Posted by: TheAuthor | 04/01/2011

A compound too far

So there we were, a few hours into the fury and chaos of it all, up to our armpits in a river – sometimes out of our depth. From the north, east, south and slowly ever more from the west came a hail of metal wasps of all shapes, sizes and velocities. We needed to move, things were becoming precarious indeed as an injury could be sustained at any moment.

“Lance Corporal, On me” Sounded the boss, “See that building 70m away, there. Doorway, right wall. Take your gun, rifleman and an engineer and get us in there”. “No drama’s boss, covering fire?” “You’ll have 10 seconds rapid from the platoon”. I gave my orders to the three lucky guys to join me in the break out to the south-west and as the covering fire went in, we ran single file.

Leading the way (I remember thinking to run as fast as possible and keep going whatever), running over an irrigated field, through what appeared to be a trellis and to a 4 foot high wall (across a path from the door) and took cover. I observed from beside the wall, not firing a round as I didn’t want to draw any undue attention to ourselves, as the engineer went to work. I noted buildings further to my west and tree lines leading through to the south. “Fuse lit!” Shouted the engineer, we covered ourselves and the lock blew off allowing us to spring up and through the door. Unfortunately, at that moment, a horde of angry hornets were shaken from their hive and flew in rage around us.

I knew we had to have been located, therefore barricaded the door and radioed the boss to send up reinforcements and to notify him that there was no fresh water within. That was the moment my gunner, who was positioning himself on the roof received an angry set of rounds in rapid succession. Directly from the south (and facing) the doorway, 100m away. It was suicide to either send up reinforcements, or to retreat. Rounds came in close by from the buildings as well, as we battled to keep area’s suppressed and get direction from the boss.

“Get back here. Mortars, figures few. Covering fire thereafter, pull back”, “Running all the way boss” I briefed the boys, and waited. As soon as the last mortar landed we were off, back where we came from. Back to the sanctity and austere nature of the river. On the way in, the gunners providing cover from the banks shouted for us to get into a ditch and swim back – enabling them to continue firing. “Heck no! That’s flipping deep mate!” I shouted as I waved to check fire and jumping into the river beside the boss, ending our failed break out and breathing a sigh of relief.



  1. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    • Hi, I do use Twitter but it is not linked to my blog unfortunately. It is something I am looking at though. I had a look at your blog site, I’ll be back for more.

  2. Thank the author so much for this beautiful content. Great work!

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  4. Hello nice one. every week i go back to check what you are posting and if there is something interested to read. This time im glad to follow youre posts because it put me got me thinking over how i whoud do that. So my respect for you

  5. Honestly i am in two minds on whether to take stand for or against. you are simply sharing your own point,i appreciate it. For some it will ring true for others it may not resemble their experience at all. I’m simply encouraging dialogue in the hope others will get the support they need.

    • To be fair, I feel the same as you in regards to my stance on the issue. I just happened to be doing a job which required my participation. Dialogue, rather than use of force straight away, would have been preferable and could have been fruitful. That said, with what is going on there has been a lot of good consequences resulting once hostilities have ceased in areas.

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