[The map is of FSB Kien, Vietnam, 1970; repurposed for our use.]
After sending the other four away on their diversionary Soviet convoy ambush, Maks and Woj made their own preparations for covert entry into the 129th MRD’s OMG base out of Olesno.
Maks once again wore a Soviet captain’s uniform, and Woj a Polish private. They’d use the recovered UAZ again, and bring typical Soviet gear. With one exception.
Fairly uncomfortably stashed down the front of Maks’ pants was an S4M assassination pistol.
Maks possessed forged papers from Wrocław, where the 129th’s logistics and supply was based, 100km to the west. Maks was “assigned” to record/return the OMG base’s dry goods inventory levels in those docs.
[Was there a competent forger back in Pyskowice? Who knows. I assigned a 15% chance, and as it happened, rolled a 12.]
He also carried a second set of papers, a sealed communication, eyes-only for Captain Semyon Makarov (Col. Kazanov’s chief of staff) or Major Mikhail Raevski (Kazanov’s executive officer). The sealed communications (contents “unknown” to Maks) would alert either of the officers that inventory levels of dry goods were mismatched, and Wrocław Logistics suspected somebody at OMG was trading the supplies on the black market locally, a hanging offense.
These additional sealed papers were both opportunity and peril. If used, they probably wouldn’t hold up long. But maybe they’d be enough to get close to Kazanov.
Getting in and out of the Soviet base was minimal in risk on its own. They’d done it once before already, had a good cover, and the security was middling. The Soviets were primarily concerned with large scale threats, insurgents, and truck bombs.
But their assassination attempt on Kazanov would be doubtful at best. Being intercepted during the action would most likely end their lives in a hail of bullets. If no good quiet opportunity presented itself, Maks and Woj would abort and leave during the distraction when the convoy was attacked many kilometers away.
The pair arrived at the outer perimeter checkpoint. And got more attention than they’d expected. Two guards inspected their UAZ inside and out. A sergeant with a clipboard looked over their primary orders and radioed them in. Then he asked Maks about their orders from memory and their unit at Wrocław. Their primary cover was designed to withstand some scrutiny, and they were waved on.
The inner perimeter checkpoint guards merely saluted and answered Maks’ questions where to go for fuel, and the supplies area for his “assignment”.
Once in, they attracted little attention, except the occasional salute from the enlisted. The pair drove the UAZ back to the division’s fuel supply, and got behind another UAZ waiting to fuel-up. That driver was a Soviet lieutenant, without a name on his uniform. He looked like a young Christopher Walken. He casually greeted Maks while they were waiting, identifying himself as Lt. Gulashev. The encounter was unremarkable of itself, save due to the tenseness of the situation.
Maks and Woj proceeded to the base supply tents. The lieutenant in charge of stores turned out to be a worthless drunk, with his sergeant in de facto command. Maks and the sergeant – who turned out to be quite good at his work – went over inventory numbers. The Lieutenant left.
The sergeant was on edge at the surprise inspection, but was cooperative. At the end, Maks pressed on the young man a bit, and discovered that Lt. Drunk had been secretly trading the officer’s caviar stores to build his booze stash. Maks assured the sergeant that he’d indicate that he found the discrepancy through physical inventory auditing.
By coincidence, Maks’ fictitious sealed papers had confirmation.
Afternoon was fading, and Maks and Woj (carrying log books and binders) headed for the HQ. The guard let them in after being shown the orders.
The HQ was constructed from pre-fab materials rather than tent fabric. Inside were four personnel: Two at radios, one making notations on large map of the region, and the last at a typewriter. Two officers were also present, Cpt. Makarov and Col. Kazanov.
Maks presented Makarov the sealed orders, which Kazanov read as well. They seemed irritated, and moved the conversation to the back of the room, away from the staff. Kazanov showed the paper discussing the supply discrepancy to Maks, and began querying him about what he knew.
Maks began speaking about the caviar shortage, when the noise level at the radio increased. The operator was furiously writing notes and called the map person over, handing him a note. The map person alerted Kazanov, “Sir, we have a convoy under attack!”
Kazanov interrupted Maks in mid-sentence, curtly saying “This will wait,” and left Maks and Woj standing at the back of the room.