by Max Barry

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Region: Commonwealth of Liberty

THE SPANISH BULL STRIKES

MAY 2022

Passing by the Island of Príncipe and closing in on the Equatorial Guinean shoreline, the Spanish Fleet assumes a more spread out formation rather than its closed in transit formation. Aboard the Juan Carlos I, Marine General Antonio Planells Palau had been given full command over the Operations, a prestigious choice given that the Spanish Marines are the oldest Marine Force in the world (founded 1537). Preparing F-35Bs for launch, the Pilots of the Jet assemble on deck with Palau, where he gives each of them a small glass of Orujo (Spanish Brandy) so that they may toast to a new Spain, exclaiming: "Viva Ortega! Arriba España!"

The Equatorial Guinean Army is small (2,400 men strong), vastly underequipped and as they have admitted themselves, poorly trained. Their Presidential Guard is not even made up of locals which are not considered trustworthy, but instead Moroccan Mercenaries. Their Navy while having a painfully small personnel structure, maintains more Vessels than it can effectively man with Sailors, leading also to a situation where they have to employ foreigners for the task. Still, however, an extensive plan of action is needed to accomplish the Strategic requirements of the mission in a timely and efficient manner. Characteristic of many African Nations, their Air Force operates from their International Airport rather than a dedicated Military Airfield, leading to it being largely exposed to the public. In this case it also means that it lays directly on the coast, meaning that there will be no prior warning of Spanish Aircraft flying over Guinean territory before a strike occurs, which is precisely what Palau has planned to eliminate the small Air Force that the Nation possesses. Luckily for the Spanish Task Force, Equatorial Guinea possesses not even a single piece of land-based anti-aircraft weaponry, having only that which is mounted on their undermanned and small Navy.

Launched from the Juan Carlos I, 4 F-35Bs armed with laser-guided Paveway IV Bombs approach and then strike the Airport without incident, having targetted the parking areas where the Guinean Air Force was regularly observed to be parking its Aircraft and Helicopters in lines. At roughly the same time, two groups of 4 F-35Bs are launched towards the Bioko and Bata Harbours, sinking multiple smaller Patrol Boats with Precision munitions, and damaging the Frigate "Wele Nzas" which remains their only combat effective Vessel.

Following these Strikes, 4 NH90 Helicopters each loaded with 20 Special Forces members of the Marines move towards the town of Mbini which is strategically located next to the Benito River Bridge which provides the only crossing over the Benito River. This Force would be tasked with occupying both sides of the Bridge and maintaining their positions for the long term. A further 8 NH90s loaded with regular Marines departs for the eastern side of Bata where the Dictator Mbasogo had built his palace and spends most of his time under guard by his Moroccan cronies. This progresses well, with those Forces at the Benito Bridge landing without incident (there exists no military outposts of the Guinean Army there) and those tasked with landing at the Mansion having done so within the massive grounds which has masses of trees and areas with cover to do so. It was quite telling of the Guinean Government that all of their rich Citizens were in power, and all of their rich Citizens lived in the same section of the City in their own Mansions. This heavily centralized power structure was a prime target for Spain, who had the objective of seizing all of the Mansions in the area in an attempt to cut the head off the already disorganised Guinean Army.

Firefights are initiated when Spanish Marines approach the large Military Fence surrounding Mbasogo's Palace, with a singular NH90 armed with an M134 Minigun on the side door providing fire support from above, staying in motion and constantly dipping below trees to prevent the enemy from being able to get solid shots on target. Finally however, the Amphibious Forces begin initiating their landing at Utonde just north of the City, where a perfect beachline provides the ideal landing place. Unloading Tanks and Armoured Vehicles, small Platoons of mechanized Forces quickly move southwards to seize the International Airport, while others move along the Highway to assist their comrades who are already engaged at the Palace.

Facing an enemy countering them with T-55s and BMP-1s alongside half-century-old BTR-142s, many Marines would have been forgiven to feel even just the smallest bit sad for their opponents who despite everything were still willing to put up even the most futile of fights to resist them. Ultimately their disorganization would be their undoing however, as Guinean Forces focused on the tactical rather than the strategic, losing their overview on the bigger picture in favour of combatting Spanish Troops wherever they were found rather than regrouping for an effective defence. Only the Presidential Guard was thus far putting up resistance, with many of the locals split between throwing rocks at the Spaniards and storming the Palace themselves to rid the Nation of a dictator they have had for almost fifty years.

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