Opening The Canal (Open) Apr 25, 2018 0:40:28 GMT -5
Post by MG Laura McArthur on Apr 25, 2018 0:40:28 GMT -5
Above: map of the Welland Canal from the Niagara River on the (eastern) U.S. side to the Grand River area on the (western) Canadian side...
Going off of the end of the Thunder Run thread from earlier....
I said I'd force a crossing if need be and by God, that's what I did, General McArthur thought as her Blackhawk landed on the Lake Ontario end of the Welland Canal, the Canadian city of Port Weller in the near distance. Behind her helicopter were another half-dozen Blakchawks, each armed with M240 light machine guns' and bearing advance elements of the 6th Infantry Regiment (US), also known as "the Regulars". Just as they'd made air assaults into Albany and then Rochester and then Buffalo, so too were they making another air assault....this time, things were a lot different.
For one thing, the Welland Canal was on Canadian soil, which meant that, technically speaking, the United States was invading its' sovereign neighbor but after weeks of fruitless attempts to contact anyone within the former Canadian government, both General McArthur and President Michener - with plenty of advance notice and messaging to their Russian counterparts - had decided to go ahead and force their way from the Niagara River - the U.S./Canada border - west to the Welland Canal...and no further. Michner's orders were clear on that, McArthur thought as the helicopters grew closer to their landing sites...we advance west tto the Welland Canal and no further.
Out in the distance, she could see - and hear over the radios - American and Russian pilots as they dived down for run after run of ground attack flights, each time clearing the way for McArthur's helicopters. It wasn't the only activity of note: at the same time they were landing near Lock #1, engineers under Capt. Torrance's command were landing to secure and make sure the lock was safe. She didn't envy William Torrance that mission: for the Canal to be fully reopened to Great Lakes shipping, each of the eight locks, from Weller to Port Catherine, along with every bridge and engineering facility on the canal, would have to be examined and safed so that they could reopen the canal. All-in-all, there was a lot of work to be done but she knew that the combined force of Americans and Russians - and whatever Canadians came to join them - could get the job done, come hell or high water or ice, given the season they were in weather-wise.
"Two minutes, General," came the radio call; without replying, General McArthur took off her radio helmet and put on her ACU helmet, making sure the chinstrap was secured and that everything was in place...as the Blackhawk drew closer to the ground, she could see the Air Force SOF - pathfinders and combat controllers - guiding them in from below, having already dug a few fighting emplacements in case they were needed. Checking to make sure her M4 was ready to go, she flicked the safety off and took in several deep breaths; it was rare - at least since Vietnam - for a general officer to make a combat assault with the first wave but McArthur, though not an infantry soldier by trade, was - to borrow Lincoln's phrase - a fighting soldier and a fighter went to the sound of the guns, wherever those sounds were.
"Five, four, three, two, one....and we're on the ground," called out the crew chief as he pulled the side door of the Blackhawk open; McArthur, true to her words back at West Point prior to the Albany Operation, was the first one on the ground, her boots hitting dirt and her carbine up and ready if needed. Finally, solid ground, she thought as the troops aboard the helicopters emptied from them and soon joined her, spreading out alongside her in a somewhat ragged line on either side of her....now, let's get moving, she thought, waving her forward in the infantry signal for "Move out..."