Flexibility used by Brits in defeating Taliban attack

Times:

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With intercepts of Taliban communications showing that they were trying to surround the troops, Loden began putting together two more sections using engineers and two military policemen who had been investigating the accidental death of another soldier.

“The company sergeant-major made another trip out and back on the quad bike to collect the third casualty, this time coming under fire himself but continuing nonetheless,” he said. “I began assembling more forces to push out to bolster the position on the ground. I sent forward a section of engineers with the second platoon commander to effectively control the rear.



“The second platoon commander tried to push round the flank towards Budd but was engaged by enemy across the river and pinned down. I now created two more sections, one led by a corporal from the sniper section with an engineer staff sergeant as the second-in-command and including the Royal Military Police sergeant and corporal.”

At this point there were 80 troops on the ground while Loden himself co-ordinated artillery, mortars and air support.

One team of soldiers to the east of Sangin reported that Taliban insurgents were moving more weapons out of a mosque and were engaged with mortars.

“RAF Harriers overhead could not identify a target, but would have been too close anyway for bombs. Nonetheless, they fired a rocket that missed by about 700 metres. Thankfully by this stage two Apaches arrived.”

Loden passed control of the Apaches to the first platoon commander who used them to bring down accurate fire on the Taliban positions. Then, with Taliban mortars beginning to home in on the British troops, the first platoon found Budd.

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The headline of the story was about the commander's criticism of the air support and much of the story revolves around the death of a good soldier, but the key to the victory was the flexibility of the commander and troops to adapt to the situation and hold off the enemy until supporting arms could be brought to bear on them.

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