Here it be, no background or recap i should say. continuing on. this section is the start of a new capter, the second section continues on…ON THE HILL.
To the casual observer with the whole scene laid out in front of them, it would not have taken a rocket scientist to realise, that events were about to become interesting, to say the least for all the participants now fighting for hill 615. This small obscure reference on many maps was of no strategic value to either side. But like most battles, the critical place just seems to pick itself.
For the SAS regiments participants, Burger one one patrol, it was the point selected to RV with the special unit, Sierra one, all because somebody higher up the command chain, had decided that an Indonesian prisoner was required, in this case, a TNI regular, the Kopassus special forces.
Indonesia had been pushing Hard with cross border incursions into Sarawak for some time now, the local forces were simply no match for these well trained and well supplied troops. Like all troops on the ground however, they had little knowledge as to why, what the grander scale picture was, just what they would shed blood, sweat and possibly tears for yet again.
Some two months before hand, in an obscure part of Kalimantan, Indonesian teams of geologists, accompanied by a small detachment of TNI regulars for security, had crossed over the border into Sarawak and commenced taking soil samples in the many river systems, snaking across the razor back mountain ranges. Historically, the last fight in this part of the world had been ideological, the west’s attempt to stop the perceived rampant march of communism, fermented by the Indonesian armed forces. There in that setting the SAS of Britain and Australia, along with detachments of regular troops had waged a small but significant battle against the insurgents, the now, little known Malaya Conflict.
This environment had really spawned the phrase, so readily utilised in modern low intensity conflicts of “ hearts an Minds”, but I was in the sixties and later on in Vietnam, that Australian troops showed just how successful that doctrine was, when implemented correctly.
This time around, it was simply greed, the returning geological teams had located vast deposits of Gold, the worlds number one stable and revenue generating mineral, sure, Oil was king for moments, most likely would be when its supply started to dwindle, but if you had significant Gold reserves, you could buy what you needed, with little need to consider it potential expiration.
As soon as the President and sitting Military Chiefs in Jakarta had gotten wind of the findings in Sarawak as significant, a covert plan was hatched and immediately implemented. The short version of it, was to destabilise Sarawak, then Brunei and take over the island of Borneo proper, after all, they had already concluded that the natural reserves of timber, Oil controlled by Brunei’s Sultanate and other minerals would be a bood for the flagging Indonesian economy.
The President and his military advisers were not stupid men, blind to the consequence of their actions, but like all greedy persons, who could see significant personal financial gain, they were prepared to steal that which they desired, even If the odds were long, after all, it wasn’t them, themselves that were wandering around the jungle fighting.
Murph new some of this, the ADF DSD, defence Signals Directorate was not a blind behemoth ignorant to the situation. Located just on the fringes of Darwin the DSD had a significant modern listening post, several others were scattered across the top end of the Northern Territory and now, located on Islands, that should they ever be discovered, would cause a diplomatic shit storm, making the Tampa, kids overboard issue, pale in comparison. It was one of the very special purposes, which the RANS Collins class submarines ensured was supplied and maintained in absolute secrecy.
Murphs issues were at the moment more pressing, they’d now had two contacts. Murph was sure, lurking to his north west was another TNI unit, who scouts Bedak had eliminated. That little action, being done in a stealthy manner had bought Burger one one some time, the Indonesian commander would not be sure as to what had happened, that’s at least not immediately and of more value to Murphs team, by whom and just how many of the who were out there.
The appearance of the other TNI unit to their south east was not initially of any real concern, the SAS was here for a covert RV and they wanted to avoid contact where possible, in fact, his boss Lt Colonel Birmingham has made it abundantly clear, they were 1. Not to get caught, 2, should they get caught it would hit the fan and 3, keep Sierra ones nuts outta da fire. Straightforward really, well, on paper anyway. And Murph could clearly remember JB, extending each of his fingers as he counted off those conditions, as if to emphasis his points.
But just to add a minor complication to matters, they had received the radio call from HQ, instructing him to conduct a GUN Heavy SAR of the chopper crew, should they not be alive, then destroy the bird beyond all recognition, that!, he was quite sure, given some of the patrol members penchant for BLOWING SHIT UP, he could accomplish.
It was his last private chat with the Colonel that bothered him the most, they had run over all the usual taskings and so forth, but just when he though the briefing was concluded, JB had turned overtly serious. All Murphs antennae had lit up, this was abnormal, especially in the presence of the CO.
Murphs First thought, was “ why me and why now”, but the Colonel had made it crystal clear, none of the other patrol members were to be informed, unless their was simply no alternative. As Murph knelt beside the trail, he reached into his minimi punch and pulled out a black felt covered object:
Burger 0ne one, Murphs Section:
As Flinthart, slowly crouched down, he started consciously to try and slow his breathing, the quick descent down the hill, had yielded no additional targets, that didn’t stop his body from winding itself up into a tight coil, adrenalin coursing through his blood stream, pupils dilated behind his NVG’s, as they had almost marched, that’s the pass they were at he thought, down the hill through the assaulting Indonesian patrol. “Offensive defence he thought, nothing like fucking with the other sides plans”, as a smile crept across his face, Barnes and Nat had already dispatched additional troopers, but on his end of the line, all had been clear.
What now slowed Flint up was a slight thickening of the terrain to his immediate front, he scanned from left to right, farther left, he could make out Murph and ever so faintly Natalia, but Barnes was simply too far away for the NVG’s to make him out. Cradling his minimi as quietly as he could, Flint slowly lifted up the NVG’s. Just as he had suspected, the light was increasing, ever so slightly. He pulled back the sleeve of his shirt and rolled forward his combat gloves to expose the luminescent dial of his watch, 0615 hours, that explained it he thought to himself.
Flint rose upright, “ Well me boy, lets see what’s on he other side of this little thicket shall we”, stepping off with slow fluid movements, almost wraith like Dirk slowly picked his way forward, disappearing into the dense lower canopy. This section was a series of small mounds, over a millennia during which trees, mosses, bracken an various plant species had established them sleeves, the terrain was not only slippery and thick, but undulating, almost like a gold field diggings, he thought to himself, just cover in god dam leech infested, mosquito swarming, trip you up shit.
Still scanning the terrain, but now without his NVG’s Flints and the rest of the team head sets came to life, it was Murph, “ Section one, when you hit the rail, move right down the path and rally on me “. Murph had already hit he trail Flint thought and no further contact was a good sign. Flinthart climbed up the last small rise, pushing gently aside the ferns and stepped onto the trail very edge, crouching down and then scanning immediately left he could see Natalia and Barnes, swiftly moving towards him, Signalling them with a thumbs up Nat reciprocated turning right he started heading for Murph, guessing he was around the bend in the track, some 30 odd yards down.
“ Hmm, nice toosh” Natalia whispered over the coms net, Dirk grinned, as he extended his arm up and placed his fist on to of his head, his middle finger extended, “ Now don’t be like that”, Natalia whispered in her huskiest voice, “ least I didn’t say anything about not being able to see that second head, or the stump”. Nat had now closed the distance to Flinthart, down to roughly 20 feet, sufficient for the close terrain, but not to close, that in an ambush they would both be a one burst target. Flinthart Froze, slowly, ever so slowly he started crouching whilst he moved to the right side of the trail. Well he thought, “on the map, it was denoted as a little used trail, in all reality, it was more an animal run, one of many paths well worn by the various inhabitants of the jungle, their own little version of a freeway, sept devoid of fucking tolls, I guess”.
Dirks actions had a ripple effect; Natalia immediately did the same as Dirk, only heading to the left of the trail, whilst Barnes as tail end Charlie went right, turning at the same time to cover their vulnerable rear.
Dirk slowly turned back, facing Nat, he raised his finger to his lips, and then gave her the thumps. Natalia nodded and then stared in shock disbelief as he signalled her again, two fingers pointing down, doing a walking motion, followed by pointing these digits at his eyes. Okay she thought, he’s going for a look at something, but Murph should be around here somewhere, very lose at least. If Dirk had spotted any TNI he would have signalled that he had seen the enemy, this however was most unusual, what followed, completely blew her away. Dirk then signalled her to remain in place, she was about to ask why, when she remembered he had signalled her to be quiet. “ hope to fuck ya know what you’re doing” she thought.
Dirk slowly brought his NVG’s to back down an flipped them on, the target was no more than about 25 yards in front of him and as far as he could tell, alone and oblivious to his presence, he, it appeared to be talking into a hand held radio of some sort, but he figured this was a close as he could get without being detected. Turning of his NVG’s, Flinthart raised the saw and peered through the night scope, stunned, he lowered it back own almost immediately. “ fuck me, Murph?, what the fucks going on “ he thought. Raising the minimi again he tried to focus back in on what Murph was doing, suddenly he could make out the device, it was a hand held Sat phone and whilst talking to someone, Murph was also scanning the jungle, occasionally looking back up the trail towards Flinthart.
Dirk was dumbfounded, this was so far outside of normal operational parameters it was not funny and more the point, “ Who the fuck is he talking too”, he thought.