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Tank (Part 1/short; content warning) (1 Viewer)

CyberWar

Senior Member
War Hog. Buzz-sow. Piglet. Our three Volvo C300-series trucks, given swiney names in reference to our company emblem. War Hog and Buzz-sow are of the larger C304 6x6 model, War Hog serving as the mobile command vehicle of our company, and Buzz-sow carrying the main firepower. Piglet is a smaller 4x4 C303, scouting ahead whenever we deploy in a convoy, usually accompanied by one of our four Mercedes 460 GD-series jeeps, called the "Jedi" in the vernacular of several NATO armies. We also have a few Scania transport trucks, and that's about it. No armor, no heavy support vehicles, no nothing.

Truth be told, we haven't been much of a company to begin with in practical terms. We were little more than a glorified platoon back when the war started, and that we've managed to stay more or less a glorified platoon ever since, which is most commendable, considering the casualties other NATO units have been taking lately. Somehow, through a combination of skill and pure dumb luck, we have managed to lose relatively few of our number. Being part of a second-rate unit, we never benefitted from the superior training and equipment of frontline units and the professional military, so things were laid down simple for us when the bombs started falling - learn fast or die. Apparently the lot of us are quick learners, most of us still standing here in Germany five weeks after the evacuation. Mostly, however, it's been plain and simple dumb luck, and I know it's only a matter of time until we eventually run out of it.

The core of our company, roughly platoon-sized, is supplemented by the remnants of the HQ, Infantry and Transport companies, including what's left of the original Recon platoon, totalling about one and a half company in size. That is what remains of the 19th Motorized battalion after a disastrous airstrike in the first minutes of the war, followed by two weeks of almost incessant combat culminating in complete NATO withdrawal from the Baltics. Our compatriots are now on their own, behind enemy lines. I don't know how the Russians are treating civvies these days, but if they are anything like the brutes my grandmother would remember from her childhood during the previous World War, then I dare not think what barbarities our people must now endure at their hands. Maybe that's just my personal prejudice, but I am not inclined to believe that Russians are capable of change in this respect.

Beast is the only ranking officer remaining, effectively being the acting battalion commander. Most were killed during that initial airstrike that I still dread to remember. The incredible noise of explosions and jet engines, the blasts forcing the last remnants of air from my lungs, the screaming, the overpowering stench of explosive fumes, burning fuel, rubber and human flesh... Asides from her, there are two lieutenants left along with a handful of sargeants including Sarge. The rest are ordinary grunts like myself, having one or two stripes or none at all not making any practical difference at this point.

The majority of action is taking place south, at the Fulda Gap. Last we heard, the ongoing battle between Russian and NATO armored and mechanized forces has eclipsed the Battle of Kursk in scale. Yanks are said to have lost a supercarrier in the North Sea, trying to keep the Ivans blockaded in the Baltic, and NATO fleets in the GIUK are being harassed by Russian subs around the clock. Ivans have also landed two divisions in Denmark and are now pushing towards Hamburg. Another armored spearhead of theirs is pushing West along the Baltic coast to meet up with them. Berlin is still holding for now, but none can say for how long. Considering how we have had to rebase three times in the last 48 hours, apparently not for much longer.

---

Right now we are stationed some 30 clicks southwest of Berlin. Our today's assignment is to scout a safe route for a supply run. What's left of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, which used to be the fighting elite of our country, are holding the line alongside with other survivors from the Baltics south of Berlin, some 5 clicks east from here. Technically we are behind the front lines, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's any safer - artillery and air strikes and ambushes by Russian paratroops and Spetznaz infiltration teams dropped behind the NATO lines are an ever present threat.

In the little spare time we've had in these weeks, we've made our best effort to beef up our modest vehicles, using scavenged parts and plenty of ingenuity. Consequently, our three trucks that can be nominally considered combat vehicles have been jury-rigged with what the Yanks call "hillbilly armor" - armored-glass windows, slabs of armor plating, and bar cages to hold sandbags welded on them, the gunners' hatches replaced with turret rings salvaged from disabled Humvees, our own kevlar vests hanged on the walls inside, anything really that can slightly improve our chance of survival. Granted, these new add-ons tax the engines and suspensions rather heavily, and are still next to useless against RPGs and other such weapons, but personally I'd much rather walk away from a broken-down truck than stay in it riddled with bullets.

Thanks to Beast, we've managed to get our hands on several radio sets used by Yank IFV crews for internal communication, meaning I and my crewmates no longer have to scream out our voices and resort to blasphemy to make ourselves heard in the heat of battle. At the moment, it means I can comfortably converse with my comrades in the truck below even as I stand manning the .50 up in the ring. As we ride through the deserted suburbs of Berlin, we are having somewhat of a discussion about the current situation.

---

"So, I talked to this Yank tank commander in the mess yesterday," says Katz, "He said if things keep going as they are, we'll lose Germany in two weeks. The Ivans are throwing everything they've got at Fulda and the Baltic coast, and Yanks are losing their armor way faster than they can ship it overseas. He said they've lost five transport ships full of troops, vehicles and supplies bound for Europe in just the past two days. If the Russkies keep it up, we're in some serious shit."

"I wouldn't count on that. Berlin is still holding, is it not?" our squaddie Kraut replies, "And it will hold as long as our good allies in the north do their job and keep the main supply lines from Hamburg open."

"Well, that's why the Ivans are hitting where they are. They want to encircle NATO in East Germany, and that will make over 500 thousand of us royally fucked. If the brass had any sense, they would have pulled out of Berlin a week ago and straightened the frontline, along Elbe River maybe," Katz argues.

"And maybe they would have, if it wasn't for Germany being the single biggest NATO member in continental Europe," I join the debate.

"So? What of it?" Katz doesn't seem to catch me.

"Well, if it was Riga instead of Berlin, and if this was home instead of Germany, would you still just hand it over to the Russkies without a fight?" I speak, "It may be the more sensible thing to do, perhaps, but the brass can't just ask Germans who are the biggest contributors to the fight besides Yanks to just give up on their capital. Think of how Ivans would gloat over it! They'd probably hold a parade in front of the Brandenburg Gate and broadcast propaganda of how they've smashed "Western fascists" again."

"I see your point..." Katz agrees, and I sense he is burdened by the same pain all of us share, "I wasn't exactly in the fighting mood after Riga fell either, even though we all knew it would happen inevitably."

"Still, if things go as they are said to go, we might still be having frog legs rather than sauerkraut for dinner by the end of the week," I state.

"Yeah, unless the Ivan hasn't given us a taste of high-explosive blini with some lead caviar to go along by then," Fender jokes bleakly.

"And a double-shot of napalm to wash it down," I add, "But before that happens, we've got a few delicacies of our own to treat our uninvited guests with as well."

"You know, Fascist, you're a wanker!" Fender states angrily, "You just had to bring up food..."

Now that he mentioned, Fender is right. I can't remember the last time any of us had anything but MREs to eat, and even these have been somewhat scarce. The lot of us have probably lost quite some weight since the outbreak of the war.

"Don't you remember? Food is for pussies, not mean badass motherfuckers like us! A real soldier eats only his enemies for lunch and washes them down with their blood!" I remind him. Everyone laughs - food being for pussies is a joke we made up back in training, during the joint AT grenadier course, where aspiring grenadiers from many battalions had assembled. Our battalion also was tasked with supplying meals to the trainees, but only delivered food to everyone else except us due to some mix-up. Thus, the joke about food being for pussies was born as our way of soothing frustration and hunger. The mistake was later remedied, but the joke stuck and various things being for pussies has since become somewhat of a running gag in the company.

"Speaking of pussy, I haven't fucked one in quite a while," Fender says, "We haven't had any leave since the evac, and the few German army chicks here are too ugly for my tastes."

"Speak for yourself," Katz jests, "Were I a German army chick, I wouldn't fuck you even if you were the last guy left in the whole damn world, so Miss Yourright Hand is the only pussy you'll be getting!"

"Fuck you!", Fender snaps back, "If it wasn't for Sparks taking pity on you, you yourself would be polishing your rocket enough to make NASA jealous!"

"I don't know," I say with a smile, "Some of those Kraut lasses did actually seem quite cute..."

"Right... Says the guy who hasn't even touched a woman in what, 3 years?" Fender says, "Seriously, Fascist, if I didn't know better, I'd seriously think you're a closeted homo or something!"

"Well, I thought I've proved demonstrably already that I'm no homo," I reply.

"Yeah, that you have, no questions about that..." Katz agrees.

The incident I am referring to happened before the war. In celebration of Independence Restoration Day, a number of us from the battalion had gathered for a pub crawl, including Katz, Fender, me and Beast. After much drinking, the lads brought up the issue with my apparent disinterest in the opposite sex and asked Beast to command me to speak the truth on the matter. I responded to her inquiry with kissing her, leaving the lads with mouths agape. Beast didn't seem to object, being hardly in a better condition than any of us.

"I read somewhere that the German women aren't lookers for most part because of medieval witch hunts," Katz mentions, "Back in the day, just about any pretty woman could be accused of being a witch and burnt at the stake. Consequently, Germans fucked up their genepool by burning all the pretty ones."

"To call that a waste of good pussy would be a severe understatement," Fender remarks.

"Alright, you three, cut the chatter!" Kraut commands, "Time to announce our arrival!"

"Lima-Alpha-One, this is Echo-Charlie-Two! Approaching your positions from the West, ETA 10 minutes, how copy?"

Nothing happens. Kraut repeats the message. Again, nothing but static.

"Are the Russians jamming us?" Archer, who has until now remained silent, inquires.

"No, if they were, there would be a lot of white noise," Kraut says, and repeats the message without success. This isn't good. Whatever the reason their comms are down for, this clearly isn't good for us - even though our truck looks quite distinct, we don't want to take the chance of their sentries to mistake us for enemies and light us up.

"Echo-Charlie-Two to Echo-Charlie-Actual, communication with Lima-Alpha unsuccessful, hold your positions, over!" Kraut transmits back to base, where a supply convoy guarded by the rest of our company is waiting.

"This is Echo-Charlie-Actual," Beast's voice hits the comm, "Roger that, continue approach with caution, over!"

"Echo-Charlie-Two, understood! Over and out!"

Something is off about all this. 1st Battalion wouldn't just go radio silent for no good reason. My gut instinct tells me something is very wrong, though I cannot yet word what it is. For some reason, I tap three times on the truck's roof above the driver, Katz being at the wheel today - it is our agreed signal for "Stop".

As the truck rolls to a halt, I remove my earpiece and listen. There's the usual background battle noise. In the last 20 minutes, it has somewhat increased, gunfire and artillery thunder in the distance being more intense than before, but this is normal as the battle for Berlin ebbs and flows. There are more jets than usual roaring above in the sky than before, but that too doesn't strike as unusual either. And then there's this rumble, which I cannot quite make out from all the background noise, yet can tell it to come from a much closer source than the frontline.

"What is it?" I hear Katz ask.

"You hear that?" I say.

"What exactly?"

"That rumble. Somewhere close."

"Yeah, I hear it. It's coming closer," Katz opens the door, shuts off the engine to listen and agrees with me.

"Wonder what it is..." I speak, listening again. Indeed, the rumbling is coming closer. As I start to make out the sound from the background noise, I can literally feel the hair along my back raise as fear and terror begins to overtake my body. There aren't many things that make that kind of noise, and none of those things should be around here at this time. The distinct rumble of a diesel engine, the grinding of treads against pavement - it couldn't be... It can't be...

"Guys, I think it's a..."

No sooner I have begun to speak when the brick wall to the right some 70 metres ahead crumbles and collapses, a long gray-green barrel piercing the cloud of dust.

---

"TANK!!!" I scream to the top of my lungs.

"LEG IT!!!" Kraut bellows below as Katz tries without success to start up the truck, probably cursing himself a thousand times over for turning off the engine. Ever since we beefed up our trucks with add-on armor, their engines have become even more glitchy than they were before, and Buzz-sow's good-for-nothing piece of shit engine has found just perfect time to malfunction again.

I reach behind me lightning-quickly, where an AT4 is strapped to the roof for cases like this, struggling to unstrap it with trembling fingers and hit the tank before it notices us. With any luck I can blow off a track and disable it, or at least stun the crew just long enough for us to get out of the line of sight. Judging by the looks of it, it's a T-90, the latest and meanest design in Russian disposal, packed with reactive armor plating, active defense systems and whatnot. The crew haven't noticed us yet apparently as the tank rolls out in the middle of the street, but that's about to change any moment now.

Just as Katz manages to restart the engine and shift into reverse, the tankers notice us as the turret begins to traverse, turning it's 125mm gun towards our puny truck. Those steel plates and sandbags might protect against small arms, but after being hit by something that size, there ain't gonna be anything larger than a matchbox left of us or our truck.

"Fascist, whatever you're doing, better do it FUCKING QUICK!" I hear Hog bellow from inside. I finally manage to unstrap the AT4 and take aim at the tank just as it's gun is about to line up with us. Katz weers to right, almost crashing in the wall of a nearby house, to buy us that half-a-second of extra time that may decide our fate. Half a second is all I need.

The truck shakes from the backblast of the AT. An instant later, the street ahead lights up in a massive blast, and I am knocked back violently. I and the tank have fired almost simultaneously, but that half-second has made all the difference. I feel the violent slap of the sonic boom as the tank's shell passes an arm's reach from our truck, missing it's mark because my AT's impact has shaken the gun off-target. Just as Katz pulls the truck in the nearest alley to the side, I notice my shot has missed it's mark, impacting square on the turret rather than the front drive wheel like I had aimed.

Another blast throws shards of brick and mortar in my face as the house wall to the right explodes. The truck shakes violently and I hear the sound of twisting metal even as I lose my balance and fall inside. The tankers have seen where we go and have now tried their luck with a blind shot through the wall in our approximate direction.

"DISMOUNT!!! DISMOUNT!!! EVERYONE OUT!!!" Kraut bellows, jumping out of the truck with the speed of a monkey. We follow the suit without second thought, barging in the building to the right, with a door kindly left open just behind the truck, running like crazy. Sure, there could be a Spetznaz team waiting inside, ready to mow us down on moment's notice, but all of us are beyond caring at this point. Right now, all we want is to get out of sight of that fucking tank.

Only after making it in a room behind several walls, where even advanced thermal imaging could not possibly detect us, do we stop to regroup.

"Fuck, that was close..." Katz remarks, bending down and panting, "I could literally feel the floor bend beneath my feet when we got hit!"

"Nice driving, buddy," I slap on his shoulder, panting and wheezing myself, "A second later, and our heads would have landed on one side of Berlin and asses on the other!"

"Anyone injured?" Kraut inquires. We inspect ourselves and find no visible injuries. Lack of pain can be deceptive - under immense stress, I've personally seen even men with both legs broken run a whole click. Blood, however, rarely lies.

"We're pretty fucked now..." Fender whines, "Where there's tanks, there's bound to be infantry too, and most of our stuff is in that truck!"

"Well, whining about it ain't gonna blow up that tank or kill the bastards following it!" Kraut scolds him, "Everyone, defensive positions! And if anyone has got an idea how to deal with that son-of-a-bitch tank, let's hear it!"

---

So here we are - trapped in a house in the suburbs of Berlin, our truck busted up and an enemy tank of the nastiest kind rolling about just outside, looking for us. Considering how we only have our personal weapons and some ammo with us, everything else being left in the truck in plain sight of the tank, our perspectives of making it back for chow seem rather bleak at the moment.

But food is for pussies. Right now, we have a big fat tank waiting outside to be had for dinner. The hard part will be catching and cooking it, and that's something we have to figure out very soon.
 
Love it! The bar armor is not to hold sand bags in place but to pre-detonate an incoming RPG warhead. If you want to use sandbag armor you get two pieces of plywood and put the sandbags between, typically used in the back of a cargo truck.

Next What kind of tank and what year is this story? For example the T-72 has at least 25 different variants some of which are top of the line as far as sensors and armor is concerned and others are junk. A poor quality machine with an untrained and inexperienced crew is not much of a threat. A good machine with a trained crew who have some combat experience can be deadly beyond out beyond your ability to detect them.

So how do you tell? What does this mean? So if you are driving along and hear the CRAK of high velocity cannon fire, then the jeep you sent out ahead just died along with people you know. That is you first warning. If you don't stop driving down that road, you die. Shooting a jeep with a tank means an experienced tank crew, a (.51 caliber) 12.7mm NSVT machine gun would be better to deal with a jeep. Next you need to find out:

A. Where is the tank?
B. Is it hostile?
C. Is it protected by infantry?
D What kind of tank is it?

Your scouts are marking the approximate location of the tank with their burning jeep. Yes it is hostile. Take some antitank rockets and assault rifles then sneak up on the tank. Shoot it in the sides or rear where the armor is thinnest. Problem solved. If you get there and find a lot of infantry and/or tanks, run away and call for NATO airstrikes.

Typically a glass bottle filled with gasoline and a rag stuffed in the top make a Molotov cocktail, set fire to the rag, throw it on the tank's rear deck or top. Simple quick dirty and effective.
 
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CyberWar

Senior Member
I suppose the characters could have implemented such a solution because none of them has done an improvised armor upgrade before. Their idea is to protect their thin-skinned C304 against bullets and shrapnel, the cage being merely their solution for holding the sandbags in place rather than deliberate protection against RPGs, even premature detonation of which would likely tear their truck apart anyway.

The story is set in an unspecified year within the next decade, so presumably, the T-90 they are encountering is one of the variants currently in use by the Russian Army, and the protagonist telling the story likely couldn't tell the difference anyway, given the situation.

Being the scouts themselves, the characters don't have the luxury of an advance warning. Luckily, neither have the Russian tankmen expected their presence, their sudden encounter taking both sides by complete surprise and giving the protagonists that little edge they needed to survive the encounter. The Russian tank is a stray vanguard, having strayed ahead of it's supporting infantry as the NATO frontline has collapsed (unbeknownst to the protagonists).

Judging by their careless straying ahead and their choice of weapons against a soft target, the Russian crew isn't very experienced, which would make them slightly easier to deal with.

Hence I would opt for them to distract the tank and use a Molotov to temporarily disable it (by knocking out the sensors), while others run to the truck to fetch an AT piece and blow it sky-high. Calling in an airstrike is unfortunately not an option because of a communications blackout, the Russians jamming all comms as part of their offensive, and the under-equipped protagonists having no effective ECCM.
 
Date 2020s? A T-90 would be possible. It is of course a high end T-72 renamed for external sales purposes. A T-14 might be a possibility as well in 2020.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-14_Armata

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-90

This story could have taken place any time in the last 40 years so I had to ask.

The Molotov Cocktail and the anti-tank rocket both have the potential to either do nothing or to utterly destroy the tank. A little research here will blow your mind.
 

sailorguitar

Senior Member
This is awesome. I noticed a few grammatical problems though, one of which is this: "The rest are ordinary grunts like myself, having one or two stripes or none at all not making any practical difference at this point." I understand what you are saying, but the clumsy grammar throws off my concentration and jolts me out of the story. Maybe re-phrase it as something like this:The rest are ordinary grunts like myself, having one or two stripes. But at this point there was no practical difference. Something like that (and it probably wouldn't be hard to come up with something better). There were a few other instances like that in your story, but over all I thought it was great, it held my attention, was adrenaline fueled and satisfying. You have a good 'ear' for story telling. And if Latvian is your first language, you have an impressive command of English.

Also, it's timely, what with Russia and Ukraine knocking it out in the Southern part of your neighborhood.
 

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