be down to recce a blocking position

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sigalit

Senior Member
croatian
It’s from a documentary about Battle of Kapyong. The speaker describes the situation on the field:

Ferguson explained to us that the Korean division was holding, but we were down to recce a blocking position in case things went wrong. Once we've done the recce, we could go back and go on with the rest.



Can anyone please rephrase the part in italics? I understand every word, but the construction as a whole.
Another thing, just to make sure, ''holding'' here means that Korean division was in charge of defending?
 
  • Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My interpretation is that the speaker was part of a group that came "down" from somewhere to look for ("recce") a position where they could block an enemy advance if the Korean division failed to hold their position against an active enemy assault ("things went wrong"). I believe that "holding" here implies "successfully defending at present" against an assault. It isn't about who is in charge, it means they are fighting and not (yet) losing.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with much of what Old Novice says, but I don't think the we were down is correctly rendered, as I understand it. To be down to do something is to be sheduled to do something; someone has decided that that is your duty.

    So, for me, we were down to recce means that we had been told that it was our duty to recce...etc.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    "Recce" is from a British abbreviation for "reconnaissance." I don't think the abbreviated form is used in the U.S. military; at least, I do not think I have seen it in American military history literature.
     

    Old Novice

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I agree with much of what Old Novice says, but I don't think the we were down is correctly rendered, as I understand it. To be down to do something is to be sheduled to do something; someone has decided that that is your duty.

    So, for me, we were down to recce means that we had been told that it was our duty to recce...etc.
    That hadn't occurred to me. You could well be right.
     
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