Author Colin Gee

Members Area

Newest Members

Facebook Fanpage Box

BlackWatch-UK Online Gaming Clan site.

Recent Forum Posts

Recent Photos

Red Gambit merchandise

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress

An unedited sample from Impasse.

You cannot run away from weakness; you must some time fight it out, or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?


Robert Louis Stevenson

November 1945

Chapter 103 - THE CHANGE


1033hrs, Thursday, 1st November 1945, Headquarters of SHAEF, Trianon Place Hotel, Versailles, France.


Eisenhower could feel for the man, they all could, but the mantle of failure had to be laid somewhere and, in this instance, it lay fully on the shoulders of Group Captain James Stagg.

His information, received from civilian and military sources across the spectrum of agencies, had been misinterpreted.

Gathered in the room were the heavyweights of the Allied Command Structure, initially brought together to discuss the changes in the Soviet hierarchy, but now all were overtaken by a new priority, all equally afflicted by the meteorological prediction error.

?Well, Jim, it?s done and no use crying over it now. It doesn?t happen again. We can?t afford to get caught like this a second time.?

Stagg took his leave, intent on reviewing the situation to discover where the errors were made.

Ike watched him go and then returned his focus to the group.

?Right. We move on.?

The men moved forward to examine the map but were distracted by the sound of laughter from outside the room.

Their eyes were drawn to the window and a group of military policemen, playing hard as soldiers do, firing missiles at each other at breakneck speed, stopping only to scoop up more handfuls of the snow that covered the landscape for as far as the eye could see, and whose arrival had caught the Allied forces unprepared.

Patton moved briskly to the window but Eisenhower beat him to it.

?Let ?em be, George, let ?em be.?

Reluctantly, the Commander of the US Third Army moved back, sparing a moment to scowl at the soldiers, oblivious to their seniors as they cavorted in fifteen inches of pure white snow.

?Now. Let?s sort this mess out.?

That work was in progress when a simple message arrived. The Italian Government had declared its neutrality.



To be fair to the Meteorological Department, they had forecast snow to fall as of the night of the 30th. The issue was in its quantity and the dip in temperature that ensured it remained.

On the morning of the 30th October, the temperature stubbornly refused to break 0°, dropping to -9° as November arrived.

The 1st November had seen better temperatures at the southern end of the line, but in the centre, and the north, 0° became but a memory.

Stagg had presented them with a revised forecast that morning, one that did not cheer them.

More snow was on its way, and with it would come a further drop in temperature, partially because of the presence of a huge cold front, and partially because of the winds that would accompany it.

He added widespread freezing fog to his glum forecast.

Now the Allied Armies would have to battle the elements, as well as the Russians.


0400hrs, Sunday, 4th November 1945, Frontline position, the Jade River, west of Jaderkreuzmoor, Germany.


?Thank you, Sarnt.?

Ames accepted the enamel mug and its scalding hot contents as if they were gifts from the Gods.

?My pleasure, Sah. Them Welsh boys is ok. They?m taken a shine to you, by all accounts.?

Ames took a tentative sip of the strong brew and shrugged, attempting humour to downplay the moment.

?We?ve spent some quality time together, Sarnt. They?re good lads.?

Sergeant Gray was a recent arrival with the 83rd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, yet another of those men who had spent time behind German barbed wire.

Placing his mug on the snow, he spared a look at his surroundings, the combination of the moon and the steadily falling snow creating a relaxing, almost Christmas-like feeling to the land.

He pulled out his large pipe, and had it loaded in record time.

The awesome object had already acquired the nickname, ?The Funnel?, its bowl constantly belching something indescribable that bore scant resemblance to the aromatic products of pipe tobacco.

Theories abounded, starting with shredded tyre rubber, and ending with old unwashed socks.

He quickly checked the radio and found it satisfactory, rewrapping it in the army blanket used to insulate it from the elements.

The sound of Gray sucking greedily kick-started Ames and he was soon puffing on a Woodbine.

Ames had acquired a heavy smoking habit since the fighting in and around the Rathaus in August, which now neared forty a day, when supplies were sufficient.

?One of they Welshies was telling me about ?Amburg, Sah. Sounds like ?er was a right bastard, fair ?nough.?

                Ames? eyes softly glazed, as his memories took him back to those few bitter days, fighting with the Royal Welch, the Black Watch, and even those German Paratroopers.

?To be honest, Sarnt, it was pretty horrible... and we were extremely lucky to get out of it. Many didn?t.?

His mind presented him with the image of the young Lieutenant Ramsey, fired into the masonry of the Rathaus with such force that his body adhered to the surface, and only reluctantly relinquished its grip after the main battle was over.

He shuddered.

Gray understood, and left the younger man to his thoughts.

Both men enjoyed the peace, until the light rattle of the simple warning device forced Gray into action.

?Chalky, I told you to watch the cans, you bloody idio...?

He turned his head, in time to catch the stale breath of a Soviet soldier.

Ames also turned, alarmed as much by the rapid end to Gray?s words as the sound of an enamel mug falling to the bottom of the foxhole.

He fumbled for his Sten, finding only another enemy soldier, and then another.

Cold hands pressed themselves to his face and caught his flailing arms.

go back to the top

go back to the top