Over the Hills and Faraway.. Book 2 ;Relationships
Chapter 16: Operation Granby ; Kuwait November 1990-March 1991
Copyright© 2011 by Jack Green
Sex Story: Chapter 16: Operation Granby ; Kuwait November 1990-March 1991 - After the latest contretemps with his wife Des has several one night stands, but then embarks on a torrid affair with a MILF. When she disappears he takes up with her friend and discovers a woman of many parts! Their sizzling sexual Paradise is undermined by the serpent of the different worlds they inhabit, and when Des returns from another war they realise that they are moving east of Eden.However as one door closes another one opens and Paradise might be regained!
We flew out from RAF Brize Norton on the 14th November in some huge Yank aircraft, a Galaxy I think, they all look alike to me. As I sat in my relatively comfortable seat I thought of the last time I had gone to war; in a luxurious cruise liner no less, the QE II. Of course we had travelled squaddie class and didn't have white coated stewards waiting on us hand foot and finger. It took nearly 5 weeks to get down to the Islands, and I made some good mates amongst 3 Para, my travelling companions. There were two Para lads who were even younger than I was and the three of us spent much of our off duty time together. One of the poor buggers is still on the Falklands; I saw him practically disintegrate as a rocket propelled grenade, or an anti-tank shell, hit him as we struggled up Mount Longdon. In fact some of his brains and blood splattered all over me, which was one of the reasons why I was nearly out of my mind when I came across the Argie. I shook my head to get those past images out of my head.
Wurzel was sat next to me on the aircraft and he wasn't a happy bunny. He had waited over two years to get his end away with Mandy and less than six months of married bliss, and practically non –stop shagging, and he's being sent off to war! Still it's one of the perks of the army that you get sent 'in harm's way' from time to time, besides which the rest should do him good as he looked absolutely shagged out!
"I'm jacking it in when we get back to Blighty (UK)" Wurzel suddenly announced "how can I keep leaving Mandy on her tod (alone)? She nearly broke her heart when I left; I couldn't put her through all that pain again."
'If you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined' is an old army saying. Not that I was such a mean bastard to tell Wurzel that, instead I said
"She's not on her tod now, Cindy's at home with her."
"Is she buggery!" Wurzel said angrily "She spends most of her time in Basingstoke with that husband of hers."
"Well I'm sure Mandy will have Debs around most nights." I was trying to sooth the poor lovesick sod, but he knew when he got married that sometimes Mandy would be left alone when he got sent away on detachments. That's what you do in the army; travel the world, go to exotic places, meet interesting people ... and kill them!
I managed to get some sleep and woke up when the sound of the engines changed, announcing that we were coming into land at some remote airbase in Saudi Arabia.
You've got to hand it to the Yanks, they can sure organise things. We landed and got processed through a huge hanger; we had all our kit off loaded, had a meal and a crap and were allocated coaches, all in about 2 hours. MoD couldn't' organise a piss up in a brewery, and had they been in charge we would still be getting off the aircraft. The USAF seemed to be running the airbase, and as far as I could see there were no Saudis on the site.
The coaches set off along a road that ran as straight as an arrow across a terrain mostly of scrubland, not exactly desert but not too far removed from the Alberta prairie. The road had a smooth tarmaced surface, and we must have been bombing along about 70 mph. Occasionally we would pass fields of crops, I had no idea what sort, but Wurzel would exclaim.
"Wheat; barley, rye, how the hell do they raise crops like that in this sort of land?"
We found out later when we crested a ridge and saw a whole lot of circular fields spread out before us; they were irrigated by series of water sprinklers like suburbanites use when the summer is long and dry and their lawns start turning brown. These sprinklers were huge, and the water shot out for about 100 feet or more; seems the Saudis use desalinated water, which is supposed to be tasteless, for irrigation.
We de- bussed for a comfort stop by a field of maize (I knew what it was because I'd seen 'North by North West'). Reckon the Saudis breakfast corn flakes from that field would have had a bit of a taste by the time 60 squaddies had finished watering it!
After about 4 hours driving we arrived at a tented city, that's the only way to describe the camp, it was so huge. We were allocated tents and told to get some sleep as the next morning we would start training.
The next 3 months were a mixture of training and boredom, more training and more boredom, and then, just as we thought it couldn't get any worse, more training and still more boredom! At first we just had to get used to living and moving through desert terrain. Next we had to learn how to attack fortified positions, i.e. those protected by 'berms' (bulldozed sand hills), tank traps (ditches), and concrete pill boxes and the like. We spent weeks learning and practising techniques to get past these defences.
It was the boredom that wore down and destroyed morale; we knew that once we got into action we would be OK, but sitting on your jacksie (arse) waiting for the word to go was a bugger. We were kept 'in the picture', as much as we needed to know.We were told that there would an air war to destroy the Iraqi air force and the Iraqi war machine infrastructure. Then the battlefield would be isolated, and we would go in and do our stuff as planned.
About the middle of December we were reacquainted with our APCs. I have no idea how they got from UK to Tent City, but it must have been another example of first rate organisation, so I think that the US had done the logistics. To raise morale we were allowed to paint individual names on the side of our APC. Yogi Beddows had 'Jellowstone Park Ranger' Wurzel had 'Mandy '( obviously ) and I had 'Iron Hammer', which I thought pretty cool, but my section, almost all Spurs fans to a man, weren't too enamoured ... Tough!! (For our transatlantic cousins 'Spurs' refers to the North London football club Tottenham Hotspurs).
One of the biggest niggles was the lack of booze. The Saudis were dead against us having any alcohol and made sure nothing was smuggled in. Then there was the fact of being away from home. Wurzel was like a bear with a sore head, until the army managed to rig up a system that allowed blokes to talk over a satellite link to their loved ones. I did manage to talk to Pippa for a few minutes each session, but I gave most of my air time to Wurzel.
We played football, inter battalion and also against other units, cricket, rugby, tug of war, you name it we did it to keep busy and we did as much physical activity as we could. We also held pub quizzes, without a pub! It was during one of these quizzes that we discovered that one of my section had a dyslexic tongue! Toddy Singleton had joined the section in August and I hadn't had much chance to get to know him, what with all the fuss of getting ready to go overseas, and me living off camp. It started off when we were doing one of those psychological tests from a magazine. One of the questions asked was 'What animal would you like to be?' We had the usual answers Lion, Eagle, Tiger etc. (I said cockroach; they were on earth before mankind and would be here when mankind disappears.). Toddy said 'a brontosaurus'.
"Don't be daft Toddy" said Spud "they've been extinct for millions of years."
"Are they buggery" said Toddy. "Me and me girlfriend saw one in Chessington zoo last May!"
A lot of 'don't be stupid's and 'I know what I saw' until I was brought in to adjudicate.
"What did this brontosaurus look like?" I asked. We couldn't understand Toddy's rather vague description, until Jetex suddenly gave a hoot of laughter and said,
"He means a hippopotamus!"
"Are you sure they're called that hippopwachercall it?" asked Toddy, looking puzzled "I could have sworn the keeper said brontosaurus. I remember coz my bird said that she had a sore arse from sitting on the bus so long getting there!"
"He was taking the piss" said Jetex, "he could see that you was a Tottenham tosser!"
"Next time I'm down that zoo I'll lamp (hit) the sod" Toddy said angrily "bloody carrot cruncher!" (On reflection the keeper had probably said 'Rhinoceros'. Toddy also had dyslexic hearing!)
We had more Toddisms. He was talking about his girlfriend's brother and said, "She's got the full shilling but her brother's acoustic!"
"What 'yer mean, he plays the acoustic guitar?" asked Sparky Marks.
"Nah! He couldn't even play a bloody kazoo, he's acoustic." Toddy went on to explain who his girlfriend's brother could be compared with. "He's like that bloke in that film, the one with that bloke who was in that western film, set in New York."
This sent us off in many directions, including Clint Eastwood in 'Coogan's Bluff', and the TV series 'McCloud', and it was about an hour later when we finally came up with the 'western' film set in New York was 'Midnight Cowboy'! From there it was a small step to Dustin Hoffman in 'Rain man', Toddy meant autistic!
The trouble is now that whenever I mean to say autistic I say acoustic, and people look at me like I'm stupid.
The other Toddism that I sometimes fall into is 'Acapulco'. Once again it came from Toddy, describing a pub he had visited over Watford way, which is practically in the North of England as far as Londoners are concerned.
"We was in this pub near where that Elsan John lives (we knew enough about Toddisms to translate that as Elton John). They had this girl group what sang Acapulco, bloody great they were; very fit sorts, well tasty!" (Extremely attractive)
"What, they were singing Mexican songs?" asked Ric Little.
"Nah!" said Toddy "English stuff, nuffink foreign."
There was then a heated discussion whether Acapulco was in Mexico or Brazil. Jetex cited the Girl from Iponemah as being just down the road from Acapulco, whereas Aggy Ryder swore blind that an Elvis film with the title 'Viva Acapulco' was set in Mexico.
"You mean 'Viva Las bloody Vegas', yer plonker." This comment was from Toddy, who had forgotten that he had started the barney in the first place by mentioning the girl group, singing Acapulco.
Once again I was called on to adjudicate. "Let's look at this logically" I said "can you remember any titles of the songs?" That drew a blank but I persevered. "What about instruments used by the backing group, guitars, zithers, sitars, this should give us a clue."
"They didn't have no backing group," Toddy said wearily,"they was singing Acapulco!"
The penny dropped, he meant a capella!
I can hear you saying to yourselves 'Why is he going on about these stupid things? What about Desert Storm, the attack on the Republican Guard and the other exciting things that happened?' Well, the truth is there are a lot of times in the army, any army, when you are just sitting around on your jacksie waiting for something to happen. This can be just as stressful as being in combat; at least in combat you can get rid of your anger fear and frustration by shooting at something. Waiting to go into action is frustrating, and the fear factor builds up the longer you are kept waiting. These somewhat silly episodes with Toddy helped to bring down the stress factor; having a laugh is the best defence against low morale.
This was especially true at the time of the 'Acapulco' discussion. It was Christmas Day, always a bad time to be away from home; we had no alcohol to at least have a pint to lift our spirits, and we were in the middle of a shit storm.
You will have heard of sand storms, when sand is blown at gale force, and you get to know what sandblasting really means? Well a shit storm is a dust storm, that creep up like a quiet fart, until suddenly you are surrounded by a fog of choking, blinding, irritating, gets in everywhere, sharp, clogging, and ubiquitous dust. We had been warned to expect it and as we had APCs equipped with a filter system, designed to cut down the amount of chemical and biological agents, used in an NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) attack, from getting inside the vehicle, we weren't too badly off. Those poor sods who weren't armoured infantry had to put on their SR 6 respirators or a wet cloth over their mouth and nose, and suffer.
The half hour or so of the storm we whiled away laughing at Toddisms rather than being in a strop (bad mood), as the heat inside the APC rose and tempers frayed. After the shit storm came the clean-up. We had put sheets over the engine and gun but still the dust got in, and hours were spent getting rid of it. Our personal weapons were inside with us so it wasn't too bad. Cloggy Clegg swore blind he had some dust under his foreskin, but unless he had been trying to carnally mount one of the camels belonging to the local Arabs I don't see how he could have. Mind you, he was a Millwall supporter ... say no more!
As the New Year, 1991 moved on the boredom rate rose and the morale rate fell. There were incidences of petty insubordination, and of arguments which developed into fights between members of the battalion, the first signs of a unit's falling morale.
The Battle Group commander, Brigadier Grog Watkins, got permission to take the battle group out of the tented city, and we camped about 5 miles to the west, in pristine desert. We hadn't taken our vehicles, and even the tankies (the Queen Own Irish Hussars) had to march, which we thought a great laugh. Grog, living up to his nick- name, had managed to get hold of a number of crates of beer, enough for two cans per man! How the hell he did it we never knew; if he had been caught it would have been the end of his career, but he could see we needed a morale boost, and I suppose he thought that the fighting efficiency of his troops was of more importance than his career – he was an officer of the old school.
Out in the desert, under a canopy of a zillion sparkling stars, we held a smoking evening. There were some cock films, projected onto a bed sheet, which probably did more harm than good, and a concert, with us and the Paddies taking part.
The highlight, other than the cans of beer, was the concert. Gino Frascetti, (who had eventually been promoted to corporal and was now in Bravo Company) and I sang 'Delaney's Donkey' which brought the house down. Two 'cockneys' singing a bog Irish song had the Paddies rolling about, laughing fit to bust.
Fair play to the Paddies they replied in kind, with a bloke singing 'What a Mouth ', and to hear that famous London song in a broad Belfast accent has to be heard to be believed.
The concert finished with the whole lot of us singing 'The Wild Rover', which of course is Irish, but every squaddie in the army knows the words. When it came to the chorus;
"And it's no, nay, never ... in came the interjection, shouted by 1500 voices... 'Right up your kilt!'
No, nay, never no more
Will I plaaay the wild rover, no never no more. "
Had the Iraqis heard us they would have all given up and gone back home.