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By Frank Walker

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Only his section in the listening post had seen the size of the enemy force on the road south of their position and he didn't think anyone in authority was taking the numbers into account. Riddle had a bad feeling. His internal radar was registering danger ahead. Bloody Arrowsmith didn)t see them packed down that road, he thought. He)s got no idea how many of them there are. We)re heading right into Indian country just like General Custer. They'll be in the trees and bushes all around us) waiting for the right moment.

He had to signal his position to the pilot, and fast. He scrambled up the rise and rummaged in his backpack. He pulled out a torch, along with a transparent bit of red plastic he'd packed for just this kind of situation. He AMBUSH AT THUA TICH • 25 positioned the red plastic over the torch and stuck it into the ground pointing straight up. 'OK, I can see you now,' called back the pilot. Thank Christ for that, thought Riddle. The pilot knew the Australians were all positioned to the west of the road so he lined up his guns on the eastern side.

This can't be norma4 he thought. Board was a mechanic who'd been conscripted into the army and posted to the cavalry. He'd been in Vietnam just five weeks and this was the 20-year-old's first patrol outside the base, his very first taste of action. All through the afternoon and night he'd jumped at the slightest noise in the bush. He'd shared a brew with Riddle before dark and was impressed with the seasoned soldier's calm. He'd also noted the giant knife strapped to Riddle's thigh and the myriad weapons hanging off him.

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