tonights footy training installment of Intense:
The RSM looked directly at Major Lermontov, as if sizing him up before speaking again “Major are you aware of the operations your farther partook in”, casually waving his arm in a sweeping motion, “ in this neck of the woods”, the question had been phrased skilfully, Michael, knew nearly all of his fathers operational endeavours, not only had his father been the topic of study at Duntroon, but they had, upon his graduation discussed them at length, certainly all those he was cleared for, and skirted around some he was not. To a scholar looking at his fathers historical career timeline it would have been readily evident, a two year gap would have stood out like dogs nuts Michael thought, that period as far as he was aware, was spent here!, in the jungles of Borneo, but doing what?.
“Yes Sarnt Major I am”, ‘your throw of the dice now RSM’, Michael thought to himself.
“Good then, I would venture however, those operations that were in this AO would not have been discussed if know your father, which I do by the way”, ‘I’m calling your bluff Major’ thought Mick Harris, RSM and skilled poker player. The RSM paused for two or three seconds, when Michael didn’t continue or up the ante, he pressed on, “ Righto, now we have that established, I’m about to give you some early background on what’s been going on, certainly some of what will be discussed in this tent, in very short order, lets go for a stroll outside shall we”, the RSM indicated toward the door.
The RSM and the Major, headed for the operations tent exit, both men stopping at the door to collect their weapons before exiting out, into the still, humidity laden night air. Leading the way, the RSM , turned right upon exiting and spoke with the trooper guarding the door, “ Please inform Colonel Birmingham, I have Major Lermontov with me, as discussed he can contact me, understood!”, The trooper didn’t so much as move a muscle, other than intently watch the RSM, as he delivered his instructions, before replying “ Rodger that Sarnt major”. Satisfied that his message would be delivered the RSM nodded, before speaking one last time, “ Excellent, we’re having for the Q sore area”, with that he turned , both the RSM and the Major set off side by side and soon fell into a deep discussion as they headed for the Q store area on base.
Lerm was pretty sure, that little existed on the planet that could shock him, but as he pulled out a chair to sit down in the front entry to the camouflaged Q store, he tried to absorb just what the RSM had informed him of, on their brief little walk to the Q Store. Finally seated, he watched the RSM pull up a pew as well, a slight smirk on his face whilst he was doing so, all the while watching Lerms face as he digested the intelligence information.
“Major, you look somewhat shocked I must say, what do you think,” the RSM said in a dead flat tone, no hint of playfulness of sarcasm in his tone, just a mater of fact delivery.
Raising his hand to wipe away the perspiration forming on his forehead, the Major removed his giggle hat and gently placed it on the ammo box, then sucking a lung full of the moist air in he proceeded. “ Sarnt Major, if we had been in a pub, I would have said you were pissed as a newt, but I know you’re not, and this joint sure as hell doesn’t look like a pub to me, so lets see if I’ve got everything right shall we”, the RSM nodded his head at the Major to proceed.
“ So!……..Since the end of the Malaya conflict, the ADF in conjunction with the British Army and the knowledge of the Sultanate, have been running a forward listening post in Brunei, which they the shut down in the late 70’s, after which all the ADF’s Intercepts of Elint came from Australian bases.”. Staring intently at the RSM, The major received a brief nod, “Correct Major”.
Lerm decided to push on, “Okay then, now sometime in the mid eighties the DSD established,” Lerm stopped mid stride, shaking his head the major proceeded on , “ I still cannot believe this, DSD established an ELINT listening post, inside Indonesian territory, in Kalimantan on the main Mountain range, later on we expanded this to include a remote patrol base at the bottom of this range, from which deep reconnaissance patrols were sent out to determine the cause for the surge in TNI units operating in the area. Radio intercepts from the ELINT LP, which BTW is supplied by Herk dropped supplies from Butterworth. Now!……… given the Butterworth issues pending, these drops will be conducted by C5 to the low land base established on the east coast, supplied by none other than our Collins class subs right!”.
Lerms face was somewhat incredulous, “Sarnt, this reads like some fucking Tom Clancy, come Dale brown far feathered thriller, If I told anybody bout this, I’d be laughed out of the building, Fuck me, talk about asking for a shit storm at some point, does Canberra, actually have any clue as to the potential for this to blow up in our faces”.
The major just sat there for a minute, staring up at the night sky, still absorbing all that he had been told, when the RSM spoke again. “care for one”, Major Lermontov looked down and rocked forward on his chair, reaching out to the extended hand of the RSM, brandishing a packet of smokes, “yeah, don’t mind if I do”, Lerm said, extracting a durry from the packet . He proceeded to light up , having blown a lung full of smoke out, he looked back at the RSM once more. “ how long has the base on the east coast been operating”, the RSM looked at Lerm and then turned his gaze out towards the centre of the compound and spoke, “ 3 months, there about as of today, the operational parameters was to determine the feasibility of establishing a small station which would supply power to a covert SOSUS line across the straight, we have reason to believe the PRC are establishing a serious patrol schedule in the AO with their kilo class of subs, possibly doing exactly what we have been, the part B, was to locate their base if any and determine its strength, for possible neutralisation. We simply cannot have them establishing a LP in our front yard, CBR has already decided it will not happen”.
‘Fuck me’ Lerm thought, “this is big Sarnt, not just big, but Fucking big!”
The RSM turned all serious and leant forward, “ Lerm, why do you think we brought almost a whole company of infantry over here, its not for shits n giggles, you blokes already did your refresher Jungle warfare training not two months ago, the SAS are flat out in Afghanistan, 2 and 3 Commando likewise, plus, if this goes down, there is every, I mean every possibility it might hit the fan, the SOSUS net, Canberra wants to preserve at all costs, regardless of what the Indonesians think, to Canberra’s frame of mind, the TNI invited them in, that’s the PRC and there is no way in hell they will be allowed to stay, let alone put a base this close, covertly, assuming they have one operational”.
Taking another long drag on the winnie blue ciggie, the RSM continued, “ what’s really got GHQ’s knickers in a twist, is the sudden increase in patrol activity around our Radio LP, it’s a little more sophisticated that what you might think and we need to know if they have gotten wind of it, Hence we dispatched a two man team to quietly extract a TNI regular for interrogation”.
The Major took in what the RSM had just told him, Michael was no fool and everything the RSM had just informed of him made perfect sense………except the last part. Leaning in slightly closer to he RSM, Lerm fixed his gaze directly at! the RSM and spoke, in a quiet, measure tone, “ Sarnt, I fully concur with what you have said and agree too by the way, save for that last crock of shit on the sierra one one patrol and extracting the TNI trooper for interrogation, Canberra sent those lads in as fucking bait, knowing full god dam well Jolls and Havock would stir the fuck out of any hornets present, then they would either have their confirmation of TNI units and density, or NOT!”, Lerm delivered the last word with as much sarcasm as he could muster and continued. “I’m not going to sit here RSM and have you blow sunshine up my arse, likewise, I take offence at your smoke screen, now we have the pleasantries out of the way, do you care to tell me the actual truth, or am I wasting my fucking time”. The Major sat back in his chair, ‘Bite me’, Lerm thought, ‘let’s see where this goes now RSM’
The RSM didn’t flinch, he just sat there in stony silence, looking out into the jungle, ‘ well nobody said the la was stupid ‘ he thought. Turning his gaze back to the major the RSM covered his mouth as he stifled a small cough, before speaking. “ Major, you may assume, correctly I might add, that the dispatch of Sierra one one, was for no other purposed, other than to beat the bushes, what you may NOT ASSUME SIR!, is that they were sent on a one way trip, that’s why we had Burger one one in their AO as well, plus the Spec ops bird, but we had not counted on having the Indonesian Air force fuck things up”.