The Fire Support Group (FSG) and company vehicles occupy high ground southeast of the village and Nahr-e-Seraj canal. In the distance is the canal crossing that is decisive ground for this fight. The withdrawing Paras must cross there as they try and link up with the FSG.
The canal crossing is overlooked by a number of village buildings, probably full of Taliban.
View of C Company's initial positions, looking back toward the FSG.
This scenario is 2:30 long. There's plenty of time, so I'm going to sit tight for a bit and see how the situation develops before planning a movement route. Here is the company command post and the journalists.
Some Taliban fighters move out of the houses near the canal crossing, and are taken under fire by the FSG.
The combination of automatic weapon and grenade launcher fire scores the first casualties of the engagement.
The Paras begin to cautiously advance. A half section of 9 Platoon bounds forward past the platoon command group and the other half of the section.
Meanwhile the FSG keeps up relentless fire on any Taliban trying to move around the village.
This irrigation ditch is on the flank of my chosen route and I'm concerned about taking fire from it as the company moves toward cover. I drop some 81mm AP airbursts along the length of it to suppress any enemy using it for cover.
Small teams of Taliban fighters are starting to filter into the area between the Paras and the route to the canal. A Team 3 Section fires on one of these teams as other sections move up to flank them.
Another irrigation ditch on the way to the canal crossing. The FSG mortar fire coordinator plots more suppressing fire.
A team from 9 Platoon and the Platoon command group move up on the flank of the massing Taliban.
Fire from the Paras make the Taliban keep their heads down.
Maneuvering on the Taliban position. The Paras quickly build local fire superiority over the small Taliban groups that have made it this far. I'm much more concerned about the fighting in the built up areas than I am out here where I can see the enemy coming.
Ranging rounds begin to impact the second irrigation ditch.
The exposed Taliban are caught between 9 Platoon and the long range fire of the FSG. In just a couple of minutes the route toward the village is clear.
Meanwhile, a Taliban RPG team breaks from the cover of the houses and moves toward an irrigation ditch to get into position to fire on the FSG. Several FSG vehicles move into more covered positions, but not without pummelling the west bank of the canal with grenades.
The situation at 1712. The FSG has either neutralized or seriously suppressed the RPG team, and the combination of fire from the Paras and the two 81mm mortar fires appear to have cleared the way for the beleaguered troops in the village to make for an irrigation ditch that leads toward the canal. I hope to use this cover to advance to the west bank of the canal, and a second ditch that runs along the canal bank to the crossing point. While this does mean moving through the village, I should be able to use the ditch and nearby houses for cover while being under the cover of supporting fire from the FSG.
More to come...