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Tunnel war: SAS used knives in hand-to-hand fight for caves
The Sunday Times (U.K.) ^ | 12/09/2001 | ROBERT WINNETT

Posted on 12/08/2001 9:14:57 PM PST by Pokey78

IT WAS a tough challenge for the SAS but after a firefight lasting more than two hours 27 Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters lay dead, 30 were wounded and 30 captured.

Britain’s elite troops had taken an enemy mountain stronghold with relative ease, although four of them were injured and their main quarry, Osama Bin Laden, had eluded them.

Fresh details have emerged of the daring assault on the cave complex near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan: it was mounted after American intelligence said it knew where the world’s most wanted man was — to within 85 square yards.

The mission began in the early hours a fortnight ago, when about 100 men from two SAS squadrons were taken by Chinook helicopters from their base to a drop-off point about 12 miles from their mountain target.

From there the troops marched undetected to a series of narrow gullies, some only a few feet wide but more than 100ft deep, where Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters had built a network of caves, trenches and bunkers.

Several of the Britons knew the terrain, having worked there in the recent past on a secret operation to undermine the Afghan heroin trade.

Some of the trenches ran along the floors of the gullies and up their sides. Other defences included tunnels similar to those used by the Vietcong in Vietnam and emplacements built out of large rocks.

It was in this heavily fortified complex that Bin Laden was thought to be.

The SAS plan was simple: most of the troops would fire at a position while one or two crept close enough to “post” hand grenades into it.

Having flushed the enemy from one position — either killing them or forcing them to flee — the unit would seize it and attack the next target.

The squadrons were in close radio contact with American air support, which could fly overhead and bomb the larger bunker networks, guided by SAS soldiers signalling with hand-held lasers.

Operating under what is believed to be the radio name Alpha One-One, the first SAS unit to reach the gully complex was just yards away from a bunker when it opened fire. The ferocity of the response took the British troops by surprise.

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and RPG-7 grenade launchers, showed “no regard for their own safety”, said one source. They left their positions and ran, firing at the SAS lines until they were killed or wounded.

The allied mission became a frenzied firefight in which the two sides were often less than 12ft apart. Bullets ricocheted off the sides of the gullies as hundreds of rounds of ammunition were spent from all angles.

Some SAS soldiers were also involved in hand-to-hand combat in which knives are said to have been used.

During the battle, which lasted 2Å hours, sources say several enemy fighters were shot at point-blank range and some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths.

The two SAS squadrons came up against about 200 fighters. Under normal British military doctrine the attacking troops should have had a three-to-one advantage, or 600 men, before launching the attack.

Taliban and Al-Qaeda soldiers who were not killed or taken prisoner fled.

Although there was no trace of Bin Laden in the mountain hideaway, the mission was still declared a success.

Of the four SAS soldiers injured, only one was seriously wounded, but the toll could have been far higher had it not been for the body armour the troops wore. Several soldiers are understood to have escaped harm despite being shot in the chest.

The four casualties were evacuated by Chinook before being flown home in a Hercules transport plane. The seriously injured soldier was treated in an operating theatre on the plane during the flight back to Britain. It is understood that he had been shot in the stomach and could also lose a leg.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 12/08/2001 9:14:57 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: summer; Sabertooth
Ping
2 posted on 12/08/2001 9:15:43 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Thanks "Senior" Pokey - "salute". I enjoy your posts.
3 posted on 12/08/2001 9:22:07 PM PST by PokeyJoe
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To: PokeyJoe
BTW, you'll never guess what my 9 year old Basset hound is named?

Pokey Joe, but we usually just call him Pokey. hehe

4 posted on 12/08/2001 9:24:38 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
Note to self...Don't piss off the SAS (or the SEALs, Delta Force, Rangers, Recon, etc)
5 posted on 12/08/2001 9:25:55 PM PST by Rokke
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To: Pokey78
some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths.

Perhaps Walker would have been more inclined to talk had the SAS gotton hold of him first. CIA were rather charitable in comparison.

6 posted on 12/08/2001 9:27:34 PM PST by klee
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To: Pokey78
and some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths.

I hope they poked some crap with the barrel of their guns first.

7 posted on 12/08/2001 9:30:00 PM PST by BrooklynGOP
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To: Pokey78
A big bump for the Brits! Kickin ass and not even takin names..
8 posted on 12/08/2001 9:30:25 PM PST by Paradox
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To: Pokey78
Incredible illustration of difference in training. This is rifle against rifle. Clearly the Al-Qaeda were brave to a fault -- but their tactics simply didn't measure up. The lopsided result is stunning.
9 posted on 12/08/2001 9:34:58 PM PST by jlogajan
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To: Pokey78
It is understood that [the SAS soldier] had been shot in the stomach and could also lose a leg.

Executing a mission like that one successfully with only one serious injury speaks volumes about the skill level of these brave Brits.

10 posted on 12/08/2001 9:37:46 PM PST by Genesis defender
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To: Pokey78
SAS guys are a cut above all other special forces untits. Truly badass.
11 posted on 12/08/2001 9:37:50 PM PST by nikola
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To: Pokey78
Thanks Pokey. Now we know what to do with all other captured Talibanis and A Queeradas captured. The ones the Washington ComPost, Leaky Leahy and quite a few on FR are afraid that their rights will be violated.

Just turn them over to the SAS for info and a quick in field tribunal, as per this story, some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths."

Sounds good to me. I never worry about the rights of fanatics who have killed innocent Americans and promise to kill more! Maybe those in lust to defend these fanatics can fly over to Afghanistan and discuss points of law with these SAS troopers!

12 posted on 12/08/2001 9:43:28 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: Pokey78
I love articles like this (I bet we read a thousand more before this is over)! Holy cow, fighting with knives! How many of us are up to that?

Somebody help me out here. I'm missing something and it's bothering me. If a taliboob gets his hands on one of those laser pointers, what's to prevent him from lighting up our troops? Do they change the laser frequency every hour or what? (Just curious. Don't tell me if it's a loose lips thing!)

13 posted on 12/08/2001 9:43:35 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: BrooklynGOP
"and some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths.

I hope they poked some crap with the barrel of their guns first.

Actually that would be redundant as the SAS troops actually shoved their rifle barrels into these pieces of cr*p!

14 posted on 12/08/2001 9:46:40 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: nikola; MadIvan
SAS guys are a cut above all other special forces units. Truly badass.

It's too bad that since they're British, they all sound gay. :-)

15 posted on 12/08/2001 9:51:52 PM PST by krb
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To: klee
" ...some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths.

Monday - nothing
Tuesday - nothing
Wednesday - nothing
Thursday - nothing
Friday - Good one, some corn and a little blood.

I couldn't help myself, it's late! I sure hope they kill him!

16 posted on 12/08/2001 9:52:58 PM PST by Bill Rice
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: LibWhacker
If a taliboob gets his hands on one of those laser pointers, what's to prevent him from lighting up our troops?

I think there's a bit of voice-radio coordination going on. "We are liking very much for you to be bombing where we are pointing, Allah be praised." -- would probably not cut it.

18 posted on 12/08/2001 9:54:02 PM PST by jlogajan
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To: jlogajan
LOL
19 posted on 12/08/2001 9:55:57 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Foghat
Thought you would like too see this one!
20 posted on 12/08/2001 9:56:13 PM PST by suni
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To: jlogajan
And btw, thank you! :-)
21 posted on 12/08/2001 9:57:50 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: Bill Rice
LOL
22 posted on 12/08/2001 10:01:47 PM PST by klee
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To: Bill Rice
all your movements are belong to us
23 posted on 12/08/2001 10:05:04 PM PST by seams2me
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To: Pokey78
"... but the toll could have been far higher had it not been for the body armour the troops wore. Several soldiers are understood to have escaped harm despite being shot in the chest."...

Man, I betcha the Talibunnies' eye got as big as silver dollars after shooting a Brit at point blank range in the chest, watch him go down and get right back up. Hope the SAS was screaming "Allah Akbar" as he resumed his attack.

If that don't make you rethink who side G-d might be on, nothing will.

24 posted on 12/08/2001 10:05:42 PM PST by woofer
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To: Pokey78
I keep thinking of that line from the Crocodile Dundee movie: 'That's not a knife...THIS is a knife!'
25 posted on 12/08/2001 10:06:29 PM PST by Free Vulcan
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To: Rokke
If the SAS can't get the job done, they send in the Manchester United fans.
26 posted on 12/08/2001 10:10:10 PM PST by Pharmboy
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To: BrooklynGOP
...and some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths.

Well...! It sure sounds like some civil rights were violated here!

27 posted on 12/08/2001 10:10:43 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Pokey78
Bump

Go SAS and US Superforces!

28 posted on 12/08/2001 10:11:00 PM PST by Professional
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To: krb
It's too bad that since they're British, they all sound gay. :-)

You'd better be bloody smiling when you say that.

Ivan
29 posted on 12/08/2001 10:11:14 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: Free Vulcan
The USMC have a pretty nice knife too:


30 posted on 12/08/2001 10:12:12 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Free Vulcan

31 posted on 12/08/2001 10:12:34 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: woofer; Squantos
The state of the art in body armor are plates which are slid into pockets on the front of soft armored vests. These plates are about 12" high by 10" wide, weigh @ 4lbs, are made of exotic composites, and will stop at least six 7.62NATO rounds point blank, (not fired at the same spot).
32 posted on 12/08/2001 10:16:54 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
and will stop at least six 7.62NATO rounds point blank, (not fired at the same spot).

Sounds like a man's best friend :)

33 posted on 12/08/2001 10:24:14 PM PST by BrooklynGOP
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To: Djk
If you believe that, you can be truly called a patriot.
34 posted on 12/08/2001 10:30:10 PM PST by droberts
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To: Travis McGee
" I came here to kick a** and chew bubble gum, and I'm all out of bubble gum."
35 posted on 12/08/2001 10:30:19 PM PST by TONEMAN
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To: Grampa Dave; Travis McGee; Squantos; backhoe
some captives were forced into revealing information about Bin Laden’s movements by having the barrels of machineguns shoved into their mouths."

I can't quite make out what your saying, could you please speak directly into the microphone?

36 posted on 12/08/2001 10:31:32 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig
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To: Pokey78
SAS bump! Let's keep these brave men in prayer!
37 posted on 12/08/2001 10:51:50 PM PST by brat
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To: Pokey78
Someone had this on a thread I read today, I believe it belongs here! Good Going Guys!

A Taliban Army Platoon Vs One Marine

A Taliban Army platoon was on patrol when the commander noticed a lone Marine standing on a hilltop in their area.

The commander told two of his soldiers to go take out the Marine, so they dropped their packs and promptly ran as fast as they could toward him.

Just before they got to the top, the Marine ran over the other side of the hill.

The two soldiers followed. For the next few minutes there were bloody screams and dust flying in the air. Then as quick as it had started, it stopped and the Marine came up on the hilltop. He brushed off his cammies, straightened his cover, crossed his arms and stood there looking at the Taliban soldiers.

The infuriated commander called for a squad to go get the Marine. They promptly ran as fast as they could toward him.

Just before they got to the top, the Marine ran over the other side of the hill. The squad followed, and for the next few minutes there were bloody screams and dust flying in the air. Then as quick as it had started, it stopped and the Marine came up on the hilltop. Brushed off his cammies, straightened his cover, crossed his arms and stood there looking at the Taliban soldiers once again.

The commander was really hot now. He ordered the rest of his platoon to attack the Marine. Determined that Taliban soldiers were far superior to one lone Marine, they had blood in their eyes as they ran up the hill.

Just before they got to the top, the Marine ran over the other side of the hill. The bloodthirsty soldiers followed. For many minutes there were horrific screams and dust flying in the air. It continued and continued.

Finally, one lone Taliban soldier came crawling back to the commander, all bloody and beat about the head and shoulders. His uniform was torn; cuts were all over his body.

The commander asked for a report. The lone soldier, trying to catch his breath, replied in a forceful and trembling voice:

"Sir,...run,...it's a trick. There are TWO of them!!

38 posted on 12/08/2001 11:14:51 PM PST by horsewhispersc
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To: Travis McGee
will stop at least six 7.62NATO rounds point blank

Al_Qeasies were probably using 7.62x39, alhtough 5.45x39 is possible. The former is lighter and slower than 7.62Nato, while the latter is lighter but faster and has less area. It might be a harder round to stop. But the older AK-47 round is more likely, since the AKs are everywhere and there is plenty of the ammunition about..I've even got some, but then I've got more 7.62NATO, Portuguese mostly. Binny Boy's Krinkov, a stubby AK type, probably is 5.45x39

39 posted on 12/08/2001 11:15:44 PM PST by El Gato
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To: El Gato
At six pounds, the armor plate will stop 7.62NATO AP rounds.
40 posted on 12/08/2001 11:18:16 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: jjbrouwer
Ping
41 posted on 12/08/2001 11:50:27 PM PST by klee
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To: klee; tonycavanagh; di_canio_volley; MadIvan
Thanks for the *ping* Kay. The SAS is a very professional organisation. I think they are respected throughout the free world.

This little manoeuvre might end up as a movie in a few years time once we start to find out exactly what happened.

I'm sure someone will write a first-hand experience book, a la Andy McNab.
42 posted on 12/09/2001 12:17:51 AM PST by jjbrouwer
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To: TONEMAN
"Tell them I'm coming. And Hell's coming with me!"
43 posted on 12/09/2001 12:32:56 AM PST by SurferDoc
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To: big ern; Travis McGee
I'll bet those SAS Boys really miss them Gurkahs wid dem big ol knifes :o)

Stay Safe Ya'll !

44 posted on 12/09/2001 12:34:38 AM PST by Squantos
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
BUMP
46 posted on 12/09/2001 4:44:40 AM PST by RippleFire
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To: jjbrouwer
Brilliant little piece isnt it JJ? The very best part being they all made it out alive. Wonder if they had a few kiwis and Aussies mixed in there. They are a proud lot. Not the kind youd like to meet on a cold dark night. Cant wait to read Andy's version.:-)
47 posted on 12/09/2001 6:28:55 AM PST by klee
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To: MadIvan
Big smile...there was an old episode of Saturday Night Live when Norm MacDonald did the "Fake News" Weekend Update where they lampooned the British Military's decision to reiterate their oposition to gays serving in the military. He ended the story with a great Norm deadpan, "which brings up an interesting point...just how do you tell when a British person is gay?" Split my sides right open... I can't read a story about the British military without thinking about that sketch (hmmm, of course the SAS are a scary bunch o' dudes...I probably should rethink that when I read SAS stories :-)
48 posted on 12/09/2001 1:59:37 PM PST by krb
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To: Pokey78
Another great post.
49 posted on 12/09/2001 3:03:49 PM PST by summer
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To: Paradox
No use takin' a name you can't pronounce.
50 posted on 12/09/2001 3:07:35 PM PST by TADSLOS
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