28 September, 2011

The Patrol to Khevalabad

C Company of 40 Commando infiltrates along the Chinah Wadi during darkness. While the Afghan National Army clears Chinah they patrol into Khevalabad, where the forward line of enemy troops (FLET) is reckoned to be. As they move from compound to compound under the brightening sky all they find is empty buildings. Just as they think there will be no engagement, the Taliban open fire from the north and the west…

British patrol enters Khevalabad
British patrol enters Khevalabad
Advance through poppy fields is tense, as there has been no contact with Taliban forces as yet
Advance through poppy fields
Taliban at top of Wadi rise up to strike at the British, but a fierce sandstorm blows up, preventing all long-range fire
Taliban at top of Wadi
Taliban group lurking in alleyway - they are hidden from the view of the British in the fields, but have struck an early blow by seriously wounding one of the roof-top soldiers
 Taliban group lurking in alleyway
Reinforcements arrive from across open ground - they are shielded by the low-visibility and begin to make their way towards the action
 Reinforcements arrive from across open ground
A costly exchange of fire - while numerous Taliban are brought down, three British soldiers are shot
 Costly exchange of fire
The British clear the large buidling, preventing any interference with the slow extraction of the wounded
 Clears large buidling
The second fireteam up are caught in a crossfire by Taliban reinforcements
 Caught in crossfire
A Taliban machine gun team suppresses the British advance group
Machine gunners firing
With the British going firm at the Taliban forward line, a previously unseen civilian sets off a large IED in an alleyway
 Trigger man sets off IED
The cost to the British is high, while some success was had in withdrawing early casualties, the effort to reach the Forward Line of Enemy Troops led to overstretch. Not helped by the sandstorm, the British are bloodied by the Taliban ambush.


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