Whistling of bombs pierced through our ears above us. I prayed for no bombs to fall on me. I clutched my Springfield rifle like a teddy bear to my chest. The bunker shook with every strike of metal that rained from the sky. Dirt kept falling through the cracks of the bruised and nearly destroyed concrete structure. Someone started to groan in the bunker. I realized that he was on the edge of going mad. He then got up and started running toward the exit of the shelter. I tackled him right before he got out. The man screamed and resisted my grasp. I dragged him in and ordered someone to point a gun to his head. This would only keep him from going outside and getting crushed by the shards of steel from the sky. All of a sudden, my comrade dropped to the ground. I checked his helmet and I found a piece of shrapnel protruding from his helmet. I jogged through the bodies of the dead to get to my Sergeant to report that Private Sherman was dead. He sent me back to my position with one man less.
We were going to launch a big attack that was going to be fought on the Somme River in Northeast France. With khaki pants and my uniform bearing the British flag, of course I’m apart of the Allies. The French was backing us up. It was called the “Big Push.” I hoped it was going to be the big push to end the Great War, but it didn't feel like it.
Sergeant York came in telling us to go to sleep because he said it was a big day tomorrow. I obeyed orders, packed my cards, and went to sleep. The next day, bombs were flying over my trench. I slapped my trousers on and grabbed my munitions belt with my Springfield rifle. I jogged to my position where the underground medic station was and waited for the signal. The sound of the whistle penetrated my ears and I scurried out of my trench.
Everything was destroyed and bombs kept on dropping, but not on our side. We were supposed to have a creeping barrage happen, but I guess they just misinterpreted the time and were going to fire in a couple of minutes. A creeping barrage is when artillery is shooting on no-man’s-land to create a shield for the troops that are getting out of their trenches.
Machine gun fire came from the left and right flanks just like the Sergeant said to us. I started to pick up my pace from a walk, to a jog, to a run. I looked around, all my comrades dropping dead. I flung myself into a shell hole and took cover. I loaded a 5 round magazine into the loading port. I cocked the bolt to load it, and took great aim at one of the machine gun nests and fired. Surprisingly, the gunner fell out of the nest dead. I loaded again and took aim at a German soldier running into battle. I pulled the trigger. He dropped dead too. I ran out of my little hideout and hid behind a burned tree.
I heard my Sergeant yelling, “HALT!! Take cover!!” I jumped into a shell hole with my Sergeant. “Tagger, Foley, lead the troops around the machine-gun nest and try and take ‘em out from behind,” York ordered me. I took the orders and lead my troops, with Foley, behind enemy lines.
We hopped into the German trench gracefully. I checked the alleyways to see if any Germans were coming around the corner. I heard marching from the left alleyway. I prepared my tiny platoon for hand-to-hand combat. They got their bayonets and knives out. It went like a blur. They came out of the corner and we caught them by surprise, swinging knifes and butts of guns. We took them out one-by-one. I looked at Foley pistol-whipping a German that challenged him. I took out my knife, trying to stab my enemy. A young man, probably 16, lunged at me with a long and dangerous knife. I moved out of the way and grabbed his arm. After a few struggling seconds I grabbed his knife and sadly ended his life. We finally took the Germans out and went over the hill where the nests were.
We came across two Germans that were delivering ammunition to the front line. I took a shot at them, but I missed, and they scurried off to there headquarters. We came over the hill firing at the enemy. I ran behind a tree to take cover from the enemy fire coming from below. I opened my loading slot and put in a magazine. I closed the loading slot and got ready to fire. I put my gun between to branches so it could help me shoot. After 5 shots I took another magazine out and put it in the loading slot. Soon I realized I was out of bullets for my Springfield rifle. A private fell to the ground. Asked him for permission to use his ammunition and he said yes. I took out a grenade, pulled the pin out, and threw it far into the German nests. A couple seconds later it exploded taking out 3 German soldiers. One German put their hands up in a signal of surrender. Other men started doing it and eventually we captured many troops.
Everything was going well until machine-gun fire came from the nests towards us. Many men fell from the bullets, including Foley. I ducked down avoiding the machine-gun fire. I crawled under the gunfire praying not to get hit. I crawled and crawled ’til I found Foley. He said, “I can’t lead my troops no more. I am giving you full command over the platoon,” I jumped as I heard these words and an idea popped in my head that sounded mad. I started crawling toward the nests on a sideways angle so they wouldn't hit me or see me. “What are you doing Tagger, I don't want you dead!” he yelled after me. “You gave me full command, sir.” I replied.
Finally I was at the machine nests and fired away with my pistol. In a few seconds there was no firing coming from that nest. I hopped into the ditch and started firing at the other nest, taking out one-by-one. Soon that nest was empty and I moved onto the trench. It was just like shooting a flock of turkeys. You shoot at the one in the back so the flock doesn't know that they are being shot. Then, you continue that process until every last turkey is shot. I cocked the bolt back, loaded 5 rounds, cocked the bolt forward, took aim, and pulled the trigger. One by one they started falling dead.
Soon the Germans started realizing that their men were falling fast, so they took cover from me and raised the white flag in code of surrender. They came out of their positions dropping their guns to the floor. I told them in English, “Drop your weapons and follow me,” They all obeyed and I led them back to where the other platoon was. The platoon was dumbstruck that I caught that many prisoners by myself. As we were lining up, an explosion occurred. I felt a sharp pain in my back and I fell to the ground, face first, clutching my lower back. When I drew my hand back to my face it was covered in blood! My life flashed before my eyes. My childhood was a blur, but the war was more memorable. I couldn’t die like this. It was not right for a person who tried so hard to survive. I heard laughter in German and yelling, but it became distant ’til I couldn't here it any more.