Chapter no 113


IT CAN BE HARD TO BE precise with Hellfires. Apaches fly with such tremendous speed that it’s hard to take steady aim. Hard for some

anyway. I developed pinpoint accuracy, as if I was throwing darts in a pub.

My targets were moving fast too. The speediest motorbike I shot was going about 50 k.p.h. The driver, a Taliban commander who’d been calling in fire all day on our forces, was hunched over the handlebars, looking back

as we gave chase. He was purposely speeding between villages, using civilians for cover. Old people, children, they were mere props to him.

Our windows of opportunity were those one-minute spans when he was between villages.

I remember Dave calling out: You’ve got two hundred meters till it’s a no-go.

Meaning, two hundred meters until this Taliban commander was hiding behind another child.

I heard Dave again: You’ve got trees coming on the left, wall on the right. Roger.

Dave moved us into the five o’clock position, dropped to six hundred feet. Now

I took the shot. The Hellfire smacked the motorbike, sent it flying into a small thatch of trees. Dave flew us over the trees, and through plumes of smoke we saw a ball of fire. And the bike. But no body.

I was ready to follow up with the 30-mm, strafe the area, but I couldn’t see anything to strafe.

We circled and circled. I was getting nervous. Did he get away, mate? There he is!

Fifty feet to the right of the motorbike: body on the ground. Confirmed.

Away we flew.

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