Chapter 12:Battle in the rain
My arms do not shake as I hold the machine gun, and my feet are steady when I march. We are fighting in a lightly wooded area, and have been for hours. There has to be at least a thousand on each side, but that is a conservative estimate as there can easily be five thousand fighting men on the battlefield total.
Cannon roar, artillery blast, grenade explosions, flamethrowers, barbed wire and poison gas are all being employed by both sides. I think the rebels are employing an inferior poison gas that is derived from chlorine; I know they do not have the red mist.
Right now Harod, Montgomery, Helena and I are taking cover behind the smoldering heap of metal that used to be a tank. With us are two of the six tank pilots who were able to clamber out of the tank after it got set aflame, the other four were presumably gunned down by rebel gunman.
Harod is currently leaning on the side of the tank, shooting his machine gun while screaming with unquenchable rage.
Some peacekeepers have flanked the Rebs hiding behind their tree trunk; our bayonets are fixed and now is our chance to charge.
We run around the tank and charge the rebel position from both sides. "For the Fatherland!"
As I lead the charge, an artillery shell explodes in a cloud of shrapnel nearby, throwing one of the tank pilots into the air. I have no time to check and see where he landed or if he got up afterwards.
By the time we get there, the flanking peacekeepers have been temporarily driven back. We are upon the rebels, and a few shots is all it takes to make the remaining eleven surrender.
One of the tank pilots, who is holding the machine gun of a peacekeeper who was killed in combat, barks at the surrendering rebels.
"Now put you're weapons down."
Most of them comply, but a few don't.
"I said, put you're weapons down!"
One of the Rebs replies. "Why should we?"
Without hesitating, Harod replies.
"This is why."
He then empties his entire clip into the rebels, killing all eleven of them. He then loads another clip into his gun and proceeds to shoot up their corpses until Montgomery tells him that he killed them all. I am horrified, but can not say anything as this is a battlefield and we only cleared out one checkpoint out of hundreds. I have the suspicion I will forget about it after a few more hours.
We reach another tank to hide behind, and this one is still semi-functional; it has lost its cannon but still has working machine gun turrets that is able to rip apart charging rebels. However, a rebel armored car is stationed at a position inconvenient for us.
We all provide firing cover long enough for Helena to crawl on her stomach close enough to the car to lob a grenade under it. While the grenade does not destroy it, it does surprise the machine-gunner sitting on top. She used this opportunity to shot him dead. The bullet riddled rebel slumped out of his seat and fell unceremoniously into the mud.
We charged again. This time there was only one rebel left; one who fired with an old hunting rifle from inside the car. He ran out of bullets, than he ran out of the car.
Harod turned to me and exclaimed with eagerness: "I'm gonna stab his skull in!"
He then gave chase, shooting the rebel in the leg to prevent escape.
The rebel screamed loudly. I bet he wished he had used his last bullet on himself.
"No. No. NNOOOOOoooo!"
Harod walked back to us, his uniform covered in fresh blood and his bayonet had large chunks of brain sticking from the base. In the head of battle, I gave no notice and we headed to the next checkpoint.
On and on we fought; sometimes charging forward and sometimes falling back. It involved a lot of running through mud, and this meant that uniforms that were once white (or in the rebels case grey or non-existent) were turned brown.
In the end of the battle, it was a stalemate. Thousands died on total, and both sides left the field. I don't know about the rebel respect to fallen, but the dead on our side were buried in the same mass grave regardless of their affiliation. We did not have enough time to sort the dead.
We left in the cold drizzle.