Battlefield Korea picks up in the middle of a brewing global conflict, as the Chinese look to capitalize on Russian intervention in the Ukrainian civil war. The surprise attack there has NATO in chaos, false headlines barrage the Internet, and the war in Ukraine seems all but lost. Will this distraction keep America from intervening in Asia?
When the Chinese begin to provide the North Korean regime with additional fuel, hard currency, and weapons, will America still be able to honor its treaty obligations in Asia? Or will the US have to concede the new reality of Greater China and a unified, nuclear-armed Korean peninsula?
Find out in this gripping sequel in the Red Storm Series.
Release date: December 19, 2017
Publisher: Front Line Publishing, Inc.
Print pages: 565
Reader says this book is...: action-packed (1) realistic characters (1) thought-provoking (1) unputdownable (1)
Content advisory: No profanity or sexual content
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Run Pappi, Run
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Fortney (“Pappi”) was exhausted. He had been trudging through the woods, farm fields, dirt roads, and streams, evading Russian search parties for nearly a week. He wasn’t sure how far he had traveled on foot, but at some point, he’d stopped hearing dogs and helicopters, so he figured he must have moved far enough away from the search party that they had lost him.
“I hope Ricky made it out,” he thought as he surveyed a farmhouse not far from the edge of the woods, squinting to see if the inhabitants had a vehicle. He knew he would never be able to walk out of Russia, but it occurred to him that unlike in the Soviet Union, a person could drive from one region to another within Russia without special papers. He figured he could hotwire a car, drive it as close to the Latvian border as possible, and then cross on foot. He had been scoping out this farmhouse for hours now though, waiting to see if there was any activity, and wondering if someone might come home later in the day.
Around 1900 hours, he saw a middle-aged man pull into the drive in a Lada Priora, and he instantly knew he had found what he was looking for. The man got out of the vehicle carrying what appeared to be a bag of groceries and walked into the house. Several lights turned on inside as the man began his evening routine. Pappi waited almost three more hours, until the lights slowly began to turn off and he believed that the man was now in bed, asleep.
To be absolutely certain, Pappi waited another hour before he moved cautiously towards the Lada. As he approached, he gently lifted the door handle, hoping with everything in him that no car alarm would go off, alerting the man in the house to his presence. As he lifted it, the door slowly opened without incident.
“No alarm, thank God,” he thought.
Pappi knew if he started the car there, chances were the owner would hear it. Instead, he placed the vehicle in neutral and released the parking brake. Then he positioned his hands on the frame of the driver’s-side door and gently pushed the car backwards down the driveway. As he neared the road, he turned the steering wheel slightly, angling the car onto the road.
Once the vehicle was on the road, he pushed it a little further, to make sure he wasn’t directly in front of the house he had just stolen it from, and then he looked for the wires under the steering column that would allow him to hotwire the car. It took him a few minutes and a few false starts to find the right wires, but eventually the engine of the Lada Priora roared to life. With the vehicle running, he hopped in and opened the glove box. Inside, he found a couple of maps, which he quickly began to look over. He had to estimate where he was since he had no GPS and hadn’t had access to coordinates for some time, but he saw he wasn’t too far from a road that would lead him down to the M-9. If he had calculated correctly, that road would turn into the E-22, which would lead directly to Latvia.
It was roughly 0000 hours, and Pappi knew he had roughly eight hours or so until the sun came up. If he was going to make his break for it, he needed to do it at night, while there was limited traffic on the roads. After getting turned around once, he found a sign that led him to the M-9. From there, he drove for roughly an hour and then the road turned into the E-22.
He glanced nervously at the fuel gauge. There was a little more than three quarters of a tank, but he wasn’t sure how far that would take him.
After nearly two hours on the road, he drove through a couple of small cities and towns. He had seen very few vehicles, and the only ones he did observe were military transport trucks. Many of them were carrying soldiers, towing artillery pieces or carrying other tools of war. He made sure to keep his distance; he was too close to making it out of Russia to get pulled over for tailgating a military truck or trying to pass a convoy.
As he got closer to the Latvian-Russian border crossing at Terehova, he spotted a small gas station on the right and pulled over. He was less than a mile from the Latvian border and freedom, but he still wasn’t sure how to get across the border without being stopped by the Russians. Because Latvia was a NATO member state, there were a number of Russian infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, BMPs and BTRs, blocking the road at the border. Neither side was actively shooting at each other—at the moment, both sides were content to hope the war would stay in Ukraine and not involve them all the way up here.
Pappi parked the Lada behind the gas station and pulled out the map. He didn’t want to get any closer to the border with those Russian soldiers guarding it. He needed to figure out another way across without being seen. As he continued to search the map, he found a little dirt road that looked like it ran along the border. Pappi looked up, and sure enough, roughly 50 meters from the gas station, there it was—a small, unassuming dirt road. In that moment, he decided to drive the Lada along that road. He would try to get as close to the border as he could that way and then either cross on foot or try to ram the vehicle through the border fence if he thought he could.
Keeping the headlights off, he slowly moved down the dirt road, driving towards freedom. After traveling the small unkept road for a few minutes, he began to see the divide between the two countries. The area wasn’t lit by lights along the border, but a clearing had been cut and a fence ran between it, clearly outlining the demarcation. Pappi pulled the car over off the road and turned it off, angling it slightly so he could get back into the vehicle in a hurry if he needed to.
He walked through the wooded area towards the demarcation line; he wanted to see with his own eyes if there were any guard towers or roving patrols. As he approached the edge of the trees, he came upon the demarcation line. Looking left and then right, he spotted two guard towers, roughly 500 meters away from him in either direction. The fence was roughly twelve feet high but didn’t look to be reinforced with any antivehicle rails or traps.
“I wish I could walk out there and inspect the fence,” Pappi thought. “Maybe I should just go back to the car and try to ram through it.”
After spending some time considering his options, Pappi glanced down at his watch and saw that it was roughly 0430 hours. He knew he needed to decide what he was going to do soon. The sun would be up in a few more hours. Pappi walked back to the Lada and started the vehicle. As he fastened his seat belt, he heard a noise.
Several Russian soldiers were approaching his vehicle from behind. They started to yell out to him. Pappi didn’t speak a lick of Russian, but he could tell by the tone of their voices that they weren’t happy with him.
In that moment, Pappi knew he needed to make a run for it or he’d become a prisoner of war. He slipped the car into gear and then floored it. As he sped through first gear and started shifting into second gear, the soldiers behind him opened fire with their AK-74s. Bullets shattered the rear windows of the Lada. In his driver’s-side side-view mirror, he saw one soldier talking on a radio while several others fired more rounds into the car. Then the mirror suddenly shattered as it was hit by one of the bullets.
As shots continued to fire, his rear tires suddenly blew out. Pappi charged ahead, adrenaline racing. The engine was roaring as he shifted into third gear and continued racing down the road. He was less than a hundred meters from the fence now, and he drove his car into the cleared demarcation line.
Suddenly, the passenger-side window exploded in a cloud of glass and flying shrapnel. More bullets punched their way through the passenger side of the vehicle as he neared the fence, shifting into fourth gear.
As the Lada rammed into the fence, the front of the vehicle nearly came to a halt, catapulting the rear of the car into the air, bending the fence and landing upside down. The engine emitted a horrible sound, and smoke began to fill the car. Pappi unclipped his seat belt and fell to the roof of the vehicle. He quickly crawled out the driver’s-side window and ran for his life into the tree line on the Latvian side of the border. As he sprinted, he heard bullets whiz past his head and body, kicking up dirt near his feet.
Just as he was about to make it into the woods, he felt something hot and hard slam into the back of his right shoulder, throwing him to the ground. As he lay there on the ground, trying to catch his breath, bullets continued to whip overhead, hitting branches and trees, sending flakes of wooden shrapnel flying all around him.
As he recovered from the shock of being hit, he slowly crawled into the woods and away from the gunfire. As he dragged his body along the ground, he heard more shouting. Several vehicles roared towards him. He could tell they were closing in on him, but there was nothing he could do at that point. If these were the Russians, then they had him.
A small group of soldiers ran towards him with their weapons raised, and as he saw their uniforms, a huge wave of euphoria washed over him. They were Americans.
An unknown man knelt next to him and spoke in English. “Are you American?” he asked incredulously.
At that moment, Pappi knew he had made it to safety. He smiled and answered, “Yes. I’m Lieutenant Colonel Rob Fortney, US Air Force.” Then he passed out from his injuries.
When he woke up two days later, he discovered he had been transported to the military hospital at Landstuhl in Germany.
One of the doctors walked in after learning he had regained consciousness. “You are one lucky soldier, son,” he said. From his wrinkles and grey hair, the doctor looked like he had been kept in the military a little longer than normal—he had definitely seen his share of war wounds.
Pappi was still orienting himself to what was even wrong with his body. He could see plenty of bandages, but at the moment he wasn’t sure how serious it actually was. “What happened to me, Doc?” he asked.
“You were shot in the back of the shoulder. It required a series of surgeries to put everything back together. You’re stable now, of course, but you’re actually going to be flown back to the US for additional surgery and recovery. You are going to have a metal plate where your shoulder blade used to be, and you need extensive physical therapy, but honestly, all things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse.”
The doctor let that sink in for a few moments before he said, “Listen, there’s an Air Force intelligence officer waiting outside that wants to ask you some questions about how you got out of there. I told him he’d have to wait until you were up to it. So, take your time, but when you feel like you can tell your story, go ahead and hit this button to turn on your extra light.”
Pappi nodded. Once he felt like he had his head back on straight, he signaled for the officer to come on into the room. He explained how he had evaded the search party and then eventually stolen a Lada and driven to the border. The officer asked him several questions to clarify, but the conversation was friendly.
At the end of the interview, Pappi asked, “Hey, do you know anything about my copilot?”
The air force officer’s face fell. “There’s no easy way to tell you this. The Russians captured him and have him listed as a prisoner of war. I can’t provide you with any further information.”
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