15th November 2007

Location : FOB Inkerman, Upper Sangin Valley, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Time Stamp : 15-11-07

Moral was beginning to decline.  Yesterday the Taliban had taken a day off attacking Inkerman.  They were busy on a recruitment drive to bolster their numbers.  They needed about thirty new fighters.  We needed another attack to keep our troops focused.  While they were busy with keeping alive they wouldn’t be thinking about the back log of mail mounting up in an ISO container (or so the rumour went).

HQ had repeatedly asked us how many Lithium Batteries we had remaining in Inkerman.  Surely they knew how many we had left as we’d ordered a bulk load a month previous.  So far, no batteries.  Very soon we’d not be able to power up the guns, this would have serious consequences.

The communications between HQ and Inkerman was reaching a ridiculous low.  We’d get to know of flights an hour before they arrived.  There were people to offload, put on for R&R and this couldn’t be achieved effectively with poor communications and organisational skills on display.

The patrol that was going out today would be accompanied by two Platoons of Viking AFVs.  The two screens of Vikings would be actively looking for a fight.  The Tac section and other manoeuvre foot Troops would clear compound after compound.  They left Inkerman at 1000hrs and only into contact with the enemy at 1130hrs.  The signaller’s voice from 57 was so calm : sounds of battle could be heard from inside the Command Post.

This time the Vikings were assaulting a Taliban position with HMG and GMG.  The ground callsign began an offensive and started to push the Taliban back.

An MR2 Nimrod had intercepted a mobile transmission from the ground.  Triangulating the signal it gave the information to an A10 aircraft.

The pair of A10’s put on a show for the ground troops.  Three runs of a minigun ripped up the ground where the transmission had originated.  An hour later a 500 pounder was dropped on the position.  Note to self – don’t answer your mobile in Afghanistan!  ICOM chatter reported that they were scared of aircraft.  I would be too!

All transmissions from the targets mobile phone had ceased.

I suppose it was a bit childish of me, but when I got the warning that the A10 was going to do a ‘mike mike’ attack I kept it to myself to watch the expression on the Lieutenant’s face when it belched its fire.  It got the desired response as the HOG made a belching fart and no doubt cut a ray of death in the target position.

We sat at the dinner table and had orders before the entertainment began.  Today we were told that compounds with reinforced roofs and mortar base plates had been destroyed by the Patrol.  Agent sources suggested that 3 Taliban commanders had been killed and three more wounded, which was good news.  The soldier killed in the explosion earlier had been a Captain in the OMLT team (Military Liaison Team).  The unfortunate guy was caught up in a string of secondary devices.

Text machines were to be installed where one could e-mail, write letters and send texts to mobile phones.  This was an excellent idea affording us that link with home, essential for peace of mind.

The ANA were conducting their own range package which included RPGs and grenades.  We were warned off not to engage any strange men in green fatigues, but to keep our heads down!

That evening was skit one.  We were to do the skits at Stan’s place.  He’d made a stage out of ammunition boxes, cyalumes hung from the walls and makeshift lava lamps hung from the parachute material ceiling.

The Lieutenant, the Captain and Richie Harris were in most of the skits.  Liam the Section Commander was portrayed as the bald man (the guys had helmets on to simulate this).  The Lieutenant had the longest skit performed by Keith in a dashing performance prancing around the stage.

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