As we skirted the tree line and crept the hill top we looked down. The billowing cloud felt like a sombre misty prelude to the coming dawn. Before us were some world-weary travellers camped on the side of some desolate road. They looked as though they had come through hell and waited on deliverance to make their future possible.
Johnny was edgy, but was attracted to them. He felt the affinity of oppression radiating towards us through the gloom. I stopped him and the others, eager to help. The travellers had waited long and could wait a little more. I gave out orders.
One squad broke backwards and right. Another broke backwards and left. The remaining two squads followed me slowly forward, down through heather and moss, towards the resting group. At one hundred metres out we stopped and waited as my hand went to the top of my head and the centre group formed around me. After a few minutes the signals came in that the flanking actions were in place; the horns of the buffalo.
From three sides, we set off together converging on the awakening group. The mist cleared as they stirred and accidentally the stocks of MGs were evident as blankets shifted, only to be quickly righted again. Blankets disappeared as bolt-actions were readied. At 30 meters all four squads dropped as one onto one knee and aimed their weapons at the group.
I stood and called out, “Manos arribas, la tienemos.”
Before us confusion saw some drop weapons as others level theirs for action. There was only one possible outcome. Our rapid fire ripped them to shreds and they reeled in slow motion in a dance of meaningless death.
Random fire came our way and I was hit in the shoulder and fell. The medic was right on me. I stared at him as he inspected the wound and bound it up.
“Almost a VC,” said the medic. “But not quite.”
I managed to get back on my feet and signalled the men to stand down. We approached the gruesome enemy tangle to the pleasant surprise of a ready breakfast, freshly prepared.
Johnny wiped his brow and breathed heavily.
“Over easy next time Johnny,” I said.