Small Wars Journal

Mad Science Fiction: Battlefield 2030

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Mad Science Fiction: Battlefield 2030

Marc Meeker

The Mad Scientist team executed its 2019 Science Fiction Writing Contest to glean insights about the future fight with a near-peer competitor in 2030. We received 77 submissions from both within and outside of the DoD. This story was one of our semi-finalists and features a futuristic look at warfare and its featured technologies.

“Send it.”

The destroyer was just over 100 miles out to sea, over the visible horizon and far from the ongoing battle.  The missile blasted angrily from its housing, accelerating to hypersonic speed just past the bow of the USS McCain.  There was only a brief moment for it to adjust its trajectory; 30 seconds into its flight, the ceramic ogive shifted shape, which both altered the missile’s trajectory and exposed small metal teeth along its leading edges.  The speed of its flight surged, its surface glowed orange, and within seconds its superheated nose slammed violently into the reinforced door of the bunker complex, kinetic energy enhanced by the extreme heat of the missile’s skin.  The principles of physics carried it through the 30-inch-thick blast door, violently over-pressurizing the forward passages of the tunnel complex and killing the defenders instantly.

“We’re in,” said Patrick into his mouthpiece.  He lifted his gloved hand and pointed two fingers towards the smoldering hole that was previously the entrance to the secret underground research complex, and the soldier to his left pressed a button on his wrist pad.  Three soft pops emitted from his backpack, followed by three shadows shooting diagonally overhead and straight into the smoking conflagration in front of them.

*****

Captain Mattox looked up from the screen. “FIRE MISSION!”

Lieutenant Colonel Roland looked up. “Confirmed?”

“Confirmed, sir.  Sector Sierra.  We have tube and missile assets available at your discretion. Target is Mechanized infantry, on the move, about a brigade.  Azimuth of travel is two zero three mils; precise location is on screen…now.  It’s Devil Brigade’s flank.”  The lights from the encrypted geo-locating satellite feeds blinked in bright green, indicating 100% confidence in the targeting data.

Roland didn’t hesitate. “Activate targeting algorithm and fire for effect. Prep GMLRS to mop up the stragglers.”  Mattox tapped the keys, and 7,300 miles from Snow Hall and the fire control center, a pair of heavily modified M109Z Howitzers abruptly pulled out of their pre-programmed routes and dropped their spades into the dirt.  The fully automated turret loaded a single proximity fuzed smart 155 munition and queued up five others.  The projectile was rammed into the tube, followed by a precise burst of liquid propellant, and the aluminum chassis shook as the projectile blasted from the barrel. Within 8 seconds, the barrel had fired off the remaining rounds.  Ten miles to the M109’s left and right, the 17 tubes of the Battalion’s 155mm Howitzers executed similar fire missions, rapidly and incrementally lowering their tubes at precisely the right elevation to ensure massed fires impacting within milliseconds of each other.  108 high-explosive rounds arced menacingly towards their unsuspecting targets.  Back at Fort Sill’s Snow Hall, the cooling fans on the basement super-computer kicked on, as LTC Roland sipped his cup of coffee, watching the screen.

*****

“Signal’s coming in now…” The screen flickered for a brief moment in Patrick’s eyepiece, and then it was clear.  The map of the tunnel complex changed in the micro-screen, right before his eyes, as the three drones mapped the tunnels they were seeing, relaying the signal back via breadcrumb transponders dropped at regular intervals.  “…not a living thing in there, yet.”  Patrick took the comment from Tan, his weapons-specialist, with a grain of salt. Of course, enemy soldiers near the gate were toast, but this complex was miles deep, and taking the entry door off its monstrous hinges was only step one.  The buzz-drones could scan tunnels, but they couldn’t bypass the next physical door they came to, unless it was unlocked.   It was almost as if Tan had read his mind: “Sir – Buzz 2 has hit a door. Sign indicates it’s a checkpoint or guard station of some kind, which tracks with what intel told us would be here.  Analyzing now…card scanner is…hacked.  Sweet! The handle is unlocked!” The buzz-drone had extended a physical manipulator and gingerly pulled the door open. “We’re through – oh SHIT!”  On the miniaturized screen, the surprised but unmistakable face of a human male appeared, flinging something at the drone deep within the complex.  The automated avoidance algorithms took over, causing the drone to swerve violently, the video feed going along with it.  A red button appeared on Tan’s small wrist screen, with a questioning phrase: “Neutralize?” Tan looked to the young captain.

“Do it.” Said Patrick.  Tan pressed the button, and the video screen flashed as the drone received the command, firing a taser dart at the man on the screen, dropping him instantly in a heap on the floor.  From the small screen, they could see more movement in the back of the room.  A whole mess of movement.  Again, the “Neutralize?” question appeared on the screen.  This time Patrick reached over and pressed no, and a second question popped up: “Destroy?” 

“Damn right,” said Patrick, mostly to himself as he pressed the button twice for area effects.  The drone lurched upward in the small room it had entered, did a complete 360 with high definition capture, and exploded, sending lethal fragments in every direction.  The 360-capture video piped itself at the speed of light to Team Able Baker’s Satellite link, and onward to analysts at Washington DC, sitting comfortably in a secure war room at an Air Force Base.  Within 15 seconds there was a beep in Patrick’s earpiece. 

“We saw a bunker map on the wall of that little security checkpoint that confirms you’re in the right place and confirms our version of the bunker ‘s layout. That wall map showed green checkpoint lights that appear to indicate you have an open path to the objective. Recommend GO.” It was the disembodied voice of an intelligence analyst thousands of miles away. Finished intelligence had given them the basic layout of the bunker, and now Buzz-2 had confirmed the blueprints before it self-destructed.

Patrick grunted. “Let’s move – we don’t have much time. Set Buzz One and Three to Sentinel mode and get me a perimeter inside that complex. And call up the dogs…”

*****

Peering through the enhanced viewfinder in his XM5 “Stormin’ Norman” Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Sergeant Smith was surprised by the eruption of dirt and metal as 108 artillery rounds impacted almost simultaneously around the armored Donovian vehicles.  Over a dozen were hit directly, and others were tossed like toys as the massive 155mm HE rounds exploded immediately around them and turned the insides of their hulls into spall.  Geez – Smith never wanted to be on the receiving end of an artillery barrage.  He heard the net call for a second volley, to mop up the stragglers.  It was a matter of seconds before he saw the next munitions, sent by guided multiple launch rocket systems.  The fast-moving rockets burst above the enemy’s armored infantry fighting vehicles. The small shape-charge-carrying submunitions buzzed like angry hornets towards their targets, the first ones erupting in a shower of sparks as they hit where the armor was thinnest, blasting holes and over-pressurizing vehicle hulls.  “GEEZus!” said Smith into his mouthpiece.   “That’s it, enemy force completely neutralized. Flank looks to be clear.” 

“This is Devil 33, roger, will confirm target neutralized with higher. More to follow, standby.”

All of Devil Brigade had been waiting for the moment that they would be released to kill bad people and break things.  For years, Donovia had been fomenting violence and confusion in the region that was just below the threshold of all-out war, keeping American forces on the sidelines.  Diplomatic pressure and formal sanctions didn’t stop anything, and Donovian information ops were running circles around US Combatant Commands.  It was even worse with US Politicians.  There were so many congressmen embroiled in sex scandals that Smith had stopped keeping count, and word on the street was that most were a result of overseas trips with “special liaisons” – liaisons that gave foreign governments leverage of US decision makers.  However, Donovia had finally overstepped its bounds when it arrested a congressional delegation sent to discuss research on genetic testing and weapons.  The delegation, which had been put together after Donovia’s invasion of Otso, claimed Donovia was developing DNA-based biological weapons.  It was supposed to be the start point for talks, but Donovia didn’t want to hear it.  They arrested the entire delegation after their arrival at Sinx Airport.  That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and now Smith was part of the Task Force sent to secure sectors Charlie and Sierra.  The “why” wasn’t clear, but Smith figured that something big was underway.  He had enough buddies in the Spec Ops community that he could make some guesses. And weapons based on DNA? Holy crap.  One of his buddies who surfed scientific websites told him that a genetic weapon could be built to kill you if you had blue eyes.  Release it in a room of brown-eyed people and nothing would happen, but if you were oh, say, Irish decent, you were done.   He figured that was more than enough of a reason to start a war… because with a weapon like that, the other side could definitely start it first.

Smith was used to the high OPTEMPO of being stationed overseas, with frequent rotations to gunneries and multinational training exercises.  However, this year’s “Rattling Saber” training exercise had taken a different flavor when the Ammunition Supply Point had issued wartime munitions rather than the usual blue training rounds.  At the kickoff of Rattling Saber all personal comms had been silenced for OPSEC. His cellphone was back in the unit arms room, locked up with the rest.  He knew his US Government “NIPR” internet was neutered, but it gave a reasonably accurate window to the world, even if the Army’s official rag, www.Stars-and-Stripes.gov, was half US propaganda.  Static from his double-stacked radio interrupted his thoughts.

“Devil 06 here – all units, monitor your sectors and stay frosty.  That won’t be the last push, but we shouldn’t have to hold here much longer. There will be no close air support – repeat – skies are not friendly.  06 out.” 

The fuel cells behind Smith let off a low hum, providing nearly silent power to his optics, targeting, and tracking systems.  They also powered the first gen quantum tactical computer (“Cutsie” from its acronym, QTC) perched under his seat – the same computer that ensured his unit’s comms to each other and higher HQ would be absolutely secure.  But what he really wanted to do was see Cutsie help him engage force on force with his new automated wingman vehicles.  Stormin’ Norman was an armored beast, but its battlefield effectiveness was dramatically enhanced by four heavily armed, fast moving all-terrain wheeled robots.  Their thermal signature was intentionally greater than that of their manned control vehicle, making them enticing targets, though their speed and maneuverability made them hard to hit.  For now, he’d have to wait.  The Donovian vehicles that had attacked their flank were spotted far out by the Norman’s sensors, and field artillery had ensured their destruction before they were within firing range.  He hoped the bad guys would get a little closer next time.

*****

The “dog” came bounding through the trees behind them, skillfully avoiding underbrush that would announce its presence.  Its aluminum frame was painted a subdued brown, and its silhouette was broken up by camo netting that the team had applied.  “Dog” was an appropriate moniker, as it looked and moved much like its biological counterpart.  However, no German Shepherd carried an advanced electronic sensor suite and twin 9mm submachine guns.  Patrick stayed crouched and spoke to the team members immediately around him. 

“I want Andre in first, all sensors active, just like we practiced. Park Betty and Chuck here in perimeter defense mode.” Tan pulled the control screen up on his wrist pad and highlighted the gaping hole that was the entrance to the bunker complex, and then dropped down a menu to get Andre talking to the two remaining Buzz drones that had already entered.  In sentinel mode they were moving back and forth across already cleared areas, passive sensors and sound detection piped right back to the Weapons Specialist’s control pad, and now on to Andre.  Tan pressed the execute button, and Andre again bounded through the underbrush, quickly disappearing in the forest between the team and the door of the bunker.  Within 5 minutes it was at the bunker’s entrance, feeding additional sensor data on the bunker’s layout.  “Let’s move!” said Patrick into his mouthpiece, pointing two fingers in the direction of the bunker. 

The ODA’s training took over, and half the detachment immediately took up overwatch positions so the others could move through the brush under cover.  They were already deep inside the fenced perimeter and had spoofed multiple sensing systems along the way; thankfully most of the enemy sensors were shoddily maintained and quickly disabled.  Enemy reinforcements couldn’t enter the area because of the armored US brigade that had detached from Rattling Saber to provide a defensive perimeter covering the air and major avenues of approach, and part of the bunker’s indigenous guard force had been taken out by Buzz Two.  But Patrick didn’t like the thought of what other guards were hiding deep within the secretive perimeter, and he really didn’t like the thought of the Quick Reaction Force that might be lurking within the complex’s fenced-in perimeter.  So far, the QRF was unaccounted for, though intel told him it existed.  He had expected it to already be covering the giant hole in the bunker’s door, which would have given him a target to engage and destroy.  Not knowing was worse than an armed enemy in your way. 

*****

Chief Warrant Officer Two Sayasene checked the sensors again.  There is was – a spike in cooling fan activity on Core #32.  And now Core #60.  What the hell? “Sir – we have a problem with the Cerebrex Processor Net.  Couple of cores overheating, and I can’t say why.”

LTC Roland stepped over to the monitor tracking all 128 cores of the Cerebrex quantum computer.  Red lights blinked above the two cores, and as he was watching, three more started blinking red. “What the hell? Get the damn contractor in here!”

A young noncommissioned officer ran out to grab the contractor’s Field Support Representative, assigned to the unit just for technical problems like this.  Dr. Bob McGhee had a doctorate in computer engineering, so he was no run-of-the-mill technician.  The Cerebrex quantum processor net had only been online for two years, and the US Army was still finding new uses for its immense power.  The original prototype software and hardware had been designed for encrypted, remote, semi-automated artillery missions, because long range precision fires had been an Army priority back in the early 2020s.  Up to this point, the system had performed flawlessly.

Dr. McGhee’s booming voice contrasted his bespectacled and academic demeanor. “What did you do to it?  Well, I mean, what was the last thing you did?” He corrected himself to sound less accusatory.

CW2 Sayasene looked up, just as he saw another core go red out of the corner of his eye. “We conducted a multi-system fire mission, full effects, on an armored infantry brigade.  That’s it.  I was about to run a diagnostic when two of the cores started overheating.”  Another core went red.

“Shut them down.  It won’t hurt anything.  You’ll still be fully mission capable.” To emphasize his point, Dr. McGhee tabbed the screen over to the controls for all 128 cores.  Over a dozen were now blinking red.

“Wait.” LTC Roland looked straight at McGhee.  “We are in the middle of a combat operation, and I can’t risk mission failure.  I need to know what is causing this, and what the impact is now.” Roland looked nervous, and he had every right to be.  His support of Devil Brigade, literally half a world away, was classified and highly sensitive.  The US and Donovia were on the verge of war, and he was supporting an effort to ensure that the US started the confrontation on top. A memory flashed of his grandfather railing about how the Army was stupid for no longer teaching manual gunnery.

Dr. McGhee was nonplussed.  “Don’t worry. Shutting down the affected cores won’t be a problem. They are segmented from the other cores, and the system can still function with as few as…wait, what’s the clearance level in this room?  Well, we’re nowhere near critical yet.”  In the back of his mind, however, McGhee was both curious and worried about what was causing this unprecedented activity in the Cerebrex quantum mainframe.   He watched Roland reach for the secure landline.

“I need to call this in to Brigade,” he said, worry in his voice.

*****

Patrick brought up the rear. The rest of the ODA already emplaced in a hasty perimeter around the smoldering entrance to the bunker.  They weren’t awaiting his instructions – the mission had been rehearsed exhaustively and they knew the next steps by memory.  They were waiting for any change in status on the unaccounted-for enemy QRF.  So far higher HQ, using drone assets overhead, and dogs Chuck and Betty all confirmed that the QRF wasn’t within a mile.  HQ also confirmed that Devil Brigade and allied forces still had the larger perimeter.  No change – still one unknown and a mission to accomplish. “Go,” he said into his microphone.

The close-quarters techniques of the SOF team were honed to precision, and their situational awareness was greatly enhanced by feeds from Buzz One and Three, and Andre’s sensor package.  Out of habit they moved quickly into the facility in bounds, but they already knew the front of the facility was clear.  The initial door blast had knocked out power to the front of the complex, and a second round had hit the primary generators that had originally helped US analysts identify the hidden bunker complex.  If the team was lucky, the power would be out in the entire mountain, killing cameras and sensors, and giving them the advantage with their 5th generation night vision optics.  Tan sprinted up next to Patrick and tapped him on the shoulder, as the light from the entrance faded behind them in the darkened corridor. 

“Andre found something.” Tan pointed to a reading from the laser spectroscope embedded in the dog’s abdomen.  It had detected trace amounts of inert gasses, used in labs to preclude reactions that weren’t in line with what researchers wanted to happen.  “That’s our best bet on where the lab complex starts.”

“What’s the area look like?” asked Patrick, expecting huge locked doors and physical barriers that would prevent entry without a bulldozer.

“Not bad – just glass and metal.  We should be able to get in easily.  Andre’s already pushed through four doors while we were on the move,” said Tan.

“No contacts? There has to be somebody here.”  Patrick’s concern started to show.  He had expected to run into security details, at least, or unsuspecting scientists.  His pre-briefs had told him they might have an evac plan, or a secure area where they could hole up.

“Nothing – no heat signatures yet.  Do you want me to have him go deeper in?”  Tan was ready to execute.

“Yes – he’s by the area with the small rooms, right?” Patrick remembered from the wall map at the destroyed guard post that the complex had a series of sixteen rooms in close proximity.  Andre had been near the first one when his sensors keyed. Patrick halted all forward movement for this brief decision point.  “Net, team lead. Hold in place.”

Tan pressed continuous feed on Andre’s top-mounted camera network, giving 360 view of what the dog was seeing.  The cameras showed a series of rectangular glass rooms with doors opening to a central corridor.  Andre started down the corridor, moving towards the first of the rooms, when suddenly a bright flash filled the screen, followed by darkness.

“What the hell was that?! Get Buzz One over there to check it out!” said Patrick in a surprised whisper. “All teams hold in place – I think we’ve found the payload.”

*****

“Roger Sir, will keep you apprised,” responded Roland, hanging up the phone.  He didn’t look happy.  “Alright Doc, I need an immediate assessment of the situation, and possible impacts.”

“Fire mission!” shouted the fire direction officer again.

“What?!” shouted Roland, looking immediately over at McGhee.  Mcghee shook his head.

“It’s OK.  The system can handle it.  I’ll get busy troubleshooting the root cause, but the mission is OK.”  He nodded his head confidently.  “There is no way someone broke into the quantum cores.  I’ll find out and prove it to you.” He had a sneaking suspicion that the firmware for the cooling fan system had been compromised, because he knew that the fans had been sourced from a low-cost subcontractor.  That software could have been developed in Donovia, for all they knew.

Roland looked uneasy. “Alright then,” he said, turning.  “FDO, brief me now.”

“Sir, we have mechanized armor battalion approaching Devil Brigade, slightly north of the previous attack.  Gun tubes report ready…wait…sir, we have a new problem. T13 has a mobility stop.  Sensors report a thrown track.”

“Goddamn Murphy”, muttered Roland under his breath. “Right.  Call the 503rd MST and vector ‘em in and inform Devil Brigade.”

*****

“Nickel-Oh-Tree, let’s GO!” said Staff Sergeant Hymbaugh, motioning to the specially fitted UH-60N Blackhawk.  Four other Maintenance Support Team members jumped in, cinching themselves into the seats next to their gear.  “We have an M109 chassis with a thrown track. Easy mission,” he said.  “We’re going in fast and low, and we’ll be done before the sun is up.” He hoped.  The MST had repaired bigger problems on the new automated systems, but Hymbaugh knew this mission was in support of the real deal.  He was glad for the door gunners on the left and right of the aircraft, and for the weapons he and his team were carrying. He also worried that the US didn’t have air superiority where they were going.

The helicopter lifted off, turning its nose down and in the direction of the enemy, and headed away from the airfield.

*****

Tan used the camera on his weapon to peek around the corner without exposing himself. “Clear!” he whispered loudly, and four members of the ODA spilled into the corridor scanning in all directions for possible threats.  Tan and Patrick ran over to the downed Dog, careful not to pass the threshold of the first glassed-in lab that had knocked Andre out.  “Is it still live? Any electricity or traps?” asked Patrick, remembering the burst of voltage that had taken the Dog and its sensors offline.  The overhead lights showed that there was still power in the lab, and if there was power, there was danger.  Tan, as always, had an answer, and he pulled an old-fashioned Ohm meter from his pack.  Patrick made a mental note to get Tan one of those “MacGuyver” shirts when they got back.

“Dog shows zero voltage, but I can’t promise anything forward of where he’s sitting,” said Tan confidently, wrapping up the probes and putting the small reader back in his pack. “I recommend we bring Buzz 3 over; it’ll take 30 seconds to clear for traps.”

“Do it, and give me a hand here,” said Patrick, grabbing the dog’s metal legs and pulling it away from the lab complex.  He pressed a release button on its side and pulled out a chem/bio detection kit the size of a small shoebox.  “We’re gonna need this.”  Buzz 3 zipped in behind them, and Tan commanded it to move forward into the lab complex.

“Clear, nothing moving, no traps. Look there – someone tried to trash their work!” The emotion in Tan’s voice indicated confidence that they had found their mark.  While the rest of the ODA secured the surrounding area, Patrick and Tan moved forward to look more closely.  The workbench had been cleared hastily, with tools and glass implements scattered.   The bulk of the experimental work had been unquestionably taken. “Look here,” said Tan, pointing to a discarded white plastic frame with cotton-like material in the center. “It’s a lateral assay.”

“That’s it,” said Patrick.  “Jackpot.”

*****

The MST landed 50 feet from the M109 chassis, on the side where the track had been thrown off of the road wheels.  Specialist Spencer dropped from the chopper’s door and made a beeline for the downed vehicle, using a specialized key mechanism to enter the hatches that were still on the howitzer.  The rest of the team positioned themselves around the thrown track, and pulled out the massive steel tools necessary for this unglamorous job.  Spencer had it easy – he only had to gun the engine and move the vehicle once the new track components were in place.  “Next time, Spencer, you are down HERE!” said Hymbaugh, wiping sweat from his brow.

T13 was operational in 22 minutes and 30 seconds – a record time.  Hymbaugh conducted the final digital check and returned control back to the satellite feed, and the track roared to life and headed off.

Hymbaugh and his team made tracks for the chopper, which dusted off just as the first enemy artillery rounds began to impact.

*****

“Sir, I copy Team Able Baker is requesting extraction for mission complete, and that artillery support is delayed by zero-five minutes.  Confirm that we will defend in place until relieved.  I’ll notify the Germans and the Dutch.”  Major Trant felt the adrenaline rush as he realized Devil brigade was about to go kinetic with an enemy force.  The Norman prototypes had been distributed across the Brigade, and his command post was a specially designed platform set up as the Brigade Tactical Operations Center.  He was about to put its abilities to the test.  

The 40 ton infantry fighting vehicle was part of a prototype force, built to specifications with commercial-off-the-shelf technologies and government furnished technologies from the past 40 years of armored vehicle research.  The 50mm turret was prominent on the vehicle, and MAJ Trant’s variant had the more powerful German cannon manufactured by Diehl Defense and Rheinmetall.  Less stowed kills, but deadly accuracy against a variety of targets.  A lot of payload could be packed into a 50mm round.  Networked for situational awareness, the Norman leveraged its quantum tactical computer to call forward national level assets that weren’t usually available to brigades, and coordinated all efforts for deadly results, not unlike the much hyped and far more expensive F35 fighter.

“Devil Brigade, this is Devil 03.  Deploy UGS, pattern delta, in 02 mikes.  Main battle tanks, battalion sized element, front.  Prepare for action.”

SGT Smith looked back from his seat to MAJ Trant, who was returning the microphone to its bracket.

“Oh, so that’s how its gonna be…” he said mostly to himself, smiling as he pressed the button for the unmanned ground systems to deploy.

*****

“Enemy FRONT!” shouted one of the team members, over the blinding noise of automatic weapons fire.  The ODA had found the QRF – far from roaming the wooded areas outside the bunker complex, the QRF had been in the bunker’s cafeteria when Patrick’s team had moved in, and now the path out of the complex was blocked by ricocheting bullets arcing menacingly towards Patrick’s men.  Each team member moved smoothly to cover, returning careful and accurate fire, but the physics of concrete underground hallways meant that bullets couldn’t make 90 degree turns, and a grenade would over pressurize the tunnel and possibly even bring it down. 

“BIC out!” yelled Tan, tossing the small beer-can sized item like a grenade at the entrance to the cafeteria.  It was a Barrier-In-a-Can (“BIC”), and it landed with a rattle right in the doorway, making a muffled thud.  A light brown foam sprayed up to the ceiling and rapidly expanding to fill the doorway, at first only slowing the last bullets from the enemy QRF, and then sealing off the doorway completely.  The foam continued expanding at a rapid pace, forming a barrier that was now bullet proof, but also threatening to cut off the ODA’s escape route.  “LET’S GO!” shouted Patrick.  The team continued toward the bunker’s exit, bounding smoothly as if the QRF was a mere speed bump.  As he ran, Patrick pulled up the encrypted Satellite phone from his pack: “Team Able Baker, requesting Romeo Golf, on my location, in 15 minutes. Authenticate alpha victor one six”.

“Roger, copy Romeo Golf, one five minutes, your location, out.”

*****

A mass of wheeled UGS shot across the battlefield, swerving unpredictably to avoid enemy fire.  They could run suicide missions, but the shape-charged warheads they carried were easily launched at close range as they raced around the backs of the Donovian main battle tanks.  No need to engage the heavy frontal armor; a side attack right here, between the 4th and 5th roadwheels would do nicely to immobilize.  UGS #22 flew by the right side of an enemy tank, blasting a shape-charge projectile right where the engine was.  The projectile flew through the tank’s skirts and in a millisecond pressed up against the hull of the tank, where the charge’s plasma jet worked its magic.  This scene repeated itself multiple times.  Devil Brigade’s main guns never had the chance to engage the enemy; the enemy force was decimated.

*****

The special mission UH-60s dusted off from outside the bunker complex as soon as the entire ODA was aboard, while the dogs and Buzz drones maintained security.  Patrick looked at his watch. “Romeo Golf” – Rods from God – would impact at the complex in less than 10 minutes.  Dropped from orbiting satellites, the telephone-pole sized penetrators entered the atmosphere with deadly kinetic force and would obliterate the bunker and all evidence of his team’s work.  Team Able Baker had the evidence the US Government needed to force Donovia’s hand at the international negotiating table.  He made a not to thank Devil Brigade’s commander…but somehow, Patrick knew that the bigger fight was just beginning.

The views expressed in this article are the author's alone, and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. This piece is a work of speculative fiction, meant to be thought-provoking, and does not reflect the current position of the U.S. Army.

 

Categories: Mad Scientist

About the Author(s)

LTC Marc Meeker is the Director of the US Army's International Technology Center at Koblenz, Germany, under the Combat Capabilities Development Command.  During his 20+ year Army career, he has rebuilt M1 tank engines, been thrown out of C130s, worked R&D on sniper rifles, overseen production of medium caliber munitions, installed experimental cameras  on the DMZ, and facilitated international collaborative R&D with 14 countries in northern Europe.  LTC Meeker speaks German, Spanish, Army, Engineer, Scientist, and enough Japanese to get by.