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Sitting D by a RAF Engineer “ N


ow we move, and fast. It’s an ambush and we’re sitting ducks here… The training kicks in...”


A military landrover isn’t the most comfortable vehicle at the best of times, fill it with guys and girls in full battle dress, and rifles, then get it off the tarmac and it’s enough to loosen even the best dentistry. Cramped and loud, there are no creature comforts in there. No leather padded seats to cushion my complaining derrière, which wastes no time reminding me of that fact, every time the driver skilfully picks out another pothole.


My view out the front is obscured by the head of the vehicle commander in the passenger seat, and with no side windows in the tarpaulin, I look out the exposed back door instead. I’m greeted by another vehicle exactly like mine, filled with the same number of similarly dressed troops, no doubt enjoying the same level of creature comforts and wishing they were somewhere else – just like me.


Bang!


It all changes in that instant – we’re hit and the ‘rover screeches to an ungainly halt. Inside, we’re a picture of panic, thrown forward and sideways, voices shouting, expressions of confusion etched on our faces.


Bang!


That’s the second vehicle hit. They’re stopped and gripped in the same shock as we are, fifty feet behind us.


Then the gunfire. “Contact Left!!!”


Now we move, and fast. It’s an ambush and we’re sitting ducks here – get out of the vehicle, get out now! The training kicks in. We erupt from the vehicles swinging straight into the routines we’d been taught, both vehicles are empty, no casualties. Great. Now let’s keep it that way.


Bang!!!


That was close. Incoming enemy gunfire. We’ve got to get their heads down, it’s our first line of defence. I bring my weapon up into the aim and fire two rounds in the direction of the incoming fire. I’m not alone. The others in my patrol burst into action similarly. The air is filled with the deafening rattle of rifle reports, and the smell of cordite.


We can’t stay here, we’re in the open.


A screamed command from the boss and we’re moving. The procedure is well rehearsed and it starts to happen. It relies on speed and action, fire and move. I fire two more rounds and move under the cover of the other guys. I get into the aim and fire, they move. Fire and move, fire and move. I’ve found a little in the way of cover 20ft from the stricken first vehicle, and I use it to pull a smoke grenade from my webbing. Remember the drill. Pull pin, check wind, throw. I launch it up wind and in front of us, and it ignites on landing. The flame is visible from the canister as the smoke starts. It seems like forever, but it’s only


14 Envoy Spring 2013 www.raf-ff.org.uk


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