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Posted on Dec 26, 2006 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Interactive Combat Story: First Night in Normandy

By Brandon Neff


You maneuver to within 20 yards of the battery and take comfort in the fact that the enemy is so absorbed in their task that you have the element of surprise.  Throwing caution to the wind, you pull the pin on the grenade, release the spring and pitch it towards the battery before assuming a kneeling position and bringing your rifle to the ready.

The grenade detonates with a bright flash and the Germans prostrate themselves seeking cover.  One of the Germans is caught in the blast and his torso is split open and his body flung away from the explosion.  You lay down a field of rapid fire until the clip ejects from your M1 with a characteristic “ping”.  You quickly grab another clip with 8 rounds and jam it into the rifle, closing the action with a single swipe of your hand, and narrowly miss having your thumb crushed by the action.


The Germans take this opportunity to recover and they grasp for rifles and pistols.  Bullets zing past you as gunfire is traded for several seconds.  You manage to disable one of the soldiers with a well-placed round in the neck and he falls backwards.  His comrades continue to press you with fire and you realize that this is taking far too long.  You are too exposed to retreat and they’ll attempt to flank you before long.

Before long, a German pops up 10 yards away on your left and brings you down with small pistol fire.  The slugs penetrate your ribcage and the hot sting of metal burrows into your heart.  Your last remaining seconds are spent in agony as you roll backwards and stare up at the night sky, your thoughts drifting back to your home before the darkness envelops you.


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