Read Battleline (2007) Online

Authors: Jack - Seals 05 Terral

Battleline (2007)

SEALS: BATTLELINE

SEALS 05

JACK
TERRAL

HIT AND RUN LIKE HELL

Two M-203 grenade launchers barked, and as their projectiles arced across the thirty meters of ground toward the objective, Tex Benson pumped the trigger of his SAW, sending three short bursts of 5.56-millimeter rounds straight into the enemy fighting position. As soon as the two grenades struck their target and exploded, the entire section leaped to their feet and made a quick rush toward the objective. No fire was being returned, and Cruiser continued the attack completely up the slope without resistance. They reached the top and could see the ripped-up body of a Zaheya soldier sprawled in his own blood on the dirt inside his post.

Suddenly more enemy soldiers appeared from a bunker exit fifteen meters away. They jumped back as soon as the SEALs opened up on them. Cruiser knew that he and his section had pressed their luck about as far as they could. It would be only moments before the whole enemy force responded to the assault.

"Haul ass!"

*

Titles in the SEALS series by Jack Terral

SEALS

SEALS: GUERRILLA WARFARE

SEALS: BATTLECRAFT

SEALS: ROLLING THUNDER

SEALS: BATTLELINE

SEALS: BATTLELINE

*

NOTE: Enlisted personnel in this book are identified by their ranks (petty officer third class, chief petty officer, master chief petty officer, etc.) rather than their ratings (boatswain's mate, yeoman, etc.) for clarification of status and position within the chain of command. However, when a man's rating is significant in the story, he is identified by that designation.

*

TABLE OF ORGANIZATION

BRANNIGAN'S BRIGANDS

HEADQUARTERS

Lieutenant William "Wild Bill" Brannigan

(Commanding Officer)

PO2C Francisco "Frank" Gomez
(RTO)

PO3C James "Doc" Bradley
(Hospital Corpsman)

.

SNIPER TEAM

PO2C Bruno Puglisi

PO2C Josef "Joe" Miskoski

.

PATROL TEAM

PO1C Michael "Connie" Concord
(Team Leader)

PO2C Mikael "Mike" Assad

PO2C David "Dave" Leibowitz

PO2C Garth Redhawk

PO2C Edward "Matty" Matsuno

.

FIRST ASSAULT SECTION

Lieutenant Junior Grade James "Jim" Cruiser

(Section Commander)

PO3C Earl "Tex" Benson
(SAW Gunner)

.

ALPHA FIRE TEAM

PO1C Guttorm "Gutsy" Olson
(Team Leader)

PO2C Peter "Pete" Dawson
(Rifleman)

PO3C Enrico "Rick" Morales
(Grenadier)

.

BRAVO FIRE TEAM

PO1C Montgomery "Monty" Sturgis
(Team Leader)

PO2C Andrei "Andy" Malachenko
(Rifleman)

PO3C Wallace "Wally" Halonen
(Grenadier)

.

SECOND ASSAULT SECTION

Ensign Orlando Taylor
(Section Commander)

PO3C Douglas "Doug" MacTavish
(SAW Gunner)

.

CHARLIE FIRE TEAM

PO1C Paul Schreiner
(Team Leader)

PO2C Reynauld "Pech" Pecheur
(Rifleman)

PO3C Uziel "Uzi" Melech
(Grenadier)

.

DELTA FIRE TEAM

PO1C Antonio "Tony" Valenzuela
(Team Leader)

PO2C Arnold "Arnie" Bernardi
(Rifleman)

PO3C George Fotopoulus
(Grenadier)

.

THIRD ASSAULT SECTION

Senior Chief Petty Officer Buford Dawkins

(Section Commander)

PO3C James Duncan
(SAW Gunner)

.

ECHO FIRE TEAM

PO1C Lemar Smith
(Team Leader)

PO3C Guy Devereaux
(Rifleman)

PO3C Paulo Garcia
(Grenadier)

.

FOXTROT FIRE TEAM

PO1C Thomas "Tom" Greene
(Team Leader)

PO3C Chadwick "Chad" Murchison
(Rifleman)

PO3C J. T. Snooker
(Grenadier)

.

FIRE SUPPORT SECTION

Chief Petty Officer Matthew "Matt" Gunnarson

(Section Commander)

.

FIRST MACHINE GUN CREW

PO2C Charles "Chuck" Betnarik
(Gunner)

PO3C Arlo Bartholomew
(Rifleman/Ammo Bearer)

.

SECOND MACHINE GUN CREW

PO2C Dennis "Tiny" Burke
(Gunner)

PO3C Humphrey "Hump" Dobbs
(Rifleman/Ammo Bearer)

.

THIRD MACHINE GUN CREW

PO2C Gregory "Greg" Beaver
(Gunner)

PO3C Terrence "Terry" O'Rourke

(Rifleman/Ammo Bearer)

*

Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz,
Principles of War,
as paraphrased by PO2C Bruno Puglisi of Brannigan's Brigands:

You're always open to attack unless you're attacking, so what you gotta do in the meantime is cop a defensive attitude and use all the cover and concealment you can until you're ready to come out and kick some serious butt.

PROLOGUE

ZAHEYA POSITIONS

IRAN-AFGHANISTAN BORDER 1 JUNE

THE newly organized unit was the spearhead of the Iranian Army's special warfare operations that had been put together for a desperate gamble in that part of the world. It had been officially designated as Zur Jamie Entegham (Strike Force Vengeance) and was referred to by its Farsi acronym of Zaheya. It numbered four officers who commanded sixty noncommissioned officers and enlisted men, and although it was nowhere near brigade size, the overall commander was a brigadier. His name was Shahruz Khohollah, one of the organizers of Iran's recently established Special Forces. This able leader had been chosen to lead the Zaheya not because of its size, but because of the far-reaching consequences of the mission assigned it.

This objective was both military and political, with the ambitious goal of bringing all the Shiite Muslim insurgencies in the entire Middle East under the command and control of the Iranian government. This ambitious project was designed to ultimately create a modern Persian Empire that would rule that part of the world while benefiting from its massive oil reserves.

The opening salvos of this newly hatched imperialistic plot was happening along the Iran-Afghanistan border, but at this point in time, neither the civilians in the Iranian government nor the General Staff of the national army wanted to create an attention-grabbing incident. Certain political and diplomatic events that they hoped were only temporary limited their grandiose scheme for conquering surrounding nations. Thus an all-out war of fully equipped division-size units would do more to impede those ambitions than advance them.

Thus Brigadier Khohollah suggested that a smaller group of elite troops could make very effective probing attacks into Afghanistan to eventually gain control over a large, isolated area in the mountains. These tactics would not attract undue attention, and the territory gained would provide a central base of operations from which a larger invasion could be launched in the future.

The Zaheya consisted of a group of twenty well-trained Arabs in a unit designated as al-Askerin-Zaubi (Storm Troopers). They were led by a deserter from the British Army named Arsalaan Sikes, who was respectfully addressed as Sikes Pasha by his men. Additionally, a handpicked unit of twenty Iranian Special Forces troopers led by hard-core Captain Naser Khadid of the Iranian SF served as an essential part of the assault element. A fire support group was under the direct command of Brigadier Khohollah. He had chosen his newly appointed adjutant, Captain Jamshid Komard, as the actual field commander of the heavy weapons organization. They were set up for rapid deployment to specific areas when needed.

Khohollah could also expect infusions of Arab insurgents from time to time. These would be graduates of the Iranian Special Forces Training Center, set up to prepare the mujahideen for unconventional warfare. After the tough eight-week course, the volunteers were destined to be funneled into Sikes Pasha's unit. This Brit turncoat enjoyed the very real possibility that he might end up with a hundred or so fully equipped and well-trained assault riflemen under his direct command.

The fortified position occupied by the Zaheya along the Afghan border had been constructed a year and a half before by Iranian Army personnel under the supervision of Russian military engineers. They and their construction equipment and machines had been flown in undetected by a small fleet of Mi-10 flying crane helicopters at a time when the site was largely ignored. A high mountain area with an empty, flat terrain at its apex offered a perfect landing spot. The personnel, equipment, and stores needed for construction went from there to the site of the fortification on a road hacked out of the side of the mountain.

The Russian supervisors took advantage of a series of caves in the area, connecting them with deep trenches and well-fortified fighting positions that faced eastward, toward Afghanistan. Wells were also sunk to bring up pure cold artesian water. No doubt the veterans of the Soviet-Afghan War among the job bosses were delighted to be constructing a project that had a realistic potential of dealing death and destruction to the Afghan fighters who had made their lives so miserable back in the 1980s.

The Iranian officers coordinating the effort emphasized the need for protection against aerial attack, since the chance of Western air forces being engaged against the site was almost a certainty. The Russians complied by reinforcing the fortifications with tiers of heavy logs and packed earth. The caves required no additional construction or alterations.

.

0700 HOURS

BRIGADIER Shahruz Khohollah stood in front of his assembled force in the field that once served construction helicopters. To his left he looked on Sikes Pasha and his twenty-man force of al-Askerin-Zaubi. The Storm Troopers looked magnificent and nearly exotic with their keffiyehs as they stood at a strict position of attention. They gave the impression of soldiering in the old British colonial days when white officers, often from working-class backgrounds, turned to the dangers of isolated areas in Queen Victoria's empire as their only chance for military glory and high rank. The old tradition was now being carried out in a twisted manner by Archibald Sikes, an English lad from working-class Manchester.

The middle formation of the brigadier's force was made up of Captain Naser Khadid and the twenty Iranian Special Forces troopers. They had adopted the name Shiraane Saltanati (Imperial Lions). The Shiraane--as they were referred to within the Zaheya--were clad in camouflage battle dress, sporting the black berets of Special Forces. These were modern empire builders, drawn into an impending do-or-die war by a fiercely ambitious government.

And over to the brigadier's right was the fire support group led by Captain Jamshid Komard. They were dressed in the same uniforms as the Special Forces, except their headgear consisted of small black turbans styled in the manner of those widely worn in northern Iran. This detachment was divided into three two-man crews for the Spanish LAG-40 grenade launchers, and seven two-man crews for the German MG-3 machine guns. These were pragmatic, determined men who had taken no special name for themselves. It was enough knowing that the riflemen would depend on them for covering fire to accomplish assigned missions, whether attacking or defending.

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