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Posted on May 27, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Fiction: Moving Out

By Roach

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Calling the emergency services… INCOMING!

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Told ya… “****!” That was TOO close for comfort!

It was later explained to us by Grossklaggs on his circular tour of the positions that the krauts had been suspected of trying to push people down the hedgerow that connected our hedgerow on the right flank with the copse. A listening post that was sent out to watch for such a move did in fact catch a bastard patrol trying to infiltrate our line. That was when the firefight broke out during which we sustained a casualty and in the confusion one of our men – a replacement in his first action – was temporarily captured. Fortunately for him, when the mortar barrage landed he was able to escape back to our line while his captors were still scrabbling for cover. He had definitely got lucky.

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Gallegos had realised that there was every likelihood that the enemy infiltration would succeed and that desperate measures were called for. So he called, cursed and begged a few rounds of mortar fire down virtually on our own position, which was successful in that it broke up the kraut insurgency but not so successful in that it caused the loss of one of our own men, caught between two impacts and killed instantly.

Following this action, we returned to making our foxholes deeper. Once again Vest and I took it in turns to dig while the other observed the enemy position looking for signs of further activity. I have to say that during my entire stay in this position, I never actually saw a single enemy soldier; it was odd but not unusual and not entirely unwelcome.

When we weren’t digging, or observing, we settled back into the routine of doing very little. Cleaning weapons, trying to convince ourselves that the bits of the K-rations that we hadn’t already eaten were in fact more edible than we believed them to be and, above all, we caught up with some sleep when we could sneak it in. Everyone was tired and in the hot sun, sleep wasn’t very difficult even with a hostile enemy less than a hundred yards away.

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Chewing the breeze… Now where did I put that tasty D-Bar…

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Taking it easy and looking on the bright side…

There was very little aggressive activity from either side of the lines; the occasional rifle shot at a perceived target, which might provoke a similar response was the limit of the hostilities. Neither side seemed overly inclined to start anything. The thought crossed my mind that maybe the enemy was in much the same position as we were – spread too thin with no ambition to spread things thinner.

Afternoon gave way to evening, and slowly dusk began to fall and with the fading light a certain amount of edginess began to creep in. The hedgerows were confusing enough in the daytime, but at night they became even more so. Nobody wanted to be beating about in the darkness in that terrain. As we had discovered moving into the field the night before, it didn’t take much to get turned around in the dark and suddenly find yourself lost not knowing where you might find friend or foe.

[continued on next page]

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