I am an ex soldier and I spent time in the Middle East among the Kurds. I loved writing this story as I could tell part of my story.
From the Author
I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the folks who are taking the trouble to visit these hubs, it's been an awesome experience writing them and even as I read them getting ready to publish them here I find myself getting excited at the story (and I know what's coming!)
I also want to say a big thank you to HP for deciding to feature one of the Hubs in the series on their new niche site promoting fiction writing (I'm pretty stoked about that) so I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone involved.
Now onto the rest of the story, I'm not sure we'll totally wrap things up this week, but we'll see how far we get.
From the previous
Smithy opened up with the fifty cal, it tore into the ‘soft underbelly’ of the tank and a couple of shells actually made it into the engine compartment disabling the engine, she was out for the count, unable to move and unable to use her gun, the crew were worse than useless now, the only hope they had was stay inside the tank and hope for the best.
The three of them let out a huge cheer, all except Smithy who was watching the horizon, “Boss, he called down, I wouldn’t get too excited if I was you, the rest of the Humvees are hot on the tail, and there’s six more hairy arsed ragheads closing fast! Three at two o’clock and three at ten o’clock!”
“Smithy, you got any good news for a change?” Mac shot back as they got under way again; it was going to be bloody tight making the border.
“Mac” Smithy came back, “You take the two o’clock buggers, I’ll deal with the ragheads in the other group, they’re about four hundred yards and closing fast. “Any luck on raising our taxi out of here boss?”
“We should be just in range now” Jacko replied. “Let’s call the cavalry”
The team's transport
Here come the Cavalry
“Stand by boys” Jacko yelled at the top of his lungs, both Smithy and Mac were fully occupied with engaging the closing vehicles, they were just about a hundred yards away and slightly behind then, the soldiers were jumping out and running into battle formation using fire and movement, the fire wasn’t hitting them, but it was keeping their heads down. They were taking fire from two directions. Smithy opened up with the fifty cal again, he’d run out of ammo and taken a couple of seconds to change the ammo belts, the first vehicle erupted in a ball of flame, as well as two of the soldiers keeling over, cut down by the withering hail of fire.
“For heaven’s sake” Chambers screamed, “Give me a bloody gun, and let me do something!”
“And have this all for nothing!” Jacko screamed back as skidded the vehicle to a halt, “Not a sodding chance!” he swung the wheel violently to the right, Smithy pivoted to the left and kept firing, “Ready, on my word” he threw the door open.
The ‘Border’ was actually a river running through the valley. The plain they’d been driving on came to an abrupt end with a twelve to fifteen foot drop into the river, the real ‘line’ was actually the actually the drop, it was also the cover the choppers had used to come right in without being seen
From seemingly nowhere three shadows rose up, menacing and deadly in the fading light, three helicopters came out of the ground, two menacing looking monsters with missile and gun pods sprouting from the sides and front, they looked evil, and they were the good guys!
The other helicopter was a little less intimidating, but that was the troopship, they were right on the border. They didn’t actually land, as the edge was still technically within Iran, they just hovered about a foot from the edge, technically not breaking the law, but sending a serious ‘step out of line and we’ll blow the shit out of you message!’
The Iranians didn’t know what to do, if they continued firing the danger was they’d hit one of the helicopters, that might be okay if they stop the whole thing; but with two whacking great monster gunships there the chances of survival was very small indeed. The best thing was to ‘get the hell out of dodge’ and screw the officers! One of the men was speaking frantically into the radio; someone didn’t like what he was telling them.
Meet "Robin and Little John"
"You know what you can do with those orders"
Back when the Americans developed the Apache gunships the British were pretty impressed with them and after the first gulf war negotiated to have them built under licence in Britain, the British ones were called the ‘Longbow’ after the legendary Medieval weapon used by English archers that was the scourge of the Medieval battlefield. The only difference was the Longbow was powered by two Rolls Royce engines and instead of the eight Hellfire missiles these carried six Hellfire missiles and two Sidewinder air to air missiles, they were going to need them.
The chance was there and the team took it, jumping out and running at the sprint, Jacko grabbed Chambers and virtually threw him into the machine, next was Mac, then Smithy was bringing up the rear, making sure that none of the Iranians was trying anything, finally Jacko threw himself in “Go” he screamed, “Get the hell back over the river”
“Roger that” the pilot spoke ‘matter of factly into the radio, “On our way”
“Where’s Joey?” Simpson didn’t bother with formalities; he wanted to get them all home.
“Twenty miles south” Jacko shouted, “he and Sandy are heading for a place called Penjuin with a bunch of Hinds on his tail”
“Jesus Jacko” was all he could say, turned the handle on his radio and spoke quickly, the two ‘bows’ peeled off and flew south, not rising more than five feet off the ground. “They’re on their way.”
“Drop the wounded off at the village there” Jacko pointed to the village on the map, “and get me the hell in there!”
“We’ve got a rover patrol waiting for Chambers there” Simpson replied, “But I’m not sure Mac’s going to like being left behind”
“You’re right there boss.” Mac replied, “remember colonel, you gave us our dishonourable discharge papers, before we left, so you can shove those orders about leaving my behind right where the sun don’t shine!” he actually had a smile on his face, but everyone knew he was deadly serious, the only way he was being left behind was incapacitated or dead, and he wasn’t either!
“Guess that decides it then” Jacko wasn’t going to argue, if he did he might get his way, but he’d pay for it later, and that wasn’t something to push.
What do you do with orders you don't like?
"Boss, you can take those orders and shove 'em where the sun don't shine!"
Robin Hood shows up!
Their course was going to be over mountains and rough terrain that means climbing over the ridges and diving back into the valleys, the valleys wasn’t a problem, but climbing over hills meant that they’d be coming onto the Iranians radar and that meant within seconds an F4 phantom or worse a MiG 21 would be screaming after them, even with the sidewinders she didn’t want to tangle with a MiG and the Hinds!
Going round the ‘long way’ meant that yes it would take a couple of minutes longer, but it also meant they’d get in and out while obeying the eleventh commandment, the one God gave to Moses after the first ten were given, the one that simply says “Thou shalt not get caught!”
“Okay Jimmy” She spoke into the internal mikes to her ‘crewman’ what’s our situation.
“We’re fully loaded boss” Jimmy, a lance corporal with only a few months experience came back over the radio, he was a bit on the ‘inexperienced’ side, but had so far proved pretty calm in a bad situation, “Five thousand for the Gatling, full Hellfire rocket pods, the whole nine yards”. They hoped that they wouldn’t need it; somehow she knew that hope wasn’t going to come about!
“The chief fixed the Gatling then?” Jenny asked, the last mission the gun had jammed, that was the last thing they needed. “And don’t forget those Sidewinders!”
“Told me he replaced the whole gas return rod and barrel boss” Jimmy replied, “Didn’t have time to work out what was needed so he just took the whole bloody lot and replaced it”
The AH 64D Apache is the one helicopter that can go ‘toe to toe’ with the best of the best of them, the British version is known as the ‘Westland AH64D Longbow’ and it’s like an Apache on steroids, and that’s exactly what they’ll need to be. The Hind is a great ‘chopper’ but she’s big and bulky, she carries an awesome amount of firepower, but the trade off is manoeuvrability and when fully armed she can’t actually hover, she takes that few micro seconds more to make a turn, the Longbow can turn in her own length and hovering, she was designed to do it fully armed, and she’s got good chobham or ‘spaced’ armour, and shit was she going to need it.
“Hood this is Little John” the radio came to life, it was the other pilot, “Guns are hot, missiles armed”
“Hood roger” Jenny replied, “Let’s see if we can find them and bring ‘em home”
“Roger that. Little John out”. The hunters were about to become the hunted.
The work of a Real 'War Dog"
- SAS troops 'saved by hero Alsatian' which attacked two ISIS fighters during ambush - Mirror
The hound, which was believed to have been trained by US troops, set upon terrorists during a firefight in northern Iraq
Getting out of the 'Killzone'
The train was going slowly as they came out of the tunnel; there was something that just wasn’t right about the situation. Not something that either of them could say what it was or might be, their instinct was just telling them “Watch your back”
That was a natural reaction, but this was something else, thing were too quiet, there should have been other things happening, even if it was just seeing people in the fields or listening to the sounds, but they just weren’t there, it seemed odd!
“I don’t like this” Joey was almost whispering as he looked out from where they’d hidden, “looks all clear, come on” he slowly climbed out from under the oxygen tank, they were close to the back and the train was still going uphill so it wasn’t moving all that fast, but she was starting to pick up speed.
“We’re about nine miles from the border” Joey turned to Sandy, “at a trot it’ll take us about three hours”
The sun was gone and the light was fading fast, but visibility was going to be good. That was going to be good and not so good, good in that they would be able to see where they were going, not so in that so would the enemy and considering there were more of them then it weighed in the enemy’s favour!
Sniffer was with them, still on the leash he was now more confident and had even accepted Joey, to a degree that is, he was running just ahead of them, but with the leash they were able to keep him under control, they weren’t expecting traps! Then again, neither were the Phoenix boys and that was their downfall.
Sniffer stopped dead, then he went slightly to the left and put his nose to the ground, Joey immediately went to ground, unslung the Colt, checked the ammo (he had a full magazine for rounds and full complement of grenades ready, he slowly and silently cocked the weapon, he signalled Sandy to “Make ready”. She slowly and silently cocked the AK and made sure the safety was on. They were as ready as they could be.
Joey gave the signal to move, from this time on there’s no way they could move quickly, Phoenix had something nasty planned not far ahead.
“They’re on the move” a voice came over the radio, Gregorovitch was on the other end waiting for the reports, everything was ready for him, all he needed now was for them to get to the right place, then they’d take them down without mercy! He’d tried to make it so they could capture the attackers, but they’d shown they had no intention of going down without a fight and no intention of being taken alive!
“Wait until I give the word” Gregorovitch spoke into the mike, “everyone hold off until I give the word”
Just as they moved off, a movement caught Sandy's eye, back further up the train something, maybe someone was getting off.
"Joey, back there" she nodded so slowly he hardly saw it, "next carriage, someone just got off". They'd charged the batteries on the night vision visors, but it was too light to switch them on.
"Shit" he cursed quietly.
"Yep" Sandy agreed. "We're in it up to our necks and it's getting deeper! But that's nothing unusual!” She’d kind of accepted that.
“Can’t stay here all night though" Joey slowly rose and actually waved in their direction.
"Are you bloody serious?" Sandy spluttered, she was stunned. "Why not throw them a bloody kiss?"
"Good idea" Joey replied and proceeded to throw a kiss their way. "That'll throw them off their game"
They were meant to be keeping low profiles, but Joey was making it clear he knew they were there! He knew what was going on, for the next five minutes they would have no idea what to do.
They saw what his right hand was doing, but Joey was ambidextrous, they missed what his other hand was doing until they faced the Colt, two spits and they were down.
"Head West, and run hard" Joey shouted as he tugged on sniffers leash, the dog was reluctant to leave, he had a scent.
"What the hell?" Sandy was dumbfounded, "that was one hell of a shot" they weren't dead, but they were down, one holding his leg and what was left of his knee, the other holding his gut, he was in a bad way, they'd get no trouble from that quarter.
"What the hell was that?" Sandy demanded.
"The blowing the bloody kiss" she was confused and a little angry at the fact she was confused, but was making it come over that she was angry at Joey, not that he was too worried, he had other things to worry about.
"Well" Joey replied, "You did tell me to!" He knew she was confused, but the best answer was the most direct.
"And if I told you to go jump in a pile of shit? Would you do that?"
"No" he started to laugh, "but it was a bloody good distraction, that's what I needed" they were moving fast, but not so fast they were out of breath but already out of sight of the two men they just downed.
"Look" Joey began again. "Sniff told us they were waiting out there for us, and"
"How'd you make that out?" She interrupted.
"He picked up a scent, what else was it going to be?" he replied, "then you picked the two 'gophers' getting off the train" he carried on, "they were setting us up for an ambush!"
"So what are we doing now?" Sandy was confused.
"Getting the hell out of the 'kill zone' what else?" he replied.
Lawrence Hebb on July 12, 2016:
Glad you liked it.
Robert Sacchi on July 12, 2016:
Novel way out of a jam. Good set up for the next chapter.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 31, 2016:
It just seemed the perfect and totally unexpected distraction they needed, though I did wonder how people would react to the idea.
To me it also shows the kind of sense of humor Joey has.
Deb Hirt on May 31, 2016:
There wasn't much else that could be done. They had to go with their instincts and they're still alive and not far from the border...
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 23, 2016:
You already advised us to keep the Valium 'handy'. All I'm doing is making sure folks use what they bring along!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 23, 2016:
My suggestion to anyone who reads this series: take a Valium before you begin.
Lawrence Hebb (author) from Hamilton, New Zealand on May 22, 2016:
Thank you for the visit. you might this but yesterday I was editing the latter part of the story in preperation for the book and even though I know the end of the story I was getting excited and didn't want to stop reading!
My wife told me it was a sign that the writing was good!
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on May 22, 2016:
Well, I'm sitting here tense as can be wondering what's going to happen next. You've done some great writing here Lawrence - and congratulations on being featured on the new site!