A repository for After-Action Reports, OPORDS, screenshot archives, edited videos, and anything else Dog Company does.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Hailstorm on Hill 425 Part Two
The next morning the choppers were
up, coming down in a haze of swirling fog. A few scouts had crept out
earlier and marked the LZ beforehand
with IR strobes, but even then guiding the birds down into the
confined space was difficult. Things did go off without a hitch, for
the most part. They always expect Yanks to come in helicopters.
tumbled out, Martin took his guys and duck walked up to something
solid as the other two squads organized. They would have trouble
seeing anything that was
there in the mist looking for them. But on the other hand if they
used their estimates and movement plans as they should, they
might just be able to sneak through and not have to get into a brawl.
On the other hand their CDF allies north of their assault route might
not be able to see anything
to take out in support.
they'd planned for the fog, for the low visibility. If they couldn't
see thirty yards in front of them, they'd walk twenty yards apart so
they could at least see each other. Fighting in the fog would
deteriorate into a knife fight anyways, at
least they could hope to help each other out in twos with bayonets.
But these weren't the usual conscript troops, scared of getting run
through with knives—the VDV had a reputation for being willing to
do just like the 11Bs with the stars and stripes on their shoulders.
far as sneaking was concerned, they knew the enemy would be out there
looking for them. The fog just made it harder to actually find them.
Ideally they'd come out of the old fields and
slip through to Hill 425. As they put one foot in front of the other
and the tension grew, the
soldiers would routinely check outside their sector, expecting
some burly blue-bereted Russian in a white and blue tank top to step
out of the mist, AK at his hip. And
the main thing was that the riflemen in the mist had to keep quiet.
Snapping branches and rustling leaves in the rows in the field
At about the halfway point, they
heard shouting in Russian. They
halted for a moment, dropping
to one knee and raising their rifles. Wilkins
motioned to his squad, the men splitting off a bit to expand their
bubble of security. They were
hoping that if things did get worse, the enemy would run into the
extended bubble and get enveloped quickly and neatly. The only issue
is that fog makes coordination tough, but they'd been fighting
together long enough that they knew each other's movement quite well,
it wasn't the kind of maneuver you'd trust green troops with,
especially not in the foggy mist of the morning.
was certain it was counting, coming from his left to his right. Most
likely to keep track of everyone. Ideally they'd just walk by, but
was that any better? When
they hit the enemy positions on the other end of the field they'd
have . . . eight men from the sound of it behind them. Considering
that Grimes was supposed to be on rearguard anyways, Martin decided
to leave him with his job, the order to move forward in team bounds
rustling of the grass and bushes seemed as loud as a jet engine in
the quiet of the morning, the regular counting breaking out every
minute or so. And as it got louder the adrenaline started pumping
during each rush. Each row of
rocks and stubborn vegetation marking ten or twenty yards, each dash
desperate leaving the soldier huffing under the weight of their gear.
The stopping and the starting
being the worst part, at first anyways. Then eventually the whole
routine being an agonizing torture run with slight breaks in
between as the whole
platoon's pace became maddening. For
a two-hundred yard stretch of fields, it felt like it took a day to
get halfway through. And then
a shot rang out, and in an instant six more. Then
more, and more, and the quiet Yankees began yelling, and the fog
started to dissipate, and shit was hitting the fan.
Martin urged them on, the right
flank security had hit a Russian sentry team sent to investigate and
had dropped both of them, the fire there slacking. But that meant the
platoon was meeting the Russians in the fog, and Grimes darted off to
the left with his other light machine gunner to deal with the
inevitable. Wilkins drove his
men up the center, and that wasn't the plan. It was proactive, but it
wasn't the plan.
More shots rang out, a flurry of
automatic fire cut through the fog to the left flank, some groaning
and screaming, some arguing in a mix of languages, then nothing.
Martin checked on the radio
net. “How many?” And each security group checked in.
“This is alpha, got three over
“Bravo to Six, we've got two
“Charlie, two tangoes down.”
Martin counted in his head,
remembering how many voices there had been. He came up one short.
That either meant he was lurking around or he'd dashed off to get
help. The de facto platoon
leader couldn't be cautious, he had a timetable to meet. “All
units, return to formation, prepare to move, over.” He
stood back up, wiped his forehead, and marched up to the next row of
rocks and vegetation. In the
fog, in the confusion and tension, the Old Fields seemed to swallow
them up and go on forever. Until it didn't.