General Francis Thorn watched the CCTV screens in the situation room, silently observing as an RPG-29 grenade smashed into the German Gepard anti-air tank that defended the large square in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a mere stone's throw away from the American Embassy. The civilian staff had been evacuated after the Russians had crossed the Oder river and proceeded to converge on Berlin. Now, Thorn and a sizeable group of CIA and military operators had been ordered to stay behind, get 'rolled over' by the Russian front and discreetly establish a contact with the various European resistance groups that were expected to form in the aftermath. From the outside, the American Embassy resembled a stronghold, its windows covered up by armoured blinds and protected by sentry guns that were primed to obliterate any hostile intruder foolish enough to set foot on this fortified strip of American soil. Even President Suvorov himself had issued strict orders that the American and Chinese representations in Berlin were not to be harmed in a wishful effort to keep what would later be known as the Third World War contained in Europe.
Meanwhile, the man who had fired the RPG let out a roar of triumph, for it was none other than the recently promoted Lieutenant Boris Bikov, who had become a rather well-known propaganda icon for his bravery in battle. Whilst the Russian tank formations were still making their slow advance through streets littered with German tank hunters, the Federation's forward infantry forces had already established a stable perimeter around Mitte, the central government district of the German capital, where the opposition was almost fanatical. Despite the nigh-constant onslaught across the entire front, the outmanned and outgunned defenders were holding onto this decisive part of the city for sixty hours at this point. "Forward, comrades! This is our chance to break through!" Boris yelled, once again rallying his fellow soldiers as they mounted over the field of fallen men who had previously been cut down in droves by the Flakpanzer. Boris recognised an exploitable breach when he saw one and pressed on, for the Reichstag, the iconic seat of the German government, was little more than 200 metres away.
Ever since its completion in 1894, the massive sandstone structure was a silent witness to the turbulent history of Berlin. More recently in 2028, the Reichstag had once again been the site of political upheaval when thousands of citizens gathered around it in the wake of the GLA attack, demanding the highly unpopular four-party 'Europakoalition' to step down. What followed was an intense standoff between the demonstrators and the German Army which sided with its people, arrested the government and formed a provisional council that subsequently layed the groundwork for what would eventually become the ECA after similar events in many other European countries. Boris, who was still serving his time as an ordinary conscript back then, remembered watching this pivotal moment on television; and now, he too would become a part of the Reichstag's history.
The German defenders did not let up, unleashing a hail of machine gun fire from the windows. After almost an hour of skirmishes outside the building, a detachment of Kodiak tanks managed to link up with the infantry elements. "This is it, comrades! Inside!", Boris exclaimed while he ditched the unwieldy RPG launcher in favour of a PK general purpose machine gun that he 'borrowed' from one of the tanks. Meanwhile, the defenders had retreated into the sheltered heart of the structure. Curiously for the Russians, many of them were wearing their stone-grey dress uniforms as they provided better concealment in the urban environment and created the fearsome illusion that they were some sort of elite guard unit, prompting Boris and his comrades to advance with utmost caution. The Germans made their final stand in the great parliament chamber, exchaging fire with the Russians as they swarmed in from all directions. The sound of gunfire, explosions and defiant battle cries, 'Za Rodinu' on the one side and 'Fuer das Vaterland' on the other, sounded through the entire building.
Boris tried to flank his way past the defenders and was suddenly ambushed by a single German soldier who jumped at him with a combat knife, dragging him to the ground. The two men wrestled their way across the room while their comrades tore each other apart all around them. The furious German snarled angry, incomprehensible phrases at Boris as he tried to thrust the menacing black blade into the face of his eastern adversary. Boris could barely breathe under the weight of the tall soldier but managed to deliver a shattering headbutt to the nose of his foe, knocking him back. He promptly pulled out his trusty Makarov pistol and repeatedly pulled the trigger until the slide snapped back and locked in place; a close call. Suddenly, Boris noticed that the fighting around him had calmed down and that his comrades must have either died or moved on. He carefully inspected the rooms, finding countless bodies in grey and Flora-patterned uniforms. The parliament was shot up beyond recognition, with its blue seats torn to pieces by the fighting and a large, gaping impact hole in the steel statue of the German federal eagle that loomed above the morbid scenery. After a while, Boris walked up a staircase that took him up to the roof-top terrace where he witnessed a scene that he would never forget...
With the initial mission of NATO first rendered absurd, then obsolete in the wake of the 2028 GLA insurrection, many European armies once again changed their operational doctrines back to a heavier, more localised Cold War era home defence mindset. As a result, the German Army decided to re-introduce the trusted Gepard Flakpanzer, whose most recent model was updated with the same fire-control radar and 35mm anti-aircraft gun used by the Sky Shield system, including the highly effective 'Birdshot' fragmentation round. This allows the Gepard to engage both air and soft ground targets and achieve effective results despite its slower rate of fire, an issue that can be mitigated via the installation of the new Revolverkanone 35 autocannon. In order to protect itself from infantry units that somehow make it past the two massive guns, the Gepard is also equipped with the same close area defence fragmentation grenades as the Leopard which proved to be an effective repellant against the suicide bombers of the GLA in North Africa.
Whilst the important strategic decisions on the regimental level and above are made in the war room of the Region Command centre, the lower ranking ECA officers down on the tactical level operate inside the Field Command posts. As such, a sector may only have a single active Region Command, but many Field Commands, which are smaller in size and include all the necessary facilities to deploy Excavators, four of which can also be stored inside for shelter and repairs. The distinguishing feature is that the Field Command is also equipped with an on-site workshop which allows it to maintain nearby vehicles and aircraft. However, there are drawbacks as well: The Field Command lacks the garrisonable bunkers and the officers inside neither have the necessary clearance nor the greater strategic overview to request support missions from a General.
The Eurocopter EC640 is a light-weight helicopter primarily designed by French engineers. Specifically conceived as a patrol reconnaissance and AWACS aircraft, it is equipped with a sophisticated sensor pod that houses a variety of passive and active radar systems and infra-red cameras. Once deployed from a Region or Field Command, the helicopter will automatically patrol around its parent structure in an extensive circle, providing radar coverage to European forces and detecting any concealed intruder, vehicle or structure inside the base perimeter. Upon detection, the helicopter will remain hovering above the suspect and keep it in its sights until ground elements reach the site to resolve the situation by any means necessary.
-SWR Team, Signing out