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T42 Pt. 21 | "The siege of Klirsey I"

Tales of the 42nd: The siege of Klirsey


+++ALBIAN II, ALBIAN SYSTEM+++

+++TRENCH SECTOR BRAVO, SECTION 3, SUBSECTION C+++

+++732.000.M41 / 1232, 23 SEP 41000+++

+++ LANDING +37 DAYS +++



The siege of the fortress city of Klirsey has been going on for a month. The 22nd army encircling the entire city, the army is dug in through a series of trenches that forms a zig-zag circle around the city and its counter siege defences. 30 Corps was spread along the north and west of the city, sectors Alpha (86th Xailiv and 152nd Caledonian Brigades), Bravo (85th Xailiv and 153rd Caledonian Brigades), and Delta (67th Division). Sector Bravo has the highest troop concentration from the 22nd army for when an assault is launched and to draw the traitor forces into a kill zone for any attacks the traitor forces launch.

During the siege, the artillery pieces of the 22nd army have rarely been silent with barraging the traitor lines and the area in between the trenches.


Cecilia sits in the command dugout of the reserve trench, the third trench in the system, behind the combat and support trench. She looks down at the map in front of her with markers for positions of the forces under her command. With a small sigh, Cecilia puts down the dataslate with the report that she had been reading before she lightly rubs the bridge of her nose and the bags under her eyes. Even with the troop rotation through the trenches, there has been little rest from the traitor artillery or from the small scale attacks that had been launched.

Cecilia lets out a small groan as she stands up to stretch by taking a small walking lap around the dugout while she sips her recaf. Cecilia is just reaching for her dataslate again when there is a knock on the door of the dugout.


Cecilia glances over at the door before looking back at her dataslate as she answers, "Enter."


As the door opens, Leana quickly steps inside, closing it behind her before she takes a moment to look at Cecilia with a small smile, "Hey, Cecilia."


Cecilia looks over quickly at hearing Leana's voice as she had been expecting more reports for her to read, a smile spreading across her face, "Leana! Didn't expect you."


The two of them embrace at the edge of her table while Leana places the small bag that she had been carrying down.

Leana laughs softly while she leans her head forward to rest against Cecilia's, "Good, I wanted to surprise you. Had a feeling that you have read enough reports and could do with a break for lunch."


Cecilia smiles while she leads her over to a small sitting area set up in the dugout, one of the few luxuries of being a major and commandeering abandoned furniture. "That sounds amazing right now," Cecilia says.


Leana nods while she opens the bag that she had brought with her, and starts pulling out the contents and placing them on the field table in front of the commandeered couch. "Thought you would appreciate a Colonel's fair, compared to slab." Leana puts down two decent cuts of meat, along with a few ration bars of a higher quality than given to most troops.


Cecilia's eyes are drawn to the meat as it has been almost two months since she had any fresh meat, "Is that..."


Leana grins slightly at Cecilia's reaction, "It is, the scouts found a field of some Grox last night, had a few of them butchered this morning."


"Now that is a lucky find, finally some good luck in this siege..." Cecilia says as she reaches forward to grab her cut of the Grox meat and a ration bar.


Leana nods, grabbing her own portions as well, "Know what you mean, this siege has been testing..."


Cecilia falls silent for a moment while she breaks up the ration bar to have a bit of it with a bite of the Grox meat, "It has been, but this the only major stronghold in our sector. So once we have taken it, we should just be on mop-up duty."


"Hopefully, should have time to rest then. Going to need it after this siege with how little anyone is able to get with the shells flying overhead," Leana says.


With that, the two of them fall into a companionable silence with light chatter while they eat, just enjoying the brief moment of relaxation that they are getting.



+++NO MANS LAND, FRONT OF SECTOR BRAVO+++

+++733.000.M41 / 2147, 23 SEP 41000+++



"Lt. You need to see this." the call comes from the watch position of the observation post.


Lieutenant Eve Sharpe slowly stands up, as much as she can without putting her head through the camo netting that covers the top of the foxhole. She moves forward slowly to the watch position, making her way past the rest of her command section, who were leaning against the dark grey mud walls of the foxhole, that has saturated and covers their uniforms and skin after spending days in no man's land.


Eve steps up to the periscope while Master Sergeant Annette Hain steps to the side to let Eve have a look, "What am I looking at Hain?"


"Spotted a lot of movement on the far bank of the river," Hain says.


Eve nods while she looks through the periscope, scanning it across the broken and cratered no man's land. The land is a shambles of broken and twisted barbed wire, wrecked vehicles, shattered trees, craters filled with mud and water, along with the broken bodies of the dead. Eve slowly moves the periscope across the riverbank, looking to try and spot any movement when a brief burst of movement draws her eyes onto the muddy grey water.


It takes Eve a moment to figure out what she is looking at, but the moment she does she springs into action, "Hain, traitor forces are launching an attack, keep a watch, let me know when they are moving up the hill." Eve doesn't even wait for a response before she is moving to the back of the observation post that has already started to spring to action after her shout.


Sergeant Fenoff, Eve's vox-op has already warmed up the vox-caster and is passing her the headset by the time Eve has reached her.


Eve takes the handset before she starts sending her orders, "All callsigns, this is actual. Hostile contacts detected starting assault. Begin to fall back to friendly lines, time now, out." With that order given she hands the handset back to Fenoff for her to relay up to the company.


As Eve steps away from the vox-caster, one of her command section offers Eve her longlas that she gladly takes before loading a fresh powerpack. "Get ready people, this is going to have to be a quick fall back."



+++TRENCH SECTOR BRAVO, SECTION 3+++

+++733.000.M41 / 2159, 23 SEP 41000+++



Cecilia bursts out of her dugout, still holstering her bolt pistol and clipping her helmet onto her belt while the alarm echoes up and down the trench. Leana is just behind her while the two of them look about in the hurried but purposeful movement of the Caledonians in the trench.


Cecilia turns to Leana before she speaks, "I need to be at the front to see what is going on and coordinate."


Leana nods, before gripping Cecilia's hand for a moment, "Aye, and I need to be back at my HQ if this is an attack. Emperor Protect."


Cecilia nods before she hurries off down the trench lines, to quickly reach the front line trench which was quickly becoming active with the Guard that were off duty stepping up to the firing step and readying their weapons. Cecilia soon joins her command squad, Rayna offering her a brief nod before Cecilia turns to her vox operator.


"Right, I want a full update on the situation from some and want to get in contact with Shelldrake to get a fire mission on standby," Cecilia says before she looks for someone to get an update from.


At Cecilia's words, Eve steps away from the firing step and approaches, "Major, Lieutenant Eve Sharpe, 25th Lovat's. We spotted a large enemy force crossing the river via bridges they had placed under cover of the night."


Cecilia nods at Eve's words, "Copy that Lt, I want your..."


Cecilia is cut off by a shout echoing up and down the line, "Incoming!", the shout is soon joined by the whistle of incoming artillery shells. Everyone in the trench quickly leans as far into the side walls as they can, trying to minimise their profile. The shells, however, explode in the air releasing small clouds that start to expand over the trench.

With those shells detonating, a second alarm starts to blare it's warning of a gas attack, followed by shouts of, "Gas! Masks on!", moving along the trenches.


Cecilia quickly pulls her gas mask out of its pouch and puts it on, making sure the straps are secure before she puts her helmet on as well. The traitors have timed their attack well however and as people are still fumbling with their gas masks and helmets the first wave of the traitor assault opens fire, taking a couple of the more exposed Guard in the volley. In response, the Caledonians jump onto the fire step and start to return fire, with mortars firing rounds into no man's land, suppression weapons fire at any targets that are spotted by tracing the lasgun shots.

The mortars have also launched illumination rounds high into the sky, casting an almost sickly light through the lying gas. Cecilia draws her bolt pistol and fires a round into the chest of a traitor that was cresting the trench line, his body falling backwards while the soldiers near her quickly concentrated their fire at the small group that had charged the trench.


Cecilia wipes some of the dirt off the goggles of her gas mask while she looks at her vox-op, tuning out the sounds of the coughing and spluttering of the soldiers nearby that hadn't gotten their gas masks on in time or those injured in the fighting. "I want Shelldrake firing, danger close. I want them to light up our entire front line, 100m's front."


Cecilia turns away once the vox-op has nodded and started to send her request, Cecilia's eyes landing on a medic that was moving down the line administering the emperors peace to those beyond help.

Cecilia takes a deep breath to refocus herself before she turns back to the task at hand and starts to give orders to the troops near her and to the platoons under her command.

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