Lensman helped Kess up the gully to a large rock they could use as a vantage point. The young marksman dragged himself to the edge and looked down on the road. A track with anti airs on it was making its way to a firing position. It was time to find out how effective the sabots were.
Below, the troops were falling back one at a time, drawing the attacking force toward a bottleneck. Lensman saw one of his squad fall, and knew he wasn’t getting back up. The next troop through checked the body, made a sign over it, and collected spare clips. To cover the last dash through the gap, two teams loosed one shot rockets at the advancing pack and moved under cover of the debris raised.
Kess estimated where the operator would sit behind the armour on the anti air. He took a deep breath and pulled the trigger as he exhaled. The shot was low, but still a hole punched through the armour and a body tumbled from the track. Kess examined the four barrels of the anti air. There was a gap in the armour where they protruded. Whilst troops huddled behind the track and discussed who should be the next gun operator, Kess put a shot through the gap, hoping to wreck some of the anti air’s mechanism.
Troops advanced up the gully, gaining the squad’s original position. The squad held fire until they started moving again. The volley of fire cut down the first few troops and got heavy fire in return.
A shell on the anti air exploded, clipped by Kess’s shots, setting off a series of detonations that destroyed the weapon. There was a lull in the gunfire as each side was surprised by this turn. A bullet came up the gully, high and wide, followed by others. With his head down, Lensman could still see the bunch of soldiers on the road that broke off from the main group and headed into the trees. “Ec, Mid. They are trying to get round behind us. Head into the trees and cut them off. Garit.”
“Take the last of the rockets and get up there with Kess and see if you can get any as far as the road.”
“Sir.” The three moved off. Lensman surveyed the rest of his squad. He had lost four men so far, to twenty or thirty from the troop convoy. It was a good ratio, but attrition was going to get the better of them if they could not tip the balance even further into their favour.