Army Boys in the French Trenches Or, Hand to Hand Fighting With the Enemy

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Army Boys in the French Trenches Or, Hand to Hand Fighting with the Enemy

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What It Was Like To Be a Trench Soldier in WWI

Frances Trego Montgomery. One Man's Initiation Tom Slade Motorcycle Dispatch Bearer. Percy Keese Fitzhugh. But now the American gunners took a hand, and the shells came pouring over the heads of the boys, searching out the line of the second enemy trench and preparing the way for the advance.

In obedience to commands, the American soldiers had sought shelter wherever they could find it, while they were recovering their wind. Only a moment could be granted for this, however, for time was everything just now. They had caught the enemy off his guard and must take advantage of the opportunity. Line up, men! A signal was sent back to the supporting guns, and they opened up a deadly barrage fire over the heads of Frank and his comrades, clearing the ground before them of everything that dared to show itself in the open.

Behind this curtain of fire, the boys advanced, slowly at first, but gathering speed at every stride, until they were running at the double quick. Bullets rained about them from the machine guns of the enemy and great shells tore gaps in the ranks. At Frank's left, a soldier suddenly wavered and then pitched headlong into a shell hole and lay still. Another toppled over with a bullet in his shoulder. But the lanes that were made closed almost instantly.

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Catalog Record: Army boys in the French trenches ; or, hand | HathiTrust Digital Library

Now they had reached the wire entanglements that had been battered by the artillery until they hung in festoons around their posts, leaving paths through which the American lads poured. The Germans had clambered out to meet them, and when the two forces met the shock was terrific. Back and forth the battle surged and swayed, each side fighting with the fury of desperation. The cannon had ceased now, for in that locked mass the shells were as likely to kill friends as foes. It was man against man, bayonet against bayonet, each combatant obeying the primitive law of kill or be killed.

The opposing forces at this part of the line were nearly equal, with the Germans having a slight advantage in numbers. But to make up for this, the Americans had the advantage of the attack and the tremendous momentum with which they had struck the enemy's line. For a time victory hung in the balance, but then Yankee determination and superior skill in bayonet work began to tell. The Americans would not be denied. The German line was pierced, and the forces broke up into a number of battling groups.


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Frank and Bart, Billy and Tom, who all through the fight had managed to keep together, found themselves engaged with a squad of Germans double their number, two of whom were frantically trying to bring a machine gun to bear upon them. With a bound Frank was upon them. He toppled one over with his bayonet, but while he was doing this the other fired at him point-blank with a revolver.

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At such a close range he could not have missed, had not Bart, quick as a flash, clubbed him over the arm with his rifle, making the bullet go wild. Quick, Bart! Before that withering fire they dissolved like mist, and a circle was cleared as though by magic. What Germans were left in that immediate vicinity leaped back into the trench on the edge of which they had been fighting. Now we've got them! Come out of that, you fellows. Hands up, quick!

They may not have understood his words, but there was no misunderstanding the meaning of that black sinister muzzle of the machine gun with a hundred deaths behind it.


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They were trapped, and their hands went up with cries of " Kamerad! On that part of the line the battle was over, for the plan did not contemplate going beyond the second trench at that time.

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The American boys had won and won gloriously. From all parts of the trench, on a two-mile front, groups of captives were coming sullenly out with uplifted hands, to be herded into groups by their captors and sent to the rear. Glory hallelujah! And no gas, either. And while they stand there, breathless and exulting, it may be well for the benefit of those who have not previously made the acquaintance of the American Army Boys to sketch briefly their.

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