Just then, an explosion rocked the T-55! Cursing, Pavel swung the turret to the left. “Blast! RPGs, 300 left! Dan, load HE!” As Phinin reached for the rack, Sergei clambered up out of the hatch once again and swung the 7.62mm antiaircraft machine gun into position, looking for the enemy soldiers. Seeing the flash of automatic rifles, Sergei could hear the popping sound characteristic of our Kalashnikov automatics, thinly over the roaring diesels as Vadim frantically maneuvered to place the tank’s thickest armor to the front.
Sergei opened fire, spraying the enemy soldiers with machine-gun bullets. Inside the tank, Pavel keyed the interphone. “Vadim, track!”
“Make way!” Vadim pressed the brakes, slowing the tank, and Pavel held his breath, squeezing his triggers. The T-55 rocked back, fire spouting from the 100mm main gun, the shell screaming downrange toward the rocket launcher. Dizzy from the concussion, Sergei shook his head, and out of the corner of his eye spotted another vehicle, close in the fog. He slid back down into the turret, fighting past Dan to get into place behind his rangefinder on the left side, behind Pavel.
“Pavel, traverse right! Target track, azimuth 45 right, range 200, destroy!”
“Load HEAT!” Pavel was excited at this-an enemy MT-LB, a personnel carrier! As Phinin rammed a HEAT round into the breech, the unmistakable sound of ricochets off the turret armor, the MT-LB’s machine gun seeking to put out the tank’s optics, blinding it. A faint hope.
“Vadim, track!” Again the T-55’s main gun let fly, the antitank round impacting its foe, bursting it in flame. Pavel pumped his fist in the air. “Yes!” He looked around to see Dan there and offered him his fist. Phinin cheered him on and punched knuckles with him.
“Quiet!” Sergei swiveled his rangefinder, looking for more targets. All he could see was the destruction wrought by their tank. He took his eyes from the rangefinder and regarded Phinin with a searching look. “We are likely to find more of our mujahid friends as we get closer to Aacy.”
Phinin nodded. “Yes, I think you’re right.”
The story continues tomorrow.
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