All posts for the month July, 2012

HURTGEN (excerpt)

Published July 13, 2012 by debrabellink

Dan took a second off from watch, his rifle close to him.

The air was brisk, the black stark of the sky sprinkled with white twinkling lights and its awsomeness brought a spirituality down on him.

    Dan thought God existed at this young point in his life.

     Having a pregnant wife at home did not keep him for being picked for this.

     His stress was fantastic. Dan knew he had to make it home, there were no two ways about it.

     Picking a small hole out of the frozen dirt made the men sweat in the fifteen degrees below cold.

     The shovels rang out as if hitting rock making  foxholes impossible to dig.

     A shortage of socks made frostbite a hungry enemy.

     Promised cover, the Americans got none.

     The weather wasn’t in the mood to cooperate.

     Heavy clouds wouldn’t lift.  They hung over the area for months.

     Dan took a break from digging.  He balanced the point of the shovel on the ground.  His wrist hung over the handle. His forhead pushed against his hand and he thought of Carole, Juditha, and home.

     His friends, most of which were now overseas, wound through his mind.

     Dan’s brother was out there in France somewhere in this hell.

     Dan never had a problem making fast friends and keeping them fro many years.  They remained loyal to him for a life time. 

     He had a massive sense of humor and personality. Trying to have fun in a mischevious way.

     This caused his mother a great deal of shame because Dan had the perpensity to get into trouble.  Nothing big.  He just happened to be a rascal.

     Winter broke, but not the weather. The rain and mud it left had been cursed by the soldiers whose boots and feet were entirely soaked and encased in mud.

     Men huddled in circles of four or five, smoking, talking and once in a while, laughing.  They banged their boots together, at which time a huge hunk of mud would hit the ground. Underneath the mud, the souls softened.

     The fighting slowed for a while on the German side.

     Then from everywhere and unexpectedly, the Germans attacked with tanks and infantry.

     A bombing raid carried out by the German Air Force told their use of prop planes. They were trying to destroy the roads which ran through the small town, just liberated.  There were no casualties for the Americans, but most of the towns people and allied troops were killed.

          August brought the beaches, the end of August-Paris, and St. denis Chatenay-en-France, September-Belgium, October-Rott, Germany.

      Now it turned December once again.  The ground was hard, again and again a heavy cloud cover sat over the American troops keeping allied planes on the ground and out of the sky  The men, once again sat without ground cover from above.

     The Hurtgen Forest, and the Bloody Bucket at odds with the Germans.

     Dan smashed his cigarette with his boot. 

     The damn clouds wouldn’t break.  Sure would be hell of alot easier if there were some dry socks around.

     Dan, always letting freedom ring, was cold and hungry and exhausted from crouching and marching through the mud, blood, and snow.

    ” No foxhle, you duck, you dive into the mud.  Man this shit’s for da boids.”  He pushed a cigerette pack from his upper olive green jacket pocket.

     “Hey Jack, you want a butt?”

     “Yeah, I’ll do that.”  It was Amos.  

     Both men lit off the one match Dan had struck.

     “Look at mah boots,” said Amos.  “Man they have had their day, shit all this mud gonna turn ’em to mush.  I can feel ma toes turnin’ blue.”

     “How do you feel your toes turning blue, are they depreessed ’cause they way past hurtin’?  We aught to get a medic Amos.  Christ all mighty, you’ve got frost bite probably.”

     “A medic. Sheeeit, I’ll lose my damn toes by the time a medic’s able to make it here.”