The Diplomad puts up another corker of a post.
"We visited a mud fort run by, I think, the military or perhaps some provincial Rifles unit. The two inspectors and I stood in the middle of this Beau Geste-type fort's courtyard, talking to an official (I don't remember who) when yelling broke out outside the walls. Some soldiers slammed shut the gates. The official, very agitated, told us to take cover; he ran and threw himself against one of the walls, just under a catwalk with soldiers. We saw him run, so we did not hesitate, either. We got flat against the wall as he instructed. Above us, the soldiers on the catwalk opened fire, to paraphrase Monty Python, in the general direction of Afghanistan with a 12.7mm MG; hot shell casings rained down on us. This was the closest I have been to combat. From that experience, I find the one aspect rarely discussed in books, articles, and films on war is the noise. The sound that comes from modern weapons is not as in the movies, or even on the pistol range; not only loud, it makes your insides vibrate; your head throb. You quickly find yourself disoriented, unable to hear, speak, or make rational decisions. I can't imagine what it must be like in real combat. We had only one heavy machine gun firing, admittedly just above our heads, with some AKs as accompaniment, and I found myself lost, confused, in a fog. I leaned very hard against that wall, hoping it would swallow me. I noticed that my left leg would not stop twitching. Chagrined, I grabbed it with my left hand as tightly as I could, hoping nobody would notice."