. . . humping my ass through the boonies, deep in Indian territory. It had been a tough day. Pitched battles. Gain ground, lose the ground, gain it again. It's just the way it is.
We had fought for over an hour trying to save a small station from some punk-ass Vanu in their purple, princess suits. We managed to push their defensive tank line back a couple hundred yards and reduced their number from about 2 dozen soldiers, down to a manageable 3 or 4. Just as we thought the situation was cool, they started rolling in with their heavies and some fast air. Shit went sideways pretty fast from there.
Their tanks were firing from run-up positions on a small hill about 200 yards south of the compound. We had our heavy infantry switch out to AT launchers to try to thin their ranks, but even with missile lock, once the tanks went hull-down, our rockets just hammered the hillside. We got a few lucky hits in but we weren't clearing the armour fast enough, and certainly not as fast as they were clearing us with their small arms fire and HEAT rounds. Huge splash damage. The medics were busy little bastards keeping our guys on their feet. We had some hard core dudes in MAX suits and they tried to flank from low ground to the west, but even with their engineers repping their power suits from cover, all the unguided proxy and HE grenades they sent down range didn't thin the tanks fast enough to be of much good.
After about 15 minutes, the air support they had called in, arrived. Their fast air was problematic as their low speed passes allowed their auto-cannons to rip shit up bad. We were sending a lot of SAMs their way but splitting our heavies into AA and AT groups were reducing the effectiveness of our defence in a major way. We couldn't send enough of either type of fire to take planes or tanks out faster than they were arriving. As we tried to hold pop-up fire positions for our AT gunners, their air support and gunships would hit us from behind. When we moved into cover from the fighters around the corner of the main ammo compound, their snipers were taking us from cover to the west. Their shit was wired tight. Ours was not.
Our numbers and morale were dwindling. We had been reinforced by a LAV and half a squad, along with 2 or 3 tanks. The platoon commander decided to get the fuck out of Dodge when we were finally pushed into a small building in the corner of the compound. Control of the facility had been lost, and the word was sent for the new reserves to do a fighting withdrawal to the north while the remainder of the platoon re-orged back at the bio-dome, a couple clicks to the west. The hope was that the Vanu would consolidate most of their troops to secure the compound and only send a few after our smaller force. The other ~40 troops would mount up in fast air, gunships and armour, and counterattack from the rear and their left flank. If anyone couldn't get into a plane or tank, then they could jump on a turret MG or tail gun. Everyone was invited. We had 2 minutes for a piss break and a gear check, and then we were rolling out.
Go time arrived. We took about a dozen heavy armour, a couple LAVs and a couple gunships. The rest went north, where they would slant off to the east and hit the enemy's left flank. We were coming in straight from the south, hopefully, while the princesses were watching to the north for a counter attack from the direction our fighting withdrawal went in. We hoped. I had my gun cam running with the intent to catch a little retribution. It was a satisfying thing to see our armour rolling out and I figured it was going to be even better to see us crash into the rear end of some unsuspecting enemy tanks and LAVs. LAVs don't like 100mm AP ammo much.
As we were getting close to swinging north, a fast air scout flew over our column.
"Well shit", I said over comms, "there goes the party."
"STEADY UP!" yelled the platoon commander, "Fighter, 12 o'clock high, get some triple A on that!"
The fighter was low to the deck and coming fast, and as he crested the hill in front of us, we probably surprised the shit out of him as much as he did to us. He pulled back on the stick and started to roll hard, up and to the left, and then he magically turned into a big ball of smoke and bits of metal flying out in a funky star burst pattern. We had no idea if he got word out or not but our main force was nearly on the Vanu and there was no time to worry about it. The fighter saw us, not our flanking force. It still might work out. What didn't work so well, was my gun cam after a piece of shrapnel caromed off turret and turned my gun cam into just a useless piece of tech. Meh.
We got to the break-off point and wheeled north. I was manning the 30mm chain gun on the Prowler's cupola and keeping an eye out for any more enemy air assets. The chain gun does a nice job on just about anything with it's AP ammo though, so a few tank targets would be cool too. The prowler is a big tank with a fat ass, and it was slow up the first hill. The lower, lighter, faster Lighnings (apt name . . ) left us in their dust, crested the hill and headed down a shallow dip and up the next hill. We could see smoke and hear gunfire, lots of it, so I swung the gun forward, scanning the sky and quickly reloaded the mag. Bad karma to be fucking around with reloads once we hit the shit. And hoo baby, did we hit the shit.
Did I mention the Prowler was a pig with a fat ass? Well, it is a pig, but when you get a bit of a downhill, and a nice run of speed with a short uphill, you almost get enough air on the other side to pull a back side fakey. I saw blue, then brown, then fucking stars. We hit the ground like 40 tons of bricks and I bounced the chaingun off the bottom stop. When all the craziness and vibration stopped, we had landed right in the middle of the Vanu defence force, which was busy sending round after round . . . to the west. At our flanking force. :) Well, boy howdy! How I DO love a nice broadside silhouette. It was pretty hard to see what was a good guy and what was a bad guy. Smoke, fire, explosions, Vanu tanks trying desperately to get the fuck out, and Terran tanks trying to get the fuck in. The squad commanders were screaming out primaries, turrets and cupola guns were spinning like tops, and rounds were flying in every direction. Every time I had to reload I cursed the fact that I hadn't taken time to put a little extra training into reloading skills. If I'm loading shit, I'm not exploding shit!
The Prowlers finished up blasting the stragglers while the Lightnings sprinted off after those Vanu that were smart enough to get out of the carnage. A few fast air were buzzing around but our air cover had taken most of the enemy patrol craft out. One of the enemy fast air, a nasty little one man killing machine called a Scythe, was jinking and juking, desperately trying to outrun and scrape off a couple SAMs. He was a pretty slick pilot and managed to bounce one off a hillside, but the other missile was still looking for him. The pilot levelled out and didn't seem to realize that his escape from the SAMs was running him straight down my gun sights. I lined up on his nose, a little high, squeezed the trigger, and let him fly directly into my line of fire. I fired 100 rounds of red hot AP into his windshield, and he piloted his fighter directly to the scene of a crash. Splash one. Good pilot though, just unlucky. Sometimes lucky is better than good when you're in the shit. Me and my driver? So far, we were lucky.
We surrounded the compound and poured a withering wall of fire at anything that moved - in buildings, outside or in the air. In only a couple minutes we'd cleared the compound of enemy troops, and the total counterattack had been over in only 10 or 15 minutes. We circled the wagons, set up a defensive perimeter, and while the main gunner kept his head on a swivel, I jumped out to rep up the tank and reloadboth guns. Sent a couple scouts out to the east and north to set up pickets, and called her a night
So, ok, I wasn't exactly "humping" too much seeing as how my less-than-narrow ass was parked in a gunner's chair, and it wasn't Indian territory, it was Terran, then Vanu, then back to Terran. It's all good though. Word is, we need to rest up for a big op tomorrow. We're loading up half a dozen Galaxies, and going to hot drop 60 or 70 MAX on a New Con party. Hope they have enough chairs.