Friday, February 19, 2010

WO2 Sean Semple Frontine Blog

The Mirror

IT'S day four of our gripping diary from WO2 Sean Semple - our correspondent who is with Manouevre Support Group in IED-infested Shawal, Helmand Province.

Moshtarak Day 4 - Python First for Afghanistan!

This was one hell of a day. Almost as soon as we moved off in the morning we encountered a suspected IED belt: the strong ground signs a clear indication that the Taliban had scattered devices in front of us.

The decision was taken to fire the Python explosive hose to clear the immediate path. What an explosion it was too! Two hundred metres of high explosive - a tonne and a half in all - in a hose which is fired out by a rocket on the back of the Trojan tank: awesome.

The blokes’ morale went up instantly – and shows the enemy that we mean business. The Commanding Officer seems particularly pleased. This kit is going to save lives. Good stuff.

In addition to clearing a safe route, the explosion also detonated at least one - probably several - devices nearby which could have killed or seriously injured the local population. This kit isn’t just saving our own lives.

The locals are interested in our movement, most probably because they have never seen as many heavily armoured vehicles at once before. However we’re conscious that the Taleban are never far away. The blokes are constantly on their guard, weapons continually scanning the ground.

We drop off several non essential vehicles at a Patrol Base en route, and continue to clear a route for the logistics drop offs. Yet another find, this time a pressure plate IED in the middle of the track - uncovered this time by Trojan’s special designed armoured plough – the new kit is earning its keep already.

We disabled and recovered the IED complete.

We know the route ahead will be full of devices – we’ll clear each one in turn.

At the same time, a section of engineers repaired some of the local infrastructure. Dealing with bombs and improving the roads – Afghans can see for themselves that we are here to make the place safer and better.

Night time location is a field, and a bloody muddy one. But it’s clear of IEDs so its safe. We arrive in the dark and go straight into night routine. The blokes are tired, but it has been a good day. The enemy, they know where we are, but we have the protection to deal with whatever they throw at us.

Not too cold tonight, a big bonus. You can deal with anything as long as you know that you have a warm sleeping system to climb into at the end of the day. Tea consists of boil in the bag rations: vegetable madras with some extra curry powder thrown in.

As an Instructor in the Army Physical Training Corps, this couldn’t be more different from my normal day-to-day job, I suppose it goes to show how diverse the army is these days, and soldiers are becoming more adaptable in whatever role they have to fulfill.

Four days in and it’s all going well, long may this continue, however long we are out for.


  1. once again another good report from the front

    thanks god speed


  2. Good stuff, Sean! Keep up the great work!

  3. Good report. I'd like to ask the government why the Trojan wasn't available earlier though.