Some between sessions emails.
My brother wrote:
Regarding Kamiensk it looks like they have the following options:
- Outright resistance, which would be hopeless against a force the size of 124th MRD and Maks will have no part in encouraging a massacre.
- Guerilla resistance or escape both seems problematic. It sounded doubtful that the Kamiensk villagers are interested in giving up their town to spend the winter scurrying around the woods as fugitives living off of hidden sacks of grain.
- A negotiated compromise short of the 2 ton demand seems the wisest approach. We could travel to visit Piotrokow to parlay with 124th in the interests of Kamiensk, with or without villager representatives as they wish.
- Negotiations would focus on trying to steer the demands more in line with the polite trading that was taking place previously. See if they can agree to an amount that will avoid any starvation on either side. Also it would seem wise to negotiate for a small contingent of 124th guards to take up residency in or near Kamiensk for protection against Shotkin’s forces in Radomsko. The ski resort would seem an obvious location and should put a permanent end to mortar terrorism. Wouldn’t seem like a difficult sell to the 124th officers because it would establish Kamiensk as a protectorate and buffer zone at a minimal cost. Basically we would promote a mindset of seeing Kamiensk as a lasting resource to be cultivated for years rather than pillaged to make it through one winter only; in other words “don’t kill the golden goose”. Promote the use of that tailings hill as an observation post and antennae array, the ski lift infrastructure should facilitate this.
- Meanwhile these negotiations might at least provide a brief extension to the deadline, leaving Kamiensk a little reprieve to undertake preparations:
- A very select, trusted group of Kamiensk people should run 24/7 protection and control over their own grain storage. While they are at this they should attempt to find a way to hide a substantial but reasonable quantity of grain with an absolute minimum number of people knowing about it. They should generally attempt to restrict information about the total amount of grain that the entire village harvested this season, even from their own people. This will help control the expectations of the 124th people. If they get the idea that Kamiensk is flush with grain the 124th will just want to use any excess for ethanol production.
- They should be enhancing any protections around their town, especially to the south. Since that M1 sounds immobile it should have earth banked up around the hull for extra protection. Add to any foxholes, pillboxes, fencing, etc. They don’t want Radomsko to make an all-out “winter is coming” attack to get the grain.
- While I’m in town I can use the excuse to be there as an opportunity to quietly gather information about the mine, power station, railroads, etc. I might want to head through here later if we’re going to use that Warsaw train idea but only if I manage to get good relations established with 124th.
–> Excellent. Let’s take that and run with it a bit.
15 October 2000
Maks feels drained. Tired. Wounded. Same for the rest of his men. They could rest a bit this day, but not until some matters are settled.
Mayor Grzesiek of Kamiensk, you built a good relationship with him last Summer, and it continues forward. He agrees with setting a guard on the food supply. When you outline your thinking, and reach the point regarding “negotiate for a small contingent of 124th guards to take up residency in or near Kamiensk for protection against Shotkin’s forces in Radomsko”, Grzesiek grows distant. He sees the utility of course, but once you invite the vampire into your home… Still, word has it the Soviets will be leaving come Spring. Most of them anyway.
Following that train of thought, he offers that he knows of large tracts of unharvested cropland near the N/S highway to the west, and south, near Radomsko. It was far too dangerous for Kamiensk residents to gather, and it’ll ruin when this Old Woman’s Summer ends soon anyway. So he hadn’t considered it until now. With armed escorts, much food could be harvested. Tons perhaps.
Grzesiek – when asked about the mine, power station, railroads, etc. – can tell you the following:
The Soviets have reopened the mine near the highway in a limited fashion, using rail for transport, and prisoners to extract coal by pick and shovel. US-trained Polish partisans have been torturing the operation. The power station has been offline for the last three years. The sprawling complex has inevitably attracted squatters and bandits. The Soviets have some rail service established between Łódź and Piotrokow, and a few adjacent towns.
The mayor likes the idea of visiting Piotrokow directly to negotiate with the 124th MRD. All their contacts with them had been cordial until now, trading coal for food. He suggests you not go as an American soldier, but instead as a Polish national. He has the uniform of one Captain Sławomir Młynarski. He’d been of the Polish 4th Parachute Regiment, gravely wounded at the Battle of Częstochowa in 1997. Młynarski had been brought home to Kamiensk, but died shortly thereafter.
The Soviets, even if they have personnel records of Polish Army forces, would have no idea Młynarski was dead, and Maks bears a vague resemblance.
Bowen will come along, as surely Maks won’t trust him out of his sight. Bowen knows some Polish and will act as Kamiensk citizen.
Also coming along in the farm truck will be 3 picked militia members.
You return from your diplomatic mission late on 16 October tired, encouraged for the immediate future of Kamiensk, but ultimately unsettled.
The team was treated courteously in Piotrokow, even so far as meeting General Mikhailov. The Soviet general and staff were upbeat about Grzesiek’s idea of harvesting the far-flung farms under guard. With that, they relaxed a bit, and you got a glimpse of how dire their situation had become.
Partisans had recently blown up a warehouse, and with it went much of the division food stores, which weren’t substantial to begin with. The Sov 20th TD in Łódź claimed to have no extra to contribute, and they were probably telling the truth.
Maks now noticed the Soviet soldiers in camp listless with hunger. It was ironic that this was the very same division that had plowed under the US 256th Brigade at Łask.
The logistics officer revealed that the Division of 3,600 men – never mind the civilians of the city – consumed 7.2 metric tons of food per day in good times. Even at half-rations, that’s 3.6 tons a day.
Twilight 2000 v2.2 page 148:
1 person consumes 2kg civilized food per day
That 2 tons demanded of Kamiensk was a drop in the bucket. General Mikhailov generously waived that food tax.
It’s unclear how much food can be harvested with Grzesiek’s plan. It won’t be anywhere near enough for the whole winter, the mayor tells you given the numbers. But it could solve the immediate problem at least.
Perhaps there are similar solutions in other areas in the region. They would need to be acted on promptly.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Maks pondered how long Mikhailov could control his men if the half rations turned to famine…