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"Here in my car", said 80s pop hero Gary Numan, "I feel safest of all". He obviously never shared the same stretch of road as me, then. Automotive tales of mirth and woe, please.

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 12:34)
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Ok, so not quite a car but...
With my trade within our Majesties Armed Forces initially as a tank driver I've cocked things up a few times. Mostly in Iraq.

I once ran a dead sheep over out of boredom. What I had forgotten was that I had to sleep next to that wagon for the next 2 weeks. My god. Rotting sheep is not a nice smell to wake up to. Especially when it's so humid.

My First Road Move:
So I'm not acclimatized as well as maybe I should have been. It was mid-summer in the desert and I was about to embark on the most awful day of my life.
We awoke before the sun rose after a night of stagging on (2 hours on, 4 off from about 5pm) and begin to de-cam. Nets packed up, weapons stowed, kit put away and provisions loaded. Ate breakfast from my rations and would be getting fresh pack around lunchtime once we'd met up with the rest of the battalion. Sausage and beans. Nice!

Time to set off.
Everyone rolled around in to a convoy formation, engines growling, dust trails everywhere. Off we went.
At first it was quite exciting. It was my first time out of camp and here I am in the middle of Iraq driving my tank about, loaded rifle, underslung grenade launcher. The works.
Now as I mentioned before, it was mid-summer. We're talking serious heat. What didn't help was the fact that the wall to the right of the drivers cab is about 1cm thick and behind that, at head height is in fact a turbo. I'm sure the more mechanically minded ones of you will know that they get extremely hot.
So I've been driving now for about 10 minutes and already I've drank a large bottle of water and my 2nd one was warm enough to make tea. The CVR(t) Scimitar cabs are like little ovens.
"OK, OK...I'll be fine. Only got to push a few hours out and I can rest a little"

A few hours past.
A few more hours past.
We turned around. We turned around some more.
We had a short break.
Well, it wasn't actually a short break. It was more of a 'sat here with the engine ticking over while someone figures out where the hell we're actually going and where we are in relation to this mystical place'.
I managed to lift myself out of the cab (which even on the best of days is not an easy task when wearing Osprey bodyarmour and have radios/pouches all over the place). As I clambered on to the decks, gasping for cooler air I went very lightheaded and jumped/fell off the side of the wagon. I felt so drained. I climbed back up ready to set off again doing a mixture of laughing and crying.
About 6 hours later; all crews water reserves empty after drinking warm/pouring over self and it's dark.
My commander Dave kept falling asleep up top so it was just me and my gunner having a chat on the intercom. Things went quiet. Things then suddenly got very bumpy.
I look over to see the convoy about 130m away to my left and us then realise I'm foot to the floor going cross country somewhere else.
Yeah, we'd all fallen asleep and were in a runaway tank.
Quite a scary moment as I slammed on the anchors then slowly crawled back to my place in the convoy.
We got away with it though as it happened a lot that night. 5 Land Rovers drove in to the back of each other that night due to people falling asleep.

This was by far the hardest and most grueling tour I've done. 4 weeks living in the desert off the wagons, 3 days back at Basrah with everyone else (pizza hut, subway, showers, aircon...electricity) then back out again. Long range desert patrols for the first time since the original SAS did them. I think I'd rather it be left to them in future.

EDIT: Oh yeah, we eventually found them and arrived around 3am. Up again at 6.
(, Fri 23 Apr 2010, 13:26, 1 reply)
Cool story!

(, Fri 23 Apr 2010, 14:05, closed)

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