There is only one question…
…will China use its nukes?
In this chess match of war, the endgame has arrived.
Honor is important. The leader of China wants to save face, but at what cost? Despite the best diplomatic efforts, the two sides are miles apart. How serious are they at ending the conflict? Who will blink first?
India with its nuclear power has taken a stand, and it’s with China.
Can the US President find a way out of WWIII?
Or is the human race at an end?
This is the dramatic conclusion to this epic Red Storm Series. It lives up to the hype. You’ll love every page of the ending because we all enjoy unexpected twists and turns.
Get it now.
The Red Storm Series is best enjoyed when read in the correct order as each book builds on the previous work. Reading order:
Book 1: Battlefield Ukraine
Book 2: Battlefield Korea
Book 3: Battlefield Taiwan
Book 4: Battlefield Pacific
Book 5: Battlefield Russia
Book 6: Battlefield China
*When you buy a book written by Rosone and Watson, they have chosen to donate a portion of the proceeds to help support the following organizations: Tunnel to Towers Foundation, Operation Underground Railroad, and Charity: Water.
Release date: December 14, 2018
Publisher: Front Line Publishing Inc.
Print pages: 577
Content advisory: No profanity or sexual content
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
South China Sea
Bunguran Island, Indonesia
Sitting in the underground bunker, Colonel Yi Xiaoguang was under no illusion that his forces would soon be locked in mortal combat. This was the fifth day the Allies had bombed his position, and his last remaining surface-to-air missile or SAM site had been destroyed two days ago, leaving them with no way to defend against the enemy planes or cruise missiles that relentlessly pounded his men.
Small amounts of dirt and dust drifted down from the ceiling as yet another explosion shook their bunker. Colonel Yi looked out at the faces of the men around him. They couldn’t hide the fear in their eyes. They seemed to be questioning him with their eyes, asking, “Are we going to make it out of this alive?”
He had no idea what to tell them other than the standard party line—that they were winning against the Americans and to stay strong. Deep down, he knew that to be a lie. With the defeat of their fleet, the PLA had no way of keeping their myriad of island bases supplied. They were being left to die on the vine, just like what had happened to the Japanese soldiers when they were trapped on their island fortresses across the Pacific.
Turning to one of his lieutenants, Yi asked, “Have we spotted any enemy ships yet?”
“Negative, Sir. They don’t look to be making any landings anytime soon.”
The men nearby seemed dejected by the news rather than relieved. “Most of them would rather just get on with it,” Colonel Yi realized.
For over a year, all they had done was build fortifications and wait, secretly hoping the war would be won before they were forced to defend the island. As the months had dragged on, the men had grown weary. Then Indonesia had been invaded, and the government had collapsed. The Indonesian major who commanded the small contingent of soldiers on the island informed Yi that he had been ordered to surrender the island to the Allies if they came for it.
Colonel Yi obviously couldn’t let that happen. Seeing that the Indonesian soldiers wouldn’t carry on the fight if it came down to it, he’d ordered them stripped of their weapons and allowed them to leave. He saw no reason to keep them on the island eating through his supplies if they wouldn’t aid his men in its defense. Nearly all the civilians on the island had left at that point. They knew a fight was coming, and their only concern now was for their families.
Colonel Yi yawned. Despite the ongoing barrage, he and his men still needed to get some sleep.
“Well, if no ships have come in, we might as well rest up,” Yi announced.
“Yes, Sir,” said the men nearby. A few of them left to disseminate the order, and soon, those that were able to sleep through the noise and trembling had entered the world of slumber.
Early the next morning, Colonel Yi was roused from his sleep. “Colonel!” shouted one of the lieutenants rather loudly.
“What is it, Lieutenant?” asked Colonel Yi groggily.
“They’re here. Enemy ships have been spotted off the coast, Sir,” the young officer said in an excited voice.
“I know my men have been weary of waiting, but I’d somehow hoped this day wouldn’t happen,” he thought. He quickly pulled his pants on and slid his feet into his boots.
“Have you woken the rest of the garrison yet? Are the men heading to their fighting positions?” Yi asked. He finished putting his uniform on, grabbed his body armor, picked up his rifle, and followed the young officer to his underground command bunker.
“Yes, Sir, the men are ready,” answered the lieutenant.
Yi followed the young officer to the underground command bunker. Once there, he looked at the wall-mounted video display, which showed him a commanding view of the shoreline below the capital city of Ranai. On the video feed, he could easily count at least thirty ships. He had to admit he really had no idea what all the types of ships were, but regardless, he knew they would offload thousands of enemy soldiers bent on killing him and his men.
Colonel Yi turned to look at his deputy commander, a man by the name of Major Shin Hu. “Have the men wait to engage the Americans until they get ashore,” Yi ordered. “If we give away our positions too soon, their destroyers and gunboats will take our bunkers out.”
Major Shin nodded, then quickly picked up a phone to send the message out to the various fortified bunkers they had built around the city. They knew they couldn’t stop the Americans from landing, not since their anti-ship missile systems had been destroyed a week earlier. Their only hope now was to bloody them up once they got ashore. “Hopefully, the enemy will lose too many men to keep trying to land more and just bypass us,” thought Yi, almost willing it to happen.
Minutes turned to hours as they watched more ships arrive. Then the gunboats and destroyers crept closer to the shore, looking for targets of opportunity. When Colonel Yi heard gunfire blast from one of the bunkers toward the enemy ships, his stomach sank. “What in the world? Do they really think their 152mm Howitzer is going to sink that ship?” he moaned to himself.
The gunners missed with their first two shots, and the ship took evasive maneuvers. Before they were ready to fire a third round, a pair of missiles streaked in from one of the American attack helicopters, pulverizing the bunker into oblivion. Then, Yi watched in horror as even more missiles streaked in their direction from the choppers that now seemed like an angry swarm of hornets.
Shaking his head, Colonel Yi knew he had less than twenty-four hours to live unless he was willing to surrender the island. While he wanted to surrender and save the lives of his men, he also knew that when the war was over, he’d never be allowed to return to China if he failed to defend the island. “Perhaps becoming an American prisoner and eventually going to America might be best,” he thought.
Standing near the front ramp of the landing craft utility or LCU, First Lieutenant Ian Slater couldn’t help but wonder how the Army had gotten stuck with carrying out an amphibious assault on this island and not the Marines. This was his second such amphibious assault of the war. “Don’t the Marines train for amphibious landings?” he mused.
Their mothership, the USS San Antonio had brought them close to the shore, less than four kilometers away, so their LCU wouldn’t have far to ferry them. Fortunately, the water remained relatively calm. At fourteen knots, they weren’t exactly traveling fast, but the entire company fit on the landing craft, so at least they’d all land together. Slightly ahead of them were several dozen smaller, faster landing crafts that would drop the first wave of soldiers ashore.
Intelligence had told them that the main PLA garrison and headquarters was located in the nearby city of Ranai, but despite their ever-increasing proximity, Lieutenant Slater still hadn’t heard any explosions or the chattering of machine guns. “Perhaps the Chinese already left?” he thought wishfully.
Ten minutes went by. One of his fellow soldiers shouted out, “We’re nearing the shore. Prepare to disembark!”
Moments later, Slater felt the bottom of the landing craft scraping across the surf. The vessel slowed, and then, without warning, the front ramp dropped, splashing him.
Lieutenant Slater looked to his right and left as he ran through the shallow water. All he saw were hundreds of other soldiers doing exactly as he was, dashing as quickly as possible toward the beach and hoping they weren’t about to be cut apart by some hidden machine-gun bunker. So far, there was silence.
Slater continued scanning the horizon around him. Off to the left, maybe a kilometer away, he spotted the top of a large mosque at the base of a mountain. Not far from his position, he saw a small row of houses, surrounded by brush.
He yelled out to the men of his platoon, “Search those houses over there!”
Several soldiers rushed off ahead to follow his order. When Slater finally made it to the first batch of houses, several of his soldiers had already kicked in the door of one of homes and started searching it. One of the specialists exited the building. “There’s no one in here, Lieutenant,” he announced as the rest of his fire team followed him out.
They quickly moved to the next house. Soon Slater was getting the same news from each of the groups—no civilians or enemy soldiers in these houses.
With the houses cleared, one of his squads started to move up what appeared to be a dirt road, heading toward their primary objective, the Islamic center. Without warning, the lead soldier’s head snapped back, and he collapsed in a heap. In a fraction of a second, several machine guns opened fire, cutting down several more of Slater’s soldiers before they could react.
“Enemy gun bunker, three o’clock!” yelled one of his squad leaders.
One of their heavy machine gunners laid into the enemy position. Ratatat, ratatat, ratatat, pop, pop, pop!
With several members of Second Squad lying either dead or wounded near the dirt trail, First and Third squads came online and directed some heavy fire on the enemy positions. A couple of his grenadier gunners fired their 40mm grenade guns at the bunkers as well.
“Use one of the AT-4s!” Slater shouted to one of his sergeants.
The sergeant then directed one of his soldiers, who quickly got his antitank rocket ready, aimed and fired. The projectile punched through the air with a firm thud and flew flat and true. Unfortunately, although the rocket hit near the gun slit, it had little effect. The steady stream of machine-gun fire paused for less than five seconds.
“Damn! I wish we’d been issued more of the those M141 bunker-buster rockets,” Slater said angrily to himself. He looked around for his Fourth Squad leader—he had to move to plan B.
Once he found Matz, he flagged down the sergeant. “Sergeant Matz, I need you to take your squad and try to flank those bunkers. There are two of them, roughly fifty meters apart. Do you see them?” he asked as he pointed in the direction of the two enemy positions. Bullets zipped over their heads, snapping tree branches and underbrush.
“Yeah, I see `em, Lieutenant. We’ll try to move in from over there,” Matz responded, pointing to where his guys were going to try and sneak up on the bunkers. “When we get close, I’ll have one of my guys pop a smoke grenade. When you see that signal, I need you to tell everyone to hold their fire, so we can crawl up there and toss some grenades in.”
Slater nodded, and Sergeant Matz yelled for his squad to form up on him. He briefly explained what they were going to do while Slater went back to seeing if they could try and retrieve their wounded brothers out there on the trail.
While Lieutenant Slater’s platoon was fighting it out, the rest of the company started to take fire from a couple of other fortified positions not too far away from the Islamic center. They were well-sighted positions with good fields of fire, and more importantly, they were shooting down into Slater’s men from a higher elevation.
Stealing a quick look toward the city to their left, Slater saw soldiers quickly moving through the streets. It didn’t look like they were running into any enemy fire just yet.
A handful of minutes went by, and then a purple smoke grenade started puffing away near one of the gun bunkers. “Everyone, hold your fire!” Slater yelled. He had to shout it a few more times to be heard, but eventually, everyone stopped shooting.
Another minute went by, and then Slater heard the telltale crumps of hand grenades going off.
While Slater’s platoon held their fire, the remaining enemy bunker continued to shoot at them, kicking up dirt and snapping tree branches overhead. Over this continued noise of battle, Lieutenant Slater now heard the cries of the two wounded soldiers who were out on the trail. With each passing moment, their voices became weaker.
Just as Slater didn’t think he could take listening to them anymore, a handful of grenade explosions thumped in the distance, and the last enemy bunker stopped shooting at them. Sergeant Matz briefly stood up near the enemy bunker and waved to them, signaling to Slater that all was clear. Several of the platoon’s medics dashed forward and sprinted to the wounded.
Slowly at first, the rest of the platoon got up and crept forward. When they reached the fortified positions, they saw five dead enemy soldiers lying next to each bunker. There were no other foxholes or trenches nearby.
“My money says we’ll probably run into more fortified positions like this once we get closer to the mountain at the center of the island,” said Lieutenant Slater.
“Forever the optimist, eh, Sir?” Sergeant Matz retorted jovially.
Slater grunted. Looking behind them, he saw another pair of LCUs pull up to the beach and offload eight of their Stryker vehicles. When gunfire erupted off by Third Platoon, two of the Strykers headed off in that direction, looking for a target to blow up.
Two more LCUs pulled up, and Slater saw the first tanks arrive to the island. “Having heavy armor will certainly help,” he thought and breathed a sigh of relief. If they ran into any more enemy machine-gun bunkers, he’d be able to call one of the tanks over to help take them out.
His platoon was now less than a kilometer from the outer perimeter of the Islamic center and mosque. They had fanned out into a wide line; First and Third squads moved parallel with each other while he walked in the center with the remaining guys from Second Squad. Fourth Squad followed up as his reserve.
The platoon made good progress until they ran into some thick vegetation that obscured their view. As they got closer to the Islamic center near the top of the hill, the area eventually cleared until they were presented with a very wide 300-meter open space between the edge of the trees where they now stood and the perimeter of the complex. It was not an ideal place to cross; with no cover, his entire platoon could face machine-gun fire the entire way there.
Eventually, everyone came on line with the edge of the trees and the open field. Slater could see the men looking at the open field with caution, hoping he wouldn’t order them into such an exposed position. Slater made his way over to Sergeant First Class Starr, his platoon sergeant, then echoed aloud everyone’s sentiments. “There’s no way we’re crossing that field until I know what’s on the opposite side of it,” he said.
Those who heard his remark nodded, relieved.
Slater grabbed his radio, hoping they could get some armor support or at least have the gunships make a pass overhead. “Ronan Six, this is Ronan One-Six. Over.”
Slater smiled. When their battalion had left India, their old battalion commander had gotten promoted and taken over command of the brigade. The new battalion commander was a bit of a comics nut, so he’d had each of the companies pick a call sign based on a Marvel character. Lieutenant Slater had convinced Captain Wilkes to choose Ronan as their call sign. Of course, the battalion commander had picked the call sign War Machine. He was a real hard-charging West Point grad who unfortunately had had the bad luck to be assigned to the infantry officers basic course at Fort Benning for most of the war. He had sadly missed out on nearly all of the action up to this point. When a slot for a combat command had opened up, he’d jumped at the opportunity to get out of the schoolhouse and finally lead soldiers.
A couple of minutes went by before Slater heard Wilkes respond. “Ronan One-Six, this is Ronan Six. Go ahead.”
“Ronan Six, we’re approaching the main objective. We’ve come across an open field roughly 300 meters wide. It’s too exposed for us to cross alone from our current position. Are we able to get some sort of armor support?” he asked.
“I know exactly what you’re talking about. We’re looking at a similar situation with Third and Fourth Platoon,” said Wilkes. “Stand by. I’ve put a call in to War Machine for armor support. Out.”
“Copy that. Out,” Slater replied.
He turned to his platoon sergeant. “Tell the guys to stay frosty. We’re going to sit tight and wait to see if we get some armor support. Might as well grab some chow since it’ll be at least twenty or thirty minutes or more until we move again.”
“Roger that, Sir. I’ll spread the word,” Sergeant Starr answered, and he turned to go find his sergeants.
Standing next to the tree line, Slater pulled out his pocket binoculars. He zoomed in as far as they would allow and scanned the edge of the perimeter. The field in front of them wasn’t completely barren of cover. There were small shrubs and bushes, but it was certainly not enough for a platoon of forty soldiers to bound effectively under fire and reach their objective. Looking more closely though at the minarets that dotted the four corners of the mosque, he thought he saw something glint in the sunlight. He spent a couple of minutes examining that spot and waited. A few minutes into his wait, he was rewarded with another glimmer.
“Gotcha,” he thought. Someone was definitely up in that tower watching them.
“Sergeant Starr!” Lieutenant Slater called out. A few other soldiers echoed his call, and eventually his platoon sergeant came trotting up.
“What’s going on, Sir?” he asked in a curious tone. The rest of the platoon had broken out their MREs and were taking a few minutes to recharge their bodies with some much-needed calories.
Slater handed him his binoculars and pointed at the minaret. “There’s an observer up there. See the light reflecting off something? What I can’t tell is if it’s a sniper, a machine gunner, or just someone spotting for mortars or artillery.”
Sergeant Starr looked at the minaret for a few minutes until he saw a glint as well. He nodded as he handed the binoculars back. “You’re right. There’s definitely someone up there.” He then turned and yelled out, “Corporal Biggs, get your butt over here!”
A minute later, the lanky corporal walked up to them. “Here, Sergeant,” he said calmly.
Corporal Biggs was a rail-thin twenty-year-old from Nome, Alaska. The guy was the best shot in the company and had accordingly been assigned to be their sniper.
“That second minaret to the right looks to have someone in it,” Sergeant Starr explained, pointing toward the tower. “Our binos can’t pick out if the guy’s a sniper or just a spotter, or if they have a machine gun up there waiting to open up on us. I need you to grab that long gun of yours and see what you can see.”
“Roger that, Sergeant. Give me just a second to get set up,” Biggs replied. He turned around and headed back to where he’d dropped his gear. Six months ago, the Army had started issuing the new Heckler & Koch 417 to replace the older, heavier Knight’s Armament M110. The new HK417 had been given the designation M110A1. Not only was it lighter and more compact, it was easier to maneuver with since it was five inches shorter than the rifle it was replacing. The new rifles also hadn’t lost any of the range, accuracy or hitting power of the previous model.
Corporal Biggs saddled up next to Sergeant Starr and put his gear down on the ground near the base of a large tree. He unfolded the bipod and did a quick check of his rifle before peering through the scope.
Specialist Hoover plopped down next to him and pulled out his spotter scope, which also had the range finder built in. He did a quick check. “Target 519 meters out,” he called.
Biggs made a couple of adjustments on his scope and then peered through, looking to identify the potential threat.
It took him a few minutes of surveilling the minaret, checking over each of the windows to see if he could spot anything in them. When he reached the top one, where the imam would usually announce the calls to prayer, he saw several sandbags had been placed on the ledge. Just past the sandbags, he spotted two soldiers. One guy was lying next to a belt-fed machine gun, while the other guy was looking around the area with his binoculars. The duo was clearly hunting for Americans to shoot up.
He turned to Sergeant Starr and the lieutenant. “Found `em,” he announced. “Looks to be two guys. One’s got a belt-fed machine gun up there and the guy next to him is probably the assistant gunner. I’m going to check the other minarets before we engage these guys.”
Slater nodded. He was glad he’d waited for armor support and not continued forward.
Over the next five minutes, Corporal Biggs and his spotter, Specialist Hoover, identified seven other machine-gun positions in the other minarets and along the roof of the Islamic center, and they still had most of the windows of the buildings left to check. While they continued to annotate their findings on a notepad, they heard a small commotion behind them.
A minute later, a call came over the radio. “Ronan One-Six, this is War Machine Six, I believe we’re near your position with a couple of Strykers. Can you send a runner over to help guide us to you?” asked their battalion commander.
Slater looked at Starr and the two of them shook their heads—neither of them wanted War Machine saddled up with them. Then again, Slater thought, maybe he could help them get some air support to clear their objective instead of using the Strykers. Slater had found very few problems on the battlefield that couldn’t be solved with the proper application of explosives.
“War Machine Six, Ronan One-Six. That’s a good copy, sending a runner to you now,” Slater answered.
Sergeant Starr huffed slightly but then yelled over to a couple of his guys, “Go find those Strykers and lead the soldiers with them to our position!”
Fifteen minutes went by before the two privates returned with the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Zacharia, and a handful of soldiers from Bravo Company. They sauntered up to their little makeshift observation post.
Zacharia said, “I heard you guys may have found a den of vipers waiting for us.”
Slater nodded. “It would appear so, Sir,” he answered. “My sniper team has already located seven machine-gun positions in the various windows and minarets of the mosque and Islamic center.”
“Make that nine, Sir. Found two more,” added Corporal Biggs. He still had his rifle out and he continued to scan the building.
“Well, I’ll be damned if we’re going to willingly walk into this ambush,” Zacharia said. “I’m going to get the rest of the battalion moved over here, and we’ll see if we can’t get some air support to blast the place before we advance. We’ll lead with the tanks and Strykers and then follow in on foot after I get us a couple of JDAMs on that place.”
The men around them nodded in approval.
He turned to his radioman. “Put me through to our Air Force TACP,” he demanded.
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