Thursday, September 23, 2021


The lieutenant saw the three bodies in the road and sighed. He had expected something like this, especially after his lead vehicle had hit a mine as the QRF had been moving at speed up the road towards where gunfire had been heard.

"Pull over," he ordered as he touched his driver's arm. Looking to the rear of the vehicle he nodded at his sergeant, the squad aboard his armored scout car began deploying almost before the car had rolled to a stop.

The lieutenant stepped out, his machine pistol at the ready. He crouched next to the car as the squad deployed to cover the area. When his sergeant signaled that the covering team was in place, the lieutenant moved over to the dead men.

At a glance he could picture what had happened, obviously the corporal had been hit first. The position of the sergeant indicated that he had tried to pull the corporal into cover and had been wounded while doing so.

He shook his head as he looked over at the dead private, the man's head was blown apart. He was both angry and sad, the young soldier had showed a great deal of promise. Now he was dead, and for what?

The lieutenant tended to turn a blind eye to the excursions his men made from the compound. Their rations were meager and boring, their pay was worse. So when there was possible loot to be had, he looked the other way.

However, pickings had grown slim over the past month, the government was trying to reconcile the locals to the new way of doing things, so randomly robbing households was frowned upon. The empty farms within ten miles had all been picked over many times. In reality, there was nothing left to be had. His men were getting restless.

Just the other day he had had to discipline one of his corporals for beating a civilian that he felt had not shown him the deference due a soldier. Things weren't good, this ambush so near the compound was just one sign of a growing restlessness among the locals.

As he looked at the bodies he had a sudden realization, the sergeant had been sitting in the road, his weapon was still slung. He had been executed, shot in the face at point blank range. A chill ran up his spine as he realized that not only was this the first incident of violence against his men, it looked as though the terrorists were resolved to take no prisoners.

This was something he would need to discuss with the district commander.

The chief was getting awfully tired of beef jerky and dehydrated vegetables. But as he had no desire to die just yet, they couldn't build any fires. Though they were way up in the hills, the helicopter he could see flying up the valley reminded him that the enemy had most of the advantages.

After the ambush they had headed towards the enemy compound, he had figured that they would search near the ambush scene and then outwards. After all, who in their right mind would run towards the enemy rather than away?

Well, he would, for one. He knew this land like the back of his hand, a phrase which his son often kidded him about, but which was nevertheless true. The enemy were not from around here, they relied on maps. But then again, a helicopter could cover a lot of ground.

His next door neighbor had flown choppers, as he called them, when he'd done his Army service in the old days, before things had gone to Hell in a handbasket.

"If you hear a chopper, never look up, your pale face looking up to the sky will give you away every time," the neighbor had told them all, more than once.

"Even mine?" One of the men had grinned, he was originally from Senegal and very dark.

"Well, you might get away with it," the pilot had chuckled. But the men saw his point.

He'd also cautioned them about moving, movement was easy to spot. "Just hold still until he flies past, keep your head down, and pray, pray real hard that the chopper pilot is near the end of a long patrol."

Just one of the many survival skills some of the men, and women he had to remind himself, had brought to the group.

The pilot moved the cyclic to his left as he eased back on the collective, slowing the helicopter as he turned it to a new heading. The trees here were much thicker and he felt that they had little chance of spotting anyone on the ground in this area. The valley was empty, the terrorists were probably long gone.

"The bastards know this area better than we do." His co-pilot muttered over the intercom.

"Yup, we'll need to send ground patrols up here. Poor bastards will probably have to dismount and walk most of the way. That's pretty rugged ground down there. Let's RTB¹, I think we've done all we can."

The pilot shook his head as he gained altitude and increased his speed, the bosses back at the compound weren't going to like what he had to report.

Go along to get along, that had always been his mantra. Up until now he had managed to climb the ladder in local politics by telling people what they wanted to hear. Now he was on his way to the district commander's office in the old town hall. The man was not happy, nor should he be.

The ambush on the old road out of town was the latest in an increasing series of troubles. The few farmers left in the area weren't sending their crops to town to be distributed by the committee. They claimed it had been a bad harvest, the politician felt that they were probably holding back, keeping the products of their labors for themselves.

Now there were three dead soldiers, the district commander would no doubt want to know what the politician planned on doing about it. For the first time in his life, the politician didn't know what to tell the man. He was a figurehead, he had no real say in the running of things in the district.

Of course he would suggest a new committee to "investigate" the problem, he might be able to spin that out for a week or so and hope no further incidents occurred. It wasn't really important that he fix anything, simply appearing to be concerned had always been enough to get by in the past.

At least he hoped that that hadn't changed.

The district commander ran both hands over his balding pate, it hadn't been that long ago that his hair had been full and thick, back when he had been a fighting soldier, not a jumped up bureaucrat. He heard a soft tap on the door to his office, he despaired of ever teaching his aide to knock on the door with authority.

"What?" he snapped.

The door opened to reveal his aide, a stoop shouldered man who appeared ready to blend into the woodwork, he was that non-descript. "Commander, the local administrator is here, along with the garrison commander."

"Tell the politician to come back tomorrow, tell the colonel to come in."

As the colonel came in, the district commander heard a protest from the waiting room, "I've set aside my entire day to help the commander address this latest outrage and..."

The commander burst from his office, practically shoving the garrison commander aside as he did so. "You've set aside your entire f**king day have you? I have three dead soldiers to bury, three grieving families to console. I don't care about your damned day you sniveling idiot. Be here tomorrow morning at 0600, wear comfortable shoes, I'm sending you out with the morning patrol. Now GO!"

The politician turned as white as a sheet when the district commander had barked at him. "But Sir, I..."

When the district commander had moved towards him, fists clenched, the politician fled.

"Whatever am I supposed to do now?" he whined to himself. He hoped his wife hadn't thrown away his old hiking clothes. He hoped that they still fit!

"Sit," the district commander said curtly to the colonel of infantry, pointing to a chair facing the desk.

"You have a full battalion here, correct Colonel?"

"Yes Sir, fully motorized and..."

"I don't need the f**king details. I want you personally to lead an entire company to the western hills tomorrow morning, take that sniveling ass of a politician with you. He can help liaise with the locals. They might talk to him, they might not. Track down those damned terrorists, bring some of them back alive. A public trial and execution might be just what this district needs. We need to show a firm front, now go, get things moving."

The colonel didn't bother to say a word, he knew it would be pointless. As he went down the stairs, he wished he had never been given this assignment. There was no honor in fighting civilians.

He summoned his aide, "Drive me down to the barracks of the Sixth Company."

As the car drove off he thought it would be appropriate to use the company which had lost the men killed that morning. At least their captain was somewhat competent.

¹ Return to base


  1. Ya, one thing I noticed early on whenever I was out in the woods......movement can really catch your eye. Stay still and watch since patience can pay off. Listen to the birds and tree rats(squirrels) sounding off all of a sudden to clue you in to ground/airborne predators. Already rooting for one side here Sarge, only took yesterday to accomplish that........(sigh) And now off to find some washable camo paint for the face.

    1. Patience in the woods, yes, a must.

      Stay tuned, you never know who the bad guys might be.

    2. Balaklavas are good and have an advantage for a guerilla; take it off and you're "clean". Seems like I never got all all the paint off for a day or so. The turkey hunters have great ones.
      Boat Guy

    3. Face paint, no; but War Paint might come into fashion at some point.

  2. Sarge, the thing that I find terribly accurate from your portrayal is the fact that everyone on "the other side" knows that there is something wrong and that is some way or shape, they are in danger from a system that will destroy them if they screw up in the least - yet they all feel they are trapped in the system and can do nothing.

    1. And that right there is why we might be in such dire straits.

    2. During the recent troubles down in Australia, a trucker yelled at a cop that what the cop was supporting was illegal and should be stopped. Said cop yelled back that he knew it was illegal but it was his job.

      We are seeing the same thing in Canada, England and... here in the States. Patently illegal and immoral orders and the police are just following them, rather than questioning them.

      How soon before the same happens in the military? How will we know if it will, or if it already has happened in our military? The whole not-vax jab order sure seems to be illegal and immoral and may qualify. The 'muh rainbow diveristy' is also possibly illegal, if not immoral.

      Bad times, baaad times. We all have the potential of becoming either Wolverines or Soviets or slaves of one form or another.

    3. Very possible, things are, how you say, not good.

    4. We do have the "possibility" Beans, but those peoples lack/lacked two things; a tradition of liberty and the arms to fight tyranny. We have both -and we have the examples of the Founders to inform and guide us. They risked EVERYTHING; can we do less?
      Boat Guy

    5. Most of us are still Americans, yes, some have opted to become slaves, but most have not.

  3. Edit? As the vehicle rolled to a-- start?

    1. Well, I don't know. My 77 VW bus would sometimes roll to a start. I could bump start that thing by dabbing my left foot on the ground and just getting the bus to move was enough to bump start it.

    2. Had an old VW myself that I could do that with.

  4. Well....To quote some folks from our youth.


    You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it's evolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world

    But when you talk about destruction
    Don't you know that you can count me out

    Don't you know it's gonna be

    You say you got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We'd all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well, you know
    We're all doing what we can

    But if you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell you is, brother, you have to wait

    Don't you know it's gonna be

    You say you'll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it's the institution
    Well, you know
    You better free your mind instead

    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

    Don't you know it's gonna be

    Alright, alright
    Alright, alright
    Alright, alright
    Alright, alright!

    Be careful what you wish just might get it!

    1. Truly. Want to shake up the system so bad your side will never lose? Totalitarianism isn't something that sits well with the farmers and ranchers and truck drivers and utility workers and all the others that the totalitarianisms see as the uneducated prole class of people.

    2. Beans - Our elites are quite clueless when it comes to the working class. My hope is that they push things too far and learn things the hard way.

    3. Dunno as it's my "hope" Sarge but it's certainly the way to bet. Might's well get on with it; they won't stop and we are very close to the "point".
      God help us.
      Boat Guy

    4. It is not smart to push what I call "good old country boys (and girls)" like farmers, ranchers, truckers, utility workers as they are the folks that feed, and keep the food coming, and the power on to the cities, which are the rabbit warrens of the masses, who can be controlled easily by adjusting food, water, and power. The "GOCB's" are the ones who know how to grow/hunt/fish and defend/conceal/make-do-without their stores/back-ups and have independent ways to heat and light their world. As well as the equipment to get the job done. They are a danger to the elites simply because they DO stop to think, and ask questions, as well as make decisions independently.

      To quote Robert Frost "and I, I took the way less traveled."
      And as Hank Williams said it best "Country boys will survive".

      Part of that is many farmers/ranchers/truckers are familiar with "economic suffering", like they grew up poor, learned to be frugal, thrifty, flexible with fixing the equipment, doing their own cooking, using up left-overs, scraps of worn-out clothes being turned into quilts, rugs, making do/doing without, and valuing the support of family, friends and neighbors.Many city folk just run out to the store, whip out the charge card, and buy their way out of whatever today's crisis is.

      The culture of America has changed over the past 40-50 years. Principles, honor, trust, as well as meaning what ya say and saying what you mean, keeping your word/promises are all virtues that the vast population, especially "in town" folks are just not familiar with any more. Nor do they care to become familiar. Those were concepts that mattered, literally life and death, on the frontier, out in the country, and in the military, again life and death, but to the general population of current day America...not so much. Short of some cataclysmic event, where once again folks NEED to depend on their neighbors and family, I do not see any revival of these values/virtues/principles. These were also highly touted in religious life, however, the number of Americans who attend Church every Sunday, or live by "God's Laws/Rules/Commandments" again are an ever-dwindling number. If Mom and Dad don't go to Church, the chances of Bobby or Sally going when they get older are not very high. So it than becomes an ever-widening never-ending circle.

      These are the concepts we still crave, otherwise stories which talk about them, which promote them or contain characters who display some or all of these traits, would not be so popular. Books like those by Larry Correia, John Ringo, movies like the Die Hard series, Lethal Weapon series, the Lord of the Ring series, and anything that starred John Wayne,Clint Eastwood, or Tom Hanks. Or the stories/vignettes written by OAFS.

    5. Thanks Suz. As always, you make some excellent points.

  5. So dark. Never push people into open resistance, as once the, as several people call it, the 'ON' button is flipped, there isn't going to be any going back.

    Especially with the totalitarianism one side is expressing. The only viable answer as a free person is to eliminate the totalitarianism, and that's a rather large death toll on one side.

    Interesting that we still don't know exactly who the soldiers are. Are they the current (to the story) nation's armed forces, or are they foreign invaders or UN peacekeepers? Lots of vague shadowy references.

    And this is what you get when you push the "I just wanted to be left alone" people to the edge or past the edge.

    Keep this up, please. Hope your muse stays sane and you stay on track.

    1. Ah, you're wondering abut the soldiers, that's intentional.

      Glad you're liking the series so far.

  6. The story is good, the reality of it is damned scary.

  7. Yesterday's installment did not grab me at all, and left me confused. Today's pulled together more of the pieces to a coherent image. It seems a bit too much "current events" rather than "history" but may well be 1980s history. We shall see.

    Perhaps this will be a short series, filled with ambiguity and able to be seen as emblematic of the futility of guerilla warfare in many places or times. Or, more may be revealed to place it in a specific context.

    There is certainly much to be learned about the perils of trying to subdue determined locals of a very different culture. As Alexander, the Brits, Russians, and now Americans should have learned by their experiences. Some may have learned, but sometimes those making political decisions have not learned the same lessons that the warriors doing their bidding have learned.

    As always, well written, great dialogue and technically accurate.
    John Blackshoe

    1. The first episode was deliberately left somewhat vague. It was an idea which had popped into my head over the weekend, so I just started writing. I'm not exactly sure where this might go, the Muse, as we have learned, is fickle at times, full of surprises as well.

  8. I have contemplated, not often, but in some detail the leaving of enemy dead. The jumbled triple on the road was the after action report . The LT glomed onto it quick enough. But absent the QRF, what would be the best option? A bunch of footprints, spoor and drag marks into the brush? Or the carrion neatly placed with hands crossed, faces washed, and obviously cared for? Not just for caring for the dead, but almost a Canadian apology type scene. "I am terribly sorry that we had to do this..." I mean, all's fair. So a bit of brain spanking may be in order. I would probably tend to the later to sow confusion. Unless they were country men. Then it would be because it broke my heart to have to do it. And I'd probably leave a note. :|

    But with an assumed blue hat QRF inbound, there would be a booby trap for sure. Seconds to place, and then boogie. Make sure to tie down as many as possible for as long as possible. But then what?? Always have to be 5 moves ahead... Strategy vs tactics.... You know the national socialists will be punishing the innocent afterwards. That is their strongest inclination, use their power to punish the weak. Totally opposite of using strength to protect the weak the real Americans / men* do... How to direct that where it should be done, not where it probably will be done???

    If nothing else, this is a great thought exercise and warning to work for the peaceful solution, if at all possible, without losing your birthright in the process. Life is a balance.... out of balance.

    *Men aka mankind - archaic term meaning humanity, to include male and female sexes found on earth, to exclude the rest of the gender pool discovered in Ur-anus.

    1. Bear in mind that the guys who ambushed the soldiers may not be very well-equipped yet, so the sowing of booby traps and such might not be plausible at this point in time.

      But yeah, I would. As to leaving the bodies a certain way, the message to any totalitarian force should be "we will kill all of you until you leave or stop doing what you're doing." Maybe that's just me...

    2. I can surely see that, but I'd reckon the foragers had some gear to spare, the odd grenade, even a flash bang or smoke would give pause. And they weren't using it anymore anyway. Had there been time, they'd have be properly field stripped to their hide.

      I started thinking about this when I was younger. Reading about how the Japanese treated our dead, and the fallout of that. If your enemy isn't motivated, they will be if you desecrate their dead. And then it gets barbaric. If they are superstitious, then done with an eye to that, it may just kill their will altogether. Lots of layers there, Sun Tzu.... "know your enemy."

      I wondered about sending mixed signals to confuse and disrupt their org. "They told us to do X to these folks, but did you see how they laid out old Karloff? Who would take the time to do that? Are what they saying about these heathen true?" Probably overthinking, but at least we have the luxury to do that reading a story. I tend to let the reigns loose when I can and let the horse wander around on the way home. Seems to turn up some odd, undiscovered ideas that way.

      You are kicking bushes and scaring up rabbits that haven't run in my head in a looooooooooong time. It is appreciated!

  9. Letting off a little steam are we?
    Thanks, I need this.

  10. I'd swear ('cept for the chopper) you were sitting with me in a corner of the old living room in the late 40's as a few of my Dad's cousins (the ones who'd been pulled into the Wehrmacht, made it though, and come over here) told their stories.

    1. Now those must have been some excellent stories!

  11. Most excellent, Sarge! You sure have a knack for these "latter day" stories you spin.

    At least this time I get to "read it as it happens".....

  12. Reminds me of Kipling ---LarryK

    "My son," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
    To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
    When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
    But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

    "The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
    But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
    When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
    And grumbles, 'This isn't fair dealing,' my son, leave the Saxon alone.

    "You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
    But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
    From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
    They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

    "But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
    Don't trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
    Let them know that you know what they're saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
    Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear 'em out if it takes you all day.

    They'll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
    It's the sport not the rabbits they're after (we've plenty of game in the park).
    Don't hang them or cut off their fingers. That's wasteful as well as unkind,
    For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man- at-arms you can find.

    "Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
    Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
    Say 'we,' 'us' and 'ours' when you're talking, instead of 'you fellows' and 'I.'
    Don't ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell 'em a lie!"


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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