Action adventure stories are my favourite, I love reading them, and recently I discovered I love writing them!
Here they come.
From the Author
Welcome back. Last week we began a whole new adventure with Scorpion one, and boy did it get off to a racing start!
First of all, I want to say these articles are a very 'rough' first draft with the novel hopefully fully ready later in the year.
Meanwhile, let's get down to enjoying the story, the SAS don't really like their stories told too much, but they told me this was the exception, they don't mind sharing it with us.
Straight in there (and a bit from last week)
Three shadowy silhouettes raced across the terrain. Barely four feet in the air, touching close to a hundred and fifty miles an hour, engines screaming at the speed. Yet from upwind of them, the direction where their target lay, not a sound was heard.
They kept that height to avoid any radar that might be brave enough to try and track them, not that it would be an issue if radar did pick them up as two of them, 'the escorts' had a Maverick anti-radar missile each. The rest of what they carried was enough rockets to take out a tank column and seven thousand rounds for the 30mm Gatling cannon. They were just the 'escorts'.
Inside the other sat the 'cargo' four heavily armed soldiers from the elite of the elite, Britains elite '22 Regiment' the famed SAS. Each one was methodically checking their equipment, nothing needed to be said, each knew the job they were there to do, and each knew what would be expected of them.
The two ‘escorts’ were AH64E’s, known to the United States as ‘Apache' attack helicopter, but to the British as the ‘Longbow’ after the famous Medieval weapon with which the English ruled the Battlefields of Medieval Europe for over a century, they were the two leading edges of the inverted V formation, with the third, an ageing Lynx troop carrier bringing up the rear of the formation.
Inside the Lynx, the only light that could be seen as the dull glow of the Pilot’s instrument panel, both pilots were busy, though the seemingly relaxed way they were doing things belied the stress of the situation.
"Five minutes to the landing zone" the co-pilot or 'Aircrewman' as the Army Air Corps calls them turned and spoke into his mike, a nod from the unit commander, none of them was wearing any badges of rank, but from the briefing he knew the commander was a captain, all the rest were non-commissioned officers.
"Okay," the commander, known to the others not by his rank, but either as 'boss' or 'Jacko' turned and spoke to the others, "five hours to daybreak, twenty miles to cover, no time to mess around, everyone knows the plan?" He looked at each one, in turn, only moving to the next when they acknowledged.
"Yes" the sergeant, the unit medic sounded off, "all ready" he patted his kit, a basic field combat medics kit, and a few 'extras' he liked to have. He could do most surgeries with it. Bullet extraction was no problem.
"Ready" the next spoke up, a Geordie who could 'shoot the pimples of a gnat's arse at five hundred yards'. He was their sniper.
The last one was the 'ammo tech' as the title was, but really he was the explosives expert, if they needed a diversion, or needed a booby trap dismantling then 'Joey' got the job. He was also the best at the close quarter stuff. "Ready boss"
The three helicopters were flying in combat mode, all lights including navigation lights were off, even the control panel lights were out as the light from them would blind any pilot using night vision goggles, both had them on.
At eight miles out the two longbows peeled away heading north, they kept the lone Lynx in range of the sidewinders, 'just in case' but stealth was vital and while they couldn't dampen the noise of their engines, they could, however, use that noise to trick anyone who noticed it, they stayed three miles northeast of the Lynx.
The Lynx pilot had found the depression she knew was there, they were hugging dirt at a hundred and thirty miles an hour, heading straight west, the LZ was seven miles due west.
"All looking good" the aircrewman assured the pilot, "they're sleeping like babies"
"Let's hope it stays that way" she was concentrating on the instruments, flying by them. Flicking a button on the console she gave notice, "stand by to de-bus".
Remember this Movie?
As soon as the skids touched terra firma the Lynx's side doors slid back. Joey and Smithy jumped out, ran clear of the rotors and took up defensive positions, Joey at the ten o'clock and Smithy at the two, both scanned the horizon before giving the 'all clear'.
The most dangerous time on any op isn't the assault, but during the insertion, you have no real idea what or who might be waiting for you. All the surveillance in the world can be foiled by the patient soldier or even an alert sentry.
As soon as they were in a position both turned and gave the 'thumbs up' signal for Jacko and Mac, Jacko headed out of Joey's side, Mac out Smithy's. Clear of the rotors Jacko turned, checked each man, each one giving a 'thumbs up' before he signalled all clear to the pilot.
They heard the increase in pitch from the Lynx just before it lifted off. As soon as the skids we're off the ground the nose dipped forward as the aircraft accelerated away, they kept low but used the dipped nose to increase speed before breaking cover.
"Ya wanna tickle that wall, or punch through the sod?" Joey had been adamant when they selected their weapons for the mission. Jacko and Mac had gone for their favourite the Colt Commando, until Joey, backed by Smithy had explained the low muzzle velocity made it pretty useless up against a concrete wall. "The FN will put a bullet clean through the bloody thing, and kill the sod on the other side, then go on and do more damage to the next one in line!"
"What about grenades?" Mac asked.
Ten minutes later three Belgian FN Fals had M203 grenade launchers fitted, perfect for the job. That also meant everyone would be using the same sized ammunition as both the FALs and Smithy's L115A3 sniper rifle took 7.62 mm (NATO pre-1990) rounds.
Sidearms were left to each individual, three of them had Glock 17s, Joey had a Browning, they were all 9mm parabellum rounds.
Uniformity isn't just something that looks nice, it also has practical implications, they were travelling as light as possible, that meant everyone had to have parts that we're interchangeable, Smithy would have the smaller magazines, his rifle was a bolt action with a slower rate of fire meant he'd use less ammo, but the greater accuracy meant a higher kill ratio, he could take four magazines of five rounds for his weapon plus a few extra mags 'just in case'
"Leave the standard twenty round mags" Jacko ordered, "grab a few of these instead" he tossed two of the thirty eight-round Bren gun magazines they had at them, one at Joey and one at Smithy, both caught them in mid-air, both gave a nod of approval, they began helping themselves to more, each one took at least four.
"Should give us some serious firepower" Smithy observed.
"If this goes pear-shaped" Jacko began, "we're gonna need all the firepower we can get!"
As soon as the chopper disappeared from sight they were moving, "usual order" Jacko whispered into his throat mike as Smithy began to rise.
As the team sniper, and the keenest eyes in the unit Smithy also got the job of being 'point man' checking the way ahead as they advanced. Next came the unit commander, Jacko was also in charge of comms and if the proverbial hit the fan he'd be the one calling in air support or evac. Mac was the medic, and second, in command, Jacko watching to the right, Mac to the left, they couldn't afford to leave any patch of ground uncovered.
Joey’s job was that of 'tail-end charlie' watching everyone's back, walking backwards most of the time with only the occasional glance around to make sure you're still on the right track.
Carrying out a patrol requires trust, each member needs to know they can trust the others in their patrol with their lives, but each one had three others 'watching their six'
No word was spoken, just a small hand gesture is given by Jacko telling them 'move out'
Even though it was night, they had a three-quarter moon and very little cloud, good visibility meant they needed a decent gap between each, not as big as they would have in the daytime, that would be six or seven yards, but about four yards was sufficient.
The intel reports said there was nothing between them and the objective, but more than once they'd been known to be wrong, so far, this time the intel had been right.
"Our target is the compound north of the village" Jacko whispered, they were in a ‘defensive position just south of the village, far enough apart to provide good protection, but close enough that they could hear each other. "we need an observation post" he stopped momentarily knowing Smithy would want to pick his own, from this point on Smithy as the team spotter-sniper would be coordinating them.
The Kurds had been told that the target was Tel Afar, the command centre for ISIS in Iraq, but the real target was a little way away from there. Five miles East of Tel Afar was the little place called Tel Reem, ten miles west of the Tigris, and totally deserted.
“The minaret on the Mosque” Smithy whispered in reply, “in the centre I know, but it’s a good observation point, three sixty vision from there, even into the compound, ” they all glanced in that direction.
"Sounds good" Jacko replied, "the villagers upped and legged it when these clowns showed up, but watch out for stray or wild animals" he didn't really need to tell these men how to do their jobs, but the tension was such that they were all on edge.
"The Dawn prayers will be in about an hour and a half" Jacko went on, "they'll get word of the heliborne assault about then, we can expect a big out anytime after that" he looked around the team.
"If you had two companies of hairy arsed paras and maniacal Gurkhas coming after you, you'd bloody well run too" Mac chipped in as everyone stifled a nervous laugh, that was the rest of the info MI6 had made sure was passed on so that ISIS would hear about it. No one in their right mind tangles with the British Parachute Regiment and the Gurkhas reputation is the stuff of legend, they don't bother with taking prisoners.
" That'll keep the ragheads busy over there" Joey pointed on the general direction West, "keep 'em off our backs"
"That's a general idea" Jacko threw in the reply, "everyone knows what to do, let's get on with it" he turned and started to rise.
Setting the snare.
The minaret was in the middle of the village, right next to the road that ran from the compound to the north of the village, it went straight through and joined up with the main road just two kilometres or a mile and a half south of where he was.
The top of the minaret had a doorway that led out onto a small balcony that wrapped itself around the structure, there were no loudspeakers attached there, that told Smithy everything here was done without electricity, in other words, the Imam would stand there to give the call to prayer.
He had the perfect vantage point. Pressing the small button on his throat mic transmitter he began his strep. "Scorpion three in position looks like we have six mobiles being prepped, all American made 4x4s, two with heavy hardware, " he started doing a three-sixty search of the surroundings, something, or rather someone was coming in from the East, and it didn't look good, "three, looks like we've got company arriving, six more vehicles, unknown type, range two miles"
Getting pressure from 'on high'?
And we break there.
You didn't honestly expect everything to go according to plan did you?
Sorry to disappoint you if you did (Not really) but as one famous TV colonel used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
I just had to put the Music video in as it's two of my favourite artists, and I'm sure the team were getting pressure to pull this off..
As I said this is a rough draft, but I think you can see the fun I'm having crafting the story.
There's going to be another episode next week, but meanwhile, you can catch the other three full stories on Amazon (HP don't apparently like me positing links to them so I won't this time.
Bye for now, and don't forget to leave a comment to let me know what you thought.