BRADLEY, Fleischer II (l'Univers) - L'Armee FSE forces have faced less resistance than expected and suffered minimal casualties, a commander said Tuesday, as the troops continue their second day of assaults on militarily-contested Bradley.
Soldiers pushing through the outskirts of Bradley dodged sniper fire and destroyed booby traps, but not as many as anticipated.
"There has been less organized resistance than expected so far," said Lieutenant Jean-Luc Chesnot with 1e Compangie of the 2e Division d'Infantrie. Nevertheless, insurgent casualty numbers mount. Chesnot, sitting atop his vihicules de combat d'infanterie, said his combat peloton has killed or wounded 85 to 90 insurgents.
"Thirty hours into the fighting, 1e Compangie has sustained minimal casualties," Chesnot said.
Jacques Carle, l'Univers' field reporter embedded with FSE soldiers, described the fighting as street-to-street battles, with sporadic resistance and no signs of organization among the insurgents. "Most of the insurgents are in small groups," he said, "with the most being 25 in one place."
Bradley is considered an insurgent command-control center for the rest of the colony and a base for remnants of the 136th Gloucestershire Regiment, which had held out for 6 months, cut off from the NAC. Military officials have said 500 to 700 insurgents may be inside the city, but they acknowledge many may have slipped away amid widespread reports that an offensive was coming.
Chesnot said that his troops continue to clear the city of suspected weapons caches and insurgents and that they have found several booby-trapped areas.
In one area alone, Chesnot's peloton uncovered a weapons cache with two L5 support weapons and several L18P portable guided missile launchers. In another area, soldiers found mortar systems, and in one building they discovered a cache of L41 anti-personnel weapons, ammunition rounds, and a suit of l'armure de resevoir . In southern Bradley, soldiers found a notebook with photos believed to be of non-NAC combatants.
While attention is focused on Bradley, insurgents continued attacks in other areas.
On Tuesday, insurgents attacked two patrol stations near New Gilling, about 50 kilometers north of Bradley, killing four people.
By Monday, FSE troops had surrounded Bradley as they awaited the order for a full attack in the fifth attempt to subdue the city this year.
Bradley's population was estimated to be 100,000 to 150,000 before the war came to the Fleischer II colony earlier this year. Now, it is thought that 35,000 civilians remain.
In Bradley, General Henri de Pascalle imposed a citywide curfew that will run from 8:00 p.m. until 7 a.m.
Meanwhile elsewhere on Fleischer II, at least three people died and several others were wounded in a suicide bomb attack targeting an FSE army base north of Bitchburn, officials said.
On Orotrigo, Lord Chancellor Rene Chalmers told reporters Monday that the battle for Bradley was critical for the success of the Third Solar War. Chalmers also downplayed the threat to the city's civilian population, saying FSE forces are disciplined, well-trained and well-led.
"There aren't going to be large numbers of civilians killed and certainly not by FSE forces," he said.