We're Not Gonna Take It
Copyright © 2015 by Al Norris and the Revolutions Universe Partnership.
All Rights Reserved
"Shot." James said into the mic.
As soon as the recoil of the .338 hit Lee, he absorbed it and came right back, lifting the bolt, ejecting the spent round and loading a fresh cartridge into the chamber, all the while coming back on target, but moving his scope over to the next target. Sighting carefully, breathe, relax and... squeeze... And the recoil hit him again.
Lee is ready to fire again. This time though, he looks through his scope to see if either target needs an extra little tap. "Striker-1, targets neutralized." Lee heard James say, as he verified with his own scope.
Mentally holding onto his now rebellious stomach, Lee remarked as he picked up his rifle and collapses the bipod. "Damn that was messy. Glad I didn't take headshots..." Lee looks down and around, spots his two spent pieces of brass. He picked them up and put them into one of his pockets.
"Yeah. My own breakfast wants out. Come on, let's get out of here and get to the rendezvous area."
"Striker-2, targets neutralized."
"Sounds like we got them all. I never thought about it until now. We didn't hear the shots from Peter. He must have a suppressor. I need to get one for this big gun. Damn thing is loud, this early in the morning!"
"Hell, I couldn't hear much of anything, after you fired that first shot!"
The timing couldn't have been better. Lee's team had little over a mile to travel to the "safe" point, while Peter's team had a little over a quarter mile. Peter and Paul were on foot and made it to the "safe" point at the same time Lee and James pulled in.
Ben made sure everyone was ready to depart. "OK guys, we have maybe another ten minutes before this place starts getting swarmed by the rest of the platoon that is stationed here. Let's head out."
Ben led them southward for just a minute, before he cut back west to River Road. Then it was south on the road. About a mile later, Ben pumped one arm up and down in the signal to move out quickly. The group had to travel another four and a half miles to the bridge that would get them over the Oswegatchie River and then north one mile, onto a dirt road that would take them into Stammer Creek State Forest.
Their next objective was Canton, NY. The way they had to travel, it would be a twenty mile trek to the point where they had to separate into two groups. The Grass River went through the town on the west side, and in order to get to the objectives on both sides, it was necessary to split into teams.
What they hoped was that traffic would be non-existent or next to none, in order to get the jobs done today. Or they would have to wait for the cover of darkness. At two points, one on the west side and one on the east side, a railroad line crossed above US-11. The goal was to use the explosives they had brought and to weaken one side of each overpass enough that its own weight would bring that side down. Ben was being pretty tight-lipped about the matter of explosives, even when both Peter and Tom said point blank that they didn't have enough to take down one overpass, let alone two. Ben was adamant that they had the materials and that this project had one definite and one possible advantage.
The first advantage would be forcing the enemy to complete the demolition of the bridge, to get the Highway cleared and usable again. Until it was cleared, traffic would have to be rerouted three miles for northbound traffic and almost four miles for southbound traffic.
The second possible advantage was that it also cut off all rail traffic until the bridges were repaired and new track could be laid. If the enemy were using railways to connect Ft. Drum to Potsdam and/or Massena (on the Canadian Border, north of Potsdam), it would cut off the most direct route to either of those places.
After about three hours of running through the brush and forests, they finally stopped for a break. It was now about 10:00 am and they had been up early with only a scant breakfast. Ben had led them across a small county road and into some trees that abutted one end of an old quarry.
"OK guys. Let's take a short break here for some lunch. Team one will be continuing on this side of the river for about six miles, while team two will take County Road 21 to the other side and move about seven miles to their objective." Ben said. "I have the routes pretty well planned out, and will be giving both teams their maps after we eat."
When they stopped, John went to Peter's quad, where he pulled out some knotted rolls. Then he went to his own quad where he took a can of spam and made some sandwiches. After passing these out, Peter just had to comment.
"I think it's time you leveled with us, Ben. Because you had to know that twenty-five sticks of dynamite was not going to be enough to take down one of those train overpasses, let alone two of them. Even after you found out that I brought fifty pounds of C-4, it's barely enough when added to the dynamite to take down one bridge, and only if everything is placed just right."
"I have said from the beginning that I had 'friends' who were giving me information." Ben replied. "What I haven't said is that some of these 'friends' are willing to get their hands a bit dirty. Such as the friends who encouraged me to get up here and do some serious damage to our mutual enemy.
"Peter, if you and Tom would take a look over at that equipment shack, I think you'll find something interesting, that may just change your mind about my plans."
A short ten minutes later found Peter and Tom walking back to the group, with huge smiles on their faces. Tom renewed the conversation. "Ben, you have some mighty fine 'friends'. You know, we are going to have to leave most of our equipment here in order to carry those drums, don't you?"
At this, Lee couldn't keep quiet. "What drums? Why leave our stuff here?"
Ben, Peter and Tom chuckled, before Ben explained. "Inside the shed, my friends left six 30-gallon drums, filled with twenty-five pound packets of ANFO. They also should have left some bell wire and two timing devices." Peter and Tom nodded. "If we add a part of a stick of dynamite to each container, three containers to each site, we have enough to blow out one side of our railroad overpasses."
"What's 'ANFO'?" John asked.
"It stands for Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil. It's the most commonly used explosive used for surface mining. Heck, you can get the materials from any farm store." Tom explained.
"Yeah, it will not only drop one side of the overpass, but it will throw out thirty to forty tons of debris onto Highway 11." Tom said, liking the idea, very much.
"As of last night, another group of friends should have the holes dug under the tracks. We will have the hard job of digging those holes, if those friends didn't get it done. Then we will need to place the drums, the detonators and the timers... then get the hell out of there."
Lee thought for a moment. "Won't the enemy just have the locals out on the roads to clean them up?"
"Yes, but all the larger earth movers in the area will have had a few pounds of powdered aluminum dumped into the hydraulic tanks. That won't shut them down immediately, but over a period of an hour or so, the hydraulics will give out. They will be stuck with backhoes and grunt labor. Gonna take them a while to clear the mess.
"Now... Peter, Tom? Look at the maps and visualize where the enemy will think our next move will be?"
Both Peter and Tom studied the map for a couple of minutes, whispering to each other and pointing to various spots on the map. Finally, Tom looked up. "It will be obvious that the attack on Edwards was a diversion or a test, maybe both. With crippling the railway at Canton, they will most likely think we are going to hit Potsdam and take out the east side of US-11 and State 56 South. That will have the effect of starting to isolate Plattsburgh." At the questioning looks from the others, Tom continued. "Ft. Drum and Plattsburgh are essential points to keep Canada from interfering with what is going on here in the US. Without being able to keep Plattsburgh, the entire northern corridor is open to intrusion by Canadian and British troops. I'm assuming that Canada and Britain have allied with the legitimate authority, President Bryce."
Peter then cocked his head and looked at Ben. "So if you've already figured this out, where is our next move?"
"Before I answer you Peter, what do you think the enemy will do, after we blow the tracks up?"
"If it was me, I would be taking a battalion to reinforce whatever they have in Potsdam. I would also take a squadron of Apaches and begin looking over the countryside for us. Specifically that area, both north and south of US-11, from Canton to Potsdam."
"Yeah. That's kinda what I figured they might do."
"So, since we are leaving our gear here, I have to assume we will be meeting back here, to pick it back up. So that kinda means that we are heading back south. By doing that, we avoid the search teams looking for us to the east of Canton."
"At this time, I think where we go from here is still a secret, until those overpasses blow and we all meet back up." Ben raised his hand to keep anyone from butting in. "Look, there are seven of us. If any of us get captured, can you honestly say you wouldn't tell these guys where we will be? Before, during, or after being tortured?"
"Whoa, Ben!" Tom jumped in. "I understand what you are saying here, but you have two of us on your team that have just a small amount of practical experience in small unit tactics. Now consider what you are saying. We won't have a need to know until after this objective is met and we meet back here to re-equip?
"I suspect we are going to have to grab all this stuff and get on the road, as fast as we can, to avoid the sweeps that will be starting. You've already said that it is six miles from the west side and seven miles from the east side. That's going to take a while to vamoose back here. So we will be scrambling. There won't be the time to hear about the next target, let alone discuss it."
Peter picked it up. "So you are worried that if one of us gets captured, we will spill the beans. I gotta say, if one of us gets captured, we change our plans. Right then, right there. But what if you get captured?"
"What makes you think you will survive interrogation?" Tom asked. "With the rest of us, in the dark about what you are planning, we fall apart."
Ben looked at both Peter and Tom, his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. Lee had been listening the whole time, and decided it was time for him to speak up. "Ben, you were voted to be our leader. You obviously have connections the rest of us know nothing about. Connections to people that are willing to take some risks to supply us what we need, when we need it, and where we need it. That's great. But if we don't know the plan, we can't execute it should you get captured or shot. That's not so great.
"Now from what I see here, we are not going to be able to place these charges until nightfall. We can't do this during the day. The risk of being seen is too great. It will be sometime in the morning before we are ready to blow the charges, so we have time for you to tell us what we all need to know, in the event one or more of us are taken out."
When Lee had spoken up, Ben had started to bristle. He felt as if everyone was ganging up on him. It came to him then, that yes, they were, but only to the extent that they were trying to get him to see a major defect in his planning. James, one of Ben's best friends, saw all of the emotions playing out on Ben. When he was finally satisfied that Ben was going to see reason, he nodded his head.
"Alright guys. you've made your point. I'm not looking at the big picture, just the short term results." Ben admitted. "Here's what I know."
Everyone then smiled and sighed, then they grouped around Ben, as he got out his maps. "When we get back here, we saddle up and move down to Cranberry Lake. They won't be expecting us to move back south. Since our first two strikes will be in a rough line to Potsdam, I expect that's where they will send some troops. At Cranberry, I think we can disable the bridge. So I have thirty sticks of 80% dynamite. Not sure it's enough, that'll be up to you and Peter."
"Ya don't say… Well, if we add that to the fifty pounds of C-4 I brought… we might could do some damage to something."
Peter laughed. "I knew there was something about you guys that I liked!"
"Moving on then. After that, I have a place that we might possibly get resupplied, and even pick up some, um, recruits. That will be dependent on what else is going on at the time. I'm assuming we'll get some intel from Bill to help guide us."
"If not, we can still re-evaluate after Cranberry." Peter looked happy. "I like the 'Hit & Run' tactics. We might have to stay put for a day, though. 'Cause I expect there to be an air-sweep for us after that. Although... with the way you have us hopscotching around, it will only be a guess as to which way we might go. They can't be sure of what direction we would go after Cranberry."
"Ben, what did you have in mind, after Cranberry?" Lee asked.
"I bet I know." Said Tom. "You wouldn't by any chance be thinking of Wanakena, would you?"
"Oh Shit!" A huge grin was plastered on Peter's face. "That would be fucking awesome!" Ben had the same grin on his face as he nodded.
It was John who spoke up, after looking at Lee and Paul, who had no clue either. "Other than having to go through the place in order to get to Sabattis Scout Reservation, what else is there?"
"Sabattis has three or four resident families that live there all year long. They keep the place tidy, even in the winter. Because of what's going on, there is a good chance that there are others of like mind there. Damn good chance there will be several Scout Troops there. Regardless of that, it will be a place that virtually no one, outside of Scouting, will think of as a place to hide or even operate out of. It is always fully stocked. Food will not be a problem.
"In Wanakena, there is the single largest New York State Forest Ranger school there. The majority of Rangers are trained there. If anyone knows these hills better than us, it will be them. Again, most of them, if not all of them, will be on our side. One of the things we will need shortly is winter garb. They have that.
"The last thing is a rumor. But it is a persistent rumor. About fifteen years ago, it got out that there was a big stash of small arms and ammunition being stockpiled there. While there are many reasons that this might be true, I'm thinking it is true, just because the rumor refuses to die. So there is a good chance that we can trade in these 30-30's for real M-16's or better yet, M4's. That would also mean we could be packing twice the ammo we currently have."
Peter stood up and begin walking around the group a bit. Mostly to work his leg muscles, but also to think. "Yeah, I knew there was a reason we picked you as our leader, Ben."
"There's something else up there that you might not know about Ben." Still seated, Tom leaned forward before he continued. "Wanakena also has a microwave relay tower that keeps Ft. Drum in the military loop. If we could somehow patch into that, we could get a real good idea of what they are doing. Not saying we can do that, but if nothing else, when we are done with that area, we could take the tower down and disrupt most of their comm to the rest of the Assbite's world. Either way, it's a win-win situation for us."
James, his hand rubbing his chin as he spoke, "Overall, I think it is a good plan. It should, if everything goes well, keep those behind Ashwood off-balance as to where we will strike next. What I don't see is where we are going to get fuel on the ride from Long Lake to Pulaski and back. Do you have that covered?"
"I'm hoping that when Bill resets the encryption, tomorrow morning, he will have a message from 'Stormcrow' for us. Otherwise, we will have to change our strategy."
Paul looked at Ben, "'Stormcrow'? You didn't!" Ben rolled his eyes. "Hey, not my choosing..."
"And do we also have a 'Strider'?" Paul pressed. "No, he is called 'Elessar'."
Lee, Peter and James busted up. It was John who really got everyone laughing, though. "When will 'Pippin' contact us, Ben?"
When they all settled down, Ben again took the lead. "All right then. Let's all get our quads loaded and ready to roll. We will rest until about 16:30 and head out then."
Peter, James, Lee and Paul had been tasked to take the eastern overpass. They had reached their destination by 19:00 hours. It was full dark as they began to scrutinize the area.
The first thing that Peter did was to look for the supposed dig to emplace the explosives. "Aw, shit!" He swore. "Ben's 'friends' didn't get the holes dug! Everyone get your shovels out!"
Lee walked up to the top of the overpass and stood on the tracks, looking in all directions. It really was eerie that he could see no traffic on this highway. At any other time, while there would not be much at this hour, there was always some traffic to be seen. As he looked west, towards town, he thought he could see a vehicle parked in the middle of the street, about a mile away.
Pulling his binoculars out, he studied what he thought he saw. Satisfied, he walked back down from the overpass and over to the small treeline where the rest of the team was waiting.
"There is no traffic as far as I could see. There is some kind of roadblock, about a mile west of here. I make it at the intersection of County Road 68. If we pack the barrels to the north side of the tracks, I don't think any noise we make will carry over to them. It's also better shielded from oncoming lights, if anyone comes along the highway."
While Lee had surveyed the location, the rest of the team had unpacked the barrels and rigged carrying slings on them. Paul reached over to one of the quads and grabbed what looked like a tamping pike. "While you were up on the tracks Lee, I looked over at that old holding shed and founds us a pike. I figure it may come in handy in digging out the hole for these barrels."
Half an hour later, they had the three barrels near where they were going to start digging. Peter was looking at the tracks and the concrete retaining wall that held the dirt and rocks of the subsurface in. The wall was eighteen inches thick just below the tracks and dropped shear for seventeen feet. There was the usual foot and a half of compacted gravel that the tracks and ties were lain on. Underneath was dirt. At least that was the appearance. Peter knew that there was a large layer of boulders laid down, which was the real bedrock of the overpass. How close to the wall this bedrock was, none of them really knew.
Peter took his best guess, measured over five feet from the wall and four feet below the tracks. His guess was tempered by where he saw the bridge ended, and where he figured the anchors had been driven. He was outside of where he hoped the theoretical slope of the layer of rock ended. He would know shortly, because if he figured wrong, about two feet into the side of the hill he would hit rock. And they would have to begin again.
The dirt was hard enough to dig through, after all it had had years to settle. Taking turns, and using the pike to help break up the soil, they finally had a hole that was large enough to shove the barrels into and deep enough to do the job. Looking at their watches, it was now 05:00 in the morning.
They were dirty and tired. But the last part was still to be done.
Earlier the previous day, Paul and Tom had figured how much dynamite was needed to set off each drum of ANFO. By placing the explosives inside certain spots of each drum, and rigging all three to detonate at the same time, it would ignite all the ANFO, and not simply push it out of the way. This is what Peter was now doing.
As Peter finished rigging the detonator to the first drum, it was carried up to Lee by James and Paul. Lee then began pushing the drum into the cavity, with James trailing out the wires that connected to the detonator. By the time Lee had the first drum pushed all the way to the end of the tunnel, with the help of a ten foot two-by-four they had scrounged, the other two drums were ready.
"Striker-1, Striker actual."
James keyed his radio, as Lee having finished shoving the second drum in and was grabbing the last one. "Actual, Striker-1."
"We have a problem. They have just placed a block about three hundred yards from us. We're done, but can't leave without alerting the guards."
Lee stood up. "Paul, help Peter get this last one into place and rigged. I need to look at something." Lee then ran up and over the tracks and towards his quad, parked a short hundred yards in the trees. He took his rifle case and the case that held his spotting scope and walked back up to the tracks.
Sitting down on the tracks, Lee got out his spotting scope and looked back towards where the roadblock was. It was starting to get light, so Lee looked at his watch.
They had less than two hours to get out of here, as they had agreed to set the charges to blow at 08:00 hours. Lee thought about this, as he looked through the scope.
There were four guards. Two were out of the Humvee, both towards the front of the vehicle, facing him. Those would be the easy ones... Well, easy if he could make the shots. This was going to be a 1300 yard shot, straight down the highway. Not the longest he had ever made; in target practice. The other two guards looked like they were sitting in the front seats of the Humvee, possibly sleeping. Hearing the gravel crunch, he looked up and saw the rest of the team coming towards him.
"Everything is set. What you have in mind?" Peter asked.
"Do you think that these guys have heard about the sniping back down in Edwards?"
"By this time? Most likely, why?"
"We need a distraction in order to get Ben's team out of there. If you were one of the guards where he is, and heard that your other blocking guards were under sniper fire, what do you think they will do?"
"They might just think that they are next, and would high tail it out of there. They might also think that they could catch us, if they moved quick enough. They won't, but they don't know that. Our quads can out maneuver Humvees any day of the week. And it will take at least fifteen minutes to get a chopper in the air. We can be lost in the forests by then."
"OK. There are two guards out in front of the vehicle and two that are sitting in the front seats. Can we assume that the radio is reachable by the guys inside? If so, I can take the two outside, giving the other two, time to get on the radio and yell for help. Then I take them."
"That's a bold plan. It's also a long way away from here. Can you shoot accurately from this distance?"
"It's a bit over 1300 yards. While I'm used to taking 1000 yard shots, I have been practicing at 1500 yards. I believe I can do it."
Peter stroked his chin before saying anything. "It's a hell of a long ways for the .308, but if I can walk the rounds up, I might even be able to help. At least it will appear that there are more of us than they figure on." Peter ran off, down the hill towards his quad.
"James, ask Ben if they think they can shoot those 30-30's and take out the guards at their end." Lee said, while looking in the spotter.
"Actual, Striker-1. Can you guys take them out with your rifles?"
A few seconds passed before they heard, "Negative Striker-1. No one feels they can hit accurately at that range."
"OK. We think we have a distraction here. If they begin to move out, you guys beat feet."
"Damn. Sure wish we had some better firearms. Here Lee. Let me get on that spotter. You get ready"
About that time, Peter came up and laid prone, just behind Lee. They both settled down and got ready. Peter said, "Take your time, Lee. But hurry up, daylights-a-wasting." This got a brief chuckle from everyone.
"I'm going for the guard on the right side, Peter. If you haven't zeroed in by the time I take him, I'll get the left guard and you switch to the guys inside the Humvee."
<<<CRACK>>> … pause … <<CRACK>> As Peter shot.
"Up one, Lee." James spoke softly. "Peter you are two hundred yards shy."
<<CRACK>> … "Peter, 50 yards short" … <<CRACK>>
<<CRACK>> … "Peter, you hit the radiator."
<<CRACK>> … <<CRACK>> … Peter's rifle spit two rounds out.
"Passenger is down. He looked like he was on the radio. Damn fine shooting, guys!"
"Striker-1, I don't know what you are shooting, but you can hear that damn cannon clean over here! They are bugging out and so are we. Thanks guys."
"Ben, we'll see you back at the quarry, out."
"Base to all teams. I was listening. Good Job! Resetting encryption. Message from Stormcrow on your mobiles."
Their handhelds all made some funny sounds for a second.
Peter and Lee got up and folded their bipods. Lee found his brass and then started to look for Peter's casings, when Peter put a hand out. "Don't bother, Lee. If they find this spot, and see the brass, they'll figure out the gun was an M14, then they'll be wondering how in hell those shots were made. They will end up thinking we are much better than we really are... Well, one of us, anyways. Now let's get out of here!"
Guns and scope cased, they all ran down the hill and secured them to their quads. Just as they were getting ready to take off, the radio came alive again.
"Base to all teams. Whatever you did, you pissed them off. They are sending in the clear and from what little Spanish I know, they want blood. Sounds like they are going to spin up a chopper, so wherever you got to get to, make it fast. Base out."
"Let's go guys," yelled Lee, "we have a mile to ride to get under the trees."
Wednesday, November 14, 06:54
It had taken Lee's team almost two hours to get to their target. Coming back, it took less than thirty minutes. They pulled in on the heels of Ben's team. It was a serious group of men that hustled to repack everything they had taken off their quads, in order to pack the ANFO. Another ten minutes and they were ready to go.
"I figure we have at least thirty minutes before these yahoos decide we ain't in the area and really start looking for us. So let's make tracks." Ben said, as he started his quad. They all took off down the dirt and gravel road, moving at about thirty miles an hour. The early morning had a small bit of breeze. This helped in that their dust was moved off the road and into the forests that surrounded them. If it had been calm, their dust would probably just hang in the air, and marking them from the air.
Once they hit County Road 17 at Russell, they picked up speed to about forty miles an hour. They followed the road south until the turnoff at Tooley Pond Road, when they reduced speed down to twenty-five mph, something more reasonable for the roads they were on.
After about another hour, they topped a small ridge and could see Cook's Corner. Ben signaled for a stop and pulled over into the trees. Everyone followed him.
They all dismounted and began walking over to Ben, stretching their legs and backs as they gathered around him.
"Guys, this is where I find out if one of my friends down there has everything ready for us... I should be back within the hour, so hang tight." Ben hopped on his quad and took off down the hill towards to small village.
Less than thirty minutes later, they could all see Ben coming back up the hill, followed by another quad that held two people. As they got closer, it was clear that the two people were a man and a younger boy. The two quads stopped just long enough to turn around, with Ben signaling them to follow him.
They came down and through the village, and just around the left hand fork was a very nice house and barn. Ben led them to the barn. The man and boy jumped off their quad and opened the doors, so Ben drove right in, and the rest followed him.