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The Forgotten Few

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  • The Forgotten Few

    The Forgotten Few

    By Matthew Hayden

    A/N - The following story is gonna seem a little odd, being as it is in fact based on the exploits of six infantryman units, though I decided for the sake of the story to cut down the actual number of invaders which the first of those units represented for the sake of drama.


    All is dark, black as pitch, as night awaits the torch-bearer of morning,
    To drive away all cold and fear and pain.


    Private Alberto Sanchez leaned back against the dusty wall of his rudimentery dug out, the ever present fear of death stayed for a time by near boredom.
    Sanchez felt numb from the cold, astonished that such freezing temperatures and icy cold winds could occur in the desert, a place he had always associated with dying of thirst or heat exhuastion, not freezing to death unable to feel your fingers or toes.
    He was a tough man in his own right, but simply not the fighting type. He had enlisted in the U.S Army eight months ago, when he was a young, idealistic little soldier desperate to prove himself to his commanders.
    Drill Instructor N.T Jackson had taught him a thing or two about making the right choice, and he now regretted his last wrong choice.
    He liked to feel he had grown up in his time in the Army, that all this had taught him something, he'd have liked to have believed it had, but all he now knew over what he had known before joining the Army was that terrible, recurring thought; 'I shouldn't be here, this is a hero's job'. Not the whole career, just this mission, the one mission he would happily have missed, even if he'd have to watch the funeral proccesions of his comrades, and know that he hadn't been there for them, McCallister, Santiago, Quinn and Amos would all be acceptable, though grievous losses.
    He felt guilty that he could ever think that way about his own nearest and dearest.
    Sanchez thought about the upcoming attack, which would almost certainly cost more lives than the beach assault three weeks ago, in which half of his squad had been destroyed.
    Besides the new platoon sarge and Corporal Johannes there were no heroic or even particularly brave types in the squad.
    Sanchez was absolutely exhausted and he could feel ice forming on the walls around him and on his own body.
    He could feel sleep coming over him, urging him towards its warm embrace.
    Anything to get me away from this damned noise he thought.
    However, he knew as sleep claimed him that he would dream that same recurring dream that had haunted him since they hit the beach.
    It was oh-six-hundred-hours on the 22nd of april when Sanchez' squad, and two other squads, all of them approximately six men strong, attacked at the supposedly weakest point in the German coastal defences. This was supposed to be the only point at which a team of only nineteen men -including Leiutenant Lawson- could successfully penetrate the enemy's line of defences along the coast, and they had simply drafted half the 385th, two medics from the 121st, and four regulars from the 293rd to pull it off, not even one whole platoon, and yet they were being segregated into only three teams. Surely the higher ups must realize that a lot of smaller teams would find it easier to evade any bogies encountered at the immediate insertion point, though Sanchez knew and acknowledged that trying to actually open up a route for reinforcements would be almost impossible without greater hitting power. 'So why not just send in the Fortresses', said a voice in Sanchez' head rather sarcastically. 'They did *******', was his responce. 'And the damned things couldn't find their targets!' The voice in his head just laughed at his feeble and desperate reasoning. He was trying to make excuses to his own subconcious just to try and cement his belief in what they had been told back at Veii airfield, where they had been given the shadiest and vaguest briefing, just barely telling them what they were doing, but not why they were doing it, or even where they were going.
    Sanchez tried to stop thinking about that and just concentrate on the mission ahead. He would be going into battle with first squad, all of his close friends apart from McAllister were with third squad, McAllister was with second.
    He didn't know anyone in first squad apart from Drake and Scott, and he wasn't close to either of them.
    Anyway, the mission wasn't going to be easy. According to the recon boys in the fighters the god-damned artillery had missed the beachside house that the team were to secure for use as a staging point.
    This house was presently in use as a lookout post for the enemy, and as such, it's destruction would cause a total collapse of their coastal anti-aircraft capability across a one-mile sector for at least the few precious hours needed by an invasion force.

    As Sanchez began to see the coast presenting itself before him, he thought he could almost see his opponents hiding in their coastal forts, watching the little boats approaching slowly. Thirty seconds before landfall, First Squad's boat came under fire from a machinegun placed near the house. Remarkably, the bullets were literally hitting the water in a ring around the boat! Sanchez knew, as the rest of his squad did, that this was simply because of the workings of the weapon being fired at them, but in this minute fraction of a second all of them realised and fully appreciated the lack of training which must lead to someone firing the machinegun in the manner in which they were. The gun was a support weapon, designed to be constantly adjusted since its bullets would go just about anywhere but within the target reticle. Evidently, however, the gunner firing upon Sanchez' squad was somewhat uninitiated in the ways of war, to put it mildly, since he persisted in firing his weapon directly at them.
    Sanchez knew there was no point trying to fire back from the boat, and now he and all the squad were ducking as low as the small landing craft would allow, whilst Drake had the controls at the rear, and Scott began prepping his fuses for
    the landing which lay now only ten seconds ahead.
    The boat drew closer and closer, and just before the water's edge disappeared under the bow of the little vessel Drake killed the engine and both he and one of the two members of the squad Sanchez didn't know -an un-helmetted Texan with thick, sunny-blond hair- leapt out of the boat into the water as Sanchez, Scott and the other unknown quantity leapt onto the land, Scott holding one fused thermite charge in each hand, Sanchez and the other unknown brandishing their rifles, butts to shoulders, as they advanced up the short stretch of pebbled slope, until they reached the first crescent, still unopposed.

    "Sanchez", said Scott in a rushed whisper so that his voice was almost inaudible,
    "you think you could advance fifty meters to the right? I think I saw movement ahead." There was no more explanation, Sanchez knew exactly why he was running out this way. Scott wanted Sanchez on his right flank to catch any defenders they might bash into in a crossfire.
    Sanchez stopped when the trees got too thick to advance any further, took a ninety-degree turn left, and just as he was about to move out, he stopped dead and felt his blood run cold. Sanchez could see through the branches a huddle of German soldiers wearing black Third Reich caps. Only one German force still wore black uniforms, the Panzer troops. This changed everything, the operation was now quite thouroughly kaput!
    Sanchez now had no idea what to do, he had advanced to this point in complete ignorance of this threat, but watching them, he saw how relaxed and secure they were. Obviously no American invasions today. He counted seven krauts, then dived to the ground, and began to crawl on his belly towards them, his rifle held by the insides of his elbows as he dragged himself silently along. Every time he snapped any considerable twig, or rustled any leaves, Sanchez would stop completely, and wait at least thirty seconds before moving again. It got to the point where he had done this no less than eleven times before he felt he was close enough. Now he began, slowly, to rise up, but the German soldiers seemed reluctant to admit that an American was now kneeling only twenty feet away with rifle levelled at them. Finally, one of the men, whilst turning his head in some instinctive movement when laughing, caught momentary sight of Sanchez, but did not seem to react at first. He just looked away, then turned pale before he even looked again, and yelled out to his compatriots to warn them of the threat so near at hand. The yell was stifled in his throat by one of Sanchez' bullets, and the huddle of men immediately began scrambling for their weapons, but Sanchez' Garand found at least four more throats before the last two men got their weapons up and levelled at Sanchez. But still he had not got enough of them, for in the barest fraction of a second, just then, Sanchez thought that whichever of these men he didn't hit would finish him good and quick, and dance on his broken corpse. But the man didn't fire, for as Sanchez loosed his sixth round into the man on the right, a gaping black hole appeared upon the other man's face.
    As the two men crumpled dead upon the floor, Sanchez turned rather casually, though with no greatly stifled relief, to see Scott rising from a prone position, rifle in hand, and blood stains on his fatigues.
    "Nice work, kid," he said, "There'll be more where they came from."
    They stood in silence for a moment, then "D'you see the uniforms?" asked Sanchez, his body finally admitting to being quite breathless.
    "Panzer troops, obviously here to rest and refit," Scott grinned grimly."Come on, Barret's gonna need a hand with that machinegun."

  • #2
    Nice stuff
    A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


    • #4
      An Unexpected Anti-Climax

      They jogged briskly the way Scott had come, making good time and running into Barret crouched behind a wooden cart, firing haphazardly in the general direction of that infernal machinegun and its incompetent operator.
      "There's just one of 'em, Sarge!" he called to Scott as he and Sanchez approached.
      "How far?" asked Scott in that quick psuedo-whisper.
      "'pproximately forty yards."
      "Good." And with that, Scott took out a hand-grenade from under his fatigues, pulled out the pin, counted two seconds and threw with all his might, standing momentarily in full view of the enemy as he released the grenade to send it soaring quite low through the air practically into the gunsight of the machinegun, where it exploded upon contact, and the gun fell silent. Barret and Sanchez now ran as fast as they could towards the machinegun, keeping low and watching their right flank as they went. Once they had both reached the weapon, Scott came up, rifle levelled at the house to the machinegun's rear. The gunner lay sprawled across the rough, stony floor, no blood seemed to have left his body whatsoever, but he was definately dead, as lifeless as the seven panzer troops in the woods to the West.
      After a moment, Scott lowered his rifle, said shortly, "Drake and Weisz'll be back in a minute, they're just a little way east scopin' for enemy reserves," and left Sanchez and Barret there as he entered the house.
      For five minutes they both listened intently for any sign of a struggle as they kept their rifles trained upon the road to the immediate East of the house.
      Finally Scott emerged, with no prisoners, no top-secret documents, and no information for them on what was occupying this region.
      "Friggin' krauts have cleaned this place out. Guess they figured there was action coming," he pondered for a moment. "They're still here. Sanchez, I want you to go around the house and check out the garage. It's about .2 klicks from here, inland. Drake and Weisz should be headin' there now, so you'll be able to pitch in there. Barret, you and me've gotta check this place is secure, we're checkin' out the barn, those stables, then followin' up after Sanchez. Got that?"
      "Yessir," said Sanchez and Barret in unison, and Sanchez immediately left, going around the house, and finding a long road stretching indefinately to the South, into the vicious African Sahara.

      After keeping to a fast walking pace for about ten minutes, the house and farmstead behind Sanchez was small enough to tell him he'd done his .2 klicks, but no krauts were waiting to recieve his bullets here. The dirt road kept on right into a village Sanchez hadn't seen from the beach. The Garage was to his left now, and he kept his rifle levelled squarely at the large corrugated-iron double-doors, advancing slowly and allowing his peripheries only the barest glances as he closed to within sight of any occupants inside, crossing in front of the door quickly and diving to the ground. Only it wasn't Germans he found, but Drake and the guy called Weisz.
      "Hey Sanchez," said Drake in his strange half-Latin, half-Yiddish drawl.
      "Long time no see," put in Weisz. "We were gettin' worried about you guys and- hey! Where's Scott and Barret?"
      "They're on their way," said Sanchez. It was as much as he could say after these things. He never really talked in the line, and certainly not when in the advance party for the invasion of North Africa, sent with no air-support and with only eighteen men for company.
      The three of them hunkered down, knowing the area was as safe as enemy territory generally got and that they would be spending the night here.

      The rest of the team, all three squads save a few out on recce, came during the late afternoon, with their own little stories to tell of they're exploits this day, and Sanchez just got as much rest as the hours off guard duty would permit.

      That evening, Scott made it his mission to personally spread the whole story of Sanchez' little engagement with those Panzer troops.
      "No ****?" said McCallister in awe.
      "No ****," replied Scott, speaking not just to McCallister but to all of second squad. As Sanchez approached this group, they all began to look expectently at him, evidently expecting a herioc tale of courage against all the odds.
      "You know, there is more to it than that," said Sanchez. "See, they didn't even know I was there 'till I bagged the guy that tried to warn 'em, and he was right there, I mean, I barely even had to aim!"
      "That so?" said Drake. That was the first thing Sanchez had ever heard directed at him from the man. "Look at it this way. These Panzer troops you saw, they're called panzer-grenadiers, meaning armored infantry, or, in real English-" there were stifled coughs and quiet laughs at this juncture "-mechanised infantry. Now these dudes are dangerous, with a capital D, OK? I've seen just one of those guys take on an entire platoon of our guys and still manage to disengage and get away." The crowd was now listening intently, all eyes on Drake. "He went from resting his German butt to firing his rifle into us quicker than I could see. No bullshit, the **** was suddenly firing at us. He took out twelve GI's in one engagement. Now that guy was exceptional, but believe me, they don't fall much below that. You don't know what it's like to fight a full-strength battalion o' those guys. Guess you will soon though, huh?"
      "Yeah, I guess," said Sanchez, now quite mortified at the possibilty that he may have those dead soldier's friends coming after him any time now.

      The bitter cold drove the squad to sleep in a huddle that night, but Sanchez still could not sleep, and was in constant fear, he saw himself killing those German soldiers over and over, every time the events got more and more skewered to make him a villain, a killer, no more than a murderer.
      But then Sanchez heard the snapping of fallen branches, and sat up immediately, yet there was no sign of any enemy troops. None of the others were stirring at all, and Sanchez could feel his heart now sinking in fear, as he began to prod, grope, and half whisper, half shout for his comrades to wake up. But still, they would not budge, and as Sanchez began to fall back from them all in fear, he heard another snapping twig behind him, and spun around to come face to face with seven German soldiers, clad in black, faces masked by Sanchez' own lack of memory of their faces in life, yet great gaping holes in their uniforms revealed the awful damage done by Sanchez' rifle, and in no small part, by himself.
      The man closest to him, though without a face, Sanchez knew was the man he had killed first, and so this man raised his rifle, released the bolt, and fired...

      Sanchez flew awake with the echo of that rifle shot still reverberating in his ears. A dream, it had been just a dream, yet it was still night even now.
      Sanchez checked his watch. 2am, all the men would be asleep in their foxholes save three guys from second squad who had guard duty at this time.
      Now Sanchez knew he didn't want to sleep, and began look about him at the short scraggy trees all around him.
      'Friggin' place' he thought to himself, and just lay there staring into the endless backlit canopy above...


      • #5
        Well written looking forward to your next post
        A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


        • #6
          that is great, lots of questions

          hope you do add more though
          Gurka 17, People of the Valley
          I am of the Horde.


          • #7
            Arrrr, give me but a few more days, me hearties, and ye shall be treated to further doses of yonder story...


            • #8
              Well, you better post some more, Mr. Hayden, because I have only just now read the story, and already want more. Please think of those poor souls that have been waiting since... *gasp* 28 of August!

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              • #9
                well, look for my coming upon the morrow, for at the seventh hour past noon I shall post part three of this story, which, by the way, is not gunna be especially long, cos it's a sub-story within a larger whole which I might post as and when I finish the various elements.

                MUST! GET! IT! DONE!

                Well, tomorrow it'll be ready. Thats 19:00 on Thursday GMT.


                • #10
                  you poor soul....

                  do the brick walls help...?

                  I fine that a couple of pints of cold draught beer really does wonders... just need to stay awake then to type it up...

                  have fun
                  Gurka 17, People of the Valley
                  I am of the Horde.


                  • #11
                    Missed your own deadline their friend, must have knocke4d yourself out with all that headbashing.
                    A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


                    • #12

                      that sounds painful

                      better get that man to the pub, asap
                      Gurka 17, People of the Valley
                      I am of the Horde.


                      • #13

                        "OK boys," snapped Lieutenant Lawson, "We've made it this far without losses, and a few amongst us have bagged our share of krauts already!"
                        A few glances were directed towards Sanchez, but he did his best to ignore them.
                        "Now, we gotta to advance up that road and take the village called Al-Hadim by the end of today, so I expect us up and outta here in five minutes!" And with that, the lieutenant was finished, scurrying away with Santiago to prepare the team's only bazooka.
                        Sanchez could see McAllister and the rest of third squad on their way West to attack the village's defenders from their Western flank. Ditto for second squad, amongst them all the rest of Sanchez' close friends. Sanchez' squad, once again, was in front and attacking the enemy head-on.

                        The march forward was uneventful, but for the occasional American plane flying by overhead, clearly scouting for the huge army which would even now be debarking from their transports onto the beaches of North Africa.
                        Sanchez considered this presence for a moment, wondering why they should have to take and hold this village first, before recieving any help from the main invasion army.
                        If Sanchez squinted hard he could actually see the sign bearing the name of the village along the road ahead of him. As the day before, Sanchez had point.
                        The sun was so intense it stung, a red hot searing pain on Sanchez' un-helmeted head - the heat had gotten simply too intense to keep their helmets on, so the squad had them trailing round their necks. It was better to march this way, at this distance from the enemy, Scott had reasoned, so long as they were ready for the enexpected. That always sounded to Sanchez like a contradiction.

                        After an hour's solid advance, the squad left the road on either side, and continued the advance hidden, but just as Sanchez could see the streets of the sand-yellow village before and somewhat below him, gunfire and shouts in German had him prone with rifle levelled at the village, looking all over for his quarry.
                        He heard a scream to his left, recognised the voice as belonging to Weisz, and began shuffling while still keeping low towards him. He had to back up somewhat to get around a thick outcropping of desert vegetation, and he found Weisz splayed upon the sand and stone, dead almost as he beheld him. Sanchez almost vomited involuntarily, with salty tears stinging his eyes, and he leapt back into his position, and rapidly found a target, a German firing his rifle over a low wall, aiming towards someone Sanchez couldn't see to the right.
                        Sanchez duly put a gaping hole through the man's head, and sought another target.

                        to be continued...


                        • #14
                          good value... hope the beer is helping!

                          Looking forward to more

                          Gurka 17, People of the Valley
                          I am of the Horde.


                          • #15
                            Excellent more please

                            Great style and suspense being written into this
                            A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.