I continued to watch this man as he repeated his assaults over and over, each time with just as little success as all those that came before.

Unlike the crowd below, we marines on the rooftop knelt behind our wall and looked on in silence. At that time we had nothing to say to each other. I took my eyes off of the crowd for a second to make sure that my magazine was properly installed in my rifle and checked to make sure a round was still chambered. Pulling back the bolt, the ejection-port cover flipped open revealing the dull brass of the cartridge; the sight of it supported the little confidence I had left. I looked over at my close friend Mori to see what he was thinking but his eyes were still fixed on those below us. In between the two of us knelt a sergeant from Bravo Company, but I didn’t care what he was thinking about.

I thought every muscle in my body was already strained to the limit, but then the unmistakable blast of our .50 cal machine gun drowned out every last voice in the crowd. All 84 pounds of this weapon worked to throw rounds out at an effective range of 2,000 meters and at a rate of 550 rounds per minute. It was a short burst of fire, but even a few rounds from this WWII era weapon could prove to be very effective. At first I could not comprehend why we would fire such weapon at unarmed people no more than twenty meters away. All of the air in my lungs was forced out as my muscles constricted even further. The deafening sound of the .50 cal rang out like sharp blasts of thunder. I could see the smoke from its muzzle in my periphery, but my sights were locked onto the result of its performance. Across the street and to my right the tallest building in the area was receiving the full brunt of the rounds. Small bursts of smoke arose off of its wall and larger fragments of debris exploded away falling down to the ground below. At least we had not shot directly at the people, but none the less, this sent the crowd into a stampede. The dense nucleus of the mob diffused outward in all directions except towards our building. I looked on in silence.

Ryan Glennie
Demons of Mosul
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