Our Diggers betrayed in hell of Afghanistan
The Daily Telegraph
September 21, 2010
A SOLDIER who fought alongside dead Digger Jared Mackinney in Afghanistan said his mate would still be alive if the troops had received adequate fire support and better intelligence.
In a stunning email to a friend in Australia obtained by The Daily Telegraph the soldier, who cannot be named, said it was a miracle that five or six more Australians were not killed during the Battle of Derapet on August 24.
Full Battle Video here
The soldier also revealed that, far from being an ambush, the Australian and Afghan National Army soldiers were expecting to be attacked as they patrolled the green zone at Deh Rawood, 60km west of Tarin Kowt.
The Digger, from the 1st Mentoring Task Force, accused the Australian Army of exposing troops to unnecessary risks.
"That contact would have been over before Jared died if they gave us f ... ..g mortars," he said.
Lance Corporal Mackinney's widow Becky gave birth to their second child, a son Noah, just five hours after his funeral service in Brisbane on September 10. He was the 21st of 22 Australian soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan.
The soldier said his section had been in a contact 100m from the same spot two days earlier and reports from sappers clearing bombs on the morning of the battle said civilians were fleeing.
"That told us it was going to be on," he said in the email.
The patrol's first big surprise was the size of the enemy force.
No intelligence reports had prepared the two sections of about 24 men each for a confrontation with up to 100 enemy attacking from multiple firing positions as close as 80m away.
"We were at times pinned down by a massive rate of fire but we stuck to it. We are not operating in platoon-size groups so this is hard when you can't manoeuvre sections against them, but we tried to fix them so we could destroy them with air assets," he said.
But the second shock for the Diggers, who were forced to withdraw as they started to run low on ammunition, was the complete lack of fire support from artillery, mortars or aircraft.
"We are not f ... ing happy, but then again the BG [Battle Group] f ... s up the intelligence report because a certain ... writes it from the signal log book [radio log of conversation] instead of getting contact reports, patrol reports and a patrol debrief," he wrote.
"The army has let us down mate and I am disgusted."
The soldier, from Brisbane's 6th Battalion, said an unmanned spy plane flew above the battlefield pin-pointing enemy positions throughout the three-hour contact, but effective fire support failed to materialise.
"We gave them qala reference numbers off the map [each house in each village has a qala number], 10 figure grids and even expended all our 66mm rockets marking the targets with HE (high explosive) and we still had no joy. Everyone is too scared about collateral damage."
He said Lance Corporal Mackinney died almost half an hour into the battle.
"Jared got hit and the boys were working on him but he would have been gone already," he said.
"They were copping rounds the whole time, all the way through to loading him on the AME [Aero Medical Evacuation chopper]."
The Digger also slammed the lack of air support provided by an American Apache helicopter that flew just two offensive strafing runs all day.
"Air took time, f ... k knows why, and when it finally turned up it flew around for about 25 minutes."
The soldier's blunt email has been circulated to senior officers including Defence Chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.
Announcing the casualty in Canberra on August 25, ACM Houston said there was a "lot of support provided by the Apache helicopter".
He also told Australians that Lance Corporal Mackinney had been killed "very early on" in the battle.
According to the email, most fire support came from Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAVs) providing overwatch to the joint Australian-Afghan patrol from a nearby hillside.
The soldier's plea was strongly supported by retired counter-insurgency expert Major General Jim Molan, a coalition operational commander in Iraq, who said the Federal Government should immediately send Abrams tanks and Army Tiger attack helicopters before more soldiers died.
"We must never incur casualties because the support for our soldiers was not fast enough, not accurate enough or not able to be used because of rules of engagement," General Molan said.
The Government has to date ignored all pleas to send more troops or weapons.
During the Vietnam War, the Australian Labor Party and its Marxist Union fundraisers and financiers, the Australian Council of Trade Unions, directly funded and assisted the North Vietnamese Communist Army.
Today our troops are in Afghanistan the same Government whilst importing into Australia as many male Afghani “refugee’s” as it can is depriving Australian Soldiers of weapons and supplies as well as this recent attack upon Australia’s Finest,I guess they just cannot help but follow their hearts whenever it comes to choosing between Australians and “ENTER NAME OF ANYONE DEDICATED TO KILLING AUSTRALIANS HERE”
Former Labor Leader Latham coming clean over his party's dislike of Australia's Military Forces.
Australia: Australian Affirmative Action appointee and Socialist TRASH to prosecute Australian Soldiers.
Australia’s Finest laid to rest, Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney’s wife gives birth hours after Funeral of her Husband