Into the Fog, Dear Friends

Written by Ethan H. Gaines, @lastbestpress

There is a fog that sits over most things that obscures our vision from the truth, from reality. In war, it’s been labelled as the Fog of War. It was first referred to by Carl von Clausewitz, the Prussian military analyst, as “twilight” or “moonlight”, but both similar metaphors to fog.

War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.

Carl von Clausewitz

A better definition, perhaps, is the lack of situational awareness that comes in a combat zone. That’s the whole purpose of recon, right? Send a small unit into uncharted territory to find out what lies there. How many enemy? What supplies do they have? Those are questions an advancing force needs to know. For years, obtaining that intelligence meant sending in men and risking their lives. Now new terrain can be scoped out using drones and satellite images, making that fog a little more clear.

On the future battlefield, if you stay in one place longer than two or three hours, you will be dead… With enemy drones and sensors constantly on the hunt for targets, there won’t even be time for four hours’ unbroken sleep

General Mark A. Milley

What about those times that we didn’t have that ability? One of the things that interests me so much about the Cold War, which was more a series of events than battles, is there was a very large part of not knowing. When the conflict began after the Second World War, we really had no idea about the strength or what the Soviet Union was up to. We had an inclination that they wanted to control territories, because instead of going straight for Berlin, the Red Army took other portions of Eastern Europe.

The interest brought me to write about that fog in the Cold War. After some trial stories and three previously published novellas, I attempted it a third time. I kept the same title (Tears of the Saint) and most of the core characters, but amped it up.

The story is essentially split into three parts, with the first act taking place solely in Jack’s hometown of Coward, South Carolina. I had done a lot of backstory for the character and thought much of it would be applicable for his arc. The second part takes place during the Korean War over a period of several months, where Jack is with the Second Infantry Division. The second act also brings up a CIA officer who had served with the US Army Rangers in World War II, and then moved into the OSS Jedburghs. Through these characters I try to uncover a portion of history that I hadn’t gotten into before.

In the final act, both storylines converge. We have the birth of the Special Forces, a group of dedicated men who would fight behind enemy lines in the event of a Soviet takeover of Western Europe in a tactic called “Stay-behind”. They would train locals how to fight and provide aid to them. The teams would be split into two six-man teams (12 altogether), thus increasing their effectiveness. This was created by a veteran of the war and an OSS (Office of Strategic Services, predecessor to the CIA) veteran. Colonel Aaron Bank knew that unconventional warfare would be the future, so he believed that the Army should have a devoted group of men ready to perform that role.

When the Special Forces were formed, they were designated as the 10th Special Forces Group and the 77th Special Forces Group. They would split, thus distinguishing the two groups, with the 10th going to Germany and the 77th staying at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The names themselves were meant to confuse Soviet intelligence into thinking the US had more of the teams.

It was because of the groups nature that I became so interested in them and wanted to write about them. The character of Jack Logan took form and I didn’t need to worry too much about material. History is full of that.

I’m extremely excited and eager for Tears of the Saint to come out on October 18, 2019. Be sure to preorder your digital copy here!

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