14…Fire and Movement

Interspersed with this we did my personal favorite from early army days, Fire and Movement, with a little bit of Leopard Crawl added in just for fun. Because I have some stupid ideas, like don’t ask someone to do something you cannot do yourself, and having read some shit about ‘ Leadership by example’ I went back to camp filthy dirty and most times with bloody elbows and knees. Fire and movement involves running forward, toward the enemy, throwing oneself flat on the ground and returning fire while you buddy follows and gains a few feet. Then as he returns fire, you pull yourself up and repeat the process, gaining a few feet past him. As your buddy is actually firing right passed you it is recommended to stay in a straight line! This means that one cannot casually look around for the best, softest spot to fall down, or run around that scratchy little thorn bush. It is Murphy’s Law that one will encounter at least half the know thorn bushes found in Africa in ones path, and a few interesting rocks for good measure. If I ever catch this Murphy chap, I will torture him to death, the bastard! This continues until the enemy either withdraws or is dead, maybe you could also stop when you are dead, hadn’t really thought about that one until now! To practice this is no fun, if one is been fired upon the inspiration to abuse ones body in this fashion comes naturally, as it is the choice of two lesser evils.


The other fun thing to do is the Leopard Crawl. This is when you have drawn fire and are in a lot of kak. Because it is not a good idea to stroll forward to meet your enemy in a civilized fashion, it is wise to follow the next procedure. On taking heavy fire one throws oneself on the ground in a timely manner. If the fire is too concentrated it is also unwise to go into fire and movement drills, at ones discretion the alternative is to crawl toward the enemy giving him as little target as humanly possible. This involves moving a long, at a rapid pace, as you want to get rid of the bugger as soon as possible, on your elbows and knees. The trick is not to have your bum stuck up in the air, that is why it is called Leopard crawl and not Baby Crawl. Believe me Baby Crawl is a lot easier, but you will get your ass shot off if you go for this option. Literally.  Again one cannot always find the easier softer route, and a fair amount of pain is involved. If one is really in an adventurous mood one can make a combination of these and spill even more blood. Add full kit and a rock and you are really talking.


A long time ago, when I was taught how to do these exciting things by my fellow countrymen, had a lovely little obstacle course that had barbed wire strung low all over the place to poke my bum or elbows if I did not get it right, then when they decided we almost had it right they added a Vickers machine gun, from World War Two, firing hot lead just above the wire for effect. Needless to say I am very proficient in these two fine arts but rarely have the opportunity to show off my skill at the office. The civilians already regard me as somewhat strange.


We did 82mm mortar drills and generally this was a fun time for most of us, learning and firing new weapons from different countries and then putting our knowledge to the test by teaching others. We were learning from all the different branches of the army. If I taught someone to fire mortars they would teach me the ins and outs of a 12.7mm. and so on. We were getting fit by running to and from the training ground twice a day, and the hot sun was burning us White boys as brown as our troops.


One morning after we had not practiced strip and assemble with the AK’s for quite some time we decided to give it a refresher course. Shit, we may as well have never done it at all for most of the troops had forgotten the first move, how to get the hoofdeksel off! No fun for anyone the next few weeks, they had to get this right or they would literally die the first week in combat. We hadn’t even begun practicing with live ammo yet, that promised to be fun.


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