Lt. Hall climbed to SSG Giessen’s Bradley with such a momentum that the young subordinate was forced inside the turret as if buttoning up. “Where is it?”, Lt. Hall demanded, lying flat on top of the Bradley’s turret and trying to adapt his eyesight to the darkness of the vehicle’s interior. Both Hall and Giessen were looking at the FBCB2 display, trying to make sense of the situation. SSG Giessen was inadvertently de-centering the map by holding the screen with his right hand. His right thumb was right into the mini-map section of the screen, making the touch-sensitive system jump all over different map locations. Lt. Hall slapped Giessen’s right hand out of the screen, as a father would do to keep his child out of the power tools. “There it is … what the f**k … who made this entry into the system?”, Lt Hall asked at the sight of a single enemy tank icon in an un-named Syrian village, three to four hundred meters down the road from the platoon’s position. Visibly disgruntled with Giessen’s lack of response, he jumped through the vehicle’s bustle rack towards the rear of the hull, knocking a couple of empty coolers down the road below.
The third vehicle in the platoon’s column was SSG Olson’s Bradley CFV. Olson was already standing on the hull of his vehicle, waiting for Lt Hall’s orders and trying to cool down with a bottle of water pulled out of wet sock (an improvised cooling device). “You got that tank in your thing [the FBCB2]?”, balked Hall. “Sir, after we cleared a jam in our coax we haven’t been able to boot it up”, responded Olson. The FBCB2 is mounted right in front of the Bradley CFV’s coaxial gun service panel, which means that the FBCB2 keyboard, screen and CPU have to be removed before servicing the gun. The question about the enemy tank was then passed to the last vehicle in the column, SSG Dorn’s Bradley CFV. “L-T, my unit [FBCB2] has been attempting to update during the last four miles, I don’t even have my vehicle’s icon in it”, responded Dorn. “Damn engineers they made these things with less bandwidth than a 1985 dial-up modem from RadioShack”, thought Lt Hall. He then gestured the team leaders to follow him for a hasty briefing in his HMMWV.
The lieutenant pulled a single map sheet out of the HMMWV and spread it on the wide engine lid. His orders were usually brief and this time was no exception.
“I want to develop this [situation] within the next half-hour. There is an enemy tank reported in the village just around that road bend. The village is split in half by a river and connected by two crossings. Go there and take a peak, but leave the tracks out of sight until there’s no tank threat. Giessen, killer [team], left. Olson, hunter [team], center. Dorn, killer [team] right. Giessen and Dorn, pack some Javs [Javelin missiles] after dismounting. Olson, SITREP me good and often, you call the shots.”
To be continued ...