RPGs, mortars, rockets, oh my
We had eight mortars and a few rockets land on the camp today. Most of them were duds, and fortunately, nobody got hurt. I’ve lost count of how many rockets I’ve heard whistling over my head and impacting just a few meters away. I’ve gotten to the point where I can identify the type of round it is just by hearing it zing by and the impact.
An RPG sounds like the intro of a really bad techno song. Once an RPG landed about 10 feet away from me, bounced off the concrete and flew over my head (it was a dud). I could have sworn noise was from L.L. Cool Jay’s latest album.
A rocket sounds almost like a broken ambulance siren. When they fire rockets, they typically burst in the air. I was on the palace balcony once and heard the distinct sound of the rocket. It blew up about 800 meters away, but I could still feel the atmospheric pressure change caused by the blast. If I had hair, it totally would have given me a bad hair day.
From a distance, you can hear the whistle of a mortar but if you’re in the kill zone, supposedly, you can’t hear it. Luckily, I’ve heard every mortar I’ve been near.
Typically, when you hear the whistle or techno music or a broken siren, you have about two or three seconds to find cover. And it all happens so fast that most of the time you just stand around and look for a bunker. I would compare this to all those infamous cartoons I watched as a kid. Somebody drops a piano from a 10 story building and the guy at the other end just looks up screaming. Good thing they’re firing mortars and not throwing pianos; otherwise, I might not be writing on this blog.
Once I was on a patrol when the enemy was firing 60 mm mortars at us. For the love of God, we were in the middle of the city, around kids and schools and mosques. And these guys had the audacity to fire at us. That’s really nothing new though. They’d kill 20 kids just to hit one American. Believe me, it’s happened.
It’s a good thing that these bad guys are bad shots. I remember a time when this fella was about 50 yards from a squad I was with, and he was just standing up in the middle of the road shooting at us. He didn’t aim and he wasn’t behind cover. That’s like closing your eyes and trying to hit a bulls eye, especially if you’re firing the world’s most inaccurate weapon – the AK 47. I didn’t know whether to laugh at the guy or shoot him. Somebody else shot him. I’m still pissed about that.