Preparations for war

Tags

, , , , , , ,

England

The orders came down the 2nd week in March the Division was moving out. Trucks lined both sides of every street and surrounded the barracks; men loaded everything that wasn’t nailed down. The soldiers wearing their packs and carrying their rifles marched toward the train station. What used to be their home was being filled with recruits. Able Company formed up and marched to the station. The men passed the trucks that had carried their gear to the trains that was now being loaded into the freight cars.  Lieutenant Rawls and Sergeant Kovac watched and made sure all the gear was loaded and both sides of the car were locked.

The company marched up the platform and boarded two Pullman cars at one end of the car were space for their packs and racks for their weapons. Currie, Myers, Copeland, and Evens stood on the platform with the last man had boarded. Military Police were posted on both sides of the train from engine to caboose. To deter any last-minute desertions or additions to the cars Rawls and Kovac arrived; Copeland and Evans had made the head count all present. Kovac joined the men in the enlisted car. Currie and his lieutenants headed to the officers’ car.

Currie felt the car lurch, heard the staccato bang of the couplers, the cars began to move, slowly at first then steadily building speed. Currie rested his head on the headrest and his feet up in the seat in front of him. He felt the Gentle sway of the car and listened to the old familiar clickity clack of the wheels on the track that changed in tone and frequency when they crossed a turnout or a crossing. The clickity clack steadied up when the train reached 50 miles per hour. Currie fell asleep dreaming of different times.

The train rolled eastward toward Florence where it stopped taking on coal and water then turned north. The men watched the towns pass, the small sleepy one’s that were now bustling with activity. Town’s people waved to the troops as the train rolled through their town. The train pulled into Fayetteville and onto a siding. The mess cars opened their doors the troop’s fell out and lined up at the car. The meal…was two slices bread, stew in a pint-sized paper cup, and coffee, and a wooden spoon.  An hour later, the train left for Norfolk heading north and the rumors began; they were going to Norfolk, and then Baltimore. When the train rolled through Baltimore without stopping, the rumor was now Philadelphia

Currie pulled his hat down over his eyes he said “New York.”

Myers sat back pulled his hat down too, “you were right about the war, 2 to 1 it will be New York.”

The Southern Consolidated pulled into New York, and rolled through New York Centrals yard, it was switched to a line that took them to the docks. The big 4-6-6-4 was uncoupled and two 0-6-0 switch engines pushed the troop cars down to the pier the freight cars were uncoupled and pushed down the tracks next to them on the center track. The men picked up their packs and weapons, were de-trained by Companies; they marched up to the gangplank, called off their name and serial number, and boarded the ship.

The William K. Nance a packet steamship fresh off the South American cruise circuit had been converted to a troop transport. The ship would now hold 3000 men and steam at 25 knots the freighter on the other side of the pier was unloading the freight cars and stowing the gear below decks. The 236th was at last embarked on the Nance. The ship was now loaded with over 3,000 men and officers. The Nance was to set sail early in the morning. The rumors again ran rampant from the ship docking in England to Egypt and everywhere in between one rumor had the Nance sailing up the Seine and docking in Paris France.

The Nance left New York early in the morning forming up with dozens of other ships, Heading east by northeast. On the second day at sea, the seas rolled just enough to make 1 out of 2 men seasick. They laid everywhere. The stench was sickening. The toilets, butt cans, buckets, helmets and the decks were awash in the yellow bile vomit men lay on the deck and any other place they could get away from the vile smelling odor. The Nance could have traveled faster to smooth out the rolls and yaws, but she had to stay in the convoy at a steady 10 knots. She would wallow in rough weather for the next 9 days her way to Liverpool. Currie stayed on deck as much as possible; he found a sheltered place on an upper deck behind a life raft and two intake funnels where he could rest and smoke and remain out of sight for long periods. Currie didn’t become seasick until he smelled the bowels of the ship, he stayed away, he was thankful the officers’ mess was above decks.

April 1, 1942 the Nance entered Liverpool’s harbor within three hours it was secured to a pier and offloading her cargo of men. The gangplank had been placed amid ships the troops began to disembark; their names were checked off the list. Abel Co. formed up those who could walk helping those that couldn’t. Copeland had been sick more than ½ the crossing and Evans was still seasick and weaving walking on dry land. Able Co. mounted up in the Lorries that carried them to Buxton 30 km south and east of Liverpool.

The men fell out of the trucks to a tent city with Quonset huts for mess halls, the men filed in solemnly still feeling the effects of ship board travel those who ate had sausage, eggs, potatoes, coffee, bread, biscuits and jams and jellies. Currie feasted on food that did not smell like seasick men.

Able Company stayed in the tent city 2 days before the billeting office billeted them in the houses of English citizens. Currie and Myers shared a room with a retired Colonel. Ian McPherson retired from the Bengal Lancers and his wife Gertrude. Col Mac was 84 years old but looked 50. He stood well over 6’ tall he was stocky with wide shoulders, his head covered with snow-white hair, and he sported a thick bushy handle bar moustache, the center of his moustache was tinted yellow from the short little cigarettes he was constantly smoking. His wife Gertrude was a short round woman, with grey hair and sad blue eyes she was in her 70’s. Col Mac had three sons Richard the oldest a major was killed in Singapore in ’39; Brian now a Colonel was in Egypt and Ian the youngest flew Hurricanes for the RAF. Currie and Meyers found the accommodations very nice better than many other officers had.

Two weeks later, the company equipment arrived. Currie, Meyers Kovac and 1st Platoon were taking inventory; it seems Able Co. had almost two of everything. Currie told his men to take the best of everything and leave the rest or swap it for favors and IOU’s. Currie turned to see Pecos and Private Hill carrying off long wooden crate.

“Bailey what’s in the crates and where are you going?” Currie and motioned him over. “Well sir, it’s a rifle and some of my gun-smithing tools.” Bailey said looking around.

Currie looked at him “what kind of weapon would it be.”

“Well Sir it is a 20 mm antitank rifle” Bailey said quietly.

“No shit you got one of those sons of bitches I want to see it.”

Bailey and Currie walked over to where Hill standing, Bailey picked up his end of the crate.  Currie followed them to a tent Bailey opened the crate, inside the crate was a 20 mm antitank gun. The bolt-action weapon was about 6 feet long it had a short wooden stock, a magazine the size of a cigar box, and a bipod mounted under the metal fore stock. The weapon weighed close to 40 lbs.

“How does it shoot?”

“Not bad it’s pretty accurate but these iron sights are worthless for anything farther than 100 yards.”

“What do you need to convert to .50 cal to make it a long-range shooter 1,000 yards?” said Currie.

“A machine shop, time, and good optics are all I need.” Bailey said without hesitation.

“We can find the time for you; I can get hold of a good scope, and I will see about the shop… what kind of machines,” said Currie.

“Engine lathe, vertical mill, drill press, I could make do with those,” said Bailey.

“Ok! Get that thing put up, we don’t want to lose it, I’ll get busy on the other items.”  Currie began to mull this over in his mind. “I can detail him to work on the company weapons that will give him the time. I will write dad and see if we can get that 20x Unertl over here. A machine shop where do I find a machine shop that is the question.”

“Captain Currie” a voice called out, Currie turned to look, Colonel Snow was heading his way Currie saluted, and Snow returned the salute.

“Where did all of this equipment come from Captain?” You have enough equipment here for all of the companies.”

“Sir all I can say is that somehow it just fell into my lap. Just lucky I would say.”

“Captain I am going to have supply come and collect what isn’t on your company list.”

“Excuse me sir, if supply gets their hands on it, it will go to supply first, and our battalion will end up sucking hind teat.”

“Sir let’s give it to the other companies first, then let supply collect the remainder. Supply is only going to hoard it to make their books look good while we suffer.”

“You’re right, Captain get it distributed before we get our asses in a crack.”

“Yes sir.” Currie saluted Colonel Snow

Currie looked around “Lieutenant Rawls,” he called out. Rawls looked up, Currie motioned him over “Charlie get Copeland and Evans, you three get this equipment stowed, take only the best stuff leave the rest.”

“What gives Billy,” Charlie said

“The colonel saw our booty and wanted it turned over to supply, but I got him to give the leftovers to the other companies. When you’re done, get Baker, Charlie, and Dog up here to collect the rest.”

Currie caught sight of a Deuce and ½, pulling a water buffalo, it stopped behind a tent, Snipes and Kovac emerged a few seconds later laughing.

“Sergeants Kovac Snipes” Currie yelled out, their faces dropped, Snipes looked around Kovac backhanded Snipes’ on the chest with a come on let’s go hand signal. Currie met them about half way “where did all of this stuff come from,”

Snipes smiled mischievously, “well sir, in the confusion, there is profit, and this place is a gold mine nobody knows what the hell going on, hell Captain, they even loaded the truck for us.”

“That’s your last run,” pointing to the truck, “The colonel saw our supply dump, it seems you have collected enough for the whole battalion and then some.” Get with the Platoon leaders, keep the best, and start distributing the rest to Baker Charlie and Dog.”

“Yes sir.”

“Whose truck”

“Some outfit down the road donated it.”

“Well when you’re done with it, drop it off at a motor pool somewhere.”

“Yes sir.”

Rawls walked up to where the men were standing, “Captain, we don’t have room to store all of this stuff.”

“Excuse me Sir,” we have 4 medium tents in the truck,” Kovac said

“Well, get them out; get them put, up get the crap stored.”

“Kovac, Snipes, we have enough!” Currie said, “We have enough.”

“Yes sir,” Kovac said, “we understand.” Kovac and snipes saluted.

“Carry on.”

Currie returned the salute. Currie went to his command tent and sifted through a sheaf of papers.

“Corporal Gleason, find me a cup of coffee.”

“Yes sir” Gleason headed out of the tent Currie lit a camel sat back finishing his paperwork.

Gleason handed him a cup of hot coffee.

“Gleason, notify Rawls, Copeland and Evans staff meeting at Regiment at 0:630 and get me the duty roster…” Gleason came back with the roster and placed it on the desk.

“I’ll deliver your message now; do you need anything else before I go.”

“No Gleason that all”, said Currie.

After chow Currie headed back to his billet, sitting in the little rose garden was Col Mac and Gertrude. “Evening Col, Mac, Ma’am,” Currie said.

“Evening old boy, come ave wee toddy Col. Mac called out, Gerty fixes wicked lemonade,” he said.

“That would be great,” Currie sat down on an old cast iron garden chair.

Gerty left and returned with a gin and tonic in a tall frosted glass with a slice of lemon floating on the top. Currie took a drink, “Whoa Nellie,” he said smacking his lips, “that is one hell of a glass of lemonade.”

“I told you, old boy it is a humdinger it is.”

Currie sipped his drink the talk turned to war and weapons Currie mentioned that he wished he had access to a machine shop he had a gunsmith in the unit working on a project. Col Mac thought for a moment and said,” Machine shop not right off hand.”

“Now Colonel, I know perfectly well that, that Sean Finnegan has some sort of shop that has machines in it.” Gertrude said.

“Now Gertrude, he is a black hearted Irish Sod. We don’t talk about that Sod in this house.”

Gertrude stood up. “That black hearted Irish Sod was a Sergeant Major in the Kings owns Black Watch, just because he wasn’t a Lancer is no reason for you not to tell poor Captain Currie about him, you should be ashamed.” Gertrude turned and walked away slamming the door in the house.

Col Mac smiled “that black hearted Irish Sod courted Gerty before we were married, Finnegan does have a small shop, he just might have what your man requires. I’ll give him a jingle tomorrow, now old boy I must go and make amends with Gerty; the old gal still keeps me warm at night.” Col Mac collected the glasses and together he and Currie walked to the house.

Currie let himself up to the 2nd floor flat, Myers was nowhere to be seen Currie stripped down and climbed in the tub, he laid back soaking in the hot water cigarette in hand, tomorrow would tell what they were in for, briefing at regimental. Currie soaked until the water-cooled off, he dried off and turned in for the night.

The alarm clock buzzed at 0500, Currie rolled out of bed headed for the bathroom, and Myers was sprawled out on his bed dressed from last night smelling of booze. Currie rousted him out of bed. Myers moaned got up staggered into the bathroom Currie dressed “Myers, Regimental at 0630, be there,”

“Yes, sir Captain,” Myers said stepping into the shower fully dressed.

Currie walked to the chow hall had coffee and toast. Rawls, Copeland, Evans and Myers came in at 0545 and sat with him, “morning Captain what do you think is going on?” Copeland said quietly” “Boys I don’t know… but we are going to find out a little more here soon enough.”

Currie and his lieutenants showed up at regimental HG at 0615. They stood with Major Moore and Colonel Snow until the MP’s had unlocked the briefing room. By 0630, the room was full. The regimental commander came in from a door on the stage, the room came to attention “as you were men,” said the General. For the next 2 hours 17 minutes, the General and his staff lectured the officers on manners. How the British Citizen should be treated, what would be off limits, and security, including protecting the materials and equipment of the U.S. Army. It had been reported that wide spread pilfering had stripped some Commands of their equipment. Colonel Snow looked at Currie, Currie shrugged his shoulders, shook his head gesturing no involvement with his hands. After the Regimental, briefing Colonel Snow held his own briefing of Company Commanders. The Commanders of Baker, Charlie, and Dog Companies thanked the Colonel for the equipment. The commanders of Easy, Foxtrot, Golf, companies said their materials had been delivered. From the looks of what had already arrived, they would be complete within the week. They said that they did not know how he had done it, but they almost had a full complement of equipment and spare items. Currie chimed in thanking Colonel Snow and Major Moore for their foresight in having the materials waiting for them when they arrived. Colonel Snow shot Currie a glance. Snow told them that he had used up his favors and foresaw no more such allotments each Commander should secure and guard his equipment at all cost, it might be quite a while before they would get any other such treatment. Snow dismissed the officers, he had Currie remain, Currie assured the Colonel that his supply unit had been disbanded; it would never to be seen again. Colonel Snow nodded and said very softly, “thank you Captain, give those brave men in your supply unit a 24-hour pass, for job well done.”

Currie nodded and smiled “your very welcome sir I am sure those daring brave men will enjoy their passes when they get off extra duty.”

Colonel Snow laughed “extra duty?”

“Yes Sir, they have to get rid of all the extra equipment. Yes Sir, you just can’t let that stuff lie around. Somebody could take it, and they could trade it for other items, their company or Battalion may be short of.” Currie Saluted.

Colonel Snow shook his head and returned his salute.  Snow turned to leave “OH Captain, Major Moore might drop by with a list of some items the regiment does need.”

“Yes Sir, I’ll see to it,” Currie said, the two headed back to the company area.

The Regiment had been in England 8 days and the training was scheduled to begin PT, 20-mile marches, obstacle course, rifle range, Currie was reading over the training schedule, pondering what other bullshit they were going to heap upon him.

“Captain Sir, there is a British Colonel and a man in a skirt here to see you.” Gleason said quietly.

Currie rose “show them in Corporal.”

“This way Gentleman” Gleason said.

Col Mac in full dress uniform walked in followed by a 6’ 3” tall red headed mustached man dressed in his dress uniform, a Black Blazer over a white blouse over the black watch kilt with white knee-high socks with a black plaid garter and desert boots.

“Col Macpherson, pleased to see you,” Currie said.

“Hello old boy, how are you?” Col Mac said returning his salute. “I would like to introduce Sergeant Major Finnegan; Kings own Black watch.”

“Sergeant Major, it is a pleasure, Gentlemen please sit, Sergeant Major Finnegan extended his arm to shake Currie hand, Currie shook hands with him, and the Sergeant Major’s hand was about 2 times the size of his.

“Gentleman would you care for some coffee, I am sorry we don’t have any tea.”

“Uh Sir, “we do have some tea just got it in this morning, black Chinese tea,” Gleason said.

“Oh, gracious me, yes I would love a cupper.”

“Corporal, tea for our distinguished guest and coffee for me and Corporal send for Corporal Bailey on the double.”

“Currie this is the black hearted Irish Sod I was telling you about.”

“Who is the Black-hearted SOD, Colonel?”

“In our younger days, Sergeant Major you and I would have thrashed it out, but we are old toothless tigers now, all we can do now is snarl at each other.”

Finnegan laughed, “You may be toothless Colonel, but I still have a fang or two.”

“Where are your fangs in that glass you keep beside the bed?” Col Mac and Finnegan laughed out loud,

“I would wager that you too really like each other but don’t want anyone or someone knowing it.”

“The Captain see’s right through us doesn’t he Sean,” the Colonel said.

Gleason brought the tea on a metal barrel top, some sugar, and a can of condensed milk. “Corporal Bailey will be here shortly sir, is there anything else?”

“Send Bailey in when he gets here,” Currie said.

“So, what do you need Captain, Mac here said something about you having a smithy that needs a machine shop to do some gun work.”

“I’ll let Corporal Bailey tell you, he is intimately more suited to explain it than I am…” “Damn fine tea, Captain where did you happen to come by it,” Col Mac said

“Gleason!”

Gleason poked his head in the door.

“Where did you get the tea?”

“Sergeant Snipes in supply got it for us.”

“How much do we have?”

“8 to 10 boxes Sir.”

“Bring two boxes would you Gleason”,

“Yes Sir” Gleason said.

Col Mac poured another cup, the tea leaves floating in the cup. The tea Gleason made was quite strong, a very stout brew, it had been years since either of them had drunk any like this. Gleason and Bailey came in together each carrying a box.

“My God old boy do you know what you have here”

“Finnegan pointing at the boxes, you have a gold mine do you know how hard it is for us to get Chinese black tea here in Britain. The King god bless him doesn’t have any black tea.”

“My gift to you, Corporal Bailey this is Col Macpherson and Sergeant Major Finnegan,”

Bailey saluted the Colonel. “Glad to meet you,” Bailey said.

“Bailey, enlighten the Sergeant Major, what you want to do with that gun, and what type of machine tools that you need.”

“Yes Sir.” Would the Sergeant Major like to see the project I have mind.”

“Aye Laddy.”

“Bye your leave sir.” Col Mac flicked his hand,

Finnegan and Bailey left; Gleason returned to his duties. Currie and Col Mac drank their tea and coffee talking of old times waiting for Sergeant Major Finnegan. Col Mac finished the tea, “shall we go take a look see and what those two Sods’ are conspiring,” Col Mac Said.

Currie and Col Mac were walking back to the supply tent when they were met by two smiling men, the Sergeant Major was rubbing his hands together, Bailey was lost in thought of what he was going to do,

“Aw there you are, what’s the word,” Col Mac said

“We can do it; I have the machines. I will be back this evening to pick up the lad and his project and we will get started,” the Sergeant Major said.

“I have a better idea Bailey go get my jeep, load the project up and what else you need, come to my tent I’ll drive you.”

“Yes Sir.” Bailey and the Sergeant Major trotted off,

Currie and Col Mac walked back to his tent. The jeep squealed to a stop; Gleason took the tea to the jeep. “I will be back in an hour or so,” Currie said. Bailey and Finnegan climbed in the back Currie drove and Col Mac rode in style returning all the salutes thrown up to him. Currie dropped Bailey and Finnegan off at this shop, and then dropped Col Mac off at his house. Col Mac thanked Currie for the tea. Currie drove back to Finnegan’s shop.

Currie pulled up behind a long narrow brick building there were several blackened windows on the long side of the building. A large sliding door secured with two large padlocks. The main door was pulled partially open. Currie knocked and pulled on the main door. Bailey and Sean Finnegan were standing around a tool-covered workbench, the 20 mm anti-tank rifle rested on the bipod and the rear stock.

“Howdy Captain,” Bailey said.

“Aw Captain old boy, come, and take a look see.” Sean Finnegan said,

Currie stood looking at the weapon.

“What we plan to do is to strip it down.  Replace the 20 mm barrel with a .50 cal barrel.

Rework the bolt, and trigger assembly. We will cut the flash suppressor off the 20 mm and screw it on the 50cal barrel. We will reuse the bipod mount; tighten up the action, rebuild the trigger assembly for a good crisp trigger pull, carve a wood stock with a wide flat forearm, flip up butt plate, shoulder rest, and mount the bipod on the stock instead of on the barrel. We will also need good optics in the 16 to 20 power range for those targets out to two thousand yards.”

“You had some kind of scope,” Bailey said.

I have access to a 10 power Weaver scope with internal windage and elevation adjustments and a 20 power Unertl target scope.” Currie said.

“Old Boy, that’s splendid, you have it here?”

“I’ve written for it; it will be here soon if I know my dad. I don’t know about the mounts you may have to fabricate those,”

“That won’t be a problem Captain, the Sergeant Major has all the machine tools necessary for the work we need to do.”

The teakettle whistled, “Captain would you care for a spot of tea, laddy how about you, good, three it is.” Sean brewed a pot of tea and served it up.

How long before you might be finished, Currie said

“Working with the Ladd here about 6 months” Sean said,

“We may not have 6 months; I can give Bailey a little more time off, but not full time.”

“Captain, if you were to part with say maybe 2 more boxes of that tea your project could be complete in 4 to 6 weeks with me working on it full time.”

“Done, 2 boxes, 6 weeks,” Currie countered.

“I will need one more box for materials and the steel stock for the bolt, the firing pin, and some spring steel wire to make the firing pin spring, and walnut for the stock.”

“Corporal Bailey will have it here for you tomorrow,” Currie said

“We will have to figure out a way for you to get to and from.  Can you ride a cycle Laddy?”

Bailey nodded his head, “been a while since I peddled one.”

“Peddled one,” Sean laughed and pulled a tarp off an old Triumph motorcycle.

“I can ride that,” Bailey said

“You find the gas, you ride it.

“I think I can do that,”

Bailey looked around picked up a piece of rubber tube and an old can, “be right back.”

Currie and the Sergeant Major watched Bailey siphoned a can of gas out of the jeep. Bailey came back in. “shall we get it running.” Sean twisted off the cap on the motorcycle’s tank. Bailey poured the gas into the tank.

“Save a drop or two to prime it,” Currie said.

“Currie left, Bailey and Sean were totally focused on the motorcycle, and they didn’t see him leave. Currie went to chow then drove to his billet. Bailey roared passed him on the black Triumph motorcycle. Currie shook his head.

“If dad knew all the rules I have broken, he would beat me to death.” Currie said out loud.

The Regiments began training in earnest, 20-mile marches, the rifle range, the obstacle course, hand-to-hand combat training, bayonet practice, every day rain, or shine seven days a week.

The regiment marched to the train station and taken to Liverpool for amphibious training they embarked on a troop transport. Stacked three high across the deck were the LCI’s, the transport sailed at dusk along with 10 other ships. At 0400 the transport started unloading the LCI’s by 0445 all the LCI’s were into the water. One by one, the LCI’s pulled along the port and starboard sides of the transport, when the boats were loaded, they pulled away, from the ship and formed up waiting to make their run at the beach.

At 0645, the LCI’s formed up abreast of each other and headed for the beach. There was the unmistakable sound of grinding sand on the hull of the boat, the craft lurched forward the engine raced and then throttled down to an idle, the ramp was dropped, the men poured out into the cold water of the Irish Sea.

The LCI ran aground on a sand bar; they stepped off the ramp into chest deep water, the men disappeared before bobbing up thrashing around spitting water, coughing, and cussing. They panicked, losing their equipment and weapons trying to get on their feet and pushing their way through the waves on their way to the beach.

Once the men were on shore they regrouped and began their move inland. For 2 days, the regiment fought their way to the objective, and then they were fed cold food, put on trucks, hauled 30 miles to the rail station, put on the train, and taken back to Buxton.

Currie and his company did just fine no one was seriously hurt. They were hungry, dirty, and tired not so much from the pace but from being restrained. They saw where they could have moved quicker and secured and held their objectives. the battalion could hold what they had gained they had surprised the opposing troops they used what Currie had drilled into them make a little noise in the center and flank them in force just like the Germans had done all over Europe. However, they were told to stay with the battalion and attach en masse.

Currie was proud of his men he would arrange passes for them one-half the platoon for 24 hours then the other half and every night and every morning, Currie or Myers would drive to Liverpool to bail a ½ dozen or so out of the stockade. Currie fined them each a dollar and restricted them to the company area for a week.

Bailey spent his days in the machine shop with the Sergeant Major, the Sergeant Major had disassembled the weapon, the original 50 cal barrel was egg shaped, Bailey and the Sergeant Major were sitting there when Snipes walked in carrying two brand new barrels. “Compliments of the Air corps, I picked them up this morning, I heard you needed one, so I got you two, you now have a spare.”

The company moved out on maneuvers to the south of England for 2 weeks, Able Company slugged it out in the rain and mud accomplishing nothing but getting wet. Currie did learn one valuable lesson, the way to free his company from the muck and mire was to volunteer for patrols and taking the point by doing this he could pretty much move around and get things done in a way more suited to the way he had trained his troops.

Currie crouched under the tarp overlooking his objective, rain fell in sheets obscuring his position from the opposing force, and two of the three patrols he had sent out had returned without any prisoners, the third patrol had brought back four prisoners and two Bobbies. The prisoners claimed the Geneva Convention, whereas the Bobby’s were more than happy to tell all they had seen, it seems the Yanks had mucked up one of the Bobby’s gardens when they drove a truck through the garden and the hedge around it.

Currie sent to Battalion the four soldiers and the statement of the Bobbies. Currie and his men took shelter against the wind and blowing rain waiting for orders from Battalion. The orders came at 0400. Currie read the orders, shook his head, he called together his Lieutenants and NCO’s. He showed them the orders he was to move his company down the road, attack the most heavily defended area, then the rest of the battalion would follow through the hole he would punch in the line and take the objective.

“This is ludicrous, Evans, we will be slaughtered if we try it the way Regimental wants us too. This is what we will do, I want the 3 mg’s and BAR’s here,” Currie said pointing to the map. I want you to make a hell of a racket, draw their fire use smoke whatever you must make them think you are the battalion. The left flank is the weakest; we will flank the left.  I want you here, and Copeland I want you to move to here, Meyer’s take the 3rd  platoon and feign an attack up the center, They won’t be expecting an attack from the rear, so get there quickly as possible; you will attack the HQ and take it. RT silence, till you get in position, I will be here.

“Everyone synchronizes your time, at the mark, the time will be 0441…mark.”

“When Evans opens fire at 0600 everyone goes. Alright let’s go. Sherrill this is what you will do; I want all mg’s here and concentrate all your fire towards the center, at 2-minute intervals, shift one MG and a BAR right 50 yards.  Work your way 150 yards to the right then use everything. The smoke the rain and the wind should be just enough confusion to make it work.”

The radio crackled at 0545, “White Knight this is White Rook 1… White Knight this is White Rook 1 over.”

“Go ahead White Rook 1 this is White Knight,” Currie said softly into the field radio.

“White Rook 1 in position over.”

“Roger White Rook 1, White Knight out.”

Currie and Evans had set up next to a drainage ditch; he explained to Evans that he wanted all 3 MG’s to fire, the three BARS would take the place of one MG and move to the right,  then he would have the 3 BARS join up and continually move out to the right further confusing the enemy.

At 0600 Evans unit opened fire, the 3 browning M 1919 A4’s spitting only fire and smoke, the blanks rolling through the guns. The opposing force returned fire the MG’s were right where the Bobbies had said they were. The MG that had returned fire off to the left had moved closer to the center. Currie began shifting his position to the right, leaving 1 MG and the 3 BARS. The two MG’s opened fire 50 yards to the right; the return fire began to shift to the right. Currie moved again leaving one BAR and MG in the original position and now he had 1 MG and BAR in three positions steadily moving to the right of way from the center. Currie could hear sporadic gunfire on the left.

Captain Marks of Baker Company arrived. Currie had Baker Co MG’s and BARS set up and began firing in the Center.

“White Knight this is White Rook 1”

“Go ahead White Rook 1 this is White Knight,”

“White Knight, Blue Force HQ taken and held. Rook 2, Rook 3, closing on objective, over,”

“Roger, White Rook 1.” Currie told Lieutenant Evans to begin moving forward, Captain Mark’s had his company moving forward, before Baker Co could reach their objective, the opposing fire had stopped. Able Company had taken the objective. Currie told Marks to secure the objective, he had his men begin to form up and deploy to a barn to dry out and have some chow. Charlie and Dog Company arrived only to find the objective already taken.

Currie and his company had taken three companies and their battalion commander, Colonel Snow arrived and summoned Currie. Colonel Snow, and his staff and Major Moore along with Captain Marks, Captain Reese Smith of Charlie Company were standing around talking among themselves when Currie arrived. Currie saluted Colonel Snow.

Colonel Snow stood behind a table with a map spread across it, Colonel Snow asked Currie how in the hell was he able to with one Company take down damn near a whole battalion he was supposed to attack the Center punch a hole for the battalion to pass through.

Currie explained that he knew by the patrols the left flank was very weak, he set up his MG’s and BARS in the center and drew their fire while moving the fire to the right his opponent had to reinforce the center and the right drawing more troops off the left flank. Currie’s Company moved behind the lines taking the Command Post and taking the companies by surprise on the line.

Col. Show looked at Currie, “your orders were to attack the center, punch a hole for the battalion to move through.” Currie said; “I followed your orders, I was here; your orders said to attack the center from my position.” Currie pulled the orders and map from his pocket; there was his position it was marked left of what would be the Center of the enemy lines, his MG’s attacked the Center then moved right and forward.

Currie’s company moved up the center to the left behind their lines, had Able Company been 300 yards more to the right he never could have gotten away with it. He followed the orders, maybe not to the letter he attacked and captured the objective he had pissed the Colonel off for not reading the Colonel’s mind.

Currie sent 4 captured soldiers and the full report of the two English Bobby’s to battalion, any fool could see the left was weak and thin, that would be where to attack, not the center. The report also told the Col that if was defended at battalion strength. You don’t send a rifle company to attack a battalion head on and punch a hole in the lines. Currie did what he did to take the objective; he didn’t do it to disobey the colonel.

Currie left to go back to his men, he heard Smith of Charlie company whining, “that his company hadn’t fired a 1000 rounds, had not been in one engagement since Currie had been on point” Captain marks said, “that may be true and you have had no casualties just like me. Currie has lost six men according to the umpires. Me! I let him do it and save my men.” Currie smiled, “I’ve killed 200 of the enemy and captured over a thousand and lost 4 men.” He knew full well that this would never happen in combat with real bullets flying. He would have to kill them before the enemy killed him for his tactics to work.

The regiment and Able Company returned to Buxton to more training and longer days. The Sergeant Major called bearing good news, shortened and re-chambered the barrel, cut down the diameter and threaded it to fit the action; he was ready to test fire the weapon.

Currie told Bailey and Kovac to take it to the range with the Sergeant Major and test fire the weapon.

At the firing range they placed the gun without its stock on sand bags, then covered it with sand bags; a string was tied to the trigger. Bailey chambered one round, closed the bolt, released the safety, and covered the action with another sand bag. The three of them took cover behind the earth embankment. Bailey pulled the string, the rifle fired with a loud report; when the dust cleared, the rifle had only moved a couple of sandbags of dirt. The Sergeant Major was the first to pick it up, he lifted the bolt pulled it back, and ejected the shell. He inspected the weapon carefully and looked at the spent cartridge. The primer was still seated; the case was not bulged or misshapen. “Perfect!” he said with a wide grin, “Bloody perfect! Now let’s have five rounds Laddy.” Bailey handed the rounds to the Sergeant Major. Five rounds were placed in the magazine and one in the chamber. Bailey and Kovac knocked the pile of sand bags down, the weapon was placed on the bags and covered, but more bags were placed behind it and on the action. The Sergeant Major stood behind the weapon and pulled the string, the weapon fired, sand bags jumped. The Sergeant Major uncovered the action and ejected the spent round, he chambered another round kneeled and pulled the trigger the weapon fired. When the dust had cleared, the Sergeant Major was dancing around holding the rifle.

“Laddy’s, we have a winner”; he handed the weapon to Bailey who inspected it. Bailey smiled and said; “let’s go tell the Captain.” The Sergeant Major shook his head, “let’s get it done we are so close, in another week the stock will be complete, we can fire it then and if the Captain gets the scope, it will be finished in a forth night.”  Bailey and Kovac drove the Sergeant Major back to his shop.

“Sir, Captain Currie sir, there is a General in your office waiting to see you,” Gleason found Currie and reported. Currie rushed in to his tent, General Currie was sitting behind the desk.

“Dad you made General, when did this happen, how are you?”

The General rose “I’m good son, really good,” embracing his son, slapping him on the back and whispered, “your mom sends her love,” and hugged him tighter.

“Why didn’t you tell me dad? What brings you here?” said Billy.

“Your letter sounded urgent, I came as soon as I Could, I brought what you asked for pointing to the corner. I brought the both scopes, the Weaver K-10 and the Unertl 20.

“Gosh thanks dad,” Billy stammered.

“Now what do you have up your sleeve?” the General asked.

“If you have the time, I’ll show you”

“I fly out the day after tomorrow… I have time.”

“Come on then, Gleason find Bailey for me.”

“He is in town with the Sergeant Major.”

“Let’s take your jeep dad; it might disappear if you leave it here.”

Billy drove to the shop. Bailey was just getting on the motorcycle and the Sergeant Major was closing the outside door. Bailey got off the cycle and saluted the General. General Currie returned the salute. The Sergeant Major came to attention and saluted in the finest of English military fashion.

“Sergeant Major Finnegan of the Kings own Black Watch,” Billy said.

“Retired,” said the Sergeant Major.

General Currie shook his hand, “A pleasure Sergeant Major.”

“I’ve brought my dad to see the project.”

“Excellent old boy, welcome General,” Finnegan said.”

Billy handed the scopes to the sergeant Major; he unwrapped the scopes entering the shop. On the bench was the nearly completed rifle, the Sergeant Major pointed it out placing the scope on top of the barrel. The barreled action and trigger were complete. The stock was about 80% done, it needs to be in-letted and oiled down. General Currie looked at the barrel and stuck his finger in the end of it; he rolled his eyes, “50 cal Billy.”

“Aye, every bit of it,” The Sergeant Major said. “The rifle should be accurate out to 2 – 2000 meters.”

General Currie picked it up, “a bit on the heavy side wouldn’t you say.”

“The weight makes the recoil no more than my old 303 Enfield. I could shoot it all day long without a lot of abuse, although the bloody thing is very loud, it plays bloody hell with your ears.”

General Currie smiled, “that should make for some very interesting shooting, have you got the ballistics of the 50-caliber round?”

“Not yet,” Billy said.

“I will search around Bragg, I’m sure I can come up with something. I will put it in a letter to you. Now is there a pub around? I need a drink.”

“Aye, General, that there is, it is around the corner, down the block and it is my treat, come on we’ll take a hike.”

Bailey stood there, The Sergeant Major said “come on laddy, I’m an NCO too, you can sit with me we’ll put the bloody Captain and the General at the table next to us. All the proprieties will be observed.”

Bailey looked at his Captain and then at the General, “Captain Currie Sir?”

“Come along Corporal don’t dally,” Billy said in his best Texas drawl.

“Thank you very much Captain.”

General Currie and Billy followed the Sergeant Major and Bailey to the
Pub.

“What’s the story on those two?” The general said.

“Bailey is a gunsmith from Texas, a damned fine man; the Sergeant Major was a rifle smith in the Black Watch. We needed a machine shop to build our little project, Finnegan had the shop, Colonel Mac introduced them, and the rest as they say is history.”

The pub, The Hanged Man was a typical English pub, the long narrow building, booths and tables on one side, the long polished mahogany bar fronted the mirror lined back bar.

“Hello Shirley,” Finnegan said,

“Hello Sean, what will you ave?” she asked.

“A pint of lager for me and whatever my friends want,” he said.

“Love, have you a wee drop of whiskey for a lonely old man?” the general asked.

Shirley laughed, “General Darling I’ll let you have a wee drop of whiskey, but that’s all you will get at this pub, and you laddy what will it be?”

“A short red ale ma’am, if you please,” Bailey said.

“Red ale it is,” she said wiping her hands on her towel.

“Son, tell me how this little project got started.”

Billy told him it all started at Fort Jackson when Bailey and I were talking about competition shooting he said he had always wanted to make a long range gun in .50 caliber, when we got to England, a 20 mm anti-tank rifle fell in our laps and I told Bailey to make one. We found the Sergeant Major who has just about built it.”

The Sergeant Major said, “I just machined the parts. Bailey built it, he carved the stock, put it all together reworked the trigger, it should be ready to test and sight it in, in a week…”

“You will need a good range finder and spotting scope.”

“Dad, that is already taken care of; I have a binocular periscope range finder compliments of a mortar unit, and a 50-power right angle scope from an anti-aircraft artillery unit,”

The Sergeant Major raised his glass, “A toast, to comrades in arms, may we live to tell our children and grandchildren about it.”

“To comrades,” they answered.

“Now laddy’s I’m going back to start on the mounts and you my boy needs to finish that stock.”

The Curries’ took the jeep to Col Mac’s house.

General Currie, Col Mac, and Captain Currie sat in the garden drinking a cold gin and tonic, reminiscing about the Great War. Moreover, how things have changed in the way, wars are fought. The airplane fighters, bombers, transports who would have thought that in 40 years it would progress from a box kite to 400 mph fighter planes Col Mac said. “For 30 years, I was on horseback, with the Lancers in India, sometimes we rode elephants, but now the Calvary is mounted in tanks and ½ tracks, riding into battle at 30 miles per hour instead of a run.”

General Currie shook his head. “I can remember back in ’17 when the model T Ford was the car on the battlefield, now look what we have, a little 4-wheel drive jeep, what will they think of next.”

“Peace would be nice,” Gerty, said standing behind them,

“Here – here” General Currie said,

“Huzzy – Huzzy said Col Mac,

Captain Currie raised his glass reluctantly.

Oh! Billy, I almost forgot, I brought you that Scottish camouflage, it is in my bag let me get it.”

Col Mac looked at him “a Ghillie is it?”

“Yes, yes, it is,” the General, said.

General Currie came back with the Ghillie and two bottles of Haig Pinch Scotch. He handed the Ghillie and a bottle to Billy and a bottle to Col Mac.

“Old boy I hardly know what to say, your son spoils me with a carton of black tea and you Sir, share with me the nectar of the Scots Gods, Haig but their best in the pinch bottle. I will never say a word against any Yank ever again, Gerty look at what the man has done,” Col Mac said, in almost a joyous song.

General Currie said, “I have to go, I need to get back to London, I’m to fly out tomorrow, Col Mac it has been a pleasure,” he saluted Col Mac, shook his hand. Then he pulled Billy to him and hugged him.

Billy said softly “love you and give my love to mom.”

“Will do son,” General Currie said.

Currie turned walked to the jeep and disappeared in a cloud of dust. Billy stood there watching the jeep drive off.

“Come on old son; let’s get a bite to eat, shall we?” Col Mac said.

Currie nodded his head “may as well, I have nowhere to go for the next hour or so; unless they find me sooner.”

Currie joined Col Mac and Gerty for dinner. Beef and kidney pie, potatoes, beans, the dinner turned out to be very quiet. Billy sat there thinking, wondering, he could feel the melancholy slowly begin to settle in, tomorrow he would go to Liverpool; it was time, he thought, to have a little fun.

The blackout in Liverpool was a gold mine for the prostitutes and party girls, the once brightly lit streets now dark, concealed them from view until you heard the “ello Yank, looking for a good time?”

The wind blew trash and leaves around the streets. Billy walked from pub to pub and hotel bar to hotel bar, he had turned down 2 dozen offers. Billy pushed through the door to the Royce Hotel and walked into the bar of all the places, this one was about the best he had seen. He sat at the bar and ordered a pint. Billy gazed around the room, at one table he spotted a dishwater blonde and her black-haired friend. The women were wearing tight skirts and blouses. The blonde caught his look, Billy nodded to her, she talked to her friend, and pointed out Billy, her friend smiled. Billy nodded, the black headed girl rose and walked a sensually as possible toward Billy. “Ave a light Yank?” She said, putting a cigarette to her red painted lips. Billy clicked the Ronson; a small yellow blue flame lit her face she sucked her cigarette to life.

She was not beautiful nor was she ugly, she wore too much makeup; her lips were painted blood red, her eyebrows plucked thin and lined into a sweeping arch, her eyes were the darkest shade of brown imaginable. “Thanks mate,” she said, “my name is Molly and my friends call me Mol.” She smiled.

“I’m Currie,” he said, “would you like a drink?”

“Sure, mate ½ and ½,” she said.

Billy gave the order to the bar keep, who was already filling it when,

Mol hopped up on the bar stool her skirt was short, the tops of her stockings were visible, her blouse was pulled open at her breast showing her ample bosom.

“Mol, I’m looking for some intimate company, some outdoors, the rest in a nice warm comfortable bed, for the next 12 hours at least.”

Mol looked at him, “what makes you think I’m that kind of gal.”

Billy pulled a 10 quid note from his pocket, waving it, “I had surely hoped you were but if not, I will jut continue looking.”

“Not so fast Mate, I didn’t want you to think I was too easy.” She smiled, “outdoors you say?”

“I thought a little ½ and ½ in the alley or entry way, then the rest of the 12 hours in bed.”

“The ten quid will work fine for that,” she said.

“Who knows?” Billy said kneading the flesh on her knee, “tomorrow maybe your blonde friend might join us.”

Molly looked at him, “Mate, I don’t do girls, only blokes.”

Billy smiled pulling a roll of pound notes from his pocket, “everybody has a price don’t they,” he said smiling; “let’s go,” Billy stood up, and paid for their drinks.

Mol walked back to the table grabbed her coat and purse. They walked out into the dark. Billy and Mol stood in the doorway for a moment letting their eyes adjust to the darkness.

“Which way?” Billy asked

Mol pointed to her left.

“Let’s go,” Billy said, looking around to see if anything else moved.

Mol grabbed his arm and snuggled her breast into his arm. Billy took a 10 quid note folded it twice and tucked it in her cleavage; Mol pulled it out and shoved it into her jacket pocket. Billy stopped at the first vacant doorway.

“Not ere, it’s the bloody parson’s house,” She crossed herself.

Come on, I know just the place,” They walked about a block and turned the corner, Billy could see the street was bombed out the buildings lay in ruins. Molly stopped at the first bombed out building. “My flat use to be here in this building on the 2nd floor now it’s gone.  “Come on,” she said, pushing open the burnt door.

The door opened onto a landing; there was above them, it was open to the sky. There were five burnt and blacken stairs against the scorched walls. Mol turned and pushed the door shut, she pushed him back against the door. Mol squatted and unbuttoned his pants.

Billy pulled her up, grasping her breasts, “unbutton your blouse!” he said. Mol unbuttoned her blouse and pulled it back exposing her breast. Billy pulled her bra back, her nipples popped up. Billy rolled them in his fingers.

Mol unbuttoned his pants and pulled his hardening manhood free from his trousers. “Bloody ell, Captain, that a big-un, and I do love a big-un,” She said, stroking its full length.

Currie pulled a Trojan from his pocket and handed it to her. He reached down, pulled her skirt up, and slid his hand between her legs. “Loose the knickers” he said.

Mol pulled off her knickers shoving them in her pocket. She squatted again rolled the Trojan down Billy’s cock. Billy felt her lips and mouth on him, her head moved back and forth. Billy had his hands on her head directing her motion. He began to relax; he closed his eyes, letting his head fall back against the door, his arms dropped to his sides, his other arm was on her head. Billy heard her moan taking him deep in her mouth and throat.

Billy snapped his fingers and lifted her turning her around. “Bend over” he growled. He pulled her skirt up exposing her butt; Mol grabbed hold of the stairs. Billy shoved himself into her. “Bloody ell” she squealed. “That’s my arse, I didn’t, don’t want…” Billy had hold of her hair his cock sliding In and out of Mol’s arse.

Mol began to grunt and roll her ass. “Oh you, bastard, you bloody bastard,” she said pushing back. Billy grabbed her hips tightly and pulled her ass tight against his groin, his muscles spasm.

Billy growled deep in his throat; he came shooting his seed in her arse. He pulled Mol up to his chest he reached around her groped her breast kneading and squeezing them. His cock became flaccid and slipped out of Mol. Billy pulled Mol to his side, told her to pull the Trojan off. Billy pulled her hand around and told her to hold his cock and pull the foreskin back so he could piss. “I’m not used to doing this,” she said.

Billy chuckled, “not yet anyway huh.”

Mol looked at him, “a girl does have her limits you know.”

“And a girl has her price too,” Billy said, “now to your flat, or do we stay here?” Billy put his cock back in his pants and buttoned them up. Mol pulled down her skirt; she hooked her bra back together and buttoned her blouse. Billy pulled the door open a bit and said, “Ok it’s clear.”

Billy and Mol walked to her flat. For the next 12 hours, Billy laid in bed Mol at his beck and call. Billy lay on his back, his rigid manhood rested between her ample breasts. Mol squeezed her breasts tight around his manhood, stroking his cock slowly. Peeking out from under her hair she looked at Billy, her makeup was smeared her mascara had run, her eyes blacken by it. “She looked like a raccoon,” Billy thought, he pulled her hair drawing her up. “Sit on it Mol,” Mol straddled him her hands on his shoulders. Billy watched her face, she grimaced in pain, and she slowly took the full length of his cock into her warm wet velvety tunnel. Billy looked at her through half closed eyes; he thrust his hips up driving his massive cock to the bottom of her tunnel. Mol yelped in pain and tried to climb off but he held her in place he watched her pendulous breast swinging slowly to and fro. Billy rolled her nipples between his fingers. “Come, my little English tart,” he said. Mol ground herself on him. “Ride it you whore,” he mumbled, “harder.”

“Yes, talk to me you bastard.” Billy let a long slow stream of words escape his mouth; each word was more exciting than the previous word. Mol rolled her hips harder grinding down on him; she sat up right taking him fully into her, her fingernails scraped down his chest leaving eight red streaks. She rose up to where just the tip of his manhood was in her. She slowly began to slide down his manhood, Billy thrust up catching her driving his manhood deeper stretching her. “Oh, bloody ell, you bastard, “she squealed.”

“Harder whore, harder bitch, he said spanking her hip. “Harder whore, grind it, grind that cunt on me slut.”

Mol screamed out, she ground herself on him as hard as she could; she wrapped her arms around her chest squeezing her tits up tight against, her body she shuttered, she threw her head back, “Oh you bastard, fuck me,” Mol screamed out.

Then she collapsed on his chest, she rolled off him. She laid beside him her legs spread, her breathing was labored, and her body shook in convulsion after convulsion as the orgasm overtook her body. His cock spasmed, he shot his seed his juices onto her belly

The remnants of the torn and shredded Trojan hung from his cock like the torn and shredded mainsail after a force 9 storm. Billy reached down, pulled it off, and threw it on floor next to the bed.

Slowly, Mol relaxed, her breast slipping from her chest resting on her arms; she was still breathing heavily her legs were still quivering. Billy lit a cigarette, Mol turned her head to look at Billy, “Give me a fag,” she said panting. Billy handed her the cigarette he had lit, and he lit another one for himself.

Billy stared at the ceiling; he could hear the whine and the explosion of the bombs being dropped on Liverpool. Between the bombs bursting, the anti-aircraft guns spat shells up at the unseen enemy, the shrapnel from the shells drizzled down hitting the roof, it almost sounded like a handfuls of coins being dropped on the floor. Billy thought, “Here he was lying in bed in Liverpool with a whore, listening to the destruction of Liverpool, the constant barrage of anti-aircraft fire; there was a war on, people were dying, being maimed, crushed under the collapsing weight of the building or being immolated by the fires. Billy’s once flaccid manhood now was hard and erect. The sound of war death and destruction was his aphrodisiac it was his destiny.

“Mol” he said, she looked at him. He pointed to his manhood, she reached over and caressed it, “your mouth,” Mol raised up on her elbow, Billy watched her take him into her mouth. “Suck it you slut,” he said.

Billy pillowed his head in his hands and closed his eyes, he listened to the explosions made by the bombs, and he listened to the soft murmurings that Mol was making. Billy took a deep breath the scent of her perfume mixed with the pungent burnt odor of cordite sent a shiver of pleasure through his body from his head to his toes. The sounds of the explosions, the brilliant flashes of light, the smell of cordite, those aroused Billy more than any woman ever had before. Billy felt his muscles being to tense up, he reached down placing his hand on her head, his muscles convulsed, spewing his seed. Billy’s body stiffened, his back arched, then as quickly as it began, it stopped, and it convulsed again – again spewing his seed; Mol groaned and sucked harder Billy pressed her head down on his manhood. Billy shivered, and then collapsed on the bed, all his energy spent in a brilliant flash of sexual energy.

The bombs fell closer to them, the windows rattled and shook. Mol sat up, “we have to go to the shelter,” she said.

Billy reached out grabbed her arm and pulled her down beside him. He rolled to meet her, “shhh he said, it is not our time.” The building shook, dust fell, another explosion closer, the explosions were ear shattering loud then louder, another explosion the glass in the windows, blown into the room, tearing the blackout curtains off the wall, Mol screamed and buried her face into Billy’s chest. “Oh, dear God, please don’t let me die,” she said sobbingly. She was horrified, her body shook, and she trembled in fear. Billy wrapped his arms around her pulling her close, “shhh, Mol” you’re not going to die, it is not our time.” The last explosion shattered all the windows on the front of the flat, Mol screamed again, Bill felt the warm wet sensation that began to soak the bed, Mol shivered, she buried her face in the bed crying, ”I’m so scared Billy, Oh dear God please don’t let me die, the words coming between her sobs.”

Billy rolled over on her, kneeing her legs open, spreading them wide; His manhood was throbbing hard, Billy slowly positioned himself and penetrated her, she looked at him. The tears flowed from her eyes; they ran down her cheeks onto the bed. Billy reached down, took her knees, and lifted them up rolling her hips up, Mol’s knees rested on her chest. Billy began his assault on her he had a cynical sad smile on his face, he was enjoying the fear she was experiencing. Mol peered into his eyes, through her tears she saw the man for what he truly was. She turned her head quickly shutting her eyes tight, hiding her face in the pillows. Billy pounded her body with his, taking even more pleasure, now that he knew, she was so terrified and scared.

The bombs again came close to the flat, the wind full of smoke dust rolled into the room collected on his sweating body. Billy pushed himself up right; all his weigh was on her now forcing his manhood into her. As the bombs fell, Billy yelled out, screaming in ecstasy, screaming like a man processed. Mol looked in horror at him. Billy wasn’t screaming from fear, but from absolute ecstasy. Another series of explosions began and with each explosion, Billy assaulted her body with his. The last bomb was the crescendo to his sexual assault, his body stiffened; he shivered then collapsed upon her. Mol pushed him off, she rolled out of the bed pulling the blanket with her, she ran for the door. Billy lay face down naked and exhausted, he slept till the dawn of day pierced the night.

The sun was quite high in the sky when Billy awoke. It was 1400 hours, he looked around for Mol, she was gone; he went to clean up. He turned the handle there was no water. Billy walked back into the bedroom; he picked up his clothes, shaking the glass and other debris onto to the floor. Billy shook the dust out of his clothes. He dressed himself; he would clean up when he got back to his hotel. Billy left another 10 quid on the dresser, he walked to the door to let himself out, the door was stuck, Billy kicked it, and the door flew open and swung back.

Billy looked out into the bright sunshine, the landing the steps the wall was gone. The building next door was gone. Billy looked out the door, then he looked down, 25 feet below lying on a pile of rubble was the naked twisted body of Mol, Billy took a second look and pulled the door closed. He, walked back to the bedroom, picked up the 10 quid note, cleaned the chards of glass from the window, and climbed out and down the fire escape.

Billy walked around the block, he saw a Bobbie on the corner, and told him of Molly’s death. The Bobby thanked him and started toward the flat. Billy turned the corner and met a cab, he whistled, the cab stopped, then backed up to get him, “train station,” he said.

Billy caught the train back to Buxton, back to the company, back to training, back to what he knew. Billy caught a ride back to the company waiting for him on his desk a folded piece of paper, the note said simply, it works! Billy unfolded the paper, there on the edge was written 1000 yards. In the paper were 10 ring finger sized holes, 12-3/4 inches was the spread.

Billy sat back and looked at it. He called for Gleason. “Where’s Bailey,” Currie said. “Supply tent Sir,” Gleason said. Currie walked down to the tent. He stepped in to the tent; around the table were Bailey, Kovac, Myers, Snipes, Rawls, Copeland, and Evans. Evans said, as you were, as Currie approached the table, there on the table resting on its bipod was the .50 caliber rifle.

The steel was a deep dark blue; the barrel and receiver was a good 8 inches, longer with the flash suppressor than the original 50-caliber barrel. The stock was shaped, in-letted, checkered, and smooth to the touch and heavily oiled. The Unertl scope sat in its massive front mount that was fastened to the barrel. On either side of the mount, on the scope was the recoil dampening springs.  The rear mount was fastened to the rear of receiver with the windage and elevation knobs protruding from the top and the right side. The bolt handle which once protruded perpendicular to the barrel was now bent downward and reshaped to resemble a beaver’s tail. The bolt would now open and close clearing the windage adjustment knob.

Currie caressed it, he picked it up, and he guessed the weight at close to 30 pounds. He smiled and set the weapon back on the table. He stroked the bolt it operated as smooth as silk. He gripped the stock, rested his finger on the trigger, and squeezed it slowly; he heard and felt the snap it was crisp, wonderfully crisp, not much travel and a 4 to 5-pound pull. “Did you have a chance to do anything at 2000 yards?” Currie asked,

“Not yet, we were waiting for you, we sighted it in this morning.” Myers said.

“We need a box of ball, box of AP and a box of tracers, tracers won’t be accurate, however; they will let us see how she tracks and might get some elevations,” Currie said,

“We have everything, but the tracers and they won’t be hard to get,” Myers said.

“One or two boxes tracers,” Snipes said.

“Two,” Currie said.

“Consider it done.” Snipes said smiling.

“By your leave sir,” Currie nodded at Snipes,

“Yes go,” he said.

“I don’t know what we would do without Snipes,” Rawls said.

Currie looked at Rawls, “he is a very good asset; however,’ any other time or place, if we were to knowingly allow him to operate the way he does, we would all be in Leavenworth or be cashiered out plus time in Leavenworth”.

“Find some place to secure it, I don’t want to lose it,” Currie said.

“Yes sir,” Bailey said opening the box behind him; He lovingly picked it up, packed it carefully in its crate.

Currie left the Supply tent with Myers; they headed back toward Curries tent. “How was your leave Captain?”

Currie looked at him, “Mike; I had a grand time, drank a little, cleaned the pipes, almost got bombed out, but other than that, I had a grand time,” he laughed, “I feel great.” He patted Myer’s on the back, “let’s get a drink.”

“Sure, why not,” Myer’s said.

The early morning silence was shattered by the boom; the birds took flight with squawks and a flutter of wings. Currie watched the tracer through the spotters’ scope, the brilliant white glow from the tracer arched its way to the bed-sheet sized target. Currie clicked the stopwatch, the hands stopped. “A little over 2 seconds, fire it again.”

Bailey worked the bolt extracting the spent shell and loading another round. Currie reset the stopwatch; Bailey fired again. The round found its way to the target disappearing behind it again Currie stopped the clock.

“Looks like 2.2 – 2.4 seconds.”

Rawls worked the data on his Picket Slide Rule “looks to be about 2500 to 2700 fps.

“Bailey let me have a go at it,” Currie said. Currie laid down, shouldered the weapon peering through the scope. Currie found the target; he put the horizontal crosshair to the top of the target. Currie breathed in half a breath let it out slowly and squeezed the trigger. The stock pushed back into his shoulder, the dust flew in front of the barrel, and the report about deafened him. He saw the tracer strike the dirt in front of the target. He worked the bolt, then placing the crosshair on the same spot Currie squeezed the trigger, the rifle kicked his shoulder; Currie watched the round then he turned the elevation adjustment screw out and locked it down. Currie chambered another round, this time the round struck the bottom of the target.

Currie dropped the clip, Bailey handed him another full one. Currie walked the rounds up the target toward the center with the next five rounds. Currie rolled over then sat up, “she’s dead on at 2000 yards let’s see where she is at 1000.” “Ok who’s next” they all started forward. “Lieutenant Myers, go ahead,” Currie said.

“I thought there would be a little more recoil than that,” Currie said to Bailey.

“There was Sir we added five more pounds of lead to the stock to tame it a little more,” Bailey said.

“She weights what now?”

“A little more than 25 pounds,” Bailey said.

“Ok,” Currie thought “gunner, spotter range finder, ammo carrier and 1 more for support, 3 to 4 men.