lördag 11 oktober 2008

The Battle of Turnhout

After Action Report
Friday, October 10th
Turnhout, Belgium

2nd Lieutenant Sheizen2
British Expeditionary Force
101st Airborne

We miss you, hope all is well, and can’t wait to see you again, your son misses you the most and hopes you’ll bring him home a ‘souvenir’. We love you so much”…
I couldn’t stop reading that last line in the latest letter I received from home, it always gave me the motivation I needed to fight, not to mention my brothers in the 101st. My Heart was pounding and we hadn’t even left the ground yet. Earlier that day, I had lost a few good friends, all of which I had drinks with just the night before.
War is Hell though, that is inescapable. But no amount of training can possibly prepare you for losing friends in the blink of an eye, promising you’re closest friends that they’ll make it home, when you know their life is slipping away. No amount of training could possibly prepare you for that. And it never leaves you. Even if you live through a battle, you die a little inside, knowing how many lives could have been saved. But with great victory, comes great sacrifice, no matter how painful it is.

Alrighty lads! We can turn this fight around, the drop zone is in sight, get ready!” Shouted the Jumpmaster, the first of the 101st I got to know when I joined up, Seanokil. Regardless of how many sorties I have run with Seanokil, I had already developed a strong relationship with him. He was a good soldier, one of the best.
As we stood up and called out our equipment checks, I couldn’t help but notice how quiet the skies were. No Flak or anything, which meant there was likely a big fight waiting for us on the ground around our target; the Turnhout Army base.
I quickly whispered a prayer for myself and my squad, and before I knew it, the light had turned green and we all started out the door. Upon exiting the door, the prop blast jerked my chute open, and I slowly floated to the ground below me. And as luck would have it, I was falling directly into some rubble of a building that had previously been overlooking the army base.
Being the squads sniper, this was a golden opportunity for me, as I landed in the smoking heap that used to be what looked like a long row of apartments, I quickly detached my chute, lay silent and prone in the rubble, which provided surprisingly excellent concealment in the night, and I took aim into the enemy Army base walls. I looked up to see where the rest of the squad was, and a few men landed behind me, while the rest landed directly in the army base, where I noticed enemy machinegun positions. As my squad mates got closer and closer to the ground I looked down my scope, and with a few steady breaths, fired one shot, immediately killing a German machine gunners, followed by another shot, killing his spotter without giving them a chance to find out what was shooting. That gave the rest of my squad the opportunity they needed to get inside the lightly guarded army base bunker.
After a few bursts of Thompson sub-machine gun fire and a grenade blast or two, I heard Seanokil shout it was safe for me to make my way to the bunker, but as I began to stand up, I noticed Enemy infantry coming from the bases barracks. Needless to say I immediately laid down again, took careful and steady aim on the advancing infantry, fired 3 shots, killing another 3 enemies, one of which was a German officer from their High Command.
Having killed off a small advancing force, now was my opportunity to run for dear life to the bunker. As I entered the bunker, I was greeted by the pleasant presence of 3 other squad mates, and 2 dead German soldiers.
The Bunker was ours, after a day of hard fighting, it was finally ours. But the fight was Far from over. The life of a paratrooper usually includes being surrounded and cut off from any friendly forces, and that’s exactly what happened. Having jumped into the heart of the city and captured the most vital depot to help win the battle, the enemy was well aware of our presence and had no intentions of letting us have it that “Easy”. As soon as I took up a defensive position in the bunker, I spotted enemy infantry crawling in through the bases walls. One enemy rifleman wasn’t even able to get through the wall before I fired a shot directly through his helmet, and I thought… That would be the perfect souvenir for my son, should I live through this.
Another German crawled through a hole in the base wall, I fired, and hit him in the leg, as he slowed down, he limped behind the barracks in the base, that is when I played the waiting game. And being a sniper, I had all the patience in the world, so I waited, and waited, taking only split second glances around me to make sure Gerry wasn’t sneaking in from elsewhere, and eventually the German I had shot earlier came out of hiding, hoping I had been looking somewhere else, he got another Enfield rifle round right through the chest, making him collapse… forever.
That was about when things started getting quiet, when suddenly a shot rang out in a very close proximity, and I recognized the sound of the shot to be a German rifled, and to my great demise a scream closely followed the shot… Seanokil had been shot, and was immediately killed. I knelt over him… Tears formed in my eyes, grabbed his dog tags and vowed that even if it took my own life that I would avenge him.
An explosion blasted smoke and shrapnel all through the bunker. As I snapped back to reality, 3 more explosions followed, one of my squad mates had then joined me in the entry room and waited for the inevitable German counter attack, and as expected a German Officer breached the bunker through the smoke he fired his rifle killing my last squad mate, and as he entered the room I saw him through the thick smoke and fired my Revolver handgun 5 times into him….. He was dead….
It grew quiet again, no footsteps, no gunfire, no explosions… As I sat in that bunker alone I couldn’t help but think about Seanokil, and kept blaming myself for his death. As well as my other squad mate in the bunker with me, if I had only reacted quicker, I could have saved them both… I sat there, in the cold bunker, alone, and cried… So many of my friends have died… And I can’t help but feel responsible for them all….
Suddenly, a rifle fire followed by a scream that sounded like “Scheise!” and a grunt…. Aware of what had suddenly happened I wiped the tears from my eyes, grabbed my revolver and expected another German… The footsteps grew louder and closer, just then someone came sprinting around the corner and I shouted at the top of my lungs, only to find a frightened French soldier. I laughed a bit and said “My god mate, I nearly shot you”.
The Frenchman looked at me with a startled smile and said, “I nearly did the same, there was a German outside the bunker about to sneak in, but he won’t be bothering us”. A large grin engulfed my face as I said “I never thought I’d be so happy to see a frog” The Frenchman looked at me puzzled and shrugged. “Never mind mate, thanks a million though, I owe you my life”. The Frenchman smiled, and walked up the short stair to the observation room, I followed. As we scanned the surroundings, more and more French troops started to arrive.
Escuse moi but eh, where are your men Lieutenant”. I lowered my binoculars and said in a quiet voice, “They’re all dead mate… all of them”.
Oh my, I’m so sorry, sir. I wasn’t aware” he said apologetically. There was a long pause before a sudden German Rifle broke the silence, and the ricochet was just outside the observation room. Startled, I immediately grabbed my rifle and quickly scanned the surroundings.
There! A German sniper in that rubble!” I shouted to everyone in the area, I fired a shot, but missed, and as I aimed for a second shot, the German’s muzzle flashed and my world quickly went black, as I slipped in and out of consciousness I heard Frenchman shouting frantically to kill the sniper, and they did.
Having heard of the enemy sniper being killed, I blacked out completely. My whole life began to flash before my eyes.
My Wife.
My son.
I wished only to see them one last time before I left this world.

I woke up to a Frenchman wearing the ever so familiar red cross on his arm and helmet, as he said “You are very lucky mon ami, someone up there must like you very much”.
H-how am….” I started
Don’t speak my friend, you’ve had a very close call, your helmet saved your life” said the French medic.
He showed my helmet, which had been dented in do badly that it could no longer be worn properly, the bullet apparently knocked me out, but somehow it failed to pierce my helmet and kill me.
Please rest my friend, you are being sent home tomorrow, we’ve spoken with your officers, so just rest now.

As the French medic walked away, I stared into the morning sky, the orange horizon, the sun making beams through the clouds, and at that moment, I felt like someone was watching over me. Someone had answered my prayers. And as I sat there in the stretcher, staring at the sky, a tear rolled down my cheek, but it wasn’t a sad tear. The following day I was sent back to England from Antwerp, and I got to see my wife and son, and I gave my son just what he wanted. The helmet of the German, and my helmet. And I spent the following week with my wife, and son, every waking hour. I had never been so thankful in my life. And Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for my friends… my brothers.

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1. Lt Col Catfive FR Army Char 124 kills Feb 26 2229
2. Maj Vatoface FR Army Panhard 107 kills Feb 14 1745
3. Capt Purpose FR Army S35 72 kills Feb 12 2215
5. Lt Col Buxo FR Army H39 63 kills Feb 21 1525
6. Lt Col Doch FR Army Stuart 63 kills Feb 26 1625
7. Corp Guevara FR Army H39 60 kills Feb 14 1752
8. Lt Col Mclupo FR Army S35 59 kills Feb 12 1821
9. Lt Col Oc240 FR Army S35 56 kills Feb 22 1953

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Utinni's War Diary

Friday 18th November 1940

Well they say war is hell, and I guess I found out the hard way.You will notice it has been some time since my last journal entry. You'd think I would have plenty of time to write journal entries from my hospital bed, but unfortunately time is something I have but the ability to write is not until now.I am writing to you from my bed that is true, but I have only just had enough strength in my arm to write.
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After Action Reports

Jul 13 22:35 Revenge is a dish best served.... Capt B1sh0p (FR/AR)
Jul 10 06:31 Bell: 1 Bomb, 2 Tiggys aka o.O Sgt Maj Ocidean (FR/AF)
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Jul 06 04:30 19 Squadron: Bergen op Zoom Co... Maj Mjdixon1 (UK/AF)
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