From the Shadows

The World => Africa => Topic started by: William Bishop on June 14, 2017, 05:18:32 PM

Title: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: William Bishop on June 14, 2017, 05:18:32 PM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa
April 2017

Colonel William Bishop was no stranger to Africa, he had been here countless times, starting with the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia in '93. That was a disaster he was not keen on repeating, however. Never again, he had seen how those Rangers and Delta suffered, and how much it had cost the locals in blood.

He stepped down the ramp of the C-130 that had delivered him and his staff to this airbase, and waiting at the end of the ramp was a South African officer, also a Colonel, who saluted Bishop as soon as he was close enough. Bishop returned the salute and the two shook hands.

"I am Colonel Laurence Jordaan, South African Special Forces." The officer said.

"Colonel William Bishop. Someone seems to think I'm the right man to be the liaison for the South African military and the outside forces coming in." Bishop replied with a grin.

"We hope to not expand outside involvement, or our own, beyond what has occurred, but I am not as hopeful as the government is. Please, this way, I will fill you in on the situation." Colonel Jordaan said, leading the way.
Bishop, Jordaan, and their respective immediate staff were all gathered into a conference room, and Jordaan's aide-de-camp was going over maps and satellite images on the projector while Jordaan narrated the situation.

"So, this bridge, that's the only way in or out. Am I reading that right?" Bishop asked. Jordaan nodded.

"This is a fact that is not lost on the enemy either. We suspect they will attempt to sabotage it at their earliest convenience. But it is not impossible for infantry to cross the Limpopo River by boat, though to little gain as they would have a great deal of open ground to contend with." Jordaan replied.

"Yeah. If it were me, I'd have that bridge wired six ways to Tuesday and my artillery guns would have it zeroed in already. How bad was that skirmish y'all got into?" Bishop asked.

"On our side? Three dead, 25 wounded. Unsure about the losses they took. But they were seen in Zimbabwe Army uniforms and using their weapons. I admit that it would be very easy to fabricate such an attack, but unlikely." Jordaan replied, and photographs of the battlefield afterward were flashed up from the projector.

"We've got a long stretch of property to cover in theory, but only a fraction of that really matters. I've been reading over the intel documents, most everyone's calling for peace except Mozambique, and they stepped up patrols on both borders too. Any ideas on that one?" Bishop asked.

"It is not unusual, since Botswana and Zambia have done the same along their borders along Zimbabwe, but not with the borders we share with Botswana. Refugees are a very real issue if this gets out of hand. Are you suggesting that Mozambique may be a potential enemy?" Jordaan asked. Bishop shrugged.

"We might need to find out. But I know that's not top priority, so let's put a pin in that and move to our options. I've got a Marine AFO coming in shortly, plus the Brits and Aussies have their own shooters arriving this afternoon. I also have an EOD team that should be in before dinner, but not sure yet. The way I see it, we need to keep that bridge intact, we need to cut off any potential sneak attacks, and we need intel? So far so good?" Bishop asked.

"That assessment is correct, Colonel. We have limited assets at the moment, though more units are being mobilized as we speak." Jordaan replied, "Right now, I have a regiment of paras on the border, another in reserve to respond to attacks, plus a pathfinder platoon on patrols along the river. We have a regiment of Special Operations arriving in the area as we speak, but your forces will be quite welcome."

"Alright. Let's take some time here, hash out some ideas, so by the time our shooters show up, we can get their leads in here, brief 'em, and get 'em out into the field ASAP." Bishop said. Jordaan nodded to one of his officers to turn the lights in the room back on, and the senior staff teams started going over the maps and plans.

As each of the teams arrived at the airbase, their commanders were told to report to the base conference room to be briefed by Colonels Bishop and Jordaan.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Sebastian Barnett on June 16, 2017, 04:24:47 PM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa
April 2017

Red tape and several hours of prior briefing had stood before their flight over to South Africa. It had been a lengthy process - choosing only the best to join them on this mission, low-key was how they wanted to play it. This was deemed the minimum and they could always send another patrol over if things began to show signs of stress.

Seb was no stranger to Africa, it had become his station ever since 2013 and to be deployed seemed like a fresh breath of air. He was being placed in a location in which he knew roughly the lay of the land - he wouldn't claim himself an expert.

Five others had followed him off the plane, all experienced members under his command. He squinted into the sunlight, putting his sunglasses onto his face, dressed in multicams rather than their usual camo. He was quickly greeted by a soldier, both saluting one another.

"Major Sebastian Barnett, SASR." He spoke clearly, taking the man's hand in a firm grasp as they shook.

It was then he was informed about the commanders having to report into the base conference room to be briefed.

"Alright, go get squared away." He said, a smile on his face as he passed a troop leader his Bergen before watching his patrol head off with another SA soldier.

Sebastian straightened himself up, as he neared the conference room, having been pointed kindly in the direction. He walked towards the door, knocking thrice and waited for the cue for entry.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: John Gallagher on June 17, 2017, 10:53:24 AM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa
April 2017

Gallagher had sat in the cargo compartment of the Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster for a fair amount of hours. They had refueled at RAF Ascension Island, giving him a little time to stretch his legs. Nonetheless, he felt stiff when they finally landed in South Africa.

The first thing he did when he got off the plane was to take a piss he had been holding it for the past several hours. Then he collected his gear. The Osprey Mk.4 body armour, his bergen that also carried his helmet among other things, and his L119A1 with the LLM and ELCAN Specter DR 1x/4x optical sights.

He, like the men in his troop, was pridefully wearing his sand-coloured beret with the downward pointing Excalibur wreathed in flames indicating he was a member of the Special Air Service. He also had the SAS-pattern jump wings on his right shoulder. Lastly, the three pips on his rank insignia on his chest indicated he was an officer.

Which was what drew a South African soldier to report to him. The man told him that he was to report to the base's conference room. Gallagher turned to Sergeant Hayes. "Alright Henno, they want us in the conference room." he told the Sergeant. "And you lot," he said, smiling. "Stow our stuff. And save some tea for us?" he added when he got their attention.

This got a few tired grins, but they picked up his and the Sergeant's kit despite that. Gallagher allowed himself to be lead to the conference room. He entered, and the two SAS men saluted the two Colonels in the usual crisp British fashion.

"Air Troop SAS is here, Sirs." he said, somewhat stating the obvious.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Ed Connolly on June 17, 2017, 04:15:16 PM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

"Alright, ladies, we're here. Grab your shit and let's go." Ed announced as the loading ramp to the second American C-130 on the base lowered. Unusually for a Marine unit, Ed and his team were in Multicam fatigues, but it was more to do with the desire to minimize identifying who was throwing in on this shindig.

Everyone and their uncle used C-130s, quite a few countries used C-17s, and anyone who wanted to look "tacti-cool" wore Multicam. Only the US Marines wore MARPAT, and that would tell anyone who was looking just about all they needed to know about the situation.

"Not bad weather, boss. I thought it'd be worse." Gunny commented.

"Yeah, me too." The Team's second in command, Guts, added.

"That's because neither of you jackasses bothered to glance at a weather report. Hell, it's the first app on my phone." Ed replied, glancing over his shoulder with a smirk.

"I'd have guessed another one, sir." The Team's newcomer, Cho, said. In response, he was smacked upside the head by the Corpsman.

"What the hell, Doc?" Cho demanded.

"Check that shit, rook." Doc replied.

"Go easy on him, would ya?" Ed said, and a South African soldier approached and snapped a salute, which Ed returned.

"Captain Mujari. I've been instructed to have all team leaders arriving report to the conference room. Colonel Bishop and Colonel Jordaan are waiting." The soldier replied.

"Alright. Could you please help my guys get squared away while I'm there?" He turned and handed his bags off to Guts.

"What the shit, sir? Am I your bellboy now?" Guts demanded.

"Well it sure as shit isn't the good Captain here. So put on your Cap'n Crunch hat and set up with Captain Mujari here." He turned back to Mujari, "Don't let these assholes give you any lip, Captain. We're all very grateful to be invited guests of the South African government and military."

Ed headed straight away towards the conference room, and found that two others had already beat him there.

"Sir. Major Ed Connolly, Marine Raiders, reporting as ordered." Ed said crisply.

"At ease. This isn't some cadet review, sit down." Bishop said, motioning to the open seats at the table.

"We've got at least one more arrival on his way now. While we're waiting, we might as well get to know each other. This is Colonel Laurence Jordaan, he's the eyes, ears and voice for the South African Special Forces." Bishop gestured to Colonel Jordaan, who nodded to everyone and began passing out folders to the team leads.

"Point blank, he's our word of God around here, because we are here as guests of South Africa. If this Task Force does not meet to the approval of the South African government, military, and people, this op is dead." Bishop said, "I am your immediate superior, however."

"We hope that this operation is merely a precaution, not a precursor." Jordaan added.

"A precursor to South Africa's own OIF. Which they do not want, nor do the people of Zimbabwe. Someone over the border has lost their shit, and we hope that they find it again before this all goes bad." Bishop said.

"Indeed, Colonel. Gentlemen, inside these folders, you will find updates to the current situation as Colonel Bishop was briefed on already.  You may take a moment to look them over while we wait for our final guests." Jordaan explained.

"Before we get this briefing underway, since we got a sec to kill, if you guys have any questions to ask, now is the time." Bishop said.

Ed glanced between the other two in the room, "Ah, if you gentlemen want to go first." He said.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: L. Andrew Cannon on June 18, 2017, 06:43:27 AM
Pope Field/Fort Bragg,
North Carolina, USA
April 2017

Andrew adjusted the shoulder straps to his duffle bag, the thing was damn heavy, for a reason of course. He’d packed enough socks and underwear to last him at least three weeks without reusing a pair… It was excessive yes, but having clean chonies and socks was a luxury, one he could afford in the field.
Looking over his shoulder, Andrew watched as the four other members of his EOD response team, Team 28-13 known by their nickname and callsign ‘Checkmate’. Each soldier went about their last minute equipment checks and inventories. He watched each member of the team for a few seconds, studying them as they went about their preop rituals: Sergeant First Class Alex Reynolds, Staff Sergeant Cameron Lenz, Sergeant John Scarbro and Specialist Graham Terrell.
Sergeant First Class Sergeant Alex Reynolds, Alaskan born and raised he was the senior Tech of the team and the team leader. Also by and far one of the best Tech’s, not only in the 28th EOD Company, but the EOD community as a whole - despite his short time as a Tech. At least the Army side of the wheel house, he’d come up as a Combat Engineer and tabbed Sapper before getting bored and taking a demotion to enter the Ranger Regiment, after a number of tours with the Regiment he again opted for a second demotion to move to EOD. Reynolds holds the unofficial and non existent record for “Oldest Graduate” and “Highest Ranking Candidate” to graduate from the EOD pipeline. Reynolds would deploy with 759th Ordnance Company (EOD) before selection and acceptance to the 28th EOD as a Platoon/Section Sergeant. 
Staff Sergeant Cameron Lenz, born in Detroit, Michigan and somehow escaped to Phoenix, Arizona before tripping and ending up in the hell of South Central LA. Lenz attended UC Davis where he earned his pre-law degree before attended UC Berkeley for his JD. After graduating and a fruitless year of searching for a law job of any kind, Lenz enlisted and attended basic as a 25 year old Specialist - he had to pay off his $100,000+ of student loan debt, somehow. Lenz would end up as a Military Intelligence, Human Intelligence Collector aka “Interrogator”. Seeing two deployments and a training rotation at the US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence before he decided he needed a career change, fast forward to present day and he is a tenured member of the EOD community and the 28th EOD Company. Lenz is also a civilian registered EMT-P, which he obtained by taking night classes while stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Sergeant John Scarbro, born in Houston, Texas - a true and diehard Texan, Scarbro could have gone to college on a full ride Football scholarship, instead he enlisted in the USMC out of high school. Scarbro did six years in the Corps (2 combat tours) as an 0317 before ETS-ing and going to school at Caltech (who knew he was that smart), leaving Caltech with two Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science (Programming/Coding) and Information/Communication Technology.  He could have easily landed a cushy job at any number of tech companies in Silicon Valley, instead he re-enlisted, this time in the US Army. He missed the adrenaline rush - so he says.  His recruiters pushed for him to go Cyber or Signal Corps, he refused and pushed for EOD; with Sergeant’s stripes he attended EOD AIT and is the newest member of EOD Response Team 13 and most junior Tech of the team.
Specialist Graham Terrell, a transplant from Dublin, Ireland to the United States. He grew up in Dublin but after his parents split (Mother was an American, Dad was Irish) he moved to the states with his mother, residing in Tampa, Florida. He enlisted at 17 and claimed full American citizenship, discarding his dual citizenship and therefore any attachments to his father. Terrell was the only member of the team to have started in the EOD community from his enlistment. It started as a running joke during training that the only reason he was so proficient at disarming ordnance, was because he’d been putting IED’s together since birth. He was Irish after all. Second only to the team’s Senior Sergeant, Terrell has seen the most deployments out of his team. He is not only the resident know it all of useless facts and information for Team 13 he is also a respected, brass balled EOD tech and skilled warfighter despite his small stature and soft looks.
It wasn’t necessary, as they’d PCC’d and PCI’d all of it before they’d left Bragg at least three times. They didn’t know much, but what they did know about their comming hop across the pond into AFRICOM’s area of responsibility was that it wasn’t going to be a normal (not that there ever was) EOD response mission. They were hopping into South Africa, not the sandbox of the Middle East, so there wasn’t a humvee to carry their bot, suit and other specialized equipment. This time it was all what they could hump in and hump out, which was both a blessing and a curse. As South Africa which wasn’t a hot spot for land mines, but had been a large producer and exporter there of during the mid to late 20th century; but UXO and IED’s were to be expected especially if South Africa and Zimbabwe were ramping up for a fight of some kind. All indicators pointed in the direction of a really nasty one too.
This mission they were doing what the 28th EOD did best, support US and ally special operations forces with SOF capable EOD techs.
Satisfied, Andrew turned back to his own gear and for the sake of it and to kill a little more time he dropped his duffle bag to the tarmac and pulled the zipper tab. Inside was not only his excessive collection of underwear and socks, but the rest of his kit. His armor and load bearing equipment was a dark coyote brown while his uniform which was the standard SOF uniform (the now famous Crye combat uniform) but instead of Multicam it was the old school ERDL camo. They were requested by the South African National Defense Force, however the South Africans really didn’t want to advertise the fact that they were utilizing outside help. Particularly from the United States. So their uniforms were bare, where on his normal ‘duty’ uniform would be skill badges and tabs there was bare velcro. But that’s what sterile meant, no outwardly identifiable markers.
An Air Force Staff Sergeant jogged out of the hanger they were standing in front of, slowing before he reached Andrew the Staff Sergeant flashed the universal ‘5-minutes’ hand signal. “Sir your ride is 5 minutes out, I need you and your team, along with your gear.” He said motioning to a cluster of pallets that were going with them, destined for not only Checkmate’s use but also their SANDF allies.
“Got it, thank you Staff Sergeant.” Andrew replied before looking back to his team, each of them were now staring at the Air Force NCO and their Lieutenant, with a sideways jerk of his head, in a come here movement Andrew summoned his team.
They were about to begin the first 4,990 mile leg of their almost 10,000 mile jaunt.
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

The USSOCOM C-27J Spartan set down hard on the runway at the SANDF Air Force Base Makhado, the crew chief was already standing at the ramp. Manipulating the controls to lower the cargo door, the dark cargo bay was cut in half by the bright noonday sunlight that knifed through the door. That light caught Andrew square in the face, eliciting a groan and a curse..
“Fuck!... I’m up, i’m up…” He grumbled to himself, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He sat up groaning, the seats in the 27J were only slightly less worse than the old strap seats on the C-130’s - they didn’t exactly make for a comfortable sleep surface. Glancing around the cargo bay he watch his team ready themselves to disembark. The all swayed to one side as the C-27J turned quickly off the flight line and headed towards a line of other aircraft parked along the runway. Getting his thoughts together, he grabbed his duffle and a-bag pulling them towards him as the C-27J came to a halt.
The cargo door hit the tarmac and a team of US and SANDF troops swarmed into the bay, assisting the EOD team and aircrew with the palletized gear in the cargo bay. Andrew was singled out by a South African Flight Sergeant, who presented a quick salute. Returning the salute Andrew hefted his gear, “You won’t be needing those Sir, Colonel Bishop is waiting for you in the CP, I’ll have one of my men grab your gear! Follow me.”

Shrugging Andrew tossed his bags on top of one of the pallets and followed the Flight Sergeant into the CP, stepping into the room Andrew was clearly the last team leader to arrive. He found the Colonel and reporting in, “Sir, Lieutenant Cannon and EOD Response Team 28-13 reporting as ordered.”
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Sebastian Barnett on June 22, 2017, 03:53:37 PM
Sebastian, once confirmed that they were allowed to take a seat, took his seat. As Bishop began to speak, introducing Colonel Jordaan, his eyes followed to the man that they were to become acquainted with over the course of the operation.

However long it may take.

The folders were passed out, he took his and opened it but turned back to tune into the briefing that was taking place; there were rules to be followed and standards to keep up to par. It was the reason for why it had taken so long to decide the team that was following him into South Africa, though it was at this point that anything could happen.

"Indeed, Colonel. Gentlemen, inside these folders, you will find updates to the current situation as Colonel Bishop was briefed on already.  You may take a moment to look them over while we wait for our final guests."

Sebastian turned his eyes from the men up front to the folder in front of him, resting against his lap as he took the time to read through.

"Before we get this briefing underway, since we got a sec to kill, if you guys have any questions to ask, now is the time."

He glanced upwards, brain ticking over momentarily. Though nothing came to mind, there was always the briefing. "No questions at the moment, colonel." Sebastian nodded, turning the question over to their British counter-parts.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: John Gallagher on June 23, 2017, 05:16:37 PM
Gallagher watched the people come in, and listened to the Colonel's explanation. Then he skimmed through the folders he had been given. Nothing sprang to him at the moment. He glanced at the Sergeant, and he seemed to be in silent agreement.

Hayes had always been the silent type, but now it was even more evident than normal. He had never been comfortable around officers, especially not those of OF-3 and up. Now he was in a room filled with them. If he had anything to say, he'd do so after the briefing, with no-one but Gallagher present.

The Captain nodded, and spoke up. "No Sir, nowt from us." he said. He also noticed that he seemed to have been the only one to bring his 2IC to the meeting. So be it. He relied on Henno, and so he needed to make sure that he had exactly the same information he had.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: William Bishop on June 24, 2017, 03:45:51 AM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

"Alright then. Lieutenant, welcome, grab a seat. Let's get to the actual briefing."

The lights dimmed, and the projector was turned on, focusing on the area around the bridge that was the only major border crossing from South Africa to Zimbabwe, along the Limpopo River. It was being projected against a whiteboard.

"Alright, the legalese boils down to this. As of right now, your teams are now a part of Task Force 581. Colonel Jordaan is our representative of the South African military and I'm acting as your Commanding Officer. This operation is hereby designated Operation Iron Serpent by way of some random name generator or something, I don't know." Bishop said, standing up and heading to the front of the room, "That's just the required crap I have to tell you all."

"Now then, mission assignments." Picking up a black marker, Bishop circled an area along the western side of the bridge of the Limpopo River. He then picked up a red marker and circled an area on the eastern side of the bridge at roughly the same distance and side.

"Major Barnett, Captain Gallagher. Your teams are on counter-recon. Elements of the 44 Pathfinder Platoon have reported seeing possible infiltration efforts by the enemy since the South African paratroopers first deployed. Aussies take the western side, Brits have the eastern side. I'll leave the patrol distance to your discretion. ROE is that you are under no circumstance to cross the Limpopo River." Bishop explained, "Your main goal is to prevent any infiltration or recon effort, and if at all possible, capture an enemy combatant for interrogation. If you are engaged, you are clear to return fire, and if you catch them on the wrong side of the border, you have permission to open fire at your discretion."

"Lieutenant Cannon, your EOD team is going to be here." He picked up a blue marker and circled the bridge itself. "This bridge is quite literally the only point that anything more than infantry can cross, and it is no mystery to anyone involved. We have reason to suspect that this bridge has been wired to blow should the South African military roll anything on it. Your team will be responsible for disarming anything you can find. At the border post will be 1st Battalion of the 44th Parachute Regiment, so liaise with them if you need support."

Bishop then picked up a green marker and circled outside of Beitbridge, the border town inside Zimbabwe just north of the bridge. "Major Connolly, your Marines will cross the border and perform forward recon of the town of Beitbridge. If this goes hot, we expect the stiffest resistance to occur here. We need to know just what we're dealing with here."

"All of these ops will be done at night, since Lieutenant Cannon's EOD team would be sitting ducks in the open during the day, and the Pathfinders reported there possible infiltration contacts at night. Colonel Jordaan will fill you in on the OPFOR and our contingency plans." Bishop said, and stepped aside for the South African Colonel.

"The armed forces of Zimbabwe are not particularly well equipped. Most of what they have is severely dated from the Soviet Union, before they broke ties with Robert Mugabe. North Korea and China supplied them to a a degree back in the 80s, but nothing major. They also inherited some equipment from Rhodesia, but otherwise, they lack any modern equipment. But do not mistake antiquated equipment for a lack of will to fight." Colonel Jordaan explained.

"These men are likely of Zimbabwe's special forces, and they will be the most zealous of the current regime's soldiers. Once they see you, they will likely assume that the European and American imperialist powers have come to rob them of what little they have left. The regular soldiers are harder to gauge, particularly with the various issues that Zimbabwe faces, but expect them to also see you all as imperialists."

"We have no reason to not expect an attack at any time, except that we suspect they want us to make the first move, to turn international opinion against us. This is a reality we will deal with during this campaign. Please try to remember that at all times. That being said, we have plans on if they do attack."

"Both Australian and British teams will fall back to the border post with 1 Parachute Battalion and the Demolitions Team. However, if you spot large border crossing attempts along the river, since it is still possible for infantry to cross, hold your position and call for assistance. 3 Parachute Battalion will be diverted to reinforce you. 5th Special Operations Regiment will also attempt to render aid if required. The Marines will either attempt to withdraw back across the border, or remain in place to call in airstrikes."

"We have a full squadron of fighters available for tasking, should it be required, but the nearest ground forces are still undergoing mobilization. You and 44 Parachute are the only forces ready and in the theater. They have mortars for short range artillery support, but otherwise, we do not have any heavy artillery in play at the moment." Jordaan nodded to Bishop.

"If you hear the codeword Winter, that indicates that the border post is under attack by a large hostile force. Lieutenant Cannon, if you spot more than a couple platoons or you see any armor rolling on you, you have permission to call that in before 1st Battalion. Codeword Spring is for Major Barnett if there is a major crossing in his AO, Codeword Autumn is for Captain Gallagher for the same on his side. Codeword Summer is the only one that we do not move for, that's for if the Marines are blown and need firepower from the Paras and air support to get the hell out of town." Bishop said.

"And if all go off at once, then bend over and kiss our asses good bye?" Connolly asked.

"The Zimbabwean forces don't have the troops to do all at once, so we have that much. But we're at our weakest right now, so we have to plan on that." Bishop replied.

"Now that we've got that explained, do any of you have any questions now?" Bishop asked.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Wihan Meinertzhagen on July 01, 2017, 09:33:25 PM
5 Special Forces Regiment HQ Building
Phalaborwa, Northern Limpopo Province

"But why me Sir? The blokes need me here?". Wihan had been summined to the CSM's office that morning and told to report to the IO's (Intelligence Officer) office in the regimental HQ. Personally he avoided the place like the bubonic plague resided there, least he HAVE to speak to the RSM who would 'suggest' that Corperal Wihan Meinertzhagen was in need of a haircut maybe. He IO sighed and wished he didn't have to deal with 'Heavies' NCOs who could not fathom the big picture that officers need to deal with. "It is you because Corperal, you are the only one with recent experience in the AO in question" the Sotho officer sighed. "Task Force 581 is being formed and they need people with local experience to advise them. I needn't tell you how...sensitive things are in the border. They need good men to help out. Besides you have special skills that would be useful" the Captian said. "Sir?" Wihan queried not quite understanding. "Your tracking skills Corperal...there is a special requirement for this task" answered the IO looking at the manila folder holding the signal flimsy from Colonel Jordaan. "Should any of the infiltrators from across the border get through we need to know about them fast, before they become the business of the Police- God knows they have enough trouble with civil disturbances going on". Wihan understood better now. As always relations between the military and the Police were as strained as usual, not helped by the discontent stirred up by the recent events 'Up North' on the border.

Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

The RQMS's SAMIL 20 truck pulled up to the gates of the AFB Makhado and stopped briefly whilst the Stores Sergeant was checked by the gate sentry prior to entry. Wihan had hitched a ride with the Stores Sergeant who had come down to the base on a milk run to pick up a couple of guys returning from leave (or so the Orderly Room said...). The IO had given him an extensive briefing on the instructions from Colonel Jordaan as to what his tasking was. There was some patchy bits in it that the IO told him were 'need to know'. In other words he was the preverbial mushroom until he need to usual *sighs*. Knowing where Wihan needed to be, the Sergeant drove him to the building where the conference was held. After reporting to the Orderly Sergeant, who passed him on to the Ops Sergeant, he was usshered into the conference room. Sitting in the back quietly he listened in to what was said and every so often took  a glance at the other men present. He knew Colonel Jordaans by sight and reputation, therefore paid close attention to what he said.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Sebastian Barnett on July 03, 2017, 05:48:23 PM
"Major Barnett, Captain Gallagher. Your teams are on counter-recon. Elements of the 44 Pathfinder Platoon have reported seeing possible infiltration efforts by the enemy since the South African paratroopers first deployed. Aussies take the western side, Brits have the eastern side. I'll leave the patrol distance to your discretion. ROE is that you are under no circumstance to cross the Limpopo River."

Sebastian had nodded, his mouth remaining shut knowing that the briefing was far from over and it was a crucial point to listen in on. They had been informed about the ROE if engaged and if they had been flanked in some way. The place itself was large with only one way in - but that would hardly stop a fighting force who wanted destruction.

Though, it was not just there where he listened - Seb had taken in everything about the EOD team as they were an important part of the defense. The fact that it was taking place at night had given them an advantage but also a disadvantage. They had their code-words in case shit would eventually hit the fan.

"Now that we've got that explained, do any of you have any questions now?"

"What's Zimbabwe's kit looking like, sir?" Sebastian asked, it was good that they knew they were up against other SF but they needed to know about their armor and whether or not they had the upper hand in terms of technology.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: L. Andrew Cannon on July 04, 2017, 08:48:31 AM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

With a nod to the Colonel, Andrew stepped around the table to an open seat. It was a folding chair, one that had definitely seen better days. Nothing too fancy, but it worked. Lifting it up slightly by it's back, Andrew pulled it back far enough that he could slip into the seat. Seating himself, the briefing had already begun - his eyes jumped to the projector and speaker.

Digging into a cargo pocket on his pants, Andrew extracted his worn field book and a pen, flipping the book open to a fresh page Andrew began taking shorthand notes. The assignments broke down as he figured they would, the SAS and SASR teams doing counter-reconnaissance and his team tackling the bridge.

Nodding when the Colonel mentioned the unit that'd he'd liaise with, he scribbled it in his book. Examining his smaller copy of the map, as well as what appeared to be recent aerial reconnaissance images and ground level photos of the Beitbridge. It was a modern dual span, concrete bridge. The vertical support columns would be the obvious place for the charges to be placed, which would bring the bridge down or severely cripple the bridge - making it unable to bear any significant weight. And if he were doing the demo placement, Andrew would have run multiple smaller charges across the underside of the suspended sections of the roadway as well, which would make the bridge impassable even if the supports weren't removed - can't drive on a bridge with 10-12 foot diameter holes in it. Andrew quickly scribbled his thoughts onto the pictures and their likeliest locations.

He went to raise his hand, and inquire as to the timing of the operation, but the Colonel beat him to the punch. A night operation was the only way to do the job without putting his team and the operational as a whole at undue risk. The night wasn't exactly the most conducive to EOD operations, but it was what he and his team were trained and tasked to do.  Andrew's ears perked up as the brief was handed over to the SANDF Army Colonel.

As the Colonel covered their contingencies, Andrew in big block bold letters wrote down, underlined and circled the word, "Winter."

"Winter understood Sir." He replied back to Colonel Jordaan, not that it was necessary but it was always good to let the briefing officer know you were awake and paying attention.
Jordaan wrapped up the brief and asked if there were any questions, one of the SAS Officers chimed in. "What's Zimbabwe's kit looking like, sir?"

Andrew nodded to himself, it was a worthwhile question he supposed, best to know your enemy as to kill him easier.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: William Bishop on July 09, 2017, 04:12:43 PM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

"A last minute addition I wasn't sure we would have. Corporal, welcome." Colonel Jordaan said as the home team joined the others.

"Alright, good. Corporal, you guys already know the score. I'll have you on the bridge with Lieutenant Cannon's team, that way we can keep the paras in place but still provide overwatch for the EOD mission." Bishop said, "And as for your question Major Barnett, well..." He glanced at Jordaan.

"Zimbabwe has not seen much in the way of equipment for some time. They alienated the Soviets a long time ago, and most of what they have either came from the Soviet Union before then, or trickled in from China and North Korea. They inherited some equipment from Rhodesia, but not much of it is useable." Jordaan said.

"They will be equipped more simply. Kalashnikovs and hand grenades for the most part. Some of them may use battle rifles, such as FALs or G3s. But in terms of equipment, there is a considerable disparity between our forces and theirs, in our favor." Jordaan continued.

"But don't doubt the man behind the gunsight. And if this goes hot, they're going to do everything they can to drag this war out. Just look at what's going on in the Mid East, they're not much better off." Bishop added. His South African counterpart nodded in agreement.

"Their main asset is, aside from that they will likely force us to fight them to the last man, that they have a large number of multiple rocket launchers, particularly Czech RM-70s. Should they want to blunt an advance, they may resort to raining rockets down on said advance." Jordaan said.

"Be on the lookout for those, Grizzly. If they got any of those or those Soviet BM-21s set up close by, they may want to drop some fire on the bridge with 'em." Bishop said.

"Aye aye, sir." Ed replied.

"If you gentlemen have anything else, fire away, otherwise, one of the hangars has been cleared for you guys to gear up and get yourselves ready to go. Chalks up at sundown." Bishop said.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Sebastian Barnett on July 10, 2017, 04:23:28 PM
Having been explained the kit and the firepower that they would most likely come into contact with, Sebastian had jotted it down on a small piece of paper and slipped it into his pocket for later reading to his team. The last thing they needed was artillery of rockets firing down upon their heads when defending the bridge, he gave a grim smile of acknowledgement of the fact before focusing on what else they needed.

"If you gentlemen have anything else, fire away, otherwise, one of the hangars has been cleared for you guys to gear up and get yourselves ready to go. Chalks up at sundown."

It seemed the briefing was, indeed, brief and to the point - with everything that they possibly knew summed up and to pass onto the rest of their teams. Sebastian stood up, drawing himself to his full height with a stretch as he nodded and walked out, guided to their temporary quarters.

The Aussie looked at his team, "Right, rally up. Story time," They walked over, his 2IC Harry Eyres looked expectantly at the briefing that they were going to get. "This is a night, counter-recon op, taking the Western flank. We do not cross the river nor do we allow the OPFOR to get across the bridge - the only way in and out. Sniper, spotter --" Sebastian looked at the corporal and the sergeant. "If engaged, go loud. If you see them on our side of the border, engage. We are to attempt to capture one for interrogation..."

He quickly ran his team through the briefing that they had, pulling out a piece of paper to show them the weaponry they may encounter before getting ready to rock. NVGs tested and fully operating, Sebastian led his pack over to the designated hangar.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: John Gallagher on July 10, 2017, 05:34:29 PM
Gallagher nodded along with what was being said. He'd be on the eastern side of the bridge then. Based on the maps and photographs of the area, it didn't look like there was a whole lot of cover for them. Most of what there was seemed to consist of waist high shrubs.

After the briefing, the Captain was led to his men. He gave them the rundown of their objectives, and answered questions they had. With that done, they got ready preparing for their step-off.

They had brought along with them two Land Rovers and a Jackal. One of the landies was a WMIK (Weapons Mount Installation Kit) version, and therefore sported both a GPMG and a Browning. The Jackal had the same armaments, but that would be the vehicle that would carry most of the supplies.

By now, Gallagher had a plan. He'd dig in about 2 kilometres from the river, and some 8 kilometres south-east of the bridge. Set up a small patrol base. Nothing too elaborate, but have a place where they could organise.

Then there'd be two patrols out at any one time. One to patrol to the west and close with the bridge while the other would go an equal distance to the east, both patrols staying near the river, able to see what -if anything- was going on on the opposite bank.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: L. Andrew Cannon on July 12, 2017, 09:01:11 AM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

With the briefing clearly concluded, Andrew tapped his pen on the tabletop a question attempting to formulate in his head. Colonel Bishop asked if there were any final questions, if there weren't they were released to their respective teams for whatever their pre-mission rituals were.  He turned in his seat, looking over his shoulder to locate the South African Special Forces Corporal that the Colonel had mentioned was tagged to his team for the bridges.

"Yes Sir, one last thing," Andrew said raising his hand slightly and rising from his seat.

"Is the Corporal attached to us as an individual operator or is there a team with him?" He looked over at the South African Special Forces Corporal, "No offense to the Corporal if he's alone." Andrew turned back towards the Colonel, "One other trigger puller plus me, versus whatever Zimbabwe might decide to throw at us across the bridge? Those aren't exactly odds I'd say are stacked in our favor for a successful go at this."

Spoiler: {No Team} • show

"Very well Sir, I'll take what I can get," Andrew grimaced slightly, nodding to both the Colonel and the Corporal. One additional body wouldn't break anything, and who knew it might just make it for them too if things went sideways - but one thing Andrew was not, was a profit or gifted with precognition. Who knew? Walking around the table, Andrew stuffed his notebook back into his cargo pocket and approached the Corporal extending his hand in greeting.

"Lieutenant Cannon, nice to meet you, Corporal?"

With the greetings out of the way, Andrew stepped towards the door with the Corporal. "Grab your kit and meet us in the hanger and we'll get you up to speed on our team and what not."

Spoiler: {Team} • show
"Awesome, five extra guns. That'll make the division of labor and provide cover for each bridge that much easier." Andrew said with a grin, a quick nod to Colonel Bishop before turning towards the South African Special Forces Corporal. Having an additional five shooters along with his team on the bridge would mean Alex and Graham could focus on doing their respective jobs quickly with Cameron and John assisting, leaving the overwatch and cover to Andrew and the South African Special Forces guys a much better set up.

Pocketing his notebook Andrew approached the Corporal extending his hand. "Glad to have you and your team with us this evening Corporal. My boys will be happy to have you along, easier for them to focus on defusing whatever is on the bridges. Instead of worrying about who is trying to shoot them... Anyways I'm Lieutenant Cannon," He said extending his hand for a handshake.

With the quick introduction over, Andrew motioned for the door, "Why don't you rally your team and meet us in the hanger, we'll mesh up and get ready for this operation. Sound good?"

Stepping out of the briefing tent into the waning daylight, Andrew took a second and his first opportunity to look at Air Force Base Makhado and breath in the South African air. Crouching down as he enjoyed the moment of peace and tranquility, Andrew dug a small plastic tub from a cargo pocket and cracked it open. Dragging it through the dirt, he quickly filled it and tapped it down so he could close the cap. Satisfied he stood and headed across the tarmac towards the hanger where it was obvious the teams were all preparing for the night's mission.

Stepping into the hanger Andrew quickly located his team, Alex already had them in full kit and ready to roll. Each of the EOD tech's were doing their respective pre-mission rituals, trying to escape the jitters that came with each step off. Seeing Andrew coming, Alex pulled the team in around a hard case container, "What's the word, Sir?"

Without looking, "Scarbro, I swear to Saint Mattis of Quantico, if you open your trap and say 'the bird is the word' I'm gonna kick your window-licking-crayon-eating ass up and down the god damned flight line till I'm tired. Am I clear?"

"Don't promise me a good time Sergeant First Class Reynolds!" Scarbro retorted with a hearty chuckle.

"I might just watch..." Graham chipped in, pushing his glasses back up his nose.

"You are sick and twisted, you know that right? Both of you are," Cameron added shaking his head in mock disgust as he situated his weapon over his chest.

Stifling a hearty laugh and shaking his head, Andrew stepped up the container and makeshift table, laying his notebook down and pulling out a series of aerial images and an MGRS map. "Alright lock it up, stow the jokes - I need your thinking caps on and game faces, hooah?"

For the next 20 minutes, Andrew went through their night step-by-step. By the time he was finished each member of the team could walk him through the operation as a whole, the high-level CONOP for their forward, left, right and rear units as well as their respective missions on the bridge and what the contingencies were for a whole host of situations. The last piece of their puzzle was Corporal Meinertzhagen and his Special Forces Reece team to round them out. Satisfied with his team Andrew released them to their own devices and headed for his gear, it was his turn to get his shit together and be ready to go - they were getting close to go time.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Wihan Meinertzhagen on July 23, 2017, 01:34:59 PM
”Sir…” Wihan braced up respectfully in reply to what the American officer had said to him. It was obvious he was the dual-commander of this operation. Having Colonel Jordaan’s involvement made him feel a little more confident. He knew Jordaan’s had experience ‘up North’ during his time with the Recce Commandoes during the Apartheid era (or so he heard) conducting cross-border raids. If anyone knew the AO like the back of their hand- it would be Colonel Jordaan’s in Wihan’s opinion.

His eyes and ears took in the assembled officers and SNCOs present. There was a number of different uniforms, unit patches, as well as more obvious items- like the SAS berets he spotted. They had certainly called in heavy hitters for this op. Much of what Jordaans said about what the Zimbabweans was familiar to him. SANDF GHQ intel cells had regularly posted briefings and updates on all possible hostile forces they might have to face. Certainly he took it with a grain of salt. Just because a Zimbabwean soldier was more used to brutalising cowered civilians, didn’t mean he wasn’t capable of put a round through Wihan’s face if he had a chance. That said, he was also certain that as effective as the RM-70s were, they were probably badly maintained. Wihan would bet a dozen of beer that after the third rocket was fired by one there was a good chance that the fourth would misfire in the tube and explode, destroying everything within metres of the truck. Besides…he knew for a fact that they had no counter-barrage radar on the other side (or at least none of recent design) and would quickly fall victim to the SANDF’s G5 howitzers. Outcry of outrage from Zimbabwe? After the propaganda that Harare churned out weekly endlessly about the government in Pretoria- who would notice?

Wihan wasn’t too hard for 2nd Lieutenant Cannon to spot. First off, he was the only person that wasn’t there before he arrived. Secondly, he was the only SANDF NCO sitting at the back. The officer asked a valid question. Glancing at the senior SANDF officer, he saw him nod in reply to his unasked question. ”No offense taken sir” he answered politely, ”I have been tasked with your team as an individual. There is slight- I emphasise slight, danger that hostiles may have crossed the broder in the last few weeks and maybe have laid mine or recced the area we will be working in. My task is to conduct first of all, check for any spoors left by these groups. It should be noted people traffickers have a number of infiltration routes in our area to bring in undocumented illegal workers into our country to work in the mines. Unfortunately, with our nation’s economic problems has aggravated a lot of industrial trouble in the last few years. In addition, these same route may also be used by illegal poachers. Some are former terrorists from the Bush War in Rhodesia and have been involved in the illegal ivory trade. Asian buyers will pay top dollar for ivory- no questions asked. I know some of one of the local languages, so if a prisoner is taken on our side of the border, I can find out why they are there” he said.
A wry smile crossed his face for a second. ”I also know where to look for crocodiles. They are there…maybe not too close, but I don’t think the Colonel will be happy with me if one of your guys ended up as a crocodile’s dinner. Probably won’t happen, but I don’t think we will want to take chances there”.
Serious again, he continued. ”Don’t worry sir- we won’t be alone. They won’t risk casualties by launching a serious assault against us- Harare has too much at stake to risk losing face in front of the public, which is supposed to have cowered. Bad enough the enemy get to shed first blood- a discontented population is even worse. Just so you know, the ‘bush telegraph’ is not a myth and does work. We will be fine sir”.

The briefing over Wihan waited until the hanger was empty enough, that he could approach him. He shook Andrew’s hand confidently and with respect. ”Corporal Meinertzhagen sir…an honor to serve with  you. I will do my best to be of assistance where you need me” he answered. Nodding he left the hanger with his new officer and headed off to clutch up his kit.
Since he was deploying in the field on what was considered by the regiment as a ‘sensitive’ operation, he wore a sanitised SANDF uniform. Bereft of all unnecessary badges and patches except for his name patch and rank, he looked like he could be a SAAF mechanic, a driver from a transport unit or just another field engineer. Likewise he carried ubiquitous webbing and pack, with a standard issue R4 rifle. Slipping into the hanger he deposited his kit neatly in a corner and with his rifle slung (leave his rifle unattended? Never!), he reported to Andrew. ”Well…here we are sir. What can I do first for you” he asked.
Title: Re: Operation Iron Serpent - Phase I (Arrival & Briefing)
Post by: Ed Connolly on July 24, 2017, 05:01:39 PM
Air Force Base Makhado
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, South Africa

As soon as they were let go, Ed and his Marines went for the hangar as well to start gearing up. He half considered requesting to borrow some South African kit, he had done his homework and knew the South Africans took their firearms about as seriously as Americans did, but he decided not to complicate logistics.

Everyone had the usual tricked out M4A1 SOPMOD, with a suppressed Kimber-made M1911A1. Cho also had an M40A5 sniper rifle, but no one was bringing anything unusual or heavy to this party. Ideally, they would never have to fire a single shot, but Ed knew better than to rely on idealism.

"Alright, last word. If things go sideways for the other teams, we'll try to fall back and reinforce. But if that's not viable, hang back and harass whatever's coming their way. And if it goes to shit for us, we do not take chances. Let the local fighters bring the hate, we shag ass back to the nearest LZ or attempt to cross the river." Ed explained.

"What're the odds this is going to go to shit?" Gunny asked.

"We both know the answer to that. But a lot of folks are pretty sure that this is just a whole lot of bullshit and posturing. The alternative is that South Africa gets to see how well it can hold up to an OIF scenario. Hopefully someone gets their head in their ass wired together and we'll be out in a week." Ed replied. The other Marines nodded in agreement. The joking was all but gone, every one of them had a serious and somber expression. Many of them had taken fire in Iraq or Afghanistan, they knew all too well what awaited them if peace failed here; a lot of pissed off and desperate people looking to take a few invaders down.

"Saint Mattis watch over us, then." Cho finally said, breaking up the silence.

"You sound like such a fucking boot, rook." Doc replied, using the derisive term used among Marines to refer to personnel who have not yet seen combat action. While Cho had seen a little action in Afghanistan, there was at least the modifier that Doc said Cho sounded like a boot. Despite being technically Navy, Doc was about as Marine as they came.

"Why you gotta be like that, doc? You wound my very soul." Cho replied.

"Yeah, I gotta say, that was a bit overkill." Gunny added.

((OOC Note: Players are free to branch off into their own threads from here so as to minimize confusion))