In his latest blog, Lance Corporal Ryder, of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3 MERCIAN) and currently deployed on Operation HERRICK 14 in Afghanistan, recounts an eventful week which included an armoured patrol vehicle triggering an improvised explosive device. Thankfully there were no serious injuries, although the insurgents said otherwise…
This week has been one of the more eventful of the tour.
We started the week with a focus on vehicle check points (VCPs) along Highway 1 and route 601. VCPs serve as an effective deterrent to any insurgents wishing to use the main highways and routes for things such as drug running, weapon and improvised explosive device (IED) transportation. It also gives us a perfect opportunity to collect biometric information from the population of Afghanistan. Due to Highway 1 being one of the main supply routes (MSRs) all the way around Afghanistan, it isn’t just the locals who use it. People from all over the country travel along it, around the clock. As with everything we do, the VCPs have been conducted with maximum input, command and control from the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), although at some points we have had to take over and assist them more. The VCPs we conducted turned out successful, and ended with us gaining a large amount of intelligence about illegal insurgent check points on the MSRs.
Mid-week we conducted a routine ground domination (GDA) patrol around an area called Durai East, which is approximately 1km to the south of our Check Point. The patrol started off like any other, with no insurgent radio chatter or anything. About half an hour in an IED was triggered by the Fire Support Team (FST) vehicle. The force of the blast knocked the Warrior onto its right hand side. When the blast went off soldiers from the second Warrior confirmed people were OK and talking inside the vehicle. At the same time the dismounted troops made best speed over, using the metal detectors in order to avoid any secondary devices. As it turned out all the crew were conscious and not suffering from any serious injury. Whilst this was happening the quick reaction force (QRF) was deployed from the Patrol Base (PB) and assisted in providing protection. The minor casualties were eventually extracted by Chinook helicopter back to the field hospital to be checked over, and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) recovered the vehicle back to Lash Durai. The insurgents claimed they had killed 7 of us and that the bodies were extracted by a fast jet – Which shows just how accurate they are with their reporting and the propaganda they use to spread misinformation.
Shortly after, our platoon was given a new area of operations, still not far away but completely different in terms of ground and threat. The area we have moved into has been seeing an increase in insurgent activity of late. The last few days have been filled with patrols helping us get used to our new area. We are focusing on how different the ground is – more green zone and less desert – and how the local population reacts to ISAF presence. Also it has given us yet another group of ANSF to work with, this time all Afghan National Police (ANP). They all seem very keen to fight and get the insurgents so we’ll see how things go over the next week.
On a lighter note, I go on R&R very soon! I intend on spending 14 days enjoying the UK and catching up on a few missed beers, and sleep… plenty of sleep. That is, of course, providing this ash cloud the people of Iceland have let us have a bit of (again!) doesn’t stop R&R flights. I may have to tab home in that case!