At one minute before "L Hour" the RAF dispatcher held up a single finger. The aircraft swooped left and right then cakes of brown mud flew past the window followed by the thump of landing.
Within seconds we were down the ramp and running through dirt to get into the cover of the tree line. Overhead two Apache helicopters searched out the enemy and immediately reports of suspicious movement came over the radio.
Using a daring tactic only a small number of troops were used in order to draw out the Taliban fighters rather than scare them off with overwhelming force.
"We want to capture them, kill them or disarm them so there is a real balance of having just enough of us to get the Taliban drawn into a fight," said Major Phill Moxey, leading the assault. "We could risk overmatching them but they would simply disappear and we could end up chasing ghosts."
But patrols entering the notorious Gulbuddin Strip are almost guaranteed an ambush. The insurgents have become adept at using rifle grenade launchers which with a range of 984ft (300 metres) can be deadly if they land on troops inside the confined spaces of a compound.
The cluster of compounds sits astride a fertile area predominantly used for poppy growing in the north-east of Nad-e-Ali. It also acts as a staging post for insurgents to mount attacks on patrols or the small bases that border the area.
According to intelligence reports British and Afghan patrols are able to penetrate the area "but unable to endure".
"Generally patrols are ambushed by SAF (small arms fire), machine gun, UGL (underslung grenade launchers) and hand grenades before they reach the Gulbuddin Strip."
The "planned aviation assault" on top of enemy positions yesterday signalled the start of Operation Tor Pishaw (Courageous Cat) that is hoped to drive the insurgents permanently out of the area.
The Gulbuddin Strip's Taliban are described as a "particularly potent insurgent group" led by uncompromising midlevel commanders who find ready recruits among "bored fighting age males".
The local shared their displeasure of the insurgents bemoaning the lack of security.
"We would like to have police bases right here among us because we cannot go to the ones away on the road because we are scared of what the Taliban will do to us," said Gul Malik, a farmer. He added that there were 25 insurgents in the area but suggested they had for the moment gone to ground. As he spoke Afghan police who accompanied the PWRR rummaged though compounds in search of arms.
If British forces can take the area and build a series of forts for Afghan troops to maintain security then the route to the once bustling Loy Mandeh bazaar to the north will reopen benefiting farmers across the district.
But at every step the soldiers face the danger of ambush from the numerous irrigation ditches and mud brick compounds. They also have to contend with a well developed Taliban tactic in which the insurgents fire with machine guns from an angle then use a sharpshooter to fire of a well-aimed shot from another point.
There has also been a rise in the use of improvised Claymore mines where a "directional fragmentation charge" fires a blast of "scrapyard confetti" towards troops.
For so long Nad-e-Ali has been the fulcrum for insurgent activity since the British first arrived in Helmand in 2006. But it was only after the biggest helicopter assault since Vietnam when Operation Moshtarak was launched in February last year that the problem of Taliban was tackled.
But in the last 20 month the area has seen a significant turnaround with most of the insurgents removed to the point that Afghans forces are ready to take over security.