A Weapon in his hands.

A Weapon in his hands.

A Weapon in his hands. 640 237 Keir Tayler

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Special Forces to Royal Assignment.

I saw, parked in the middle of the camp, the vehicle that I had been training on for the last month. Attached to the vehicle was an enormous weapon called a Hispano 20-mill: a cannon that was originally designed as an aircraft weapon (carried by the Hunter aircraft WW2) for strafing trains. It discharged large amounts of ammunition and had unique features, such as a barrel that didn’t recoil, and a heavy breechblock (which was never locked against the breech) that moved forward when the gun was fired. In combat training, I was the “number two man” on the Hispano 20–mill, making sure the belt of ammunition was loaded well and discharged smoothly through the cannon. Any jamming or stoppages would be my responsibility to rectify. The vehicle still was not ready to be taken into battle and we all knew it; so that morning we prepared it to be the fighting machine it was supposed to be.

That afternoon we drove to the eastern part of the country to meet up with the other troops who were hidden under the trees, out of satellite detection. That evening the captain told us what we were about to do.

He pulled out a map of the area we were in, placed it against the vehicle and in the setting sun he began to tell us our mission strategy. We were all young men, sitting around and listening to him. Some of us were not long out of secondary school; we looked like lads sitting on the grass and rocks, paying close attention to a school teacher who was explaining a lesson.

“Tomorrow morning just after eight o’clock we are going to attack a terrorist training camp……there are 1000 of them and we are 74 …. there will be no aircraft support … once you are in – you are alone – you are special forces”.

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