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Tin Cans: Clog the gap
Posted By: Andres<andres_vera2000@yahoo.com>
Date: 8 August 2006, 1:05 am

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0232h, January 21, 2527 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Taurus System, UNSC Outer Colony Controlled Space
Diamond Continent, Ruby.

Covenant tactics relied not on maneuver, but rather in complete and overwhelming firepower combined with speed. They would suppress an enemy with small arms and indirect fire, then charge for an overrun. They never attempted to flank an enemy by sheer fire-and-maneuver; ET constantly avoided fighting on the move.
       Thus Marines relied on one simple thing to countermove the Covenants ability to disappear hardware, movement. Thence the humans turned to elastic defense as their main battle plan. The Covenant was engaged, fought on their own terms then an orderly retreat was to be executed, and then, when the Covenant was on the move, a counter attack was to be launched on the flanks.
      Tank battalions were to be left on reserve, behind the lines, waiting for the order to exploit the Covenant weaknesses, the Scorpions would move in a pincer like movement to hit the Covenant on the flanks, creating a crossfire pit that would decimate a Covenant formation.
      Lieutenant General Mark Wenzel knew that as he ordered his forces to commit, he had drawn a plan to envelop the Covies on the march and one of his commanders had jumped the gun ordering his Mechanized Team to engage the Covenant on a simple static defense.
      He had to do the last thing he wanted, commit his light reserve Battalion against the Covenant. The Covenant had landed en mass on Sapphire Naval Air Station fifteen miles outside the city's outskirts, the Marines had air assaulted in, landing on the front as the nearly inexistent Territorial Army held the Covenant at bay.
      The three Marine regiments immediately jumped inside the lifeless, empty trenches of the soldiers that had already done their part. The Marines immediately came under attack by six Covenant Legions –so called by them- the Marines hid down and lat the Covenant pass right above them, then turned around and waxed them. It had been the grunts who had won the battle, not the tanks or airplanes.
      It had been a young Colonel, eager to fight the Covenant who had opened the wound on his lines, the one he desperately tried to clog and left Diamante, the city he had been ordered to protect, open to a Covenant ground attack.
      Task Force Two-Twenty Two Mechanized had to take a battle position of three armored Companies lined up, and hold it as long as it could. But the aliens had sent a small reconnaissance team exactly their way. Instead of engaging them in open combat and maneuver against them he poised his tanks and PCs in a line on the open against them.
      Now, the gap was open and there was nothing in the way of the Covenant and the gap.

The Covenant kept a steady flow of red, blue and purple beams towards the Marines who lay prone behind their APCs inside the forest. One of the square shaped vehicles lay burning, out of commission but still metal between the plasma and the troops behind it. Still, with the barrage coming in, setting aflame the trees around the Jarheads, the order was clear, trigger discipline.
      Lieutenant Gustav Oleg knew that he had to keep his men quiet until the Covenant charged, something that was about to happen, if his experience taught him something. Just then, it happened. Five flaming, blue spheres crossed the road, entered the forest and magically stuck to the five trees.
      The effects of a plasma grenade were devastating, not only did they kill you, but they blinded you like a mice, or so the Marines said. One of the first things told to Marines in MOS Combat Training was to close your eyes and open your mouth every time a plasma "frag" was thrown, that prevented you from getting deaf and blind.
       "Troops!" called the armored team leader, SSg Mack, who held fire as the unbearable heat enveloped the soldiers. The first out were the Jackals, holding their shields forward and jointly, forming a Phalanx that was followed by small creatures. "Engage!"
      The Marines fixed their laser pointers on the shields of creatures and opened fire, sending hundreds of 7.62x51mm rounds downrange towards the shields; they bounced off harmlessly. It only helped in slowing down the unhampered troops.
       "Legion one-three, hit them." The gasses expelled behind the shell, out of the ninety mike-mike muzzle made as a ventilator for the heat, giving the Marines a much needed breath-air. The Jackals disappeared immediately as the shell struck the shields, the HE-FRAG warhead shattering the formation in one blow.
      The turbine one of the Scorpion tanks came to life, sucking ten gallons of jet fuel, roaring through the Woods. The surviving Covenant fell immediately to Marine's MA5Bs, touring through them as they realized what was coming their way.
       "Flash, flash, flash!" shouted the Lieutenant as his clerk/RTO fired a flashbang from the launcher bellow the stubby barrel of his rifle. The cylindrical grenade landed on the center of the source of the Covenant, blinding and deafening everything in the forest. Gustav grabbed the handmike from the backpack-radio of the RTO and placed it over his right cheek, covering his mouth and right ear. "First squad to advance, second and fourth to provide eyes on and cover fire," he paused to check the men readying their weapons to his sides, "Mech team, suppress."
      The minigun mounts on the APCs began to roar as they suppressed the enemy on the woods that flanked the main road. "Roger, led outgoing."

The plan was going just as it had been hastily planned. The Covenant had fixed the location of two-twenty two Mech reconnaissance team and the only hope the battered Marines had was that the tank that meandered through the woods found it's target, the Wraith section targeting the infantry from a stand-off location, that had ceased fire as the Covenant infantry approached the Jarheads.
      The Wraith was, by far, the most versatile vehicle in the Covenant's inventory. It served as a tank, an assault gun, a fixed artillery battery and a self-propelled gun. A single, well placed shot from one of the Covenant's tanks could take out several bad placed Scorpions.
      As the tank meandered through the woods its tank commander couldn't help to think of what might be going on in the upper echelons. The Marines normally were relief forces for troops already in the field that consisted normally on regular Army and Territorial Guard units. When the hundred and sixth landed on the planet the order was simple, to delay the Covenant while the local authorities evacuated the city of Diamante. The Operation on the ground was simply that, a delay maneuver to give the fleet around the planet enough time for the ground forces evacuated as much people as possible.
       "Contact, tank, right," said Andree. The Wraith lay on the middle of the road, flanking the right of the tree line. The forty ton myth was surrounded by infantry that knew little of the firepower settled on them, walking by it weaponless and chatting among themselves on their native tongues.
       "SABOT his ass."
       "On the way!" the tank's cannon made the trees jump, as the Depleted Uranium penetrator struck the hull of the Covenant vehicle, immediately spark sprung from the purple surface.
       "What the fuck?" said Atwood.
       "Fucking awesome!"
      Normally it took several sabot rounds to take down a Wraith, five or six was the most popular number. When sparks spring out of a target it means the round has penetrated, the sparks being the result of the metal scratching each other, sending particles everywhere.
       "Legion seven-one, target destroyed."

The sound that emerged from tube of a coaxial machinegun of the Scorpion tank was deafening loud, as it could be heard a mile away. "One-three, this is seven one, roger that, are you still engaged?"
       "Roger engaged with troops," Gustav gave the handmike to his RTO and looked to his right. His Marines laid prone on the tree line that right flanked the paved road where the carcasses of several Wraiths, Phantoms and covenant soldiers lay.
       "Copy, stand by," he turned around and faced the tree surviving APCs he palmed towards them and his troops immediately got the order, embark. "We are coming for you, one-three."

The hundred and eleventh Marine Division of Mark Wenzel had one simple task, to delay the enemy forces while local authorities evacuated the City of Diamante. "I know," said Mark. "Everything is named after goddamn gems."
       "Understood," said the commander of three-twenty two, immediately shoving an OPORD folder between his right arm and chest. "Just have to keep joulery intact."
       "So its simple," noted Mark as he walked with the Colonel to his Dragon Armored All Terrain Vehicle. "You have to clog the gap that goddamn idiot opened when he lost two-twenty two."
       "I don't know sir," he said looking at the terrain, where a large hill stood up from the landscape, flanking it where two Marine battalions. "I thought we would be the exploitation group of the division, I don't like to commit my Light Armor against the Covenant in a meeting engagement."
       "Its not my favorite idea either, but if we don't close that gap between the infantry battalions the Covenant are going to pour through it, flank them and destroy them…"
      "And leave the city unprotected and open for assault."
      "If that happens it would not be the Marines the only ones to go."
       "Clog the gap Colonel," said Mark staring at the smoke columns that rise from the Marine's positions. "Or we will be royally fucked."

"…OPORD Romeo one is now in effect, Godspeed, out." The diesel engines of the small Marine Fighting Vehicles came online sending small whizzes through the air inaudible through his ear muffed helmet.
       "Hey, sir," said the gunner of the small rectangle shaped vehicle. "What the hell is OPORD Romeo One?"
       "Fuck if I know," replied Major Carlos Magallanes, "that shit was on a second folder when they briefed us." Magallanes was the Commander of Alpha Company, Third Battalion, Twenty Two Marine Regiment, the Light battalion of the Regiment, the fastest and meanest of the division. "Tell you the truth, it means we are going to march to a gap in the lines, close it and hold position."
       "Didn't you say you didn't know," said Poborsky.
       "Worst case scenario is always on folder number two, and you don't have to be a genius to figure out what the fuck just happened on the mountain."
       "Right, but that was the heavy battalion, what's goanna happen to our thin asses?"
       "Well, the show must go on." He tapped the red, TRANSMIT button. "Net call, net call, saddle up, lock and load, follow my lead."
      His order was followed by "Roger" from his platoon Leaders. He grabbed the left joystick of his console and pressed it forward, making the RPMs go up, rolling forward the tracks of the vehicle. His sixteen vehicle Company before him.

Gunny Atwood ejected the eight smoke grenades on the turret of his tank, creating a smokescreen that enveloped the Scorpion immediately. Still, it only hindered the vision of the Covenant infantrymen that marched upon his tank.
       "Small arms, front," said Andree, reporting the volley of green and blue beams that began to go by the Scorpion.
       "COAX, fire," the gunner centered the reticle on the center of a crouched Elite and pressed the twin machinegun buttons. An Elite disappeared in a white and yellow cloak, then reappeared only to be truck back by twenty 7.62mm rounds. Andree rotated the handles to his right and the turret traversed in that direction, dragging the road of yellow tracers in that direction, taking down small, chubby creatures falling down behind them.
       "Lets doge," he swung the tank forty five degrees to his left, the chassis facing the road now, he pushed it forward and the Scorpion rolled towards the pavement, it poised over it, and Atwood lat the gas turbine berserk, the tank peeking at ninety six miles per hour. "Catch us if you can." The turret, still facing to the rear of the tank, kept hosing the infantry down.
      The track passed right above the arming mechanism of the Covenant mine, it added several tons of pressure over it infighting the plasma generator on it, forming a plasma bubble that rocketed skywards. It went right through the bottom of the tank, and the next thing Atwood felt was his helmet striking the hatch that was above his head.
      His knees rocketed towards the roof, making him land on a fetal position on the roof of his tank. "What the fuck?" the unbearable heat had his feelers on the verge of collapsing, and to his surprise, there was a faint green cloud inside the tank.
       "I'm hit?" said Andree, left legless on the roof of his station.
      Atwood frowned, in disgust. The right foreleg of the Marine was gone and the he was pale. "You are okay," he punched down on the hatch, to see if it popped and it did halfway. "We have a rollover."
       "Damn it."
      Suddenly something hammered the right side of the vehicle, and it sounded like the loud whistle of a train. The tank skidded on the pavement flipped to the right side, swinging open the hatch of the tank immediately, throwing the Marines on the left wall. "Now we got to bail," the gunny pulled the right shoulder of the Marine, making Andree holler. "One-three is down, I repeat one-three is out, bailing."
      He flopped around and grabbed his MA5B from the large holster besides his chair, now at head-level, and pulled it out; Atwood turned to his right and jumped out the open hatch and landed crouched on the cold environment of the planet, immediately scanning the surroundings. He barely had time to wax the Grunt that approached the tank with a blue Sphere on his left hand. It landed on the ground besides the corpse. "Holly-" Gunny turned around and ran around the tank, jumping at the corner where the turret was.
       "Roger one three, we are coming your way, ETA is five minutes."
       "They are fucking creeping on my ass!" he turned to his right and clumsily wasted twenty rounds on a Grunt, which bathed the floor with its purple blood.
       "Two on the right," called Andree who began to dispense ammunition with his sub-machinegun from the hatch. "Down."

"Hear that?"
       "Roger," said Magallanes. "That's an MA5B."
       "Damn those things are loud," he had heard the popping sound of the assault rifle behind the grinding noise of the diesel engine and the wind smashing to his eardrums.
       "Contact, small arms, at grid six-nine-four-three-five."
       "Roger," replied the Vehicle Commanders. He halted the vehicle by setting his left joystick idle. Behind him, on the rear of the vehicle, just behind a four vehicle platoon in a wedge formation, a ramp swung towards the ground, landing on a slight arch and eight Marines ran out, to the left and right and formed two fire teams of four flanking the MFV.
      God. "Someone axly made it out?"
       "Yes," replied the Major. Carlos looked at his digital MFD that showed the map of the region. His battalion had three major objectives, circled in thick blue lines, named GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE. Each parallel to each other, and one highlighting from the others. It was completely Yellow, on the map and several relief lines were on it. It was the mountain where the effort of Two-Two-two Mech had been concentrated. One of the mountains slopes had been the place were an entire battalion had been butchered.
      Time for a little revenge. "Range to the mountain," the gunner lased the forested mountain bed and shouted "Three-hundred and ten mikes!"
       "Roger that," he opened his hatch and swung it to the right, facing his infantry Commander, a very old, silver haired Captain. "Take point, double time it, we will be about one hundred meters behind supporting by fire, I want you to spot ET's ass before we get in their Rod Guns range, if engaged we will support by fire and clear the path for you."
       "March us to the woods in the open?"
       "Draw their fire captain, they surely will have eyes on right about now, I can't risk the entire Company."
       "First platoon!" shouted the Captain over the radio set. "Up!" from six MFVs thirty six Marines disembarked the same way the Major's squad had done and they formed up in a four long columns at the front of the company.
       "This should be interesting."
       "The Infantry always makes me-" the sound of a massive train wreck taking place came in directly infront of the marching infantry platoon, immediately spiraling a plume of dirt towards the purple sky. "That was incoming!"
       "Roger," Magallanes immediately pressing the red TRANSMIT button on his console. "Legions, flatten the forest." Immediately several booms on shuddered the environment as the Marine Fighting Vehicles opened up with their thirty millimeter auto-cannons on the forest, sending hundreds of red tracers over the Marine's heads, shattering and splintering the woods with dozens of explosions.

Hotel Company, 3-22 Marines (Mechanized) was a reconnaissance element, pure at simple. It served as the Battalion's eyes and ears and the heaviest vehicle in its corps was the lone APC of the Commander's section. The rest of the vehicles were light Colt motorcycles and ten Warthog vehicles LRVs armed with M-247 and Jackhammer turrets.
       "Yeah!" screamed PFC Blackfoot as the last 7.62x51mm round left the muzzle of his weapon, the arming lever snapping forward. "Get some!"
       "You don't even know what you are shooting at," replied Lieutenant Marquez.
       "Sure I do, those big ass woods on the ridge."
      The Lieutenant lets out a small chuckle with his lips closed, and looked through his binoculars the edge of the woods. Suddenly he knelt in the space between the sit and the dashboard, lifting the binoculars to eye level. "What the?" He could barely distinguish the figure of the man carrying on his right shoulder a legless fellow, he came out on the south east of the prairie and the outskirts of the woods. "Check fire!"
      Suddenly the volley of 7.62mm and .30 cal rounds ceased and the Marines began to exchange warning shouts. "Two o'clock at three hundred meters."
       "Marines in the line of fire!"
       "Hit it Marcos," ordered the Lieutenant as he picked up his SMG between his legs. "Get us there." Like clockwork the entire company began to fire their smoke grenades from the launchers over the vehicle, the canisters landing right next to the Marines. The hog rolled over the terrain, skidding on the wet grass beneath the wheels, with LCpl Smith hollering away with his M-247.
      The Marine stopped cold on the ground, he threw the wounded Marine on the ground and began to wave with both arms in despair. "What the hell?" Suddenly the cold breeze of the air began to swirl around his body. He felt the gentle coldness after the intense heat. He had experienced once that type of feeling. He had been hit by a fuel rod gun and he had been rocketed out of his vehicle.

Magallanes hollered. "Down!" the infantrymen had already seen the Warthog race to the two humans. He knew why, thanks both his extensive training and experience, that the Covenant had seen it as "shoot and scoot" movement. They would respond with all their artillery and arms. The Warthog disappeared immediately after the long green beam struck it amidships.
      Still pressing the transmit button he shouted, "get the fuck down! I'm calling some A-T on that forest!"
       "Roger that!" replied the Captain commander of the infantry.
       "Lima, Lima, this is Red Bat, OPORD Romeo one is fucked," immediately two of his MFVs disappeared in a pair of awesome fireballs. "We are less than a click away from Objective silver requesting a fire mission on zero-niner-seven-three-two-one, fire for effect."
       "Roger." Called a cold voice. Carlos pressed the top of his helmet against his head and shook his head. "They are going to cream us," he pressed again the TRANSMIT button. "Net Call, Net Call, retreat, retreat, retreat!"

Atwood lat loose two rounds striking a Grunt on the belly, it shattered it's inner organs and it collapsed in agony and pain. The Gunnery Sergeant skidded back into the cover of the tree to his left and looked on the receiver of his MA5B, nine rounds left in the chamber.
       The Covenant must think I'm a goddamn sharp shooter, he thought. He was the worst shot in his Boot Camp class fifteen years before passing the shooting range by bare inches. The Aliens had stayed in cover for the past minutes without making any moves, excepting the shift of position of the luckless Grunt.
      He raised his head, his eyes poised on the unseen sound of a growing whistle. The old man knew what it was. "Incoming!" suddenly he was up on his feet running across towards the only refuge available, the rolled over tank. He felt the holt plasma smear past him as he reached the center of the rolled over tank, grabbed one of the corners and pulled inside headbutting Andree in the process, the gunny was inside before the first one-seven-oh millimeter White Phosphorous grenade hit the woods.