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They Played us So Easily

They Played us So Easily

Crack! The Sergeant motions everyone down, it may just have been a ricochet; but two sharp whistling bullets soon follow overhead and confirm they are shooting at us.

"Covering Fire!" screams the Sergeant as he motions to the platoon to divide and flank the enemy positions. Tommy and Chris are on the Browning, a monstrous machine firing great 50 caliber rounds capable of shredding anything in its path, be it the dense forest or, more rarely, the enemy. They are unlikely to score many hits but I feel safer in the knowledge that such a great gun is pounding the enemy emplacements and preventing them peeking up to spot our manoevures. Thud thud thud the Browning repeats as it topples trees, slicing through their thick trunks like sinew and sending splinters of wood flying through the air; I almost feel sorry for the Vietcong on the recieving end for a moment, but then the moment is over and I remember I need to keep moving to survive, this is war. The Browning stops firing as we reach the utterly destroyed encampment flanking the position only to find it completely abandoned. Where were they?! The hairs stood upright on the back of my neck as I realised the grave reality of the situation, once again these expert guerilla fighters had outmanoevured us, this could only be an ambush; it was unlike them to engage us in open fire like that, they knew we would walk right into their trap, how easily we were played. I had only moments to contend these thoughts before a deafening explosion erupted ahead of me and I was thrown on my back, covered with splinters of wood and shards of glass. My senses were a blur, my eyes stung by the spray of dirt, my ears ringing, I could smell and taste filth, burning ashes and my own overwhelming sense of fear. I gulped it down and forced myself into a sitting position, and found myself staring straight down the barrel of a gun. Private First Class Saunders had been the first to reach their encampment and had triggered the explosive placed carefully beneath the dirt, which was the cue for our ambushers to emerge from their underground hiding places (Spider tunnels or Rat Nests we called them, an elaborate underground system of tunnels which the enemy used effectively against us, flooding any which we discovered).

Half our platoon was crippled by the explosion, all of us there grouped together, so many dead and wounded, any of us still able to resist were quickly outnumbered by the Vietcong pouring from their hiding places. Moving swiftly and quietly the enemy dragged those of us alive enough to be taken captive down the tunnels and were gone before the rest of the platoon could even reach the encampment. I should have been scared, I should have been angry, but all I held was a resentful admiration for the excellency and brutalilty with which the enemy had worked their plan, they had played us so easily. I was beginning to question whether the US really could win this war, we just weren't prepared; they had played us so easily.

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