Two Sides of the Coin: Bravo Team’s routine Patrol

Bravo Team of the J.U. (Justified Union) patrols the outskirts of the green zone, which is still a contested area. In order to bolster confidence in its allies to renew the trade agreement, the J.U. has amped up it’s presence on the outskirts, especially along the primary trade routes. Ordinarily, a routine patrol is a task beneath Bravo Team’s talents; but things have been quiet lately. Bravo Team has grown hungry for live action & command recognizes that training against simulations only won’t keep the team sharp over the long term.

Bravo Team calls it “walking the dog.” They slowly patrol a pre-determined route along the main trade route equipped with an FAV (Fast Attack Vehicle). The vehicle is there mostly to carry extra gear & communication equipment. It’s not even big enough to carry all members of the patrol. Two members walk alongside each flank. The small patrol barely averages 3 mph; but it’s a short segment & the slow pace gives the operators a chance to examine the area more carefully.

Their goal is two-fold: to establish a visible presence & to scout the area for potential hazards once hostilities recommence. Where are the bottle necks? What areas are vulnerable to ambush? Where would a potential enemy hide? What would I do if the roles were reversed? After all—there are two sides of every coin. On top today; someone else tomorrow.

Contact is unlikely, based on intel. But, unbeknownst to the intelligence section, a simple but determined danger lies in wait.

As the patrol arrives to less than 50 meters from the next chokepoint, this determined enemy aims his Dragunov sniper rifle at them. The Dragunov is a large caliber sniper rifle that could have been deployed accurately well before Bravo Team approached the chokepoint. The sniper, from his elevated position, still believing to have the advantage, squeezes the trigger.

“Zhhhhhhoooooommmmm!” The high velocity round whips just feet above its mark. The proximity of the shot makes it easier for Bravo Team to pinpoint the point of origin. In a fight, there is always an advantage in throwing the first punch–assuming you land it solidly, of course.

The flipside to throwing that first punch, however, is leaving yourself opened for the counter-punch. The element of surprise works once–then it’s a fair fight after that. If you’re going up against someone who is faster, bigger, or punches harder than you do—you may not want to throw that first punch. In theory, you have a 50% chance for success & failure—a coin flip. But that’s all academic. In the real world, there are other factors that play a role in determining the outcome.

“Contact, left side: one tango, sniper rifle! Returning fire!” Maddox is the newest member of Bravo Team. It’s possible he’s auditioning as the permanent replacement for the rock star Bowman, who currently serves as driver while he tries to recover from a recent injury.

Maddox’s MP-5 submachine gun variant fires light recoiling shots in semi-automatic fashion. While it’s not the ideal weapon for this situation, the relative proximity of the sniper & the light-recoiling 9mm round in semi-auto mode allows him to return effective fire almost immediately.

While Bowman holds down the right flank, a hidden danger emerges from the left. A second insurgent breaks cover, armed with a 12 gauge shotgun.

While robust & versatile, the shotgun is not the ideal weapon for this situation. However, the fighter has misdirection & the element of surprise on his side. Moreover, his shotgun is loaded with rifled slugs today for greater effectiveness at range. He knows he doesn’t have the firepower to win the fight; but he has enough to leave a mark. The 8 large slugs are enough to make one or two of these men suffer for their pride & arrogance. The 12 gauge is large enough to test the resolve of the J.U.’s alleged military might.

The 2nd insurgent’s first slug strays slightly to the left, impacting just above the driver’s side wheel-well. He racks the action to load another slug while the Bravo operator tries to locate the origin of fire.

It doesn’t take long for the experienced operator, Master Chief Compton, to locate the new shooter. Compton takes aim just as the insurgent cycles the next slug. It probably only took a split second in real time, but for a moment, it was as though time stood still. In that instant, the highly trained veteran & the angry but novice insurgent were locked in a stare down. It was like a scene from one of those old Western flicks. And then . . . two triggers drew backwards.

“BBBBrrrrrrppppp!!!”

(Insurgent 2) Arrrrhhhh! Three shot bursts! I wasn’t expecting that!

The insurgent’s second slug impacts a little higher, entering the driver’s side hood where it’s stopped by the engine block. Unlike Maddox on the other side, who’s MP5 sub machinegun is configured for semi-auto mode, Compton’s weapon is set for 3 shot bursts. The rapid succession of projectiles catches the insurgent off guard as he dives for cover.

Just as it appears Bravo Team will make quick work of the amateurish ambush, a 3rd insurgent emerges from cover from an elevated position. While he is only armed with a pistol, the small FAV is close enough to be at risk. At last, it becomes apparent why the 1st insurgent waited so long to take the first shot despite having the long range weapon: he had intended to draw Bravo Team into a kill box! Suddenly, the amateurish ambush seems a lot more sophisticated.

A 3rd insurgent opens fire on Bravo Team. Intel determined that contact would be unlikely. So much for probability. That was all academic now. For the 3rd time today, a shooter takes an uncontested first shot at the J.U.’s elite force. For the 3rd time today, the J.U.’s elite force is caught off-guard. However, training & experience has allowed the team to react quickly & effectively. But even cats only have 9 lives! Will the 3rd time finally be the charm for the opposition force? Will the earth’s only military Super Power absorb a shocking defeat?

JOIN me NEXT SUNDAY for the conclusion of Two Sides of the Coin: Bravo Team’s routine Patrol!

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