The Keystone Division after WW3
Operation Barnburner -- PT I

M240-G, the replacement for the M60. <BR> Supply never met demand in WWIII, however.

The factory on the west side of the river is a single unit building 10 meters high, 100 meters wide, and 250 meters long. McCain said earlier, that it manufactured trusses (a la "bridge support" or "roof support", not hernia support...) before the unrest, and now it looks to be non-operational. A 100 meter railroad spur protrudes from the north end of the building, and stops, and the spur must go thru the building, as it appears to emerge from the south end of the building, and then curve eastward, across a road. There is chain link fence surrounding the factory, and some (8-10) loading docks on the west side of the building, closer to the north end.

There is a 2-lane (township) road that was not seen before. It would be Old RT 15, and it heads north and south. It apparently parallels the river, and goes under the RT 80 bridge.

04 MAY 05 / 0140 hours Crossing I 80 bridge.

The Passive IR on the M163 picks up the HUMVEE, it's engine standing out like a sore thumb against the black of night. Then you see someone crossing west to east on the bridge. The person heads across, stopping at a point about 1/3 the way across the bridge. The person pauses for a moment, then he proceeds to cross to the other side. The bridge appears to be 40 meters above the surface of the water, at it's highest point.

Shortly thereafter, a second person crosses the bridge, again west to east. The two go to ground, and wait a moment on the other side. Visibility conditions improve for the moment. The moon begins to shine more brightly through the cloud cover. Tyler can just barely make out where two persons are set up on the west side of the bridge, lying very still.

Finally, Panoke and McCain crossed the bridge, and went to ground, lying very still, but watching their surroundings. They reported in to Fire Team and then set off to have a look, while Robbo and Reb covered them.

"Sierra, this is Foxtrot, in position, all clear, stand by."

[McCain] Heads off in the direction of the nearest building. If possible he will take a peek in some windows or open doors. If all looks deserted he will continue to the next building.

[GM] Well, there are not alot of buildings on this side of the river. The nearest one is about the only one. It is of sheetmetal, and is 100 meters northeast of I-80, on a smallish hill. Moonlight reflects off of a sign, or maybe some large lettering.

Through the binocs you can read "DEEREFIE LD J H DE AL " (Some of the spaces indicate letters that are missing, apparently having been shot out.)

McCain can't place this name, or remember what went on here.

The only other nearby structure is a huge factory of some sort, about 600 meters southeast of I-80. With binocs you can make out a chainlink fence, and a huge metal watertower that has been toppled over. The building is at least two stories high, and probably takes up several acres. Little else can be made out at this distance.

McCain can't place this name either, or remember what went on here. Sorry guy!

At this point, McCain and Panoke are about 400 meters from Reb and Rob, and about 800 meters from MAJ Tyler and Fire Team. Do you wish to proceed with checking out the first building?

"Let's check out the tin shed. We may need to get the HMMVW up here soon though, in case we need back up." McCain proceeds with his shed check.

"Good point Sgt. Okay lets move the Humvee to the bridge then proceed, shall we. Panoke reaches for the radio

"Sierra-3, this is Sierra 1 Move up to the bridge and hold. Sierra 1 out"

"Foxtrot -1, this Sierra 1. suggest you move to Sierra-3's position. Sierra 1 out."

"Sierra, foxtrot. Acknowledged."

Shadow has the fire team move up to slightly behind the Humvee's position.

As the Sgt moves to check the building Panoke moves behind him at about 20 meters, covering him. They proceed to check out this " Tin Shack "

04 MAY 03 / 0150 hours
east side of river
near I-80

The building is dark, and utterly deserted. Scorch marks adorn the sides and roof, and the few glass windows have been shattered.

Some wrecks of farming equipment can be seen scattered about the place -- some missing tires, others burned, or wrecked (as in crashed into something else). In all, there are 5 vehicles on hand, 4 of which are the familiar green machines with yellow lettering -- John Deere equipment. This was apparently a Deere dealership. The inside is a wreck -- without light, not much detail is visible. Apparently there is some equipment inside, along with alot of clutter. Many tarps conceal things in the room; you can only make out vague shapes. And a liberal coating of dust tops it all off.

"Capt. this stuff could be a gold mine to the RISC team. John Deere built some mighty rugged machines. I'll peek under the tarps." McCain carefully enters the shed and pulls up a couple of tarps to see their contents.

"Carefully Sgt. This is a recon trip not a salvage run... that comes later."

04 MAY 03 / 0152 hours
east side of river
John Deere Dealership near I-80

To stay withing 20 meters and cover McCain, Panoke also enters the building.

The visibility is terrible in this place. There are a few holes/gaps in the building that let in some light, but even outside the visibility sucked this night. It was as if moving were some kid's game of blind man's bluff. Just when one gained enough confidence to advance, one would bump into something or brush against something that was not known to be there, or perhaps closer than one thought.

The shapes that are covered with tarps range in size from that of a fair sized desk, to that of a small automobile. As McCain pulls up several of the tarps. After uncovering a few, some of the dust is propelled into the air. Panoke reacts quickly, and covers his nose, mouth, and eyes; McCain gasps, and inhales dust. As McCain fights to suppress coughing, Panoke scans around the room, ready for any trouble, real or imagined. There is none -- the place must truly be deserted. McCain just hacks, coughs, and wheezes.

After what seems to be an eternity, but was really only half a minute or so, McCain recovers. He and Panoke are able to make out several packing crates, tool cribs, and so on. Just as he was about to say something funny about McCain sucking in dust, Panoke kicks something metallic, which *chings* across the concrete floor. Feeling around with his feet, Panoke locates other metallic objects on the floor. His best guess without making more noise, or taking his eyes off his surrounds would be the upturned contents of a tool chest. But he cannot see, and wonders if he'll do a "grandpa on rollerscates" routine shortly, having not detected some offending screwdriver under his feet.

If you want more detail, you'll need a light. In one of McCain's "non-standard" (ie civilian) medical kits, there is a cheapo penlight. Now did those batteries still work?...

Once satisfied that the place is deserted, Panoke waved the Sgt back out to the entrance. Panoke hands him his water canteen and says, "Here, get the dust out of your throat"

McCain drank.

"Okay Well this is clear the other complex is far enough over that we may be able to bring the vehicles across with out worrying about it. Comments, Sgt?"

"cough..cough..well that wasn't one of my better ideas. At least it wasn't a couple of tanks covered up in there. Ready to go when you are Capt." Rubs face with hankerchief to rid himself of any more dust in his nose or eyes.

Panoke smiles. "No real harm done Sgt, and maybe some good."

Over the radio.

"Sierra 3 -- Join Sierra 1 East Side. Sierra 1 out"

"Foxtrot 1, Sierra 1... Sierra 3 & 4 are joining myself. Will advise when clear. Sierra 1 out"

"Foxtrot acknowledged"

Robbo stood up and moved back to the Hummer, and prepared to get back underway. When Reb is in the hummer (preferably up top to look around) Robbo calls over the radio. "Sierra 1, acknowledged, moving now"

Then he starts the hummer and moves over the bridge, carefully.

Panoke and the Sgt cover the humvee across the bridge and get into the cover of the side of the Shack.

"Foxtrot this is Sierra. All clear and quiet. Suggest you join us ASAP. Sierra 1 Out"

All of Scout Team have reached the east side of the bridge without any interference.

The unidentified "factory" building is now 700 meters SE of the Scout Team Group at the John Deere Dealership.

"Foxtrot acknowledges." Ryan leaned down and spoke inside the vehicle, "Let's go."

04 MAY 03 / 0155 hours
East side of Susquehanna R.
John Deere Dealership near I-80

A few minutes later the M163 AAA vehicle crossed the bridge to the east side of the Susquehanna River, and Foxtrot was now 100 meters west of the position Sierra had taken up...

There was still no sign of anything or anyone in the vicinity...

Panoke has asigned the scout vehicle to cover the crossing of the main team. Once they are across Panoke shows the major what has been found and coments about the factory complex that has not been explored. It is just to large sir. We would be there for a good time clearing it with the personel available to us. Panoke waits for his orders.

The APC pulls up and Ryan stays in the commander's cupola. "Captain, I don't want to stand here in plain sight. Let's move out. When we get to the cover of trees, we'll dismount and talk."

Shadow has the APC pull under cover and when the others show up he dismounts and they hold a quick conference.

"First of all, I don't want to explore anything right now. The purpose of your little scouting trip was so that we could avoid contact. Maybe after the mission is successful, but for now that mission is of primary importance. Let's keep our eyes on the final objective."

He looks at everyone to make sure that they know where he is coming from.

"Another thing, the reason for those abbreviated radio messages is twofold. One, to make it difficult for a listener to understand clearly what is going on. Two, to prevent them from triangulating our position and dropping in uninvited. "

"You were way too verbose on the radio. Your message was: "Foxtrot group situation under control sugest you join us ASAP Sierra 1 Out." A simple "Sierra to Foxtrot: Regroup," would have sufficed and cut down on airtime. You know I wouldn't have understood that. As long as you left out the word "Contact" I would have known it was clear."

Shadow shakes his head. "I'm not trying to dump on you, but a Soviet radio triangulation truck can get a fix on a position in just under fifteen second. Repeated transmissions shorten that time. I just want you to understand how important that brevity is on the radio."

"Now, we will proceed as earlier described. We will be heading south towards the target and avoiding roads and any contacts with civilians or military. Scout team will go first, and Fire team will cover. Don't get so far ahead that we can't effectively cover you. If there are no questions, let's mount up."

Panoke nods and signals the Scout team to mount up and move out. He gets into the pasenger seat. Then the scout team heads down the road.

Robbo slips the NVG back down over his eyes, and drives on, carefully.

04 MAY 03 / 0155 hours
East side of Susquehanna R.
John Deere Dealership near I-80

Both groups boarded their vehicles, and Scout Team led the way. The destination was a spot on the outskirts of Northumberland, east of the town, and several hundred yards north of RT 11.

The route that both groups had taken was an overland one, avoiding roads, towns, and villages. The path was more or less a straight line from the I-80 / RT 147 intersection, heading south by southeast to the point they would take up, just northwest of the target area.

The route was characterized by rolling hills, and small pine forests. The only time a road of any size was crossed was when the group crossed RT 45, 2km south of Potts Grove. Tyler and the others had reasonable confidence that the group had passed undetected. The evening had turned terribly overcast, and some patches of rain were encountered here and there.

04 MAY 03 / 0235 hours
Point R (in red) on map.
NW of target

Point X (also in red) is the Target location. At least in theory. McCain and Reb confirm the location, McCain from experience, Reb from his maps. However, it is not visible from Point R, ROC/K's current location.

The groups stopped upon reaching a decent place to continue their observation of the target and planning for the assault. The evening had turned terribly overcast and foggy, and some patches of rain were encountered here and there. Would the visibility work for or against ROCK?

No persons, animals, or vehicles were encountered at all. No structures were approached closer than 1km away. At least that the group saw.

Panoke searchs out the major. Sir permision to take the scout team futhur in on foot.

Panoke waits for the reply.

"Alright, listen up. Now it the time for the leader's recon. Top, you have command of the APC and fire team. Stay put and be ready to cut loose. Panoke, you still have command of the scout team, but your job is to get me to where I can observe the objective. We'll go forward on foot as you said. We'll go forward until we get the objective in view and then I'll decide from there. Until then it's your show Captain."

"Sir." Panoke signals the Scout team to him. "SGT McCain you have point, Corporal O'Herren back him up. Sgt take those NVG's until the Major needs them. Corporal Robinson you have the rear. Major you with me in the middle if you please. Okay every one ready?"

Panoke gives his gear one last pat down then signals the point team to move out. Gives them about 10 meters start the follows carefully.

Robbo nods and sorts out his gear, ready for a patrol into the unknown.

McCain takes point and moves out with his Thompson ready. Keeping an eye on any possible ambush point he moves at a steady pace.


(Quite) A few words about the map. I forgot to label north.

There is no elevation indicated on the map. From the south edge of the map going north to the River, the terrain slopes downward very gently, at no more than a 1% grade. The area between the Old Danville Highway and the Susquehanna River is a slow slope, descending a total of only about 5 meters from the Highway to the River. From the Danville Highway north to the various woods south of Johnson Creek, an ascent of 40 meters is gained over 800 meters, (a 5% grade). Finally, the area north of Johnson Creek ascends 60 meters over a linear distance of 600 meters (a 10% grade).

Scout Team plus MAJ Tyler are at the red R. Fire Team has fanned out into various positions to support Scout Team and protect the vehicles, should need be. I have the marching order as follows.


If the Intel briefs are to believed, enemy forces in the AO are at reinforced Company strength. Most of these troops are in nearby Sunbury, however, at least 50 Militia are reported to be at the Northumberland VFW. Reb and Panoke had an earlier encounter there. While the building is not in sight at the moment, they have identified the VFW as the purple building on the map, north of RT 11 and east of a clump of woods. That's about 1.7 KM from your start position.

"Alright you got me here captain, now it's time for my recon. Put out flank guards and join me."

After Captain Panoke emplaces the rest of the scout team in postion to cover their backside, Major Tyler hits the ground on a low crawl with Panoke at his heels. Shadow crawls through the brush southward and then east with the flank guards not too far behind. At the edge of the treeline just northwest of Oak Park, Shadow lays low and uses his the infrared scope on his SMG to look things over.

He taps Panoke on the shoulder and whispers into his ear, "We need to find exactly where those fuel tanks are before we can plan this thing. I think when we actually hit it, we can get Fire Team this far. They can cover while we have scout team sneak in and emplace the charges on the fuel tanks. Then right before we blow it, we call in the strike to distract them while we pull out."

04 MAY 03 / 0250 hours
Tyler's Recon Point
NW of target

Upon inspection of the site, several large structures do in fact stand out. They are represented by the black square outlines with circles inside. From your vantage point, the three tanks south of the railroad line (RR), and the westernmost tank north of the RR, are visible. They are so large that despite the poor visibility, the NVG are not needed. BTW The light level, on a scale of 1(cloudy, no moon) to 5(clear, full moon) this evening(morning!) is about a 2.

A few words on them -- the tanks are not to scale on the map. They are all on the big side of huge. :) Some are abit bigger or smaller than others. They average about 40 meters in diameter, and about 80 meters tall. They are round. The squares drawn around the tanks represent a high spill-containment embankment surrounding each tank. This is about 15 meters out from the tank, and is 8 meters thick and 5 meters high. I'm sure everyone has a mental picture for that part of the scene. The area inside the embankments would then work out to be about 70 meters squared, and 86 meters squared outside dimension.

Some other structures are apparent. Those listed in this next paragraph show up readily with your infrared scope, again, despite poor visibility conditions.

The larger brown building in Oak Park is there, along with a few smaller buildings. There also is a small grouping of buildings on RT 11 where Lithia Springs goes under the road. One of them is a recognizable as a church. You can also make out a long building, south of the truck turnaround loop at the site. This building is color coded olive (looks kinda brown). It looks as if it butts right up against the river.




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