Takes most inspiration (Especially Imperial Guard Training Camp 28495, which looks remarkably like Malta Barracks, and McDow is very similar to one of my instructors, although less violent.) from my own Basic Training with the Territorials. Not 100% finished but would like any comments you have
Part 1: The Replacement
Lance Corporal Steven McDow of the 45th Cadian Regiment strode over the blood smeared dead grass, ignoring the bullets from the group of Orks to his right as he fired his lasgun at the green skinned heavy weapons team , which had entrenched itself in an old ruined farmhouse and was laying a withering fire onto McDow’s platoon. The Imperial soldier brought his weapon to his shoulder as he fired three well aimed shots into an Ork machine gunner, before dropping the weapon back down to his hip to spray the rest of his power cell into the building, the hot lasers starting small fires where they struck.
His fire team was following him, ducking from the bullets and also firing into the farmhouse, which had begun to spout great columns of smoke as the fires from the laser strikes joined together to gut the building with red hot flames. The man behind McDow went down to an Ork bullet as the veteran Lance Corporal rammed a new power cell into his gun. Even before he could begin firing he saw it was not needed – the Orks in the farm house were already pulling back, saving their green skins to fight another day. McDow waved the two surviving members of his fire team down to the grass, as he himself went prone and crawled to the casualty. It was the team’s vox operator. McDow ordered one of his men to deal with the casualty as he dragged the comms pack towards him, and requested an immediate air strike on the Ork position on his right. Throwing the receiver down without bothering to get confirmation of the strike, he brought his lasgun back into the firing position and began to suppress the Orks. Even before he had to reload a Valkyrie screamed out of the heavy clouds that engulfed the planet, to unleash a hail of rockets which tore the Orks to pieces. As the Valkyrie pulled away, the Ork position replaced by a pillar of smoke, McDow signalled his fireteam forward once more.
The Lieutenant was usually good looking. His blonde hair was grown long, longer than a soldier of the Imperial Guard’s hair normally would be, but then again, this wasn’t an ordinary campaign. The Officer’s boyish face usually was enlivened by an infectious grin; now though, it was drawn and nervous. He sat outside of his Commander’s tent, expecting, quite logically, to be treated as a fool by his superior, all because of the proposition he was about to make. The long grey weapon in his hand – an old and noble power sword, seemed to wait with a practised menace as he stroked it to calm his nerves. In his mouth was a cigarette, real tobacco being a luxury the Guard had, the only luxury in the entire mess of this blood soaked campaign. Lieutenant William Henrick was outside his officer’s tent for a simple reason – 3rd squad of his platoon, 2 Platoon, had very few men left, dangerously few, and its commander had been killed. He was there to suggest the promotion of a certain Lance Corporal, an unpopular move with his officer, Captain Charlie Delford, who, rumour had it, had been the one to demote the twenty five year veteran from Sergeant, all those years ago.
“Sir!” William straightened as Captain Delford peered out of his tent,
“Henrick, come in, come in. I’m busy, so I’m afraid this’ll have to be quick Lieutenant.” Delford closed the tent after William had ducked through, and turned to sit behind his desk, piled high with paper work. He began to continue writing his report of the morning’s action. William took a deep breath, and began.
“Sir, I would like to recommend Lance Corporal McDow for promotion. His Squad’s commander was killed this morning, and he managed to lead his fire team in a highly successful assault on a Xenos position that had my entire platoon pinned down.”
Delford stared with outraged eyes at the young lieutenant, unable it seemed, to speak. When he did – he spoke softly, each word crackling with barely suppressed anger,
“Why do you think,” he paused, seemingly disgusted by his own words, “McDow, would be fit for command?” the Captain demanded of his lieutenant. Henrick knew it was an act; Delford wouldn’t seriously be considering McDow for promotion, would he? Perhaps Delford’s heart had been changed by the long campaign?
“Well sir, his performance on the battlefield is exemplary, every objective his fire team is given is met quickly and efficiently. Off the battlefield he is good at keeping discipline, and his men, well, his men would follow him to hell sir, and back again. Furthermore – they’d follow him to hell and expect to win. Sir.”
Once more Delford was lost for words, and Henrick knew he’d made a mistake.
“That man will never be promoted until he learns his place. He is a lance corporal damn it, and no matter what his performance on the battlefield he must give the due respect to his superiors. Recommendation refused. Get out.” Henrick was neither shocked nor surprised at the answer,
“Sir.” He answered, before smartly turning around and marching out of the tent, wondering once more what the tough veteran had done to earn such animosity from the Captain.
McDow peered through his binoculars at the edge of jungle, just nine hundred yards away, where the Orks were regrouping. He knew it wouldn’t be long before they came back, they always did. Behind him, the bodies of the green skins killed that morning were being burnt. He turned back to his squad with a sigh, and then his face hardened as he addressed his men,
“Westward! Get your bleeding helmet on now; what do you think you are? A Catachan? Wright, do your damn chin strap up, do you think you’re a Jungie too? If the Emperor, praise his name, had you lot with him when he raided Horus’s flagship he wouldn’t of made it five damn metres! By the Primarchs, you call yourselves Cadians?” the squad grinned at the display of insult and discipline. Westward and Wright obediently replaced their helmets and tightened the straps. They’d fought alongside McDow for at least a year now, and, though he shouted and cursed at them, they knew he’d see them right when the bullets are flying.
Just then, a stab of lightning came from the dark clouds that blanketed the once green planet. A heartbeat later the thunder came, along with the rain. It was usually raining. A hard slashing rain that caused the Cadian Guardsmen to huddle at the bottom of their trench, awaiting the inevitable Ork counter attack. They were the 45th Cadians, part of the Omega Battle group that fought on the luxury world of Trinoth 5, veteran soldiers to a man who were confident of their abilities. In the past year they had fought pretty much constantly, only having a break when they were in their trenches, allowing the Imperial Navy to hammer the Ork positions before they advanced. Usually the Guard waited for the Orks to attack them, but the Omega Battle group, lead by General Cornwallis, conducted offensive operations against the Orks, using the fleet and Basilisk batteries to soften the approach. Tanks didn’t work now; the rain softened the ground so much that the great machines got bogged down. This was an Infantryman’s war.
When the Orks of Waaagh! Bludgutz had first made planetfall, the world had been a sunny place where lack of water was actually a problem. The skies were darkened as a strange side effect of repeated orbital bombardment. Even if this war was ever won, it was doubtful that the planet would once again produce the large amounts of luxuries that it did before.
A Valkyrie slowly drifted to the ground behind McDow’s position, its jets blasting the dead grass into the air. Its ramp was lowered, and from it emerged two men of the 45th. One was Lieutenant Henrick, the other was a young man, a boy even, who couldn’t have been over the age of nineteen. His uniform was clean, his boots polished, and the end of his lasgun was shining. In comparison to the veterans, with their dirty coats, mud caked boots, and weapons blackened by repeated firing on full power, he seemed of a different world. Which, of course, he was, thought McDow drily. The boy looked as if he’d just passed basic. Probably a replacement, and though McDow’s squad was down to half strength, he hoped the raw recruit wasn’t destined for him. The ones just out of training were worst, so sure of themselves, sure that everything they’d been taught was correct, that they were ill prepared for the realities of war, especially against the Orks.
It seemed McDow’s hopes were futile, as Henrick lead the boy towards the trench,
“Lance Corporal? I’m afraid Delford refused to promote you again, but I’ve got some good news, this here is James Sipple, he’s new to your squad, and he’s already been telling me of the incorrect procedures of our base, and given me tips to improve our fighting ability! Have fun!” with that Henrick walked off to his command dug out a few yards behind the main line. Sipple stood at the edge of the trench and wondered what he’d got himself into, scared by the sight of the five pale, scruffy, and muddy men. McDow was over six foot tall, his short brown hair concealed by his battered bowl helmet. All of the men’s skin was as pale as bones, there being no sun to darken it. They were slumped on the ground, except for one who was on guard, surrounded by their equipment, with a tiny fire heating their rations in the centre. Their knuckles were scuffed, and all of them bore scars, none quite as obvious as McDow’s, which ran from his cheek bone to his mouth, a vivid red slash contrasting starkly with his bleached bone skin.
The rest of the soldiers had long hair; and all except for one’s blonde. They looked young, but their eyes were old and tired, as if they had seen much during their lives and didn’t particularly want to see any more. Which was true, come to think of it.
“I’d get down here before some Ork sharpshooter gets you, they don’t have many, but by the Emperor they’re good.” Said John Belle, the Squad’s Medic.
“Shut up Belle, and Supple, or whatever your name is, get down here now, I’d hate to have to clean our nice shiny trench because you got yourself shot.” Growled McDow
“It’s Sipple, Lance Corporal.” The recruit said as he jumped into the trench.
“You call me Boss, like the rest of ‘em. Davis! You’re meant to be on stag damnit, don’t look at me; watch the damn line you soft git! I don’t want to be overrun by greenskins because of your undying affection towards me!” Grinning once more, Davis, the Squad’s new Vox Operator, turned to stare at the jungle.
The hours passed by, Sipple crouched at the bottom of the trench unhappily contemplating life, awed and shocked in equal measure by the disregard for the field manual displayed by his new comrades. He’d even learnt that the Commissars didn’t execute soldiers on the battlefield any more, Tommy Westward explaining that it wasn’t really needed for the veteran units, all of the cowards had already been killed, and anyway, if McDow caught you hiding or running away you’d wish the commissars would kill you. Westward was the only one to talk to Sipple, he himself having been a replacement early on in the war, he knew how hard it was to integrate into the squad.
“Don’t worry yourself mate, get through your first battle and they’ll treat you normal, like. Just have to survive, that’s all there is to this business, forget everything you were taught, you learn from us. We’ve survived so far, so we must be doing something right, see?”
“Right.” Said Sipple, though he was thinking that his training had prepared him for war, what did he have to learn?
As the weather grew steadily drearier, and the rain drummed on Sipple’s helmet, the young soldier thought more and more of where he grew up, of his family, and his training. His childhood had been spent on the northern continent, among the lakes and mountains there. His family had lived in a small town, his mother a nurse at the local Medical facility, his father, of course, an old soldier. Living on Cadia during the 13th Black Crusade, where the evil servants of chaos had invaded from the depths of the eye of terror, a huge warp anomaly inside which were horrors unknown to young Sipple, was difficult. Soldiers were continually marching through the small town, and Sipple’s mother had been very busy dealing with casualties from the frontline in the hospital. Until the age of sixteen life had been good to James, he went to school, hung around with friends, chased girls, and listened eagerly to the stories of the Cadian soldiers back from the war – all the while expecting Chaos Space Marines to appear in the bright sky and tear the world to pieces. At sixteen, however, this was changed. Because Cadia is so close to the heart of Chaos it is a Fortress world. It is surrounded by orbital defences that can be seen from the surface. That means only one thing for a sixteen year old male – conscription.
On some worlds, conscription is met with sadness, weeping mothers, boys being forced into the service. However, on Cadia, conscription has been in place for as long as anybody can remember, and now it is even a source of pride for young men and their families. From as early as the age of three, young boys are taught basic military structure. At the age of ten, they join the cadet forces, playing games in the woods with stun guns, learning basic military tactics, how to use and take care of weaponry, and how to survive in the field. Most of all, they are taught discipline. To a Cadian, discipline is all. Discipline wins battles. So, two weeks after his sixteenth birthday, with all the friends of his childhood, Sipple had marched away to join the army. He remembered the march well, how all the girls of the town had been waving them goodbye – he remembered one girl in particular. Alice Walsk. A beautiful, thin, blue eyed, fair haired girl who had been with James for as long as he could recall. Sipple thrust that memory away – the thought of their parting by the river was still as painful now as it was three years ago.
He’d marched away, to Imperial Guard Training Camp 28495. The gate opened magnetically, and on the right of the path, just inside the entrance, was an old field gun, over a thousand years old, on a plinth, surrounded by white painted chains, and, as Sipple entered the camp for the first time, currently being cleaned by two Imperial Soldiers, dressed in green shirts and trousers, their black boots shining. Behind the gun were the water and gas tanks, which supplied the base with its heating and sanitary facilities. On the left was the Mess Hall, its walls made of wooden planks, and its roof made from corrugated iron. Sipple marched a few metres further into the camp and he drew level with another, similarly constructed, building, this time with a clock tower on top, and a small mirrored window, presumably the guard room, on its side. Sipple was marched in front of the building, with a veranda at the entrance, and which a sign labelled Head Quarters, onto a small parade square. Sipple’s fellow recruits, about sixty in all, took up half of the square, while in the other half, a group of twenty or so soldiers, guarded by three corporals, packed their kit into their packs after an inspection, and began to clean their rifles.
On two sides of the square was the perimeter fence, just a metal grid with razor wire at the top, and a trench running along the inside. On one side, obviously, was the Head Quarter’s veranda. On the remaining length were two large huts, built in the same way as the mess hall and head quarters, with a path running between them, and another between the Mess Hall and the hut closest to the gate. The buildings seemed to be designed as a corridor with large rooms coming off, but with a gap between each cabin the size of the rooms themselves. These gaps were left to the open air, and there were two on each building. In one of the gaps more green uniformed soldiers were evidently being taught how to use their rifles correctly. It occurred to James that the green uniformed men were recruits, while their trainers wore the woodland camouflage of the 45th Cadian regiment. Sipple didn’t have time to look around the camp for long, as an officer, tall and strong, stood on the veranda and gave them a welcoming speech. Sipple could remember his time at camp 28495 well.
Thinking back, what with the other training camps and facilities Sipple had been too, it hadn’t been a truly terrible place, it was even fairly relaxed, by Cadian standards. However, every minute of every day for the whole six months he spent there, the camp gave of the impression that if you put a foot wrong it could become very strict, very quickly. It was there he learnt the basics of drill, how to stand still for hours on end, not moving or talking. He learnt everything about the Cadia pattern lasgun, how to fire it, how to clean it, all of the characteristics of the weapon. They stayed in 34 man rooms, a bunk bed between two, and a locker each. The billets were split in two by a thin wall. There was a gap, about a metre wide, between each bed, while a central passage, perhaps two metres wide, ran through the middle. The buildings with the gaps turned out to be square, with two gaps on each side. The one closest to the gate was the accommodation. Each cabin was a billet, each named after famous battles of the 45th Cadians. In the centre were the ablutions. Every morning they’d be up at 0600h, though usually they woke up earlier to give themselves time for a proper wash, and at 0630h they had a room inspection. The corporals would stride up and down the perfectly turned out beds, each with two recruits standing one behind the other to the right of it. No matter how well the recruits made the beds and cleaned the rooms the corporals always found something to complain about for the first two months, after that, the recruits found themselves able to tidy the room to the exacting standards of the instructors, and have a wash, all in the half hour between reveille and inspection.
After inspection, at 0700h, every day, was breakfast. The camp housed over one hundred and fifty recruits at any one time, though the mess hall was only big enough to seat forty, and so the recruits, unless they were lucky and got to the front, spent most of the hour allotted for breakfast queuing. Once they were given their meals they usually only had minutes to finish it, even if they went in first the instructors, who all eat while the recruits are preparing for inspection, bawled at them that it wasn’t a business lunch and to get a bloody move on. Then, after 15 minutes to make sure their kit is perfectly turned out, at 0815h it would be muster parade, and at 0830h PT – Physical Training. The rest of the day was different each time, although once a week they would go out on exercise and put the skills they learnt into practise. Thinking back, Sipple rather enjoyed himself there, although if he’d been able to go back and tell himself he was enjoying it, Sipple would have laughed at himself and not believed him. Throughout the six months, some of the recruits dropped out. Those who couldn’t hack it were sent into the Planetary Defence Force, others died. Twelve of the sixty recruits died, and twenty seven were sent to the PDF. Three of the ones who died were killed by accident during live firing exercises, one committed suicide, two more died while cleaning their weapons, both doing their drills incorrectly. Three were killed as a result of the survival exercises, one man fell to his death during the climbing training, and two more died of exhaustion during PT sessions. Those that survived and weren’t sent to the PDF were the cream of the crop, the best recruits of their cadre, and were filled with an arrogance that was shattered when they went to complete phase two of their basic training. Sipple smiled at the memory of arriving on the orbital defence platforms -
The vox crackled, throwing Sipple out of his memory induced trance.
“Here they come lads, stand to! Stand to!”
The first explosion hit the line of the jungle, tossing two large green bodies into the air. Then the Ork attack blasted from the twisted trees, while artillery pieces manned by tiny gretchin were wheeled into place. Charlie Company’s mortar platoon opened fire, the explosions from the three 98mm Cadia Pattern mortars sending limbs flying. An Ork fighter bomber fired two missiles at the imperial line, one landing short, the other exploding just behind McDow, showering him in mud. As it pulled away, the crude plane was torn in two by a Valkyrie’s cannon, which then swerved, and dived towards the ground, unleashing a storm of missiles into an Ork artillery battery. The jet swung upwards just before it hit the ground, chased by another fighter bomber that fired a missile into the Valkyrie’s wing.
“Hold your fire lads, aim for their chests, these boys don’t stand a chance!” McDow called confidently to his men. Sipple was shaking as he aimed his lasgun over the trench’s parapet. A heavy bolter to the squad’s left opened fire, tearing into the green skins as the Xenos artillery opened fire, covering the Imperial guard’s trenches in explosions. The men were dug in deep however, and suffered remarkably few casualties from the enthusiastic, if inaccurate, fire.
By now Orks were stopping to unleash a hail of bullets from their various weapons, the Orks of Waaagh Bludgutz being fond of firing their weapons. One round hit the parapet in front of McDow, who barely blinked as he was showered in yellow, dead grass.
“Get ready lads, make sure you hit your targets or standby alright?” McDow ordered,
“Standby for what?” Sipple asked Westward,
“Best not to ask mate.” The veteran soldier replied simply.
Closer and closer the green skinned menace came, screaming and shouting as they advanced across the yellowed earth. Still the Guardsmen held their fire, until the Orks came to within three hundred metres, then, and only then, did McDow give the order to open fire.
Nervously, and still shaking, Sipple pulled the trigger of his lasgun. He saw the thin red beam fly over the shoulder of one of the green skins, so he aimed lower and fired again, this time hitting the Ork in the stomach. It made little difference to the Ork, and Sipple fired again and again to no effect, and the young soldier could feel the panic rising within him. In desperation he unloaded the rest of his cell on automatic, spraying the lasers everywhere yet still not taking down a single enemy. The others were having no such problems, and the Orks were dropping like flies. Sipple tried to unclip the power cell. On the third attempt he managed it, dropping the steaming magazine to the ground, before attempting to draw another from his pouch. McDow noticed his plight, and with a disgusted scowl he took Sipple’s weapon and thrust a cell home before throwing it back at the youth and firing into the green mass.
The Orks had been stopped now, and were content to sit back and fire their ridiculously noisy weapons at the guardsmen. Then the rain stopped. A buzz, so high pitched it was barely audible, began to sound quietly in everyone’s ear. The vox sets stopped working. McDow growled at his squad to take cover. The buzz grew in intensity, and Sipple wondered what magic the Orks were brewing.
The first beam of light slammed into the Ork line, a massive explosion followed, throwing bodies into the air. Another struck down like the wrath of the Emperor himself, disintegrating a score of green skins who had been laying down a heavy fire onto McDow’s position. The orbital bombardment continued for half an hour, burning the grass around the green skins, frying them until there was nothing left. McDow peered over the lip of the trench, took off his helmet, wiped the sweat from his brow, replaced it, and grinned at his men,
“Good job lads.”
Sipple vomited at the bottom of the trench. The fear was dying down now, yet McDow had told the young lad that he’d suffer from delayed shock. He said that everyone got it from time to time, even himself. McDow also told Sipple that he’d done well,
“Didn’t run away now, did you lad? That’s all we could hope for from a lizard like you in any case.”
Sipple still shook, before gulping down water from his canteen. Well, his first battle. It had hardly lasted fifteen minutes before the orbital bombardment finished it. From the way the veterans laughed and went back to eating their rations, Sipple got the impression that in a few weeks time, he would probably barely remember it. He sat back in the trench, reliving the horror that his weapon didn’t affect the beasts, not wishing to risk the displeasure or scorn of his comrades by asking for help. Sipple felt very alone.
A few minutes after the orbital bombardment, the rain came back. It hammered on the edge of the trench, and landed with a hiss on the hot barrels of the lasguns and mortars.
“Tommy?” Sipple’s voice sounded incredibly young and scared, so he tried again, “Tom?”
“When do you reckon we’ll move out?”
“No idea mate, get some sleep, the jungies’ll move out first anyway.” Tom replied, before wrapping himself in his great coat and trying to sleep. James lay back, the rain now pattering on his face, closed his eyes and went back to the train of the thought he had been carrying before the battle.
It was the first time the young recruits had been on a space ship. It was only an old Valkyrie, but the boys were giddy and excited anyway. From the small round windows they could see where they would be spending the next year of their lives, the phase 2 of their training, the Orbital Defences of Cadia. The platform they were approaching had a vast number, 62, painted on the side, ten times the height of the headquarters at camp 28495. They didn’t know much about the defences, only that each platform was the size of a city, and had huge training simulation decks, where different terrain could be loaded at the press of a button.
The Valkyrie swung gracefully towards an opening in the platform’s side, just under the huge number. It touched down with a jolt, the boys’ safety harnesses the only things stopping them from falling out of their seats. The lads took their kit bags from the over head lockers, and ran down the ramp to see their new training camp.
It was grey. Very grey. All of the walls were painted grey, the floor was a darker grey, with odd bits of yellow and black warning stripes, and the roof was grey. The soldiers, walking around the hangar on different tasks, wore grey uniforms. The recruits felt very strange in their green uniforms, the same uniforms they had worn at camp 28495. A loud and authoritative voice called out across the hangar, addressing the sergeant who accompanied the recruits,
“Are these sorry runts the latest batch from 28495?”
“Good, follow me sorry runts!”
The voice belonged to an officer, who led them through crowded corridors to their new rooms. They seemed like luxury compared to camp 28495. There were proper beds, with proper mattresses, and proper sheets. At 28495 they’d slept under rough blankets. Each bed had a locker built into the wall next to it, and, at the push of a button, the beds folded up into the wall, while still keeping the sheets in the same condition as they were. There were also only five men to a room, a single fire team. The boys with Sipple were all from camp 28495, who’d been formed into a twenty one strong platoon. One had been selected for officer training, and he led the platoon, which consisted of two squads of two fire teams. Each fire team had a fire team leader, and one of the fire team leaders also led the squad.
The first time they entered their grey rooms; new uniforms were piled neatly on the beds. Grey uniforms. They were plain grey, rather than the patterned grey of the 45th Cadian Starship camouflage, again telling the boys that they still had a long way to go. However, they also knew that their chances of getting into the 45th Cadian Regiment were much better than they had been when they went to camp 28495, if they could get through the first six months then they can get through the rest of it.
At Orbital Platform 62 they had no daily routine; each fire team would take it in turns to stand guard on the armoury and airlocks. When they weren’t guarding things, learning how to be bored, they were training. Learning how to fight. Being bored and fighting were the two major pass times of the Imperial Guard. The massive training simulator decks became new homes for the recruits of camp 28495, as well as the other hundred or so boys who were so quickly becoming men. They learnt how to fight in forests, cites, death worlds, jungles, waste lands, deserts and on glaciers. They learnt how to conduct raids, how to plan and carry out amphibious assaults, how to attack dismounting from Valkyries, or chimera troop carriers. They learnt, and they increased their fitness, adapting their bodies to become used to harsher environments. They became soldiers. But not Guardsmen.
Still, they thought of themselves as Guardsmen, and it wasn’t long before they were in their final 3 months, in which they took a more active role on the platform. They guarded the hangars, patrolled the corridors, kept the new arrivals in check, and even went onboard the small star frigates that endlessly patrolled the region. And, of course, they trained. And trained. Finally, three months later, the time came for their final test exercise.
That last test was back on the planet. It lasted for three weeks, and the want-to-be Guardsmen were tested on everything. Marksmanship, dismounting drills, city fighting, everything. Most now passed, the weaklings had been forced out during their arduous time at camp 28495, and the idiots had gone to the PDF while at Platform 62. Sipple passed, with ease, and it didn’t seem long before he was on his passing out parade. For the first time in a year and a half, Sipple saw his family again, and had a room to himself. Although, the girls of the village, including the beautiful Alice Walsk, now a nurse at the same facility as James’ mother, also went to the passing out parade, so he still hadn’t slept by himself.
You would have thought, with Basic Training over, that Sipple’s days of training facilities were done. No, he still had four months of post-pass out training, designed to bring him in line with the 45th’s own specialisations. The 45th were a spearhead Guard regiment, designed to be amongst the first to make planetfall after the Adeptus Astartes – the super humans that were the Space Marines. So Sipple became highly skilled in the art of offensive operations, how to assault enemy held trenches, amphibious assaults, and assaulting from Valkyries. He was made to feel as though he was an expert on offensive warfare, although now, under the punishing rain of Trinoth 5, the first seeds of doubt were sown in his mind. Perhaps there was more to war than he first imagined. After this, it took three months for Sipple, along with a hundred or so other recruits, to reach his new posting – the Omega Battlegroup.
A boot knocked Sipple’s helmet. It was Tommy. Sipple had been sleeping.
“Get up mate, we’re moving out in a minute. Jungies left us a half hour ago. Good bloody riddance, don’t need them here, making the place look untidy, eh?”
“Where’re we going?”
“Onwards mate, got to push these green bastards out of the jungle, there’s supposedly a plantation in there that’s full of the gits.”
“Right. So will the Catachans clear it?”
“Don’t bet on it mate. Now get up.”
Sipple dragged himself to his feet, rubbing his bleary eyes, rolled his blanket up and slung it across his shoulder, with his great coat rolled against his waist, as he had been taught.
“Listen,” said Harry Davis, the new Vox Operator, said, “There’s not much point in keeping your blanket, we’re rarely staying still enough to use it, just use your great coat, not like we ever wear them.” Despite this advice, Sipple kept his blanket. He pulled on his helmet as McDow returned from the Platoon Commander, who’d managed to keep the brutal Lance Corporal in charge of 3rd Squad by simply not appointing another Squad Leader, and hoping that no one would notice in the chaos of the campaign.
“Alright you lizards, this is the deal. About twenty miles away, in the jungle, is a plantation. Tobacco or cocoa or something. Place called Trunby farm. The greenies are using it as a base for their damn artillery. Get your bloody guns, the platoon’s leading the advance, and we’re on point. Sipple, are you bloody sunbathing or what? Get that damn blanket off. If we’d had blockheads like you on Medusa we would never have got off that damn rock! By the Emperor if you lizards don’t get up and out of that trench in five seconds, I’ll make the Inquisition seem like PDF punishment drill. Come on – you move like old people having sex! Move it!”
The squad heaved themselves out of their trench, and headed into the Ork infested jungle.
To Be Continued...
© Jason A Herbert 2012.
Got about 2 pages of Part 2 done, but won't post it up until I've done all of it xD