Phil Gardocki in gaming Oct 9, 2019 · 3 min read · ~100

The Forcing of Pithy Gulch

An All Quiet on the Martian Front Battle Report


"Sir, he has arrived." The lieutenant stood at perfect attention waiting for his commanders response. 

"He has a name Harmon, just like everyone else.  We don't need to mystify Captain Patton like some cheap dime store novel villain."

"Yes Sir!  Captain Patton has arrive with a platoon of those new Mk IV steam tanks, they are unloading at the depot now."

"So the mighty Captain Patton has descended from Mount Olympus to our pithy corner of the world, and he has brought Zeus's own lightning?"

The lieutenant stood, unresponsive.

The General got up, and paced to a corner of the tent, looking at the maps displayed there.  "And why is it that a captain rates so much special attention?  A private train, an entourage, of special armored vehicles, and apparently the ability to replace field commanders at his whim."

"Sir, he apparently is from a wealthy military family and it is said that he pays for the trains out of his own pocket."

"And that explains how a mere captain has more power of independent action then most Generals.  No, there is something else.  He is not just some spoiled rich kid from a spoiled family."

From the rear of the tent bellowed, "Maybe he has bailed out of more burning tanks then you have seen battles, General."

General Schiff turned to see the new arrival.  An officer wearing a freshly pressed uniform, and standing at parade ground attention with perfect salute.  General Schiff threw a return salute, and the officer adopted a perfect parade rest position.

"Captain Patton, I heard you had just arrived."

"I arrived last night, General, and was getting the lay of the land.  My tanks arrived this morning."

That was disturbing.  "And what have you seen?"

"Your men are well trained on their individual units, but need more work coordinating with others.  You have covering forces on both exit points of the gulch, but your forces covering one gulch cannot support the other if need be, lending itself to being defeated in detail.  There is a patch of old growth forest obscuring the view of then nearest exit point to your command which renders your operations and heaviest artillery combat ineffective.  Lastly, you have a coal bunker without suitable sprinkler systems that could explode after receiving a minor hit from a heat ray."  With that, the captain came to attention, and saluted, "Sir."

The Forcing of Pithy Gulch The lieutenant's face, turned bright red, and shouted back, "Those woods provide excellent cover for our heaviest forces, Allowing us to rain shells on the Martian without retaliation, and we will have plenty of time to adjust our forces when once we see where they are coming from!"

It was Captain Patton's turn to turn a little pink in the face.  He gave the General a raised eyebrow as an unspoken query.  The General made an affirmative gesture, and the captain faced the lieutenant.

"Lieutenant, I am not going to argue my credentials, but to say I have seen the Martian in action, and you obviously have not.  That old growth forest is going to provide excellent cover, for the Martian, and when they have used it, your best weapons will be useless scrap metal.  And how will you know they are coming?  When you see them?  That is way too late, do you know how fast those 3 legged jackasses move?  The time from sighted to burned to a crisp is under 2 minutes.  How are you going to react to that?  Where are your air craft?  I haven't seen one all morning."

"They have a 25% loss rate.."

"And that should tell you something.  That's one or two men.  When the Martians come, that will be the casualty rate for the whole division.  Then what?  If they break through here, then what is your casualty rate then?"

He faced the General.  "General, I have noticed there is an attitude among the General Staff, that winning the war is inevitable.  That we have stopped them and now we just need to build up forces.  We have the numbers.  That attitude isn't worth a donkey schlong sausage.  How many Martians do you think there are on the Planet?  Today?"

"Estimates are just over 5,000, about 1,000 capsules and 5 Martians each."

The captain took a deep breath, calming him self, "General, we have killed at least 7,000 Martians so far in this war.  That is just the USA, and no telling how many the British, Russians, and Japanese have killed.  What does that tell you?"

"The estimates are wrong?"  The General paled somewhat.

"General, the number of capsules shot to Earth is probably correct +/- 50%, no one really knows.  Do you know how the Martians breed?  I do, the egg heads call it binary fission, or budding or some such.  One Martian becomes 2, and both Martians have the same memories of the original.  EVERY.  GOD. DAMN. YEAR.  They have been in the hinderlands for who knows how many years before they showed themselves.  So again I ask, how many are there?  1912, 10,000, 1913 20,000, 1914 40,000, 1915 almost 100,000 of the bastards.  And they have industry, I have been in their hives, I have seen their fabrication facilities.  Their ability to turn out war machines is totally automated, put rocks in a hopper, and a tripod emerges.  It makes Henry Ford's moving conveyor belt look like look like a cave man chipping away at a a spear-point."

"General, I am here because we have to stop them here, and everywhere, because with their mobility, if the penetrate anywhere, they will be able to send a thousand of those bastards in our rear before we could react, and the west coast will be lost."

"General, I am here because I have seen the most action of any tanker in the army, and I know what works and have seen what doesn't.  I'm not a general, because I haven't earned it, and Generals have to be more worried about logistics and stuff, I only need to know how to fight.  You have a good killing field here, lets make it a great killing field."