8 to 10 October 2000

With a fragile peace taking hold in Warsaw, events in the west called for attention.

Captain Molly Warren, CO of the American cavalry unit “B Troop”,  was determined to lead her men across Europe to the evacuation at the port of Bremerhaven, Germany. But B Troop hadn’t even left Dobrodzien.

The Markiz Slaskie arrived first, blockading the town with two over-strength companies.

Markiz Filipowicz informed Warren that they were free to depart, but they would need to leave their armor behind.

“Not a chance,” Captain Warren replied. And so began the standoff.

This development I borrowed from a 500 Miles blog page.

It was a strictly optional mission for Maks’ crew, as getting between these two ethically-challenged parties would be a thankless task, and Maks was under no obligation to intervene whatsoever. However, he’s become something of a go-between among the various parties in the region. And an advocate for the stateless Americans trapped in southern Poland. So he decided to investigate.

It’s been two months since the party last traveled through Silesia.

Markiz Filipowicz is now a king in all but name. He’s been annexing towns, growing the territory of Silesia north and west. With the departure of the Soviet 129th Motorized Division, a power vacuum had opened in the region. Usually the Markiz operates through “soft power” and persuasion, else annexations are enacted through “dirty tricks” where necessary, supporting sympathetic parties and groups who’d seize control and subsequently declare for Silesia.

The Markiz’ right-hand man, Major Stranski, was either purged or left of his own accord. His whereabouts are unknown.

Silesia’s expansion in the east, in the area bordering Kraków, has been blunted. Cieszyn (Tesin) – along with Pszczyna, Bielsko-Biala, and Zywiec – formed a Liga Handlowy (Mercantile League).

Silesia’s astroturfed “rebel groups” have made little gains against the town militias of the Liga Handlowy, which have proven to be astonishingly well-armed with RPGs and mortars. Everyone assumes Kraków is behind the military aid.

4 October 2000 - Intel brief - Dobrodzien standoff - Krakow Silesia

Rumor has it that Kraków possesses a nuclear weapon. They will neither confirm nor deny.

Silesia has clashed with Czech forces near Opava, but neither side was interested in a war, so the scant distance between the Silesian capital, Raciborz, and Opava is heavily fortified and garrisoned.

Kraków itself maintains trade relations with the Czechs.

So for the second time in a week, Maks traveled upriver to Kraków. He brought Barna Áron, Grant Derek William, and newcomer Private Eric Benson (the ex-University of Alabama quarterback). He left the bulk of his group downriver in Góra Kalwaria so that the delicate situation in Warsaw wouldn’t be disrupted. Elizka was in charge there, assisted by Wojciech.

On arrival, Mak’s intel contact in Kraków, elaborated on the scant info he gave over the radio. He requested Maks to intervene in the standoff at Dobrodzien.

B Troop could fight its way out of Dobrodzien, there was little doubt. But it would bring violence down on the town. There had been Catholic conversions and stealth marriages in the American cav unit. At least some of the civilians would surely be accompanying the convoy.

And the damage inflicted upon B Troop’s convoy would be a depressing start to an already perilous trek.

So much lay between them and Bremerhaven, Germany.

Operation Omega western region

Maks’ Kraków contact: “We want nothing more than B Troop to leave with their heavy equipment. I suspect you agree. We can offer you indirect logistics support.”

Indeed, B Troop had M113 APCs – some converted to mortar carriers – several LAV-25s, and three LAV-75s. If those fell into the hands of the Markiz…

4 October 2000 - Intel brief - Dobrodzien standoff - detail

On the other hand, dark rumors swirled around Capt. Warren. She was a grim Type-A personality, but B Troop had warm relations with the citizens of Dobrodzien.

Her XO, Lt Ramos – with whom Maks had been better acquainted – was missing. Rumor had it that Warren had her lieutenant executed, reason unknown.

Another rumor claimed that she’d ordered a group of Soviet (not marauder) prisoners executed in the forest.

Maybe these were true, or maybe these were disinformation inserted by competing powers.

Maks went though various options in his head, even so far as to arrange the removal of Warren and attempt to sway B Troop to take the CivGov evacuation alternative through the Balkans. Maks himself was increasingly leaning toward backing CIA operative Johnstone.

But this was all premature. He wanted to see the situation with his own eyes. He’d take his men currently with him, and pay a visit to the Markiz. He’d had cordial relations with Baron Esterhalzy in Pyskowice from the party’s last trek through Silesia, and that would be his entrance point.

He asked his Kraków contact to see if the city-state could persuade the Czechs to make some noise along their border with Silesia, forcing the Markiz to dedicate more forces there. Warren of B Troop was operating under a hard time limit: The fleet at Bremerhaven would leave 15 November. Maks wanted the Markiz to be under similar external pressure.

This was a difficult request, and would have to be passed up. And probably wouldn’t happen. Kraków had little to no leverage over the Czechs.