Monday, March 12, 2012

Prologue to TFI-Highway to Hell

In a matter of days, this novella, recalling the past missions of Willem Kruger and other members of Task Force Intrepid will be released for free for 30 days. You will be able to gain access to both The Gold of Katanga and Highway to Hell on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Enjoy

Rhodesia 1979
Operational Area Hurricane

Trooper Willem Kruger loaded into the Alouette Mk-III Helicopter alongside three other men, a machine gunner, carrying a FN MAG and 400 rounds of ammunition, a stop commander with a radio and another Trooper armed with the FN FAL battle rifle like himself.
They lifted off the ground along with three other helicopters carrying identical formations. These soldiers would be part of the first wave of men reacting to a call out against Communist Terrorists invading the borders of Rhodesia. The remaining 16 men would be dropped from a DC-3 they called the Dak.
The call had been sent from a concealed Out Post manned by Reconnaissance Specialists from the Selous Scouts. The insurgency against the Rhodesian people was intensifying each and every day with hordes of ‘gooks’ infiltrating across the borders.
“Nothing to it, Oke. Trust your training and follow our lead,” the powerfully built machine gunner said to Kruger. The men in the chopper knew that Kruger was a new guy and 17 years of age. The vengeance that had pushed him so hard through training was now tempered by the reality of it all. This was his first Fire Force Mission.
The Fire Force would use vertical envelopment on a band of terrorists by locating and encircling the enemy, pushing them into stop groups who would end the lives of men intent on rousting Rhodesia from the Government and giving it to Robert Mugabe. It was a tried and true method that maximized the ability of an outnumbered force to cut down a numerically superior force.
Kruger looked at the ground flying by, the chopper just whisking over the treetops and following the contours of the earth. The chopper pilot flashed his index finger to the men. “One minute.” One minute and he would be in contact. Drills and classrooms were a thing of the past for the time being. He was shaking so bad that he nearly lost his rifle. Focusing and bracing himself he grabbed the rifle tight and looked at the other men. The blank looks on their faces came from having done this dozens of times before.
“There they are,” the machine gunner pointed out to the east. The Alouette landed in formation disgorging the troops who darted out and toward the enemy. They had caught them in a valley with trees and rocky outcrops.
They were too far to start firing their rifles. The RLI demanded that each shot be accounted for and anyone who ran themselves dry without results would be subject to disciplinary action. The stick ran 50 meters to a clump of trees as the chopper lifted off. Rounds starting zinging over their heads. Willem went prone behind the cover of a tree.
“Roger, Roger we have a visual,” the stick leader communicated with the K-car. The K-car was code for the Command and Kill chopper outfitted with dual 20mm cannons that would contain the Terrs until the Dak could drop their men. They would fly high enough to be able to see the movement of all the troops.
“Watch this,” the machine gunner said to Willem. The main body of Terrs were about 200 meters ahead of them hiding in the foliage. Above them the K-car circled and began spitting devastating 20mm fire down on their heads. Willem could see bodies ripped apart and men falling everywhere.
“Alright ouens, skirmish line!” a shout came from a Lieutenant. The 16 troopers spread out and moved forward taking well aimed shots at the scattering terrorists. Staying low and going prone if the rounds started getting close, the stick shot, moved and communicated as a cohesive death machine. In ones and twos, the terrorists died as the Rhodesian Light Infantry moved in bounds, from cover to cover.
Willem shouldered his FN FAL and put his sights on a man who was aiming his AK-47 in his direction. He took to one knee as he felt the wind of bullets flying past him. At that moment there was only one thing in his mind. The primal desire to take revenge for the murder of his family. He drew a bead and slowly broke the trigger. His round went straight and true into the torso of the Terrorist. He stared for a moment. All of the movement and sounds of gunfire around were drowned out. It was just that simple, he thought. The power had changed. He was no longer a victim, he was a soldier.

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