"I am your worst nightmare. I have conquered fear. I have come to terms with terror and pain is my best friend. I will come from the sea. I will disappear without trace. My brothers will lay down their lives for me as I will for them. I am that which protects the realm. I am that which protects my people. I am the one who serves not only my God, Queen and Country, but my squad, my team, my friends, and my family also. I am their protector. I am their knight. I am your worst nightmare. I am a Royal Marine Commando."-Royal Marine Commando Slogan Printed on a Recruitment Poster
August 11th, 2011
Three Hours Earlier Along the Northern Defensive Line
"Hold the line! Hold the line!" came the piercing screech in Second Lieutenant Hugh's earpiece. He wiped the sweat from his head with his sleeve and peaked around the scorched Challenger 2 that blocked the intersection. About a dozen British soldiers were running towards him heading to the fall back position at St. Pauls Cathedral. In the back of his mind he knew the Tinnies weren't far behind. His platoon sergeant, Sergeant Andy Roche, slid into cover next to him.
"What's the situation?" Second Lieutenant Hugh asked curtly. He was still looking around the destroyed vehicle watching as the last British infantrymen ran past. They'd failed to hold the bridge against the alien onslaught and now it was up to his platoon to hold them back.
"Everyone's fine. Well as fine as a man can be knowing that their country is being invaded by fucking aliens." Second Lieutenant Hugh looked back at Sergeant Andy who was smiling. His face said cut the shit and give it to me straight. Sergeant Andy got the message real quick. "We're as ready as we can be. We have plenty of ammo and good fields of fire. The mortar section is standing by for a fire mission."
"Good. Give them these firing coordinates. If I yell 'Zulu, Zulu, Zulu' on the radio I want them to throw as many high explosive rounds at these coordinates as they can." Second Lieutenant Hugh said. He reached under his body armour and pulled out a scrap of paper. Sergeant Andy took it and gave it a look over.
"These grid coordinates are our position, sir." Sergeant Andy said glumly. He looked at Second Lieutenant Hugh and saw he was just staring at his rifle. "I understand, sir. Too bad the boys manning the mortars won't get the satisfaction of plastering us and the Tinnies. We won't let them get that far." Second Lieutenant Hugh did smile this time. "I'm going to check on that heavy weapons detachment. They've been having some problems with the fifty cal." Sergeant Andy checked to make sure he was clear and bolted off.
Second Lieutenant Hugh thumbed his radio piece connecting him to the FOB at Heathrow. "King this is Rook. We are in position and awaiting orders, over."
"Roger that Rook. Orders are to hold position and defend the area against hostile forces. Repeat orders, over."
"Hold position and defend area against hostile forces, roger. Interrogative: will we have air support, over?"
"Affirmative. A squadron of Typhoons are on stand-by at FOB loaded with GBU-16s. They can be on station in ten mikes, over."
"Roger that. Rook out, over." Second Lieutenant Hugh took his finger off the button cutting off his line with the FOB.
Suddenly the harsh report of the fifty cal broke the eerie calm. "Sergeant Andy report!" Second Lieutenant Hugh barked into the radio. He could hear Sergeant Andy breathing heavily and shouting at a section leader to keep his head down. He looked up at the building that the HMG and Sergeant Andy were holed up in.
"Multiple Boxes incoming!" Sergeant Andy yelled using the nickname for the Tinnie Walking Tanks. "I see three…no four Boxes heading towards us! They're accompanied by a heavy contingent of Tinnies! Estimated strength a full company! Keep your fucking head down Joe! Sir, we're outnumbered and outgunned here! I said keep your fucking head down!"
Second Lieutenant Hugh peaked around his cover. In the distance he could see the hazy outline of the Boxes in question. The tracers from the .50 led him right to it. He couldn't see the Tinnies though. "Sergeant, where are the Tinnies?"
"At the foot of the bridge. We're hammering em with the fifty but they're coming in thick."
"Okay keep doing what you're doing. I'm calling in mortars."
"Roger that, sir. Give em 'ell."
Lance Corporal Jerome Taylor was three hundred meters behind the rest of his platoon dug in to the right of St. Pauls Cathedral. His section's four L16A2 81mm mortars were housed in a semicircular firing pit that was separate from the rest of the defenses now surrounding the church. Despite the distance all of them heard the distinctive sound of a fifty caliber machine gun hammering away.
"You have the mortars lined up? he asked his mortar mate, Marine Mickey Loomis, as he slung his L22 carbine over his shoulder. The L22 was almost the same as the L85A2 but much, much shorter. Kind of like the Yank M-16 and M4.
"Fifteen high explosive mortars ready to be fired and fifteen more on stand-by." Marine Mickey replied lining up the last of the mortar rounds next to the stand. His L22 sat on the edge of the dugout.
"Good. Now since you're new and everything let's just go over the basics." Lance Corporal Jerome said crossing two muscular black arms across his chest.
"I hand you the mortar, you yell clear, you drop the mortar down the tube, and then we both turn away." Marine Mickey replied holding up one finger for each step.
"Good and you keep your mouth open when the mortar fires because?" Lance Corporal Jerome trusted the kid but he was just that, a kid. He was fresh out of specialist training and joined the unit a mere two days ago. He was scrawny as a stick and at the moment he didn't have his helmet on so his longer than regulation bright red curly hair stuck out in every which way.
"So I don't get me nose cleaned out by the pressure wave." Marine Mickey said tapping his freckle covered nose with his pointing finger. Lance Corporal Jerome nodded approvingly. The radio on the edge of the firing it suddenly sparked to life.
"Sledgehammer this is Rook One! Fire mission! Barrage of high explosives at grid location delta three!
"This is it, kid!" Lance Corporal Jerome whooped as he took his position next to the mortar and started adjusting the elevation of the mortar. Marine Mickey was already on the other side straightening up all the mortars.
"Round!" Marine Mickey barked pulling the pin and handing the HE mortar to Lance Corporal Jerome. He took it and held the round above the opening of the tube.
"Fire for effect Sledgehammer! I repeat; fire for effect!"
"Round out!" Corporal Jerome yelled as he dropped the mortar down the tube and immediately turned away and closed his eyes. He felt the concussion in his chest even though he was facing away from the weapon. The sound, combined with three other mortars firing, left his ears ringing. He stood up and held out his hands for another round.
"Good effect Sledgehammer! Keep it coming!"
Marine Mickey was slower to react but after a few seconds stood up and handed another armed mortar to Lance Corporal Jerome. He had to stifle a laugh when he saw Marine Mickey's face. A thick glob of almost grey snot covered Marine Mickey's upper lip and dribbled down his chin.
"I forgot to open my mouth." Marine Mickey mumbled just before ducking down again. This time he didn't forget to open his mouth.
Sergeant Andy watched triumphantly as barrage after barrage of mortars ate up the Tinnie infantry. He fired a few rounds in the general direction of the Tinnies hoping he hit something. The Tinnies were too far to fire at accurately but you never knew if you could hit them if you didn't try. His radio squawked to life in his ear.
"Andy, I need you to take some men with Javelins and take out those Boxes before they get closer. Those things can do way too much bloody damage and I need them dead yesterday."
"Roger that, Leftenant. I'll have those fuckers wishing they never came here." Sergeant Andy replied confidently. He knew that Second Lieutenant Hugh made him platoon sergeant because he could rely on him. He was not going to let his friend and platoon leader down.
Sergeant Andy looked around the room. "Pippin, Marcus, Michael, and Cortez with me." Sergeant Andy said pointing to each man as he called their name. "We're going Tinnie hunting." The four marines hefted their FGM-148 Javelins on their backs and followed Sergeant Andy down the stairs. Once down he ran half way across the street to where Second Lieutenant Hugh was taking cover behind a tank. The Tinnie's were now in proper rifle range and the men of Third Platoon were now giving them hell. The Boxes though were standing ominously out of range. Either the Tinnies had never heard of combined arms or they had supreme confidence in their infantry.
Second Lieutenant Hugh pointed to the ruins of a building to their left. "Take positions over there. I have another section over there already and they report they are taking heavy fire. Your mission is two pronged. Primary mission is taking out the Tinnie armour and secondary is supporting Section Delta. Understood?"
"Understood, sir." Sergeant Andy said nodding. He turned back to the three marines behind him and relayed the plan. "Marine Pippin, give me your Javelin. You'll use your el-One-Ten to suppress the Tinnies. Oi?"
"Oi." Marine Pippin Sheldon said as he shrugged the launcher off his shoulder and handed it to Sergeant Andy. He slung the weapon on his back with a ummph surprised at how heavy it was. He turned back to Second Lieutenant Hugh who was trying to clear a jam at the moment.
"Wish me luck?"
"I wish you'd go where ordered and slot those Boxes before they turn us into piles of bones." Second Lieutenant Hugh said still struggling with the jam.
"Easy as pie, sir." Sergeant Andy said with a smirk. He turned towards the four marines again. "Time to earn that unit badge!" he barked. Sergeant Andy checked to see where the Tinnies were once and bolted off. Even with the extra forty-six pounds on his back he ran like a sprinter. The four marines weren't far behind.
Okay you probably noticed two things; the change in characters and the lack of action.
I changed the characters and went back a few hours to show just how fierce the fighting along the NDL was and to show just how the 40th Commando went from there to meeting up with the remains of 2nd Rifles.
The lack of action is to let you get to know the new characters a little. Trust me this company of Tinnies is little more than a scouting party for a much,, much larger force. The action will pick up in the next chapter and increase in tempo from there.
Also I noticed a small mistake in the chapter before this. I put Colonel Hugh instead of Second Lieutenant Hugh. Not sure how I did that but it is meant to be second lieutenant.