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Jihad: World War in 2036


MacDonald Reid

ISBN: 1-58500-867-0

Hamal measured the dust cloud approaching them. It seemed to increase its angle, and, from his basic geometry, he calculated a battle front of over twenty kilometers! Twenty kilometers were filled with tanks, BTMs, BTRs and all the other equipment of a modern army. He faced the approaching front with just three vehicles covering a front of less than twenty meters. "Insh'Allah," he laughed, "but without the sense of urgency!"

Five minutes later the mirages danced and jittered just over the horizon. The atmosphere enlarged and magnified their shapes, but distorted them at the same time. His 7x35s helped. There was no doubt as to their identity. They were Russian tanks, hundreds of them as far as the eye could see.

"Captain Akhmed, this is Tank." Hamal had to repeat his call before the weak signal came back to him.

"Tank, this is Akhmed. Repeat message."

"Akhmed! Enemy! Go to Jubayl!"

"Acknowledged, Tank. Allah be with you!"

Yes, may Allah be with us.

The mirages flickered and disappeared only to be replaced with the dark shapes of reality. "Spread out," he ordered his sheep dogs, "We don't want to go to Paradise together in the same explosion."

Slowly the Bradleys moved off a hundred meters in either direction. Missile launchers extended from their turrets, and their range finders pointed forward like the ears of dogs listening to a distant sound. Five minutes passed, and the enemy tanks approached to six thousand meters.

"Tank, Bradley Two. Enemy lead tank at extreme range. Permission to fire?"

"Negative. Wait until you can be sure of a killing blow."

Three minutes later, Bradley One called. The voice quavered slightly, but it was filled with resolve. Hamal gave permission to fire and a gray cloud accelerated towards their enemies. Bradley Two called in with a target, and another missile erupted on its single-minded errand of death. Another was fired from Bradley One and one from Bradley Two. Four kills burned in the desert, but the brown wave of dust swept down on them. Two more missiles and two more kills. Bradley One was out of missiles and Two had only one left. The range was down to three thousand meters.

"Designate! Heat! Target! Fire!" Twenty nine hundred meters. "Designate! Heat! Target! Fire!" Twenty-eight hundred meters. How many times did he say it? He lost count. He ran out of HEAT rounds, but the range was shorter so he could switch to sabots. Tanks burned, BTMs died and BTRs were crushed. But, still they came on.

Both Bradleys opened up with their chain guns. They couldn't do anything against tanks, but the more lightly armored BTMs and BTRs took a terrible pasting. He opened up with his own 12.7-mm, but it was like throwing rocks into the sea.

The enemy closed on his tiny group. Bradley One spouted smoke! The four crewmen clambered out. Three of them struggled to put out the fire that engulfed their companion.

Hamal's tank lurched to one side as a thunderclap echoed within the turret. He was deafened, and blood ran from his nose and ears. But, his doubly reactive armor had done its job. "Target! Tank! Sabot!  Fire!" The T-90 or was it a T-92....? The question seemed very important, and his mind refused to surrender any of its capacities until the issue had been resolved.

Flashes appeared all around him. Tanks and armored vehicles exploded all about as though the very hand of Allah had reached down into this tiny spot on this little world just to save him. His radio hammered in his ears. "Saudi tank! Saudi tank! Get the hell out of there!" His mind cleared. Only Americans swore like that!

"Move your ass, Saudi tank! Move due south. American lines are ten klics due south."

More explosions rent the land around him, and he needed no more encouragement. He popped the top of his cupola, and yelled down to his four men, "Jump up here and hold on!" He slammed the hatch, "Bradley Two, follow me. Due south. The Americans are here!"

His tank bucked off through the dunes followed closely by the remaining Bradley. They clawed their way back to the road, and raced southward on its smooth surface at over sixty kilometers per hour. Overhead, Hamal could see fast moving shapes going northward. Every once in a while, he spotted the ungainly shape of a tank killer low to the ground.

"Saudi tank, Saudi tank, better slow down a little. You're almost on friendly ground. Good luck, fella. Tank Buster, out."

He came over a small hill, and there before him on a rise of land was the largest American flag he'd ever seen. Tears welled up in his eyes. The Yanks are here!


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