Major Ismail Salleh - PGB & Lt David Fu Chee Meng - PGB, In A Battle At Tanah Hitam
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Sharpened stakes were driven into the ground, near the fire trenches. The trenches were very well camouflaged, it would have been very difficult to spot them unless a very close reconnaissance was conducted. Claymore mines were laid facing the probable or likely direction the enemy would approach, the M57 (firing device for claymores) was held by LCpl Abdullah, who was the commander of the GPMG (Mag 58) team. The soldiers having not bathed for the last 4 days, on the 27th August 1970, approached Lt David to request permission to have a bath.
Left : Claymore Mine (click on image to enlarge)
They were not allowed as their OC, Major Ismail had instructed, that no one was allowed to do anything until the Enemy had arrived and they had destroyed them. As the Enemy were expected to arrive at anytime. They were told in no uncertain terms that all movement must be minimized to maintain secrecy. They were not to be too far away from their fire trenches.
At around 1000 hours that day whilst they were cooking for lunch some soldiers decided to fry their combat rations for lunch, releasing an overpowering smell. Lt David blew his top and was furious, he told the soldiers to cease and desist, as the smell could carry far away, which would give away their hard built location. After lunch normally some of them would nap. An ambush is like going on a fishing trip. Some of them engaged in conversations, boredom is one of the early visitors in an ambush. At around 1500 hours they got another round of shelling from Lt David, this time for boiling water, which was done out of the allocated cooking time, the serious part being he could smell the water being boiled.
As they were sitting and engaging in an aimless conversation the distant sounds of twigs and bamboo being stepped upon carried to their ears. The never ending sounds were continuous, were coming towards their way. One by one they leapt into the fire trenches. After some time a figure was seen observing the area, the figure was the enemy’s leading scout, must have heard something to discomfit him. The enemy looked carefully, scanning the area in front of him, apparently he must have heard something.
The Enemy halted around 35 yards from the foremost trench. He stood in front of the claymore mine. The second enemy scout moved forward to the leading enemy scout, who was carrying two weapons. The third and fourth enemy had stopped in their tracks. Another group of the enemy, who were behind the third and fourth enemy, moved forward. Continued here....