5 November 2000 1100H. Kalisz.

Col. Bowen has been keeping tabs on the ex-POW Americans.

bowenBowen brings word that two brigade officers are squabbling over who is the CO of the POWs. Bowen, who’s always seemed more like a gangster or a cop than a colonel or an intel officer, says he told them to “Shut the Fuck Up. Maks is CO, that’s the end of it.” 

“Well, the majors just got back from the mission, and nowww they’re arguing about who has seniority… whether Brandis’ Air Force years count… yada yada. Figured I better stop here first before knocking some heads.”


Maks’ 300 former POWs

  • 120 of the Americans are from the 256th Brigade (40% effectiveness). Veterans of Łask.
  • 200 were prisoners of various other component units of the 5th Division. (30% effectiveness) Veterans of Kalisz.
  • 20 are non-American NATO
  • Effectives are those that have recovered sufficiently to a Fatigue level of 1 or 0.

Max Brandis – Major. 256th Brigade. Łask.

Middle-aged ex-fighter pilot, ex-Congressman who re-enlisted for the last European Theater reinforcement fleet. Broadly skilled, not specialized. Popular with the men of the 256th. Good at developing subordinates.

Wild Card (“GM’s choice”); Spade Six (“Moderately Ambitious”)

Ty Jefferson – Major. 1st Brigade. Kalisz.

Previously a sergeant who was commissioned early in the war. Aggressive infantry leader; talented tactician and strategist. Disciplinarian. Known for challenging troops passing-by to recite orders of the day, and dispensing pushups and burpees on the spot.

Club Seven (“Moderately Violent”); Heart Three (“Somewhat Sociable”)

Jefferson led Feint Teams in the Kalisz op.

Brandis led Observation teams.

Both served competently.


Maks had Brandis summoned to his quarantine car, where the two spoke as closely as medical personnel would allow. Maks, from what little he knew of Brandis, judged him to be more flexible of the two majors.

He persuaded [via skill roll] Major Brandis to take responsibility for the train’s physical security. Maks stressed importance the security of the train, as it was their ride to Bremerhaven.

Brandis’ cooperation secured, Jefferson was called back, and Maks spoke to them both, urging them to stop thinking like POWs, and worrying about seniority, and concern themselves for the difficult journey ahead.

“Ten days gentlemen. Ten days and the fleet sails home, with or without us. Until then, you both answer to me.”

kalisz rail

Brandis & 256th Brigade vets: Train security

Jefferson & rest of 5th Division POWs: Away teams

Original crew will hold key train locations. Maks trusts more his longer-serving crew, and they have been assigned to watch the more sensitive parts of the train, such as the engine, supplies, weapons, and car linkages.

Planning a route west

Using the intel supplied by Egorieva, Maks found a gap between the Soviet and red Polish cantonments. He hoped to bypass to Soviet front, passing to the north of the ruins of Berlin on their way westward across Germany to Bremerhaven. He was concerned about finding a bridge over the Oder River, but that was a worry for later.

Food and supplies

Egorieva was delivering. Maks had requested a flat car to replace the one left behind in Konin. She also donated a WWII-vintage D-1 152mm howitzer and a few spare shells. Also a pair of PTRS-41 anti-materiel rifles.



Maks debated whether to tell Egorieva about the several tons of MREs cached in Kalisz. He’d be unlikely to recover the rations under the noses of the Soviets, and it would violate the spirit of their agreement anyway.

If he left them there, they’d all go to the convent, who’d distribute them to the needy citizens of Kalisz. But Maks needed food as well. Egorieva had given them a half-ton of canned food on a pallet, but he’d have to run the numbers to see if that’d be enough for his men.