9 November 2000 0600H. Frankfurt (Oder). The border of Germany and Poland.
At dawn, Councillor Oehler arrived with a company of militia where the train was parked at the damaged river bridge. “I am tired of treating with lackeys. I will see your CO now!”
Maks told Doc Schultz he’d have to risk it and break quarantine. Flanked by his officers, Maks met the politician. Oehler was visibly angry. And he had every right to be.
About fifty of the Americans went AWOL on a rampage of the town in the early hours of the morning. Maks was angry too. The Frankfurt militia still had thirty of the former POWs in lock-up back in town. And he needed the town’s cooperation while his people repaired the rail bridge.
At the end of the meeting, Maks agreed to leave the eight identified ringleaders of last night’s dereliction in Frankfurt. They’d be serving a month in the city’s labor battalion, starting with rebuilding that icehouse. Those eight Americans would be missing the boat.
Maks also agreed to pay the equivalent of $10,000 in reparations: UAZ-469, Kar-98k, Steyr AUG, and a shotgun. He noted they were getting a bit thin on gear to trade. Maks didn’t want to spend his gold. He knew they’d be abandoning most of their gear in Bremerhaven.
He’d asked Oehler in his rough German if there was a service they could perform to release those eight men, maybe a band of marauders to clear out. “Other than your group?” Oehler shot back. “Fix that bridge, and leave this place.”
The city Councillor did promise to have the crane barge on site by late morning. And he returned the balance of Maks’ men, minus the eight unfortunates of course.
It was time for Maks to meet with all his personnel, all 300 plus of them. He laid out the challenges ahead. Six days left, several hundred kilometers of unknown terrain ahead of them. And some of the men were jeopardizing the mission.
“Do you want to go home?!”
…Shouts of “YES!”
“Then act like goddamn soldiers.” Maks turned to Majors Brandis and Jefferson. “I want everyone that came back from town, as well as everybody on guard duty that night, disciplined.”
Maks raised his voice to the surrounding men. “Anybody that doesn’t like that… Think about the eight we’re leaving behind!”
9 November 2000 1800H
The bridge at least turned out to be a straightforward task. By nightfall, they’d completed weight tests, and were across and rolling north through Frankfurt and beyond.
Maks decided to risk night travel, and some tense hours passed between him in the locomotive and the scout teams in the wheeled vehicles ahead of the train. He decided to skirt north of the Berlin ruins.
We’ve spent the past two years in this lovely country. Through the research for the game campaign, I’ve learned so much about Poland. Now I want to visit there someday!
I’ll leave you with a picture of Ogrodzieniec Castle, a place the party never saw, alas. Maybe your party will?
I didn’t set any fixed opposition to Maks’ group in this region, and would just let random encounter rolls dictate events. The first period’s travel had no encounter.
Maks decided not to push his luck, and the train parked for the rest of the night.
10 November 2000 0600H
At dawn the train rumbled on, now heading west.
It caught them by complete surprise when a Soviet An-12 four-engine cargo plane growled by at low level. Maks could even see that one of the props wasn’t spinning. It was the first fixed-wing plane they’d seen in a couple of years.
Seemed to be flying dangerously low to Maks, but he was no pilot. The An-12 soon passed out of sight to the west. Maybe they were going to Bremerhaven, Maks mused.
Again, I rolled encounter “None”.
10 November 2000 1200H
The next leg of their trip was interrupted by an encounter with a merchant convoy on an adjacent road. Maks decided to stop the train to speak with them. They seemed to be dealing in industrial salvage.
The traders were curious about the train, and asked where they came from. Maks indicated, most recently, Frankfurt-an-der-Oder. They were happy to hear the city was open for business. Their caravan was making for Hamburg, which they claimed to be open and clearing war damage.
Maks had been thinking to cross the Elbe river at Wittenberge, and asked if the rail bridge was open. The merchants didn’t know about that, but they said the road bridge was intact. They said Wittenberge was well-placed like Frankfurt for river commerce, but marauder attacks harassed the town.