Kildar, page 40
"Got it," Mike said. "Have Vil's group start moving. By the time they're in view, we should have the main body's full and undivided attention."
"Vil's moving," Nielson said over the circuit.
"Guys," Mike said to the two Keldara who were looking out their firing ports nervously. "Is there any way we can dig out a couple more shooting points? It seems a shame to have six guns in here and only two able to shoot."
"Yes, Kildar," one of the Keldara said, setting his rifle against the side of the hole. "Right away."
"Main body is fully in the defile and moving to the ambush point," Adams said a couple of minutes later. The Keldara had found points they could dig through and Vanim and Killjoy had spots to shoot from at least. Mike put them on the points since their SPRs, a highly accurate M-16 variant, would be better in a firefight than the sniper rifles. "All positions, stand to. Initiating."
There was a thunderous roar from the defile as the claymores detonated, followed by screams from humans and mules. This was followed by a growing roar of fire from the hillside as the Keldara poured fire into the defile.
There was a crack from one of the Keldara rifles and then another as the Keldara cursed.
"He is hiding behind a tree," the man muttered, angrily. "Coward."
"There's another," Vanim said, firing. "Got him."
"I'll just sit here and twiddle my fingers," Mike said, doing just that. "Keep an eye to the right, guys. We're expecting company that way."
There was an explosion to the left of their position, a mortar round Mike was pretty sure. Then he, faintly, heard the rumble of shells overhead.
"Peters just counterbatteried their mortar," Adams said. "It's out. I'm shifting him to your control. Go to channel three."
"Peters?" Mike said on that channel. He peered past Lasko, looking for the men working their way up the slope.
"Go, Kildar," the mortar NCO replied.
"I don't have anything here, yet," Mike said then paused. "Stand by. Right, from my position, two hundred meters, azimuth . . ." He checked the compass in his binoculars. "One eight three."
"Shot over," Peters said no more than five seconds later. "We had that laid in already."
"Shot out," Mike replied. He could see the group of Chechens struggling up the steep hill. The granite that created the defile made the hill nearly vertical along its length.
"Splash over," Peters said a few second later.
"Splash out," Mike replied. There was a tremendous explosion in the trees between his position and the struggling Chechens.
"Polar," Mike said. "Azimuth One Eight Three. Drop fifty, fire for effect. Troops in open in woodland. Mix delay and quick."
"Roger," Peters said. "Incoming."
In a few moments rounds started to drop among the Chechens of the second group, some of them exploding in the trees to rain shrapnel down on the exposed fighters while others penetrated on delay to explode on or near the ground. Otar and one of the original Keldara had engaged the group of Chechens and before long Mike could see the survivors turning and skidding down the hill on their butts.
"Cease fire," Mike said over the circuit. "Switching to command freq."
"Padrek, on your right!" "I got him, I got him!" "Father of All, where did he come from? Yakov, to your right there, behind the oak, I can't get him . . ." "CUT THE CHATTER!" "Where did that last one go?"
The main freq was jammed with the excited Keldara passing word back and forth and Adams trying to settle them down.
"CEASE FIRE!" Adams shouted over the net, getting stepped on twice. Mike could hear him blowing a whistle at the same time. Finally, the fire died down and the Keldara cleared the command net.
"Team Oleg," Oleg said, as soon as he could be heard. "By odd numbers, up out of your positions and take over watch for evens."
"That is us," one of the Keldara said.
"Stay here," Mike replied. "The rest of us will get out. You guys keep this door closed."
Mike, Lasko and Praz crawled out of the bunker and looked towards the defile. The ground was hazy with propellant and the remnants of the dust from the claymores, but he could see the trail was littered with bodies.
He'd expected the Keldara to be whooping it up, as a group of muj probably would in similar circumstances. But they weren't. Teams were up out of their bunkers and prone, pointing their weapons into the defile.
"Even numbers, out of your bunkers," Oleg said, grunting as he apparently was climbing out of his. "Prepare to sweep across the objective."
"Team Vil is in position," Vil's voice said on the circuit. "There are Chechens filtering out of the woods."
"Shag ass," Adams growled over the radio. "Push the rest out of the woods before the others get to the other side of the valley. When you're firing into the valley, aim low. Don't hit your buddies on the other side."
Mike spotted the chief sliding down the hill to his left and angled that way, sliding towards the defile himself. The Keldara were moving forward in pairs, with one covering the top of the defile as the other headed down.
When the first group reached the defile, they ignored the few wounded Chechens, moving in pairs to lift one another up to the top. When most of the group was on top, they continued down the hill.
Mike caught up to Adams in the defile and shook his head.
"Was this training or what?" Mike asked.
"We rehearsed twice," Adams said. "After we had the bunkers in but before we camouflaged. Training, I guess. And some natural talent. You were right; these guys are good."
"I'll give you a leg up," Mike said, making a stirrup of his hands.
He and the chief made it up and over the wall, following the Keldara down the hill. The Keldara were moving fast but carefully, occasionally trading shots with some of the Chechens on the hill. But the Chechens were mostly just trying to run away.
When Mike got to the base of the hill he could see the Chechens reversing his earlier course across the fields, running for all they were worth. One group was nearly at the far tree line, with the main group of survivors, no more than fifty of them, halfway across.
"This is an awful way to make a living," Mike said, sliding to a halt and keying his mike. "Vil, engage."
A burst of fire came from the far hillside, raking the Chechens that had nearly made it to the tree line. Mike could see a line of machine-gun bullets pock down the field and into the group which, at the unexpected fire, stopped and began firing back, most of them still standing. There had been about fifteen in the group when the fire started and the first burst killed more than half of them, spotting more bodies onto the green field.
Mike switched frequencies to the mortar freq.
"Peters, you have the field zeroed in?" Mike asked.
"I've got Reynolds up on the ridge, spotting for us," the NCO said as there was a clap of explosion from a firing mortar. "We're on it."
The Chechens were caught between two fires, some of them taking refuge in the cover of the stream but most caught in the open field. A few broke towards the farmer's house but they had barely made it ten meters in that direction when a mortar round went off over their head, scything shrapnel down into the group and throwing them all to the ground.
More mortar rounds fell in the main body, one of them hitting the ground between two of the Chechens and throwing their dismembered bodies through the air. The rounds quickly walked down to the streambed, however, shifting to airburst and slaughtering the mujahideen that had taken shelter in the cover of its banks.
In no more than five minutes, between the mortars and direct fire from both woodlines, there were no more Chechens moving on the field.
"Cease fire mortars," Adams growled. "Team Vil, sweep the field. Team Oleg, up the hill again; make sure there aren't any fighters left functional. Take prisoners if you can, but don't let them get froggy. Colonel, if you could call Vadim in, please, to take charge of the prisoners."
"On it," Nielson replied.
* * *
"How many?" he asked, looking at the bodies scattered across the field.
"At least a hundred and fifty," Mike replied. "They're scattered from here back up both trails," he continued, gesturing in both directions. "There might have been some leakers, but not many."
"And you did this with how many?" Vadim asked.
"Two teams," Mike said, shrugging. "About forty. And some women to run the mortars."
"Women," Vadim said, shaking his head again. "The Keldara are tigers, yes?"
"Very much so," Mike said. "Which gives me an idea."
* * *
"You've done well," Mike said, looking over the assembled Keldara militia.
They'd gathered the Chechen dead using the trucks and the few surviving mules and buried them in a mass grave at the end of the farmer's field. Vadim had spoken to him about it but the man and his family hadn't come out the whole time the Keldara were there.
When they got back to the barracks, Mike had the militia clean their gear and authorized two beers per man. The trainers had joined in, which was unusual, but Mike considered it in keeping with the action. The fight had been over before noon, but it had taken most of the day to clean up the battlefield, get back and clean their gear. When they were done, Mike had told them to take a day off and go home to their families. He hadn't said anything to them except that they'd done a good job. The day off gave him time to get some stuff made up at the serai.
On the day after, he'd had them assemble in front of their barracks at 0900 for an address.
"Despite being barely into training, you met the enemy on the field of battle and defeated them," Mike continued. "Very handily for that matter." One of the Keldara from Vil's force had been hit in the arm, but other than that and a few bruises from rounds hitting body armor, the teams hadn't taken a single casualty. "Training will continue," he said to groans. "But as of this moment, you are soldiers."
He turned and waved towards the headquarters and the senior trainer for each of the teams came out, bearing new guidons. They were still blue, but instead of the name of the team being prominent, each of them now bore a snarling tiger face with the team name below it. Behind the trainers, a group of Keldara women came out bearing new uniform blouses. On the shoulder of each was the same patch.
"In keeping with that, I give you a new designation," Mike said, as the trainers marched to the front of each team and traded guidons with the team leader. "You are no longer the militia of the Keldara. You are the Tigers of the Mountains. And we will show the world, that you had better not fuck with the Mountain Tigers."
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John Ringo, Kildar
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