(In case you are wondering: no, the tacky narrative is not included in the simulator.)
In the twisted power struggles between warlords, alliances shift unpredictably. Overextended over these lands of eternal conflict, the Coalition forces were walking the thin line between calculated risk and gamble. The region south of Mozdok was under control of a handful of chiefs that more or less were aligned under the same hatred for their northern cousins, whom they considered extremists. Friendly to the Coalition forces, the southern combatants provided a comfortable buffer zone and allowed the Coalition forces to focus their counterinsurgency efforts elsewhere.
A late September incursion into this buffer zone by a hundred northern insurgents unmasked the feeble state of the loyalties.
In a move that had no operational plan, finesse or discernable objective, 127 northern insurgents moved southwest and entered the towns of Mayskiy and Martkala. This band of marauding trouble-seekers found themselves short of the firefights and glory they wanted and had no choice but to continue onto Nal'Chik, an small city held by two Coalition-friendly warlords.
The civilian early risers at Nal'Chik received the northern insurgents with the mixture of annoyed looks and indifference that is the usual byproduct of years of conflict. Stunned by the non-violent incursion and not truly convinced about the merits of holding a foothold in an city of high value for the enemy, the northern insurgents took to the streets of Nal'Chik.
Within minutes, the Coalition-friendly warlords at Nal'Chik were scrambling to bring back their men from training camps, their private homes or wherever jobs they had in addition to their warrior gig. Combatants for this three-blocks-war were mobilized in little less than three hours.
The invaders were caught spread and became entangled within the swarm of defenders trying to reach their rendezvous areas from multiple directions. So big was the confusion and such was the rush to reach or get back to the main body, that visceral enemies passed at the opportunity of shooting at each other. Not a shot, not a taunt, Nal'Chik became the capital of missed tactical assembly areas. These were like Napoleonic armies that couldn't shoot at each other if not organized in tight formations. But by noon the columns were massing at an increased pace.
The northern insurgents eventually holed in a provincial government building, planned for a delaying action from there and -after realizing that they were surrounded, outnumbered and outguned- finally opted for a fanatical defense until the last man. If there is an advantage in hopeless tactical situations, that is not having to overthink plans.
The southern warlords couldn't make their minds about how to attack the surrounded enemy position. Prestige and honor eclipsed the task at hand. Storming a building is not an easy task, but getting the two southern warlords in agreement about who will do it and how it will be done was apparently even more difficult. In a room of a house located three blocks from the invader's last stand, sudden threats of mutual retaliation between the two allies prompted a fellow to take off his baseball cap and intercede.
S. Sgt. Jerome was an SOF TACP leader that happened to be at Nal'Chik to pick up some equipment left behind by the rest of the SOF operatives. Jerome's boss -the SOF's team leader- asked Jerome to stay in Nal'Chik upon receiving intelligence about the incursion by the northern insurgents. Young but by no means short of insight Jerome saw an opportunity to keep the southern warlords together and evict the northern invaders from Nal'Chik. His offer of air support was listened through an interpreter and answered through universally understood looks of relief and gestures of approval.
And so the issue was settled. Knowledgeable on his craft, Jerome asked for a position high enough to overwatch the whole city and the target building. His mind was not at ease: he already offered air support but didn't pay too much attention to the particulars of the target. The citizens of Nal'Chik had no inclination to stop their lives and the hot zone was a moderately populated area. Collateral damage would be worst than letting alliances shift ...
|The raider's holdout.|