A hero who led from the front

Three dead and inspiring commander seriously wounded: A terrifyingly graphic despatch from the Afghan frontline

They caught us out in the open, some way from cover and at almost point-blank range. But for their poor marksmanship, that would have been that. 

We were in the front section of six men, half-way across a ploughed field, when automatic fire from at least two Taliban fighters about 80 yards to our front right came crackling past us. 

'Go firm!' someone shouted, meaning that we should get down immediately. Then, a heartbeat later, with our noses in the dust and the crackle intensifying: 'We can't stay here. Get to cover, move, move, move!'

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