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The last Sunday of April dawned red for the city of Munich. The artillery bombardment began before the sun started to spread its light to the east, the shells from artillery pieces dispatched from Berlin landing on, near, and far from the positions on the outskirts of the city held by the Communist defenders. A few shells even landed near the friendly Burgerbräukeller, which had been ringed by makeshift barricades under the cover of darkness.

The Communist assault on the Darbeitpartei stronghold began at dawn, ostensibly in revenge for the execution by machinegun of a dozen Red Guards in front of the beer hall the night before. In reality, they were attempting to capture the railway station five hundred meters to the southeast of the Burgerbräukeller which could and would be used to transport a large counterrevolutionary force of Regular Army troops and Bavarian Freikorps volunteers into the heart of the city.

The Communists began their attack with a proper infantry charge on a Stein Strasse barricade of disabled automobiles, an assault which was met with a decimating hail of gun fire unexpected from a supposedly ragtag band. Halstead, huddling behind one of several vehicles loaded with junk to absorb any enemy bullets, ordered the machine gun crew next to him to continue firing, even as the Communist survivors scampered back across the cobblestones slick with the blood of their comrades.

There would be no more Communist attacks that day, and the first company of friendly Reichswehr troops arrived on foot from the train station shortly after noon, the Communists unable to secure the rails that carried them into the city. Halstead scampered away with merriment from the foremost barricade when he learned that his ally and Reichswehr liaison Röhm was returning to the beer hall from an overnight escape at the head of the newly arrived company, and the two shook hands in front of the Burgerbräukeller before retreating inside to coordinate plans.

The assault across the River Isar began just before three in the afternoon, with a handful of artillery shells lobbed over the river and into the Communist barricades on the far side of the Ludwig Bridge from two field pieces set up next to the Burgerbräukeller. The two squads of Red Guards who had formed a bridgehead on the eastern side of the river fled across the bridge when they saw hundreds of rifle-toting men charging down the Rosenheimer Strasse towards them. Their counterparts in position on the far side of the bridge opened fire on comrade and enemy alike and managed to check the charge across the Isar in a blood bath.

Alternity, Chapter VIII:

72 / 73 / 74 / 75 / 76 / 77 / 78 / 79 / 80 / 81 / 82 / 83 / 84 / 85 / 86 / 87

Jump to Chapter VII / Jump to Chapter IX

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