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Editor’s Note

Welcome to From the Desk of Jonah Mortcombe: Reflections on the Rift War. The following essays, journal entries, and correspondence detail the war experience of First Lieutenant Jonah Mortcombe. A DSO recipient and the leader of the 142nd Airlanding Platoon (Rift War Effective), Lt. Mortcombe’s personal writings function as a rare firsthand account of the late war period following the opening of the Dresden and Los Alamos Rifts.  I will strive to provide accurate transcripts of Lieutenant Mortcombe’s writings throughout this collection. The few editor’s notes that are sure to come up will attempt to provide wider context or clarify things that Jonah felt were understood. When possible I will provide what ORBAT documents I have found in the Ministry of War’s file depository.

An example of one of these documents can be found below. This specific document coincides with a late April sortie in the hamlet of Habletages-Dorf and is of specific note because it includes the full names and ranks of several of Jonah’s friends and comrades in arms that are specifically mentioned in his writings.

ORBAT 142nd Airlanding Platoon (Rift War Effective)

HQ Section 

Lt. Jonah Mortcombe

 

Infantry Sections and Teams

Airborne Infantry LMG Section

Airborne Infantry SMG Section

Airborne Infantry Rifleman Section

PIAT Team (page: 168)

Attached Support Units

Cpt. Philip Stuart-Lane, 2nd Airlanding Light Regiment Forward Observer

9th Galahad Brigade Armoured Infantry Section

3rd Airlanding Anti Tank Battery QF 6-PDR

Flt Lt Colin Lytton Commanding Wild Irish Rose, M2 Mudskipper Jump Walker

 

2x Jeep

 

Author’s Note: This is an in-universe blog that I have created to track my battles in the Inaugural  Summer Brunchkrieg K47 Builders League at Half Day Studio in North Cape May, New Jersey.

 

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Daily Telegraph Excerpt June 1947

The Daily Telegraph

TUESDAY, JUNE 10TH 1947

Drink Up Lads.jpg
1st Lieutenants ‘Dash’ Daniels and Jonah Mortcombe Celebrate in Haffentag.

Nary a Jerry in Sight!
By KENNETH COLEMAN
After a rousing afternoon training session; with victory going to Tommy Atkins, Para CO Jonah Mortcombe and his American counterpart ‘Dash’ Daniels gathered their men to announce that the Ministry of War has officially declared Haffentag solidly in Allied hands. Climbing to the top of a large barrel Mortcombe, recently awarded the DSO for his efforts in and around Haffentag, declared boldly that there had been “Nary a Jerry in sight for two weeks” Daniels, the living embodiment of the American GI, punctuated Mortcombe’s statement by punching his armored fist through the lid of a smaller cask and tossing it to the waiting men with a call of “Drink Up Boys!” With the capture of Haffentag the Allies now control a sizable foothold in Germany in preparation for the March to Berlin.

Haffentag Training Exercise Early June 1947

Dearest Madeleine,

We are still on the banks of the Moselle. Dash and I conducted an impromptu training exercise. Of course Captain Stuart-Lane decided to take the opportunity to teach Dash some proper British Fortitude. And by that I mean even I have a headache from the shelling he unleashed on them. Under the cover of the battery’s heavy howitzers I was able to send Colour Hewitt and his Bren to capture and hold one of our two objectives. At the same time Corporal Shelby and his ‘Pendragons’ (The BSA factory girls slang for Galahad Armor Suits) pressed in on the left under the cover of pair of Willys and managed to rout a squad of Dash’s Destroyers before they could consolidate and deny us the other objective.

I must say, I can’t wait to try one of those Firefly Jump Harnesses. I did a few jumps with the Lads from the 101 and the 82nd when we were prepping for Montgomery’s folly. Seeing them drop from the sky and then shoot up into the air again during our exercise was exhilarating.

All in all, a lovely day for a mock battle and once again Dash and his boys are covering the tab for the entire platoon. Despite my initial distaste for the man… I am fast coming to regard him as a friend.

Your dear cousin Amiee has a devious soul… I don’t know what it is she said to Phillip but he keeps going on about french summer fashions and fabric through a wedding band with a strange gleam in his eye. Something about a bathing costume named after the American’s testing ground at Bikini Atoll.

He practically insisted that the 4 of us vacation to Toulon when our unit gets rotated home. You’ll have to gather some intelligence for me as my curiosity knows no bounds.

Fondly,

Jonah Mortcombe

Haffentag Village, End of May 1947

5/28/1947

Dear Sirs.

We have taken Haffentag.

I am happy to report that we have not taken a single casualty in doing so. While our operation was planned as a feint conditions in the field lead to our force being in a position to push the German forces out of the village center and into the vineyards along the Moselle.

The unit from Porton Down performed admirably and Colour Sergeant Hewitt is an able leader.

Faithfully in Service,

Lieutenant Jonah Mortcombe

 

5/28/1947

What an absolute bollocks.

The powers that be finally decided to mount a significant operation against Haffentag. Of course it took no less than the threat of Richter Mueller and Rudolf von Rottoten operating in concert with Haffentag as their base of operations to force planning’s hand. We got the orders late Tuesday after Tea for a raid on Wednesday.  Dash Daniels and his Heavy Platoon acting as a spearhead force to punch through the barricades. We were to operate in support of Lt. Daniels dropping behind the lines to keep Rudy Rotten and his elite forces from joining up with the Hound of Dresden and locking the American advance down… Things did not go exactly as planned…

Since this is my own personal journal I can admit that Daniels, Phil and I got absolutely pissed on some smuggled bourbon that Daniels bartered for. Morning arrived and we jumped onto the gliders. About halfway to the launch point Phillip realized he forgot to transmit firing orders to the batteries so Daniels never received his preliminary bombardment. I could hear the baying of the Jerry Dogs as we rushed into Haffentag… and smoke on the roads.

Hoping that the bracing air  had woken Phil up I had him call the battery… of course he dropped the damn shells onto the only position we had consolidated. Luckily we all made it to ground and were able to continue pushing into Haffentag.  Von Rottoten himself was nowhere to be seen and his XO is barely competent. Our feint ended up becoming the main action. We pushed the cowardly Nazi bastards completely out of the village center and watched in the distance as Mueller swung around to the south to meet up at with von Rottoten at the fallback point. Dash finally limped into the village just after supper. He’s apparently sworn off the drink and I haven’t had the heart to tell him we found an amazing collection of Rieslings in the Mayor’s basement.

I did receive word that Garret would be returning to our unit. Not as my XO, apparently the training rota he just finished was to take command of one of the new American Jackals that the Batallion has received.

Habletages-Dorf Late May 1947

Dear Sirs,

The crashed American cargo plane that went down over Habletages-Dorf has been successfully located and the critical cargo was recovered. Lieutenant Wilson and Captain Stuart-Lane once again deserve commendation for their decisive action. The Captain’s batteries once again pinned Oberleutnant von Rottoten’s men down in heavy cover that allowed our boys to advance and claim the cargo. Interestingly 2Lt Wilson notes that while some of the elite units we are used to seeing backing von Rottoten did eventually take the field, the SS stormtroopers that have served as his bodyguard or more likely his minders these past weeks appeared to wait until we had already claimed the prize before trying to swoop in and stop us. It appears that the SS-Sturmscharführer is still unsure about von Rottoten’s allegiance. We should play this for its maximum advantage while we can. Captain Stuart-Lane managed to slip away with the sealed container to a waiting truck while the stormtroopers and German heavies made their play for the crash site too late. While I would hate to lose him Garrett Wilson deserves his own command and should be moved into a position to do so as soon as our operational posture makes that viable.

For King and Country,

Lieutenant Jonah Mortcombe

On the Back Foot, Late May 1947

From the Desk of Jonah Mortcombe

 

Dearest Madeleine,

How I dream of being back in Belgium with you again. But I do what I must for King and Country. I’m so happy that your father consented to move your family to my estate in Kent for the duration. His blessing is most welcome in these trying times. Despite outfitting my unit as a rapid strike and scouting platoon, the 142nd continues to be sent into engagements against the most frightening pieces of the new German war machine.

I won’t offend you with the gory details but my men are finally shaping up. I’ve told you before about the man I consider my personal Von Richthofen. I encountered him yet again on a drop in the Northern Plain and kept him on the back foot for the entire engagement. His hit and run tactics, and I suspect a great deal of personal cowardice did not serve him well this time. The outflanking manoeuvre he attempted with his Fallschimjager (a weak and febrile version of my own brothers in the Airborne) was too little too late and the overlapping fields of fire from my own personal Knights of the Round and American made War Courser kept him nicely locked down for Captain Stuart-Lane’s batteries to deal with him.

Please give my regards to your father. I’m sure Mother has you both up to the main house frequently. Its been a bit of an empty nest since Mark and Geoffery up and joined His Majesty’s Navy.

Yours, With a great deal of affection,

Jonah Mortcombe

PS Captain Stuart-Lane has requested that you extend his regards to your cousin Aimee and hopes that she will find the time to respond alongside your own reply to this letter. I’m sure you will both find it rather silly that Phillip won’t just write her himself after they had such a pleasant tea before we all left Belgium. I just advise you to remember how much fun you and Aimee had at my expense for my ‘Britishness’ and that Phillip went to Eton. Ask Mother if you need clarification.

The Hound of Dresden, Late May 1947

16 May 1947

Intelligence was once again the Bad Penny what with their dire predictions of the enemies that we would be facing. Unfortunately this time they were right on the button. The DAMN Hound of Dresden, Oberleutnant Richter Mueller. Our scouting unit, once again under the command of 2Lt Wilson while I sit through mind numbing planning meetings encountered the Wehrmacht assault commander on a farm in the outskirts of Habletages-Dorf. That place is bad news. Garrett managed to keep his team together and weathered the storm of lead put out by the Jerries, but that’s when the howls began… and this time it wasn’t our new war dog section terrorizing the men, but something much worse. The Nazi Terror Wolves. How the Hound was granted a full pack of them I will never know, but if it indicates a shifting allegiance to the resurgent Waffen-SS from the regular German army that does not bode well for the Allied forces operating in the region. Declaring as an SS partisan will only give the Hound even greater strengths of Terror Troops and German Rift-Tech.

Time Will Tell.

 

18 May 1947

Damn! Daniels ran into the Hound as well. Even his newly reinforced heavy platoon did not fare well against the might of the Terror Wolves. Commiserating over a bit too much stale German pilsner, we’ve agreed to call for additional heavy fire support to move into the region. Captain Stuart-Lane has contacted his superiors in the Battery and they are sending out some light and medium Gun-Howitzers to help us deal with the jerry dogs.

Editor’s Note The battles between the Hound of Dresden and Dash Daniels are something of a running theme in these entries. The two men DESPISED each other.2018-05-21_23.25.27

Training Exercise, Early May 1947

From the Desk of Jonah Mortcombe

Dear Sirs,

I would like to thank you once again for allowing our unit to conduct additional training war games. The US platoon commander Lieutenant Daniels is an excellent field commander and a credit to the US Heavy Infantry training program. A more complete report will be forthcoming from Second Lieutenant Wilson as the Man on the Spot but I wanted to call special attention to Lieutenant Wilson who managed to close to within yards of “enemy” ammo dump and forced the US Heavy squadron to abandon their march on our own command bunker.

While I am still concerned about their tendency to growl at our own men while encamped the War Dog Section you have attached to my platoon for the upcoming campaign is quite effective at disrupting enemy troop movements.

On a more personal note, I think our neutral umpires overcompensated for the wind when deciding where our Artillery Barrage landed. I expect that Captain Stuart-Lane of the Royal Artillery will probably be filing a formal complaint. The man went on a bit of a Rampage after the umpire declared that his barrage had struck our own position and personally eliminated the US 30. Cal team at range after they had what he claimed was the indignity of them firing on him.

Yours in Faithful Service,
Lieutenant Jonah Mortcombe

Editor’s Note Two things that readers should take careful note of. 2Lt Wilson appears frequently in these entries first as Lt. Mortecombe’s XO and later after distinguishing himself in his own right he is retrained as a jump walker pilot and given command of the M5A6 Jackal Light Walker “Handsome Jack.” Additionally, this is the first time that Lt. ‘Dash’ Daniels US Army, 12th Army Group is mentioned. While Jonah and Dash became fast friends by VE Day a diary entry from Lt. Mortcombe dated for the day following this training excercise paints a different picture of the US lieutenant than the official correspondence above. This entry can be found below, be warned the language is somewhat… coarse. 

 

8th May 1947

Damn Colonials. The Bastard CHEATED. Damn Lt. Dash Daniels straight to the Stygian fields of Hades! What sort of self respecting commander allows his men to call him by a nickname. The lout fielded illegal equipment during our War Games. I went back over the ORBAT documents with a fine-toothed comb and the man simply should NOT have been wearing that Heavy Armor. US Army protocols clearly indicate that HQ sections should only be fielded wearing Heavy Armor when at the head of a full heavy platoon. By my count there was only ONE unit of American Heavy Troopers on the field… I meet with the man again this evening to go over the battle in a less formal setting, along with 2Lt Wilson and Captain Stuart-Lane. The three of us plan to give the man a right drubbing… unless he pays for the Cider.