Monday, September 16, 2019

Available Now! Eagle Rising

The Next War....

John Schettler’s Kirov Series launches the ground war in Europe!


About Eagle Rising: Volume 7 in the Next War segment of the Kirov Saga.

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 Ukraine?
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. American generals had proved they could transport, deploy, stage and operate massive land forces in a major full spectrum, multi-domain ground war. 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 of any kind.
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 with a surprise offensive of their own.
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 prominently 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.

The next book in the series, entitled Tangent Fire now comes up in the position that has been reserved for the season finale. Is this the end? We asked John about it to get the scoop .

“No,” said John, “the 8th Volume in this season will not end the series yet. While it will bring the events of the war in 2021 to a conclusion, our heroes, and the ship, have yet more work to do. Telling you about it now would spoil the ending of Volume 7, so you’ll have to wait and see. All I can tell you is that, much like the story line that occupies the second half of Eagle Rising, what follows next will be largely centered on the ship, but I’ll let Fedorov and Karpov tell you about it all in this book. Enjoy!”

BUY FOR KINDLE or eBook Reader: $4.99 – Also available as a Quality Trade Paperback

Kirov Saga
Eagle Rising

John Schettler

Part I – Changelings
Part II – Article V
Part III – The Cauldron
Part IV – Stand Firm
Part V – Trick or Treat
Part VI – Fork in the Road
Part VII – The Devil’s Bargain
Part VIII– Plots and Devices
Part IX – The Frozen Night
Part X – Grey Wolves
Part XI – The Mushroom
Part XII – Reunions

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Ice War

The hot war gets chilled in the arctic cold...

The Kirov Series now takes us to the frozen north in Ice War, Volume VI in the Next War segment of the  saga, and it’s one of the best in the series. With NATO planning its counter offensives in Norway and Europe, Karpov and the Pacific Fleet are recalled to Severomorsk, but getting there will not be easy. After their strange displacement to the future of the world they helped create with their many interventions in the past, The fleet slipped back into the war we’ve been following and put into Vladivostok at the end of Volume V, Deep Blue. Now Karpov hopes to get as far north as possible before his fleet is discovered, as the Americans believe it perished in the eruption of the Demon Volcano.

It isn’t east to hide that many warships, even in the vast ocean spaces of the Pacific, and soon the Americans are investigating the sudden appearance of unknown ships emerging from the Sea of Okhotsk and heading north. What follows is a classic naval pursuit, as Captain Stark and the Nimitz Strike Group is dispatched to investigate the contacts. Karpov must get through the vast Bering Sea, and then pass the narrow strait between Siberia and Alaska, a place he calls “The Gates of Hell.” It is a harrowing warning of the action that will ensue in this volume, which features a riveting sea chase, gripping sub duels, and later, the Air, Land and Sea battles for the North Cape.

The Pacific Fleet eventually comes home to Severomorsk, but not without paying a price. Karpov and company are then immediately pulled into the naval action in the Norwegian Sea when Tyrenkov orders the seizure and reinforcement of the remote northern Islands of Svalbard. The British are leading the NATO effort to make a helicopter assault to recapture those islands, even while Karpov is delivering reinforcements for the Russians. Then the US Washington Strike Group gets into the action under Captain Tanner, and things really begin to heat up in a series of naval duels on and under the sea.

The land action in the north Cape is briefly covered in one segment, but that external battle is counterpointed by a simmering internal conflict aboard Kirov precipitated by the dark presence of Colonel Voronin, the ship’s new Zampolit, or Political Officer. The Black Crow, as the crew comes to call him, is sticking his nose into the affairs of the ship, and this inevitably draws sparks with Karpov, right from the outset of this volume. There are some very tense confrontations on the bridge, and both sides scheme to get the upper hand in the little power struggle. Knowing Karpov as they do, series veterans know what to expect when Voronin’s transgressions rub him the wrong way.

All in all, Ice War is presented with good depth and loaded with naval air action. Battles here cover the Bering Sea Chase, action off Svalbard, NATO’s counterattack in the North Cape, and the climactic “Battle of the Barents Sea.” At the end, the author tips us off on what’s coming next, the big NATO offensive in Europe, code named Eagle Rising. As the Ice War concludes, we asked John where the series is going next.

“The conclusion of Ice War will present an interesting discussion between Karpov, Fedorov and Tyrenkov, and that will lead them on a special mission as we go to the ground war in Europe, NATO’s big offensive  to liberate the Russian occupied Baltic States. There we will meet Brigadier Berg in the 21st Panzer Brigade, and of course Brigadier Kinlan with the British contingent, and they will take us into that ground war, which will really decide Russia’s fate in this war.”

“What about the Chinese? Is the conflict in the Pacific over?”

“No. That end of the war suffered a severe check with the eruption of the Demon Volcano, but that war resumes after a three week interruption, so I’ll also be covering the US campaign into the East China Sea, the Chinese intervention in Korea, and the Argos Fire leads a combined NATO group into the South China Sea again as the West goes on the offensive in an attempt to break the Chinese Navy.”

“Does Kirov get in on that action?”

“Not directly, as the Fleet is in the north now, but there will be a few twists yet to come involving Kirov and crew, so stay tuned.”

ON SALE NOW: e-Book version, $4.99 ~ Also available as a quality Trade Paperback.

Kirov Saga
Ice War

John Schettler

Part ISeven Skunks
Part II – Strange Bedfellows
Part III – Harried North
Part IV – Hidden Danger
Part V – The Gates of Hell
Part VI – Jeremiah
Part VII – Ardent Fire
Part VIII– Regrouping
Part IXCold Fury
Part X – Sea Eagle
Part XISubmarines
Part XIIFree Radicals

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Kirov Series heads out into the Deep Blue

The Next War, with a Twist....

      Series fans have been eagerly awaiting next installment of the saga, and even the title was not known until just a few days before release. As always, the web site puts up the cover a few days before publication, and here we are, hip deep in World War Three.
     In this expanded retelling of the events that started that war, we have all just seen real life imitating fiction with the recent tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. Let us hope the ballistic missiles don’t soon follow. That was but one of the many action scenes presented in this marathon depiction of the war. Focusing primarily on the naval and related air combat, we’ve seen fighting in the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Denmark Strait, Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, and all the seas bordering China. Some of the small unit actions, with Argos Fire and the Fairchild Group providing our point of view, were among the most interesting. In them we saw how a few competent naval task forces could deal with the so called “String of Pearls” China has been building with bases through the Indian Ocean. Now, in Deep Blue, the fighting is much closer to home.
      The story takes up right where it left off in Resurgent, with Fedorov rushing into the ready room to tell Karpov what has happened. Hints of the odd effects related to time shifts, and missing crewmen cast a shadow over their plans earlier, and now the looming presence of an event series readers know is coming will soon have a major impact on action in this volume--the Demon Volcano.
   With a charge given to him directly by Tyrenkov, Karpov is ordered to go out and sink another carrier, and he seldom disappoints. How that might happen is part of the twist in this offering, something that the author often does at the heart of each new season. After the sharp naval action in the Yellow Sea, China now exerts more pressure by lighting the fuse in Korea, creating another major crisis point for the United States to contend with. The American answer is Operation Urgent Fire, a fast sealift of the 25th Infantry Division to Japan, for eventual deployment to Korea.
     After giving us a taste of the ground war when Kim’s warriors cross the DMZ, the action shifts to Kirov and the Russian Pacific Fleet, as Karpov sets out into the Deep Blue again, looking for that carrier to notch his belt. He finds a good deal more than he expected, and we get a fitting glimpse of the future he and Fedorov helped shape with their many interventions in the last war. You may be surprised to learn how that all turned out, and the tremendous implications a few tweaks in the history had on the situation in the Pacific.
     Thus far the series has taken an in-depth look at the naval war, and we have seen both the strengths and shortcomings of each side. China’s burgeoning shipbuilding is surging ahead, but they lack strong carrier based forces that can bring significant air power, and strike capability, out into the Deep Blue. That has been the realm where the United states had reigned unchallenged for the last 80 years, largely because of their expert ability to deploy aircraft carriers. Those air wings have ruled the skies over the seas since the 1940’s, and it is no different here.
     On the other hand, we also see that this war has caught the US in a kind of twilight zone between the last 30 years and the war they have to fight now, where its navy largely operated to project power ashore with air strikes and cruise missiles. Little emphasis was placed on surface warfare, and now the USN faces down a strong peer competitor in the Chinese Navy. With Chinese destroyers that can fire anti-ship missiles with three and four times the range of the old US Harpoons, American destroyers seem to be viable only as an integral part of a US carrier task force. In effect, the US can’t really go toe to toe with the Chinese fleet without a carrier present, which is why the early loss of both Eisenhower and Carl Vinson were such heavy blows to the navy. Now here comes Vladimir Karpov, the next pretender to the throne. He soon learns that the Americans might have made a better friend than an enemy.
     The Chinese solution is to find strength in numbers, and mass their fleet to face the Americans, advancing in a phalanx of destroyers and frigates, bolstered by the few carriers they have. Supported by their considerable land based air power, China has been able to control the green waters of the East and South China Seas, but the Deep Blue is still dominated by the US. China began the war with 54 large  surface warships, from the type 051B destroyer north to their newer type 055 fleet additions. That new destroyer has proved highly effective, but by 2021, there are only six available. In action thus far, they have lost 15 destroyers, almost a third of their heavy naval assets. This has prevented them from fully isolating Taiwan and Japan, and forced them back to their littoral waters, and now the US wolf is finally at the door when the DF-21D’s run out.
     On the US side, the 7th Fleet was badly outnumbered at the outbreak of the war, but it got strong support from the Japanese and South Korean navies, until reinforcements could arrive from the 3rd Fleet. The US strategy now is to use adroit carrier tactics and sea based air power, brave the DF-21D zone, and then bring the missiles. The only problem is that the author has tracked down actual inventory numbers on weapons that would really be available to both sides. A good many articles hype the latest arrows in the US quiver, notably the LRASM, and the Multi-Mission Tomahawk, which can strike both land and sea targets. You may be surprised to learn how many will actually exist by 2021, including the much lauded new US Standard Missile-6.
     Meanwhile, the reinforced Russian Pacific Fleet keeps getting smaller as losses reduce the number of ships available for operations. Both Karpov and Fedorov can see the futility of trying to win the war through force of arms, yet always the warrior, Karpov remains ever confident in his abilities.
     On the other hand, Ex-Navigator and now Starpom (XO) of the mighty Kirov has been conflicted throughout the series, and haunted, by images of a devastated future world they saw during an odd forward shift in book one. Preferring to use his words rather than missiles, it is no surprise that he argues for a way to find a negotiated settlement to the war before things get out of hand. The only man who could initiate those talks is Tyrenkov, Karpov’s ex-Chief of security and intelligence, but the cagey spymaster doesn’t see the same future as Fedorov, which leads to some dissension and turmoil before this book ends.
     All in all, the war is grinding forward into real dangerous territory, both on land and at sea. China reinforces Korea to offset US reinforcements, and in Europe NATO has completed its mobilization and is getting ready for a major counteroffensive against the Russians. It is there that we will most likely learn the fate of two other time traveling characters that led modern day forces into the cauldron of WWII--Brigadiers Kinlan and Berg.
     As this one ends, action on the macro and micro scales ratchets the tension up another few notches, setting the stage for the next volume, where every side in this war presses for advantage while skirting the dangerous line of escalation that could lead to the conflagration Fedorov fears.
Head out into the Deep Blue to catch all the action, as volume 5 in the season goes on sale June 20--Available Now!

Kirov Saga
Deep Blue

John Schettler

Part I – M.I.A.
Part II – Regrouping
Part III – Urgent Fire
Part IV – Off Track
Part V – The Demon
Part VI – Brothers in Arms
Part VII – The Lost Sheep
Part VIII– Eagle and Dragon
Part IX – Wind and Thunder
Part X – Sea of Japan
Part XI – Affinity
Part XII – Insurgent