The Fire-Bull

As a soldier with a Bushman tracker
and a section of other soldiers
hot on the trail of terrorists
I learned how deadly and avenging
a wounded African buffalo could be
where the terrorists had wounded it,
and we were tracking them
but it was following them too
did not like us to be on its spoor
and that great raging beast came at us
with the fury of a thousand demons,
with a body weighing seven hundred and fifty kilograms
at fifty five kilometre an hour, at speed,
with its one hundred en thirty centimetre horns lowered to kill
and it was as if the earth trembled
under its stampeding hoofs
and the Bushman
who had faced a hundred firefights,
dropped his rifle and ran
and everybody scattered
where I was the only remaining man
where my R5 rifle with its folding stock
resembled a machine-pistol
and it was too light to stop that beast
but the Bushman's R1 rifle
could shoot right through trees
and I grabbed it from the ground,
emptied a whole magazine
into that charging buffalo bull
and it swept me off my feet
where next to me it did fall.

[Poet's note: "The 7.62mm R1 (FN FAL)Assault Rifle is one of the most successful of the weapons produced by Belgium's Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre, the FAL has been adopted by over 70 countries, It was manufactured under licence in South Africa, and designated the R1 and it is a reliable and robust weapon, capable of selective or fully automatic fire. It delivers the standard NATO 7.62 x 51 mm "long round" from a 20-round magazine, and weighs 4,31 kg unloaded. The R1 did make way for the 5.56 mm calibrated R4, which is a lighter and more compact weapon.The R5 is a shorter barrel version of the R4 with a folding stock. Interestingly, the Rl's muzzle velocity, at 840 metres per second, is 125 mps faster than the Soviet AKM assault rifle at 715 mps, but 140 mps slower than the R4 at 980 mps. The R1 has a cyclic rate of fire of 650 to 700 rpm, an automatic rate of 120 rpm, and a single shot rate of 60 rpm over an effective range of 600 to 700 metres."]

© Gert Strydom

by Gert Strydom

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