[furryclan] game diaries
When a game as revolutionary as Operation Flashpoint comes along, the stories told about it are guaranteed to live forever. [furryclan] reflects on tales of war.
[lakmethemud]: 2001-11-23: Operation HWAABI
Operation HWAABI (Hole With An Ass Before It)
As dawn broke, I felt a gentle shake and my eyes slowly opened. My pleasant dreams from just minutes ago became lingering thoughts, later to be discerned between fact and fiction. The warm orange sunlight felt comforting against my face, and my usual feeling of disembodiment began to set in right on schedule. I began to drift off again, only to be kept coherent by a continuous low whisper in my left ear.
"Captain, Captain wake up, Captain!"
Eventually the shaking and the ensuing noises forced me alert. I sat up quickly, like how you would after waking from a snooze on a bus, jerking my head abruptly. And as my head cracked into my 1st Lieutenant's, I awoke.
"Ow! Sorry Captain, I didn't mean to startle you."
Where point in fact, he did mean to.
"What is it Lieutenant?" I asked, as I glanced around to see everyone else in my troop awake and busily scurrying around.
"Goose has spotted movement in the town Captain!"
His voice quivered as he delivered his message. And looking around at the faces of the other men, I could tell they were all a little scared.
"Thank you Jax, get your men ready and assemble at basecamp at 0750."
With that, Jax was off, and I was left to gather my senses and find out why I had a horrible cramp in my lower back. As if sleeping on the ground was not enough, it turns out I had unconsciously decided to use my AK74 as a mattress. Lovely, any more good news?
Sergei Chernovol was sitting by the medic tent being bandaged by the doc as I arrived. There is a certain uneasiness one gets when you receive that unmistakable nod from your men. It is the nod that replaces the salute in the field. The nod that may have just saved your life. The nod that reminds you that you are the first one the enemy will snipe should they recognize you. Mother almighty I dread that nod.
"I must have seen 9 or 10 of them Cap!" Goose squawked as the doc tightened his knee dressing.
"They were just coming over the hill west of the town. I couldn't tell if there were any heavy units, but in my defence, I didn't stick around too long to find out, I was so surprised to see anyone, I just started running back here, and that's when I tripped and cut my leg on that damn."
"That's enough Goose, save your breath for when you'll really need it." As was customary, Goose was starting to wander off in his account.
"The details Goose, all I want are the details."
"Sorry Cap. Like I said, I can confirm 9 light infantry, coming in from the west end of town."
"Copy that. You did real well Goose. Now get fixed up and meet us at basecamp asap."
Well, it looks like the day was shaping up to be another tough one. My men and I have been through enough of those to know what they are like. But recently we have been getting pretty lucky, running Black Op recon, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping and other such missions. But deep down, way deep down, I am sort of glad that our luck had changed. It is important that we stay sharp on our toes; although trees surround us here, we are not taking a walk in the park.
Basecamp was essentially that, a campfire at the base of a small ravine just south of our med-tent. The embers were still glowing softly as the 5 men stood round it. I watched them from afar for a minute, waiting for Goose to show up, before I approached the camp. Vladimir "Jax" Spaseniev was there looking intently over his maps. His communications officer, Dmitri "D-day" Drygin, was on one knee to the right of Jax, and Leonid "Operation" Rostovtzeff (Ops) was leaning on his rifle next to D-day. Goose shortly arrived and took a seat beside Ops while quietly cursing the rock he had stumbled on.
To the left of my 1st Lieutenant, and on the other side of the smoldering embers, were my RPG man Ivan “Darkcloud (DC)” Iltchenko, and my grenadier Maksim “Angel” Bychovskay. These two soldiers, along with Denis “Doc” Tabanov, were directly under my command.
As I walked towards Jax the low mumbling of the men got even lower. ‘nods’ all around. Jax came towards me and we moved a bit away from the others and began to go over his map.
While the rest of us had been sleeping last night, Goose had been off scouting the surrounding area. He had located the village Sainte-Marie about 2.5 clicks to the southwest of our basecamp. Our mission, up to now, had been to recon various sectors and report back any establishments to HQ. And that would have been what we had done, had Goose not spotted American troops moving into the city.
Sainte-Marie was, tactically, a very important military gain for either side. Nestled in the valley of two giant hills with a forest blanketing her north side, she was quite difficult to navigate to. But what made her a real threat was her immediate access to Chapoi. Chapoi had become a pivotal weapons repository along our supply line. With a major highway running east-west through it, it provided much needed support to our scattered armies here on Malden. While Chapoi was still a good 15km south of Sainte-Marie, I deemed it necessary to engage the enemy.
Deciding on a plan of action, Jax and I rejoined the troops around the campfire. As Doc strolled in, they all looked at me with eager eyes; a long ways off from their frightened faces earlier. After I laid out our plan, an eerie silence came over us. We all knew what had to be done, but none of us, not even one of us, would ever have imagined the horror of what was about to happen.
By 0900 we were on our way south. Jax, with D-day, Goose, and Ops; and myself, alone with Darkcloud. We had left Doc and Angel - fittingly enough - back at the med-tent - just in case.
How the following events unfolded was like a chapter from a war novel. Each of us a character being woven into some strangled form of plotline. And as the story progressed, our characters' lives became more and more complex. I never read much as a child, so it was not surprising that I did not have the foresight to see what was going to happen.
Jax had taken his men around the forest to the southwest and was flanking the town from the east. DC and I were making our way up the eastern hill to gain better visibility on the valley below. Moving quickly we staggered our movements with one another, moving from bush to bush to tree to bush. As I sprinted past DC crouching behind a tree about ľ of the way up the hill, I heard a shot.
My God, that awful sound of a rifle shot deflowering the virgin silence of the morning nearly knocked me off my feet. I dropped like a rock and frantically crawled the rest of the way to my targeted group of shrubs. It was an American M21 sniper rifle. I could tell right away; there was no disguising the crisp cracking sound the slug made as it left the barrel. But I had heard two sounds, and unbelievably enough, the second more disturbing than the first. The second was a softer sound, although louder ... and closer. That sound had been dampened by the bare neck of Darkcloud. And as I looked back, I knew he was dead.
As my dreams have often come to haunt me, so they did again, as I lay there frozen in panic. I dreamt of a chocolate wonderland, filled with lollipop lampposts, fudge sidewalks, and other such nonsensical things. One day I would like to learn what my dreams meant, but I suppose that will have to wait. I have other priorities right now, and they include whomping some American ass and cleaning my shorts.
"ENGAGE AT WILL"
Jax screamed over the radio as he and his men stormed Sainte-Marie. As I hurriedly reported DC's demise and the possibility of a sniper, I regained my composure and poked my head through the bushes. Before me lay a deep valley, around 400m, with Sainte-Marie to the right and a large hill rising up opposite me. It was on that hill that I found Darkcloud’s M21. Tucked away behind two large oaks and a pine I spotted the sniper. He was looking down on the town; I suppose he had not seen me. With my AK74 resting firmly in the palm of my hand, I fired two quick shots and he was down.
Screams and gunfire were all I heard over the radio for the next couple minutes, and then silence. Jax's voice peeped over the deathly quiet.
"We got 3 or 4 of them Captain, but they got D-day and Ops, they're both injured."
I ordered Jax to immediately evacuate his troops and return to Doc to get fixed up. As he and Goose slowly made their way back carrying the injured men, I covered them from my eagle-eye location.
As I waited for the status on my men, I observed heavy enemy movement on the road leading south out of Sainte-Marie. I noted American infantry carrying what looked like tank shells to a small depot probably 8km north of Chapoi. This was not good. The city of Chapoi was not defensively prepared for a heavy armored assault, and my fellow Russians there would be slaughtered. I could not wait any longer for my men; I had to move a bit closer to confirm what I had seen.
I again began crawling from bush to bush, each time stopping to scan the area for any threats. As I made my way to a suitable spot about 500m west of the American ammo depot, I saw 2 M60 soldiers camped out guarding it. Like shooting fish in a barrel, I thought to myself as I lined up and fired on the first one. He went down quickly and I targeted the second. I could tell he was panicked; he had all the telltale signs. Frantic scanning of the horizon, turning just a little too fast to notice my muzzle flash. And he was down. I moved quickly to a different bush and lay waiting.
Not even my dreams could have imagined what happened next.
As I lay hidden in a bush intently watching the road out of Sainte-Marie, I felt a hot searing shot rip the flesh on the back of my right thigh. Screaming in agony, I lurched around with my AK trembling and saw Ops standing there with gun barrel pointing down at my pale face.
"DAMNIT OPS! IT'S ME, HOLD YOUR FIRE!!" I screamed as quietly and self-controlled as I could.
"Don’t tell me what to do," Ops replied with a cold look in his eyes.
Field training does not prepare for situations like this. All my years of experience meant nothing to his gun barrel pointing at me. I struggled for a logical explanation for what seemed like an eternity. Could it have been an accident? I was very well hidden. I was close to their base. And as I began to dismiss the incident as an accident, Ops ran off towards the ammo depot, and the shooting pain from my leg returned to my attention.
"Doc, I need you asap to my location." I sent over the radio.
"Doc's dead Captain, and Angel, D-day and Goose are down too."
Jax's news hit like a ton of bricks. The pain in my legs disappeared again, only to be replaced by the fierce pain of brothers lost.
"Vlad, What the hell happened??!"
"I couldn't tell ya Captain, I had left Goose with Doc with the injured boys, and I had just gotten back to our spot east of town when I heard the shots. I raced back as quickly as I could, but saw no one - I can't find Ops anywhere, but I can't imagine him a better fate."
Jax sounded scared as hell, and deservedly so. He was never at his best when we took casualties, he always seemed a bit spaced out afterwards. I could picture him quite a mess right now.
"Hold tight Jax, I'm on my way back, Ops is here, he's OK. Take cover somewhere and watch for me from the south. I'm injured, so I'm moving slowly. I'd appreciate some cover - and to see you alive."
While my voice may have reassured him that things were OK, I knew very well that things were not. I did not want to concern my 1st Lieutenant that Ops had shot me, nor did I want to seem too frantic about the small army of American soldiers forming at the ammo depot. But I did want to make it back to camp alive, and fast. So with my AK on my back, I dragged myself along, never stopping long enough to catch my breath.
I was so scared my teeth were chattering. I was holding my rifle so tight that I'm surprised it didn't break in half. It was at times like these when I was glad that I wasn't in charge. Let the Captain make the decisions for me, I would follow them to the T. He had told me to stay calm; I was trying. He had told me to find cover; I had found it. I was snuggled up next to our med-tent, just behind a tall sapling. The bodies of Doc, D-day and Goose lay crumpled 10m in front of me. Every now and then I swear I saw D-day's bloody arm twitch. God, please take me far, far away from all this.
Suddenly I saw a figure coming through a bush to the southwest. It was Ops, and he was running fast. Just as I started to rise to meet him, he dropped to the ground and turned facing the direction he had come. I too went prone and scanned the southwest slope of the hill. I wanted to call to him, but didn't want to alert any pursuing enemy. Our trap was even better if they didn't expect me!
Movement across the southern hill, I raised my sights and targeted. The relief I felt when I saw the Captain's dirty face through the iron sights was so great I almost sighed.
"Jax, I am 50m from the med-tent now. Coming from the south."
Damn! As I realized that he didn’t know that Ops was being followed, I quickly squawked back.
"Stay quiet sir - Ops and I in camp - enemy approaching southwest."
I saw the Captain shake his head and move further east around the campfire to a bush.
"Jax, no enemy in vicinity, I just came from there, where is -BAP! BAP! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"
The Captain's body fell limp as Ops's bullets hit the earth beneath him. Absolutely stunned I looked helplessly as Ops peered towards my location and raised his rifle.