We take off to the north, and then start heading east. I’m about 300 meters ahead of Frank and the follow-up. I don’t know it, but seven insurgents are hiding in the grass ahead of both Frank and our Trackers on the Ground. They have set up an ambush for us and have said their last prayers, as they know that they are about to die. They have chosen to die with a fight.
With their two RPG’s loaded and cocked, Heat Streams primed on the barrels of their SKS’s, and AK-47s cocked and loaded, they’ve done everything they’ve been trained to do and they lay prepared, waiting like snakes in the grass. Their Cuban light green elm pattern camo uniforms blend in with their surroundings as they lay spread out, side by side. They hear Frank’s Casspir and the trackers on the ground coming closer and they listen as my Casspir travels to their north, about 200 meters away from them.
Suddenly I hear the R5’s of our trackers on the ground open fire and can see Frank’s Casspir about 300 metres to my right, behind me.
‘Kolomesho, kolomesho! Right turn, right!’ I shout to Mandume. I want to block any escape route that the Enemy might take in my direction and keep them cornered so that Frank and our trackers on the ground can finish them off as quickly as possible.
The first things I learnt to say in Oshivambo were ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘forwards’ and ‘backwards’. When the Ovambos spoke Afrikaans they usually pronounced an ‘r’ as an ‘l’ and an ‘l’ as an ‘r’, so for ‘regs’ they would say ‘legs’ and for ‘links’ they would say ‘rinks’. This could lead to major confusion in the middle of a contact.
We put ourselves directly in the line of fire as we come in line with Frank and the enemy ahead of him but I stand firm behind my guns as I scout the area for any signs of the enemy, watching the contact taking place out to my right behind us.
The contact is over in 20 seconds. All six insurgents are shot to shit by the R5 rounds spraying into their bodies, twisting and ripping through them at 3 200 feet per second. The insurgents don’t even get off a single round, as our trackers’ keen eyesight has spotted them before they have a chance to pull a trigger. Frank just watches the contact. He doesn’t even bother to cock his double Browning’s, as he sees that his guys on the ground are handling the situation.
The contact has come to an end and the insurgents are dead. Minutes later, the other Casspirs start catching up, along with the guys from the Coin Base and another ops K team, who start opening fire as though the Third World War has just broken out.
Frank is standing up out of his Casspir while his trackers are on the ground in the open. Bullets fly wildly in his and every direction, and they start coming my way too. Elias and Bennie start to grab me to pull me down into the safety of our Casspir, but there is no need. Already I am ducking into the vehicle as the bullets whizz past me, and I watch through the right windows at the chaos going on at the contact site. Not a single bullet hits our Casspir, ZF 3; they all pass above, behind and in front, maintaining ZF 3’s record of never having been hit by an RPG, Heat Stream or bullet, whether enemy or friendly.
Frank is befucked with rage. Eventually all the firing stops and our charged tempers calm down. After the usual mopping up, including searching the dead bodies and collecting their weapons and equipment, it’s time to decide what to do with the corpses.
The COIN guys want them, to string them over the spare wheels, bumpers and bonnets of their Casspirs, the bodies on display like hunting trophies as they ride back to their base. We would prefer to leave them where they died, to rot away in the sun or to be found and buried by their own or their local supporters.
To us it doesn’t really matter what becomes of them. The important thing is that they are dead, very dead!