The farther, second bridge looks clear.
But that's the only piece of good news as we get abruptly interrupted by a truck approaching from the same route we took minutes ago.
A truckload of insurgents approaching towards the bridge. My men open fire immediately and we are now officially in contact.
This is not good, what a shame being caught with our pants down. There are too many of them. We need to disengage immediately. I throw a couple of smoke grenades to little effect.
I pull back in the direction of the canal bed, trying to disengage by bounds, with two of my men (team red) left covering #4 and me.
Those damn bushes again ... At #4's and my turn to provide over watch for team read I realize that is going to be very difficult to survive a firefight so outnumbered and with fields of fire so broken up.
My men look at me with incredulity ... I just pulled them into the canal. Your leader willingly putting you in a natural kill zone is not something to cheer about. But we are a small team and I am hoping that I can manage our fields of fire better than in those bushes up there.
Now the insurgents have covered flank approaches to our position. I direct team red to cover the terrain surrounding the bridge while #4 and me cover the flanks. It's a fiery firefight. The insurgents pop out from very close distance.
We take every short lull in the firefight to inch away from the bridge. After a series of cycles of shooting and pulling back, we are now away from the bridge and with a lot of insurgents dead.
It feels good to take our bellies out of the ground and move back to our car. We move cautiously, though as we don't know if the group of insurgents that attacked us is completely eliminated or if they have called for help.
One survivor of the insurgents team makes a run for the truck with the clear intention of escaping. We are at an ethical dilemma here since he is not shooting at us but he could alert some other group out there. Maybe he already did.
He must have been seriously injured, we think, as he wasted the truck in a nearby hill. We don't even bother to check it out up close.
We quickly move back to our car. It feels like an accomplishment. I am still shaky from the firefight we had minutes ago. We don't think it is safe to move through those damned bridges and we report to our coordinator promptly. Time to go back to the safe house.