Black Sun Rising
A/N: Another slow-ass publishing job I've made here. Wolfenstein II: The Colossus was released, followed by Youngblood, and my story would be finished by 2029, where AIs would be smart as people. I could us one to help me write this. That aside, this should hopefully the last of my long intro arc and into the world of Warcraft itself. I have to thank Bob the Turtle for his help though not with the chapter itself, rather with the fic in general. Not helping is another J.J. Abram movie, Overlord, said by critics to be a spiritual adaptation of the Wolfenstein series and with good reason, owing to its story elements. Then there's this anime called Gate, what should've been an interesting spectacle of modern warfare and fantasy turned into an ultranationalist Japanese wet dream which ruined the whole concept it was initially built.
And to compound my frustrations is that it's freakin' 2020! From what I hear World of Warcraft is slowly spiraling into the whirlpool of the deep end and the much-hyped remake of Warcraft 3, Warcraft 3: Reforged, pulled a Fallout 76, killing everything it stood for and what Blizzard stood for, which was all but confirmed with their "apology". A fellow author, among the first I befriended early in my time in FFN, God rest his soul, would be appalled by this. Such is the state of gaming at this point. As for the Halo series, on which he crossovered with Warcraft to form his masterpiece, World of Warcraft: Halo, its future is in doubt.
And now 2020, the Coronavirus-19 virus has seriously put a crimp in today's world and that's an understatement: this virus is claiming lives and changing the face of the world forever. It's morbid to think that the Corrupted Blood Plague from WoW's Zul'Gurub raid has long been used as a model for simulating pandemics, especially the social aspect that enables it to spread. To say nothing of the other things going on around the world, which makes it seem like we are teetering to oblivion. I pray that we all stay safe and that sanity will prevail.
This is perhaps my second battle scene which I wrote for a serious fic, after my crossover For What It's Worth. I found writing difficult because my scant knowledge of close-quarter combat techniques, procedures used by both sides of WWII, etc. I hope you can point out where I got wrong where I wrote it.
Disclaimer: Wolfenstein franchise now property of MachineGames, published by Bethesda. Warcraft property of Blizzard Entertainment. And Clive Barker's Undying belongs to EA Los Angeles, now Danger Close Games, regrettably published by, well, EA. No copyright infringement intended.
Chapter 4: Operation Anthracite:
Part One - Zero Hour
The stupefied freedom fighter can only stare in terror and surprise as the officer's Luger clicked empty. "Timberwood," the officer said in an American accent.
He can only stare back, blinking twice in disbelief. Was that the challenge-
"Timberwood, can you confirm?" snapped the officer impatiently, his accent changed suddenly.
"Evergreen," the Norwegian blurted the password in surprise.
"Greenpine..." he uttered the countersign. "Sloppy," he went on, "if I were for real you'd be dead already and so will the Allied strike team." He holstered the gun. "Sorry to frighten you. I'm your contact, by the way. You'll take me to the Allied strike force, will ya?"
"Ja, sure." The Norwegian was about to get up when his contact offered him his hand. He accepted and was lifted up when he flashed his Colt M1903 in his other hand. "I'm not that dumb," he snapped in a low voice. "Give me your weapon."
Though initially startled, the contact relinquished his weapon without hesitation. "Smart and ballsy move, I'll give you that. I'm not compromised though."
"These days, everyone's always careful." He safety'd and tucked in the Luger in his belt, packed his Colt back in, then toted his Sten skyward, its metal stock tucked in his arm like a hunter's fowling piece. "Let's go." They began going into the direction of the gully, the officer forward and to the resistance fighter's left a few paces apart. If the contact, or whoever he really was, tried to bolt or anything else not submissive the Milorg man can mow him down instantly.
SAS and Able Team secured the mouth of the gully. This was followed by the strike team leaders and a few of Baker's Rangers, the rest waiting below.
"Alright," said Ingram. "We're here. Your boy, Aksel, should be watching the goods coming out by now."
"Of course," acknowledged the Milorg officer. "Make sure he doesn't bring with him a party."
"Don't your trust us?" Blazkowicz asked.
Aksel turned to him. "Of course I trust you. I just hope your boy is really there."
"If it's the welcoming committee coming," Richards voiced pessimistically, looking back the way they came in, "we don't have a way out of this rock."
"Take it easy, Lieutenant," Howard reassured. "The plan hadn't let us down so far."
"Let's hope our lucky streak holds," Galloway said finally. This caused a few grins at the association of Irish people and luck. They got back to business in a second as they waited for the two men. The cold nipped their faces and mists formed at their breath. Everyone kept eyes and ears perked for any sign of life in the damp Nordic darkness. The smell of moist grass and sea salt hung heavily in the air. The fortress only had its searchlight on while much of the building was dark, obviously on blackout regulation, leaving much to the imagination. There was light coming from a few guard patrols walking with flashlights. Blazkowicz's eyes held on the darker figure of the fortress. How the hell do they get in? A good question since their minimal intel on the fortress hasn't helped at all.
One of the lookouts saw silhouettes bobbing in the dark mist. They heard the sounds of boot soles trampling gravel and grass, making no attempt to disguise them. The sound meant they were just walking casually, not on patrol. The figures loomed closer, taking shape. Blazkowicz signaled to his comrades to watch out for the figures. Howard nodded and gave a few signals to the men who crouched lower and pointed their weapons in the general direction of the noise.
The gravel crunching was getting closer and the silhouettes were getting more definite shapes.
"London!" called out a voice from one of the shadows.
"Bridge!" replied the contact. Falling would indicate something's wrong.
"Down," confirmed the the voice. The Norwegians spoke out their own challenge/countersign number. The other man replied his code phrase.
"Komme," called out one of the Milorg fighters, the two went rushed over crouching. With him was the their contact, dressed like an officer.
"Gentlemen, welcome to Research Station Odin," he greeted to the Allied commandos, taking off his peaked cap. "I will gonna be your guide tonight."
"So you're our man," said a British voice. "Good to see you." Major Speraver offered his hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet a friendly face." He accepted it and shook. He turned to Richards and Blazkowicz. "Kept you waiting, huh?"
That made Blazkowicz smile from ear-to-ear. "Good to see you again, Stackhouse. You're a sight for sore eyes. I was sure as hell thought you disappeared to nowhere and didn't believe that was your mug during the briefing." He would have given him a handshake and a pat in the back if it wasn't for the mission.
It was the contact's turn to smile. "Boy, look at you. If it wasn't for all the racket you made throughout Nazi-occupied Europe I'd thought the same." He patted his arm and looked around to see the commando team. "Back with the grunts?"
"Yeah, but I ain't leading them. Howard here is leading the troops." He gestured to the overall Ranger commander. "And Major Ingram here and his SAS are gonna be the tip of the spear."
"Pleasure of meeting you, Stackhouse," said the British commander, "though our current orders prohibit many formalities." Operational security gave little opportunity for a pub's congeniality.
"Still, it's welcome to see a genuinely friendly face. I feel like I'm fighting the Nazis on my own."
Galloway stepped forward. "And my name is Lieutenant Patrick Galloway, Special Operations Executive."
"Glad to meet you," he answered, shaking hands with him, "what kind of specialty?"
"I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to discuss it but I will disclose should discretion requires it." Which meant for the mission I tell you a little secret you tell yours.
Stackhouse smiled. "I understand. We can at least keep shop talk relevant to the matter at hand."
"Where's Koslov?" Blazkowicz asked.
"Back inside. I can't spring him out, he's guarded like Fort Knox. They won't let him out of their sights. But we have plenty of work here. Much of Odin Station is an underground research complex. We can raise a little hell, push back Jerry research by a few months at least."
"Damn right, Stackhouse. Any way you can get us in?"
"Yes," said Stackhouse, producing blueprints of the facility, "we should take a knee on this one." With that they withdraw back to the gully. Aksel lead them to a niche in the rock wall big enough to hold their bull session where they can safely turn on the flashlights, with infrared lens filter which would not ruin their night vision when they return to the operation. In the shadows the Rangers and SAS held the perimeter in vigilance. They compared with whatever intel everyone had at hand.
"There's an entrance," Stackhouse began, pointing on the desired spot on a hand drawing he made, then to a map of the island, "found in a crevice in the southwestern portion of the island is an access entry used by foot patrols and maintenance personnel to go directly to the coast." He traced his finger from the crevice to the coast. "It should be lightly guarded. Once inside we should go further down via freight elevator, takes us below to the research areas."
"Sounds a little too easy, don't you think?" voiced the SAS commander.
"I wish it is." Stackhouse took a sip of tea from a cup prepared by an SAS soldier. "The thing is it would be way more difficult. Activity in this rock had spiked up. Security is especially tight at the research bays deep underground. My apologies if you boys went in half-cocked."
"Don't worry, Stack," BJ replied, "we've pulled off ops on less. Wonder what's important going-on that Hitler gave a crack of the whip?"
"Remember Nachtsonne?" That got everyone's varying levels of attention.
"Yeah, I do. I believe we're supposed to tie up a loose end to that."
His expression was turned rather grave. "The Nazis took their research data from Nachtsonne to look into some radically new technology. The sort of shit that beyond our imaginations by leaps and bounds."
"I believe we had some tastes of that, even stole a few," noted Ingram. "What sort of research the Germans are dealing in so desperately?"
Stackhouse looked at BJ, as if asking permission to tell the Brit. Such thing was heavily classified. The Ranger commander just noticed it while Galloway was only slightly interested, as though it was a bit of newspaper crossword trivia. But that meant the opposite.
"Well, what is it? Is it too classified?" Major Howard had to float those questions. They were putting their lives were on the line for some great unknown, a high-priority mission which may have been started and led on for nothing for all he knew.
He breathed. Better tell them the truth straight, however outlandish it sounded like. "A gateway to another world."
That earned him looks from most the deliberation committee. It was of the look of patrons of a store give a stranger who's loudly doing a sales pitch on heroin in full view of the mayor, police commissioner, district attorney, distinguished citizens and their honored guests. "What world?" asked Baker in disbelief.
"Long story's classified," said Stackhouse, "but the Germans have opened a link to another dimension, a place, a reality different from ours. Bad news is that they already had three sites which gives them access to this world." He let that fact sink in, he had delivered it in a very professional tone. The look on their faces where in lines of You can't be serious? and What the hell... alongside complete disbelief.
"You gotta kidding me...," Lamarck whispered nonplussed. "Three?... And this is the fourth device?"
"Damn right, it is. The Krauts never fail to surprise us, do they?"
Howard snorted. "They certainly surprised us back at Kasserine." The memory of America's baptism of fire with the Wehrmacht at the sands of North Africa was not without a bitter sting from how the Germans put them in their place. "But seriously, I would believe they're making rayguns on this place but a portal..."
"I don't expect you take any of this seriously," said Stackhouse. "But anything stamped with 'Nazi' and 'war effort' needs to be put out of business permanently."
"What makes you say this... 'portal,'" said Lamarck skeptically, "is leading to somewhere?"
Stackhouse's brow furrowed, giving the look of him deciding what to tell. Clearly he needed them to understand what it is they're dealing with. Better tell it straight in two shots. "We have reports that German production remains an all-time high in spite of our bombing campaign over Europe and sabotage by resistance. Also they're getting critical material for their war machine in large quantities that no blockade runs can bring up. And how in hell are the Germans getting shiny new tanks, guns, and planes in Russia and Italy?"
The other officers save for BJ had their faces scrunched in apprehension as they put the few pieces he gave them together. Speraver said, "Wait... You don't mean..."
Now the chaser. "Yes, the Germans have found a place that can act as safe haven for their production, R&D, and resource extraction and they have big plans for it. That's no target Spaatz and Harris can bomb to dust because it's literally somewhere else."
"My God..." muttered Wolfe.
He pulled out a series of documents from his coat. He spread them in the middle of the circle they huddled around. Among them included a blueprints of a device that looked like some sort of steel ring with pipes symmetrically curved along its width and cables snaking from its base. Cylinders and Tesla coils flanked it while the inner circle has some sort of markings written in strange characters. Technical writing in German filled the blueprints including specifications but there were hasty translations in English, he had little time to properly write them, especially with all the schedules and security. A comparison with an average-sized man, together with the measurements which the men, computing from metric to Imperial, put the machine's height at thirty feet in length and as fifty across.
"What's this thing?" asked Wolfe marveling at the device.
"The portal. This is their access point into another world." He produced some files. "I had no idea what it looks over there at the other side. I'm not privy yet to any of photographic data, but these shipment orders and daily reports would give you an idea what they're in for."
At this point everyone was pouring over the blueprints and files Stackhouse assembled. From the shipment orders, deployment orders, and daily reports there was some of which they can understand such as seven-hundred metric tons of molybdenum, three tons of steel ball bearings, thirty million rounds of 20mm ammunition for Flak 38s; twelve new Stug IIIs for the 3. Leichte-Division to replace same number lost in action or shipped back for damage; a report from the 33. Infanterie-Division mentioning a probing action against a hostile battalion-sized element, 2. Infanterie-Division being deployed from Linz to a location codenamed Grunwald after mustering. Then it's mixed with what doesn't seem to make sense: 5. Leichte-Division was mentioned ready having been refitted after heavy action in the northern sector of a place called Alterac; 33. Infanterie again, known as Muller's Circus, relieving the 591. Infanterie's positions at the northeast, reported skirmishing with gnolls and Alliance irregular forces; Kybernetiksoldatentruppen 5 successful in breaking Blackrock attack...
The questions in everybody's minds had one dominating theme: What!? Blazkowicz thought of the steel and flesh monstrosities he fought before in Norway, on the cold Arctic in Deathhead's X-Labs. Kybernetiksoldatentruppen 5 was proof that.
"They may not make a damn lot of sense," noted Speraver, not quite sure what he was looking at, "but I don't think we need to wait and found out."
"This place." Lamarck was holding one report in the light of his flashlight. "This 'Grunwald'... where the hell is it?"
"Ge-nolls?" Howards asked quizzically, trying to pronounce this exotic term. "What are those?"
Richard seemed puzzled by the data. "Either they're nuts or this is some kind of trick being pulled off."
"I don't think I can answer those questions..." Stackhouse admitted, having expected the skepticism. Then he sighed and put his gloved hand on his face. "Ah Shit..."
"What? What is it?" asked Blazko.
"I'm required to report to one of the research bays," he explained. "I'm expected at least to be there at least at 2130."
"I think you should get back there before your absence is noted," suggested Galloway. "Just don't lock the door for us."
"Showtime, huh?" Stackhouse noted. He got up ready to depart. "Don't be late. I'll be waiting for you over there."
"But how'd you plan on getting back in without getting shot?" BJ asked.
He smiled. "I only have to look important with papers all in order."
"You're gonna need more than that to prove to the jumpy Krauts that you're just out for a smoke," Lamarck noted wryly.
"I can say that I'm assessing the island's security at time." They all chuckled. "Seriously, I can't be late for this."
"No one wants to be late for the opening night," Speraver said. "So hurry up and let us in."
"I won't fail for that."
Blazkowicz asked, "What do we know about the Krauts on this island?"
"Roughly four thousand of them, Wehrmacht garrison consisting of twenty-two hundred; five-hundred man SS security detail; and the rest made out of scientists and technicians. A lot of activity in research bays, especially Research Bay Nine with highly-restricted access. I believe that is where Koslov is at the moment."
"Then we don't have time to waste." He gathered all the intel and put it a musette bag, handing it to Lamarck.
Stackhouse finished his cup. "You have an exit strategy?"
"We do," answered Blazkowicz, "we have our boats with their little Evinrudes ready to take us out."
"Still leaves us with one problem," said Speraver, "the little village below. It should have boats that can pursue us to open water moored in the piers. We can knock it out to stave off preemptively any German countermoves. We have a naval task force waiting for us, coordinating with the convoys. And we have to do it quickly: an air raid is expected to hit the island at 1100 hours, followed by the naval task force."
"Don't you think we're cutting it a little too close with our manpower?" Speraver was skeptical of the side venture planned for the village.
"Don't we have much of a choice with this one," Richards said. "Sooner or later they'll find the Horsa and the entire island will be lit up like a Christmas tree looking for us."
The timetable is tight for this one, he thought. "I can lead you inside but we need to take out the village if we want a clean exit."
"Sounds like it should be easy," Speraver deadpanned. "We still have to consider the welfare of the two hundred and fifty or so Germans living in there."
"I'll take my team with you," Aksel offered. "At any rate I have no idea what's going in this rock but we've scouted the island for months. Should be easy to position you around the village."
"Good call," said the SAS commander. "I can have half my men with yours take out the village, Major Howard."
"Thanks, Speraver. I'll have Bravo Team ready to assault the village."
"We also need a small team to take out the radar station. If the naval task force is to make a diversion we need to blind 'em."
"We need you to take us inside. You're the only one who spent some time in this rock to know the ins and outs."
"Say no more, Major." He checked his sidearm. "I have a charming personality."
"If it's true that they tightened around the research bays we at least have a chance of getting in, likely sparing from other parts of the facility."
"At least it beats camping here for a week," Lamarck voiced, voicing a contingency plan where all whole team will bivouac in a pocket in the island, waiting to strike from within for at least a week, practically under Nazi noses. Who in the intelligence staff came up with that idea?
A German sentry had been roused by the strange noises from behind the thick woods separating the former village from the overgrown pasture. His boots stomped the ground loudly as he trudged in annoyance.
"I told the bastards to keep an eye on the pasture," he muttered bitterly. The island saw a lot of construction lately, part of the Wehrmacht's plan to fortify Norway. A lot of construction equipment have been assembled in the former village. Last month, OT had been busy digging out the island and expanding facilities around here. Lately, they put a halt on construction and a lot of personnel and equipment from a number of other branches have made it their home here. Security had tightened now that Waffen-SS is in charge of it. Bastards! They strut around acting like they're God's gift to mankind. "Verdammt!"
He barked orders to some of the sentries patrolling with their dogs to check out the commotion. The guards pulled their barking charges' leashes and made for the copse of woods that acted as the barrier between the pasture and village. Their flashlights pierced through the darkness as they begin trudging through towards the pasture. Their German Shepherds and Dorbermanns barked loudly as they led their handlers to the copse. Flashlights illuminated their path, hopefully to flush out anyone hiding in the bush. The sentry stood while the others moved forward. He was wondering about what he will put in his report if his men found something. Anything to give the SS security men the what-for, especially for playing games on them for the last few weeks. His angry thoughts were interrupted when he felt was a leather hand grabbing his mouth roughly, pulling him back. He felt something pierce his back and he flopped a bit in place as he went blind, thinking of his home in the Black Forest...
Bugger, thought the SAS commando as he lowered his heavy kill on the soft grass. Too much beer and bratwurst for Hans here. He looked back to his men continued through the trees, not noticing the death of their comrade. He hoped the others got their sights laid out as he dragged the hefty corpse out of the way.
The men reached the pasture, guided by their flashlights. They found the glider. There was alarmed chatter as the Germans knew the Allies were here and before they could even run back to the village they were met with a chorus of almost noiseless spits, resulting in a few choked sighs, croaks, and gasps and the dogs' startled whelps. Emerging from the darkness was a portion of the SAS team, toting suppressed Stens and a few of the Rangers armed with M1S Snoopers, a prototype Winchester model 30 chambered to a subsonic version of the standard .30-06 round. It is equipped with an internal suppressor and an infrared sniper scope with an active night vision sight depicting a black-and-white image. Normally, the bulky IR projector was underneath the barrel but it added weight so the projector was attached to the webbing gear of their users, which made it more convenient but they had to contend with the durable telephone wire snaked at their sides.
"Thanks for the heads up, mate," said one SAS trooper.
"Don't mention it," replied the Ranger. Then came the flurry of hand signals that got everyone moving. This part of the joint Ranger/SAS group was about to tackle the village.
Two Snooper shooters got down on their knees and scanned the village skyline with infrared, spotting their opposition. They shot the sentries in the watchtowers. They then picked off other targets at the edge of the village, careful they're out of eye-shot of each other or any of the occupants of the buildings. Carefully surveying their surroundings they gave the all-clear signal. Without anyone picketing the outer edge, the Allied commandos moved into assault positions.
An SAS trooper threw his Fairbarin-Sykes knife into the back of one German in an alleyway, who promptly crumpled down on his knees and face into the soil. His mates made out of the shadows and dragged the corpse out of sight. At the other side of the town, a Ranger crept up behind a sentry who made the mistake of smoking at night time, grabbing him in a chokehold and sunk his knife into his spinal cord, killing him almost instantly. Two sentries near the pier were shot by a De Lisle carbine, one on each forehead. Two SAS men noiselessly lurched up to catch the bodies and quietly dragged them out of sight, a simple exercise for His Majesty's shadow warriors.
It had been a very tense yet exceedingly simple exercise. Either the guards were getting soft nor did they expected to meet this kind of incursion. There's no way clearing the sentries would be this easy unless they were walking into a trap. Regardless, they shouldn't look into the gift horse's mouth. With most of the outer perimeter cleared the village assault force proceeded to surround and enter it. They took up positions, ready for assault.
A Kriegsmarine sailor sleeping in his bunk in what was once the cabin of a fishing family was startled awake. Shouting... Gunfire! Alarmed, he and his bunkmates scrambled out of their beds and took their weapons to get outsidr, only to be cut down by a hail of lead from a BAR. The others who survived it retreated back inside, clutching their weapons in fear, aimed at the doorway. One of them bashed the window open to peer outside. His mistake was rewarded with a headshot and a grenade was lobbed in, killing everyone in the blast. Men burst in and shot the dead sailors for good measure. The house cleared, they moved on as the garrison was roused awake in alarm. This was to be repeated in the first ring of houses occupied.
The cacophony of gun fire and screaming, confused men lit the village up like a Christmas tree. Operation Anthracite has begun.
"Let's go! Let's go!" cried Barlow as he led his squad around an alley. His men shot at any Germans who moved, either scoring hits or forcing them to cover. His squad followed closely behind as they make their way to cover behind some empty barrels. They dove behind them. Sparks flew over their heads as bullets pinged at the barrels.
Barlow took a peak to see a lot of tracers pounding their hiding place. A few ricochets forced him down. "Gellner! Pop smoke!"
"Smoke out!" Brooklyn quickly pulled the pin of his smoke grenade and flung it over. The cylinder landed on the earth and produced a puff of white smoke.
"Wait for the smoke to fill!" Barlow urged as another burst ricochet off the tops of the barrels. The sparks and pinging have caused the Rangers to cower as they await the smokescreen, which brought back the memory of being under the fire of Hitler's Buzzsaw back in Piano Lupo. Then the smoke soon came thick, obscuring their enemy's line of sight. As the smoke filled the fire slackened to potshots and finally stopped, with Germans frantically muttering over the smoke.
"They're blind! Let's go!" Barlow's squad went around the flanks, braving through the sporadic fire as the Germans shot blindly into the smokescreen. The charging Rangers emerged screaming. The startled Germans had almost no time to collect their wits when bullets slammed into their bodies. The few that did took cover or fled. Brooklyn shot his carbine on the move, not the most accurate use of his rifle but the gun-run, he saw, sent the Germans scampering for their own lives.
He managed to hit the cover of a stone house's corner, shielding him from oncoming fire. They've taken ground!
Alan Deveraux peered from the wall attached to the house, contemplating their next move. He was on the west side of the village, facing the road that led to the fortress. Germans emerged from the houses further away, up in arms as they fortified their positions, their shouting clear in the icy cold night in spite of the shooting. He ducked back when one of them turned to look at his direction.
"What do you see, Deveraux?" asked Barlow.
"Two MG42s in tripods being set up, aimed into mainstreet," he replied. "Reinforced with maybe thirty Krauts." And that number was growing and deploying appropriately.
"Shit." The MGs will pin them down and stall the attack! The mission depended on them doing their part.
"Goddammit, we gotta flank them or they make mince meat out of us." Barlow breathed deeply, seeing as the MG42s began firing, singing their rapid staccato of fire at the rest of the main Allied force in the center of town. Tracers flew evilly against the Allied assault, striking the cover they took. This forced them to hunker in whatever cover they had, be it the stonewall fences, the cottages, or random pieces of equipment, protecting them as they returned fire.
Spider thought so too and then he looked up. He saw a solution. "Sarge, I can get to the top of the roof to spot the Krauts."
"Good thinking, Spider," exclaimed the sergeant as the Italian boy from Bronx went ahead, took a short hop, grabbed the ledge and pulled himself up in one deft motion. "Gellner, Deveraux," he called up. "Up on the roof. Take those MGs out. We'll give you a boost." The rest of the squad helped the two up. Now three Rangers were mounted on the slanting roof in a classic reverse slope. They took stock of their opposition, now roughly twice the reported number firing away at the Allies.
"Shit, I see a third MG42 in tripod," Spider cursed. He reloaded his Browning Automatic Rifle, chambering a round and aimed for the rightmost machine gun.
"I got the middle one," whispered Alan whispered, taking aim with his Garand. "On my mark." So far the Germans hadn't noticed the trio up on the rough. Down below, the rest of the squad waited anxiously. Brooklyn spotted the third gun being set up and assembled his rifle-grenade attachment when one of the Germans setting up the weapon jerked to his back. He saw he had been sniped. The middle gun turned its wrath to the rooftop of the house next dooor, the British SAS sniper quickly hunkered down on his side of the roof. The three nearly had heart attacks when that happened.
But when he saw something being wheeled forward, his eyes widened.
"Christ! They got a LG-40 seven-point-five down there!" he cried. The Germans brought forth a recoilless infantry gun, a 7.5 cm Leichtgeschütz 40.
"All right! Shoot!" Boss commanded. "Nail that sum'bitch, Broolyn!"
Spider let loose a burst of his BAR, knocking down two Jerries and sending the rest scampering. Alan picked off three, his shots colliding with their bodies. They fired back, plinking the roof. Quickly, Gellner loaded rifle grenade, adjusted accordingly his trajectory and fired the blank cartridge, popping the projectile from his muzzle. The grenade, meant to hit the recoilless gun as close as possible, landed in a box of its 75mm munitions. The box burst violently, Germans flew and the entire position in chaos. .30 Caliber M1919s the Americans brought with them began a chorus of death, instantly recognized by their ringing-typewriter sound. Their tracers tracers flew, mowing the unfortunate and forcing the less fortunate to find cover. Some of them struck items strewn around including barrels of gasoline and small vehicles, their explosive demise adding to lightning and thunder of the assault.
"Squad! On me!" Sergeant Barlow, seeing the disruption to the German firing line, raced out with a yell, firing his Thompson in the Germans' right flank while his squad followed him out, with Deveraux, Gellner and Spider, providing covering fire from the roof. Barlow dove down for the grass in a slight rise, got a grenade primed and chucked. His squad followed suit and several of the Mk 2 pineapples burst among the Germans, killing or wounding a few. The M1919s deployed streamed tracers across the air. The disorganization caused by Gellner's grenade hitting a box of shells left little time for the enemy garrison to consolidate as the charging Allies and their supporting machine guns forced them back further away.
Now the second ring of houses was being contested, Brooklyn's explosive opening allowed them to infiltrate and once again keep the Germans off-balance. Houses, yards, alleyways, became scenes of intense mini-battles. Some of the Germans managed consolidate into a small pocket, though encircled, would fight off the invaders, keep them from concentrating their vangaurd to the village hall and delay them until reinforcements arrived.
The commandos, with their small force, could not afford this. They did with they have to do. The redoubt were left to Rossi's men, who conducted a hit-and-run siege, shifting positions and taking shots, drawing fire. Helping them was the profuse abundance of potato mashers strew in the other houses. The ploy worked, as the grenades gave a larger impression of a larger enemy force than the defenders thought and not a moment too soon as Rossi was running of the stick grenades. Then they made one, last throw. A chorus of explosions, a gap opened as the defense slackened, and they charged through. Inside their weapons sang and their movements swift as a dance but that was all that's needed.
After clearing a house, the pocket surrendered and the Rangers rounded up the survivors and led them away while the rest of the Rangers moved forward. They now formed a semi-circle enclosed the garrison, cutting it away from any hope of escape to the fortress as enemy resistance gradually hardened.
The SAS group at the village and most the Norwegians were sweeping the piers, intended to keep the Germans from taking to the boats. Their flanking maneuver was accomplished with audacity and sleigh-of-hand. If the Rangers were the broadswords being swung by a master swordsman, the SAS/Milorg contingent were scalpel in the hands of an expert surgeon, both of them complimenting each other as the latter's job would not be possible without the firepower and numbers the former brought, making the garrison focusing most of the effort on them. It was a joint effort of course as the SAS had the support of the Snooker snipers.
The experience and training of the SAS and Milord were brought to bear as they methodically reduced their opposition. Barrow and Rodgers tossed a cooked grenade into a house, exploding a second later. Brock crashed his Enfield's stock against the door, breaking it open, allowing the two commandos to enter, their Stens spraying death inside the house of stunned Germans. Brock fired from the door into an entry leading to another room, cycling the action Mad Minute-like, seeing a man go down in the clearing smoke. As soon as he's out, Barrow and Rodgers charged through to the room while another duo passed him and checked upstairs. Brock followed the former flight crew of the glider, putting two five-round clips into his rifle. Gunfire flashed in the room, followed by screaming. Entering the kitchen he saw Germans down in pools of their own blood. The backdoor opened into outside and he could see the two firing into the distance. Brock warily looked at the bodies, his Enfield drawn, to make sure they're dead. He heard a groan. It was from the man in front of him, clutching his side, stained crimson.
"Oi! Don't move!" he growled. The man looked up and blinked, seeing the Englander in front of him with dulled-out disbelief. He listed on his side. "Stay where you are!" he added, asserting his power over him. The German looked at him questioningly, like he was refusing to obey the order. Then a yell came out of the backdoor.
A German with a Luger dashed inside. The wild-eyed soldier focused his rage on him. Brock instantly shot the enemy, knocking him square in the chest. The wounded man on the floor scrambled to his left for another weapon nearby. Brock spun and whipped the enemy with his Enfield's stock, knocking him back and making him flinch in pain. He kicked away the MP40 to the doorway.
"WHO SAID YOU COULD MOVE!" he shrieked in a raw voice, cycling the rifle's action. His heart was pounding hard, yet remained calm and fierce, this wasn't his first taking of prisoners, not the first time he nearly got the drop on. He just had a close call. He walked over as he totted his piece menacingly over the wounded man. A pair of boots rushed in. It was Gow.
"Heard you yell, Brock," he said, noting the kitchen's current state.
"It's nothing," he replied. "Nearly nicked, that's all. I got it handled."
"Sure ya did." The first-time SAS man didn't know if it was faint praise or a mild rebuke. His mind was just jumped up with all excitement a second ago.
"I got it. Here, I've got a prisoner." He motioned with his rifle. Gow went down to check him up.
"Christ, you've bagged an officer," the Scotsman exclaimed looking at the enemy's uniform. "Get a medic!"
Brock cried out for a medic. In came two medics, a Ranger and SAS trooper, came over. Seeing their patient on the floor, they put their submachine guns on the counter, hefted their medical bags on the table and all three lifted the German officer on the table. Both Brock and Gow helped a bit, gathering anything of interest such documents and files they can see before returning to battle.
The battle had developed greatly in their favor. Shane Wolfe barged into a house and sprayed his Thompson into the stunned occupants, two more Rangers followed behind him. A pistol spat back thrice! Wolfe squeezed his trigger, stitching a doorjamb, his target furtively taking cover.
His gun went dry. "Reloading!" In one motion he went to the right for cover and released the magazine. The two Rangers fired into the doorway, spraying fire to the inside. They then rushed in, sweeping about with their guns to meet any potential threat. Going into a room a Walther fired frantically. A Ranger took one to the chest, sending him flat on his back. His friend fired his whole Garand clipped into it.
"Medic!" Wolfe cried. The fallen Ranger was quickly dragged out of the doorway while the lieutenant and second Ranger rushed inside.
The room was empty, the window open. "Shit, he got out," Wolfe muttered.
The closet flung open and a yelling German pinned him against the door, closing it back in. The other Ranger was pounced by another from under the bed, blocking his attack with his rifle.
Ambush! Shane thought, facing this big Kraut pinning him with his own Thompson and slowly bringing it up to his throat. Only his own strength kept him from being choked with his own piece. Their faces contorted in the struggled, eyes in primal, the lieutenant grunted, Thompson gripped and pushed by two sets of hands. Gritting his teeth, he shoved his left arm to try gain leverage but the German shoved back that attempt with his arm and his mouth form into an evil, triumphant grin. He had to win this quickly! Eyes behind his opponent he saw the other Ranger still with his back to the floor as his German was attempting wrest his rifle away. Seeing this, Shane's opponent gave sudden burst of strength to against the Ranger lieutenant. Then a moment of clarity flicked in his head.
He pushed back a bit to inch his left knee to the center and the German pushed back harder. Then he let his footing slip, dropping half down the floor, the surprised German lost balance at the instant slackening and fell on him. Grabbing his tunic, his left knee shot into his crotch, forcing a choked half-moan, half-scream. He grabbed his Thompson and pushed him off, followed by crashing the stock to his pained face. He fired a fired a burst to the other man's head, splattering its innards against the wall. He pivoted his Thompson at the enemy, who chucked a lamp at him. Shane ducked.
The German's Ranger suddenly rose and right-hooked his cheek, knocking him off. Rising quickly, he crashed his rifle stock at the back off his head.
"Jesus!" muttered the Ranger, almost close to death.
"Looks like He's got our backs this night," Shane said as heaved himself up just as the door slammed open and one more of his men rushed in.
"Are you okay, sir?" he asked.
"Just fine, only a close call." He looked to the other Ranger looking out the window. "What's the situation outside?"
The man turned looked at him. "Looks like waterfront's being rolled up, Lieutenant."
He turned to the other Ranger. "What about the rest the village?"
"We're closing in around the hall, sir," he replied, "no way for the Krauts to escape."
He smiled in spite of himself. "So far so good. Let's return to the war, gentlemen." They all got out and returned to the battle.
Three Kriegsmarine try to make for one of the boats while taking potshots at the barely visible enemy prowling the piers. One of them made it to the pilothouse, only to be cut down by a Bren gun burst. An Enfield round smacked right into the second sailor's head, causing the third to take cover in alarm. The sailor's infantry training had only been shooting a rifle downrange. He was unprepared for this kind of situation. His boss, a senior petty officer, was riddled with machine gun fire just as he ordered him and his bunkmates to secure the boats. It was a half-baked effort as the situation was unraveling quickly. Indecision borne from fear and confusion crippled him when he turned around, unable to react as a commando with a Sten stitched him from waist to shoulder. Job done, the commando rushed forward to keep up with the attack, keeping the boats in their moorings, leaving the corpse to bleed.
The SAS/Milorg flanking maneuver had succeeded, boxing the Germans away from the pier. The garrison, unable to fight in any coherent manner, was forced away back inside. Any attempts to race for the fortress was cutoff as bazookas eloquently made that point, destroying an Opel Blitz truck and Horch heavy car trying to break through. Now the fighting had centered around the village hall, where resistance had naturally stiffened.
Commandos! The Allied soldiers have stirred up a hornet's nest. Germans, most half-awake, stirred out of the houses-turned-barracks to meet the raiders. What resulted were hasty, ill-advised efforts that were brushed away quickly, while more stubborn resistance was bypassed. Without a degree of control the defenders were ineffectual like headless chickens, the best they could was hold their ground and hope that the main garrison on the island will send reinforcements to relieve them. That was what they hedged on, with their situation spiraling out of their control.
The commandant of the village-turned-port was startled awake by both his adjutant and orderly when the attack came. He came out of his room, which was once occupied by the village's mayor. As soon as he was informed of what he's going on he immediately took command, starting by fortifying the headquarters, formerly the tavern and townhall, and requesting reinforcements. He was informed by a soldier that the line was down communications was cut.
"Get to the radio room!" he barked and everyone rushed forward to the radio room while the commandant went to his desk and attempted to phone the fortress. His worst fears were confirmed: the line was dead!
Reidar, no longer needing to tend the Becca, had packed it up to join the the rest of his team. His senses tensed up as he ambled his way through the grassy darkness. The searchlights on the fortress eerily scanned the perimeter of the fortress and he occasionally ducked to avoid being spotted by those and patrols. Often crawling in the grass further away from the fortress to the village, he got up and continued the rest of the way, not having to encounter any patrols. At least no one was screaming at him to halt or getting shot at. This calm, this void he found strange as he continued to the village. Now it felt like a country walk until he came upon the high ground overlooking it.
He watched the battle below as the Germans were being slowly pushed back to the town hall, defending along the way. The chatter of firearms, the shouting, the booming of explosives, they were loud, clear, and crisp to his ears.
Then his mind recoiled in shock, eyes wide awake than ever, his hands beneath their gloves sweating cold. He had not heard any of this on the way here! He should have heard this away from the Communion Hands, and most certainly the Nazis at the fortress. But until he arrived he had heard nothing!
"Shouldn't they hear anything?" Reidar looked apprehensively between the fishing village and the fortress, his eyes tracing the road that linked them. A fire fight this loud should get the Germans' attention right about now. But no patrols, no vehicles came. Nothing.
"Hey! Reidar! Over here!" The harsh whisper brought him face-to-face with Knut.
"Knut? Takk Gud!" He was relieved to see one of his comrades. "What the hell's going on here-"
"Quit your chatter!" Knut's unexpected outburst to took him aback, followed by him gesturing to follow. He was with a British commando. They all have similar expressions as he. The trio made for another, higher spot to view the show.
The strange thing he noted was how subdued the fighting sounded from their vantage point. The gunfire sounded like wood crackling in a fireplace, quite different from the training exercises they undertook in British commando schools. It didn't sound like the firefight that it was.
And stranger still was the strange figure with them, one of the commandos squatting on a rock facing the battle below. Hands raised with palms facing the chaos below, he was chanting rapidly in a strange language, eyes closed. At that sight his heart jumped up and his mouth went dry.
"What is going on here?" Reidar whispered.
"Damned if I know," was Knut's response, face set in a grimace. "Apparently that man is doing it." Eyes fixed on the man.
Reidar still had trouble with this... scene, the loud firefight, the squatting chanting man, the silent stroll he had going here.
He turned to the commando and asked him, "What's going on? What the hell is he doing?"
The Brit turned to him, his face showing the same strangeness he felt. "Damned if I know."
Naess was in the lead, followed by ducking from enemy fire. He dove for cover behind some steel drums, barely unscathed as bullets went at his feet on the run. He was in fifty feet front of the village hall. Then a squad of Rangers crashed beside him, finally linking the seafront team with the main assault force.
"What the hell do we do now?" asked Kolar, taking potshots with his BAR.
"That's the townhall!" Naess cried back, pointing to the building in front of them. "That's the where the harbor commandant is!"
"He's not gonna invite us in! We need to crack that nut." Machine guns from the windows flickered constantly, spitting tracers at the Allies. Some of them hid behind the low stone walls that separated village cabins and lots, Spandau volleys chewed the top of the walls, raining the Allied soldiers with stone chips. Naess and Kolar grimaced as the flying flecks of stone petered on them.
"We better do it fast!" Every moment they're delayed was a second gained by the Germans. The clock was ticking and a counterattack by the main garrison was a possibility they feared if it wasn't resolved quickly.
"Put some Bazookas on those MGs!" Lamarck growled.
"We got some Panzerschreks!" someone called out as the captured weapons were brought to bear.
This did not go unnoticed by the desperate defenders. The MGs fired longer bursts, more shooting and rifle cracks followed. Two Rangers were clipped by one such burst as they attempted to re-position, sprawling on the ground.
"Covering fire!" cried Barlow, all responded, firing their weapons at the German redoubt, pinning or directing fire away as two more soldiers raced over to their fallen comrades and pulled them away. The Germans intensified their for on the invaders, keeping their opposition pinned until reinforcements can save them.
Lazslo shot forward for one of the two men, shouldering him. He carried his comrade and ran for the nearest cover, heedless of the bullets whizzing by him. He laid him against the wall. "Medic!" He cried out. He then performed Buddy Aid , taking his comrade's first aid kit, finding the sulfa packet in the Carlisle Tin. He found the wounds on his chest, ripped open the sulfa packet, pouring them over the wounds. The Ranger hissed as the yellow powder stung him. He them put a tourniquet, putting pressure on the wounds, then a spun a roll of bandage around it and the wound, securing it. "Medic!" he cried again. Tufts of dirt erupted around him, near misses by German small-arms fire. Lazslo dragged his comrade away, as fast as his feet can backpedal, bullets zinging by and showered with dirt puffing around him. He made it all the behind a wood pile with other Rangers. Laszlo felt something bit his leg and he crumpled to the ground.
"Shit!" he muttered as a hot, stinging sensation erupted above his ankle at the side. He felt sliding on his side as his comrades pulled him through alongside the man he rescued. He barely cleared the ground when tracers landed in his wake.
Up on one of the roofs, Perlman set up his Boys Anti-Tank rifle. Resting on its monopod, he fished out from his pack a bombing scope that originally belonged to a SBD Dauntless dive bomber and attached it to a trough where the Boys' iron sights are. The whole thing must've weighed a ton for an infantry weapon! He asked his companion, "Range? Wind?"
"Fifty yards," the SAS trooper coolly replied. "Wind, negligible."
"Good," he manipulated the bolt to chamber a round, a .50 rather than a .55 as the barrel was a portion of a long-barreled Navy Browning M2, attached with a muzzle brake of his own design. Lining the sights on a target, he fired, a huge bang echoed.
Perlman had hit his mark. The gunner behind the MG42 had his head blown off. His crew, stunned and splattered with their former boss's head, were shot at by Allied fire peppering their window. No sooner had they dropped to the floor when the rest of the window exploded, letting in more gunfire.
Below outside the townhall, a Kriegsmarine sailor suddenly had his arm explode and bouncing off the wall while manning a Czech vz. 37 HMG. Another one raced for the gun but he was tossed back with a bowling ball-sized hole on his chest all the way to the back. The third crewman's eyes went wide as he lay down in terror at the grotesque wounds inflicted on his comrades, eyes fixed on the moaning one-armed man bleeding from his stump. No sooner had that happened that the gun emplacement blasted to be bits, sending rock and dust flying all over the place. Then the gun itself exploded, spraying his face with shrapnel. He grabbed his face, screaming from his punctured eyes as blood poured from his face.
The SAS team flanked around the back and alighted om the Germans in the backyard, still preparing their defenses. They loosed a hail of bullets, cutting them down. The only appreciable reply were the top windows. Two SAS men were struck down. The rest went behind the yard's fence and fired back, suppressing the hostile fire. Ingram reloaded his Sten and leaped over the fence, went behind a sandbag emplacement, tossing a grenade through one of the upper windows. A boom, a flash, and smoke wafting out of it the window no longer threatened them, and the first SAS man let himself in at the back.
Ranger .30 cals spiked up, raking the German defenses into suppression, allowing them to use rifle grenade, Bazooka, and Panzershrek to destroy the remaining emplacements and punch holes into the tavern. One by the one, the defenses went up with a bang. With the defenses silenced, their own machine guns covered the assault, allowing the commandos to move in, and get within grenade range. Pins pulled, grenades arced through the air, and landing into the German defenses. The Germans scrambled to escape or throw them back, one man even threw his own body atop one. Dozens of bangs resounded, killing or wounding the Germans. The line broken, the Rangers raced for the kill.
Now the defensive fire slackened a bit, now it was replaced gunfire from inside. The Brits had breached the rear!
Corporal Jervis shot up the kitchen with his Sten, clearing it, leaving two dead, one wounded. He reloaded as the other SAS men followed him in. He got out of the kitchen, weapon at front and chanced at another German, dazed from the Ranger grenades. He shot him before he could reach for his weapon. A crack from the upper gallery force him to duck, the shot barely cleared his head. He popped up and fired a burst, followed by a burst from the man following him. A figure stumbled amdist flying splinters and went limp from the peppering. They swept around and raced for the stairs the Rangers cleared the rest of the ground floor.
Coming up on top a German emerged from a room and suddenly face-to-face with Jervis, panickally raised his weapon but the corporal cut him down, his back slamming to the wall. He bounded the last few feet into the room, only to see it clear. More men followed from the steps and he heard a long Sten burst out of the hallway. Stepping out, he saw two more Germans on the floor, rifles beside them.
There was only firing from the floor below and now it died down. There was only silence up in the second. Toting his Sten, he approached the one room with an unopened door. He can here frantic speaking behind it. Whoever was behind it was having an argument. He motioned for two troopers approach him, directing one to either side of the door. He took the right. He indicated his intention to the troopers with hand signals. He picked up a Nescafe tin, apparently from one of the room, that was rolling loose on the floor. He patted the shoulder, indicating he was ready.
"One... two... three!" Upon his command rifleman on the left bashed his Enfield, the door cracked, falling of its hinges. In a split second, he flung the can inside. The screams of "Granate" and panicked shuffling of feet rang out. Smoothly, all three flooded in.
"Hande hoch! Hande hoch!" the trio bellowed, frightening the stunned occupants into obeying. In one swift motion, each man took a prisoner and forced them to their feet, gathering them outside with their arms upraised. Among of the those was the garrison commander, his face wrought in disbelief as the SAS forced them against the walls.
"Take them outside and search them," Jervis ordered as other troops began the processing the prisoners and everything on the village. He let himself relax as he slung the gun and started his part in it by rummaging through the command post.
Nothing stirred from the fortress, there was no break in its activity. The searchlights went on searching, the black out is enforced saved for some lights. Two guards stood, huddling in their greatcoats, their gripping the slings of their rifles. The cold, unevenful night called for a smoke.
"Long night... What the hell do you think?" one guard asked as he looked into the night in the direction of the village, eyes following the road that seem to led into the darkness, eyes yearning distantly for some distraction from this monotony.
"Ja, cold and boring," his companion said as he lit up his cigarette for warmth. "Ever since that SS officer transferred ifrom the Eastern Front was made in charge he's had us drilled hard and do double-shifts. To keep us on our toes, he said."
"Sheisse," the first man said, sighing, "ever since they've brought all those scientists and equipment here that guy has been driving us harder than the john fucking with his wife far away." They guffawed hard at that comeback.
"Hey, good one," the second guard said, struggling with the laughter to calm himself back. "But I think we broke noise discipline there."
"That's the least of our worries with our talk of treachery and sedition." He tried to keep his own snickering under control. "I mean this SS officer must be upset being transferred to this rock and babysitting Hitler's latest science project."
"He must have pissed off someone big back in Berlin to land a post in this pisspoor island. Goering, Himmler, you think?"
"Or he must have an unlucky streak," second theorized further, his grin wide as a cat's. "This far out no wonder his woman is fucking somebody else-" His conversation was cut short by a Fairbairn knife to the throat, flying from the grass.
"Ja, very much so, Johann." His companion guffawed slightly, his head bobbing a bit in laughter. Johann did not answer. The smirk vanished as he turned to his friend. "Johann...?" He saw his companion's form lying on the grass. Slightly alarmed, he was about to take a better look when something squeezed around his neck. It was thin and threadlike and in panic tried to grab it but he felt a hard jab to the small of his back, forcing him off balance and crushing his throat. Choking, he felt something warm trickle around his neck. Blood was his last thought as a figure laid him down on the grass.
Bennett cleaned the wire garrote of blood and quickly pocketed it before proceeding on. The searchlights continued to sway their beams, scanning the grass for an unseen enemy. Two of his mates carefully dragged the body to a depression in the tall grass.
"Better get this over quick," he muttered to himself. "Jerry's gonna be twitchy tonight."
A/N: I am sorry this took so long to write. The march of progress has caught up with me as I stated above.
Organisation Todt (OT) was a civil and military engineering organisation in Nazi Germany, operating from 1933 to 1945, named for its founder, Fritz Todt, an engineer and senior Nazi and was responsible for construction projects throughout Germany and occupied Europe. This organization had been notorious for using forced labor during its existence from prisoners of war, concentration camp inmates, and forcibly-drafted foreign laborers.
 Nestle's Nescafe brand has sold cans of instant coffee to Germany before and during the war.
 Buddy Aid is a first-aid training procedure taught to US soldiers and Marines during WW2.