Dear Diary

It took some time but now I’m ready to start writing again. 

I have been in my first real battle – and I think that I killed another human being. I’m not completely sure so I don’t really know how to feel about it. I don’t have any feelings of regret, I know that much. But I’m not that keen on having to do it again.

We were on one of our many reconnaissance trips when all of a sudden our “colonel” stopped us. Once again he sent the scout far ahead. 

When he came back, we were ordered to take up position. We were to dig trenches and find a lot of wood to use for cover. We were placed just on one edge of a clearing in the forest and it was obvious that our “colonel” figured that the enemy would try to cross it from the other side. 

We lay there and waited for some hours.

The Danes first kill described by himself
His first kill – maybe

Then the leaves on the opposite side started to move and were pulled to the side. I was ready to start shooting right then and there, but the “colonels” orders were very clear. We were not to fire before he said to. 

The soldiers were moving into the clearing. There must have been about 30 of them walking in three rows. In the front of each row there were two soldiers with rifles. Behind them came the one who was obviously in command – probably a sergeant. Following him closely was a guy carrying a huge radio on his back. After them there came a pair of soldiers, one of them carrying a large machine gun. At the back of each row there were four more guys of which at least two carried some sort of grenade launcher og bazooka. 

When they all had come out into the clearing, and there was no more than 50 meters between us and their foremost soldiers, we opened fire. It sounded like an explosion when all our guns fired almost simultaneously. I think that at least 10 of them fell in this round alone. It is hard to tell precisely because all the other soldiers threw themselves on the ground at the same time. 

We kept on shooting. All the time while looking at the soldiers trying to crawl away from us we kept shooting at them. They fired back but it was clear that they didn’t really know what to fire at. Their bullets came in our general direction, but they weren’t aimed at us. One bullet whizzed right by me and hit the tree that I was lying next to. 

It was all over again so fast. The enemy ran away as fast as they could and we still fired at them. In a war it is OK to shoot your enemy in the back. 

ambushing soldiers in the diary
Ambushing

As soon as our “colonel” meant that they were far enough away from us, he ordered our retreat. At first it was a slow retreat because we were sneaking away so that the enemy wouldn’t know that we had left. just as soon as we were far enough away, we started running. I didn’t know why but they were all running like their lives depended on it, so I followed along as best I could. They sure are fast little guys, those Vietnamese. 

I ran out of breath almost immediately and had to stop several times but the “colonel” kept screaming at me to keep running – and thank God for that.

We had only just gotten away when we heard the fighter planes above us. They came thundering in from the south and firebombed it all with napalm. In a second everything became a sea of flames. No one on our side got hurt or hit but I’m not sure that the forest is going to grow back anytime soon. 

As I said I’m not sure if I shot a man myself. They all fell down. But I do believe that the soldier that I aimed for fell down in an unnatural way. The way has started – for me too. I still don’t have a bad conscience. I killed for what I believe in. On the other hand I’m also sure that the man I shot didn’t deserve to die, he was just following orders. 

I still think that I made the right choice even if I am never going to believe that war solves anything. Why can’t we all just live in peace? Why must our beliefs, religion and politics always lead to war? I don’t believe in it and yet I am ready to die for this cause. That is one of the paradoxes within myself that I will probably never understand.

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