The Wesernitz river valley, 12 miles SE of the border with the Czech Republic is NATO's opening land battle of WWIII. The result of the battle, between under strength, poorly equipped British troops and a resurgent Red Army resonates throughout the book. Volume 1 'Stand-To'.
Germany: Same time.
1CG, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, were dug in on the reverse slope of a hillside overlooking the River Wesernitz between the small towns of Barraute and Muhlsdorf, two companies up, one back, covering a frontage of over a mile. 1CG was at the centre of 3 (UK) Mechanised Brigades one up, two back, line. To the brigades left was a German armoured brigade and to the right another mechanised brigade, this one being Canadian.
At the tip of 1CG’s line, a west/east oriented hill, there were forward positions prepared for infantry to provide direct fire but these were ‘cammed up’, camouflaged and empty. The Royal Engineers had cleared some fields of fire on the opposite bank to assist the battalion direct fire against any frontal crossing.
Direct fire support was going to be provided from the ridge to the Guards rear in the forested ground dominating the road that appeared to be on the likely axis the enemy forces in the Czech Republic would take toward Dresden. No. 1 Company was on the left covering Barraute with a platoon fortifying the small hamlet across the river from the town. The Royal Engineers had mined the bridge to blow along with the west bank. The western riverbank was very low and invited an assault by armour. The Commanding Officer, Lt Col Hupperd-Lowe had placed a Milan Section from the Anti-Tank Platoon at the rear of the small copse between the river and the road which cut behind into the forest. The Milan crews were dug in deep with good overhead cover and had also prepared several positions inside the copse they would occupy after any preparatory barrage had worked it over. He desperately needed anti-tank mines to cover his left flank between the riverbank and the wood line but Britain had destroyed much of their stocks so that the previous PM could strut his stuff as a world leader, leading by example. Lt Col Hupperd-Lowe had dispatched five trucks from the MT section to Poland to collect anti-tank mines from a colonel whose acquaintance he had made on a recent combined exercise with the polish army. The Poles had a glut of the things; all were of old Soviet manufacture and they were now put to good use against their former owners.
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