of a local commisioner who had asked for someone to come up and 'look at something we found'. Ian had been the logical choice, even though he hated leaving his real job alone like this for that long, knowing at the same time that Stirling was more than able to fill his shoes, given that most of the work right now was preparing to move the whole operation to Sicily, something that had to be done before the SOE could conduct further operations on the mainland beyond those running themselves. He had also taken the time to get a feel of how the country was behaving now in the parts he had seen, and the many, many Army checkpoints and police patrols told him that London was taking it all serious.

In Haifa he had then immediately demanded to be led to what he was supposed to look at, and on the way there he had been filled in, immediately getting the feeling that this was all a waste of time. When they had however told him who was actually behind the letter-box Company that had rented the place, his interest had slightly awoken again, for it was the same man who had been mentioned in the documents that had tied him to this whole matter in the first place. Still, he thought that there was nothing more to be found, and was therefore itching to go back to his real work. Down in the Harbour district he quickly changed his mind when he saw that the police, supported by a Squad of Indian riflemen had ringed the warehouse.

'I hate warehouses...' was what Ian though before entering.

After showing his credentials to a police Sergeant, he was allowed inside and saw that at first it was nothing more than a warehouse for a merchant who im- and exported various goods and wares in Palestine, and that in itself was not illegal, but when Ian entered the Office on the second floor, a constable was standing beside a filing cabinet that had been fitted on slides. Behind it Ian could see a small compartment where he found a treasure trove of intelligence.

Among these things was a diary and general notebook and inside it, after reading it in the lamplight of his hotel room, he found that less than a year ago the man had been visited by a group of Italians that turned out to be Germans. They had traded back and forth, and over a pot of coffee and some smuggled Scottish Whiskey, they had recruited the man, and much much later, no more than three months ago the merchant had met with one of the Germans again and when Alcohol had loosened tongues, the German had begun to talk. The Merchant had had a meticulous nature and had written everything down afterwards, even though to him this had not really made sense. Ian though had access to more information and he knew that the name he had read in the little book had been referenced somewhere.

SOE Station Cairo

29th November

The Prime Minister was no longer on the phone and looked at Ian again who felt like an intruder in his own office. He had come back to the compound only to see that the Prime Minister had appropriated his quarters until Ian delivered his report.

“Sir, I realize why you decided for an airstrike, but I think that if we act fast, before the Germans realize that we might have this information might yield intelligence that is far beyond anything...”


“Might is the operative word here, Fleming. I can see your point, but I hope you can see mine too. I have ordered the RAF to take it out, because we cannot risk a team like that.”

Churchill paused and then said after a few moments:

“I am sure Colonel Stirling will approve.”

“Sir, I don't demand that you risk a team just like that or call of the airstrike. All I want is that a team is sent in before the airstrike, to get out again before we bomb the place flat.”

Time for a broadside.

“As it happens, 12 Patrol is already in Taranto in preparation for a mission into....somewhere, and we could easily divert them.”

The look on the PM's face was priceless and it told Ian that he had been spot on. It was a mixture of surprise and admiration at being outmanoeuvred like this. He obviously knew that Ian was one step ahead of him, and that his hand had been forced. At the same time Ian knew that he was about to pay the price.

“Good enough. When can you leave?”

Ian was stunned and unable to move or talk. He hadn't believed that the PM could be swayed this easily, but nor had he believed that he would have to pay that high a praise. He had promised Sandra that he wouldn't go on 'these crazy things' again often enough, but it seemed that he would still have to do it again. He remembered what had happened last time he had gone into enemy territory and shuddered inwardly.
“How on earth can you do that in less than a week anyhow? You have no intelligence, you have..”

The PM stopped when he saw the smug look on Ian's face.

“Actually Sir, we, or rather Lord Mountbatten came across this installation before back in 1940. Back then a planning group was assembled and intelligence gathered, but then the Frogs decided to loose their country, and since it was a low-priority mission to begin with, so it was scrapped. That gives us something to go on, and London could....”

The PM held up his hand and interrupted Ian.

“So conveniently located eh, Captain?” Before Ian could say anything, the PM spoke again. “Never mind, Captain. I would never imply that you did this on purpose to get back home to your family. I would understand it though. Even so, I will communicate with Lord Mountbatten immediately. Meanwhile you go up to Taranto and make sure 12 Patrol is available.”

Ian sensed the dismissal and rose to his feet. He saluted and began to walk to the door. Halfway there he stopped turned and asked:

“If I may Prime Minister, what changed your mind?”

The PM looked up and began to chew on his customary cigar again.

“Your determination. That and the fact that you adapted to the situation very fast.”

The real reason was that he liked Ian personally and that he had learned that if Ian was this determined he would see it through, no matter what. And if he was to be perfectly honest, he had wanted to be convinced, because this was an operation to his liking. It was the kind of daring, against the odds raid that the SAS had been founded for, and if anyone could do it it were the men of 12 Patrol. These men had caught his attention when they had snatched the Dutch Royal Family from under the noses of the Germans, and he had followed their exploits ever since, particularly so after they had been instrumental in crushing the Quebec Uprising that had deprived the Allied War effort of all but three Canadian Divisions it so badly needed. He felt that now these men were the only ones that could do it again, and even though he knew that Ian had promised his wife not to go onto this sort of mission again, but he also knew that Ian would most likely make it, and he made himself promise to look after his family if he didn't.

Ian meanwhile walked over to the perimeter of the compound where he had parked his Landy. He climbed in, started the engine and drove through the open gate in the fence and about halfway towards the main road. Once there he stopped, got out and climbed up to sit on the bonnet, leaning against the windscreen and bathing in the setting sun. He had to decide if he really was going to go... no. He really had to decide if he could ever make enough amends for breaking his promise, even though it was a war, so what real choice did he have? No, the real issue her was that he felt like he was betraying his wife, and that was something he simply could not do, he loved her too much for that. But he had been ordered. In the end he decided that there was little he could do and he realized as he was driving back that he had done this each and every time he was about to go into combat since Felix had died, and it was more about summoning the courage to actually go do to someone else what he had experienced on that day.





[Notes: If this seems to weird and disjointed, I am somewhat sick, so please bear with me. The grand finale to this will come by the end of the next week, and this update is of minor importance for this anyway.]
 

Griffin.Gen

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I guess Ian can't have everything his way.
Disobeying Churchill is not an option either. :p
 

El Pip

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Sad news about the Yanks in Mosquitos, you do realise that will be the excuse they need to re-film the entire war such that they won it single-handedly armed with only blunt spoons?

Ballsy move by Ian, hope it doesn't blow up in his face though which it surely must at some point. If he keeps throwing himself into the risky missions there will come a time when he doesn't make it back.
 

trekaddict

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Griffin.Gen Yup, in so many ways.

El Pip Well, the Yanks can't really do that, because the heart of the film industry in the AAO-verse is not in Hollywood but rather around Pinewood. :D

As for Ian he was thrown into this one against his will, he was merely planning it all. In spite of this, I put him there for a reason.
 

trekaddict

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Chapter 192

3rd December 1941

Taranto, occupied Italy

The men of No.6 Commando Wing were stationed at what had been a little fishing village a mile outside Taranto until the war had visited this part of Italy. The occupants had fled to god knows where, and as a result it became the billet for the parts of 22 SAS Regiment that were here. No.6 Commando wing that is, the rest of the Regiment, including the Colonel were still in Northern Africa and awaiting transfer once the front had moved farther north. Ian had spent the last few days with them, getting reaquainted with Captain Drake and promising the younger Officer that he, Ian, wielded no real command authority as being along as merely a capable observer. Now he was driving back into down from a nearby airstrip where he had taken on some special delivery that had been escorted by a man who had had it chained to his wrist. Coming back into the village he walked back into the room where Drake and the Officers of the Wing were assembled and and awaiting him.

“Gentlemen, we have a plan at last.”

“Beware of greeks bearing gifts.” was the reply by Captain Drake, even though he knew that Ian was just as worried about the speed with which this operation had been laid on.

“Hrm.” Ian cleared his throat, “Anyway, I took the liberty of skimming through this before coming back here, and it is.....risky at best.”

“A good thing you are coming with us then.” Drake said, but the tone of his voice indicated that he had been joking.

Ian still winced. The day before he and Drake had had a very, very heated argument over the mission, and Drake had all but accused Ian of being a Glory hound and the two men had never fully resolved their differences over this. However when Ian had told Drake that the Prime Minister had all but tricked him into accepting to go on the mission now instead of merely planning it for later as his job with the SOE would have required the Captain had conceded, but it was clear he still did not like this at all, and when reading through what London had conceived, he would like it even less. Hell, Ian didn't like it either, but he was stuck here now and would go through with it. He had tossed his tropical Whites and was now wearing standard Army Battledress, again with the Green Beret of the Royal Marines, only that this time with the rank Insignia of a Colonel.

He opened the bag and removed the papers, his next act was unfolding a map of Italy and the surrounding regions.

“Gentlemen, we are here.” he stabbed Taranto with his finger. “Our destination is here.” he indicated the location with another finger. “Fifty miles to the north of what was the Austrian border, it's roughly three hours flight with a Dakota if one avoids the mainland of Yugoslavia. Now, you all know what I told you two days ago, but let me summarize once more. Our mission is to go in, raid the castle...no, that's not quite fair....manor house, fortified manor house. It is, for all intents and purposes a major German Intelligence operation, and rumour has it that it is even the headquarters of the Abwehr for the area. We, or rather MI6 tried to get someone in before, but that failed, so now we try a more direct approach. Study your target well.”

He handed out photographs, and instantly one of the Lieutenants, the one in command of No.44 Patrol, spoke up.

“How old are these? These are clearly not very recent.”

Ian looked at the man and said: “True, they are from back when the SOE first thought about going there, but London seems to think that you have to know how the terrain looks like when it's not covered under four feet of snow.” He cleared his throat again.

“Anyway, here we have how it looks today, and as you can see we have good landing zone there.”

He indicated it on the blown up photograph. The target was in a narrow valley that ran roughly north-north-east between the towering mountains of the Austrian Alps. Other than the manor house the valley itself was more or less empty, only with a road that was apparently regularly cleared of snow and a now-frozen creek running through it following the general direction of the valley. The road was coming from the village and passed the manor house which was standing on a low crest hugging the steep stone walls of the mountains, connected to the main road by a serpentine track that was also regularly cleared by the looks of the recce pictures that were not two days old.

“We would be flown in by a Dakota and dropped here, a mile from the house near that bend in the river. It's the biggest open space for miles, and from the summer time pictures you can see that it's a clearing, probably flooded whenever the snow melts in the spring. We will land there, and then proceed to the manor house.”

One of the Lieutenants spoke up.

“Intelligence on how the defences are?”

“The next military installation is an airstrip between the house and the village, and that one has nothing stationed there that we can see, so fixed defences are unlikely at best. On the recent photographs I spotted a guard house about halfway up the hill, but that's all that I know of - though we can expect a whole bunch of Gerries once we are inside.”

“Any idea on how it looks inside.”

“None.”

“And on where we find what we want?”

“None, except that it's most likely on the second floor.”

“Great.”

Drake had been leaning against the wall of the house and now spoke again for the first time.

“Extraction?”

“That's the bit why I'd rather have had a few more weeks to arrange something better. Four patrols will take a second Dakota and land near the airfield, lie low and wait for the first group to come down from the house. We are then expected to take the airfield, hold our position and wait for a third Dakota to come in that starts from here eight hours after us, escorted by a Squadron of Mosquitoes that will also bomb the house once we are in the air again.”

Drake knew this was not a perfect plan, far from it, but then again, he knew that Fleming would have at least tried to arrange something less risky, something less depending on chance. When Ian glanced at Drake with an apologetic look on his face Drake merely shrugged. This was what the Special Air Service Regiment was there for, and since they were all taking the King's Shilling there was no use in complaining. There was a briefing to be conducted.


Almost four hours later Drake saw that Ian was going for the shooting range, a glorified, ten-feet long trench with a few empty oil drums stuffed with wood and all sorts of rubbish downrange. Drake watched as Ian aimed his rifle downrange. The Naval Captain aimed deliberately and with a concentration that Drake knew from himself before he began to squeeze of one round after another, taking his time between each shot. Drake could see that Ian had brushed up on his firearms drills since they had last been in action together, and he could see that Ian was a relatively good shot. And come to think about it, Drake suddenly realized why Ian had not protested more. But that was something to observe, not something to talk about unless it impaired the mission. He turned away and walked back inside.




[Notes: I can't wait to actually write the finale......]