23 July 2000 2300H. Szczercow, Poland.
In a daring raid, the party freed approximately 100 American soldiers in a makeshift internment camp in Szczercow.
After Maks discovered hints of the POWs’ existence via radio and his newly-acquired Soviet codebook, Woj and Grant had scouted the location disguised as farmers. The POWs were being held in a temporary enclosure at a former high school track field. Their few officers were kept segregated, and housed in a building with Soviet MPs.
The party masqueraded as Polish engineers passing through town to inspect Warta River bridges in the area. Enemy combatants included approximately 100 Polish cavalry posted down at the highway crossroads, and 20 Soviet MPs at the north end of town, guarding the prisoners, which also included approximately 30 Pact personnel being held in a separate enclosure for various reasons.
The Soviet MPs were clearly more concerned about their burgeoning prisoner population – due to be shipped out soon – than an external attack. The party took over the long-abandoned school building overlooking the facility, parked their two amphibious vehicles behind, and took up positions. A radio-jamming apparatus was set-up inside.
Grant fired the first shots with his M40, targeting the south guard post, and missing. Woj fired a explosive grenade into the north guard post, temporarily putting it out of commission. An MP chose that moment to step out of the administration building, and Aron – waiting – fired a gas grenade right through the open door (as luck would have it [Outstanding Success], the grenade landed in the central hallway, filling the small building with irritant gas).
Also on the roof, Maks sprayed the south guard post with two bursts from his MG3 machinegun, catching all 3 guards. From there, it continued being a very one-sided fight; the rear-echelon MPs were inexperienced and caught by surprise. The MP at the front door spun around in shock at the grenade whistling past him into the building, looked back outside, and was then cut down by a few rounds from Aron’s G3 battle rifle. Grant, on the roof, started finding his range, hitting perimeter guards with his sniper rifle, shifting, firing, shifting.
The party neutralized all the guards outside, and those in the administration building came stumbling out at Woj’s barked orders in Russian. Coughing and retching from the tear gas, they offered no resistance, and were secured. Soon the American officers were freed, and they were suffering the gas effects as well.
As expected, the American POWs were survivors from the 256th Brigade, overrun at Łask. Col Sims – former brigade commander – washing his face with copious amounts of water, was grateful to the party.
Time was of the essence. The raid was over quickly, but the Polish cavalry would surely be arriving on scene shortly. Sims was unaware of the destruction of the 5th Division at Kalisz just days before. After a quick sitrep from Maks, Sims rounded up the remaining soldiers of his command, had them grab any gear close at hand, and they fled into the forest to the north.
Maks also freed the Pact prisoners to further the chaos for the arriving enemy, and the party departed in a different direction in their two Soviet vehicles.