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Thunder in the East

By Daniel Graham Young All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Action

The Nightmares of Reality

"Hauptmann, we are taking hits on the left side! The left side!" a man shouted from below Hauptmann Gerhard Von Stahlheim. "T-34 at 10 o'clock!"

"I see it!" Gerhard yelled as he peered through the small viewing slits in the commanders copula of his Panzer IV. "Manfred, rotate turret to 7 o'clock and set weapon sight to 500 metres!". 

A horrid thud could be heard on the left side of the tank, another shell had hit them and it was only a matter of time before their weak side armour was penetrated.

"How many armour-piercing shells do we have left?" Manfred, the tanks gunner yelled as he finished rotating the turret to face the T-34.

"We have five shells left!" Kleiner, the tanks loader yelled back.

"Fire when ready!" Gerhard yelled as he continued to watch the T-34.

"Firing!" Manfred yelled as he fired the main gun of their Panzer IV.

Gerhard watched as the shell landed in front of the T-34. "Manfred, adjust sight!" he yelled.

"Gun loaded!" Kleiner yelled.

"Firing!" Manfred yelled.

Gerhard watched again as the shell bounced off the sloped frontal armour of the T-34, they would never get anywhere hitting it like this from the front.

"Wilhelm get us out of here! This is not a fight we can win!" Gerhard yelled, the sound of the engine kicking in almost blocking his voice out.

Another horrid impact sound from the left side of the tank could be heard, but this time a distinct snapping could be heard as well. Gerhard unlatched the top of his commanders hatch and opened in up to get a good look outside of the tank.

He immediately fell back inside to his seat as small arms fire started pinging of the armour just below him. "It's no good! They blew off our track!" he shouted

Manfred fired again, but the shell bounced off the sloped frontal plate of the T-34 once again.

"That's it, cut the engine we are abandoning this tank!" Gerhard yelled.

"We don't run!" Manfred shouted as he fired again with no effect on the frontal plate.

"Abandon this vehicle, that is an or-" Gerhard was silenced by the piercing sound of a hollow charge shell exploding into the tank.

Gerhard was dazed, his ears ringing horribly, his legs felt as though they were on fire, he could feel hot liquid running down his face.

He shifted his eyes around and saw nothing but tattered uniform and horribly deformed corpses of his crew members and moments later, he blacked out.

Eventually, Gerhard came to and slowly realized what had happened. As he looked around the tank, he once again saw the horribly deformed remains of what used to be his crew, their blood drying on his uniform causing dingy brown discoloration on the black fabric.

"Is anyone alive?" he murdered.

"H-Haupt...mann." a voice faintly said from below him, it was nothing more than a pathetic whimper.

"Kleiner?" Gerhard said as he tried to move, but his body still ached horribly.

"H-H-Haupt...mann...p-plea... sh-shoo-shoot." Kleiner said desperately trying to get words out of his mouth.

"Kleiner hold on, I'm getting you out of this tank." Gerhard said as he tried to move again.

"Sh-shoot...m-me." Kleiner faintly said again.

"I am getting you out of here." Gerhard said again, finally gaining control of his aching body, but as he looked down, his eyes widened as he saw Kleiners condition.

Kleiner was missing an arm and his lower body was torn apart, it was amazing he hadn't yet died from blood loss.

Gerhard couldn't speak, his crew, his friends, his brothers, he couldn't even recognize them anymore.

"Shoot me." Kleiner said, gasping to catch his breath, even just speaking was taking loads of what little energy he had left.

Gerhard shook his head, there was no way he could kill his own friend, no matter how bad the situation was. He slowly turned around to grab the medical kit and an mp-40 so that he could patch himself up and defend himself.

"p-please." Kleiner whimpered again.

Gerhard tried not to listen to his friends pleas, but the sound of pure desperation was eating away at him.

"I can't." Gerhard said quietly as he opened the commanders hatch and threw the mp-40 out of it, tucking the magazines for it under his belt.

"Don't abandon me." Kleiner quietly begged.

Gerhard ignored his friend and climbed out of the commanders hatch and started climbing off the tank.

"Hauptmann." Kleiner said louder from inside the tank.

Gerhard just stared at his crippled Panzer IV before he picked up the mp-40 and started hobbling away.

"Hauptmann please." Kleiner could be heard, getting even louder.

Gerhard just kept hobbling away towards a tree line when the sound of an engine could be heard in the distance. Gerhard started moving faster towards the tree line, he knew the sound of that engine all to well, a T-34 was coming.

"Hauptmann please help me!" Kleiner started shouting from inside the tank.

Gerhard reached the tree line and watched as the T-34 came out of an adjacent tree line and halted. The T-34 just sat their idling for a moment before the loud bang of its main gun could be heard followed by a secondary explosion and a bright light.

The T-34 had detonated the engine block of Gerhards' Panzer IV causing it to burst into flames. The blood curdling screams of Kleiner could be heard as the fire engulfed the crew compartment, Gerhard just watched in absolute horror as the only surviving member of his crew was burned alive.

"Hauptmann! WHY!"

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1. The Nightmares of Reality
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