The Bradley rolled to a stop. As it did doors swung open, and men moved rapidly in a stack to the faceless wall. The Bradley provided cover on the short street whilst a Security Element provided over watch behind and above the squad.
The signal was made for the move. “Frag out” said Private Ramirez. The teams clambered over the 6 foot high wall and assumed covering arcs.
They shot the locks were shot on the ground floor door. Ramirez and Cisneros cleared the ground floor, whilst Pioske and Stewart headed upstairs. Nothing. “Clear”.
At the 11th house they started over, shooting the two visible locks. So far they had not contacted the enemy. Tension was high.
A machine gun fired down the darkened hallway as Cisneros took his first steps thru the door. As Cisneros was falling forward, Ramirez stepped in and to the side firing. “Frag out” called Stewart. He and Pioske rushed the hall, M16’s blazing, whilst Ramirez turned and dragged Pioskes unmoving form clear. “ Medivac, on Zone 1” he said. The first casualty of the day.
Bullets peppered the squad and grenades rained down the ladder at the end of the hall. Men dove for cover. The squad backed up, Catanagus called for a “house guest”. A runner brought in a 60mm phosphorous mortar round, wrapped in detonation cord and a ¼ of a clock of C4.
The Security Element shot those who attempted to fly via the roof.
House cleared. The men seethed. They had lost one of their own.
As a team moved onto the roof next door the men stacked up to cross the street and being the next zone clearing. The squad, now one man short stepped off , a hail of bullets, PKM rounds and RPGs met them. The distinctive crack of a sniper rifle had the men laying fire at once. Eyes vectored and sought the tell tale muzzle flashs.
They were pinned.
Ramirez grabbed the ph on the back of the M1 and called a shot in. Typically you were to back off 50 yards, here there was no room. The 120mm round fired, rocking the 60 ton tank, it sucked the air from his lungs, the fluids in his body vibrated, he could hear nothing. He fell to a knee still cupping his ears at the shock of the back blast. Thankful he was not on the receiving end.
Enemy fire ceased. The insurgents had fired and moved.
Catanagus, elected to seek UAV recon. They waited. The two zones ahead were clear. One block to the East however a nest of 8-10 fighters were waiting to grind it out.
The troops and M1 adjust direction.
A close assault section inched up to a parapet and took aim at where muzzle flashes were originating from across the rubble-strewn street. Bullets peppered around the SMAW team, as they prepared to fire. Their covering elements playing cat and mouse, firing then inching along one way or the other and popping up and shooting. A deadly game of whack a mole. Kneeling to fire, his team mates doing their best to provide covering fire, Private Atack took around to the helmet before he could pull the release. He and the SMAW went down. Dazed he attempted to re engage. Cpl Brady held him in place. “ I got it” he said. “ Stay down”.
Quickly Brady, retrieved the weapon and popped up to fire. This time the round went off, and secondary explosion engulfed the entire floor where the round hit. Ammo cache! Flames engulfed the building.