WWIII explodes in this electrifying debut military thriller in the tradition of Red Storm Rising and The Third World War.
“Delta-Two, I’ve got tanks through the wire! They’re everywhere!”
World War III explodes in seconds when a resurgent Russian Empire launches a deadly armored thrust into the heart of Germany. With a powerful blizzard providing cover, Russian tanks thunder down the autobahns while undercover Spetsnaz teams strike at vulnerable command points.
Standing against them are the woefully undermanned American forces. What they lack in numbers they make up for in superior weapons and training. But before the sun rises they are on the run across a smoking battlefield crowded with corpses.
Any slim hope for victory rests with one unlikely hero. Army Staff Sergeant George O'Neill, a communications specialist, may be able to reestablish links that have been severed by hostile forces, but that will take time. While he works, it’s up to hundreds of individual American soldiers to hold back the enemy flood.
There’s one thing that’s certain. The thin line between victory and defeat is also the
red line between life and death.
Set in the near future, Gragg's impeccably researched, riveting first novel pits a revived Soviet Union against NATO. Russia's brutal dictator, Comrade Cheninko, has built on a resurgence of power begun under Vladimir Putin and reconstituted the Warsaw Pact. A new cold war is about to become a hot one. Cheninko's top general, Valexi Yovanovich, has developed a brilliant plan to deceive the enemy and conquer Germany in a mere five days. An extensive cast of well-drawn men and women on both the American and Russian sides provides a personal dimension to the big-picture view of the clash of massive armies. Gragg, a Vietnam War veteran who served at the United States European Headquarters in Germany, gives readers a horrifying look at the devastation of modern warfare from the smallest, most painful details to the frighteningly plausible global scenarios that could result in the death and devastation of a significant portion of our planet. This is must reading for any military action fan. Nearly every page reeks of the smoke of battle and the stench of death.
Accurate, thrilling, but abrupt ending
As a Cavalryman who completed many a border tour at OP Alpha, OP Romeo, & OP Tennessee while serving along the East-West German border from 1988-1993 with the famed Blackhorse Regiment, much of what the author portrayed in this novel is accurate in the places and equipment, and horrifically Orwellian in description IF the Cold War in Europe ever became Hot.
For me, the best part of this book was it's ability to take me back to the very border tours I did with my unit from 1988 til 1991 in some of the same exact places, doing exactly what the author portrayed... watching them watch us. We'd watch their T-64 & T-72 tanks, BMPs, BRDMs, BTR-60s & 70s, as well as their HiND-Ds. And they'd watch our Abrams tanks, Bradleys, M113s & Apaches.
We repeatedly trained to execute the exact same type of "delay" mission the Cavalry units had to execute in this book. And like those Cavalry units in the book, we too were a "speed bump" only meant to slow them down by trading lives, men and equipment, for time. And like the book, we too knew we'd be SLAUGHTERED if the Soviets and East Germans ever decided to come across that border. My Calvary Squadron, the 3rd Sqdn of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, consisted of just three Scout Troops consisting of, 12 M3A1 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles + 9 M1A1 Abrams Tanks + 2 4.2 (four deuce) M113 based mortar teams; one tank company consisting of 15 M1A1 Abrams Tanks; one Howitzer Battery with 8 M109A2 Howitzers, an engineer company, and one Air Cav Troop made up of 3 OH-58D Kiowas + 6 AH-64A Apaches, that were a slice element for the Sqdn Cdr.
That was all the combat power we had.
Poised directly across the border in our sector of responsibility against our squadron, the Soviets had the Soviet 8th Guards Tank Army consisting of 15 Armored Divisions (6,570 T-80 / T-72 /T-64 tanks; 1,440 BMP1s / BMP2s with 10 Infantry Each = 14,440 Infantrymen); 10 Heavy Artillery Battalions (120 2S3 152mm howitzers); 2 Rocket Brigades (64 BM30 280mm rocket launchers), and 12 Attack Aviation Regiments (36 Mi-24 HiND-D + 48 Mi-28 HAVOC Attack Helicopters)... and right behind that unit was the 1st Guards Tank Army with the same amount of tanks, BMPs, Infantryman, heavy artillery battalions, rocket brigades and attack aviation regiments, JUST IN CASE WE MANAGED TO FINISH OFF THE FIRST ONE... BY OURSELVES! 😆
It would've been a SLAUGHTER!!!
We used to jokingly say, "yeah... THEYRE slaughter!", and laugh out loud as we drank German lagër and ate brochen and meat until the weee hours. But deep down inside, we all knew the truth.
If it ever came down to US versus THEM, the numbers of what we were up against were staggering!
42 M1A1 Abrams vs. 7,070 T-80/T-72/T-64
36 M3A1 CFVs vs. 1,440 BMP1/BMP2
64 Dismounted Scouts vs. 14,440 Infantrymen
8 M109 155mm Howitzers vs. 120 2S3 152mm Howitzers
3 OH-58 Kiowa + 6 AH-64A Apaches vs. 84 HiND-D / HAVOC Attack Helos
The fact is, we were just a "trip wire" who's mission was to report & delay the enemy. And we all knew that delay was not gonna be the days needed to get 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Armored Divisions, along with the 3rd & 8th Infantry Divisions, and the 194th Armored Bde rolling east to push the Soviets back. We knew our delaying action would only be in minutes, perhaps an hour & some change, but certainly not the days V Corps and NATO needed. Our own forecasting models estimated our squadron would last 48-52 minutes from initial contact... to the last man.
But we were motivated nonetheless!! We knew we were the BEST TRAINED, BEST LED, & BEST EQUIPPED SOLDIERS IN THE WORLD!!!
This book brought back a lot of those memories and clearly depicted what the Cold War turning Hot in Europe would've been like from a lot of perspectives, but I can especially appreciate it from the Tankers perspective... brutal, scary, relentless, daunting, nerve wracking, and deadly.
I can almost smell the inside of my tank now... the dank smell of hydraulic fluid, JP8, & MDG (Molybdenum Disulfide Grease); cordite, aft-caps, & empty shell casings; sweat, earth & mud; unfinished rations, unbathed Soldiers, a long with the evanescence smell of breakfree emitting from the coax, the loaders 240 and the Tank Cdr's .50 cal... I MISS IT ALL!
Good book, with an abrupt ending that I thought could've ended better, but an honest ghastly read nonetheless.
The author tried to write a book in the vein of Larry Bond or Tom Clancy but is bogged down in his overwrought prose and determination to kill off every character.
Red Storm Rising Two...this is not!
Engaging military action at first, but later grows repetitive and predictable. A complete miss on the the big picture of a WWIII novel. So much potential, yet in the end it was nothing more than a commentary that everyone dies. Disappointing.