John Schettler’s Kirov Series launches the ground war in Europe!
Volume VII in the Next War segment of the long Kirov Saga now takes the war in 2021 to Europe as NATO begins its long awaited counteroffensive to
liberate the Baltic States. Operation Eagle Rising begins with a bold stroke to cut off the Russian salient of Kaliningrad, and liberate Kaunas and Vilnius in Lithuania. As the American divisions
push through the Suwalki Gap, strong German and British contingents under Brigadiers Berg and Kinlan are on their left, fighting their way across the Neman River. Eventually, the plan is to drive
north to Riga, the capital of Latvia, and cross the Daugava River. Can the vaunted Russian Army stop them while also fighting a dramatic battle for control of Kharkov in the
Meanwhile, Kirov moves east towards a meeting with Tyrenkov at the Northern Shamrock, only to find the Grey Wolves in a daunting and perplexing encounter when they reach that far flung Arctic outpost. They soon realize things are terribly wrong....
The war in 2021 moves to Europe in Volume 7,
Eagle Rising, the name of the NATO operation to begin the liberation of the Baltic States. Before the war, armies were evaluated by their
strength on paper, the hot new hardware they were building, or the sheer numbers fielded, yet very few units in the Armies of the world actually had any real combat experience. The United States was
the great exception within NATO, having fought two massive Gulf wars, an endless war in Afghanistan, and ten years in Iraq. Other NATO partners joined in those battles, giving them some experience as
well. On the other side, Russia had fought in Chechnya, Georgia, the Ukraine and Syria, giving some of its many brigades a taste of modern combat. As for China, in spite of its massive Army, rapidly
growing Navy and burgeoning Air Force, it had virtually no modern day combat experience, land, air, or sea.
Now all sides would all be put to the test in a way that had not been
seen since WWII. Fighting insurgents in Iraq, which represented the bulk of the time the US was there, or hounding ISIS out of Syria, is not the same as meeting a peer adversary on a modern day high
intensity field of battle. Now we’re about to see just how good the tanks, APC’s, and troops on every side are in a fast paced ground war on two fronts in Europe. Concurrent with
NATO’s Operation Eagle Rising, the Russians have countered on the far flung fields of the Ukraine.
By moving their entire 58th Army out of the Caucasus, where no action
was expected, they rapidly doubled the number of troops they had in the Donbass. At the same time, other units from their Central Military district crossed into Ukraine from Belgorod. There, on those
blood sodden fields where Zhukov’s Red Army battled Manstein’s Armeegruppe South, the Russians stage a big operation aimed at pinching off Kharkov.
Both actions are
presented in the first 18th Chapters of this volume, a mighty clash of modern armies that ends up featuring Brigadiers Berg and Kinlan prominent in the action. As these battles begin to reach a
conclusion, the story takes us back to Korea again briefly for a dire escalation there that starts that doomsday clock ticking again. These battles all come to a head by the mid-point of the book,
and the likely military outcome in the Baltic States and Ukraine is decided. Then the story shifts back to Kirov and company in the far north, after Karpov put in his stunning Zircon strike to drive Captain Tanner’s CVN Washington out of the war with heavy damage. The ship makes it to a friendly port, but just barely, and will be long months in the shipyards.
The whole second half of this volume now focuses entirely on Kirov and crew. The ship returns to Severomorsk and the crew is given a much needed shore leave. While Karpov tries to clean house, Voronin, his would be Zampolit (Political Officer), is still scheming, and with Ivan Volkov in the mix. Voronin had earlier threatened to use his elite “Grey Wolves” security force to bring Karpov to heel, and plots are still simmering on and off the ship in this port call. Silenko’s steady recruitment of Gennadi Orlov proceeds and the plot thickens when Volkov gets involved. Tyrenkov comes to pay Fedorov and Karpov a visit, and as the three men discuss Russia’s prospects, it becomes clear that Tyrenkov is also scheming on something.
Things come to a head on the docks at Severomorsk, but Kirov will soon find itself out to sea again, with puzzling orders that Karpov vows to disregard. The result is a most unusual ending to this book, when Fedorov and Karpov try to figure out how they can use the gift hidden in Director Kamenski’s briefcase. (Have any of you guessed what it is yet?)
In an eerie sortie east, Karpov intends to go pick up his old Air Commandant Bogrov and his airship crew, but instead the ship and crew meet the Grey Wolves, only not in the way they first feared and expected. It becomes a haunting little side trip in parts IX and X of this one, and also sets up what is going to happen next, because this look at the next war has many more battles to be fought—just not where you might expect them.
To say more would spoil the ending, but seeds planted earlier in the tale now grow to take us up the bean stock to another round of WWIII action, as the author widens his lens to show us something more.