Dear diary,I’m not in it for this. I’m really not. Attacking SAM sites? Sure. Knocking out defences? Fine by me. Holding strategic positions? Yep. Assaulting a town? Definitely. Mounting an operation to rescue a couple of unimportant idiots? Not unless they’re made of solid gold, no. I mean, come on. Eight people to rescue two? Really?As such it’s a bit of an understatement to say that I was mildly displeased with the next mission handed to me and my squad: rescue an air crew from a crashed helicopter in enemy territory. The idea was to reinforce Echo team, which was under fire nearby, and then proceed with them to the crash site. I can only assume we got this shit job because Andy’s been trying to get me court-martialed. “Shooting prisoners of war” my ass, and that blue-on-blue incident was a complete misunderstanding. But, one way or another, I was stuck with it, and stuck with the squad: some new guy called Tamer, that coward Jedburgh, and Andy, whose efforts to get me out of command had now changed into efforts kill me in new and interesting ways – which, sadly, bore fruit late in this mission.We had a short jaunt up a lightly-wooded hill before we came to Echo’s position, and judging by the way they were set up, it was clear that Echo’s commanding officer was incapable of running a bath, let alone a defence against a numerically superior hostile force. With our presence, most of them might survive the day. Well, this encounter, anyway. I don’t trust them not to look down their gun barrels so that they can see what happens inside the gun when the bullet comes out, myself. Cretins.First thing to do was to set the new boy up on one side of our position to provide covering fire with a scoped assault rifle. Second: send Jedburgh flanking to the right. It’d take him awhile to get into a useful position but he could hopefully surprise one or two of them from there. Third: trust Andy with my life.Probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but there was good reason – there was a jeep with a mounted gun turret a little way back from us, towards the rear of Echo’s tiny camp. There was no doubt in my mind that the PLA soldiers had anti-tank weapons, which meant that using the jeep’s gun was a ludicrously risky manoeuvre, but essential if we wanted to get to the air crew before the Chinese did whatever it is they do to POWs. The theory was that the huge target would make the PLA move out out into the open to try and get a rocket off, and that the combination of Tamer and Andy’s covering fire – the latter from midway between the jeep and the PLA – and my rage-filled bullet-spewing would kill them before they managed it.Despite Andy’s best efforts to get me killed, it worked perfectly, as I knew it would because I’m a military genius. Something came within a hair’s breadth of the jeep but didn’t hit, and no-one else managed to get a shot off thanks to some accurate fire from Tamer and the jeep. This left us with the trek to the crash site, but we had a more pressing issue first: a PLA checkpoint maybe a kilometre down the road. This time around, we were the attackers, and their fortifications put Echo to shame. It was built on another hillock, with two bunkers constructed out of sandbags, each housing mounted machine guns.We didn’t actually notice this until we were a bit too close for comfort, though, and so we had to leave the smoking wreck of our jeep behind as we fled to the treeline. Worse still, other PLA soldiers stationed further back had heard the gunfire. We were in a bad position. I sent Andy off to deal with the encroaching reinforcements in order to buy us some time, but it was not to be: he ended up bleeding on the floor. Worse, his girly screams for a medic sent Jedburgh running (towards gunfire, for a change) meaning we were two men down, and Echo were nowhere to be seen.The one trump card we had was a SMAW – a Shoulder-mounted Multipurpose Assault Weapon, or a Big Rocket Launcher as I prefer to think of it – which proved that sandbag bunkers might as well be made out of papier-mâché for all the difference it makes when a penetrating explosive is heading towards you at high speeds.Bunkers down, we managed to revive Jedburgh and Andy, pull back to cover, and start the slow process of suppressing fire and flanking manoeuvres. Once we’d finished off the PLA, we’d still need to find a vehicle, make our way to the crash site, and stay alive – all made far more difficult when a squadmate gives up trying to accidentally kill you and starts making overt attempts.Other War Diary Entries| | |
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