Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Dogs of War


IDF Sabra Tank
I've been writing a battle sequence in my work in progress, a ground and air battle in the Golan Heights between Israeli and Syrian forces. Looking at it today, I was reminded of the notion that if Tom Clancy were writing this, he'd be spending five or six chapters on the battle. He'd be describing where the Syrians got their missiles and UAV, how Israeli tanks are built, the shifts at the factories, what the foreman likes to eat for lunch, and so and and so on... while we, the reader feel like saying Get on with it!

Needless to say, that's not the way I want to write it.

It's a fresh scene, and there'll no doubt be revisions. I'm thinking I'm being a little too omnipresent, writing the scene and getting into both sides' point of view. Tell me what you think....



It was necessary to blind the enemy. The Israeli reconnaissance assets were better than the Syrian assets, but in warfare, the advantage could never be too much. The Syrians had a handful of UAVs in the air, sent to them courtesy of Iran. IDF fighter jets were assigned to hunt them down, to remove them from the board. As the battle continued to rage below in the Golan Heights, the Israeli pilots went to work, blasting the Syrian UAVs to oblivion and simultaneously infuriating their controllers behind the lines. The Israeli pilots also engaged in aerial dogfights with their Syrian counterparts, who were hunting for Israeli UAVs, among other targets, in the night sky.
            The Israeli controllers had more experience with the UAVs, and more confidence in their abilities. Each Israeli UAV was tasked to reconnaissance, surveying the Syrian forces below. They were better able to evade the Syrian MiGs, though there were a few losses. The surviving UAVs continued to transmit images and data of the battle back to IDF headquarters, giving the staff at Northern Command a thorough perspective of what was happening on the battlefield.
            Israeli ground forces had stopped the Syrian advance. They were more quickly able to move artillery and tanks finding themselves in vulnerable conditions. The troops were easier to adapt to what was happening on the battlefield. What was already being called the Battle of the Golan Heights by reporters was slowly turning against the Syrian invaders. The Syrian First Corps was being held in place, even if it meant the IDF had to do so with restraint.
The battle continued on the ground and above. Dogfights in the air lit up the night sky as pilots pursued each other. Streaks of artillery illuminated the battlefield below as each side shelled the other, jockeying for advantage. Casualties were inflicted on both sides. Still, the Syrians began to realize that the longer the battle went on, the less likely their chances were of success. They were outmatched, and the night wore on. Their earlier high morale upon crossing the border and commencing the attack faded away as they took hits from Israeli forces. If the commanders in headquarters didn’t realize it yet, the troops on the front lines understood it all too well. They had found themselves in a world of trouble.


Here's the passage reworked and divided up.

 
It was necessary to blind the enemy. The Israeli reconnaissance assets were better than the Syrian assets, but in warfare, the advantage could never be too much. The Syrians had a handful of UAVs in the air, sent to them courtesy of Iran. IDF fighter jets were assigned to hunt them down and remove them from the board. As the battle continued to rage below in the Golan Heights, the Israeli pilots went to work, blasting the Syrian UAVs to oblivion- those they could find- and simultaneously infuriating their controllers behind the lines. The Israeli pilots also engaged in aerial dogfights with their Syrian counterparts, who were hunting for Israeli UAVs, among other targets, in the night sky.

                                                            ***
            The Syrian air command staff sent their MiGs into the air, outmatched by the Israeli F-15, F-16, and F-35 jets as they might be. Their mission was to hunt down and destroy Israeli UAVs, and to shoot down Israeli pilots. Squadrons of MiGs raced up into the night sky over the battle, pursuing both targets. Like the Israeli pilots, the Syrians found hunting UAVs a difficult task. The aircraft, already small and difficult to track, were lost in the clutter of other aircraft, friendly and unfriendly, in the night sky. Added to that, of course, was the far more pressing problem of enemy fighters in the sky, pilots who were armed and ready to fire on the opposition. The Syrian and Israeli pilots met in the night sky, exchanging fire. Pilots were downed, on both sides, though the edge went to the Israelis, their better equipment and training regimen giving them the advantage.

                                                            ***
            At the Israeli field command headquarters, the Israeli controllers were on station that night. They had greater experience with their UAVs, which were more reliable, and thus they could have more confidence in the abilities of the drone aircraft. Each Israeli UAV was tasked to reconnaissance, surveying the Syrian forces below and the direction of the battle. They were better able to evade Syrian MiGs then the Syrian UAVs could manage with Israeli fighters, though there were a few losses. The surviving Israeli UAVs continued to transmit images and data of the battle back to IDF headquarters, giving the staff at Northern Command a thorough perspective of what was unfolding out on the battlefield. That perspective, and the superior performance of the Israeli UAVs, gave the Israeli commanding general an edge over his Syrian counterpart. It was an edge he had every intention of exploiting.

                                                            ***
            While the dogfights continued between both sides in the sky above, the ground battle was well underway. Israeli ground forces had stopped the Syrian advance. The Israeli troops were more quickly able to move artillery and tanks that found themselves in vulnerable situations. And they were easier to adapt to what was happening on the battlefield, their officers and soldiers on the field much more readily taking the initiative.  What was already being called the Battle of the Golan Heights by reporters was slowly turning against the Syrian invaders. The Syrian First Corps was being held in place, even if it meant the IDF had to do so with restraint. Streaks of artillery fire illuminated the battlefield as each side shelled the other, jockeying for advantage. Casualties were inflicted on both sides. Death had come once again to the Golan.

                                                            ***
The Syrian soldiers began to realize that the longer the battle went on, the less likely their chances were of success. They were outmatched, and the night wore on. Their earlier high morale upon crossing the border and commencing the attack faded away as they took hits from Israeli forces. If the commanders in headquarters didn’t realize it yet, the troops on the front lines understood it all too well. In crossing the border into Israeli territory, they had found themselves in a world of trouble.
                                               




16 comments:

  1. I like it. As always, you're brilliant!

    You might cut it into two scenes, one from each side's POV. See if that works. But it's very well written. I applaud you!

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  2. I was also thinking of breaking it up into four, maybe expand on it a bit, so we're getting the aerial POV on both sides, and the ground battle POV.

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  3. ...and Michener would be writing about the history of the Assyrians.

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  4. Norma comment with the eye of a writer, I comment from a readers eye.... more please !

    cheers, parsnip

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  5. Yes, more! It does remind me of Tom Clancy, but in a good way. :-)

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  6. Very well written...I would also like some more!!!

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  7. I've gone back in and added on the revised version after the original.

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  8. I'd like to see more as well. This is very well done, partner!

    It's like Tom Clancy without detail overload.

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  9. @Eve: Yes, Michener would be doing that. Either that, or talking about Alexander the Great coming through back in the day....

    @Mark: it's a bit of a balancing thing. I'm writing a spy thriller, but I can't just say "there's a war happening" and keep it unseen off to the side...

    I think for my next aside to the battlefield, the term surgical strike comes to mind.

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  10. I love it! Five or six chapters would bore me. Maybe that's why I don't read Tom Clancy much.

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  11. This is excellent! Keeps getting better.

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  12. Thank you, Donna!

    Clancy at his most annoying was in Sum of All Fears, where he spent a whole chapter describing the physics during three nanoseconds of a nuclear bomb going off.

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  13. Okay, now I want to read it even more. I'm getting impatient. :-)

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  14. Wait a minute. Getting impatient? I never had patience to begin with.

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  15. I'm on chapter twenty two. I'm thinking twenty six to twenty eight. I'm getting there!

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