9 December 2000. Cape May, New Jersey.
The party had been resting and recuperating at their house just north of Cape May for the past few days. Right on schedule, Captain Resper arrived with their next mission’s briefing.
Back on the USNS Comfort, Resper had given Maks a choice of missions, based on some loose descriptions.
Maks chose: “A recon-and-report mission in an urban area. Quite similar to this last op, in fact, but on a much larger scale. Atlantic City was essentially a practice run for all of us, from the brass all the way down to the boots.”
Turns out the “much larger…urban area” was New York City!
This is our campaign lead-in to Twilight 2000 module Armies of the Night.
The Fate of the City
“Much to the surprise of many, New York City was not the target of Soviet nuclear missiles during the gradually escalating exchange of nukes in the fall of 1997. Instead, it was the oil refineries and factories along the Jersey shore which received the brunt of the enemy strikes. Two New Jersey towns, Linden and Perth Amboy (both locations of important refineries and oil storage farms), were hit by thermonuclear warheads on the night of December 2, 1997. Staten lsland was badly damaged by blast and subsequent fires, but damage to the other boroughs was relatively light. Most of the city’s casualties occurred later, from starvation, disease, and the carnage as several million city dwellers fought to escape or to survive.” -Armies of the Night, page 7
“During World War II, Norway, England, and several other European countries shipped their gold reserves to the United States for safekeeping. It was stored in the vaults of the New York Branch of the Federal Resewn. After the war ended. it was easier to leave it where it was than to ship it back. Who owned what could be tracked on paper: it didn’t really matter whether the gold was in New York or London or Katmandu. This gold amounted to a stack of roughly 1.5 meters on a side and weighed about 80 metric tons.
In July of 1997, the U.S. Government moved the gold out to Long Island for safekeeping, to avoid the nuclear weapons which were presumed to be targeted on New York.
The gold was moved again in 1998 when the government decided to withdraw from New York entirely. The 78th Infantry Division (Light), then stationed in New York and charged with carrying out administrative duties, was ordered to withdraw from the city and to bring the gold with it.
The divisional MP company (the 78th) and an understrength battalion from the 304th Infantry Brigade were placed in charge of the convoy, which encompassed most of the division’s remaining trucks. However, the 78th attempted crossing of the Hudson turned into a fiasco, and the convoy became separated from the rest of the division. The three hundred men and twenty four trucks — plus 80 tons of gold bullion — vanished.
In the chaos of the latter part of 1998 and early 1999, the missing bullion was forgotten.” -Armies of the Night, page 47
Locate Lost Gold Shipment (See All That Glitters document)
One of the Military Government’s first steps in securing control of the New York area must be to count and register the inhabitants. No one knows for sure how many of New York City’s eight million inhabitants are still alive. and how many remain among the empty glass and steel towers of America’s largest city.
Once the government knows how many people remain in New York City, they will be able to take steps to organize the survivors into work forces and begin the city’s reconstruction.
New York City must still hold vast treasures which Milgov can use to secure its own position and prestige; treasures such as salvageable computers and telecommunications gear, copper tubing, refined steel, chemicals, heavy machinery, ball bearings, telephone wires, diesel and gasoline engines. auto and truck parts, and a wealth of other flotsam and jetsam of civilization.
Milgov taxes will consist of a portion of the items salvaged. Initially, these will be used to get local government back on its feet.
The players are to recover and/or take steps to preserve any surviving electronic and telecommunications equipment, plus other material or data of technical, historical, or cultural value. Particular attention is to be paid to securing computers and data processing equipment which was only slightly damaged by EMP.
The players are ordered to prevent the further deterioration of the city’s buildings, and salvage what they can from those which are not in suitable condition for reoccupation. Private salvage operations are to be encouraged, registered and licensed, and taxes levied (in kind) on any salvage operations.
Ascertain Fate of Previous Missions
Nine, mix of Army long range recon and 2 later DIA missions.
Establish a permanent base within Manhattan Island from which future expeditions, surveys. and tax-gathering missions can be supported.
Resper has a contact with the River Rats, smugglers that can drop off the party and their gear.
The bridges into Manhattan are still standing. Probably watched by the numerous gangs in the city.
Or the party can arrange their own transportation.
First Sergeant James H. Carter turned up at the 78th’s HQ at Ft. Dix, New Jersey on September 22, 2000, reporting for duty after being separated from his unit. Carter claimed to have been a member of the 78th MP Company and was soon persuaded to tell what he knew about the gold convoy.
I gave my brother a copy of the All That Glitters chapter in the back of the module, which details Carter’s recollection of events.