Thread: Our Flying Tank
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Old 02-28-2006, 16:04   #10
Biscuitsjam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,262
August 31, 2005
Knock, knock, who's there? Boom!

I recently complained about not usually getting approval to knock down houses. Well this time, at least, the request was approved.

We went out today to destroy two suspected IED (Improvised Explosive Device / Roadside Bomb) trigger houses near where the humvee was hit yesterday {1 critical injury, 3 serious}. We brought along some of the members of the platoon that had the guys hurt so that they could get some satisfaction. The first house was stubborn, made out of bricks reinforced with concrete and steel beams. We fired grenades, anti-tank rockets, 7 tank main gun rounds, and several hundred machinegun rounds (both 7.62mm and .50 caliber). Still, it refused to fall, so we drove the tank up to the house and laboriously pushed each wall over.

The second house was a sprawling building made out of mud-bricks with a mud roof. Each tank round removed a massive chunk of the house, so it fell within minutes. Both houses were extremely satisfying to knock over. Neither had anyone living in them.

On the way back, we were scanning for roadside bombs and put a few rounds into suspicious sites (dirt mounds on the side of the road, etc.). Little did we know that the bomb planted for us was placed in the middle of the road. It was a small hole, circular, about 1 foot in diameter, cut right in the pavement's center. We didn't see it until we were upon it, whereupon it exploded. Our 70-ton behemoth bounced into the air, so that the right track didn't touch the ground for 30 feet.

The tank slammed down, and the jolt knocked out all electrical power, though the engine continued to run.

Inside the tank was momentary confusion from the shock. Our first priority was to make sure no one was injured, but the intercom system was out. Checking within the turret was easy, but it was only by the driver stopping the tank that we knew that he was also ok. Knowing that, we returned fire into any possible hiding places. A car, heavily laden, sped towards us at a high rate of speed, refusing to stop. The enemy has used suicide car bombs in the past and has coordinated attacks, so the conclusion was obvious.

My tank commander shouted at me "shoot that car! shoot that car!" I couldn't see the car, because we were still in a cloud of smoke and my eyes wouldn't focus. After an unbelievably long delay, probably 5 seconds, my eyesight cleared up enough that I could make it out, so I pulled the trigger on my weapon. I only got off a few rounds before the ammo links broke. Looking down, I realized that all the ammo had been thrown out of my ammo can by the blast. I reloaded and fired again until the links broke, then again, and again. I put 200 rounds downrange into that car, a few rounds at a time. The humvee with us fired a handful of .50 caliber rounds and some rifle rounds into it as well. They quickly noticed wires running from the hole off to the side of the road, though, and they decided to investigate that instead.

Looking through my binoculars, I could make out a man lying in the ditch next to the car. He wasn't moving. I crossed my fingers. In the distance, we heard a loud concussion. When we looked, we saw a cloud of black smoke rising above the convoy coming to assist us. Another bomb. This one missed though.

It turns out that I took out every window in the car and put some holes in the door, but none of its passengers (4 total) were hit. They all dove out of the vehicle and hid in a ditch until someone came. Nothing incriminating was found in their vehicle, and they claimed that they were just oblivious to their surroundings. When questioned, they claimed that they knew nothing about the bomb planted within sight of their house. Furthermore, they claimed that there were no "Ali Baba" anywhere nearby, even though insurgents have planted a half-dozen massive roadside bombs and a car bomb within a kilometer of their abode.

The medics checked us out when we got back. My tank commander had a small cut on his nose that gave him a vicious appearance. I had a small bruise on my shoulder and a headache. The driver had a mild concussion and a small amount of neck pain. The gunner mentioned nothing wrong.

Even though it was late, the cooks had hot chow waiting for us. It felt good to get back to the safety of our base. Here's hoping that the tank is back operational quickly. Nothing is visibly wrong with it, it just doesn't work.

Update: the tank was back up and the engine running within a few hours. All that was wrong was some tripped breakers and a damaged idler arm seal.
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