Corporal Schmidt watched in amazement. He saw the Abrams line up a shot, point blank, with its big 105mm cannon. He’d seen some movement in the window on the second floor, and so apparently had the tank commander. The cannon roared, and the shell sailed through the window and out the building’s rear window, blowing up somewhere in the distance but doing no more than fluttering the curtains on the building. ‘That’s one lucky…’ before Schmidt could finish the thought, his squad leader yelled “Move move move, GET OFF THIS FUCKIN’ STREET!!!!” Schmidt didn’t have to hear that order twice.
[Tank rolls a 9 and misses.]
The Captain listened with pride. He tried to keep emotions at bay during combat, but… well, he was damned proud of his company! He heard reports of understrength squads executing tricky withdrawals under fire while other squads assaulted their position for cover, of Marine squads flooding entire buildings, clearing them of the enemy, and of heroism under fire. Now if the Iraqi’s can clear the enemy out of the Mosque, the company might be able to clear this neighborhood in their alloted time.
Silently, squad leader Jordan used fist pumps to count down to the breach. ‘Three – two – what the fuck?!?!’ The breacher blasted the door with the shotgun, going on 1 instead of 3-2-1 breach! Just that brief moment threw the assault team’s timing off. The breacher seemed to realize he’d blown it too, as he froze in front of the door. And that was a bad place to be freezing, with 2 AK-47’s pointing out of the gloom at them. The lead assault Marine leapt into action, hip-checking the now frozen Marine out of the way. As 7.62mm bullets whizzed through the door, he let loose with a fast burst, killing one insurgent. But the other fired again, raking the Marine’s side with at least two rounds. Dropping to a knee, he kept firing, taking down the second insurgent. Then, without hesitating, he leaped through the door, wounded but still fighting! As the Bronze Star citation would eventually read, Pfc Gladwell’s decisive action when he found his squad surprised rallied his squad mates, leading to a textbook assault which flooded the building, clearing it of all enemy. Despite painful wounds, Gladwell refused to be evacuated, staunching the flow of blood and rejoining his squad.
[Mainly successful assaults, some zones flooded, no casualties, hero created in zone 37.]
The FAC told the Captain that the Hornet run wasn’t available, they’d have to wait. That meant he’d slowed his troops down for no good reason damnit! He knew that delays like that, even slight ones, could be lethal. As soon as he finished telling the FAC to call them in again, he heard the loud roar, and felt the ground shake. In rapid succession he heard another series of explosions, and shouts of “danger close!” on the radio. What a cluster fuck.
[Hornet mission delayed, insurgents roll HBIED, random select zone 35, KIA 6CF squad. Second attempt also delayed, insurgents roll Counter Attack. However, no zones are affected by that. Third time is a charm, and I realize that the zone I wanted to strike was originally immune to be attacked, until the HBIED cleared out zone 35. Hornets eliminated fortified zone 45. Brilliant…]
That single decision seemed to mushroom, as squads making assaults delayed their go time to wait for the Hornet strike, even when they weren’t near by. The Captain heard more and more calls coming in of casualties. They lost contact with one squad trying to clear a fortified building on the right flank. Lots of gunfire, lots of calls for evac and medics, not many indicators of success. The Captain radioed to Battalion HQ for reinforcements. He had to get more troops into the fight or he’d lose momentum.
[1 zone secured, 1 step loss and 1 reduced squad killed, 1 hero created.]