Ambush in the Forest

Playlist: The Trees - Rush

TacMap - the bad guys. Note the highly detailed precision miniatures of period vehicles! Blue monks are of course green - click it for larger image!

Aurangabad - Ellora Road, India, 20:32 14th October 1940

Keeper Note: No Ric, Arthur or Aimo this week so Marcus and Jimmy were parked with the loonies and Birapeer concentrated on commanding support fire.

Quietly, the three scouts slipped back into the trees and rejoined the main group. A hurried war council sent the mentally wounded Grenadiers back into better cover - along with Marcus, who was hallucinating again, and Jimmy, who volunteered to look after him.

Careful observation with binoculars, rather hampered by the darkness and few lanterns and torches carried by the intruders, showed what looked ominously like the corpses of the four men Joshi had left at the trucks, two of them with what looked like arrows sticking out of them. Even more worrying, two all-too-familiar blue-robed figures were clearly visible in the background as the two leaders of the force - a man in a suit and an Indian woman in a red sari - argued ferociously. To the far left, blocking the road towards Ellora - were a nondescript truck and a German Sd.Kfz 251 Hanomag half-track.

Birapeer and Joe took command of the two Grenadier Bren teams, and emplaced them as well as they could in cover behind trees or hummocks. Anné worked herself out to the right, getting into cover and lining up with l'Etranger. Francoise and Cyril, rifles in hand, set up either side of Joe's Bren team, while Subedar Joshi deployed his last two riflemen. A signal was chosen and - on a low whistle from Joe - the whole expedition opened fire at once.

Anné's sniper round was perfectly aimed at one of the Chankopa monks but - to her dismay - a semi-visible demisphere of pale blue energy flared around the man, partially deflecting the round so that it only drilled through his arm instead of his chest. Next to her Pte Aditya Khatri also fired, but his bullet went wide.

Birapeer, like Anné, had judged the monks the greatest possible threat, and directed his Grenadier Bren gunner Arush Varma to open up on the other one, as did he himself, while the loader Pte Ajay Sharma lurked ready to to aid either of them. Once again, the hail of bullets caromed off some kind of invisible shield. Birapeer cursed, and swept a long burst across a besuited German, their leader and the blue monk. All went down in a shower of blood.

On the far left of the Allied line, Francoise looked across the sights of her Lee-Enfield at the red-garbed women, most likely the Brides of Durga. The foremost of these - she who had been arguing with the now-felled German leader - was presumably the Brides' leader. She laid the sight on her and squeezed off a shot, grinning as the woman went down, dropping her lantern with a crash. "Prends ça, chienne!" she muttered, working the bolt.

Bedford Truck

The remaining blue monk was turning, preparing to dive for cover, when Joe's Bren team drilled him full of hot lead, punching him over backwards and down. Pte Shaurya Patel snarled "Yes!" in triumph, and Joe raked a long burst across the group of Germans and through the front of the two British trucks, behind which several more were sheltering. The truck rocked slightly at the hammerblow impacts, and seemed to settle a bit lower as the burst ended.

Carefully taking aim, Cyril fired his rifle, and rather to his own surprise a Bride of Durga dropped her bow, clapped her hands to her head, and crumpled to the road. "Huh, pierced both her ears at once!" he chuckled.

Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf.C Hanomag

The survivors of the Axis force were scattering now, diving for cover behind the assorted vehicles. Torches and lanterns were doused or dropped and the whole area was getting darker. As he watched, Cyril noticed a figure clamber out of the far side door of the German truck and disappear into cover behind it - presumably the driver. At the same time Joe caught sight of the mounted MG34 at the front of the Hanomag starting to move as the crewman left to guard the vehicle grabbed it and began to swing it to point at the attackers.

Despite this increase in firepower, the Nachtwölfe force had taken significant casualties, and Joe felt it worth calling out: "Übergeben Sie sich und wir werden aufhören zu schießen!" From his left, Joshi repeated this in Marathi for the Brides' benefit, though the latter were at best spectators in this firefight; bows and elephant goads were little use at 90 yards' range. Nothing happened, though, and Birapeer directed his team's fire at the half-track. Not for nothing was it an armoured vehicle, however, and the rounds glanced off the vehicle's hull.

Joe followed suit, and though he also didn't manage to come anywhere near Private Thorsen where he huddled behind his gunshield, his burst carried down the side of the half-track and bowled over a Bride who had taken incomplete cover.

The Late Private Shaurya Patel

Private Dhruv Arya, Likewise

Bullets began whipping through the trees around the agents as the surviving Germans, now prone and in cover, returned fire with their MP38s. Submachineguns, though, are designed for close combat and the range was excessive even if it hadn't been dark. Among the chatter, however, was the flat krak of a K.98 infantry rifle and Joe's Bren gunner Shaurya Patel slumped over his weapon dying. Then the MG38 opened up. A swathe of bullets swept across the woodland, hammering into the trees and kicking up great clods of dirt. Cyril and Francoise had never been under such intense fire before, and the sheer violence of it shocked them, Cyril going flat on his face and burrowing as deep as he could as the loader Dhruv Arya next to him gave a choking gasp and staggered away, mortally wounded.

Anné, rifle reloaded, started moving to the right through the trees, trying to get a flanking shot position behind the machine gunner's gunshield. Meanwhile, Rifleman Kabir Bannerjee tried a shot under the damaged British truck and - though he didn't know it at the time - got lucky and killed another German.

The interior of a Sd.Kfz 251 - before being grenaded

The MG38 began to hammer again, and Joe realized that what was needed here was a long shot - literally. Unclipping a grenade, he stood up, drew his arm back, and hurled it towards the Hanomag. It was an optimistic throw, but luck was with the umbrella-wielding soldier and the missile dropped into the open back of the vehicle. There were a couple of clangs as it bounced around and then it blew with a muffled boom!

The robust armour of the half-track's sides enclosed and contained the blast and shrapnel, and focussed it upwards. This saved the lives of those in cover behind the hull, but the machine-gun wielding driver was splattered all over the cockpit. Joe had rather fancied driving away in the thing, but the controls were smashed to splinters by the blast and flames began to flicker inside the troop compartment.

The shooting died away momentarily in the stunned silence, and Joe bawled his invitation to surrender once more into the lull. After a moment, guns skittered out onto the road surface and the two surviving Germans emerged. There was no sign of the Brides, however, and as the agents made their way down the hill it became apparent that they'd slipped away into the woodland on the other side around the time the MG had started firing.

Devika Kiran Savarkar

As she passed the felled Chankopa monks, Anné bent and repeatedly stabbed each one with her silver phurba. It was pretty apparent that they were beyond the need, but she wanted to be sure of them. The two Germans, all the fight gone out of them, put up no objections as Joe directed them to be disarmed, searched and tied up. As he got a better look, Birapeer realized that the leader of the Brides, who despite a shattered thigh was still alive, and the leader of the Germans - confusingly a young Indian man, his shattered horn-rimmed spectacles staring sightlessly at the night sky - were the two he had observed when undercover at the Nationalist meeting. Despite the suggestions of some of the more bloodthirsty of the combatants, Joshi insisted that she receive basic medical treatment and be secured for Tenison to interrogate back in Dehli.

Believe it or not- a Lego Hanomag on fire... You can buy it here for a mere $180!

The Hanomag was now well alight, and Joshi sent one of his men to move the German truck to a safe distance as the munitions inside started to cook off. The British truck Joe had raked was kaput, with several .303 rounds through the engine block and two flat tyres, and the expedition had to transfer half their personnel to the Brides' truck. Sadly, two of them were in no condition to mind, having given their lives for a King they'd never see.

As Francoise broke open a medical kit and sedated the more disturbed of the psychic casualties from the Temple's guardians, Jimmy completed his photographic record of the event as Joe tossed a couple more grenades into the burning half-track and one into the ruined truck to make sure of their destruction.

Road to Aurangabad, India, 22:00 - 03:20 14th/15th October 1940

As the trucks rumbled along, Joe and Anné roughly interrogated the German survivors. They resisted at first, but as Joe pointed out that - as technical spies - he could quite easily just shoot them out of hand, and Anné loomed over them with her face (as Joe thought to himself) like a melted welly, their resistance crumbled. As their ID proclaimed, they were Wehrmacht soldiers, attached to Nachtwölfe and under the command of Altaf Naved Choudhuri; the name in the slain leader's ID. "Unsere Mission war es, die Arische Waffe von den Untermenschen zu erwerben," said one, his ID bearing the name Kristian Gernert. To take the Aryan weapon from the subhumans, Joe thought, looks like the Brides were being used. Gefreiter Gernert confirmed that the woman they had captured was the Nationalist agitator and leader of the Brides of Durga, Devika Kiran Savarkar.

Aurangabad, 10:05 14th/15th October 1940

On arrival at Aurangabad, the prisoners were secured and the party turned in for some rest after sending a telegram to Clemens Park confirming their success. Later that morning, a response came through, and they began to plan and re-equip for their next theatre of operations.

Keeper Note: As Lizzie is heading back to That London next week, Francoise (code name Faucon) has volunteered to hand deliver the Agneya Weapon of Flame back to Blighty.

Session Date: 18th September 2018