Chapter 4 : Preparations
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Consider the first three chaps an introductory part 1. This will be the beginning of part 2.
Planning The Invasion
I exited my cottage early in the morning as I headed to Dunlap’s command center. Currently we were planning the invasion in headquarters. I had been selected to lead the attack based in Berwick. After the town was captured, I would arrive and take command of the troops. Though I was not directly involved with the other campaign, I had been selected for the committee, along with Dunlap, Megan, and Hermione.
Dunlap greeted me as I entered his office. “Good morning Ana.”
“Good morning Noah,” I replied.
“I trust you slept well?” he asked.
I rolled my eyed. “As best as I could.”
We had been up late into the night at an emergency meeting of the council. We had intercepted a transmission from the Death Eaters to Italy discussing troop movements. It appeared that they had gotten foreign assistance.
A red headed woman entered his office carrying a sheet of paper. Without looking up she rattled off, “General, we’ve received from Oxford’s people that the commander at Berwick is some woman named Vanessa Hutchens. She says to send the Wave 1 commander to get some info. on her.”
I coughed quietly and she looked over at me. “Oh, I apologize. I didn’t see you there, Auror Cortez.”
“It’s Ana,” I said quickly.
“I’m Mara Jade. Pleased to meet you,” she said warmly. “I’m the general’s personal assistant and I’ll be helping you plan the attack.”
“A pleasure,” I said before turning to Dunlap. “When will Megan and Hermione be arriving?”
“Shortly,” said Dunlap. “May I suggest that we go to the dining room? I thought it would serve well as a planning room. There’s a large table in the middle and bookshelves to store information in.”
“Fine by me,” I agreed.
Dunlap nodded and said to Mara, “Please let Ms. Granger and Ms. Oxford in when they arrive.”
She nodded and left the room. Dunlap and I lingered for a bit before heading to the dining room. On the center of the table lay a map of northern England.
“Ms. Granger has arrived sir,” Mara announced as she entered with Hermione in tow.
“Thank you,” said Dunlap. Mara left and he said to Hermione, “Hello Hermione. Do take a seat.”
“Thank you, General. How do you do?” she asked.
“Quite well, Ms. Granger. I do believe we can do away with the formalities now that we’re working so closely together,” said Dunlap.
“Yes,” said Hermione politely. “I do believe we can, Noah.”
Dunlap smiled as Hermione turned to me. “And Ana, how do you do?”
“I’ve been worse,” I said, smiling briefly. When was Megan going to get here? We didn’t have much time. Every minute that trickled by was a waste.
Finally, Megan entered the room and apologized for being late. Dunlap nodded and brushed aside the issue.
“Let’s get down to business, shall we?” said Hermione matter-of-factly.
“A fine idea,” said Dunlap, smiling.
I waited a second before sending Hermione a meaningful glance while Dunlap was talking to Megan. She met my glance and rolled her eyes exaggeratedly at me.
Grinning, I cleared my throat. “We pretty much planned the invasion of Berwick. The individual commands can figure out the messy details. If we have time I think we can focus on those. I believe we should plan the attack on Sunderland first. It will be a tough nut to crack.”
“That I can agree to,” said Dunlap. “However I think that the man given command of the invasion is a highly capable man. He was my protégé at the academy when I taught there. Zachary Blackberg is a brilliant general.”
“I’m sure he is,” said Megan dryly. “But can we please focus on the task at hand please?”
I nodded. “Noah, do we have any ships under our command?”
“Yes. We have one Destroyer: the HMS Diamond, and three frigates: the HMS Richmond, HMS Lancaster, and HMS Kent. We also have two submarines, the Tireless and Torbay. We have one minesweeper, the Chiddingfold. And we have about twenty landing craft,” said Noah, reading off of an official looking paper. “What’s left of our navy is under the command of Admiral Jones.”
“Do we have any air support?” Hermione asked.
“Uh, we have one squadron of Lynxes, two squadrons of Merlins, and fifteen Sea Kings for the navy. If we succeed in our attack, we will capture a factory that makes planes and helicopters,” said Noah.
“What if we had the subs go there a few days before the invasion and harass the city? Give them hell before the battle even started?” suggested Megan.
“Wait,” Dunlap said, “I have an idea. What if we had them harass a different city. That would mess them up even more.”
I nodded and glanced at Hermione. She said, “Good idea.”
“Then a day after the bombardment we can have all of our ships bombard the city. After a period of bombardment we can send in the landing craft,” Megan added.
“When was the last time paratroopers used?” I questioned curiously.
“World War Two, probably,” answered Dunlap.
“We could drop some of them on the city so they could break the wards,” I said.
“Paratroopers? Really?” asked Megan dubiously.
“Yes,” I snapped. “We will be facing wizards and witches too. They would be completely unready for an attack by paratroopers. Not to mention the muggles either. They wouldn’t expect one too.”
“It’s a risky maneuver,” murmured Hermione. “Is it worth it?”
“War is always a risk,” said Dunlap.
“How very wise,” I said snidely.
Megan cleared her throat and brought us back to the topic on hand. “After the bombardment and paratrooper attack, we send in the landing craft. What comes after that?”
Hermione waved her wand and a detailed map of Sunderland appeared. She pointed at a large road. “This is Churchill Road. If we advance to this street, we should have a nice area for us to set up a headquarters. There is ideal cover for troops and we can set up camp there for a while.”
“That sounds sufficient, I believe,” said Megan.
“Then we can advance on the rest of the city. Our second goal will be Sunderland Tower. It is the highest building in the city and would provide an excellent position for our troops. After that, we will only have to secure the city and prepare for retaliation,” finished Hermione.
“Easier said then done,” Dunlap said.
“I thought war was always a risk?” I snapped at him.
He nodded at me slowly. “Yes Ana it is. But the paratroopers have a good chance of succeeding. This plan has too many variables. What if we don’t knock out all their defenses and the landing craft never make it?”
“Our paratroopers will have knocked out the wards by then, I’m sure,” I said, defending Hermione.
“I agree with Hermione and Ana,” said Megan quietly. “It sounds like a solid plan to me.”
Dunlap bowed his head. “A clear majority. If this is the will of this committee I will support it.”
I smiled genuinely at Dunlap. “We are grateful for your support.”
The rest of the day went by faster as we finalized details and touched up plans. Finally, late in the evening, we finished and called it a day. The invasion of the north was ready to begin.
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