This is the third in an occasional series of tales relating to Victor 3 Company's tour. It is recorded in my 'battle diary'. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.
V3 commenced its tour on the Horseshoe. 2 Platoon occupied the left hand position; 3 Platoon was in the centre; with 1 Platoon on the right. Down the hill in front of the platoon positions (about 35 metres away) were a series of barbed wire fences (to keep the enemy out or the troops in – I know not which).
At dusk and just before daylight everyone 'stood to' in that great military tradition which has it that the enemy would likely choose that time to attack (as it happened the enemy probably read from the same training manual and so never did. I mean, why would they?). In reality it signalled the change from day to night routine and vice versa.
It was twilight and stand to when over the Company Command net came a message from 1st Platoon that a small mouse deer had somehow gotten into the wire and was proceeding along their front and "...could they use it for target practice please sir?".
The Company Commander ever anxious to allow his soldiers to develop their shooting skills gave permission on the basis of ‘one shot, one deer'. Everyone was warned not to be alarmed at the firing. A few minutes later there was a crack from a M16 rifle then silence. Seconds later there were two shots from an SLR rifle; seconds later still there was a burst of fire from an M60 machine gun. And so the noise got louder as everyone in 1 Platoon had a go. A few minutes later again firing began from 3 Platoon to our right and I swear this time it may have included a .50 calibre machine gun. The firing got closer. Then the phone in my Platoon HQ rang with a report from my right hand bunker, immediately adjacent to 3 Platoon), that they could, in the gloom, just make out a small furry animal picking its way along the wire and could they ‘have a go' too please. In my wisdom I said yes so my lot joined in the fun to see the deer continue its merry path right across my front and then exit the wire at the left heading towards Dat Do.
About the only people in the Company not to be involved in the fire fight were Larry Southern's mortars although I suspect he would have called in a fire mission given half a chance.
Suffice to say our Company Commander was not a happy chappie. My diary records that all Platoon Commanders were read their pedigree by him. I suspect same from the CSM to the Platoon Sergeants. On 'sober' refection I think there may have been some connection between this and the 'Great Nui Dat Beer Heist' described in an earlier story. Would explain much wouldn't it.
Ross Miller – Sunray 5/2