Impossible Mission

The Linden Clan's leader and his trusty officer save a battle with unconventional tactics.

It was a not so ordinary day in the Linden Clan's neighbouring territory. The leader of the clan, who went by the name Sable, was currently participating in a raid that he had ordered.   His clanmates were all occupied with returning enemy fire at the center stage of the conflict. It was going decently well, but the enemy artillery was posing a big problem. It seemed to be only one SPG, but that one SPG had already taken out two of Sable's soldiers and severely damaged a few more.   Someone had to go take care of it. Luckily, sneaking around behind the enemy lines was something Sable enjoyed doing anyway. Hunting down an arty was of course always much safer when at least two tanks did it, so he had brought his trusted officer Kimber with him.   Not that Kimber was a particularly sneaky tank - the tall silhouette of his Sherman frame and a generally blundering attitude were definitely hindrances in such operations. But he could take a few hits and that made him useful as a meat shield whenever he got discovered first.   As the two of them were stalking around the enemy flank, no one seemed to notice them. Moving a safe distance apart from each other, they kept advancing cautiously - or, as cautiously as possible - until they reached an area that was elevated.   The foliage became thinner here. Sable halted and looked back over his rear, where, a few meters away, Kimber appeared. He was struggling with some plants that he had somehow managed to tangle himself up in. As he noticed that Sable was waiting for and looking at him, he quickly rid himself of those plants and caught up.   As he halted at Sable's side, a cannon shot could be heard very nearby and made both tanks flinch.   "It's somewhere over there," Sable sent a nonverbal message to his offer. He gestured to their left. Kimber nodded quickly. "Go first," Sable went on. That earned him a flabbergasted look, which was returned sternly.   Kimber wobbled on his suspension for a moment, but then set himself into motion.   They climbed further up the elevation and tried to circle the approximate position of the enemy SPG by a safe radius. However, the area was mostly made up of layered plateaus with cliffy ledges, which restricted that radius somewhat.   "Where on Earth-" Kimber messaged, but another shot was fired nearby - again, somewhere to their left.   "Right over there," Sable replied.   Kimber dutifully advanced into that direction. Sable followed with some distance, but then Kimber suddenly stopped. Cannon already loaded, Sable swerved to the side a bit to get a look at what his officer was seeing.   "What are you-" he asked Kimber over the radio. Had the Sherman forgotten that halting when encountering an SPG is one of the worst things you could do?   "He's below!!" Kimber replied.   Sable didn't know what sense to make of that message and drove up to Kimber's side cautiously. Then, he also saw what the other tank was seeing.   Kimber had stopped before a ledge which marked a steep drop of about fifteen meters.   Down below the ledge, the enemy SPG was set up. It seemed completely unaware of the two tanks above it.   Sable's optics darted from side to side. There was no easy way to get down to the SPG's position - at least none that wouldn't require either a large detour or revealing themselves. Just standing at the ledge and shooting down wouldn't work either - not with the best gun depression in the world. Kimber looked inquiringly at Sable, who shifted on his tracks indecisively.   The SPG fired again, and a clan mate reported a nasty hit.   "Drop onto it?" Kimber asked, but was already ducking in preparation of the glare he received for that suggestion.   "Absolutely not," Sable replied. "And it wouldn't work." Even with a big runup, the SPG was too far from the ledge to reliably land on top of it. Not to mention that the landing would be anything but soft either way at this height.   They looked down on the oblivious SPG helplessly and cluelessly. Suddenly, Kimber's cannon perked up.   "Grab some tow cables," he said nonverbally, gesticulating at the tow rings on his rear.   "What."   "I have a plan!!" Kimber urged.   Sable couldn't fathom what this plan could be.   "What do-" he began to compose a message, but Kimber was faster.   "Hurry!"   Not happy with being bossed around by his officer, Sable however acknowledged that whatever crackpot plan the Sherman had cooked up, it was probably a better thing to do than just sit around uselessly.   He quickly grabbed two tow cables, drove behind the other tank, and affixed them to him.   "What now?" he asked.   "Connect us."   Sable did as asked.   "Now hold them VERY tightly," Kimber instructed. Then, he inched forward towards the edge of the ledge.   Sable suddenly got a hunch of what the plan could be.   "Are you insane??"   Instead of replying, Kimber drove... off the ledge. Or at least halfway. Sable was too busy trying to compensate for the tow cables' pull with all his engine's might to protest much.   He couldn't even see what was going on beyond half of Kimber's hull dangling off the cliff, but he did notice that some of that cliff was crumbling away. If this was what gave the Sherman away was unclear - all that Sable knew was that a moment later, Kimber fired a shot, a loud "What the fuck?!" could be heard, and Kimber immediately after started yelling in panic.   "UP! UP! UP!" he wailed, his tracks spinning helplessly as he tried to move back up the ledge by his own power.   Sable tried his best to reverse and pull the other tank back up the ledge, but his tracks were also slipping on the dusty ground. He strained his engine - probably beyond its intended limit -, which made it howl almost louder than Kimber's screeching.   Finally, with a jolt, Sable's tracks gained some traction again and he managed to pull the other tank back up onto the plateau swiftly. Kimber stopped screaming, but yelped one last time as a shell was fired from below the ledge, narrowly missing him.   Sable quickly took off the tow cables and was in the process of stowing them away again as he already set himself into motion.   Kimber took the hint and hurried after his leader. They'd have to find another way to take care of the arty. Right now, the priority was getting out of there since their position was known to the enemy team now.   "That was the worst idea you've ever had - by a long shot!" Sable scolded while they hurried to a less exposed spot. Kimber was still too shaken from his near-death experience to defend himself.   Thankfully, the other clan members reported that they were gaining the upper hand now, so Sable mused that if anything, their unconventional tactic had at least distracted the enemy SPG for a bit.   At the end of that day, the Linden Clan was victorious. Kimber had made Sable promise that no one would hear about his stunt, a promise that Sable kept in its essence - he was definitely planning on telling an anonymized version of the story at campfires in the future.

A/N: So we meet Sable and Kimber again! :D They previously appeared in another short story, Special Delivery. Who knows what they will be up to next? This story was inspired by a War Thunder video.


Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
19 May, 2020 20:56

You play War Thunder?!

20 May, 2020 06:32

I played it.... a long time ago haha. Back when Ground Forces was in beta, I was a beta tester and then played for about another year when it came out. But I got frustrated by changes and updates they did so I stopped ages ago. No plans of coming back.

Check out The Hummelverse, the world of AI tanks!
Powered by World Anvil