Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Eurasian War: Combat

SM Stirling knows his military hardware and even his alternative historical military hardware like the use of steam vehicles in the Eurasian War which is what his Draka timeline has instead of our World War II. Page after page of Marching Through Georgia (New York, 1991) rubs our noses in the danger, pain, fear and fatigue of hours and days spent on a modern technological battlefield. Brilliantly led by Centurion Eric von Shrakenberg, a small Draka force inflicts immense damage on the advancing Germans before Eric realizes that all that is left for them to do is to alert their HQ by radio, then scatter into the woods.

"...the crew lay where the machine-guns had caught them bailing out. Fuel and scorched metal, burnt flesh and explosive, wet dung-smell from the fields. More bodies lying in the glistening chewed-up grey mud, in straggling lines, in bits where the mines had gone off, singly and in clumps where they had been shot off the tanks..." (p. 346)

"...the body twisted off the edge, turned once and landed broken-backed across the hull of the wrecked personnel carrier below. Blood and pink-grey brain dripped into the burning oil, hissing." (p. 354)

We do not wish that we had been there - I don't think - but we do appreciate that here we are reading an unflinching account of what participants in many modern wars have done, seen, heard and felt.

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