We, that is to say my unit, were in southern Germany on our annual 'Summer Camp'.
Now, when I say 'Summer Camp', please don't make the mistake of thinking that we spent our time sitting around camp fires singing 'Ging-gang-goolie-goolie-goolie-goolie-wotcha', lolling about on the shores of picturesque lakes or visiting and photographing local landmarks. It wasn't that kind of 'Summer Camp'.
It was all geared up to practice and enhance our military skills; a refresher course of sorts.
I recall the day in question as being a hot ... no, make that very hot ... July day. It was 1985.
We left out camp early in the morning and were driven to a spot many miles away (from decent food and toilets) to an area used by the American military for manoeuvres. On arrival we went tactical. That means that everything were subsequently did was done in a military fashion as it would be if we were on operations on enemy territory. We were also informed that there would be 'enemy' forces on the ground (made up of Americans from local Artillery and infantry units). We were only going to be 'practising' so we fitted blank firing attachments to our weapons and loaded up with blank rounds, rations and water and off we went.
Our 'yomp' took us most of the day, up and down the hills of the Hessen/Bavaria border. It felt as if we had marched for miles but, as we were in a tactical situation, we only travelled about 8 to 9 miles. on the way we were ambushed three times.
Ambush number one saw American Artillerymen firing at us as from the cover of a ditch and some well camouflaged shell scrapes as we rounded a bend on a for once level track.
Although we reacted in the prescribed manner (as per tactic of that time), we were all adjudged to have been killed. We naturally disputed this fact and pointed out to the (American) umpires that someone simply shouting "BOOM!" does not equate to an artillery piece actually being used and that if they had actually bothered to bring an Artillery piece with them, we would have been more impressed.
The second Ambush came just after we had carried out a first aid task. After setting a few simulated broken arms and legs and plugging up a few fake gunshot wounds, we were told that, once again, we were 'tactical'.
We had barely picked formation to march off when about twenty gung-ho Americans charged from the cover of the near by tree line. Guns-a-blazing!
Once again we were adjudged, by an obviously biased umpire, to be dead.
We were too tired and pissed off to complain.
Ambush number three came after a very clever tactical ruse by an American infantry unit.
They had positioned an ice cream van at a point near a road that we had to cross. Thinking that they wouldn't dream of attacking us on, or near a public highway, we queued up!
The buggers had lined up two or three machine guns on the other side of the road and let us have it!
We were dead, but at least we had our ice cream.
Later that day, on the slopes of a heavily wooded hill, we set up our camp. We dug in and settled down to a well earned rest. Tea was appeared, as it always does, and we feasted on cold food from the ration packs that we carried with us.
Later still, an officer arrived. He told us we were good chaps and had done well, etc., blah, blah, blah. Then he said that there would be an attack on our position from the valley below before dark and that we should prepare for it.
But when it came, we found out that we where all 'prepared' in the wrong direction!
They came DOWN the hill ... a whoopin' an' a hollerin' ... and we turned in our little holes in the ground.
We fired back, as they over ran out positions, and in some cases over us.
Unfortunately though, not everyone was careful!
The soldier I shared my defensive position with let loose a round from his LMG (Light Machine Gun) right next to my head. The noise was deafening and I felt the sting as all the burned powder gas that would normally follow the bullet out of the muzzle hit me on the side of the face. Blood began to run from my ear as the burst eardrum made itself known and I keeled over, in pain, unable to keep my balance.
The American medics that treated me, to be fair, were very good and very professional. The hardly made fun of me at all, but then I wouldn't really have know if they had because it was at least four days before I could hear again properly!
But it earned me four weeks light duties and an early ticket home, so I wasn't going to complain.
Ok, so the ear drum has been a slight problem ever since; bursting on at least two more occasions, but at least I'm not deaf!
As you now know, I wasn't really shot in the head. I hope I haven't disappointed anyone!
Shortly after our 'Summer Camp', the following happened ....
Three more vivid reasons to remember that summer.
About This Blog
This blog was originally started as a thread on the forum pages of an animal rescue site. Now it's here!
The articles you find in here are purely for entertainment (yours and mine) and (with one or two exceptions) are all tongue-in-cheek chronicles of the World (my bit, anyway) as I see it.
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