A swirl of mist and masonry dust obscured the target for a few seconds as I scanned the opposite bank through my SUIT. It was deathly quiet. The anticipation of the coming assault was not hidden well by my lads who waited silently in the warehouse. I couldn't see the enemy, but there were tell-tail signs that they were there. Smoke from cooking fires was rising slowly from holes in the roofs of the dock-side
warehouses. To my left, the skeletal remains of the once proud Tower bridge rose elegantly from the murky waters of the Thames, as a fine rain began to descend from the Grey skies of London. I Looked at my watch. 0550, time to go. I shouted my boy's to board the small tug that would take us across, 4 of them each taking two sections to assault execution dock. We were headed for 'zulu' one; the left sector of the assault. I stepped into the boat which had an open plan back and my troops followed. We started slowly drifting into the Thames. The enemy bank remained silent. The rain began to fall harder as we trailed through the mist. The water was cloudy, the mud churning up like chocolate milkshake as the rain pattered gently, breaking its even surface. The air remained cold on my lungs, the smell of the tide and diesel from the tugs engine taking a heavy toll on my stomach as i fought to keep down my last meal. The enemy side remained strangely quiet, as if dead, but we all knew that this was a fallacy, a dream we were about to be woken from.
Webster was the first man to die, as a sniper round tore off the left side of his face, and he dropped into the boat! we all hunched down, and Williams took the second bullet, and Mcloghlin the third. Then the enemy bank erupted into activity, concealed machine guns roared into life, and pelted the water around us... some smashing into the boat, others into the soldiers crouched down inside. There was incoming mortar fire too, and our Sustained fire position on our bank was trying to deal with the enemy, but to no avail. We tried keeping low, until an RPG round hit the front of the boat and it began to roll, there was only three or four of us still alive when the water reached my legs, its freezing temperature instantly burning, and then numbing as it engulfed my body and the cold, muddy and blood laced water covered my face. I spluttered, and tasted the mod, and to my immediate horror, the metallic taste of blood. Lumps of flesh floated past, and then i realised the weight of my webbing was pulling me under.
...Another boat arrived, and a strong pair of hands grasped my webbing straps and hauled by onto it, the cold air on my wet clothes punishing my frail and exhausted body, but they too had suffered casualties, and were severely diminished when we finally hit jetty. The few of us who remained were physically and emotionally exhausted from the crossing. The Boat hit the side, we were in a murder hole... directly under the defences, looking up towards the union positions, we scrabbled on the slippery wood, trying to get a foothold, and I was hauled onto someones shoulders and pushed from the boat onto the Jetty. I dropped flat, and instead of securing the area became scarily aware of my own mortality, so i reached over and began to haul up what was left of my men...
...We'd made it thus far. The crossing had practically wiped out the spearhead. We we're now numbering less than 20, and huddled against the wall of Peninsular Wharf. We waited presently to catch our breath, and then to keep momentum, i ordered the advance. Stacking by the first door we waited patiently... 'Go Red!' I called forward, and the door was kicked in, followed quickly by a grenade, and then the first two men disappeared inside. We followed as they called the room clear, and we re-organised ourselves, and i detailed rooms to be checked and cleared... My breath was coming in short bursts, and i could still taste blood in my mouth by the time i popped the purple smoke to let the battalion know the building was secure, and to send over the next wave... but to us now, this was all just beginning!