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At about the time that Ninaka pulled his prahu upon the

time:2023-11-29 09:29:20 author:power read:720次

Claude gave the signal to the machine guns. Fire opened all along the loop. In a moment a breeze sprang up, and the heavy smoke clouds drifted to the rear. Mounting to the firestep, he peered over. The enemy was coming on eight deep, on the left of the Boar's Head, in long, waving lines that reached out toward the main trench. Suddenly the advance was checked. The files of running men dropped behind a wrinkle in the earth fifty yards forward and did not instantly re-appear. It struck Claude that they were waiting for something; he ought to be clever enough to know for what, but he was not. The Colonel's line man came up to him.

At about the time that Ninaka pulled his prahu upon the

"Headquarters has a runner from the Missourians. They'll be up in twenty minutes. The Colonel will put them in here at once. Till then you must manage to hold."

At about the time that Ninaka pulled his prahu upon the

"We'll hold. Fritz is behaving queerly. I don't understand his tactics . . . "

At about the time that Ninaka pulled his prahu upon the

While he was speaking, everything was explained. The Boar's Snout spread apart with an explosion that split the earth, and went up in a volcano of smoke and flame. Claude and the Colonel's messenger were thrown on their faces. When they got to their feet, the Snout was a smoking crater full of dead and dying men. The Georgia gun teams were gone.

It was for this that the Hun advance had been waiting behind the ridge. The mine under the Snout had been made long ago, probably, on a venture, when the Hun held Moltke trench for months without molestation. During the last twenty-four hours they had been getting their explosives in, reasoning that the strongest garrison would be placed there.

Here they were, coming on the run. It was up to the rifles. The men who had been knocked down by the shock were all on their feet again. They looked at their officer questioningly, as if the whole situation had changed. Claude felt they were going soft under his eyes. In a moment the Hun bombers would be in on them, and they would break. He ran along the trench, pointing over the sand bags and shouting, "It's up to you, it's up to you!"

The rifles recovered themselves and began firing, but Claude felt they were spongy and uncertain, that their minds were already on the way to the rear. If they did anything, it must be quick, and their gun-work must be accurate. Nothing but a withering fire could check . . . . He sprang to the firestep and then out on the parapet. Something instantaneous happened; he had his men in hand.

"Steady, steady!" He called the range to the rifle teams behind him, and he could see the fire take effect. All along the Hun lines men were stumbling and falling. They swerved a little to the left; he called the rifles to follow, directing them with his voice and with his hands. It was not only that from here he could correct the range and direct the fire; the men behind him had become like rock. That line of faces below; Hicks, Jones, Fuller, Anderson, Oscar . . . . Their eyes never left him. With these men he could do anything.


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