Posted by: TheAuthor | 05/09/2011

An inch too close

It was hot, the sun was at its highest and there was little chance of escaping the power of its rays.

William and his section were resting against a mud wall in the vegetation, which formed a compound behind them. The morning had been a blur of trudging over irrigated ditches and sporadic fighting with an almost unseen enemy. The enemy was busy encircling the company of men, of which William was a part. Every now and them a ‘contact’ would break out from one or two of three sides around the platoon, forcing them to move on in the pursuit of their enemy.

This had led them here, to this compound, in this heat. A contact broke out, the other side of the compound, with their sister platoon. The sounds of a very real war once again littered the air around them. William was called over to his platoon commander, who stood against a wall in a safe spot outside of known enemy firing points. His radio operator was standing with him, an old friend of Williams, they were sharing a discussion over what was better for morale, Haribo or Snickers. William added his bit “Surely it is called ‘Morale-ibo’ for a reason?” His boss chuckled. Before another word was spoken, a loud thwack sound penetrated William’s ear as his face was littered with debris. His boss and friend experienced the same, they hit the deck hard.

As they were standing, talking, an enemy sniper had moved into position targeting them easily in his sights. He had time to set up his shot, the British troops were paying greater attention to the fighting in other directions giving him ample time to get ready. He squeezed the trigger of his 7.62mm rifle, aimed at the group of three standing against the wall. “Easy prey” he thought…

William shouted a vast number of expletives (as did his companions) and, whilst an eruption of friendly fire was launched into the direction of the sniper, he looked up at the wall. He saw a large hole, staring back at him smack bang in between where all three of them had been standing a few moments ago. William knelt, fired towards his attempted assassin and bounded into the compound with the remainder of his platoon, who were harbouring in the rear providing force protection along side him.

William organised his men before sitting on a mud stool and breathing a large sigh of relief. How on earth had that round missed all of them, centimetres left or right and it would have been a different afternoon for them all. He took a sip from his camelpak, squinted towards the sun and thought to himself “Another day in paradise”.

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