first published on January 25, 2019 by Will
Marines in Marjah, Afghanistan find themselves coming under friendly 40mm grenade fire from their mounted element while playing a game of cat and mouse with Taliban insurgents.
Marines in contact with enemy infantry are identifying Taliban targets several hundred meters out. They are engaging the positions with machine gun fire bursts and 40mm grenades.
Suddenly, their nearby mounted element decides they’re going to “help out” as well and sends a couple of bursts of MK-19 automatic grenade launcher fire toward what they think is the enemy’s position.
One of the grenades impacts and bursts on a wall over the heads of the infantry troops. They are rocked by the blast concussion and pelted with chunks of flying debris. At first they think they may be taking indirect mortar fire, but one Marine knew better, and quickly tells the mounted element to check their fire. They were almost killed by their own guys.
They pop green smoke to broadcast their position to their vehicle crews to mitigate further threat of fratricide, but their bad luck persists and the smoke is blown directly back onto their position, choking their breathing and reducing their visibility.
Soon, a vehicle from the mounted element arrives at their position and makes everything right by sweeping the enemy locations with several bursts of accurate high explosive 40mm grenade rounds.