A Captain of the Gate
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A fabulous story in the 'Without Warning' trilogy. A 'What if' story of the Cold War ... a small piece of alternate history of the period told via a biography of one of its players, Lieutenant Branch McKinnon, an adventurer in a different post-WWII world of American isolationism.
Contents Cover Epigraph Prologue 1 The Grave 2 The Earth my Hell Afterword Endnotes Acknowledgments About the Author Copyright Epigraph Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate, ‘To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his Gods?’ Thomas Babington, first Baron Macauley. PROLOGUE Branch McKinnon exhaled, and with the hot, stale breath, went some of
muted cough in the next foxhole, barely audible under the freight train scream of sixteen-inch shells arcing overhead. As long as they’d had the Navy at their backs McKinnon had felt there might be a small chance of surviving. But even the brightest optimist couldn’t ignore how thin the cover from the big guns had grown. Word was, two of the battlewagons had been sunk in the last six hours. McKinnon had heard more than a dozen different rumours as to how, but he paid none of them a scrap of
command disappeared. Branch McKinnon was not a green officer, wet behind the ears, and awestruck in the presence of his senior NCOs. He had been promoted from the ranks. Fighting with the 3rd Battalion through the Indonesian archipelago, in the Philippines at Breakneck Ridge where he won a Silver Star and his third stripe, and on Luzon where he was commissioned in the field after the savage hand-to-hand combat at Zig Zag Pass. The men he led into battle on the Kanto Plain were likewise, for the
press on, but had to wait for orders from Battalion HQ before they could move any further inland. The situation across the southern reaches of Honshu was still in violent flux. In contrast with the operation at Normandy, which involved twelve divisions, the invasion of the main Japanese island required twenty-five divisions, two separate US armies, the Eighth and the First, and a Commonwealth Corps made up of forces from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the command of
with which, in the weeks beforehand, the Japanese Foreign Ministry pressed the issue of ‘reparations’ to make good civilian losses during Operation Downfall. 2 McKinnon had ample chance to find out whether he could forgive himself over the next two weeks, as three of the four new recruits were killed. Pvt. Andrew Forster, from Delaware, stepped on a mine less than a mile from the beach where the platoon disembarked from their landing craft. Pvt. Michael Hall, Sioux Falls, was cut down while