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Hello everybody, as promised then here is the Intermission between Scenario 1 and Scenario 2, as well as the AAR. Next scenario in this Campaign will be held on Sunday the 4´th of february at the usual time of 2000 GMT+1 This is the Game list: http://www.kanium.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=11630&sid=9cb0393903efbeca6e39dd3254570c7d#p11630 And the PDF: BG Intermission 1.pdf And the AAR: BG Scenario 1 Operation Red Route 1.aar The Bears Gambit ” Speak softly, and carry a big stick." Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Intermission 1 By Nike-Ajax, All Rights reserved “Why?” The word was softly spoken, but the undertones were anything but. The men sitting on the other side of the desk looked at each other, seeking strength from the company. But as the president looked at them one at a time his blue eyes seemed to strip them of both security and strength. The men did not wish to be here, at least not with this message. And right now they all felt very alone. “No? No one wants to take responsibility for this fiasco? Then allow me to outline what happened: As part of our Hybrid war, then it was your responsibility to discreetly and with no ties to our Beloved Rodina, support and safeguard our patriotic brothers in, what is in spirit and soon will be in fact, an integral part of our Motherland. You were to do this in a low key way, and in such a way that you would not disturb the near abroad. It is not that you engaged militarily with our enemies: it was that you did it in such a clumsy way and left too many clues that NATO, EU and the Baltic Nations can use against us and as a rallying cry. Like in Ukraine we needed the world to see that this is not us against them, but rather them against Russian citizens. And in the process highlight and showcase western hypocrisy as well as weakness. In failing to achieve this, then you have limited our options and forced ahead our schedule.” He thoughtfully raised his glass of tea and sipped it, while he contemplated the plans, time schedules and windows of opportunity. One of the men looked at the others, cleared his throat, and spoke up: “My President, we tried to obscure any ties to ourselves. We used American vehicles that we bought from Iran, who got them from Iraq. We used weapons that are widely distributed, and even got some American Javelins. True that we had some Russian vehicles, including reconnaissance vehicles, but nothing that can be directly tied to Russia. Our Spetznas wasn’t directly involved in the operation, which might have changed the outcome more positively in our favor. But even though the convoy got through, then we still inflicted heavy losses on them which politically will be a hard pill to swallow for a Europe gone soft” The President of Russia looked at the man without malice, and perhaps even with kindness. After all he had the courage to speak up and be honest, something which should always be encouraged. Then he turned to the assembled men, while he collected his thoughts. “Gentlemen … this is not the Soviet union: we do not send people to Gulag or have them shot in the back of the head while passing through a door in the basement of Lubyanka and Vasily Blokhin is not waiting outside. But despite your efforts, then you need to do better: Not just for me, but for your country, your grandchildren and all those who sacrificed everything to bring us here. We are at a critical juncture and even though we have been careful and planned meticulously, then no matter how we planned this, then we knew that there would come a decisive time when we could no longer work in the shadows. We are very close but timing and context are everything. If we stumble and fall now, then it will take another revolution to save the Motherland. A revolution the outcome of which no one can predict, other than it would hurt our Motherland. Now: this means we will move our plans forward. The die is cast. You will ready our troops while we step up our diplomatic efforts as well as sow discord in their ranks in accordance with the concept of Hybrid Warfare.” The men looked both relieved and determined, and this time they all met his gaze squarely and nodded. The rest of the meeting served to iron out their plans and deadlines as well as adjust what needed to change. When they left and after the door had closed then the man laid his hands on his desk and sighed … so much time and sacrifice had gone into this. Sometimes he doubted if he had the strength to fulfill his country’s destiny. But he could not allow himself the weakness of doubting the road they were on. He took a deep breath and raised his gaze while he clenched his teeth. Then he grabbed his telephone and started making calls. “They did WHAT?” The high-ranking EU official glared at his subordinate as if he could somehow will him away, and thereby make the problem disappear. The man in front of him pursed his lips, and looked at his papers: “Soldiers of the Joint Expeditionary Force two days ago engaged in what amounted to a running battle with what they have described as well-equipped and well-trained insurgents. They claim that there are numerous clues and evidence that points to Russian support including the weapons that were used. Moreover they have stated that they used minimum force in accordance with their Rules of Engagement and that they showed restraint in the face of an armed military attack” The subordinate civil servant wished that he was somewhere else and he comptemplated different excuses for leaving the office, but none would hold up to the fury of his boss. He knew that the man in front of him had little patience for anything that did not go according to his plans and wishes. The senior official looked as if he was close to a heart attack, his mouth opening and closing repeatedly, which due to his considerable bulk, unwittingly made him look somewhat like a catfish pulled onto land. Not that his subordinate would ever dare say that aloud – his boss was not known for his sense of humor or for his forgiving nature. The senior official slammed his hand hard into the table, which startled the other man. “If those damn soldiers had used their heads instead of acting like the unenlightened brutes that they are, then we would have more political options. Don’t the Jarheads understand just how much money the west has invested in Russia or how long we have worked for a political long-term solution with them?” The subordinate did not want to point out that these were not US Marines but rather mostly Scandinavian soldiers. Nor that the civilian and military authorities in both the JEF and Lithuania backed up the report made by the commanding officer. In fact he was concerned, as there was something he couldn’t quite put his finger on; some nagging thought that he couldn’t quite formulate about the whole incident. Well … He knew better than to jeopardize his career and future by picking lost causes. Better to agree with his boss. “Yes sir, I agree completely. But it seems that there isn’t anything we can use to force the soldiers of the JEF out on the Baltics, as the Baltic Nations are in fact calling for more resources and soldiers to help with their defense. And the Lithuanian Authorities have already released much of the evidence as well as statements from locals. And not just to us, but also to the international media” His superior looked as if another heart attack was imminent, and the leaned forward over the table as if to give his words more weight: “They must be quite mad if they think we are going to escalate this further. We need the soldiers out of there – and now – and have this turned over to the proper authorities such as The Permanent Structured Cooperation and The Common Security and Defence Policy in our EU aegis. We need to control this politically and based on dialogue. So … how soon can we have them out?” The lower Civil Servant, who in fact wasn’t so low on the ladder, moved uncomfortably in his seat while he desperately looked for an answer that would satisfy the older man. Having found none, he deflated and with an even voice gave the only answer he could, knowing that it would send his boss into another rage: “Sir … I am sorry, but we can’t do that. The JEF is not an EU institution or organization, and the United Kingdom is formally on its way out of EU. Also the Baltic States as well as Poland have made it crystal clear that they want JEF on the ground … and NATO as well. In fact yesterday they went as far as to state, that the EU is not yet ready if ever to take over any defense, let alone in this situation. And that they put their trust in JEF and the pact of NATO, and that they are willing to invoke Article V if need be. They have also said that this is the last line in a series of Russian provocations, and as an example says that the Baltic States had to scramble fighter planes 130 times in 2017 alone to repel Russian combat airplanes from their airspace”. He took a deep breath and awaited the reaction which was not long in the making. The face of the senior official seemed to go through several shades of red and purple, before he answered: “The damn fools. Don’t they understand that we are in the 21´st century and that we don’t solve conflicts with war? We cannot just let loose the rabid dogs of war. Well … they will not get the help from us to do their warmongering. We need to prepare a political solution for the politicians to go over. It is going to be along night. ” The junior civil servant nodded. Inwardly he cringed at the thought of having to call his wife to tell her that dinner and movie was cancelled. Meanwhile in Lithuania, then the soldiers from JEF were tired, with days of uncertainty and inaction being abruptly ended with the violent clash in southern Lithuanian. They all knew what they signed up for, all of them being volunteers. But the scale and ferocity of the fighting still had surprised most of them. Like many military actions it had been a question of hurry up and wait, with periods of almost boredom broken with frantic and violent action. The action which had left at least the equivalent of 3 companies of insurgents dead, added to which were a number of wounded and captured. But this was far from all: almost 20 enemy vehicles destroyed including a BRDM, 5 technicals as well as at least five Cougar MRAPs and another five RG-31s destroyed. This came as a chock to the countries of manufacture, and has spawned an international investigation. Added to this then some of the dead insurgents were found in the possession of American made FGM-148 Javelin AT missiles. USA has vehemently and forcibly denied any and all involvement and has enraged started their own investigations into how these weapons and vehicles found their way to Lithuania. This did not stop the convoy, which managed to arrive almost intact at the government stores. However this did come at a cost: One M113 and one CV9040 were destroyed, along with their crews and a STRV122 was very heavily damaged. More vehicles were damaged and some civilians also lost their life in the clashes. In all 16 Soldiers of the JEF was killed and another 11 wounded – some of them severely. This is a hard blow to nations who are used to the lower intensity COIN operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Russia in the meantime has tried to claim that these weapons show that the insurgents at least in part were supplied by the Americans. This is something which very few outside Russia believe however. This is reinforced by the fact that a number of Russian speaking insurgents have been interrogated, of which at least some are former Russian soldiers. Also the Lithuanian authorities have searched the remains of the vehicles as well as having made numerous arrests, have released documents which indirectly implicate a number of former and serving Russian officers. This includes Colonel General Nikolai Fedorovich Tkachev, a person that has also had alleged links with the downing of the Civilian airplane MH17 over Ukraine by a Russian BUK missile launcher. But all this is politics. The soldiers on the ground just know that they have been rudely awoken to the fact that the conflict is now more than showing the flag. Many of them are veterans primarily from deployments to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and they were used to dealing with stressful situation. But the conflict has moved very close now. It is one thing to fight an enemy in battle thousands of kilometers from your home and loved ones. But it is quite another to do so with the threat of escalation that could directly endanger their families, friends and countries. The men and women cast glances among each other while they cleaned and serviced their equipment. Nobody said anything, but they all thought the same: Not us, not now and not a real war. It is not that they were cowards – far from it. But courage is doing what needs to be done, even when you are scared. And the apprehension that could be felt everywhere in camp was built on a very real threat. They all wished that they had more weapons and soldiers. But they would do their duty with what they had. Nobody wanted to say the words, but everyone thought about the same: World War Three?