Another Day in Hell by Alan Delaney

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SUMMARY: There's a job to be done.

Forty men left the briefing room but only thirty-one made it to the rendezvous point after gunfire took out one of the helicopters. Crossfire took two more before they regrouped and started advancing forwards.

The base of the hill was more heavily defended than expected. Seven more men fell before these were breached, two of whom would never get up again. One more vanished without trace.

The men pushed onwards, dodging gunfire all the way. One man lost an arm when he took a bullet to his throwing arm and dropped a live grenade. Three more were halted by enfilade fire from a concealed gun nest while an overachieving sniper marked four more names on his kill sheet.

One man took a bullet to the shoulder as the last AA battery was captured. After that they called in for air support. They lost two more after one of their gunships went off-course. A third was slow in dodging a stray grenade and lost his eyes.

The camp surrendered and helicopters took away the dead and the wounded. Two more stretchers were added when one of the prisoners refused to go quietly. The seven remaining men reported in on their success and requested reinforcements. HQ told them to dig in and wait until dawn.

By morning seven men had become five when a patrol triggered a tripwire. One of them lost a leg. Helicopters arrived with supplies and left with stretchers. No reinforcements. The men waited.

In the afternoon new orders arrived: the operation is being voided, prepare for evacuation. An hour later a helicopter arrived to pick up the men and the supplies. Anything they couldn't carry was destroyed. Less than twenty-four hours after it was captured, the camp was abandoned.

By nightfall the hill was back in enemy hands.